Monday, June 30, 2008

The ceremony of my win

The (verylong-standing Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture Edition Cage Match carried on this weekend with an epic win for me.  Making the victory even sweeter was Jason's comment right before my game-ending question.

I had gone to the DVD for the win a few times already and got the question wrong so by this time I had learned that the "for the win" question didn't involve any audio or video clues so I told Jason not to worry about pausing the iPod on the Bose dock.  He goes "It's okay.  I enjoy the ceremony of your loss."  

Then as if by magic, a question tailored just for me - trivia couture if you will - appeared on the screen:  What are the four flavors of Pez?

OMG!!!!!  Seriously?  As a Pez enthusiast since the tender age of 15, I knew that they were grape, orange, lemon and strawberry.  As a side note, I was also aware that in Europe, cherry often appears in the place of strawberry.  

So Jason had to experience the ceremony of my win:

In case a still photo doesn't really drive home the feeling, I can tell you that the ceremony of my win includes a great deal of whooping, hooting, hollering, rump-shaking, booty-bouncing and flash-dancing.  And maybe even a little "Hello my baby, hello my darlin', hello my rag-time gaaaaaaaaalllllllll."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My lips are sealed

What could we be doing on a Friday night dressed up in formal wear in a tube station in North London???

I can't tell you. Yet. Because we signed a confidentiality agreement. I'll revisit this topic at the end of July when I'm unbound by the laws of Her Majesty's courts of governance.

Curious?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tagged by the bi-coastal queen, Steph

What did you do 10 years ago?

Hmmm, June 1998?  Well, Jason and I had been together for about a year and a half at that point so I'll take a stab at it and say that we spent the summer working at the mall and going to concerts at Walnut Creek Amphitheater (my best guesses would be Dave Matthews Band, Allman Brothers and Barenaked Ladies to name a few).

Five items on your to-do list

Get a manicure
Take two of my dresses to the tailor for repair
Take two pairs of my shoes to the cobbler for repair
Clean the litter boxes
Backup our iPhoto and iTunes

Snacks I enjoy

A little something from each of the major food groups:
Starch - Chips
Vegetable - Popcorn (What?  It says corn right there in the word!)
Dairy - Cookie dough ice cream
Fruit - Sour Patch Kids

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Travel - first class, far, often and with Louis Vuitton luggage
Shop - like Carrie Bradshaw
Live - in a gorgeous house with huge custom closets
Give - to charity, to friends, to family, to everyone 

Places I would live

Boston
San Francisco
the coast of North Carolina
pretty much anywhere in New England
But ultimately Raleigh is my home and I love it to bits.

Jobs I have had

Far too many horrid ones to detail them all here...

Friday, June 27, 2008

What IS this phenomenon??

And how did I fall prey to it?  

You know how people talk about "cleaning before the maid comes"?  I always thought that was the silliest thing I'd ever heard.  They know they're coming to clean.  They expect that your house will be dirty since you have expressly asked someone to come clean it for you.

Well, here I am.  Running around the flat like a mental patient.  Lint rolling the sofa where the cats sleep all day. (Those ugly-ass hairless breeds look better and better each time I am tasked with this job.)  Putting away all my embarrassing reading material.  (I don't want anybody making assumptions about me just because I'm reading "Diary of a Married Call Girl" and "I, Elizabeth" simultaneously.)  Emptying trash bins.  (Because my trash?  Ain't nobody's biz-nas.  Nobody needs to know how many tags I've cut off new clothes this week or how many Starbucks Venti Coffee Frappuccino Lights I've purchased.  Plus, I don't want to subject some poor unsuspecting cleaning lady to the discovery of used q-tips and kleenex or the hair I cleaned out of my Mason Pearson.  I know everybody has these items in their own personal trash bins but let's face it - when it belongs to someone else, that's gross!)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to empty the recycling bin. (Because it also ain't nobody's biz-nas how many empty wine bottles one might find in there.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Diamond is forever

Last night Jason and I went to the O2 Arena to see Neil Diamond.  A couple of highlights:

  • The girl sitting next to us was a real piece of work (and by "piece of work", I mean "piece of white trash") but all the annoyance was washed away when, at one point, she jumped up out of her seat and tried to get her friend to get up and dance with her.  Her friend declined and she went to plop back down into her seat, forgetting that the seats are the kind that only stay down when you're actually sitting in them, and ended up plopping herself smack on the floor with great force.  In a desperate and transparent attempt to save face, she declared that "Ah quaht lahk it down 'ere anyways.  I fink ah'll stay."  And stay she did.  For two whole songs.  Now that's what I call embarrassed.
  • Jason lost his voice after a rousing rendition of Sweet Caroline.
Unfortunately, the camera police were on the j-o-b so we weren't able to really get any good photos...

