connect!

As Andy Warhol Once Said....

...everyone will get their fifteen minutes of fame. 

Well, I used up about three of them from the gratuitous extra work I did out in LA, but it looks like the heavens are looking down on me once again and are granting me a few more minutes o' fame. 23 to be exact.

Before launching into the history of my "stardom", allow me to backtrack a bit...

A few months ago, I had posted that I was looking for a new abode in Paris, and was packing up the chambre de bonne to start over in Paris...yet again. Within hours of publishing this post, I received a note from the witty, insightful and sage Mary Kay at Out and About in Paris, requesting me to contact her...asap! Intrigued by the "asap", I followed her instructions and contacted her, assuming that she had a lead on a fabulous piece of property that was tellement moi!

While MK didn't have a lead on a place, she had something way more interesting and put me in contact with the producers of House Hunters International to help us look for a new place, as well as document our apartment search in France! Trop cool

When I'm not WeTVing, I'm totally HGTVing and couldn't have been more enthusiastic to participate in this segment. How ironic that I had to go all the way to Paris to finally get on American television as something a little more than being a moving object floating behind Mischa Barton at Newport High.

Being on the show means that we'll get some help "hunting" for our new place, and act like total cheese balls on television, but it also means that we're coming out like Diana Ross. Full face, real names, curtains down, word up. I've hidden behind the walls of this blog for over a year, and now I'm dropping the facade and revealing myself. Why does this scare me so much? 

There is a definite reason why I didn't succeed as a working actor.

Last week, we filmed the back story at my mom's house which means that she will also be coming out (prepare to be entertained), and are continuing the full story in Paris this weekend...as we select our new place. I can't offer too many details, but here are some peeks from last week's shoot!
My bedroom at my mom's turned into a set.
So cool...

Barbie got shuffled out into the hallway
and wasn't invited to film with us...

So I gave Babs her 15 minutes that she was so desperate for.
Fame whore.

Going through my wardrobe.
What to bring, what not to bring...
The existential crisis.

My shoe and accessory closet, or as Aurel calls it, "my panic room"
serving as the perfect fashion background.
My hard work of building those shelves from scrap wood and painting the walls Pepto-Pink will finally get seen!

 The crew packing up after a long day...
and Aurel enjoying his first taste of Hollywood!

We had a blast with the crew who made us feel comfortable even though the two of us were nervous wrecks! Filming reality tv is much harder than it looks! Who would have thought? I know, I sound like a Kardashawhore, but it's true! We will continue our HGTV ride as this weekend kicks off the second portion of the episode, documenting our life in Paris. Talk about ending the summer with a bang! Thank you so much Mary-Kay for the lead, and I will keep you all posted on updates!

Bon week-end!

Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael...

....or rather welcome home Ella Coquine! 

I'll take any opportunity to smuggle in a 90s Winona reference. Love that crazy broad.


So I'm back in Paris! Finally! Champagne!

Getting here wasn't nearly as easy as I had anticipated. After a challenging two days at JFK where I was desperately trying to jump on one of the many over-sold flights to Paris, I finally made it here in one piece. Day two at the airport posed a rather interesting scenario where I was asked by a TSA officer if I intended on actually using on the plane the many tubes of cream that were found in my carry-on, or if I could just check it - including my Vagisil (Again, I'm so going to regret writing this word out on the blog, as it will without question come up as keyword search result in my stats this week). 

I was mortified. First of all, how do you answer that? "Yes, sir. I intend on moisturizing my vagina as well as applying my eye cream on the aircraft." And secondly, it wasn't like any of these items were king-sized, they all fit the three ounce requirement and were hardly a threat to fellow passengers. I'm convinced that they get their rocks off by outing people with the embarrassing things they find in their suitcases, while gleefully bringing it to the attention of all. Including and surely not limited to the 17 year old boy behind me who mumbled "vag" under his breath was he saw the officer waving the white tube in the air. 

While my homecoming wasn't nearly as grand and anticipated as Roxy Carmichael's, it was entertaining enough and stayed true in pure Ella Coquine fashion; ridiculous. Would you expect anything less at this point?

All I can say is that it's good to be home and once I'm settled in, I'm ready to start this year off! Bonjour September! 

Oh and in case you were wondering, here's what Paris had to offer as a gift me for my rentrée: an unexplained detour that ensured a public outcry.

Oh Paris...

Thinking of You....


For my last full day in New York, yesterday I indulged in an afternoon date in my summer's best, and took long and scenic drive over to Brookville to Young's Farm.

