This is my Halloween costume. Lame, I know. A girlfriend of mine suggested that I dress up as a season one Walter White wearing nothing but tight-whities, an apron and holding a gun. For some reason, I feel that would cause a bit of a stir here in Paris. I don't know, just a feeling I get. It does gives me great giggles imagining the reactions though.

Even though Paris isn't exactly known for getting into the Halloween spirit (well not how we do it up the States at least), since I moved here in 2009, they have somewhat caught up. For example, my French girlfriend is hosting a small Halloween party tonight where surely there will not be a costume in sight but the actual observance of the "holiday" I'd say is a big step.

Despite being on school vacation I have had a super busy week; working on a submission to a literary contest that is due tonight, went on my first ever treasure hunt at the Louvre, had my Mercury retrograde freak out moment, and packing for a weekend trip to Champagne! I look forward to catching up and bringing you all up to speed, as I have lots to share. In the meantime, share your Halloween adventures with me, and if you dressed up, who were you? I hope your costumes are more creative than mine!

I wish you Happy Halloween!

pretty in pink with prête-moi paris.

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending the Prête-Moi Paris four year anniversary bash. Melissa, author of the iconic blog sure knows how to put on a party, arousing the girly side in all of us. Guests were delighted with Sugar Daze cupcakes adorning little chocolate Eiffel Towers, flowing effervescent pink champagne, a Campari and mint DIY cocktail station, and a vintage fashion show. In short, I was in heaven.  

Resisting rocking the pink on a rainy Parisian day, I decided to go a little Designing Women in a draped 1980s flower dress (see here), and toasted to Melissa and her four years of hard work on Prête-Moi Paris!

The hostess Prête-Moi Paris herself getting the party started
with bubbly from Mon Champagne, the official champagne for #PMP4years.

The Campari and mint cocktail station!
You know I was all up in here.
To my mother and her friends, Campari isn't "drinking".
Crazy Italian women from Long Island, I tell you.

Kelly green tulle dress by the lovely Vintage Galerie
and contrasting clutch by Kasia Dietz

The DIY décor by Melissa.
The girl does it all, I swear.

This pink tulle made me pretty much crazy. 
I spent a better part of the event stalking this girl with my camera.
I want it.

Cheers Melissa! Thank you for including me in your special celebration. Here's to the next four years of your blog!

cozy boys get candy?

Now that it's fall, my vocabulary is peppered with words such as toasty, snuggly, warmy (I know), and cozy, and my infinite need to be one of these words. At all times. Last week, it appeared that the parents of my little ones are on the same page, and I almost had like a goop attack when I arrived at school to see little Thomas suited up in dove grey cashmere sweatpants.

"Well aren't you cozy today, Thomas!" I said, buttoning up the matching cardigan.

"Oui, co-zy." he said, staring off into the distance. When I say a word that they don't understand, they have this out-of-body experience where they repeat the word, almost possessed, with glassy eyes. These are usually the words that "stick". 

On our walk back to his house from school, I had a sleepy Thomas in my arms (total upper body workout) with his friend Franck walking beside me. 

"Am I co-zy right now?" Thomas asked while snuggling his tiny French face into my cable-knit scarf.

"You must certainly are. The most cozy." I responded, readjusting him and realizing that he's not as light as he was last year.

Somehow this cozy talk piqued Franck's attention who wanted to be included, "What about me? Am I cozy too?"

Franck at this moment was wearing a Nirvana t-shirt, was swinging his mini trench coat in the air like a cowboy, and screaming "Pa pa pa papapa!" which I learned were the "lyrics" to this aggravating song. So was he cozy per se? He didn't exactly fit the profile of being conventionally cozy and told him I didn't think so, but ultimately only he could determine the level of his own coziness.

(Seriously, I can't believe these are the conversations I have at "work.")

That was when I learned that telling a child that they're not cozy is a big mistake. Huge. I also foolishly thought that they had understood the word for cozy which I had explained in French as being bien chaud, comfortable, tranquil, and content.

"Je suis cozy, aussi." Franck insisted with a huff.

With these little guys, their thoughts are fleeting and have learned that I don't have to respond to each item that comes out of their mouth and continued down the street with them, disregarding his desire to be cozy. Whatever. Unfortunately for me, Thomas was not going to let this one go. Putting on a little show to demonstrate his own maximum coziness, nestled in my arms, he peeked over my shoulder to meet eyes with Franck.

