A Purebred Resume

If you've recently graduated college, you've probably noticed that the 20-something years of life you've crammed onto a page or two have suddenly become your total identity.  More people are asking for your resume than your phone number, and there's always a dash or spacing suggestion that could be fixed. Our resumes prove we're the best, not just at what we want to do, but at what anyone else would want us to do.  As the owner of the world's greatest dog, I found it completely unfair that he can't prove his excellence via a CV, so I decided to write one on his behalf...



what a face!

Les Petites Chiens

Dogs in Paris are much better behaved than American dogs. (Cory, are you reading this?)  It’s actually unbelievable.  I say this, because I see dogs doing things, and I don’t believe what I’m seeing.

So many dogs walk around off-leash, strutting in front of their owners like they own Paris.  They never bark, run away, or cause any trouble.  Where are these dogs bred and where can I get one?

I saw a golden retriever jogging alongside a couple bicycling down Saint Germain des Pres this morning.  Just jogging next to them. No leash.  No bird chasing.  No running in front of cars.  Who even knew this was possible?

There’s a dog by the Maison who hangs out on the window ledge, like a cat.  Doesn’t bark, whine, or jump.  Just sits there and looks cute.  Give me one, please.

Ladies carry around tiny Chihuahuas and Yorkies and swanky mixed breeds in petite designer purses to department stores, boutiques, and even restaurants.  I can’t imagine a NYC restaurant welcoming a purse-dog/rat inside…

My favorite dog experience, by far, was last Sunday in a café. I enjoyed a delicious brunch at a crepe place near the Maison and continued on down the road to meet other friends for a second brunch.

There’s nothing like French portion sizes to make you feel like a glutinous American.  I’m always eating and always hungry.  Everything is delicious.  Everything is overpriced.  I’m waiting to get back to NYC before I let all of this set in, but at least my clothes still fit…

We sat down at a table near the window and made ourselves comfortable.  Well, as comfortable as one can be without a dog.  After we placed our orders, a family with an adorable, off-leash Bichon sits down behind us. No restaurant in the US would allow this, but Europe is awesome!  The dog ended up spending the rest of the meal on my lap, greatly enhancing my afternoon and definitely making the case for pets in restaurants!

After lunch part two, I left my friends to write in a café otherwise known as chez Starbucks and then went for a walk to Ile Saint Louis, which is just past Notre Dame and apparently famous for its ice cream.

I braved the forty-five minute line at Berthillon for a scoop of chocolate ice cream in a cone, and like many things with a wait that long, it was overrated.   However, I read a good chunk of my book and eavesdropped on some fantastic Canadian tourists, so all wasn’t lost!

Paris I love You but You’re Bringing Me Down

I’ve survived the greatest fear of my generation: losing an iPhone. Wednesday marked my first day of disenchantment with Paris. I woke up early to walk to Starbucks to catch up on work. The petite dejuneur at a Parisian Starbucks offers fresh squeezed orange juice, an espresso beverage of choice, and a pastry of choice, so I was set to camp out for the morning. An hour into editing, negotiating, and iMessaging later, a kid comes up from behind me and rattles paper in my face and over my laptop screen, while his sister yells at me in French.

“Go away, go away.” They left. As I turned back to return to the review I was working on, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. Yes, my iPhone had left its comfortable spot on my keyboard, and was gone forever. Apparently, this paper-waving distraction is a common trick, it’s all about getting you to lose your focus, but I was not aware of this until after it happened. “Oh, the paper trick, that happens all the time!” That would have been good to know…

So Paris is not perfect. I already knew this much with their overpriced salads and stupid Metro tickets that only work when they want to, but really? My phone was taken by kids? And there’s nothing I could do about it? Paris was getting less magical by the second. Yes, it’s just a phone, and it’s easily replaceable, I’m still safe and healthy, so it’s nothing to get too upset over. But being stolen from is a pretty terrible feeling. I was taken advantage of right before my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop it. While I still feel safe in Paris, perhaps safer than in New York in many instances, there’s now this suspicion I can’t leave behind, that at any time, in any place, someone may try to take something from me, with or without my knowledge.

After the child-theft, I walked to class for a writing workshop followed a lecture by a woman who translates American books into French, including all of Mary Higgins Clark’s work. After class, we grabbed dinner at an Italian restaurant (after only a week and a half I’m easily known as the girl who eats only pasta, and I truly appreciate everyone’s effort in finding me delicious pasta-serving places) and then headed to what is becoming our regular bar, WOS, to watch the Spain vs. Italy game and mourn the loss of my iPhone.

