Still Recovering from St Valentin.

So I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I have so much that I could share, that I don’t know what to share first.

Which leads to me not sharing anything.

Which leads to me realizing that I don’t have enough blogging capacity to share everything that pops into my ever-moving-squirrel(now french squirrel)-brain.

Which leads to me trying to prioritize my sharing.

Which necessitates more thinking.

Which necessitates more procrastinating.

Meanwhile here I am.

Eating Chocolate. And bread. And cheese. And (drinking) wine. And having amusing eccentric little thoughts.

And nobody is hearing about it. That stresses me out.

At least stressed turned around is desserts, and I’m sure as heck not short on desserts. It was Valentine’s Day for crêpes sake. (Ha. ha. see what I did there.)

Let me tell you about Valentine’s Day in Paris. Actually you can probably figure it out your dang self. Just sit there and think about the most fabulously romantical, Valentines-y city possible that, if you could be, you would SO be visiting on February 14th with your significant other.

Me Helping You: Paris. Hi.

It is so true. No one could make up the amount of love diffused through the air in the cafés, parcs, boulangeries and even through the most pee-smelling of metro stations.  Guys, there was no escape.

I wake up to find a romantic poem waiting for my roommate, walk down the hall and bump into a man delivering a dozen roses to a friend of mine, snatch my vélib and head to the galleries lafayette to peruse the gourmet food section. Naturally, it’s Hell-a Heart-tastic too.

To be honest, I’m not too much of a rebel. I can’t fight the hearts and the romance.  Even if there’s no one waiting for me with a love-filled home-made dinner and a freaking cuddle (I would never ask this of you dear roommate).

I embraced the love. Just me… and Paris.

I couldn’t stop myself from buying a delicious coeur de neufchâtel. I totally cut my betteraves into romantic shapes for my own lunch.  I stuck my face against every chocolaterie window.  And occasionally I came out with something super.  And I even forced myself to not express disgust when I saw couples eating eachother’s faces at the corner brasserie. Or on the metro.  You have no idea how many times I faced this one.

Then, Valentine’s Day was over.  But it still felt like Valentine’s Day. By now, I’m pretty sure it’s just Paris.

Paris is like some wildly sappy twist on the classic Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day“.  But sappy in a way that you learn to love to live with.

Perpetual romance. Woah.

So the next day, I had red wine and a delicious cheese fondue with some new Swiss friends.  The next evening I shared a(n other) bottle of wine, a home cooked meal, and some excellent conversation with a new German friend.  The next morning I made decadent chocolate pancakes and went for my usual run around the fountains at the Jardin Luxembourg. Seule. Since then, I’ve gone ice skating at the hôtel de ville, followed by amorino gelato, wine-hopped through le Marais, shared cheeses, bread and snickerdoodles with a lovely international group of amies, shared variations of bitter dark chocolat chaud and chantilly at a viennese pastry shop, and pondered colours, brushstrokes, and insanity at the centre pompidou. (I also learned how to make macarons at a pastry school, but I will for real tell you about that in another post)

Romance is not just for two, and it’s certainly not just for a special occasion.

At least not here. I’m adjusting. These helped.

Yes I greased the pan with artisan french butter. duh.

Romantic Chocolate Pancakes. For One.

adaptedish from The First Mess

a word to the wise.. I have little to no means of measuring things.. and haven’t jumped fully into kitchen scale-ing… so these are all “ish” measurements

  • 1/2 ish cup milk (105g)
  • 1 teaspoon (or smallish spoon) vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • 1/2 ish cup white spelt flour (55g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons (large-ish spoon in my case) cocoa powder (make it fair trade babe)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons sweetener (I used molasses, tis all I had)
  • nubbin of a banana.. the size is photographed
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • butter for pan-greasing

Mix the almond milk and vinegar together in a small dish, or random residence cup, and let it set to become buttermilky.

Mix the dry ingredients (up to salt) together in a medium bowl.

