Almost Christmas

December 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

By each year Christmas decorations are put up earlier than ever. And as Missoco said next year they might as well start in summers. So, by those standards my Christmas post is late but for me it is rightly timed. It is always the month of December that ushers in fun-filled Christmas days with Christmas Markets, decorations all over the city and pretty much everything red, green and white.

It seems that everyone is waiting for Christmas to come fast and open gifts with family and friends. Paris during Christmas is a dream come true. It is wonderful because of the happiness daze caused by chocolates and everything which has a bit of sugar. To officially kick off my Christmas month I spent almost ten hours today and the cherry of the cake is not anywhere near the finish.

Having an extra early dance class helped with the waking up part. And next, joined by Missoco, I went to La Cartonnerie (12 rue Degeurry Paris 11) for a Christmas Market where twenty-eight French artists/designers put up lots of creative things on the display. My best picks are the vintage lace jewellery from KDYAK, masculine scented candles from Maison Moustache inspired by different districts of Paris, London and New York and a new way to discover books by Exploratology. And if you want to catch up with your friends around cute cupcakes and tea, there is Marine Is Cooking. But of course I didn’t spend ten hours just  talking with Missoco (well yeah most of it, which also made us miss our metro stop by a few stations). We girls meant business today.

A bit of sugar!

A bit of sugar!

Missoco took me to discover Christmas decoration and gifts shops near Place de la Madeleine. At Sia, I couldn’t stop taking photos of the beautiful and different decorations. Then we went to La Chaise Longue which is a famous French gift-shop chain. I liked all the stuff in the Parisiennes range and I am sure of buying the dinner set.

Cute Figurines At Sia

Cute Figurines At Sia

Parisiennes Dinner Set at La Chaise Longue

Parisiennes Dinner Set at La Chaise Longue

On our way around the Madeleine Square we quickly managed to peak at the irresistible chocolate Christmas tree in Patrick Roger‘s Chocolate shop display.

Chocolate Eclair is always a good idea.

Chocolate Eclair is always a good idea.

To finish of our day in Christmas style, Missoco treated me with the éclairs at Fauchon. It was delicious and perfect way to relish the end of a wonderful day. Now I am ready to sip on some hot chocolate and go to bed to prepare for my very first Thanksgiving (it is never late to say thanks) Dinner tomorrow for which I am going to cook a French dish. The next post will be a cooking experiment.

Before I make any 2014 resolutions, I have made things to do before Christmas list which includes ice-skating at Hotel de Ville, visit Louvre (yes I haven’t done that until now) and start running. Long shot but worth every try.

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flown. How did it get so late so soon?”Dr. Seuss

(I am so glad not to have missed my deadline of writing a weekly post just by forty-five minutes.)


Un soir du bonheur

November 20, 2013 § 3 Comments

I love my life! This was the phrase I kept repeating on Thursday evening in bed which explains the title of this post (an evening of happiness).

I have to thank Iva from IvaParis for organising the second Fashion Night at Les Nguyen (12 rue Saint-Paul Paris 4). Proudly sporting my IvaParis Ambassador badge I arrived at Saint-Paul to meet up with Missoco. Together we marched to the shop where we met Han Nguyen, the amazing person behind the French brand. The theme for the evening was how to stay feminine during winter and Han’s creations matched that perfectly.

The happy girl's accessory!

The happy girl’s accessory!

Han creates original dresses inspired from 30s and 50s with fitted waist and skirts just above the knees. These are perfect for working girls that do not shy away from feminine styles. I went in jeans and sneakers (and so for thinking before going out) as it was cold. What went on during that evening was a complete transformation. I was pampered and I loved it. Iva made us try a few clothes along with accessories. While giggling all the time we posed for photos. I felt like a princess (precisely Cinderella as I posed sans my sneakers) while trying out the beautiful dresses and learned a lot about what styles and cuts suit me well.

As an engineer I am mostly surrounded by men both at school and work. It is practical to wear jeans and pants and preferable to keep feminine dressing for parties. But I don’t like this practice, I love colors and dresses. European winter makes it difficult to be feminine in cold weather but Han’s creations are made from 100% natural fabrics like wool, cotton and bamboo each one for different weather. As I was busy being pampered during the evening, I didn’t take any photos. So, I am borrowing the photos from Iva’s interview with Han.

Pink is not my color but this is my favorite skirt!

Pink is not my color but this is my favorite skirt!

Iva is soon going to organise some workshops for personal styling. And if you like fun girly parties along with discovering the styles made for you, do not hesitate to register here.

Before wrapping up the night, Missoco and I went to the garden store Truffat (85 quai de la gare Paris 13) for some early Christmas shopping. The store was open from 8 pm well until 11 pm with some nice discounts, interesting workshops and free-flowing champagne (the reason behind my post party happiness). We parted as happy souls with some cute Christmas tree decorations. Une soirée inoubliable (an unforgettable evening)!

Christmas will be soon here!

Christmas will be soon here!

Paris By Métro Project

November 6, 2013 § 4 Comments

Loving Paris gets tough when we get stuck with daily life chores and forget to cherish every moment we are living in this amazing city. This blog is my tool to go out and explore and then write about it. Ever since I arrived in Paris I made crazy plans to learn more about this city. But most of it is still on the to-do list. And I thought of my list when I found this YouTube Channel called Paris By Métro.

