04 August 2009

travel photo tuesdays: iconic

This represents a first glance of a much anticipated return. greeting an old friend, though I had made her acquaintance only three years prior. I'd felt I'd known her all my life, and seeing her in the flesh was simultaneously thrilling and comforting. Thrilling, to feel the weight of the adventure which I was about to embark upon. Inexplicably comforting, because I suddenly felt at home, chez moi, in a foreign country.

You know those moments in life where everything just feels right? This was one in my life, listening to the tour guide spout off facts in French, gliding along the Seine, enjoying the company of those who would turn out to be very dear friends to me, and just reveling in the fact that I was finally in France. This represents the point at which my love for France, the language, the people, the way of life, became deeply rooted in my heart.

(I also wanted to post some Eiffel Tower pictures in anticipation of this necklace that I just bought last night. I'm actually not one for wearing jewelry all the time, so it has to be a special piece for me to purchase it. I believe this falls in that category, and I think I will love it for a very long time to come. Promise to post pictures of it on me when it arrives!)

30 July 2009

28 July 2009

Travel Photo Tuesdays: Colmar

Petite Venise: November 2008

I adored the Northeast corner of France, a region that has gone back and forth between France and Germany (it has been French since WWII). Because of the relatively constant switch of cultures, the Alsace region is well-known for its interesting cultural mix. It's especially fun during the Advent season since the Germans know how to do Christmas, huge trees, lots of garlands, the whole thing. Seeing this picture reminds me of this little excursion, where we prowled the town of Colmar, enjoying a crisp winter morning and savoring the anticipation of Christmas and a little vin chaud. Nothing like a Sunday stroll in France.

21 July 2009

travel photo tuesdays: piazza navona

My best birthday so far was last year. I chose to spend my 21st birthday weekend gallivanting about Rome, and it was an amazing time. One of my favorite places was the Piazza Navona. People-watching, street artists, true artists, cafés, many of my favorite things in one place. I loved the place settings and the charm of the whole area. Can't wait to go back and enjoy some more in the near future.

14 July 2009

travel photo tuesdays: le 14 juillet

This week's edition of travel photo tuesday is a bit supersized in honor of Bastille Day! For those who don't know the history (or need a little refresher), you can read a little more about it here. It is, as you may guess, a complicated story. But on to the pictures!

cézanne's middle school in aix-en-provence

the eiffel tower (la tour eiffel): as quintessentially french as revolutions

le drapeau à Versailles

the extravagance which prompted the French people to revolt/seize the Bastille and declare their rights as citizens and humans

et finalement, l'arc de triomphe

And bonus video: La Marseillaise, which apparently gave Edith Piaf her big break. I get chills every time I listen to it.

All photos © Jillian Nightingale

02 June 2009

travel photo tuesdays: le château de vizille

This small castle hosts the museum of the French revolution. Situated just outside of Grenoble, this castle also offers fairly extensive grounds which include a menagerie. We may or may not have had an experience with some very curious and dirty sheep. They also had a surprising range of more exotic animals. The museum was fairly interesting. I was more entranced with walking around the castle, listening to the floorboards creak and enjoying the grand staircases overlooking les paumes.

At least at this museum, they didn't insult our intelligence by asking us if we knew France had a revolution in 1789. Yes, this really happened somewhere else in France. I mean, I know we're Americans, but we are studying French, and if we retain one thing about French history, it's that they had a revolution in 1789.

31 May 2009

reflecting light

now that i've worn out, i've worn out the world

i'm on my knees in fascination
looking through the night

and the moon's never seen me before

but i'm reflecting light.

Sam Phillips -- Reflecting Light

all photos © me :)

29 May 2009

foodie fridays: pesto rolls

One of my favorite restaurants from when I lived in Idaho was actually the café at our local co-op. My favorite item on the menu? Their pesto rolls, completely legendary for their delicious, carby goodness. My friends and I would often find excuses to go pick some up. So when I moved away, this was something I knew I needed the recipe for. I actually made these several times while in France for cheap lunches paired with pumpkin soup from the local Casino. Without further ado, here is the recipe for you to try on your own!

Pesto Rolls
1 1/4 cups Water
1 cups of 2% Milk
1/2 Tablespoons Yeast
2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Canola oil
1 Tbsp. cup Honey
5 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
1 1/2 cups pesto
2 cups mozzarella & parmesan cheeses (the mix ratio is up to you!)

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Mix the water - unbleached white flour until the dough forms into a natural ball (the dough should not stick to your hand when it is touched, but do not let it get dry with too much flour). Put the dough onto a floured counter top and roll out into a flat rectangle.

Spread a thick layer of pesto on the dough. Then layer the mozzarella and parmesan cheese on the pesto. Roll dough lengthwise into a log, maintaining even thickness of the dough throughout. Slice into 1-inch sections and place the slices on their side on a baking sheet (much like cinnamon rolls).

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. ENJOY!

28 May 2009

new venture: 22 new things before 22

So I'm jumping on a birthday bandwagon with Sarah Von and doing 22 new things before my 22nd birthday in October. I need to brainstorm ideas though. I think I'll keep her two constraints of must be completable in a day and cost under $50. I'm also happy to take suggestions!