End of blog post for Wednesday. Text me for deets, BFFS.

Shopaholic Takes Paris

Thursday morning was gorgeous! Finally nice weather in Paris! I walked to the Musée Maillol, which is not one of the more famous museums in Paris, but was highly recommended by a friend, and I completely endorse that. Artisde Maillol’s artwork and art collection is featured permanently in the upper-level galleries, and the current visiting exhibit is of Artemesia Gentileschi’s paintings, who I originally fell in love with on a trip to Italy a few years ago. In short, she’s a female Baroque painter with plenty of masterful portraits of women kicking ass. Go see it. It’s worth the 9 euros. The museum also has a beautiful tearoom and restaurant, with extremely reasonable prices for a classy afternoon meal.

A friend living here told me that sale season would soon come to Paris, and I would be overwhelmed by all the Soldes signs in windows. Overwhelmed by shopping? Moi? I’m a pretty expert shopper, but I’m going to say she was right on this one—the entire city is on sale! Where to start? Where to go? Am I getting a good deal or is this 90 euro shirt that’s half off and then 20% off still overpriced? Am I at the Forever 21 or J Crew of Paris? Why are all these colors on the same dress? I went into many, many boutiques, and left empty handed. PARIS WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? Everyone in Paris looks truly fashionable, but I’m having a hard time figuring out where they actually purchase their clothes…

Thursday evening after class we had Salon, in which writers presented their work along with other various talents. We were treated to unbelievably delicious varieties of goat cheese and cream puffs, and a bit of Paris’ magic was re-instilled in me. After Salon, I walked to Odeon to meet a high school friend for crepes, where we caught up and reminisced, all while taking in the streets of Paris.

Friday began with more crepes, and a walk to les Marais to visit the Picasso Museum, which it turns out, is under renovation. Why I never think to consult the Internet before planning my day is beyond me.

I decided just to wander, because getting lost in Paris is every American’s dream! I walked around the Orthodox neighborhood; many Parisian Jewish women look indistinguishable from hipsters: vintage peasant skirt, headscarf, oversized sweater. Is Brooklyn headed in this direction? #Assimilation.

Before crossing the river back home, I stopped into Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV), the big Parisian department store, similar to Harrod’s or Macy’s. I browsed clothing and makeup on the 0 level, and continued on up to look at everything from art supplies to window treatments to sushi and gelato. Paris is a place to be looked at and a place to be seen, but at BHV I finally felt that anonymity I love about the streets of New York. Everyone was too self-absorbed and determined in their shopping to care about what I wore or how poor my French was. Only I could feel at home in a department store. Or walking down streets where dogs think they're cats...

I headed home for a Friday night pasta dinner and met friends on the steps of the Pantheon, where local students hang out at night. At risk of sounding like an alcoholic, New York’s open container laws are making less and less sense to me. While yes, there is always potential for street-drinking to go awry, it’s so nice to share a bottle of wine with friends outdoors on a beautiful summer night, and not be forced into a sketchy bar or tiny apartment in order to socialize. In Paris, while wine is more popular than water, drinking is not about getting drunk, but much like getting coffee, about socializing while enjoying a beverage, sipping slowly and talking quickly and not worrying about where the night will end up.

An American Girl In Paris: Part Une

When I think of Paris I think of wine and cheese and art.  My program welcomed us on Saturday afternoon in the best possible way: with all three of these, plus Orangina, which I will never turn down. I headed to Reid Hall aka Columbia Global Centers Europe where I met the other 14 writers in my program.  Our professors welcomed us by asking red, white, or rose and then pointed us in the direction of a table literally overflowing with charceuterie, baguettes, cheese, and macarons.  Charceuterie aside, everything was beyond delicious.  The bread was fresher than I had ever tasted, delightfully crusty on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside.  The brie was creamy with the strong taste French brie should have and the Chevre spread unlike any pre-wrapped Trader Joe’s cheese.

And then the desserts. Apparently the French don’t get fat, but it’s certainly not for the lack of food.  Five minutes of orientation to a Creative Writing program and I’ve already shifted my career goals to become a French Pastry Chef.  Julia Child didn’t know French when she moved here!  Everything just tasted so fresh.  So perfectly sweet, no trace of artificiality: the chocolate, vanilla bean, and pistachio pastries may have been the best I’d ever had.

The orientation was brief; all of us equally exhausted and excited to explore the city beyond the conference room that was currently holding us back from a month of Parisian adventures.  We received our Parisian Columbia IDs (on which, I must mention, I look lovely, so clearly there was no need for me to compete on ANTM: a beautiful school ID is much more practical than a Covergirl spread…) and we were ready to hit the town!