"Tu n'es pas cozy. Tu serais jamais cozy comme moi." Thomas antagonized with a grin.

Oh geez. You will never be as cozy as me? Really Thomas? 

And with that. Franck lost his shit.

On Boulevard Magenta in the 10th arrondissement, Franck, stamping his New Balances on the pavement, howled, "JE. SUIS. COZY! JE. SUIS. COZY!!!" 

As you can imagine, this captured the attention of many: one mother who had her own troupe to manage, looked at me and gave me a surprised "Oh là," three teen-agers began chanting "cozy, cozy, cozy" like a rap song; and one younger gentlemen looked down at a hysterical Franck with a chuckle said, "ooh, ça va mon grand." 

Having no choice but to handle this, I set Thomas down and crouched down to Franck. "Okay, okay," I said to him, "Relax dude, you are cozy. I have never seen anyone more cozy than you, ça va?"

"CA. VA. PAS!" he screamed with tears spilling down his face. "I'm telling my mommy on you that you said I wasn't COZY!" 

Then Thomas started crying. So now I had two pissed off kids to contain on the streets of Paris. What was the deal with this word? They never care this much about words in English, so what made this one an exception? Something was off.

"You guys, hold up," I intervened, "I need to know, what does cozy mean again?"

"It means being a good boy, sage,." they explained confidently in unison. "Cozy boys get des bon bons."

Cozy boys get candy? When did I ever say that? That doesn't even make sense. I would never say something as sleazy as cozy boys get candy.  

In order to gain some control, I had to go big here, and threatened that there will be no grenadine for the rest of their lives if they didn't apologize, tell each other that they are equally cozy, and to shake hands. The grenadine threat works every time. It's like French kiddie crack. They can't get enough of that stuff.

Now that I am on autumn break and the cozy incident is behind us, as I feel like I really explained it when we got back to Franck's house, I'm afraid a week later I stand corrected. Last night I received a text from one of the mothers asking, "What's this story about being cozy?" 

Oy vey.

I'll respond in two weeks.

autumn comforts.

Although we have been in our apartment for now almost a year, I still recognize with gratitude that for the first time in this French life of mine I finally have my own space. With my own things, my own furniture, my own knick-knacks. Never did I think it would have taken over three years to acquire this kind of "status", but I guess it makes sense considering my life here has been far from linear. 

What I missed most when living in these temporary crash pads was seasonal entertaining and decorating, something I never really bothered to do as my heart wasn't invested in a place that I knew I'd be leaving in six months. With those days behind me, and to kick off the autumn season on Friday, I hosted a small dinner party celebrating what I believe to be the most wonderful time of the year. Because autumn isn't marketed as ferociously as it is in the States (is it me or has everything gone pumpkin in America?), I had to make do with what Paris has to offer. Let's see how she did...

After our dumpster-dived dinner in the 20th, we found a stack of these old Parisian windows in front of a building set out for the trash. We only managed to take two (they're heavy!), which now add a warm country feel to our apartment. As for the leaves, I had my teen-age students color and cut out them out, which bought them twenty minutes of Wii time. Evil, I know. 

I find the little glass jars that yogurts and honey come in just charming. They also make great storage jars or in this case, DIY vases.

Apéro table for snacks and bubbly.

On a recent trip to Marché Saint Pierre, the fabric district over by Sacre Coeur, I picked up a few yards of burlap and orange silk leaves to transform our table from an Ikea finding to a rustic autumn table. Since the party, I've taken the large piece of leftover scrap and am using it as a runner down the middle of the table for an autumn-light look. Autumn-light? Now I'm just making stuff up.

No fall feast would be complete without autumn accoutrements like pumpkins, cabbage bouquets, and such. There lovelies were picked up at different marchés around town (I had to go to a few). So is it me or are the cabbage heads totally "Little Shop"? I'm waiting for one to open its mouth and demand, "Feed me Seymour!

Aurel's homemade pumpkin and crème fraîche soup which involves a rather violent pumpkin massacre in the kitchen.
As you can imagine, these guys are not that easy to open.

Why on earth is there a sparkler shoved in our cheese? 
Because cheese should always be celebrated.

For dessert, our guest Allison (who also whipped up our wedding cupcakes) made almond-buttercream frosted Halloween cake.
We've been eating it for breakfast since.

