It seems like every time I’ve been posting recently it’s been prefaced by an apology about my lack of consistency. I’m here again and again with another excuse- you would think being homebound with a bad ankle would lead to more posting rather than less, but instead I’ve just generally been very off my game for the last week. Thankfully I’m starting to shape up and am more or less ready to rejoin the land of the living/productive, which is good because we’ve got some family trips lined up which I would never for the life of me be missing.
But that does also mean I’m unlikely to be posting consistently for another week and a half. The boondocks of PA doesn’t even have phone connection, much less WiFi.
See you on the other side!
In the meantime, I’ve amassed a hideous army of motley links from around the interwebs.
Why so many posts about Instagram?
Peace and Acceptance:
- The trouble with Hollywood’s gender flips: “These reboots require women to relive men’s stories instead of fashioning their own. And they’re subtly expected to fix these old films, to neutralize their sexism and infuse them with feminism, to rebuild them into good movies with good politics, too. They have to do everything the men did, except backwards and with ideals.”
- The Pop Culture Detective strikes again! The topic: Abduction as Romance.
- The Hate U Give. This looks pretty great.
- What is Cinemascore?
Due to a weekend-trip hiatus (NYC was great, thanks), this links post is a bit later than usual. Coincidentally, many of these links seem to have a bit of an LGBTQ theme.
Let’s get the smell stuff out of the way first:
- Auklets are a bird species in which males demonstrate fitness not only by very fancy and sexy crests, but seemingly also by emitting a strong tangerine scent, research finds.
- Study finds that activation of a certain smell receptor speeds the progression of prostate cancer, suggesting new treatment methods via blocking of the receptor.
- Department stores reevaluate traditional beauty and fragrance marketing techniques as the beauty industry changes.
All the feels:
Odds and Ends:
I hope you had a lovely Saturday. I took a forty minute detour to claim a vegan cinnamon roll, visited the Louvre’s special Delacroix exhibition, and ate a pizza (also vegan).
Keep an eye open for an upcoming ‘best vegan pizzas in Paris’ post. The sequel to the Boston edition- we’ve relocated.
So here’s what’s happening on the interwebs, carefully avoiding the trend for snorting condoms.
- The city of lights from the sky
- I’m fantasizing less about these outfits and more about the swoon worthy descriptions of spring weather
- Body glitter is now the only appropriate use for the Kira Kira filter. I am entranced.
- What happens when you add illustrations to those random snippets of overheard conversations
- I would stay here– books and beds are the only things I need in life
- For it to really be Paris he would have an accordion
- Infernal Affairs and The Departed– for me The Departed wins because Boston, but I have yet to see Infernal Affairs (it’s been on my list SO LONG) so that’s not worth much. It does look excellent, doesn’t it?
- If you’re a Royal Wedding fan, maybe you want to enter this social media contest to suggest its defining ice cream flavor?
- The unstoppable rise of veganism, about which I have mixed feelings (more people want to eat my cinnamon bun but more places sell vegan pizza).
- The benefits of a plant-based diet for health and the environment.
- Congrats to Yale and congrats to Nathan Chen.
- An interview with my favorite makeup artist
- A follow up on the Orientalism inherent in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and in the broader world of American cinema (with a very interesting segment on 2015’s Met Gala theme).
“It’s Japan purely as an aesthetic — and another piece of art that treats the East not as a living, breathing half of the planet but as a mirror for the Western imagination.” And perhaps the only thing that will lead to a more fair, just, and equal portrayal of Asians in cinema and pop culture is the spending power of that huge sector of the world population.
- Turkish Rondo in finger snaps
- Molly Ringwald reflects on the problematic legacy of John Hughes movies in the era of #MeToo
The most significant piece of news is that there is currently no heat in my house. Let’s just say it’s not the most ideal of circumstances.
However, with the help of twice as many blankets, two sweaters, and a hot water bottle I spent an adequately comfortable night. My landlords predict that they will have someone in to fix the heat on Friday morning. Or maybe it was Monday- I may have misunderstood the French. Suffice it to say, I’m hoping for Monday.
The second most significant piece of news is that it’s 26 days until my flight back to Boston- WOOOO!
And how am I spending the interim, besides being unreasonably cold?
- I revisited the Petit Palais for the new exhibition, Les Hollandais a Paris. It was absolutely gorgeous, well set-up, and interesting. Highly recommend if you’re in Paris. My only regret is not having waited to see the pastel exhibition until now so I could have gotten the joint ticket and saved a few euros.
The exhibit is a collection of the work of Dutch artists who have studied and worked in Paris, showcased along with the work of their friends and contemporaries. It’s arranged chronologically and really demonstrates how artists inspire one another, fads for different subject matter come and go, and styles change over time. Covering the period from 1789 (French Revolution) to 1914 (WWI), you get to see the procession from very detailed and lifelike floral still lives to realistic landscapes to impressionism to gritty realism to fauvism to cubism and cubist-inspired pieces. Unfortunately pictures weren’t allowed but I wrote down the names of my favorite works for future reference.
