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.


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. :-)

Back But Not For Long!

I'm baaaaaaaaaack! I would like to say that i'm happy to be back, but i'm not. OK, i'm happy to be back in the States where i can put toiletpaper in the toilet (Pura Vida has a "very delicate septic system"), and where i have easy access to the internet. But that being said, i'm not glad to be back in my parents' house. The freedom i had at Pura Vida cannot be matched. From the moment I woke up in the morning (at like 5:30 or 6 a.m.!!) to the moment i crawled into bed at night (latest 10 p.m... i know right) i was free to do whatever my heart desired. Sure we had schedules and meal times and all that, but nothing was mandatory. And i was more than happy to attend sessions of yoga and creativity with Kimberly and my fellow retreaters. And believe me, i was beyond thrilled to make it to my coffee exfoliation treatment, massage, facial, etc. It's hard to adjust to the regular bustle and flow of life back in the States after being in such serenity. And it's hard to deal with my parents who, despite being loving and supportive, can also be highly critical and judgmental of my life decisions. The one thing i took away from this past week is that it's completely and totally okay to be ME. And that being me may not please my parents in every aspect, and that's perfectly acceptable. I'm so tired of beating myself up for not being the ideal daughter, sister, law student, friend, yogi, etc. I'm elated to be who i am, bejewels and stickers and all. Anyway, i will definitely write more about my experience and beautiful Costa Rica later. Right now, i have some serious unpacking to do. ;-)