Friday, November 20, 2009


Here's a special Friday treat. I discovered this while perusing this blog and I just could not stop watching it. This little French mademoiselle is just adorable, from her storytelling to her impeccable accent to her little French clothes.

And just when you don't think it could get any better, it does.

Capucine's maman saw how popular the videos of her little girl were on the internet, and decided to put their success to good use. She connected with a group called EduRelief, which provides Malaysian kids with access to educational materials like school books, through the sale of goodies like t-shirts and magnets. You can visit her Vimeo site here to learn more.

I hope you love this little girl as much as I do-- in the words of my dad, "There's just something so endearing about little children speaking French."
Here's another one to keep you tickled.

Amuse-toi bien ce weekend! A bientôt!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

happy birthday ginger!

Happy birthday Colleen! Today, one of my best friends turns the big 2-3, and although she insists that she's "over the hill", I argue that she's got a good long while to go before she can really complain about being old.

The photo above is of us together at the Newport Folk Festival this summer in Rhode Island. It was a fantastic weekend and one of my favorite things we've done together since becoming friends during our freshman year of college. Since then, we've also trekked around Europe for 2 weeks together, hung out with Dave Eggers in Harlem, and made lots of delicious meals together.
We spent three years as roommates, (even during our semesters abroad, when we used the Eurostar multiple times to cross the English channel and visit back and forth between London & Paris) and now that college is over, we maintain our friendship via conversations about food, books, and traveling.

One day, we're going to open a restaurant together called ginger and though we don't know where it will be, or how it's going to happen, we know the food will be delicious and there will be books lining the walls.

But until we can celebrate your birthday in the restaurant we own, happy birthday Coll-- my fellow redhead, writer, English major, Epicurean friend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

saying it out loud doesn't make it better.

Since Rosalba's returned to Colombia two weeks ago, I've been arriving at St. Rita's early for ESL with no Spanish lesson to take up the extra 45 minutes before class. I could take a later train into the city, but then I'd be late... so better early than that, I suppose.

It's a beautiful day today, so instead of taking the subway down Broad Street to ESL, I decided to kill the extra 45 minutes by walking to St. Rita's instead-- because the evening ESL class runs til 8:30, I don't get home until 10 and then rarely have energy much less desire to exercise, so this was a good compromise.

I stopped into a Starbucks close to the train station to get a coffee, and the friendly employees were expediently making their way down the long line, filling orders and ringing people up. They took my order, then moved onto the gentleman behind me, who asked for, "A reduced-fat turkey bacon breakfast sandwich, and a grande, mostly decaf with just a splash of regular Pike blend coffee."

Hang on a minute, I thought to myself.

Having worked at Barnes & Noble cafe, I've had the privilege/punishment to be aware of the caloric content of most pastries, drinks, and other goodies provided by Starbucks and its affiliates. And you don't have to be a genius to realize that the truth behind the frosting and chocolate chips and pumpkin spice and whipped cream is not pretty. In fact, it's really, really ugly. One chocolate chip cookie from Barnes & Noble cafe clocks in at about 490 calories. That's a lot of nutritionless points working very hard against one's waistline.

So this guy, whoever he was (and I'm sure he's very nice and had the best intentions) seemed to be under the impression that by stating that his breakfast sandwich was indeed the "reduced-fat" variety, he has won yet another battle against the fatty gods-- and wants everyone to know it. I'm quite sure of this fact because he repeated "reduced-fat turkey bacon breakfast sandwich" about five times in the six minutes it took me to get my coffee, pay, and leave the store. Before you berate me for being too hard on this guy who really just wanted to make sure he was getting the right sandwich... there are no other turkey bacon breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks. I'm actually just glad he didn't say "reduced-fat turkey bacon breakfast sandwich with cholesterol-free egg and reduced-fat white cheddar cheese," because, well, that is what the sandwich is actually called.

Maybe I should stop being so critical and instead have asked him to accompany me on my walk around the city. It probably would have been a more practical opportunity for him to improve his health than the repetition of his low-fat mantra. But instead, I grabbed my grande Pike Place blend coffee with a splash of non-fat milk in a travel mug to go, and left the store.

Photo courtesy of / CC BY-NC 2.0

of course it was.

Opprobrium was on the exam. Life is funny sometimes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

standardized tests should end with the SAT.

Tomorrow is the day of reckoning. I'm taking the GRE. I will not bore you with my tirade which proclaims the utter pointlessness of said exam, but let it be said that I am in no way looking forward to sitting in front of a computer screen for hours, feeling dumb because I have an English degree and can't tell the difference between probity and opprobium.

Opprobrium means disgrace caused by shameful behavior.
Probity means integrity.

At least I know they're both nouns?

Like I said, I'm not looking forward to it.
For now I'm listening to Girls and Boys by Ingrid Michaelson and getting some rest. I'm also debating setting my alarm for yoga early tomorrow-- because, let's face it, a couple of hours attempting to memorize more vocabulary is much less relaxing than a nice sun salutation in the morning.

Photo courtesy of / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Saturday, November 14, 2009

the glass is half-full.

