Sunday, April 20, 2014

You know you're in Paris when...

The stairwells spiral like dizzying art.
The croissants are plentiful. And beautiful. And delicious. An everyday indulgence. 
There are gardens growing on building facades.

There is time to have a beer in the middle of the day.
The flowers. Are just. Gorgeous.

The cakes and pastries are displayed with such care and respect.
Hello, Paris. It's good to be back.

Friday, April 18, 2014

First, London

So though it's been in the back of my mind, my trip to Paris has been on the books for months. And then a couple weeks ago, a project came up for me to work on in the London office. So I came to Europe a few days early to work, but, as always, it's been a joy. I'm really enjoying my job right now and, well, what's not to love about hotel living in the world's best cities? 

The weather has been lovely and springy. The sun has been shining, but I'm still wearing a coat.

Today was officially a holiday in the UK so I took the early part of the day to walk around and get a little fix of London.

I went down to the Tate Modern to see the new Matisse: Cut outs exhibition. But what I really enjoyed was the Richard Hamilton one.

But what I've really enjoyed is just being at the hotel. In the morning and evenings, sitting in the Great Northern Hotel's restaurant for flavorful and uber rich food and the amazing staff has made me so happy. 

Oh yeah. And then there's that naughty little pantry with cake and cookies and bonbons for the taking.
And I walked by Hummingbird Bakery and naturally had to try it. It was delicious.
I was intending to save myself for Paris. But London got the best of me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Flush with spring

I know Paris enjoyed an early, warm spring, filled with blooming flowerbeds and trees. And just as I was leaving New York on Monday, I felt a pang, knowing the glimpse of daffodils, forsythia and dogwoods that were coming into their own there would be petering out by the time I return in 10 days.

But so it goes. Here I am in London, where the sun is shining and I have a few days' work before training down to my beloved. Hooray for spring break in Paris! Can you believe it's been 16 months since I've visited? Over three years since I moved home to New York? Five and a half years since the prospect of living in the City of Light entered my radar?? It just makes me think (again): life is amazing. Time passes so quickly, and yet you look back on everything that has happened, all that has changed, things you never dreamed would happen... and they do.

I write this, just shy of two months from my wedding. Five years ago, I thought I might meet a French pastry chef in Paris and be resigned to eating eggy brioche and fruity tarts for the rest of my life. Instead, I have a midwestern man with the sweetest soul with whom I'm building what keeps promising to be a most beautiful ever after. (For the record, he loves splitting all those brioche, tarts, pain au chocolat, muffins, cakes, croissants, doughnuts, you name it, with me... a win-win.)

Our wedding plans are pretty well established. Most vendors are secured, decisions made, just a few details remain to be worked out. It's going to be a fun but casual, (hopefully) sophisticated party that sets the tone for our life together.

And life together has been wonderful so far. It's great to be in love and even better to know you're blessed. I love our apartment (before and after photos coming soon, I swear). I'm loving my job. I've had a girls' weekend in Miami, visits from my family, good health, good meals and, finally, good weather. As the saying goes, life is good!

I hope for you, too, wherever you are, in whatever state the daffodils and dogwoods are. Thank you for sticking with me when I blog so sporadically. Life has a way of getting away from me back in New York, but I'm excited and inspired to capture everything these next few weeks. Bis! xo

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Un crepe

In two weeks, I imagine I'll be hitting every crepe stand in Paris. Just one of the things I'm so very excited for.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hello, April

Another wrinkle in time. A game of leapfrog through the weeks. My life lately has been a little of this:
And a little of this:
And, joy of all joys, a girls weekend in Miami with my four soul sisters.
So I'm not complaining.

I've been pretty good about Vegan Mondays but managed to get a nasty cold that knocked me out during my mom and stepdad's visit. Fortunately, I had Girls, True Detective and The Art of Fielding to entertain me during convalescence.

What I'd really like to do is motivate to share before and after pictures of our apartment, which Milo is clearly enjoying.

But first, there is wedding planning. June 14th, y'all! It's just around the corner.

So bear with me at my middle-aged snail's pace. There will be apartment voyeurism, a trip to Paris and other revelatory snapshots and quotidian thoughts in the weeks ahead. Hip, hip, April!

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Vegan Mondays

Coffee with almond milk
Some almonds

Veggie burger and a side of greens
A few dark chocolate squares
Red grapes

I tried my hand at Egyptian red lentil soup - not bad

This all sounds lovely and vegan, and it was. Except I also made chocolate chip cookies. The non-vegan kind. What can I say? I needed comfort and craved warm cookies.

But what’s interesting is that I improvised on a few of the ingredients—used spelt flour instead of all-purpose flour, and threw in some oats for kicks—and then had to improvise on a couple others. I discovered my lovely fiancé used up all the vanilla extract so I busted out some almond extract that I had bought in Paris. And during my increasingly frantic search for the vanilla, I knocked over an entire jar of dried oregano and some spilled into the batter. So as I gobbled up about a dozen of the cookies, both warm and comforting, occasionally I came across one with a savory, herbal flavor. It wasn’t bad. And the almond added an interesting dimension. And the different flour and oats made the consistency unlike any other time I’ve baked Nestle Tollhouse cookies. It was fun. A good experiment. Enjoyed while reading a few pages of The Yonahlossee Riding Campfor Girls. It wasn’t as good as the classic recipe, but I’m inspired to start deviating from recipes a little more often. We all should.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Just another day in Paris

These are random snapshots from my trip to Paris nearly two years ago. It makes me physically ache for Paris.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Vegan Mondays

Errancy! Craziness! I'm not much of a blogger these days. But I'm still trying to maintain my Vegan Mondays. And even though I don't document my sweet feats the way I used to, I'm still indulging in regular treats. Last week, for example, I had a Chocolate Cloud cookie from Baked, I finally sampled Jeni's ice cream and my new favorite thing is our neighborhood ice cream shop, Ample Hills (holy cow). But in a remarkable show of willpower and consciousness, I have given up gummies and other corn syrup items masquerading as food. God, do I miss them.

Coffee with almond milk
Fruit salad 

Salad with brussels sprouts and butternut squash
Yogi tea - my new favorite

Farro salad with roasted broccoli and almonds
Crackers and hummus
A binge of Hershey chocolate squares