Mash the banana in another bowl, and thoroughly combine with milk mixture and vanilla.  Add wet to dry and mix until just combined, and pancake it up on a lowish-medium heat frying pan!

Cover your pancakes with romance.  Or peanut butter and bananas.

p.s. I just bought a kilogram of the finest Valrhona chocolate available from G.Detou near Les Halles. Throw me rope. A life boat. A glass of water. A freaking bag of spinach. Throw me anything. Just not chocolate.

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Filed under Breakfast, Food, Paris, Travels

I love Sundays.

You know, those Sundays.

You know them.

Those Sundays where you wake up to the sun rising over the Panthéon, then mosey over to your oven-less kitchen and whip up some yeast-raised pancakes, because corner stores don’t carry quick leaveners.

Then you head out for a run through the snow-covered Jardins du Luxembourg and smile at your fellow Parisians while they welcome the new weather with shock and awe.

And of course you follow your run with a stroll through the Sunday marché along the boulevard Raspail.  You know, the weekly organic market where you spend hours perusing the different varieties of chévre and agrumes while politely shuffling around the weekly patrons who are on the hunt for their favourite yoghurt vendor, fresh turmeric bulbs, or saucisse.

Then, as per usual, you walk back around the boulevard saint-germain, while maintaining the feeling in your hands, and stopping at a little stand for bonbons on your way home.

You know how those sundays go.  Typically, after warming up at home for a short spell, you take the metro over to le marais for some lunch and some late sunday shopping.  Lunch is at the famed L’As du Falafel of course. It wouldn’t be one of those sundays without a steaming falafel at a little park, surrounded by inquisitive birds.

Typically you’ll finish off you stint at le marais, with some window shopping through gorgeous chocolateries and vintage stores, metro-ing home to catch the evening crowd trying to decide on their favourite local bistrot.

Obviously those sundays finish with a market creation inspired by the earlier finds, and a movie.

You know, those sundays.

Don’t you?

Oh… right… I live in Paris now. Hi.

My last week has been new, exciting, frustrating, amazing.

Bonding with another ex-pat Yukoner over the infallible magic that is Paris. And how only here would you find yourself desperately asking, “is it blood or wine?!” Seriously, there were smeary hand prints.

Catching my first glimpses of the tour eiffel, moulin rouge, and…. sexodrome.

Catching my second glimpse of the tour with the first of many aussies to come, from the top of l’arc de triomphe.

Demolishing my first taste of french bistro fare, chocolate three way and all.

Going into the Paris version of Abercrombie & Fitch. Which was horrifying. I can still taste the parfum.

Getting asked out by someone who speaks neither english nor french in the parc des buttes chaumont, then attempting to tactfully reject their Russian offer of café, then realizing they didn’t understand your rejection as they try to follow you to your metro stop.

Getting used to the views from my new residence.

And the restaurants near my new residence.

And the new friends in my new residence.

Excuse me while I eat another truffle and head out for some bread.

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Love at 2nd, 3rd, and 4th sight

No, not love at 1st sight. First sight was me barely seeing past my sweaty scarf.

Lugging 100lbs of duffle-bag-bungee-corded-to-suitcase-plus-awkward-camera-bag through the metro system.

The metro system that is not friendly to things that roll and do not climb.

The metro system that is also not AT ALL friendly to things wider than a French woman (not wide). My bungee corded duffle bag was at least 2.5 French women wide.

This blog will henceforth measure everything in French women.

So right. Neither he narrow ticketed metro gates nor the numerous stairs wanted me in Paris. This is why my lats are killing today. This is why I had a nap yesterday afternoon (also the whole not-sleeping-the-previous-night thing). This is why the lats of two kind French gentleman and one other surprisingly ambitious French ladies also likely hurt today. Thank you mystery helpers.

And thus begins the love.