Things, other than my cute cat (even though she's much bigger now), that make me glad:

1. this track featuring Sufjan Stevens-- and yes, it's by Chiddy Bang
2. discovering Polaroid 600 film on Craigslist for a very good price
3. mum's freshly-baked lemon muffins
4. the last of the beautiful autumn colors in the trees
5. the Modern Love column in the weekend NY Times
6. tights!
7. crossword puzzles-- lots of crossword puzzles

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 13, 2009

an imaginary trip to: london!

I was inexplicably grumpy earlier today, so I got myself a soy latte and trundled home from an unsuccessful trip to the gym, only to find myself staring out my window at the grey skies, daydreaming, & taking myself on an imaginary trip to... London!
I've been to London a couple of times for real, as my aunt lives there and a couple of my friends studied there during college, but I still feel like I don't know the city as well as I'd like to. So, off I went.

First things first-- I had to get in the English mindset, and remember to look right instead of left for oncoming traffic when crossing the street.

Then I rode the Underground all over, making sure to pick up the latest edition of London Lite, which is mostly filled with celebrity gossip instead of "real news", but that's ok.

Then I got pretty hungry, so I stopped into a pub to have a ploughman's lunch-- crusty bread, ham, cheese, and mini gherkin pickles served all together, washed down with cups of milky tea.

As I wandered the wet streets, I had been hoping to catch a glimpse of a guard dressed in his tall bearskin hat, but they were staying dry inside.

Then the sun came out, so I headed over to Notting Hill to peruse the markets and snack on fresh cream buns!

Then, the sun set (early!) so I took in the last of the city's lights with a ride on the London Eye.

And, believe it or not, my imaginary adventure really improved my mood. It was much more entertaining than studying for the GREs... that's for sure.

Photos one, five, and six courtesy of Colleen Curry, and photos two, three, and four courtesy of Christine Mykityshyn. Thank you ladies!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

rainy day poem.

It's a rainy day in Philadelphia, so I've settled in at the coffeeshop with a giant bowl of milky latte & my GRE books. And I decided it's a poetic rainy kind of day, so I'm sharing a poem by Mary Oliver.

Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain –
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

Mary Oliver

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

pay it forward.

I am a lucky girl.

Last night, after a day at work with no internet, after a stressful afternoon debating the merits of rescheduling my imminent GRE exam, I decided to skip out on seeing Jonathan Safran Foer speak at the Free Library in favor of heading home to study. I sat in Suburban Station, chatting on the phone and eating Laughing Cow cheese on Wasi crackers-- one of my favorite snacks.

As the announcement heralding the arrival of the R3 came over the PA system, I got up from my bench, spilled Coke all over the floor, but had to hit-and-run as I scurried downstairs to track 2A to catch my train home.

An hour later I was at home, changing into yoga pants & preparing myself to face the vocabulary words (opprobrium? Really?!), when our home phone rang. Mum came into my room, phone in hand. "It's Septa," she mouthed, and I held the receiver to my ear, very confused as to why the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority was calling my house, asking for me. Did I have to pay a fine for leaving spilt Coke on the floor of the train station?

As it turns out, the phone call was much more surprising than that. The woman on the other end told me that my wallet had been found near the ticket office in Suburban Station, and someone had turned it in at Lost and Found. I couldn't believe my ears-- I rarely leave things behind (especially after this debacle!) and I hadn't noticed that my wallet was missing!

"Does it seem like everything's... intact?" I nervously asked, remembering that my spoils from a weekend of babysitting had been nestled inside the turquoise lining; I hadn't had a chance to deposit the cash in the bank.
"Well, there's 206 dollars in there, if that's what you're asking."

I think my relief must have been palpable, because she laughed before giving me the details on how I could pick up my wallet at my earliest convenience.

I hadn't even counted my money, but I knew that I'd had a good amount of cash in there.
And that's how, on a Tuesday night in November, my faith in humanity was restored.

I picked up the wallet today-- and I had put my monthly train pass in my jacket pocket so I had no trouble riding the train without my wallet last night and today-- probably contributing to the fact that I hadn't noticed its absence.

Thank you, random stranger in Suburban Station, whoever you are. You should know I plan on paying your good deed forward.

Photo courtesy of / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

feeling feisty.

I've loved Broken Social Scene for a long time now, and even got a chance to see them perform in Paris (for free!) when my friend Wil came to visit me during my semester abroad. When I first heard about Feist, a solo project from one of the band's many members, I was a little hesitant in liking "1 2 3 4", her first release from the album The Reminder. But as time went on, the song, and then the entire album, grew on me and I really began to fall in love with her music.

And now, having collected older albums and releases, I have to say that I'm a bit of a Feist fiend. I just can't get enough!

It doesn't hurt that this girl, Leslie Feist, has a really cool name, but she's also cute as a button and I'm not ashamed to say I've got a bit of a girl crush. She's got great style, I love those bangs, and she even pulled off a royal blue sequined jumpsuit for the video for "1 2 3 4" (which I can't put on my blog, but check it out on YouTube!)

Feist has spent lots of time in Paris, and even recorded one of her albums there. Below is a video for "Gatekeeper", from the album Let It Die.

I've just always loved Feist at this time of year.

Photos courtesy of Lizzyville & AmieStreet

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Rabbit, rabbit!! (See more on this here)

Happy November 1st, everybody. Time is flying by... officially 72 days until I leave for Durban. Unbelievable.

Photo courtesy of