Monday, June 24, 2013

My Vegan Monday

Coffee with soy milk (are women supposed to stay away from soy? or consume more of it? anyone?)
Green juice (kale, apple, cucumber, flax seeds, lemon juice, frozen banana)


Moscow Mule
Chickpea and lentil soup
Carrots and hummus

Life has funny rhythms. It used to be that I'd bang out two blog posts a day. Now days, if not weeks, go by and i can't get my *@!# together. 

It used to be that I woke up Monday mornings, ready and hungry for veganism. Now, half the time I forget it's Monday. And/or I forget to pass on the dairy.

That said, I'm still devoted to my Vegan Mondays, a personal spin on Meatless Mondays. Especially when I read about VB6 or hear that Graham Hill, the founder of Treehugger is a "Weekday Veg." 

There are all kinds of small steps we can take to create a more balanced and healthier nation and, my god, how nice is it that there's something so relatively low effort that we can do regularly to make a difference?

I don't have time to write and blog the way I used to. But I'm still devoted to being connected to you guys, still devoted to eating more sustainably, still hopeful and excited about all the things to come, both from within and out in this great big world. Thanks for sticking with me!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The New Guard: Will She Love Paris?

The hits keep coming, mes amis! The more I get to know the “new guard” of Paris expat bloggers, the more smitten I am. Take Grace-Alyssa of Will She LoveParis?

“The heart wants what the heart wants.” With this quote, I knew Grace was a kindred spirit. Especially since she was talking about her desire to move to Paris. Some of us are just afflicted. It happens secretly, or it happens wildly and passionately, but it happens. And while Grace expounds on appreciating the simple things in life, the Aussie's moving words and photos are filled with deepness and complexity that are inspired by the great City of Light. Meet the lovely Grace!

Sydney, Australia

Current quartier:
Latin Quarter

How long have you been in Paris?
11 months

What brought you there?
My thirst for travel and my hidden lifelong dream of living in Paris. The heart wants what the heart wants and wouldn't settle for anything other than Paris, despite never having stepped foot in France previously, hence the blog is named "Will She Love Paris?"

Your favorite thing about living in Paris:
The simple way of life. Here's a little insight into my typical morning routine: I get up, open the curtains and see what the weather is like (although this had been followed by disapproving groans 70% of the time lately), turn on the kettle then skip out to pick up my daily pain au chocolat from my favorite boulangerie, run back home and have my cup of tea and bliss. On market days, I also pick up cartons of berries and a bunch of pretty flowers. I could go on and on about the simplest of details like this and be so happy. Paris taught me to live and enjoy the simpler things in life. 

The coolest thing about being an expat:
Learning how to live it like the locals do; discovering much more of the city than what tourists would and then add to that a dose of French language, oof! Everyday is an adventure, I tell you.

Your “secret” about Paris:
Contrary to the usual cliché, Paris is not at all a place exclusively suitable for lovers and honeymooners. In fact, this is the city where you'd be sure to find people who possess your way of thinking who may not exist back home. I'd been able to meet and be inspired by the brightest bunch of new friends who also pursued Paris from other corners of the world. Together we roam about town, share our endeavors as well as indulge in lots of über sweet stuff. The experience I gained just by being here taught me so much about myself, life and about people. 

Your favorite thing to blog about:
I blog about Paris, dreams and travel. Although I can't pick a favorite, I am deeply passionate about encouraging people to follow their dreams and doing whatever it takes to get there. 

Right Bank or Left Bank:
To live, Left Bank. 
To eat, stroll and shop, Right Bank. 

Tuileries or Luxembourg:
Both. I really do alter between the two during my strolls. 

Ladurée or Pierre Hermé:
Pierre Hermé for macarons and Ladurée for french toast breakfast.

WH Smith or Gaglinani:

Steak Frites or Salade Chevre Chaud:
Steak Frites

Costes or Crillon:
Costes. Unfortunately, the Crillon is currently closed for renovations, I've not the chance to visit yet.

Colette or Merci:
Merci anytime!

Croissant or tartine:
Pain au Chocolat :-)

Rykel or Roitfeld:

Café terrace or Seine picnic:
Seine picnic. There's nothing like it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The best of all worlds

It’s a time of transition. My last day at the old job was Thursday, and I start my new gig tomorrow. In between, I’ve been squeezing in quality time with friends and family. I’ve gotten to yoga three times. I had pastries for Breakfast Club, baked cookies for dad, and had my first DQ blizzard of the season. I walked barefoot in the country. I visited one of the most beautiful hotel bars in the city, twice. It’s been a slow ramp-up to summer weather, but when I stepped outside today, I knew it was most definitely summer. Moving into the new job, preparing for the new apartment, embracing what summer will bring, my mantras are “confidence” and “joy.”