As kids, this family-run farm was summer staple for me and my brother Andrew. My grandmother used to take us here to pick up locally grown vegetables, juicy strawberries, and homemade pies for our Sunday family feast. Each time, she would always treat us to a little trinket from their general store. Our favorite was the wooden and metal screen lightning bug house, a summer memory we still talk about to this day. The lightning bug house lasted for several summers, and every year the plan was to capture as many of these glowing bugs as we could on Long Island, and bring them back to the city to light up our rooms and feel that Grandma was still with us. The plan always failed because they would die from the harsh florescent lighting on the LIRR train back into the city. And each time it was pure devastation. My poor mother had to console us as we peeked our big curious eyes through the screen at our lightning bugs corpses.

Yesterday, while picking out cheeses, breads and morning scones for my mom to thank her for all of her help this year, and thinking about my trip back to Paris, you know who I was also thinking about and who I was kept reminded of?

You. Well some of you. My blogging girlfriends in particular. Am I creepy? No really. Tell me. Or does this just make me a total dork for thinking about the blogosphere when I should have been thinking solely about my mom?

Either way, while snapping photos, here are some things at the farm that whisked me back to my blog posse and some of their posts from the past....

Kristen at The Kale Project
Thinking of you, I was outraged that there was no kale here!
Thanks for turning me on to this super green.
I can't wait to have access to it in Paris!

This is a spinach and strawberry salad 
sprinkled with chunks of pink champagne cheddar cheese
that I picked up at the farm.
Yes. Pink Champagne Cheese. 
So yum. So you.

Gwannel Sandiego
who appreciates wine o' clock as much as I do.
We so need this sign!

While taking this photo, 
I thought about one of your posts from last year 
about Sèvres porcelain.
These are exactly dainty and porcelain but they're really charming.
So French country, right?

A fellow New Yorker in France who also shares my love of cheese.
I suspect this is the reason why we jumped the pond!

This is what I imagine the LPV to look like-ish.
Am I off?

I can imagine you cooking up something 
fabulous and "Californian" using these colanders.
You're my cooking inspiration, 
even though I bombed half of the recipes I've tried from your blog!

Being a big fan of quality alone time, my afternoon was the perfect end to a perfect season. I really feel like I made the most of this summer. I enjoyed time with my family, took on new projects, relaxed, and appreciated the simplicity of gardening, preparing food, and sitting in my mom's backyard with a smoothie and a trashy magazine. Summer, you did me proud this year and I'm going to miss you, but fall I'm ready to embrace you and to finally come home.

Bon dimanche!

Nice Isn't Always So Nice.

Illustration by Inslee Haynes

The dog days of summer are here, lazy days are coming to an end, but before you start planning your September, and I invite you to take a trip with me down to the South of France. Excerpts of this story were published last fall when Aurelien invited me to the Loire for the weekend, and I was nervous to travel with a new boyfriend outside of Paris because of an experience I had in Nice. I try not to re-post stories as I do want to keep the blog fresh with new adventures and personal growth, but this tale has turned into such a summer classic that it's worth another spin, especially on a warm last weekend of summer. 

I suggest getting a glass of wine for this one...

Picture it. Nice. My first summer in France.

It was like I was living in a movie. My cute new boyfriend invited me on vacation to the South of France. I could hardly contain my excitement as I had always wanted to go to the French Riviera, ever since Madame Moureau’s slide show in 6th grade French. I had my bags packed with all my cute navy blue summer dresses, a chiffon pink scarf tied around my head, and my cat-eye sunglasses on. I was ready to go. Monsieur Flâneur said he'd be at my apartment in the Marais at noon to hit the road. He didn't show up until 7 pm. So he was seven hours late. Who cares, I was in love and was going to Nice for the week!

After a 12 hour drive from Paris in Monsieur Flâneur's driver's ed car where I couldn't stretch my feet out in fear I would hit the breaks or pedals that were also on the passenger's side of the car, we arrived in Nice. And it was pouring rain. We hadn't anticipated that the overnight drive through the entire country of France would be so exhausting, and we could barely keep our stinging bloodshot eyes open. Luckily, the landlord of our vacation rental was waiting for us under an awning of a cafe to give us the keys, and we didn't have to wait around. We let ourselves into our home for the week, a lovely three bedroom apartment equipped with a full kitchen, dining room, living room and balcony filled with flowers in colors of magenta, rose and violet. It was perfect. The only activity on the agenda was sleep, and I wasted no time in making the bed in the master bedroom that looked out onto a neighbor's well-maintained tropical garden. 

