Archive for May, 2013

Thoughts: 1 Month Anniversary

 

 

It’s officially been one whole month that I’ve been living in Paris. After my mom called me crazy when I told her I wanted to move here, after a whole year of planning and saving, after FINALLY getting on that plane and landing and now a WHOLE month has passed. I feel like I just got here, it went by so fast.

Though I’m loving it here, there are a lot of things that annoy me. I hate the weather, I hate the fact that I can’t express my true personality when talking to people in French and I hate the neighbor’s clock that buzzes EVERY hour…. Buzz…… buzz…. buzz….buzz buzz buzz….. buuuzzzzzzzzz. I. FUCKEN. HATE. IT. But no matter where you go, you’ll find things that you hate.

People say “I would die to move to Los Angeles.”…”I would die to move to Paris.”… Basically, you would die to move anywhere but the place where you live. Why? Cus you always want what you can’t have.  Which leads me to having a great state of mind…

Every day you have choices where in your mind you make up A) I’m gonna like this or B) I’m gonna hate this. “Doing homework” (I hate it) “Going to lunch (I love it) “Doing laundry” (I hate it) “Getting a pedicure” (I love it)…. and throughout the day, week, month… you make up in your mind whether it was a good experience or a bad experience. “ohhh I had a shitty week”…. “my weekend was kinda boring…” But no matter where you are, Paris, Miami, Mississippi… you will have these issues/choices. I think a lot of people are stressed and unhappy because they’re use to making negative choices. It becomes a routine about things they “hate” and they spend allllll day hating things.  So after hating things all day, all week and all month… they start to become unhappy where they are. Unhappy in their job, unhappy in their city, unhappy with their family. And then they start thinking I NEED CHANGE. I need to move, I need a new job, I need to cut my hair off…. People start thinking of drastic solutions without realizing that the solution is within them. Instead of changing your surroundings, change your attitude and state of mind. Because let me tell you a big secret… NOTHING IS EVER PERFECT. There’s a lot of struggle before rewards, but there are also a lot of rewards within simplicity.

You survived four years of college but are worried about one guy not calling you back. You have a great job but are worried about those 10lbs not coming off. Your heading to a nice dinner with friends, but you’re pissed off about the traffic.

Yes, I can go punch my neighbor unconscious, run in his house and destroy his clock or I can find another apartment and move, but in the grand scheme of things… the clock nor the weather have anything to do with my purpose here or the amazing experience I’m having.

 

We can’t have it all… but we can always find happiness within the things we do have.

 

More love, less hate.

Think positive and stick to your purpose.

Every problem has a solution.

Shit happens.

Have as much fun as you can.

 

**Disclaimer: If none of these tips work, have a glass of wine.

 

What I Made This Week: Mille Feuille

 

 

Ohhhhh how I love Mille Feuille! It translates to a million layers, which is exactly what it is. I never quite understood the craft in this pastry until I made it myself. Layers of crunchy puff pastry and creamy pastry cream make for a simple, yet very refined treat.

Traditionally, when you think of puff pastry, you think of light, fluffy sheets filled with something delicious. In this case, the puff pastry is cooked whole on a baking sheet. After it’s allowed to puff up, it’s then weighed down by placing a few baking sheets on top and cooked flat. You finish them off by caramelizing them with sugar. And I could just eat them like crackers…

If you wanna go a little Lindsay Lohan on it, you might add nuts or perhaps a strawberry coulis in the middle.

One of my French favorites!

 

 

 

*Photo: Allison

 

 

 

 

 

Travel: Mumm Champagne Tasting

 

I hopped on the train again and headed to Champagne Valley. We had another holiday in France (no work/school), so I had to celebrate. I don’t know what I was celebrating, but I felt like champagne was appropriate. We took a visit to Mumm Champagne House in Reims for a little tour.

