Friday, May 30, 2014

on the bright side

Hi everyone! (Saying 'bonjour tout le monde' doesn't seem right anymore since I'm not in France... but you know what, scr*w it, I like saying it. Let's start over.)

Bonjour tout le monde! Here we are, another Friday, another month almost gone. It's frightening how fast it goes by, isn't it? Yesterday marked the two month mark since Gregory's arrival (and my three month will be next week...eek!), which means we only have one month left until Gregory's three month visa is up. Yep, at the end of June, Gregory will be returning to France. But have no fear, he won't be there too long as the Green Card process is swimming right along. Plus, he'll be reunited with Mr. London, his faithful Bumder, so we won't be too sad for him.

I had planned on posting Gregory's vlog today, answering all of your questions, but we had some technical difficulties so that's on hold for a couple of days, but on the bright side, if you thought of anything else you'd like to ask Gregory, you still have a chance.

Let's see... what else is happening... after a couple of weeks of really meek weather here (like grey skies, thunderstorms and rain), the sun has finally returned. Well, it's returned for the time being anyway, it's supposed to rain again over the weekend. That's fine, heaven knows Texas needs it. And rain means going to the cinema and being lazy on the couch. Bonus of being lazy on the couch, I get to curl up with my current read, Galway Bay. It's a goody.

So let me ask you my friends, what do you have planned for this fine weekend, and what are you reading? I'm feeling nosy, indulge me please. MUAH!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

it was pretty much the happiest of days

On that happy day (last Saturday the 24th), I donned my Toulon rugby jersey. Normally, I don't wear sports jerseys, but this was a special day... Mr. London was competing in his second Heineken Cup Final and since I couldn't be there like last year, I wanted to lend my support, even if I was 4900 miles away.

I had found a bar out in the sticks that would show the match for us. They ordered the channel and gave us our own little cabin to watch it in (which I was informed is in the process of being turned into a wine bar/room/cabin/whatever... obviously I'll be back) and my friend, Amy, and her South African husband joined us. Since half of the Toulon team happens to be South African, and South Africans happen to like rugby, I thought he'd like to watch. Of course he did, and he even brought their son, who came in a mini Springbok t-shirt (a rugby t-shirt, shorts, and cowboy boots is a freaking adorable look).

We settled in, ordered some beers and cheered on Mr. London. He must have heard us, because they won. And then if that was a happy enough occasion, he was named Man of the Match. I thought Gregory was going to break down and cry right there, it was the sweetest thing, but he held himself together and we carried on with our happy day moving on to The Farm.

The Farm is Amy's family's place; acres upon acres of Texas Hill Country treasure, hidden deep in the outskirts of our town. It's where we've always gone to escape, recharge, get into trouble... it's magic, one of those places where you can just breathe. 

In anticipation of Mr. London's victory, I had bought a bottle of Rosé from the Var, right around Toulon way (sipping it made me feel closer to Mrs. London). So now I had three things to be happy about; Mr. London kicking Saracen booty resulting in Gregory being as chipper as a unicorn riding a rainbow, I was at The Farm, AND I was sipping delicious Rosé. BAM-BAM-BOOM. (Just typing this trifecta of delight gives me the feel goods).

We took the jeep out for a spin to see what critters we could find (and so Gregory could do donuts and attempt to fling me from the vehicle... payback has been swift and ferocious) and we came across this handsome fellow...

Because sipping Rosé and hanging out with longhorns can work up quite the appetite, we set off back to the bar where we had watched the match because they had food trucks... FOOD TRUCKS. Sure Le Petit Village has a pizza truck, but it doesn't have trucks, as in more than one, and they certainly don't have a Tex-Mex food truck which is the one I moseyed up to (three months back in Texas and I still can't get enough tacos).

