little surprises.

The week following our wedding, Aurél and I were graciously invited to experience a new trend that is popping up here in Paris: intimate dinner parties in the company of other like-minded enthusiasts who want to meet new people in an authentic Parisian home. Hosted by Voulez-Vous Diner, we had several choices of dinners to choose from, but the one that stood out the most was the Diner Concert A Opera. In a Haussmann style apartment located mere metro stops away from the famous Opéra district, before the creative three-course dinner commenced, we were greeted with a champagne apéro supplemented by a live piano concert. At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, sometimes I have to pinch myself from the amazing experiences I am exposed to here. 

Along with Melissa, author of Prête-Moi Paris who also happened to be a guest, I hit it off with the evening's host, chef and pianist Sasha. After our post-vodka promise to meet up for a drink, we decided to finally honor it yesterday on a semi-warm summer afternoon in Paris.

Meeting at one of my favorite dives in the 10th arrondissement, Les Animals, I broke my 2013 pledge of staying dry during the week and indulged in a glass of white wine on this lovely afternoon. Sitting alone at the bar, something that is not exactly seen as lady-like here in Paris, but brings the price down by almost a euro, (hey, call me cheap) I read the same line in my book over and over as I anxiously waited.

Moments later, Sasha arrived looking effortlessly Parisian in a red leather jacket (again, hurray for summer in Paris) with chic messy bed-head that only French girls seem to be able to pull off. When I try to go for this look, I really do look like a rolled out of bed where a cat slept tangled in my hair. Following my lead, Sasha ordered herself a glass of white. Would I sound like an alcoholic if I admit to fearing that she was just going to order a teeny-tiny coffee while I gulped down booze? Hm, maybe.

Like actual dates, girl dates are no different and can be hit-or-miss. Being at a dinner party or reading someone's blog is completely different than actually sitting down with someone one-on-one, and you're never really sure how it will go. With great pleasure, our date was just as natural as our first meeting. At one point during our chat, I had voiced that since living in Paris the only dancing I've really done is aerobics in my living room, or when that extra bottle of wine is opened at a dinner party inciting an impromptu dance party. I don't know of many night clubs, or rather, good night clubs here in town. It's not that they don't exist, I just don't know of them. 

For some reason, my rant interested the two gentlemen sitting next to us drinking; one sipping on a coffee and the other having the popular afternoon mocktail that looks like Christmas in a glass. The man drinking the dark green mint water asked me what kind of music I liked, but before I could answer he hopped off his stool and asked if I liked merengue, which he then followed up with merengue style dancing. Merengue was then followed by the cha cha, the lambada, salsa, and finally zumba, all accompanied by a sample of the dance style. 

I actually have gone salsa dancing once here in Paris with my former roommate Charles-Henri, and made a total ass out of myself, like a total J.Lo wannabe. It wasn't one of my favorite nights in Paris, so no, I was not looking to replicate this embarrassment. I said I was just looking for a place to dance, thinking more pop/dance music, nothing too specialized. He then asked if I liked rap. Well sure I do, I like rap quite a bit. He seemed almost surprised by this and then made a reference to what I assume was a rap artist or song. By then Sasha had jumped in to tell him that I wouldn't catch the obscure mention because I am American. More surprised than my appreciation for hip hop was now my origins as he thought I was Spanish, like fresh out of Spain. Now the sampler platter of Latin dancing made sense.

Wanting to soak up as much time with Sasha, as having to head to work was slowly creeping up on me, we politely disengaged from our conversation with our dancing king and moved on to way more vital and pressing issues like shopping. Before our new friends left, they gave us a final goodbye, and we wished them a lovely afternoon. It's rare here in Paris that conversation would flow so freely between strangers at a coffee shop bar. I actually have only seen this kind of openness out in Los Angeles where it would seem almost everyone has a few minutes to chat.

Before we wrapped up our girl date and me heading to the lair of screaming French children, we had asked for our bill. The servers had told us that the gentleman, the man with the mint had taken care of our bill. 

