Life, Loving, Uncategorized

Christmas Tree Anticipation and a Loving List

Christmas Decoration | egg & dart

2011 sapin de Noël

Word on the street the texts I keep sending to R. is that tonight is get-a-Christmas-tree-or-else night! Here in France the most common way to set up you tree is with the trunk fitted into a whole drilled in a halved log. This is hard for a Maine girl who most of the time cut her own tree from farms to swallow. It means that the tree dries out much faster (or fossilizes as my mom calls it) and we both love having the tree up through January if we can. So I had this idea that buying the tree sooner would mean a fresher tree that would be more able to suck up water for a good long time. We didn’t make it to the garden center last weekend but I really want to get there tonight and then I’ll test that tree freshness theory out. I bet you already have you tree, don’t you?

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Here’s some things I loved this week:

  • I love reading posts by E who writes so well and with such funny honesty. Her latest post where in her little EE meets the doctor and the mall Santa in the same day with unexpected mixed results cracked me up!
  • I really, really, really want to get my box-loving cat one of these for Christmas. Could I ever get him out? I’d have to tempt him with a ball of brown paper or by pulling a tissue from a box, both of which have his complete and devoted attention. (Blowing your nose at our house must be awkward for guests. Sorry guests.)
  • The pretty Griottes blog posted a list of wonderful boutiques in Paris to find treasures. Virtual windowing shopping anyone?
  • In the past two weeks I’ve stumbled upon some incredible food blogs. One of them is farmette and her Juniper Junket recipe had me at ‘juniper’. I can’t wait to try it or her Sh’mores but I’m sure to be spending plenty of time in the future getting lost in her archives because her posts feel like sitting in a warm country kitchen with a friend.
  • Then there’s the French country kitchen, Manger. Just click that link. (Oh my gosh! A Scottie in a brocante!!)

I would like holiday cards, hot chocolate, Muppet Christmas Carol, decorating, Christmas music, and gift wrapping to be on the menu for this weekend, please. What have you got planned? If you’re near Boston, MA, you must stop in at one of Aran’s events!

xo,

A.

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Life, Loving

Weekend Down and Christmas Dreams

This past weekend didn’t look much like our usual weekends at home. The poor Frenchman came home feeling sick Friday evening and I forced him to stay in bed all weekend. He’s taken the day to recover today, too, but to do that in France you need a note from your doctor saying you are sick which requires going to the doctor’s office.  I was shocked the first time I learned about this rule, the last time I needed a note from anyone to be sick was when I was in high school. There are a number of reasons I don’t love that system but I had to laugh when R. came back from the doctor’s today and told me the doctor said it was most likely a ‘gastro’. No matter what you actually have, I feel like the doctors always write you a note for the ‘gastro’ in France. So there’s a funny little “bet you didn’t know that about life in France” tidbit for today.

Needless to say I never got to the marché on Sunday. We both had a rough night Saturday because of a sudden fever R. had. It left us a little shaken and I had trouble getting back to sleep. To relax back into sweet dreams, I starting thinking of Christmas in New York which seems to be on my mind this year. I don’t know why but it’s making me feel so festive dreaming about it and it worked, I went back to sleep, and now I’m ready for my favorite season! So this morning I just wanted to keep dreaming a little and pull together some things from my Christmas reverie.

2012 Holiday

1. Ali Black Pave Bangle

2. Voluspa Moso Bamboo Candle

3. Mercury Glass Votives

4. Dahlia Shoes in Berry

5. Jazzy Wonderland album

6. Metallic Faux Knit Pillow

7. Christmas Tea

8. Mini Wreath Gift Tags

 

Dreaming on a Monday. What did you daydream about this weeked?

xo,

A.

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Life, Loving, Styling

Carotte Sauvage & Loving List

This week’s flowers are making me so happy! I was thrilled to find a huge bunch of green carotte sauvage (wild carrot, aka Queen Anne’s Lace) at the marché on Wednesday. It was one of our inspiration flowers for our wedding here in France and it’s so lush, wild, and delicate that I can’t get enough of it. R. could not believe at first that I had paid for carotte sauvage but then I reminded him that we live in a concrete jungle, I only ever pay between 3 and 5 euros for flowers (twice a month), and they make me so happy! He ‘got’ it, then. I’m really hoping they might be hardy enough to last two weeks (please, flowers?).