Monday, June 10, 2013

The New Guard: Little Pieces of Light

Milsters Mac of Little Pieces of Light is a big force to be reckoned with. Here, she’s having cocktails at Le Mary Celeste; there, she’s on the trail of her favorite musicians and must-see art exhibitions, sometimes she’s even off to Buenes Aires! Always, she sees the beauty of life in Paris and shares it with her friends and readers.

By turns practical and romantic, savvy and cheeky, classic and creative, meet Mademoiselle Milsters!

I moved around quite a bit across different countries and continents as a child, so I feel that I do not really have a hometown in the traditional sense. But my immediate family eventually settled in Vancouver, Canada, where I spent my high school years, so I consider that my hometown.

Current quartier: 
The Haut-Marais

How long have you been in Paris? 
3 years this coming summer, although I have spent some time in Canada and Argentina during this time.

What brought you there? 
A dream of living in Paris since I was a child, cultivated by a love for French literature, Parisian museums, wine, cheese, and the art of taking your time.

What do you do for a living? 
I consult companies on cross-border projects.

Your favorite thing about living in Paris: 
Accessibility of good food, amazing art, and a comprehensive music scene.

The coolest thing about being an expat: 
You have the privilege of living like a local with the insight of other experiences from abroad. Often (though not always), you can choose to take the best aspects of life in your adopted country and add to it other elements from life abroad. You can have the best of both worlds (or sometimes even several worlds!). 

Your “secret” about Paris:
Charm gets you further than you expect.  For example, if a French waiter is being mean to you, more often than not, he is asking (in all seriousness) to be seduced. Give him his 15 seconds in the spotlight and you’ll easily find that you’ll never have problems getting a reservation ever again. Works for boulangeries, épiceries, and other quintessentially French social spaces as well.

Your favorite thing to blog about: 
My Ideal Social Calendar, my monthly post where I write about key events that I’m planning to attend during the following month in Paris – from art exhibitions and concerts to foodie events and new store openings. It gets me really excited for the coming month in this city!

Right Bank or Left Bank: 
I’m a Right Bank baby! Here you have the great boutiques of the Marais (3e / 4e), the hip new restaurants around Oberkampf and Parmentier (11e), the cool concert halls of Montmartre (18e), and the immigrant scene around Belleville (20e).

Café Flore or Deux Magots: 
Les Deux Magots, for its terrace that directly faces the Eglise St-Germain-des-Prés, the oldest church in Paris. It was also said to be Hemingway’s and Picasso’s preference between the two, and I like to think I am carrying on their tradition!

Tuileries or Luxembourg: 
For this one, I’ll have to go Left Bank. The Luco is my favorite park in Paris and I try to hold a big picnic there every year with my friends. I also think that its gardens are more beautiful than those of the Tuileries.

Ladurée or Pierre Herme: 
Pierre Hermé without a doubt! There is no competition here at all: I hold an annual Macaron Smackdown and PH comes out leaps and bounds ahead of Ladurée.

WH Smith or Gaglinani:
WH Smith, mainly because I stay loyal to it from my time in London, where I spent 5 years before moving to Paris.

Costes or Crillon:
Neither. I prefer the exquisite Hemingway Bar at the Ritz, though I think it’s still closed for a 2-year renovation (much to my dismay). This is my favorite place in Paris to have a cocktail when I’m in the mood for subdued decadence.

Colette or Merci: 
Merci, for its wonderful canteen and its cozy Book Café. I think they sell some of the most beautiful furniture and home décor in Paris. I wish I could decorate my entire apartment with their stuff, especially their kitchenware and lightbulbs! They also get points for donating profits to development projects in Madagascar.

Café terrace or Seine-side picnic: 
I had my first picnic by the Seine only this year, and I think it is one of the most romantic, inspirational experiences you can have in Paris. Now I’m just waiting for better weather to be able to do it more often!

Camembert or Comté: 
Comté – it’s one of my all-time favorite cheeses, especially the nuttier variety. Although I must say, at the top of my fromage love list is the St-Marcellin; it’s just so incredibly delicious!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I’m absolutely loving the profiles for the new guard of expat bloggers in Paris. Each woman is so cool in her own right, but you can see how they’re all linked by a light, adventurous spirit, an appreciation for food and friends, and deep gratitude. It’s just wonderful to relive the excitement of living in Paris.

