Friday, March 28, 2014

Dear Friday

Dear Friday, did you know that you are the half way point for my time here in Marseille? I know, I can't believe it either but it is true. I want to savor every moment that I have left because in 70 days I will be back in America.  Crazy.


Dear Marseille, thank you for gracing us with such a gorgeous sunset last night.  I definitely don't have a view like this back home. 


Dear Lay's, I get that you feel like you need to constantly have new flavors of chips but rotisserie chicken? Really? Not so sure how I feel about that one.  Is this flavor available in America or is this a french only thing?


Dear Paris, I cannot wait to see you next week! Four days in your beautiful city will not be enough but it is the best I can do.  I am excited to explore your streets and see everything that you have to offer.  Can you try to have beautiful weather? I would really appreciate it. À bientôt.

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À la prochaine.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Scavenger Hunt

This past Wednesday, Cheri and I set off on a scavenger hunt around Marseille.  While we have been here for 2 months (side note - WHAT?!? crazy. There is no way that I left home over 2 months ago) we still had not seen all of Marseille. It was a beautiful day with perfect weather for exploring for a few hours.

Our first stop was Cores Julien.  This is the "artist district" of Marseille.  Unfortunately we got there a little after lunch time but on Wednesday mornings they have an organic market in the square.  There are all sorts of cafes and shops throughout this area.  Rue Bussy L'Indien (rue means street in french) is a small alleyway where both sides are covered in graffiti.  It made me feel like I was walking through the freedom expression tunnel on NC State's campus.






As we continued down Cores Julien we were told to cross the street then follow our nose to 34 Cours Julien.  I thought those were weird directions but sure enough as soon as we crossed the street the smell of fresh laundry (one of my favorite scents, btw) all the way to the Unicorn Marseille Soap Factory! This factory has been making soap for over 100 years.  I would love to go back another time and take a tour.  All of their soaps smelled so good!




Also, the Cicada is the official insect for Marseille, maybe the whole Provence region of France but I'm not sure.  Apparently they are everywhere during the summer. If anyone wants cicada shaped soap, just let me know.



Eventually Cheri and I made our way to the Cathedral de la Major. This is probably one of the biggest cathedrals I have ever seen.  I love exploring various cathedrals to see how intricate they are.  This one definitely had no limits when it came to its design.  First of all, I love the stripes on the outside of the building.  This church was started in the 12th century but most of the cathedral was built in the 1800s. I think this cathedral had more statues than any of the other cathedrals I have seen, including one of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  And of course there was a golden statue of Mary.  The one thing about these ornate cathedrals is that they make me sad - I'm not sure where in the bible it said a church had to be so grand and ornate and I definitely don't feel like they say "come as you are".  I want to come back here one Sunday and attend a church service because I'm pretty sure it will be as opposite as possible from my southern baptist church that I was raised in.  It will be a cultural experience for sure.



They spent so much money on the church they ran out of ink for the printer




I feel like John is saying "what up playa?!"

After the church we walked down to Fort Saint Jean. This Fort was built by Louis XIV. Unfortunately I did not take that many pictures of the fort itself. The fort was built at the entrance of the port as a way of security for Marseille and from Marseille.  The cannons were built on both sides, just in case Marseille decided to rebel against France. During WWII Fort Saint-Jean was occupied by the german military.  In 1944 during the liberation of Marseille, there was an explosion within the fort and it destroyed most of its historic buildings.






After 3 hours of exploring, Cheri and I made our way down to the rocks and just sat and enjoyed the view of the Mediterranean. There were some people swimming in the water but I thought they were crazy because there is no way that water wasn't freezing.  




I wish I could bring all of yall to Marseille and show you the sites because these pictures really don't do it justice!  Exploring Marseille made me think that I want to do a scavenger hunt around Raleigh and try to look at it form an outsiders point of view.  Anyone want to join? 

À la prochaine!   




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Apartment


This is a post that I have been meaning to write for a while now but I kept forgetting about.  However, thanks to my lovely sister, I was reminded that I haven't shown people what my apartment looks like here in Marseille.

