Paris vs. United States

18 Mar

I know that I still have another month and a half in Europe, but I realized that I have a trip planned for every weekend until I go home, and before I know it, I will be hopping on a plane home. This made me start thinking about all of the things I am excited to get back to in the United States and all of the things I am going to miss about Paris. Here is the comprehensive list:

Ice. I miss ice, and straws for that matter. I’m so tired of drinking room temperature water.  It is just not as refreshing. I don’t like it. And you never get a straw, which isn’t really a big deal, but it is something I took for granted. You usually assume that if you order a drink and it comes with a lid, you get a straw. Nope, sorry buddy, you have to take off the lid. Why even bother giving you a lid?

All green money. This is a weird one. I don’t even know why, but I am really sick of euros. Maybe it is because of the horrible exchange rate, but I am over it. I just want a nice green twenty dollar bill. Euros don’t feel like real money and they disappear so quickly because everything is so expensive. However, I will miss the euro coins. The two euro coins and one euro coins are so convenient. And you never feel bad about spending coins…

Wifi that actually works. Wifi is so much faster in the United States. I love it and I miss it. Wifi here sucks, or at least mine does. But I will miss how the French pronounce wifi- “wee-fee.” I am going to apologize in advance because that is how I will be pronouncing it from now on.

Taco Bell. No explanation needed.

Target. Being away from Target has made me realize that Target is truly the greatest establishment to ever exist on this earth. Target has everything you need. Target has an excellent shoe selection. Target has groceries. Target is there for you if you are depressed or stressed. Target is the bomb.

And most importantly, I will miss French McDonald’s and their deluxe potatoes. That is all.

Disclaimer: I don’t go to McDonald’s as often as you think, I swear.

Nothing makes you feel more inferior than hanging out with French kids.

10 Mar

This weekend my host family’s 4 year old nephew and 5 year old niece were visiting. And OH MY GOD, they were so cute. Although they do an excellent job of making you feel bad about yourself. Not only are they better at grammar than I am, but when they first saw me, they just ran back into their room and slammed the door. I know I looked a little rough, but geez, no need to run away in fear. Kids can be a little dramatic.

About five minutes later, they came back and stood in the hallway, staring at me until I looked in their direction, then they would hide. After about ten minutes of this game, they literally stood behind the couch and laughed at me, like I was the funniest thing they have ever seen. After fifteen minutes of hysterical laughter, they stopped, but only because it was dinner time. They also sat and stared at me for all of dinner.

Just as I was about to go hide in a corner, they both ran up to me and started poking me. I must have somehow impressed them because all of a sudden they were hitting me with pillows and acting like I was the coolest grande (grown-up) they had ever met. The next thing I knew we were playing some hybrid version of tag/hide & seek. However, I didn’t fully understand the rules because they were yelling them at me in their high-pitched French voices, so I didn’t do very well. If you have ever been in a French apartment, you would understand why. French apartments are very small and I am very tall. My only options were to stand behind lamps or lie on the ground and pretend they couldn’t see me. Obviously I lost every time. But that only made them like me more. By the time I left they were giving me kisses and also hitting me with pillows. Oh well, baby steps.

How to stand out at PFW

10 Mar

Last week was Paris Fashion Week, and after spending all of my free time wandering around the ready-to-wear shows, I have finally figured out the key to getting acknowledged by fashion people and photographed by paparazzi.

Dye your hair an unnatural color.

So many people had crazy colored hair, and those were all of the people getting attention from photographers. So if you want to find your picture on street fashion blogs, dye your hair purple. This is exactly what I would do if I wasn’t so broke and lazy.

This girl is actually the coolest person in the world. I want to be her.

This girl is actually the coolest person in the world. I want to be her.

Wear fur.

I don’t care if it is real or fake, but if you are wearing fur, people will think you know something about fashion and/or you are famous. And photographers like famous people.


Fur and colored hair. She is obviously knowledgeable.

Put on a hat.

I learned this tip from personal experience. When I went to the Chloe show I wore a beanie and all of a sudden, everyone wanted to take my picture. When my friend Molly wore a hat, everyone wanted to take her picture. So I guess hats make you stand out to fashion photographers. Look for me in Elle! Just kidding, but I will probably be on some blogs.

Aww look at us in our matching skirts and hats.

Aww look at us in our matching skirts and hats.

Be a celebrity.

This isn’t a helpful tip, and I apologize for that. But it is the truth. The fail-proof method for getting your picture taken at fashion week is being a celebrity. And you can tell when someone famous is making her way into a show because she will not stop to let people take her picture. That is the difference between celebrities and us peasants. A normal person would enjoy the attention and stop, so it is easy for the photographers to get their shot. Celebrities don’t stop because paparazzi are an annoyance to them. Except Kim Kardashian, I bet she stops.

