Sunday, April 23, 2006

I've moved!

Everybody say, "Goodbye,"

It's time to move on.

Weep not, for a far more colorful world awaits you.

And has a three-column layout and a calendar linked to past posts.


Click it, and be happy.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Guest blogger

To celebrate the grand opening of my new blog tomorrow, my Mom will be guest blogging! Well, I guess technically she's already done it. She wrote up a funny little piece about what she learned when she was visiting me and I'll be posting it tomorrow on the typepad blog. Woohoo! I'm excited to finally launch that thing. It's very colorful, just to warn you. Also, you should know that the 100th visitor to the new blog will win a brand new car!

Ha. TOTALLY kidding there. You won't win anything for reading my blog, except my ever-lasting love and gratitude.

And isn't that reward enough?


This is pretty sweet. It's 9am and my host parents are AWAKE AND OUT OF THE HOUSE. For those of you who don't know...I always wake up before they do on weekends. They never get up before 10:30, and sometimes it's closer to noon or 1 if they had a dinner party the night before. They went out to do some food shopping, which means that I can play music and clean my room. Woohoo! It's pretty much a pigsty. I haven't cleaned up my stuff from my artist's date on Thursday and I went shopping yesterday. Plus when I was gone on Thurs, the housekeeper moved a rack of my laundry into my room and I haven't bothered to put it away yet. So yeah, I gotta take care of that stuff.

This is my last weekend of true vacation. I know you guys don't feel sorry for me, and you really shouldn't, but I don't want to go back to doing homework, minimal as it is. I don't even remember what I was supposed to do over break, so today and tomorrow are the days that I'll be cleaning, writing, probably some scrapping, doing some yoga, and a bit of homework to boot. So do you want to hear about Thursday and Friday? Of course you do. Here we go.

First of all, I just wanna say that Thursday was AMAZING. I was a tiny bit apprehensive just because I didn't know the town where I was going at all and I was going to be spending a whole day there by myself. It was actually a piece of cake. I went to the tourism office when I got there and asked for directions to the outlet mall. The nice lady there pointed me in the direction of the bus and off I went. Granted, I almost got on the bus going in the wrong direction, but that was ok because I had nothing but time. Nothing that had to be done, no one I had to meet, just a whooooooole day to do whatever I wanted.

2006041901When I got off the bus, this is the sign I saw. Isn't it glorious? "Marques" means brands, by the way. Four whole buildings filled with nothing but outlet shops. I spent more than half the day there, but amazingly enough, I didn't buy anything. The problem with outlet shopping is that they have a lot of ugly stuff that people didn't buy last season and won't buy this season either. Or they only have size extra extra small, which even the French women can't wear. There were a couple of things that tempted me, mainly a gorgeous black and white dress and a purple, black and white skirt, but they only had one size and it was one size too small. I think if I had sat down the dress would've ripped in two. But it looked so good when I was standing up!! Haha. I just couldn't justify it.

After I was done wandering the outlets, I took the bus back into town and wandered around taking pictures. I went into a bunch of little shops, found some churches and interesting doors to shoot, and then bought a sandwhich for dinner and ate it in the park. The weather was perfect - it was sunny and warm with a little bit of a breeze. I got a lot of funny looks when I was walking around with my camera...I don't think Troyes sees a whole lot of tourists, not compared to Paris. I think what drew the MOST funny looks (you'll appreciate this, Mom) is when I was practically lying down on an island in the middle of a traffic circle, trying to shoot a statue and also get the flowers at its base in the shot. I was doing that with the 35mm, so I'll let you know how that turns out.

Yeah, it was pretty much a perfect day. And yesterday wasn't half bad either. My friend's dad had commissioned me to do some family portraits in front of the Eiffel tower, so I went and did that yesterday morning. Her siblings were really cute, even though the 3 year old was afraid of cameras. I'm sure I got some good shots of them. It was really fun...definitely challenging for me but really enjoyable and a good experience. I'm really excited to see how the shots came out. Gotta finish that roll this weekend to get it developed on Monday.