Okay, so when does that ever happen? Wow, was all I could muster up in regard to this random act of kindness. It was so unexpected and appreciated, and I made a mental note to pay it forward in the near future. The server interrupted our state of awe, and made herself more clear and informed us that the man who we were talking with and who had treated us to afternoon wine was Joey Starr. Joey Starr as in the famous French rapper from the group NTM turned movie star, who is top billing in a film being promoted this month with Gérard Depardieu. Wait, what? Now when does that ever happen?

Just when I think I've seen it all here in Paris, there's always a new adventure to be had. This town never ceases to surpise me. Summer may be chilly but so far it has been the best one I have had here yet. Now I just need my vacation to start...five more days...

Bon week-end à tous!

If you're in, or planning to visit Paris, it really is something to check out. While I can't guarantee a Joey Starr or French celebrity citing, but an authentically Parisian evening with excellent company? Sasha has got you covered! 

Read more about Sasha's fabulous Parisian dinner parties she hosts with Voulez Vous Diner here at Prête-Moi Paris or here on Love in the City of Lights. Bon app!

summer in the city.

Nothing says warm, breezy summer days than a hooded wool coat layered over a cashmere scarf and sweater, right?  Well that's what I'm wearing these days. Am I complaining? No, not at all. I know the drill around here. Warm summers in Paris went out in 2010 never to be seen again. A chilly and wet summer was already expected, and if I want any sun for longer than an hour, Paris is more than happy to show me the door to one of many destinations that will provide me with it. There's always holding out hope for a warm autumn, right?

Just because I have experienced several summers here, doesn't mean that I'm excused from learning something new. Are we ever? I think that's actually what I love most about living abroad; there is always a new discovery just waiting to happen.

On an early Saturday evening Velib ride through the 11th and the 12th, we turned down this street that is fairly close to where I live, that I have never seen or even heard of before. It took a spontaneous bike ride (which sadly, I seldom do) to turn a corner to one of the cutest streets I have ever seen, trumping even Gay Street, one of my favorite spots in the West Village.

I swear I heard wind chimes, magical harps and chirping birds -- providing an enchanting welcome to the next scene.

Where was I?

Rue de Crémieux just steps away from Gare de Lyon certainly made the bumpy first leg of my bike ride worth it. Note: If you are an inexperienced rider like moi, I'd advise avoiding major stations where cars, pedestrians, taxis, better cyclists and buses are coming in all directions. After I almost got hit by a bus barreling past the station and making a sharp left, crossing over into my bike lane. I needed off the main road, and made random turns which brought me to this absolutely darling little street.

 If this isn't a warm welcome, I don't know what is.
I was practically begged to stroll this street.

Paris! All this color!
Didn't think you had it in you!

Aurel securing my Velib while I explore, 
so I don't get charged 150 euros for it should it go missing.

A cat chasing birds was deliberately painted on this sky blue house.
 I can't. Next level cuteness.

 Since I will be on vacation very soon (!!!) and I'm a newfound Veliber , what are some other adorable streets off the beaten path that I should check out?

Happy first days of summer wherever you are! 

a cheapskate, a coquine and a B.J.

With a title like that, what on earth could I be getting into now?

You'll see, you'll see...

Before I get into that, there's something about an American actor or celebrity coming to Paris that always piques my interest. If I were to ever cross paths with, I don't know, living God Philip Seymour Hoffman here in Paris, I would see no problem in saying hello. Whereas if we were in New York, or worse the playground of stars, Los Angeles, forget about it. I wouldn't think twice about approaching him, no, not on our soil. I guess you could say that I would never dare. But being abroad, I feel almost akin to fellow Americans passing through, breaking down the boundaries of status, stripping down to our core, and sharing a common bond of what we are in this particular setting: Americans abroad.

With that in mind, last night Paris Cheapskate Jenna and I headed to famous Anglo bookshop Shakespeare and Company to hear B.J. Novak, the writer slash actor of the American version of "The Office" to read excerpts of his upcoming book. That's what I meant by B.J...geez, what did you think I was talking about? And I'm the coquine around here....