I saw Jessica Chastain. So casual. Also I would like to apologize for being a part of the paparazzi problem.

I saw Jessica Chastain. So casual. Also I would like to apologize for being a part of the paparazzi problem.

So there you go. Now if you are ever in Paris for fashion week, you will know how to get attention. Here are some street fashion photos I took, and you will see that I am telling the truth.

Rome: Where the food is nice and the people are not.

1 Mar

Go to Rome and see the Trevi Fountain.

Last weekend, I went to Rome. And it was horribly frightening. I do not speak Italian, except “ciao,” which is essentially useless. So the Romans already hated me for not knowing the language. They also hated me for being American (although technically I’m Canadian, so I should get some bonus points or something). And to top it all off, I am blonde. Meaning the Italian men yell profanities at you and the Italian women hate you for it. So my experience with the Roman people was not great. And then I went to catch my bus to the airport, so I could leave this mean city and go back to France, where everything is wonderful.

I showed up twenty minutes early to take the 12:35 bus to the airport, so I would have plenty of time. I went up to the counter to show my online reservation and the lady told me “Oh, sorry, the bus left. Traffic. Next bus is at 2:00.” My flight was at 3:00 so I couldn’t take the next bus. I tried to explain to her that the bus shouldn’t have left because it wasn’t scheduled to leave for another 20 minutes. But she didn’t care because I didn’t speak Italian. Luckily, the girl behind me, Elli, was in the same situation and she spoke Italian, so we were able to take a train to the airport. So Rome is the worst. But at least I made a new friend in the process. Thank you Elli!

But I would highly recommend Rome for the sights and the food, if you are a dark-haired non-American who speaks Italian.

How I ended up backstage at Paris Fashion Week

27 Feb

You frankly wouldn’t believe this story without pictures, so luckily I have some.


Lining up for the finale.

My friend Kate and I decided we were going to see if we could wait in line and get standing room for the Nicolas Andreas Taralis show at 1:00 in the eighth arrondissement, near the Champs-Élysées. We just assumed that the earlier you got there, the better. We were wrong. We showed up, and no one was there except people who worked for the show. As we were awkwardly standing there deciding what our next move should be, a lady came up to us and asked if we were working. I told her that we weren’t working, but we were waiting to see if there would be standing room so we could see the show. To my surprise, she said “Yeah, come back at 1:00 and find me, and I can get you a seat.” WHAT.

So Kate and I got coffee and came back at 12:45, only to see a huge crowd of people lining up. I didn’t know what to do, so I just planned on getting in the line and hoping that the lady would remember us and let us in. My brilliant friend Kate made the executive decision to wait on the other side until 1:00 and then try to find the lady, like she had instructed us to do. Within three minutes of standing there, another girl, who had seen us earlier, walked out, turned to us and said, “Are you guys working for anyone? Because we need some more dressers backstage. Are you interested?” I’m pretty sure I said yes before Kate even realized what was going on. And just like that, we were brought backstage, assigned a model, and given directions.


They had really cool hair…

I was a dresser backstage at the Nicolas Andreas Taralis show at Paris Fashion Week. PARIS FASHION WEEK. This isn’t just something that everyone gets to do, and I completely understand that. I just happened to have the right amount of luck and confidence, not to mention impeccable timing. Although I think it helped that I was wearing leather pants and cool shoes.

Oh, and the model I was dressing has been modeling for two years. She is sixteen. How does that make you feel about your life?


Me and my model, Jamily.


Some of the male models striking a pose.


She is stunning.


Kate and I were pretty excited.

I’m practically a native

19 Feb

So it appears as though I may actually be assimilating into French society. On Friday I actually met French people who are over the age of 10 –Louise, Antoine, and Aurélie, who is a bartender at this sick rock and roll bar, so that’s awesome. Hopefully they will take me to cool French places so I can finally learn some slang. In other news, Marie introduced me to her favorite musicians: Tal, Rihanna, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha, and Selena Gomez. So I am now an expert in French music. And my host mother no longer hesitates to correct my French. I am practically a native. But enough about my frenchness, here is what I did the past couple of days:

On Wednesday, mes meilleures amies et moi went to a fondue place for lunch and ate the most amazing food ever, also known as raclette. Basically you melt cheese and pour it all over everything. It’s like every American’s fantasy.

After lunch I took a tour of the luxury brands on the Champs-Élysées with a former fashion designer. We visited Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Lancel, Chanel, and Dior. Everything was so beautiful. I have never been more motivated to find a job (or marry rich) in my life. Those brilliant marketers now have me convinced that I will never be truly happy unless I have Louis Vuitton luggage and a Cartier ring. And the worst part is that I started to rationalize  buying a 600 € Chanel skirt because “it would be a great investment for my future.” Don’t worry, I quickly snapped out of it when I found myself complaining about paying 4,45 € for a Starbucks latte.