I’m going to continue the profiles (next up, Milsters of Little Pieces of Light!) but wanted to squeeze in an update while I had the time. ‘Cause there’s BIG NEWS.

I’m leaving my job! Woot woot! And I got an apartment! Hallelujah!

I’ve been pretty miserable in my job for some time. It’s not so much the projects or the hours, but it’s been working for two toxic bosses who taint the whole experience. We spend too much time at work to feel crummy about it, so I’ve been looking and thinking about what I want and finally connected with an agency that I’m really excited about: Spring Studios. I can’t wait for a new chapter and to feel good about going to work again.

And within 24 hours of receiving my offer letter, we got the signed contract for our new home in Prospect Heights. It’s a lovely two-bedroom, near Prospect Park. 

The amazing architecture and leafy, green streets, plus stellar restaurants…

….makes this one of the coolest neighborhoods in Brooklyn and worth the five months of crazy apartment-hunting.

I’ve been eating some healthy, some not.

I finished Culinary Intelligence and All That Is (loved them) and just started Penelope Lively’s How It All Began (and excitedly saving Wild and Yes, Chef for our week-long beach vacation on Cape Cod this summer).

I’ve had friends from LA, Paris and Hershey passing through town, bringing me to such places at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, the Bohemian Beer Garden for belly dancing performances, and the Gramercy Hotel for rainy night jazz.

I haven’t tried the city’s new bike share program yet, but am looking forward to scooting around on the bright blue bicycles...

(albeit on a weekend morning, when there is very little traffic. Velib’ing around Paris was one thing, but the Indy 500-style taxi driving in New York makes me nervous).

I also have not gotten my hand on a cronut yet. 

Milo is getting very chubby, but he's as cute as ever.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The New Guard: Diane, A Broad

Like any good expat in Paris, Diane Yoon is obsessed with food. And she has the photos—not to mention delicious recipeson her blog Diane, A Broad, to prove it. She also has sass. Her energy spills from her words and you can practically feel the wind in your hair as she takes you on a ride through her Paris—and beyond.

A continuation of the “new guard” of Parisian bloggers, meet Diane!

Los Angeles. City of angels, city of dreams, city of juice cleanses and no public transportation.

Current quatier:
I live in the 16th, though I used to live in the Marais and am now spending more and more of my time in Montmartre.

How long have you been in Paris?
I've been around for year and change.

What brought you there?
Love (cliché, but true) and a job that lets me work from anywhere.

What do you do for a living?
I work in corporate law doing mergers and acquisitions and business development. I also do some freelance writing and photography on the side, and in a past lives I've also taught salsa dancing and knitting. 

Your favorite thing about living in Paris:
Is it cheating to say the food? Honestly, it's such a big part of all of our lives. I love that in Paris, it's so much easier to develop relationships with the people who bake your bread, sell your fish, and ripen your cheese, instead of just getting it from some grocery store (though I certainly do visit Monoprix now and then).

The coolest thing about being an expat:
French boys aren't used to us aggressive American girls and (usually) find being hit on disarming enough to be charming. 

Your “secret” about Paris:
It's incredibly easy to get isolated and depressed in Paris, especially if you don't speak good French. My secret to enjoying and making the most of Paris was finding a group of like-minded people to experience the city with. For me, it was bloggers. For anyone else, it may be a church group, or a music society, or what-have-you. It sounds corny, but Paris made me realize how important friendship is.

Your favorite thing to blog about:
It really depends on my mood! For many months I blogged almost exclusively about recipes, and I love that topic because it's something that comes from my brain and hands and kitchen that readers can take and actually make something from. It's like a virtual tangibility transfer. Lately, I've enjoyed doing posts about Paris and travel more and more, because my photography has improved to the point where I can actually convey the mood I'm going for with my photos.

Right Bank or Left Bank:
I'm a Right Bank girl through-and-through

Café Flore or Deux Magots.
I've never been to either. Shocker, right?

Tuileries or Luxembourg:
I prefer smaller green spaces, and I used to live around the corner, so Place des Vosges for me.

Ladurée or Pierre Hermé:
Pierre Hermé if for the Mogador alone

WH Smith or Gaglinani:

Steak Frites or Salade Chevre Chaud:
Steak frites, saignant

Costes or Crillon:
I wish

Colette or Merci:
Merci! I love having lunch at their Cinema Café, where they play old Audrey Hepburn movies like Sabrina.

Croissant or tartine:
Croissant, with butter and confiture

Café terrace or canal-side picnic:
Terrace for one or two, picnic for a bigger group

Camembert or Comté:
Comté all the way