The reading was due to start at 7 and wanting proper seats, we planned to meet in front of the shop at 6. Arriving at ten to six, I saw no signs of Jenna and waited until about 6:15 and saw no choice but to do what any girl would do on a hot summer's day in a city; I treated myself to a glass of rosé on the patio of the neighboring café.

While enjoying the late afternoon sun beat down, I noticed that the line was begining to form outside of the bookshop. With still no word from Jenna, I had my last sip of wine and headed back over to investigate further. Jenna, who was already waiting in the bookshop since around the time that I arrived waved me in. Despite the fact that we were there before anyone, we were still escorted out of the mini shop, and asked to go to the back of the line. When explaining to the staff that we had been there for over an hour, we were served a steaming plate of tough toodles for us and our poor planning. We stood corrected at the back of the line with the other poor planners. Diss.

Just as we were moving forward, attendees that should have been us were sat in prime real estate, which was inside the bookshop. Before even getting a big toe in the front door, we were at the cut off mark and the shop was at capacity. We were invited to listen to the reading outside on the metal chairs they had set out for the unfortunate. Just then I heard one of the volunteers announce that there was limited seating upstairs. Reviewing our options, we could 1. listen to the reading outside in front of the store, or 2. do the same exact thing upstairs surrounded by books with the risk of it being devastatingly hot. Looking at the grey clouds creeping in, listening to the reading dry became a new concern, making option 2 the more attractive choice.

Once upstairs with ten other people, I overheard one of the shop clerks in the hallway barking instructions to the volunteer to give to us: "Tell them that once they are up here, they cannot leave, cannot go to the bathroom, cannot talk, cannot exit the way we came in, and that if any of them think that they cannot stay for the entire reading, they best leave now. Tell them!"

Jesus. It's a reading not high school detention. 

The volunteer repeated the strict instructions that he was issued before shutting the door on us ten strangers, locked in an attic-like room in Paris. Nothing lubricates an otherwise awkward situation like a little wine, and guess who came prepared? Me. Pulling out reinforcements, Jenna and I toasted to the mini bottle of Bordeaux I came armed with, complete with hot pink plastic cups. We were set for a reading in Paris. Cheers. 

Much to my amusement, the shop clerks and volunteers occasionally peeked their heads into the room to check on us, the kids. The reading itself, despite not being able to see the author was quite good. Some of his best lines were so simple, yet were pure gold. The writer in me couldn't resist the mental, damn why didn't I think of that? He is talented and that's why he writes for television...and I don't. He ended the reading by acknowledging that he was living out his dream, presenting his written work at this celebrated bookshop in Paris. Any writer could appreciate that, because he's right, it is the ultimate dream.

The reading ended roughly at 8 and a glass of rosé was offered to all of the attendees to enjoy outside, which presented an opportunity to meet in person. At that point Aurélien and his friend Tom showed up on their little French hipster bikes relishing and almost beaming from the Anglo action happening out on the street.

With Thomas providing full documentation of our meeting with B.J, this is sort of how it played out...

Scene 1:
B.J happy to meet his American fans.
Me, making my best Spring Break face.
I may have shouted "woo hoo" during this shot.
It is completely possible.

Scene 2:
Such disdain for la coquine! 
What did I say now?
I must have offended B.J somehow.
Again, completely possible.

Scene 3:
B.J giving up and seeing what the other American chick has to offer.
Me throwing a fit because B.J isn't lavishing me with attention.
Poor baby.

Scene 4: 
Jenna, working her magic.
No dice.

Scene 5:
Leaving, looking fulfilled with our B.J. experience.
And we were.

The night continued with Mexican food at a nearby restaurant, an impromptu dance party alongside the quai to a brass band performing under a tree rehearsing for tonight's fête de la musique, and a night cap on a sweet little boat cafe playing bossa nova along the Seine.

Summers in Paris may be rainy and cool, but it will take a little more than that to stop the American gals from a having a good time.
We just can't help it.

