The Summer List // 2017


The Summer List 2017{via}

Happy Friday! What’s up for your weekend? I have graduation parties galore, ice cream to scoop, and plans to wrap up Grace and the Fever before it’s due at the library. Before that fun, however, I wanted to share my sixth {!!!} summer list, an annual Ciao Bella tradition in which I list my goals for June, July, and August. While it’s always written in good fun, I like that it provides some direction for the summertime. What do you hope to do over the next few months?

Read 40 Books First, it’s not a summer list without some sort of reading goal! Though the numbers are never my primary focus, I’m still aiming to read forty books over the next few months. It’s ambitious, perhaps, but with so many good novels at my fingertips – The Pearl Thief, When Dimple Met Rishi, and Be True to Me – can you blame me?

Prepare My Dorm Room My orientation isn’t until September, but if there’s one thing I can do over the summer in preparation for college, it’s plan my dorm room design! With a color palette already in mind, I’ll be on the lookout for the artwork, bedding, and supplies needed to decorate my new home.

See a Musical or Play As a proud theatre fan, this one should be no challenge: my mom, sister, and I are counting down the days until we see Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 in New York City; I’ll be helping out with my community theater’s summer show Smokey Joe’s Cafe in July; and I have my eye on a production of Romeo and Juliet being performed throughout the summer. Needless to say, I can’t wait.

Bake with Peaches Peaches, I feel, are a symbol of summer, and so, it’s a shame I haven’t baked with them more! Thankfully, my favorite food bloggers have numerous recipes for me to choose from after a trip to the grocery store. Doesn’t this Crispy Peach Cobbler look delicious?

Finish Jane the Virgin CW has produced many a gem: iZombieCrazy Ex-Girlfriend, and, of course, the hilarious and delightful Jane the Virgin. After a spring of Monday night rehearsals and work shifts, I’ve fallen behind in the show’s third season, so I’m hoping my time at home provides me the chance to catch up with Jane, Rafael, and the other lovable characters.

Go to an Art Museum With a number of notable art museums in the New England area, I don’t think the problem will be making the trip, I think it will be deciding on which one! Whether it’s the Clark, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, or the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, it’s a day trip I hope I can make.

Hand Letter Each Week I had been pondering what artistic project I wanted to tackle this summer when I came across my old sketchbooks from art class, where I had hand-lettered the titles of the books I read that winter. I plan to do the same this summer, as I think it will be a fun way to keep my hand-lettering skills sharp and display my love of books. In other words? A win-win all around.

Create a Photo Album Finally, I’d like to compile the photos from my senior year in a photo book! I created albums earlier in the school year as Christmas gifts for my close friends, but now that I have so many pictures from prom, graduation, and the like, I think a second book will be in order.

Have a lovely day, and an even better weekend! :)


Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies and Reverse White Chocolate Chip Cookies


Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies and Reverse White Chocolate Chip CookiesI had a friend recently ask what I will do next year when I no longer have a kitchen open to my baking whims. It hadn’t hit me until she mentioned it — and I still don’t have an answer — but it did fuel my desire to bake more frequently before I head off to college. After a hectic senior year schedule, I’m bummed, but not surprised, that it has been over a year since I last posted a recipe.

With a desire to bake, however, comes a desire for new recipes, which brought me to today’s dessert: malted chocolate chip and reverse white chocolate chip cookies from Irvin Lin’s Marbled, Swirled, and Layered. The cookies first caught my eye because of how they looked — baking can be just as much about the visual as it is the taste — but only a batch later, and I think it’s safe to say that both my family and my friends have all found a new favorite. With a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a bakery style size, these cookies can only be improved with a glass of milk on the side. Worth turning on the oven in this summer heat? I sure think so.