While MF was out on the balcony smoking his tenth cigarette that morning, I was nestling under the covers with a Belle France pain au chocolat that I picked up from a rest stop on the autoroute, when the doorbell rang. MF answered the door, and suddenly an orchestra of double kissing noises, ça vas, comment va-tus?, and ça fait trop longtemps could be heard in the foyer. It was MF's Nice friends whom he hasn't seen in over a year. Okay, I said to myself, what's another hour or so? In spite of my exhaustion, I pulled myself out of bed and made some coffee to perk up. These were his friends from his childhood vacations, as well as friends that I had heard so much about, and I genuinely wanted to meet them. How could I deprive him of seeing them?

Meeting the friends was more of a challenge than I had expected. With my sleep deprivation, and my at the time inability to follow the language with ease, especially with their Niçoise accents that has different inflections than the Parisian accent, I spent the morning feigning comprehension with nods, smiles, and laughs. Looking back, I probably should have just gone to bed, but I wanted them to like me. I was still in that phase of seeking approval in my relationships, and wanted to be the cool girlfriend. I have since abandoned this characteristic and now just listen to myself.


Coffee with his friends turned into lunch which turned into three bottles of rosé, and them sharing funny stories with me about their summers spent on the beach, again stories I didn't fully understand. The wine didn't give me any liquid courage to chime in the conversation, it just made me even more sleepy. I kept reminding myself that relationships are about compromise and I can always sleep later. Before I knew it, my secret wish of blissful slumber was about to be granted and the boys were finally saying their goodbyes at the door, which in France always takes forever. While I was double kissing, who was coming up the hallway stairs? MF's family. His brother, his Catalan girlfriend, his mother and his father. MF greeted them as if we were in Paris and they were just stopping by, 12 hours out of the way. 

The arrival of his family certainly was not a coincidence, this had been planned, and MF had just given me the courtesy to tell me that they were vacationing with us. His skill of not communicating anything with me would become the theme of our relationship, and this was only round one. Now that his family was there, the other two bedrooms had made more sense, I moved our things into the smaller, modest bedroom to give them master suite to his parents. They must have thought I was such a diva for selecting this room when I "knew" they were coming. MF swore that he told me that we were going on vacation with his entire family, but I stand by the fact that he did not. My French at the time may have been shaky, but I surely would have understood "ma famille vient" Come on, venir present tense, that's like Alliance Française level A1. 

Essentially, I was on vacation with a bunch of strangers whom I wanted to like me, and to think that I was smart, well-spoken, and good enough for their son. No pressure. I bucked up and said to myself, "I can do this, I'm Italian, we invented the art of breaking down boundaries and comfort zones". I was armed with my Becherelle should I come face to face with a conjugation crisis now that I was expected to speak in the formal vous.

Just as the shock of his family's presence was wearing off and was changing the sheets with MF's mother who thought I was insane to even consider sleeping on the linens provided without washing them first, there was another knock on the door. Who could it be now? It was Caroline, MF's 40-year-old friend from Paris who stormed into the apartment hysterically crying. I was starting to believe that we in fact never left Paris, by just how casual everyone's pop-ins were. Mind you, we said dramatic goodbyes to Caroline 24 hours earlier but alas, there she was, in Nice, crying about her relationship with her former soccer star boyfriend. 

Blatantly ignoring my request to sleep, MF had planned for us all to go to a discotheque that night in Cannes because Caroline was upset. The night before, she had discovered that the man she was living with was still inviting prostitutes to their home in the Marais after she told him not to, and he was now flying down to Nice, and she didn't know what to do. She didn't know what to do? So going to a nightclub in Cannes was the answer. And is it just me, or wouldn't finding a hooker, hired by your boyfriend, in your house the first time be grounds for a break-up? Maybe I'm just uptight.

The following morning I woke up fresh on a gorgeous sunny day in the South of France, I decided to just blow off the irritation from the day before as a result of exhaustion. I had made plans for MF and I to meet Claire, a girlfriend of mine that I knew from Paris for lunch in town. I felt like France was becoming my home because on our little vacation, I too had people to see and was proud to bring MF with me to meet one of my friends, since we were always with his crew. The lunch didn't turn out at all how I expected. It was awful. My "friend" whom I had met in English, suddenly didn't speak it anymore and was only able to communicate shamelessly flirt with my boyfriend. I had suddenly become a third wheel intruding on their date as she shared stories with him, , in particular,lar was about the little outfit she wore in a wrestling match in Thailand, in which MF responded, "you must have looked so sexy". Is it just me or is that really inappropriate?! This lasted for four painful hours where they didn't speak to me, only every so often to explain something slower because I didn't understand "fast French". 