Bon week-end!

seeing spots.

 Illustration by Dana Wyatt of Spruce Avenue

It's finally school year working with my little guys is coming to a close, just two more weeks to go. At the risk of sounding old, crusty, and cliché, I'm just going to say it: damn, does time fly. I remember when I started back in October, and was signing my contract that read that my obligation was until June 30th. It seemed like a lifetime away and felt even a little nervous committing myself for so long. Well "so long" is coming to an end in ten days. Even my visa's days are numbered and have to go to the much-dreaded préfecture appointment next week.

Enjoying my last weeks of work and the sporadic summer days we have been enjoying here in Paris, I walked into school wearing my summer best and holding a large water bottle of my homemade sun-brewed mint green tea, looking forward to sitting in the park after work. Walking down the halls that on this day curiously smelled like Nair hair removal cream, I noticed a continuous theme on many of the children: red spots sprinkled like confetti on their faces. Some spots were dark, some were fresh and bright, and some were hedged with dry blood. Connecting the dots (pun so intended), I knew at four-years-old these poor kids weren't suffering from toddler acne and that it was much more serious: they had the freaking chicken pox.

Walking up the stairs to the la petite section to retrieve tiny Thomas, I learned that he was not immune to the widespread epidemic, and was too fashioning tiny spots all over his otherwise envy-worthy milky skin. Awesome. When he saw me, he ran into my arms ready to give me a hug and slather my face with a double-cheek bisous, and I nearly flung him off of me. This reaction wasn't driven by a fear of germs, it's just that I cannot confirm if I, in fact, have ever had the chicken pox before. 

I find it amazing that after 31 years, this has never come up. How have I never looked into this before? Inquiring about chicken pox is like volume one of annoying kid questions. Perhaps I have and just forgot? When I think back on a random memory like this, I can literally hear the rusty wheels of my brain squeaking as they search for an answer. I can't remember this, a question about my health, but me asking Timothy Wolf out in 1995 at sleep away camp and him calling me "too ugly for words?" That I remember as if it was yesterday.

In a panic, I looked up on my handy smart phone what happens to adults when they contract the chicken pox, and was far from delighted to read the word herpes zoster (I'm sorry, what?) or better known by its "street" name: shingles. The description of painful blisters and skin rash heightened my apprehension and made sure to wash my hands several times, not touching anything that was in direct contact with Thomas. Then I made the ultimate mistake: I told Franck that I was "allergic" to the chicken pox.

Well, that's all he needed to hear.

He spent a better part of the afternoon attempting to rub things on Thomas, in the hopes of transferring it onto me. Anything from tennis balls to the sleeve of his sweatshirt to cookies was open game, as far as precious Franck was concerned.

Not at all surprisingly, the parents weren't terribly concerned that their child was sent to school with a highly contagious disease nor the fact that I wasn't sure if I had them. The only way I would get to the bottom of this was by confirming with my mother, who would surely know. 

That evening I called her knowing that she would tell me that I had them as a wee baby, and would put my anxious soul at ease. There's nothing like a phone call to mom to make things better, right?

"I don't remember," she barked as I heard a page from The Post turn. "Kim is about to pop out that baby any minute now. God, I hope it's not ugly."

Mom! Just like the parents, she too was far from concerned but at least they didn't blow it off with tabloid gossip, about Kim Kardashian no less. On a side note, she is right though. We're going to be seeing a lot of that baby, so yeah, it better be cute.

"You don't have the chicken pox, don't be such a drama queen." she appeased my hysteria. "If you had them, trust me you would have known by now."

"Well can you call Dr. Schwartz to see if at least he remembers or has my files?"

"Dr.Schwartz? What are you crazy?" she snapped, "He's dead!"

Okay, now I'm really old. Even my pediatrician is dead.

