Friday, December 31, 2010

Inception Cupcakes

These cupcakes are vanilla with a really creamy vanilla buttercream, then topped with edible totems and sugar crystals. The totems are made with gum paste and painted with edible gel paints.
Note: You can get sugar crystals like these by breaking them off of those coffee stirrers that are covered in crystals and are supposed to melt in your coffee :)



Back in the States

Hey Everybody!
So, I don't know what happened to December, but here are all of the photos since my last post! Before I left for home, I went to Wales to visit Hannah, we had snow, I did a wedding cake class, went to a Paramore concert , the ballet and Oxford. Lots of fun stuff!
Hope you enjoy seeing what I was up to and I am very happy to be home and excited to go back again soon!
<3

The wedding cakes I made from the workshop.

Sarah and I tried out my new techniques in the Lobby.


Paramore at the O2

Oxford

The Oxford Camera

Hannah and I in Wales
video

                                                  Spontaneous snowfall in Cardiff!
Snow!

The Christmas Tree Lighting in Trafalgar Square

Snowy London Streets

Opera House

At the Ballet

In the Tube.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Catch-up!

 Hi everybody!

Well, let's see, since I last posted, my mom has visited, I went to Bath and also went to visit the Scotts again!

My mom and I had a really great time. We saw lots of fantastic plays and spent time together every day.
I was very sad when she had to go home.

This Friday, I went to Bath and got to see the Roman Baths. I even got to taste some of the spring water. Bath has England's only hotspring and it has long been thought that the water has magical or healing properties. It sort of tasted metallic and sulfuric, like if you hard-boiled eggs in  a metal pot and then drank the water once it cooled off to sort of a lukewarm temperature. Not too bad ( ;

On Saturday, I took the train to Chesterfield and met up with Lee. He, Chris, Francesca and Stephen took me to see caves of Blue John ( a special stone that is unique to the area) and even bought me a necklace and earrings with Blue John stone in it.  We also took a nice, scenic drive around the countryside in search of a town where the plague hit, but we didn't end up making it there, I didn't mind, but the family teased Lee endlessly for the rest of  the weekend ( ;
Then we had a really nice dinner with most of the family at the Dog and Duck. Everyone came back to Chris and Lee's for coffee afterwards. It was a really nice time. By the time I got to bed, I was exhausted!

On Sunday, we went to Whitby, which is a seaside town. I tried fish and chips and chowder (the chowder was sort of an accident, but it tasted good) and we had a really good time looking around all the little shops. At one point, there was a big commotion and a window was broken at this fortune-telling place and this woman came out screaming that she was a thief. It was pretty exciting! ( ; There is also a creepy church where Dracula was supposed to have landed when he arrived in England! We went inside and got to look around.
Then, we went to Robin Hood's Bay and looked around. The sea is pretty dark here and choppy. It's very pretty though!

I went home on a pretty late train and was bored out of my mind the whole way home, but at leaat it was fast AND I sat on first-class the whole way! Noone even asked to look at my ticket and I got complimentary tea and everything! (#: Usually, Lee asks and gets me on first class anyway, but I felt like I was being a little sneaky!
Anyway, I'm sending my love home!




Saturday, October 23, 2010

I love Scotland

The title really says it all. I am so in love with Scotland. It is gorgeous here. I have been to castles, fallen in the mud, eaten (the vegetarian equivalent of ) haggis, seen dozens of hairy 'coos' up-close and personal (cows) and seen some of the most beautiful terrain on the earth. I will post more details when  I can!
I have been learning so much and heard some fantastic stories.
Sending my love home

Friday, October 22, 2010

Near Loch Ness

Hi guys!! I am, at this very moment, in line for pasta in a dining room in a hostel near Loch Ness, Scotland, UK.
I have had an absolutely awesome day!
Tasted:
vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes)
a drop of whiskey liquor
a sip of heather ale
Scottish shortbread
a square of Cadbury's dairy milk crunch

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scotland

Hi everybody!
Sorry I haven't been updating the blog lately! I got a bit of a cold and this week was midterms, but now I am free! ( : I'm leaving on a train for Scotland in just 3 hours and I'm very excited. Apart from beautiful landscapes and freezing weather, I have no idea what to expect! I'll post pictures as soon as I can!
I hope everyone at home is doing well
Sending all my love!
Lauren

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wicked

Wicked was fantastic. I saw it last night. Before we left, we did a roommate photoshoot of us all dressed up to go out. When we came home, we looked at the pictures and seriously spent an hour laughing so hard that we couldn't breathe or talk or anything. It was so painful and really fun. If you have any interest in seeing them, I think they're on facebook ( :
Went to the war museum today and was permanently scarred by their recreation of the WW 1 trenches. They were pumping this horrible smell into the room, which I am convinced was supposed to be the smell of dead bodies and stagnant water. So horrible, not just for your nose, but psychologically as well. I'm discovering that I am really a lightweight when it comes to scary or unsettling things. I went on a "Jack the Ripper" tour a while ago and still get creeped out when I'm alone at home!
Anyway, hope everyone is doing well! :D
<3

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stonehenge and Salisbury

On Friday, I went to Stonehenge and Salisbury, but forgot to post about it!

