Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chronically lost à Paris

OK, so chronically lost is probably an exaggeration, because really I think we've been getting along pretty well. There have, however, been a couple of incidents.

We successfully went out to dinner and to bars the second night. We had a super fun waiter, and I had pasta with a lovely rosé. Then we tried a couple of different bars and watched the opening ceremonies with some British/German/French people. It was a lot of fun, but when we went to head home we took the metro to the RER and got there right as it stopped running :( Sooo we had to walk the rest of the way...which was kind of really far. But it's good for us right?

Despite our late night of walking (in light rain), we rallied in the morning, OK at 11am, to go shopping. First we stopped at a fun flea market where I got sandals and we ate some yummy crepes (mine was nutella of course). Then we headed to the Galleries Lafayette, which was actually a really good shopping deterrent, because we couldn't afford any of it. But all the clothes were like the most beautiful thing that I've ever seen. Also, the top of the building has a super gorgeous view of the city and on the 7th floor we got delicious gelato as our sort of lunch. Oh also the dome that equals the ceiling is pretty incredible too:

View from the top of the Galleries Lafayette

Gelato! SO sweet!

Given that we had eaten pretty much exclusively sugar, we decided to stop for groceries and then make dinner. It wasn't too bad either! Even my makeshift garlic bread (brie and garlic melted on bread) was good, although it isn't pictured here because it was ugly. 

The next day we were going to try to catch the stores we missed because we were too exhausted to go anywhere after Galleries Lafayette, but we forgot that it was Sunday so of course everything was closed. We did stumble across this beautiful church though:
Then we decided to venture up to Montmartre to see Sacré Coeur. Gorgeous. 

Side note: there are some really aggressive people up there trying to swindle you into bracelets, and I am ashamed to say I fell victim to it. Except it's not like I believed they were giving me a bracelet and asking for donations for the Church. I explicitly said no many times; it's just that while I was saying it the guy grabbed my wrist, tied the string around it, and started making the bracelet. My hand was literally tied. And so I ended up with a Hakuna matata bracelet, as they call them, and to be honest it kind of felt like I was branded as a gullible idiot. And the guy had the nerve to ask me for five euro. Rude. I think I gave him two. Bright side(s)? I found some cute accessories that will make great gifts, hakuna matata is supposed to be good luck or something, and I'm just going to tell people my friend Julie made me the bracelet.

Unrelated to anything: these ads are everywhere!!
 After lunch and some shopping in Montmartre, we went to see the Moulin Rouge!

That night we had dinner at an Italian restaurant and then tried to locate a bar to watch the olympics. This was a huge failure. We were supposed to look up a bar we had been to and then go, but a last minute decision led us to trying to find one when we got off at a random stop. We got off at one, walked around and then asked some Canadians where to go. They sent us to the Bastille district where we walked for even longer to no avail. Then we looked at a map and decided to get closer to the Eiffel Tower. Except we got way to close to it and no where near where we wanted to be. We did get to see it twinkle before heading home for wine and monopoly.

The next morning Julie and I headed out for shopping (second to last day of sales!) and only got very slightly lost. Our shopping was way too successful. Wayyyy too successful. We had crêpes for lunch and then made many many purchases before heading back for class. In class we talked about syllabus stuff and then Julie and I took our other friends back to where we had been that day. Except we realized we had forgotten a store and naturally had to stop to check it. So of course we both bought things. Then we grabbed dinner and of course dessert. We all tried different and fabulous things but this was my tarte aux pommes, which was divine:

Today we went to the Notre Dame towers, but I'll save that for the next post since I am very tired and we are going back tomorrow when I'm sure I'll have more to say about Notre Dame.

Au revoir for now!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Bienvenue à Paris

Bonjour tout le monde!

I am safely à Paris! It is swelteringly warm here in my petite room a la Maison Des Étudiants Canadiens, but lovely all the same. Quick recap of the week prior to departure:

I did not figure out how to do the waterfall braid :( BUT the person I work with who told me about the braid and another friend at work took me out for a delicious lunch on my last day. And they got me the cutest scrapbook and purse! The scrapbook has a pen that's half pen and half glue stick! It's already been so useful for putting my plane ticket and metro ticket in the scrapbook. My last several trips have ended with me returning home with a bag full of miscellaneous tickets, receipts, etc. all intended for a nice scrapbook but relegated to the bottom of the bag and eventually the trash. Needless to say this is a huge improvement in my scrapbooking capacity.

Anyhoo, I also enjoyed a lovely dinner last week with my friend Sammi-Jo and she had redone her apartment in the most adorable fashion! She's too cute and home improvement-y these days. She moved her table outside and painted it (she has lots of gorgeous plants around the front of her apartment) and someone brought her flowers to put on top:

After dinner we decided to make Raspberry Coconut Macaroons. We used the recipe from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2012/03/raspberry-coconut-macaroons/
If you're not familiar with Smitten Kitchen (this was my first time using one of her recipes), I highly recommend you get familiar with it. Endless exciting recipes. 