Fueled by bottle upon bottle of Rosé, the happy good times at the happy farm just kept on coming (including a canoe ride that made me feel just like Huckleberry Finn), and I was having so much fun being happy, that I stayed up until 3AM because clearly, I think I'm some kind of young whippersnapper. NEWSFLASH: I'm not.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Behind the Photos XV

Last night I was watching one of those Anthony Bourdain travel food shoes. He was in my beloved Lyon, and I was hungry... all of that delicious food in France that I'm missing; the wine, the saucisson, the cheese... oh the cheese! In honor of all of that cheese, I bring you this Behind the Photos, which has a cheese theme. It has winter theme too, but, it still has cheese. (Photos from late winter, 2010.)

When these gloomy clouds rolled into Le Petit Village, we knew that summer was truly over (Nazi Ghost Zombie clouds as I like to call them). As awesome as summer in Provence is, the autumn and winter aren't too shabby either, mostly, because it means cheese... lots and lots of melted cheese.

This photo always cracks me... Gregory, trying to get every last bit of cheese out of the fondue pot. If he could have stuck his hold head in there, he probably would've. This mini-fondue party was on a Sunday and the only invitees were myself, Gregory and Honey Jr, because in France, it is completely acceptable to throw fondue parties for only three people. I love France. (On an unrelated note; I can never get over how dark Gregory's blond locks get in the winter. Since summer is right around the corner, he's well on his way to being towheaded again.)

Here's me, all bundled up and on my way to another cheese party... this time a Fondue and Raclette combo at Brother-in-Law's house. It was a Friday, and since Le Petit Village was covered in snow, and  it was too dangerous to drive down the mountain, everyone had a snow day, and in The LPV, snow days mean cheese. I love Le Petit Village.

Look at that happy face! Stuffing himself silly with cheesy goodness. Lately, he's been stuffing himself silly with Tex-Mex and hamburgers. He seems to like the food here in the States well enough, but I think I'll have to invest in a Raclette grill for this winter. It would be a shame to deprive the boy of such a large part of his cultural heritage.

And another happy face... Honey Jr enjoying his wine with his cheese. Traditionally, Raclette is to be served with a white wine from Savoy, but we're rule breakers in The LPV. Anyway, back to Honey Jr, I miss that cute, little face. Maybe when I order the Raclette grill, I can order a Honey Jr too.

And because I'm on a happy face kick, here's one more.

P.S. If you have a question for Gregory, it's not too late. Click here, leave a question in the comments, and he'll answer it in a blog... cute French accent and all. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

tips for a fun and easy game night

I thought Friday was a good time for this post since Friday nights are perfect for game nights. Except in my house, in my house, anytime is the perfect time for a game night. Gregory loves games; card games, board games, charade kind of games, he loves them all! 
So whether it's Phase 10, Mahjong, or Scrabble, you can bet that we'll be playing something sometime over the weekend. Here's some tips to host your very own fun and easy game night.  

(by: Helen Lewis)

Anyone who has ever had to entertain guests knows how stressful taking care of others can be. It's especially taxing to try to entertain everyone every day. While spending your days seeing the sights around town can make for a great time, your friends and family won't always have the same set of interests and it's not always easy to get everyone involved. Planning fun events can also wear you out pretty quickly, so here are some ideas to help you keep the pace up when you're running low on steam.

You don't always have to do a lot of planning and preparing for a fun night with the friends and family!
A great night always starts with great food, but you don't need to exert yourself to create a luxury meal. A more casual approach is sometimes better, and a relaxed meal will help keep everyone loose and excited. Making fondue is the easiest choice here, because it is incredibly easy to do and is a fun way to eat delicious food. Making mealtime an interactive activity is sure to put a smile on everyone's faces, and eating fondue is almost like a game in itself.

There are hundreds of fondue recipes out there, but there is no need to worry-making fondue really is as simple as melting your favorite cheese. Or if you're feeling extra sinister, melt your favorite chocolate in a fondue pot and providing tasty treats for dipping. Anything that pairs well with cheese is a great candidate, from fruit to bread or even meat if you feel like putting in some extra effort. Full tummies make for happy guests, and fondue is a great way to get to that point without a ton of preparation and cooking time.

