Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Bits

We had a great (and busy!) weekend - we were hardly at home, and the weather was so schizophrenic we never knew whether to take our umbrellas or our sunglasses out with us, but we lucked out and only got caught in one downpour while running across town. We braved the Saturday morning IKEA crowds with our buddy Robbie to help him furnish his new bachelor pad (and bought ourselves a new bed, too), then feasted on meatballs for lunch (obviously). The rest of the weekend was spent with my aunt and uncle who were visiting Brussels after a weeklong excursion through the Netherlands... we showed them around town, ate a couple positively delicious meals (you know, at the kinds of restaurants a couple of broke newlyweds living the student life only dream of dining at), popped by a few chocolate shops and then sent them back to Chicago a few kilos heavier and (hopefully) happier after a relaxing European gettaway.

meatballs. frites. lingonberries.

bizarre parade in leuven.

Didz's fancy beer presented like champagne

teta loreta & dede vytenis

the most amazing apple tart we brought back from the french bakery PAUL for dessert

It was so nice to spend some time with my family and catch up with them - we had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun and look forward to the next time we'll all be reunited again. 

Happy Monday! Have a wonderful week... :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Afternoon Tea in Paris

Sometimes, when you've been walking for miles across the entire city of Paris, and you're starting to feel faint because lunch got overlooked, and you realize the closest beacon of light is the Four Seasons Hotel... there's really only one thing you can do - go have a fabulously indulgent afternoon tea.

Annie and I nibbled on finger sandwiches and a selection of petit fours, while sipping tea and observing the people around us.... sweet old couples enjoying tea, socialite ladies in 4 inch heels lounging on couches, a bizarre business deal involving gaudy costume jewelry, and a slender pianist playing Celine Dion hits with her sheet music on an iPad. We were treated like royalty by our very attentive waiters, and it was the perfect way to relax and recharge for the evening ahead.

Sometimes it's all you can do...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Battle of Versailles

While we were in Paris (read part one of our trip here), Annie's friends Alex and Alex (very convenient for someone who is terrible with names, like me) were travelling through Europe, and we were lucky enough to have a couple days in Paris together.

One morning we joined them on a little excursion to Versailles - little did we know Versailles was like a battle field and we'd be fighting for our lives... getting smothered by tour groups in the narrow hallways of the palace and being nearly blinded by their tour leaders waving their wands with tchotchkes or ribbons attached to the end to make them recognizable, then heading out into the garden only to be bombarded by bitter cold winds and the looming threat of rain.... Luckily, we got out of there alive and the downpour of rain held off until we were safely seated at a warm cafe for lunch back in Paris.

The palace is obviously beautiful - each room more ornate than the once before.... 

When we finally made it out into the gardens, it was so cold and miserable we were in no mood to go for a long walk... 

... so we rented a golf cart and cruised through the gardens in style, with chauffeur Annie driving us around. 

That evening, after we defrosted, Annie and I got cozy on the couch at watched Marie Antoinette and imagined ourselves back at Versailles - without the angry mobs trying to behead us with their tour group leaders' wands. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An Americannie in Paris

Going to Paris with a boyfriend or husband (or lover... ooh la la!) is wonderful - there's romance! and passion! and PDAs!

Going to Paris with a best friend is even better - there's shopping! and macarons! and girl talk!

Trying to feel the statues smooth tush... Real mature, Annie...

Annie and I had such a fabulous week together - it was so special to get to spend that time with her. Our past few get-togethers were whirlwind weekends during which we barely got a chance to catch up properly (wedding dress shopping in NYC and Bachelorette shenanigans in Malibu are hardly conducive to solid heart-to-heart chats).... This time was different. We spent days leisurely walking and talking and stopping and shopping and eating and drinking and relaxing.... we'd lose our train of thought walking by the Louvre, and find it again hours later while eating life-changing falafel on the street in Le Marais. We sought out the best roast chicken in Paris (and fell a little bit in love with our waiter). We stopped to listen to street musicians in the 6th and had lunch at one of Hemingway's old haunts. We browsed titles at Shakespeare & Co, and went home with tote bags filled with literary treasures to remind us of our trip. We bought shoes and dresses and jewelry (and the most beautiful french linen bedding that I will eternally be jealous of)... and every time we don one of these pieces (or every night when Annie crawls into that beautiful bed) we'll be momentarily whisked back to Paris....

