Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Week of Movies

Last week I saw three movies with friends and family. I love going to the movie and escaping to another world for a few hours. I like every genre of movie, except horror films. My favorite films range from Midnight in Paris to The Avengers to Harry Potter to Frozen, so it is no surprise that I saw a variety of movies last week.

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So last Tuesday, a friend and I saw Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. It is an action film about a soldier named Cage (Cruise) who is stuck in a time loop and has to try to stop a war against aliens, with the help of Rita (Blunt). I thought that the movie was entertaining and funny, but not amazing. While I didn't love it, I was glad to get out of the Florida heat for a while.

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The next day (I know, I'm crazy) a few friends and I saw Chef written, directed and starring Jon Favreau. Favreau plays Chef Carl Casper who quits his job in a restaurant after a bad review and decided to open a food truck. I loved this movie for many reasons. One is Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey, Jr. back together after Iron Man 2. The second reason is the story itself, it was heartwarming and funny. The third reason is the food. This movie should come as a movie-dinner combo because you will leave the theater hungry! I almost wish that there was a cookbook with all the recipes from the film including: garlic and olive oil spaghetti that Scarlett Johansson eats, a cuban sandwich (including all the variations) and the infamous molten chocolate lava cake. All in all, I would watch Chef again in a heartbeat.

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Dad and I saw Begin Again on Friday and it was a perfect way to end this movie filled week. It stars Mark Ruffalo as an unemployed music producer, who meets and works with Kiera Knightly who is a singer-songwriter who came to the city with her, now, ex-boyfriend played by Adam Levine. I thought this was a really beautiful story and the songs were gorgeous. This is the first time I have heard Kiera Knightley sing, and she was actually very good! It was another awesome film that I can see myself watching again and again.

Overall I would give each of the movies these ratings:
Edge of Tomorrow: 5/10
Chef: 9/10
Begin Again: 8/10

Did you guys like this type of post? If you did, let me know! If you did not, let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

An English Tea Party in Florida

Hello! Can anyone believe we are a week into July already? I only have six weeks until I head up to D.C. for college. These last few weeks will definitely go by quickly.

Anyway, a few weeks ago Mom and went to the Taj Hotel in Boston for afternoon tea. While sipping on our tea and munching on tea sandwiches, we decided to host our own tea party. We got some nice invitations to send out to a couple of my friends and their mothers. We took inspiration from our tea at the Taj and Downton Abbey.

Four our menu we decided on doing two courses: sandwiches and then sweets. Our sandwich choices were: cucumber and cream cheese, coronation chicken salad, shrimp salad, egg salad, prosciutto and melon and salmon and cream cheese. We had a variety of breads for these sandwiches: rye for the egg salad, and salmon and cream cheese; whole wheat for the cucumber and cream cheese, coronation chicken salad and some of the prosciutto and melon; and white for the shrimp salad, and some of the prosciutto and melon.

For the sweets I baked scones with raisins and golden raisins and made little lemon tarts. For the lemon tarts I bought same phylo dough cups and scooped some lemon curd into each one. I then placed a blueberry on all of them and refrigerated them until it was time to serve. We also bought chocolates from Sweet Divas, and some benne wafers and ginger snaps from Southern Sisters Bakery in Charleston. There were also some strawberries, Devonshire cream, and Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam.

Now onto to the tea, which is arguably the most important part of the event. I mostly drink black teas, but Mom wanted to get a variety of teas to try. Went to the Hooker Tea Company to get Earl Grey, a white tea and a green tea. After smelling a whole bunch of teas, we decided on a white tea called Peachy Keen and Matcha Genmaicha, which is a green tea. We also had my favorite tea, Twining’s The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Tea, which I have three tins of because it was limited edition.

About ten minutes before the guests started to arrive, we plated the sandwiches on a three-tier stand and other glass platters, we set out ten cups, saucers and spoons, and we boiled the water. After everything was set and ready, I snapped a pic and then socialized with my guests.

When people started slowing down on the sandwiches, Mom and I brought the sweets out. These disappeared much faster than the sandwiches!

Overall, the only piece of food that wasn’t devoured was the coronation chicken. So next time, I will change that out with a plain chicken salad. Personally, my favorite sandwich was the prosciutto and melon sandwich and my favorite tea was Peachy Keen. Mom and I hope to do another tea party around the holiday season. Are there any sandwiches that you would serve?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Walt Disney World | Mary Poppins, Moroccan Food, and Flowers

Hello guys! On Saturday Mom, Dad and I went to Walt Disney World (WDW) in Orlando. For those of you who don’t know, I am in love with WDW. When I was a child my parents and I would go every Spring Break and since we moved a lot back then, Disney was a constant in my life. For the first few years, we would go to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant on the first night and Liberty Tree Tavern on the last night. It was a nice routine when we were moving around. We have now mixed up that restaurant routine, but Disney is still one of my favorite places. I hope to work there one summer, as it has been a lifelong dream of mine. Now, as a Florida resident, we have Annual Passes so we can go whenever we want. So on Saturday we took advantage of this, and drove up to Orlando.

We left the house around 7:15, to get to EPCOT early. As we were driving we saw a beautiful sunrise. I think that my favorite things to take pictures of sunrises, sunsets, flowers and water.