Of course, what is a fun night without playing some games? While Pétanque is a great choice for playing outside, sometimes bad weather keeps you indoors with nothing to do. Luckily, there are tons of great board games that are sure to please players of all ages, and they are usually very easy to learn. Carcassonne, a game named after the town in France, is one of the most popular board games in the world and is very easy and fun. Players simply take turns placing tiles that they use to try to complete things like castles and roads while they compete for the highest score. The rules are very simple, but the game still offers a wide variety of strategy for intense fun.

An easy alternative to board games is to just pick up a deck of cards. Most people keep cards lying around their home and forget about using them for a fun game night, but card games are some of the easiest games to learn and are universally popular. Poker has become one of the most widely played card games in the world, and for good reason-it's a lot of fun! Even if you don't already know how to play it, the rules are very simple to understand and viewable through the PartyPoker YouTube. Get your friends competing over fake chips or spice up the night by betting over something fun like candy. No matter what you decide, the game is sure to get everyone involved.

Of course, if you're really feeling tired after a long day, there is nothing wrong with relaxing and putting on a movie for your guests. A big bowl of popcorn and a fun movie is always a great way to end the day, and it's the easiest thing in the world to pull off. The best part of movies is that you really can't go wrong; put on a cheesy classic for everyone to have a great time laughing with or share a recent release nobody has seen yet; anything goes. Even bad movies are sure to get people talking, but there is nothing wrong with watching something you've already seen 20 times, either.

Don't get caught up feeling like you have to go out of your way to entertain guests every day of your life. It doesn't have to be a difficult task. Making sure everyone has a great time can be a remarkably easy feat. Whether you're taking care of your cousin's boys or simply looking for a night out with your friends, make sure you have a great time, too!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Paris {six}

After I said goodbye to The London's, I only had a few hours left with Gregory before his TGV to Toulon left. We thought that since we were in Paris, we should walk on over to that one special, not to be missed, romantic spot... The Eiffel Tower.

It was only a short distance from our hotel in the seventh, and the grey and muddy walk was worth it. The park side that we approached it from was practically empty, quite a change from the long queues at the Musée d'Orsay and Notre-Dame. That said, we weren't going up to the top, only viewing it from the outside.

We walked around a bit, looking at the pretty buildings and contemplated what life would have been like if we had lived in Paris, instead of Provence (not that we could ever afford an apartment in the seventh mind you), very different I'm sure. We would still be moving? Would we be happy? Would we  still have adopted a dog? Would we have barbecued as much? Would I have drank as much Rosé? Would Gregory still have been working at The Penthouse Club? (tee hee!) 

One things for sure, it would have been a different life indeed.

Later that evening, I had another glimpse of how different my life could have been...

After I had said goodbye to Gregory, I sat in the lobby of my hotel waiting for my date to pick me up. That's right, as soon as I got rid of The Husband, I was heading out on a date! Or should I say, a blate. I was going for drinks with Ella Coquine and Kristen.

As I sat drinking wine with these two transplanted New Yorkers, I couldn't help but think that it was such an amazing way to say goodbye to France. I reminisced about life in Le Petit Village (they had questions galore) but all the while I sat there, I felt like I was getting a special glimpse into what my Parisian life could have been like and I have to say, I liked it! But how could I not hanging out with two such inspirational and dynamic women in the City of Lights... oh la la!

But alas, I'm Sara in Le Petit Village (or should I say, 'was'), not Sara in Paris, and you know what, that's fine by me.

P.S. Don't forget, questions for Gregory's vlog are still open! If you've got one, click here, and fire away!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Paris {cinq}

The morning after our fancy pants, Parisian dinner (which I would love to say that we followed with cocktails and dancing until the wee hours, but I can't because we're old fuddy duddies), we met The London's for breakfast. 

We were having a proper big breakfast, because upon rising, my mother declared that she would like some eggs for breakfast; no more croissants, no more pains au chocolates. She was up to her gills in breakfast breads and pastries she said. And that's when Gregory said that that was fine, he'd pick her up a baguette instead. Once a Frenchman always a Frenchman I guess. 

