Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sweet Misery

Greetings, i write to you from my dear mom's sumptuous king-size bed. I haven't left this bed for much at all in the past 24-hours. Yes, my friends, i am sick once again. Got a cough a few days ago that only seems to be getting worse, despite my attempts at self-medication. I refuse to go to the doctor and am hoping it'll just pass, but my resistance is waning. Thanks to some Nyquil, i slept all night and most of today, waking only to eat and check email. Please please PLEASE let me get better soon. I've got much to do before moving to Austin!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Moment Alone

*Deeeeep breath* siiiiiiiiiiiiigh... I love moments alone. We rarely have enough of them these days, don't you agree? Mom, Auntie, and Sister are out shopping at the outlets. Bro's at the movie theater, Uncle's golfing, and Dad's off to work (poor Daddy). I've taken advantage of this house by taking a hot shower, swaddling up in my robe, turning on my new warm steam humidifier, and enjoying the peace and quiet. Not that i don't adore having a full house because i really do; i see how happy my Mom is with her oldest sister, and it makes me sad for the day my Auntie has to leave. C'est la vie... n'est-ce pas?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lovin' It

What a treat this holiday season in the Park family compound has been! After we got over the money crap, and since my Aunt/Uncle from Canada have gotten here, everyday's been oodles of family fun. Christmas was delightful and i got all kinds of goodies from ma soeur and bro, including a vegan cupcake book, darling dishes begging to be used for afternoon tea, gorgeous leopard print towels from Pottery Barn, darling pink moccasin slippers from LL Bean, and much more. I've been on a reading kick and finished The Other Boleyn Girl last night, only to make a trip to Borders to purchase The Boleyn Inheritance. Read both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Spendid Suns in London and highly recommend both. Am also reading The Why Cafe, which is really helping me get back to the whole "Why am i here? What do i want from life?" conversation, which of course i love. Have been indulging in some creative activity RE: my new apartment and spent the other night making design collages with ma soeur (who actually never finished one..surprise surprise). I have a full book full of magazine cutouts and ideas and have another one on the way. Just found a fabulous coach/daybed from West Elm that both Mommy and Sister have approved of, so going to making that purchase soon. Love love LOVE planning new spaces! I still fully intend on painting a hot pink accent wall in the living room and my bedroom a lovely grecian green. Also adding a "library" to the living room, courtesy of IKEA's darling pink lack bookcases. Even more reason to feed my book-buying addiction!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Have no solid plans for New Year's as of right now, but am perfectly content spending it with my family. Really must get a move on 2008 Resolutions, as it's going to be a big year for me and many of my friends. Graduation, the BAR exam, and starting work... ick. Am i really ready to be an adult?? Also need to start planning my BAR trips... definitely taking Mom somewhere for a week. M and i were also discussing Bali or maybe even Mozambique! Ahh the possibilities are endless...

Monday, December 24, 2007

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!


Hello, my darlings!! Just wanted to do a quick Happy Holidays shout-out, it being Christmas Eve and all. The Park house is FULL of family - me, Mom, Dad, Sister, Bro-in-law, Muffin, Puffin, AND our fave Aunt and Uncle from Canada!! Just waiting on Dad to get home so we can pour the wine and open presents!!! I hope you are all warm, safe, happy, and with your loved ones tonight.

xoxo,
C

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stateside

Yes yes i have finally returned to the U.S. of A, and surprise surprise, i already miss London. I miss the sights, the sounds, the streets, and of course, TopShop. That being said, i don't miss the Institution or the lack of good and cheap food, so i guess the grass is always greener on the other side. My trip home went pretty smoothly, except for a slight delay at my Chicago layover. Luckily my crazy whacked out London sleep schedule has translated into a great, solid sleep schedule here in the States. I've been fast asleep by midnight or earlier and up by 8:30, a vast improvement. I'm currently snuggled up in my beautiful pink bedroom upstairs in my parents' home in good ole Rowlett. Truth be told, it's not all sunshine and butterflies 'round here since i just spent a good 10 minutes crying into my pillow a la high school. Yet ANOTHER conversation about money with my parents. Why oh why? I've already had like 3 and i've only been home for 2 days! Argh. It just makes me wonder... will my parents ever see beyond my faults? Anyway, it'll blow over, and i am overreacting, but it's probably because i've missed my family so much that to get such crap from my mother, father, AND my sister about my money-spending habits after being away for 3+ months is tres annoying. Mom's also not happy about my vegetarian experiment, surprise surprise.

SO i'm really glad to be back in the States, but i really really can't wait till i get to Austin. I wish there were some way i could move in earlier... maybe i'll give Matt @ the Triangle a call tomorrow... Or maybe i'll just crash @ Pony's if i feel that i'm going out of my mind. ;-)

Plans for tonight? I don't know... before my crying fit, Bro and i were planning to hit up Best Buy and Target. Ooh he just came in, so here we go! XOXO, will write later.

<3 C

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Pictorial Journey






Being a tourist is EXHAUSTING! Anyway, I've been going nonstop the past few days - highlights include the National Gallery, Tate Modern, Phantom of the Opera, Shakespeare's Globe, and St. Paul's Cathedral. Oh and, of course, one last trip to my beloved TopShop. Love love LOVE this city!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sheets of Egyptian Cotton

I can't sleep. Again. Last night i was up until about 6:30 a.m., which of course means i slept until 2 p.m. Luckily my productivity was at an all-time high today, and i somehow managed to finish and print off all my papers before 10. Who am i?? Pretty soon i realized i was tired and when it turns out my latest chick lit turned out to be a HUGE flop (Marianne Keys - The Other Side of the Story, blah! but do check out her other book Is Anybody Out There?), i turned out the lights, and snuggled up with my hot water bottle. Then i woke up at 1:45 to use the loo, couldn't fall back asleep, realized poor M was still downstairs in the computer room so made her a thermos of darjeeling tea, packed some biscuits, and headed down there (tea and biscuits - how British!). Poor darling was in desperate need of tea and biscuits... After realizing her productivity level was at an all-time LOW, i dragged her back upstairs to use my laptop, and then at 4 a.m. we both decided to get some sleep (aka she would sleep for 2, maybe 3 hrs). But here it is 5:13 a.m., and i have yet to fall back into slumber. Gah! Maybe my body is just preparing itself for its return to the States?

Soooo many things lately that i've wanted to blog about, but because i was being a good student, i never did. And of course, i can't remember a damn thing now. But i will say that this next week, aka my last week here in Londy, is going to be a whirlwind of sightseeing fun! I have sooo much to do, including but not limited to...

1. Tate Modern
2. Natural History Museum (LOVE me some dinosaurs!!)
3. Seeing the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House
4. Afternoon tea (yes, again.....)
5. Portobello Market
6. Evensong @ St. Paul's
7. Westminster Abbey
8. Boutique shopping in Hamstead and Chelsea
9. Phantom of the Opera
10. Outdoor ice skating
11. Une autre visit to Harrods to buy pink Wellies!

Oh and i also have to figure out how on earth i'm going to pack and if i need to ship stuff home (likely) and um, all that jazz.

Have been eating TONS of Indian food lately and can't seem to get enough. There are some truly fabulous hole-in-the-wall vegetarian Indian eats just down the street - yum! There's also a cute little cafe/store called Greens 'n Beans, a DRU yoga creation, that serves a very very petit hot lunch buffet full of delicious, wholesome, and amazing vegetarian/vegan food. Think i might hit that one up tomorrow since M and i did Indian tonight...