Tours here start at 13 euros all the way up to 28 euros if you wanna get all fancy. The visit includes the 1-hour tour, plus a tasting of your choice – from their classic champagne to Grand Crus (100% quality) to specialty one-timers.

Though I like to get drunk drink, I was really going because I was interested in the wine making process. I took a viticulture and enology course at UCLA about two years ago and boooyyyyy was it fun drinking studying. Where the grapes came from, drinking, harvest, fermentation, drinking, taste, smell… it was awesome. I’m thinking of becoming a sommelier in my next lifetime, still debating…

 

Mumm Champagne is made of three grapes: Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They compared them to the characteristics of a child, man and woman.

Pinot Meunier (child): Freshness and Fruitiness

Pinot Noir (man): Structure and Strength

Chardonnay (woman): Finesse and Sensuality

 

Some champagnes do use red grapes in their blends, they’re just careful to not break the skin of the grape or it will stain the entire batch red. That’s why most vineyards pick their grapes by hand – more care, less damage. For Rosés, a little red from the grape skin is used to stain the champagne pink.

 

The bottles start like below, on their side, and begin to build a layer of residue. Over the period of two months, the bottles are turned little by little until their upside-down. Now that the residue is at the top of the bottle, it will eject when you bust the cork open – voila. They strongly advised to shake the bottle before opening it so it can taste extra good and remove the stains from your clothes.

 

 

Under wine rules, champagne cannot be legally sold unless it has been aged in their bottle at least 15 months. Mumm ages all their champagne for a minumum of 3yrs. So you can appreciate it next time you open one : )

 

 

Here is the library, where they keep a bottle from each harvest. In the center, one of the first bottles from 1827… totally legit and heroic. They are kept at 50 degrees and in the dark for good maintenance. The tour lady said “NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY”…. and well…. here is the million dollar photo… sorry lady.

 

 

And for reading this post til the end, you get a special treat! REAL champagne drinkers… when you open a bottle of champagne, NEVER twist the cork in circles. You open the bottle by holding the top/cork in place and twisting the bottom of the bottle until you hear the “POP”. You will look so legit at your next event!

Cheers!

 

 

 

Mumm Champagne

34 Rue du Champ de Mars

51100 Reims, France

 

*Photos: Allison

Events: Dynamo Exhibition

 

 

I never went to museums in LA cus I never had time, so I plan on visiting as many shows as I can and snapping all the street art around here. Over the weekend I went to see Dynamo at the Grand Palais. I read great things about it and love contemporary shit.

It was titled “A Century of Light and Movement in Art, 1913-2013.” and featured nearly 170 different artist. So if you can imagine, it was HUGE, a good 2-3 hour activity. It exhibited concepts of vision, space, light and movement. Now, I’m not gonna say what it all meant because art should be interpreted by the viewer, plus a lot of times the description below the piece says something totally out of my comprehension (let’s be honest), plus I’m not an art curator. I will say though, that some pieces made me feel like I was on drugs and a lot of things were interactive, which was very special.

One thing that did stick out to me was this film rolling in a room. All there was, was a camera and the light shinning on a big white projector. I stood there for 15mins to watch. People kept coming in and out because the movie wouldn’t “start”. It was blank. BUT the point of it was for you to make your own movement in front of the projecting light… like a duck with your fingers, or a flying bird with both your hands (mine looked like a dog with no ears, meaning a big circle). NO one participated except children. All of the adults walked in, waited 10 seconds and walked out. All the children that walked in had a fucken blast with the machine. Adults are so boring!! It was a great observation of how kids have fun with the simplest things… which we should all try to practice as we get older.

Totally worth my 13 euros. A few photos out of a billion things to see there below:

 

 

 

 

How one object/shape can be repeated multiple times to give different results.