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And I’m finally stealing the time to get a loving list together! Here is what grabbed me this week:

  • We love watching the Daily Show on their site (thank you Comedy Central for not blocking us because we are in France) but don’t always love the loud MTV commercials that play between every segment. But this month they introduced us to Rudimental and this song and be. still. my. heart. Yes. (But be warned, the visual of the video has some very sad themes. But listen.)
  • Growing up, my father would bring my mother and I gifts once in a while and from his travels and they often came from museum gift shops. He always chose beautiful, timeless pieces that where often reproductions of pieces from their collections and I always loved the history. This piece or these matching earrings are on my wish-list to continue my collection.
  • How beautiful would a tree full of these porcelain houses be with little tree lights peaking through their windows? I love how simple they are. Everything I want for my holiday this year.
  • Jamie Oliver. I might not need to say more. I have been enamored with his work for years. He has a new book out, 15 Minute Meals, and a television series in the U.K. and I have been loving it! The recipes are simple but the flavors so bold. You can’t watch Jamie and not get excited about food.
  • You know about Damn You Autocorrect, yes? If you haven’t discovered it yet, do. But not when you’re eating lunch. True story: I nearly choked laughing doing that once. Seriously. This one has had me laughing to myself for two days (not while eating).

Do you have a favorite find of the week? I’d love to hear! This weekend, I really want to get some decorating things crossed off our list and get this place finished! Hopefully I’ll have something to share with you on that front next week, God husband willing!

xo,

A.

 

 

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Loving

Firecracker Flowers and Loving

These orange flowers are on our table from Wednesday’s market and I love them so much. I’m always so happy when I splurge on flowers (and by splurge I mean I paid 5 whole euros for these) and vow that I’ll always have some fresh ones gracing the apartment but I often fall off the wagon. Then I crack one day and rediscover how much it adds to a living space. With these, I was hoping for a bunch of wild Queen Anne’s lace that I had seen the week before but the vendor didn’t have any this week. So glad I got these little firecrackers in their place! It’s dahlia season, too, and I think they’ll be on the table next week.

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  • Have you been reading Ann Mah‘s Tuesday Dinner series? So good! I love hearing about everyone’s go to meals. Looking forward to reading more.
  • One of the great things about Pinterest is rediscovering what you pinned but may have forgotten about. Well, I rediscovered my pin of this pink mercury glass cake stand (yes, pink. mercury. glass) and it has got me all obsessed anew. So beautiful.
  • Remember when my friend Lindsey rescued an abused street dog from India? She made the paper! Read all about how Meena is looking for her forever family. (And she had a photoshoot here. Look at those eyes!)
  • The comments section of Wednesday’s post now has some ideas for finding hazelnut flour in the U.S. for the Brandy Roasted Plum & Hazelnut Cake.
  • I have no idea what started the tumble of 90’s songs and bands that started to surge back to mind this week but I’ve been reliving the music of my high school days. Crazy!
  • I have to thank Ann of Uni homemaker for nominating me for a One Lovely Blog award! It’s so flattering! I’m supposed to tell you 7 things about myself which kind of has me stumped. Let’s see what comes up: 1. I just became obsessed with Lonny. Don’t ask what took so long. 2. I don’t like bananas but love banana bread. 3. Apparently I know the names of more Ikea furniture than my husband is comfortable with. 4. I love calling R. my husband. 5. Heights above my head (read: cathedrals) seem to make me more nervous than those below my feet. 6. Julia will tell you, I call eyeballs eyebobs. Which was confusing for my French husband. (There I go, “husband” again!) 7. I actually enjoy ironing dress shirts. (Ok, I did it! Tell me about you? Pretty please?)
  • I’m finally finishing off one of these klismos chairs and it is so sexy it’s killing me: black stain paint and a black velvet seat. Sigh. (Don’t remind me about the orange and white furry cat that lives here just yet…) I’ll share the finished product soon.

