Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My niche

So I think I've found my daily cup of comfort. Upon purchasing a TV guide-thingy, I discovered that at 7:30 every morning, Friends, followed by Just Shoot Me, Will & Grace and Fraiser are on BBC 4. So has begun my morning routine - get up as Jason's leaving, preheat the oven, make a cup of coffee, and prepare my cinnamon toast. While it's baking, I then get out of my jammies and into actual clothes (else the jammies will never come off until I leave the flat) and by the time I've changed and brushed my hair - breakfast is ready and I settle in front of the telly for my morning programming! I can't believe how comforting this little routine is - and how warm and fuzzy American sitcoms make me feel. It's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And so it begins.

As my loyal readers probably recall from my previous post on the matter, my friend Catherine and I decided we wanted to learn to knit (prior to my departing the US) since us ladies-of-leisure need hobbies such as knitting to fit into the ladies-of-leisure clique. So we went straight to the Knit Master. The Mr. Miyagi of knitting, if you will. Otherwise know as Catherine's mum. After our lesson, it was clear that Cat was jealous of my mad knitting skills as I had also become teacher's pet, despite her DNA connection to the KM (Knit Master). I recently sent the KM a note of thanks (as proper ladies always should) which stated that I felt as though my potential would have been better realized had Cat not held me back at the lesson by being rather daft about the whole knitting process. It took her forever to even cast on her first row. Lame. Meanwhile, I had created a lovely begining to my scarf. Jealous much? Anyway, Catherine has since challenged me to an International Knit Off. I accepted. Thus begins the website she created to provide interested parties (undoubtedly, there will be legions of them) with everything they need to know about said Knit Off. Here it is: The Knit Whits

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sigh...

So, I’m having a bit of homesickness… I’m sure it’ll pass soon but if you’ll indulge me, I’ve created a list of the things I miss about home:

Chargrill hot dogs and Bojangles
SportsCenter and ESPN in general
MTV/VH1 reality TV – Best Week Ever, Real World, My Super Sweet 16, Hogan Knows Best, Surreal Life… It’s the train wreck syndrome. You know it’s bad but you can’t force yourself to look away.
Watching football on Sundays
Saks 5th Ave. and Belk and malls in general
Our fluffy, comfy sofa
Target – Oh how I long for the big red bullseye.
Napa Valley wine
Light beer
Sweet iced tea
Free soda refills, ice, straws – Here when you order a diet coke, you get either a can or a bottle and sometimes, a glass to pour it in.
Ranch dressing – Dreams are made of this creamy, fatty, tangy goodness.
Washing machine and dryer – Here, it’s once machine and it’s tiny. Doing laundry here BLOWS.
Ellen Degeneres show – “Oh, Mama!”

That said, I should also mention that it is pretty flippin sweet that we have almost any cuisine imaginable less than a 5 minute walk from our door. Friday night, we were strolling around our ‘hood trying to decide where to eat and came across this Lebanese place. It was GREAT! Don’t get me wrong, I’m keepin’ it real. I’ll still meal out on McDonald’s any day…

Shout out to Chuck Siler – We went to a Dali exhibit this weekend. Last Halloween, we had to dress up at work and Chuck came as a Salvador Dali painting. I guess you had to see it to really understand how he did it but it was really cool. But now that I’ve seen more of his work, I’m a little worried about you Chuck. That dude was CRA-ZAY! I’ve never been more shocked, confused, disturbed, baffled in my life…

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Our anniversary trip to Paris


So, for our 2 year wedding anniversary, we went to Paris for 5 days. It was FAB! Here's a rundown of what we did (and a link to pictures at the end):

Saturday

We arrived and after settling in at our hotel, the Renaissance La Defense, and relaxing for a short while, we ventured out into the city. Our first stop was the Arc de Triomphe. We decided to just check it out from the ground today and come back later for the climb to the top... We then strolled down the Champs-Elysees and found a great spot on the bank of the Siene River to watch the sunset by the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday

We decided to do one of the walking tours outlined in our Lonely Planet guide book today. It was quite laid back and a good way to start the day. We ended up at this little garden square thingy and saw Victor Hugo's (the author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame to name a couple) home and listened to a small classical music orchestra play on the street.

After that, we decided to walk over to check out the outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral (saving the inside for another less-crowded day). Saw the infamous "flying buttress" architecture that we all got earfuls of in college and then strolled to the Latin Quarter (the academic district) for a coffee before heading back back to the Arc de Triomphe to make the climb to the top.

After dinner that evening, on the walk back to the hotel, we stopped to check out the outside of the Musee de Louvre and that big glass scupture thing in front of it (which I think is heinous, personally). You can see in the pictures what a few glasses of champagne will do for one's architecture appreciation.

Monday

Today, we stared things out with possibly the best lunch/brunch experience of my life (many thanks to one of Jason's French co-workers for the recommendation). It was a souffle restaurant, La Cigale Recamier - the kind of place where one needs a reservation even for lunch and according to said co-worker, also where French celebs chow down - exciting! You gotta love having a bottle of wine with your first meal of the day. After an approximately a 2 hour meal, we headed back to the Notre Dame to check out the inside.

I had no idea that some of the oldest known stained glass in the freakin' world was in there. Original and in tact, with only minor restorations. Amazing... Then we decided to do the ultimate tourist thing and go to the Eiffel Tower. It was tres tres crowded and honestly, much prettier from the ground. We did get some nice photos of the view from the top though... Coincidentally, it was Euro-Mullet central here and we got two really good ones on camera (just for you, Tim)!