Ouch, i think i might be experiencing heartburn. Not that i really know what heartburn is, of course, but this is what i imagine it to feel like. Speaking of hearts, Mom's surgery went really well, and i talked to her today. She said the first thing she said when she woke up was, "I'm hungry!" Hmmm i wonder where i get my appetite from... Can't wait to get home in a week and celebrate the holidays with Mommy, Daddy, Jennifer, Chris, Puffin & Muffin!! It's going to be such a full Park family house, i can hardly stand it! And the Thursday apres Christmas, Mom, Sister and I will be relaxing at the Bliss Spa in the W Hotel. 75-minute massage + "Mistle toes" pedicure = HEAVEN for this pedicure-starved student abroad.

xoxo darlings,
C

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Fantasy of Being Thin

A couple nights ago, in an effort to procrastinate from writing my papers (what else is new?) I stumbled across a very fascinating blog piece. From kateharding.net, "The Fantasy of Being Thin" is her in-your-face, brutally honest version of why you (you being women who constantly diet and say things like, "when i'm thin, i will wear a hot bikini or when i'm thin, i will meet the man of my dreams") should shutup about what a great person you'll be when you're thin and all the wonderful things you'll do and just accept that you can be that person and do those things right now. You know, as "fat." It's an interesting notion because i definitely empathize with the fantasy of being thin. My entire adolescent and adult life, up until about 6 months ago, has been an endless battle with my weight, my size, my fat. And i've made hundreds of those lists. If i were thin, that boy would love me. If i were thin, i would never be depressed. If i were thin, it wouldn't matter that i suck at law school because clearly, i'd be happy because i'd be THIN! And i wouldn't say that i'm 100% over it, because i'm most definitely not, but i no longer spend 90% of my day obsessing over my body and my food. Maybe that's just because i refuse to not eat mass quantities of french fries (as i did yesterday) or maybe i've given up on the notion that i'll ever have the body i want. The point is Ms. Harding is totally right. Life is way too short to start living it when you're thin. Who knows how long it'll be before then?? Anyway, you should definitely take a peek at her website. In the meantime, here's a little taste:

Accepting my fat really wasn’t the hard part. Accepting my personality — and my many limitations that have jack shit to do with my thighs — was. But oddly enough, once I started to do that, my life became about a zillion times more satisfying. I found the right guy, I took up yoga, I started taking my writing more seriously, I stopped apologizing for taking vacations in the U.S. and Canada instead of somewhere more exotic, etc. And lo and behold, things got a lot more fun around here. The thin person inside me finally got out — it just turned out she was actually a fat person. A reasonably attractive, semi-outgoing fat person who has an open mind and an active imagination but also happens to really like routine and familiarity and quiet time alone.

That was never who I expected to be — it was just always who I was.

So giving up dieting and accepting my body didn’t just mean admitting I would never be thin; it meant admitting I would never be a million things I might have been. (Which, I’m told, is a phenomenon sometimes known as “maturity.”) I am absolutely not one for settling — which is where the confusion about pessimism comes in, I think — but I am one for self-awareness and self-forgiveness. Meaning, there’s a big difference between saying you can’t be anything other than what you are right now, and you don’t have to be anything other than what you are right now. You will probably never be permanently thin, unless you are already, but other than that, the sky’s the limit. You can be anything or anyone you want to be, in theory.

The question is, who do you really want to be, and what are you going to do about it? (Okay, two questions.) The Fantasy of Being Thin is a really convenient excuse for not asking yourself those questions sincerely — and that’s exactly why it’s dangerous. It keeps you from being not only who you are, but who you actually could be, if you worked with what you’ve got. And that person trapped inside you really might be cooler than you are right now.

She’s just not thin.

The Fantasy of Being Thin

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Just a Petit Break...


100% determined to finish a paper today, but how cute are these kids?? Love them!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

2 Down... Too Many More to Go

Taking a little breather (ironic b/c i'm so congested that i can't breathe at ALL) in between papers to blog. Do you know what's the most annoying thing about a cold? Not the fact that i can't breathe, not the achiness, not even the vast quantities of tissue that i go through. Those things i can all handle pretty well without wanting to rip my head off. But what i REALLY can't stand is the POPPING. THE FREAKING POPPING OF THE EARS. It won't stop, and it's driving me CRAZY! And this is a pretty new phenomenon with me, as it's never once happened in the States. Also this whole getting sick apres travel thing is also annoying and promises me a sniffly Christmas. Add to that a really frustrating (in this country?? NEVER!) situation regarding my medication and getting an American prescription refilled in the UK. Basically you can't no matter how many times the pharmacist you talked to on the phone assured you that you could. I wish people would either tell me they don't have a f-ing clue or they'd just SHUTUP b/c giving me false information, particularly when my ears won't stop popping, makes me want to punch somebody. Suffice to say, as much as i can't stand so many things about America and more specifically, AmeriCANS, i do miss the much more prevalent competency, consistency, and efficiency in the land of the free... (i can't believe i just said that)

That's all for now. Toodles!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

So this is Christmas...

Can you believe it's December?? I, for one, cannot nor can i believe how quickly this incredible adventure abroad has passed. Although i am terribly homesick for my mother's (free!) cooking, Target, and Central Market, i can't believe i only have a few weeks left as a Londoner. That being said, I am still in Paris and don't want to leave it either. After all, our love has only grown deeper on this visit, and i am reluctant to say goodbye for who knows how long... I haven't even left the house today except in an effort to find food (annoying part of being a visitor and it being Sunday, therefore everything in Paris shuts down). I've been inside attempting, rather unsuccessfully i might add, to work on yet another paper. It's a bit difficult to "work" when there is no proper desk, dim lighting, and the fact that i'm constantly terrified of ruining the furniture. Below is a picture of my set-up... see my pink kitty hot water bottle?! Mmm love it. It keeps me company 24/7 here.

Anyway, i don't leave until tomorrow evening, but seeing as i have to "check out" of the apartment by noon, and i have sooo much more work to do, i might just be camping out somewhere avec luggage and laptop and being "productive." Then again, a quick visit to the Musee d'Orsay sounds immensely appealing too...

Forgive my future lack of blogging, but these next 10 days are going to be intense and unpleasant to say the least, as i have 4 papers (each one being 3000-4000 worse) to write. Then again, you may also want to forgive excessive blogging and rambling and incomprehension as i tend to turn to writing things other than school papers when i am bored, stressed, procrastinating, all of the above. Wish me luck, my darlings!

P.S. I can't stop watching every movie and youtube clip of Monsieur McAvoy that i can get my hands on... i am obsessed to a very dangerous degree. I don't think i've been like this since the days of Carolyn DiCaprio (yes, that's right). I'm determined to find myself a dark hair, blue-eyed, Scottish James McAvoy clone as soon as possible.

P.P.S. Yes i realize that he's not the hottest guy alive, and that he's about 5 feet tall, but honestly he's charming and adorable and incredibly sexy in both Becoming Jane and Atonement, and hey, maybe i'm not all that shallow OK?? And love is blind.

P.P.P.S. And yes, i also realize that he's married, and that according to S, aka cupid reincarnated, i am going to have very bad love karma if i keep falling for married, gay, famous, and otherwise unavailable men...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pictures!












Here are some fun pics from Paris! Today was INCREDIBLE, as the weather behaved quite nicely. Think sun, blue skies, crisp air, gorgeous fall foliage. Spend the day just walking and walking and walking, getting lost this way and that, eating baguette after baguette, and wanting very much to never leave this city...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bonjour, Paris!

Gotta make this quick as it's already 12 p.m., and i'm still in bed eating oatmeal and willing myself to get dressed. Arrived in Paris early yesterday, found my way to my darling apartment (really cute inside, but in a terribly touristy area - will not make this mistake again), and was soon out the door to enjoy my favorite city in the world. First stop was Chez Hanna for the best falafel i've ever had, then down to St. Germain to visit the incredible woman behind La Cerise Sur Le Chapeau for my own custom-made hat. Visited a lovely paper store, L'Art du Papier, picked up my hat, stopped by Monoprix for some water, cheese, and chocolate, and then finally made my way back home. Was quickly on my way back out when i realized i needed a baguette. It's hard to find a charming boulangerie in such a tourist-heavy area, but luckily i was able to find one still open, and bustling with the French, pas Americaines. Picked up a baguette (and eclair!), then stumbled across a lovely bookstore where i purchased a copy of Marie Claire pour la Maison (can't get enough of French interiors) and DARLING Hello Kitty children's books in FRENCH! Tooo cute, one's called Une Surprise Pour Maman. Love love LOVE French children's books. Came home, soaked in a very hot bath, ate my baguette and cheese and eclair, and then passed out. After sleeping a glorious 12 hours i'm ready to take on a new day. I think Versailles is on the menu, although who knows what adventures this magical city will bring aujourd'hui...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Atonement


