Friday Five

You guys, I made it. I survived! Two whole weeks sans Boyfriend, and there were no tears but approximately 400 hours of reality television marathons and more than a few dinners consisting of a bowl of cereal. He arrives tomorrow morning and THANK GOD because this was getting old. 

I’m especially happy today is Friday because, for the second time in 2 weeks, I’m playing hooky from work and heading to New York for the day. Only this time, I’m leaving my mom behind (sorry mom!) and meeting up with someone very special and exciting. Can you guess who it is? (Hint: it’s not Gary Oldman, but I’m still jazzed about it nonetheless!). Here are 5 things tickling my fancy this week:

1. Photo / 2. Blanket / 3. Project Runway / 4. Face Wash / 5. Bright Space

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Maybe This Was a Bad Idea

Yesterday I turned you on to my newest blog read (or, should I say duo of blog reads, as Mia & Christine are forever linked in my mind), and today I want to give an early review of the newest book I’m reading now (Lauren, I’m sorry, I put down Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy halfway through. I promise I’ll go back to it at some point!). I mentioned Jo Nesbø’s “The Snowman” in my “I love winter in Scandinavia” post, and I stopped into Barnes & Noble yesterday morning on my way into work to pick up a copy. It felt so nice to stroll through the park (my normal walk to the subway is the opposite direction) and into the bookstore; the city was gorgeously sun-drenched and the air was still chilly. It took all of my will power not to stop for breakfast at my favorite faux-French bistro, Parc, and then call out sick from work to sit in the cafe and read all day.

So, the book. I can see why people draw similarities between Nesbø and Steig Larsson, and given that I devoured The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series (twice!) I figured moving on to the Detective Harry Hole series (apparently pronounced “Hooley”) was the obvious procession. There are common themes (Scandinavia! intelligent but maladjusted male protagonist! men who hate women! snow!) but by far, “The Snowman” is testing my limits of being freaked out. You might recall that, were I to have a Scandinavian thriller series written about me, it would be titled “The Girl Who is Afraid of Everything.” Seriously, I am terrified of spiders, elevators, the dark, too-scary-episodes of Law and Order, the noises my house makes at night, Ninja Rapists who can break through multiple locked doors, serial killers lurking in my closet, thinking I will spontaneously drop dead, etc etc. I’ve never seen a horror movie. And while I loved “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series, there were times that I had to put the book down because I got too freaked out. And that was in broad daylight! I’m like Joey from the episode of Friends when he puts “The Shining” in the freezer because it’s too scary, only I would never, ever read “The Shining.”

So perhaps voluntarily reading a book about a serial killer who kidnaps and dismembers women and then leaves a snowman as his calling card was a bad choice. I’ve made some bad choices in my life, there was the time I decided to try to give myself dreads. But that ended up being more terrifying for everyone else and not me. The book is really, really good and really, really engaging, but in no way is it for the faint-hearted and I cannot read it in my house until Boyfriend returns from India and can defend me in the event the book, you know, comes true and claims me as a victim. If you’re into well-written, captivating thrillers heavy on character development, I’d definitely recommend “The Snowman.” If you are a sissy like me, maybe an illustrated Teletubbies book would be more your speed.

We’re Going to Paris

Okay, not really. And it’s cruel to even joke about itBut! I get to take virtual day trips to my favorite city on earth whenever I want thanks to a new favorite blog: Christine & Paris. There is no shortage of stunning shots of everyday life in Paris. Here’s just a taste of her amazing photographs:

1 / 2 / 3 /4

From Christine’s bio: “A blog about a lot of things written by a Swedish hobby photographer living in Paris.” You guys. Come on! It’s two of my favorite things (Sweden and Paris) combined into one. It would be like if Gary Oldman collaborated with Ladurée. Or if Gary Oldman had been cast in Midnight in Paris. I could go on, but I won’t because I think we’ve sufficiently covered my love of Gary Oldman before, and today I want the focus to be entirely on this incredible blog. It is so up my alley that I can’t believe I didn’t stumble across it sooner, though I do have Mia over at The Swedish Girl to thank for the “introduction.” I’m telling you, every time I play “follow the white rabbit” across blogs I end up finding one I just adore. That’s how I found my last blog crush, Veanad (don’t worry girl, you’re still my number 1). Thank god for Google Translator, so that I can actually read and enjoy all of Christine’s posts about what it’s like to live in Paris. And in case you’re curious, yes, she has a French boyfriend and yes, I am incredibly envious of her life.

Go! Check it out, I promise you won’t be disappointed. And while we’re at it, what were your recent fun blog finds? I’m always looking for new reads.

Adventures in Consumerism

I finally snagged a bottle of Chloé perfume, upgrading from the two mini sample vials I’d gotten from Sephora that I went through at lightening speed. It smells better in the full size bottle, and the packaging just about kills me. It is adorable sitting on my counter, all French and darling with its little bow. I opted to buy from, since a 1.7fl oz bottle was $75, which is $15 cheaper than Sephora was selling it for, and you get 5% cash back in “ Dollars” for future purchases. I ended up getting $3.75 back, which I’ll probably spend on more lipstick or something.

