The Bright Side

I feel like I’m flailing in my French fluency goal. I am studying every day (almost), but I don’t know if I’m getting anywhere. It’s difficult to know without tests of some sort. And there is also no plan. I guess I follow my study book chapter by chapter, so there’s that. But how do I test my improvement? How do I know if I’m really advancing? I still can’t understand most of my favorite French movie (Priceless). I understand some of the French YouTube fashion videos that I watch, but not enough to celebrate or anything. I’ve started increasing my listening time, and after about forty-five minutes my brain fights me every step of the way. After an hour, my brain is like

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and I can’t cajole it back into submission. Maybe if I split up my listening sessions–one hour in the morning, one in the evening? I don’t know–it’s pretty annoying. IT’S MY BRAIN! It should listen to me! Understand this fucking language, brain!

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I gave up sugar four days ago, so I’m taking everything a little harder than usual.

I bought a French decor magazine a couple of weeks ago, and I didn’t know like seventy percent of the words in it. How is that even possible?! That’s probably my fault for limiting my French listening to Barbie and Caillou. Not the most sophisticated vocabulary, right? But…everything else is so hard to understand!

Today I hung out with my friend, Julie, who is French, and that helps a lot because I can understand her and when I can’t she explains things so that I can. It’s just bizarre to me that I can understand a lot of what she says, but everyone else is so difficult to decipher. Why won’t my brain stop betraying me? I’ve always been so good to it.

I should really switch the narrative and frame all of this in a more positive light, huh? I understand some French YouTube videos. I can talk with Julie in French. I can listen to forty-five minutes of French. I know thirty percent of the words in my French decor magazine. I can understand a lot of Caillou and Barbie en français. These are all things I couldn’t do a few years ago. Perhaps my brain is not betraying me. I mean–it is being stubborn…but then look who it belongs to.

Okay, yeah. I should learn to be more positive. That’s just really tough to do on your fourth day without sugar!

À bientôt !

The Robe Can Wait

Remember when India Arie sang “sometimes I shave my legs, and sometimes I don’t/sometimes I comb my hair, and sometimes I won’t“? I HAVE NEVER FELT MORE SEEN.

I’m currently lying on the bed trying to decide if I should do my hair. I mean… I assume so, but I don’t feel like it so I’m looking for any feedback that says it’s not necessary. Tell me what I want to hear, guys. Agree with me.  Please.

I don’t know how it happened but I agreed to go out tonight. On a Tuesday. For a while I thought about how I could get out of it, but then I remembered that I just bought a(nother) pair of snakeskin boots, and this could be a good opportunity to wear them. Are we all aware of my chronic condition that doesn’t allow me to walk away from snakeskin in a store? I can’t do it. I am physically unable.

Anyway I’m gonna wear my boots and my boots dictate that I wear a smoky eye and a smoky eye mandates some big hair.

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I don’t make the rules.

Not gonna lie, though. When I went to search for that Beyonce gif, I typed in “Beyonce Hair” and every single one that popped up made me want to do my hair. I should’ve done that hours ago.

One of my best friends got a promotion, and we’re going out to celebrate with her. We’ve all gotta wake up early in the morning, so I don’t foresee us being out all night. But if we are, I guess that’s okay. Celebrating a friend is more important than (one night’s) sleep!

Mission Accomplished

I completed my bed project. It’s comfortable and plush and lux just like a hotel bed you never want to leave. And in the mornings now, I don’t want to leave it. Seems I didn’t think this all the way through.

The addition that made the most difference to my bed was the mattress topper I bought. It’s three and a half inches of memory foam, and oh man, it’s heavenly. It has made my bed almost as high as the beds that used to be at my grandma’s house and that makes me laugh a little every time I get in. Are high beds a deep south thing? I don’t recall anyone else I know having beds that high.

I didn’t have to work today, and that’s lucky because I was in a blind, homicidal rage also known as PMS and there’s nothing of note to complain about right now but I was still in a funk and holding back tears all morning and then the cramps would spring up periodically that were so painful they would stop me in my tracks and AAAAGGHHHHHH! So after I got all of my necessary errands done, I went back home, climbed into my splendid bed, and watched every single second of the Michael Cohen testimony while scrolling through Twitter to read hilarious (but also informative!) commentary on it in real time. It was just what the doctor ordered. That’s not to say that I’m feeling tons better, but at least the psychotic fury has passed. Also, Twitter is always good for a few good belly laughs when you really need them (it’s also a cesspool that will make you buy extra locks for your doors and windows and make you think that most people are soulless lunatics, so I wouldn’t get addicted, if I were you!).

