Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Things I miss about Paris

Life is good. No doubt about that. I love New York. I’m traveling. The book is doing well. But then sometimes Paris will cross my mind and it’s like a punch in the gut: startling, furious, making me want to laugh, cry and vomit all at once.

My first year home, lots of people asked what I missed most about Paris. But truthfully, I was so happy to be home, getting reacquainted with American pleasures like Whole Foods and Ben & Jerry’s and New York hangouts like Joseph Leonard and City Bakery, that I didn’t feel like I was missing Paris.

Now that I haven’t had a dose of the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) in nearly six months, I’m going through certain withdrawal. Yearning. Daydreaming. Weepiness. It’s embarrassing, I tell you.

When I think of Paris, my other city, it is these things I miss most:

• Velibing - Especially in the dark, quiet streets of the Marais at night. No, especially through the beautiful Place de la Concorde. No, especially as a way of commuting.

• French – The language. Just hearing it. Speaking it. Being comfortable with it. I’m losing it.

• Salades chevre chaud – Mmmmmmm

• Luxembourg Garden – Not that I used to go all the time. But the bright green grass, the heavy lawn chairs, the petanque and ponies… taking it all in while nibbling a snack from Pierre Hermé… oui, I miss it.

• The many splendid shades of brown, taupe and grey.

• My friends – Oh, the irony. I missed my American friends from home so very much during my two years in Paris. But now it’s all those beautiful people who became new, dear amis that I miss seeing and talking to.

• Rue Montorgueil – What I wouldn’t do to wake up this Saturday morning and be able to pop over for an Eric Kayser baguette, Comté from La Fermette, fresh apples and a pain aux raisins from Stohrer.

• The canal and all its flotsam and jetsam.

• Sitting up in my treehouse late at night, blogging about the day's adventures.

Monday, February 27, 2012

All work and no play...

... we all know the adage. Working too much is bad for our psyches, bad for relationships, bad for our asses.

Luckily, I managed to get outside and play in the sun today at Canyons Resort (Park City, Utah).

It was my first journey up a mountain all season.

And this mountain was incredible.

But time was limited. And rather than ski, we zip-lined (don't look, maman).

Across a 2000-foot canyon.

Fun and exhilarating, to be sure.

But I should have been skiing. And spinning and downward dogging. Because I had forgotten how gluttonous business trips can be.

Night after night of three-course meals, accompanied by wine, then to bed, and up to do it all over again.

Thank god it's back to New York tomorrow. Who knew Utah could be so hedonistic?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Park City pit stop

Sometimes you just really want to get out of town. Other times, you never want to leave. I've definitely been feeling clingy towards New York lately—just not enough time to enjoy the city and my friends there. A business trip that engulfs a precious weekend was hardly something I was looking forward to. Until I arrived here, in Park City.

To be fair, I was excited before we arrived and were treated to crisp mountain air, beautiful blue skies, and sweet alpine architecture.

I've never been to Park City before and was excited to discover this historic mining town with its fascinating politics and people.

But, 24 hours in, I'm finding it's a place I could certainly get used to.

Grand lodges filled with charm and comfort.

A modest but artsy community.

Fun colleagues who make it feel as much pleasure as it is business.

And we haven't even hit the slopes (or zip lines) yet...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

From Paris with love

"I just bought your book at WH Smith on rue de Rivoli in front of the Tuilderies Gardens!! Have bought many a book here so it's a really magical and exciting moment to buy yours. Big kiss xoxo Mel"

If you've had a chance to read Paris, My Sweet, you know how much Mel means to me. She is light, she is love, she is inspiration. Receiving her text and photo the other day put me over the moon.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Vegan Mondays

Coffee and soy milk
Oatmeal with blueberries

City Bakery salad bar: sautéed Brussels sprouts and broccoli, sweet potatoes, vermicelli with asparagus and smoked tofu
Fuji apple

Well, I had every intention of making this a Vegan Monday. I mean, I met my cousins from out of town at City Bakery and didn’t have even a lick of hot chocolate, or one measly peanut butter cookie crumb. It was Vegan Monday! I'm a pro! But then I returned to my apartment and what was waiting for me?

