Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Canal

This past weekend I went out to lunch with a friend at one of our favorite areas of Paris: the Canal St. Martin. It was oddly warm (our winter coats finally felt like too much), the sun was out, and every hip, stylish person in Paris was taking a Saturday stroll in this part of town. For some of the best people watching in Paris, grab a table (if you're lucky) outside Chez Prune and enjoy their spectacular brunch on a weekend afternoon while you watch the modern day Parisian Dandy stroll past you.

I was particularly drawn to the graffiti and street art around the canal this weekend. This area is a playground for artists and fashionistas, and during our few hours spent meandering the canal, we came across multiple fashion photo shoots occurring right on the canal. This part of town provides an interesting backdrop for the artsy crowd... here you can see why:

Photos are my own.

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Found this on my old hard drive today. An outfit post I never did in the Spring of 2012. So here you go!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

OFII - A French Waiting Game

OFII... The dreaded visit for all holders of a French visa. It's an appointment made for you by the French Administration basically so that you can show to them that you do not, in fact, have tuberculosis. And thus, with that, you can be in France legally. But wait, before you go to your appointment, you must pay 60 euro for a stamp! And you must provide absurd amounts of paperwork! And when you get there you must be prepared to dedicate at least 4-5 hours of your busy day to... waiting! And then, you must wait some more!

I traveled all the way down to the OFII offices in Montrouge, right outside Paris, and fortunately there was a big sign outside the metro station that said OFII --->, because otherwise, I would have been totally lost. There was snow on the ground and despite my attempts to be bundled up, the cold pierced through my 87 layers and went straight for the bone marrow. Hmm... so this is what winter feels like?

I arrived, checked in with the lady at the front desk who already had a print-out of my paperwork in a stack with everyone else's, and I was quickly ushered into the waiting room, where I sat, and waited, for nearly two hours. I was surrounded by a large number of immigrants, like me, waiting to get the green light on our TB-Free French stay. There was a tv screen across the room that had me mesmerized. I was eating an apple while simultaneously watching the dissection of a large octopus on tv. This was the entertainment for us while we waited to be stripped down to sub-human levels of embarrassment (okay, thats an exaggeration, I admit). I actually found it amusing, and I was both fascinated and disgusted as I watched a muslim woman without gloves, in an old turquoise medical room somewhere in Tunisia gracelessly cut open the slimy invertebrate with her rusty scalpel.

Finally, after a women had come in a number of times and called every name but mine, and after I had eaten all my snacks, and after I had watched another woman on TV make a pot of octopus couscous, I was called for my turn to be seen. Or rather, my turn to wait a little bit more. I followed her into the medical examination offices, where, along with 5 other people, I was greeted by an impatient blonde woman who rushed me to put my things down and give her a urine sample. I turned around, and behind us, in this wide open room, were three bathroom stalls with small, short little blue doors. Welp, okay then. I did my thing, and came out awkwardly holding a cup of urine, feeling bashful in front of the several other people in the room that could clearly see everything I was holding. Now, in the US, giving a urine sample (at least at my hospital) involves going in a large, private bathroom, taking two sterilized cups with all of the necessary medical information already printed on them, doing your business, then, at your leisure, leaving the cups (sealed with a nice, clean orange lid, hidden in a brown paper bag, of course) inside the mysterious little stainless steel 2-way door/box in the wall. You leave it, and quietly go on your way. At OFII, they roll a little differently.

Next, in the same room with the same woman and the same people watching (and also doing the same thing as me), I was weighed and measured, and rushed out to the little seating area where I sat and watched other poor souls go through the same awkward procedure I had just finished. Another woman came out from one of the many bizarre doors in this large room and called me in to have my vision tested. Turns out, I'm not blind.

