Graphique de France

Did I mention I got spoiled for Christmas? Because I totally did. Over the weekend, on the way to see an exhibit on the Titanic (which was incredible by the way, though more than a little macabre and eerie), we stopped in Barnes & Noble and I bought new Thank You cards with one of the four thousand gift cards I received (see? spoiled). The cards are packaged beautifully in a Tiffany blue box with gold ribbon, and there’s a gold foil Eiffel Tower on them with the word “merci” written in delicate script. To say I love them would be an understatement; they were pretty much made for me.

They’re from a company called Graphique de France, and I want everything they sell.

1. Pen / 2. Merci cards / 3. Notebook / 4. Pillow / 5. Note cards / 6. Calendar

Boyfriend bought me a stunning Paris wall calendar for Christmas, otherwise I’d buy that Provence calendar in a heartbeat. They have more than just Paris-themed goodies, but these are just the ones I gravitate towards, what can I say? I need those note cards with the faded map of Paris on them. For what? I don’t know. Does anyone send notes in the mail anymore? Besides my mom-mom, I mean. I definitely would, if I had cards that cute. And they’re only $13!

Enough shopping for me. How was your weekend?

Friday Five, Best of 2012

So apparently it’s the end of 2012? I don’t know how this happened. I’m half-tempted to stomp my feet about it and put up a fight; wasn’t it just May? But as this is the last Friday of the year, today’s Friday Five will be (as you could guess from the title) my 5 favorite highlights from the past year. I did the same thing last year, too. It might have flown by in a flash, but this year was chock-full of absolutely incredible experiences. Without further ado:

1. I went to Belgium! / 2. And Paris! / 3. AND I MET GARY OLDMAN THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS! /
4. I’m writing a book! / 5. I blogged every day for the whole year!

I can safely say this year was all sorts of amazing. I visited Belgium (and fell madly in love with the Flemish-speaking side of the world, to the point that Boyfriend and I agreed it would be awesome to own a house in Ghent one day) and Paris (this needs no explanation other than to say that if Paris ceased to exist, I would, too). What else? I MET GARY OLDMAN, thus fulfilling my life’s mission to successfully stalk him down and tell him I loved him (the year would have been better if by some stroke of magic Gary Oldman told me he loved me, too). I also started writing a book! I’ve never written 16,000 words of anything before, and there are still thousands more to come. I keep thinking that if I don’t get it all down on paper immediately, it will disappear from my brain, but every time I sit down to write, the entire story is still there. Fully formed, waiting to be translated into words. As much as I love Paris, my happy place this year has been sitting at my little desk, typing away for hours on this story.

And yes, I put my own blog on the list because (barring some freak accident over the weekend that prevents me from blogging on Monday) this year I will have blogged every single weekday. I made a commitment to do that at the beginning of the year, and while it wasn’t always easy or fun to feel obligated to churn a post out (especially when I wasn’t feeling creative or talkative, see: yesterday), it has been seriously rewarding in ways I never thought possible. This year I fostered new friendships and blog connections, and I’m grateful for every single one of you. Taking the time to read here, to comment, to be involved, to care about my materialistic blabber. So yeah, my own blog was a highlight, but so were each of yours. Will I blog every day next year? Hopefully! It was a fun accomplishment, and it’s something I want to cross off my 26 in 26 list.

What are your top five of this year? Any personal goals you checked off? Fun celebrity encounters? Have a wonderful weekend, kiddos.

A New Blog? Or, What I Gave My Grandmother For Christmas

I’m exhausted and somehow still stuffed to the gills, but yesterday was one of those magical Christmases with riotous laughter and too much time lounging on the couch discussing bodily functions. That’s what families are for. The presents are just superfluous, but needless to say I did get entirely spoiled, but what I wanted most for the holiday was to spend time with my family, and I got to. I hope everyone was so lucky. At dinner, my cousin Stacy asked each of us to go around the table and say something positive that happened for us this year, and though I answered a combination of “Going to Europe!” and “Meeting Gary Oldman!” I want to officially amend my answer to include, “Sitting at the table with most of my favorite people in the world, right now.”

