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Bonjour! I’m Erin.
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Monthly Archives: January 2013
I think the majority of my days the last two weeks, if I had to describe them, would end with, “…and then we got drunk.” My work brought in a grief counselor on Monday, and I didn’t find it particularly enlightening, mostly because it’s a) hard for me to appreciate group therapy, and b) one of her sage nuggets of wisdom was that the worst thing we could do right now is get drunk. We all kind of gave that suggestion the side-eye; clearly she didn’t know Dave very well. That’s exactly what he would want us to be doing, so that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. Yesterday was the viewing, and then we got drunk. Today is the funeral, and afterwards we’re getting drunk. If you know a more appropriate way to handle things, keep it to yourself.
On a slighter more sober note, in my Internet Squirreling recently I uncovered a painfully obvious copyright infringement case. But I’ll start at the beginning: I’ve loved artist Matte Stephens’ work for a while now. It’s whimsical, sweet, and most the pieces have rhyming names.
Adorable, right? He even has a book coming out! I’ve kind of had a soft spot for a particular print of a jaunty Frenchman riding a bicycle while smoking a pipe, called “Monsieur Hulot Mon Oncle.” In fact, I’ve stared at it longingly often enough that when I was browsing Zara Home (fine, Zara Home Kids, if you want to get particular) earlier this week, I immediately recognized the print on one of their pillows:
It’s identical, except the kid isn’t holding an umbrella. So I did what any concerned Internet Squirrel would do: I wrote Matte an email that said, “Hey! Love your work! Pretty sure you’re being ripped off!” and he wrote back that he indeed did not give Zara Home permission to use his work on a pillow, they just figured they could steal it and get away with it. That still happens these days? Seriously? With people as well-versed in the internet as I am who took one look at it and recognized the print immediately? Apparently so, and it happened last year when H&M Home ripped off an designer’s work for a door mat. RUDE.
Matte must have acted quickly, because the pillow has since been taken down from their website (it took less than 12 hours), but I bet it’s still available in stores. Super shady, right? Internet Squirrel doesn’t stand for blatant copyright infringement, but totally stands for getting a huge ego thinking she’s done her noble deed for the month.
If you need me, I’ll be patting myself on the back. And getting drunk.
I needed something to cheer me up today, so I pulled together a January wish list, even though it’s already the middle of January. Admittedly, I could have saved all of these things and used them in this week’s Friday Five (and next week’s, too) but I want to try something different on Friday. Also I’m greedy enough that I could probably still come up with a Five in two days if I had to.
The colors coordinate so well together, lots of earth tones and monochrome, which was a totally unintended side effect, I promise. Apparently that’s just my aesthetic this month. I’m desperate for a polka dot blouse and a new pair (my third!?) of glasses, but the show stealers here are the Byredo candle that smells like a library (or not, but the name still gets me) and a new kitchen mat that looks like a French café menu board. A Ballard Designs catalog appeared in my mailbox yesterday and I instantly fell in love with the mat and those Eiffel Tower push pins.
If you had to pick one item, which would you choose?
I’m overtired and still feel hungover from a weekend of straight drinking with Anna and Audrey and I have a dentist appointment this morning to have a wear-facet filled before it turns into a cavity and I’m grouchy and did I mention tired? French class was great last night, though. I can’t believe we’re not even halfway through the term, my head feels so dense avec le passé composé. Je n’ai rien appris! Next Monday, since all of us have off for MLK Jr. Day, our teacher suggested we move the class up to 10am and have brunch at Le Pain Quotidien in town. Um, oui merci. I’m already looking forward to level 104 and eventually conquering tout les classes. But first I have to get in the habit of not waiting until the night I have class to do my homework.
Today’s song is one I can’t believe I haven’t shared already. It’s dance-y and fun and totally out of my league when it comes to music, so you won’t believe me when I tell you I discovered M83 myself a year ago. I’m not cool enough, I know.
And because I can’t resist, here’s an amazing picture of a kitten in sunglasses:
The moral of this post is: sometimes, a lame post is worse than no post at all.
January 15, 2013 / Tuesday Tunes /
I want to tell you about what happened, but I can’t do that without explaining how amazing my group of coworkers are. I’ve been at my job for two years, and anyone who works at a desk job knows the 8+ hours a day you spend with the people you work with creates friendships that are vital to survival. They see you at your worst, your most frustrated, they get all your silly emails and they are always up for going out to lunch. It’s like you’re in the trenches with these people, and they end up knowing you in a totally different way than people outside of the office.
Last week, our friend Dave passed away. It was devastating and senseless and a complete shock. In the two short years that I got to work with him, it’s impossible to imagine the office without him; he was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and was always rallying people for happy hour. He’d pop by my desk daily to ask interesting questions (“What’s the term for when the brand name becomes the generic term?” “Is the word I want ‘ancillary’ or ‘auxiliary’?” “Why is Microsoft Word not letting me change the spacing?!”). I wish I’d gotten to know him better, but I’m grateful for the time I did know him.
