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Showing posts from January, 2019

This Stunning Iron Lady

I cross the Pont de l'Alma bridge a few times a week, to go to the American Library and other errands, and this bridge has an AMAZING view of the Eiffel Tower. And it's so beautiful everyday, in every weather, in every light and I have to restrain myself for taking out my phone and taking a photo every time I'm on the bridge. Because my photo storage would be clogged with Eiffel Tower pics.

But I do take some pictures, because I can't help it sometimes. The Eiffel Tower is art, people! And even after a year seeing it on an almost daily basis, I could continue looking at it forever.







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Doing Too Much and Not Enough

Now that my girls are school-aged and don't need me as much to stay alive, I'm in a constant see-saw of feeling like I'm not doing enough and like I'm doing way too much.

When they were little, it was a constant stream of making sure they were fed, changed, clean, content, polite, active, rested, etc. Babies have a basic daily schedule that, over time, becomes more flexible. But now, that schedule is almost adult-ish, it revolves around school, meals and getting to bed on time.

At the same time, I'm now in the business of raising adults, teaching them the basics of living, being independent and expecting more from yourself. But, at the same time, they're still kids and not great at some of the most basic domestic or life skills.

Plus, I'm a stay-at-home-mom, so I have the ability to do their laundry, clean their rooms and wash up after them because it's what I do anyway.

Thus, my constant battle.

Today, I made them breakfast, but they made their own scho…

The Numbers in Paris

It took me awhile to get used to some of the number conventions here in France. And not just the obvious ones. So let's talk numbers ...

There was a lot of paperwork when we first moved, so I was quick to remember the convention for dates: just flip the month and day. For example, July 14, 2019 is 12/7/19. It's the day/month/year, where is we do it month/day/year. You get it.

Time is told mostly on the 24-hour clock so, to assimilate, I challenged myself to think of 21:00 as bedtime, instead of always converting it. The trick is to subtract 12 (in most cases) to get the 12-hour clock time (eg. 18:00 - 12 becomes 6:00pm).

But the kids are still confused by the time and they constantly ask me "what time it is?" when they only see the digital clock in the kitchen. And we have an analog clock in the hallway, so that messes them up further.

Of course, everything is in Celsius and the metric system, as it is everywhere else in the world but America, so we've had to mak…

What I'm Diggin' in January 2019

Here's a few things I'm rather excited about on this chilly January day.

It seems everyone has found decluttering guru Marie Kondo's Tidying Up show on Netflix and freaking out. I binged the season in just a few short days and loved her method of sorting through house junk -- something I've been working on for years.

As much as I love the show and her tips, I do wish she'd take it one step farther by helping her clients redecorate their cleared-out spaces, maybe buy a new quilt, a few throw pillows or update the wall paint -- something! It's great to see the organized drawers, but that grey wall color is hideous. Maybe it's just what I'm used to seeing on TV.

Anyway, I was so inspired by the folding technique I tried it in my drawers -- and I really like how I can see all my t-shirts and pjs, etc, at once. No more digging through piles and the stress of not finding what I'm looking for. And there was even some empty space. Hooray!

Also on Netflix, I …

Electric Scooter Fan Club

We're in love with renting electric scooters off the streets -- because it's awesome, fun and the kids will go just about anywhere if we can rent a scooter.

Here in Paris, we have a few companies that maintain these scooters. We use Lime, because they seem to be everywhere. In fact, our corner seems to be a distribution point; several mornings each week, there's a half dozen scooters all powered-up and ready to go.

Because these scooters can get going pretty fast and are recommended to be used in bike lanes and streets instead of sidewalks (we use all three, depending on where we're going), you have to be over 18-years-old to use. This makes sense to me as there have been a few instances where I've zoomed across busy intersections and it helps to know street laws.

In the fall, we took the scooters across most of Paris to get to a restaurant in the St. Germaine neighborhood. We went along the river for most of the way. It didn't take us less time than the metro,…

D•L•A Forever

While we were in Illinois this summer, Dave and I took a night away from the girls and stayed in a hotel in downtown Chicago. We had tickets to see Pearl Jam at Wrigley and just needed a little break from parenting. It's so important to date your husband, right? Marriage is tough.

Anyway, it was a pretty awesome night away, with the concert and a delicious dinner without the banter or small kids, but we had been talking about getting tattoos together. Dave got his first tattoo last year after talking about getting one for years -- maybe a decade -- and had been thinking of expanding or getting another one. So we thought, maybe we should get one together, while in Chicago. We get a little crazy when left unsupervised.

I woke up the morning before we drove down to Chicago with an idea. Originally, I thought about putting an inspirational quote or powerful word (such as "breath" or "be present"). But that morning I thought about putting our family initials somewher…

Book Stack For the New Year

I'll admit it, I had sooo many books I wanted to bring back to Paris from the States that I packed a separate carry-on backpack when we returned last week. Curious to know what I brought?

Here's what made the cut, from top to bottom --

Red Glove by Holly Black - this is an older ya book, the second in a series, that I started years ago. But I keep wondering what happens to Cassel, the main character, and how he deals with his horrible family and circumstances. I have the third book and I'm sure I'll regret not packing that, too.

Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) by Jeff Tweedy - this autobiography of the oddly charming Wilco lead singer called to me because that title could absolutely be the title of my own memoir.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith - I found this at Target and I've been thinking so hard about arranging furniture in my house that this just made sense to develop some strategies that lean toward the minimal.

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phil…

2018 Year in Review

I always enjoy looking back at my posts over the last year and see which were the most popular with the readers who stop by. Here's this year's honors list.

1. Three New Plastic-Free Swaps 
My rocky journey into plastic-free has been popular, since a lot of people are doing the same exploration. In this post, I shared a few new swaps I was enjoying.

2. My Latest Podcast Picks (read it)
In my daily life in Paris, I listen to a lot of podcasts as I'm walking, riding the metro or rattling around the apartment. I shared a list a few years ago, so I decided to update what I was enjoying.

3. Can I Do a Capsule Wardrobe? (read it)
This one was fun, because I was gung-ho about the whole concept -- which I kept reading about over and over again. Ultimately, the answer I got didn't surprise me.

4. Holiday Gift List Roundup 2018 Edition
I love a shopping list, and this one was fun to share. There's a lot of good stuff out there.

5. Let's All Celebrate Semaine du Climat
I …

The Weirdness of Being Here

Don't get me wrong, I love being home, back in the States, seeing my Mom and my beautiful house and my Target.

But having two residences, one that has less than half of our things in it (it's half empty), isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

There's an odd feeling of being in a half-finished house and thinking a sofa should be somewhere, when it's not there. Like a phantom limb.

Also, my favorite homebody pastimes are rearranging furniture, books, display items. Also decluttering and optimizing a space or a storage. Tasks that are not really doable or much less rewarding in a house with half the furniture.

For example, I can't declutter a book shelf, when all the other bookshelves are in Paris. I can't move furniture in my dining room around when there's only a table and some chairs in there. Etc.

Sure, I've had some fun with arranging holiday decorations, but it's not the same. And I'm only here for two weeks, so it's not like I'…