But wait, there’s more! Have any of you used ebates before? They have those commercials where average looking people say things like, “ebates paid me $500 just for shopping online!” Sounds like a total scam, right? But my mom turned me on to the site after vouching for its validity; you sign up, click through their site to get to any online retailer, and then get a percentage of your purchase back in cash. It’s like magic. And with as much online shopping as I do (hi, have we met?) it made sense to join. It’s similar to referral and affiliate links, only you reap all the benefits instead of a middleman. The cash back rate varies from 3%-12%, and all your shopping is still done at the actual retailer, not through ebates. They just assign a tracking ticket to your “click” and then send you a check every 3 months with all the cash back you’ve accumulated. I got my first check at the beginning of August, and it was even further validation for my shopping addiction.

So far, I’ve used it for J. Crew, Overstock, Crate & Barrel, Club Monaco, and now, where I ended up getting 12% cash back on this purchase. So, $9 back. Meaning the perfume really cost me $66. Oh, wait, subtract the $3.75, so we’re down to $62, which is insane. Bargain hunting should be an employable skill.

What’s your latest bargain find?


I think somewhere between the cosy sweater I posted on Friday, the marathon of Million Dollar Listing with the wonderfully ridiculous and adorable Swedish broker, Frederik, I watched on Saturday, an article in last month’s Vanity Fair called “Nordic Exposure” which investigated our cultural obsession with all things Scandinavian (H&M, IKEA, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, etc etc), and a sheer desire to use umlauts, my love affair with Swedish winters has been reignited. That’s a weird statement, I know. I can barely hack winters in Philadelphia, yet somehow sub-zero temperatures and 20 hours of darkness a day fascinate me. I’ve made no secret of my adoration of Scandinavian stark-white interiors, but it really extends to the whole sensibility of Scandinavian living. I’d gladly eat herring and wear down coats well into April, flipping through an IKEA catalog by candlelight while listening to Ace of Base (that’s what they do, right?).

I know everyone is saying it these days, but I legitimately cannot wait for fall and winter. I am over being drenched in sweat from just stepping outside. Give me wooly socks and boots crunching in the snow any day. Preferably soon.  And preferably a winter that looks something like this:

1. Sweater / 2. Shoes / 3. Socks / 4. Candle / 5. Book / 6. Pants / 7. Lingonberry Juice / 8. Moomin Mug / 9. Blanket

Ever since Fitz the Demon Puppy ate a hole straight through my Pia Wallen Crux Blanket, I’ve been considering getting another one. Because I am an idiot who never learns. But nothing says “Scandinavian winter” better than that wool blanket. My mom agreed to get me a very early birthday present in the form of those Bean Boots, since I need something to trek back and forth to the subway with, and my current pair of galoshes are far from waterproof (how far? my socks end up soaking wet every time I wear them). It’s raining today, and the idea of stuffing my feet into a pair of comfy socks and curling up with a book and a cup of lingonberry juice is super appealing. I’ve never read a Jo Nesbo book before, and I think it’s time to expand my Swede-author horizons past Stieg Larsson. Those J. Crew weekend pants are on sale and I’m considering snagging a pair while I can, but I know that once I put them on I’ll never want to take them off. They’re sort of work appropriate, right?

How was your weekend? I went to the museum with my mom and had dinner with my grandmother on Saturday, and completed a flurry of domestic activity on Sunday, including such riveting tasks as scrubbing the toilets and folding laundry. There was also a sufficient amount of trashy tv involved, lest you think I’m slipping.

My Inner French Girl

I gave the whole “I’m not going to write about stuff that I want to buy the entire time Boyfriend is away” a valiant effort and lasted all of 4 days. Not bad all things considered, but today I really wanted to bring back My Inner French Girl. She’s a wonderful distraction and I’m having a lot of fun daydreaming about her life. Who doesn’t love a little escapism now and then? Especially when you’ve been sleeping terribly, watching too much television, and eating nothing but Oreos.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and there is nothing more sacred to either her or me than weekend brunch. It just so happens that my Inner French Girl will (she really needs a name, mails oui?) be attending a brunch at her darling friend’s apartment in Montmartre tomorrow morning, with about five of their amies.

1. Dress / 2. Sweater / 3. Scarf / 4. Ring / 5. Champagne / 6. Napkins / 7. Clutch /  8. Shoes /  9.  Lip balm / 10. Camera / 11. Candle

My Inner French Girl ties a scarf around her hair and picks a cozy sweater that she stole from her father from the back of her closet to wear over a dress that reminds her of the Degas sculpture of the young ballerina. She chooses a delicate, beautiful ring and a pair of comfortable heels since, like her own building, her friend’s apartment has no lift. She’ll pack her camera to capture some of the morning, and on the way she stops for a bottle of bubbly. The girls will sit around and smoke and drink champagne and all her friends will press her about Matthieu. She’ll blush and deny she even knows what they’re talking about. They’ll chat and they’ll mangent well into the afternoon.

