June 29, 2013

THE FAMILY

Fitzgerald Gatsby Daisy Syvlia Leonard & Virginia Joyce Montag Shel Wonka billy wilde t & t Hemingway c & t Kerouac orpheus eurydice plant1
After scrolling through all these pictures of plants, you're probably wondering what's going on... Well, during the last six months in Paris, I've acquired a lot of little plant friends. 21 to be exact. Today, I decided to give them all names because I love 'em! They make my room look like a jungle, and I love it! Absolutely love it. I take care of them like they're my babies and now that they have names, maybe I'll start talking to them. Oh how strange that will be... I bought Dionysus, Orpheus and Eurydice last which is why they don't have the same kind of names... I've been listening to Anais Mitchell's "Child Ballads" and "Hadestown" so much lately. That's my explanation. Vx

PS. Can any of you successfully get every name right? What author? What poet? What person? What character? What book? Some are easy, some are not... ;)

June 28, 2013

BETTER

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sweater: Gap • favorite skirt: thrifted • shoes: Minelli 

I'm feeling a lot better than I was this morning – yes! Now it's time for some major photo editing. I have loads of pictures to share, but first I have to go through them all... there are so many. 
I've worn this skirt so many times, it's my absolute favorite. And I bought this sweater and these shoes on Wednesday. In love with my new things. In my post about minimalism, I mentioned wanting "essentials" so that I can get the most out of my wardrobe. I'm glad to say that everything I got on Wednesday were things I needed. This new black cardigan is perfect, as are the shoes. I discovered Love Aesthetics blog the other day, and while I'm not a big fan of all-white-all-the-time, I like what she wrote here. I want simplicity in my clothes, I want things to match more. The next time I go through my closet, I'm going to see what items don't go with anything else, what I haven't worn in a while and really be honest with myself to finally get rid of some more items. The good thing about having black, white and gray clothes is that I can pair them with more crazy items, like my green velvet booties, or my blue heels... I will spend a lot of time trying things on, and getting rid of anything I don't feel comfortable in. In the past six months, I've seen myself gravitate to a more "grown up" comfortable style... I want to be left with items I am truly in love with. Vx 

PS. By the way, as I get rid of more and more things in my closet, some items will be up on my instagram shop! If you like anything, you can email me for more pictures, info on shipping etc. 

PPS. On a completely different topic, I have lost some more weight and am halfway there! This is the lowest I've ever been, and most confident and happy with my body I've ever felt. Cheers!

June 26, 2013

ON MINIMALISM: BECOMING A MINIMALIST

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Today I'm going shopping with my dad. Believe it or not, I've rarely gone shopping with my mom. Maybe because my mom always likes to make me feel guilty for getting something new: "Do you really need that? Don't you have enough? I thought you wanted to stop spending?" yada, yada, yada (someone's been watching Seinfeld). That voice is already in my head! Sometimes I'm human and I just don't want to listen to it. Sometimes getting something new makes me feel good... for a little while.

There is a battle in my head. There is, there is! I've been trying to get rid of loads of things – not just clothes... anything! It takes a really long time. And I don't mean a matter of hours. I mean, you dive into your closet the first time, you pick out one or two dresses you haven't worn and put them in the "donate/sell" pile. But you can't possibly get rid of anything else, no... A couple days later you realize how hard it is to get rid of your possessions and you try harder. You try your other closet, where all the random crap is. All my random crap is in little shoe boxes. I don't even know what's in there, I just know I need it. Then, after about a dozen tries, you finally get rid of a good amount of things! 

I've come up with one simple rule I am determined to follow. One item in, one item out. Whenever I buy something, I will also get rid of something. A skirt, a book, even a fucking pen, it doesn't matter, something has got to go. 

I started by saying I'm going shopping today... you're probably thinking Why the fuck are you going shopping if you're trying to be a minimalist?! Well, I have a short list of "essentials". A white t-shirt,  a black tank top, a white silk blouse, a pair of brogues, a pair of sandals, and some pyjamas. There are too many things in my closet I can't wear because i don't have anything to go with it. Hopefully that will change now. 