Incredible book. Incredible movie. Be still, my heart... i LOVE James McAvoy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jivamukti



What a fantastic day! I attended the 2-hour Jivamukti Workshop with David Life and Sharon Gannon and honestly didn't know what to expect. I'd heard great things about Jivamukti from Kimberly Wilson and other yogis, and i knew they had a strong following in NYC (including Mr. Russell Simmons), but that was about it. It was one of the best practices i've had! Included chanting, sun salutations, backbends, all kinds of twisty turny poses, and a shoulder-stand that i swear we held for like...15 minutes. Also were able to get a glimpse into David and Sharon's yoga philosophy and lifestyle. The best part was at the end when Sharon had us repeat after her... "I...will...be...vegan...for the peace of the world." Giggles went around the room once we heard the "vegan" part, but for me it really struck a chord. I've been listening to the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast on iTunes, and vegetarianism is something i've been toying with for quite some time. It wasn't long ago that i said i could NEVER be a vegetarian b/c that would mean i was not a true foodie. But really.. what does that mean?? Well there's much more to say, and i've got to hit the hay (long day of babysitting ahead!), but more to come later.

xoxo, darlings

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Thanksgiving


I realize i should've written this ages ago (more like 2 days..), but it somehow escaped my mind. What did i do on Thanksgiving? Well i scored front row tickets to Les Miserables for half-price! So i took myself on a date on the evening of Thanksgiving to celebrate, sans turkey and pumpkin pie, giving thanks. The show was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. If i had to recommend one must-see show in London, i would recommend Les Miserables. The talent was beyond compare, and the entire show was captivating. I was incredibly moved and found myself wiping away tears in the last 10 minutes of the show (i wasn't alone either!). Loved it loved it LOVED IT. I can't say enough good things about. Being the longest running musical in business, Les Mis is truly organic - no fancy schmancy props or lights or special effects or wiring. Just brilliant performers on stage doing what they do best to an incredible masterpiece by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Bravo a million times over.

Nesting

It's cold, grey, and rainy out there, and so i've decided to spend the majority of my day warm and cozy in front of my beloved MacBook. I've got hot green tea, fabulous study music (think Aqualung, Perishers, Feist), and an illegal candle burning. :-) My sleep schedule is so frustratingly off. I took an impromptu nap last night around 8, woke up around 9:30, and then couldn't go back to sleep until around 6:30 a.m. Needless to say, i finally arose for the day close to noon and am determined to get to sleep at a decent hour tonight. (Haven't we heard this before...?)

Just to give you an idea of the Institution in which i am living, below are photos of my very colorful and cozy room. And trust me, the rest of the place does not look quite so... cheerful. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Yoga Show: Day 1


Bonjour from a very enlightened moi. Ok, not really, but i did attend the first day of The Yoga Show today and indulged in quite a bit of yogic retail therapy. The pic above shows off my goodies, which include 2 books (Meditation Bliss and 1001 Pearls of Buddhist Wisdom), 2 CDs (Yoga Rhythms and Mantra Girl), awesome mala beads, 2 yoga headbands, a yoga top, a neti pot (left mine in Dallas), and a beautiful pashmina made by those in Tamil Nadu, South India. Now, i know what you're thinking, way to go to a yoga show and shop... isn't that very anti-yoga? Well, believe me, i wasn't the only one shopping up a storm. With hundreds and hundreds of booths, it's hard not to walk away with a bag in hand. BUT, i did partake in a little free activity as well. I made it to a short class by Claire Missingham, a UK-based yoga teacher who specializes in Vinyasa Flow. She is an adorable little thing, and i really enjoyed her class, as short as it was. It gave me a little taste of something i've been missing for a REALLY long time - some serious yoga, man. I've tried practicing in the Institution, but my arms hit furniture or the walls (our rooms are quite narrow), and the idea of getting that close to this disgusting carpet... well, it's just not very zen. Tomorrow I plan on attending a workshop on Dru Yoga and on Sunday, i have a 2-hour workshop with David Life and Shannon Gannon from Jivamukti. I can't WAIT!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Won't You Be My Clementine?



Are clementines not one of the most perfect fruits ever? Easy to peel, perfectly sweet, seedless, portable... Love them! Just bought two big bags full at M&S Simply Food yesterday, as they were buy 1 get 1 free. Also spent the afternoon at the glorious Whole Foods Market on High Street Kensington... just being there cheers me up. Indulged in a chair massage, bought some yummy teas, tasted a myriad of tasty fromage and purchased three of my favorites... Got caught in the rain sans umbrella on my way home, but it was OK, eco-friendly reusable bags were packed with goodies so i was fine with it. Once home and sufficiently dry, i made myself a lovely cheese plate for dinner, complete with fresh baguette and juicy red grapes straight from Italia. Pretty soon afterwards I curled up in bed to read the Body + Soul (ma soeur sent it to me from the States...LOVE this magazine!) and fell asleep around... 9:30 maybe? Ridiculous huh? I woke up at 3:45 a.m. tres confused. Brushed my teeth, turned out the lights, and tried to fall asleep once again, but surprise surprise, have been unable to. So I called Momma Park, chatted for a bit, and have since been surfing the internet and eating clementines. Not a bad start to Thanksgiving, eh?

Mrs. Matt Hales...?


I don't understand people who aren't into music. I mean... did God not give us ears so that we could hear the sweet, sweet sounds of artists comme Monsieur Matt Hales? Last night i had the pleasure of attending the Aqualung concert at Kings College. Small venue, relatively inexpensive bar, and one incredible performance after another. I've been a fan of Aqualung for a couple of years now, but last night really blew me away. And despite the annoying and what i think to be inconsiderate 6'+ guy standing smack in the middle of the crowd, I couldn't keep my eyes off of Matt as he worked his magic on that keyboard and into that microphone. Favorites from last night included: Glimmer, Another Little Hole, Something to Believe In, Breaking My Heart, Strange & Beautiful, Garden of Love... i mean, it was ALL good. If you appreciate good music at all, go forth and download immediately.

On a slightly sadder note, it turns out Mr. Hales has been happily married for more than 10 years and has a child... just my luck.

On the saddest note ever, Mr. Hales informed us that about 2 months ago, his record label dropped Aqualung. WHAT?? I don't understand. I did a little online research and turns out, Columbia Records (yes the AMERICAN label) were the ones behind Memory Man, Aqualung's third album. Go figure it'd be the stupid Americans to drop such precious talent...

Ok i'm done being anti-American. ;-) In short, i heart Aqualung and Matt Hales and hope that it won't be too long before i hear him live again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Night Owl

I'm having one of those nights... those nights that you just don't want to go to sleep! First off, i'm not sleepy. After my 20-hour slumber marathon the other day, i slept from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (yup, you read that correctly) this morning and then got up refreshed and ready to start my day. Took a much-needed hot shower, actually put some makeup on, and ventured out into the gloomy cold to hit up the Victoria & Albert museum. Oh i'd almost forgotten how much i adore museums! Esp. this one - specializes in art and design, yummy! Bought my ticket for the Golden Age of Couture exhibition and then decided to kill some time in the incredible museum shop. Goodies galore!! Got prezzies for Mom, Sister, and Pony (and ok yes, maybe a lil sumthin' pour moi) and discovered, on my way to the exhibit, ANOTHER SHOP! This one specialized in the Museum's featured exhibitions - HELLO COUTURE! Even more goodies got popped in the sack, and then finally i was on my way to the main event. Only downside to the experience was that it was so PACKED. I guess rainy day + Sunday + gorgeous vintage Dior make for a good combination. Needless to say, i loved it and can't wait to return to the V&A to explore the rest of the (FREE!) collections.

By 5:30 p.m., London is pitch black, so after exiting, i dashed down the street to the Laduree in Harrod's in an effort to cross off at least 2 of my "To Do's." Sadly i would not be seated, as the line was literally out the door, but i did manage to purchase some macaroons and a darling little notebook. Every little detail inside the patisserie and even in their wrapping and presentation of the treats is incredible. Gotta LOVE the French for that! It screams French royalty, and it's like i have my own little personal Versailles... mmm love it. Can't wait to go back and indulge in a cup of chocolat chaud and sink into the plush red velvet chairs... Geez there are SO many more things i need to do in this city! Sadly the weather is NOT behaving, and the 10-day forecast says rain rain and more rain. Bleh.

