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The Paris Plan:

1. Create every day.

2. There is Paris outside your window.

3. Listen. (No earbuds!)

4. Exercise.

5. Eat.

6. Don't freak if you gain 5 lbs.

7. Speak French daily.

8. Don't buy into the fantasy.

9. Don't forget the men.

10. Leave the city sometimes.

11. Know your numbers.

12. Read lit about Paris.

13. Wear the right shoes.

14. Embrace the unexpected.

15. Sometimes forget the rules.

Thursday
Jun262014

Photos I Almost Forgot: La Promenade Plantée in Paris

Can't believe I almost overlooked these pics! Back in May, Paris' Promenade plantée (also called the "Coulée verte") was bursting at the seams. The elevated park--built in 1993 on an old, unused railway--reminded me a lot of NYC's Highline. I really dig a smart urban greenway like this, especially when it's heavy with roses juuuuuust after they've hit that spot where they're big and bloomy and juuuuuust before they're about to depart for the season. It's slightly dramatic, slightly sad, and completely dreamy, all at once.

Monday
Jun232014

Here's how to deal with leaving Paris

#1. Don't write about it on your blog, because if you do, maybe then it means that you really did leave.

(Hi. So, I really did leave.)

I've been back from my three months in Paris for a few weeks now, and I think I've been avoiding M-Dashing because it feels real any time I write about something on my blog. But it is real: I am back on U.S. soil, back on N.Y.C.'s gritty streets, and back to feeling like, "Okay, so what's next?"

While I suss all that out--because it's going to take some real time--I've got loads more to write about Paris, so expect additional posts coming up. I'd love to share more about what I learned, what I saw, and, ahem, what I ate. (Because heaven knows my waistline is still dealing with that last one. The Paris Plan #5 and #6 4-EVA, y'all.)

And speaking of The Paris Plan, I'm doing my best to incorporate those guidelines into life here in New York. It's not always easy. (#7 comes straight to mind, because, what do I use there instead? Something about embracing/not masking my own actual Southern accent within a sea of Northern ones?) (Oh Lord have mercy, we'll just discuss that later.) But I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks to everyone who read along during my adventure. Thanks also to those who helped make my adventure so--I don't even know what adjective sums it up--memorable? Magical? Monumental? Whatever m-word it was, it was all a gift. All of it.

Here's to more adventures soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday
May212014

Dangerous Liaisons, as told by a former member of the safety patrol

This is my Paris bike. (I know--I didn't tell you...I have a bike.) When I ride it here, there is no helmet involved.

This is a piece of cheese. It is from the local outdoor food market. It is unpasteurized. Also, it is delicious.

These are eggs at the grocery store. They are displayed on a shelf and are not refrigerated. (Neither is the milk.) Both are currently in my apartment fridge.

Every day, around every corner, Paris does anything it can to assault my safety-focused American upbringing. It shakes me up, challenges me, and secretly thrills me. Put simply, there is a looseness here that isn't in the States. It's a pffffft attitude--a sort of recklessness (for lack of a better word) Americans don't naturally have.

The first time I noticed it was on the metro. [And I know it wasn't just me, because at least two other American friends visiting me commented on this, too.] On some of the older subway trains, the doors have to be manually opened via a pull handle if you want to exit. With a casual flick-click, Parisians boldly open them and hop off before the train comes to a complete stop in the station. (I know! Clutching the pearls here, too!)

You see this characteristic above ground as well. Drivers of cars, of buses, of anything, don't seem as uptight as we are. People ride around on bikes and skateboards and scooters without helmets. At the grocer, eggs and milk sit on shelves, not in refrigerated sections. And in my stomach, unpasteurized cheeses and butters made with raw milk have moved in and set up camp like they never could have in the USA.

Now, I don't mean to imply that Paris is some sort of free-for-all danger pit. Obviously not--no no. I liken it more to a proper young lady who has a wild streak that comes out in subtle ways--whether it's in a dizzying waft of her perfume, the way she purposefully wears a dress that's slightly too clingy, or the way you know, beyond all doubt, that she will totally pickpocket your wallet one evening when you bend down to give her a long, slow kiss goodnight.

