Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I've been reading.
When I get into a good book
everything comes to a screeching halt.
I can't get anything done.
I don't sleep.
I just want to lock myself in a
quiet room and read.

This is certainly true with my latest 
a trilogy no less.
my poor family.

A friend of mine leant me this book.
This first of three books introduces us
to the young Josephine Bonaparte,
Napoleon's wife..
Oh did I fall in love with her!

As soon as I finished I ran to the American library
and took out the next two..
Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe
begins in the early days
of their marriage.
The Last Great Dance on Earth
is the finale.

I love history..
especially French history 
When I walk the streets of Paris
I think of the people that walked
these same streets 
all those years before me.
I think of what Paris was like
during the French Revolution.
Reading these books has
 me inspired to learn more
about French history.

It has been cold and rainy 
here in the city.
Griffin and I spend our days
making art
playing games
 reading books
and drinking tea.
When we have to go out
to the market 
we pop into a cafe for a 
chocolate chaud and a crepe
to warm us up.

(crappy iphone camera...almost 
ready for an upgrade!)

Steve and I have been 
talking about what's next.
Where to go from here?
We have been here for a year and a 
half now..
we should be here another 
two and a half..
until Hannah graduates from 
high school.
Then what?
Try and stay here longer?
Back to Massachusetts?

It has me thinking of our
"stuff" back in the states.
Our stuff sitting in a storage unit.
Stuff that we've collected over 20 years of marriage.
Stuff that I thought I couldn't live with out.
It's funny how quickly I've forgotten
about my stuff.

todays weather..
oh for a snow fall!!
50% chance at 3:00 today!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What I Love About Paris...#2


i don't drive here.
i haven't driven
a car since august.

i don't really enjoy
taking the metro either..
but i do love walking
the streets of paris.
usually with my cart
and my little guy.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Perfect Paris Weekend.

steve flew home friday
after being gone for two weeks.
it was a long stretch..
we're glad to have him home.
the first week he was gone he 
went Cat Skiing with a group
of guys in British Colombia.
i'd never even heard of cat skiing.

i'm so happy he was able
to do this! 
it sounded like a great week.
from there he flew into LA
for a week for business
and now he's home..
completely jet lagged.
(that's him skiing in waist deep powder!)

i snuck out for a few
hours on saturday by myself.
a much needed break.
i've been wanting to visit the 
musee de l'orangerie.
i loved this museum!
and i'm completely obsessed
with Claude Monet now..
i sat in one of the two rooms
that exhibit his Water Lilies.
and just as he wrote in 1909..
"Nerves strained by work would relax in 
its presence, following the restful example
of its stagnant waters, and for he who would live 
in it, this room would offer a refuge for peaceful
meditation in the midst of a flowering aquarium."..
i sat meditating and enjoying the quiet
and the beauty that surrounded me.

i highly recommend this museum
if you're visiting paris.
it's located right at the base of 
the tuileries garden on the place de concorde.
no line to get in..
a quick tour..
and a great bookstore
(always a plus for me as i add
to my growing collection of coffee table books :)
i did pick up two books..
one about the 37 bridges in paris
and the other about Claude Monet himself.
now of course, i'm aching to get 
to giverny this spring!

from the musee de l'orangerie
i walked to the grand palais
to view the cartier exhibit.
i had a little lunch of quiche 
and a glass of vin rouge before
braving the crowds.
sitting next to me at the cafe
inside the grand palais was an adorable
french family...
the two children, a boy and a girl..
looked to be twins and not older than
2 1/2 or 3 years.
the children were dressed impeccably,
and in matching outfits.
 they sat up straight
and ate their quiche (with salmon!), drank 
their water from a glass not a sippy cup,
cloth napkin in their laps,
and not once in the hour that i was there
(they dined longer than me!)..
was an ipad, iphone, etc. in use...
by either the children or 
the parents!

back to the exhibit.

it was SOOOO crowded.
but well worth it.
even just to see kate's tiara!
it was stunning yet simple..
kind of like kate, non?

of course there were many tiara's
and jewels on display as well
as the iconic watches and grace kelly's
engagement ring and elizabeth taylor's
and of course i couldn't leave
with out a coffee table book!
Parisiennes is a lovely book
about the women of Paris. 

saturday night steve and i 
went out to dinner at one of our 
new favorite bistro's in our neighborhood..
steve gets the love burger
and i have the steak and mashed 
we split the warm chocolate cake
for desert.

sunday we lounged.
i made a chicken soup..
steve took the kids to the library
and scootering and 
the boys rallied around the computer
to watch the patriots :(

a perfect paris weekend i'd say.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What I Love About Paris...#1

one thing i still have yet
to learn about living in paris..
never leave home without an 

griff and i were out at the 
markets the other day..
we got home just before 
a downpour.
and then..
just like that..
the sun was out
and this beautiful,
vibrant rainbow
appeared over the eiffel tower.

it poured all night 
and well into the morning.
one good thing about living on 
the top floor..
hearing the rain..
and looking across the 
champs de mars at the 
glistening slate rooftops.

