Monday, June 17, 2013

Hello Again & Father's Day Recap

Hi everyone! I totally abandoned my blog while I was in Europe over the past couple of weeks, but now I'm back and ready to share about our adventures among other things. Eager to catch up on everyone else's blogs, too!

I'd forgotten how much of a beast jetlag really is, so I spent Friday working and feeling flu-like. 9 hours is a big time change, plus I had a ridiculous 3-leg flight home which totaled about 24 hours of travel, and then worked the very next day. I'm still waking up way too early but things have regulated for the most part, thanks to a mostly restful Saturday.

Matt and I spent Sunday with his kids for Father's Day, and we had such a great time. Matt wanted to take them to Oakland's Fairyland (Maya is at the perfect age!), which is an adorable old school park with all kinds of fun things for the kiddos. It was really nice just all being together, especially after I'd been gone for two weeks.


Maya is the most precious little thing ever. And Jasper is such a great big brother. Matt's pretty lucky to have two healthy, sweet, and adorable children. :)


All of us together, though Matt's slouching, cause he's a lot taller than me! 

Before our trip to Fairyland, we played in the garden, and Maya pulled some weeds while I planted more lettuce. The garden is getting crazy--I will post pictures soon! I have several squash, a few zucchini growing, a teeny tiny baby cucumber starting to appear, some little string bean pods, 3 kinds of lettuce, potatoes, and more . . . I'm loving it so much. Here's a sneak peek of some early cherry tomatoes:


Can't wait for everything to be ready!

I hope all of you had a fun weekend & a good Father's Day, however you spent it. I'm far away from my own father, but it was really nice celebrating Matt.

Leave your blog post links in the comments so I can check them out. :)


Saturday, June 1, 2013

I don't even know what day it is, but I'm in the French Riviera

Bonjour du sud de la France! We arrived in Nice yesterday, rented a car, and drove to our gorgeous house in Antibes, with views of the Mediterranean Sea from the windows. It's pretty breathtaking, y'all.

We've only had one full day here but I'm already flooded with memories of my first two trips to France, though I'd never been to the Riviera until this trip. I'm overwhelmed with the feeling that I want to be French. Seeing all these stylish women with their stylish kids, men walking around with baguettes sticking out of their backpacks, and that hypnotizing accent . . . what a life, right?

Ten years ago, I spent a summer in Paris. It was the summer before my senior year of college, and I was there to take a couple of classes through Tulane, one of which was called Hemingway & Fitzgerald. We studied their books & visited all the cafes and restaurants they wrote about & frequented as expatriates. Definitely one of my most unforgettable college experiences. I didn't know anyone doing the study abroad program, so I was really on my own, and it felt so exciting to be in a totally foreign city--almost across the world--with no safety net.

I think it was my second day in Paris, while sitting outside an art supply store, that a French man approached me and started speaking rapidly. I managed to tell him that I couldn't understand French, at which point he started speaking to me in adorably-broken English. I finally agreed to give him my email address, and an hour later, I had a compelling message from him asking for a date.

My first date with Joel was actually on Bastille day, and he took me to a little cafe where we had lunch & shared a bottle of Cotes du Rhone before watching fireworks. When we went to his apartment, I noticed a plaque by the front door that said l'ancienne maison de l'artiste italien Modigliani, or "former home of the Italian artist Modigliani." His place was spectacular: an eclectic artist's loft with textiles from around the world, and littered with his own paintings and photographs (one of which, for instance, was a close-up of Claudia Schiffer from when Joel worked for Yves St. Laurent). That whole summer was pretty surreal.

Ultimately, I left Paris and went back to New Orleans, and the relationship with Joel (who by the way you can see here--his grandfather, Henri Cadiou, was a well-known artist, so he's easy to find) was over, but the whole experience was sort of pivotal for me. I could be in a new country by myself and be okay, and I could meet people and have exciting, and kind of risky, adventures. It was one of those coming-of-age summers that you always hold dear.