In good news, my stomach has fully recovered, and my head cold appears to be on its way out as well. Yay! Food in my belly makes me sooo happy. In even better news, i'm thrilled to report that i made my first...blogger introduction?? Hmm how to explain.. basically, i virtually introduced the fabulous Kimberly Wilson (of hiptranquilchick.com) to the awesome Claudia (of theparisapartment.com), and now it seems that KW will be doing a podcast with Claud! This is why i love love the blogging world. I've been lucky enough to meet and actually spend face-to-face time with these two incredible women. I mean... who am i? A 24-year old law student who still cries for her Mommy when she's sick. But at least i've got some kickass chicks on my side.

2:33 a.m. and not a single yawn. OK. Gonna listen to some HTC podcasts, tidy up a bit, journal, and mayyybe try to sleep. xoxo, darlings

Mmm...Divine

Made it to the V&A, absolutely LOVED the Golden Age Couture exhibit, adored the museum shops (i know i know), and made it over to Laduree to at least purchase some of their famous macaroons, but could not sit and eat as it was freezing cold and raining outside so there was a line out the door. Still, a wonderful afternoon! Will blog more later, but first, MUST EAT.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ups and Downs and...Ups?

I'm hesitant to say for sure, but i think my stomach has taken a turn for the better. As for my cold and fever, i'm not sure. My head still feels like it's trapped in a fishbowl, my ears still won't stop popping, and after 20 hours of sleep, you'd think my body would feel well-rested... Nonetheless i am grateful that whatever nasty stomach bug i had has left me alone. I was finally able to eat today, although i was still bedridden for most of it. In an effort to amuse myself, i watched Becoming Jane and, to my surprise, enjoyed it immensely. Suddenly in the mood for period pieces, i hunted and scoured the internet and iTunes for Little Women and Elizabeth, but alas, had to settle for a second viewing of Becoming Jane... I'm really quite disappointed with iTunes' selection of movies. In another effort to cheer myself up, i found and purchased Amy Grant's 1992 Christmas album. I LOVE this album. I played it nonstop when I got it for Christmas (duh) back then, when i was just nine years old. It's playing now, my roomies are all asleep or avec their boyfriends, and i'm still in my uber-comfy, very well-slept-in pink twin bed. Sigh. At least I've got the American December issues of Allure and Glamour to keep me company (thank G for roomie's visiting boyfriend!).

Am wanting very much to spend tomorrow at the V&A and then at Laduree... Sigh. *fingers crossed*

Friday, November 16, 2007

Woe Is Me

Greetings from my uber-comfy (thanks to ma soeur) twin bed in the Institution. I've been in this bed pretty much all day, dozing in and out of sleep, clutching my stomach in pain, and wanting my Mommy very very much. Yes, it appears i have some sort of stomach bug or virus that has pretty much left me incapable of doing anything today. (and yes, it was a beautiful sunny day here in London) This morning, after getting about 2 hours of sleep, i headed down to Leicester Square to get discount tickets to Les Miserables, only to discover that they weren't even being offered. Argh! As i made my way back home, i realized just how not right my stomach was. As soon as i got home, i crawled into bed, slept, whined to my roomies, and have been here ever since. S was kind enough to get me some 7Up, and i am currently eating a banana (apparently good for upset stomachs), but other than that, i haven't had a thing to eat. Tres miserable. If you know me at all, you know that food = comfort, joy, and love so not being able to eat it is just awful. I am hoping this bug leaves me before tomorrow so that i can take myself on an Artist Date to the V&A Museum. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ugh.

Sadly am not feeling much better. Hoped that a trip to Whole Foods on High Street Kensington would relieve my body aches and congestion, but sadly it did nothing of the sort. SO if i wake up feeling poopy, then i still definitely be having a stay-in-bed day until i feel better. Keep your fingers crossed!

On a brighter note, I've started The Artist's Way again and intend on actually following through on each week's activities. So far, i've been pretty satisfied with my progress. Yay pour moi.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Night in India


Had sooo much fun on my girl date tonight!! Finally saw a Bollywood movie at a cinema here, the beautiful, insanely aesthetically pleasing Saawariya. Despite the absence of Ashwarya Rai, it was quite a delight. Afterwards, we headed to the famous Brick Lane for some truly delicious Indian food. Yum! It's one of the best and most inexpensive meals i've had in London. I'll definitely be going back! And there are plenty more Bollywood films to see... ;-)

My fun quickly died once i got home and realized that my dry mouth/throat was turning into a sore throat. Then came the sniffly nose, body aches, and slight fever... And here i am, sipping Theraflu, crying to Mommy, and hoping this passes soon.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back from Praha

Am happy to report that i survived the brutal cold of Prague and have since returned to a less cold, though still pretty chilly, London. Didn't sleep at ALL last night, as our driver picked us up at 5 a.m. for our 6:50 a.m. flight. Needless to say, as soon as I got back to the Institution (aka the dorm), i crawled right into bed, croissant hanging out of my mouth, and passed out. It was a delicious, warm, and deep sleep. (And yes - i woke up to use the loo and therefore removed the croissant before returning to bed.)

Am feeling very... something. Descriptive, huh? I guess i just feel like i've neglected my journey of self-discovery and creativity since i've been here, which is of no surprise since there are just so many things to do and see in Europe. About to head to a movie (Elizabeth!!) with the roomies, but will definitely be blogging about this later... for now, enjoy this pic of C and M in Praha!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Things to Ponder...

1. The American economy and possible recession. (I firmly believe this is a direct result of me being in London this Holiday season...)
2. Why the new French President is so in love with the USA.
3. Why FEMA still sux.
4. How Americans will survive sans new TV episodes...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Itchin' to Travel

Bonsoir, mes amies! I am happy to report that after a long hiatus from traveling, i am finally leavin' (on a jet plane) to Prague tomorrow afternoon!! I could not be more excited, as Prague is definitely high on my list of places to see and be seen. I'm going with my darling Martur, and we are staying at Wencenslas Square in a gorgeous **** hotel for quite a deal. Seeing as how the American dollar keeps plummeting to new lows, it's nice to be going somewhere that doesn't use the freaking pound. Before packing, i looked up the weather forecast for the weekend, and um... well it appears that the highs will be in the upper 30's and lows in the lower 30's... and rain/snow is on the menu for each day we are there. I haven't decided whether this is a good thing, as Prague and especially Charles Bridge are rumored to be gorgeous in the snow, or a bad bad thing as i have not had to deal with weather that cold in quite some time, and as many of you know, i have a major aversion to wearing pants (despite my many, many pairs of designer denim). Sooo i bought some long underwear from the ever-trusty M&S and will most definitely be sporting my raspberry pink Uggs, and I think i'll be okay. :-)

Life's been a series of ups and downs lately. Ups include the fact that i'm living in freaking London (YAY!), doing zero schoolwork and not having to feel (that) guilty about it at all, and have just been having an amazing time abroad. Downs, however, include Mom's health and my occasional feelings of fatigue and ickiness. It seems, however, that my Mom's situation is best-case scenario so i guess that's a little comforting. And my ickiness is just a natural result of this radical weather, and as long as i don't get the flu, i'm happy. It gets dark around these parts at, like, 4 p.m. now. It's crazy weird!! Really, it makes you not want to leave the house past 5 because it's so cold and dark outside, and so i've been pretty content snuggling up in my now cozy bed, in my now very homey room, reading some great books. Just finished "The Almost Moon" by Alice Sebold, which i very much enjoyed and have since started "Atonement" by Ian McEwan (quite an unfortunate name, eh?). Today i also started re-reading my beloved "Hip Tranquil Chick" and fell in love all over again. I actually read a semi-nasty review of HTC on Amazon.com and kind of wanted to punch the reviewer in the face. OK not really, but her attitude was very "holier than thou," and she CLEARLY was not a girly girl. So why did you buy a pink and leopard print embellished book entitled "Hip Tranquil Chick??" Oh well, guess you can't win 'em all!

