Livres du Moment: What I’m Reading

14 April 2015

April 7 wasn’t merely a Tuesday, it was the much-anticipated publication date for spring book releases and an exciting milestone for many authors’ writing careers. So in the spirit of new book season, I thought I would take stock of the newer-to-me books in my collection and compile a few of my favorites. May you devour these as I have! —- Fika: the Art of the Swedish Coffee Break If there is any tradition that authors Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall have carried with them throughout their travels- Brones, (a Swedish American) from Portland to Gothenburg to Paris, Kindvall (Swedish) from Stockholm to Brooklyn – it’s their abiding love of Fika, a word that literally means “to drink coffee” but that symbolizes an entire set of cultural values. It’s also the focus of their new book “Fika, the Art of the Swedish Coffee Break”.  As a concept that goes far beyond a love for coffee, Fika is about slowing down – alone or with friends, family or coworkers – to take a break each day; a committed moment to relax. With over forty illustrated recipes, the book provides the launchpad for integrating the practice of Fika into your own life. Translation: coffee […]…

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Back to Paris, sort of…

8 January 2013

My heart thumped wildly as I exited the metro and began my languid stroll to the office yesterday. Back to the routine. I love what I do but the attendant stress (of any job, really) of what I took on last year really wore on me. Perpetual tension in my shoulders, neck aches and blurred vision after hours behind the computer were standard yet almost everything I do demands these conditions.  But while on holiday these last two weeks, I was fully relaxed. Oddly restful might even describe the feeling. Quality family time and limited obligations spurred the kind of calm missing from my daily life and for the first time in ages, I was more attentive to the minutiae of my surroundings and the signals of my own body. Exhausted? Sleep twelve hours. Restless? Spend an hour at the gym. Nowhere to be? Plow through that stack of magazines you haven’t had time to read. In many ways, it was better than the most rejuvenating of beach vacations. Back in Paris, where the vaporous sky forebodes a long, grim winter, my newfound clarity is already dimming, slipping from my grasp. So in an attempt to cling to this swiftly […]…

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Philly, NYC and Mariage #2

21 June 2011

The trouble with marrying a foreigner is that the wedding, no matter how small, is challenging to organize. Inevitably, many guests aren’t able to attend destination weddings and the same was true for my wedding in Paris almost three years ago (three!!!). It was a small wedding with a ceremony at the Mairie du XIème followed by an elegant cocktail/buffet reception. I always thought we’d end up doing a traditional ceremony in the States with an aisle, bridesmaids and best men (with or without the ivory princess dress). But that was when I assumed our Paris wedding wouldn’t feel like the real deal; wouldn’t feel official. What I realized after was that it was exactly what I hoped it would be. It was the right size for us and the ceremony at the city hall was far more poignant than I ever expected. Still, so many of the important people in my life were unable to attend so I knew I would want to throw some kind of party in the States. For a number of situational reasons, it has taken us three years to organize a second celebration but after eight months of planning, the day is finally upon […]…

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Simply Sandwiches.

8 January 2011

“You’re like a female Joey Tribbiani“, one of my friends remarked when I was in Philadelphia over the holidays. What she meant was I’m nuts for sandwiches (not afraid of romantic commitment). American expats returning to the homeland might feel their hearts skip a beat at thought of consuming (semi) authentic Mexican food, cheese steaks, Coolwhip, Reese Peanut Butter Cups, soft pretzels, hash browns and a big plate of maple syrup-drenched buttermilk pancakes, preferably containing pumpkin. Me? I could barely contain my excitement for a meal that is made more complicated than it needs to be in France. A meal that is too often neglected, abandoned, cast aside by urban professionals too “busy” to slow down and eat. Lunch. With several professional experiences in Paris under my belt, I feel I can say with some authority that lunch is one of two things: a lengthy, sit-down meal with far too much red wine to be deemed appropriate for returning to work, heavy sauces and a formule (fixed menu) that includes a rich, sweet ending; OR a rushed hop to the corner bakery for a sandwich coated with butter or mayonnaise with soggy lettuce and unripe tomatoes or an overpriced salad from […]…

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Some Good Ol’ Brotherly Love

28 December 2010

“In West Philadelphia, born and raised….”, I heard sung behind me as I waited in a slow-moving line to have my passport glanced over by a surly police officer at the Philadelphia International Airport. The two vocalists were the same obnoxious bozos who engaged in an in-depth discussion about how European women were not all they were hyped to be as we waited to board our flight in Paris. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes as they chatted emphatically given their unsavory appearances, baggy jeans, running sneakers and an indecorous coating of potato chip crumbs down the front of their oversized sports t-shirts (which they were either saving for later or served as an accessory with their cans of beer). Call me a snob if you will, but they embodied much of what the Europeans imagine American men to be – overly macho, loud, impolite and sartorially disabled. Sure, it’s as much a stereotype as the European man-purse or tight jeans but in many cases, it’s the reality. These guys served as the first example of the awkwardness I feel being home – a place undeniably familiar yet oddly uncomfortable. Still, I was back in the city I love. From […]…

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