And so we attempted the macaroons, sans a large processor (we only used a very small one for the coconut) and sans the proper amount of coconut - a fact which led us to half the recipe. 

It's possible that we simply didn't quite get our proportions right...regardless our macaroons bore little to no resemblance to those of Smitten Kitchen. 

They were delicious anyhow, especially with some frozen yogurt. 

Speaking of frozen yogurt/ice cream/sorbet, this blackberry cabernet sorbet is surprisingly delicious!

On Friday I headed home for packing, shopping, and errands, most of which Max and I got done on Saturday. We also picked up the most delicious marionberries! My mom is freezing them for the winter because the season for them is super short. She had a plate of them at her petite fête on Sunday and they went like crazy. Speaking of my family's little French-themed party, it went very well! It was a great way to see people before I left town :)

But now, je suis à Paris! I got in yesterday after a flight to Dallas, a 5 hour layover, and a longer flight to Paris. But I made it, figured out the RER, and successfully used my French for the most part. Some French speaking people even asked me for help with the RER, and I did not lead them astray! 

I made it to the MEC and got settled into my room, unpacked, changed into cooler attire, and opened the window (which I'm not convinced made the room any cooler). I decided to take a shower in my cute little bathroom primarily just so my hair would be wet and hopefully cooler. You can't quite see it in this picture, but the shower is the wall on the right. Like immediately next to the toilet and maybe a foot across at it's widest point (it's a sort of semi-circle with a thin curtain in front of it). I had something like this when I came to Paris at 13 with my aunt and uncle. It's good use of space I suppose, but it takes a little getting used to because basically the entire floor of the bathroom gets wet.

Anyway, I took my shower and quickly fell asleep until 7pm. It was a little later than I had intended, but I think I needed the sleep. My room is very small and cute, and definitely there's more than enough space for everything I packed. When I woke up, I got in touch with some other people from UW and we decided to go to the Eiffel Tower. 
This man was making giant bubbles!
Today a couple of us went grocery shopping, and I purchased my own reusable bag for shopping (France is on the same no-plastic bag policy as Seattle and Portland). That's it on the left. I also picked up my favoritest cereal ever, which I was introduced to when I was in Vannes in high school. It's delicious. We each bought bowls and then split a silverware set. I can't quite tell if my fridge is working, which makes me a little concerned about the milk. I may need to ask about it at our meeting at 4pm.

Until then, I'm just going to go track down a sim card for my phone and maybe explore a bit. More adventures to come!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer in the USA

Alright, so I'm going to try to update weekly while I'm in France. Everyone says you should keep a journal, and lot's of people use blogs instead, so I think that's what I'll do. Or at least what I'm going to try to do. But first, I'm just going to do the one post to sum up my USA summer, which is basically over and not all that interesting with the exception of a few cool things.

Post-finals wine tasting was fantastic!

Max and I went with my parents and their friends to four wineries in OR: Tualatin Estates, Willakenzie, Maresh Red Barn, and Zerba. All of which were fabulous. Although four in one day might be a bit much, I think. I definitely appreciated the bottle of Zerba's Syrah that I had last weekend more than what I tasted.
Us at Tualatin Estates

We even had a (belated) Bday picnic at Willakenzie
and DELICIOUS St. Cupcake cupcakes!

Another highlight of being home is that I got to see Lizzie, my bestie from kindergarten! We went to Porque no? - another delicious and inexpensive mexican restaurant on Hawthorne in Portland and then took a trip to Bartini on 23rd. Kind of cool that we've made it from 5 year old co-line leaders to getting drinks together at 21!

Also on the agenda that weekend was a trip to my mom's personal shopper. She found me these shoes and a purple and black dress that I love! They made their debut at a wedding on the 23rd. That was probably the next event of significance this summer because the weekend in between was just graduation filled. Photo of the Candy Bar from the wedding to be inserted (coolest thing ever!).

During the weeks besides work, I've been learning from a friend how to make Panang Curry. Although I've yet to attempt it alone, I helped a lot and think I'll be able to do it on my own soon! It's delicious and pretty easy. I think it's basically the recipe on the back of the paste you buy, but my friend adds peanut butter too as a secret ingredient, which I like because it makes it a little less spicy plus I love peanut butter!

4th of July was a lot of fun out in Snohomish with my family. Although it was a little lacking in fireworks. I contributed these gems, which are nothing terribly impressive because they're from a box, but they were delicious and the leftovers I took to work on the 5th were gone before lunch!

Last weekend I headed home for a filling :( But I made a very successful 3 day weekend out of it if I say so myself. One of the best parts was seeing Hunger Games (again - I'm sort of obsessed with it, not to mention braiding my hair, now) at the Mission Theater. $3 movies plus you can buy food, beer, wine, etc. Enough said. Also Laura and I had a major girl fest and watched, fittingly, all the episodes of "Girls." Love it. It's a must watch if you're a girl between 20 and 26, I think.