That night in bed, I swore I was "feeling itchy" and drove Aurel crazy scratching my imaginary chicken pox. It's like when Franck gleefully told me one day that he had lice, and I spent the whole day convinced that my scalp was infested with larvae, and would have to get the pageboy haircut I was forced to get in Kindergarten. That whole night I swore that I felt red and an outbreak of herpes zoster was well on its way.

The following morning, stepping into the shower, I caught a glimpse of something red on my backside in the mirror and immediately screamed for Aurel. The red coats are coming! Herpes zoster was coming! I knew it! I wasn't crazy!

He rushed in, took a look, laughed, and walked away. "Babe, you just have a pimple on your butt...n'importe quoi." Never in my life would I have thought that I'd be so happy to see a zit on my tookus. Pure jubilation.

It's been over a week with no signs of red spots other than zitus tookus, and the monthly zit my face "enjoys," so I'd say I'm in the clear. And hey on the bright side of all of this, it gave me another opportunity to beef up my French vocabulary. I now know when I hear the word run, run, run!!

finding stella.

I know I've said this before but as much as I enjoyed planning the wedding and creating all of the little details, I really am relieved that it is finally over. I have this huge chunk of free time now, allowing me to tick items off of my massive to-do list.

Saying that, I have recommenced my project to discover the Parisian jazz life of my dad's mother Stella, or as I call her the other crazy grandma. Good Lord, if it's not a living grandmother calling off a wedding vendetta style, it's a late grandmother haunting me through hipster French radio stations. I could never say that I come from a boring family, that's for sure. I still can't help but wonder if this is one of the reasons why I came to Paris - as if she gave me a little push somehow. She passed away in 2008 (which I found out early 2009 from a Youtube comment of a since removed clip of her performing on French television in the 70s) which was right around the time that I randomly decided to move to France. Who knows...

At this point, I'm piecing together what I can find online, remembering stories my father had told me, and reaching out to remaining living relatives. On the Woodstock '69 footage, I can see my uncle Sean standing on stage during Santana's set where it's rumored that he was a family friend (so random), and Chick Corea worked on a track of a strange album called We Are the Levitts that my entire family (including my father who is on the cover) released in 1968. Knowing well that I must look like a lunatic, I disregarded my inhibitions and reached out to Carlos for confirmation that he knew my family, and to Chick to see if he remembered any stories during recording. Naturally they didn't write back, but it was only my first try.

Several weeks ago, I had a meeting with the French label Heavenly Sweetness who re-released the track 'Notes So High' on a compilation of obscure Parisian artists called Freedom Jazz France. During this meeting, I was also introduced to the head of a jazz Japanese label who not only wants to re-release the track, but wants to release several other pieces of my grandmother's work. Having a sparkling new edition of her music available to a niche fan base of rare and obscure jazz music out in Japan, this is exactly how I want her legacy to continue.

I feel like I have a lot of bit pieces of information but no real direction of what I want to do with it, or why I'm even doing any of this in the first place. I guess this I'm just going to have to follow my heart on this one. I've done it before and look where it got in Paris, France.

Bon week-end à tous!

chasing skirt.

Illustration via Real Simple by Aimee Miller

Summer is just about here -- well, summer to the best of Paris' ability, which means cool and sunny warmish days, spotted with the occasional scorching hot day. Paris doesn't exactly "do" summer and boast the humid east coast summers I grew up with, nor the dry, desert, temperature-soaring west coast summers that I had familiarized myself with in my early 20s. But who's complaining here? Not me. It's not raining and I'm not forced to wear my wool toggle coat, so consider me a happy gal.

What comes with warm weather comes the shorts, summer dresses, skorts, and maxi dresses fashioning lighter fabrics, brighter colors and bare legs. Something I have noticed here is that the few times a year my legs get a little "air time" with a modest above-the-knee skirt or worse, when I wear a pair of yoga pants out and about, you'd think I was wearing a metallic g-string with matching tassel pasties based on some of the reactions I've gotten on the street. Some of the men here are just animals, and the slightest bit of skin or form-fitting garment causes them to pant like puppies in their prime. I have to say, it's worse here than I have seen in LA or New York, and that's saying a mouthful. I had one creepy guy go as far as to stop me on the street to tell me he had been waiting for me all day, which was followed by an evil laugh (think: muwhahahaha) once he saw the confusion cross my face. 