So what do you think? Did Paris pull off that autumn vibe?
I think so. She made me work for it by running around town,
but I wouldn't be in Paris if it was easy!

It's been a lovely weekend.
I hope yours is just as toasty!
Happy Sunday!

french lesson #3: garbage.

I know I'm stating the obvious here when I say that French really is such a beautiful language, but it deserves repeating. Even a commonplace word like garbage has such a charming name, la poubelle. It's not just me who is with me on this one, there's even a restaurant out in LA with this name. Boy did I think I was très chic meeting up with friends at Café La Poubelle for cocktails and oysters. Now looking back, it makes me giggle. 

It wasn't until recently that my affection for this dirty little word has changed. 

On Tuesday night, Aurélien and I headed up to the 20th for dinner at his friend Victor's place. Victor is a rather special character that took me some time to warm up to. When I first met him, within the first few seconds he volunteered that he hates Americans. Just like that. Not being sure if he was serious, or was saying it purely for shock value, or had a degree of Asperger's syndrome, I looked back at him and just smiled. I mean really, what else could I do? It took me time to realize that his humor, if you even want to call it that, is just a little tilted. Other than that, I'd say he's fairly innocuous, so when he invited us to his home for dinner along with another couple, we happily accepted.

Arriving on a balmy yet cool October evening, we came armed with our "go-to" contribution of mini cakes picked up from Sébastien Gaudard's atelier on rue des Martyrs. Victor that night was uncharacteristically unoffensive and had actually put out a lovely offering for us. Starting off with a plate of charcuterie, which was then followed by a well-prepared magret de canards paired with sauteed mushrooms, and capped off with cornucopia of cheeses displayed on wooden cutting board.

Working on our mini cheese feasts, one of the guests somehow, managed to segue the table talk to Louis XIV. (Okay, this subject comes up a lot here. This is not the first time a dinner discussion starts off with a little harmless Louis the 14th action where it inevitably work its way to the French Revolution. Oh, this place.)

"Did you all really like dinner?" Victor interrupted, leading us back to the food, "Are you sure?" he pressed, now with almost a mischievous grin. 

Exchanging satisfied nods and smiles, we reassured him that yes, dinner was excellent. "Good, I'm glad because it came from la poubelle," he said, popping a chunk of Saint-Nectaire in his mouth, "Dinner came from la poubelle!"

This was one of those moments where I was hoping I had a little too much wine, because what my fuzzy brain registered was that dinner, the dinner that we had just ate and enjoyed, came from the garbage. What does that even mean, I remember thinking. What garbage? Please be a new market in town called La Poubelle, please be a new market in town called La Poubelle, please be a new hipster market in town called La Poubelle, I preyed silently.

In contrast to my dire wishes, Victor proudly explained that his new grand discovery has been picking expired food out of the dumpster in the alley behind Monoprix by his office, seemingly disappointed that he hadn't thought of it sooner. Before reacting to our dumpster dived din-din, I couldn't help but entertain myself with visuals. In my head, I had him head first, fully inside the dumpster with his legs up in the air where all you see is food, cans, and fish bones being chucked out like a scene in Garfield. Once the playful imagery veered towards more pressing thoughts like how expired are we talking about, was the food packaged, was the cheese found in the dumpster, and worse, did he steal the dinner of someone less fortunate who actually relies on supermarket discards?

Victor of course, offered no explanation to these extremely valid concerns, leaving us no choice but to move on to dessert. The stupid designer desserts that Aurel and I brought, which now served as a blaring and obnoxious contrast to our hobo dinner.

Several days later, I'm pleased to report that I'm still alive and kicking, but as you can imagine the word la poubelle has since lost its charm and forever will remind me of the time when I ate dinner out of it. Thanks, Victor.

let's get a drink?

For the first time since the September return, I had a quiet weekend where nothing and I mean nothing was planned; no parties, dinners, drives out to the country, nada. While those are all wonderful ways to spend the weekend, sometimes a full two days spent at home to tidy up, watch reruns and sleep is what's necessary to fully restore for the impending week. 

Aurélien who has been working longer hours than usual was thankful that we were on the same page. His plans consisted of preparing his seasonal pumpkin soup from scratch, Grand Theft Auto 5, and a Skype date with one of his childhood friends who now lives in London. During their chat, his friend asked to speak to me because he had a little bone to pick with me in regard to one of my posts: The one about the French being closed off to random chit-chat.

