a little distraction while i'm stuck traveling for 30 hours

well kids, it's come to the end.
this is the last time i post from this beautiful and delicious country of love.
i'm all packed up, leaving oh so early tomorrow morning, and my flight should land in JFK around 1:30 pm. i'm hanging around the city for the night and then i'll be back home (!) by 10 am Sunday morning.

i guess this will have to hold you over till i'm finally there and settled, but i wouldn't complain if i were you:

all from  here

gosh, he's pretty.
hope everyone has a good weekend!
catch ya on the flipside :)

the one where i get deep

warning: longggg post ahead, full of big sentences and deep thoughts.
if you just come for the pictures, turn back now.

it's 1:17 a.m and i'm not really sure why i'm still awake.

when i wake up in six and a half hours, it'll be my last day in france.
my last day walking to class, of enjoying break time with a friend i would have never crossed paths with if it wasn't for this place, of the beautiful beach with another wonderful friend, and of delicious, heavenly, life changing nutella gelato.
i'll be getting on a plane early saturday morning and slowly making my way home.
back to sweet, sweet america.
back to work, and school, and driving everywhere, and knowing exactly what's in all of my food, and finally having clean feet, and most importantly, back to my family.

i made myself two little travel journals to write in during this trip, because i knew i'd want to remember every little thing, and i wrote in it tonight, but that wasn't enough.
i stepped off of that long flight from JFK to Nice absolutely terrified.
up until then, i was so excited i couldn't stand it. everyone would ask me if i was worried, and my answer was "no", because i really wasn't. i'm not a worrier. i'm carefree and optimistic and  jumping into a 2 month program in a foreign country where i knew absolutely no one sounded exciting to me.
it sounded exhilarating.

but as i was walking towards customs, i started thinking 
"what if there's no one here to pick me up? what if i paid all this money and came all the way here, just to be stranded in an airport in the south of france? or if this is real and i do get picked up, what if there's no one cool to be friends with? what if i have to hang out by myself for 8 weeks? what if i get food poisoning from some weird french food and die in a foreign country all by myself?  what if i don't know as much french as i thought and i get bad directions from someone and end up lost on the side of the road and get kidnapped and tortured and murdered and they don't find my body until the end of july, when my family's finally wondering why they haven't heard from me? or what if i just absolutely hate it here?"
[[my one little worry bone obviously kicked in, along with my zillion wild imagination bones]]
but there was no turning back, and i wanted to find out, so i picked up my two giant suitcases, waited for the program director, and jumped in headfirst.

and guess what?
it was one of the best decisions i've ever made.
there were a million reasons why i shouldn't have come here:
i was giving up summer with my loved ones and leaving my little sister behind. i was going against everything my dad ever taught me about being responsible, by giving up a full time job where i could have saved up a bunch of money, instead opting to go into major debt for 8 weeks of fun. i would be losing my cell phone service, therefore giving up the only really reliable form of communication benny and i had. i would be going to school during the summer, which has always been one of my big no-no's. i knew absolutely no one else coming here. blah blah blah.
but this was something i wanted to do.
i'd wanted to do it since middle school.
i'd dreamed about it since middle school.
and i sure as hell didn't want to look back at my life in 10, 20, 50 years and wonder why i never just did it.
i wanted to be the cool mom that told her babies stories about the summer she lived on the riviera.
and i wanted to prove to myself that i could do it.

well, i did it.
and i'm damn proud of myself for it.
i decided to say "who cares" to all of those reasons why i shouldn't come, and "watch me" to all of those people who said it wouldn't work out, and i got my ass out of my comfort zone and became a French girl for 2 months.
i know where to get the best, cheapest fresh baguette. i know which corners the nice bums sit at and which ones the mean ones sit at. i know how to tell off the creepy guys who yell out nasty things as i walk by, and how to give directions to the tourists. i'm a beach tanning pro and have learned how to pack for a whole weekend of traveling in one tiny backpack.  i even bought those crazy European pants and am planning on wearing them on my flight home.

i've experienced life outside of small-town america,
or even big-city america, and learned so much about another culture in the process. 
 i've learned even more about myself.
that right there is something to be proud of.


p.s- bonus points to the few of you who actually read the whole thing to the end. lemme know who you are and i'll send you some air kisses. they're very French.

p.p.s- double bonus points to those of you who read the title of my post and immediately thought "that's what he said".

everybody needs books like these

i'm too sleepy tonight for a full, fancy post, so here are some fun, family-friendly children's books that i would have loved to received as a child.

#1: "No to Drugs and Alcohol: A Guide to the Usage of Children"
let's hope that it means a different thing than the literal translation. 

