Doorways to Paris

One thing I never tire of in Paris are its doors. From vivid cobalt and brilliant ruby red to whimsical robin's egg blue and sweet mint green, they come in every hue and shade you could imagine. 
They are old, massive wooden structures, sometimes adorned with scrollwork and the occasional yawning lion's head. Often they are the entrance to a private courtyard, glimpsed on the rare chance a door is left ajar. 
My continued treasure hunt for the most colorful examples has led to En Route's newest collection: Doorways to Paris, now available in the shoppe. If you have any other colors you'd like to see photographed, I'd love the challenge of seeking them out!

A Weekend in the Country

Scenes from the Riviera

En route from Paris to Nice via train

Roses in Valbonne

Speculos & banana, violet & fleur de lait at Fennochio's in Old Nice

The house of Christopher Columbus in Genova, Italy
Spremuta at an oceanside cafe in Nervi, Italy

A glimpse of the red carpet at Cannes

Hotel to the stars at Cannes


An early birthday present -- original Tropeziennes from Atelier Rondini, St. Tropez
The docks at St. Tropez

Bidding adieu to Nice, with hopes to return again soon!

Introducing Sweet Pea

I didn't intend to take a 3-week hiatus from blogging, but I went to Florida to see a man about a horse cat and only returned to France yesterday. Why go all the way across the ocean to adopt a cat? A very good question I asked myself several times in the long process of getting Miss Sweet Pea ready for import (microchipping, rabies shot, paperwork from the vet, special stamps from the USDA's office, to name but the highlights).
I'm still not sure how I got swept up into this situation, but the story is this: my parents found the kitty in their front yard one day and after weeks of feeding her, decided they would take her to the local shelter. But after a word of warning from a neighbor that the shelter's supposed no-kill policy isn't enforced 100% of the time, they had a change of heart and took her to the vet's to be spayed instead. Only after the anesthesia had taken affect did the vet realize she'd already been spayed. So my parents brought her back to recover and once inside the house, Sweet Pea made herself at home. Why didn't my parents just adopt the cat themselves?

Kitty is why. Kitty hates cats. Kitty hates cats so much that she up and left her home of nine years when the owner got another one (which is how my parents ended up with her). Kitty took one look at Sweet Pea and declared, in no uncertain terms, that violent bloodshed would be the only result of cohabitation.  My parents devised a method of keeping the two cats apart by letting one in while the other was enclosed in a bedroom and then letting the other loose in the house while the former was out on the porch room -- this went on for several weeks while they looked in vain for someone who could adopt Sweet Pea. My mother would sigh and say if only I lived closer, she'd be the perfect cat for me. And I'd sigh and agree and that would be that. But it wasn't until I mentioned to Benjamin that Sweet Pea was a Russian Blue and supposedly good for people with allergies (such as Benjamin) that he suggested I actually go ahead and get her. I booked my plane ticket almost immediately after.

I'll confess, when I met my future pet in the flesh, it wasn't love at first sight for either of us. She'd try to bite me if I pet her, she was aloof unless I was offering butter (her favorite treat), and after growing up with a big fluffy Persian, it took me a while to appreciate her sleek, seal-like coat. Of course, now I think she's the prettiest little princess fur-baby *insert incoherent baby-talk babbling here* and she's warmed up to me enough that I've gained status as her favorite cushion.

It remains to be seen if she'll be happy here in her new home. We're both recovering from jet lag and adjusting to the different space and I'm pretty sure neither of us was ready to give up the balmy Floridian sunshine for chilly Parisian drizzle, but we are making the best of it.

 Here's to beginnings and hopefully beautiful friendships.

The Un-Love List

Though I will post a list of things I'm loving on Friday, as per usual, today I thought I'd do something a little different.
I'm currently in the midst of the lovely Susannah's Blogging From the Heart e-course, and she is gently prodding us to open up, be more honest, and take a few risks. I've been thinking about what I reveal about myself in this space, and the answer seems to be: very little. My goal is to create a positive, pretty environment, but in trying to do so, I seem to only skim the surface of my life, leaving unsaid all the things that aren't easy to wrap up and present with a ribbon on top. If I didn't know me and read this blog, all I would come away with is a rather vague impression of girl who lives in Paris, takes photos, eats a lot of pretty food, and likes sparkly pink things.
So in an attempt to show a little more of the whole picture, I'm starting with a list (because I love lists) of the not-so-pretty aspects of myself I would normally try to hide. Here goes.