We also saw that Hidden Mickey by the exit for WDW. In all of the Disney parks, cruises and some of the movies, there are Hidden Mickeys. It all started when a few of the Imagineers wanted to hide a few Mickeys in the planned Mickey-free EPCOT. Now, there are books and websites dedicated to the cataloging and finding of the Mouse.

Surprisingly, EPCOT was pretty empty so I got to take a few pictures with some of my favorite characters: Dale and Mary Poppins. I’m not sure where Chip was, but Dale was more than happy to take a couple shots.

Mary Poppins and I talked about the many uses of a carpetbag and we agreed that everyone should carry a lamp and chair with them so that you could sit and read anywhere.

My parents and I went on some of our favorite rides including Test Track, Soarin’ and Maelstrom. In Norway I was hoping to meet Ana and Elsa from Frozen, but sadly they are now meeting fans in the Magic Kingdom.

For lunch, we went to the newest restaurant in EPCOT called Spice Roads Table in Morocco. It’s like a tapas restaurant, but with Mediterranean dishes. We got a variety of dishes to try and we agreed that this place was amazing.

Hummus, olives and flatbread
Spicy garlic shrimp
Mussels Tagine 
Harissa Chicken Roll
Moroccan Merguez Sausage 
Chicken and Beef Skewers  
My favorite was the chicken kabob or the harissa chicken roll. Our view from the table would be perfect for EPCOT’s firework show Illuminations. (See what I mean about taking pictures of water?)

While walking through the park, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the many flowers in EPCOT. Every year from March to May, EPCOT has the Flower and Garden Festival, which is fabulous. They also have a Food and Wine Festival in the fall, which is delicious, as you would expect.

Dessert was spent in France, where we saw Impression de France. It is a twenty-something minute film of the landscapes and peoples of France. Since Dad and I have been there before, we have seen some of these sights up close and personal. It is truly a beautiful country.

Chocolate ├ęclair, Mousse au Chocolat, Napoleon
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Heading Home | Charleston

Hello everyone! Instead of driving to Florida right away, Dad and I decided to stay in Charleston for one day. One of the best things about this was that we could sleep in a bit! And when I said sleep in I mean sleep in till 7:30 am, we still wanted a full day of sightseeing!

When Dad and I left the hotel around 10:00 am, it was already hot and humid. We stopped at a local deli for breakfast then we headed to Old South Carriage Company for a historical carriage tour. Charleston has a bunch of carriage tours that basically do the same type of tour. Our tour guide was great, hilarious and seemed to know everyone in town! At one house, we stopped to sing Happy Birthday to this 98-year-old woman that he saw everyday during his tours. It was so sweet!

Robert E Lee stayed here once 

I think these flowers are beautiful! 

Our horse!
After the carriage tour ride, Dad and I decided to do a house tour. We ended up choosing the Aiken-Rhett House.

There are some other houses that you can tour in the area, but this one has become my favorite. The house has been conserved, but not restored. That basically means that the furniture, wallpaper, books, and art are the same as they were before the Civil War. It reminded me of my favorite plantation, Drayton Hall, where it is also conserved but not restored. I could not take pictures inside, but I took a bunch outside!

From the back
The original outhouse!
Building that houses the slave quarters and kitchen

Through the audio tour we went into the kitchen, slave quarters, carriage house and the main house. It was very interesting and I want to follow their conservation efforts online.

Walking to and from the house we got a few Geocaches and now TeamSchiap has found over 200 caches! Whoo hooo! We’ll get up to 300 in no time!

Looks like a face!

Outside of lock/key store 
For lunch, we met up with one of Dad’s friends from high school and his daughter who happens to be going to the same college as me! We got to discuss what classes we’re taking, what we’re going to pack and how we’re going to decorate/organize our rooms. It has made me even more excited for college! We went to TBonz where I got the Dixie Chicken Sandwich (sorry that there isn’t any photos!).

Dad and I then wandered down to Rainbow Row again and then headed back to the hotel where I took a nap. The driving from the past two days had made me very tired!

After napping, Dad and I went to dinner on East Bay Street called Blossom. For an appetizer we got the mussels in a white wine, tomato, and caper sauce. The sauce was so good; I could have eaten with a spoon!

For my last night in Charleston, I had to get some shrimp and grits. Again, it was super yummy. I need to perfect my shrimp and grits recipe to somehow resemble this one.

For dessert, Dad and I walked back to Kaminsky’s for some of the delicious berry cobbler. There is a picture of it HERE from my post about a month ago. I didn’t take another photo of it, though I did a couple photos while walking there.

And that is it for the road trip posts until Mom and I drive to D.C. from Boston in mid-August for school. The next day, Dad and I drove from Charleston to St Petersburg. We stopped at a place called Highjackers for lunch and I got the Mahi-mahi sandwich, which was pretty darn good. Then we got home where we watched Iron Man and The Avengers. Two of the best movies ever! It was relaxing end to a busy four days of driving and sightseeing.

I have a feeling that our next mini road trip will be here in no time! In the meantime there will be posts about trips to Walt Disney World, Leaky Con, One Direction and much more!

Thanks for reading!