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... 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...

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... 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


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


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


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!