The Opposite of Nesting

[Disclaimer: I am going to use the word ‘pregnant’ in this post. This in no way means I am pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or wanting to become pregnant. Mom.]

Collyer Brothers brownstone
photo via

You know that instinct that surges in pregnant women called ‘nesting’? Where they wake up one morning and decide to spruce everything up like little happy birds, clean out every nook and cranny, and make sure everything is just so for the impending arrival of new life? Is there an equivalent instinct in non-pregnant women? I suppose we could call it “purging” or “decluttering,” or, following the current trend sweeping across social media, the “KonMari Method,” from the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Growing up, my mom simply called it, “throwing shit away,” and if you need a book to tell you how to do that, I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but clutter ain’t one.

Though, recently, I’ve noticed that it kind of is a problem. I woke up one morning with the (admittedly totally-batshit-insane) thought that, “If we had to move to Paris today, we would have too much shit to bring with us, we couldn’t do it, how would it all fit on a shipping crate?” I looked around, and felt smothered. My house suddenly felt like a mix of the Collyer Brothers brownstone and Grey Gardens. Who needs this many DVDs anymore? Why do we have three mostly-empty bottles of shaving cream under the sink next to cough syrup that expired in 2014? Where did all of this stuff come from? How do I get rid of it??

So the past week has found me decluttering and non-nesting like a fiend. On Monday night, I had the totally normal urge to pull the stove out from the wall and vacuum behind it, as well as wipe down the sides. I’ve boxed up a ton of kitchen stuff (tiny coffee maker we bought at Walgreens but have never used? Buh-bye!) to take to a donation center, threw away a handful of old kitchen utensils (gross spatula in the back of the drawer that had partially melted? See ya!), tossed a Vanity Fair from 2003 I’ve been holding on to (I love JFK Jr. and Carolyn as much as the next person, but saving a 12 year old magazine isn’t doing anybody any good) and took a stack of DVDs to sell at FYE. I made a paltry $8, but it isn’t even about the money. I just don’t want it in my house anymore. I took some old purses and nicer clothes to a consignment store, and have another round ready to go next week. All those tiny samples I’ve accumulated from Sephora and Macy’s that I’ve never used? Gone. All those comfortable old underwear we keep even though the elastic is stretched or they’re starting to rip? (Admit it, you have these, too) Trash. Books? Books are proving harder to part with than I expected, but I have a small stack to take to a used bookstore, and my fiend Jess took a few, too. Borrowing books from the library has been an enormous help, too.

Am I alone in this? Is this just spring cleaning a season early? I wonder if there’s not some larger cultural shift, where, because we’re so digital these days (does anyone print photographs anymore? Or are they all stored on your hard drive?), it’s spilling over into other parts of my life, too.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more closets to go purge.

The World’s Longest Baguette

If Wednesday’s post was filed under “The Most Ridiculous Thing I’ve Read in a While,” then today’s should be filed under, “The Sexiest Thing I’ve Ever Seen,” cross-filed under “I Totally CAN,” subcategory, “Gimme Gimme Gimme.”

Friends, fellow carb-lovers, insatiable inner-fat-kids, lend me your ears. I present to you: the world’s longest baguette, measuring in at a delicious, drool-inspiring 400ft (!!!):

World's Longest Baguette

LOOK AT IT. FEAST YOUR EYES UPON THIS MAGNIFICENCE. (But only your eyes, because if you try and touch what is rightfully mine, I’ll bite you.)

World's Longest Baguette

So here’s the backstory, if you can wipe the drool from your chin long enough to focus: Earlier this month, at the Milan Expo 2015, French and Italian bakers set out to beat the previously held record of world’s longest baguette (364ft. I call that a ‘mid-morning snack’ around here). They worked at a rate of 20 meters (66ft) per hour, sliding the dough through a portable oven that cooked it in sections, and fighting against the elements (cold weather! breakage!) like the brave, heroic souls that they are. The whole enterprise was monitored by the Guinness World Record Committee, and sponsored by Nutella. Repeat: SPONSORED BY NUTELLA. So you know what happened after they set the 400ft record, don’t you? DON’T YOU??

World's Longest Baguette

Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” started playing in my head immediately upon seeing this photo. Oh, how I wish I’d been in Milan for this! Because expo-goers got to eat pieces of it after they had finished. We’ll ignore the fact that it looks less like a crispy, crunchy, traditional French baguette, and more like a slightly burned Italian roll, because honestly, it’s bread of an endless quantity, covered in Nutella. If there is anything sexier than that, I have yet to find it.

Happy weekend, kiddos! And I would wish you all a Happy Halloween, except I am not-so-secretly terrified of/hate Halloween. You can read all about that here, and see some awesome costumes I wore in my childhood right here.