Last Thursday, taking advantage of these lovely, mild days as vacation looms on the Parisian horizon, I was invited to attend the private sales at the haute boutiques on the fancy shmancy rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. This late-spring fête offered servers passing along trays of champagne and mini sandwhiches, bossa nova was streaming from store to store while shopping (or in my case, looking at) freshly marked-down items. Arriving at 7pm, I had no choice but to come directly from work and showed up for my little French taters that afternoon in a structured ballerina-shaped mint green tank dress, my white Repetto jazz shoes and a striped vintage Missoni cardigan.

While at work, my little ones who have only really seen me in leggings, work jeans and long sweaters took notice to my cotton candy ensemble and during a vocabulary game that I created called "big ball/little ball", they decided to chase after me, Madame Barbe à Papa. There's something about having a pack of three-year-old French boys charging towards you, ready to pounce, screaming "À l'attaque! À l'attaque!" that is beyond terrifying. When they're that small and compact, they're fast and grab you in vulnerable spots like your ankles.

Franck, precious, precious, sweet, chocolate-covered Franck took the attack as a perfect opportunity to lift my skirt to see what was underneath. Being the ringleader of the group, this incited a riot of tiny monsters with their little, dirty, marker-stained hands trying to snatch me from under my skirt. À l'attaque, indeed.

Having grown up with all boys, I was one step ahead of the game that morning when selecting my undergarments. Being behind on laundry, the choice was either a fuchsia lace thong or a pair of white briefs that I had washed a few years ago with the detergent that is made only for black clothing, and after several washes were now stained a spotty brown. Hotsy-totsy or poopy-esque? Oh, the choices. Not at all foreshadowing these turn of events, but also not wanting to go Letourneau in the event a prolific gust of wind should happen, I went for icky brown.

The attack lasted no longer than a few minutes, forcing me to reprimand them in French. When the parents arrived an hour later, the kids had nothing to report other than they had seen my culottes and that they were brown and poopy. I was mortified. Just mortified. While one of the fathers looked completely embarrassed and directed his eyes to the window to look at absolutely nothing, one of the mothers was proud that her son was expressing his sexuality (yes, direct quote) and another father said that his son's mother doesn't usually dress like how I was dressed so it was a natural reaction to see what was under the skirt. 

What. The Fuck. So now it was my fault? I was asking for it?!

Regardless of the weather, I have since returned to my usual uniform of leggings and long shirts with the brown panty incident never to be spoken of again, despite one of the father's "rational" explanation. They say that kids have select memories in regards to their childhood, and I pray that this isn't one that sticks with them. Because seriously, poopy undies? God help them.

the great two.

With the wedding taking center stage pretty much the entire month of May, my two year blogaversary just sort of came and went. No dramatic credit rolling/Vespa riding video like last year, no mention, no balloons, no excitement, nothing. Well, not being one to let important details fall to the wayside (I am a Virgo after all), I will address the magic of this two year mark a few weeks late. 

So...two years. How did that happen? I really have come such a long way since this painful post. I don't even know who that girl is. She was someone desperate to move on, yet still holding on to an idea, almost adamant that it was her fate here in Paris. What a mess that whole ordeal was. I have never felt so lost in my entire life. I actually considered looking into sleeping in a Swiss rehabilitation center for six months like Jennifer North in Valley of the Dolls -- that's how painfully slow time was moving. Does something like that even exist?

This blog helped me to disengage from the delusion that the wrong person was my own and only, and forced me to move forward alone, one day at a time. Everyday that I wanted to pick up the phone or walk by his cafe in the Marais, I remembered the responsibility I had to this blog. I had to be strong, otherwise what kind of example would I have been setting (even though I had close to zero readers)? While going back and forth with a French comittment-phobe certainly would have made excellent blog fodder, I had made a decision to say goodbye to relationship drama along with my 20s. Never did I think that I would become so set in my conviction to focus on the positive. Some days were certainly harder than others, but with time and perseverance, I can look back two years later with pride that I have achieved my goal.