So yeah, we found a brasserie a couple of doors down from the hotel that served omelettes. That would do. They also served coffee that was more expensive than a glass of red wine. True story. I've never been so tempted to have a glass of Côtes du Rhône at 9AM in my life... but I didn't, we had Parisian streets to explore!

First stop... the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysées! And more importantly, a Vanilla Latte and a chance to add to my Starbucks mug collection which I did with this beauty. (It's funny, because since I've been back in the States, I've gone to Starbucks only once, but old expat me would have sought one out in every city I stepped foot in. It's amazing how important 'a little taste of home' can be.) 

My caffeine and sugar rush in check, we headed further down the road to see what we could fine (this being Paris and all, you're bound to bump into something fantastic sooner rather than later). 

Et voila... l'Arc de Triomphe! Which unfortunately for us was under construction, but is still an amazing site to see, even if it did look like it was wrapped in a big, bubble wraped, band-aid. However, its less than stellar appearance didn't disappoint this guy at all...

Look at that smile! Of all the places we've traveled together (which in fairness, isn't a whole lot), visiting the Arc de Triomphe, has been the thing Gregory has been the most excited about. (OK, he may not look overly enthused, but if you know Gregory, then you know that this is a happy face). 

Besides seeing important sites like the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, we had another landmark to see that was just around the corner... 

Yes ladies and gentlemen, The Penthouse Club. No, we didn't go in, we merely stood outside while Gregory regaled me with stories from when he used to work there. I would love to repeat some of them but I have always liked to keep this space a PG kind of place. (I bet some of you may be re-thinking your 'Ask Gregory' questions right about now, aren't you...) 

Laughing at naughty stories sure does work up an appetite and luckily for me, Gregory and The London's, I knew the perfect place to go for lunch... Chipotle! 

Now, now, I know that it's about fifty shades of wrong that we were in Paris and not only did we go to Starbucks but we were eating at an American fast food place too... but I'd eaten lots and lots of French food... four years worth of French food, and sometimes a girl just needs a burrito. It's not like burritos were easy to come by in Le Petit Village, because trust me, they really weren't.

So yeah, we stuffed ourselves full of beany, burrito goodness and it was so good... SO GOOD. But then a few of minutes later, I was out on the sidewalk saying goodbye to Mr. & Mrs. London and I was so sad... SO SAD.

Friday, May 16, 2014

you've got questions, he's got answers

{Gregory's favorite photo}
Just a little over a year ago, Gregory, being pretty much the sweetest most supportive husband ever, agreed to sit down and answer all of your questions in a vlog. Well kids, I think it's about time we do it again, don't you? After all, a whole lot has happened in the past thirteen months, like a whole lot.

So if there is anything you'd like to know about Monsieur Gregory, or life in The LPV, his new life in the U.S., how he's coping with being 5200 miles apart from Mr. London... or you know, anything, now is the time to ask!

Go ahead and leave a question down there in the comment section, and he'll do his very best to answer it. Et voila!

(I'm keeping it short and sweet today. I've got that Friday feeling!)

Bon weekend mes amis!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Paris {quatre}

When we last left my Parisian tales, we were in an Irish pub somewhere between the Tuileries and Place Vendôme. I was mere steps away from a chilled martini glass in decadent, plush surroundings but alas, it was not to be. Somehow, we miraculously managed to convince the boys to leave and come with us to Shakespeare & Co.

(Actually, we convinced them to walk with us over there, and told them that while we toured the famous bookstore, they could do whatever they wanted... within the immediate vicinity. Sidenote: some of you might be wondering why Mrs. London and I didn't just go off on our own and left Gregory and Mr. London to their own devices... well that would be a catastrophe of epic proportions. We'd probably never see them again if we did that. Ever. We really need to look into some sort of lo-jack scenario.)

Mrs. London and I walked through the literary doors and had a nice long route around the place. If you happen to like books and historical bookish people like Hemingway and Joyce, then you really should pop in for a visit.