I was then escorted into Door 42, another bizarre blue stall, and told to remove all of my clothing from the waist up for a chest x-ray - aka the TB exam. Even though I had been through this process before, I still found myself taken by surprise. I was standing in my little stall, topless and looking in the mirror, awkwardly trying to find a way to look like I was just casually covering my chest (arms crossed) when the door on the other side of the stall swung right open and a woman (to my relief - it was a man last time) called me in, but not before asking for my paperwork, which forced me to put my arms down and walk in, baring all. Once inside the room, I saw a large x-ray machine, and I saw a man, sitting at his desk, looking at things on his computer. I wanted to wonder why he was there, I wanted to feel embarrassed about being topless infront of a strange man in his office, and I wanted to know why no one seemed to think this was weird, but it all happened so fast, I just found myself pressed up against a cold plastic thing, inhaling and exhaling as the woman took my x-ray in record speed. Finally, I was done, she sent me back to Door 42, and I was able to put my 87 layers back on. For now.

I thought I was done, but no, I had to sit and wait a little bit longer in that same open room where people were still being assembly-lined in and out of the urine offering station. I spent a very, very long time reading the "I got tested for HIV" posters in French, and I'm pretty sure I have each one memorized now. Eventually, a kind lady in purple called me in to another weird stall, and asked me to sit down next to her at her computer while she looked at my x-ray. She asked me to take my sweater off when I first entered the room, then seeing that I had a long-sleeved shirt on, asked me to take that one off too. My shirt underneath was also a long-sleeve, so alas, I found myself without clothing once again, sitting at a computer with a lady who seemed to be in no rush to allow me to put my clothes back on. She first asked me all sorts of questions like if I have been vaccinated against TB, and I just said "I think so", and apparently that is official enough because she marked a check in the "Oui" box, and moved on. More questions followed, none of which I actually knew the answer to, but it didn't seem to matter, as long as I "assumed" I had had all my shots and tests and exams and what have you. She finally took my blood pressure (the reason for which I had to disrobe) and ushered me out after I quickly got dressed again.

Phew, almost done.

I went back to the front desk, the lady directed me upstairs, around the corner down the hall, in front of the blahblahblah (I have no idea what she actually said), and when I got there, I found an old familiar friend: a waiting room. When it was my turn, a friendly, handsome young French man invited me into his little cubicle and asked for the magical 60 euro stamp, my endless paperwork, my passport, etc, and after making a few funny jokes (that I actually understood, in French) and making me smile for the first time in 3 hours, a big blue sticker was placed inside my passport, taking up an entire page, and I was sent on my way, back into the cold.

Et voilĂ ! I am now officially, legally in France. But shit man, they don't make it easy. Pro tip: Bring a book.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Design Thinking - Open Source Guide

I came across and article on LinkedIn today and I was immediately intrigued. Frog design has taken the very western idea of 'brainstorming' (as a critical part of design thinking) and broadened this practice through a simple and universal guide, soon to be available for free to everyone. This open source guide helps people in the developing world solve problems that are relevant to the needs in their community by encouraging people to build teams, do research, and clarify the goals of the project through each step of the way. Read this article to learn more.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Burning Love

Can't. Stop. Singing. This. Song.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Salon du Chocolat

I hate chocolate. I hate it with a burning, fiery passion. Don't as me why, because I have never known why and even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you! It just tastes bad. Also, don't ask me "well, what about milk chocolate?", or "what about brownies?" I don't understand why so many people always ask the same questions. Its so simple! I do not like chocolate. If it is chocolate, I do not like it.

And yet, two weeks ago, I went to one of the worlds largest chocolate expos, right here in Paris. The Salon du Chocolat was an enormous hall filled with chocolate vendors from all around the world, and yes, I went, and I enjoyed it. Fortunately for me, there were plenty of non-chocolate treats (macaroons, anyone??) to keep my sugar levels at an all-time high, so you can all just relax about that... but my friend (who invited me to join her to this event) was in chocolately bliss before we even entered the building. For chocolate lovers, this was Willy Wonka's paradise. The highlight would have been the Chocolate Fashion Show, except it was so crowded that I couldn't see a damn thing and I was only able to walk away with one measly, blurry photo [featured below] to prove that yes, chocolate fashion apparently is possible.