There's always room for improvement. I'm not Chris McCandless, unfortunately. This road to minimalism will be a long long long one, but I hope to slowly get rid of more things and live more a more simple, less cluttered life, with less attachment to material possessions (obviously not talking about my guitar, let's not go crazy).

Other articles to read...
5 simple ways to declutter your closet
The minimalism of not knowing (I love this article)
On wanting stuff
Simplify



Q: What is minimalist living?
A: It’s simply getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly. (LINK)

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June 25, 2013

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Hey there, this picture is one of my favorites from this week. It's a picture of Hatley and me. Hatley is my best friend and "sister". She's taking some classes at Oxford this summer, and came to Paris for a bit before going to England. I hadn't seen her or her parents, Ann and David, in four years. It was incredible. It felt completely normal, like we hang out all the time or something. So, I'm happy... Happy. Happy. Vx

June 24, 2013

FITNESS & HEALTH - LITTLE TRICKS

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Heya! Wow, I can't believe how much I've been posting on being healthy, eating healthy, and working out... It's so exciting but at the same time, I don't want my blog to be exclusively about fitness & health so I'm toning it down from now on. I don't know about you, but I'm the kind of person who thinks of a goal, gets really motivated for two seconds and then just gives up. My wish here is to stay motivated and if possible, motivate others as well!

I thought I would share some little things I do every day (or at least very frequently). Some have to do with weight loss, some with fitness, some with energy, and some with healthy glowing skin... I truly hope this helps and let me know if you start to try some of these!
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June 22, 2013

PARIS // HANG OUT IN THE 6th ARRONDISSEMENT

IMG_8813 IMG_8805 [Note: Here is a wonderful post by my friend Rozena (lovely girl drinking wine above). She shares with us some of her favorite places in the 6th arrondissement. I've been to a couple... love 'em!]

Thanks, Valentina, for letting me write an article for your blog!

When I first moved to Paris, I lived at 69 rue de Seine 75006. During this time I also worked at The Moose, a Canadian sports bar approximately three paces away from my doorstep. I came to know the Saint-Germain-de-Pres neighborhood very well. So well, that after ten months of omnipresent tourists and over-priced grocery stores I was ready to peace out.
     Even though it’s been almost a year since I’ve moved, I haunt Odeon frequently. I established my Parisian life here! These streets are my ‘hood. And when I come back, I can usually be spotted at one of the following establishments:
 
1. Cosi
54 rue de Seine
Two minutes before writing this sentence I received a phone call from a friend asking if I wanted to go get some Cosi, because my crew is to Cosi as the characters of Friends are to Central Perk. This adorable soup-salad-sandwich shop always has the friendliest staff and the heavenliest bread, which is unique to Cosi and baked before your eyes in a brick oven. In addition to having fresh, delicious salads and sandwiches involving things like roasted zucchini, olive tapenade and tandoori turkey (not necessarily in the same sandwich), their Cosi nutella, which is simply hot Cosi bread dripping with nutella, makes me melt in my chair when I think about it. Even people like my father, who is simultaneously allergic to gluten and dairy and sugar and joie de vivre, adore this hole-in the wall café. Plus the prices are an oasis if you are a poor person in the sixth.
     Most of the time I don’t even go there to eat. If I have work to do, I grab a coffee or pick a Mariage Frere tea and head to the upstairs tables to listen to the soft opera music, or look at the stories written on the chalkboard walls, or surf Facebook instead of studying (free Wi-Fi: a blessing and a curse). I love, love, love this place and everything that it’s owners do. Drew Harré (my old neighbor! I am so lucky) and Juan Sanchez are also the creators of my all-time favorite restaurant in the ENTIRE WORLD, conveniently located right next door to Cosi: Semilla. I am not going to write about Semilla because I do not have enough superlatives so I will leave you with this link:

55, rue Dauphine
One day I was waiting in front of the bus stop to go on a date and I noticed behind me an Asian-French fusion restaurant with a very interesting menu. The prices were something like 12 euros a dish, which is outrageously inexpensive given its location. I found out after meeting up with my date that he didn’t have any specific restaurant plans for dinner so we headed back to the sixth to try what I now refer to as Xin.
     I quickly brought my roommate and all of our friends to Xin and it became a staple in our diet. My roommate loved the bibimbap while I religiously ordered the Tartare Coréen, which is an amazing beef tartare with Korean spies. As for my date, he is still my boyfriend a year and a half later, probably thanks to my excellent taste in restaurants. His favorite dish is the Italie Mian, a crazy concoction of penne pasta, beef and mushrooms with a raw egg yolk in a savory Korean sauce.   

81, rue de Seine 
Traditional French food is not exactly scarce in the sixth but finding a French restaurant where the quality matches the price can be. Pere et Filles isn’t for a student budget but it won’t kill you either and my word is the food fantastic. Their Ravioles de Royans is the best I have tasted so far, so creamy but so light! In the autumn when Paris becomes cold and rainy I like to sit in the cozy interior of the restaurant near the bookshelves and sip their onion soup (again, the best I’ve had so far in Paris). In the summer they have a great terrace where you can people-watch while devouring a yummy salad. The customers are a fun mix of cool Parisians and happy tourists and eavesdropping here becomes more and more fun as I become more and more bilingual.
                     
65, rue de Seine
Disclaimer: I used to work here. And if I were to go back to waitressing in Paris I would re-apply here first. The staff is composed of international foodies from Cuba, Japan, Mali and Colombia (to name a few), and the staff meals are dishes like risotto with bellota ham. To top it off, their Sangria is divine. It has strawberries in it, for heaven’s sake.
Originally an épicerie, Da Rosa’s owner José Da Rosa travelled all around Italy, Spain, Portugal and France to find the best tastes possible and bring them together in one store. Eventually he expanded it into a sort of tapas-style restaurant, where the idea is to try the items sold at the épicerie and if you like them buy them afterwards. Himalayan salt, 100% Iberian ham, manchego cheese with cherry jam, scores and scores of olives… when I was training here, It was an obligatory that I try everything because the staff had to be VERY knowledgeable in order to advise the INCREDIBLY knowledgeable foodies that frequent this restaurant. Did you know that if ham cures for over 36 months the fat becomes Omega-3 fatty acid, the kind of fat found in avocados, the kind that is good for your liver? I learned that from a customer at Da Rosa.
Check out this video and you will see the level of gourmandise that I am talking about:   

76, rue de Seine
Every Sunday morning my roommate and I worked the brunch shift at The Moose. Every Sunday morning I was 5 minutes late because I was picking up our breakfasts at Gérard Mulot. Yes, they are famous for their macaroons but macaroons schmacaroons their baguettes are so good its stupid. Their pain au chocolate makes me happy to be alive. And they have this… thing… that is a meringue sandwich with fresh crème chantilly filling. Just go.   
  
6. Places to go out at Night
Okay so this entry is actually three places but as everything above is meal-oriented I wanted to name a few places where I find shelter come nightfall.  

10, rue de l'Odéon
I always refer it as “The Sangria Bar” because that’s exactly what it is: you share pitchers on pitchers of inexpensive but yummy Sangria with friends. Oh, and there’s a jukebox. I love the jukebox! Who doesn’t get a kick out of a jukebox, especially when the song choices are fun? The customers are normally French 20-somethings enjoying the cheap drinks and the mellow, congenial vibe.     

15 Rue Clément 
Monday nights suck for many but they are the highlight of the week for musicians in the sixth! The Coolin’ AND Le Tennessee host their open mic nights. The Coolin’ is an Irish bar run by mostly English and Irish kids who are lively and fun. They’ve got your typical Guinness, Newcastle, U.K.-expat drinking nonsense but they are NOT “just another Irish pub” because they have French brews and jazz nights! I especially love when Paddy Sherlock sings. He’s a charming Irishman who flies everyone to the moon when he picks up the microphone. The Coolin’ hosts many diverse concerts and free music and provides a fun, typical club dance floor on the weekends.

