A Patterned Skirt Surpasses All

Winter has always been my favorite season ( or maybe I say that for every season?)  but I really love winter. The air becomes crisp and the skies become white sprinkled with grey clouds and the rain bcomes more frequent. I can layer my clothes without worrying about the weather being too warm to wear a scarf and although my hair gets kind of frizzy- I just really love this season.

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As I was taking my decorations down from Christmas I found some reindeer ears. Suddenly I had a great idea (Albany, my dog didn’t think it was such a great idea) and wow she did look cute.

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I just bought these Adidas tennis shoes- and they’re quite comfortable! The soles of the shoes are able to be taken out which allowed me to put in some arch insoles. Instant walking shoes! Recently, I have been trying to find chic, yet comfortable shoes that could be walked in a lot- but I have not found many shoes that fit that bill. But these Adidas shoes (once I put those arches in) became the answer to my problem.

Stay Elegant,

Caroline

LIVING IN BOGOTA, COLOMBIA

Hey, long time no see! I have been kind of distracted from blogging just with life and all, but I finally finished my post on my visit to Bogota… So here it is!

When I arrived in Bogota. My first impressions:

Their Spanish is neat, but rapid. The air is cold and what they call deli (delicioso=delicious). They are friendly to the utmost point.

Bienvenidos a Bogotá.

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This city is 2,640 meters ( or about 8,300ft) above sea level. That’s a long way from the ocean.

My family (whom I met once was I young) gave me a name of endearment. My name was officially Caro. (If able, pronounce with a Latin American accent, if not, the English version will be adequate)

Not Carolina or Caroline, but Caro. They are quite sweet 🙂

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They have two cats. One loves to be petted and the other hates it. They look exactly alike and it is slightly (okay  very) difficult to tell them apart. Sometimes I accidentally petted the wrong cat and I have scratch marks to show it.

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And the city is quite beautiful with its brick buildings and tall mountains. The people are super generous and kind. I struggle constantly with my Spanish (it’s getting better though!) and the person with whom I am conversing  will reduce the speed of their quick words and talk slower with more pronunciation in order that I can understand.

On a Tuesday, I visited El Museo del Botero. This museum holds many paintings of the Colombian artist of Fernanado Botero, but also has a few works of Picasso and Dalí. Suffice to say, it was a really cool museum.

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Besides the  language and  the city, the food is pretty amazing. I am in LOVE with the lentils. They just don’t make them quite like this in the U.S. And grilled plantains. Muy rico (Very tasty).

My “mother” in Bogota had some friends over for late lunch and made a delectable salad. I asked her for the name but she said she just invented it. So I call it La Ensalada de Juanita   (Juanita’s Salad).

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Here’s the recipe:

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 white onion, cut in slices

3/4 cup corn

1/4 head of lettuce or about 1/2 cup lettuce, washed

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

Pinches of Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine the tomatoes, onion, and corn together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the brown sugar, vinegar, olive oil, and salt/pepper together. (add salt and pepper to your liking)
  3. Add the dressing to the bowl of vegetables and combine well.
  4. Put the salad on a nice plate. Then tear up the lettuce and place around the salad on the edge of the plate, sort of like a wreath. (See above photos)
  5. Enjoy your delicious salad!

Bogotá is truly a great city to visit.

And as the Colombians say, ‘Chau!’

Stay Elegant, Caroline

A Pop of Color

I have been really been in love with black and white lately. As also seen in this post  white and black truly are staples of my closet. Using black and white adds an air of sophistication while the hot pink just adds a bit of fun.

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Blouse: J.Crew Shoes: Nine West Watch: Swatch

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I never was a girl for wearing bright colors, yet this blouse unusually appealed to me. The color is just so blatantly brilliant. Yet, it’s one of my favorite pieces in my closet because of its vibrant hue and thus I have become more confident in wearing outlandish colors.

It’s interesting what a blouse can do for you.