Here are the pictures! :D

Not the greatest picture, but the only one I have of me at Stonehenge. It was really nice there.


The fountain at Salisbury Cathedral

Inside Salisbury Cathedral

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tube Barrier

Today, I was walking through the tube barrier and eating a take-out box of salad simultaneously when the mechanism decided it didn't accept my oyster card and the doors slammed shut on me. The salad flew up in the air and landed all over me and the floor. I was angry, embarrassed, guilty (for the mess on the floor) and covered in caesar dressing. Good times
( :
My sketch of Rodin's 'the kiss' at the Tate Modern!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family visit

I'm sorry, this post has been moved to my new website. Find it here!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Greenwich

Yesterday, I went to the prime meridian and the set of Pirates of the Caribbean 4!!
:D
We went back this evening to try to meet Johnny Depp, but he had already left the set. But we had a fantastic girl's night out at a pretty good Mexican Restaurant called 'Desperado's' in Greenwich.
Alisha and Lauren Pease

Emily and I

Sunday, October 3, 2010

This weekend

Hi everybody!
This weekend, I have been staying up and sleeping in very late. I feel like I'm having the true college dorm experience: sharing a living space, putting hot sauce or peanut butter on pretty much everything indiscriminately, having people talking til 5 am somewhere around here and sharing lots of fun times with my roomies ( :
On Friday, we went to the science museum for Corbin's birthday, which was really fun! I bought a chocolate cake and decorated it with cadbury's candy and we all sang happy birthday. The candles were puddly by the time Corbin showed up to blow them out (bad planning on our part), but it tasted delicious!
I've been playing guitar a bit more this weekend, but I'm trying not to subject my roommates to it too much and hope to get some more time in while they're at class and I'm not ( :
I have SO much homework to do tonight, so I'm going to start that. It's four thirty here, so it's practically bedtime and we all just woke up! School tomorrow, but there is a tube strike, so we will have to get very creative with transportation!
<3




Friday, October 1, 2010

TGIF

Made it to another weekend! ( :
Had a very good week!
Monday: Art class and Shakespeare class.
Tuesday: Math in the morning,then ....wait...I can't remember what I did after math.
Wednesday: Shakespeare class. In British Life and culture (BLC), an MP (member of parliament) came to speak to us and then we took a tour of the House of Parliament and the House of Lords. THEN I ran home to drop off my heavy backpack and went to see Henry iv part two. It was raining and I got my feet soaking wet / : Then , I got there and oh yeah...the Globe Theatre has no roof and I have a standing ticket in the yard! So, I went and paid ten pounds extra to get a seat with a sort of awful view ( ; But I was able to stay for the whole show! Brian Massey-Todd stayed too. Everyone else (including our Shakespeare teacher!!) left at intermission.
Thursday: Yesterday was nice ( : I went to math class, then to the train station to order train tickets to visit my family! (accidentally bought the wrong ones, oops). Then, I went and got tea and scones and a really yummy sandwich (cream cheese, walnuts and bell pepper) at a little shop called "The Muffin Man" with my roommate, Emily. We went shopping for a bit and then split up. I took a very long walk in Hyde Park because it was warm and sort of sunny yesterday! Then, I went shopping and got really cheap, nice sweaters at H and M and bought boots at ecco (finally, no more wet feet!)
Friday: today, I will go get new tickets at the train station, hopefully do some homework, hopefully read too. Probably make a cake for Corbin's birthday and I think we are going to the Science Museum for it!
Thinking of you all at home with the nice California weather ( ;
<3
One of my roommates, Emily






Sunday, September 26, 2010

Platform 9 3/4

Today, I went to see Platform 9 3/4! It was a little less exciting than I had anticipated, only because nothing magical happened. When I first spotted it, though, I have to admit that I screamed really loudly, "there it is!!" and identified myself immediately as one of those loud, American tourists. I got a couple pictures, which I'll post when I can.
The fact that I can not post pictures is pretty frustrating, but hopefully I'll be able to fix that sometime soon.
I also got some really great Italian food and started the quest for a guitar! (the hsop was closed, but now I know where it is)
Quite rainy today. School tomorrow. Still searching for: boots, and an umbrella and a few more sweaters, since it's much colder than I expected!
<3
Corbin and I at Platform 9 3/4!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Portobello Market!