Our office rallied together in support in one of the most beautiful ways I’ve ever seen. The number of people that went to see him in the hospital last week spoke volumes about the person he was; there were so many of us that at one point we asked who was left watching the office. On Friday, the day he passed away, a huge group of us decided to celebrate his life the best way we knew how: together, drinking in Dave’s memory. It reminded me how incredible the people I work with are, how important nights like this with friends are, and how short life is.
my beautiful girls
We ordered a round of Dave’s favorite shot (Soco and an orange slice) well before 6pm, and our manager gave a heartfelt toast. It sucked that this was the reason we were all together, but I don’t think we could imagine being anywhere else. Not content with stopping the festivities at 8, we went around the corner to Maurin’s house where we played Wii Dance, Never Have I Ever, Audrey took a million pictures, Maurin made us grilled cheese and we drank all her beer and wine.
Maurin and Hunter dancing to Beautiful Liar.
I really liked Wii Dance.
It sucks that it took something tragic and sad like this to give us one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had, but I think we did Dave proud. We miss you, buddy. The night just wasn’t the same without you.
January 14, 2013 / life / dog /
Thank you all for being so supportive and kind the last few days. I promise I’m not being intentionally vague, but for a lot of reasons I don’t want to get into it. It’s not my place but I’m also not okay talking about it. Just know that your sweet words are carrying me through a really difficult time.
On a lighter note, because we all need a lighter note to end our week, the first Friday Five of the new year (le premier “Cinq de Vendredi” du nouvel an –I didn’t even have to think about that translation!) is all things French. Big shout out to my mom, who keeps sending me Joss & Main “French Country Home” or “Parisian Chic” sales (it’s where I first saw the pillow and those trays).
Since shopping is hope for the future (right, Laur?), today after work I’m heading to Blue Mercury and Anthropologie (dangerous that they are so near each other, with an H&M, Zara, and Barnes & Noble in between them) to pick up that new Diptyque candle and the Eiffel Tower ring dish, respectively. Don’t worry, I have gift cards; Santa was good to me this year. I’m already planning my visit to the actual Diptyque store on Boulevard Saint Germain in a few weeks (I land 8 weeks from today!) to buy a Thé scented candle from the motherland. Too bad they don’t have H&M Home in France yet, otherwise I’d have to make a pit stop there to eye up all the French-theme goodness they seem to have (that Sel de Mer pattern is on everything). Oh well, guess that leaves more times to go to the Rodin Museum.
Tomorrow I’m having lunch with Anna and Audrey (I think we’re going for falafel!) and then hopefully having dinner with my aunt who is visiting from England. What will you be up to this weekend?
Pardon my brevity today, but it’s been an emotionally draining few days. I almost wasn’t going to post anything today, but then I realized the antidote to how sad things have been off-line was most definitely this little bright spot of news: I finally found an apartment for my upcoming trip to Paris. After hours of searching every night for weeks, making spreadsheets and scouring AirBNB relentlessly for something in Montmartre, charming but not old, well-equipped, with original details, and under $150 a night, this amazing place turned up. We honestly must have looked at close to 500 apartments, maybe more, but nothing felt “right” until this one.
Come on with those chevron floors and all that gorgeous sunlight! Does it get more classically Parisian than this? It’s on Rue Caulaincourt, near Rue Lepic, and close to the Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro stop. It’s a quick 5 minute walk to Sacre Coeur, and close to all those tiny, windy side-streets Montmartre is famous for. It has a huge kitchen and a huge bathroom (I can’t tell you how many apartments we rejected because we’re snobby Americans and didn’t want a hand-held shower nozzle) and Boyfriend is really excited to make dinner (I don’t know, he’s weird. I’m happy to let Parisians cook for me). I loved the AirBNB experience we had in Bruges, so it was an obvious choice over a hotel this time in Paris.
As usual, Paris is getting me through.
January 10, 2013 / Travel /
My love of art heists is getting a workout. Thanks to an email from Lauren (one line, no subject, body: “Did you hear about the Matisse?”) I found out there was a happy ending to an art heist that occurred over 20 years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm: Henri Matisse’s “Le Jardin” has been recovered by an art dealer in the UK! Look how thrilled the man holding it looks. Dude, you should be grinning from ear-to-ear like someone just slipped you an Ecstasy tablet. Back in 1987, an unknown thief/art-enthusiast broke into the museum with a sledgehammer (Thor-complex) and took off with the 1920 oil painting. It resurfaced recently when it was brought it to be appraised by Charles Fine Art Gallery in England, and was checked against the Art Loss Register (how badly do you want to browse through that bad boy?).