As soon as I was free of my handicapable friend (Monsieur Luggage), my temporary hostel neighbourhood, the Bastille, was mine to discover. I spend hours wandering and could have kept at it for eons if not for my stomach. I walked to the Place de la Bastille, and back along the Promenade Pantée (Viaduc des Arts), all the while smiling dumbly at each new café or brasserie. I ate lunch at the Bar a Soupes, recommended by a famous Parisian blogger Clotilde. It was perfect, and the service was beyond friendly, beyond friendly (for those of you who can’t believe that I’m referring to a Parisian restaurant). The rest has been metro rides, creperies, and more.

It feels like everything just makes me smile dumbly and slow down. I have a feeling it will be my routine.

Even the most modest apartments look like this from the outside.

This is my future residence that I crept outside today.

This is just a random street that ends in awesome.

Oh, and my lunch today? Shut. The. Front. Door.

Our side may have created the sandwich, but leave it up to the French to leave our culinary arse in the dust. Le Sandwich du Jour was a demi-baguette with the most flavourful chèvre I have ever tasted, along with market fresh tomates, and arugula. Lunch dessert? Yes. Tarte au chocolat. Woah. Thank you David Lebovitz for recommending Blé Sucré for pretty much everything. It’s a block away from my hostel. Roll me out through the porte.

I’m off to dinner with a friend, yes a real one, (oh, nevermind.. I had to wait until the next morning at starbucks to find interwebs) so I’ll leave you off with the things that have inflated my ego thus far:

Being asked directions my 7 million Parisians. Desolée. It’s ma first time ladies and gents. Though obvi I did not say it like that to them; would have so ruined my apparent sophistique. I think it’s because I walk with purpose.

And I do have purpose. Until I do a 180°, realizing my purpose is maybe most definitely in another direction, and not down the dark creepy alleyway where those men are smoking.

– Speaking French, and being responded to in fast, fast French. No, me needing to stand there like a deer in the headlights for fifteen seconds to process what they’ve just said to me does NOT deter from this making me feel awesome.

– Being told I look German. By the man who runs my hostel. And sees many a German. I don’t care. I am entirely taking this as a compliment.

p.s. many of my fellow hostelees come in every night with MacD’s, perhaps this is why I have yet to formally get acquainted with any of them?

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Nervcited

Yeah, a combination of Nervous and Excited.  I was gonna go with excervous… but it seemed kind of like exorcist so…

Anyways.

I leave for Paris on Wednesday morning. WEDNESDAY MORNING. And I actually have my french visa.

Up until this point I’ve been laying in bed each night fighting off heart palpitations, thinking about how there was absolutely nothing I could do and that the fate of my existence lay in the hands of mail carriers. Yes, existence.  Or at least my ability to leave the United States, a country that is neither my original country of residence nor my destination.  A country that I needed a passport in order to leave leave.  A passport that was in an envelope with my French exchange visa application.  The wine I’ve started drinking (you know, for transition’s sake), it helps.

Also the three different cakes chillin in the kitchen; the aftermath of my stepmom’s birthday.

What didn’t help? When my stepdad called the Fedex, and the Fedex said that if they left off the package (that my stepdad had yet to even receive) before 3pm (on friday), that he was lucky, and the package would leave Whitehorse on Monday (yesterday).  Approximating a 2-day delivery to Vancouver (getting there by wednesday). Followed by another 2-day delivery to Steamboat Springs (leaving us at friday).

Guess what. Oh right I told you. My plane leaves WEDNESDAY MORNING.  That’s two days before Friday, for those of us who cut class in grade 1.

So that wasn’t gonna happen.  My hard-working stepdad was at my disposal, as was my hard-working regular dad, and me I swear. And they contacted my supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Auntie Karen. And magic happened.  I have my beloved documentation.