Hat tip to my friend Herbie for sending me this story!

An Accidental Art Heist?

File this under “The Most Ridiculous Thing I’ve Read in Years”, cross-filed under “I Can’t”: a well-meaning janitor at the Museion Bozen-Bolzano, a few hours north of Venice, Italy, dismantled a modern art exhibit because she thought it was trash. Literally.

Museion Bozen-Bolzano

Artists Sara Goldschmied and Eleonora Chiari created an exhibit titled “Where shall we go dancing tonight?”, a room filled with streamers, empty champagne bottles, confetti, cigarette butts, and general detritus, meant to “represent hedonism, consumerism and financial speculation in the 1980s Italian political scene.”1 Obviously. (I don’t get modern art.)

The cleaner was new, and had been told to clean part of the gallery after a book party the night before. Seeing empty champagne bottles and party remnants on the floor, she naturally assumed “Where shall we go dancing tonight?” was her assignment, and proceeded to bag everything up and dump it into recycling bins, perpetrating an accidental art heist. Though, does it count as a heist if she only threw everything in the garbage?

Before and After

The museum director was able to re-install the entire exhibit by pulling the items out of the trash. A popular Italian art critic, Vittorio Sgarbi, has summed this whole situation up better than I could, saying the janitor’s cleaning spree was entirely justified. “If she thought it was rubbish, it means it was. Art should be understood by everyone — including cleaners. The fact that the museum could simply pick the pieces from the trash bin and put them back together shows you that wasn’t art in the first place.” Mic drop.

Now pardon me while I go giggle for a little bit. And dig up this quote from Steve Martin’s “An Object of Beauty,” my favorite book about the art world: “You want to know how I think art should be taught to children? Take them to a museum and say, ‘This is art, and you can’t do it.’” Some art is just garbage.

A Sweet Stop at Ladurée Florence

Ladurée, Florence

Ladurée, Florence

Ladurée, Florence

Ladurée, Florence

Ladurée, Florence

Just a few darling (mouthwatering, if you’re anything like me) photos of Ladurée from our trip to Italy this spring to start your weekend on a sweet note. I stopped at the Ladurée cart in the Charles de Gaulle airport on our way to Rome, and then also popped into the boutiques in both Rome and Florence, because when macarons are your favorite food group, you indulge in them whenever the opportunity presents itself. This store is such a jewel box of delicate delights, and if they allowed franchising, you can guarantee I would’ve opened a store in Philadelphia by now.

Here are more Ladurée Love posts, if you need a little more cuteness: Paris & New York. Happy weekend, kiddos!

My Apartment in Paris





Now that we’re under 40 days away from my upcoming (second-time-this-year-but-who’s-keeping-track) trip to Paris, I thought I’d share where I’ll be staying. If you guessed Montmartre, you were right! I can’t shake this neighborhood, no matter how much time I spend there, and it’s where I’ve stayed on every trip going back to 2013 (here’s 2014 and 2015). This adorable little nest charmed me from its original floors, to its large, airy windows, and bright, white decor. And did I mention I love Montmartre?

(I’m renting through Airbnb again, and I’ll be happy to share a link to the rental after I get back; since I’m going alone I don’t want to broadcast my exact location in advance. Safety first!)

38 days!

Twig New York

Artist Hayoon Kim has a doctorate in Ceramic Design (did you even know there was such a thing?) and since 2006 has been creating gorgeous, delicate bone china for art galleries, brands, and designer collaborations, through her company Twig New York, as well as teaching pottery to students in Seoul. I came across her work at a tea shop here in Philly and fell in love. Specifically, her ‘Petals’ collaboration with artist Brittany Jepsen, and my jaw hit the floor.




Kim has about 10 other collaborations with other, equally talented designers, but Petals spoke to me the most. They look three-dimensional on the plate, don’t they? I’m lucky I’m not the only one who finds these pieces so gorgeous, because most of the collection was sold out. Otherwise I would’ve had to buy everything, but especially those mugs. Mon dieu.

Some Terrible Apartments in Paris

I know I tend to only ever wax poetic about Paris and its many luxurious, drool-worthy apartments (see: here) but it’s not because I’m unaware of the grim reality of the affordable real estate available there. If anything, it’s precisely because I’m aware of how many absurdly small, one-room hovels (that will still cost you €100k!) the city has that I instead choose to focus on the unattainable, multi-million euro sprawling ones. But for a change of pace, I thought it might be fun to see what I could afford, right now, without mortgaging myself to the hilt or robbing a bank or becoming the next JK Rowling. The results were…less than stellar.