Today, I went to the fantastic Portobello Road Market. It was SO exciting and fun!
For 2 BP, I got a box of glow-in-the-dark stars and now Lauren and I have them in our room ( : (we aren't allowed to damage the walls by using tape or tacks, but the stars will come off easily. Other than them and a few paintings, our walls are bare.)

A little girl who lived in the apartment was selling little playdoh animals and drawings in the looby when I got home today! They were 2 pence each, but I gave her 50 p. So, now I have a very cute little brown playdoh snail on my nightstand ( :
Goodnight!
<3

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stratford-Upon-Avon

Stratford was lovely, but the weather was not ( : No rain, so I can't really complain, but it was bitterly cold. Even my new pea coat didn't do much for it!
It was amazing to see Shakespeare's home. I could just imagine him growing up there. It was so exciting to see that the walls in his bedroom (which he shared with his brothers) were covered with cloths patterned with elves and fairies, which made me think of A Midsummer Night's Dream and imagined him running around with his brothers and sisters into all of the nooks and crannies or else sitting in his father's glove-making workshop.
We saw a great monologue by one of the people who works at Shekspeare's home. He asked if we had any requests and Will asked for Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech. The actor was actually so spectacular that I almost cried. (well, I DID cry in a kitchen , so maybe you all won't be taking me seriously anymore), but it was so moving!
We also got a very bad cream tea and learned to avoid places that aren't packed. The good places are full to bursting with long queues outside! After the horribly dry scone and bakwell tart I had, I was overjoyed to find a cute little place called "pasty presto" which had the most delicious, warm pasties. Well worth the wait in line. I found myself thinking that whoever invented the pasty should have been made a saint. I had one with Indian curry inside. perfect

We went to Anne Hathway's cottage, which was very nice and there were gardens and orchards which made all of us giddy. Corbin, who is from Sebastopol started robbing the apple trees and a lot of other people did the same. I felt like it was very wrong to do this, so I just took a bite off one and left it on the tree (#: Which may have been worse. I left an offering on the tree of a shiny nickel out of guilt, not wanting the ghost of Shakespeare to dog my steps for the rest of eternity.
I also saw Shakespeare's burial place, which was very cool too.

Phrases of the day:
"curfew"- from the French, "couvre feu", to 'cover the fire'. When the bell rang, people had to put out their fires for the night so that no fires would start.

"the stinking rich"- when rich people were buried, they didn't want to be put in the churchyard, they wanted to be buried right inside of the church. A few days after the burial, the church would smell very bad as decomposition began to happen (sorry if that upsets anyone's stomachs) and that's where the phrase comes from.

"turn the tables"- tables had a shiny side and a dull side in Shakespeare's time. When fine guests came over, you would display the shiny, polished sisde, but if you disliked someone or didn't want to impress them, you would leave the tabletop unturned and dine on the rough kitchen surface.

I learned a couple more, but I can't seem to remember them at the moment ( : I'll have to update this later!

<3



The church where Shakespeare is buried

Thursday, September 23, 2010

London nights

Hey everybody! sorry I haven't posted anything lately! The internet at my apartment is truly awful. Went to a blues bar with a few friends tonight. Got home and am making pizza and chocolate lava cake from the British equivalent of a seven eleven. The food is VERY sketchy..../ : Sort of tentative about it.
Got a sudden yearning to play guitar. David let me borrow his for the night, but I think I'm going to buy my own while I'm here!

<3

Friday, September 17, 2010

Brighton (by the Seaside)