So there is something I didn't share with you all: back in September I reached out to him, "the" ex, via e-mail to bury the hatchet. Was it my job to patch things up? Not really, but being someone who believes in detaching with love, I had come full circle and was done being angry over something that was very much supposed to happen. There was no longer a point in holding a grudge. Is there ever? He wrote back immediately and asked about getting a drink together. My response back informed him of my 2013 plans to marry, and that the three of us could perhaps get a drink. I never heard back from him again...c'est comme ça.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I have been reflecting these past few weeks on changing, growth, the power of experience and a having faith that everything does in fact, work out. These past two years have been my most formative as I was handed a crash course in dealing with life and the pure merde that sometimes comes along with it. Growing pains is an expression for a reason.

I would also like to take this opportunity to send a warm and sincere thank you to you, dear readers. Thank you for visiting, reading, commenting, connecting, and being more supportive than you even know these past two years. Je vous aime.

As a little thank you, here is a digital copy of our wedding party favors. We had made custom CDs with some of our favorite lovey dovey songs that reflected our tastes and humor with a homemade cover designed by moi. 

I wish you all a bon and hopefully sunny week-end!

18 Mai
Le temps de l'amour by Françoise Hardy
To the End by Blur
El Scorcho by Weezer
Nicotine and Gravy by Beck
Le Petit Pain au Chocolat by Joe Dessin
Easy Girl by Coconut Records
The Right Kind of Love by Jeremy Jordan (yes, from the 90210 soundtrack)
Cupid de Locke by The Smashing Pumpkins
Sugar Kane by Sonic Youth
Concrete and Clay by Unit 2+4
Push th' Little Daisies by Ween
I Adore Mi Amour by Color Me Badd
Waste by Phish
La Rose du Sang by Bertrand Bergulat
Oh La La by Faces

To listen to the Spotify playlist in its entirety click here!

smart move!

I have a pretty huge announcement to make. It's a life changing one so I suggest you take a seat. Welcoming a new presence into my life, doing something I never thought I would give into because it fell in the category of something that "you just do", especially being someone in her 30s...

Okay, enough with the build up. So dramatic...

As of June 4th, 2013, I'm proud to announce that me, Madame Coquine (okay, the Madame makes me sound like I run a brothel in Pigalle. Nice.) has received her very first, and honestly hopefully last :::drum roll please::: smart phone! I know, I know, what's the big deal, hasn't everyone had one since like 2009? The answer to that is no.

For me, this really is big news. After having a variety of Nokia phones since 2003 without internet functionality, a camera, a touch pad, and fun things like a Anti-Drunk Dial App (where was this app during most of my 20s??), I feel overwhelmed with the amount of information I have at my finger tips at. all. times. 

Does this mean I get to take photos of my food now? Or invade the Eiffel Tower's privacy with hourly photos of her, supported by braggy hashtags? Or even better, take Instagram selfies in the bathroom mirror demonstrating my juiciest Janice Dickinson face? Perhaps not (the duck lip photos do sound tempting though...), but it does mean that I won't get lost anymore, that I will respond to emails and texts quicker than before, be on time, and will now be able to capture a quick and pretty "vintage" photo without my eight pound camera weighing down on my neck. It really is a new era. Somehow this makes me feel like more of an adult than being married, which I have to tell you guys, still sounds so weird to me. Well Aurélien did a chest shimmy over his cheese plate last night when I referred to him as my husband, so apparently I'm not the only one who is getting a kick out of this.

Now that I have Paris' most-stolen device in my pocket, some changes will need to be made. Long gone are the days of whipping out my phone on the metro line 2 to announce that I'm on my way home. I don't take well to being robbed, so unlike the last time, I will work harder in avoiding it.

