September 29, 2015


Valentina Dublin Sept 1 Valentina Dublin Sept 2 Valentina Dublin Sept 3 Valentina Dublin Sept 4 Valentina Dublin Sept 5

I just got back from nine days in Dublin. For the first few days I stayed with my friend Dara, one of my favorite humans on earth. He is the most generous person I know and he has the kind of energy that is fully charged after only 2 hours of sleep. I don't know how he does it. (None of us do. It's one of those mysteries...) On the first day, we went grocery shopping and before we walked through the doors, he turned to me and said: "If you see something you want, grab it." It was the most fun I've had in a grocery store in a long time.
The first night we had people over and I worked on a fancy cheese plate while Dara made hummus. We had beer and gin and whiskey and wine (red and white) and, as if we didn't have enough, we went out for drinks and then came back for drinks.

I took my computer with me to Dublin this time because I wanted to be able to work on the blog and on music as well. I spent a few days at the Fumbally editing pictures and writing posts and sending out emails. I did well! The first few times at the Fumbally I only drank coffee, but on my very last day I had to have lunch there. I usually go for the trio of salads but I wanted to change. I didn't want a sandwich or soup, and for the first time ever I decided what I wanted in .2 seconds (this is big. I usually am the last to know what I want! It's really frustrating). I went with the day's special which was fantastic – smoked sea trout on walnut bread with raw beets, ricotta and a crème fraîche sauce. If you go to Dublin, go to the Fumbally.

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It was a really fun and interesting week and I will definitely be back in Dublin soon. I got to spend the second part of the trip with Stevie which made me really happy. We watched Whiplash the last night – that movie is inteeeense.

One morning, I woke up at 4:30 to drive to Sligo with my lovely friend Luke and Eithne of Inni-K. They were going to film a video on the beach, and they wanted someplace beautiful where the waves were wild. They picked Sligo. I went as an "assistant". Really, I simply held the speaker close to Eithne. She had to hear the song while she sang so she could be on time. We were waist-deep in the ocean, and the few passers-by stopped and looked at us puzzled. "What in the world are they doing?" they probably said to each other. It was quite cold, but we only needed five takes, which meant 30 minutes in the water total. My shoes were so dirty and full of sand... I still need to wash them again. It was loads of craic though. After shooting, the sun was out and we tried to get dry with one towel. We went into a place called Shells for a celebratory brunch where I got eggs benedict with salmon and a matcha latte. If you're ever in Sligo.....

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^ Who in the world pays 13 euros for a box of apple jacks!? hahahaha

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^ This is 10 minutes after I arrived on the first day. Hank said "Yep, this is where I shall sit." On my jacket. Ok then, Hank.

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Photos from top to bottom... Stevie and I reading Guts magazine // beautiful Sligo at 8am // Stevie and Steve excited about Guts #4 fresh off the press // Luke in Sligo // Sligo // polaroid of Luke & myself at Dara's // I tried to make a sort of eggs benedict with salmon // cheese plate! // Cormac, Emma, Dara & me // Dublin // Sligo in the morning // Luke in Sligo // ridiculously expensive crappy cereal // grocery shopping with Dara! // Hank the cat/lion on my stuff // thinking about the music video // cats on my bed // Luke and me looking into a mirror in Sligo

Valentina Dublin Sept 19

September 27, 2015


Valentina Paris September
It's a beautiful day in Paris! I am showered and clean and on my way out to wander and read in the park. I will put up pictures of my time in Dublin soon, as well as thoughts on some of the restaurants and cafés I went to while I was there. This month has been great as well as very stressful. I hope October will be (even) better. It was around this time last year that my second set of parents and big sis and mom traveled all the way from Davis, CA; Washington, DC and Cali, Colombia to spend parents' weekend with me. I just got to spend a few days with David and Ann here in Paris, so all the wonderful memories of last year are coming to mind and I'm feeling nostalgic. Here are some links for this Sunday! May you have a wonderful day. 

Check out my friend Roisin's magazine Guts. It's great. I was lucky enough to get the veeeery first copy hot off the press!

can I go back to Boston for lobster rolls, please......

missing Colombia!

spiced pumpkin pecan bread on crepes of wrath website. Like everyone else, I am very excited about pumpkin season. I wish I could be back in Northampton for it! I miss Smith and Noho so much!

remembering going to Barcelona yeeears ago... I like to go every year now ;)

mini vanilla pound cakes, the cutest! 

any smithies reading? Northampton, MA guide!

porridge with figs - enough said. I want it

I think I need these Hunter boots - any recommendations on rain boots? Tall or short? best brand?

another way to make coffee, I'll take it! 