Fuck. You. 

I was boiling mad. This chick also wasted no time in adding him on Facebook an hour after we parted from the lunch from hell. At the time, I wasn't even friends with him on Facebook, but him and Claire? Why not? And I only found out about their friendship because the following day, Facebook suggested that I friend MF, one of "Claire's friends."

The fun didn't stop there. Oh no. So on top of him not telling me that his entire family was coming to Nice, him hiding his communication with Claire, he also didn't tell me that his friend Nicole was in Nice. 

She was one of his friends that I tried my very best to tolerate but she made it so difficult. This was the girl who would say snarky, sly things to me in English so MF wouldn't understand. Goodies like "You don't have to be jealous of me. MF doesn't like girls with large breasts." or "Make sure to keep him happy otherwise he will always have me to fill his emotional void." and her favorite, "Before you, we used to talk on the phone for like five hours a day, we're soul mates." You can see why we didn't exactly stay in touch after the break-up. This girl was just horrid.

At the café on the beach, I swear she purposefully left her bathing suit top off, leaving us to have small talk for almost 45 minutes with her bare breasts jiggling in our face. I was so uncomfortable, and I didn't know where to look. I was desperately avoiding eye contact with her bull's eyes, kind of like when someone has a lazy eye and you can't help but look at the one eye you're not supposed to. And to be clear, I'm not prude, I sunbathe topless in Europe too but if a guyfriend of mine is coming to meet me with his girlfriend, I'm not going to sit there and nonchalantly sip on mojitos while strategically letting the glass rub up against breasts, allowing the condensation to drip off my cold, hard nipples. Call me old-fashioned. To give them time alone and to rise above her catty games, I left them at the beach café to catch up while I went to get a blow out with his mom at a salon in town. The plan was to meet them at his friend's brasserie two hours later. This should have enough time for them to catch up...even though we saw her a week ago in Paris.

As planned, I arrived at the brasserie and had a seat at the bar. I was feeling fabulous and refreshed with my thick curly brown hair blown out straight and the humidity giving it a slight beach wave (very Bardot), nothing was going to bring me down. Since MF and Nicole hadn't arrived yet, I ordered a coffee and chatted with the barman who had been serving us all week. They arrived shockingly on time - MF wasn't exactly known for his promptness -  and as us,ual he couldn't resist making a comment that he preferred my hair curly. I brushed off his annoying remark because I was buzzed off the fact that Nicole was leaving soon, and knew that my hair looked great. So did he. 

Hallelujah! Nicole was finally leaving and was going back to her hotel to meet her boyfriend whom by the way, I had never met. My buzz came to screeching halt when MF orde:red "un café pour ma chérie, s'il te plaît!". The server who certainly knew we were a couple was confused, who was chérie? Certainly not me in this context, I for one was already drinking a café. The barman looked at me and then at Nicole who looked satisfied as if she was a cat who just pissed on her territory and with a girlish giggle said, "C'est pour moi." A coffee for his sweetheart?! His baby? His darling? I know in France this word is used more loosely than it is in the States but on top of everything that was happening, I was reaching my limit.

I kept saying goodbye to Nicole, as a hint to get her on her way but she was never leaving, and as we were walking back to the apartment, she followed along. At this point, hiding my irritation was becoming more and more of a challenge. I was pissed at MF, done with her, and just wanted to snap my fingers and be back in Paris. Nice was turning into a nightmare. At the apartment, he then told me he was driving her back to her hotel. En plus. "How did she get here?" I sharply asked, "And where is her boyfriend?" It was only 5 pm, the sun was still out, she had gotten to the beach on her very own and I was fed up with lending my boyfriend out. "She's wearing heels, chérie, she can't get back on her own," he said, trying to reason with me. Now I'm chérie again. How convenient. Oblivious to my aggravation, he left me in the apartment alone. His brother and girlfriend were taking a sieste as was the dad who was sleeping on the couch in his underwear, and his mother was out grocery shopping. I sat on the bed in our room and tried to read a book but just looked out on to the balcony at the waving palm trees wondering if I was being too sensitive or if he really was being completely ridiculous this entire week. I later found out that Nicole took the car ride as an opportunity to tell MF her concerns about me. "Elle n'est pas normal. Excuse-moi mais..." I'm not normal?! I'm not normal because I don't want my new boyfriend calling another woman baby in front of me, because I don't want to be called dramatic when I am exhausted after driving for 12 hours over night and don't want to go clubbing, because I don't like to be ignored at a lunch of three people when I'm the person in common, because I don't want my boyfriend flirting with my friends in front of me, because I don't want to look at her boobs, and because I don't want to be left in an apartment alone on our vacation while she feeds him tales on how I am not normal? Again, where was this girl's boyfriend? 