We left the shop and met up with the boys in a pub around the corner (because where else would they be). They both asked us what we bought and were completely flummoxed that we hadn't come out with bags of books. We tried to explain that we didn't go there to shop and they just looked at us like we had five heads (in fairness, they usually look at us like that anyway).

We rambled across the Seine onto our next stop, Notre Dame. The lines here were just as long as the ones at Musée d'Orsay, but we were perfectly content to walk around the outside taking it all in. The Cathedral is quite impressive in person, and I'll admit it, she gives La Petite Notre Dame a run for her money (I've decided that cathedrals are girls).
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

That night, we decided to hit the town, but since we're old, and tired (5:00 in the morning trains will do that to you), hitting the town simply means going out to dinner. And since Mr. London picked the restaurant, it means a fancy pants dinner. 

The restaurant was kind of ridiculous in that poshy-posh kind of way. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a gourmet meal and good wine, but snobby waiters and coat check girls aren't really my style. That said, we did have a fabulous evening, but in fairness, the four of us could have a fabulous evening at a McDonald's playground. 

Sitting around that over-hyped restaurant table did feel incredibly surreal though... it was one of those, "how the H-E-double-hockeysticks did we get here" kind of moments. I mean really, there's French Gregory, who just happened to find himself in Dublin one day and met me, his American wife, who happens to have an English cousin who happened to marry a guy that was born in Trinidad but ended up playing rugby in France. Say what now?!

So there we were, celebrating our family and our friendship at this snooty-tooty place in Paris. Life is truly bizarre indeed, and at times you can feel like you're a million miles away from where you started from. 

And then we walked out of the restaurant and saw this car with a license plate from heaven knows where and I knew that I truly was, far, far away from Le Petit Village, and I missed it. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

c'est ça

I thought I'd take a break from my tales from Paris (which is turning into quite the drawn out miniseries) to dazzle you with tidbits from my life here in Texas. Photos included. ('Dazzle' might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I'm feeling on the glass full side today). 

// How sweet is this?! I wish I could say that Fifty went to the store and bought that balloon all by himself but that would be ludicrous. He doesn't have any money.

// Sarah, Selena and Gina are currently hopping about all of my old stomping grounds in Provence. Their instagram feeds are turning me into quite the green-eyed monster, but they have assured me that they have raised many a glass of Rosé in my name. Cheers to them!

// I've been doing my best to incorporate bits of Provence into our new American life and one of the easiest ways to do this is with l'apéro. I've managed to find a half decent Rosé that doesn't break the bank and Gregory bought a bottle of Ricard at Specs so we're good to go. And the great thing about American apéro... it can include cheese! See France, it's not just for after dinner.

// 'Baguettes'... these may look like baguettes and be called baguettes, but they're not baguettes #boohoo.
// I may be having a hard time getting my hands on a good baguette, but I have been able to take a big ol' bite out of something that I had been missing for years... this my friends, is a Brainstorm. It's salami, ham, turkey, cheddar, swiss, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise and mustard, and for me, it tastes like high school. Many a school lunch was spent munching on one of these pockets of deliciousness. Man, it tastes good to be home!

// Speaking of deliciousness... a few weeks back, my mother threw a small party and she asked if I could whip up some nibbles so I turned to my bites board on Pinterest and made these. Holy Canoli, they were G O O D!

// See this tile? I found it at Forcalquier Market right after I moved to Le Petit Village and promptly purchased it for Gregory (in it's unbroken state it says, "a Clermont rugby supporter lives here"). Finding a bit of Auvergne in Provence was a rare occurrence and one Gregory was quite excited about. Unfortunately at the moment, Gregory's heart is as broken as this tile. After 77 home game wins, Clermont lost to Castres in the Top 14 quarter-final, and a couple of weeks before that, they lost to Saracens in the Heineken Cup semi-final. But here's the thing... Clermont's massive winning streak (that led to a French championship in 2010 and an appearance at the Heineken Cup final last year, and that home win streak), began only a couple of weeks after I moved to France, and their streak of bad luck this season began shortly after I left. Coincidence? I doubt it. (P.S. this broken tile now resides at Honey Jr's house.)

