January playlist

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend. Mine was pretty wet. It rained non-stop in Sydney - from Saturday night onwards and didn't stop til Tuesday afternoon. As a result, parts of Queensland and NSW are currently affected from flooding. Please send your thoughts and prayers to those affected. Because of my wet weekend, I didn't do much except reading (latest Monocle mag) and listening to some tunes.

Thanks to Triple J's hottest 100 (annual Australian music countdown), I fell in love with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. My favourite being Same Love (#15). alt-J is a recent favourite and Breezeblocks (#3) has been on repeat. A friend introduced me to Rachael Yamagata and I have been you-tubing her videos since. Try Even if I don't. Lastly I have been a big fan of local band The Griswolds ever since they won the Unearthed competition. Check out The Courtship of Summer Preasley - it's one my favourites.

Happy Mid-week!

Travel Recaps: Buenos Aires

When I first planned my sojourn around the world, I wanted a stop in South America. Had to fight tooth and nail to put one of its cities on the map due to friends' opposition and concerns of our inability to speak Spanish. But I so glad I managed to pay Buenos Aires a visit. It is a charming and colourful city. I remember leaving Sydney at 11am on a Sunday and arriving at Buenos Aires at 10am on the same day. We were jet-lagged and tired having unable to sleep on the plane and once we got out of customs, we found ourselves in the midst of the crowds.  Before we could get our bearings straight, people were yelling Spanish at us and trying to get us to take one of their cars into town. We turned to look at each another and smiled. We were hyped for an adventure and boy did we get one.

Here are my top 5 things to do in Buenos Aires:

1. Visit Plaza de Mayo. Casa Rosa (red building on the pic), Metropolitan Cathedral and other historical buildings are all situated around the plaza and nearby. Also pay a visit to Avenida 9 de Julio, which is the widest street in Americas with its 22 lanes.

2. La Relecota Cemetery. Please put this on the top of your list. Magnificent, gorgeous cemetery. I bet you are thinking why would I visit a cemetery? You have to visit it to believe it (refer to the pics at the bottom). This large cemetery has around 4690 vaults which sit above the ground, containing past Argentinean presidents, prominent families, Eva Peron and others. The cemetery is laid out in blocks like a mini town with trees lining side by side the walkways. Eerily beautiful.

3. San Telmo.  The oldest neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Beautiful old colonial buildings lined its streets. Cafes, small shops and grocers populate this cobble stoned area. The main attraction is its Sunday Market where locals and tourists come to visit stalls selling crafts, antiques, paintings etc. I bought most of my souvenirs here. If you are lucky, tango performances are also on show.

4. Eat meat. Yes. Eat lots of it. Argentina prides itself on its meat, specifically beef. Til this day, I still reminisce about the most delicious steak I have ever eaten in my life... so far. It is said that because their cows are raised on vast grasslands and hence grassfed - apparently uncommon elsewhere in the world, which makes their meat oh-so-good. Thinking about my meals in Buenos Aires is making me hungry.

5. Palermo. A trendy, quiet district. So if you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is where I would recommend. Here you will find designer boutiques and trendy cafes/restaurants. It's also famous for its pretty parks.

January Wishlist

(Clockwise R to L: OPI Are we there yet nail polist; Topshop skater skirt; 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli satchel; kikki.K time planner; Embellished lace top
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. If you follow my instagram, you will see that I have been helping my sis set up her stall at the Glebe Markets. It was an interesting albeit tiring experience. I don't think I will do it again. A friend also had a house warming party to celebrate her new gorgeous place which was near the river. It comes with an indoor pool and jacuzzi - you know where I will be spending my weekends now. December and January have been the worst two months for my bank account. With the festive season, one can't help but spend. I did buy the Topshop skirt above although what I really need is a diary. Talk about priorities. I don't even know why I want more nail polish when I can't have coloured nails at work. I should stop buying things I don't really need.

Do you impulse buy? How do you control your shopping urges?

Apple Salad

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
12 rosemary leaves, minced (the spiky needles)
1 medium garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon sugar 
1/2 cup /120 ml crème fraîche (or sour cream)
2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar 
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 large celery stalks, sliced see-though thin (reserve any celery leaves)
2 crisp, flavorful heirloom apples, cut into sixths, and then thinly sliced*
4 handfuls arugula, baby gems, or baby romaine
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts
My salad

Has anyone regretted what they 'promised' or wrote down for their New Year resolutions so far? I have. Why oh why did I exclude salads from my learn to cook declaration? Anyways I found this really yummy looking recipe on 101 cookbooks, a pretty food journal (go have a look) and decided to give it a try.

It was the first time I used sour cream to make salad dressing and now I'm hooked. The best part of the recipe is that it matches really well with the apples. Perfect combo. I even made this twice in a week. I didn't particularly like the garlic taste so I took that out the second time. I had rocket (arugula) and spinach. As for the nuts, I tossed whatever I had at home which included peanuts, pine nuts etc. Quick and easy. All ready to eat in less than 5 mins.

Travel Recaps: Jiufen, Taiwan

Jiufen has to be my favourite place in Taiwan. It's a small, picturesque town situated up in the mountains and near the coast. Catch the 1062 bus from Zhongxiao Fuxing train station in Taipei (thank you bloggers) and you will pass through winding, hilly roads and witness a different side of Taiwan. Small shops and teahouses filled the intricate, narrow streets. Some offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Thus it comes as no surprise that it is an extremely popular town. The locals and overseas visitors flock towards it in big tour buses. It's partially because of Studio Ghibli's award-winning animated movie, Sprited Away, which was said to have been based on the town. Having spent two nights there, I believe the best time to visit is in the evening when the crowds have dispersed and the lights gradually come on. Find yourself a good spot facing the ocean in one of the teahouses and watch the sun set. A perfect way to end your day.

Apartment loving girl

 See more & other images on homedsgn
If I have to choose between a house or an apartment, I would prefer an apartment. Friends find this strange. I guess maybe because I don't have a family of my own and don't like gardening. Plus I'm a city girl and love looking over cities from a high vantage point.

This 6630 square foot duplex penthouse apartment is simply gorgeous. The architecture firm, Kokaistudios, designed it with the concept of "living between the city and nature" while allowing for panoramic views of the city. Sleek, clean and chic. Did you see the pool? High ceilings and big windows that provide for lots of natural lighting? All the things I want for my future apartment. But realistically on a much lower budget.

London vs Paris

All images from london vs paris

Found this lovely photographic blog by two mums. One living in London, the other in Paris. Every Monday and Friday, they post pictures from London and Paris based on a decided theme which ranges from train tickets, trees to red doors. Great shots of simple things found in their daily lives. A fun way to compare the subtle differences of the two cities, while enlightening us on the little charms they each hold.

I have to say I like both cities. It's hard to pick one over the other. They have different yet appealing areas that I adore and dislike. What I don't like? Weather for London and dog poo for Paris.

Which city do you prefer?

Temp in Sydney reached a top of 42degrees today. I hope everyone in Sydney find ways to stay cool. Weather stations have predicted temp to stay around 32 at midnight. It's going to be a long night.

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