With him currently living in London, and having spent several years in New York, he agreed that many Anglos tend to be more open with strangers and yes, the French, his people, aren't as open as we tend to be. He then added, "But what about you guys?"

What do you mean what about us? What about us?

"What's up with you always proposing to get a drink and most of the time it never happens." he said teasingly, enjoying the opportunity to challenge an aspect of my social culture.

"Ah yeah," I said looking off, "I guess we do sort of do that. At least I know I have."
"You know, I used to actually pull out my planner to schedule this mythical drink you guys always promise not realizing that it doesn't mean jack shit!"

"Oh come on, it does mean something," I intervened, laughing off the jack shit comment, "Well at least at the time it does, but you know, life happens, schedules fill up. The plan goes through eventually." 

With that, I stopped myself because we don't always follow up on plans. Heck, I knew a girl out in LA where our "friendship" was based on this theoretical drink we were always talking about getting. This went on for years. It finally ended when I moved back to New York. So yeah, Aurélien's French expat buddy had a good counter-argument to my original post. We love to talk but there is not always weight holding down the words.

"You guys may be more open to small talk," he continued, "But what's the point of talking to everyone if it doesn't really mean anything?"

Playing the non-committal dance of "let's get a drink" which has replaced the 80s "let's do lunch" to us is socially acceptable, even if we don't always get around to doing it. When I first moved here I was constantly making plans that may or may not happen, thinking this was common. It wasn't until I was actually called out on it by my French friends who told that it comes off as rude, while adding that it's just better to just say nothing. I think that it was my American need to fill space and to avoid silence; a habit that accompanies the nervous laugh and always saying sorry. Sometimes I can't help it.

Now years later, I'd like to say that I know better (at least I hope I do!), but it is always nice to get a refresher course in social etiquette in your adopted culture. While you guys know I like to tease the French for giving us, or rather me, a hard time with cultural differences, I think with this one, they're on to something. So who's up for a drink this week?

the great pumpkin.

The air is crisp, the sun is still warm, and leaves turning all shades of lovely; fall is officially here! PSLs for everyone! (PSL, you know, pumpkin spiced lattes.) With my vibrant fall spirit freshly awakened, I thought a fun American activity to introduce to my French teen-agers was to carve a pumpkin. 

As usual for Wednesdays, I met them at our corner in the 11th, but before heading to their house I told them we were taking a bit of a detour. Already, they were skeptical and protested that we weren't going to the right way. I've learned now to ignore them when they tell me how things are done, and with a smile and an "Allez, guys" I led them down the street towards the florist.

The florist had a lovely display set up out on the sidewalk of autumn bouquets, cabbage flowers in violet, snowy whites, and pale greens, and one last pumpkin; so plump and so perfect, just begging to be purchased by my little American hands. The six of us walked into the empty shop looking for signs of the clerk, but there weren't any. Even after several "bonjours" and "y a quelqu'un?", we still hadn't made any progress.

Like a typical scene in any horror film, there was basement door and it was open with a dim light illuminating the spiral stairs, luring one of us to go "check it out". 

Not wanting someone else to swoop in and grab my dream pumpkin, I went outside to pick it up with the intentions of coming back in to wait at the cash register. With my back was turned, reaching for the pumpkin, the kids who were still in the shop began screaming, howling in fact. For a moment there, I thought Leatherface himself had made an autumn trip to Paris and had bursted out of the creepy basement with his raging chainsaw, ready to attack. What was going on? I quickly turned around, with pumpkin in hand, and screamed, "What, what, what, quoi?"

"You can't just pick up the pumpkin like that!" they shouted in scattered cacophony.

"But why?"

"Because, you must wait for the owner of the shop to do it! Put it down at once!"

Relieved that they weren't about to be slaughtered (or was I?), I sighed, looked down at the pumpkin and was almost about to follow their wishes but decided better and questioned them.

"But wait, why not?" I asked.

"Because that's just not how it's done."

