Friday Five

I’d forgotten how much fun these are, but last week put me back in the swing of things.

1. The nonstop LOLs this video brought me:

Some hilarious wizard dubbed an Evgeni Plushenko ice skating performance from the mid-90s with Ginuwine’s R&B bump-and-grind anthem “Pony,” and while it might seem random, the result is superb. Plushenko’s original routine somehow, magically, lines up perfectly with the song, and if you can make it to 2:55 when his pants come off (seriously!) without tears rolling down your face, you must have a more mature sense of humor. Thankfully, I do not, and I therefore found this hysterical and much more preferable to the actual ice skating we saw at the Olympics.

2. THIS:

No explanation necessary. (!!!!)

3. My new bag, in preparation and expectation of spring:


I know, color! A few weeks ago I undertook an exhaustive search, employing all of my Internet Squirreling skills, to find The Perfect Spring Bag. Requirements: red or poppy, crossbody, big enough to hold my camera, zipper closure, under $300. You guys, it was a doozy, full of drama (I bought a bag I thought was The One, only to find out it wasn’t big enough, and then the company tried to screw me on their return policy, oy) but has a happy ending: I happened to wander into Macy’s when they were having a Coach sale, and the rest, as they say, is history. For just a little more than half my original budget thanks to the sale, this beauty met all of my requirements and then some. I’m in lurve.

4. This wonderfully weird Google Maps screencap:


I spend a large amount of my time “wandering” around Paris in Google Maps, as you know by now. Whatever, I miss Paris, it’s cheaper than a flight, and if I lean really close to the computer screen I can almost delude myself into believing for a moment that I’m there. So imagine my shock during a leisurely “stroll” through Parc Monceau when I came across a pair of legs, running on their own accord. Legs! What a delightfully awful Photoshop job, Google! I rire‘d so hard I thought I would need my inhaler. It’s the little things.

5. This stunning book-shaped lamp:


I can’t even! Designer Max Gunawan’s Lumio Book Lamp looks like a normal hardcover book when closed, but fans open and becomes an LED nightlight. “The strong neodymium magnets embedded within its covers allow this transformable light to be expanded 180 degrees to its fullest brightness, or mounted upon any magnetic surface.” It’s powered by a rechargeable battery, good for up to eight hours at a time, which is plenty of time for reading in bed before falling asleep (just make sure you close both books!). Currently backordered, but definitely on my wishlist.

What are you up to this weekend? My mom’s birthday is tomorrow, and we’re going to brunch at the museum on Sunday to celebrate. Tomorrow, unfortunately, is also Jamal’s departure date; he’s going to India (again) and South Africa (again!) for two weeks for work. Boo! In his absence, I plan on eating popcorn for dinner, unabashedly wearing my biggest sweatpants around the house, binging on tv shows, and missing him terribly.

Gifts for Francophiles

Alternate title: “Things Erin Needs.” Alternate Title: “When is the Next Holiday?” Alternate Title: “Apologies to My Bank Account.”

If, like me, you’re an unabashed Francophile (je parle français presque couramment ces jours!) and can’t resist the siren call of La Belle France, you’re left aching for all things Parisian in between trips to the most beautiful city on earth. Fear not! There are always ways to add a little Paree to your life (eating macarons and watching “Amélie” on the sofa, donning a beret, subsisting solely on sex and cigarettes, etc etc), but in case you need help, here are a few things to tide you over:


1. Airport Tag Pillow/ 2. Eiffel Tower Construction Poster / 3. Map Mugs / 4. T-Shirt /  5. Dior Oui ring / 6. Ladurée Caramel au Buerre Salé / 7. Eiffel Tower Scarf / 8. Élysées tray / 9. Voyage Map tray / 10. Paris Sketchbook / 11. Paris Street Style

I’ve coveted that Dior ring for years and am vowing here and now to buy it the next time I’m near a Dior store, price-tag be damned.

Paris Sketches


egauger2 egauger3



Artist and world-traveler Erik Gauger’s series of Paris sketches stopped me in my tracks. Drawn with black pen and filled in with either watercolor and markers, Gauger has perfectly captured both the exquisite details of the city, and my heart (that little green Citroën!). The sketches are undeniably charmant but the highlight for me was getting the chance to see his moleskine notebooks from the trip. I can’t imagine anything more personal than an artists’ sketchbook, so that he included them is such a treat. Even his rough notes are gorgeous; look at the detail on Sacre-Cœur!