- Post Petit Palais I went to lunch at Happiz, a completely vegetarian pizza restaurant (with vegan options, including vegan cheese) located in Les Sablons. I did a build-your-own-pizza thing (the large was 12 euros, a steal for everything I’ve ever wanted in a vegan pizza- vegan mozzarella, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and vegan chorizo). They also offer gluten free pizzas. It was an absolute mess (my pizza did try valiantly to stand up to the heaps of toppings I ordered, but did cave under the pressure a few times) but the restaurant (a pretty small place) was quiet when I got there around 2 pm, very casual and very welcoming and personal.
I’m pondering the right way to post about my favorite restaurants (vegan of course) in Paris, and whether it’s better to do a big lump post (which would probably be overwhelming for both you and me) or to divide it into manageable ‘types of cuisines’ bite -sized chunks (pardon the pun)- like best lunch sandwich places, best pizza places, etc. And how to handle the places I haven’t gone yet?
- After pizza, I rounded out my day with yet another activity beginning with the letter P- protest (the theme was unintentional, I assure you). I visited the March for Our Lives protest, Paris edition, in the Place du Trocadero, just across the river from the Tour Eiffel. Lots of Americans and lots of French who feel strongly about kids being shot up at institutions of learning. Can’t understand it.
It was a great way to feel connected to America. I’ve followed politics fairly closely but it’s hard not to feel pretty impotent from here.
- My second to last stop was Citypharma, maybe the most famous (and most crowded) pharmacy in Paris. They have pretty much everything (but were unfortunately out of the Sensibiafine baume visage that I was looking for). I’ll just have to stop back another weekend.
- Lastly, I swung by another eatery called Brasserie 2eme Art to check out their menu, which isn’t available online. It’s a bit expensive for me (pretty much everything is still under 20 euros, but a fair amount is over 13, which is my arbitrary cut off). Still, it looks like there could be some more great vegan pizza there- so maybe that will be in my pizza round up. Except lord knows I’m more interested in getting the banana split. 😉
Today, Sunday, is a grocery shopping and cooking day, and I also need to do some studying as we have two exams this week. Unfortunately that’s very difficult when your hands are freezing. Whatever- it’s all bout doing your best, isn’t it?
In terms of future blog plans- not now, but over the summer, I’m considering doing themed weeks to organize my thoughts more around what content I want to be posting. possible topics include nostalgia, food, films, reading material, perfume, etc.
There isn’t even a pun to excuse my French title.
I’m just a pretentious elitist who thinks the French language is beautiful and kind of encompasses what I want to get across? Except of course it doesn’t really get it across because the majority of my readers (hypothetically, if I had readers- really I know it’s mainly Mom and dad out there- hi guys, how you doin’?) speak English, given that this blog is in English.
Given a few weeks for my resolutions to marinate, I’ve come up with some more concrete steps to take to care for myself. And it’s really necessary, given that I seem to have developed a forte for a) burning myself (I mean, I guess. That looks like a burn) and b) falling up/down stairs (is it still a shiner if it’s on your knee?)
So let’s do this!
- Start flossing again. You know how flossing is essentially the first thing to go when you’re tired and/or stressed. Given that I’m tired and/or stressed the majority of the time (sigh, modern life), it’s been a while since I’ve been solidly on the daily oral hygiene bandwagon. On the same note- mouthwash?
- Get a lighter. I have a candle (a beautiful beeswax one that my dad made me for Christmas (again, hi Dad!) and I need to light its fire, as it were. Can you imagine the self-soothing happiness and love from a softly glowing beeswax smell that reminds you of the love of a parental unit?
- Stay hydrated. The world is a broken record when it comes to staying hydrated, but do any of us really listen? I don’t.
- Take care of my feet. Now that I’m not a *competitive dancer* my feet aren’t necessarily a lost cause. In fact, they might even be resuscitated (resuscitable?). The problem is that it’s a bit chilly to not be wearing socks or slippers 24/7 and my feet want to breathe. I’ve noticed that I have some proprioception issues, so even when my feet are warm enough, I don’t tend to notice (which reminds me to take off my slippers now).
- Take my vitamins/supplements again. It’s been years since I took my vitamins regularly, which as a vegan is a bit of a no no. Time to get back on the B12.
- Listen to more music. Now that I’ve confirmed that my 10 year old ipod has not in fact been lost to the winds of time, my horizon of musical possibilities has been reopened.
- Stretch more. Especially during our class breaks. Sitting and smelling from 9-5 gets a bit exhausting for the body. I always feel so much better after I’ve moved a bit.