#2: "Don't Touch My Body!: How to Talk about Sexual Abuse" 
first, let's talk about that fire hazard of a lit candle burning on this elf child's head.

both found in a Catholic monastery gift store on St. Honoraut Island, of course.
neither purchased.

slow down

top from here, bottom from here

in the mood for some lazy summer nights with my baby.
i guess we can wait until fall.

miss you b.

next time i'll be better

my plan when i woke up this morning was to start a "picture an hour" series
 [inspired by this lady],
 where i document my day by taking a picture every hour.
[pretty self-explanatory, right?]
it was going to be a good way to remember what daily life over here is like, and my pictures were gonna be cool, and blah blah blah.
but after a fun, eventful morning, in which i did cool stuff and took a zillion photos, i came home for the afternoon and just plain forgot.
plus my two hour nap would have made for two boring pictures.

so we'll scrap that and just go for my last sunday morning in antibes:
[11 a.m]: a beautiful ceiling window that wakes me up with daylight every morning
and a mini-photo collage of b and my family to make me feel at home.
[12 p.m]: i'm really sorry for the 9th grade mirror picture, but... a dress i restyled into a skirt,
and a daily breakfast of some speculoos slathered on a baguette.

[12:30 p.m]: emily and i headed down to the market to look around and pick up some last-minute souvenirs first...

[1 p.m]: and then we grabbed some lunch, [gelato for me of course, and a sandwich for her],
and headed down to a spot by the beach to enjoy.

[2 p.m]: i came home and skyped with my loverboy
and then i guess he had me all twitterpated, so i promptly forgot to finish my series and take any more pictures.
oh well, story of my life as a spacey lady.

how was everyone else's sunday?
i hope as lovely and relaxing as mine.
tell me alllll about them!

the very first thing i'm going to buy when i get home

secretly, i love planning.
writing lists, having everything organized, and planning out my day down to the hour are some of my favorite things to do,
but then even more so, i love throwing those plans to the wind and just letting my day take it's natural course.
i'm a walking contradiction sometimes.

butttt, to cater to the slightly Type-A side of my personality, Erin Condren jumps to my rescue.
behold the 2011/2012 Life Planner:

this thing is magic.
it has mini-months for long term planning, tabs to get to each month quickly, morning/day/night columns for each day of the week, special stickers, lined paper throughout, and a folder in the back to keep receipts and junk together.
i realize that this post makes me sound super dorky, and kind of over the top ambitious,
but i want it real bad.
i'm gonna be a busy little bee this last year of school and finding this planner is like having manna sent down from heaven.
just call me moses, eating it up.
[that actually may be a stretch. don't call me that.]

regardless, i'm not at all sponsored by Erin Condren's company, or getting paid to write this post or anything.
i'm just in love.
once i order this wonderful thing and get it into my dorky little hands, i'll let you know.
of course i'll let you know.

i hope your saturday doesn't involve planning or online shopping at all.
get outside and do something!
it's beautiful out there.
happy weekend:)

the perfect space

from here

~ freshly painted mint green fingernails

~ white sundresses that just hug my mediterranean tan

~being (technologically) reunited with my little sister/best friend that's been on a missions trip to romania for 12 long days

~delicious tomato pasta sauce that just makes me want to use all the baguettes in the world to soak it up

~crazy hair that's just begging to be embraced, that then blesses me with a good hair day when i do

~justin beiber playlists and avett brother playlists both played in the span of one afternoon and enjoyed equally

~chocolate & mint gelato in a cone eaten down on a bench overlooking the sea

~skype kisses from b at the beginning, middle, and end of every call

~perfectly decorated travel journals that already let me look back and remember every detail of this adventure

i'm a little-things kind of girl.

the world was made to be free in

"you must learn one thing, 
the world was made to be free in.

give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong. 
sometimes it takes darkness
and the sweet confinement of your
aloneness to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you."
     from "Sweet Darkness" by David Whyte

believe it or not, writing in this blog is bringing me more alive.
coming on this adventure is bringing me more alive.
loving benny brings me more alive.
all of the plans and dreams that i have for our life are bringing me more alive.

one of my biggest fears is living a life that's dead before i am,
so here's to being part of something that's bigger than myself.

from here


it's not paris if it doesn't rain

hi friends.
what a whirlwind of a past week!
it's been getting ready for paris, enjoying paris, recovering from paris, and then cleaning up flooded floor and a soaked bed because we forgot to shut the roof windows this morning.
bet you didn't see that one coming, did you?

i have too many words, so i'm not even going to bother.
here are some probably too many photos from my wonderful, crazy weekend in that wonderful, crazy city:
some of those stereotypes are true 
love at first sight.
delicious, beautiful, perfect LaDuree sweets
second story view. we walked up those stairs. i now have calves of steel.
luxembourg gardens. 
also the site of the most wonderful nutella and speculoos crepe ever consumed. 
giant notre-dame.
we took a night cruise on the Seine. if you go to Paris, you should go on this. 
so dang pretty. 
shoe heaven in La Galerie LaFayette 
sketchball Sacre-Coeur and the pretty view from up top.

it was a wonderful time, exploring the City of Lights with
my lovely traveling companion, partial tour guide, tanning partner, and all around bud, Emily.

and yes, one day it did rain.
all in all, a successful trip.
i can't believe i only have 10 full days left in this beautiful place.
i'm off to rest so i can make the most of it.
bonne nuit.

p.s. yup, i picniked some of these pictures. obviously. i can't resist.