If this event happens to come to your city, and if you happen to like chocolate (though I don't know WHY you would), I suggest taking a trip to see it, smell it, and most certainly taste it. Come with an empty stomach and a fat wallet, and leave the happiest you might ever be. Ever.

(Yep, Smart Car covered in macaroons. I think this was made for me.)

Photos are my own.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dancing by the Seine

Le Mans

This past weekend was my first weekend in France, and I spent it in the beautiful old town of Le Mans, otherwise known as Le Vieux Mans. The old town is an old medieval town surrounding a cathedral dating back to the early 1000's. I was blown away by how beautiful and how old this town is; anything of that age in America either doesn't exist, or was destroyed, so seeing such a perfectly preserved old city seemed almost miraculous to me. Every corner had something particular to look at, and I took too many photos to even count, but here are a select few to give you an idea of what Le Vieux Mans looks like.

All photos are my own.

What I'm Listening To

While sitting in my cozy bedroom, wrapped up in a warm sweater after a long, cold run down the Seine, and enjoying a lazy first of November, I find myself listening to some of the most perfect music in existence and dreaming of life in times past. As I mentioned before, I've been on a strictly 'vintage' musical (and design, fashion, cinema, etc) diet lately and I want to share some of my favorites with you, so here are a few songs from my playlist, for your enjoyment.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Paris Is Always A Good Idea

I had the most perfectly Parisian day today. In a failed attempt to find the location of the school where I will be taking my language classes in January, I ended up at Victor Hugo and decided to walk down to Trocadero, where I hoped to take the typical tourist photo in front of the Eiffel Tower to add to my collection [see previous post]. Once there, I summoned some Spanish girls over to take my photo in exchange for me taking theirs, and I walked on, leaving the tourists behind as I enjoyed my little lunch picnic on a park bench looking towards the tower. I sat there for a while, enjoying my ham sandwich while people watching and remembering the last time I was there, in December of 2009, in the midst of Paris’ first snow of the season. Today was not nearly as cold, or as emotional as that last day in Paris 3 years ago, but today brought its own set of emotions, most of them pleasant.

I spent the afternoon walking around the 7th arrondissement, mostly, to be honest, in search of a bathroom (impossible to find, amazingly), which I found after somehow returning to the Eiffel tower without realizing, nearly two hours later. Parisian streets have the interesting habit of both providing me with extreme orientation (which I never have at home), and also completely disorienting me at the same time; after walking for two hours (in search of the nonexistent bathroom), visiting the gardens of the Musee du Quai Branly, and thinking that I had somehow already made it down to Notre Dame, I turned a corner and voila – the Eiffel tower once again. My promenade continued down the length of the Seine and through the little streets of the Left Bank, where the crisp cool breeze that hinted at a fast-approaching winter blew carelessly through my messy hair, as I hummed “Ain’t Misbehaving” (by Fats Waller) and “La Vie en Rose” (I’ve been on a strictly ‘vintage’ music kick lately), practically floating the entire time. I took my time taking photos, weaving in and out of little streets, allowing myself to get lost in Paris, as so many people love to do. Once the sun started heading downwards, I walked across a bridge near Concorde to catch the sunset, and I remained there for nearly an hour, watching the last streaks of light paint the sky behind the Eiffel tower with all sorts of heavenly colors. As the night slowly showed its face, the muted colors of the city turned from Parisian grays and blues of daytime into the illuminated, sparkling brilliant yellows and blacks of the City of Light at night. Once darkness had completely arrived and the city was lit up entirely, I decided to venture back home, knowing that even for all its beauty, the commute in Paris is anything but beautiful. An hour later (and after being sandwiched in the metro for said hour), I arrived at my station and trotted on back to my new home in the suburbs of Paris. I suppose you could say I took myself out on the most romantic date possible today and I'm looking forward to treating myself to another date tomorrow.