While i've been here, i've also been fortunate enough to make a little extra cash babysitting for a fellow UT law student's adorable children. S and L are DARLING, and i love every moment i have with them. (Ok - maybe not the dirty diaper ones.) It had actually been awhile since i babysat, and so tonight was quite a treat. We cooked penne and bolognese sauce for dinner and then cuddled on the couch watching Mario & Luigi kick some ass on TV. It was sweet. I can't wait to have babies! (I know i know... i'm only 24...)

Um so, like a fool, i forgot to put all my Christmas tunes on my macbook, soooo if anyone has fun holiday music to share... please do!! Thus far, i've successfully fought the temptation to buy Christmas decor... i hope it stays that way. In the meantime, i will be enjoying the beautiful winter wonderland that is Prague!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pics!






Just a few pics of PARK SISTERS REUNITED: London 2007. The two of us post-Lord of the Rings musical madness, me gazing longingly into the windows of Laduree, me striking a pose avec a Harrods display mannequin, and sisters in front of the beautifully lit Harrods.

Oops!

My baaad... my (dorkier) sister gently pointed out that i mispelled/misnamed like all the characters from Lord of the Rings. My bad!!!

Over It

I am a little over London today. I'm over the inefficiency. I'm over the crowded streets. I'm over the freaking pound. And most of all, i am OVER the food.

That being said, I am enjoying the crisp weather and smell of Christmas.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wicked


God i LOVE the theatre. This morning J, L, and i went down to Victoria to get student discounts to Wicked and managed to score 3 badass seats. And yes, it really IS that good! I was skeptical, at first, and I must admit that most of of the First Act was, like, OK, but by the end of the First Act, i was hooked. And then the show just got better and better.. I even teared up at the end! And the two witches certainly deserved that standing ovation b/c they were FANTASTIC! Comedy's tough to do in musical theatre, but they nailed it. I can't wait for more.

On another note entirely, i've been feeling a bit down lately as my sister brought me some not-so-great news regarding my mother's health. My parents are both really healthy, and besides my dad's gout, they've never had any major health problems. But it seems that not all is right with my mom's heart, and she's been seeing a doctor and cardiologist to pin down the problem. It seems to be best case scenario, meaning she'll only need a minimally invasive outpatient surgery, but surgery is surgery, and anything to do with the heart terrifies me. (Blame it on Grey's Anatomy.) Anyway, that's definitely been weighing heavily on my mind, and the fact that i'm not there to see how bad it really is.. well, that's been really hard on me. Sigh. I know she'll be ok. She'll be ok.. right? Yes, she'll be okay. My mom's in great health. And if this is what's going to force her into early retirement, then it's kind of a blessing in disguise. But i am undeniably 100% totally and completely freaked out. I haven't been able to sleep lately. And life in London is good, reallly good, and i had an incredible time with my sister, but... man this really sucks.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dorktastic!



Yesterday i got half-price tickets, 10 rows from the stage, to... THE LORD OF THE RINGS MUSICAL!! I know what you're thinking, how lame can you be, but considering my sister and i have seen Les Mis, Phantom, etc. at least 2x each, we were looking for something a little different. Plus we both are huge dorks (especially her) and love Lord of the Rings so... I was really curious to see how they'd built the set, and i KNEW the music would be fantastic, and off we went! It was AWESOME! Granted there were a couple of snooze parts, but the set, the music, the lights, the costumes, everything was great! I LOVED Lady Loth Lorry and Smeagle (sp?) was INCREDIBLE and sounded just like the movie character. Act II actually opened with Smeagle crawling down the screen! The hobbits had a fantastic song/dance number in the first Act that was standing ovation-worthy, and the trees on stilts, dark knights, and even ginormous spider were all CLASSIC. Oh and at one point, the orgs were in the audience, and it was TERRIFYING. In any case, if you're a Lord of the Rings fan or just enjoy theatrical fun, i would highly recommend this musical.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

La Vie En Rose

Just booked my second Eurostar trip to Paris!! I've made the executive decision that Italy and all its gastronomic glory will have to wait until my next trip to Europe. But my darling Paris, just a hop skip and a jump (across some water) away, is calling my name! I am beyond excited!! This time i will definitely make it out to Versailles and visit Madame Patel again (of course) and sip chocolat chaud at La Duree and enjoy every inch of my favorite city in the world... Mmm... J'adore Paris. Maybe i'll even have a Paris kiss. ;-)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Afternoon Tea, Shopping Madness, & Yummy Lebanese



Bonjour from Londy! Today was a beauuutiful day here... sunny, crisp Fall weather complete with a sunset of around 5 p.m.... Yeah. Those days are getting shorter and colder, but as long as the sun stays, i am a-okay. Yesterday was not so fun - grey skies and drizzly rain alllll day, but my mood was not dampered in the slightest b/c yesterday morning, Ma Soeur arrived!! I picked her up from the tube station very, very early in the morning (like.. 8 a.m.), brought her back to the oh-so-fab Schafer House dorm and quickly opened the goodies she brought me from the States (Method cleaner, dryer sheets, Smashbox cream eyeliner, and a beautiful ivory leather Guccissima hobo bag!), and then we headed down Tottenham Court Rd. to get breakfast. After dining on scrambled eggs, buttered toast, beans, hashbrowns, and ham, we made our way back to the dorm to get ready for a day o'shopping. First on our list? The infamous Primark - literally the ONLY affordable clothing store in London, even after converting to $. Despite getting there right at opening time, the store was still packed. A few hours later we walked out laden with bags, caught a cab, and came back home to drop off the goods!

A little while later we headed towards Kensington Palace to have afternoon tea @ The Orangery, a darling cafe/teahouse by the Palace with a gorgeous interior and affordable prices. It was so fun!! There's nothing this girl loves most than shopping and afternoon tea with my older sister. :-)

Much, much later we checked into ma soeur's hotel in Westminster and headed to Noura, an incredible Lebanese restaurant with a decor that suggests much higher prices than what's on the menu. We ordered tons of small hot dishes, shared a main entree, and were sufficiently stuffed, although not quite so stuffed that we couldn't partake in the complimentary plate of desserts brought to us by our kind waiters at the end of the meal. A short time later i was back at the hotel indulging in a heavenly hot bubbly bath... yummmmm. Needless to say, i had a wonderful Sunday with my darling sister. The only thing that could have possibly made the day better would've been my Mom, but alas, one can only ask for so much.

While Sister's in Dublin, i need to write my 1500 word paper for EU Environmental Law, due at 11 a.m. sharp on Wednesday morning. How far have i gotten, you ask? Well i checked out some books from the library today. That's something, right? They have yet to be opened, but never fear, i have alllll of tomorrow. :-) Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator!

Monday, October 22, 2007

If Music Be the Food of Love...


...play on! I'm SOOO excited as i have just purchased 2 tickets to see Aqualung at London Kings College on Tuesday, November 20. YAY! I love love Aqualung and am beyond ecstatic to see them at a small, standing room venue. :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Yummy Yoga

I'm feeling really really good despite the fact that it's 2:14 a.m. here in London, and i still need to take a hot shower and clean up my room before crawling into my uber-comfy pink bed. Just spent an hour doing yoga with the lights off and listening to Kimberly Wilson guide me into yogic bliss. It was the first full practice I've done since going abroad, and it was just what I needed. Note to self: MUST incorporate home yoga practice into daily life here in London, as yoga studios here charge upwards of $22 per class...

Anyway, my practice also inspired me to sign up for The YOGA Show happening here the weekend of November 23-25. Even MORE exciting is that Sharon and David from Jivamukti Yoga in NYC are holding a special workshop on that Sunday. YAY! I've been wanting to take a Jivamukti class ever since KW did the Jivamukti teacher training this past year. And to workshop with the founders of Jivamukti?? Incredible. The whole weekend looks amazing, and i'm SO glad the entrance price wasn't exorbitant. What better way to spend post-Thanksgiving weekend? :-)

Ok must finish this green tea, hop in the shower, and hit the sack so i don't sleep in again until 3 p.m.... Bonsoir, my darlings!