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I still have trouble believing that August has descended. It feels like just a week ago it was the beginning of July. Time sure does fly. But, I am really excited for Autumn. Don’t get me wrong,  the season of summer is such a fun filled time… Yet, fall brings cooler weather, boots, scarves, and hot chai tea lattes.

Right now I’ll just enjoy the last few weeks of summer with a glass of iced coffee in hand. 🙂

So…what vibrant color will you be wearing this week?

Marvelous Berry Marmalade

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Summer is a great time to eat fruit. Especially berries. I love eating strawberries during the summer because its the only time they have that sweet tangy taste. The rest of the time they’re just bland and don’t have the beautiful red color.

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And then there’s blueberries. Although strawberries will always have a special place in my heart, blueberries are also quite delightful in summer. Put these berries together and you have quite a party.

 

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Looking on the events on the past week, mainly Brexit ( I love quirky British words! Combine British and Exit- BAM new word) and it reminded me how much the world constantly changes.

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It never stops- it just continues to change without waiting for anything or anyone. And then everyone around us, ourselves included, constantly change. For better or worse, we are evolving everyday. We have learned something new, seen something new, spoken to someone knew, heard something new. And through these actions we become slightly altered than who we were yesterday. We become another day wiser and another day older. And thus change is inevitable, but its also very much needed in the world to progress in anything.

And as George Bernard Shaw once put it”Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything“.

Just some food for thought. (Or should I say marmalade for thought)

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Marvelous Berry Marmalade

Makes 2 8oz jars

3 cup berries ( I used 2  cup blueberries and 1 cup strawberries)

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

1/2-3/4  cup honey (depending on how sweet you desire your marmalade to be)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons chia seeds

 

  1. If using strawberries remove the hulls and chop into quarters. Then place berries and basil leaves into the food processor (Blender can also be used). Add the lime juice. Puree the berries, about 30 seconds until smooth.
  2. Combine the pureed berries, the lemon zest, honey, and chia seeds in a medium sized pot.
  3. Heat the pot to a boil over medium heat . Once the pot has boiled, put on simmer for 20-25 minutes and stir frequently.
  4. Once the marmalade has set or reached desired consistency, carefully pour into  8 oz jars.
  5. If not sealing jars, let cool on the counter and then place in the refrigerator. The marmalade will last about 3-4 weeks.
  6. If sealing the jars, use a water bath canning method to properly seal jars.
  7. Enjoy your homemade berry marmalade!

 

Orange-Zested Chocolate Waffles

I was just really feeling the waffle mood.

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Do you ever get the feeling where you just want a waffle? 🙂   I had a lot of oranges on hand and I’m kind of in love with oranges… so it made sense to put them in my beloved waffles. Thus, these Orange-Zested Chocolate Chip Waffles were born.

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Adding the chocolate chips just gave them such a scrumptious flavor, I couldn’t resist. And who doesn’t want chocolate in their waffles?

However, because of the light and fluffiness of the batter, it’s easier to add the chocolate chips once the batter has been put onto the waffle iron. This way, the chocolate chips do not sink to the bottom of the waffle batter bowl.

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And instead of using regular whipping cream, I tried my hand at coconut whipped cream. The results: it tastes amazing! And it actually has the airy texture of real whipped cream. Sounds (tastes?) like a winner to me!

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Orange-Zested Chocolate Waffles

1/2 cup All Purpose White Flour

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Large eggs (whites and yolks separated)

2 tablespoons Honey

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 tablespoons Coconut oil

1 cup Milk

1/2 cup Orange Juice

1/8 cup Orange liqueur (I’m using Cointreau)

1/2 teaspoon Orange zest (another teaspoon more for decoration)

1/2 cup of Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flours, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat egg yolks and honey until mixture is completely combined.
  4. Then, add the vanilla, coconut oil, orange liqueur and orange zest to the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Combine the egg mixture with the flour mixture and stir until barely blended.
  6. Place the egg white into a third bowl and beat with a whisk until peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
  7. Coat waffle iron with cooking spray.
  8. Pour 1/4 batter cup, or just enough to cover the waffle griddle. Sprinkle on a small handful of chocolate chips.
  9. Close and cook about 2-5 minutes.
  10. Enjoy and serve with coconut cream recipe (see below).