September 24, 2015


popelini 3

Oh how hard it's been to eat less pastries... I've lived here for years, and for the first 8 or 9 years pastries in bakeries and patisseries were something we got every few months, maybe. I didn't spend my pocket money on them and when I did get a pastry, it would be a chocolate or coffee éclair. I hadn't heard of any of the big pastry chefs (my mom loved Pierre Hermé, so thank you SO MUCH, mother, for introducing me to my favorite macaron of all time!) other than Ladurée, which I can now tell you isn't more special than some other places out there. It's just the most famous one. Anyhow, in the last few years, my pastry consumption has gone way way up, and now I'm trying to get it back down to a normal amount. 

trufflePierre Hermé

white truffle macaron – This was one of the first macarons I discovered at Pierre Hermé many years ago. It was this and the vanilla olive oil flavored one that made me say "Hmm, this place is worth checking out more often." The white truffle macaron has a powerful taste, and when you order it, the people at Pierre Hermé put it in its own little package so the smell doesn't taint the rest of your macarons! I think it's really good. Try it! 


Champagne Cognac macaron – Dalloyau is much more than just macarons. They have a Salon de thé and restaurant on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (here is the menu) and they make loads of pastries (I want this, always). I've only tried their macarons so far, and this one is my favorite. Maybe you've noticed by now, but I love when macarons are really strange and interesting... or vanilla. The Champagne/Cognac macaron has a great taste, and the very Dolloyau macaron texture, which is quite chewier than Ladurée or Pierre Hermé for example. 

popelini 1 popelini 2 popelini 4Popelini

Choux à la crème – caramel, vanilla, coffee, rose, pistachio... There's one I don't know there, but the list isn't long so maybe it was praline. I've only been to Popelini once so far, and it was back in February or March. It was so good and I've been dreaming of going back but there are too many pastry shops and boulangeries in Paris I haven't tried yet – I can't do it all, man. Choux or profiteroles are little mini éclairs. They are little balls of French choux pastry filled with pastry cream, custard, whipped cream or sometimes ice-cream. I've made them at home and they are the best. Good ones give you a bit of custard with every bite and aren't overly sweet. I went to Popelini with a couple ladies who were visiting Paris, and we absolutely loved these. We ate them on a bench in ten minutes. Maybe five minutes. As always, with most desserts, the caramel au beurre salé blew our socks off. I definitely recommend this little shop. Especially as a party gift. They are beautiful and come in a cute little box of six. 

Have you tried any good pastries in Paris lately? Let me know so I can check 'em out!

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September 21, 2015


Blueberry Smoothie 1 Blueberry Smoothie

Like many of my posts, this one was sitting in 'drafts' for ages. But this morning I made a smoothie using Dara's incredible nutribullet (I want one, I want one, I want one) and I got excited about smoothies again. I got excited about smoothies... there's something depressing about that sentence. This smoothie that I drank in, oh, maybe April was delicious so I thought I'd share it. 

The thing about me and smoothies is that I love drinking them and coming up with new ones and finding interesting, fun combinations, but right before drinking them, I find them more boring than food and I think "Ah, but why make breakfast that I can drink in three gulps when I could make scrambled eggs or fancy granola?" But when I make a good one? Oh, I just want to make a thousand more good ones! 

This one (that I made twice, as you can see) had...

1/3 cup frozen blueberries
1 fig
slice of mango
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1 tsp wheatgrass powder
1 tsp spirulina
1 tsp maca powder

The thing with smoothies is that everything is optional. You can have two of the ingredients (blueberry and almond milk, let's say) and add a bit of ice and it'll be grand. I even added some pretty stuff on the first one (shredded coconut, goji berries, mulberries) but that was just for show. If I want one as breakfast, I also like to add vanilla protein powder. I will definitely be looking into buying a nutribullet. Do any of you own one? I also checked out some other much less expensive options but I wonder if they will last as long or be as good as the nutribullet. Any recommendations welcome!

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September 17, 2015


Valentina D. Instagram 1 Valentina D. Instagram 2

I'm only just realizing that I haven't posted Instagram pictures on my blog in ages. I love going back and remembering the moments I posted each picture. All the me-mo-riiiies... Some of these are from a month ago, others from four months ago. It's such a mix of people and places. I love traveling. I've been following more an more accounts on Instagram that post pictures of lovely places around the world. Wonderlust and such – I like it better than pictures of food. In fact, I believe out of the current 101 people I follow on Instagram, ONE is about food. I tell ya, I cannot deal with looking at pictures of food all day. 