After that, I dropped off my camera stuff and headed to the mall. SHOPPING SHOPPING!!! I had budgeted a certain amount to spend at the outlets, but after about half an hour in Promod it was all gone. I ended up buying two skirts, a tanktop, a pair of shoes, and a pair of earrings. You have got to see these skirts, they're the most adorable things ever.
I am so loving this style. It's not tight and it's good for short people with stumpy legs. The only thing you have to be careful of is wearing a shirt that's really long, as is in fashion now. If you wear a shirt like that with a skirt like this, it makes your butt look like it's about 3 feet wide. Trust me, that's how it looked in the dressing room.

Anyway, I met up with a couple friends after I was done shopping and we took a nice stroll around Paris, bought some stuff for dinner, and made salad and pasta. Mmm. We went to the movies after dinner...Ice Age 2!! I would highly recommend this movie. Hiliarous. It actually seemed kind of scary for a kids movie. There were definitely some sinister elements there. But yes, you should go see it. Pixar makes amazing movies and that's all there is to it. The Incredibles? Anyone? Anyone?
**eta**thank you whoever pointed out that Ice Age 2 is actually NOT a Pixar movie. Oops lol. One of my friends told me it was and I don't really pay attention to stuff like that.

Alright, I gotta clean my room now. And I have an announcement! TOMORROW will be the launch of my brand spankin' new typepad blog. You all better go see it, 'cause I gotta start paying for it in 3 days. I figured there was no sense in not using it once the free trial expired. So yes, check back tomorrow for a brand new blog, including a brand new scheme, seeing as I'm incapable of not fixing what's not broken.

Oh, ok, just for good measure, here's the shirt I bought.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ponytail envy

Yes, I admit it, I have ponytail envy. I actually have my hair up in a ponytail right now, but it's kind of pathetic. I had to use 7 bobbypins just to hold all the hair back. And it hardly counts as a ponytail, because a ponytail is supposed to drape. Mine just sticks straight out of the elastic band, and it doesn't move. Not at all. If I shake my head to try and get it to move, it just looks like one of those little ridiculous dogs whose whole backend wags when they try to wag their tail. I'm working on growing my hair out...I'm hoping to have a bit more of a ponytail by the time I come home for the summer. And that's only 34 days away, can you believe it? Wow.

I scrapped today! I have to say, I'm getting a little irritated with Photoshop. For some reason, it super-saturates whatever I have open. Or maybe my computer is dying and the colors are dim in everything except Photoshop. But it's really a pain, because I'll do a layout or do some color correction on a photo or something like that and then as soon as I open it in the finder or another program, it's all washed out. Anybody know what's going on?

Anyway, here's the page I did this morning. Kraft paper by Sara Carling, stitches by Gina Miller. Font is Plantagenet Cherokee.

I also went out and shot for about 2 hours. A lot of it was documentary type photos - the restaurants where I eat, the view from my metro, different signs near my house, etc. I also went up to La Defense and took a bunch of shots there. Here are some of my favorites. Some of them are blatant rip-offs from stuff Mom did last week. Thanks, Mom.

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I think the lil froggie is my favorite. He's sitting in the mouth of a bigger frog. Sooo cute. Also, I realize that the multicolored fountain thing is totally blown out - I like it that way. Anyway, tomorrow I'll be gone all day and it's rather doubtful I'll post tomorrow night. I will be shopping and shooting all day and I am SO excited. It's an extended artist's date, really. I think my train gets back into Paris around 10pm, so I won't be back home til almost 11. Yeah, I don't think I'll be blogging tomorrow.

Just so you know, this is totally unlike me. The whole daytrip thing, I mean. I usually wouldn't even dream of doing something like this alone, but it's good for me to step outside of my comfort zone. Hopefully I'll come back with some cool shots. I think I'm bringing both cameras and my tripod - I have the time, why not be patient and set up the shots? So beans. When was the last time you heard someone use that phrase? I bet it was a long time ago. I'm sorry, I'm rambling. I'm hungry. My host dad just informed me that he's going to pick up my host mom from work and then they're going to go food shopping, so I'm on my own for dinner. That's good on 2 counts. One, I don't have to eat endive salad, and two, there will actually be food in the house. And they're buying me avocados!! Yay! I think I might have told him to buy me a couple of lawyers instead of a couple of avocados...I'm still not sure about the pronunciation difference between those two words. Anywhoo, I'm gonna go find something to eat. Maybe the rest of the pancakes I made this morning...I was going to save them for tomorrow, but I can hear them calling my name from down in the fridge.

