Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Just put it on a baguette!"

I have officially been in France for 5 days.  Sometimes it feels like I've only been here for 5 minutes but sometimes it feels like 2 weeks.  I am loving the city and my apartment. It is no secret that the French have some pretty great food. I have enjoyed all of the food so far and I'm sure I'm not going to be disappointed in the months to come.

One of the funniest things to me is that a common answer to any question I have is "just put it on a baguette!" In other words, in the grocery store when I'm not sure what something is used for, most likely the answer is you put it on a baguette.  Nutella, jams, butter, meat, cheese, even hot dogs, you just put it on a baguette.  I think a warm baguette simply makes any food 10x better.  I also think that when I get back to the US I am going to be a baguette snob - but I won't apologize for it.

Cheri and I with our first authentic French macarons! 

The weather here is pretty close to perfect considering it is January.  It has been around 50 degrees everyday this week and most importantly no snow.  It did rain some yesterday and a most of today but I will take a little rain over snow any day.

A little fall of rain could never hurt me now. -Les Mis (I am in France after all!)

Cheri and I were supposed to do a scavenger hunt around Marseille yesterday but due to the rain that was postponed.  However, from what I have been able to see of Marseille, it is a beautiful city.  Next week Cheri and I will start English clubs with kids.  Hopefully as I help them with their english they will help me with my french!

Here are some of the pictures from Marseille so far.  I will do a blog post about my lovely apartment next time :) Disney princesses may be involved. 

Marseille from the plane.  Breath taking.

The view out of my bedroom window.  Hello Alpes.

My new friend Elsie.

Ferris wheel at Vieux Port

You remember those wonder balls that you can't get in the states anymore? You can still get them in France!

View from my living room/kitchen window.

Cheri and I may or may not have gone to McDonalds for the free WiFi.

I hope that everyone is having a good Thursday!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I {AM}sterdam

What a week in Amsterdam.  I'm not sure I know where to begin because those were the probably the fastest 5 days of my life.  The city is absolutely beautiful and full of rich history.  America is so young compared to the rest of the world it was crazy standing in a house that is older than America. While I was there I got to know 11 other amazing people who were going to other countries with the same Hands On program.  Cheri and I are in France but other people were going to Russia, Poland, Finland, Manchester and Belarus.  The best way for me to share Amsterdam is to show you pictures I've taken.  If you want a complete album, head over to facebook, but here are some of my favorites.

First roomie picture!

The Dutch love sprinkles. A typical kid's breakfast would be toast with butter and sprinkles.

Cheri and I! Don't worry mine is hot chocolate not coffee :)

In the secret room in Corrie Ten Boom's House (read more about her here - fascinating story)

Amsterdam was an amazing, fast paced week. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone I was with as well as learning more about the history and people of Amsterdam. I am excited to go back in June to see the city full of tulips & other flowers & not so cold :)

Stay tuned for my first update about Marseille!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Greetings from Amsterdam!

It is still hard for me to believe that I am typing this blog post from a hostel in the middle of Amsterdam. The past 4 days have been crazy and exciting and tiring.

After I said a tearful goodbye to my parents I walked to my gate and waited patiently to board my flight.  Fortunately, Sunday afternoon's are not a busy time at the airport so I did not have to wait in a line at security but then I found myself with a little over 90 minutes with nothing to do but wait.  I sat and watched the people around me making up stories as to where they were going and why.  About 30 minutes before boarding a lady who was sitting two seats down from me proceeded to wrap up her half eaten quesadilla in a napkin and place it in her purse.  It was at that moment that I prayed that she would not be next to me on the plane.

Once I landed in DC I had to walk for what seemed like forever (probably 30 minutes) to get to the next gate.  There I met up with the 5 other people I would be flying to Amsterdam with, including my French roommate Cheri!

Goodbye, America!

DC at night from the plane

The flight to Amsterdam was about 8 hours and pretty uneventful.  I sort of slept but I lost 6 hours as we were flying due to time zones.  I was really jealous of the guy who was in the middle 3 seats of the plane because he ended up not having anyone on either side of him so he got to lay down across the 3 seats to sleep.  Not fair.  This may be a surprise to you, but I was not flying first class and all I could think of was the movie Bridesmaids as they closed the curtains to first class.

Once we left the airport I became very thankful for that one bag I had initially complained about.  Between my 50 lb (exactly) suitcase and my probably 18 pound carry on and purse I was thankful that I didn't have a second big bag because we walked a long way with our luggage to get on a train and then got off, walked some more (tried not to get hit by a bike - more on Amsterdam later) and then got on a tram for a few minutes to finally arrive at the hostel where we are staying.  OH, and then the lift was broken so we had to carry our luggage to the 3rd floor which is really like 5 flights of stairs.

I will use my next post to tell you more about my time here in Amsterdam.  It is a beautiful city but I am ready to go to Marseille to get out of the cold!

The view from our hostel

Sunday, January 19, 2014

See you in June, North Carolina!

Today is the day, folks! In less than 2 hours I will be on my way to the airport, saying goodbye to my parents, and starting the next chapter of my life.  I applied to go to France in the beginning of June 2013 so it is still hard to believe that this day I have been waiting for is finally here.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I can only have one suitcase and one carry on for my trip.  As someone who loves clothes, this was a very daunting task, but it is done.

I now present to you "How to pack for 6 months in the south of France in 1 suitcase & carryon!"

5 pairs of pants (my red pants aren't in the picture)

3 pairs of running shorts, 4 pairs of normal shorts and 2 pairs of yoga pants

Shoes. This was the hardest part to narrow down

2 dresses - my maxi dress and a summer dress

Pea coat, rain jacket and hoodie.