So, without further adieu, here it is!



 This is what you see when you first walk inside.  Don't you love the blue wood paneling? It grows on you.  The white cards you see on the cabinets are labels that Cheri and I made to help us learn more french vocabulary.

This is our living room.  That spot in the middle of the futon is where I am sitting now as I type this.  Not sure why but it somehow became my spot, just call me Sheldon. Also, those are sheets drying in the corner because while we have a washing machine, there is no dryer, which is the case for everyone in France.

Here is another view of our kitchen.  There is Cheri's spot as well as the collection of smurf toys that came with the apartment.  My best guess is that they came in McDonald's Happy Meals and from experience, the girls who lived here before us probably went to McDonald's a lot.


As we make our way towards the back of the apartment, here is our hallway.  Our coatrack next to the front door and a bookcase and a desk.

Please notice our rock wallpaper.  This is throughout the apartment except for my room and Cheri's room.


Across from the bookcase is the toilet room (not pictured) and then the bathroom.  True story - every time I go to take a shower I feel like I am stepping into a rocket ship because the doors slide to the center to close.



And now for the best room, my room! Instead of the beautiful rock wallpaper I get Disney princesses! You can't tell because of the comforter but my bed is actually a trundle bed so come on and visit I have space!

I also have a matching Disney princess trashcan.

All the windows in people's apartments and houses have metal blinds that can be raised and lowered.  I was told that this started a long time ago when the tax collector would walk around and appraise you based on what they could see in your house.  The blinds prevented them from being able to see inside! I like it because it allows me to make my room pitch black in the middle of the day to take awesome naps.




Well, that's it!  I also didn't post a picture of Cheri's room because, well, that's her room and not mine to share.  She has palm tree wallpaper.  

I hope yall have had a good week so far!  The ACC tournament starts today, I'm hoping to get to watch State play this week! 

À la prochaine! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscars 2014 Fashion Review

While I may not have been able to watch the Oscars last night (#franceproblems) you best believe that I have spent most of my morning looking over pictures of what people wore to the best award show of the season.  Before I begin let me tell you what I expect from celebrities at the Oscars.  It's the Oscars - the biggest award show of the season.  This is not the Grammy's or the SAG awards where you can get by with wearing something a little different or out there.  This is a classy event and you are expected to wear the best of the best.  If you are nominated for an oscar then you have the ability to hire people to help you look your best.  (aka a stylist and a tailor) There should be no excuses for a poorly executed look.  If you don't have anyone you trust to tell you the truth if you look good in something or not, maybe you need new friends.  


Here are my best dressed from the evening.

1. Lupita Nyong'o.

Wow.  Just wow.  Lupita has been killing it all awards season (starting with her killer Ralph Lauren dress at the Golden Globes) and last night was no different.  This light blue custom made Prada dress is to die for.  The color against her beautiful skin is gorgeous and the styling is perfect.  Can you believe that she is 31 years old? I hope that she sticks around in Hollywood for a while because I can't wait to see what she wears next! 

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2. Sandra Bullock

In my opinion Sandra Bullock nailed it last night.  This beautiful Alexander McQueen dressed fit her perfectly and the color is gorgeous.  I like that she kept it simple with a bracelet and earrings and didn't try to wear a necklace as well.  Also, her hair balances the pleated detail in her dress nicely.

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3. Jennifer Lawrence

My girl J Law.  Stunning.  I am happy to see her in a straight column dress and the color is great.  It makes her seem a little more fashion and a little less princess.  It's also something different from what she normally wears.  The color is great and the tailoring is spot on.  Like Sandra, she kept the jewelry to a minimum and I love it. Being the face of Dior must be nice.

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Here are my worst dressed from the evening.