Today was one of those days that nothing really happened, very few words were spoken, and I was left entirely to the thoughts in my own head, and as unremarkable as today could have been, after arriving home and kicking off my boots, I sat on my bed and realized that I had just experienced something incredible. Paris happened, and even when nothing happens, Paris is still there, still tickling you with its beauty, with its magic, with its charm, beckoning you in, to get lost in its streets, to hum and whistle to yourself in your own whimsical manner, to take pleasure in the sharp and piercing cold that turns your hands to a lovely shade of purple, to dedicate an entire hour of your life to simply staring into the city horizon, to speak to not one soul in the entire day and still feel like all of your human sensations, connections, and desires have been thoroughly met and to never fear the loneliness and solitude that this city threatens to bring, because its Paris, and even when you’re at your worst, or your best, this city is always there to remind you of why you are alive.

I often wonder to myself why I felt compelled to come back. While I suppose I’ll never fully know why, its days like today that remind me that this is where I need to be, where I feel like I have always been, and where a part of me will always be.

I'm Back!

So... Guess where I live now [again]?

You might remember (if you've been reading this blog for a while) this set of photos from the last time I was in Paris. Well, I came back to take another one for the collection. 3 years later, the dreads are gone, and so much else has changed both for me and for this city, but I'm finally back. I feel like I've been here forever... I'm home.

Thursday, 4 October 2012




Monday, 6 August 2012

Under Construction

I'm currently playing around with the design and layout of my blog, so I apologize for any messy design changes that you might encounter in the next few days. Hopefully it will be updated very soon! Thanks for your patience.


Origami Jacket

Issey Miyake Origami jacket S/S 1991


Friday, 3 August 2012

Neon Face


Friday, 27 July 2012


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. 

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Tuesday, 24 July 2012



Saturday, 7 July 2012


Roscioli is the home of one of the most exquisite and dare I say divine culinary experiences you may have in Rome. Frequented nearly entirely by locals (thats how you know it's good), it is a "Salumeria con cucina"(A deli with a kitchen) where by day I presume you may conduct business as usual, buying your choice of cheese or cured meats or olive oils and spreads (the selection for any of these items is out of this world), but by night, you sit down and enjoy a true italian meal in all its culinary glory. Tonight was one of those nights for my sister and I, since we were fortunate enough to be invited, very graciously, by a friend of a friend and her family (we had never even met!) to dinner, and what a dinner it was. Appetizers abounded: artichokes, followed by buffalo mozzarella with sun dried cherry tomatoes, followed by anchovies, followed by mortadella, followed by burrata, etc etc etc... plates upon plates upon plates of heavenly goods. And this was just the beginning (and of course I was already full). A rose wine paired with the appetizers by the father, an true sommelier, followed by a strong sauvignon blanc with dinner. Supposedly this restaurant is known for its pasta carbonara (often times described as the best in all of Italy), so naturally, we had to try it. My taste buds had never been so aroused - it certainly lived up to its fame. Some members of the family followed their pasta with another main dish (fish), but the rest of us were too full to imagine even one more bite. We wiped up our plates with bread and loosened our belt a little bit, and sat back in pure delight. Complimentary with the million-course dinner was a tray of cookies and chocolate sauce for dipping, which was exactly the bite we needed to cleanse the palette and "seal the deal." We sat and dined for more than 3 hours, one small dish after another, until we could not eat any more... and then we ate more. It was the most incredible feast I have had in a long, long time (maybe the most incredible ever?) and I will never in my life forget this amazing evening. If you ever find yourself in Rome, do yourself a favor and reserve a table at Roscioli - it might just be the best thing you'll ever do.


Friday, 6 July 2012


Life is funny sometimes. You realize, all of a sudden, that life is too short and that you are free to live as you wish (contrary to popular belief), and then you act on it, and you live the rest of your life thankful that you made that choice. I have been living a rather unpredictable life lately, which has often made it difficult to make any sort of plans even a month or two in advance. My sister, at the same time, has been living in London (and currently traveling around Europe) for her study abroad in college (much like mine 3 years ago when I first started this blog) and I had wanted to visit her from the very beginning, but never felt quite stable enough to spend a big portion of my savings to just simply go. Until now.