MF came back three hours later, and as you can imagine I was pissed. Three hours? Where was her hotel? Italy? After confronting him about everything that had gone wrong this week, and then being called dramatic, insecure, erratic, selfish and ungrateful by him, I spent the rest of the vacation walking on eggshells, half believing that everything was my fault. That was my need for approval creeping back in. A day after returning to Paris, I fled to New York like a bat out of hell, and wanting to avoid any further confrontation, I told MF that my brother Andrew had been stabbed and I needed to get back to the States. I know. It was horrible. It was one of my lowest moments. Seriously, who does that? I just really needed a French break. A break from the language, the country, and a break from MF without anymore drama between us. Just my brother getting stabbed, that's all. At the time, I wasn't sure if this experience was an extreme case of culture shock or if MF really did suck. Fast forward three years later, I have my answer, and rest assured, I have never had an experience anything close to this with Aurelien.

It's such a shame that my first trip to the South of France ended up being such a disastrous mess, but now that I am over MF, the story of Nice makes me laugh and almost nostalgic for my first summer in France. Saying that, I look forward to seeing Nice again, but this time with much better company.

Bon week-end!

Last Days.


Taking advantage of these last moments in New York, I'm going full force in doing things that I will no longer have access to once I'm back in France. Moving back to the fashion and food capital of the world, what could I possibly miss in the States? Plenty, trust me. For one, enjoying my She and Him Pandora radio station. While France's Deezer, and the new rage in the music streaming community, Spotify are awesome and do the trick, if I had to choose one, I'd choose Pandora. I'm lazy and love how Pandora creates the mix for you. I don't always know exactly what I want to listen to, just the idea of it, and need a little guidance. What else will I miss? Monday night Golden Girls marathons on WeTV (obviously), going to the local pizza parlor for a slice, not a whole pie but just a slice. Something that took me moving to Los Angeles to realize is uniquely a New York thing, and my favorite; manis and pedis with my mom.

While nail salons certainly do exist in Paris, the only problem is that they're just awful. They're expensive, not nearly as good as what us American gals are accustomed to, the nail polish selection is limited to pink, red, and dark pink, and the worst; there is no option for the supplementary post-manicure back massage. The first time I got my nails done in Paris was in the 10th arrondissement, and foolishly requested a 10 minute massage while waiting for my nails to dry. I'm not sure if it was my at the time entry-level French or it's just simply not done, but either way, they looked at me like I was a pervert for asking them to rub my shoulders as I dried my nails under their fan (no, not dryer - a fan).

Today, while waiting for Water, my favorite nail technician at Pink Angel Nail, I perused the nail polish rack to pick the perfect shade, looking for something that read: "Ella's Paris Return in Autumn While Looking for a Job and Want to be Taken Seriously Yet Still Fun and Flirty". I guess the above "Bonjour" look is out, and I ended up with a safe pink with one coat of glitter. After uselessly obsessing over my rentrée look, and ignoring the fact that glitter is not serious, I indulged in my favorite nail salon hobby; reading off the names of the polish. These poor colors have been branded with such ridiculous names, some that don't even make sense, undoubtedly by executives somewhere in a corporate cosmetics office in New York City. Saying that, I'm just going to come out with it: If there is one job that I would love to have, it would be this, naming nail polish colors! After reading several of them, it's clear that it takes a certain level of cray to come up with these names, and who better than me would be a perfect candidate? Calling Wet n' Wild.

So here goes a second round of "Why the Frick is That Nail Polish Named That?", complete with my suggestions and of course, my comments. And once again, I'll say it louder for the people in the cheap seats, can I please have this job?!

"Click it or Ticket" was a rusty orange color. The name is a little random, but if I had to use this name, personally, I would have chosen a shiny silver...like a seat belt.

"Fear or Desire" was an acid yellow. This name actually worked because this color was certainly fearful, but I like how the name is not influencing your opinion and allowing you, the consumer to decide. If paired with the right outfit, this neon yellow could very much be desirable, but with what? Hmmm. Let me marinate on that a bit. The name for this color though, I would have gone with Electric Youth Yellow. Don't you just love that album?

"Lovie Mc Dovie" was a pale pearly pink. I get the pink going with the lovie and the dovie, but the Mc? I don't follow. Isn't Mc supposed to be a derogatory term for the Irish? Or was this supposed to be a play on Superbad's McLovin'? I really don't McKnow.