 

 

Dynamo

10 April 2013 to 22 July 2013

GRAND PALAIS
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower
75008 Paris

 

*Photos: Allison

Random: My First Week

 

So it’s only my second week here, meaning a lot of things still feel weird. For one, my eating habits are all screwed up. I don’t even breakfast, I eat once during the day and then I’m starving at midnight….terrible. It was also my first week of school. I was in shock at how much work we did and all the beautiful pieces we created.  I did miss a lot of French because my teacher speaks so fast, but I hope to catch up soon. And I do want to acknowledge the PAIN I felt in my feet after the first day. They were throbbing!!! I could barely walk home. I soaked them in a bucket of hot water for an hour. I was dead tired and I think I slept in my uniform that night…

After three hard days in the kitchen, we had a day off (ahhhh French holiday’s!). I still don’t have a phone yet or a TV so it’s been hard to communicate with humans and I spent most of the week just talking to myself “What’s up girl?”…”Hey, what’s up!”…

Anywho… I love that there are many places to go visit here (for free) and enjoy a picnic. I made myself my low-budget, ham-prociutto, cheese and arugula sandwich and sat by the Louvre, fancy! Tourism is getting heavy now that the weather is getting nicer, so it’s always funny to go watch all the people take photos in the same poses that you once did when you saw these monuments for the first time.

 

A plus tard!

 


Thoughts: Enjoying Nothing

 

Life in American is soooooo fast!!! And I’m victim to it. We’re always ON. 24/7. We’re on with technology all day and we’re on physically all day. Every day is a hustle. And people are even proud of being a “hustler”.

We wake up, check email, twitter, facebook. Take a quick shower. Skip breakfast because we’re late to the office/work. Get to the office/work, right back to your email. Start on that to-do list, meetings, errands, meetings, more emails. You grab a quick Subway for lunch. Back on the grind. You get home… back on your phone/computer. Get all your shit ready to do it again the next day. And for myself, traveling in the mix of all that, from one plane to the next, I was always counting my minutes. And that’s normal to us.

Even when we think we are out for a leisure activity, let’s say dinner, we act with the same mechanism. We get to the restaurant: “There’s a 30min wait”… (f*ck). We get seated, the waitress takes forever to come (f*ck). We order, the food takes too long to come out “Where’s our food! F*ck!”.

Everything we do, we want it fast and we want it now! And unfortunately, I been stuck in these ways myself. I hustle all day multitasking a million things that when I feel like I have a minute of down time, I have to find something else to do or else I feel unproductive. And unfortunately, P. Diddy and Mr. Trump preach the same things. What you’re not doing now, someone else is, bla bla bla…. “Money doesn’t sleep”, bla bla bla…. You can always be replaced, bla bla bla

Again, we are trained to live a fast pace life and work like machines. Or else, we fail.

What’s the goal? Money? Status?

“Hey son, your mom was a hustler. I worked all day and all night! One time I didn’t breath for 4mins because I was working so hard and I passed out. Doesn’t that sound fun?”

I’ve been in Paris for almost a week now and since I quit my job to come here, I have not received ONE email from the bullet-fast inbox I had last week. Not one email asking me to do something. Not one email asking me to send a report or calculate ROI or a flight itinerary. Nothing. I even keep refreshing my inbox because it feels sooo weird. I came here a week before school/work to get settled in to my apartment and settled in to the time change, and I nearly went crazy because I had nothing to do! Ahhhhhh!!!!

Then I started thinking “Hellooo idiot, enjoy life!”

My mind has been so full of smog and living this fast pace life that I even forgot what it felt like to REST! When was the last time you took a walk? People watched? Enjoyed a coffee without looking at your watch? Lit a candle and took a bath? Here’s another, SPOKE to someone face-to-face…ahhhhh glorious! Yes, this all sounds really gay… but all those little nuances that life offers, they’re still there. There’s so many little things you can do that can make you feel at peace and ultimately provide you with more happiness than money.

So from here on out, I will continue to find pleasure in the moments when I’m not doing anything.

 

 

A plus tard!

 

*Photo: Allison’s IPhone

 

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