So now I'm back in (an entirely different part of) France, and my life is in a whole different place. I'm here with the Freitags, taking care of Milo and Jude, and I'm in a happy relationship back home. The adventures I seek are certainly different, but the feeling of being immersed in another culture is still just as rich. The world is so big, and there is so much to experience.

Here's a picture of Milo and Jude on our first full day in Antibes:


More to come.  Bonne nuit for now. ;)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Give Me Your Travel Tips!

In 24 short hours, I'll be boarding a plane to Nice, France, which is nine hours ahead of us in California. I haven't had to manage that sort of time change since I went to Beijing back in 2006, and that was certainly the most debilitating jet lag of my life.

So expert travelers, tell me: do you have any tips on avoiding jet lag? How about anything that makes 15 hour plane rides not seem torturous? Anything I most definitely need to pack that I may not have thought of?

Stopping by the AT&T store today to ask about texting/instagram/etc. so that I don't accrue a huge bill. I suspect instagram is fine since it relies only upon wifi and not a phone connection. Look for pictures of French wine & the Mediterranean Sea!

We have wifi at our villa in Antibes, so I'll be checking in periodically. May Wednesday go by quickly!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Beaches

Not the incredibly devastating 80's movie, but our beloved California beaches.

Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by how expensive it is to live here. I have to pay a $6 bridge toll every day that I work in the office and/or babysit, parking is ridiculously expensive, and rents are astronomical. But our easy access to multiple beaches totally helps soften the financial blow.

On Sunday, we took Matt's kids to a little beach just five minutes from our house--it's on the bay side, so no ocean waves, but there's sand & water and you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.

it's not really yellow--that's just the instagram filter I used!

Jasper likes to wade out & get super muddy, while Maya was entertained by a tiny (dead) crab she found. 


If we want to go to a real ocean beach, there are plenty of other options within a short drive, but this one is only a mile or so away and has a great running path for when I'm feeling motivated. 


Now that I've lived in the bay area for almost 10 years, I don't know that I could ever live somewhere that wasn't near water. Our beaches aren't exactly warm, but they sure are beautiful (Baker Beach, the one in my blog header, is my fave). 

And speaking of beaches, a week from today the Freitags and I leave for the French Riviera! We're flying into Nice and staying at a beautiful villa in Antibes (just between Cannes and Nice, right on the Mediterranean Sea) for a little over a week, and then driving to Florence, Italy for a few days before flying home. 

I suspect it is going to be majestic: 


Have any of you been? I've been to Paris twice, but never to the south of France. So excited!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What I Would Say #tbt

I went to college with my best friend Tiffany. We were already inseparable, but after our close friend died when we were 15, we needed each other more than most best friends do, I guess. We applied to some of the same colleges and some different ones, but the decision was pretty easy when we were both accepted to Tulane.


This picture was taken after we'd finished assembling our dorm room. It was very pink. 

What I would say to my newly-18-year-old-self: 
  • YOU ARE 18 AND IN NEW ORLEANS. The boy you think you love back at home is not all he's cracked up to be. Quit crying over him & go out and meet new people. 
  • Don't prioritize love so much anyway. Relationships at 18 mostly don't last. 
  • Signing up for an 8 am class, or even a 9 am class, will make you miserable. Don't do it.
  • Make more friends on your hall. You are lucky to have your best friend, but you two should open up more. 
  • Don't be so hard on your body. When you're 31, you'll wish you had your 18 year old body back!
  • Stop taking everything so seriously.
There are things I'm proud of, though. I knew what I wanted education-wise right off the bat. I declared my English major freshman year, got a job in the English department sophomore year, became Poetry Editor of our literary magazine sophomore year, and then became Editor junior year. It was great experience that exposed me to a lot of poets, nationally, took me to conferences, etc. I ran the literary lecture series and met lots of incredible writers (Jessica Hagedorn, Edwidge Danticat, Andrei Codrescu, among others).

