Friday, July 29, 2011

Katrina/Birthday Week!!!!

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to be writing about Bastille Day (July 14th ) in mid-September.  But for now…I’m about to have a stinkin awesome week ahead because:  

A. KATRINA (BFF circa 1999) is coming to Paris TOMORROW!!!!!  (I can hardly believe it’s been almost 5 months now.  What. In. the. World. Time!! Flying.)   

B. She’s coming in town for my birthday, and we have SO MUCH to celebrate!! First of all, she just got engaged last Friday!! Woooo!!  AND we’re both celebrating our birthdays, just 8 days apart. 

This is going to be one amazing week, believe you me.  I took a full week off work, made lots of incredible restaurant reservations, and booked us tickets to Scotland, laddy!!! 

I plan on splurging a bit, I won’t lie to you. I plan on breaking out heels and dresses.  I plan on getting dessert EVERYWHERE.  For the past two weeks, any time I’ve so much as thought the word “pastry” (which is every 8 seconds), I’ve told myself: “Wait. Wait till birthday/Katrina week.” 

Katrina is the kind of friend where we could literally sit on the floor of my apartment the whole week and crack up and have a great time right there on the floor.  BUT apartment sitting we shant.  We are going to Paris it up.  Desserts, picnics, champagne, restaurants, the whole nine yards.

I guess I should go to bed since I have a 12 hour work day tomorrow and will be getting less than 6 hours of sleep.  YAY Birthday week!!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Snapshots 7.18-7.24

Snapshots of life via iPhone: A week of rain, and lots of it.


Soaked Segway Rescue

And they're off!


Rue Cler

Outdoor Dining

The ride home

Eiffel Glimpse


Friday, July 22, 2011

Care Package #2!!

Awesomeness #6: Care Package #2

What a confusing title. So many numbers.  Don’t worry, we’re stopping here at #6.  I felt compelled to categorize all of this as “The Awesomeness Which Has Occurred in the Past Two Weeks.” (Back when I had high hopes for doing these all quickly, once a day.  And then my internet stopped working).  But I’ll stop now because clearly I’m way behind and I could go on like this for the rest of the year at this rate.  Awesomeness #323!!  

The next day at work after the Swedish dinner party, a care package had arrived for me!!  I guess there’s no way to express how wonderful it is to get a care package from friends when you’re all by yourself in a foreign country.  I cried AGAIN, this time twice.  Everything in the care package was super fun, and I absolutely loved it!!!

What made me cry the first time was digging into the package and finding a whole slew of notes from friends!!

This caused instant crying.  CRY!  Cry, cry. 

It was also really fun to go through and see all the goodies inside...I got lots of super fun things like a cute hat, lots of cute sunglasses, my favorite deodorant, fun snacks (including Twilight gum, amazing.), a big 11x14 picture of me and friends photo shopped together, and even a bar of soap w/ money in it!! :)  

If there’s anything that I need more of, it’s soap & money, let’s just be honest with each other. (Come on, big $50!!)

The wasabi peas were supposed to be for salads because I loved having these on Asian salads at home, but I ended up just eating them straight out of the can.  And the Raisinettes, I don't know, maybe they all accidentally rolled out of the box while I was Skyping with Katrina, and I just picked them up off the floor one by one, blew them off, and put them back in the box and continued eating them.  It's just hypothetical, maybe I didn't.  Let's all pretend I have standards and a really clean floor.

And then when I got to the bottom of the box, and saw a picture of one of my coworkers from my job at Watermark dressed up like a monkey eating a banana, the crying started all over again.

You wouldn’t think that a picture of a coworker dressed like a monkey would start crying bout #2.  I think it all just hit me out of nowhere how much I really do miss my friends and all the things I loved so much about my life in Dallas.  For example, my hilarious and super fun coworkers.  

I knew that what was below that first monkey picture was stack of all the other hilarious pictures from our daily hilarity at work.  I knew I was leaving the best job, boss, coworkers, friends and family to come here, but I guess it all just hit me at once.  I feel like I’ve been doing great here and have not had any major bouts of home sickness.  But the crying that ensued here made me realize that I really do miss everyone.  A lot.

