Monday, August 31, 2009

Musee de Picasso

Being in a city filled with art, I should take advantage, become more cultured and visit the exhibits. Yet, I don’t do this often. Actually, I only do it when people come to visit. However, this weekend I decided I would go to the Picasso Museum and became very excited about the prospect. Here's how it all went down:

I drove into Paris.

Parked my car.

Walked three miles. (by choice, there are shorter routes)
Arrived at the Picasso Museum.

Pressed the intercom button.

Me: “Overez la porte s’il vous plait.” (Open the door please)

The all powerful Oz: “le musee est ferme” (Museum Closed)
(Other tourists standing outside around me looking confused as well with their guide books in hand.)

Me: Quoi? Ou est que le musee de Picasso (What? Where is the Picasso Museum)

The all powerful Oz: “Le Musee est ferme pour deux ans.” (The museum is closed for two years.)

The group of us standing outside the forbidden doors looked around in wonderment of how we missed the memo that Picasso is a no go.

I now pass along the knowledge to all of you. Should you find yourself in Paris, save yourself the journey of finding the Picasso Museum, because it is closed for the next two years. The saddest part of all is that apparently it closed on the 23rd, a mere week before I decided to show up. Should you show up, right around the corner is a cute park and a very friendly café to sit and enjoy the rest of your day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Mane Issue

Once when I was 15, I went into this hair salon with my BFF Kendal and her mom. We all needed haircuts and Kendal’s mom picked the place so I went along and decided I would get my hair cut too. First Kendal’s mom was taken, then Kendal, then me. My “stylist” looked like a Hawaiian Santa Clause with a long brown braid going to the center of his back. No Joke. I still remember him because he traumatized me greatly and changed every haircut I would get after this experience.

As Hawaiian Santa was walking towards me I thought, “This is going to be no good.” I should have followed that instinct and run out the door. But I didn’t, so he takes me back, sits me in a chair, and asks what I would like done. I tell him just a trim. He looks at me and says, “Well, I don’t really feel like cutting hair today.”

WHAT?!?!?!?!!! Um, hello Hawaiian Braided Santa, that is your job! What do you mean you don’t FEEEEEL like cutting hair?! (I have to slow down I am getting too excited, deep breaths) Before I could react to the ludicrous statement the stylist butcher made, he gathered all of my hair in a rubber band and began cutting chomping away parts of my hair. No shampooing or blowdry after just straight dry cutting with my hair all bunched together. I was MORTIFIED! I sadly didn’t say anything but waited painfully for it all to be over, paid my bill, and left depressed.

Since the biggest mistake of my life, letting Hair Butchering pony tail wearing Hawaiian Santa Clause touch my hair, I have vowed to only go to professional salons where people actually like girls with pretty haircuts, who like their job, and who know what the heck they are doing! I have stayed true to this and have had the best hair stylist since that tragic day since. The best of the best is my girl Kali Hana! She is just the cutest thing and is a lean mean (actually more dainty and cute than mean) hair styling Queen. I could sit in Kali’s chair all day, every day. She has the gift and more importantly she LOVES her job, so even on days she doesn’t feel like being a stylist, she does it anyways and she’s good at it. And I am positive she doesn’t tell her clients she doesn’t want them sitting in her chair, taking up her time; but rather continues to give them the perfect cut and color every time.

Sadder than Hawaiian Butchering Santa, is that Kali is not here in Paris! For weeks months now, I have been looking at my hair thinking… I need a hair cut! I keep hoping Kali will magically appear in Paris, or wish I had money like Opera, so I could fly to CA, and get my hair did while seeing my number one girl. Since I can’t, you should for me. I promise she is the BEST! But she isn’t here, and I don’t think she is going to magically appear anytime soon, so I am stuck with dead ends.

I walk past salons here in France and cringe not knowing who I can trust with my now overprotected locks of love. I have always had an attachment to my hair, even before Hawaiian Butchering Santa, but now I am protective of who I trust with my mane. I have people who offer to cut my hair for me for free and while most normal people are okay with that, everything inside of me cringes with the offer. I see flashbacks and want to run far far away before they reach out and grab a pair of scissors and start hacking away. My biggest issue is, I don’t know where to go, to get a well done do. Who can I turn to? And on top of that, with my oh so imperfect French, how do I express to them what I want, without coming out, looking like a French Poodle.

This has become quite an immense dilemma and every day I look in the mirror I am just so sad with the state of my tresses. They are dead and flat, rather than full of volume and life as they were in the good ol’ Kali days. Oh Kali how I love the… let me count the ways. I’ll start with 120,000 ways for each of the hairs on my head and go from there.

I I really need is some Fabulous French Hair Artist to come and give my hair some lovin, cause right now, me and my Breck girl hair are hurting, hurting real bad.