They didn’t even reject my visa application.  I was certain that rejection was happening. I mean.. They e-mailed me to tell me that even though I had a prepaid Xpress envelope, and I had my home address on a separate sheet of paper, they absolutely needed another prepaid Xpress envelope with my home address explicitly written on the envelope if they were even going to read my application.  Rejection was soooo imminent. BUT IT WASN’T!! Nana-nana-boo-boo.

Sorry, this is just huge for me. Rant rant.  So right, nervcited.

The nervous part: I’m heading off into the unknown.  Leaving my trail of breadcrumbs.  You get the picture.

I graduate while I’m in Paris. There is nothing stopping me from just flitting off and dropping all of those “5 year plans” that I’ve stuck to. I have NO railings. I could jump off. You know?

You know that feeling, that one when you’re standing on the edge of something high, and there’s no railing, and you’re scared of yourself.  You know you could jump if you wanted to, nothing would stop you, and in some creepy way, you’re intrigued. So… you spastically jump three feet backward. Gives me shivers.

Oh, and then there’s the whole, I’m going to be alone in a foreign-speaking country, on a continent that I’ve never set foot, where people like to sometimes stick their hands in your pockets to see what they can find. Seriously though, this isn’t the bit that gets me. Not at all.  I’m cool with the being independent and facing challenges deal.

So I guess my situation is a little different.  This is where the excited part comes in: my “jump” is more awesome, and less falling off a cliff.  Maybe it’s cooking school, or pastry class, or European organic farming, or just even more freaking travelling.  It’s all “Eep!” worthy. Good Eep.

I could fall in love with Paris, or I could just be reminded of how much I freaking love home. Either way, I’d better be ready.

Ok, I’m so ready.

And I’m going to miss what I’ve had this month. Steamboat, family, fluffy snow, wicked kitchen, baking, cooking, best puppy.

Brotherisms.

I’ll leave you off with some brotherisms.. and check back in from Denver.. or Chicago.. or Paris.

-“I’ve got the moves the Fragger, I’ve got the moves like Fragger, I’ve got the Moooooves like Fragger!” – Brothers together in synch, one doing a bum-wiggle. It is not my place to correct them.

– “NO, NO, NO, I’m way too scared to get the doorbell.”

“But you know who it is..”

“AH, AH, AH, Too scared!” -brother B.

– “I hate to be naked! I am SO not going upstairs naked.” – brother K, on going upstairs in his t-shirt and underwear after changing out of his hockey gear, after the timid brother B ( who couldn’t even answer the doorbell earlier) blew up the stairs in nothing but his tighty-whiteys.

I will miss the over-dramatization of everything from the scariness of coconut, to the difficulty of  “4+0” (after finishing 20 way more difficult math questions), to really not liking moose, therefore not liking chocolate “moose”.

Fortunately, I’ll get to see the drama in Europe in July.  Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

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Happy Birthday Smum!

To be succinct:

I can’t even scratch the surface of how lucky I have been, growing with not one but two strong, incredibly intelligent, and independent female role models.

The modern family can be a beautiful thing ladies and gentlemen, remember this.

Happy birthday Sam! You have been a part of who I am today.

Thank you and I love you.

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Wednesday Wisdom – The First Leg

So, we left off in Whitehorse. Woah.

Eons ago.

So I left Whitehorse.  Many mental tears were shed. I’m one of those man-girls, you know, keepin’ it composed to preserve my delicate ego, but bawling my eyes out in Where the Wild Things are.  Or in movie previews. Oh wait. That was our friend Kathy  while we waited for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (awesome, disturbing). Sorry Kathy. I hope you read my blog. Don’t worry, there are only like.. two people who both read this blog and know who your are. You’re a trooper.

Right, left Whitehorse.  Next two destinations: California for some fam n’ gram time, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado (the other homestead, and my current location).

California involved Bronzed-senior-ville (AKA Palm Springs), Newport Beach, and Eight-year-old-slash-Brittany-topia (Disneyland What?!).

