Thursday, July 30, 2015

//Paris Trip Part Four - My Arts//

Months earlier when Steven mentioned about going to Paris to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, I was very excited and happy. Immediately I knew what projects I wanted to do while visiting Paris; do some photography (taking pictures) and do some water color art.

My head was spinning around with images of me paint in a cafe or brasserie and snapping interesting object in Paris.

I requested that we stayed in a Parisian hotel room rather than a high rise American hotel like the last time we stayed in Paris that we stayed at the Marriot somewhere near Luxembourg garden. My request to stay in a Parisian hotel because I love that window balcony with the decorative wrought iron railing. So we searched together on the internet and found one called The Regent's Garden Hotel (here) in Porte Malliot near Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees.

Upon arrival we were surprised by the size of our hotel room. It was very tiny. So Steven asked for an upgrade. We immediately got one. Although still was small but larger than the last one. After a few days staying in that room we both started to like the room. Everything was very clean and all staffs was very friendly and helpful. And the boutique hotel has a beautiful garden. That was a spot for me to paint and had breakfast almost every day.

During our 6 days visit I think I sat in that garden 3 days in a row. Each day while Steven was still sleeping because he was having a serious jet lag, I got up early so not to miss the buffet breakfast at 10:30 and paint after eating breakfast.

It was a sketch really, a quick sketch. I would plan and paint carefully had I gotten all the time. But we were there to explore and celebrate our anniversary plus there are so many sight seeings to visit. So I sketched really quick.

These were fruits available from the buffet breakfast provided by the hotel. I took them into the garden and after having breakfast I painted them.


Apricot and strawberry.....

The breakfast.........

The hotel garden....

The wrought iron window railing caught my eye. And  on the little sketch pad is a quick rendering of the hotel's window and door.

I bought these vintage letter and post card for 3 Euro at the Marche aux Puce.

Photography art with Peony Steven bought me....

Remember I mentioned about I found a vintage curtain panel in my previous post? I found these two night gowns at the same time. I had totally forgotten about them. When found them I was so happy and brings back memories to the days when I was a student in New York City and used to purchase many vintage items in a flea market near my school. And these are one of them. So I packed them up hoping that I will photograph them.

Again, I asked Steven to take this picture while I stood in front of the window in our room. I love this picture very much because of the wrought iron window railing.

Here is another another picture of me wearing the other vintage night gown.

I took this picture and love it very much. But there is something odd about it. Can you tell? The table cloth has pocket. That is because I covered the original table cloth with a bath robe. That was the only thing I did not like about the room that the curtain and table cloth decorated with a dark thick brown motif fabric. But still it was a lovely little boutique hotel.

So this is pretty much sums up everything about the trip.

I do recommend this hotel because, 1. it is a lovely hotel. 2. it has a beautiful garden. 3. friendly and helpful staffs plus delicious buffet breakfast. 4. it is a perfect location and near a metro station. 5. near Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysses. 6. there are a delicious boulangerie right a cross from the hotel - a super market and a pharmacie just a few doors from the hotel.


Thank you so much for reading. And until next time...

//Paris Trip Part Three - Steven and I//

Although I love posing in front of camera - recently I do not feel confidence like I used to when it comes to having my picture taken.

This time is different. This is Paris. And I think I am ready for it, just for the fun. 

But wait a minute! Who is going to be the photographer? Yes, it will be Steven. He does not like this job at all. But since at home, I promised him that it will be easy and he will not be taking pictures all the time. And he agreed.

Ideally I would like to take picture of a model in the street of Paris. But I do not have anybody but me. At one time in my life and as mentioned earlier I love being my picture taken. And I was not shy about it, but that was many years a go. So this time I planned in advance in my head what type of photography I wanted. And the type of clothing I wanted to wear during the shoot. Again, this is just for fun and curious about how it goes.

So let's take a look at them.

Recently Steven brought our rented storage boxes into our home. Between Steven and I we collected so many junks. So prior to this trip I opened one box and found a vintage fabric that I bought when I was a student about 15 years a go. It is actually a curtain panel. When saw it again, I said to myself that this would be great as a skirt. So I searched on youtube (here) about how to create the flair skirt. And I sewn the fabric into a skirt that I am wearing on below photograph. And I like the DIY skirt very much!

You see the pink back bow top? I also sewn the top myself. The material bought at Jo Ann fabrics. The cullotes bought at Forever 21.

These pictures was taken a block or two a way from our hotel. And the last 2 days we were in Paris; it was raining a lot.

I taught Steven on how to use the camera. Although they were not perfect like I had in mind - Steven did a great job. It is hard for someone who never even hold this type of camera to use it. The composition is not right. The Parisian building in the background was not in the picture.  The bokeh is not there and is not sharp as this camera is very sensitive. One must be still while pressing the release button and takes practice to able to do this in order to get the sharp focus.  But I am happy that he is patient enough with me to do this shoot. I think he did a good job, right?

At The Marche aux Puces St Ouen.

Having pizza at Marche aux Puce de Paris

At Sacre Coeur

The Arc de Triomphe was near our hotel. So we started our trip from the metro station Charles de Gaulle Etoile a lot and we go where ever we wanted to go from there.

July is the busiest tourists season in Paris. We went to de Louvre because Steven wanted to see Monalisa. But we could not even get near it. And the museum is so big that we thought we can never get out of that museum after we have seen and walked around a lot in that museum. If you ever visited Musee du Louvre, please wear the thinnest outfit and comfortable shoes like sneakers because there is no air condition in there and with a lot of tourists, each hall was a little bit hot and humid.
 Thank you for stopping by!