Kali the Great Days:
I am on the left, though Kali does the other lovely ladies hair too!

wa wa waaaaaaa. Utter Chaos

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

114 Pages of New Treasures Each Month

I am a sucker for Magazines. I love have always loved them and I fear I always will. How you feel about them; good, bad, or indifferent I enjoy my fair share of magazines. The funny thing is enjoy much more purchasing them in stores than I do receiving them in the mail. However, I do subscribe to a select few because I know that’s cheaper and I will ultimately end up buying it off the stand, being ripped off an additional two dollars with each purchase. My all time joy used to be going to Barnes and Nobles picking off all my favorites, and leisurely reading through all my lil lovies. To pay for my times I would buy a latte or something from the Starbucks to justify my sitting and reading their free publications.

Anyways… today I am going to take you on journey of my all time favorites of magazines to the one that you must go out and purchase today.

It all started with… “Highlights!” Oh yes the childhood joy of sitting in a dentist office finding the hidden treasures, crossword puzzles and all the other fun that could be found inside.

My next love of the pages probably came from the face that was displayed on all of the pages. The one and only JTT (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) my childhood heart throb. I simply couldn’t get enough of him and he was plastered all over my walls courtesy of the pages “Teen Beet.”

In Jr. High and High School, I somehow subscribed to “17 Magazine.” I am pretty sure my mom did so for me. But after the first magazine arrived in the mail the subscription was discontinued and replaced by the Christian version “Brio.”

Somewhere along the way I feel in love with “SELF” magazine and have yet ceased my subscription. Oddly enough it took a year for the subscription to arrive but then has never stopped. I do not re-new it and I certainly will not question the free gift that arrives each month.

“Glamour” is my favorite go to girly magazine. I love all the cute fashion accessories and the “hey it’s okay” section of this magazine. I chose this fun cover because it’s in French!

When I travel I always go to the magazine store and collect for my flights. However- I endlessly end up purchasing an “Economist” or “Time” magazine so that the passenger next to me doesn’t think I am only superficial and reading “SELF” and “Glamour” I have to show them I have some depth you know. Because I care oh so much about what the person I will sit next to for 4 hours of my life thinks about me.

For the wanabe domestic girl inside of me, “Real Simple” is my guide. I love paging through this magazine and would usually do it at my friend Ash’s apartment. Many of my party ideas come from here and I dream of my home someday being as neat and orderly as this magazine but know that will NEVER actually happen. It is so not my style no matter how much I wish it was.

Alas- last night I found this magazine and thought, “Where have you been all my life?!” It is a cooking magazine and every single recipe inside looked and sounded amazing. There were wonderful tips in the Prep School section that broke down more complicated steps of some of the inside recipes and lots of pictures showing how in the ideal world of cooking (which mine never do) the food would be presented. Seriously this magazine was amazing. I don’t even think you would have to like cooking to enjoy this magazine- just the pictures of the meals were so mouth watering and satisfying that it made it all worth it. Plus… it’s called “Bon Appetit” which is totally befitting of my time here in France.

Hope you enjoyed my list in the wonderful world of monthly publication spending. It’s quite long I know… but I am a sucker for them. Thankfully my budget has gone down drastically on buying magazines here in France. My good reason for this is that here in France, an English magazine usually costs about 10 dollars (or more) and that is MUCH too much to spend on a fun simple pleasure. My mama is kind and when she sends me my care packages, she sends along my “SELF” magazine that still gets delivered to the house. I enjoy sitting down on my couch and flipping each page, always reading from the back to the front- and relishing in the excitement of flipping to each new and exciting page.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Journey Continues

I have a love/this is really hard relationship with my time here in Frace. I love it at times, and others… I want to click my heels three times and magically be in my bed with my three closest friends telling them, “I had the strangest dream and you were there, and you were there, and you were there.”
But the thing is… it’s not a strange dream, it’s reality, and my friends are not here. (insert tear here)

It is the small things I miss the most from home. I used to be semi-addicted to texting and now half the time I don’t even know where my cell phone is. Why? Because there is no one to call me… no one knows my number, unless they are looking for a dog or baby sitter in which case- I am okay if I miss the call. I have the ability to call people through skype which is a dream come true- but if they don’t answer- they can’t call me back. You don’t realize how special it is to get a call from someone till you haven’t had your phone ring from a close friend in several months.

Getting mail from home is the greatest treasure on earth. Having something in my mailbox (other than bills) tells me someone remembers me and knows where I live. They may not have seen the place – but they know that this is where I can be found. It sounds strange, but the warmth in my heart when I find a piece of mail from the states in my mail box- can instantly bring tears of joy, and a smile to my face when I see the card posted onto my memory board.