"Cabana Boy" was an opaque gray which would actually have looked fabulous with one nail painted with "Fear or Desire". There! I found a use for that color! There's something so fresh about grey with a hint of neon, don't you think? While "Cabana Boy" was pretty, the name was all wrong! When I think of cabana boys, I think of a deep taupe, like an Adonis wearing flowy linen pants, greased up with cocoa butter, with the sun reflecting off of his hard abs that are glistening with exotic coconut oils from Polynesia. Uh-oh, I think my inner-goddess is sleazing out again. Gross.

Then there was "Mojito Madness". While I would have chosen mayhem or malarkey in lieu of madness, as a personal preference in chaotic adjectives that start with an "m", I did appreciate the only name that seemed cohesive with the color. As you can guess, it was green. Bright green. Madness.

"Stylenomics" was a regal hunter green. Okay, I guess I get it, green like money. Still weird. In my opinion, this color should have been called Ivy League. 

And finally the one name that really stood out, the only one that I had a bit of a problem with was "Miss Fancy Pants". It wasn't so much the name as it was the color, apparently someone in the nail industry thinks that the perfect color to match a name like "Miss Fancy Pants" is a dark chocolate brown. Am I the only one that thinks that this combination is a bit crude? What exactly is Miss Fancy doing in her pants to make it that dark brown color? 

I love America. We're out of our damn minds over here.

Love Long Distance.


This afternoon, Aurelien left for the airport to head back to France a week before my return. This is the last time we're saying goodbye under these long distance circumstances. Thank God because I'm over it. And even though I know it's the last time, and I do have a million things to do before going back to Europe, like every other time we say goodbye at an airport or a train station, I'm sad. 

On this cool and gloomy day, we walked down to the old train station by my mom's house that would connect him to JFK's Air Train. As the diesel train shuffled in while we were saying goodbye, I snuck in one last smooch before he escorted himself onto the train - luggage in tow. As my eyes welled up with tears, the conductor, who was looking out through the window of his control room, reopened the train doors. I looked at Aurelien who was still standing in the foyer of the train car, then at the conductor who said, "Go on, you guys need one more, he looks like he's got a long trip ahead of him," Ain't that the truth. Aurelien is flying to Madrid with an eight-hour layover before his connection to Paris and will be traveling for almost 24 hours. I followed the conductor's instructions and gave Aurelien one last goodbye and wished him a bon voyage.

Before the train rolled out of the station, I quickly walked over to the conductor's window to thank him for giving me my total Gary Marshall RomCom moment that broke me out of my dramatic melancholy and the infinite sadness double album moment. "I miss those days," he said while looking off into the distance, "my wife passed away three years ago and I'd give anything to give her that one last kiss."

That really put things into perspective, suddenly making our one week apart futile in comparison to his three years of mourning.

Walking back from the train station, I could feel the first hints of autumn starting to creep in. Unlike Paris where I've heard it's scorching hot, summer in New York is starting its first stages of fizzling out. With each passing day, la rentrée - a time in France when everyone is back from vacation, school starts, businesses reopen, and life goes back to normal - is becoming more and more a part of my reality. Life and the real world is starting creep back in. Ca y est!

I spent the rest of the afternoon cuddled up on my mom's couch eating baked chips, and watching Bride Wars and Made of Honor on Lifetime: television for me. I hope you all enjoyed your weekends and for my lovelies in Paris, I hope you're staying cool! I'm looking forward to getting back home...

Postcards from Nassau, Bahamas.


We're finally back in the States after a fabulous week of Grandparents bliss in the Bahamas. Getting back was a bit of an adventure, as it always is, the only thing different was that it was the first time in fifteen years that I decided to purchase a plane ticket in lieu of using one of my mother's family passes. As luck would have it, our flight was delayed by seven hours. Waiting hours upon hours in an international airport? Nothing new here. What was new was that I was eligible for the compensation provided by the airline for the inconvenience. Now longer low man on the totem pole (I hate that expression), a full fare ticket got me a 12 dollar coupon at the airport cafeteria called The Dutch Oven.

I regretted explaining to Aurelien what dutch oven meant after he heard Vinny tell the story when he "dutch ovened" his now-wife Carmella on their third date.

Dutch Oven is truly a terrible name for any food establishment - cafeteria or not. Needless to say, we did not use our coupons, and luckily I have Italian grandparents who decided to stay an extra few days, and stuffed our suitcases with roasted red pepper, prosciutto, and mozzarella sandwiches, a chunk of pecorino romano cheese, and a container filled with red cerignola olives. The wine was confiscated.