In a stand off, we faced each other. Little me holding the pumpkin and five French teen-agers who were beyond horrified that I would help myself in such a brazen manner. It hadn't even occurred to me, but they were right, that isn't how it's "done" here. Business, especially in small shops like this one, is conducted much more passively. Sometimes it's hard to break out of your customs especially around the holidays. Growing up, my family and I have always picked out our pumpkins and brought it to the cash register. Never would we ask the cashier at Red Apple (which is now Gristede's) on 7th Avenue to go out and select it for us. I almost heeded to their demands but thought this was a great opportunity to share the idea of different cultures and customs, which is the point of why I am even with them.

Before I could launch into what was surely going to be a boring lecture about cultural differences, the florist who was eating a roasted chicken at the take-out shop just next door came rushing over in reaction to the hysteria. I explained that we were interested in purchasing the pumpkin, which then was interrupted by an orchestra of the guys all "accusing" me of wanting to purchase it, and asked if it was okay to help myself and bring it to the register.

The florist, bless him, didn't see a problem with me holding the pumpkin and could see that my hands were full, literally an figuratively, made somewhat of a show to appreciate my help.

"Ca va les garçons, she is helping an old man like myself," he said, chuckling at their humorless dispositions. "Follow me and I'll ring you up, dear." 

Beyond grateful that he didn't challenge me either because I would never have heard the end of it from these mutants, I gave him smile of relief. Merci, monsieur.

Their reaction did get me thinking though: if a French person in the States asked the cashier to go select their pumpkin (or whatever) from the stand, we would find it rude. And here, thinking we are helping by bringing our selections to the register in some shops would be considered obnoxious and pushy. It's interesting.

After a laborious English session that felt like pulling out impacted wisdom teeth, we carved the damn pumpkin. It took me about ten minutes to get one of them to help scoop out the gooey inside and another fifteen to explain that no, I cannot carve Harry Potter's face. (Also, I was already armed with props in my bag for my idea.)

Without further ado, here he is! The return of Jacques O' Lantern, the French pumpkin!

Up revealing the French pumpkin to my teens, they stood in silence, just glaring at poor Jacques. With their heads tilted fashioning expressions of pure distaste, they stared at him, then to each other before one turned to me and asked, "So what makes him French?"

french lesson #2: breadcrumbs.

A new hobby that the 20-year-old me used to think I had a permanent aversion to is cooking. Despite coming from a family very much involved in food, it wasn't until moving to France that I have taken an interest in the kitchen. In my 20s, cooking meant adding chopped onion to my scrabbled eggs or using my oven to heat up leftover Sunday pasta dinner.

Wanting an element of my upbringing here in Paris as well as a relaxing break from my weekly routine, I have been hosting Sunday pasta with meatballs for Aurélien and most recently my French in-laws. Referring to the collection of my great-grandmother's recipes that was recently passed down to me, our apartment on the weekends is now rich with the aroma of her slow-cooked homemade tomato sauce. My version of her recipes still need a little work but every week I'm progressing, learning new ways to improve, and have even been experimenting with modern ingredients like using gluten-free pasta.

Saturday mornings now consist of a heavy shopping trip to pick up the necessities for Sunday feast. Last weekend, I left the house on a gorgeous sunny Saturday with my list of groceries. On the list I had: oeufs, lait, pâtes, tomates, persil, breadcrumbs, ail. Wait, back up. Breadcrumbs? I stood on the sidewalk, stared down at my list, and realized that I in fact did not know how to say breadcrumbs in French. Until recently, why would I?

I knew that crumbs is miettes and bread is pain, so miettes de pain would make sense, right? Just to be sure, I pulled out my phone and looked it up on my handy Word Reference application. Et voilà, there it was, the first entry: miettes de pain. My French is awesome, I remember thinking with victorious pride. Feeling all French and stuff, I figured the boulangerie would sell breadcrumbs and probably damn good ones too, so before heading towards the Monoprix, I made a turn towards my local bakery. After about a ten minute wait on a long line of Parisians stocking up on their weekend bread, it was my turn!

"Bonjour, do you sell miettes de pain here?"

The woman looked almost taken back by my question before snapping, "Pas du tout!" and then dismissed me by acknowledging with her eyes the customer behind me. 

"Hi, sorry, still here," I said while scooching closer to the counter, "Would you by any chance know where I could get them? Perhaps the supermarket sells them?"

"We don't sell miettes de pain here in France." 

I found the "in France" bit a little dramatic, don't you? I was looking to buy breadcrumbs not meth. Geez.

"Really?" Was all I could muster, because I really wasn't prepared for this response. Like at all.