For those of you unfamiliar with Parisian real estate, the top floor of nearly all Haussmann buildings were at one time maids quarters, often referred to as a chambre de bonne, chambre de service, or a studette, which are single-room living spaces, usually under 100ft2, with a shared toilet in the hall. For someone like me, the daughter of an architect who championed small-space living, I get such a thrill at a seeing smartly renovated chambre de bonne. The challenge of designing and living in a space barely larger than most powder rooms is one I’d happily take on, especially if it meant, you know, being in Paris. Which is good, because apparently this is all my savings can buy me. So while these apartments are, shall we say, terrible, there is so much room for improvement that all I can see is potential.


1. First up we have this 6m2 (65ft2) room in the 10eme, near Canal Saint Martin:

Apartment 1

Apartment 1

Apartment 1

It’s listed as a “one bedroom” but really, it’s one empty room, with one teensy (but cute) window. The toilet is in the hallway, the sink is on the landing, and it appears there’s a water hookup line available in the apartment itself, but no shower or kitchen sink.

Price: €54,000

2. Next, we have…whatever is happening here:

Apartment 2

Apartment 2

Located in the 10eme, near Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, the listing says it is about 10m2 of living space, with a shower, a well-equipped kitchen, and a toilet in the hall. “Ideal pied-a-terre,” it says! The only thing I can see is a twin mattress shoved under a skylight, with a water tank floating precariously above it.

Yours for only €52,500!

3. Moving right along, we have this apartment, also in the 10eme:

Apartment 3

Apartment 3

It is a whopping 9m2, with a small balcony you probably shouldn’t stand on, a small but functional kitchen (who is cooking in Paris with some of the best restaurants right outside your door?) and a lofted bed. Smart space solution! Bathroom is in the hall. I want to scrub this entire place down with bleach.

Price: €79,000, jfc.

4. This charmer is a spacious 15m2, in the 9eme:

Apartment 4

Apartment 4

Apartment 4

It features a separate bedroom (!), a shower right next to the kitchen, and a murder-y looking hallway and stairwell. It also features a shared toilet you’d need both tetanus shot and a regular shot of the highest proof vodka you can find to actually pee in.

Price: €129,000, and the saddest part is it still seems a worthwhile splurge.


About That (Unplanned) Absence

Well, that was a week-long blog vacation I didn’t intend on taking, and the first absence I’ve had when I wasn’t swooning around on vacation. It’s funny, I never knew how much I needed this blog until I suddenly…didn’t. For four years, this blog was my creative outlet, a respite from the grinding unhappiness of a day job that left me unfulfilled. I needed it, because I needed a balance, and at the peak of my blogging I was posting five times a week (!! five! What on earth did I write about??). Then it went down to three. And in the three months since I left my job, I’m lucky if I can manage to crank out one measly post a week. Isn’t it strange that now that I have more time on my hands, I somehow have less time to blog? My days are filled with writing, and food-styling, and studying for my real estate license (and exercising my domesticity/ perfecting my housewife status). When I am happy in my day-to-day, I turn less and less to the internet, this blog, my Pinterest boards, and other aspirational escapes. I haven’t been tending to my blog because I haven’t needed it to stay afloat, to keep my head above water. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still owe this space (and you guys!) some attention, because of course I do. I just need to find a different balance than what I had for so long, and I promise I’ll do that without abandoning it for days at a time. Pinky promise, kiddos!

Here’s a little update of what’s been going on behind the scenes:

Life Lately

I miss you guys! How the hell are you?

How I Find Cheap Airfare


In this post I not-so-humbly bragged about finding (and immediately booking) a nonstop flight to Paris for $1 (plus an additional $640 in taxes). A few weeks before that, I booked a flight to Paris for a little over $700 total (nonstop on the way there, with a two hour layover at Heathrow on the way home). I thought I’d share my tips for finding good airfare deals, since I appear to be on a winning streak and a bunch of you expressed interest in how I snagged them. I wish there was some magical secret, or that airlines would lower their prices consistently with fuel prices, or at the very least that the basic economic principles of supply and demand didn’t really exist in this sector (there’s no reason the same flight to Paris in June should cost double what it does in March, just because more people want to go at that time of year, other than the fact that airlines are greedy mofos hellbent on making as large a profit as possible while screwing over the everyday passenger, and that is my manifesto against capitalism, the end.). But what my recent airfare scores come down to is persistence: a fair amount of website stalking, checking prices several times a day for weeks on end, and, unfortunately, luck. That $1 fare was gone an hour after I booked it, and if I hadn’t already gotten in the habit of checking frequently throughout the day, I would’ve missed it.

A word of warning: If you want to go to the Maldives and you live in Idaho nowhere near an airport, odds are it’s going to be expensive no matter what you do, so these tips might not prove to be too helpful. Sorry, kiddos! I’ve tried to make these as universal as I could.

So, here we go!

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