It's seductive, experiencing a daily life that is less "safe" (because, really, let's do remember to put that word in quotes). It's turned out to be just another way Paris titillates and fascinates me. It adds to the romance. It makes me want to linger. And it makes me want more.

The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rules #2, 8, and 14.

Tuesday
May202014

My Paris To-Do List: One Week Left!

Well, that went by fast.

I've got one more week in the City of Light. (What? Where did the time go?? Ahhhhhhh!!) Here's what I am hoping to get done between now and then. (And not surprisingly, it's mostly food-focused. But whatever. It's Paris.):

  • Try breads and all things carb-y from Du Pain et des Idées. 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010
  • Take a day trip to Claude Monet's garden at Giverny, about an hour outside of Paris.
  • Get breakfast at Claus, as recommended by Susan at Fleurishing. 14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001
  • Snack on caramels from Jacques Genin. 133 Rue de Turenne, 75003
  • Ask Nichole to confirm for the nth time how to seriously get Bordier butter back to the States.
  • Eat dinner at Septime. Or Semilla. Or Le Richer. Or anywhere else Lindsey tells me to go.
  • Shop. (I never bought myself any clothes! Gasp!) Ask Kasia for last-minute recommendations.
  • Hope for a few more Paris sunsets like the one above. The daylight is lasting until 10pm around here right now--total magic!
  • Figure out just how quickly I can get myself back. Because I am positive I'll be leaving my heart behind...

Le sigh.

The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rule #2.

Wednesday
May142014

Here's how #5 leads to #6

Bikini season is going to be brutal.

The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rule #6. Though I am not sure I am happy that I've "achieved" it. And I am certainly not claiming I am not freaking out!

Tuesday
May132014

5 Design Stores You Must Visit in Copenhagen

During my trip to Copenhagen with my girlfriend Lin, I swear to you, every time we headed out the door, I had to prep myself for the overwhelming design-store coolness that would instantly appear on its cobblestone streets.

Here was a typical conversation I had with myself:

"Calm down, lady. You can do this. You do not have to buy everything you see. Just appreciate things and move on. Maybe take some photos, maybe not. Keep the credit card secure at all times. If you start to tear up because you are surrounded by such bonkers-awesome home design, just hold it back. No design crying in Denmark! You will look ridiculous! You will scare Lin! Keep it together, Feezor!"

In short, everything I've ever pinned on Pinterest ever, everything I've ever included in a roundup for Herman Miller or mom.me, basically came to life in Copenhagen. Here are the places that made me the most overly and inappropriately emotional.

1. Normann Copenhagen. Normann was the first store I just had to see when we got to the city--I feel like I've written and daydreamed about it more than any other place in Copenhagen. It's a bit out of the city center, so plan accordingly! Østerbrogade 70, 2100 Copenhagen

2. HAY. Oh heavens. Such clean and modern and beautiful design. HAY makes everything from pillows to notebooks to brooms yes brooms look better. (Their store, in the city center, is pictured above.) Østergade 61, 1100 Copenhagen

3. Illums Bolighus. Just the typing of this store name makes me catch my breath. (This is not a joke. I almost turned around and walked back out when I first witnessed it. IT IS TOO MUCH FOR ME. HERE IS WHERE I MAY CRY.) Everything you need is in this shop. Everything. If you only have 24 hours in Copenhagen, this is your design store. 10 Amagertorv, 1160 Copenhagen

4. Tiger. Tiger is apparently all over Europe, but I wanted to include it here because the Denmark store was cheery and well priced. It reminded me of a mini IKEA, sans furniture and with more food options. Rådhuspladsen 59, 3.tv, 1550 Copenhagen

5. Sogreni of Copenhagen. Sogreni isn't a design shop per se, but it is a design-y bicycle shop. The perfect Copenhagen souvenir is here: one of their pitch-perfect, super-chic bike bells. Get the brass version--the owner told me it has the clearest tone. Sankt Peders Streage 30A, 1453 Copenhagen

The Paris Plan - Achieved Today: Rule #10.