In real-life, my weekend looks nowhere near as wonderfully exciting. Though my plan today includes buying both that gorgeous rose lip balm and that candle, which smells like fresh baking bread (come ON). And in other real-life news: I’m guest-posting today over at my dreamboat Annie’s blog, Insideology. The lucky duck is in Tuscany and gave me the honor of posting in her absence. Have a wonderful, French-y weekend, kiddos!

Day 4

1. / 2.

For years, I’ve had the same recurring nightmare. I’m alone in a house (always a different house, always unfamiliar) and I’m trying to find someone, but I never know who. The entire house is pitch black, it’s night, and I’m walking from room to room turning on all the lights. Only the lights never come on. I flick the light switch and nothing happens. Sometimes the lights will come on dimly, as if the filament inside the bulb is dead, and I can hear it buzzing. No matter what I do I can’t turn any lights on, and then it becomes a frantic chase through the house trying every switch, and I feel like I’m being pursued the entire time by something I can’t see but that I know is horrible and terrifying. I end up jolting awake, panting like I’ve been running a marathon, and the first thing I do is reach for the lamp on my night table. I had the dream again last night, only this time, as I flicked the first switch and nothing happened, I said, “Oh come the fuck on, again with this?” It’s like even my subconscious is fed up with it.

Has anyone ever had a similar dream? I also have the classic nightmare of being chased but not being able to run, like my legs just won’t work. But this one is just indecipherable. Aside from the fact that I’m afraid of the dark in real life, like the character out of a Shel Silverstein poem Reginald Clark (“I’m Reginald Clark and I’m afraid of the dark, so please don’t close this book on me.”), I don’t know what my subconscious is trying to tell me. I’ve tried googling it and was more than a little relieved when it came up as a search suggestion before I was even finished typing. So I know I’m not alone.

What recurring nightmares do you have? And what do you think mine is all about? I’d love to hear your interpretations.

PS. Could it have anything to do with the fact that I was sleeping on my Keane pillowcase with the lyrics to “Bad Dream” printed on it? I changed the sheets last night and went from a plain pillowcase to that one. Coincidence??

Day 3

With Boyfriend in India, I’ve decided to change things up a bit around here from my standard “here’s some stuff I want to buy!” and do a sort of personal, day-in-review each day. I’ll include tid-bits about my day, things I would normally have told him over dinner together, and some photos (mostly of Fitz). I’ll post about the day prior every morning for the next 2 weeks.

Yesterday was thankfully a busy day at work, so I didn’t have a ton of time to mope or read any more about the scare that Pakistan allegedly gave to migrant workers and students in Bangalore (let me tell you how many knots that put in my stomach). I rewarded myself last night with yet another Sex and the City marathon and a nice stiff drink (gin, St. Germain, and ginger ale) which meant by 8pm I was half asleep on the couch. I was surprisingly domestic and actually cooked myself dinner rather than reheating leftovers; I made grilled eggplant with spaghetti and ricotta. Tonight I’m probably looking at mac n cheese and hotdogs or cereal, so don’t get too excited.

I walk by this building, The Royal, everyday on the way to the subway, and it kills me that it’s just sitting there abandoned. The front is covered in these beautiful murals highlighting the glory days of the theater but the owners keep refusing any development. The street itself is having a revival, with a ton of restaurants and bars opening up, and it’s sad that this takes up half the block, bookended with two vacant lots. It does photograph well, though.

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Day 2

With Boyfriend in India, I’ve decided to change things up a bit around here from my standard “here’s some stuff I want to buy!” and do a sort of personal, day-in-review each day. I’ll include tid-bits about my day, things I would normally have told him over dinner together, and some photos (mostly of Fitz). I’ll post about the day prior every morning for the next 2 weeks.

I forgot to bring my book with me when I left the house yesterday (still ploughing through Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy at a snail’s pace), so I took the time to really appreciate my commute. Did you know I pass by the Phillies stadium every morning and that I can see it from my office window? Don’t be jealous, Lauren. One day I’ll take you to a game here.

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Day 1

With Boyfriend in India, I’ve decided to change things up a bit around here from my standard “here’s some stuff I want to buy!” and do a sort of personal, day-in-review each day. I’ll include tid-bits about my day, things I would normally have told him over dinner together, and some photos (mostly of Fitz). I’ll post about the day prior every morning for the next 2 weeks.

So I already figured out the whole time difference thing that gave me so much trouble the last time Boyfriend abandoned me for India. But I  suddenly didn’t become awesome at math or anything, no no. Thank you new phone, for giving me the option of adding a city to my home screen. Not that it makes any more sense now, because it doesn’t. Reverse the am/pm, subtract 2.5 hours. Where is the gin? By the time I’m waking up in the morning, Boyfriend has worked an entire full day. Sort of like how it goes when he’s home and I refuse to get up earlier than 11am.

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