i will never tire of this 
view i have.
i take so many pictures of it
because i never want to forget it.

paris rooftops..
one of the many things
i love about this city.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

A Little House tour and a Book

my view last night!
this will never
get old!

so we've been in this 
new apartment for about
a month and a half now.
we are so happy here!
i love our new neighborhood.
i've made friends with 
my butcher
and baker
candlestick maker..
i mean my produce guy.
our new bi-weekly open air
market is incredible.
we've been trying out new cafe's
and the kids have been 
and pennyboarding
all over the champs de mars.

i've been having fun
making our new place home.
this apartment is much smaller
and completely furnished.
just enough room for our desk and 
a few bookshelves we bought at ikea.

here are some pics!

the family room is split
in two.
we moved one of the couches and
one of the coffee tables
from the other side over here.
it's a comfortable room
and space for all of us to watch movies
and read and play games.
the couches aren't really my style
but they're clean and new and comfortable.
i need to add some color and i'm on the hunt
for some architectural pieces..vintage ladders,
shutters, mantles, columns, etc.

i do love a coffee table
stacked with books!

this is the other side
of the family room.
we call it the eiffel tower room!
we moved the two club chairs
in front of the window and steve 
and i love to sit at night with a 
glass of wine and watch the 
tower sparkle.
i bought the desk and chair here at 
the flea market.
over christmas steve and i
made a few trips to ikea..
we bought these two metal/glass 

not normally my style
but i like how they look 
in this room and 
they're functional.
i get my wine crates
at my local wine shop..
for free!
they are great for 
storage and they warm
up the space i think.

our dining room..
oh how i wish i 
could bring in my 
beautiful 10 foot french
farmers table i bought 
before we moved here!
it'll sit in storage until we move again

i do love my sweet LITTLE
storage is a challenge
but i'm learning to live 
with less.
i'm also learning that
in a small kitchen,
cleaning as i cook is a must.

it took some getting 
used to having my 
washer/dryer in the kitchen..
but i like it!

another ikea bookshelf!
it fits perfectly!
and adds some much 
needed storage.
(and they're inexpensive!)

our apartment is a duplex.
there are 3 bedrooms and 
a bathroom upstairs for the kids.
the master bedroom/bath is on
the first floor..

this is the master bedroom before..

and the after..

more ikea shelves!
i found this idea on pinterest.
i love our shelves behind our bed!
they give us plenty of storage
(with room to add more books :)

steve and i share a closet
and we quickly ran out of room..
so i put some of my shoes/bags
on display
i do love our new home!

just finished this book last night.
i picked it up as i love
reading about other families that live 
internationally and move around a lot.
when i looked at the picture of 
melissa bradford, the author,
on the back cover i thought she
looked familiar.
after reading a bit more,
i realized that we sat next to she and 
her husband last year at stephen's high school
i remember looking at her and wondering
which graduates' mom she was.
later in the ceremony an award was given
to one of the students..
the Parker Bradford award.
parker is her son.
he graduated from ASP in 2007.
that summer he lost his life
saving another boys'.

melissa and her husband
rasied 4 children in eight different
countries and
her book is all about their 
it's beautifully written and inspiring
and heartbreaking to read.
i encourage you to read it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

An Insiders Guide to the Best of Paris and Chicago! ...A Collaboration with Kendra Thornton

(view from the top of the ferris wheel)

recently i was contacted by
kendra thornton..
a chicago based mom of 3
and travel advocate and spokeswoman.
kendra asked if i'd collaborate with 
her on a project she's doing..
sharing information about my home city..
 after living here for a year and a half
i'm certainly no expert
but i will share what i have learned
about living here so far
as well as some of my favorite
things to do!

if you're coming to paris
for a weekend
a week
or a month..
i would try to balance both 
acting like a tourist
acting like a parisian!
cross off the museums and 
monuments on your bucket list
and then 
just walk!
pack your umbrella and 
your most stylish
and comfortable pair of shoes
and walk this beautiful city.
pop into a boulangerie for une baguette,
or sit at a cafe with your journal 
for a rest and to people watch.
(my favorite thing to do here in paris!)
some people have asked me when is the best
time to visit paris.
i don't think there is a bad time to visit paris..but,
august is crowded and hot
and most parisians flee the city for their
summer homes. 
november is comparatively quiet,
but the weather can be iffy.
paris is lit up in december
for the holidays and 
april in paris is always a good idea
i think.


if someone tells me they're
getting ready to travel to paris,
i tell them to pack a suitcase inside
another suitcase.
now you can shop!
you have to bring something 
home from paris..
whether it's a chanel bag
from rue montaigne
or an eiffel tower souvenir
from one of the gazillion sellers
around the tower itself.
personally, i love shopping the 
get the image of the pharmacy
in the back of CVS or Target 
right out of your head..
many of the pharmacies here 
are gorgeous! with beautiful window
displays and helpful pharmacists.
another inexpensive and sentimental
souvenir is having your (or your children's)
portrait drawn.
in the warmer months the artists
are lined up along trocadero and 
the eiffel tower.
i cherish those we had done
of our kids.
shopping the markets in paris,
flea or food
is a must in my book.
i feel my most parisian when
shopping for dinner at my local
open air market.
and not only have i learned so much
about buying the freshest food possible,
but my french improves every time i go.