The wedding dust has finally settled, I am adjusted back into normal life; I have been reconnecting with friends and family, am back at work, and am enjoying gorgeous weather that we so rightfully deserve. 

If you feel inclined to catch a few glimpses of life off the blog, I invite you to follow me on Instagram!

get this party started on a saturday night!

Sadly, we had to cut our vin d'honneur short by an hour because the rain that was at first a romantic mist had turned into a heavier rainfall. Knowing how fickle the weather is here in France, it wasn't even a question whether or not we would rent a heated tent for our backyard reception. Remember the toothless lady who yelled at me back in February? I'm relieved that we didn't reserve one of her tents that she couldn't even show us a model of. Aside from her unprofessional set-up and aggressive dog, she also didn't want to grant us a dance floor citing that the request was too extravagant. A dance floor at a wedding? How absurd! Several details fell through the cracks, and not all of our ideas were actualized, but having a solid dance floor - this was one request I wasn't going to back down from. With the amount of rain we had been receiving the weeks leading up to the wedding, it would have been a swampy mess under a tent without a proper floor. 

As the guests were being led to the tent, I heard someone calling my name as I was hurrying myself and my mother to our seats. It was Grenobloise who wanted to know if she and her beau were also invited to the feast, because what have we learned over the past few months about French weddings? Not everyone is invited to all of the wedding events. We were at a wedding last week where guests arrived at midnight and no one thought it was at all strange. Well I did. 

She of course was invited to the dinner, as well as the leftover/ hangover brunch we hosted the following day. They came all the way from Grenoble, and being an Italian girl this is how we show our appreciation - with food and wine! It just goes to show how confusing this system is. Surely this isn't the first time a guest asked a bride if they were invited to the dinner. Perhaps different invitations are sent out? Was that another detail we let slip?

With our sense of humor in mind, the decor was kept simple and playful. Balloons, confetti and quilted mason jars containing ivory candles were used as the centerpieces, and seating cards were fastened to sky blue rock candy sticks. With the assumption that the seating cards were provided to avoid an awkward game of musical chairs, our theory temporarily failed us when Kale Project Kristen was sat between a guest named P and a guest named Lancelot. This caused some confusion given that her husband's name is P and his nickname is Lancelot. But no, we really did have a guest named Lancelot who halfway through the evening ripped open his button down shirt to reveal a fishnet tank top. Get this party started, indeed.

Blue highlighted photos provided by my dear friend Stina.
So creative!

Our first dance was to Bertrand Burgulat's poppy "La rose du sang". We had tested slower songs in our living room with our bedroom mirror propped up against the couch, and both decided that we looked pretty dumb. Staying true to our tastes and personalities, we decided to do more of a boogie/fox-trot/running man number.

As the party went into the evening, several highlights included a round of applause as Gwannel Sandiego walked into the party an hour late with our friend Laurent (oh là là!), a chair-raising Hava Nagila facilitated by my Jewish girlfriends Belle and Stina (thank you ladies! I've been wanting to get up on the chair since Evan Gold's Bar Mitzfah circa '93!), a kick-line to Sinatra's "New York, New York" where an American flag somehow manifested, a launching of hot air balloons into the night, a cumbersome "Electric Slide" where all of the guests were bumping into each other and the French who were trying so hard to follow along, just gave up, a heartwarming speech presented by Aurélien's two best friends who provided visual aids of a young and nerdy 20 year old Aurel, and a speech provided by myself individually thanking every guest who attended. Unfortunately I got tired by the 15th guest and just looked at Kristen and screamed "Kale Project!" before turning to the French side of the room and adding, "Hey! She brought a vegetable to your country!" 

Things got loud, everyone got a little inappropriate, jokes were made, drinks were spilled, a few of us fell, cupcakes were inhaled (I heard that one of our guests kept missing her mouth) and memories were made leading to weeks of recaps from guests who enjoyed themselves. We all got a little crazy, it wouldn't have been one of our parties if it didn't. I have a feeling that it will be a while before the French forget this wedding that definitely pushed the envelope, showing them how we do it up in the States.