Can you just imagine where the painting has been in the last 25 years? How many hands it’s changed, how many cities it’s been to? How does a painting stolen from a museum in Sweden end up at a dealer in England without someone along the way wondering where it came from? You have to assume the person who brought it in wasn’t aware of it’s shady history, or why would they risk getting in trouble? So at some point, it had to have been sold to someone else. No one is going to be arrested, according to what I’ve read; the time for prosecution has passed and everyone is just happy the painting is back. I am completely fascinated by these types of things, as I’ve mentioned before. Now all I want to do is go home and watch The Thomas Crown Affair.
The first Tuesday Tunes of the New Year is a song I’ve been playing non-stop for weeks, thanks to a mix CD my friend Herbie made for my birthday. Remember the Matt & Kim debacle? After that, Herbie decided it was high-time to educate my clueless self on all the awesome music out there I am completely oblivious to. On my birthday, he handed me a CD full of songs from bands like Yeasayer, Fleet Foxes, The Antlers, Frightened Rabbit, Grizzly Bear (so many animals!), James Blake, and Bon Iver, among others.
Herbie is insanely more musically with-it than I am. My favorite track on the whole thing was the first one, “Hanging On” by Active Child (White Sea Remix). You’ll see why:
I mean, right? Try to listen to it just once. So needless to say the CD is a total gem and I owe Herbie a debt of gratitude now, because I finally feel like a Cool Kid who listens to more than George Michael. Or like a 17 year old that read their first Bukowski or Sartre and think I’m agonizingly hip because I can name-drop my newfound knowledge in conversation. “You know that band Active Child? I totally dig their music.” AKA, one song. But it’s a start!
I love the people I work with. Christine, Brett, Maurin, Anthony, Sam, Carl, Evan, Herbie, Hunter, Anna, Aisling, Audrey, Luke, Rich. They make the day worth it for me, I can go to work and know I’ll have a good time because of them. They’re more than just co-workers. That’s why I need you all to keep our co-worker and friend Dave in your thoughts and prayers. He really needs them.
January 8, 2013 / Tuesday Tunes /
Somebody had a birthday yesterday! Fitz turned a whopping 2 years old on January 6th, which should mean that all of his puppy-tendencies expired with his newfound maturity, but this is Fitz we’re talking about; he’ll be a puppy his entire life. The day was pretty much like any other day for him, only he got extra cuddles and loads of treats, and the special privilege of being able to lay on the bed in the morning while we slept in. My little stinker is TWO, I can’t believe it.
When I first brought him home, I had no idea what I was getting into. Let me just state for the record that shelter rescues are a ton of work, but the reward is completely worth it. Sure, he’s crazy (and I have a prescription to prove it) but he’s also a total snugglesaurus rex and painfully adorable and funny. Seriously, he does something ridiculous that makes me crack up on a daily basis. Happy birthday, Fitzwater!
January 7, 2013 / life / dog /
It’s too early in the year to already have a Friday Five; I’ve been too concerned with remembering to write “13” instead of “12” on everything I save at work to have had my eye on five other things. Unfortunately, thanks to back to back holidays (and holiday weekends of laziness and time spent with friends) I haven’t had time to write, either. I’m at a standstill, but I plan on getting back to business this weekend. In a big way. I’m close to hitting 20k words, which means I might get to finally pop open the bottle of Rosé I bought for New Year’s Eve but never drank because I’m an old lady. If this little landmark isn’t cause for celebration, I don’t know what is. I’m getting ahead of myself.
But to really set the mood, I wanted to do another My Inner French Girl post. I’ve shown you Sylvie and Andrés, but today we’re back to Mirette (though I do have one in the works for her best friend, Sophie). It’s after Christmas, and Mirette is taking advantage of the the gallery’s winter hours to spend her morning at the Ladurée Rue Royal (the prettiest one) having thé et macarons. She has “merci” cards to write (they might look familiar) for generous Christmas gifts, but she mostly just wants some quiet time to herself to read and be annoyingly chic.
The possibility of being able to wear cropped pants and open ballet flats in the beginning of January is a stretch, I admit. And I’m running of stereotypes anyway, but the whole outfit is just so classically “Parisian” I couldn’t help myself. I just ordered that book, “Haussmann, Or the Distinction,” an historical fiction of Baron Haussmann’s renovation of Paris to what we know today (pale stone buildings, zinc roofs, giant wooden doors) in the mid 1800s and a scandalous affair. Imagine my delight when I said, “You know, I’d really love to read an historical fiction account of the transformation of Paris,” (not even shy about my dork-dom) and then viola, there just so happens to be one. The list of books I have to read is growing massively; Boyfriend bought me all of these for Christmas, too.
With this post, I’ve officially blogged for an entire week about Paris related things. Grande victoire. What are you up to this weekend, kiddos? Tea at Ladurée, perhaps?