Thursday I went to the SNCF boutique and successfully bought my train tickets for spring break. It’s frankly impressive how good I am at French when I want to buy something. Anyway, I’m going to Brussels and Amsterdam for five days and I could not be more excited. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

And then on Saturday, Molly and I climbed to the top of Sacre Cœur. My calves are still sore, but it was definitely worth it. The view is amazing. You can see the entire city, including the Eiffel Tower. And, in a weird turn of events, the sun was actually shining. I would highly recommend taking the 500+ steps up to the top of Sacre Cœur, even though the spiral staircases are horrible and awful and you feel like you are going to hit your head and die. The end result is quite pleasant.


Oh, and not to brag, but I saw the Mona Lisa yesterday and I am going to Rome this weekend. PEACE.

Is this real life?

11 Feb

This evening, as I was riding the metro back from my exhausting day of visiting the Louvre, planning trips to Munich for Frühlingsfest, and buying soccer tickets, I saw the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance. I thought to myself, is this real life? I literally get to spend four months traveling Europe, making new friends, eating amazing food (France could use a taco bell though, just a suggestion), and trying new wines. I still feel like I am in America. The only time I realize I am not in the U.S. is when I try to communicate with everyone I left behind, or when the Eiffel Tower suddenly appears as I round a corner.

Speaking of trying new wines, I attended a wine tasting on Saturday. Before the tasting began, we all introduced ourselves and explained to the group why we were there. I told everyone that I wanted to try wine that didn’t come from a box… No one seemed to find this as funny as I did. Because it turns out I am actually in Paris, and people judge you for things like that.


And in case you were wondering, I still know nothing about wine. I just learned a more pretentious way to drink it.

What I have learned in France

4 Feb

So I have been in France for two weeks now. This enlightening cultural experience has taught me several important things. Including the French term for studded boots, and if you know me, you understand how crucial this is for my vocabulary. For the record it’s “les bottes à clous.” But otherwise I have learned the following:

Don’t eat gyros in your room. This should be self explanatory. If you eat Greek food in your room, your room will smell like Greek food. I learned this the hard way.

Unfortunately 14 year old French boys will always dress better than American men. It’s called accessorizing, guys. And wearing pants that fit properly.

Apparently to parallel park properly, you must hit the car behind you, but only after hitting the car in front of you.

Always walk back the way you came. Unless you are Jim Richtman, then you might be okay.

And I also learned how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe and a knife, so I’m practically a French citizen… Or a desperate American. Whatever.

Marie gave me homework- Paris: Week 2

29 Jan

My ten year old friend, Marie, has given me homework. I think she is tired of me not understanding her references, so she has loaned me several French children’s books. I have been instructed to read a different one each night and report back to her. And I’ll do it. Let’s face it; she probably has a better grasp on my French abilities than the professors who decided to put me in Intermediate French III. Although, I was told that my French was perfect by a cute waiter at a café, so… He obviously lied. But, in his defense, I am very good at ordering food. I’ve had a lot of practice with my three trips to McDonald’s.

Getting lost in Paris is not as glamorous as it sounds…

24 Jan

Before I begin, Mom, don’t read this. I wasn’t walking through Paris by myself, I swear.

Around mid-January through mid-February, “les soldes” occur throughout Paris. Les soldes are bi-annual sales where most things in the store are roughly 50% to 75% off. Which is awesome. I bought a shirt at Zara for seven euros. SEVEN EUROS. It’s a dream come true. Until I decided to leave my friends and go home to have dinner with my host family.

Now, aux États-Unis roads are pretty much laid out in a grid, at least in city environments. I understand grids, they make sense to me and most other humans. Paris hates grids. Like, seriously detests them. The roads here go all over the place and are never parallel or perpendicular. Therefore, if you don’t go back the way you came, you aren’t getting to the same place (unless you have a map, I suppose) But with my American mind, I thought that if I walk parallel to the street I was on before, I would be able to turn right and make it back to that street. WRONG. I was so lost. My sense of direction is pretty good, so I knew I was heading in the right direction, but I could not get to the street I needed to be on. It was just dead end after dead end. Needless to say, I was late for dinner. But I know enough French to ask where the nearest metro stop was, and I eventually made it home without any major issues, other than being cold and confused. But hey, at least the metro makes sense.

By the way, apparently Philadelphia cream cheese is all the rage in France right now. My host family served cheesecake and they were very excited that they got to use Philadelphia cream cheese. Which is adorable.