It helped that I had arrived back from Paris just a few days before I started the book and recognized every last thing she was referring to. I mean, the “butcher boyfriend” worked on Rue Mouffetard which is the same street I bought my new gray jeans and black pants. She eats a meal in the same restaurant that Jen and I had that fateful extra glass of wine on our last night. It’s because of this book that I went to Laduree today.
But even without all these Parisian references I would have loved it.
Exhausted and on the verge of burnout, Janice poses this questions to herself as she doodles on a notepad at her desk. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t as daunting as she expected. With a little math and a lot of determination, Janice cuts back, saves up, and buys herself two years of freedom in Europe.
A few days into her stop in Paris, Janice meets Christophe, the cute butcher down the street—who doesn’t speak English. Through a combination of sign language and franglais, they embark on a whirlwind Paris romance. She soon realizes that she can never return to the world of twelve-hour workdays and greasy corporate lingo. But her dwindling savings force her to find a way to fund her dreams again. So Janice turns to her three loves—words, art, and Christophe—to figure out a way to make her happily-ever-after in Paris last forever.
I know it sounds a bit twee but seriously it’s good.
I really enjoyed quite a few of Kristin Hannah’s books. Night Road was ok. The story line was completely unoriginal and all the language about how much two of the characters love each other was eye rolling-ly annoying. But I read 90% in one sitting (on the plane back from Iceland) so I guess it couldn’t be that bad.
Should you read it? Nah, there are way better books out there.
This book got a lot of press when it was released a few weeks ago. It’s prominently displayed in every book store I’ve walked into recently. It has great reviews on Amazon. And it claims the stock market is rigged. Color me intrigued.
I found the whole thing verrrry interesting (although it did drag a bit towards the end).
Where do I fall on the topic? Those high frequency traders are smart as hell for figuring out how to cheat investors out of $$ in a completely legal fashion but frankly they are common thieves and I’d very much like to see it made impossible for them to continue what they are doing (and no I’m sorry but the argument that they provide liquidity to the market is a bunch of crap).
Should you read it? If you work in finance - definitely read it. If you have an interest in the stock market - definitely read it. If you have zero interest in either - don’t read it.
I kept hearing about this book. I had it on my amazon wish list where I keep track of all the books I want to read. But I had never pulled the trigger because it sounded a bit too……chick lit-ish.
It’s set in Australia but you’d barely know it. There was nothing particularly Australian about it other than a handful of references to Australian towns. The language was completely American in my opinion.
MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.
You see what I mean? The description above did not entice me to read it. However I wanted something light to read on the flight to Paris and this fit the bill perfectly. I read almost the entire thing by the time I arrived.
Last night Jen went out to take photos at night. This place is pretty remote and I am a big scaredy cat so the whole time she was gone I was at least 70% certain that she would be eaten by a wild animal and that I would be murdered by an axe-wielding Icelandic person.
We both survived.
And here are some photos from Jen’s midnight stroll.
You always read about Gulfoss which is the big waterfall along the Golden Circle route. It was the first thing we saw yesterday (and I will hopefully blog about it at some point) but there is actually a waterfall around the corner from our Icelandic Dream House that is (in my opinion) way prettier. It’s called Seljalandsfoss. I’ll let you figure out how to pronounce that guy.
There is a path that takes you around the back of the waterfall. We’ve side seen some photos on a blog taken from behind the waterfall that look amazing. At the time we didn’t realize how pretty it would be but still wanted the adventure of going back there. However, once we spotted and chatted with a couple of other tourists who were literally drenched we thought better of it and just admired it from every other angle instead.
“I’ll tell you what I’m tired of hearing? That somehow or other we’re too emotional when we talk. You know, when we raise an issue, we’re too emotional. Well, I am emotional… It brings tears to my eyes to know how women every, single day are working so hard and are getting paid less. It makes me emotional to hear that. Then, when I hear all of these phony reasons — some are mean and some are meaningless — I do get emotional. I get angry, I get outraged, I get volcanic.”—
I woke up to find what looked like a blood bath had occurred in our hotel room. Upon closer inspection it would appear that we had some difficulty keeping the red wine inside our wine glasses. I’m so sorry Hotel cleaning people!
It was a long travel day. There were broken down trains, long lines at the airport, and I really really really missed John and the girls. I was tired and grumpy and hungover.
Metro -> RER Train -> Plane -> Rental Car
And then we were in Iceland.
It’s magical. Unlike anywhere else I have been.
We saw rainbow after rainbow after rainbow. We saw double rainbows. We saw perfect arc rainbows. It was amazing.
