Honeymoon Part 2: Monte Carlo, Monaco

–Part 2 of 14–
For those of you who are just tuning in, Dan and I had an amazing month long European honeymoon and I’m just getting around to sharing the pictures of our epic adventure. We started in Barcelona, Spain where we spent a few days exploring the city before we boarded a ship and sailed to Monte Carlo.
What a beautiful place to wake up to! We spent the day at the beach and visited Prince Rainier’s private car collection {Prince Rainier married the fabulous Grace Kelly in 1956, too cool huh? By the way, did you ever see her wedding dress? AMAZING!}. We had a perfect morning lounging on the beach, eating leftover croissants with jam and nutella that we smuggled from the ship. We found nice spot to set out our towels at the far end of the beach.

Beach Babe. And tiny shells instead of sand.^^^
^^^We decided to hike up to the fortress on the hillside for some great views of Monte Carlo.

^^^A nice couple offered to take our picture on the deck of the ship {sorry for the picture quality, we were using Dan’s waterproof camera}.Honeymoon Part 2: Monte Carlo, Monaco
^^^The Famous Monte Carlo Casino

^^^Is it weird that I like taking pictures of peoples windows? Yeah…it’s borderline creepy, but I think they are lovely. Look at those shutters and lace! I would love to be a fly on the wall to see how people live here.

^^^It’s crazy how these houses are built on the side of a cliff — almost on top of each other.

^^^We walked through a tunnel to check out the other side of the city and found these pictures for sale posted on the tunnel wall. Grace Kelly you were one classy lady!

^^^I found our boat. How magical is this? I dig the bohemian hammock. This will be our little putz around boat, we can dock it next to our giant yacht. Right Dan? No? We’ll see…

^^^Pretty details everywhere you look!
^^^Prince Rainier’s private car collection. So many gorgeous cars, immaculately restored to their original condition.

^^^Love that red!

^^^Dan’s in Heaven.

^^^ Some kind of snow cat used for polar expeditions.

^^^By the harbor with the palace in the background.

^^^Walking up to the palace.

^^^Picturesque old town Monaco.

^^^A view of Musee Oceanographique de Monaco

^^^A closer look of the rooftop garden and skate park from the previous picture.

^^^My favorite part of the day was when we were walking back to the ship {we had 30 minutes until departure}. We found these cool concrete stairs at the edge of the city that dropped off into the Mediterranean Sea; deep dark blue water as far as the eye could see. We both looked at each other and decided to run back to the ship and change into our suits for a quick swim. “Do we have enough time? Will the ship leave without us? We’ll be soaking wet when we get back on!” So worth it. It was one of those moments that you want to freeze in time. We dove in and floated there. I clung onto my amphibious husband, a little terrified at what might be swimming around us but amazed at where we were — surrounded by a palace on the hillside and Monte Carlo in front of us. How many opportunities do you get to do something like that? It was priceless.


^^^If you ever find yourself in Monte Carlo, check these out.

What a day!

P.S. We made it back to the ship in time!

Laduree French Macaron Recipe

I made a batch of  French Macarons the other day. Boy do I love these little things, but they are a pain to make…until I tried this recipe! Daniel and I honeymooned in Europe and we stopped in Paris to try the ever coveted Ladurée macarons. They were amazing! I picked up their English Sucré cookbook so I could make them at home. Be patient, say a prayer and they will turn out beautiful. 

This is a macaron shell recipe from Ladurée — the crème de la crème of macarons in the world! And I whipped up the filling recipe myself…

Makes approximately 50 macarons
Bake at 300F
Macaron Shell Ingredients
2 ¾ cups + 1 tbsp (275 g) fine almond flour
2 cups + 1 tbsp (250 g) confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
6 +1/2 egg whites (room temp)
1 cup + 1 tbsp (210g) granulated white sugar
3 drops of whatever food coloring you desire
Directions for Macaron Shells:
1. Combine the ground almond flour and the confectioners sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles a fine powder {do not over mix or you will end up with paste! Nooo!}. Sift through a sieve to remove any lumps.
2. In a large bowl {I use my KitchenAid}, whisk 6 egg whites until foamy. Once they are frothy, add a third of the granulated sugar {precisely 83.3 oz}. Whip until the sugar has dissolved. Add another third of the sugar. Whip for 1 minute. Add the last third of the sugar and whip for one minute. Egg whites should be glossy and hold soft peaks. Using a spatula, delicately fold the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar into the whipped egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 egg white until just frothy. Then add it to the final mixture, folding gently to slightly loosen the macaron batter.
3. If you only want to make one color of macarons, then add your desired food coloring to the batter bowl. If you want multiple colors, divide your batter into separate bowls and add coloring to each. Try not to over mix.
4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag {you can also use zip lock bags with a cut corner}. Pipe small macaron rounds 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto a  lined baking sheet. I like to line mine with a silpat or this fancy macaron mat. Parchment paper will also do. Lightly tap the tray on the counter to release any air pockets. Allow the macarons to sit uncovered for 10 minutes, so a thin dry coat forms on the top {you should be able to gently touch them without the batter sticking to your finger}. Now they are ready for the oven. Only bake one tray at a time. Bake at 300F for approximately 15 minutes or until they form a smooth shell and little foot.  
*You can prepare the next tray while you wait for the first batch to bake.
5. Ok here is where you’ll need to be extra patient. Wait until the macarons have completely cooled before peeling them off the mat. If they stick, they are not ready. * My method {because I’m impatient} to speed things up, try placing the hot baking sheet on top of cold damp dishtowels. This can cut your waiting time in half!
Macaroon Filling Ingredients
8 tbsp jam
4 tbsp soft butter
splash of whipping cream
Fills approximately 50 macarons 
{If you want to make different flavors on a smaller scale just measure 2:1 ratio for jam and butter}
Macaron Filling Instructions
Easy part!
1. You can use any flavor you want. For these macarons, I made different flavors for each color — peach, strawberry, blueberry and chocolate. Mmmmm. My friend gave me some amazing homemade jams that I mixed with butter and a splash of whipping cream.  Your measurements will vary depending on how much filling you want for each flavor. Just mix jelly, butter and whipping cream until you reach a semi-solid consistency at room temp. This one is pretty hard to mess up.  
*I used Nutella for the chocolate hazelnut filling.
Good luck my friends!