Lazy Sundays

*Yaaaaaaaaaawwwnnn* Mmm today's been one of those deliciously lazy Sunday where you remain content in your warm, uber-comfy (thanks to your darling older sister who sent you a foam mattress pad) bed buried under Hello Kitty sheets and pink blankets and duvets for as long as you wish, getting up only to tinkle and get a snack. Mmm it's been wonderful. And the best part? I don't have class tomorrow! The beauty of starting your week of school on Tuesday is that lazy Sundays are completely valid and OK. I heart London.

That being said, i'm now (sort of) up, burning my new orange and ginger candle (DIVINE), and looking up info. on purchasing tickets to La Bayadere, a fabulous ballet set in India. It ends this Saturday, so I'm dying to get a cheap ticket to the Saturday matinee. I've never been to a ballet, but I can't imagine one I'd love more than one set in India! Imagine the costumes... imagine the music!! Augh i can't wait.

Last night I babysat for FOUR kids, count them 1-2-3-4!! My two "regulars" (5-yr old girl, 3-yr old boy), and 2 more boys (3-yr and 1-yr). They were all adorable, of course, but wow, I haven't been around a crying baby in a looooong time. Turns out, the 1-yr old is only (temporarily) placated when I sang "Wheels On the Bus" over and over and over... Needless to say, i sang that song for about 1 1/2 hours total last night and came up with new and interesting lyrics, like "The babysitter on the bus goes 'Please don't cry, please don't cry, please don't cry.' The babysitter on the bus goes.." I think you get my drift. Luckily the other 3 were having tons o' fun playing dress up and throwing balls so I didn't have to worry about them too much. I love kids, i really do. Especially cute kids who are cute even when they are screaming their heads off. ;-) Sigh, reminds me of my days as a toddler...

Am fighting every urge to crawl back into bed... especially now that the sun is setting (yes at 5 p.m.). Lebanese fare is on the menu tonight for dinner. Yum!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New York on Crack

Haha so... i stumbled upon this blog entry that i wrote my 2nd day in London. My oh my how things have changed...


9/25/07
I hate London. Ok perhaps that’s a bit harsh, but after spending 3 glorious days in beautiful Paris, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed by London. The streets, traffic, and pace definitely remind me of Manhatten. Same guys pushing newspapers and flyers into your hands, the same magazine and tourist stands everywhere, the same f-ing Starbucks at every corner. Oh btw, that’s where I am right now, Starbucks. Sad huh? In my defense, it appears to be the closest coffee shop, and I was hoping to steal wireless somewhere here. Unfortunately there is none to be stolen. Pas gratuis! So this is being written on WORD to be posted later on the blog if I ever get internet access in this godforsaken city.

Monday morning, I met Claudia for a final rendezvous at our local café. She gave me my flea market treasures from the day before, and I recounted my evening spent finding Madame Patel and her fabulous pashminas in the Latin Quarter, getting the world’s best falafel (and gosh, it really IS the best), and walking down Rue de Rivoli to the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, etc. It was a beautiful night, and I must admit that I got a bit sad from it all. My love affair with Paris has only gotten more intense, and I can’t wait to return. It’s not that I don’t want to see all the other beautiful and equally wonderful cities here in Europe; it’s just that Paris is magic and sort of feels like home. Weird huh? Maybe I was French in a former life. Anyway, after 2 café crèmes and a delicious hot baguette stuffed with fried egg, cheese, and tomato, I decided to make a mad dash for a beautiful paper store Claudia insisted I visit. We mapped out our route and were quickly on our way. Thankfully it was open, and I bought a beautiful wax stamp/sealer, pink wax, and a few other French treasures. If I had more time, there’s no doubt I would’ve spent a mini fortune in there! After bidding adieu to Claudia, I was back on the metro to the Marais and in about 10 minutes, managed to pack and drag my ridiculous luggage down to the street where my cab was waiting. Successfully arrived at the Gare du Nord, struggled to get up to the Eurostar entry, went through all the crap you have to get through to board the damn train, and luckily met a really nice English couple who helped me with my bags. On the train I sat across from 2 English sisters who quickly became new friends. They told me where to go, what to be wary of (the minicabs who ask you over and over, “you want taxi??”, and just how expensive London is, and before I knew it, we had arrived at Waterloo. They helped me with my 120 lbs of luggage down the street, I got in the “queue” for a taxi, and was finally on my way to 168 Drummond St. Good Lord traffic in London is an absolute nightmare. After checking in with the dorm, I was led to my 3rd floor flat (with no elevator, yay 120 lbs of luggage) and once inside my bedroom (if you can even call it that), I got tres depressed. I knew it was a dorm, but COME ON! It’s a prison cell with stained ceilings and walls, a scary carpet on which I’m afraid to walk barefoot for fear of contracting some sort of horrible disease, and the world’s most hideous curtains in the world. I know I sound like a brat, but after the loveliness of all that is Paris, i was pretty grossed out. The first thing I did was light candles and incense (the smell of must doesn’t agree with me) and rip off the hideous curtains. Ah – much better already. After Clorox wiping down my surfaces and febrezing the crap out of my mattress (which btw is really just a 4 inch thing with horrible coils that dig into your back), I put my warm and cozy Hello Kitty sheets on the bed and started to set up house. I rearranged the furniture a bit, but I’m still not crazy about the bed’s location. You see, my room is the weirdest shape ever and no corner is 90 degrees, so the bed placement is a bit… tricky. After a bit of progress, I quickly realized that I needed to head out to the store asap. Found my way to Boots, where I bought a few toiletries and wipes, then to Sainsbury’s for cleaning supplies, and then to Habitat for pillows, a bath rug, and hand towel. I’m still in need of a bath towel, but Habitat was just way too expensive as it is. Damn the pathetically low American dollar!!! By the time I arrived back to the flat, Sam and Martha were there, and we caught up a bit. I then spent the next few hours diligently working at my room, unpacking and attempting to transform it into something warm and livable. After throwing a few pashminas here and there, lighting beaucoup candles, and covering surfaces with my various books and beautiful odds and ends from the Paris flea markets, it looks a bit better. I still need to fashion some sort of curtains for the window, desperately need a comforter as I woke up last night frozen and then proceeded to call my Mum and cry about it, and other necessities like, um, pots and pans, plates, bowls, cups, and silverware. We have nothing. It’s sad, really. Luckily the kitchen is sizable so I can do some cooking in there.

So, okay, my first night in London was less than spectacular, but I am trying to be optimistic. This morning I woke up at the butt crack of dawn, made tea, took a hot shower, and headed out for breakfast and wifi. Breakfast I got, wifi I did not. I’m going to hit a few shops on the way home, and then get ready for Orientation at 10. Thankfully the only mandatory part of Orientation today is a meeting in the morning, so I’m going to skip out on the optional coach tour through London and familiarize myself with the tube and buy blankets!

Till later, darlings. Kiss kiss.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

TopShop...



...is amazing. And dangerous - very, very dangerous. I stumbled my way into the massive, huge, world-class TopShop at Oxford Circus today and just about died. Bags, shoes, sparkle, 3+ floors, boutiques within boutiques, jewelry counters, and even a cafe! It was beautiful. It was not quite as cheap as I had hoped, but it was still beautiful. Oxford is just shopping heaven and only a hop, skip and a jump away! Seriously the location of our dorm couldn't be better. I love love LOVE IT.

And I finally got a lamp in my room so my "closet" corner isn't quite so dark. Choosing daily ensembles in the dark is not so pleasant. We also finally got a full-length mirror sittin' pretty in the hallway so that we aren't so clueless about the bottom halves of our bodies.

I am loving loving London. I don't even care about traveling so much; I just want to learn this city inside and out. Plans for the weekend include trying a fancy Lebanese restaurant, London zoo, Indian food, beaucoup de walking, babysitting for 4 kids, and enjoying the sun while it lasts. :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

As Promised

I have finally gotten my photos on the web - phew! I remember in college how much I loved uploading, captioning, organizing, etc... now i just don't have the energy for it! So the captions are severely limited and the order is probably whack, but it's the best i can do for now. Enjoy!

Carolyn's Pictures

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Just A Taste

Just a few pics until I get them all organized and up on the web...