The whole thing was fun, made me smile, obviously made me cry, and was just a great reminder of the amazing friends I have, which also led to the realization of how much I miss them.   

All that to say…thanks to everyone who contributed, that meant a lot to me, made me feel loved, and it was so sweet to get notes from all of you.  Meant the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Svedish Dinner Party Ya

Awesomeness #5: Svedish Dinner Party Ya

The girls at work decided a Paris Dinner Party was in order since so many of us like to cook.  We decided to switch off at each others' apartments and having theme nights where everyone contributed.  Jillian & Anne were super sweet to suggest that our first dinner party be a Swedish theme so I could feel like I still got to go to Sweden that weekend!! (Love it!!) 

So we had our own little Midsummers celebration with traditional Swedish fare.  We all had Swedish names: Sibylla, Agnetta, Svanhilda, Botilda… Mine was Juliehonnasbourg.  (Yulie-hanna for short).

Sibylla and I dressed accordingly.

I had a makeshift bonnet on my head at one point with a white dish towel, but let's just not even worry about it.

On to the dinner portion of the dinner party!  I made new potatoes with crème fraiche and herbs.

Other fantastic Swedish fare included a smoked salmon appetizer, shrimp salad, Swedish meatballs, a traditional potato dish, strawberries & whipped cream, and a Swedish almond cake.


Yum, yum, and more yum.  Everything was great, and I loved getting to hang out w/ all the girls!

We ended the evening by taking a secret back stairway, going into a closed down covered passage, and generally acting like teenage boys towards passers-by, except with more giggling.

Suddenly there were flashlights and laser beams pointed at us from above.  Apparently the closed down passage area had security.  So we screamed and ran back up the secret staircase back to the apartment.  

What about those laser beams though, huh?? I mean red dot aimed at my back!  What was THAT all about?  Scary!! Where I come from, that means there’s a night site attached to the end of a barrel and you'd better hit the deck.  We’re in France though, and gun laws are pretty strict, so if anything, it was probably a laser beam attached to a baguette.  They aim and then just throw the baguette at you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Boulangerie Breakfast

Awesomeness #4 Pt 2: Boulangerie Breakfast

In the morning, I had the most delightful breakfast, you know, in the bakery downstairs.

A customer came in to get his morning croissants, saw me taking pictures, and offered to take a picture of me.

Then he yelled “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!” and we started dancing on the bakery counter, ending in a super aerial lift.

Not really.  No one could lift me at this point in my pastry journey.  What he did was make jokes about how I had to finish everything on my table, as if this was some sort of impossible feat.  And I was like, “Oh, I will.  Really.”  He said it again later as he was leaving, again as if it was some hilarious joke, and I was like “Seriously, come back in 5 minutes.  It will be GONE.  All of it.” 

I did leave the yogurt behind, to be fair.

I spent the morning at the market…

…and collected a fair amount of goods to bring back to Paris with me, including two gigantic loaves of some of the best looking bread I have ever seen, ingredients for a dish I was making for a dinner party that night w/ the girls from work, and some amazing bread & a pastry from this place:

Any time you see “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France”, you better darned well know I'll be stopping in because that means they’ve gotten a title as one of the best artisans in France; they are a master at their craft.  The line out the door is another good sign. 

I got 3 twisted mini loaves of bread.  You will see why I had to get 3 when you behold these flavors: Dijon mustard & bacon; chorizo; and apricot & goat cheese.  Yah, they looked that good, too.   Oh, and a caramel tarte, just because it was beautiful.  

The breads were sublime, I ate them for lunch on the train, because, you know, watching my figure.  I ended up leaving the creme fraiche and herbs in the fridge at the B&B (ingredients for the dinner party), and shook my fist towards the sky the whole train ride home.  2 hours.  Good workout.    

Then as soon as I got home, I started preparing my dish for the dinner party that night.  New post.

Normandy: Half-timbered & Delicious

Well I don't have internet at my apartment anymore, and my laptop refuses to connect to wifi at ANY cafes that have it.  Naturally, this makes it super easy to blog, post pictures on Facebook, keep up with emails, or generally keep in touch with anyone at all back home while living in a foreign country.  I stayed late at work tonight after my shift so I could connect to the world wide web.  Let's pretend like my blog has not become stagnant or several weeks behind.  Great!