Ok, but always the highlight of a trip to Portland is the Waffle Window. And the classic banana and nutella waffle. It doesn't get better than this.

 That's all for now. But look forward to (finger's crossed!) more frequent posts from la France after I leave! Although I may try to squeeze in one more....especially if I master the waterfall braid:

I'm planning to use this how-to, if you're interested: http://www.beautylish.com/a/vmswj/cascade-braid-tutorial


Endless events

***Disclaimer*** I actually posted (or evidently, tried and failed to post) this from my phone like six weeks ago :( Alas, I seem to be doomed to be a sucky blogger. On the bright side, I noticed this when I was about to begin a new post, aka there's more to come!

After a long absence from the blogosphere, I am back with many tales to tell.

Let's start with the birthdays:

Highlight 1: Sara's present!!!

Anna and Jeana arrive just in time for thai dinner and my bday party!! It was a good time for sure, complete with k-facts! I think this pic sums it up:

So then in the morning we woke up and headed to portage bay for the most fabulous breakfast ever!
Then we said good bye to A and J so I could begin exercising my 21 year old powers.

But first I headed down to Tacoma to watch my friend Alex's baseball game! They won...I think

And then I was ready for my favorite Thai food at banana leaf with Max and a beautiful bouquet or red roses. Layer on I headed out for the real 21 run!

They made me this sign:

And I said almost everything on it.
So that was my birthday without all of the messy details, and then it was dream project event mode.

We had a major event on 4/21 that was pretty cool but took a lot if every. Then there was school, then another event on the 4th that was crazy but fun.

That was also Max's birthday and we went to the cheesecake factory!

The next weekend my mom and I went to a brunch with her sorority sisters for mothers day and spent the weekend doing mother daughterly things! We went to pike place and got flowers and even did an olive oil/ vinegar tasting! On top of that it was a beautiful weekend!!

Then that Wednesday was my last dream project event ever (that I planned)! I think it went pretty well too. We celebrated that night and the next day I watched the first nine episodes of revenge. No. Joke. But seriously, best show ever!
The next few days and the weekend pretty much consisted of me recuperating aka relaxing and watching revenge.
who doesn't love these three????

Memorial day weekend
I went home for this one and tried to catch up on homework. There was however a nice little birthday party with high school friends for Mitchell. If you are ever in Portland, I strongly recommend Cha Cha Cha! Such good Mexican food and super cheap! Yum. Highlight of the weekend.

Life was pretty boring between then and finals, so let's consider this a sting quarter wrap up post, and I'll get back to you with better and more exciting summer events!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I left my heart

It's been a month since I last posted, my bad. Instead of telling you every detail of my life, I'll just share the main events. 
My family and I went up to Arroyo Grande for a graduation party (from Cal Poly). We reunited with old friends and I ate a ton of strawberries and delicious Mexican food. On the way home, I met up with Lena, Sandra, PJ, and Sam in Santa Barbara. We walked the beach, enjoyed the ocean air and went wine tasting. 
I've also been watching a considerable amount of Dawson's Creek. I'm convinced that Joey and I are very similar. 
On the 4th of July, I went to my friend Greg's house, made toffee bars and then went to Megan's with Bryce and Anna. We laid on the lawn and watched the fireworks from across the street explode right overhead. After the BBQ, we drove to the beach and played on the swings and metal rings. The next morning was my mom's birthday so we went to LACMA and got lunch. 
I went to San Francisco last weekend. It was my third visit but first time exploring with friends. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself and the city. It truly was a wonderful weekend spent in the company of some very amazing people. Although it was cold (I wore 2-3 jackets), we walked around Haight and Ashbury, the Mission and Lands End Park, taking in the breathtaking scenery. I already miss our 'family dinners', dancing to records, and the endless amount of fruit that Sandra and I consumed. We also participated in karaoke and I'm proud to report that we sang Wild World by Cat Stevens and Drive Me Crazy by Britney. 
On Monday, Anna's going to Peru for 10 days on a research trip and my dad is leaving for San Francisco on Wednesday till the weekend. And I'm still getting excited for New York in the new year. I'm excited for winter clothing (I'll hate the temperature later) and for walking all over and meeting new friends. There is also a possibility of going to Europe next summer with my sister and 2 close friends! I really hope that it comes through, although if not, I know we'll find another adventure to take that's just as exciting. 
Katey is going to France very soon! She already knows how jealous I am and how much I wish I could go with her in her suitcase! I plan to visit Seattle in the fall so I can't wait to hear all about her travels in person. I hope she stuffs herself full of delicious French food, takes lots of pictures of French life and brings me back an adorable French boy. Bon Voyage darling, I miss you too much and hope you have a fabulous time!
As for everyone else, hope your summer is fun even if you aren't going out of town! I need to post the recipe for the toffee bars one of these days, they're incredible and will be a hit at a potluck, picnic or family gathering. 
It might be another month till I post something so au revoir for now!

xxx S