Isn't it funny, looking back on our younger selves? Link up with my dear "real life" friend Jessie for What I Would Say #throwbackthursday:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

OMG Craigslist

Our roommate is moving at the end of the month, and Matt and I are considering finding someone to sublet the second bedroom for a couple months (just to save money--after that, we want to live by ourselves & have the second room set up for the kids). In any case, I was perusing Craigslist today looking for grad students seeking summer sublets, when I came across this compelling post.

- $300 Unique Situation. Need A Room to Rent But i Wont Really Live There (pittsburg / antioch)


So here is the thing.

Myself and my lover are both in other relationships because of personal reasons. While we are in this unique dating situation we tend to rent a lot of hotel rooms and instead of having to deal with hotels check in check out etc. I figure it would be nice to rent a room from someone with the space locally, that way we would have our own private place to go to whenever we want, however we would not live there. Probably spend one night every two weeks there and poke our heads in and out maybe twice a week, but we would be on time with the rent every month. Basically, you get help with the bills and don't really have anyone living with you. No one making dishes, doing laundry, nothing. Just coming in a few days a week, handling our personal business and leaving. Done. All we ask is respect for the space we rent and discretion. our affairs are for our own judgement not anyone else's.

were looking for something about 300 a month and local. in brentwood, antioch, oakley, pittsburg, knightson, etc.

please email if this appeals to you.
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Granted, we don't live in Pittsburg/Antioch, so this doesn't really apply to us anyway, but I mean WTF. Can you imagine?! People are such scoundrels. Ughhhhhh.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My New Hobby

For years, my downstairs neighbor, Doug, has been tending to our little garden space out back. This year, I decided I wanted to learn, so he agreed to teach me & hand over the reins. He and I have spent lots of time together over the past month or so buying starts, planting, watering, reading, caging, & getting excited about the vegetables that I hope will be plentiful in late summer!

We had to start by tilling the space (it's about 7 feet x 7 feet) and creating hills and valleys so the water could flow through without getting the leaves wet (which will create mildew). I should have taken a before pic, but here's what it looked like a couple of weeks ago after we'd planted almost everything:


We planted corn, Dixie squash, heirloom tomato, cherry tomato, cucumber, zucchini, red bell pepper, basil, cilantro, and lettuce. We already had fingerling potatoes, chives, and oregano growing along the margins. The maturation date on all these things varies pretty greatly--the cherry tomato should produce the soonest (about 50 days after planting).

Because I'd been bitten by the gardening bug hard & this wasn't enough, I bought a string bean plant and potted it with trellis behind the pot (they need something to grow up!). I also got an artichoke which is currently living in a pot, but eventually needs to be put in the ground, as they get very big! My windowsill has a little tomato, red pepper, and a few strawberry plants. :)

Imagine my excitement when I discovered that my squash plant is already boasting two teeny baby squashes! 


Aren't they adorable?! I cannot wait till they're big enough to eat. There isn't much more satisfying than eating right out of your garden. The cherry tomato plant is about five times as big as it was when we planted it, too!


Now all I need to do is learn how to make my own mozzarella so we can have truly home-grown caprese salads this summer.

I thought watering & upkeep would be a lot of work, but I am so excited to get out there every day. I even go sit by the garden on days when it doesn't need any water, just to admire the plants. I can't believe I didn't do this sooner! It almost makes me want to move to the country so I could have acres of vegetables and fruits planted . . . but not quite. Ha. 

So basically I'm trying to talk everyone I know into planting something, even if it's just in a pot on your deck. So satisfying.

Do you have any new hobbies of late? Tell me about them!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wedding of the Century

I was planning on talking about something else on the blog today, but when my friend Amy alerted me to the news, I knew that there was only one thing to discuss. Many of you already know by now, but for those of you who don't . . . Mama June and Sugar Bear finally tied the knot. AND THERE ARE PICTURES.
























Please, everyone. Take the opportunity to check out that sweet wedding dress.





Technically, they "won't say" whether it was a legal wedding or just a commitment ceremony, but either way, I'm sure Mama June's made Sugar Bear a very happy man. He's said on the show that he's asked her to marry him several times, but that she "won't do it." In any case, the ring on her finger speaks volumes.