This rainbow was so huge and in such a perfect arc that I couldn’t fit it all in one photo. I took it from the bottom of our driveway just as we arrived.
And the Icelandic Dream House that we are staying in is even more amazing than I thought it would be.
It’s modern with tons of natural light. The views from each window are incredible.
On Tuesday morning there were no croissants left at our bakery. Disaster! But don’t worry we managed by having two pain au chocolats instead. (And when I say two, I do mean two each.)
On Tuesday morning we hopped on the RER and went out to Versaille and stood in the looooooongest line to get into the palace. It was fascinating to see how the building started as quite a small structure and then each King added a little bit more until it became the behemoth it is today.
We ate simple ham and cheese sandwiches on the train back into the city.
Starbucks is everywhere btw. I was really surprised. The French don’t drink coffee on the go like Americans. They like to sit in cafés preferably at an outdoor table facing the street to have their coffee. So I was really surprised but so glad to have the ability to grab a cup of tea on the go. I didn’t mind that it clearly marked me out as a tourist!
Once we got back into the city we headed back to the hotel for a rest. This touristing business is exhausting. My legs were aching and it wasn’t even me who ran the marathon on Sunday.
Then it was back on the streets to hit up a few chocolatiers, grab a Nutella crepe, and do some flaner’ing around the latin quarter near Ernest Hemingway’s apartment.
We walked down Rue Mouffetard where I hit the shopping jackpot. I’ve been on the hunt for months for the perfect pair of light grey jeans and the perfect pair of harem-esque pants. Well I found both in a store called KARL MARC JOHN. And for totally reasonably prices. Hurray! I also picked up a few more gifts for Charlotte and Alex who I miss more than words can describe.
We then grabbed an outdoor table facing the street and ate dinner watching the world go by in Place de la Contrescarpe. We split a bottle of rose but weren’t quite ready to leave our cosy spot once we had finished both our meals and the wine. So we ordered another glass each. I can’t decide whether that was the greatest idea ever because we really did so enjoy sitting there but that extra glass was the tipping point that led us to decide MORE WINE ALL THE WINE was necessary and we both woke up with godawful hangovers the next day.
As we headed back to the Metro I got another crepe. Just because. I am almost convinced that we burned off more calories that we ate based on how exhausted I am and how sore my body is.
We got two croissants from the bakery across the street as we headed out for the day. So good!
We took a quick trip to Zara to try and buy some jeans. Somehow I had neglected to pack a second pair of jeans in my suitcase. I failed at buying jeans but I wanted to buy practically everything else in Zara. (I did not). It’s not the first time I’ve noticed how much more stylish and better quality the Zara clothes are in France compared to the US.
After Charlotte’s party I had exactly 2 hours to clean up and pack a suitcase before I left for the airport. Because as my mother likes to say, I tend to burn the candle at both ends. I love being busy but this week was ridiculous and horribly stressful. John dropped me off at JFK 4 hours before my flight because he had to get to NYC for his hockey grand final and I was totally OK with having 4 hours to decompress at JFK before my flight. As a Mum of 2 small children it’s so rare to have a few hours to literally do nothing.
I flew to Paris on the red eye with a quick layover in Reykjavik. By the time I arrived at the hotel in Paris Jen had finished the marathon (which was marathon # 7 - insert hand clapping emoji here). After jumping up and down with excitement and exchanging conversation how was the marathon? how was the flight? are you exhausted? we headed straight out and had dinner at a random restaurant in St Germain and then did a cruise along the Seine. The one takeaway I have from this cruise, and from Paris in general, is that the light is gorgeous. It’s completely different from the light in New York /CT and the light I grew up with in Sydney. And it totally adds to the romanticism associated with Paris.
I was exhausted after barely sleeping on my red eye flight but made it all the way to 10pm. I fell into bed after a perfect start to my Parisian vacation.
Birthdays are a BIG DEAL in our house. I figured Charlotte is just about old enough to remember things like crazy over-the-top pink princess birthday parties that involve a real Cinderella in attendance.
It turned out better than I expected. All the girls arrived in their princess costumes or party dresses. Cinderella arrived shortly thereafter and entertained the girls with singing, dancing, story telling, a game of Simon Princess Says, Q&A (during which there was a lot of discussion about Princess Anna and Queen Elsa - Cinderella told me confidentially that her Princess Anna costume is being made as clearly Cinderella is no longer flavor of the month with the 3/4 year old crowd), a dance party to the Frozen song (because obviously) and then photo time.
