Tuscany – Borgo Argenina

Hello from Hong Kong!  I am working on a few Asia related posts but in the meantime, summer is right around the corner and the warmer weather has me thinking of Europe!  Italy and Tuscany, in particular…and what better time to post about my stay at Borgo Argenina in Chianti last year!

I went on a quick trip in Italy after my work assignment in London wrapped up.  I sped through Florence, Tuscany and Venice in a week.  When planning Tuscany, I came across Borgo Argenina on Tripadvisor and booked it immediately – so happy I chose it because Borgo Argenina is truly a special place.

The B&B is owned by the lovely Elena, and she is aided by her adorable pups Pasqualina and Giuseppina.  After checking in, Elena gave a nice history of the Chianti area and also highlighted sites/restaurants on a hand-drawn map that guests get to keep – this map is a work of art in itself!  From that point on, I relaxed, caught up with other guests, checked out wineries in the area and took a cooking class at the bed and breakfast.  Elena’s cooking class is not to be missed – I STILL dream about the lasagne we made!

If you are looking for an authentic, unpretentious Tuscany experience in a stunning, movie-like atmosphere…look no further.  Borgo Argenina is not to be missed!  I will always remember my stay there and hope to visit again soon!

http://www.borgoargenina.it/

x Deena

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

The holidays are always a daze, but this past one has been an especially busy season for me. After spending some time with family back stateside, I rang in the new year in London with my dear friend Nicole. On New Year’s day we woke bright and early (…and with a slight champagne headache) to catch a flight to Marrakech. What a way to start the new year!

We stayed at a lovely Riad in the thick of the medina, which was extremely serene despite the hustle and bustle of the souks outside our door. The highlights of the trip included an afternoon of pure bliss at La Moumounia hotel, a night of flavorful tagines and belly dancing at Comptoir, hours on hours of shopping in the souks, and relaxing baths in the hammam back at our Riad.

It was the perfect escape – I can’t wait to return to Marrakech, hopefully this time with a more targeted list to scour the maze of souks in search of perfect décor for my home!

Wishing you all the best for the new year! I can’t wait to share with you all of the adventures 2015 is sure to bring 🙂

Hello, Hello!

Hi everyone,

My name is Deena and I am super excited to contribute to bubbles + bisous. Christine and I met in London last summer and we became instant friends. We shared passions for: travel, food, beauty products, astrology, hotel bars… and well, all the good things in life 🙂 I mentioned my interest in starting a travel blog and she suggested partnering up!

I’ve had a really amazing year and a half. After being extremely persistent with my poor boss, my wish to travel abroad for work finally came true. Since July 2013, I’ve lived in the following cities: Jakarta, NYC, London and I am about to embark on a 5 month project in Hong Kong! I’ve had incredible experiences in my travels and made lifelong friendships along the way. I’m excited to share my adventures with our readers!

I’d like to start by sharing a few pictures from my time in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2013. I look forward to future posts and I hope you enjoy!

x Deena

The Londoner

Hello! It’s been awhile, and in my absence I’ve been quite busy.  I’ve started a new job, packed up my NYC apartment, and moved to London.  It’s been wild! The whole move has been exciting and exhausting, but I’m finally feeling settled in my new city.

London has it’s quirks, but it’s overall charm is undeniable. I’ve already had unforgettable experiences and made lasting friendships in the 4 short months since my move.  And one of those new friends is about to become co-collaborator for b+b!  So lots to look forward to there — though you’ll have to wait a short while as this fabulous friend is uprooting and moving to Hong Kong!  Expat life really is wild.

The past 4 months have been so packed, and life doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I’ve already travelled to Stockholm, Mallorca, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, and I have many more weekend trips in the works! I’m very much looking forward to sharing all of my latest adventures 🙂

For now, I’ll just share a bit of my new home. Click the picture below to view some of my favorite days in London so far.

xx

City of London

To B.B.?

Spring has finally arrived on the East Coast, you guys! And that means, amongst other things, it’s time to ditch the heavy creams and foundations for beloved B.B. Creams.

