Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"I have a new friend"

So it's wordless wednesday...I'm posting a picture andrew sent me today with the subject "I have a new friend" and absolutely no explanation. I think you'll see why it's weird.
What? Andrew and a charming french lady in a chocolate shop? This is all too strange. (and there I go again, failing at wordless wednesday. UGH)

Anywho, turns out it's none other than Denise Acabo from one of the best candy shops in Paris -- L'etoile D'or. Apparently, she's super famous and well photographed so don't go thinking Andrew's special (although he is, just for other reasons). I'm dying to go home and try what he walked out with (37 euros later...on candy! but I digress). According to David Lebovitz, it's worth it...who am I to argue? I will post with the taste test results on a later day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Le Hunger Games"

We will all be spectators. 
So an awesome birthday present from the country of france was one of the most anticipated movies of the year was coming out on my birthday. A whopping 48 hours before north america. So exciting! Andrew got us tickets for last night (the day after, but still before North Americans tee hee). In anticipation, we bought our tickets 2 days early and made an early dinner reservation to get a good place in line. I'm not a fan of the crick in the neck I get in front row seats and to be honest I find the previews quite amusing.

WELL, obvious fun fact of the day: The french aren't that into the hunger games. Or perhaps not that into the movie. Or maybe it was because it was one of the first nice nights in Paris, I dunno, either way, we were 20 minutes early and we were first in line. FIRST IN LINE! what nerds we were. (aka me). But no matter the external factors, I still think in the US you would find people who were probably fanatical about the first viewing.

Second interesting fact of the day: there aren't ads before the movies (I mean like before the start time). Which I find weird, but you know what else is weird? There are these little preview magazines you can pick up that talk about future shows and have ads. So people are actively seeking out this information. And nearly everyone had one when we were in line, which is good because they only let you in 5 minutes before the movie. I've gone to see other movies in Paris before and thought it was a major marketing opportunity missed, but I now realize they just do it another way. Oh parisians, so intellectual, they'd rather read about upcoming films than have them blasted in their face.

In other news, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Highly recommend it, excellent representation of the book, good casting, awesome story. A+! Andrew thought it was a bit violent, but really that's the whole premise. I thought it could have been much much worse.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Birthdays in Paris

Well, yesterday was my birthday. It was a day filled blech, but the next 3 days promise to be more exciting.

Three interesting observations about birthdays here:.

1. Everyone says Congratulations!!! I seriously thought either A) people weren't talking to me or B) I forgot I was pregnant....This happened all day long. It was weird. What happened to just saying Happy birthday!?
2. Everyone asks immediately how old you are. This was also strange to me, but not entirely unexpected. My boss has asked my age no less than 5 times, so I was expecting it again. I'm not self concious or annoyed with my age, but I don't like blasting it either. So this was annoying to me.
3. Champagne is a neccesity on birthdays. This I obviously had no complaints about.

The celebrations continue this weekend with a viewing of the Hunger games tonight, drinks on friday, and dinner at mama shelter on sat! yay!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fountainebleau : C'est tres beau!

My parents are here (yay!) and we had an excellent weekend. It was filled with wine, food, and a little adventure. Yesterday, we hopped on a train at Gare De Lyon and went to a beautiful town called Fountainebleau to visit a chateau and Andrew's school (!!). I had never been out there before, so it was an excellent opportunity to site see, with a little business mixed in.

[side note: there are a million train stations in Paris (at least 5 that I can think of) and did you know that by the name of the station you generally know where the trains come from? For at least 3 stations....Gare Du Nord (station from the north), Gare De L'est (station from the east), Gare De Lyon (station from Lyon...or south). You may have already figured this out, but I had never put put two and two together and it blew my mind a little bit.)]

Okay, back to Fountainebleau. (Another thing that blew my mind: I've been spelling it wrong forever. It's fountainEbleau. An extra E is thrown in there...just realizing this post is making me look very unitelligent ha). Anywho, the chateau is gorgeous. It's the summer palace of many kings and queens, as well as Napoleon (I,II, and III). In addition to being awe inspired, Andrew and I walked away feeling a tad bit ignorant on French History. (Who was Francois I again? Why are there multiple napoleons? Why are we so stupid? and/or why is the North American Education system so poor? j/k to all my teacher friends :-)) Anywho, I took lots of fun pictures and have vowed to read a book on the French Revolution (orrrrr at the very least watch Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette again doh).

Let's start with the grounds. Stunning. Can't wait to see it in the spring, but there is something beautiful about an ominous sky and naked trees.

The inside is gorgeous. The french clearly understand opulence and Fountainebleau is no exception. After seeing the 15th gilted ceiling you start to understand why the French revolution happened (and question why it didn't happen sooner).
I also noticed there were a ton of chairs everywhere (many I would love to steal and put in my apartment). A lot of sitting was done back in the day apparently.