I'm glad to be back for my final days in New York, and I have some fun surprises and exciting news to share with you guys very soon! Until then, here are some last looks at my vacation in paradise...


Potter's Cay Fish Market
Under the Old Nassau Bridge, you'll find a community of fisherman, mini bars, and restaurants to enjoy the catch of the day, a cold beer, and get an peak into native life as the locals congregate here after work for a drink to catch up with friends, and complain about their bosses; truly an international pastime.

 

We so asked for George, a jolly Bahamian who served us a fresh conch salad and showed Aurelien his collection of sexy "Bootylicious Bahamians" (no, really, that's what they were called) pin-up photos that he had up in the kitchen.

Afternoon Kaliks to cool off from the scorching heat.

Sweet 16.
I don't know what this is about because it was always closed
but something tells me I would love it.
How could I not? It's pastel.

 





Bay Street
The main drag of Nassau is Bay Street with both tourist businesses, high-end boutiques, parliament and government buildings, as well as tons of abandoned buildings, businesses and offices. Here are some locations that struck me as interesting...



Bahamian Street Art!

Rum Cake, an island treat bursting with rum and natural flavors.


The Poop Deck
This is one of my grandparent's favorite restaurants in Nassau. Despite the name, that always makes me chuckle (I know, I act like a 10 year old boy), it's a perfect place for a view of the boats docked at the port, the two bridges of Nassau and the pink glow of the sunset reflecting off the McHotel, the Atlantis.


 
 Picking our dinner.

Goodfellow Farms
The Bahamas isn't just tropical cocktails and fresh fish, a hidden gem off the beaten path is Goodfellow Farms located on the west end of the island. Daily lunch specials of grilled chicken gorganzola wraps, quinoa salads, and baked talapia on a bed of microgreens are served in their gazebo surrounded by the farm animals. The general store has a full array of international cheeses, fresh breads, on-the-premise grown fruits and veggies, and home decor. It's a little bit of New England in the Bahamas.





This little attention hog was non-stop crowing right behind 
my grandfather's chair all during lunch, 
making conversation close to impossible.
My grandfather excepted the challenge and turned to the rooster and screamed, "Kickeriki" back to him, which is
 Cock-a-Doodle-doo in Italian.
Only him.
And in case you're wondering, French roosters say Cocorico.
By far, one of the worst translations.


Aurelien's total French face.

Spritz Restaurant and Bar
Craving Italian food on a tropical island? If you're anything like our family who regardless of where we are in the world, needs pasta on Sunday night, I highly recommend Spritz. A chic yet rustic Italian restaurant located in Sandy Port, a small marina village located on the west end of the island. After having their cooked-to-perfection thin crust pizza, followed by a veal scallopini that was bursting with flavors that I thought only my grandmother could produce, Spritz has now been added into my Top 10 favorite Italian restaurants in the world. In the Bahamas? Who knew?

Mermaid Mayhem.


As little girls, we all had one fokelore or fairytale icon that we preferred over others. Some of us chose to believe that somewhere in a forest, princesses were waiting in castles for their prince, while others preferred to stand their ground that unicorns do exist and were roaming in the sky with She-ra, the Princess of Power. As for me, after getting over the hard cold fact that Barbie and Ken didn't have a secret private life once I closed my Barbie box at night, I moved my obsession on to something more realistic. After all, I was getting older and Barbie was for babies. I discovered on a fateful YMCA field trip to the 14th Street movie theater that if you were going to be anyone in life, mermaids were the way to go - that and oily stickers.

Weeks before I turned 9 years old, my mother asked me what I would like for my birthday. One thing about my mom is that she will never be accused of being unsupportive, abrasive, yes, but she has always went along with all of my crazes and projects. She agreed when I wanted sparkly red star earrings like Jem for my 6th birthday, she said okay to ripped jeans so I could draw smiley faces on my knees like Debbie Gibson for Christmas 1987, and she saw absolutely no problem with my request for a balloon-stuffed purple strapless dress for my Jessica Rabbit Halloween costume, but for my 9th birthday, I has finally pushed the limits where my mother had no choice but to say no.

What could possibly be more inappropriate than a little girl dressed up like a cartoon slut for Halloween? My request wasn't so much inappropriate as it was impossible. My birthday wish was to have my mother to look into a surgical procedure to replace my lungs with gills so I could live in the ocean like a mermaid forever, and while were at it, to have my hair died red like Ariel.

