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EuroTrip 2016: Visiting Milan, Modena, and Maranello (including a couple of Ferrari Museums!)

We're having an amazing time!

I'm in bed in Florence right now listening to the sounds of people below who party harder than me in languages I do not speak. I'm still struggling with jet lag a bit, and since I can't sleep, I thought I'd give an update on this moving mess. 

Below: our visit to Milan, Ferrari, and a really old church!

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World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Whatever's in the Pantry Version)

When I got it in my head that I wanted to make some cookies, I decided I wanted to really go for it. I didn't google the easiest or quickest recipes, but instead found myself in an internet hole of "world's best," "ultimate," "perfect," ultra complex recipes. 

I hit a goldmine when I found Serious Eats' Food Lab article from 2013. The in-depth article explores the science behind the cookie. The author did an incredible amount of work trying to perfect the recipe - maybe too much work. 

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7 Online Interior Designers To Make Your Home Special (on a Budget!)

There are a whole bunch of sites that offer interior design services. Some are flat-fee, some hourly, some are newer start-ups and some are independent designers offering e-design options. Packages range from simple (choosing paint, accessorizing) to full room re-design with buying options. Just like seemingly every other industry, ID is growing with the internet. You can hire a designer and never have to put on pants! 

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A Tourist's Guide to San Francisco

Our trip to California was kind of like two separate vacations. One being the drive up the Pacific Coast Hwy with pit stops in LA, Santa Barbara, Solvang, Hearst Castle, Cayucos, Big Sur, Bixby Bridge, Monterey, Laguna Seca, and Santa Cruz. The other being a few days in San Francisco doing touristy things and visiting my family.

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Driving Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca: My First Track Day!

More from our California trip! 

On Day 4, I had my very first track day at one of the nation's most prestigious tracks: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca! Normally, autocross is done at slow speeds, but this was my first time getting to speeds in excess of 80 mph. And, I've never dealt with other people on the track before - check out the video.

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Visiting Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA

Day 3 of our trip, the very first thing on the itinerary was Hearst Castle. We woke up in our lovely Cayucos, CA bed & breakfast, were treated to veggie frittatas and chicken sausage, and headed up CA-1 for about an hour and a half to the castle. One of my all-time favorite things is home tours of homesteads and estates and I think Hearst Castle is now my number one favorite home tour. 

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One Dozen of the Best Shows to Binge Watch

There is too much good TV. So, with winter breaks and spring breaks and Easter breaks and all the breaks coming up, I thought I'd compile a binge-watching list.

At the moment, Joe and I are working our way through X-Files on Netflix. We've never seen it and are hooked. We also recently watched Chelsea Does. Have you watched that? It's a 4-episode docu-series by Chelsea Handler. I'd like to watch The Wire next, since I've never seen that and it's considered some of the best television ever. 

Below: six must-watch comedies to discover or revisit, and six addictive dramas. 

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Most Delicious French Onion Soup Recipe

Tomorrow, Joe and I leave NY again for California. We're flying into LAX, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, and spending a few days in San Francisco with my family. 

Today, I am under the weather, which might have something to do with sandwiching -10 degree Long Island "Feels Like" temps between Floridian and Californian weather. 

Yesterday, it snowed and I made soup!

French Onion Soup is one of the few things I have in my cooking repertoire. I make it pretty damn well if I don't say so myself. It's a straightforward dish - the important part is to caramelize the onions slowly. Also, to use a ton of onions. A bowl of French Onion Soup is the perfect thing on a wintry day!

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Building a Computer and Other Things to do in Florida

Joe and I are back now from our trip to Florida! And this post is a day late (sorry!) because we spent our first day back yesterday doing a double feature (Deadpool & How to Be Single) and some shopping. That's an okay excuse, right?

Florida was really nice. We stayed at Joe's Mom's house (thanks Jeanette & Michael!) and got to see all the local southern Floridian sites.

We also built a computer. Joe helped his brother Hunter pick out the components and, since we extended our stay by two days due to the weather in NY, we were there when the parts arrived. So, Joe got to help Hunter put it all together as well. And I was there to watch - I've never built a computer before, so it was very interesting for me!

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Lent

Today is Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, if you will, and we've certainly been feasting while we're here! Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season - the fasting season. Lent is when we're meant to prepare ourselves for Easter and abstain from anything unhealthy in our lives. This includes "No Meat Fridays," which contrary to the myth, was not started as a conspiracy with the Pope to bolster the fishing economy. Although, I did find this interesting article from NPR that explains in brief how Christian fasting has affected the fishing industry throughout the centuries - from the first century up to and including the McDonald's Filet-O-Fish! 

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Our Best Book Club Book Picks

In 2010, three of my college girlfriends and I decided to start our own Book Club. Unofficially called "Gabby and the Caitlins" (three of us are Caitlin, one is, well, Gab), six years later, we are still at it! Over the years, we've had members Skype in, we've ended up in a Bronx playground at 4 AM the night before one of us was going wedding dress shopping, and most recently, we all headed down to DC for the weekend where one of our members lives. In 2010, three of my college girlfriends and I decided to start our own Book Club. Unofficially called "Gabby and the Caitlins" (three of us are Caitlin, one is, well, Gab), six years later, we are still at it! Over the years, we've had members Skype in, we've ended up in a Bronx playground at 4 AM the night before one of us was going wedding dress shopping, and most recently, we all headed down to DC for the weekend where one of our members lives. 

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Winter Storm Jonas & An Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Recipe

It's not the most snow we've ever seen, but the wind was crazy! The back door was covered up to my chin but the front door had only a few inches. Snowdrifts everywhere. Aside from Joe's shoveling attempt, we didn't emerge from the house at all Saturday. I made a slow cooker turkey chili (see below for recipe) and we enjoyed a cozy fire while watching Flight of The Conchords scenes on the iPad. 

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Have You Ever Taken a Personality Test?

Have you ever taken a Myers-Briggs-based personality test? 

There are several different theories of personality, but most are based on the work of Carl Jung and the Myers-Briggs test (which itself also uses Jungian theories). Most of the results and descriptions can suffer from the Barnum effect, of course, but it's still tons of fun to take them. Especially when you can really see yourself in the descriptions!

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