Tuesday, October 9, 2007

ARGH!!!

I FINALLY get internet access in my room, and now it won't let me access random sites?? For example, I can get to gmail (thank goodness) and google search sites, but Leanne can't access her yahoo mail. I can log onto gchat but not AIM? And worst of all, I can't get to hip tranquil chick!!!!!!!!!!! ARGH!!!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Oktoberfest!

Hello from Munich!! I wish I knew how to say Hello in German, but alas, my German is pretty weak sauce. Nonetheless i have managed to make the best of my short time here in the land of Schnitzel. After spending a FRIGID night in the Zagreb airport, the girls and i boarded our tiny tiny plane to Munich very early this morning. A quick train ride later and we arrived at our hostel. A quick breakfast and brushing of teeth, and we were off to spend the afternoon at the Dachau Memorial Site. We were blessed with a gorgeous fall day in Munich, complete with trees of orange and red leaves, a crisp breeze, and beautiful sun. The beautiful setting helped make the Dachau experience a little less depressing, but it was definitely quite an emotional experience. What really got to me was walking into the actual gas chamber used in Dachau... i mean i was speechless. And then the pictures of the men, not the pictures of bodies piled up or of death, but just the profile pics of men who spent their time there, some even dying there. It was heartbreaking. How some people still deny the existence of the Holocaust and concentration camps is beyond me. Denial is a powerful thing, it seems. Anyway, it was an important experience and one I highly recommend to anyone visiting Munich.

After Dachau, Jenny and I ventured into a very traditional German restaurant across the street from our hostel to eat. We had bowls of creamy mushroom soup, fresh baked bread, pork schnitzel, french fries, and for dessert - fried apple beignets and apple streusel. It was incredibly decadent and rather tasty (the fried apple beignets were my fave). After gorging ourself with food, we hobbled across the street, took quick but hot showers, and tumbled into bed for a short nap. Sadly i was awoken only a short time later to Jennys insistence that it was time to get up and hit up Oktoberfest, and im so glad we did! No lines, no nothing. The place was like the carnival of your German dreams! Naturally we were there for the food, even after such a decadent lunch, and made a quick tour of the stalls before deciding on some long weiner hot dog sausage thingy for me and a fried fish sandwich with some killer tartar sauce for Jenny. For dessert, dark chocolate covered banana and my first candy apple. All in all it was a wonderful experience, even with the hideous drunks and aching bellies.

I imagine we will sleep very well tonight. Plans for tomorrow are up in the air.. i think i might forego the castle and spend mz last day in Munich exploring the city. I love exploring. The next time I write, i hope to be in the comfort of my own dorm room, tapping away at my beloved macbook instead of on dirty public keyboards. I will also post pics asap. Kisses, darlings. Ciao!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Last Night

Shed a tear, my friends, for tonight concludes our week long journey, sailing through the pearly waters of the Adriatic Sea. We have just arrived in Split, where we began our trip last Sunday, and will spend the day sightseeing, having our final Croatian dinner, and then will head to the airport to fly to Munich. We dont actually arrive in Munich until tomorrow morning (layover in Zagreb), and then plan to spend the day at Dachau and the evening at Oktoberfest. I am excited to return to land and dive into history (albeit incredibly painful). Ive loved my time in Croatia, but i am glad that the time is over. Last night the girls and i all had our own Captains dinner at a lovely Konoba in Omis. Three liters of house wine later (one of which was on the house!), we headed off the local bar to play with our fellow pirates, dance a little, and then i called it an early night (of course). It was lovely. Its all been lovely. I cannot believe how lucky i am to have experienced such beauty at this point in my life. Thank you.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Crosheya!!!

Hello mz beautiful friends! I know i promised loads of blogging while abroad, but itćs been a bit difficult, what with no internet in my room yet, and internet cafes being a bit rushed. I am currentlz in Makarska, Croatia enjoying the tail end of my sailboat cruise through the Adriatic. I LOVE Croatia, as it is both beautiful and relatively undiscovered in terms of American tourists. Our boat is surprisingly decent, and i got lucky enough to have a whole room to myself! I am rather enjoying my over the toilet showers and comfy bunk. Mornings are spent laying out on the deck, enjoying the phenomenal weather, reading, journaling, etc. Afternoons are spent in various cities (so far Hvar is my fave), evenings are spent wining, dining, and sometimes partying, and its pretty amazing. Our group is mostly Australian, and they are a fun bunch. The weather has been immensely kind considering its October and definitely the end of season here. I am loving loving loving it.

That being said, I cannot wait to get to Munich on Sunday morning and to venture into the holocaust museum, castles, etc. I will, of course, take a small part in Oktoberfest, but its definitely not my primary goal. Ill be back in London late Monday evening, and im a bit excited to check out classes on Tues. After much work and shopping my prison cell of a dorm room is finally shaping up to be something very Carolyn-esque indeed. (loads of colors, pink, patterns, shapes, candles, etc.) At first I wasnt the biggest fan of London, esp. since i had just come back from an incredible weekend in Paris, but it has definitely grown on me. Jenny and i inadvertently trekked through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park one afternoon, carrying loads of shopping bags. The park was beautiful, although we would like to experience it sans shopping bags next time.

I cant believe im actually in Europe, living the life, and experiencing it all. More to come soon, i promise. Ciao, darlings!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

French Flea Markets

Today might rank as one of the best days i've ever had. Had a cafe au lait and pain au chocolate (phenomenal btw) at a cafe right by the Chemin Vert metro, journaled, and then met Claudia at 9:30 sharp. She is too cute for words!! We took the metro to the flea market which was in the southern part of the city. This was my first real flea market experience, and i can't imagine a better one!!! Everything was faaaaaaaaaaabulous. I wasn't even planning on shopping, but I came back with a whole lot of loot, isn't that always the way? Among my treasures - Eloise a Paris in French (too cute for words), vintage French matchboxes, a darling vintage box full of silver fancy pen tips (now if only i could find a pen...), incredibly old carte postales (postcards) with beautiful French calligraphy from WAY back in the day, Elle and Marie Claire magazines from 1960, a beautiful ivory rosary, an adorable pink-striped Godiva Chocolatier tin, and three beautiful vintage handkerchief. We spent hours, literally HOURS at this first flea market, met up with one of Claudia's friends, stopped for more cafe creme, grabbed a sandwich to go, and then hit up another flea market. This one had less paper goods and more trinkets. This is also when an interesting French gentlemen fell in love with me and described me as "coquinne." When I asked what that meant, he said in his broken English, "uh.. enjoys lots of sex." Great... um, thanks? "It's ok, it's natural! C'est normale!" Right. Ran into him later and he introduced me to his Italian friend, stroked my cheek, and kept talking about how beautiful and "coquinne" i was. He then asked if he could take me dancing tonight. HA! I'm sure dancing is exactly what was on his mind... Got some other much more G-rated compliments from a few other guys working a stall. It's nice to know that I'm so adored in Paris since zero American men hit on me...

Anyway, post flea market madness, Claudia and I bit au revoir to her friend and then took the metro back to the Marais. I went over to her darling pied a terre she is renting from a friend. It's GORGEOUS and so Parisien in every way. She cooked me a delicious dinner of tomato/cucumber salad, pasta in basil marinara, and of course, bread and wine. I told her all about Kimberly Wilson (she's now a huge fan as well!) , and we watched Elimidate and Top Model dubbed in French, haha. Today was WONDERFUL and I saw and experienced parts of Paris I never would've known about had it not been for Claudia, whom I completely adore btw. Tomorrow we are hitting up another huge flea market in northern Paris, hopefully finding my pashmini paradise, and who knows what else! I love love LOVE this city and am soooo not ready to leave. But no worries, I am fairly confident that I'll be returning for another visit very, VERY soon.

Bonjour!