Friday Five

It’s been a really, really (really) long time since I did a Friday Five, and to bring it back I thought I’d change up the format a bit. Instead of a round-up of things I want to buy right now, here are five things that are making me happy this week:

1. This Barnes & Noble Classics collection:


Sure, the set costs $1,496, but for 199 paperback volumes of some of the world’s greatest works of literature, no price is too high (and it works out to just around $7 a book). I picked up a collection of T.S. Eliot poems over the weekend from this collection, and I’d forgotten what an incredible value and resource these are; introductions from other authors or literary scholars, end notes, bibliographies, discussion questions. I’ve also read Dracula and Frankenstein in this series.

2. This commercial from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion:

The CIDI delivered a 33 second (hilarious) rebuttal to Russia’s anti-gay stance. Well played, Canada, well played.

3. These art-inspired socks:


After realizing that 90% of my socks had holes in them, I went to Macy’s and did the most grown-up thing I’ve done in a while: I bought myself new socks. Seriously, for someone whose sock collection to date was furnished entirely by her mother via Christmas presents, this was monumental. Of course, now I have my eye on these adorable art-y socks. The Mona Lisa on your feet-sa! ($8)

4. House of Cards Season 2:


You guys. Are you watching House of Cards? Why aren’t you watching House of Cards? Stop what you’re doing and go binge-watch the entire first and second seasons of this unbelievably evil and amazing show. Go. Right now. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Netflix released all 13 episodes at once, but we’ve been pacing ourselves and just watching one or two a night. I’m simultaneously in love with and terrified of Robin Wright Penn’s character (and her hair, mon dieu).

5. This photo, “Hotel de Sens, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville”, by Eugene Atget:


One of these days I will do a full post on Eugene Atget’s photography of Paris at the turn of the last century. He was (and remains to be) a huge inspiration, and there are countless photographs I could share, but this one in particular has been on my mind recently. For Christmas, Jamal bought me a beautiful book of Atget’s work that I’ve been pouring over and falling in love with; old Paris, just after the reconstruction under Haussmann, holds such an allure for me. Can you imagine walking along this street as it existed in this photo? (cue: “These people don’t have any antibiotics.”)

Have a wonderful weekend, kiddos. What are you up to?

A Maison Atelier in Paris

If yesterday’s apartment was classic Parisian, today’s surely couldn’t be more different. This maison atelier might not have luxe details straight out of a Haussmann sketch, but it is unexpected and charmingly unique. Located in the 14eme arrondissement, south of the city center near Parc Montsouris, this home is over 5100ft² (!!) spread out over five bedrooms, a double-height living room, a private courtyard, and a workshop (fulfulling the ‘atelier’ aspect). Likely because this home is photographed furnished, I’m imagining it’s inhabited by artists or world travelers. Maybe a cultural anthropologist? Gallery owner?








Whoever the owners are, they have impeccable taste; the space is inviting and not stuffy. Can you imagine having dinner in that kitchen, the doors to the garden slightly ajar, a cool night breeze floating in? Honestly, it reminds me of my dad’s apartment/art studio (though this is roughly 10 times the size).

Not that you have to, but if could pick between this home and yesterday’s, which would you choose? If you need help deciding, this might sway you: this home is listed at $8.6 million. Zut alors!

A Classic Apartment in Paris

What do you picture when you hear the words “classic Parisian apartment”? Herringbone wood floors, large casement windows, scrolling iron railings, intricate moldings, sun-drenched rooms, fireplaces with built-in mirrors above them, oui? What a dream, to own such an architecturally iconic space. This apartment checks every single one of those boxes:






I’ve left out photos of the updated bathrooms and kitchen, because while they are functional and modern, they clash with the rest of the gorgeous details of the apartment. I simply cannot get over how picture-perfect it is; as if someone drew from scratch what they thought a classic Haussmann apartment should look like. This is real! We could live there! Quick, who has $5.25 million??  I don’t think I would even furnish it (I couldn’t afford to!) but rather spend my time running back and forth between all the rooms squealing in delight like a child on Christmas.

Happy Valentine’s Day


I’m not usually overly personal on here, but I couldn’t let to today pass without wishing a very happy Valentine’s Day to Jamal. Thank you for being the best travel companion, for knowing just what to say when I’m lost in an anxiety spiral, for always volunteering to take Fitz out in the rain, for supporting me always in all ways, and for being funny even (especially) when you don’t think you are. I love you!

