Cuban Iced Chocolate Frappe

Cuban Iced Chocolate |

This post has been about 6 months in the making because I’ve struggled to find the words to describe Cuba. It gets labeled as a place stuck in the past but, flying from Miami to Havana with people carting XBoxes and flat screen TVs for relatives, well, that didn’t add up. It didn’t seem so much stuck in time as in a parallel world apart yet next to the one we live in. So, I started in the kitchen and cooked up my favorite food memories instead.

This Cuban Iced Chocolate Frappe is homage that afternoon in Old Havana — that time it was blazing hot with no breeze to speak of and I was desperate for relief. I ducked under a colonnade for shade and started chatting with a 20-year old cab driver — who would easily pass as Ralph Macchio’s brother — and he asked me about the US while I asked about the cherry red classic car he had restored himself. Within minutes he convinced me that a seaside drive would make the heat that much more bearable and I hoped he was right.

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Grape Quinoa Chicken Harvest Salad

Quinoa Grape Chicken Salad |

So, it seems I kinda overcommitted to September — I mean, I don’t know when or where but September somehow became a crazy travel month. Apparently, I have no clue how to manage my Google Calendar but at least I’ve got some cool sights to see in the next few weeks. Our Girls Getaway to Oahu last weekend was pretty dreamy and I can’t wait to share all the gems I found with you. But, for now? Well, I’m only home in LA until Friday so I need to make up for malasadas and Mai Tais with the help of this Grape Quinoa Chicken Harvest Salad.
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Our Five Favorite Pins of the Week // Island in the Sun

Pineapple in the Beach |

Right now, life’s a beach.

Last week? Oh, last week seemed to be filled with sniffles and chills and more boxes of tissues than we’d like to count. That “thing going around” got to us, and while some good R&R never hurts, if we don’t see that little red Netflix logo for a long while, it would still be too soon.

The remedy is that we’ve shipped off to paradise this week. Aida’s saying “aloha” to Hawaii, which means we’re saying “well hello there” to some vicarious vacation time on Pinterest. Imagine the salt in the air, sand in your hair, coconut in hand, and the clearest blue water ever seen. Imagine tropical iced tea with a garnish of pineapple picked up 5 minutes from where it was picked itself.

Get your own island fever with our five favorite pins this week.

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First Fridays: Lemongrass Gin and Tonic

Lemongrass Gin and Tonic Cocktail |

Dear Lillian:

Let’s put semantics aside this week because rather than a Last Fridays , I propose a First Friday. You see, last friday, I was practically hallucinating from a fever and was sick in bed clear until yesterday when I dragged myself out of bed in the name of my Girl’s Getaway trip to Hawaii this weekend. You know I love a good getaway, and, seeing as I date a Hawaiian, you know I’m always game for a trip to the islands.
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First Fridays: Avocado and Cotija Squash Blossoms

Avocado and Cotija Squash Blossoms |


Seriously, I can’t believe that summer is almost over. Truly the very thought makes me shed a lonely tear.

It may be September, but I haven’t gotten my fill eating up all the great summer fruit at each and every farmers market I cross. On my most recent visit, I wanted to get something for Last Fridays that wouldn’t be around much longer, a proper last-of-the-summer ingredient and immediately thought of one of our fave summer ingredients: canary yellow squash blossoms!
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Our Five Favorite Pins of the Week // Labor Day White


You guys, before we get down to partying this weekend, we need bring up something first: who made the rule about “no white after Labor Day”?

You guys. This rule is so not doing it for us. Whoever first made that declaration clearly did not live in California; nor did they understand the power of white skinny jeans. White is a color, not a season, and really, how can you stop with all the white after seeing this week’s five favorite pins? So here’s what we’re thinking: use the excuse to throw an amazing, all-white themed party to send off summer in style. Then go ahead and break the “rules” by wearing your white skinnies and sneaks on Tuesday, September 2, and every day after that—we’re pretty sure they’d compliment a pumpkin spice latte, too.

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Late Summer Avocado and Pita Fattoush Salad

Avocado Fattoush Salad Recipe |

If you ask my brother, he’ll tell you – the simple fact is that Fattoush salad is pretty much Gemmayz-ing. 

Okay, wait, that’s an inside joke that needs some explanation. When we went to visit in-laws in Lebanon a few years ago, we were on a mission to try as much new food as possible but, equally important to me, I wanted to find the best fattoush in all the land. I first was drawn to fattoush because, well, it’s just an awesome word to say. But I was hooked because it’s a salad loaded with summer veggies and topped with crisp, crunchy pita chips — and you know how much I like crispy, crunchy on any and everything.
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Our Five Favorite Pins of the Week // Wine Harvest

Favorite Pins – Wine Time – schiacciata all'uva //

Our hearts go out to everyone who got affected by the August 24th, 2014 Napa earthquake — Aida herself was smack dab in the middle of it all so she knows first-hand how frightening the experience was. Because she had already planned a trip to Napa this weekend, we had already planned to make the focus of this week’s Five Favorite Pins a look at Napa and the wine harvest. That said we hope this post can still be seen as a celebration of all the beauty that region has to offer.

With all the beaches, Redwoods, and Golden Gate, it can sometimes slip our minds that California has a crazy amazing wine country, too. But come August and September, it’s hard to imagine doing anything but spending an afternoon in the lush vineyards plotting our second lives as winemakers. Evening harvest dinners with copious friends and wine and the backdrop of a rustic-chic barn up against a California sunset? We’ll take two, thank you very much.

Fantasies aside, one thing is certain: wine harvest time is something to be celebrated. The season starts in late summer and the excitement in the air is tangible. We welcome the excuse to entertain our romantic notions of the process—in reality, getting up before dawn and hand-picking grapes is exhausting work, to be sure—so we put a Pinterest filter on the whole thing for our favorite pins this week.

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Chilled Cucumber Avocado Raita Soup

Chilled Cucumber Avocado Raita Soup |

Do it, I dare you. Say it. But, before you do, know that just the mere mention of the word, “India” will cause me to go on a diatribe. The colors, the sites, the vivacity, the flavor –  there aren’t enough terabytes in the world to capture it all.

There may be nothing more tragic post-travel than losing photos so you’ll understand my devastation around the fact I can’t find any of my snaps of my visit to Udaipur. Instead I decided to save the moment in edible form with this Chilled Cucumber Avocado Raita Soup recipe.

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Our Five Favorite Pins of the Week // Summer Fair

Favorite Pins - Summer Fair - Girl at fair with lights //

There are certain events and celebrations that truly give you a sense of the season, and if you grew up in a small town, you can probably connect with our love of the annual summer fair. Passing by one now is immediately transporting: the rides, the sounds, the smells—not to mention, the chance for silver screen-worthy summer romance. If you ask us, the memory and magic of those nights spent wandering hand in hand through the fairgrounds lasts long after the crushes have faded.

Our favorite pins this week bring back memories of the bright lights, the cheap food, the adrenaline rush from a Ferris wheel set against a sunset, and that dizzying wonder of a perfect summer evening.

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