Good morning from my tiny studio apartment in Marais! The sun hasn't even risen yet (it's only 7:19 a.m. here), but I'm definitely up and about, enjoying a hot cup of tea and making plans for the day. This wireless internet access is the BOMB btw... I fell asleep in about 2 seconds last night and slept divinely. (I think the glass of wine helped.) I am blessed to have a warm comforter so I wasn't the least bit chilly. And, of course, I brought my own pillow cases so it felt just like home. :-)

Before my meeting at the Chemin Vert metro stop at 9:30 a.m., I think I'll venture out to another cafe and enjoy a cafe au lait and pain au chocolat. I've never actually had pain au chocolate - isn't that nuts? Chocolate and bread, two of my most favorite foods ever! I'm not sure of the location of the flea market, but I really want to make it back to Marais for lunch so I can hit up the falafel stand (seriously - it's the best). As far as my own personal agenda goes, I'd like to explore St. Germain and the Bastille area by foot today. I also want to find the guy that sells pashminas in every freaking color on the left bank. Hope he's still there!

Paris women really do have that... je ne said quoi, don't they? Sure there are your frumpy and uncharacteristic ones here and there, but for the most part, young 20 and 30 somethings are hot shit around here. With minimal makeup and often unruly hair, they still radiate glamour and chicness in a way that I believe only Parisien women can. Even the young teens, in their trendy skinny pants and converse sneakers are way more fashionable than the teens in the States. They also aren't as SLUTTY either, which is a huge relief. Perhaps i'll raise my 2 daughters in Paris? I am taking fashion tips at every corner. Then again, the French aren't as adventurous as the Brits, and i can't WAIT to see what people are wearing in Londy!!

Chatted with my dear Sista last night, and she's having a wonderful time in Greece. Can't wait until we meet up in London on Monday... I can't believe this semester is finally here! It feels surreal in a way too good way.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Belle Journee

Bonsoir! And thus concludes my first day in Paris... Luckily my flight was on time and my luggage was not lost. There was a bit of delay in finding my shuttle, but many, many hours later I arrived at 9 Rue Ste Anastase and was introduced to my new home for the next 4 days. It's darling, very small, and has loads of sunlight (a must!) After checking out the pad, I rushed out the door for a huge bottle of water and for lunch. Sat down at an adorable cafe on Rue de Turenne and enjoyed a grand cafe creme, a slice of quiche vegetarienne, and the requisite basket of french bread. Mmmm mm good! Soon thereafter i found my way back to my apartment and passed out for a couple of hours. Those red eye's are brutal, and I got maybe 2 hours of sleep total on the plane. After waking up i got myself together and ventured out for some exploring. Found the apartment my sister and I stayed in just over 2 years ago, found my favorite falafel stand (lunch tomorrow!!), and the yummy gelato place on the corner (pistachio and hazelnut, if you're wondering). Walked to the Hotel de Ville, crossed the Seine, said hello to Notre Dame, did a bit of people watching, and then decided it was time to head back. On the way i stopped at a small boulangerie and picked up a warm baguette, then by the supermarche for some fromage (cheeese!) and bourdeaux (vino!) and made myself a delicious little dinner. And now after a hot shower and a glass of wine, i am so ready for sleep. Tomorrow morning i'm meeting Claudia to visit a Parisien flea market (my first!) and then we'll see where the day takes me. J'adore Paris!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A HUGE Congratulations and a Bon Voyage!

First off - major congrats to my dear friend Judd (aka the Juddge) for receiving an offer to clerk with a judge on the D.C. Circuit!! I can't think of a single person who deserves this wonderful opportunity more than he does. YAY!!!

And now I bid my final adieu, to you dear friends and family, from the US of A. The next time I write, I will hopefully be in a darling cafe, sipping cafe creme and eating pain au chocolat, in beautiful Paris. My bags are (somewhat) packed, and I am ready to go. I don't actually arrive in Paris until early Friday morning and suspect that I won't actually get settled into my darling little apartment in Marais until the early afternoon. I plan on spending the day exploring my new neighborhood and hopefully finding the kickass falafel stand at which my sister and i dined so frequently on our last visit. I also plan on meeting up with Claudia of the oh so fabulous Paris Apartment at some point this weekend. Tres exciting! I am certain she will know of all the best treats in town.

Off to do some more packing... keep fingers crossed for no flight delays, no lost luggage, and no bad weather!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Neti Who?

Bonjour, mes amies! Only 5 more days until I'm in beautiful Paris, enjoying the crisp Fall weather and not having to deal with my parents' neuroses ANY LONGER. I haven't even been home for 24 hours and already they are on my case. Correction: Already my mother is on my case. My dad, so far, has been fine. Sigh. Does this ever end? Maybe when I'm married (which honestly they can't wait for)and can prove to them that I am financially independent and not about to declare bankruptcy. Yup... that's probably when all of this will end.

On a brighter note, I picked up a neti pot while in Austin this past week, and I tried it out last night. It's amazing! It was a little difficult at first, especially considering the tip of the pot does NOT in any form or fashion fit into my tiny nostrils. It's a bit hard to adjust to breathing solely through your mouth and also not swallowing the salty water, but in the end, I'd say I pretty much mastered the darn thing. And it really cleared my sinuses! I woke up this morning without major congestion, which hasn't happened in God knows how long. Anyway, I know it's a bit weird and scary looking, but I highly recommend it. It's way better than buying bottle after bottle of that addictive Afrin, and It's pretty cheap. The only thing you have to pay for is the neti pot (mine was $19.95, but i bet you can find uglier ones for cheaper) and salt. Water is (sorta) free! Anyway, if you have a significant other, I strongly recommend that you perform your neti pot activities sans his/her presence. It's not the most attractive picture in the world, even if you're a hottie (see pic below for evidence).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Feels Like Home to Me



Am currently sitting in Flipnotics coffee bar drinking an insanely delicious Acai Moonglow? smoothie - it's got the all-powerful acai berries, mangos, bananas, soy milk, and a bunch of other fruit that i can't remember. It's a damn good thing i like it since i just put a deposit down on an apartment here at... The Triangle! Yes that's right; i completely sold out and have agreed to live at this monstrosity at 45th/Guadalupe. In my defense, my apartment seems ideal - balcony opens to the pool, "loft" floorplan, big island in kitchen, huge walk-in closet, mere steps from the coffeeshop in which i'm currently sitting, a T-Mobile store, my bank, the cute little Italian eatery/grocery store Mandola's, and the Austin Farmer's Market comes every Wednesday night. Oh and there's also a beautiful park area as well, which would be ideal if i had a dog. (Speaking of dog, my Pony is out getting her new one as i write!!) Anyway, i couldn't see my actual apartment because it's currently occupied, BUT, i did see a model and although it is hella nice, some changes are going to have to occur...

1) It's "loft" style so it's got stained concrete floors (which i dig) and greyish walls/trim (which i definitely do not like). In other words, it's very... institutional and cold and not comme moi at all. So i've already made plans to paint the window wall of the living room PINK, yes PINK, do not try to talk me out of it.

2) Second, the window's got those horrible white plastic vertical blinds, so those are definitely coming off and new fabulous (and hopefully cheap) window treatments are going up.

3) I'll definitely need a sizable area rug for the living room, preferably a fun leopard print or something.

4) And of course, I need a new couch, chaise, and coffee table. These will all be from IKEA, of course, and i think i've already decided on the white Karlstad sofa. It's quite comfy, and i know you're thinking white, are you loco??, but it's washable (slipcover) and the latest issue of either Domino or Blueprint did WONDERFUL things with it by adding a variety of pillows and throws of various shapes, textures, and sizes.

5) Must figure out a way to incorporate and create a little office area in the living room. I've decided to really treat my bedroom as my sanctuary, meaning no TV, computers, work, etc. And now that my bathroom have tons of storage and counter space, i won't need to have a makeshift vanity in my bedroom either. Yay! I'm thinking beautiful bed, a couple of chests, small bookcase, beautiful chaise, and small yoga/meditation area.

So yeah... that's the plan as of right now. I haven't quite figured out how i'm going to be paying for all this on top of my exorbitant rent, but um... i'll worry about that later!

Ok gonna go make a petite trip to Wheatsville for some yummy essential oils. xoxo

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Creativity To-Go


There's me in the midst of my collaging madness! Glitter glue, ribbons, stickers, and magazines galore. Kimberly (and everyone else haha) found it so entertaining (and tres ridiculous i'm sure) that she just had to take a picture. :-)