001. Take a trip using the Lonely Planet's Guide to Experimental Travel.
002. Make a successful batch of Parisian Macarons.
003. Get a henna tattoo
004. Join a French Conversation group
005. Write haikus to 22 of my friends.
006. Make this chocolate bread featured on NPR's Kitchen Window series.
007. Take a picture (of n'importe quoi!) every day until my birthday.
008. Buy some gladiator sandals.
009. Drink a dirty martini.
010. Watch an old James Bond movie.
011. Read the unabridged version of the Count of Monte Cristo.
012. Have a CouchSurfing experience. (hopefully positive!)
013. Eat dinner by myself in a decent restaurant.
014. Attempt to make a paint chip wallet.
015. Read 22 tales from 1001 Arabian Nights.
016. Learn something from The Dangerous Book for Boys
017. Finally buy The Daring Book for Girls.
021. Donate $22 on my birthday to a charity.
022. Attend Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT to celebrate my birthday!

26 May 2009

travel photo tuesdays: le marché en aix-en-provence

One of my favorite weekends in France, we spent the last weekend in October exploring Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. In accordance with my travel philosophy (act like the locals as much as you are able), we browsed the saturday morning market. I love the variety of merchandise you could find there, but mostly, I loved going through all the produce stands and seeing all the fresh produce and dreaming of what I could be cooking. This is still one of my all-time favorite photos from that semester.

22 May 2009

foodie fridays: crème brûlée à la lavande

This is one of my favorite recipes for crème brûlée. It's a Williams-Sonoma card recipe that I picked up when I bought a brème brûlée set for my mom for her birthday, complete with kitchen torch. And yes, that is my favorite part of the whole process: the carmelization of the sugar.

2 1/4 cups (680 mL) heavy cream
2 T dried lavender flowers
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup (155g) sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
turbinado sugar for carmelizing

Preheat the oven to 325F (165C). Line a baking pan that is 2 inches (5cm) deep with a kitchen towel. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and lavender flowers and bring just to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until blended. Slowly add the lavender cream, whisking constantly until blended. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl (preferably with a pouring lip) and divide among 4 large or 6 medium ramekins. Skim bubbles off the surface of the cream in each ramekin. Place the ramekins in the prepared baking pan and add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set, about 40 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Let the custards cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle 2 tsp of turbinado sugar over the surface of each custard. Carmelize with a kitchen torch or broiler in the oven.


bon appétit!

21 May 2009

TESOL: i'm doing it

...Today I decided that I want to get my TESOL certificate and diploma. And I'm starting this summer. I'm doing the course online, so I'm not required to have any technical teaching experience to receive this, which is great for convenience's sake. It's something I've tossed around for awhile, and I decided that ultimately, it would probably open up more opportunities for me and make me an even more attractive candidate to grad schools. Right now, I have that little panic flutter in my stomach that you get immediately after finalizing a big decision. I know it's right, but there will be 350 hours of work to be done. But I can do it, and I want to do it. so yay!

18 May 2009

real life began a week ago.

i just graduated from college. i am now an official holder of a Bachelor of Arts. in French. and what now?

i have many dreams and criteria to achieving these dreams:
+ being back in France within the next 5 2 years
+ where i can make good friends with similar (and differing) interests
+ i can continue learning. languages, photography, the history of an obscure island, quoi que ce soit
+ i can eat all kinds of delicious food.
+ i can read the economist in bed if i wish.

i'm hoping that working at Disney World in their College Program will at least meet a few of these criteria. need to make that money to get to grad school!

01 February 2009

one of my quirks.

when i do my spanish homework, it is easier for me to translate what i want to say into french and use the french-spanish dictionary to figure out the correct vocabulary.

any excuse to pull out le français, i guess.

07 January 2009

“tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
— Mary Oliver

me and my younger sister at cape canaveral, watching a shuttle launch, back in the day.

06 January 2009

journal envy

So I took my Moleskine that I had received on the occasion of my high school graduation (and had neglected for a year. literally) to Barnes and Noble yesterday, ready for an afternoon of browsing and gleaning creative ideas. Instead, I found myself in the "Economics" section and spent a couple hours sipping Harney and Sons Holiday Tea and reading The Price of Everything by Russell Roberts. Good thing I had brought my handy little notebook along with me, because it was FULL of quotables and things I wanted to remember later, and I knew that a mental note would not suffice.

Anyways, after reading and spending that enjoyable time jotting down thoughts that I wanted to remember, I suddenly wanted another Moleskine. Granted, I definitely need to finish strong with this one, but it's a task I'm up for.

I also need to finish up my journalling from this semester in France. My mom gave me a Paris CityGuide Moleskine as a "bon voyage" gift, and I fell in love all over again.

thanks to Daniele Rossi credit to johnystadlerka

Now I'm wanting to buy the Washington DC and New York ones, and various other European city ones to make my own guidebook. I think travelogues are one of the most precious things in life, and we should take advantage of resources like this.

For now, I'll just wait :)

photo credit to trumpetvine

05 January 2009

2009 resolutions

2009 resolutions by jillian alice

voila the polyvore set, which is a visual reminder of my 2009 resolutions :)

001. do a better job of writing thank you notes and giving thoughtful hostess gifts
002. take advantage of every traveling opportunity i have
003. watch more foreign and independent films (perhaps renew my netflix subscription)
004. try beige in my wardrobe, and continue to put in effort into my appearance.
005. buy a nice pair of boots!!!
006. continue some french habits i picked up, including the eating fresher, maintaining the fluency i achieved, and staying informed of current events.
007. make sure to record my itunes playlists. they are my best snapshots of my life at any given moment.
008. blog more often! i'm still trying to figure out the best way to make this a "plausible" goal, with achievable specifics. but i'll get there :)