Le Chein

We set out to find a grocery store and purchase our first round of supplies.  (Read: wine).  Even in Paris, a trip to the market has its stories.

While waiting outside for the rest of the group to reach the cash register, a very stereotypically French man approached with his dog.  Without thinking, I reached down to pet it, scratch its ears, and talk to it in a stupid reserved-for-puppies voice.  Apparently in France this translates to: “I love your dog and want to keep it forever.”  The man thrust the dog’s rope/leash into my friend’s hand, gave us an explanation in French, and walked away.  We stood their giggling like two girls who had just adopted a puppy.  We couldn’t smoke or play loud music in the Maison after 10pm, but we hadn’t heard any rules about pets?  Also, what?  Who does that? Who passes off a dog to random Americans?  After debating what to do with the dog for a good half hour, the owner returned with a “Merci Beaucoup” and reclaimed his precious pet.

We continued to Jardin du Luxembourg, which is apparently a popular place for celebrities to visit.  No baby Blue Ivy in sight, we still had a lovely time walking by the flowers, palm trees, and fountain while breathing the delicious French air.

In French parks, it’s very popular to bring a bottle of wine, a few cups, and laugh with your friends at ugly Americans.  This is something New Yorkers should pick up.  There would be fewer Starbucks cups on the ground, plus, everyone would be happier just to express their angst in public, rather than on a laptop in the corner of a dark Brooklyn coffee shop.  Just saying.

On that note, there’s an insane lack of litter in my neighborhood.  I also have yet to see a homeless person. The “undesirable” qualities of New York living just seem not to exist in Paris.  It’s kind of surreal. If Paris had the geography of Manhattan, I'd be living in the French Upper East Side, which is quite different from my usual tattooed and boozy St. Mark's apartment.

We walked to a Poets’ Market, which had booths of writers sipping booze and selling self-bound editions of their work.  If I spoke French, it would have been hard to resist purchasing all of these adorable books, but luckily for my budget, I just looked, felt inspired (apparently that’s what I’m here for) and continued on in our exploration.  Our night ended with a midnight dinner by the gardens and a walk back to the Maison, which did not include any run-ins with famous authors of the past, but that’s for another night!

Put a Bedazzler on It!

Somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving I decided that it was absolutely imperative that I purchase a Bedazzler.  Immediately.  Perhaps it was the leftover glittery enthusiasm of my Toddlers & Tiaras costume or maybe the impending gloom of winter inspired me to add a little extra bling to my life. For less than $20, I purchased the absolute best tool I could ever imagine, adding glamorous sparkle and unique flare to my favorite clothing and accessories.

As my Bedazzling hobby has melded into almost a Bedazzling obsession. I find myself  aggressively pushing through racks at Beacon's Closet, determined to find the best clothes and accessories to cover in cheap rhinestones and studs.  I've realized that it's not all about the glitz and glamour that my Bedazzler provides to my wardrobe, but my love for the 1980s gadget stems from something else entirely:  individuality.

I won't deny that I'm kind of a hipster, that I've lived to be alternative ever since I attended kindergarten with a head full of hair twisted into tiny braids dangling with chunky pink and silver beads. As my middle school teachers informed me, I'm not afraid to start trends: I put a bird on it long before Fred & Carrie told us to. Yes, my closet is overflowing with years of collected sequin parrot shirts and printed sparrow tanks. However, as much as I hesitate to say, I'm also a little bit of a huge trend follower.

Yes, I'll admit to the rainbow of Juicy Couture sweatsuits elegantly stuffed in my closet.  Of course I have a pair of Vans, Sperrys, Uggs, Toms, and Rainbow sandals-- everyone has them, they look the same, but they're comfortable and stylish, so I'm not giving them up.  My American Apparel hoodies are softer and more colorful than any others I could own, and my North Face jacket is comfier and warmer than any vintage off-brand jacket I could find.  (Ok, I haven't looked hard, I'm a firm believer in the Cult of North Face.  Plus, it make you look like an adventurer!). I own far too many mass produced tops from Urban Outfitters and I mesh with the crowds in Union Square carrying my Strand bag through the Greenmarket.

Though I do realize the Bedazzler isn't for everyone, I've found it to be my number one tool in my quest for individuality! My hair feathers are fabulous, of course, but I absolutely love adding my own bling to my wardrobe. I can move beyond my sequin shorts and glittery Toms and make my life sparkle! I can shop at my H&M  and bedazzle it to! Yes, I've had a lot of caffeine (In my Bedazzled travel mug!) today...

A Mason jar has never looked so glamorous!