If needed, put in the oven for 200°F until all waffles are cooked.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 Can of Coconut Milk, refrigerated overnight ( I used the brand Thai Kitchen)

1 tablespoon of Preferred Sugar (maple syrup, honey, sugar granules, agave)

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  1. Open the can of coconut milk. Scoop out the coconut cream at the top into a bowl.
  2. Put the coconut water from the bottom of the can aside and can be used for other recipes (smoothies!)
  3. Whip the coconut cream using a hand beater or mixer for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and forming stiff peaks.
  4. Add the preferred sugar and vanilla to the coconut cream.
  5. Beat in the sugar and vanilla for about a minute.
  6. Use immediately or place in the refrigerator with plastic wrap until need.

The coconut whipped cream will keep for a little less than a week, but is best used the same day.

Note: The coconut whipped cream is not my original concept, but one I’ve adapted from many other bloggers and various coconut whipped cream videos.

Enjoy your delicious waffles! (And coconut whipped cream)
Stay Elegant,
Caroline

 

Ever So White

 

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I just adopted a five-year old Sheltie! Her name is Albany and she is quite sweet. Not exactly a lap dog, but the can still fit on my lap 🙂

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Jeans: Uniqlo Shoes:Nine West

I have been waiting, for what seems like an eternity, for the chance to wear white jeans. I love these white jeans I bought from Uniqlo, they’re so soft and comfortable and I take any chance I can get to wear them!

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I ‘m feeling extremely happy today (for many reasons) but especially for Albany and for white jeans.

Stay Elegant, Caroline

A Trip to Cartagena

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For Spring Break, I decided  to visit the beautiful city of Cartagena, Colombia. This colorful coastal city has a  vibrant the restaurant scene, breathtaking islands, and a lively culture.
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In the picture below, is a palenquera. Usually palenquera dress in colorful dresses and carry fruit on top of their heads. As a tourist, when taking a photo of a palenquera, one must also buy some of the fruit or give her some pesos. This is their way of making a living.
The city is painted with pastels of yellow, blue, pink, and orange, and looking down the streets is like looking at a picture. It feels like summer here with the high humdity levels and high temps and its a nice break from mundane weather of Southern California.
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 One of the most interesting places to visit was El Castillo. I’m not quite sure why they call it “el castillo” (the castle) because it’s not really a castle, but more of a military fort. Back in the day (1600s) this fort held off massive invasions of foreigners, because Cartagena was a storage place of gold, emeralds, and other valuable treasures.The fort was extremely  fascinating to tour because of the numerous underground tunnels that were designed to stop them at invaders at every turn with various traps. Fun fact, the fort was designed to self destruct, in case it was taken over by invaders.
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In addition, another popular thing to do in Cartagena is to take a boat trip to one of the Islas Del Rosario (Islands of Rosario). I visited the Isla del Encanto, which was a beautiful island about an hour off the coast of Cartagena. The water was so blue, almost turquoise and the beach was simply alluring. After I arrived at the island, I took a short ride on another boat to go snorkeling. That was a great adventure and the fish were  brightly colored around the coral reef.
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I also visited La Casa de San Pedro Claver. San Pedro Claver, was a saint who helped the indigenous people of Cartagena. Now his house and a church that is dedicated to him is turned into a museum. I thought the place was quite charming and really intriguing to tour.
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The prices in Cartagena were extremely cheap, for example at breakfast I could get 2 eggs, coffee, juice, and a croissant for about $5 or $7. And dinner was about $15. These incredibly inexpensive prices are due to the low exchange rate of Colombian pesos to the U.S. dollar. So really, it’s a great time to visit Colombia.
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Stay Elegant,
Caroline

A Jumpsuit in January

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Jumpsuit: Topshop Heels: Coach Watch:Swatch Watches

A Jumpsuit in January. Fancy that. Sounds crazy, but I’ve never worn a jumpsuit before, and… it’s really nice. They’re comfortable without looking untasteful and their fun without looking silly. I may have to fill my closet with more of these.

