Wedding Photos: Preview!

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I have a million things to say about Saturday, about how perfect and wonderful and amazing and smiley and gorgeous everything was; about how I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat; about how I was wrong (I admit it!) to be as unenthused as I was leading up to it; about how my bridesmaids are divine angels who kept me laughing and relaxed the entire day, from 10am at the hair salon with my favorite bagels and quoting movies left and right, to a dance party to the Spice Girls just minutes before we went downstairs and lined up with the guys; about how I wouldn’t change a single thing, not even the rain because it was moody and delicious; about how I lost my voice from singing all night on the dance floor; about how my new husband (!!!) and I ate a hoagie at 2am on the floor of our hotel suite…but I haven’t even begun to come down off this cloud of dizzy joy to process everything. So instead, here is a sneak preview of our wedding photos, provided by our photographer just two days after the wedding. Inna shot our engagement photos as well (one year ago tomorrow, in fact!), and I don’t know why I was surprised by how perfect her photos from Saturday are, but I’m simply awestruck.

I’ll be back soon with details of the day, our vendors, the timeline, fun recollections, but this will have to do for today.

I’m married!

September 16, 2014 / wedding / LEAVE A COMMENT / 50

Wedding Bells

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Well, those eighteen months went a lot faster than I thought they would. Here we are, on the eve of our nuptials. Every detail I’m capable of attending to has been attended to, but I’m sure the day will throw some surprise curve balls at us (rain!). I’m taking everything as it comes, and will try to be present and enjoy every single second, because everyone who has been through this machine before has said it’s over in a flash. Oh, and I’ll be trying not to feel too uncomfortable when everyone stares at me. Related: have you ever been to a wedding where the bride passes out from too much attention?

I’ll hopefully be back here on Monday, with maybe some sneak peek photos from our photographer or shots of the day from various sources. If I don’t check in immediately, forgive me, it’s nothing personal. It’s just that I’ll be eating everything fatty and sugar-coated within a ten mile radius to make up for all the ‘dieting’ I did leading up to tomorrow. Once I’ve got a husband, I can totally let myself go, right? DONUTS.

You can read more about wedding stuff here. xoxo

September 12, 2014 / life / dog / wedding / LEAVE A COMMENT / 40

French Class

The Louvre

I started French class again last night, because as my friend Herbie said, with four days to go to the wedding why not pick up an extracurricular? I’m in section 204, which feels worlds away from where I started almost two years ago in 103; being surrounded exclusively by the language on a daily basis for eight weeks this spring didn’t hurt, either. My comprehension in hearing it and confidence in speaking are leaps and bounds above where I expected them to be, and I’m really proud of myself. Two years ago I decided I wanted to become fluent in French, and I’m on my way there.

Last night as we were waiting for Rachel, our teacher, to arrive, an older gentleman in his late 60s, new to the class, and I struck up conversation. “Je m’appelle John,” he said. Oh, I thought, That’s nice. He has the same name as my dad. “Je suis architecte.” Well that’s a coincidence, he even has the same occupation as my dad.

I told John as much, more preoccupied with the fact that I was rattling off in French without having to stop and think of the words than anything else.

“Vous avez le même prénom et profession de mon père,” I said.

“What was your father’s last name?” John asked.

I told him, and his face froze. He repeated it, searching, I thought, his recollection for any sort of chance encounters with a fellow Philadelphia architect over the course of their careers. Philadelphia is an extremely small world, one that shrinks even smaller when you add in a specific niche profession. It’s likely their paths had crossed.

“John Godfrey?” he repeated again, this time with a rise of disbelief in his voice.

It turns out, this new student in my French class, this sweet white-haired architect named John not only knew my father, but had been very good friends with my father in the 70s.

Suddenly all my French vocabulary failed me.

He asked about my brother Eric, who was just a kid back then, he asked about my brother’s wonderfully kind mother Eileen –a woman so gentle and generous it defies logic, so kind that this relative stranger in my French class had to tell me how he remembered her as being incredibly nice, and this was 40 years ago. French Class John knew my father. He knew my father’s sculpture at the firehouse on Market Street, they knew all the same old architects, they lived on the same tiny street in Queen Village. He knew my dad’s old Saab, and he told me how it had taken oil and gas in the same tank to run.