7 scarves

This is all my stuff piled onto my bed.
Thanks to Pinterest I had some help on how to pack.  I made sure that any top I took could be worn with different things.  Scarves are also the ticket to changing up an outfit.  I also rolled all of my clothing to make the most of the space.  Not pictured items that I am also taking are my makeup, a small crossbody purse, a backpack, some toiletries, my laptop, ipad, chargers, journal, bible and Mr. Darcy, my stuffed wolf.  One way that I am saving on weight is only taking a couple travel size of shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste because I know that I can buy full size once I get to France.  In addition to my carry on and suitcase I can take my bigger purse which helps as well.

That's it! All of that is in there!

 I will not have internet access until I get to France on the 26 ( I will be in Amsterdam from today until then) so I will thank you now for all your prayers & well wishes.  My goal is to update my blog at least once a week with what is going on so that everyone can stay updated.  If you want to reach me while I'm in France you can leave a comment, email me or send me message on facebook.  All my contact info is under my picture on the right side of the page.

I love you all!  See you in June, North Carolina!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Golden Globes Fashion Review

One of the best parts of ringing in a new year is ringing in a new season of award shows.  I love pop culture and knowing what is going on in Hollywood and I am also obsessed with fashion so award shows give me then chance to have the best of both worlds.  It was hard to narrow it down to 3 picks for each category but here is my fashion review from last night's 71st annual Golden Globes.

The Hits:

 Lupita Nyong'o.  

You probably do not know who this is but she was the star in 12 years a slave.  This is her first major appearance on a red carpet and she knocked it out of the park. Her skin looks amazing and her makeup is perfection.  This Ralph Lauren dress is simple & elegant and she is easily one of my best dressed of the night.

Cate Blanchett

As soon as I saw Cate step on the red carpet I loved this dress and then she turned around and I fell in love with it even more.  I think it is sophisticated yet sexy but not too over the top.  Her hair & makeup are an A+ as well

Dress by Armani

Sofia Vegara

Sofia Vegara is known for wearing mermaid cut dresses on every red carpet so it was refreshing to see her break out of her normal.  I think Sofia is drop dead gorgeous so it doesn't take much to make her look good and the simplicity of this Zac Posen dress let her natural beauty shine.  Plus look at that necklace! 

Did you know she is the highest paid actress on television? If you've never seen Modern Family you should start watching immediately.

The "meh"s:

Emma Watson

Okay so I think Emma Watson is so pretty but I was just confused by this choice.  Her makeup and hair are great and the dress from the front looks nice.  Then she turned around and I saw she was wearing pants.  Do I hate the look? No.  Do I love the look? No.  Again I'm just confused.  I know the Golden Globes are more casual than the Oscars but still, pants? 

Dress by Dior

Jennifer Lawrence

It upsets me so much to have to put my homegirl JLaw in the "meh" category.  Normally her fashion is on point, especially after all her outfits for the Catching Fire press tour she did.  Jennifer is the face of Dior and this was the best they could do?  When I first saw this dress I hated it but the more I look at it it's not that I hate it I'm just underwhelmed and disappointed because I was expecting a lot.  It is too simple.  I will give her credit that her styling is perfect and she, as usual, was perfect in her photobombing of Taylor Swift and her acceptance speech (she won best supporting actress for her role in American Hustle) She also managed to make a white dress not look bridal.

Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery is from the show Downton Abbey.  I think this dress is really pretty it is just the wrong color.  Very few people can pull off champaign/taupe/beige and pale people are not those people.  I also think it's a little too matchy matchy with the nude shoes.  This is definitely not one of the worst dresses of the night but it is not a best dressed nominee either.

Dress by Oscar de la Renta

The misses/oh my gosh why's:

Zoe Saldana

Oh Zoe where do I start.  You are normally on the best dressed list of all red carpets but something must have happened yesterday.  The length is bad, the pointy neckline looks like cat ears, the straps just look like yours fell down and you hadn't picked them back up yet.  Why is the front of your dress sheer from the knees down?  Unnecessary.  The pattern change in your dress is awful too.  Your hair seems like it is too tight and it would have been really pretty loose and down and maybe it could cover up the awkward neckline of this dress. So disappointed Zoe, so disappointed.

Dress by Prabal Gurung, Spring 2014

Julia Roberts

I think that Julia forgot she was going to an awards show.  The black dress is boring and blah so she thought that adding a white button up shirt underneath would make it better?  I am so confused about the shirt.  Julia, you know that you are one of the most successful actresses in hollywood, right? So any designer would love to dress you.  Why in the world did you choose this?? And then you add the white belt which gives you a little shape I guess but ahhhhhhhh. Also, Sarah Palin called and would like her hair back.

Dress & Shirt from Dolce & Gabana

Emma Stone

I'm not sure what to say about Emma's outfit except bad.  I'm also not sure if it is a dress or a top and a skirt.  Even though Emma was only presenting that is no excuse to wear a bad outfit.  You are 25 years old and you have a rocking body and could wear basically any style of dress.  Why did you choose this? The color washes you out and the slit in the dress is awkward as well.  To give you credit your makeup does look really good.

Dress by Chanel

So that is my fashion roundup for the 2014 Golden Globes.  There were many more dresses that I loved and hated but I forced myself to only post 9 total.  Unfortunately I do not think I will get to watch anymore award shows this season since I will be in France but luckily the internet is world wide and I will be able to look up some of the fashion choices people make.  Overall I was slightly disappointed with the choices people made last night and I hope that they really step it up for the SAG awards & the Oscars.  The Grammy's is the next award show and it is normally my favorite to watch because people tend to take bigger fashion risks.  

If you watched the Golden Globes last night who were your best and worst dressed?  Comment and let me know!