Clarity be damned, I think this one pretty much says it all.

Hells yeah he does!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Head 'em up, move 'em out

Wow. It's almost over. We now officially have an end in sight. Notice has been placed with our landlady for the end of September.

What this means for me is that I have a sudden need to purge our household of all earthly possessions. I don't know why but I'm just itching to start sorting and packing and selling. And with the exception of a couple more trips we want to take, I'm kind of done here. I'm ready to move on and get back to life as normal.

Raleigh, here I come.

photo courtesy of RaleighSlyline.com

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Woah.

I know, right?  Where's the pink?  I needed a change...  So expect some tinkering around with colors, fonts and stuff over the next several days.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

French Connection

No matter how many times in my life I have been or will go to Paris, a certain few sights will always take my breath away.  And I'd be willing to bet that I'll photograph them every single visit.  They are, in no particular order:

The white domes of the Sacre Coeur

The Pont de Alexander

The vast courtyard of the Louvre

The bawdy lights of Bal du Moulin Rouge

l'Arche de Triomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees

And, of course, the one and only La Tour Eiffel

And thus begins another trip to the most enchanting city in the world...

We arrived very late Friday evening a little slap happy.  The elevator at our hotel did nothing to diffuse the situation.  It was, quite literally, the smallest elevator I have ever seen.  We almost had to go up separately.  This is me with a limb on each wall of it.

Thankfully, the lift was not indicative of the room size.  We were so so so pleased with our little boutique hotel. (Elysees 123 - because the address is 123 Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, just off the Champs Elysees.  Clever, non?)  The room had exposed brick walls and fashion sketches for art work and was chic and cute and everything you want a Paris hotel to be.  

Saturday morning, we set off with one goal in mind:  to have no agenda whatsoever.  We just wanted to enjoy Paris the way it's meant to be enjoyed - strolling here and there, stopping for a cafe and a baguette every now and again, window shopping (or as the French call it, faire du l├Ęche-vitrine - literally translated meaning "to lick the windows").  

And after a death-defying stint at Place de la Concorde (one of the largest open vehicular plazas in the world) where Jason sorely miscalculated the time it takes to run across the roundabout minus the speed of oncoming traffic and subsequently ushered me halfway through said roundabout before slingshotting me back towards the sidewalk, a citron slushee was certainly in order.  I think I look pretty calm considering I narrowly escaped death by vehicular impact, no?

You know what they say about citron slushees:  You don't buy them.  You just rent them.

My little da Vinci Code nerd had to inspect the pyramid.


On our way to lunch on the Left Bank, we passed by a Laduree and there was nothing coming between me and my macaroons.

Ahhhhh, dejeuner.  We had a life-changing meal at this souffle restaurant, Le Cigale, last time we were in Paris and we knew we had to go back.  So we had our hotel make us a reservation to be sure we wouldn't miss out.  You want to know what heaven is like?  Get yourself a Eurostar ticket and a reservation on Rue Recamier.  This lunch alone is worth the trip.

And don't even think about leaving before you've shared the chocolate fondue dessert souffle.

Lunch was so good, we needed a cafe break afterwards to recuperate.

And another of my favorite things about the City of Light - Paris's multitude of iconic Metro signs:






We spent the afternoon and evening in Montmartre, possibly my favorite part of the city.

The artists at Place du Tertre...

One of the quaint buildings on La Butte....

We loved this doggie.  It looked like a Chow and a Lab mixed.  "Garcon!  Mes kibble, sil vous plait.  Quoi?  Mais oui!  Maintenant!"

Un petite peek of Sacre Coeur...

Beth Nori and I have discussed our love of warning signs in foreign countries and we share this one from the Paris Metro among our favorites.  "Ne stick pas your le mains in la porte, or you will turn into un pink lapin in un yellow jumpsuit and then you will get la electrocution."

Sunday morning we left our hotel and rounded the corner to the Champs and saw that the whole thing was blocked off and there were Gendarmerie lining both sides.  Then it occurred to us what was going on.  Big G's European tour.  We were (un)lucky enough to be in Paris the same weekend as Dubya.  

Unfazed, we continued up the Champs until we arrived at Laduree for a spectacular breakfast.  