But yes, there were presents. I gave my Mommom 6 months of Netflix DVDs because she was complaining she has nothing to watch, solast night, my cousins and I spent a good hour figuring out what to put in her queue. If there were ever a time I wished someone had been filming, it was that. My Mommom is 87, and equal parts the foul-mouthed grandmother from “Wedding Crashers” and Euphegenia Doubtfire, if I had to pick movie references. According to her, she likes “musicals, but not dumb ones,” “classics” (but she’s seen all of them), “mysteries, like Law and Order,” and while she’s “not a prude,” I’m sure “Brokeback Mountain” would just about kill her. We ended up with a solid list of 40 (including Slumdog Millionaire, Dreamgirls, Blue Hawaii, The Iron Lady, The Help) but it was hard-earned.

It also gave me the idea for a new blog, called “Not Your Grandmother’s Movies” or “Movies Not to Give to your 87 Year Old Grandmother.” Because, oh my god, there are so many. There might actually be more movies not to give my Mommom than there are ones I can.

basically anything with the Wayans Brothers.

How was your Christmas? Did Santa bring you everything you wanted? Also, I’m only half-kidding about starting a new blog of movies not suitable for grandmothers. Any hilarious suggestions?

O Christmas Tree

This post brought to you by Fitz, the Christmas puppy. Soon after this picture was taken he shredded one of his presents open.

Pardon my brevity today, but last night we had a fun adventure to the ER, after Boyfriend cut himself with a giant knife attempting to slice shallots for dinner. Thankfully he didn’t need stitches, and we were in and out of the ER in under an hour (it’s a Christmas miracle!). We scrapped dinner and went out for Thai food instead, which would have been my suggestion all along since I prefer to let professionals do my cooking for me. Last night’s incident further solidified why I never, ever cook. I know technically one of us has to if we don’t just want to subsist on cereal and take-out, but I can safely say I’m put off of the idea for at least another 10 years after having to clean up the murder scene in our sink.

The sad/funny thing was, the only other person in the ER with us was an older woman in an apron, clutching a bloodied towel around her hand. She ended up needing stitches, according to the attending Physician’s Assistant who saw Boyfriend. Tis the season for knife injuries!

Gift Guide: Under $10

Thank you all so much for the sweet birthday wishes yesterday, you lovelies! Yesterday was kind of a weird and underwhelming (is this what birthdays are like now?) but I had a lot of sweet people making sure it was the best it could be. Herbie made me an awesome mix CD (after my embarrassing “Oh my god, have you guys heard of Matt & Kim?” it was much appreciated), Sam made me a post-it cake (she’s made the Eiffel tower out of post-its before, too), Maurin got me a new Office quote-a-day calendar (and candy!) and Boyfriend sent flowers and made a great dinner last night. So maybe I can’t be too grumpy, but I probably still will be because it’s me.

To wrap up my Gift Guide series (part 1 and part 2) today I have 12 gifts all under $10. It’s a Christmas miracle! And most of these are substantial enough to not just be stocking stuffers. I may be 26 and grumpy, but my shopping skills are just getting better with age.

1. Pocket IQ Test / 2. Candle / 3. Notebook / 4. Mug / 5. Porcelain Birds / 6. Sprout Bookmarks / 7. Aphrodite USB Hub / 8. Initial Ring / 9. Pick-up Sticks / 10. Spice Jar / 11. Soap / 12. Macaron Box

I think I am most smitten with the set of 6 sprout bookmarks. Super adorable. I know a lot of these lean towards being gifts for women, but I’m sure there are more than a few men who would appreciate a Pocket IQ test and a monogrammed mug. With Christmas just 4 days away (!!!) any of the above would be a great last-minute gift for someone. And not going to lie, I’m more than a little obsessed with those macaron pill boxes, obviously.

How are you spending the last weekend before insanity strikes? Assuming, that is, we all don’t die today thanks to the Mayan Apocalypse. I’m having lunch with my friend Aidan tomorrow and then dinner with my mom and brother and sister-in-law and nieces. Hopefully at some point I’ll be catching up on sleep, because apparently turning 26 made me a zombie. Waaah. Have a great weekend, kiddos!