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies and Reverse White Chocolate Chip CookiesMalted Chocolate Chip Cookies and Reverse White Chocolate Chip Cookies Loosely adapted from Marbled, Swirled, and Layered by Irvin Lin


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup and two tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk

for the chocolate chip cookies

  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

for the reverse white chocolate chip cookies

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips

to make

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Add the eggs and egg yolk, beating well after each addition.
  2. Mix in the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, until well-incorporated and the dough remains a little sticky.
  3. Divide the dough in half, and set aside one halve for later use. In the same bowl of the electric mixer, stir in the malted milk powder and flour to the remaining dough. Mix in the chocolate by hand. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  4. Place the reserved dough back in the bowl of the electric mixer, and incorporate the cocoa powder until fully mixed. Add the white chocolate by hand. As done previously, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. Once the dough has been refrigerated, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease two baking sheets and set aside.
  6. For each cookie, scoop a chunk of malted dough and roll into a ball. Do the same with the white chocolate chip dough. Stick the two together and roll them together so they form one big ball. Press down on a hard surface, such as a plate or cutting board, to form a disk roughly 2.5 inches wide. Cut the dough in half, perpendicular to the dough dividing line. Flip one half over and then press together, as if to form a checkerboard pattern.
  7. Place cookies on baking sheets in rows two inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies for fourteen to fifteen minutes; they will spread and be golden brown along the edges.
  9. Let the cookies cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!



Eye on Art / 18

Hi friends!

Eye on ArtHappy Friday! What’s up for your weekend? After weeks of cool and rainy weather, it seems that New England will finally be getting the heat wave June calls for, all of which is to say a healthy serving of ice cream and a good book are both in order. In between my time on the porch, novel in hand, I’ll be hopping from grad party to grad party with friends and watching the Tony Awards with my sister – theater kids we are, we’ll be rooting for Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 all night long.

In the meantime, I thought we’d ease into the weekend with a new edition of Eye on Art – it’s been a few months since I last shared some of my favorite portfolios! There’s nothing that links today’s three artists together, beyond their clear level of talent: one excels as a fine artist, another produces illustrations, and the last has a knack for photography and type. Are there any artists you’ve admired lately?

Gabriella SanchezFirst up is Gabriella Sanchez, an artist based in LA. Her name or work may ring a bell, for not only is she a talented freelance illustrator, she has also been an in-house designer for in years past {I frequently use these stylish stickers, some of which she illustrated}. Her popularity has been sudden, but it’s no surprise: with a love of bold colors, an unabashed confidence in her work, and a progressive perspective to boot, Gabriella has garnered a wide audience of fans, myself included.

Her commercial work is no doubt impressive, but I’m partial to her abstract art, pieces that jump off gallery walls with their vivid palettes and eclectic natures. I’m bummed I’m not close enough to see her pieces in person, so for now, I’ll settle for a pin or patch to decorate my bag. Her artwork is the coolest, even in the smallest of doses. {website}

Adams CarvalhoIf the artwork of Adams Carvalho also looks familiar, it’s understandable: the Brazilian artist’s stunning illustration work graced the cover of Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to when it has the intricate linework, skillful use of color, and brilliant composition Adams is known for. 

A further look at his portfolio, and it’s clear: Adams has clearly defined his style, bringing about a consistency and, furthermore, intrigue to his work. I could have chosen any five pieces of his to feature, but I believe the ones showcased above, including my favorite in teal, highlight the sense of teenage rebellion and summertime solitude so characteristic of his work. Needless to say, I’m a fan. {website}

Christine ChoeFinally, I couldn’t wait to feature Christine Choe, an artist whose portfolio I’ve been crushing on for months. I first came across one of her pieces on Pinterest – social media keeps my typography heart happy – but it took only a few minutes of browsing her website before I fell in love with her hand lettering pieces and stellar photographs.

While her portfolio is plentiful, my favorite project of hers is actually still in the works: a daily lettering project that chronicles the dates of the year. Christine has employed a number of styles – and media! – throughout the months, but the ultimate cheeriness of her work has remained consistent. To ensure her lettering gems reach your feed, you can join me in following her Instagram @datesoftheyear. What a delight. {website}

Have a wonderful Friday and an even better weekend!