Facebook can be my ally and worst rival. Some days Facebook lets me stay connected and in contact with everyone I know and love since I was in elementary school. But then pictures are posted of the great events, that I miss, because I am here. Fun birthdays of special friends are sad but what’s more difficult are the weddings, showers, babies and all the things that only happen once. More heartbreaking then not being a part of it, is not being there makes me feel like I am failing as a friend, for not being able to physically be there on these special days. But it is a double edge sword- because my pictures show the time of my life- but in my pictures it’s usually just me. I have great scenery but what is missing are Smartash, Francie pants, B-Cram, Cyn, Nic pic, Kens, and many many others.

I realize that my time here is short and I will be home before I can even realize I left home. I look forward to the day that I can look back on all the great memories. I just need to keep looking forward and know that this life must be lived to the fullest to be able to look back with no regrets. I must not get caught up in what I miss from home- but focus on what can be created in the time that I have been given here. “Every chance you get, is a chance you seize.”

I am not sure really what this most is about. Mostly rambles of things I think about often, a small picture of reality, and a reminder that no matter how far I am from the states, my heart is home. The beauty of it all is I know this goes both ways. I never doubt the love of everyone at home. Without them I wouldn’t be able to get through this whole journey; which in their own special way, actually does make them here with me. And coming to this conclusion my journey here will continue…

(Oh and for those who are wondering... yes I would like some cheese with my wine. Thanks :) Life really is tough for a young 20-something living in France... I know.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

A few of my Favorite Things Part 2

**note** because yesterday I recieved so many compliments on my pictures I will start out by telling you today none of the pictures except for Moulin Rouge were taken by me. I had to find pictures for these through Google images. However yesterdays photos were taken by me, so thank you.

Here is day two of my Faves of Paris (drum roll please):

In Paris you walk. A LOT. For a short time I lived in Washington D.C. when my friends came to visit they thought we walked a lot there. They have no idea what they are in for when they arrive in Paris. So I consider this their fair warning. What I am more amazed at though is now the Frenchies can walk around so much in their beautiful shoes. I don’t wear tennis shoes but I don’t wear stilettos either. Either way- I love my 50 Paris City Walks guides. They are small enough to take a few in my purse. They helped me find my way and become familiar with the city. And when you are walking around and down, what may seem a normal street, you might just find out that, “in Apartment 56 Van Gough lived for two years.” Or something else you would never know when just walking around taking in the city.

I have written about this before and probably will many times, I just can’t resist. To me, a ballet in Paris to me is a must. But not just a Ballet. A ballet at the Palais Garnier. I think is the most beautiful building in Paris and the inside is even more exquisite. It really is breathtaking. The dancers are incredible only to be complimented by the art of the building itself. One cool fact about the Palais Garnier, is that this is the Opera house, that the Phantom of the Opera, is based off of.

View from the stage

Looking towards the stage

If you aren’t walking in Paris you are probably in the metro. Some metros are great… others not so much. Depending on the line and the time of the day you can be crammed in like a pack of sardines wanting to pour hand sanitizer on your entire body. Or you can take line 14. I love line 14. It is the newest metro line and it is so clean, pretty, and not so stuffed. It is not a particularity long line, in regards to how many stops it makes. But what it does offer, I quite enjoy and get a little giddy when I know my route will put me on the 14.

My next favorite, is a favorite because it is a favorite of France and something I have really grown to appreciate. The French love their cheeses. I believe there are over 365 different French cheeses, you know… one for each day. I love when people get excited, so it makes me happy when the French get excited talking about their cheeses. I have things I love about the French and their cheese. The first reason being are the cheese stores. I am really impressed at an entire store of selling just cheese.

The second thing I love is my favorite cheese. Well what is my favorite cheese you might ask? Hands down, yummy in my tummy, my favorite is Chevre Chaud avec Meil, Hot Goat cheese with Honey. De-Lic-ious! Best part, you can do this at home and I implore you to do so, now! Hot Goat Cheese with honey then drizzled on top with a Baguette- as my friend B would say, Done and done.

I gave this favorite away in my *note* but it really makes my favorite only during a certain time of day. The first time I saw the Moulin Rouge was during the day. It was cool to be standing in front of it, but I wasn’t all too impressed. However- the next time I stumbled back into that part of town it was dark and the lights of the Moulin Rouge were on and suddenly the entire place came to life. If you go to see the Moulin Rouge (the building not the show) you must do so at night- it is a far far better sight to see at night.

So that's my list for now. There is more but I have to save things for another time. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Girls in white dresses and blue satin sashes,
Snow-flakes that stay on my nose and eye-lashes,
Silver white win-ters that melt into spring,
Here are a few of my favorite Parisian things...