Also, I really love this grey color. To me, January is bright, grey, and full of fresh beginnings. I think this jumpsuit embodies all three.

Stay Elegant, Caroline

 

The New York City Life

I’m so excited to be in New York City. The city just seems so magical, especially this time of year.

When I first landed, it was pouring. However, the next day it was a record breaking temperature of 73°F and had 80% of humidity. It was quite a lovely day. Then another day it was 45°F. Go figure. The weather just loves to change.

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The city is quite beautiful during Christmas. And as cliché as it sounds it is the most wonderful time of the year.

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One of the many good restaurants here is Boqueria. This little Spanish restaurant is located in SoHo, and the food, though pricey is quite delectable.

In Tribeca, we also visited the Egg Shop, which is a restaurant dedicated to serving eggs. I ordered a Steak and Egg Sandwich, which tasted amazing and had a slight kick. The interior of the restaurant was quaint with turquoise accents and white windowsills.

All in all, New York City is a very captivating metropolis.

Stay Elegant, Caroline

 

A Home-Like Soup

 

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Ajiaco (pronounced AH-HE-AH-CO), is more or less a chicken-potato  soup.

Yet, its so much more.
DSC06846Ajiaco is a traditional Colombian soup that has a thick consistency and is served with avocado, corn, cream, and capers on a chilly winter night.

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I learned how to make this soup from my grandmother. To me this soup always reminds me of home, family, love, and warmth. Sometimes everyone just needs a soup that not only tastes amazing, but also brings memories of happiness.

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Aji is also served with a spicy Colombian sauce that adds great flavor to the soup. It is made with tomatoes, green onions and vinegar.

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Serves 8 cups

1 chicken, shredded

8 cups of water

3 corn cobs halved

1 pound of tiny potatoes  ( papa criollas)*

1 pound of normal sized potatoes peeled and chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 large onion chopped

1 cube of chicken bouillon

1 tablespoon Guascas**

Salt

Pepper

1/2 cup Cilantro leaves plus more for garnish

1/4 cup heavy cream

Avocados

Capers

Put the shredded chicken in a 6- to 8-quart pot and add water, bouillon, onion, guascas, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly, but save the chicken water.

Then add potatoes to pot and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add papas criollas to pot  and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are falling apart and beginning to thicken broth , 20 to 30 minutes.

Add corn, 1/4 cup cilantro, and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper and simmer, covered, until corn is tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add chicken to stew and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Taste soup, if needed season with salt or pepper.

Serve soup with a teaspoon of capers, 3 slices  of avocado, and leaves of cilantro, in separate bowls. Then add about 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of aji (see recipe below) to each bowl.

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2 bunches green onions

1 large tomato

2 tablespoons cilantro

1 teaspoon Tabasco

1/4 tablespoon of chile pepper

2 tablespoon  white vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

 Line the green onions up together and use a knife to cut a three slits into the onions length wise. Then chop the onion finely crosswise, using all of the white parts and half of the dark green parts. Cut the onions very finely.
Place the chopped onion in a small bowl . Finely chop the tomato and add it to the onion bowl. Finely chop the cilantro and add them to the bowl as well. Cut the chiles finely and stir into the mix along with the vinegar, water, oil, tabasco and salt.
Let the ají sit in the refrigerator for around 20 minutes, and then taste  to see if it needs more salt, water, vinegar, or tabasco  (if it seems too salty  add a bit more water, if it seems flat, add more salt). Serve 1 tablespoon with each bowl of ajiaco. This sauce can also be served on fish, potatoes, etc.

Enjoy!

*Papa Criollas are traditional Colombian potatoes, that are about the size of teaspoon, yet are difficult to find. If you can not locate these potatoes use peeled and halved russet potatoes.

**Guascas is a traditional Colombian spice that adds much flavor to the soup, however is difficult to find. Guascas is preferred, but  can be substituted. It can be found in Latin American stores, however if unable to locate use dried oregano and chicken spice.