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Bonjour! I’m Erin.
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Monthly Archives: May 2013
It’s not truly summer until the middle of June, but it climbed into the 90s here yesterday and is supposed to be just as hot today, so I’m calling shenanigans. If I need two showers a day just from standing outside, it’s summer. I’m not trying to rush it, because last year and the year before it got into the 110s more than a few times. I hate summer, fyi. I hate the sun, the heat, the painful freeze of air conditioning, the sweat, the mosquitos, all of it. The only thing I like is that it stays light out until at least 8:30 (but it does that in Paris in April, so whatever, Paris wins forever and ever, amen). Without being too much of a downer, here are some basic summer essentials to add to your wardrobe. Good luck, folks. I hope we make it to September without melting.
Bonus: everything is under $100! Well, except for that duffle bag, but only by $16, and you’ll need a good weekender for all those trips to the beach. You will. Not me.
May 31, 2013 / fashion / vanity /
Back by popular demand. And by ‘popular’ I mean Sam reminded me last week that I used to do this series somewhat regularly, and it’s been 6 months since my last one. Oops. If you’re new to the blanket & a candle magnificence, feel free to catch up here. And no, you’re not missing anything, I literally just find a blanket & a candle that match any picture on a whim. There’s no rhyme or reason for it, other than that I’m a crazy candle lady.
The funny thing about this particular set is that I’d been trying to find a match to that sweater in blanket-form for months. Months! Eventually I gave up, and then wouldn’t you know it, last week, spurred by Sam’s comment, I happened to be browsing West Elm and saw that chunky cable knit blanket and it struck me as being the perfect match…only I had no idea where the original picture went. The Internet Squirrel is nothing if not persistent, as you can see.
Don’t these photos look like something out of an Impressionist painting? They’re from the Domaine de la Baume, a former residence-turned hotel in the Haut-Var region of Provence. The home belonged to the artist Bernard Buffet and is now a 15-room country hotel, with rooms starting at $600. A small price to pay to take breakfast on a balcony with views like those. New life plan: buy a stone farmhouse in Provence and open a B&B.Who’s with me?
I like things in nooks. Writing desks, beds, you name it. I don’t know what it says about me that I prefer tiny, claustrophobic spaces (weird, considering I can’t ride elevators for the same reason, but it’s somehow ‘romantic’ when it includes a big fluffy bed). Maybe it’s just because I am The Sleepiest today and the idea of curling up in a bed and being basically cuddled by the surrounding walls sounds like heaven, but I could go for any of these bed nooks right now.
May 28, 2013 / design /
Thanks for all weighing in on my new glasses conundrum a few weeks ago! My eye doctor determined that my prescription had in fact changed, and my astigmatism got worse, which explains all the ocular migraines I was getting and why my left eye was nearly always bloodshot. I’m blaming blogging, all that time spent in front of various computers. I clearly haven’t learned my lesson, because while the obvious choice would be to limit my screen-time and take better care of my eyes, I decided to steam ahead and buy those new glasses I wanted and take a lame hipster selfie to show them off. You’re welcome. (I was supposed to be writing when I took this shot of myself in Photo Booth. Ahem). I love them. Also: stripes.
How was your weekend?
May 27, 2013 / life / dog /
It’s Memorial Day here on Monday, which means we’re off for a long weekend. I’m one of only five people in the whole office today, and the above cartoon really sums up perfectly how I feel. Every morning when I leave the house, I get a glimpse of my writing office before I go upstairs, and every morning without fail, the urge to play hooky and sit there and write all day is overwhelming. Someone needs to pay me a salary + benefits to sit at home in sweatpants and not do things. At least with the paid holiday on Monday, I can pretend.
What are you up to this weekend? Tomorrow morning we’re trekking out to Jamal’s alma mater to check it out as a potential wedding spot. I’ve requested diner breakfast as compensation for getting me out of the house before 9am on a Saturday. Hopefully there will be lots of writing the rest of the weekend. I’m trying to cross off some more post-it milestones. Have a good one, kiddos!
May 24, 2013 / life / dog /
As I mentioned yesterday, I promised to share what I thought about “Writing Down the Bones,” the book on writing by Natalie Goldberg, a Zen Buddhist Jewish woman, published the year I was born. There are just so many thing right with that equation that I knew going into it it was going to be good. And it was. There are 67 chapters, each a page or two long, and each can be read individually when you need an extra dash of inspiration or encouragement, or all together. I tackled them all together, in order, over the course of a few days. (PS. Theresa, I’m totally sending you a new copy and keeping this version, since I dented the cover accidentally by carrying it around in my bag with me everywhere. Sorry!)