First things first, here’s everything you need to know about B.B. Creams:

  1. B.B. stands for Beauty Balm.  Some say Blemish Balm or Beauty Base, but I’m sticking with Beauty Balm.
  2. B.B. creams are a true all-in-one product meant to moisturize, even skin tone, protect the skin from harmful UV rays, and provide full coverage all day.
  3. B.B. creams come in a variety of shades (and prices), enabling almost everyone to simplify her daily makeup routine.
  4. Finally now that you’re up to speed on B.B. creams, you should know that they are the predecessor to C.C. Creams, which have the added benefit of Color Correction.

Now that you know the basics, here are some of my tried, trusted, and favorite beauty balms:

  • Kiehl’s | Pros: broad spectrum SPF 50 PA +++ UV protection, vitamin C, provides very good coverage throughout the day | Cons: thick solution for a B.B., only 4 shades currently available | Price: $37 | Overall rating: +++
  • Bobbi Brown | Pros: lightweight, full coverage, 9 shades currently available | Cons: only available in SPF 35 | Price: $44 | Overall rating: +++
  • Chanel C.C. | Pros: extremely lightweight, refreshing scent, full coverage and even skin tone, best moisture | Cons: only available in 2 shades and SPF 30 PA +++, reveals fine lines throughout the day | Price: $55 | Overall rating: ++++

The Chanel C.C. cream wins my top vote, given the coverage, texture, and moisturizing benefits. However if the sun is extra harsh, I’ll forgo moisture for the higher UV protection from the Kiehl’s.

Weekend Gallery Series 5 | Santorini

1800 | Santorini

Spring is finally in the air, and I am 100% committed to getting fit and healthy for the warm months ahead. After the winter we’ve had in NY, I am more ready than ever to shed layers (…and the few extra pounds of winter weight I seem to be holding onto at the moment).

I absolutely love the Mediterranean diet, not just for weight loss goals, but also for the overall health and nutrition benefits this diet provides.  This past weekend as I began mapping out my health a fitness goals for the next few months, I found myself brainstorming recipes and daydreaming of the many fresh, simple, and delicious meals I enjoyed while on vacation in Greece.

I found it fitting to share some of my favorite pictures from Santorini this week.  I hope it provides you with similar motivation and inspiration to get healthy for the summer! Click the photo above to view my full gallery.  I’m so happy to share these photos, as Santorini is truly one of my favorite islands in the world!

And, as an added bonus this week, here is a recipe for my Classic Creamy Hummus.  Hummus is so simple and delicious, and a wonderful  substitute to the many processed snack temptations that fill our grocery market shelves.  Click the image below for my quick and easy recipe.  Enjoy!

Classic Creamy Hummus

Recipe | Saumon en Papillote

I’m finally back on the healthy eating bandwagon following my nutella and baked fusilli indulgence this past Monday…Tonight I prepared saumon en papillote with a sweet citrus sauce, which I served over a bed of quinoa and sautéed kale.  It was divine!

I have a love-hate relationship with salmon.  I LOVE smoked salmon (with eggs, capers, on toast, with cucumber, etc…); however, I once had a bad experience with a fillet of salmon, and it has since taken me years to overcome my aversion to salmon fillets.  I’m still not 100% on board, but given the numerous health benefits of salmon, I’m making a valiant effort to find ways to enjoy this fish once again.  This recipe is definitely a step in the right direction, and it is so simple to make — toss a few delicious ingredients into a parchment paper pouch, bake for 10 minutes, and voilà!

Click here for the full recipe, enjoy!

City Guide | Los Angeles (part I)

This next post comes from my dear friend Nicole, also known as the official cali correspondent for bubbles + bisous!

Nicole hails from New York, but has since ventured west to explore greener pastures in San Francisco and now L.A. Whether you’re planning a trip or live in the L.A. area, I know you will love her recommendations! AND as an added bonus, she has compiled an amazing L.A. inspired playlist — you should definitely check it out, she’s got some serious Spotify skills!

City Guide | Los Angeles (part I: Hollywood and West Hollywood)

As a native New Yorker, I know I’m supposed to hate on L.A. Like it should be in my DNA. Because almost everyone from New York does. And at first glance, the two cities seem like polar opposites, so how could I possibly like it?

There are no seasons in L.A.
People drive everwhere. Traffic is everywhere.
Public transportation, while it exists, is a foreign concept to most.
It’s rare to find a skyscraper outside of downtown or Century City.
If you wear all black, you immediately stand out as a foreigner.