where to start?
well, if i had to choose
one restaurant i'd go to
La Closerie des Lilas.
good service..check.
delicious food..check.
have a drink at hemingway's
seat at the bar before dinner.
honestly, i don't think i've had
a bad meal here in paris yet.
our new favorite..
Bistro Saint Dominique
in the 7th.
great food..good price
and lovely location.
the spiral staircase is made
from scraps from the eiffel tower.


yes you can stay in 
paris without  remortgaging 
your home.
but if you can afford to stay
at the Four Seasons George V..
go for it!
it's drop dead gorgeous inside.
steve and i like to go to le bar
for a martini..hoping to 
run in to oprah.
i would highly suggest 
that if you're in paris for more than
a week..look into renting an apartment.
you'll save money having a kitchen
and not eating out 3 meals a day
and think of how parisian you'll feel!


visiting another country and experiencing its
culture is an education in itself.
hiring a tour guide
or joining a walking tour group
is fun and the few that we've 
been on have been fantastic!
we've met many great people
through them as well.
as a family we love
visiting the many museums
paris has to offer.
our favorite is the 
natural history museum.
 the first sunday of every
month, many museums offer
free admission.
and if you're pushing a stroller..
bypass the queue and walk right in!
another inexpensive, fun and educational
thing to do is to take a one hour cruise 
along the seine.


we recently moved into
a new apartment here in paris.
we have an amazing view of 
the eiffel tower.
every day i can see
the people lining up to go to the top.
yes, it's a thrill to go to the top of 
the eiffel tower, however,
in my opinion the best view of
paris is from the top of the ferris wheel!
another one of my favorite things to do
here in paris is to have a picnic under the 
eiffel tower in the evening.
stay long enough to watch the sparkles!
head to a boucherie for a rotisserie chicken
and potatoes, the boulangerie for a baguette,
and fromagerie for cheese and wine.
bon appetite!

"if you are lucky enough to have lived in paris
as a young man, than wherever you go for the rest
of your life, it stays with you, for paris is a 
moveable feast" ~ Ernest Hemingway

And if you're headed to are Kendra's 

An Insider's Guide to the Best of Chicago

It's no secret that cities in general, and particularly the country's truly dense midsize 

to large urban centers, are social, cultural, and recreational magnets. It seems as if 

every large, well-known metropolis has its own niche, its own character, and its own 

soul. Case in point: Chicago is the blues infused; Prohibition-era gangster tinged 

New York of the Midwest. While some people may snub it in favor of the Big Apple 

or other places, Chicago is a great place to be.


Everyone, no matter his or her background or state in life, loves a good deal. When 

in Chicago, the fashionistas flock not the Magnificent Mile, but to Oak Street. While 

the tourists are ooh-ing and ahh-ing a few streets over, the locals and tourists 

in the know come to Oak Street (which is just a few blocks over from The Mile, 

anyway) to get their fashion fix. Interestingly, while the fashion is as avant-garde 

as it gets, many of the shops that sell it are based in historic converted houses, not 



Chicago is a great place to get a bite to eat. One of the best overall experiences in 

the whole of Chicago has to be Lou Mitchells diner. It isn't just the homey, cheap, 

filling food that makes this place special - it's the charm that comes along with it. 

For instance, "Uncle Lou", as the proprietor is affectionately known, will happily 

dole out Milk Duds to any women and children that happen to cross the restaurant's 

threshold. Why? Well, if you believe the legend, he and the creator of Milk Duds 

(which, by the way, are a Chicago original), are old friends. 


Nothing caps off a great day in the city like a great night's sleep. The hotels in 

Chicago are so numerous and so varied that to try and list the absolute best one 

here is simply impossible. I do however; recommend choosing one within the city limits. It makes it easier to explore the city and stumble upon some really cool sites.


One of the most whimsical and just plain fun things to do in Chicago is the chartering 

of a voyage on an actual tall ship - you know, the kind pirates (and just about 

everyone else) used before the advent of steam and other modern sources of power. 

A voyage on "The Windy" blends a great day of sailing on Lake Michigan with a dose 

of education, making it a great trip for all ages, and especially for families.


For anyone who absolutely must do the tourist route, the Willis Tower - which loyal 

natives still call the Sears Tower - is something that's actually worth seeing. Or, more 

specifically, the view from the top is what's magnificent. The Sears / Willis Tower 

used to be the world's tallest building, and its Sky Deck is a stunning reminder of 

what that means. Guests will marvel at the views afforded by their 103-story vantage 

point, which is actually a glass pod. This gives viewers the impression that they're 

flying, and is as close to skydiving as you can get without leaping from an airplane. 

And there you have it. Now that you know the best places to go in Chicago, it's time 

for the fun to begin! Just be careful - one taste of the Windy City has hooked many a 

tourist for life. Enjoy!

Thanks Kendra!
It was great working with you!