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Lauren got me that book for my birthday. I read it in Italy in three days. I was so into it, even though I didn't know much about Patti Smith. Thanks Lauren!

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Pictures in order
Meeting a cute new puppy in the Baer house // Steve's feet on the barge // old picture from the farm in Colombia // the beach in Italy with Gianluca last month // trying out electric guitars // flowers my mom sent for my birthday // castle in Abruzzo // Julia the dog, my favorite furry friend // Lauren and Patti Smith // Lucy drinking water from a pint glass // Dara and his summer ice-cream // lights

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September 15, 2015


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Here is a post with bits and pieces of my life in Paris over the summer – and even some pictures dating back to spring... It's already the middle of September and it is no longer feeling like summer in Paris. Well, I'm writing from Dublin, but when I left it wasn't feeling like summer... aahh, but it's Paris, and the weather in Paris is wonky. Who knows!

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Do you know Audrey? She has a fashion blog. Check it out. I don't get to see Audrey too often because she lives in the wonderful city of Barcelona. But sooometimes her blog brings her to Paris and sooometimes we get to have coffee or drinks or brunch at our regular place and we talk for a few hours and I remember why I like humans. She is a great one. 

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There's Dara with the biggest mojito in Paris. Ladies and gentlemen, the Royal Fuck Mojito that you can get at one of the restaurants next door to Shakespeare & Co. I shall always remember not remembering much about that night with Dara and Louise and three fish bowls of mojito and three pints of piña colada. 

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And Berthillon ice-cream because it is the best ice-cream and when I get it, I get three scoops.

September 11, 2015


Valentina by Dara Munnis - Paris

I feel like a stranger to myself. I don't know what's going on. I am lonely and crave people. Then I crave to be alone. I fear all the usual questions. I'm 22. People seem so interested in what you want to do with your life at 22. Chances are you finished college, so obviously you're on a path to do something, right? I don't know. What the hell am I doing? 

And then there's "How are you?" You would think it's the easiest question to answer. And I don't even know that. Part of me wants to say "Life is great, I'm traveling, I have money, I'm young with all my limbs and senses intact. I have a roof over my head and friends all over the world," but I can also imagine myself just breaking down and not being able to explain why. If the average woman cries 30 to 60 times a year, I've probably broken some record then. 

Having this mind of mine is exhausting. Sometimes I listen to podcasts to give my brain a break. It doesn't often work. My time as a waitress ended last week and my first instinct was to buy a ticket to Dublin for the next day. Dara offered his guest room. It was my chance to be wild and spontaneous! Something I am not. I tend to over-think. And that is, in fact, exactly what happened. For a week I went back and forth between wanting to go to Dublin and being afraid of going to Dublin and spending too much time alone. 

But yeah, fuck it. I'm going to Dublin tomorrow. And I am pretty sure that most of that time will be spent alone. But I'll do work – music, blogging, writing, reading, making art. I'll have time to think. Over-think, let's be honest. Figure out how to feel more connected to my own life.

September 9, 2015


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Part 2 of my trip to Dublin in August. More pictures of Stevie on a boat, colorful doors and clear skies. I was lucky the weather was so good while I was over because I had somehow completely forgotten to take a jacket... and a sweater. Yeah, packing 101. I'm writing a post about how to pack light, but I can't say I recommend forgetting a sweater. I mean really, I've been traveling since I was 5 or 6 months old (when I first went to Colombia. Fond memories oh yes) and I've perfected my packing technique over the years, so how do I make such a stupid mistake? As Molly Wizenberg says in Spilled Milk, "moving right along." Look at those delicious cakes and cookies at the Fumbally. Ohh the chocolate cake... and yet I didn't eat any cake on this trip! I stuck to the salads and the coffee. The trio of salads for lunch... I can never get enough!

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I wasn't actually hugging the door... I had just knocked and was resting on the door (as one does) and Steve came to open up and I almost fell into his home. That's better than hugging the door. Pictures from top to bottom: Steve's feet dangling on the barge; Stevie opening the lock; the Fumbally cakes; swan just swanning; bright yellow door; vintage madness; Dara! loveliest person; me not hugging a door; Stevie on a boat; trio of salads at the Fumbally; captain of the boat eating (and loving) the mango I prepared; Stevie waiting for the barge to arrive... And that's it for Dublin in August. 

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