- Don’t skimp. I have a tendency toward self abnegation, which is a lot less now that I’m not anorexic. But there are still a few things I do that I only really realized recently are related to how I value myself. So I’m going to really use my products for their purposes (i.e. definitely adequate amounts of moisturizer, replacing my contact solution daily, those kinds of luxurious/very necessary things).
- Replace my mascara and eyeliner. My mascara is almost empty and I’m hitting my pan on my MAC pot, which I’ve had since 9th grade anyway (for reference, I’m in 17th grade now). I shouldn’t have that stuff so close to my eyeballs.
- Listen to ASMR before bed if I want.
Happy New Year’s (Eve) depending on where you are!
This is the last selection of links for the year of 2017, and it’s a blessedly short one.
Do you have New Year’s plans? It’s been bitterly cold here in Boston and will continue to be so tonight, so my evening looks like a cuddly warm stay at home affair. If I manage to stay up past 9:30. Jet lag. It’s still real.
Look at me doing two posts two days in a row like I don’t currently have 134 raw materials to study and an illness to recover from! 😀
No excuses, I have reaped enough links from the inter webs now to share them and I’m missing sharing my thoughts more often, so I’m going to work on making time for this blog/diary/list compendium more of a priority.
For the children, you know.
- Pixar’s released a TEASER TRAILER FOR INCREDIBLES 2! I’ve been waiting so long. And I am so ready for destructive apocalyptic Jack Jack and stay-at-home Mr. Incredible. (And Edna Mode. Please, Edna Mode).
- One of my favorite makeup artists (Violette, check out her youtube channel) has released a trio of lip colors with Estee Lauder. I’m sorely tempted.
- A scholarly discussion of Rankin & Bass Christmas specials; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Finally convinced me to finally watch Jack Frost, which I had somehow missed during all of my childhood ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Here are some highlights.
- A program to help you find the word that’s just on the tip of your tongue.
- Guys, there’s a new horse movie coming out, Lean on Pete.
- The American Film Institute has released their list of top 10 films of 2017. It’s a pretty good list. I’ve seen 4/10 so far, time to get cracking.
- Yale’s released a new admissions video, “That’s Why I Toured Yale”, replacing cult icon “That’s Why I Chose Yale”. The weirdest thing? I recognize people in the video. (I see you at 9:26-9:33, ballroom team!)
- NPR’s guide to the best books of 2017. Be right back, adding about 20 to my list. have you read any?
- New York Times film critics on the best movie performances of 2017. So much agreement and so much anticipation for films I haven’t seen yet (like Ladybird, The Shape of Water, and Call Me By Your Name).
- The magic of big cities, an illustration.
I’m not going to go into the details of why I’ve been referring to my long weekend in Milan as a #SeriesofUnfortunateEvents, but instead focus on the positive.
Because it was a beautiful city and traveling is hard and once my phone is working again (the bad luck has followed me!) I’ll only (mostly) remember the good and happy parts.
So I set up a Google Map before I went (bluntly titled ‘Milan 2017’) and divided my places into ‘cultural’, ‘walking’, and ‘shopping’ designations/destinations.
Let’s have share time!
Cultural: I was mostly going for a cultural/high-brow/pretentious weekend to myself. The things I loved most are In CoLoR
- The Duomo and the Museum: It’s the one big church that everyone is supposed to go to but honestly (as you can see from my colors) I found some of the smaller ones more worthwhile. It’s a big cathedral, not colorful, not particularly unique. But grand.
- La Scala: The 6,50 euros I spent on la Scala cheap seats (for a philharmonic performance) were some of the best moneys I’ve spent in my life. It’s awe-inspiring. The people watching is as amazing as the performance, which sounds silly but you can very much see that people-watching is what the space was designed for. The boxes are each like a tableau of attendees, all spread out in front of you across the way. like so many paintings or television screens, so many snapshots. Also red velvet.
- La Scala Museum: My phone wasn’t working when I was at La Scala for the performance, so it was very worthwhile for me to go back and take photos. (And check out a box). They also had some Maria Callas costumes on display, which was cool. Reminded me of how much I like ‘Addio del passato’. Which just autocorrected to Addio del pasta. Oh boy.
- Santa Maria delle Grazie: Not the church itself, but The Last Supper in the building adjoining. It’s set up so well, though you do have to reserve your place for entry. They let you in with the painting with a small group of people for a carefully timed fifteen to twenty minutes. It’s actually a pretty excellent way to view it- very few people, lots of space, uninterrupted views. Mind blowing and so striking.
- Pinacoteca di Brera: All of the Madonnas and Childrens to put my own struggles in perspective. Gorgeous Titians, Veroneses, Botticellis, Bellinis, all that good stuff. The area around it is lovely of a nighttime walk.