Where I last left off, I was continuing a series on awesome things that had happened in the past two weeks, which is now 100 years ago, but just humor me.  Even further amazing incredulousity has occurred since then, so clearly I will have to move on from this list, but let's just finish it out!

Awesomeness #4: Normandy vacation.

We are now caught up to where I jumped on a train to Normandy and stood around in my socks on the train. 

I walked around town, marveling at all the adorable half-timbered splendor that a girl can handle.

I stayed at a ridiculously adorable B&B and completely hit the jackpot with this room:

Complete with old timey bathtub in the middle, which I obviously had to take advantage of.

My B&B hostess made me a reservation at this adorable restaurant on the little square:

And, being in Normandy and all, I ordered a huge dutch oven full of fresh seafood & vegetables in cream sauce.

Salmon, cod, mussels, shrimp, julienned vegetables…It was to die for.

Followed by super fresh strawberries & rice pudding…

and a Calvados, because "when in Normandy".  (Normandy is famous for apples, Calvados, camembert, cream, and seafood).

I was calculating the bill in my head, preparing for the worst.  I was sure it would be minimum of 50 euros, considering that you can hardly get away with a seafood dish like that in Paris under 40 euros on its own.  Nuh-no.  Wine, seafood, dessert, calvados…34.70.

Couldn't imagine a better way to end the evening…

And THEN, when I woke up in the middle of the night to close the skylight window above my head (the bed is in the mezzanine), I could see a cathedral steeple out the window and fireworks randomly going off.  Of course.  France.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

First Care Package

Awesomeness #3: My first care package came in the mail!!

Continuing the theme of awesomeness that has occurred over the past few weeks...I got my first care package!!!!  It was so awesome, you have no idea.  Such a surprise, super thoughtful, tons of fun & useful things inside, and encouragement & inspiration to boot!  Really one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, just out of the blue like that.  First of all, it was super cute, and I almost didn’t want to open it.

 But I did. 

The first thing I found was a Curious George book…

that was personalized throughout to include Scripture (which made me start crying on the first page already)

and little things like this:

The whole book is just about going out on your own and how it’s scary, but you’ll see great things, and even if you crash and fall or get lost, those kinds of things happen on an adventure, and this is a part of pursuing your dreams.  Anyway, I cried through the WHOLE thing because I was right in the middle of a rough patch where I was feeling overwhelmed by all that is ahead of me as I figure out my next steps here in Paris and the things I want to do, so it was timed PERFECTLY and was a huge encouragement to me.  Who knew Curious George could be so applicable to life??

And then all the other awesome and fun things that were in there just made it a really fun surprise and it was just a huge blessing, lots of fun, and I just absolutely loved it.

It made my week, to say the least. Couldn't even say thanks enough if I tried.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Paris by Mouth Picnic

Awesomeness #2: Paris by Mouth Picnic

 There’s a website called Paris by Mouth that’s a collaboration of all the major food blog writers in Paris.  It gives you all the latest info and reviews on restaurants, bakeries, pastry shops, and the like.  It’s a great resource for all things delicious and food-related.  They had a picnic to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the website.  Naturally, going was a must. 

I should mention that all these food blog writers are kind of like celebrities for anyone who cares about the food/restaurant/deliciousness scene in Paris.  My friend Jillian from work is a fellow foodie, so any time things like this comes up, we are all over it.  I appreciate having someone who understands, gets excited, and understands the celebrity status of these people.

Here’s some pictures of the picnic along the canal that they posted on their Facebook page.  Hey, let's play a little "Where's Waldo."

First of all, if you can find me in the pictures, please take a look at my face in both of them. 

Can we talk about this??  In case you can't tell, in the first one, I appear to be squinting in pain and in the second one I look like confused monkey.  Is this what I look like when I’m talking to people??  If so, I am banned from talking to people.  It was nice while it lasted. 

The picnic was lots of fun, even though I appear to be confused and in pain.