But as I’ve started to spend more time in L.A., I’ve come to realize New Yorkers and Angelenos have more in common than they’d probably like to admit. Both are cities of dreamers. Almost anyone that comes to either has this “if I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere” attitude. And that unique blend of naive optimism, “fake it ’til you make it” superficiality coupled with a real, palpable intensity known only to the most earnest of dreamers unites the two.

HollywoodWith that, please enjoy Part I of my 20-Somethings Guide to L.A.

First things first. If you are an outgoing 20-something who enjoys the scene and being seen, there is one word you need to know: We-Ho. Repeat. We-Ho.

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We-Ho (aka West Hollywood) has sprung up in recent years as a still-pretty-cheap-but-also-increasingly-more-awesome place to live. The best part? It’s surprisingly walkable. NB: This is rare in LA.

For Food:

  • Joan’s on Third – LA’s answer to Dean and Deluca… but, better (please don’t tell anyone in New York I said that). Great for weekend brunch, lunch and breakfast. Sit outside for amazing people watching.
  • Mercado – New to We-Ho, amazingly trendy Mexican. Think: kale salad sides with corn shell tacos. Part of a group of sister restaurants. The bar scene on a recent Taco Tuesday was packed.
  • The Little Door – Unbelievably romantic French / Moroccan. Kind of $$$ so you may want save this one for a special date.
  • Izaka-ya – The younger sister to the super celeby sushi spot Katsu-ya. The baked crab roll is out of this world. 

For Drinks:

  • The Churchill – Just down the street from Joan’s. Great weekday happy hour and is totally a “locals bar”. The weekend boozy brunch scene is uber chill. Hanging on the outdoor patio will likewise grant you access to the best people watching.
  • The Tower Bar – At the Sunset Tower Hotel. The perfect chaser to your dinner date at the Little Door…

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I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Hollywood. Hollywood Boulevard reminds me a lot of Times Square with the insane crowds of tourists and stunt men dressed up in costumes charging you $5 for a photo. There are only a handful of things I’ve discovered that I like in Hollywood (so far, at least!):

  • The ArcLight Hollywood – Very cool movie theater with assigned seats and kettle corn (what? we are talking about Tinseltown, after all).
  • The Hollywood Bowl – Incredibly famous and awesome live music venue. If your favorite band (or even a band that you sort of like) plays here, you owe it to yourself to check it out. For the classists among us, the L.A. Philharmonic plays here sometimes too.
  • The Pikey – London meets L.A. A British pub concept in the middle of Hollywood. I swear, you will truly feel transformed to a London pub. Amazing Pim’s Cup (that’s a given) and other cocktails.
  • Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – I saved the best for last! This place is STEEPED in movie and Hollywood history. And, more recently, TMZ history. The cabana / pool scene is legandary. Beacher’s Madhouse has been one of the hottest clubs for a while (on the basement level). The Spare Room is one of the coolest bar concepts I’ve seen in a while, with a bowling alley built into the bar. The lobby bar has an amazing happy hour special and you can order awesome late night burgers from the 25 Degrees diner on the first floor!

Hollywood

Recipe | Baked Fusilli

I went to bed this past Sunday night convinced that I would commence a 6-day juice cleanse starting Monday morning.  Well, I woke up Monday and promptly ate a tablespoon of nutella for breakfast…I just wasn’t feeling very juice cleanse-y. I decided if I was going to abandon my cleanse goal, I might as well make it worth my while. SO, I made a decadent baked pasta for dinner. I’ll cleanse next week, promise.

I did used gluten free pasta, which let’s face it, doesn’t really make things all that much healthier. This pasta isn’t TERRIBLE for your body, but it’s not exactly something I would normally eat during a cleanse week…but who can pass up a delicious creamy sauce with shrimp, zucchini, and melted gruyère?

Click here for the full recipe.  Bon appetit!

Weekend Gallery Series 4 | Ireland

Galway

I spent 6 months studying abroad in Dublin during my junior year of college, so of course I had to upload a gallery in honor of St. Patrick’s Day this weekend.  It proved quite difficult to pull together a collection of respectable photos, since most of the pictures from that period of my life involved several pints of Guinness at the pub…when in Rome, right?

Click the image above to see some of my favorite places in Ireland. Wishing you a very fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day – xo!