It. Was. So. Great.
A few pics.
Waiting for her friends to arrive:
Making the motherfucking uncooperative cake (truly a labor of love):
The fact that my formal living room is mostly unfurnished clearly worked in my favor as I was easily able to fit a table for 12 kiddos in there!
The finished product. (Did I mention what a total shithead this cake was being?)
Baby sister was mostly mesmerized by her shoes and occasionally mesmerized by Cinderella.
My co-worker was rattling off all the books she has recently read and liked and we quickly realized we have the same taste when it comes to reading. And also shoes. We both have three pairs of exactly the same shoes. And also bikinis. I sent a link to her the other day asking her opinion on a bikini. She liked it so much she bought it herself. And then obviously I bought it too. Anyway, the point is that my co-worker with great taste (!) recommended this book and so I read it.
At first I thought it was going to be terrible. The writing was a bit so-so to begin with. But very quickly I became hooked and loved it. I cried. Always a good sign.
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose …
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
When we moved to Greenwich and started attending birthday parties I quickly noted that birthday parties are just like everything else in this town - over the top. I swore black and blue that I would never throw a party that involved a face painter or a bouncy castle or a petting zoo or a pony. Never. Ever. That’s why I threw a party last year for Charlotte that just involved having all her friends come over and ride their bikes around in our street. A good old fashioned birthday party like the ones I had growing up (albeit with a kick ass cake).
I also really hate anything to do with princesses. I dislike gender stereotypes with a passion and so have done my best to steer clear of Disney princesses and all things pink. And yet I have a daughter who insists on pink (“pink pink pink, I said” name that book) and loves all things princess.
I hemmed and hawed for ages about what to do for Charlotte’s 4th birthday party. I polled my friends. And ultimately decided that I wanted my daughter to have the best birthday party EVER.
And if that means a pink princess themed birthday party then so be it.
Oh, and those over the top birthday parties that I swore I would never do. Yeah, about that. So I maybe might have possibly booked a real life princess to show up at the party.
I know - I’m a total hypocrite and pot, kettle, black blah blah blah.
But it’s gonna be the best party ever and Charlotte is going to lose her mind.
“It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth.
You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person. This makes failure or criticism disproportionately painful, which leads naturally to hesitancy when it comes to the prospect of doing anything that reflects their ability — which is pretty much everything.”—
OMG it was so terrible and boring and never-ending. I finally gave up when I was 54% finished and I’d really like to get a refund of all those hours I wasted. Because it did takes hours and hours to get to 54%. I kept waiting and waiting for it to take off but it just never did. I read Wikipedia to find out what happens in the end and concluded that I made the right decision to give up.
This book has about eleventy-billion reviews (ok, more like 5,000) with an average 4 star rating. What am I missing? I scrolled down to read some of the reviews to see what other people loved and found that the top few reviews were all 1 star with the following subject lines:
Could have been good, AT HALF THE LENGTH
Overrated, overblown, overlong
I have never wanted to burn a book……until now
Yep, pretty much agree on all counts. If you loved it (or even liked it!) I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”—
We have been enduring the longest coldest Winter that I have ever experienced. For the most part I loved it - I love cold weather, I love snow - but even I have reached my limit. The warm weather we have in Florida right now is definitely more enjoyable as a result.
My Facebook newsfeed is jammed with junk these days. But I did come across two articles that are worth sharing (in my opinion!).
First - this is a short and worthwhile read if you have daughters. I made a conscious decision to never talk badly about my own body or go on about diets etc (not that I was ever really like that anyway). But this takes it a step further. Here is the article.
Second - I read about a new app that speeds up your reading allowing you to read a novel in less than 90 minutes. Lord knows my Book Club could do with this app! We are all busy Mums and the majority of us never finish the book in time for our monthly meeting. Have a click through - there is a real example of how you can go from reading 250 words per minute to 500 words per minute. Genius. Although, I don’t know about you but I would need a pause button because sometimes I come across words that are so beautifully woven together that I need a minute to re-read and ponder them before moving on.
Despite concerns that it can heat up and burn, there is no recall of an intensely popular toy for toddlers.
I spotted this article in my Facebook newsfeed over the weekend. I have never had a problem with any of the four (!) seahorses that we have but given the fact that I’ve recommended this toy to every man and his dog I wanted to share this scary article..
“A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face she inquired, “How heavy is this glass of water?” The answers called out ranged from 8oz to 20 oz. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stress and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them for a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed - incapable of doing anything.” Always remember to put the glass down.”—