As with ‘Bird by Bird’, there were parts that were so relevant it felt like the author was writing specifically to me. That is one of the most magical feelings every possible, because it makes you realize you’re not alone; someone else felt the exact same way as you about something and was able to articulate it. Especially with something as big and scary as writing. Here are some passages from “Writing Down the Bones” that I found particularly poignant and mentally earmarked to come back to:
It is important to have a way worked out to begin your writing; otherwise, washing the dishes becomes the most important thing on earth — anything that will divert you from writing. p. 26
And because I needed further validation that Paris is the best place in the world for a Delicate Artistic Soul like me:
In Paris, I was astounded by how many cafés there were. It is considered impolite to hurry a customer. You can order one coffee at eight a.m. and still be sipping it with no pressure at three p.m. Hemingway in ‘A Moveable Feast’ (it’s a great book! read it!) tells of writing in cafés in Paris and how James Joyce might be a few tables away. When I arrived there last June, I understood why so many American writers became expatriates: there are probable five cafés to every block in Paris, and they are all beckoning you to write, and writing in them is very acceptable. p. 101
There is no perfection. If you want to write, you have to cut through and write. There is no perfect atmosphere, notebook, pen or desk, so train yourself to be flexible…If you want to write, finally, you’ll find a way no matter what. p. 110-111
And Goldberg is completely right. The other day at work, I was walking back to my office from a neighboring client’s building, and a line of dialogue popped into my, so perfect it had to have been placed there by some divine intervention. I repeated it out loud a couple of times while I rooted around in my bag for a scrap of paper and a pen, and I quickly scribbled it down so I wouldn’t forget it. I probably looked like a lunatic. All the days I spent hunched over my computer, willing the words to appear on the screen in front of me, and nothing. And then! Out of nowhere (and I’m giving credit to the book for this one, which kept insisting you are a writer even when you’re not actually, physically writing) words!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this past weekend was an extremely productive one for me: I wrote over 3 thousand words in the matter of five or six hours. I had been hovering a few under the 18k mark for months (a shameful admittance: when I saved the document, I noticed the last save date was January 19, exactly four months ago from the day. Oops.) and after crossing that milestone, I just kept going. And going and going and going. Sure, I’m maybe less than a fifth of the way done the book overall (and I’m still struggling to figure out how everything fits together), but I was so happy after being able to cross off those post-its that hung from my computer monitor, I went around high-fiving everything in my house. Walls, Jamal, myself, Fitz, my computer, etc. I’m letting go of the fact that it took four months between spurts, and instead focusing on the next 20,000.
Thank you for lending this to me, T! I loved it. What are you guys reading these days?
May 23, 2013 / read / watch /
I’m almost finished with a great book Theresa lent me, called “Writing Down the Bones.” I’m planning on doing a real review tomorrow, but one of the things I wanted to share was the author’s insistence that there is no perfect place to write. You can’t design the perfect writing space and expect the writing to come flowing freely just because you’ve matched the chairs fabric to the curtains. I’m not sure she’d still feel that way if she’d seen this amazing nook:
I could write the next Great American Novel in that room, I just know it. Writer’s Block? Banished by the overwhelming wonderfulness of its French farmhouse style! It has something to do with the white-washed clapboard walls, the linen tablecloth, and all that dried lavender. Here’s how to get the look (writing expertise not included or guaranteed!).
May 22, 2013 / design /
David Bowie’s new song, “The Next Day,” features Gary Oldman as a priest, Marion Cotillard as a prostitute-turned-saint, lots of blood squirting everywhere, a blind woman with her eyeballs sitting on a tray in front of her, and most curiously of all, no discernable chorus. You’d think a song that bizarre would feature at least something you could sing along to, but it’s weird: every time I’ve watched it my brain has blocked out the background music. I guess it’s trying to process how gorey the rest of it is, and is distracted by Mr. Sexypants himself, Gary Oldman. Even as a weird priest with a hair-style reminiscent of Dracula, dude’s still got it.
Warning: graphic and weird.
I was hesitant to even post this video because it does just give me the heebie jeebies, but a) my last Tuesday Tunes was about the Backstreet Boys, I have to redeem myself, and b) it’s been waaay too long since I posted about Gary Oldman, and the last time I did I might’ve broken his heart by telling him we had to see other people.
In case you don’t follow me, and even if you do, here’s a smattering of what you can expect:
Sam tweeted me a link to this story a while ago, and I swear my jaw hit the keyboard. A woman fled her apartment in the 9eme arrondissement in Paris before the start of World War II, and never returned. She died a few years ago at the age of 91, and her frozen-in-time apartment was finally reopened for the first time in 70 years. It had remained completely untouched (how? I feel like if that happened in America the city government would have seized everything after six months of neglect) and among the relics was a portrait of the woman, by artist Giovanni Boldini that later sold at auction for £1.78million. Everyone loves La Belle Epoque Paris and the early part of the 20th century, but imagine finding a time-warp apartment that is authentically historical. Aside from the overwhelming smell of dust it must have been the most magical thing in the world.