I must answer the call.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Canard! Canard!

Ok, I have some pictures for you! I decided not to do a recap of the whole week. It would take too long and I don't think anybody would really be interested except for me and Mom. So, I'll just give you some pictures instead. Like I said yesterday...Mom took all of these.

This one was taken at the top of the Arc de Triomphe looking down into the staircase. We were standing up there trying to get a picture of the spiral when all of a sudden most of the lights went out. Mom whirled around, thinking that I had backed into a lightswitch or something. Nope, wasn't me. Turns out the whole thing lost power. We got to stay up there for maybe 10 minutes before all the guards came around and said that they were closing and we had to leave. Man, that was disappointing. At least she got this picture. She did take a couple from the top, but I like this one the best.


No, I'm not taking a picture of my hand. It's called bracketing. And it looks funny.


I know I look really pissed off here, but really I wasn't. She caught me right when I turned around to give her the cone and I wasn't expecting her to be taking a picture. Oops.


Ok this was definitely one of the most hilarious things we saw all week. We were shooting at the Palais Royal gardens near a big fountain. While we were there, a few little kids showed up with their grandparents. This little girl noticed the ducks in the fountain. She started to lean over the water and shout at the ducks, trying to get them to come over to her. She just kept yelling "Canard!! Canard!!!" (Duck!! Duck!!!). Needless to say, the ducks didn't really want to go see her. She didn't care. She just followed them around the fountain, yelling at the top of her lungs. Maybe you had to be there, but trust me, it was hilarious.


Mom's drug of choice. Normal coffee (essentially coffee that's not espresso) is a little hard to come by in France, especially if you want a cup to go. We went to this cafe near our hotel and Mom thought it was the cutest thing ever. Of course it pretty much was, and I love this shot. PS - just because the croissants are sitting in a basket on your table does not mean they're free.

And I think that's all your getting for now. I took a lot of the same shots that Mom did and hers came out well, so I'm really excited to see mine. I just won't think too much about how much it's going to cost me to get all the rolls developed. At least I'm just getting negs and not actual prints. I think right now I'm going to do some yoga. I'm sooo stiff from walking around so much last week, paradoxically. I think it actually had less to do with the walking and more to do with carrying my bag or my backpack (full of camera stuff) all week. Plus I just feel so groggy today. I went for a brief walk (really brief, only half an hour) this afternoon, hoping the fresh air would wake me up a bit. It didn't. The next step is doing some yoga. I have some pics from last week that I'd like to scrap after dinner, if I get around to it. I don't see any reason why I wouldn't. I'm actually getting back on the Artist's Way bandwagon today, and it turns out that I'm jumping right back into the week of reading deprivation. That means no reading other people's blogs, no going on scrap sites, no reading magazines. I'm on vacation - I should be finding ways to amuse myself other than filling my head with stuff other people have written. I'm actually doing a solo daytrip on Thursday to Troyes, a medieval type town that has 3 outlet malls on its outskirts. Woohoo!! I badly need some new shoes. Plus I have a lot of low self-esteem outfits in my closet that I'd really like to replace. Yes, Will, I will be replacing them, not adding to them. What with the costs of bringing my luggage to Germany I'll have to pitch old clothes as I buy new ones. But I digress! I must do some yoga now.

Later dudes. Enjoy the pics.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I'm baaaaaack

Hello all,

Sorry to disappoint, but this is not going to be a long post. I'm kinda bummed about Mom being gone and I'm a little tired. Rather than making this a long whiny post, I will give you this picture to hold you over until I do a big recap of our week. I'm not even sure if a recap is necessary, because this is what we did:


We came.
We saw.
We shot.

And then, ate a croissant.