Three pounds of glorious Levain cookies (page 175 in Paris, My Sweet). Chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate peanut butter chip, oatmeal raisin and dark chocolate chocolate chip. Two of each, wrapped with utter care. If you had such a delivery, would you eschew such joy and wonder for Vegan Monday?

Thank you, Pam and Connie, for your generosity.
I am a weak, but sated and happy woman tonight.

Catching up on life

Enfin, the Blog Tour is over. A gazillion thanks to my fellow bloggers and inspirations who made it happen and were so generous with their time and support. And thanks to you all for reading and going along on the Tour!

The past couple of weeks haven’t been all working, promoting and writing. They’ve also been deliciously indulgent.

Cocktails at Gotham Bar at the Peninsula Hotel…

…and Rye in Williamsburg.

Brunch at Jack’s Wife Frieda…

… and Balthazar.

Cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake…

… and Sprinkles.

A lovely Saturday afternoon tea party perched overlooking uptown…

…and my own launch party at the wee Bosie Tea Parolor downtown.

So far, 2012 has been an extraordinary year. Intensely busy, extremely gratifying and filled with overwhelming love and emotion. Two months in, I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.

How is your 2012 shaping up??

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Danielle of Paris Pastry

Do you know Paris Pastry? Or French Madame? With those names, you might think I’ve got a couple other blogs on the side. Or if you know these fabulously inspiring sites, you know Danielle, a lovely woman in the Netherlands who’s just as obsessed with baking and sweets; fashion and design and “all things French” as I am. It made perfect sense to have her wrap up this Blog Tour.

From Loubutin to Yves Saint Laurent, Portugal to Italy, Nutella cheesecake to cookie dough cupcakes, Danielle has style, she has taste and she has passion. She's incredibly warm and, yes, "sweet." When I read her posts, I feel like I have a soul sister across the ocean. Danielle, merci for being such a lovely finale to the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kathy of A Passion for Food

If we looked even remotely alike or if Kathy had been born during the disco era instead of the new wave era, you might think we were separated at birth. She travels, writes for local publications and has a soft spot for sweets. In fact, whereas I used to have the sweets beat for Metro newspaper, Kathy has the enviable position of writing the Sugar Rush column for Serious Eats. Kathy is so smart and sweet, and is living such a charmed and delicious life, it makes me want to hit rewind and relive my 20s again. It also makes me happy to include her lovely blog, A Passion for Food on the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Andi of Misadventures with Andi

Anyone who’s ever met Andi knows there is a light inside this woman that cannot be extinguished. She’s in Seattle, Vegas, Toronto, Beijing… always on the go, and never without sharing interesting posts along the way. And though she’s a California Girl, she always comes back to Paris… which is how I met her at a darling Montmartre bar over wine and cheese with about a dozen other bloggers in the fall of 2009.

Since then, I’ve been following Andi’s Frolicking/French Fridays (and Wordless Wednesdays and Saturday Sixes) along with all the delicious meals she shares. Her vivaciousness, generosity and bonhomie make her a favorite of anyone who’s ever met her, and I’m honored to have the covetable French Friday spotlight as part of the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour. Merci, Andi!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We interrupt this Blog Tour for something(s) sweet

The religeuse from Eric Kayser

A beautiful box of bonbons from Jacques Genin

Three wee macarons from none other than Pierre Hermé

The irresistible display at Ble Sucré...

...La Maison du Chocolat...

...And Pain du Sucré

Tarte tatin!

The famous Mont Blanc at Angelina

Getting full? Well, the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour is nearly over. Just a handful of more stops await you this weekend. In the meantime, a million thanks to everyone who’s been following and participating and maybe feeling hungry for something else.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Linda of Parisien Salon

If there’s one thing you should have gotten by now, it’s that the Francophile and foodie communities of Paris and beyond are wildly talented and ambitious. Designer bags, fudgy brownies, debut novels, pastel watercolors… what doesn’t this lot from the Blog Tour do?!