“We were like this,” he said, making the universal symbol for close, twisting his first two fingers together.

Suddenly all my English vocabulary failed me, as well.

I called my brother immediately after class on the walk home, and his reaction was just like French Class John’s had been. My brother told me how one night, when he was eight, his parents and John and his wife had gone out to dinner, leaving Eric alone at French Class John’s apartment near Rittenhouse Square. But it was okay, he said, because they had a small color television, and he was glued to it all night.

My daddy. He never really leaves me.

September 10, 2014 / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

Introducing: The Paris Print Shop!

Friends, I’m excited (and nervous!) to announce some very special news:

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I’ve received a multitude of requests, through comments here and email, to make prints of my photographs from Paris available for sale. (Now that I think about it, I hope you weren’t all just being nice when you asked.) I’ve been working behind the scenes for a while now to make it a reality, and I’m ecstatic to introduce The Paris Print Shop. No middle man, no clicking elsewhere: you can now buy prints directly from my blog.

This is a big step for me, as it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted to sell my work. But I was doing more than writing in Paris; I was putting my Photojournalism degree to use, and I’ve been so grateful to have a platform to share my photos with you all. In sorting through the thousands of images that I have to print and frame for my own house, it struck me that now is as good a time as any to take a leap of faith and try this little endeavor. The same leap of faith got me to Paris in the first place.

And so, with my wedding just days away, why not add a bit more excitement to the mix? As a thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of this blog the past few years, and of my other creative pursuits, I’m offering a 20% discount on all prints through September 20th. Just use the code WEDDING at checkout.

I’d love to hear what you think! Happy shopping, kiddos!

September 8, 2014 / art / photo / LEAVE A COMMENT / 30

Friday Five

What a week. Our officiant cancelled on us on Sunday…only to quickly find a wonderful replacement for us. I woke up to her email that morning, and you’d think that something that starts with, “Please try not be too alarmed to hear that I have some disappointing news to share with you,” from the person legitimizing your marriage would send me into a blind panic, but honestly? I was out of effs to give at that point. And plus, her backup is a fantastic and warm woman who immediately put us at ease. Crisis averted. Now we’re just tying up loose ends like getting place cards printed (“Wait, how many chicken dishes are at Table 4?” “Table 2.” “Table 4.” “What?” “CHICKENS. TABLE FOUR.”), wrapping presents for our bridal party, and generally trying not to let the stress get to us. One week from tomorrow! Holy crap, time flies.

Keeping with the theme of time as an elusive speed-demon, I’ve also officially been back from Paris longer than the amount of time I was in Paris, and that, my friends, is BONKERS. But if you thought that just because I’ve been home eight weeks that means I’m out of photos of my favorite place on earth, you are mistaken.

1. The metro station at Place de la Concorde:
Metro

I am a confident public transit commuter regardless of the city, but the metro in Paris has to be the easiest system to navigate. The trains come quickly, switching lines is a breeze, and the majority of the stations are photogenic (think: the iconic pale green, wrought iron archways and Art Nouveau font). I was walking around Place de la Concorde one night and loved the way the light was hitting the stone banister.

2. Evening light in the Jardin des Tuileries:
Jardin des Tuileries

Not pictured: the fearless rat I watched run to that trash can, crawl in, fish something out, and scamper away again. Paris!

3. A little wine bar next to Pont Neuf:
Rue Dauphine

I only went to one bar by myself while I was in Paris, and it ended with a man in sunglasses asking to buy me a glass of Rosé, so needless to say it was a one-time deal. I went back to drinking wine on my terrace out of a juice glass, instead of at bars, but this charming little spot on Rue Dauphine was extremely tempting.

4. More temptation in Place de Furstenberg:
Rue de Furstenberg

Behold my restraint: I stumbled accidentally on a petit patisserie that specialized in cream puffs…and I didn’t buy any! Behold my regret: massive. I’ve heard they are delicious. Place de Furstenberg is a hidden gem in Saint-Germain, and I sat for a bit just people watching, drooling over les choux in the window.