Galerie Lafayette:
If extravagant shopping is your thing, then you need to look no further than Galerie Lafayette. What I would assume to be the equivalent to Saks Fifth Avenue (assume because I have never been to Saks) is what you will find in Galerie Lafayette. This shop is massive. I am not a major shopper- in fact I usually become quickly overwhelmed. But this makes my favorites list because it is more like art than shopping. In the center of the woman’s department is this exquisite dome that envelops the entire 5 floors.

Directly under the doom on the first floor is the cosmetic department. As you go up each floor has its own theme. I loved the displays of fashion as you walked by. I could never afford anything in the place- but I sure can take pictures of it. Oh and on Friday afternoons there are free fashion shows. I haven't done this yet but it is on my must do list.

A sunny day, a big blanket, good friends, tasty food, the Eiffel Tower, or the Seine as your view? What is not to love about this?

Secret flowers:
In the Madeline district, there is the most enchanting flower shop I believe, to ever be created. You could easily walk by this shop and not even notice, which is a shame because it is mesmerizing. Stepping inside, the sweet scent takes you to a whole other world, as if you are in a dream or story. You are not supposed to enter unless you are a customer and you are really not allowed to take pictures. I broke both rules. (the first one many times- oops!)

My Seine:
When I walk down the hill from my apartment about two blocks, I am on the Seine River. I love this place. I enjoy going for relaxing walks or sitting and watching the baby ducks and swans. It’s very relaxing and a quaint way to watch the French families sit and stroll about.

My favorite View:
I love taking people to what I call my secret spot in Paris. It’s not really a secret, but I found it, so I claim it to be mine. It is on top of a hotel, right off the metro stop Kebler. One day, the doorman will realize I am not a guest but someone who is simply coming for the fabulous view. However I cannot help myself because it has a fantastic view of…

The Arch de Triumph

The Eiffel Tower

All while playing a game of life size chess! Amazing, I know!

Laduree oh how I love thee! With your exquisite French beauty, your attention to detail, and your endless supply of all the most delicious deserts. I could talk on endlessly about my love for Laduree, but I will save that for it’s own separate post. There are a few locations in the city; the first one I ever came across was in Madeline (same place as the flower shop). When approaching the shop I saw a line of people waiting out of the store. I figured I should get in line too, because whatever was inside, must be good. Yes, I waited in line for thirty minutes, just to see what treasures lied inside. The beauty that awaited inside, was absoultly worth the wait. I believe Laduree is quintessentially French, just the thought of it makes my heart very very happy.

This list quickly became longer than I expected. I will post the rest tomorrow. So come back if you would like to see and know more. Today's post was part of MamaKats writers workshop of what you would give away in your favorites give away. Now I know I cannot actually give you any of these things through the mail... but they are little insider secrets of Paris that I am giving to her here for free! Should you ever make your way to Paris, you will know the best places to see and go!

Faux Pas 2: Intermarche

In general I end up going to the grocery store about once a week. Inevitably each time the person checking me out will realize I am not French but American. This is a conversation from my last visit to Intermarche…

Checker 1: Oh I am sorry I only take cash here (in French)

Me: Oh sorry.

Checker 1: It’s okay

(note: the guy in front of me did the same thing and the lady behind me. Maybe a sign would be a good idea)

Checker 2: Where are you from?

Me: U.S.A, California.

Checker 2: Oh nice. You are welcome. (In English)

Me: Thanks

Checker 2: Do you like it here? (In English)

Me: Oui. Je T’aime.

Checker 2: silent

Me: (now in English) Wait… I just told you I love you huh. Uh Uh Uh… How do I say I love it?

Checker 2: Laughs… J'adore.

Me: ah… Merci beaucoup, J'adore . I then bowed my head in shame and walked away.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Norway through my Lens

I loved the decorated mailboxes

I thought this playground was adorable- but I shouldn't post it, it might give my mother more ideas for her grandbaby.

Lots of the tress were covered in fruit or berries. Yum!

They are all ready for Christmas

How would you like one of these suites for back to school shopping. Pink for the girls and blue for the boys.

Guess he wasn't supposed to park here...

In each back yard was one of these:
I was amazed at how jumping on it, brought you right back to being a kid again.

Imagine being a kid and trying to spell this, when asked to spell your street name

Ice with your drink = sooooo good!

life check list #63: Stand in two places at once. Check. Standing on the border between Sweeden and Norway.

These +

This. =


I tried to kiss this little guy but he hopped away before I could see if he was secretly my prince

I loved this waterfall- It was huge!

I made it to the top

You think he's all cute don't you...

Don't be fooled he turns me into this!

The last shot of the fijord before leaving.