Tonight is fish taco night in the Toppsy Turvy household. I bought cilantro and cotija cheese so it’s gonna be very authentic. And I’m finally going to have the chance to use my new food processor and make the fish taco sauce! Things are looking up.

Talk later, kids!

Kept On Ice

After seven years of hoping and plotting and wishing and scheming, I finally made it to the Icehotel in northern Sweden. A hotel consisting of mostly ice.

You didn’t hear me.

A HOTEL OF MOSTLY ICE!

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Our room.

They have cold rooms and warm rooms, but what’s the point of going if you’re not gonna spend at least one night in a cold room? We spent one night in a cold room and one night in a warm room. In the cold room, you’re basically sleeping on a slab of ice. A SLAB OF ICE! I don’t know why that was enticing to me…but it was! And you can’t deny that this hotel is sexy as f*ck. I mean, look at this bed/block of ice! I could do a music video here…if I were a musician. Oooh, Beyonce should do a music video here! Can you imagine?!

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The hotel provides you with an extreme weather sleeping bag, which doesn’t seem like enough, but it was definitely warm and toasty. And obviously, you sleep in your thermals and stuff–don’t be stripping down in the cold rooms, y’all. It ain’t that sexy. Wait ’til you get to the warm room for all that.

The temps inside the hotel are around 22 degrees. It’s cold, but you’re so taken with the novelty of the experience that it just doesn’t seem that uncomfortable. Also, the hotel provides you with your necessary outer layers (kinda like a snow suit). I brought some wool blend thermals and socks, and I was never too cold.

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The hotel bar

They serve you drinks in glasses made of only ice, too. And when you’re done drinking, you’re supposed to go outside and throw them at the side of the hotel. Can confirm that it’s good fun.

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You can’t get into your rooms until six pm, because the ice rooms and art rooms are open to the public for tours until then. And you have to leave your room early in the morning, too, because of the tours. Also, there are shared bathrooms (when you’re staying in the cold rooms), which I didn’t think I’d willingly subject myself to anymore after my study abroad days, but it was worth it for this experience!

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The chapel. People get married here!
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Don’t walk on these stairs! They’re just an art installment.
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yeah, it was pretty chilly outside

During the days, we went dog sledding and snowmobile-ing. There were only about four hours of daylight each day. We were also able to see the northern lights (aurora borealis) on our last night, and they were majestic. I’ve always had an obsession with the night sky, and these lights were breathtaking in person. Perhaps me compulsively taking any and all astronomy classes in college was leading me to that very moment!

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Oh, and by the way, if you’re thinking of flying to the arctic circle, it’s a lot cheaper to go in February–probably because it’s cold as hell–but it’s one hundred percent worth the extra layers!

Okay, I’ve gotta go figure out how to insert myself back into real life now.

À la prochaine !

Cookies & Marshmallows

Okay, so I failed at making the macarons. Quelle surprise! But my goddaughter and I did make delicious sugar cookies and cupcakes doused in edible glitter, and they were beautiful. I’m not saying that her snacks were better than anyone else’s, but… They were.

It’s obviously not a competition.

But if it were, we won. That’s all I’m saying.

I also volunteered to be one of the class helpers to assist with the Valentine’s Day party. My heart almost burst open because of all the cuteness going on in that classroom as they exchanged little cards and sweets with each other. Then they consumed all that sugar and turned into tiny psychopaths, so I got the hell out of there as quickly as they would let me.

I escaped (mostly) unscathed and went to Macy’s.

I’ve become extremely invested in making my bed feel like a cloud…or a marshmallow. I just want it to be so comfortable that one just relaxes immediately and completely. Saturday mornings buried under thick, soft blankets watching Three’s Company and King of Queens? That’s one of life’s greatest pleasures. So recently I bought a duvet cover that is so soft on the skin and gorgeous to look at. It’s by Calvin Klein and in the same material (modal) that they make their men’s t-shirts. I’m in love with it. I bought it from Macy’s, and since Macy’s was having a Valentine’s Day sale I went to see what else I could find to make my marshmallow bed dream a reality. I fell in love with decorative pillow shams that are the same color as the duvet (I’m going for a monochromatic look), but a different texture. I picked up two of them and continued shopping. When I finally noticed the price of the shams, I was stunned. One hundred and twenty dollars. For ONE PILLOW SHAM.

