Chota

Chota

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

{spring inspirations}

I'm all about spring. Even though there is still snow on the ground and the temperatures are still below freezing, the fact is, I need inspirations to remind me that spring is truly around the corner.
These robin-egg shades of blue remind me that Easter is on its way and those true harbingers of spring--eggs & birdie tweets--are close at hand:

{from decor8 via tazzinablu}
 This decor also seems to me to speak 'spring'--light, peaceful colours, with shots of yellow for brightness:

{from kootutmurut}
 These touches of bulbs, flowers, & flowering plants from fraeulein-klein and featured on decor8 really do evoke spring:





and I love love love blossoms. Growing up on Vancouver Island, you can't have spring without cherry blossoms: 
These photos below by Julia Dávila were recently featured on decor8 as well. Julia's site is fantastic--you ought to check it out. How lovely are these images to remind you of the glories of spring...and what follows spring, but summer vacations & travels?:


{photos by Julia Dávila featured on Decor8}
 There's something springy about these Violet May prints:
{prints from Violet May, which you can purchase on Etsy}
These lovely book covers by Coralie Bickford recently featured on design*sponge also scream 'spring':


{How I wish I had chosen this title for my PhD dissertation. But Mr. Lamb, shouldn't you have chosen another tasty beast to roast, considering your name?}
 With spring, comes bike-riding. To inspire, some images of bikes & cute outfits to go with:

{from design*sponge}

{above & below photos from littleredhead}

{from simplesong}

{from fairytalewishes&dreams

For some great fashionable outfits on bikes (off the street), check out shining trends, below is one of my favourites:


Saturday, 19 March 2011

{fruit, fine food, & fincas}

Those of you following my blog posts will know that I spent Christmas in Ecuador with my sister & her family. I've blogged a few posts on my time there (you can read them here, herehere, & here) but I have had little time to write on all the things that I wanted to. One thing that I'm always continually surprised & excited about is the food in Ecuador. I repeatedly come across varieties of fruit I have never seen before. Whether you're breakfasting at the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Swiss Hotel or purchasing fruit from the local vendor's or choosing ice cream flavours from the helado shop, you'll be surprised by the intense taste & variety of fruit in Ecuador. My sister would often make sweet tomato juice in the mornings (Tomate de árbol  in Spanish)-full of vitamin C & super yummy!

{my niece having fun in the local fruit seller's shop--fruttivendolo!}
 

{tree tomatoes (the red fruit in the middle)}


{bananas still on their vine & avocados are ridiculously cheap}


There are plenty of great meals to be had in the numerous restaurants, many of which are converted haciendas/fincas. I've already blogged about the El Establo de Alejo and the delicious food there (see the pic of my niece's corn being cooked below). Ecuador has many types of grain, including quinoa, and a variety of corn. Mote is one of these corn varieties and it makes really delicious snacks when roasted, or a great accompaniment to any meal, boiled like corn with salt & some butter.

My sis makes yummy corn tortilla-like creations that melt in your mouth called arepas:
{help in the kitchen}

{my sis making arepas: taking little balls of the dough, flattening them out, & then she cooks them in a frying pan, like you would a chapati or tortilla}

{yum, they're ready to eat!}

My sister and brother-in-law treated me out to lunch at La Briciola. It's a great Italian restaurant with a wood oven, where they make excellent pizzas but their pastas are delicious too. There are actually two locations: one in Quito and one in Cumbaya, the valley where my sister lives. We ate at the one in Cumbuya in a lovely villa-like setting:

{my sister & nephew  eating al fresco at La Briciola}


{my delicious seafood pasta}
 My sister, Esther, & I went for a girl's date (with baby Juan as our companion) to Carmine's Il Casale. She had been to il Casale in Tumbaco on business before and recommended it as a perfect place for a glamorous girl's drink. However, when we arrived the place was closed. She put her negotiating skills to good use and persuaded the guy to let two lovely sisters enjoy a glass of vino. The views are breathtaking and the place itself evokes a Tuscan villa displaced to South America!

{sisters' date}
{breathtaking views}

{the gorgeous grounds at Il Casale}

I had some of the best ceviche at Zavalita in Quito. So fresh & just so good! You can sit out on the patio with views of Quito.
{my shrimp ceviche}
{yum! ceviche!!}
 Ecuadorian coffee is pretty amazing too. There's a coffee shop--Corfu--in a shopping complex near to my sister's house in Cumbaya, that's super good. They also give you a chocolate truffle with each cappuccino you order. Ecuadorian chocolate is to die for. The shopping complex sells organic produce every Wednesday, which is brilliantly fresh & full of flavour and also reasonable. Across from Corfu, there's Cyrano Bakery, an institution well known in Quito for its yummy pastries & cakes, & bread (of course).
{enjoying coffee & chocolates at Corfu}
But great meals can be had at home too. Esther frequents an Argentinian butcher that sells all kinds of cuts & meats, from sausages to stuffed chickens. She bought lamb for Christmas dinner, and she cooked it up with fresh rosemary from the garden. So delicious...and the wine in South America is also excellent--makes for a perfect accompaniment to any meal.

{fresh rosemary in my sister's garden}

{wine--a necessity while cooking}
{Christmas dinner}
Ecuador also has some other culinary traditions, that are less to my liking. Certain towns are known as 'pork towns' and people come specifically there to chow down on the pigs roasting out on the street. If you pass through one of these towns you'll be surprised at the numerous people waving flags, shouting, and dancing in the street--no it's not carnival, they are trying to persuade you to dine in their temporary restaurant:
{pork sellers on the side of the street}
Another 'delicacy' is guinea pigs. I didn't try them, would you?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

{spring fashion}

The snow is thawing, bit by bit, and it's time to think of spring fashion.
Long dresses are popular again this year. The maxi dress is the dress that evokes vacation.


{from collegefashion}
  But maxi skirts are big too:


{from the fashionpartizan}
 It seems that bright, geometric colours are in this year:

{Emilio Pucci, left, and Oscar de la Renta, from nymag}
{gucci}
Vitamin C is in, in full force. Well I'm not big on orange or tangerine on myself, but I do love the colour & I like tangerine accents.

{photos from Vogue, compiled by mybigfatgreekmove}

{Oscar de la Renta}

{Tommy Hilfiger}


Inspired by these tangerine accents, what about these ideas for the home?
{gorgeous ideas from design*sponge}


{from coco + kelley}

{I love the tangerine accents featured on parisapartment}


Brighten up any outfit with a touch of colour with colourful tights, bright shoes, or a flashy handbag: 

{Amber Valetta featured in Vogue from fashionindie}


Too much colour? Nude is also in:
{Nina Ricci}

{from lonny}

Now sun, pleeeeeeeeeease keep on shining & warming up the earth, so I can begin to shed my layers and kick off my snow-treading boots for a cute pair of heels!