I could feel the wall of tension building behind me as the customers were getting restless, but I wasn't going anywhere. If anyone would know anything about breadcrumbs and where to get them, it would be her, the baker.

"So in France, no one cooks with miettes de pain?" I continued.

"Pas du tout."

Ignoring her curt responses, I went on to explain that I was looking for packaged breadcrumbs for chicken and meatballs, almost going into details of the recipe. With pursed lips, she just kept nodding her head, denying the existence of breadcrumbs, again, in all of France. I swear, she was taking pure evil pleasure in my mounting frustration. And I'm sorry but isn't chicken cordon bleu made with breadcrumbs?

I had no choice but to surrender and accept that breadcrumbs are not for sale, in France. I thanked her for her time but before leaving I irrationally added, "Well then why does the word exist if it's not available?"  

She just stared back at me.

Yeah, I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere with that one.

Befuddled that no one cooks with breadcrumbs, well according to that boulangère, I proceeded to the market with no intention of purchasing or even thinking about them. As far as I was concerned, it was a four-letter word.

With my shopping tote brimming with my ingredients, I was trotting back home brainstorming how I was going to make homemade breadcrumbs when Aurel called. I regaled him with my bakery adventure and not even having to finish the story he knew exactly what I was looking for, not miettes de pain but rather chapelure.

Miettes de pain is literally bread crumbs, like the ones that litter the floor after a cheese and baguette attack. Breadcrumbs for cooking is chapelure, the word that was settled right under my precious miettes de pain on Word Reference that I selected to ignore. My foodie friends here must be chuckling because I'm sure chapelure to many of you is super obvious, but hey, I'm new to all of this.

breaking bad.

On top of having to learn French here in Paris, many of us native English speakers have had to familiarize ourselves with the French's interpretation of the English language. One word that I find is often misused is the coordinating junction "so." As we know, this word generally goes in front of an adjective (e.g, "so pretty", "so minty"). Here the word so seems to have found itself a home anywhere and everywhere, mostly in advertising. I've seen "So Music", "So Savings" and my personal favorite, "So Shopping", which I like to say in my Cher from Clueless voice.

I'm not a grammar Nazi -- not by any measure -- and I know that we have been guilty to mold French words for our convenience as well. I'll never forget Aurélien's bewilderment at an American diner when I explained to him that à la mode to us means a plop of ice cream added to a dessert, not Tom Ford's latest défilé.

Last weekend, we were invited to a housewarming party. Our two friends are getting domestic; taking the "next step" by moving in together into spacious, high ceiling, hardwood floor loft in the 18th. The invitation boasted twerking (okay, I requested that on the Facebook invite), candy-infused shots, and a blind test. Blind test? Quel mystère! Days leading up to the party, I had envisioned myself wearing a bandana over my eyes and tasting eclairs to guess which boulangerie it came from. 

Yes. I have seen this done at gatherings here before.

Arriving at the party where we didn't know anyone, the hostesses thoughtfully put up a poster announcing the teams for the blind test. This was meant to encourage us guests, total strangers, to introduce ourselves and chat, sober. At a party in Paris, this has been proven to be strenuous.

Once the main space was what appeared to be at capacity, the blind test was announced and all of the teams packed in tight around the hostesses who were positioned behind a laptop. Where was the food? I asked myself. Or the drinks? And more importantly, where were the blindfolds for the test? At the command of our hostesses' fingers, music started to play for mere seconds arousing the teams to bark out the song titles and its musicians.  

Ah ha. Blind test means name that tune here. 

Okay. Got it. So music.

Assuming that all of the songs would be French tunes or unknown American pop songs that didn't make it in the States but somehow were a hit in Europe, I positioned myself off to the side to cheer everyone on. It wasn't until I heard the wailing opening guitar to Shania's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" that I realized hey, I could play too! Rejoining my team, we enjoyed an exuberant victory in the first round, prompting cheers from my teammates who were benefiting from their American teammate who has a penchant for cheesy pop music. Everyone was playfully competitive, screaming, jumping, and singing. The energy was contagious, and was the most animation I had even seen at a French party.