“You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”

Ernest Hemingway

Er, that quote is kind of romantic, right? Happy Valentine’s Day, kiddos. Je vous adore.

Three Years

Today marks three full years since I started this blog. Three! It certainly doesn’t feel like three years, and yet I can’t really remember what I did with myself before like / want / need popped into existence on a random, dreary day in February (I probably shopped less). This blog has become my favorite creative outlet, in large part because of all of you (but especially Annie, my very first blog friend and whose birthday is today! Happy birthday, lovely girl!). Your daily comments, support, advice, laughs, and the amazing sense of community you have all given me have made this blog what it is. I know it’s cheesy, but I couldn’t do this without you. I mean, I could, but it would be sad and lonely. I much prefer having friends all over the country & world to virtually check-in on every day, and I’m so grateful to this blog for making it all possible.

To celebrate the big 3, here are 3 photos of (surprise!) Paris. What better way to honor the day?




This is going to be an exciting year for both me & this blog. So far in 2014, I’ve taken more of a relaxed approach to posting, and have stopped beating myself up if I don’t post every single day. I have some big things in the works, but I’m curious: what do you want to see in the future? What sorts of posts do you love, which posts do you hate, what would you like to see more of? Less of? Should I devote this blog solely to photoshopping my beloved Gary Oldman into Parisian street scenes? Spill, kiddos!

PS. This is my 658th post! You can read the very first one here.

The Creative Life

The other day, Erika posted about her decision to be an artist, and it made me think about my own creative life. People seem to have very strong reactions, negative and positive, to those who decide follow their creativity. My family has always been whole-heartedly supportive of my creative pursuits –from ballet recitals to violin recitals to performances in plays and performances of my own play to photo exhibits– probably because being creative is the only thing I’ve ever shown any aptitude for. It’s not like I’m a math whiz (I’ll pause here for those of you who know how long it takes me to calculate tip at a restaurant to have a laugh) who abandoned it all to try my hand at writing. Growing up, there was of course an emphasis on the importance of financial security, but it was thankfully never drilled into my head to get a degree in something that would guarantee me immediate, well-paying employment (or employment at all, for that matter). What mattered was that I was doing —am doing something that made me happy, something I was good at.

But it got me thinking, because while my own family gave me such a positive foundation, and while 99% of the people I tell I’m writing a novel are really encouraging and supportive, there have been several hesitant, “Oh”s along the way. “Well…what are you planning on doing with it when you finish?” as if to say, “This isn’t going to be a full-time habit, is it?” And none of it has been intentionally mean-spirited; I just never realized some could view my decision to give in and be a writer as unconventional or risky, something to be met with confusion.

All of this reflection reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk. Have you seen it? Spare 18 minutes and watch it.

This quote in particular really stuck out to me:

Is it rational, is it logical, that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work they feel they were put on this earth to do? And what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems to make us really nervous about each other’s mental health in a way that other careers don’t?…And not just writers, but creative people across all genres it seems, have this reputation for being enormously mentally unstable…Somehow we’ve completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish.

Why is it, do you think, that people worry about those who choose to have a creative life, but never question why someone would want to become, say, a urologist? Is it purely the lack of a steady income that makes people nervous for creatives? There’s a reason, after all, that the term is “starving artist”, not “starving scientist.” As a society we seem to place a large importance on the money that can be earned from a job, but we also definitely value literature and art, so it’s not like we’re entirely discouraging people from being creative or living a creative life. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide


1. Love Poems / 2. Candles / 3. Scarf / 4. Lip Balm / 5. Cookie Bouquet / 6. What I Love About You / 7. Poster / 8. Heart Balloons / 9. Pillow / 10. Barrettes / 11. Purse

Valentine’s Day is a week away, and if you’re like me and aren’t entirely disdainful about this Hallmark holiday (okay, that’s an understatement, I love Valentine’s Day, mostly for the color scheme), here are a few presents to get you in the spirit. Whether you have a lover in your life or not shouldn’t matter. The best Valentine you could ask for is yourself, and I see no reason why you shouldn’t treat yourself to an extra special day of spoiling and adoration. And really, who doesn’t want an excuse to eat an entire bag of red and pink m&ms?