//Paris Trip Part Two - The Buildings of Paris//

I do not know why but I really love Parisian apartment buildings. 

When looking from the outside I can only imagine the elegance decor of the inside with its parquet floor, high ceiling and beautiful molding on the wall. What really fascinate me is the doors and windows with its wrought iron balcony and beautiful stone work around it. I really love the elegance of this type of apartment building. So while visited Paris where ever I go - I always look up for the wrought iron balcony;  apparently it has many beautiful designs.

It is in my bucket list that one day if I ever visited Paris again; I will spend more time painting these buildings or take more beautiful pictures of Parisian apartment buildings.

More story about this (here).


These two pictures below was taken during the river boat cruise.


Don't you just love that little balcony?  

Thank you for stopping by!

//Paris Trip Part One - Our 10th Anniversary//

I can't wait to share our trip to Paris a few days a go. We spent 6 days in the beautiful city of Paris to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. 

Prior to the trip - Steven has booked a restaurant  to celebrate our 10th anniversary in Paris. But upon arrival I suggested that we take a dinner boat cruise so that was what we did. It was a beautiful evening cruising a long the Seine river while having dinner and live piano on board the boat. I really recommend that if you ever visited Paris please take this dinner river boat cruise. You will not be disappointed. I think the best time to do it is during summer like we did in mid July where the sun goes down by about 10 pm. The most beautiful part about the trip was that the boat goes a long the Seine river where all the important historic building situated a long the Seine river and with the sun set about 8 or 9 pm it was the most romantic scene to be witnessed this dramatic view especially when the boat reached the Eiffel Tower. From a distance she is starting to show off her twinkling light. It was just beautiful.

There are a few companies that does this kind a tour. We took the Bateaux Muches one (here).

I did not take many pictures although I brought the camera with me. And when I took some shots I had forgotten to change the setting. So all pictures came out grainy and not what I wanted then I realize the mistake I made. This happened with me on numerous occasions - when I got very excited I forget to change the setting as I always take picture during sunny day.

So let's take a look at those pictures.

Since I took so many pictures on this trip - I decided the best way to post them all was to divide them in three categories or 4 parts; Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four. So the story will be continued to Part Two.

Thank you so much for reading!

Monday, July 20, 2015

//Off to Paris//


This is a short post. We are off to Pairs  for 6 days today.

I am super happy and excited to celebrate our 10th anniversary. I can't believe that we have been married for 10 years as of tomorrow.

Will have many pictures and videos to post when we came back.

More on Instagram, (here)

Thank you so much for being in this journey with me.

Have a beautiful day !

//Kaastengels - Cheese Cookies//

I grew up with these cookies. During Ied Mubarak (here) - a religious muslim celebration my - mother bake this cookies each year since I can remember until a few days a go for a Ied Mubarak.

Since Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for hundred years a long time a go I think this is how the cookies adapted to Indonesian people to this date.

I never bake these cookies before but to celebrate Ied Mubarak this yearI asked my mother for the recipe. You know it is one of those thing that when you grow up with a certain food - you tent to neglect to know about it. And I think it is wrong.  I considered this a tradition - my family tradition. And I wanted people to now that this is something I grew up with and since now I am living a broad in the US I wanted Steven's family to know about my tradition. So after baking a lot of these cookies I packed them up and brought them over to Steven's mother and step mother. A long with a brief written explanation about the cookies. And I am very happy that they liked it.

These cookies are so delicious. If you like unsweetened cookies - this is for you. When you bite it - it is soft and crunchy at the same time. And it is super easy to make.


Kaastengels (Cheese Cookies)

~ 1-1/2 cup flour
~ 3/4 cup grated hard gouda cheese. Please use the smallest size grater.
~ 1/2 cup margerine, plus
~ 1/2 cup Wijsman butter (here) Alhtough I never used a substitue from regular grocery I think you can use the imported butter for this.

1. After grated the cheese, leave the cheese on the counter for over night without cover. And in the morning place the un covered cheese under the sun somewhere in your home for a few hours. This will help the cheese to get dry and add the crunchiness to the cookies.
2. Using a hand mixer - mix the two butter together and add the cheese.
3. Slowly add flour and mix by hand.
4. After putting all the flour mix the batter by hand until it reach to a consistency that it won't stick to your hand any more. Note; to be honest I do not use measurement I just go with how I feel. If it still soft and sticky please add more flour. The right consistency is when you roll the small amount of dough with both hand it wont stick and it will roll nicely. But you do not want it too hard either.
5. Then sprinkle a flour on a working board roll a small amount of dough to create a long round shape like a snake the size of your thumb.
6. Then cut it every 1-1/2 inch and put it on the lining baking tray.
7. Brush the top with egg yolk mix with butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
7. Bake for about 18 minutes at 350 deg.
(Note: To avoid the top egg yolk and cheese to get burn and became dark in color - I bake the cookies without the brushed egg yolk first for about 7 or 8 minutes. Then after 5 minutes when it is start to get colder I brush the half cooked cookies with egg yolk and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese) And bake them again for another 10 minutes until it became a little brownish in color. And while you are working on brushing the egg yolk - put another tray of cookies in the oven. Alternate this will safe time)

Happy baking Everyone!