Here's just a glimpse...

In the next few days, I'll share a little bit more - including our visit to Versailles - but for now, I think I'll go down to the bakery, pick up a fresh croissant, and browse these pictures over and over and imagine Annie and I are still sitting at a cafe on Rue Cler watching the people pass by, as the crumbs from our buttery, flaky croissants collect on the tabletop. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Just a lil teaser....

I'm home from Paris... anxiously awaiting for Didz to return from China tonight. Paris highlights will come next week (maybe even a guest post by Didz about China)... But for today - I leave you with *SPARKLES* as I daydream away about our wonderful week in France.... 

...le sigh...

sparkle gif by annie

(Thanks for keeping me company while my man was away, Annie... this was a trip I'll never forget... zigs loves you!) 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bon Voyage! Bonjour! Baguette!

Annie's been here for a few days....

She's seen Leuven. She's seen Brussels.

She's had a waffle.

She's had a Belgian beer. 

It seems it's time to move on.... so we're off for a fabulous weeklong Parisian gettaway! I'll be back next week with stories and photos. 

Have a wonderful week! xo

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Break 2012

 via Pinterest 

Didz is off to China tomorrow morning... a two week trip with his class full of lectures, company visits, presentations... and of course, a little sightseeing. I'm sticking around this part of the world, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my dear friend Annie next week and our girls gettaway to Paris... full of baguettes, cheese, wine, macarons, shopping... and of course, a little sightseeing :)
(I'll let you in on a little secret: Annie's never been to Paris... I'm so excited to see her reaction when she bites into a *real* croissant, or when she sees the Eiffel Tower *SPARKLE*! Her life will never be the same....) 

In the meantime, with Didz gone, I'll be chompin' on some chocolate bunnies and enjoying a little "me" time... I'll paint my nails, watch old Sex & the City episodes, and get the house ready for Annie's arrival.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ilgiausiu Metu Mama!

(translation: Happy Birthday Mama!)

 Girls Weekend in New York City last spring

It's my darling mother's birthday today. She's my favorite person in the world - she amazes me with her endless creativity (those of you who know her work, know she's an incredible artist), and she's generous beyond compare. Our daily phone calls (or these days, skype calls) that we have to cut ourselves off from after an hour (otherwise we could talk all day and not get anything else done) are my daily treat. And when we get together there's usually wine (or gin & tonics) and cheese involved, accompanied by a lot of giggling, lunches at our favorite cafes and sometimes (always) shopping.  She's my best friend and I hope that one day, when I'm a mama, I'm just like her. 

Myliu, Mamyte! Ilgiausiu Metu! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wonderful weekend bits

We had a great weekend - it was the first time in a while that Didz and I got to spend the majority of the weekend together. With exams out of the way, he wasn't studying around the clock, and though he had to do a bit of work on some assignments, it was minimal compared to the past couple months. It was a welcome change, and we made the most of it. On Friday we started out the weekend with a date night: dinner out at a little restaurant down the street, and then went home to watch Kindergarten Cop. Saturday morning we made White Chocolate Chip Pancakes and enjoyed a wonderfully lazy start to the day. That evening we met our dear friend Kirsten (and her visiting guests from London) for dinner at a very cool restaurant in the dodgy end of town by the original Stella Artois brewery... which included mojitos, the world's largest meatballs, and a hilarious bike ride back (oh how i wish it was caught on video). And Sunday.... well, we spent most of Sunday sipping cappuccinos and wondering how in the world it was April already and trying to figure out where January, February and March went....

Hope you had a fantastic weekend... Happy April!