Michaël Hoellerer decided to rediscover Paris with a year-long video series, following all the metro stops around town. There are more than three hundred stations on the fourteen lines of Parisian metro. Each video talks about one metro station. I loved the idea and the work.

I have travelled on all the metro lines just for the fun of it. I then thought of taking all the buses but there are three hundred and forty-seven of them. So I dropped the idea. Paris By Metro has charged me up to work on another plan I have had for more than a year. I will write more on it when I actually execute it.

I recently found a gem of an app for my smartphone. I use duoLingo, an app to learn Spanish and practice French. It is an amazing app, no advertisements, simple and effective. One can learn Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. Learning Spanish is easier for me since I know French and almost ninety percent of my friends in Paris speak Spanish. I would recommend this app to anyone who has some beginner’s knowledge of a language. I would have loved it more if I could learn Spanish from French and not English as the languages are in the same family but I think the app developers are working on something like that. Until then I can easily manage phrases like yo hablo español (I speak Spanish).

Music and Birthday Cake

November 5, 2013 § 3 Comments

Paris and extended weekends are not the best mix for an unemployed person who can not afford to travel. With most of my friends travelling or visiting their families I didn’t have a lot of things to do. I decided to stay inside my cosy blanket and stay warm. But Paris never lets you do that!

While reading online about Paris I found an interesting acoustic music festival happening on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Without wasting a minute I messaged a friend who agreed to go with me. This festival called Melodica was born in Australia in 2007 with the idea to promote and foster a community of local musicians. Since then it has been to various cities worldwide like Melbourne, Hamburg, Reykjavík, Berlin, New York and more.

This year they came for the first time to Paris and I was there. The venue was La Bellevilloise, a hundred and thirty-six year old factory turned into a café and concert place in 2005. Located in the twentieth district, it’s a big hall with a decor fit for concerts, tables and chairs spread in front of the stage and different dining areas.

La Bellevilloise

La Bellevilloise, 19-21 rue Boyer

The musicians who played were amazing; I heard a lot of interesting songs with equally interesting stories behind them.

Owls of the Swamp

Owls of the Swamp

My favourite song of the evening was While the World Burns by Svavar Knutur.

It was a friend’s birthday on Sunday and there was a surprise planned for the evening. Among my friends I am lucky to have an amateur chef who makes delicious French desserts and keeps treating his friends with sumptuous meals from time to time. This friend made not one but two cakes called Baba au Rhum and this time I took a photo before attacking the cake.

Baba au Rhum

Baba au Rhum

No my friend is not 16, the local supermarket did not have the number two as candle. But 16 in hexadecimal is equal to 22. Of course it was an engineer’s birthday and he could do a little maths before blowing off the candles and savouring his cake.

Since my employment search began I have gone through a life I never could have imagined. But these things are happening to make me strong and teach me important valuable lessons. I can’t stay content with Paris for long without working for what I have worked very hard as a student. Each night I sleep thinking that tomorrow will be a better day, that day hasn’t come yet but I hope it does soon.

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goodbye Autumn!

October 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

As Parisians get ready to say goodbye to good weather last week, I tried to take in all the things good weather can offer. The result has been that I haven’t been able to go out and brave the cold wave.

Missoco and I started the weekend early on Thursday evening with some yoghurt cocktails at Le Paradis du fruit(The Paradise of Fruit) at Boulevard des Italiens. My YoYo fruit with Mango was as good as the great fruit of Mango (oh my Mango love! I even made a mango grape jam, recipe soon). The restaurant had contemporary design with a lot of pink to give the paradise feel. I had made up my mind to revisit but one waiter’s rude behaviour put me off. He didn’t like that we stayed for over an hour only for drinks, and gave us change in form of five cent coins. Of course he lost his tip and a future client. Too bad for the restaurant!

The original plan was to dine at my favourite Indian restaurant in Paris, Saravanaa Bhavan. This restaurant is the most authentic when it comes to Indian food. They have a simple service and I don’t mind that fact because I go there to eat delicious food which is spicy and not loaded with cheese unlike so many other places in Paris. Missoco and I ate well and then walked a good thirty minutes to find Gare de l’Est, which happens a lot because I tend to get lost around this station. No one complained as the weather was good to walk around.

It started raining on Friday, so I stay put at home to cook some Risotto with Red Wine. I was preparing myself for the weekend I had planned two weeks in advance. Saturday evening I went to free yoga class at Wanderlust Club. The class had an advanced level for lazy me who hasn’t been exercising enough . There is one more free class this Saturday, 2nd November for those who aren’t travelling during the extended weekend.

Before I could recover from all the stretching I did during yoga, I had trial dance classes for Barre au Sol and Body Ballet at a chic dance studio called Elephante Paname. I extended every possible muscle during the two hours and as a result I have been sore since then. After the two intense days of workout I felt very peaceful. Therefore, there will be more dancing and yoga.

If you haven’t realized until yet that there are no photos on this post, I will mark it out for you. I didn’t take a single photo this time; I just wasn’t in a mood. Sometimes it’s best to keep good memories alive in brain than storing them on disk (fine enough reason for my laziness).

That was all, my pretty and last autumn weekend.

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