Now, I hate shopping with my mom because she is truly shocked by the price of everything, so tell me honestly if I’m slowly becoming my mother, but… I don’t think I am! Do pillow shams on average usually cost $120?! Have years of exclusively shopping at IKEA and TJ Maxx skewed my perception of real prices? Jeez. Whatever, I sucked it up and bought them because they were half off, but I still believe sixty bucks for one pillow sham is kinda steep.

Today I steamed the wrinkles out of them and put them on my bed, and, kids… I still feel like I was extorted but they are gorgeous and I’m very happy with them, so… I don’t know–I suppose I got what I paid for. I also bought a mattress pad (for added comfort) and a blanket (for layering). I think I’m almost there. Perhaps some really soft sheet sets are all I need to complete the dream. I just wish I had known ahead of time how much this dream was gonna cost me!

G’bye!

The City That Never Sleeps & Pilates

This past weekend we went to New York on a whim. I love New York, but it’s not a city for introverts like me long-term. A short trip is perfect, though, and I love dressing up in glam clothes and pretending like I’m a native New Yorker. It’s one of the few times my (faux) fur jacket and (faux) leather pants make it out of my closet. You can be anyone you want in New York! I choose to channel Tracee Ellis Ross. And Rihanna.

The city was even crazier because of Fashion Week, but I don’t know–maybe it’s always like that. I’ve certainly never seen it calm! Part of its appeal, I guess. Mostly all we did was walk around, eat, take pictures, eat, and walk around. I finally got to dine at Balthazar, which is a French restaurant that’s been on my list for a while. It was magnifique and worth its spot. New York is filled with French restaurants, and I have about twenty-three on my bucket list. That’s gonna take more than a weekend, though!

Back at home, I went to Pilates this evening. It was fun, but I don’t understand why Pilates classes have to be so extortionate. Like gimme a break–a girl’s just trying to lift her ass and cinch her waist.  I bought the most beautiful yoga mat a few weeks ago.

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Look at that red! I live. This mat was the subject of much controversy among my group of friends. A couple of them thought the price was ridiculous for a yoga mat and so I shouldn’t get it, and a couple of them thought the price was just right for something so stunning. Guess which friends I listened to.

Yep.

You guessed it!

Alright, it’s late and I still have to watch an episode of Barbie in French. I read this article a while ago that said things you learn right before you fall asleep, you are more likely to remember. I need all the help I can get.

À plus !

Saint Valentine

You know how whenever Valentine’s Day rolls around there are always people who are like “Valentine’s Day is stupid because you should be showing love every single day and it’s just a commercial holiday and also kakjsbvdbvdsbfkdsfsbvbvbjdbvd!” Which always makes me go:

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and

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and

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Valentine’s Day is my shiiiitttt. I used to love picking out the best assorted Valentine’s Day cards to exchange with all my classmates and conversation hearts–don’t get me started on those because they are the greatest. And to this day, I make heart-shaped cookies for all of my friends, and when I bring them the cookies (and candy hearts) they’re like:

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It’s like casting pearls before swine with these jerks. They don’t deter me, though, because I know a good holiday when I see one. And this year my goddaughter is three so I have someone who (whom?) I can indoctrinate to take on my valid beliefs.

Next week we are going to make cookies and cupcakes for her classmates, and they are going to be the prettiest and most elegant (don’t three-year-olds care about elegance?) treats they’ve ever seen. I guess I should also mention that I’m oddly competitive about things that don’t matter at all. Anyway, I’m going to pick her up from school today so we can ransack Target for all the things we need to make this happen. We may have to go to Michael’s too. Buckhead traffic will not dissuade me or my mission!

We’re gonna try to make macarons, which is risky because I know those are even difficult for an experienced cook, but I found this recipe that claims to be foolproof. I’ll let you know if it isn’t!

Vive la Valentine’s Day!