26 in 26

Today, as I’m sure you were all aware since it is a Nationally Recognized Holiday, is my birthday. Last year I was phenomenally more excited about it than I am this year, as evidenced by the crying fit and hysterics I dissolved into this morning when I woke up and realized that oh my god, I’m 26. Last year, like every year previous, I was all up in everyone’s faces reminding them to wish me a happy birthday (friends, coworkers, bus drivers, postmen, helpless cashiers) and bestow presents on me, and was so enthusiastic that this even happened: (who let this happen?)

That exists. And I’m totally giving it the side-eye today. Look at me! So young! So excited! So wrinkle free! So overloaded with animated bling! Where is this girl’s enthusiasm this year? Instead of being remotely as chipper this year, I instead feel like someone has just informed me my credit card was declined even though I know it shouldn’t have been. Basically, like this:

Grumpy Cat understands my plight. If everyone in my life weren’t so allergic to cats, you could bet your ass I’d have one of those miserable little jerks. They just get me, you know?

As I continue my slow creep towards inevitable death, I’ve decided to give myself 26 goals to accomplish during my 26th year of life. And yes, I’m including things that I was going to do next year anyway, but I’ve put them on the list because I’m an underachiever with a lazy streak and coming up with 26 things is tough work. Also, who doesn’t love crossing stuff off lists?

Without further ado:

26 in 26

1. Go to Paris, twice

2. Become fluent in French (join conversation groups and keep taking classes)

3. Finish the first draft of my book

4. Rescue another dog (somewhere Boyfriend and Fitz are going, “WHAT?!”)

5. Read 26 books

6. Start doing Pilates again

7. Eat a new food (oysters?)

8. See 2 plays

9. Run a mile (a whole mile! that doesn’t involve catching a bus!)

10. Enjoy a day at the beach (emphasis on the word ‘enjoy‘ not just ‘go to’)

11. Take my nieces to the zoo

12. Go ice-skating

13. Go one month without buying anything (this is my Everest)

14. Travel overseas somewhere new

15. Call my grandmother once a week

16. Attempt my 365 Project again (ahem)

17. Blog everyday for a year

18. Visit at least 5 museums

19. See 2 movies in the theater by myself

20. Cook one meal a month (an upgrade from the current 0)

21. Curse less

22. Paint the living room

23. Attend Synagogue services at least once (23a. find out what the actual name of Synagogue services is, you awful Jew)

24. Volunteer at a women’s shelter

25. Attend a writer’s conference

26. Land my dream job

So there you have it. 26 in 26. And I’ll reference this post frequently throughout the next year (maybe I’ll even put a link in my sidebar) as I start crossing some of these off. Until then, I leave you with this “Friends” clip, which I believe adequately sums up how I’m feeling.

P.S. If anyone asks, I’m 25.

Like a Picture

Yesterday was our office holiday potluck, which meant I spent the entire day eating. Eating crepes for breakfast, piles of carbs for lunch, and then dessert. Thus, I crashed at 9:30 after I was able to roll myself into bed, and still feel like a truck full of sugar ran over me. Thankfully, since it was an at-work event, alcohol was understandably not allowed, which was the only saving grace to me not falling asleep under my desk at 3pm. This is what the holiday season is all about, right? And I forget every year to pace myself.

For the past two years, Boyfriend I would spend some time around New Year’s Eve down in Brigantine, NJ. This year we won’t be, and frankly I have no idea what we’re doing for the festivities (pacing myself!), but you’ll be interested to know that my abject hatred for the beach (sun! sand! hell!) doesn’t extend to the winter. I love the beach in the winter. It’s cold! There are no people! I can wear as many layers as I want! I have some really fond memories of walking Fitz along the beach in the early morning (okay, this is a lie, I might have watched Boyfriend walk Fitz along the beach in the early morning from the comfort of the balcony) and the icy chill in the air and the sound of the ocean uninterrupted by screaming children. The fog, the sea foam, the wind.

So when I saw this picture, my heart leapt a little bit. It captures that memory perfectly, and I couldn’t resist using it for a new Like a Picture.