After which we took a spin around LV's flagship store.  There are worse ways to start a day, non?

Later, as we were walking up the Quai d'Orsay, we noticed the ever-growing presence of more Gendarmerie and barriers.  Which could only mean one thing.  The big cheese wasn't far away. Sure enough, a few minutes later he came barreling down the road in an armored limo and we actually caught a glimpse of him this time.  If Jason had snapped this about a half second later, we'd have had a lovely portrait for you to see.  He was doling out waves and thumbs ups like they were fresh baguettes.

Unfortunately, we had to leave Paris Sunday evening as the reason for the whole trip was that Jason had to be in a little town called Evreux for work on Monday.  Evreux, Evreux, Evreux. Where do I begin?  Let us just sum it up like this:  There is but one hotel in Evreux.  A little shit-hole the likes of which I had not set foot in since I was a poor spring breaker surviving on Taco Bell sauce packets.  It was so vile that I immediately burst into tears.  

Once I composed myself, I told Jason that we were going out to dinner and I was not coming back until I was sufficiently drunk enough to render my senses useless.  If it worked for spring break, it would not fail me now.  

So drink we did.  I was so happy by the time we got back to the shit-tel that we busted out the portable iPod dock and I put on a fashion show to the tunes of Fergie and Gwen Stefani (wearing my pajamas, a vintage jacket and every necklace I brought with me on the trip - and let me assure you that we are not talking about a small measure of accessory here) while we sipped a St. Emilion Bordeaux out of plastic cups.

There is only one problem with this.  While you may drink enough to dull the pain of going to sleep in such conditions, you subsequently have to wake up hungover in such conditions.  

It was still worth it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My rock-star life

At the week's beginning, I thought we were probably going to Munich this weekend.  Turns out, no.  However, by the middle of the week, we had Eurostar tickets to Paris and a hotel reservation just off the Champs. By week's end, we'll be sipping french presse and eating croissants at a sidewalk cafe.  I'll take it.

There is but one problem with traveling to the fashion capital of the world...

Last night, Jason and I were playing a rousing game of Stuff the Suitcase.  I was flitting about the bedroom throwing around silk scarves and the fiercest, most fabulous four-inch heels that ever were (I think you know the ones I'm talking about, Mrs. Beth Nori) and, despite my declaration that "I'm taking a range of coordinating key pieces", Jason suddenly says "I fear that you're going to arrive in Paris with a suitcase full of accessories but no actual clothes to wear."  I consider this.  I have visions of myself scrambling to fashion an ensemble out of hotel sheets, a belt and a Dior scarf.  

Perhaps I'll lose some of the more frivolous items and try to make room for a shirt or two.  But the fierce, fabulous four-inch heels are staying.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Southern Reception

I saw this at Victoria Station yesterday:

Could this be a job opportunity for me?  Greeting tourists fresh off the Gatwick Express with a plate of fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits and a glass of sweet iced tea?  

"Hey y'all!  Hows everbody doin' tah-day?  Hope all y'all had a real nice flight.  Ah'd like to be tha first to welcome y'all to the great city of London!  You'll feel right at home, I jes' know you will.  It's just like Atlantuh - except it's little bigger and the people talk real funny like!  Oh, and...  the teenagers dress real weird and carry knives."

Monday, June 09, 2008

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.

How was your weekend? Ours was pretty much perfect, thanks for asking. Even though Saturday's weather was a bit "meh" (no rain, some sun, some clouds, temps just ever so slightly too chilly to sit outside in short sleeves). So we took to the movie theatre for a double bill. Indiana Jones for Jason and a second viewing of Sex and the City for me with a break in between the two at Maria's, our favorite restaurant in Fulham (our old 'hood - in which, aside from Maria's ridiculously good food, we were reminded about every five seconds exactly how much we dislike it and how stupidly happy we are that we left it for the splendor of Richmond).

Sunday dawned sunny and warm and everything that a London summer should be. In fact, it was downright hot. Hence the gelato queue stretching down the street...
I have to say that even though I'm so ready to move back to Raleigh, there are certainly worse places to while away a beautiful afternoon than on Richmond Hill.

Later that evening after dinner, Jason came into the living room and asked me to come with him upstairs. Why? So we could climb out of our skylight and onto the roof of our building to watch the sun set. Who says romance is dead?