- Museo Poldi Pezzoli: Another art museum with an immense and majestic staircase with a fountain and goldfish and a room full of watches.
- Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore
- San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore: I’m pretty sure the first thing you’re supposed to say when you walk into a church isn’t “Oh fucking fuck”, and yet. This church is so beautiful. It filled my soul. 100% worth seeing.
- Santa Maria Presso San Celso: this was my other big church favorite. Beautiful ceiling moldings and all that. Honestly pick this and the one above over the Duomo. Go to the Duomo piazza to see the church from the outside and feed the pigeons. And to check out Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, not for the shopping but for the architecture.
If I could add anything that i didn’t get the chance to see, it would be Bagetti Valsecchi, an ornate ducal residence with difficult hours.
- Sforzescu castle: I lived super close to Sforzescu, and while I didn’t go into the museums, walking through the court and the gardens outside it was lovely.
- Navigli: The Navigli are a set of channels in the South of the city, and something I almost ended up skipping. I was lucky to roll in when there was a huge street market of antiques and vintage clothes happening. Beautiful and lots of fun.
- Piazza Mercanti: A cute little corner that’s seen better days. It’s pretty central, but still a bit hidden. By all means roll through.
- Casa degli Omenoni: This is not a walk so much as a neat building facade that one can walk by. But what a cool facade.
I ended up not sticking to my shopping destinations at all, but ended up doing these:
- L’Erbolario: Where I finally succeeded in getting myself a bottle of Meharees, a spicy musk perfume (reminiscent of Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle) that I’ve been wanting forever (and regretted not buying when I was in Milan two years ago).
- Kiko Milano: Turns out Kiko Milano is cheaper in Milano. Especially when they have a buy three get three Black Friday sale. Eyeshadow sticks.
- Granaio: Gelato.
- Farini: A lovely pizza place just by San Lorenzo Maggiore, where they sell different types by the slice. Delicious. I ate three, Two probably would have been better.
- Juice Bar: A cheap eatery in my train station (Milano Cadorna) that had a yummy Vegano sandwich with what was perhaps the most delicious roast pepper I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
- Centro Botanico: My nearest health food store, because it’s me. I bought hummus and bread and peanut butter and lived on it when I wasn’t going out to eat. And Fuji apples.
Good vittles, love, and kissing…
There are a few things that are harder to find here than at home, and that I find myself pining for every once in a while. A lot of them surprise even me!
- Tex-Mex: One of the few cuisines that is easier to find in the US than in France. (By the way, did you know France has the Lebanese restaurant market pretty much cornered? It’s great for me, a falafel-addict). I need a burrito- STAT.
- Vegan cheese and mayo: France rightly takes a lot of pride in some specific dairy products (i.e. cheese) and any attempt to change it up a bit is SQUASHED. At least i assume that’s why I can find no vegan cheese (or ice cream for that matter). And I guess they’re also pretty partial to traditional mayo methods? I guess they did invent mayonnaise… right? I feel like I learned that from a pirates of the Caribbean blooper. On the other hand, they’re vegan yogurt here is SO MUCH BETTER. Apparently their non-vegan yogurt is also better (I have been told).
- Body oil: I’m on the hunt for some combined body and hair oil, but I haven’t been looking hard enough. Really this is about me missing my big Target/Stop & Shop/ Walgreen’s superstores, where you can find anything under the sun, except under very unflattering fluorescent lights. I think I need a trip to Monoprix.
- Consignment stores: Paris and France in general has great vintage shops, but what I’m really in need of is some bulky lightly used knitwear. Particularly of the turtleneck variety. Having worn through two beige turtlenecks in quick succession, I’m finding the cozy side of my wardrobe uncomfortably diminished. Also consignment is just how I’m used to shopping.
- Some hipster earthy crunchy ingredients: This is probably just because I don’t know how to say nutritional yeast or vital wheat gluten in French.
- Thanksgiving: Instead the French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau day, which is like this weird wine-Octoberfest. Yeah, I don’t know either.
- Watching the news: Although when my hosts have the French radio is on it is so often about Trump and it’s so cringe-y.
- Saturday Night Live: SNL WHY are your youtube videos NOT AVAILABLE in this COUNTRY!?
And lots more, but that’s all that’s leaping to mind at the moment!
*On a similar note to the very narrow interpretation of certain dairy products, the French are also very specific about the things that you can and can’t do with grapes. Like you can drink wine or you can eat fresh grapes. There are no raisins here. Other dried fruit yes, but no raisins. And no grape jelly. Even though that’s the American staple jelly. But I don’t miss these things because I’m not a big fan of raisins and because I’ve already written about HOW MANY EXCITING JELLIES THERE ARE HERE. Next up: rhubarb.
No preamble. Down and dirty style.