My poor mother who was only 27 years old at the time, did her best to meet me in the middle and accommodate my request. That morning, I opened my box to find that my new respiration organs had been with a "Little Mermaid" quilt. She could be heard behind me background sucking on a Marlboro light saying "it's the same thing, you'll be sleeping unda the sea...just a litta different." No new lungs just a new blanket...and I loved it. It was perfect. As for the red hair, she made up for that years later for my 12th birthday during my intense Use Your Illusion I and II phase and let me get an Axl shade of Rock n' Roll red.

Now that I'm in my 30s and still have my mermaid quilt (that I hide in my closet when boys sleep over), I also still have my mermaid obsession and thought of no better place to fulfill it than in the Bahamas...with Aurelien who I force to take photos of my creepy visions.

This is what being a mermaid is to me...

Mermaid jewels found at the bottom of the ocean.
...or my suitcase. 
Details...

Sparkling green mermaid mani. 

 Long shimmery skirts.
Unfortunately, my hair is more Howard Stern than mermaid.
Italian girls woes...

and scaly mermaid back!

It was a dream come true!! I really lived out my mermaid fantasy this week! I frolicked in the ocean, sang to myself, made Aurelien reenact Prince Eric scenes, flopped around, and did not care at all about my extra rolls of wine fat around my waist. How will I ever adapt back to Parisian life? I know...#whitegirlproblems 

I deserved that one.

Note to my blogging friends: We're leaving the island tomorrow and I will be a better blogging friend when I'm back in New York. I'm sorry that I haven't been in touch. I look forward to catching up on all of your blog posts! I feel so out of the loop! I miss you guys. xo.

A Little France in the Bahamas.

Yesterday morning at 7:45 am like clock-work, the phone rang. Who was it? It was my grandfather. Since Aurelien and I know darn well that sleeping in is not an option, we were already starting our day by brushing our teeth and making the bed. 

"Grandpa calling from Villa Bella Vista, with whom am I speaking to?" he said painfully slow in his thick Italian accent. All week this has been his formal introduction after telephone contact has been established. He can call a few minutes later, and me knowing it's him, I'll pick up and say "Hi Grandpa" but he will still launch into the Villa Bella Vista bit, which is by the way, is the acquired name of the condo. The thing is that he doesn't even need to call or introduce himself because I can hear him perfectly fine through the door - since he is only calling from the living room.

On this fine morning, Grandpa was calling to ask us if we would like to go to Francia for the day. Thinking that he was joking, I said yes and without further explanation told Aurelien that we're going back to France, and to wear comfortable shoes. With my grandfather, I never really know, but what I do know is that comfortable walking attire is almost 95% required.
 

After a 30 minute walk in the sweltering heat we arrived at the uber-chic One and Only Ocean Club (it really says One and Only in italics on sign - it's not me being pretench) for 8 dollar iced-teas, a gorgeous and breezy ocean view and a walk through their manicured Versailles Garden. Ah, so there was some truth to his France remark, and I was so grateful that he didn't take us to some fake Eiffel Tower monstrosity that I was imagining would be up at the Vegas-style Atlantis hotel.

Instead, we went to a gorgeous garden adorned with rows of tropical flowers, fountains, and marble statues of Napoléon and Josephine, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Hercules, and why not? Mephistopheles, that was modeled after the gardens in Versailles. And at the opposite end, facing the Harbor is the stone monastery built by Augustinian monks in France in the 13th century; the Cloisters. 

Grandpa had us read each plaque, then had made me uselessly translate it to Aurelien (who speaks and reads English), we talked about the history and then he filled us in on local gossip. Rumor has it, or rather per my grandfather, Cindy Crawford was married on the grounds several years ago, Martha Stewart enjoys her vacations here, and Michael Jordan has a suite here. FDR, Hercules, Augustinian French monks, Cindy Crawford...you learn something new everyday...

We've been enjoying our vacation in Paradise, even if it is raining today, and look forward to our last few days with my grandparents who truly know how to entertain. I can only hope that I am as vibrant and witty at 84 and 89.

Below are some pictures that we captured at one of Paradise Island's most breath-taking views. You'll also notice that several shots are of Aurelien. I have been torturing him on Facebook, posting photos of him taking photos, and have been threatening a vernissage in Paris called "Aurelien Hearts the Bahamas - A Young Man's Quest for Truth in the Carribean"

He's ready to murder me.

Bon week-end à tous!



 
The Vesailles Pool.
I'm saying this in my fancy voice which also can
sound like my drunk voice.
It's all in perfecting the slur when differentiating the two.

The Versailles Garden.
Not in my fancy voice.


Aurelien getting "fresh" with the fairy statue.
So French. 
They can't help themselves. 



Gazebo overlooking the Harbor at the Cloisters.

Said Cloisters.