Today was another perfect day and even though it's no longer the weekend, we decided that was no reason not to have a picnic dinner on the green. Then we had shadow puppet practice.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Joke's on me

Ha ha.  It's 5:05 AM and I'm awake.  Not drifty-in-and-outy awake. Like, for reals awake.  WTF?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Anglicisation 98% complete

Holy crap.  I just sent an email that actually said "Thanks ever so much, insert person here.  Very helpful indeed!"  That's a direct quote, I assure you.

Ummm, I'm sorry?  "Ever so much"????  "Indeed"????  Who am I?  Where has the Southern belle gone??  In a former life, that would have read "Thanks sugar.  'Preciate your help on that! How's yore momma doin'?  Hope y'all ain't meltin' in this heat...  You tell Miz insert person here I said hey!

I need to move back to North Carolina - stat.  At least while I was getting ready, I was dancing around the bedroom to The Chairmen of the Board and other quintessential Carolina's beach music instead of crack-headed Brit Amy Winehouse.  That's something, right?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Cocktails and the City

Well hello there. Remember me? The girl who took off to visit her friend and hit up NYC for the opening night of the Sex and the City movie? And took her computer with her with the best intentions of blogging but then started having so much fun she totally forgot about her best intentions? Well I'm back. And here's how it all went down...

I was greeted at JFK with this. Well, not just this. There was a Beth holding it and waving. Then she and Rino took me for late-night diner food. Is there any better way to start a trip?


The preparations for our journey into the city begin. We must have done okay for ourselves because we had not been in New York for 20 minutes when somebody said to us "Let me guess. Sex and the City?" We were all "Are we that obvious?" He said the cute dresses were the dead giveaway.

On the platform in Stamford waiting for our express train to Grand Central. I was so flustered by the advice to "WATCH THE GAP". I've becomed so Anglicised that I only understand "MIND THE GAP." You know what they say... Two nations separated by a common language.

The fantastic view from our hotel room, two icons - the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building (my favorite NYC landmark).

Gettin' this party started proper with lunchtime bubblies at Mercer Kitchen.

And since this was a Sex and the City themed day, we of course had to go to Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes.


Thank goodness we had the foresight to book a few weeks ahead for our tickets to see the movie. Every show except the 1:30 AM one was sold out.

Here's where it starts to go fuzzy. Between the pre-dinner cocktail, the bottle of wine during dinner and the post-dinner Cosmopolitans we were...

Drunk.

And drunker.

So although we had a very nice second day in the city planned, we were just a mite too hungover to face it. So we drug our pitiful asses to the McDonald's down the street and then straight into a taxi bound for Grand Central Station. Rino picked us up at the station in Stamford and promptly deposited each of us onto a couch with our individual bags of nuclear orange snack treats. Baked Doritos for Beth and Baked Cheetos for me, in case you were wondering... We proceeded to sleep for pretty much the ENTIRE day. We woke up long enough for a pizza dinner and a few episodes of Bridezillas and then turned in for the night. Clearly, we are far too old for this.

After a day of recovery, we were ready to face the world again on Sunday. So Rino and Beth showed me around some of Connecticut's finest towns. Greenwich was first and that basically turned into Rino's worst nightmare since we couldn't walk three paces without either Beth or I gasping and saying "Ohmigod! I have to go in there!" Granted, it was more often me than Beth. But, to be fair, I am currently suffering through a severe case of American Brand and Pricetag Withdrawal. So perhaps I was a touch over-excitable.

My dual-purpose accessories came in handy at lunch. It's an earring! No, it's a napkin holder! No, it's both! See, I'm practical.

And then to the beach in Westport. I need to work on my manners if I'm going to fit in with the Connecticut country club elite.

How cute are we?

Finally, we were off to Stew Leonard's to stock up for dinner. Which, if you're not familiar, is basically a grocery store, dairy farm, petting zoo, and theme park all rolled into one.

We figured no one had ever submitted a photo in front of the store for Stew's "Bags Around the World".

Throw in a few hundred trips to Target, several costume changes, a food baby to rival a real baby in terms of bump size and that's pretty much my trip. Beth and Rino were fabulous hosts and I only hope I can return the favor some day!

*******Edited to add*******
Rino has made a very valid point in the comments so I would, in fact, like to take this opportunity to McMention the McTastic breakfast sammich which is Rino's specialty - the McChief. In the past several months I had heard a lot of McChief McHype and I must say... it McLived up to McAll of it. Even though I didn't get the official McChief dance, I did get a sampling of McChief songs during the preparation. The omission of this portion of my trip was indeed a huge oversight on my part and for that, I humbly apologise.