1. Julia Roberts

Oh Jules, can I call you Jules?  I feel like you need a friend to tell you when it's not working so why don't you let me be that friend. This Givenchy dress is doing nothing for you.  Remember when I said something earlier about no excuses for something not fitting right? What happened? This dress does not fit you right at all.  It should be tighter above the peplum (even though I think the peplum is quite awkward at that height and should be lowered a bit) and it needs to be taken in at the shoulders as well.  Also the pattern of this dress is very old lady and the lace around your chest is too much.  Did you ever think of having a bolder lip choice? I think a deep or bright red would have looked divine. 

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2. Pharrell Williams 

As much as I love his song "Happy", his outfit does not make me happy at all.  It is the Oscars!  Why in the world is he wearing shorts? I get it, you're trying to make a fashion statement, but wearing shorts to the Oscars was not the best choice.  It really isn't that hard for a guy to look great at an awards show.  Buy a classic black and white tux and have it tailored impeccably.  I just can't get over the fact that he decided to wear shorts to the Oscars. Shorts. Ugh. I can't even focus on the fact that his bow tie is too big or that it looks like he has been skipping out on leg day at the gym.

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3. Anna Kendrick

As much as I love Anna as a person & actress, I can't let my biased opinion of her keep her from my worst dressed.  There is just too much going on in this J Mendel dress.  There's the one shoulder look, with actual lining of the dress around her shoulders and neck, and then the sheer section with flower details below her chest, the pleating and layering on the dress then the slit and a shoe that just isn't right. Also, Angelina Jolie did the stunning slit in a dress in 2012 and now you are just being compared to her.  Your hair and makeup look great but this dress is just a little all over the place for me.

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Here are some honorable mentions:

Idina Menzel 

 While your Vera Wang dress is beautiful your hair is just drab and bland.  A pretty up-do would have put you on a best dressed list.


Kate Hudson 

While you look absolutely stunning in this Versace gown, Gwyneth Paltrow did this look in 2012 and pulled it off a little better.



Angelina Jolie

This is certainly not your worse dressed, and I am glad that you are wearing something besides black or white, but this Elie Saab dress feels a little matronly and sort of reminds me of a beach coverup. However, you are one of the most beautiful women in the world so even in a fancy beach coverup you still look gorgeous.

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Who do you think were the best and worst dressed of the 2014 Oscars?  Is there someone I missed? Let me know!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Monaco

Last Wednesday, Cheri and I headed off to Monaco for the day.  (no big deal, right?) It is still crazy to me how easy it is to travel in Europe. Two people that we met at our hostel were also planning on traveling to Monaco so we all decided to go together.





We did not have any real plans except to walk around and explore.  Monaco is the world's second smallest country (behind the Vatican) and it is only .78 square miles.  Despite it's small size, we did some serious walking, especially considering it's pretty much all hills.  Throughout the day I kept saying, I can't believe I'm in Monaco.  I'm not sure when Monaco became such a rich country, or known as a rich country, but rich it is.  As I was eating lunch I was looking over the port with million dollar yachts and ferrari's driving past me on the street.  Walking up to the famous Monte-Carlo Casino & Hotel de Paris we passed a row of stores that included Prada, Cartier, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and more.  

Selfie in Monaco - heyyyy







Unfortunately I couldn't take any pictures inside the casino because cameras and phones are prohibited but it was stunning. So much detail and intricacy in everything that you saw.  After the casino Cheri and I got some gelato and I'm pretty sure it is some of the best ice cream I have ever had.  I also realized that I have now had ice cream in 7 countries. (USA, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Holland, France, and Monaco) 



The famous Monte-Carlo Casino







Cheri and I ended our day at Musée Océanographique de Monaco.  They have a pretty cool aquarium as well as the museum.  It was here that I got to pet a shark - it was awesome.  I consider it step 1 in my goal of swimming with the sharks.






How beautiful is this sunset? In love.

Beautiful church


As we left the museum to get dinner & head back to Nice we were able to see a gorgeous sunset.  I don't think there is a single place in Monaco that is "ugly".  Every building and street was bright and clean and, well, rich.  By the time I got to sit in my bed at the hostel my feet felt like they were going to fall off, but it was worth every step I took that day.

À la prochaine!