5. But really, the sunsets:
Avenue de l'Opera

Because they were so beautiful, and so consistent, that you’d think I’d’ve become immune to them by the end of my trip, but non. C’est impossible.

September 5, 2014 / art / photo / Paris / travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 24

Something Old

Daddy's Watch

Daddy's Watch

No, not wedding related, though I am getting married in 10 days (10 days!). No, this is a long overdue fix I finally attended to. When my dad died eight years ago, among the things I took with me from his apartment (a favorite sweater, a reading lamp, his old drafting table) before putting the rest in storage, was this watch. I don’t remember seeing him wear it –he had a pocket watch (repeat: a pocket watch) for much of my life– but I loved it immediately. There is a dial for the day of the week, one for the date of the month. The battery was dead, probably had been for years before I found it, and the leather strap was dry and brittle. None of that mattered. I wore it every day for years, even though it never told time. (The old adage about even broken clocks being right twice a day is applicable.) I wore it with the face on the underside of my wrist, wanting to feel it against my pulse. It never occurred to me in all those years to get the battery replaced; I wasn’t wearing it to tell time, I was wearing it because it was my dad’s.

Until this past weekend, when, upon realizing another of my watches had died, and so had Jamal’s, there seemed to be no better time to take all three in for repair. What had taken me so long? The whole affair took less than ten minutes, at one of those ubiquitous, unremarkable jewelry shops, where they buzz you in at the front door. A new battery and a new leather strap, and a new life given to an old watch.

I turned the watch over in my hands when we got outside, sort of like I was seeing it for the first time. And in the most fittingly obvious coincidence, guess where the strap was manufactured?

Go on, guess.

Paris. Of course, Paris.

September 3, 2014 / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 12

Last Love

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I watched a wonderful movie the other day, and was shocked that I hadn’t heard of it before Netflix suggested it as something I might like. “Last Love,” starring the incomparable Michael Caine as a windowed American professor living in Paris, was released last fall and somehow escaped my radar of all-things-Paris. I don’t want to tell you too much about it, because it’s a really beautiful, sad film, and it’s worth seeing if you can. Clémence Poésy is in it, too, flawless and charming and divinely Clémence Poésy-ish as usual. But without giving away the plot, I did want to share some of the interior sets, because, obsessed as I am with Parisian real estate, the sets were so perfectly designed I found myself distracted by the details in the background, a stack of old newspapers, the herringbone wood floors. The film is set in Paris in the late fall/early winter, and the light that diffuses every room and scene ranges from dusty blue to pale golden. It was visually stunning.

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Have you seen it? If so, what did you think? I can’t believe I missed it when it was first released!

September 1, 2014 / Paris / travel / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 15

Librarie (And an Excerpt From the First Draft)

Librarie des Alpes

“What are you going to read now?”

“Something with words,” Mirette said, smiling.

“Can you imagine if that’s how discerning I was in selecting art? ‘Something with paint.’ Though to be honest I think that’s how some galleries are doing it these days,” Sylvie said, sipping at her coffee. Her lipstick left a red semi-circle on the outside of the cup. “Why are you walking all that way? There are bookshops on this side of the river. Christ, there’s one next door.”

There was, it was true, no shortage of bookstores of varying sizes and inventories closer than crossing a bridge, into a different neighborhood[...]The bookshop a few doors away was painted a brilliant shade of blue, narrow inside, with books stacked to the ceiling in teetering, uneven stacks, with no immediately identifiable system of organization. The owner was a sweet older man who wore big sweaters and kept the door open year round (there seemed to be a cause and effect at play there), and had a sleeping cat in the window –it might have been taxidermied, Mirette thought one day; she’d never seen it move. Tiny bookstores and the challenges they presented –if she happened to be searching for a specific title and not just browsing for the sake of it, content to soak up the dusty, old book smell and the hushed, contemplative quiet that was inevitably shoved into the back corners of each small shop– were one of her greatest joys. Like museums, bookstores were reverential, a place of endless promise and potential, only they had the added benefit of rarely being crowded with tourists wielding giant cameras. She also appreciated that in bookstores, touching wasn’t against the rules. There were no shin-height barriers keeping you away from the books, no guards finger-wagging at you when you leaned too close; you were encouraged to pick up, to touch, to flip through (to sniff, even, as Mirette loved to do in the used bookstores. The smoky paper smell was almost too heady for her to take in without feeling dizzy and nostalgic for every place that particular volume had traveled, how many bedside tables it had rested on, how many shelves). It was a deliciously tactile and sensory event for her, going to bookstores, and she knew how strange that must make her seem.


