Cause a new year is coming and with it a whole new list of things to do!
Bring on the mockaritas

Christmas in ATL

This year, my sister Helena, her fiance Gusto and our cousin Jessica came over over Toronto to spend Christmas with us. It's great to have a full house and fancy breakfasts every morning, game nights and a to-do list of things that was almost fully accomplished.
For Christmas Eve dinner we had friends over which we were very thankful for. Obviously, we prepared our typical Portuguese Christmas dinner with our family's secret sauce that makes the tedious boiled potatoes and cod a most delicious treat! This is when we most feel like emigrants cultivating the nostalgia for the motherland or, as we Portuguese put it, "saudades". 
Pedro had some fun filming this time lapse video of the preparations for dinner, enjoy!  

We really hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! 

24 weeks

I'll be honest, the idea of being pregnant has always frightened me mostly because my mother had 3 very complicated pregnancies and I thought that it would be hereditary. Apparently not! In the first couple of months there where moments were I would even forgot about it all together. I would only feel pregnant when it kicked in psychically: a few days with morning sickness, feeling extremely sleepy, constipation, acid reflux, most of which I didn't even know were symptoms associated with the first trimester. I always thought it would get worst but it didn't. At 24 weeks I can say I feel great, except for the part when I have to bend down to tie my shoe laces, that's becoming a hassle. 

there's going to be a baby

A while back, we were walking through a park in Atlanta and found this book on a bench and instagramed it. At the time we "cried wolf" and it was fun. But now, my friends, it's the real thing! I'm 5 months pregnant and there really is going to be a baby!

Oh, and it's a girl!

Pedro in PT #1

Pedro spent the month of July here in Portugal. It was a short stay but wonderful in so many ways! 

oh happy day

After 2 months of skype and letters, Pedro is in Portugal and I am so happy!

são joão

Every year my mom gathers some friends and family to celebrate São João. This year was the first time I actually made it to the festivities! It's not very common in Viana to celebrate São João (the holiday of Saint John the Baptist) but my mother is always looking for an excuse to grill sardines! The night ended around a bonfire and everyone jumping over the flames a little tipsy after all the sangria. It's supposed to bring good luck. 


A couple of weekends ago I went camping with my family to Gerês. It's incredible how building a fire to cook dinner and sleeping on the hard ground can be so appealing. The good thing is my parents love camping. Unfortunately for us, Portugal is loaded with pyromaniacs that get off on watching our forests burn so even within campgrounds you cannot build a bonfire, which takes away most of the fun in camping: if you can't burn things in a controlled environment, what's the purpose of camping?! Naturally we skirted this and built a fire in the bbq pits and played cards the whole night.

at the beach

I spent most of last weekend at the beach with my grandma. Everyone always complains about how cold the water is up north, but I always manage to go for a swim. Grandma just sat under the umbrella and napped most of the afternoon. Life is good. 


My dad planted a berry bush thinking they were raspberries but they ended up being loganberries, a hybrid between blackberries and raspberries. Because they are extremely tart, I've been tossing them into smoothies and made jam. Now I have to convince him to grow blueberries... 

new boots

The weather has been awful this past month and I didn't bring with me any winter shoes. Meaning, I had to go shopping for a decent par of shoes, which is always an strenuous task for me because I usually don't like anything (and that's why I only have a handfull of shoes!). What I've been wanting for a while now was a pair of traditional portuguese boots, the ones that are made of real leather and hand stitched. I found them at Trouxa Mocha and they are perfect! 


This was the first year that I didn't really care much about my birthday. There wasn't a cake and everyone who sang the birthday song to me somehow didn't get to the end of it! At 32 all I really want is meaningful relationships and spending time with family and friends. So I guess I can say I had a great birthday! 
This gift was this book. You are the best! 

one year

When you marry the same person twice, there's a lot to celebrate!
It was a year ago that we brought together two families and said yes to one another. Best day ever!
Photography: Nuno Palha

this monastic life

I've been working these past few weeks from a very beautiful place, the Monastery of Tibães, near Braga. It's a massive monastery with a 100 acre property around it. In a prosper and distant past, it use to be the headquarters of the benedictine congregation in Portugal and Brasil which basically translates to a very wealthy monastery.

It's quite a difference coming from car-crazy Atlanta into Portugal's peaceful countryside and enjoy the calmness of nature and the overwhelming sense of history that these stones carry.
Oh, this monastic life! 

don't open. it's a present

I got a package in the mail today. It says: Isabel Marques (Don't open, it's a present! Pedro)
My birthday is a week away and I have the best husband ever!

country life

The beauty of living in the country side is picking ripe strawberries for breakfast. In your face city folk! 

bye bye Atlanta...

... hello seven months in Portugal! 
I left the US 12 days ago to take on a new job and left Pedro in Atlanta. Ai, as saudades! It was a hard decision to be apart for such a long time but Pedro will be coming to Portugal in July. Right now, I'm living in between Viana and Braga and still not quite settled in yet but with the help of good friends, I'll feel at home in no time.
It feels good to be back. 

The Little Tart Bakeshop

For the past year I've been working as a baker at the Little Tart Bakeshop, just the best bakeshop in the city! Never did I imagine starting work at 5am and actually enjoying it! I worked with a wonderful team of fun, open-minded and committed people that made the 10 hour days easy to handle. When we weren't working hard at making all our pastries perfect and delicious, we licked the meringue whip in the corner of shame, ate baby croissants for breakfast, wrote inspirational notes to one another on the focaccia, created imaginary scenarios for a sexy tart calendar, got high on Octane's caffeine and had lots of fun! 
This past Wednesday was my last day. I'm going to miss this...

#6 get a tattoo

I have finally checked off another item on my list of 101 things to do before 30: get a tattoo! I'm actually glad I didn't get it done earlier because I had no idea what I wanted tattooed in my body at the time and only now I am comfortable with my decision. "Oh the places you'll go" seems perfect at this time in my life: it's about change and commitment, about ups and downs, about disquietude and life!
Thank you Grace for the design.

pain au levain

Baking levain bread is a very slow process but it yields delicious bread! I followed the Ken Forkish's levain bread recipes from his book: the Overnight Country Brown rested for about 13 hours before shaping and tripled in size. The second recipe was his Feild Blend #1 that has whole wheat and rye flour and was shaped last night, rest in the fridge overnight and was baked today in the morning. I keep 2 wild yeast starters, a whole wheat flour (which I used for all these breads) and a white wheat flour starter that I use to make Pão Alentejano. I loved the flavor that comes from long fermentation and wild yeasts: it's slightly acid, with a delicious crust and soft interior.

whole wheat starter

This is how the Overnight Country Brown looked like after 13 hours of bulk fermentation.

Proofing in a basket

Lots of bread!!

Tart dinner

I've been working for the past year at the Little Tart, the best bakeshop in Atlanta, with a team of wonderful (and beautiful) people who I really admire and consider friends. Even though it is lots of hard work, we laugh, joke, sing, dance and comment on all the sexy customers that walk into the shop. And sometimes we even bake things! So my way of saying thank you for this amazing year, for this learning experience, for believing in me and for making me feel part of the Tart family was to host everyone at our place and treat them to a Portuguese dinner: arroz de cabidela, moelas, broa, pão alentejano, alheira, chouriço, migas, marmelada, leite creme, mexidos, amendoa amarga, favaios e ginginha.      

Love you guys!