Enter Linda Donahue of Parisien Salon. She brings so many great things and talents together with her wonderful online magazine and boutique. I first met this tour de force at a friend’s soirée—one of those lovely gatherings in a Parisian pad overlooking the zinc rooftops, the Eiffel Tower pulsing in the background, wine, cheese and sweets laid on the table in abundance (oh, moments like this, I too ask why I left Paris…). But since we didn’t have time to chat we made a date to meet for tea at Rose Bakery. There, we bonded over our backgrounds in advertising, connections to New York, and, bien sur, our love for the City of Light. Since then, as both she and I ping and pong through Paris, we’ve continued bonding and I’m delighted Parisien Salon is today’s stop on the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour. Merci, Linda!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland

Lindsey Tramuta. The girl kills me. When I first met her, I understood her to be an uber savvy social media/advertising guru. Fair enough. Then I started taking notice of her killer photographs. Sheer talent. And then, I realized, she can seriously write. And, well, don’t even get me started on her baking skills. Dare I say Lola’s brownies are the best I have ever eaten?? (Sorry, maman!)

Fast forward a year and a half. Now I know Lindsey to be not only a talented woman, but a good friend. She is generous and thoughtful, bright and inquisitive, honest and fun. She was kind enough to take all the photos of me you see peppering this Blog Tour; she’s accommodating enough to fulfill my Lola’s orders when I’m in town; she’s cool enough to hang out in cafes for hours with; and, well, she’s just plain nice. Lindsey, merci for the photos, the inspiration and being part of the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Vegan Mondays

After a week that included stuffing my maw at Friedmans, Gotham Bar at the Peninsula, Café Asean, Rye, Maison Premiere, Georgetown Cupcake, Jack’s Wife Freida, Eataly and others, today’s Vegan Monday was more than a little essential. (And we just won’t mention licking the bowl while making chocolate ganache this evening…) Pants... getting... snug...

Coffee with soy milk
Granola and almond milk

Cannellini bean salad with avocado, roasted tomatoes and zucchini and pumpkin seeds
Dried cranberries

Lentil soup

Carol of Paris Breakfasts

There are few other people with greater passion for Paris than Carol G of Paris Breakfasts. At regular intervals every year, she (and Bear) journey from New York to the City of Light (as well as London and beyond) just to explore new bakeries, meet new people, and sketch and paint more of her lovely watercolors. Her witty posts are filled with wicked insights and sharp observations—every day is a fun new discovery at Paris Breakfasts.

The first time Carol and I met was nothing short of classic. She invited me to lunch at the very proper restaurant Lassarre, where a British TV company was filming a reality show about apprenticing waiters on their way to becoming proper serveurs. Needless to say, the service was abysmal and the typical two-hour French lunch dragged for at least three. Luckily, Carol has a great sense of humor and we just laughed and we continued laughing at subsequent meetings, such as for tea and sweets Carette and the croissant smackdown. As such a devout Francophile and devotée to all things sweet and pretty, I'm honored that Carol joined the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Helen of Helen Hearts

Just as her blog’s name implies, Helen is filled with love and affection. It comes across in her posts as much as her pictures as she explores New York City and the occasional foreign destination and shares the fashion, food, art and design that she hearts.

Big whoop, right?

Except that Helen is just a youngin’. Not even a year out of New York University, she’s already building a successful marketing career at the world’s largest beauty company, L'Oreal, while eating up the city’s best restaurants, parties and events. At 22, she’s already successful and worldly and is proof that we don’t have to weep for the next generation. Keep up the inspiration, Helen, and merci bien for being part of the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Erin of Butter + Brass

I have a confession: I have a girl crush on Erin. No, I’ve never even met her in person but I’ve been following her blog for years and we’ve been corresponding along the way and I just know we’d be fast friends if we lived in the same town.

Erin is uber talented (check out her design, for god's sake!), inspired and engaged—all you have to do is look at the artists and photographers she curates, the beautiful life moments she captures, and the fashion she shares (oh, the fashion!) on Butter + Brass and beyond. The girl is just cool. She has a sweet soul, stylish sensibility, and thoughtfulness gushes from every word she lays down. Personally, I love having girl crushes, and I’m thrilled that Erin is part of the Paris, My Sweet Blog Tour. Merci, Erin!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Richard of I Prefer Paris

Richard was actually the first blogger I ever met in Paris. He emailed me, after having stumbled upon my fledgling blog just a few short months after I landed in Paris, and, boy, did I feel like I had made it. This popular blogger, whose site I had already referenced a million times, was emailing me? And wanted to meet for coffee? Woah.