// Clermont may not be in the Heineken Cup final this year, but Toulon is. That means that Mr. London might be a European champion two years in a row! While Gregory's heart is breaking for Clermont, he's bursting with pride and joy for his Bumder and we'll be cheering him on from 4850 miles away.

// But something not filling Gregory's heart with pride and joy... getting his butt whooped by me! We took the boys to an arcade and Gregory insisted that I play against him in some dumb shooting game... I beat him by 40,000 points. The pouting was glorious... GLORIOUS!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Paris {trois}

When we last left my tales of Paris, we (Mr. & Mrs. London, Gregory, and me), were on our way to the Musée d'Orsay. I would love to tell you all about an afternoon spent touring the dazzling former train station and its impressive impressionist gallery (my favorite spot in my favorite museum), but I can't, because we never made it there. Well, we sort of made it there, we just didn't make it there, there.

When we arrived at the museum, a line like no other was out front. Like seriously, this was a no joke line, like a; 'we're giving away thousands of dollars inside' kind of line. We all agreed that standing in line wasn't how we wanted to spend the afternoon so we shouted au revoir to Degas and Monet, and went on our way.

We decided to to make our way to the famed bookstore, Shakespeare & Co (a destination high on Mrs.London's and my must-see list). Since there were a couple of bike taxis parked outside the museum, we decided to give them a go. Unfortunately the peddlers took one look at Gregory and Mr.London and hiked up the price. We set off on foot instead, and ended up getting distracted by the Jardin des Tuileries.

I could spend hours in the Tuileries Garden, it's one of my favorite places in Paris. But since Gregory cannot spend hours strolling about a garden, we cut across it heading kind of nowhere. Somehow Shakespeare & Co was getting farther away, but that was OK, because I knew where we were, and I knew that we were getting closer to The Tuileries Bar, a place I had fallen in love with years before.

As I steered us up and down streets getting closer and closer to the plush velvet, banquettes, I felt myself growing eager with anticipation... there was a chilled martini glass with my name on it just around the corner (chilled martini glasses are very hard to come by in Le Petit Village, and just in case you're wondering, so are plush, velvet banquettes).. and then we came upon an Irish pub. Ruh-roh. It is practically impossible for Gregory and Mr. London to pass by an Irish pub and not go in, so go in we did. Mrs.London and I huffed a little puff, pulled up a couple of bar stools and kissed our chilled martini glasses goodbye.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Paris {deux}

Booking a 5:15 in the morning train seemed like such a good idea at the time. Sure it was early, but we're early birds, and so what if Mr. London had an evening match the night before that we'd all be at. We could sleep on the three plus hour journey, and arrive in gay Paree as fresh as the morning dew. #delusional

Amazingly (and uncharacteristically), I was able to get back to sleep as soon as I got on board and took my seat (confession: both a scarf wrapped around my face and a hoodie in the up position were required to achieve sleep; it was a strong look), so did Mrs. London and so did my mother and brother. It probably helped that our blocks of seats were scattered about different cars, you know, no chatting temptation. The only two that didn't sleep were Gregory and Mr. London, but I'm sure that none of you are surprised by this.

As soon as the TGV pulled away from the station, they found each other, went to the bar car for coffee (bye, bye, nighty-night-night) and then proceeded to look for people to play cards with them (their Phase 10 addiction is borderline compulsive).

"No, Mr. & Mr. Crazy Pants, no one wants to play cards with you two at 5:30 in the morning!"

A little after 9AM, we pulled into Gare de Lyon fairly bright eyed and bushy tailed (well four of us were anyway, I'll give you three guesses who the two Grumpy Butts were), and taxied to our hotel in the Seventh to drop off the luggage. We had lots to see and not a lot of time.

First up was food. After four years in France I finally got to eat something that had been evading me... BRUNCH! Yes boys and girls, Paris does Brunch. I heart you Paris, I really do. Thanks to a recommendation from Danielle, we brunched at Le Nemrod, an Auvergnat restaurant in the 6th. (Auvergnat means it's from Auvergne as in Clermont where Gregory grew up... it also means lots and lots of cheese and potatoes).