This night, we had the most amazing dinner (and most-expensive... OUCH!) of our lives thus far at Maison Blanche. Words cannot do this meal justice so I'll just stop there.

Tuesday

Today was supposed to be our Louvre day but we got there and found out it is closed on Tuesdays - DOH! So, we decided to check out the Musee d'Orsay, which is more my style anyway because I really like the Impressionist/Post-Impressionist stuff like Van Gogh, Toulousse-Lautrec, Degas, etc... Yes, I know it's cliche for my favorite painter to be Van Gogh, but what are ya gonna do? I like what I like and I think his techniques were pretty cool... It's pretty weird to be face-to-face with an actual Van Gogh or Monet, Matisse, etc. You study them in college and you probably had a poster-print of one in your first post-dorm apartment, but to see the real deal like a foot away is pretty breathtaking.

Anyhoo, after we'd finished at the museum, we decided to head over to my Graceland, the Moulin Rouge and Montmartre. My absolute favorite movie of all time is Moulin Rouge (which is big, because before that, it was Breakfast at Tiffany's) so I absolutely had to visit the area of Paris that served as the inspiration for the story. As well, anyone who was at our wedding knows that our first dance was to "Come What May" from the movie... The actual Moulin Rouge is on the main street running through the area and it's pretty funny because it's now basically one sex shop and peep show after another. But if you follow the sign to Butte de Montmartre (Montmartre Hill), and head up the San Francisco-like STEEP streets and gazillions of stairs, you get to the heart of it. The originiation of the famous Bohemian movement of the late 1800's. Tiny cobblestone streets, old-fashioned windmills (just like in the movie), artists selling paintings... And the Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart church) is just beautiful. It sits at the summit of the hill and the views of Paris are unbelievable.

Later that night, we got all fancied up and went back to the Moulin Rouge for a show. It was so fun! The can-can (a staple of the old-fashioned burlesque shows) actually originated there and they, of course, still do it there to this day. It was my fave part of the show. A very exciting way to cap off our last evening in Paris.

Wednesday

Last day here - we decided to check out the Louvre. There is some really old stuff in there!! Among the most amazing things we saw were the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo sculpture, and Hammurabi's Code - the original "law of the land". Um, wow. WOW. There are pictures of all those except the Mona Lisa (it's not allowed).

So, after that, we began to make our way back to catch our taxi to the EuroStar terminal. The EuroStar was actually pretty nice. Especially if you have champagne. And a Kit-Kat. And some Peanut M&M's. After some thought, I realized that I had at the very least, two glasses of champagne every night on this trip. Now that's livin'.

Here are our pictures if you want to see them!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Life's great dilemmas

Ummmmm, so where do people who live in city apartments put all their stuff?!?!? I've gotten roughly 1/16th of my fall/winter wardrobe into my closet here and I'm officially out of space. And that's not even counting my pajamas! I'm cursing myself for all that pre-move shopping I did.

So what does a normal person who's run out of closet space do? Perhaps part with some lesser-used items? (As if. I already sold everything I didn't want at our pre-move yard sale.) Maybe abandon proper hanging and folding methods and start cramming stuff in? (Hardly. Cashmere wrinkles and leather creases.) Who knows...

What did I do, you ask? I went down the street for McDonald's lunch to eat away my woes and spotted a street market. "I'll just pop across the street and walk back to the flat on that side so I can check it out.", I say to myself. "What's this?!? A black peasant skirt for 3 pounds?!?!? That's too good to pass up..."

Long story long, I am back at the flat 5 minutes later with yet another article of clothing to add to the pile of stuff that already won't fit in the closet. Genius. But that skirt is fabulous. It goes perfectly with my cowboy boots for that western chic look that's in right now. Keep an eye out for me on Glamour's "Do's and Dont's" page. As a "do", of course...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Parting is such sweet sorrow



Well, I had some issues leaving our babies. (They're called "cats" by the majority of the rest of the population) Particularly Elwin just because he's so kitten-ish and he kept jumping into my bag as I was trying to pack the night before we left. I like to think George is a bit stronger and will look after him until February when they make the long haul across the pond...

All our stuff has cleared customs and will be delivered on Monday morning thank God! It will be nice to actually be able to hang up our clothes!

We went out for our first big city shopping experience today. Household basics like geting a trash can, iron, coffee maker, etc... are quite an ordeal. But we did finally get it all back to our flat so we're slowly getting everything set up. I'll post pics of the flat once all our stuff gets here and I've had a chance to hang pictures and things so stay tuned! It'll be a nice chuckle for all you guys back in NC with your nice big 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom houses! Although, I must say, our 'hood is rather happening. We're in a fabulous location. Out our huge (floor to ceiling for 2 stories) living room window, I look across the street to a hair salon, a very chi-chi dress shop, another very chi-chi purse shop, a dry cleaner, and a nice bar. And we live essentially above a grocery store and a Blockbuster. I could literally walk down there in my jammies if I was so inclined... That's a bit surreal! Quite a change from the North Raleigh lifestyle!

Well, we're headed to Paris next weekend for our anniversary so check back for those pics as well. We miss everyone so drop us a line or call!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Jason's 30th Birthday


So, my husband is officially OLD. He turned 30 on Saturday. I got him a Red Sox t-shirt with his name on the back and a 12 DVD set of last year's ALCS and World Series games. He was pretty impressed with my gift picking-out skills. I also threw him a little surprise party at Oliver Twist. Here are some pics. I especially love the belly dancer!

Jason's 30th Birthday