Stuff was learned:

1) Golf is a mixed bag.  You have to look like a tool, but you eventually like it.  Ball caps.. grow on you.  You may wind up sinking your ball in the water more often than not, but the one or two not‘s ….. pretty much make you Tiger.  Getting to see your brothers aged 6 and 7 kick golf’s arse… and still have melt downs… totally worth it. Admittedly love feeling like the mature sibling. It’s not the 13 year age difference Dad, it’s my impressive strength of character.

2) PSA to the Entire Palm Springs Population: Even though the plastic is under your skin… you aren’t hiding it from anyone. Angelina Jolie (I checked during the golden globes) still has her lips, so thievery has been ruled out.

3) Apparently windmills decapitate birds sometimes.  Once your head has been shat upon, you’ll be as keen on renewable energy as I am.

4) Southern California weather boggles the mind. Sunny and 25°ish (in Real degrees) every-freaking-day.

5) They sell hummus and veggies at Disneyland.  And roasted portobello sandwiches.  Way to be with it Mickey.

6) Star Wars defies all boundaries.  Age, gender, stereotypes, screw it, we are ALL suckers for Yoda.  Star Wars took over the land of Disney.  The only merchandise that I left Disney with? Star Wars junk. OH and after the Star Tours ride, brothers will easily forget that they almost opted for the build-a-bear work shop and Darth Vader themed-bears over the amazing land of joy, happiness, and magic.  Ugh. Boys. At the end of it all it was… “Stinkin. Awesome”. Their words.

7) Leaving the amazing land of joy, happiness, and magic is doable if it means snow, more brother time, healthful plant-y food, and THE BEST puppy. BEST. PUPPY.

8) The brother henceforth known as K is an enigma wrapped in.. well… a six year old.  Kid loses his mind for olives, 100% raw cacao nibs, and coconut water.  Do. You. KNOW how long it me took to try “sophisticating” my palate?! I still gag on olives. Oh I eat them. They will not defeat me.  But I will gag.  He will decimate an olive jar, but asparagus gets this attitude.

9) Put a 6 year old in a hockey tournament, don’t be surprised if you get this.

10) A kid can be traumatized and terrified by Mac n’ Cheese that isn’t Annie’s OR having to carry a heavier backpack than his brother, but will be totally cool with bombing down a steep pitch fit for an NCAA women’s alpine race.

11) Get one brother to jump in the icy water beside the hot springs, the other will follow. Even if the first one writhes and screams. Rivalry is power.

12) Somehow, I’m drinking more in the company of parents here than I ever did in university. So selfless of them to condition me for Europe.

12) Come to Steamboat Springs, the snow is finally here. I’ll make you food.  My family will pour you a glass of wine.

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Filed under Mundane Shenanigans, Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom – Post-Holiday Edition

I’d say sorry about the whole me not being here for the last few weeks, but I’m so not.  What would have been blog reading time, was instead awesome holiday family time for you, Hurray!

What would have been blog writing time was definitely awesome holiday family time for me too. Hurray!

So, little summary.  Britt went home for Christmas, she freaking deserved it.  Whitehorse is always a beaut.  Her time there was too short, but it was full of everything good.  Christmas was like a storybook Christmas.. just with more chia seeds and wildly sized batches of granola. Huge.  People who tried to spend time with me while the granola-making was happening.. probably resent the wildly sized batches of granola.

Anywho, I gained a bunch of wisdom over the holdays.. and what am I if not a sharer?

Oh, and Part 2, The beginning of my journey, will be soon to follow. Also brownies.

Ottawa sunset

1. No matter how exciting the road ahead, it’s always hard to leave behind somewhere filled with friends and memories.  Especially hard when your exam ends at 4:00pm and your plane leaves the tarmac at 5:30pm. Hard.

2. When in doubt, cry big-girl tears at the baggage counter.  So what your bag is 80lbs? Those were REAL tears.

3. Snow, and brothers who eat my baked goods, fill my heart with joy. Santa can peace out, who needs him.

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