10 Things I'd Rather You Not Know About Me

  1. I don't find babies cute. Kittens, lambs, chicks, baby animals of all kinds: heck yes, but mini-humans: not so much. 
  2. Speaking of kittens -- I have a deep distrust of people who say they don't like cats. No matter how lovely a person you turn out to be, if you dislike cats I fear that we differ too much on a very fundamental level for us to ever truly 'get' each other.
  3. I'm not religious. I am spiritual, in a woo-woo, airy-fairy kind of way.
  4. I feel like a foreigner no matter which country I'm in. Even (especially?) the US (where I was born).
  5. I wasted four years of my life recovering from a breakup with someone I'm now immensely grateful I didn't marry.
  6. I got so good at suppressing pain that I'm now worried I've lost the ability to properly feel anything.  My default emotional setting seems to be... apathy.
  7. I worry a lot. I worry I won't be able to write my book. I worry about the constant, nagging pain in my abdomen. I worry about not learning French fast enough. I worry I will never fit in or make friends here. I worry I'm disappointing everyone. I worry I will never feel as strong and healthy again as I did as a teenager. I worry something will happen to my boyfriend. I worry it's already too late to live up to any potential I may once have had. I worry about more big earthquakes happening in Japan. I worry about pigeons getting run over in the street. I worry.
  8. I find politics deeply irritating, but for the record, I'm a registered Democrat.
  9. When I was six I wrote/drew a story about a princess named Princess who had horns on her head and was mean to everyone she met. I very much identified with Princess.
  10. I'm a strong advocate of self-love/acceptance, but cringe every time I look in the mirror.
Phew. Well that was hard, but better out than in. If you're still here, thanks for listening.


White Wednesday

Saturday Night Fièvre

Over the weekend I attended my second housewarming/costume party since coming to Paris (apparently this is a thing here). The hosts requested that we dress in "dance" wear -- anything from flamenco to hiphop. So at my insistence, Ben and I went in classical ballet gear (I am always looking for an excuse to wear thigh-high leg warmers).

I may have felt a teensy bit nekkid at first walking around in just a leotard, but when Monsieur Madonna showed up I was no longer the only one.

Wait, let me show you the full-length version...

(The man has great gams.)

In addition, there were hippie chicks,

cowgirls and disco/80's hybrids,

a flapper, a goth, a member of ABBA,

and, um, not exactly sure what this was, except that she looked AWESOME.

There was an endless stream of champagne, of which I partook... copiously.

And music and dancing until well into the early morning hours.

And if you've ever wondered how Parisian ladies get down, well, it's pretty much exactly like the rest of us do...

Musique Mardi: Irma & Gad

Revisiting my old Musique Mardi series to share this sweet little jam session of Parisian musician Irma with my favorite French comedian Gad Elmaleh (seriously, I love Gad) doing a rendition of Isn't She Lovely. *happy sigh*

love list friday: 2.24.12

The first love list of the year, after an unintentional hiatus. Posting it a day early to make up for the long neglect. So here goes -- this week I'm feeling grateful for:

  • French lessons with Paris as our classroom. I had my first session with my new tutor this week, and since it was sunny and only mildly freezing, we opted for sitting on a bench in Luxembourg Gardens and then strolling around the Latin Quarter while he pointed out interesting old buildings. If only high school French classes had been like this, I'm sure I'd have been fluent by now.
  • The Carcassone app for my iphone -- a Valentine's gift from Benjamin. Perhaps it doesn't sound like a very romantic present, but you don't know my love/obsession for this game. 
  • Sunshine! For an all-too-brief span of three days there were blue skies and milder temperatures in Paris this week. Having spent the past several years in Florida and California, I'd forgotten how gray winter can seep into your skin and slowly drain your energy and happiness (am tasting firsthand the effects of S.A.D. this year), so the sunlight was amazingly therapeutic.
  • Green smoothies. Have you jumped on this bandwagon yet? With the aforementioned winter blues and a general feeling of non-optimum-health-ness pervading my days, I've been making the effort to get back into juicing fruits and veggies. I have noticed a subtle increase in energy, and possibly more clarity of mind since I started drinking them again. My current favorite concoction is a recipe given to me by friend and longtime juicer maura: orange, celery, inch of ginger, and kale (I substitute red leaf lettuce), to which I sometimes add a bit of avocado and almond milk.
  • Having my photos professionally printed, framed, and hung on our walls. I love posting my photos here and elsewhere online, but there is something about making the images tangible and seeing them outside of the screen of my computer that makes me feel like I truly created something.

Bon weekend a tous!

How I Want it to Feel

I want my day to feel like a birthday party at Disneyland with no lines to wait in.
I want kissing to feel like hot mulled wine on a winter's night.
I want my next success to feel like getting an A+ from my most demanding professor.
I want my body to feel like a prima ballerina at the height of her career.
I want smiling to feel like the first day of spring.
I want my friendships to feel like cashmere sweaters and home-baked muffins and disco balls and whispered midnight confessions.
I want my nervous system to feel like a direct conduit to the universe.
I want my neighborhood to feel like what people dream of when they dream of Paris.
I want my integrity to feel like Yosemite.
I want my money-making to feel like a well-tended organic garden brimming over with succulent, nourishing veggies.
I want my word to feel like a sailor's knot.
I want my laughter to feel like popping a bottle of pink champagne.
I want the end of the day to feel like a cat basking in a patch of sunlight.
I want my philanthropy to feel like planting seeds in rich soil.
I want my challenges to feel like a beautiful, complex 1000-piece puzzle.
I want my love to feel like a murmuration of starlings.
I want my writing to feel like Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling got together for a game of laser tag.
I want my ideas to feel like giant unfurling peonies.

*Writing prompt from Danielle LaPorte's Burning Questions series.