^^^ Whipping the egg whites and sugar                       ^^^Smooth shell and little foot!                                                  Laduree French Macaron Recipe
^^^Blood orange and framboise macarons from Lauduée on our honeymoon.
We jumped on a bus and took our macarons to the Eiffel Tower. Cliche? Yes. But this was a perfect moment for us. We sat on a park bench, gazed at the tower and savored every bite of of these Frenchy treats. Macarons, a pretty day in Paris and the love of my life… what more could I want!

Honeymoon {Part One}: Barcelona, Spain

Dan and I LOVE traveling. Neither of us had ever been to Europe (besides a layover here and there), so we thought that our honeymoon would be the perfect opportunity to take time off of work and see the places that we were dreaming to see. Asking for a month off was a bit of a stretch, but luckily our jobs were flexible enough (and bosses gracious enough) to swing it. Once we got the a-ok, Dan and I began brainstorming for possible destinations. “Should we go to one place and stay for a few weeks or should we travel all over and only stay a few days in each spot? Hmmmmm…what to do?” We ended up doing a whirlwind trip, stopping in 10 different countries and 17 cities! We thought it would be best to see as much as we could with the time we had.
Our first half of the trip was a Mediterranean cruise that started in Barcelona, Spain and ended in Venice, Italy with 8 stops along the way. And for the second half of our honeymoon we bought a Eurail Pass and traveled in a huge loop that ended in Paris, France. It was the perfect trip — a grand adventure with my hub. We loved every second of it, even the running around like chickens to catch trains and getting lost in Berlin and Istanbul! It was all magical.
— Honeymoon Part 1 –
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Our plane landed in Barcelona, Spain and we had 3 amazing days of exploring the city until we boarded the ship. We stayed in a beautiful hotel called AC Sants located near the SantsTrain Station and Plaza de España. The front desk was very helpful… they mapped-out all of the places we were hoping to see. It also helped that Dan is fluent in Spanish, God bless him and his bilingualism!
We took a walk down to the beach. It was fun to see the hustle and bustle of the Mediterranean cafe’s and the colorful changing closets on the boardwalk. Dan jumped in the water and swam out to the furthest buoy {this is a habit of his}. The water was WARM and the beach was spectacular.
{Barcelona’s fish sculpture, known as Peix in Catalan by Frank O. Gehry}
{Exploring La Boqueria was my favorite!}
{So many bright colors and tasty treats!}
There were tons of mini restaurants with bar seating in La Boqueria. We found a crowed counter at El Quim {crowded usually means good food right?} and we snagged two seats after a couple left. People were elbow to elbow, drinking wine and eating beautiful dishes like huevos fritos con llangueta y chipirones {Fried eggs with baby squid in ink sauce}.
It’s always somewhat hard getting pictures of the two of us together when we travel {unless if you do the one-arm selfie}. Our tip is to ask someone who’s holding a camera, chances are they’re from out of town as well and they won’t mind helping you out.  Offer to return the favor. “Can you please take our picture? We can take one of you too!”
Honeymooning in Spain
{Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and Casa Mila}
The gorgeous Sagrada Familia! Construction started in 1882 with Francisco de Paula del Villar and then with Gaudí until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work. They say it will take another 20 years to complete. Yikes! But what a magnificent sight it was!
{Feeling very small}
 {At Park Guell}
{Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia AKA Barcelona Cathedral}
{A lit door in the depths of the cathedral. What’s inside!? }
I heard of this little gem — Granja La Pallaresa on a travel show and knew we had to find it. They serve crispy churros  that you dip in thick hot chocolate! Gaaaa it was to die for. We got lost along the way and must have asked 15 people for directions. We finally found it amongst a menagerie of windy little streets in El Barri Gòtic.
Carrer de Petritxol 11, 08002 Barcelona, Spain (El Barri Gòtic)
 P.S. Danny looks so handsome ^^^^
{In our happy place}
 {I dig this house. When can we move in?}
The McDonalds in Europe are super luxurious two-story mansions with plush chairs, chandeliers and real drinking glasses. They even had macarons! We had to try one. Why can’t we have fancy McD’s at home?
{Barcelona you are beautiful and amazing}
Check out Part 2 of our trip in Monte Carlo!

Getting Lost

Le Poulbot, Le Montmarte, Paris. Like out of a fairytale… Dan and I want to rent bikes and check out each arrondissements. Mmmmm stinky cheese and wine in Montmarte and drink rich Chocolat Africain at Angelina’s. We are so excited to get lost.

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