Le Tennessee
 12 Rue André Mazet  
I know Le Tennessee because the guy who is in charge of organizing their live music lived on top of The Moose. He’s a fabulous artist named James. Back in the day he always had a Mohawk and a Fedora. Sadly, I haven’t been to Le Tennessee since my night classes started but I believe the schedule remains: Monday nights are open mic nights, Friday nights are classic rock, and the rest of the nights are either James’ band playing their own awesome songs or new groups that James has discovered. In any case, I’ve been there for every night of the week and have only had good times. The entrance to La Tennessee leads you to the bar and lounge where most of the crowd is, again, 20-something French people smoking and drinking and being French. If you prefer a chill night with friends, stay there. If you want to rock your socks off, go downstairs.  

Voila, the places where I feel most at home. Many of them are Anglophone, some of them upscale, all of them awesome. My main hang is of course, The Moose, but I’ll let Valentina cover that one. (that would be our mutual friend Nikki drinking beer at the Moose!)

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June 18, 2013

PEACOCK

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top: H&M • pants: thrifted • boots: André • bag: Rue Princesse

Stupid wrinkled shirt... I knew I should've ironed it. God, I'm lazy. The other day my mom and I went to Fuxia for lunch. Deliiicious. I already knew what I wanted (Farfalle Pastore) but I also knew that I always end up feeling super full, so I asked if they had doggy bags (not so much in France)... they did! I ate half, and brought the other half home to eat for dinner. It's a small thing, but it made me happy.
I don't know if you can really see the necklace but it's my absolute favorite. I was walking around Barcelona with my cousin last month and we went into a jewelry store... there were loads of things, I almost didn't see this. But when I did I knew I had to have it. It wasn't too expensive but at first I said "I'll wait until Monday. If I still want it then, I'll come back and get it." but after thinking about it for five minutes, I just went ahead and bought it. Whaaaatever, it's too cool. Voilà. Perfect. Have a great day. Vx

June 17, 2013

MUSIC FOR THE SOUL

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I decided that instead of posting one song this week, I'd make a whole playlist... All of these songs are quite special to me. Shepherd is still my number one, all-time favorite Anais Mitchell song. C'est mon gigolo brings back memories of dancing and smiling like a mad person, the most honest smile to come across my face in the past six months, I believe. I included Conor's song because I think he's a great, funny, pescatarian-type person with mad skills and am a bit sad we won't see each other soon like he said. Have a great week... Vx

June 16, 2013

SKINNY FOOD: BANANA & NUTELLA

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You may already know of this heavenly combination but if you don't, you're in for a treat. There's no cooking required so yay! Instructions: cut a banana. add two teaspoons of nutella. Voilà. I ate 3/4 of a medium size banana (yes, I ate part of a banana yesterday and left the rest in the fridge, that's what I do) and added almost 15g of nutella. That's a total of 157 calories. I would eat this as a second breakfast or a snack in the afternoon. It's a pretty healthy snack, I should say. 

Nutella is a funny thing. I don't see much of it in the US, but here in France, it's a staple food in every home. I've always known it's high in calories but I never really looked into it. Today, I read on the label: One portion (15g) is 81 calories. That's pretty much two teaspoons. I remember spreading nutella on a piece of bread at friends' houses as a teenager. Assuming a slice of bread is 70 calories and that we would spread about two tablespoons on a slice, that amounts to 280 calories! and the snack isn't too great. No fruits or proteins... When I have kids, I will definitely remember this little recipe that's is a much healthier alternative. Enjoy! Vx

June 15, 2013

PARIS // LA PATISSERIE DES RÊVES

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My mom and I went to la patisserie des rêves on Thursday. We got a tarte aux fraises and a millefeuille! It's such a fancy place; everything is beautiful. It's not too expensive, but obviously I wouldn't go every day (I don't think anyone should be eating french pastries every day anyway haha)  I think the millefeuille was around 5€, so if you're in Paris, trying out new things, try to check out this patisserie! Next time, my mom and I will try a Paris-Brest – apparently it's the best in Paris! Can't wait. Vx

June 11, 2013

FITNESS & HEALTH - MOTIVATION

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I can't find the photo credit... help?