1. Blanket / 2. Candle / 3. Picture

“Rust” might be my new favorite color. I even love the way the word sounds. Rust. It sounds moody and full, and yes, this is my delirium speaking. I wonder how many more of these series I can come up with. The possibilities seem endless.

Paper Passion

You would think that as someone that spent something like 17 years (18! I had that 5th year of college you get stuck with if you change majors, and that, conveniently, no one remembers to tell you about!) in school (and yes, I am including kindergarten, because don’t try to tell me “sharing” isn’t a hard thing to learn; kindergarten totally counts) I’d be better about that thing that all students do called “procrastinating” and dealing with the anxiety that comes along with it. To wit: my French teacher assigned plus de l’homework last week, and I waited until last night before I was leaving for French class to do it. And yes, it definitely inspired dream-sweats of “Oh my god, I didn’t do my homework, I’ll try to do it in class so she won’t notice. OH NO, SHE FOUND OUT.” But I haven’t learned. I repeated a mantra the whole way home from last night’s class, a la Bart Simpson, “I will do my homework early this week. I will do my homework early this week.” What is French for “lol yeah right”?

In related news, French class continues to kick my le ass. After class, one of the other students told me my accent was “like, perfect” which was, like, awesome. Rachel, the teacher, is insistent that we don’t write things down, that we get used to the sounds, the pronunciation, that writing it down is not learning to speak the language. She’s working to get us off the page.

And speaking of page (check out that segue!), over the weekend when I wasn’t busy drowning my liver, I read an essay by author Oliver Sacks in the NYTimes Book Review section called “Reading the Fine Print.” This quote in particular stood out to me, “I do not want a Kindle or a Nook or an iPad…I want a real book made of paper with print — a book with heft, with a bookish smell, as books have had for the last 550 years, a book that I can slip into my pocket or keep with its fellows on my bookshelves where my eye might alight on it at unexpected times.” This sums up my entire opinion on the death of the printed book (alleged death, as I am single handedly keeping my local Barnes & Noble in business) and the rise of those awful, awful contraptions known as e-readers. I love books. I love the feel of them, the soft whisping noise the pages make as you turn them, and most of all, I love the smell.

So when my friend Audrey (the comment-artist known as Gary Oldman) alerted me to the existence of a perfume THAT SMELLS LIKE BOOKS, I just about lost my mind.

It’s called Paper Passion, byt Steidl, with packaging is by Karl Lagerfeld. And oh my god, the packaging. It’s a book with stunning orange pages, notched in the shape of the bottle.

The write up says,”This is an opportunity to celebrate all the gloriosensuality of books, at a time when many in the industry are turning against them. The idea is that is should relax you, like when you read a book, to a level of meditation and concentration. Paper Passion has evolved into something quite beautiful and unique. To wear the smell of a book is something very chic. Books are players in the intellectual world, but also in the world of luxury.” Okay, that’s a little frou-frou (gloriosensuality!?), and at $98 a bottle to smell like dusty paper, it’s probably not something I’d buy myself as a necessity. But I wouldn’t kick it out of the house if it somehow appeared in my Christmas stocking.

Hodge Podge

Clearly, all of your finger-crossing worked, because at my office holiday party on Friday, I WON AN IPOD. It was awesome. My manager, Christine, won a flat screen, and Hunter (Hunter!) won an iPad. Exciting times! Except that less than a month and a half ago, Boyfriend bought me the same new iPod in pink as an early birthday present. So now I have two iPods. It’s making my pink iPod feel threatened. And let me tell you, she’s not taking the whole thing well.

 this picture brought to you via my amazing Photoshop skillz.

I also won a wicked hangover the next morning thanks to all the free gin & tonics I imbibed. There’s only one cure for that, and it’s greasy diner food. Between my party and Boyfriend’s party Saturday night, I spent a total of 13 hours drinking. Which is more than I have ever spent drinking in my entire life combined, because I am an old lady who goes to bed at 9:30. But I rallied both nights and made it to both after parties, and even had enough left in me to drink a mini-bottle of Rosé at brunch yesterday. This post is not brought to you by my liver, because my liver is not talking to me for a while. Je ne regrette rien!

How was your weekend?