Its not as though things have become stable all of a sudden... its just that I realized that I can, I should, and if I don't, I'll really regret it. So I went. I bought my ticket less than 2 weeks ago and I am now writing to you from Rome, Italy, after our first full day of touring the city. And I am so, so, so glad to be here. Best choice I could have ever made.

Its our first trip without our parents, which is both stressful (when both of us, equally indecisive and easily disoriented, can't seem to figure out what to do or how to get there) and thrilling (this is our trip, paid for with our hard-earned money, and we can do as we please), and I am certain we will both gain an entirely new traveling perspective after paying for, planning, and experiencing this trip entirely on our own. We've been very fortunate to have been raised by two adventurous world-travelers, so in our short 24 and 20 years of life (I'm the older one), we have seen more of the world than most people ever will. However, our trips are of a different class when we are with our parents; we tend to stay at nice hotels, eat at nice restaurants, and do 'nice' things that nice, classy grown-ups like to do. This time around, we're doing it the young, budget-friendly way: hostels, AirBnB, bargain-hunting, buying food at grocery stores (and preparing our own breakfast/lunch), walking everywhere, etc etc etc, and I couldn't love it any more. We're seeing Rome on our own terms, and we're loving every bit so far.

Stay tuned for the next 2 weeks to hear more from this trip. Next stop after Rome will be the Amalfi coast, and then my sister and I part ways and while she heads up to Torino to do Wwoofing for 2 weeks, I will be heading to the Middle East to visit my best friend. So excited.

A few quick photos to share from today...

Photos are my own.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I am in the middle of one of the biggest decisions I have had to make in a very, very long time. But this quote lifted a weight off my shoulders, perhaps in a way that only Hemingway can...

“There is never any ending to Paris, and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. Paris was always worth it, and you received return for whatever you brought to it…”  -Ernest Hemingway

Photo: http://classy-in-the-city.tumblr.com/post/21862583249/paris-rooftops

Sunday, 13 May 2012

My Bad-Ass Mother

I realized this year that most mothers day cards are tailored to a mother I don't know: she loves pink, flowers, religion, and poetry. She drives a minivan, takes her kids to soccer, and she's delicate, proper, and always composed. Well, what kind of card do you give a mom who is nothing like that? Is there a card for a mom who doesn't go to church, has never baked me a cookie in my life, and would rather wear running shoes than stillettos? What about a card for the mom who takes you camping in the middle of the amazon jungle, scuba diving in Thailand, or fly fishing in Alaska? To a mom who is first in line for surfing, rapelling, zip-lining, white water rafting, snowboarding, wake-boarding, canopying, and who is planning a trip to Mt. Everest with her equally amazing sister? What kind of card exists for the moms who are professionals and leaders? To a mom who is not only an exceptional doctor but also the chief of her department and innovator in her field? What about the moms who refuse to stay at home, who would rather go play baseball with the boys, and who never had to sacrifice career or family because she had them both and it was because of having both that she kicked so much ass. What kind of card is made for the strongest, smartest, bravest, most adventurous, most independent and assertive woman, the one who never needs to talk about feminism but simply embodies it so fully and deeply? These cards don't exist because these women probably wouldn't want a card anyway. Those little cards can't be made for a women like my own bad-ass fireball of a mother. Happy mothers day, mom. You rock harder than anyone.



Sedona, AZ

Finishing her first half marathon

Watching her brother eat sh** on the zip line, Colombia

Scuba diving at night with manta rays in Hawaii

In Italy, early 1990's, looking so stylish and beautiful


With me at Machu Picchu, Peru, 2008

With my sister (upside down) and me at the beach as little kiddos

Rapelling down a waterfall in Colombia

Playing in the mud, Thailand

With her sister - Amazon Jungle in Brazil


Isn't she pretty??

Saint Lucia

My backyard


Pismo Beach

The whole family, at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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