Today, I went to Brighton!!
Started off the morning with Lauren and I sleeping through our alarm and running out the door somewhaat frantically.
Got to the bus stop and the bus was one hour late! When it finally turned up, we had another great guide who took us on the two hour drive to the sea ( :
We passed lots of pretty countryside and trees. Brighton was very sunny and a bit windy in the morning. It was a very charming town.
Kind George the 4th (son of King George the 5th who lost the US colonies and also went insane in his later years), the then Prince of Wales made Brighton famous in the 1700s (exact date?not suuure). Prince George of Wales was having an affair with a married (Catholic) woman in the sleepy little fishing village of Brighton. He began to extend her fishing house and it eventually became his own, private pleasure palace. Much of it was finished once his father died, making him the King of England. Anyhow, it was designed on the outside to look like a spectacular Indian palace, like the Taj Mahal and is decorated to the finest detail inside with Chinese interiors. It is very stunning and regal inside. The chandeliers in the rooms look like lotus blossoms and there are dragons EVERYWHERE.
(There was a really interesting exhibit going on inside while we were visiting: An artist had installed thousands of black, ceramic butterflies flitting about and resting all over the Palace Pavilion. It was to symbolise the frivolities and sins of King George the 4th who became quite fat and ill from indulging in wine and food and also had many affairs with women at court. The artist explained that butterflies are there and then gone, flitting away so quickly, like youth and health and especially life and that George's indulgences were basically fruitless because you can't take it with you.)
So, the Kitchen...
I got to the kitchen and held the audio thing up to my ear. It was large and impressive, with shiny copper things everywhere and huge wooden butcher's blocks. It featured two new inventions in George's time: a steam table and an automated rotisserie which used pulleys and levers to operate without the need for spit turners.
THEN
I got to a point where the audio guide pointed out a lavish menu that was once served in the (very grand) dining room. And, the chef at that time, in That very kitchen was none other than Antonin Careme, the FOUNDER of cooking as we know it, who discovered the seven sauces used in the culinary arts and (I think) designed the toque. I started tearing up so much. I couldn't even leave for minutes. I felt like such a food nerd (#;
Then, I had CREAM TEA in the palace! It was pretty inexpensive and the tea. It is so Delicious here!! I could get used to drinking British tea.
The beach is beautiful there. There is a pier with awesome food (fresh donuts) and cool boutiques and cafes (treacle brownie). Had LOTS of sugar today ( ; Bought Jordan a Brighton jawbreaker too!
Came home. Got some dumpling soup with Corbin. My new favorite restaurant is called "itsu" they have really yummy, cheap soup in enormous quantities.
Going to Harrods tomorrow hopefully. Much much homework to do!!! yikes
<3






Thursday, September 16, 2010

Great things about London

1. Heated towel racks

2. Peanut butter on oreos. Yeah, you can get them at home, but the peanut butter here has something special ( :

3. The THEATER!!!

4. This restaurant called "Itsu" that has amazing, HUGE, scalding hot noodle soup bowls with vegetarian dumplings in a spicy, zesty lemongrass broth for only 4 pounds and 99p.

5. The money is pretty here

6. The palaces

7. The nightlife. It's neverending (maybe a bad thing as well as good)

8. The accents. Not Just British ones. SO many people from all around the world live here. It's really fascinating

9. Packs of cigarettes are required to have huge stickers on them that say things like "smoking kills" and "smoking is proven to cause lung cancer". So, they're making an effort. (Downside is, people still smoke a ton. I feel like a smoker sometimes just by proximity.)

10. The weather :D I know I may become disenchanted, but I love the weather so far. It can be frigid, but still have clear skies.

11. The people are really very friendly for the most part

12. I am so impressed by the way public services are run here. The parks and recreation, the arts, public transit. The museums are all FREE. You have to pay a fee often to see featured exhibits, but other than that, it's free. Students have lowered rates at theaters because the British government feels that it is important for young people to be exposed to the arts. And the tube is just phenomenal....well....sometimes, the train stops for minutes at a time in the tunnels and I swear to myself that I will never get on it again, but it really does run very smoothly and they make it almost condescendingly easy for everyone to get from place to place, above ground or below.

I haven't been doing too much in the way of tourism, so I plan to get out this week and weekend and see much more! I have a Lot of homework, which is keeping me quite busy.
Love to you all at home!
<3

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

London!

Been getting all settled in here. Moved into my apartment with my three other roommates. They're all really nice and fun!
Gone out to a bunch of pubs, learned how to play darts...
Let's see...
We had an absolutely fantastic bus tour of London the other day ( : The guide was hilarious and did not stop to breathe for a moment the whole time!
I have been taking the underground to school. It's fun and public transit over here is SO GOOD!! I wish we had that at home! But I guess things are way more spread out at home anyway ( : But it's just so reliable and easy.
Had some good food. They have a lot of vegetarian food here. There is really great pre-packaged food at every cafe and everything that is vegetarian has a huge "V" on it, so it's really a no-brainer ( ;
One of the pubs we went to has an open mic on Thursday nights, so I might go do that in the next few weeks.
I have yet to contact my family over here, but I hope to soon.
Been learning so much about London and life and my classes started yesterday. They're really good.
Much love to you all at home!
<3

Saturday, September 11, 2010

England Day 2

So, today we had orientation. It was a long day and we talked about cultural differences. Got my box of textbooks and a nice letter from Mom. Thanks mom ( :
Got VERY familiar with the underground. My roommates and I think we're experts now. We went and bought towels and a bathmat and a laundry basket for our apartment!
We got a list of cultural activities and I signed up for ALL of them :D
Sightseeing tomorrow.
<3