With full intentions of forfeiting the game after the bonus round of the American portion of the game, the young girl, couldn't have been older than 20 kicked my ankle. Twice. And it hurt! At first, I ignored it because it was obviously a mistake, right? It wasn't until she dug her finger into the small of my back that I was forced to believe that I was being provoked. In hopes to clear this up, I turned and looked at her, and with a smirk she looked the other way to whisper in her friend's ear. Oh, come on. Were they serious? Were they really that annoyed that I called the song "Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm" by the Crash Test Dummies. In hindsight, I guess they were just jealous. That song does rule. 

After experiencing variations of her physical contact that included her pinching me, flicking my left shoulder (what was she 10?) and bumping my hip with hers so aggressively that my plastic cup filled with water almost got heaved onto the laptop, I had no choice but to address it. Willing to accept that perhaps I had at one point bumped into them unintentionally and this was their childish retaliation, I apologized in advance and reminded them that we were all just having fun.

In French, she told me that I can explain in English and to not strain myself desperately trying to speak French, and then patted me on the head. Oy vey.

"Oh okay, so you understand English?" I asked.

Giving me a look that said, obviously and turning to her friends to giggle.

"Great," I smiled and calmly handed my cup to Aurel, "How about then, you keep your fucking hands off of me because you don't want to know what will happen if you do it again."

And then I stared her down. There was definitely some neck swiveling happening and I may have even raised an eyebrow. 

I know, I know. Even I'm laughing now. Even though I wear bamboo earrings, I really am not tough but at that point, I had been pushed way too far. People don't have the right to just touch other people. I'm sorry. And just between you and me, I didn't know what would happen either if she had done it again. I hadn't exactly planned it out. Because you know as a rule of thumb, I avoid threats and name that tune fist fights at parties. Luckily she didn't further engage and to move on, I removed myself to go eat chips. I was getting hungry anyway.

Thirty minutes later, the sore loser approached me as I was talking to a guy with long, wavy red hair rocking leopard print leggings and a bandana whose name was Axel (like for real), and before I could dismiss her by telling her it was done, there was no problem, she apologized, with sincerity. What I also noticed was that she was now speaking to me in formal vous and asked me to please accept her apology.

What the.

We never did get to the bottom of why she had a sudden change of heart. Perhaps she just came to her senses that hitting people at parties is unacceptable anywhere? Or that she realized that I was much older than her and that, of course I would know Metallica's "Enter Sandman." Who knows? But Aurélien on the other hand, entertaining his American villain fantasy, believes that I was just that bad ass and no one messes with his wife. N'importe quoi.

I wish you all a lovely weekend!
And please, use this as a cautionary tale,
beware of name that tune. 
It's not what it used to be.

words & wine.

With the autumn season comes the influx of events, socials, and friends. With the lull of the summer long gone, the rush of early September thankfully settled in, early October, I have come to realize is when we all start to resurface socially.

Me being someone who adores autumn (but really, what girl doesn't?) as well as throwing shindigs, Sylvia of Finding Noon called on me to help develop this idea of hosting a "reading atelier" to celebrate Francophile author Juliette Sobanet.

Wanting to be direct and clear, I branded the event by naming it words + wine, designed the simple logo, and invited my nearest and dearest friends to expand her guest list with new faces.

Keeping with the simplicity of the brand, I sprinkled the space with glowing tea lights and fresh flowers. A Hotel Costes playlist enriched the mise en scène, I insisted that glasses brimming with bubbly be available to guests upon arrival, and with the help of our guests, we had some few nibbles to absorb the wine.

I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate on a Monday night in Paris.

Juliette delighted us with reading an excerpt from her book "Dancing with Paris", followed by a Q&A session. Our guests asked insightful questions prompting Juliette's refreshingly honest responses in regard to her writing process, time management, the excitement of quitting her day job, and the glamourous projects she has in the works.

Many of us walked away feeling inspired; Juliette was candid about the amount of work that goes into writing a novel but also charmng and warm, not making it feel unattainable. Being in a room of women who in one way or another are following their dreams with their own passion projects, be it writing, cooking, illustrating, farming, you could feel the creative energy igniting.

Kicking off autumn by celebrating an accomplished author in the company of equally inspiring women, I anticipate what else the season has in store. It's only just begun!

If you're not familiar with Juliette's work, I recommend starting with her first novel "Sleeping with Paris". If you're a fan of this blog, I promise that you won't be dissapointed.

To see more photos from last night's words & wine, click here to the Facebook page of Mary Kay's Out and About in Paris.