I ordered a Kir Royal for apéro and my meal came with a cup of coffee (like an American cup of coffee, not a teeny, tiny, two sips kind of thing), and a glass of Beaujolais. The waiter brought all three at once. Huh.

After I finished my array of liquids, we set off to Musée d'Orsay, winding up and down streets until the tiredness took hold and we waved down a taxi (personally, I blame the cheese and potatoes for the sluggishness).

But before the taxi, we passed this plaque (which basically says that this guy, Jean Baptiste de Blah Blah, was living here when the King called him up and said he had to go to the American Colonies to help out G.W. and the riff raff). So after four years of teasing, Gregory finally got the revenge he had been seeking. He looked at me, smiled, and said, "you're welcome." Whatever.

P.S. À: Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, merci pour votre aide. That's quite the name you've got there, Monsieur Fancy Pants. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Paris {un}

Saying goodbye to France from Paris seemed like an oddly, fitting thing to do. After all, I had been trying to visit the City of Lights for four years (and that whirlwind trip last year doesn't exactly count).

Originally, Gregory and I had planned a romantic trip for just the two of us; a couple of days in mid-February to celebrate my fourth of February birthday, Valentine's Day, and to pre-celebrate our wedding anniversary in March that we would be apart for.

I was so excited, finally a couple of days in Paris! And unlike when I had been years and years ago, this time I thought I would truly be able to enjoy since I had a decent hold on the French language, and I'd be with my very own Frenchman.

Then the high jacking began... first my mother said that since she and I would be flying out of Paris, why make two trips? I should tack Paris onto the end. That made sense to me time wise and it made sense to Gregory pocket wise. Why pay for an extra round of TGV tickets if we had to go up there anyway? And even though my mother would be there too, she assured us that she would let us do our own thing. Sorted... the three of us would TGV up to Paris on March 1st.

And then my mother mentioned Mrs. London... maybe she would like to join us? Hmmm... why not, I thought. I'm sure Mr. London would be busy working, and Mrs. London could bunk in with my mother. Sounded like a plan to me.

But then Mr. London heard of our plans and it turns out he didn't have to work, and of course he wanted to go to Paris with Gregory. Because why wouldn't he want to spend a couple of days in the most romantic city in the world with his Bumder?! Of course he would.

And let's not forget my brother. Remember, he was visiting Le Petit Village, so naturally he should get to go to Paris as well. Fine... WE'D ALL GO TO PARIS.

Ciao, ciao romantic trip to Paris... hello National Lampoons Family Vacation.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

If this was last year...

... I'm sure we'd be going to a barbecue today, probably at Honey Jr's house, because barbecues are what they do in Provence on sunny weekends. But this is this year, and on this weekend this year, we spent all day yesterday purging the house of little boy cooties (my poor cousin and her boys were finally able to fly home yesterday), and then recuperating with a lovely evening featuring creamy pasta, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and some serious couch time watching American Hustle (it's amazing how restorative carbs, wine, and Bradley Cooper can be... P.S. I'm suffering some serious Amy Adams hair envy right now).

So if this was last year, I'd probably write a post about a barbecue that we went to like this here one below instead of soaking up the wonderful sound of silence that is circling all around me at the moment. Trust me when I say this my friends, silence is indeed golden.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
{originally published 18.06.12}

How to have a successful BBQ in The LPV in eight easy steps:

Step 1: take one, shirtless Honey Jr. on a warm, sunny day

Step 2: grill an assortment of meats like; Merguez, Andouillette, Chipolata, and Toulouse sausages

Step 3: try not to gag when looking at or smelling the Andouillette

Step 4: add lots of friends

Step 5: and beer

Step 6: then have some cheese, because it's France

Step 7: play Pétanque because it's the south of France

Step 8: and make sure The Husband gets in plenty of quality time with his husband, Gatz.

Et voila!

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