Happy Friday!

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes, Life, Loving

First Apples & Loving

The weather seems to be saving whatever it can of the end of summer for the weekends here. They have been warm and lovely and then the temperature dips during the week and you think that, ok, that’s it, autumn is truly here. But this weekend is supposed to be once again holding onto the the last bit of warm so we can wear those shorts and sundresses maybe one. more. time.  But you can’t mistake it. Last weekend, it gave me a start to see the first apples on one of the farmer’s tables. “Do you want some?” I asked Romain, who loves apples and almost doesn’t get sick of them after a winter of only that. “Ca va.” No, that’s ok. So we might have needed this week to get used to the idea of the changing season.

Goodbye summer, you were very short and rather temperamental here in Paris. In fact, except for a handful of days, we wonder if you were here at all.

Hello first apples.  Hello fall. I love you.

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Here are some things I’ve been loving this week.

  • I have to start with Sarah. She is my cousin and the sister I didn’t have (but kind of did because I have her). So I love her every week. A senior at the University of New Hampshire and a Brian E. Doyle Fellow, this week her hard work for New England’s sea life landed her in the front page of the University’s site. Check it out! (And note the nail polish. Lobstering in style.) She’s done an amazing series of interviews with area fishermen that is not to be missed. Not only are these the people bringing you your food and we should know them and listen to them, but Sarah had to get up at 3 AM to be on those boats. That is dedication. Also, if you are in the seacoast area, stop by the NH Fish & Lobster Festival in Prescott Park September 22nd to meet her and hear from the fishermen.
  • These papercut scenes are so fresh and interesting! I love the mix of object, paper, food and the palettes are lovely. My favorite is probably Peter Pan because, well, there are mountains rising from meringue clouds and I’m not sure how you beat that.
  • This feels like the weekend and quiet thoughtful days and easy laughter. Everyday should be like that.
  • Aran never disappoints but her post about the workshop in Alaska was perfect timing for me. I’m craving untamed and lush wild landscapes right now. I feel like I could burst with creative ideas if I could get to one. But, for a couple minutes at least, her images will take you there (if you’re not already there you lucky duck).
  • I haven’t had the time just yet but I’m dying to do one of these. Yes, total food and history dork. I embrace it.

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Just a quick note about a few updates. I’ve added two things to the sidebar there that you may find useful: a link to my flickr page and an email sign-up form to receive each fresh post in you inbox. Yay!

Ok, I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I plan on running around everywhere to see Paris Design Week and maybe even hit a brocante. So. Excited.

happy weekend,

A.

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Food & Recipes, Loving

Roasted Tomatoes & Loving

I love roasting tomatoes and freezing them to save for winter. For one thing, it’s so quick and once they are frozen it’s easy to just pull out however many you need without defrosting too much. Sometimes, with canned tomatoes, I worry about not using an opened jar up fast enough and then losing it. But when I freeze these, I can just reach and and grab three for a tart or a whole bunch for chili. It’s the best of summer stretched through to the cold months! And it’s starting. This morning it was quiet and a hint of the coming coolness was coming in the windows so I roasted this year’s first pan of sweet heirloom tomatoes. Now, we just have to see if any of them actually make it into the freezer! There’s pizza on the menu tonight. (Edit 9/10/12 – check out some tips on how I roast and freeze these tomatoes at the bottom of the post.)

Here are some of things I’ve been loving this week:

  •  I really love the shape of this sweater and I bet it would be easy to come up with a similar handknit.
  • I’m starting to get that end-of-the-summer-season obsession with stocking up for the winter. Maybe it has something to do with both Romain and I agreeing that the time just went by so fast this year thanks to early cool weather and lack of vacation time. In any case, I just keep adding recipes to my must-preserve list.
  • True loving: My good friend (and bridesmaid!) Lindsey is trying to come up with enough funds to rescue sweet Meena, a street dog with a prior leg injury, from the dangerous life she’s been living around Lindsey’s fiancé’s neighborhood in India. These poor animals are unwanted and impossible to get locals to adopt and, unfortunately, often abused. She’s scrabbling to find some solutions before she has to leave, hopefully, with Meena. As an animal lover my heart goes out to both Meena and Linds. If you think you can, you can donate to Meena’s cause here.
  • Summer may be coming to an end but I’ve got ice cream on the brain and am dying to experiment with some flavors. When we were in San Francisco we made it to The Ice Cream Bar (amazing) and I have dreams of starting my own ice cream shop in Paris. This city needs a shake-up on the ice cream scene!
  • The new Sweet Paul Magazine issue is live! If you don’t know it, check it out. This issue is packed with inspiring Fall ideas and my list of things to try just got quite a bit longer.

I know this week was kind of quiet on the blog but it’s because I’ve been busy behind the scenes working on some fun posts for the coming weeks. So keep you’re eyes peeled for next week!

happy friday!

Any great weekend plans?

xo,

A.

Edit 9/10/12 – I had a request on the Facebook page about my tips for roasting and freezing and wanted to share them here too. First, use tomatoes that are ripe and sweet and not massive in size. Wash them and halve them the long way. Place them on a parchment lined roasting sheet but not so close that they are all touching, this is important later. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh pepper and drizzle them with olive oil. Roast in a 425°F/220°C oven for 25 to 30 minutes (for small to medium tomatoes) or until they start to get a little color on the edge and they are puffed and juicy. When done, take them out of the oven and leave on the roasting pan to cool completely. If they have released a lot of liquid, spoon this off the pan. Once cool, place the pan with the tomatoes in the freezer and when the tomatoes are completely frozen you can pluck them off the pan and store in a freezer bag. By keeping them from touching and spooning off any liquid, you’ve made it a lot easier to get off the pan once they are frozen. If they are persistent in sticking to the pan, try running a little hot water on the bottom of the pan and the tomatoes will pop right off. Now you have roasted tomatoes that are easy to pull individually from the freezer bag. When I typed all this out on Facebook, I shortened ‘tomato’ to ‘tom’ and in the words of Julia: “It will be such a treat to have them in the winter like you say (when you are PINING for fresh toms!)”

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Life, Loving, Styling

Shelves & Loving

I’ve been playing around with the glorious wall of shelves we put up months ago and am just now finally get somewhere with the styling of them. Sometimes you just have to live with it for a while. Now I’ve got a little list of things I’m on the look-out for to flesh them out. But I love this rock that I dragged home from Ardèche one year. It’s so sculptural! (My poor husband, every trip with me seems to involve dragging home some amazing rocks/sticks/pieces of bark/shells/flowers…)

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A couple things that have been haunting my brain this week:

  • I don’t care at all that it is a trend, I love these and I need one! (But I probably need a big apartment first)
  • The Frenchman came home one day after a trying work day and needed a “comforting film”. I knew just what to watch. Yup, that is a comfort film in our house. In fact, it is the comfort film.
  • I just discovered these and they are just blowing my mind. They are so beautiful and the variations (scroll through for a few slides) are all so unique.

T.G.I.F!

xo,

A.

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Life, Loving

2nd First & Loving

Monday we celebrated our 2nd first wedding anniversary! You see, last year, we first celebrated our wedding in July in Maine but we didn’t want family to feel obliged to cross the ocean (and what better excuse for two parties?) so we had our French wedding August 20th, 2011 in Orléans. Now we get to celebrate twice a summer! This year we had dinner at the new bistro across the street.
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Remember that “Loving” list I did a couple weeks ago last month? Here’s another!
Things I’m loving:
  • This album (especially “Mare” which starts around 4:00) and again this song (it was on repeat here when the film came out).
  • This wallpaper – oh my, it hurts. How I would love to have the space/money to put that up somewhere.
  • I made this jam and now small batch canning has made me want to preserve again. I don’t need 20 jars of jam but 3? Just right.
  • The new Ikea catalog came out in France and there are some interesting pieces and then this which made me gasp (and not for joy).

happy weekend!

xo,

A.

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