Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Welcome Home Package

After my horrible experience at Rome airport (only took us... oh, 26 hours to get home!) trying to get back to my normal life I was exhausted and found myself speechless when I saw what a mess my 2 pets had created in house for 2 weeks... sigh...  We went to the airport before 5 am in the morning to take the first flight out of Rome that day and found the flight canceled at the last minute.  Imagine whole flight of passengers panicking at the same time, running around the terminal trying to get some help, most of us don't speak Italian.  Everyone of us booked our flights through various airlines, and we were consolidated into one flight operated by Brussels Airline, which does not even have a counter in Rome airport!  Now you see why we were panicking at 6 am in the morning?!  3 hours later, finally got on Alitalia airline flight heading to Germany instead because we already missed our connection flight in Belgium.  Guess what?!  You would think our bad luck should be over, but no!  We were strained on the plane for more than 2 hours on the side of the runway because of some mechanical problem with the engine!  ... speechless...  Finally took off after 11 am on our way to Frankfurt.  Then we found out the flight straight back to San Francisco has left the gate... we got there too late... the next flight out home is 5 hours later...  Ahhhh... 

Ok, all this is just to let you know the stage of my mind at the moment when I actually opened my front door and back to my own 'castle'.  If I had any energy left in my body, I would cry, as loud as I can, like no one else business.  Then, finally one good thing happened.  I found a beautifully wrapped (with black and red nice thick paper) box quietly sitting on my kitchen counter (thanks to my parents taking care of my pets and my mails for me when we were out).  Soaperstar Celine sent me a package of soaps!  The box is so nicely wrapped I just stared at it and sniffing around for the whole night because I didn't want to ripe the paper!  Silly me!
Look at the beautiful mulberry paper and ribbon wrapping!  So upscale look packaging!
I love all the scents!  Pink, white, yellow, & teal one is Water Lily.  Blues and white one is Wild Blueberry, yum!  The small pink and white sample is Peony Sorbet.  And the small brown and gold sample is Fig and Brown Sugar.  The question is, which one should I try first?!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cooking in Rome

We booked ourselves a 4 hour cooking class (total 12 students all international of course) while staying in Rome with barely any knowledge of what REAL Roma cuisine is.  Apparently after the class, we found out, whatever little we knew was all WRONG, lol!  Anyway, I'm showing you the desert we all helped to make from scratch, cute right?!

This photo shows all the fresh ingredients our chef bought from the local market that morning.  I LOVE prosciutto, have been eating it everyday! 

This is delicious!  We used pumpkin blossom to house the prosciutto wrapped mozzarella cheese, dipped in cold beer batter, then deep fried them.  I still drool over the photos every time I look at them...

Have you seen Roman broccoli?!  This is it!  

It took 7 students almost an hour to roll all the pasta!  I don't know if i'll be reproducing this dish myself at home...  eeek!

Roman broccoli with prosciutto sausage for the fresh made pasta!  Very yummy!

Look at all the meatballs we made, almost 100 of them!  And of course the tomato sauce is made from scratch too.

This desert is so easy to make, very similar to tart, filling is made with brandy pear mixed with ricotta cheese and dark chocolate shave.

Friday, September 16, 2011

This is how Italy greeted us

Well, first time visiting Italy, we had bad experience.  First of all, information booth people really aren't helpful if you are too polite, they don't want to work any harder than they have to.  Then our B&B over booked and made us waited  for hours without telling us exactly what happened.  This is a 4.5 star B&B on TripAdvisor, newly renovated and great service, well, according to the online rating.  We booked through booking.com and gave our credit card info to secure the reservation (fine print guaranteed) and they still over booked it.  Hours later, they put us in this small smelly studio in a dark tiny alley, we saw a dead rat (huge) in front of another unit's front door right next to ours.  We stayed there for one night without air conditioning.  Then second day they transferred us to another hotel, old and tiny room, totally not what we originally booked for.  And they ended up just gave us 30 Euro discount.  We are frustrated for sure.  Oh booking.com you will hear from us very soon once we get back to the US.  And B&B Diamonte e Smeraldo, you are going to receive a nasty review!
Anyway, we have to go enjoy ourselves, can't let it get to us or we lose and they win, right?!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Switzerland Alps

This time of the year in Switzerland is perfect, not hot, not cold, just right, well, except the sometimes pouring rain.  Love the Alps, lakes and rivers.  I would not mind living under the mountain except everything is so over priced!  I simply cannot afford it.  So I'm just going to soak it in as much as I can while I'm here.

The famous Oberalppass.  I saw the most fancy sports cars in my life!

Blow the horn at the top of Pilatus, anyone?!

I LOVE the old time charming town of the capital.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Color Inspiration Series - Moonlight Tryst

I'm so excited to have found this color site: Design Seeds
Take a look, there are tons of color inspirations, and that's what inspired me to start this whole series, in soap of course!  So here we go, #1, Moonlight Tryst, a Bastille (meaning instead of Castille, I only used 75% olive oil and 25% went to coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel).  This color combination is inspired by Design Seeds Candies Hues:
And let me present you, the soap version, Moonlight Tryst, a scent that is heavy in sweet rose, sweetened by pomegranates and tangerine, grounded by sensual sandalwood and amber.
Thank you Tam, for coming up with the name Moonlight Tryst!  This rather busy design was meant to be a metaphor of a sweet but sometimes complicated feeling every lover is going through.

Tim McGraw

“I worked so hard for that first kiss
And a heart don’t forget something like that
Like an old photograph
Time can make a feeling fade
But the memory of a first love
Never fades away.”    

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Solid Bubble Bar - First Try

It seems like solid bubble bar is in trend so of course I want in!  Just for fun!  I bought some SLSA (Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate) which is a mild surfactant derived from coconut and palm.  I adopted Lovin' Soap online recipe and tweaked it to what I have in hand.  My ingredient list revised:
Baking soda
Corn starch
Milk powder
Jojoba oil
Natural liquid soap
Fragrance oil (I used Posh Patel, a sweet rose scent)
FD&C colorant (in castor oil)
The bubbles go and go and go!  This does not set off like a bath bomb.  In fact I have to break the crumbs down myself even with hot water, a bit hard to dissolve.  And when it dissolved, the water became cloudy.  But, once I started paddling in the water like a duck, the bubbles won't stop!  Next round I'll tweak it again, maybe add some skin loving butter (either cocoa or shea or mango), and some citric acid to see if I can set this to fizz and help the dissolving issue.