I’m writing a novel. You can read more about that here.

August 27, 2014 / art / photo / Paris / travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 28

Private Courtyards

Somewhere in Paris

Interior Courtyards

Somewhere in Paris

Interior Courtyards

Private Courtyard

Many of the buildings in Paris are built around an open-air interior courtyard, so the doors lead out to a small garden rather than a foyer with a stairwell or elevator to the apartments above. The Haussmann reconstruction deliberately designed these little courtyards for better air circulation; previously, the buildings were tiny tenements without plumbing or proper ventilation. Nowadays, one or both of the front doors is left open if there is a gallery or store on the ground floor inside, inviting anyone to come in. True, these courtyards aren’t entirely “private” in those cases. The open ones made me a bit too comfortable with the idea of exploring these little spaces and caused me to wander past doors that were left open by the concierge (caretaker) of a residential building or two, into a courtyard that wasn’t meant to be wandered into. L’oops. I just had to know what goes on in there! Behind every door was an opportunity for wonder: were there plants? Cobblestones? Laundry strung up on lines? I never got caught (I am very, very sneaky) which only served to reinforce my curiosity. There is something fantastic and strange about seeing a beautiful staircase outside, snaking up to apartments inside. I drew the line at going inside; even I have limits, and I didn’t want to get arrested. Something tells me there aren’t macarons in French prisons.

August 25, 2014 / art / photo / Paris / travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 13

Friday Five

Some wedding talk: Today I am going back to the seamstress for my third dressing fitting. My second fitting was Monday afternoon and, well…there were tears. Panic. Frantic searching for a backup dress all week. I love my wedding dress, I’ve loved it since the moment I saw it. But since it was a final sale item, I ordered almost two sizes bigger than I wear so they had enough to work with, figuring they can always take fabric away, they can’t add fabric to it, right? Unfortunately, despite extensive alterations, it just doesn’t lay right at the top and I don’t know what else the seamstress is going to be able to do. We’re going to try taking the shoulders up and stitching the v-neck closed; if I put my shoulders down or relax for even a second, the front buckles open and voila! You can see my bra. I might be an anti-bride, but I still have my modesty. Wish me luck! I don’t have a ton of options with three weeks to go, so it’s either this dress or sweatpants!

Let’s look at some photos of Paris to distract me from my anxiety, shall we?

1. These really crooked doors in Montmartre:
Crooked doors, Montmartre

I wasn’t kidding when I said they are everywhere. This one in particular seems like it’s straight out of a fairytale.

2. My cozy, sun-streaked bed:
Bed

I was worried going into the trip about my apartment not having air conditioning (like most, if not all, Parisian apartments). But with the windows open, it was cool and breezy the entire time, except for a few days near the end of June, when I would wake up baking like a burrito in the bright morning sunlight that fell precisely over the bed. I still wouldn’t have changed a thing.

3. Flowers for sale at the Ternes metro station:
Peonies at Ternes metro

Because really, if the metros didn’t have enough charm on their own (okay, okay, not the actual underground portion itself, which regularly smells like urine and has camps of homeless people living in them) why not add a giant flower stall to the entrance. This neighborhood is a favorite of mine; down the street is Mariage Frères in one direction, the Arc de Triomphe in another, and it’s where we stayed the first time we came to the city together.

4. These funky paint splatters all around Saint-Germain:
Rue Jacques Callot

I never figured out if these were indicative of a larger street-art campaign or what, but I noticed these splatters frequently throughout the 6eme. Saint-Germain is where a majority of the art galleries are in Paris, so if this was perhaps the work of a quirky graffiti artist, at least it was well placed.

5. The giant clock at the Musée d’Orsay:
Musée d'Orsay

So iconic, it never gets old.

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August 22, 2014 / art / photo / Paris / travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 37