In true Boo Boo fashion, they kept it low key and had the ceremony in their McIntyre, Georgia backyard. Mama June says they spent the most money on the barbeque. Imagine that!

Despite my amusement at the camo-themed wedding, I'm actually pretty psyched for these folks. And let me tell you, if I'd have been able to attend either the Royal Wedding or this one . . . there would have been no contest. Move over, Middleton!

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo comes back to TLC on July 17th. Let's just say I'm counting down the days. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Current Drugstore Beauty Favorites

There are so many good drugstore products out there these days. I swear, when I was 12 and just starting to wear makeup, all you could find was the original Cover Girl liquid foundation with a white top and a wretched smell. Maybe that's not entirely true, but that's all I remember!

I have some current high end faves, too, but I'll share those another day. For now, I wanted to talk about three drugstore products that I'm crazy about:


1. Revlon Photoready Airbrush Foundation: I've tried a ton of different foundations. And while I still have my high-end standbys (I'm lookin' at you, Dior Airflash!), this Revlon Photoready Airbrush is by far the best I've gotten from the drugstore. The only other contender, frankly, is the Revlon Colorstay Whipped--which I've just purchased recently after a million recommendations and already love. 

I usually apply it with a foundation brush, but sometimes I shake it up and use the beauty blender. Either way, it goes on so smoothly, matches my skin like no other foundation ever has (I'm in 030 Nude--or at least that's my color when I don't have any tan), and has the dewiest, prettiest finish. I love it so much.

2. Maybelline Clean Express Classic Eye Makeup Remover: This is the best eye makeup remover I've used. I've tried all the major brands, various wipes (ew I hate that word), and even olive oil & coconut oil. This one works like magic, and I love how silky it makes the skin around my eyes.

3. NYC Liquid Lip Shine: I got one of these in an Influenster box and I loved it so much that I went out and bought another one in a different shade. To be perfectly honest, I've always been kinda skeptical about the super cheap brands. It took me years to try elf, I only tried Wet & Wild because Meg O. raved about it (and girl knows her makeup!), and I'd always walked right past NYC. But the lip gloss is really pretty spectacular. It smells amazing, the pigmentation is perfect (not too much, not too little), and they are only $2.49! Influenster sent me Nude York City, and I later purchased Rivington Rose. I love them both.

Tell me: what cheap products are you loving lately? Nothing I love more than beauty recommendations!

Speaking of makeup: theBalm is on Hautelook today!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Meowpocalypse: Meal Young

I have always, always wanted a dog. And I was in the process of searching for just the right dog when, in late December, someone posted this picture on Facebook, saying that this kitten had been thrown out the window of a moving car and desperately needed a home:


He was 2.5 pounds, had a broken tooth, reeked of cigarettes, and was swarming with fleas . . . how could we say no?

Despite the trauma he'd endured, this little kitten bonded to us instantly. He jumped into Matt's lap when we came to get him, followed us around, and wedged himself between us when we slept. Pretty dreamy. Plus, look how little he was!


We were smitten. But as he got older, and his fangs got sharper, his true colors began to emerge. He waged a war on our ankles, insisted on eating everything in sight, and freaked out if he wasn't in the constant company of humans. Sometimes I swear he is Ignatius reincarnate. 

The food obsession thing began to get a little out of control. We were starting to worry this new little kitten of ours was going to eat us out of house & home. See exhibits A-E:


He's a big boy now (only 6 months, but I swear he's already the size of a full-grown cat!) and despite the fact that he:
  • chewed up my $80 computer charger 
  • has been known to maul my face

  • ate my favorite eyeliner brush
  • howls like he's being murdered when he can see me out in the garden and isn't allowed outside
. . . despite all those things, we can't help but love him. I mean just look at him now:


(The vet says he tries to nurse on my neck cause he was taken from his mama too early)

Matt named him Neil Young, but these days we mostly call him Meal. ha! Jude--the toddler I babysit--thinks his name is "Meal Young," and it's just stuck.

We love you, Meal, even though you're a monster!

link up your pet story here!