Also, the detailing is magnificent. Below are two of my favorite examples from the party room. The salamander is the symbol of Francois I (or 'brand logo' as I like to call it. An old example of marketing at its finest -- a salamander was apparently known for being able to resist fire...take that enemies!). The other are 3 interlacing crescent moons. They are either supposed to be a C for his wife Catherine or could be construed as a D for Diane his favorite. Bit of a stretch, but a fun story none-the-less.

And lastly, here are some pictures of INSEAD yay! The campus is approximately a 10 minute walk away from the Chateau, which is pretty cool if I do say so myself. The town is quite charming, with a mix of an old french feel, with some busier commerce. The juxtaposition is seen quite well actually in the pics below -- on the left is the old chateau in which the strategy department is housed (how cool!?), coupled with a beautiful, modern and angular building on the main campus. I'm looking forward to making this my country home next year. So proud of you Andrew!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Chez Moi

The subway had 'technical difficulties' this morning and I decided to work from home. I don't normally get to enjoy the apartment in the morning light (and there hasn't been sunlight for a while), so it has inspired me to do a post on my apartment, which I adore.

Starting with: My view working from home. Not too shabby, eh?
We're on the second floor (3rd to you North americans) of a traditional Haussman building. Which means, we have a balcony! According to my intern, traditional haussman buildings have 5 floors. The ground floor is for retail. The one above that is traditionally for the people who own the shop. The second floor is the first of the 'tradiontally more well off' people flats, which is why there is a balcony. The 3rd floor used to house the servants quarters for the 2nd floor people, the 4th floor is the servants quarters for the 5th floor people and the 5th floor is the other well off family (hence a balcony again). Don't know how accurate this is, but it makese sense to me. Nowadays, clearly they all have been transformed into normal apartments.

Moving on (I feel like I'm in Cribs...remember trhat show?), is the living room.
So, I don't know much about the man who owns my apartment, but I do know he likes leather. We have 3 (!!) leather couches. From this detail (and a few others), Andrea and I have crafted a creative story about his life. We think he is a bachelor. We thought he may be gay (good decorating), but perhaps he's just perpetually single, career focused, and rich enough to hire a decorator. We thought he was german as he seems meticulous (turns out he's from Venice). He clearly didn't spend too much time in the apartment -- perhaps every other weekend -- whisking off to Asia and the middle east for very important meetings about bank mergers and IPOs....anywho, you get the point. We have too much time on our hands.

Next, the dining room (although I didn't take a pic of the table hmmm minor detail).
Two important things. I'm obsessed with my bookshelf! Thank you Ikea for giving us a place to display fun knick knacks. Second thing, not sure if you can tell but that is not a working fireplace. Notice how we don't even pretend-- that my friends is our wine storage. You can tell our priorities. And the fact that I've killed the orchird Charisse gave me. Sad face.

So if I were on cribs, I'd definitely have to do the mandatory 'what's in your fridge' segment. Welcome to that segment. Our fridge is basically a commercial for Activia. Can you tell I work for a yogurt company? Oh and we have wine and cheese. Once again, priorities.

Two other awesome things about our kitchen....Check out the rack for silverware in the dishwasher! So genius and clever, I've always thought it was awkwad getting silverware out of a dishwasher (another reason why we thought the owner was either german or perhaps swedish). The second is my favorite saying on a postcard that Andrea picked up. It's by voltaire, who happens to be the namesake of our metro stop. It says (en francais), "I decided to be happy because it's good for the health." True.

And here is the bedroom. If I were in cribs, I would say "This is where the magic happens." 

Lasly, the bathroom. We are incredibly fortunate to have huge bathroom, which I feel like is rare in europe. HOWEVER, to quote Cam Davison, 'Showering in Europe is Awkward,' and ours is no exception. Don't know if you can tell, but that piece of glass only goes about 3/4 of the way (WHY??). Which is normally fine, but on more than one occasion the shower nozzle has accidentally not been pointed the right direction and I've flooded the bathroom. I am not the only one, it's happened no less than 3 times. Whoops. And why no lip or something to block the water? Also, no bathtub....sad panda.

And that's it. Once again, to quote cribs "I don't care where you go, but you can't stay here. See ya" I've clearly seen one too many rappers give tours of their home. Thank you MTV.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Happy Birthday @ Natalie's News!!!

Okay, so Natalie's birthday is actually tomorrow. BUT since I'm not really a weekend blogger, I figured a day early was better than forgetting! Happy Birthday Natalia!!!! I'm so lucky to have you in my life :) (pic below is not the best of all of us, but it was such a good time it makes up for of the many good times we've had and will continue to have!)