By the way, this is one of Mom's shots. I used the 35mm all week, so all the pictures you see will be hers. We were shooting at Palais Royal, which is definitely one of the coolest places photo-wise in Paris. Incidentally, this is also the only picture we have of the two of us. I love it.

I'll do a better post tomorrow, I promise.

Oh, one more thing...I will definitely be launching the new blog this week! Watch for it! Well, after I give you the address, which only a select few already have. Everybody at the'll laugh when you see the addy. Anyway, keep checking back, I'll be back to my regular posting schedule tomorrow.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Happy Monday!

And a good monday it was! I really thought today would go by sooooooo slowly, but thankfully, it didn't. Could be partially because I've only been up for 12 hours (it's 10pm now). I also spent a bunch of time this morning packing a duffel bag for Mom to take home. Actually, I think packing is the wrong word. "Cramming" is more like it. My poor little duffel bag is practically exploding at the seams. It kind of looks like it's in pain, honestly. It probably is. I'm guessing it weighs almost 50 pounds. If you could see it, you'd be very surprised something that small weighs that much. Seriously, it's only about 2 x 1 x 1 (feet, that is) and I can barely lift it. It's almost completely full of books.


I'm saying goodbye to all my scrapbook idea books and magazines. I'm also sending home a huge pile of letters that I've been sent since I've been here, mostly thanks to Gram (thank you!!), my big honkin' French dictionary (seriously, that's almost 5 pounds right there), a truckload of makeup stuff that I never use, all the CDs I have here, my beloved 2nd season of Arrested Development (really gonna miss that, but everything that isn't an essential had to go), all my knitting supplies, and any other random memorabilia that I want to keep but don't want to put in my luggage in 6 weeks.

That's right, 6 weeks, and I'll be gone. Holy crap. This semester has gone by soooooo fast.

Anyway, I don't want to get all mushy on you, so I'll just explain why I'm saddling my mother with an extra 50 pounds of luggage. Hmm, I could've sworn I blogged about this earlier this semester, but apparently not. So here's the story:

When I came back to Paris, I flew in on Air Berlin from Germany. I did not read the fine print about the baggage allowance for EU flights. I thought you were allowed 20 kg per piece of checked luggage.


You're only allowed 20kg per person.


Anybody want to guess how much I had, seeing as I had packed for a month?

Ok, I'll just tell you.

33 kg.

Now of course Air Berlin doesn't have a flat rate like most American airlines do, like if you're between 1 and 25 pounds over, it's this much money, between 26 and 50 it's this much, etc. Nope, they charge you by the kilo.

I had to pay them 50 euro to get my luggage on the plane. And they definitely felt sorry for me and bent the rules a little, because technically you're not even allowed to have more than 30kg no matter how much you pay. So suddenly my bargain basement flight of 30 euro turned into an 80 euro trip.

Yes, you guessed it. I'm flying Air Berlin back to Germany with EVERYTHING I OWN at the end of the semester.

Enter Pack Mule Mom.

I'm hoping that with most of the heavy stuff gone, I won't be over by quite so much. I really didn't want to fly Air Berlin again because in addition to the luggage fiasco, they had some major problems with my credit card. I don't really want to get into the whole thing in the interest of time, but it involved some very sketchy emails about them not being able to process my credit card and asking me to send them my bank information and me not believing said emails, even though it turns out they were real.

Customer service isn't a strong suit of Air Berlin's.

Anyway, enough of that. Mom will be here in roughly 13 hours! Hooray! I haven't packed yet, so I should probably go do that now.

Just to let you know - we will not have internet access at the hotel. I probably will not be posting again until Saturday. I know, it's sad, but true. I hope to post lots of pictures then. Me and mom are making dinner at my house on Saturday night because my host parents will be away and they gave me permission to use the kitchen, so I'll probably steal a bunch of mom's photos for my own personal use. You probably won't see any of my shots because I plan on using the 35mm all week. Just cross your fingers that the good people at the airport didn't make my mom put the film through the x-ray machine (she's bringing me 10 rolls).

I hope you all have a fabulous week!

A Samedi!