I started to really focus on eating well and exercising a week ago and already I'm hearing that nagging little voice whispering "give up, give up, give up..." It gets worse. I kid you not, I actually tell myself "You're never going to achieve your goal so why bother? You're not strong enough anyway. Honestly, Valentina, this is a stupid goal, you love food, who cares about your weight and your figure?" ... I do! So why am I telling myself that!? What happens when I give in to the little voice in my head? I eat when I'm not hungry causing me to go over the calorie limit for the day. I don't push myself to exercise. I feel bad. So here are a couple things to keep you (and myself) motivated:

Don't weigh yourself right after a meal or several times a day. It's possible that right after a meal, you will put on a teensy bit of weight and this will cause you to lose motivation. Also, you're not going to lose 3 pounds in one day so...

• Be patient. This takes time. You absolutely have to learn to be patient and keep doing what you're doing even if you don't see a 5 pound drop in 24 hours. If you're like me and start to lose motivation for any goal you set for yourself, notice when that happens and fight it!

Exercice your own way. Nobody says you have to go on a 45 minute run. Start slow. Start with walking fast if you wish! Just do something every day. I promise you that with practice you will get better. Nobody is judging you. Relax. But you still have to...

• Push yourself. So you weren't able to run for too long or go for a walk? Maybe it was raining? Don't get all lazy on me! Buy yourself a mat, get yourself some awesome and good-quality sportswear, go on YouTube and do one of these videos!

Cheers, Vx

June 10, 2013

LATELY

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1 & 2. Drying roses
3. Happy to say that all this fitness & healthy eating has helped slim down my inner thighs!
4. playing solitaire...
5. welcome to the family, little baby plant
6. salad with lemon & calamari - delicious!
7. my dear friend Pierre Antoine. Happy to spend so much time with him lately.
8. oh I love her...
9. one of my favorite cheeses ever
10. having fun with this little camera lately
11. flowers in my tea

June 9, 2013

20 QUESTIONS

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Heya, I've been visiting a ton of blogs lately to find some new inspiration and some new lovely people. I found this funny little questionnaire on this blog. It's been a pretty laid back Sunday... so here we go just for fun ;)

1/ Where were you 3 hours ago? In my bedroom.

2/ Name three things that are physically close to you: My computer, my ankle weights, a blanket over me.

3/ What was the last thing you bought? delicious tapenade!

4/ What time did you wake up this morning ? 9:30am


5/ What's the weather like right now ? Paris is windy and grey

6/ When was the last time you showered ? Yesterday... lazy Sunday haha


7/ What does you last text message say? "Anto?" 

8/ With the exception of the computer, what can you hear? Cars...

9/ Have you ever been to a different country? Ha, oh yes..


10/ What was the last movie that you saw on your computer/laptop? Movie? Can't remember. TV show, I'm currently watching Project Runway.


11/ Do you like sushi? I love sushi so so much!!!

12/ Where do you buy your groceries? Casino, Monoprix and the farmer's market.

13/ How many siblings do you have ? z.e.r.o

14/ How old will you be turning on your next birthday? Hmmm... a hundred and twenty years old.

15/ Favourite TV shows? Friends, Gilmore Girls, Modern Family...


16/ Tell me some things you are planning to do today: It's 9pm... work out a little while watching some more Project Runway, read a bit, sleep. 

17/ What is your perfect pizza topping? Cheese

18/ Are you wearing any perfume or cologne? No ma'am

19/ What is your eye colour? Dark brown

20/ Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? Urgh no



MONTMARTRE

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dress: thrifted • socks: Ralph Lauren • shoes: André • bag from Morocco

Bonjour... I found it in this small thrift store near métro Abbesses. It looked weird but I decided to try it on anyway. Good thing I did because I fell in love with it. These pictures were taken in the 18ème arrondissement. It was a nice day despite all the tourists. Sometimes, I really love Paris. But not in the summer... oh no, not in the summer. Vx

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