So we met. And bonded over our shared histories in New York, our passions for Paris, the ins and outs of freelance writing, and myriad other juicy bits. I later took one of his cooking courses, met him for dinners, and attended readings and soirées together. Alors! I’m not only happy that Richard’s participating in the Paris, My Sweet blog tour, but that it’s during his annual Sweet Week.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

He's hanging in there

Every once in awhile, someone emails to ask how Milo is doing. I think he pines for his Parisian window perch, but otherwise, he's doing just fine.

Sion of paris(imperfect)

Still waters run deep. That’s what I have always felt about Sion. She’s never the most boisterous at a gathering (unless she’s laughing – she has a kickass, contagious laugh). She’s always calm and collected. But once she’s engaged in conversation, she’s absolutely radiant. Sion is quick with a smile; she’s warm, thoughtful and sincere; and then there are her creative talents. Have you ever read her poems or essays? The girl is brilliant. I admire and envy the complexity, depth and intelligence that ignite her internal engine.

As I’ve gotten to know Sion, it all makes total sense. Not only is she a fellow Scorpio (!), but when she explains how she’s feeling, or where her head is, it’s always a place and a feeling that I get. Places and feelings that I’ve also had. And she shares them so articulately and honestly in her blog. So it’s for that and many other warm and fuzzy personal reasons that I’m honored to have Sion on the Blog Tour!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kate of La Petite Choue

Let’s just start with the name: La Petite Choue. Cute, French and fun. And everything about Kate and her awesome blog is, indeed, cute and fun with a Frenchified twist.

And the brains behind the blog? Kate’s the kind of girl you want dressing you, telling you what to listen to, and what to eat and drink with your friends this weekend. She’s got style, and I’m thrilled to bring the Blog Tour to sunny California to visit her for the day. Hel-lo, Kate!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Kasia of Love in the City of Lights

Kasia Deitz. I call her “bella” because she really couldn’t be any more beautiful (and I’m not just talking about her enviable bone structure, 100-watt smile, or beautiful, big blue eyes). She is just a warm and lovely person whose inner compassion, creativity (check out her fabulous totes!), curiosity and joie de vivre come shining through. She is an inspiration.

She is also a New Yorker, a world traveler, and worked in advertising before the love of her life stole her away to Paris (from the intersection of Spring and Broadway, no less!). Kasia and I have bonded over many drinks, meals and emails; creative brainstorming sessions and empathetic heart-to-hearts. I can think of no one more appropriate to kick off the Blog Tour. Merci, mon amie!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Blog Tour

When I look back on my time in Paris, the evolution of this blog, and the luck and accomplishment of Paris, My Sweet, one thing is clear: from all of it, a whole community of friends was borne. In fact, my second year in Paris, the more I wrote and blogged, and wrote and blogged, the more connected I felt. I met amazing people and had the happy occasion of getting to know a big group of talented, warm, generous, adventurous, fun, diverse, supportive (largely) expats who altered my whole experience—they made it richer, more meaningful, and 10 times better. And, in some cases, the friendships have only deepened since I left. All in all, this blogging business is just another way that my Parisian experience ended up being life-changing. It was magic. And I’m forever grateful.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be taking Paris, My Sweet on a two-week “Blog Tour.” Every day, I’ll introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers who’s been kind enough to share some thoughts and words about the book. It seemed only appropriate that I use the forum that connected me to so much light and love, camaraderie and conversation, good will and joyful moments in Paris with everyone, everywhere.

To all my Blog Tour participants, thank you in advance—your support and generosity are astounding. And to everyone who comes along on the tour, I hope you enjoy meeting—or reacquainting yourselves—with these most amazing voices!

Friday, February 3, 2012

What a week!

Weighing in at 280 pages, laden with calories, memories and more than a couple embarrassing moments from my life abroad, my baby, Paris, My Sweet, is finally out in the world!

As well as a feature in the New York Post (!).

There was a double flower delivery… Dinner with friends from different chapters of my life… drinks and nightcaps and bottles… and a million well wishes and sweet thoughts. It was incredible. Thank you, everyone. It's been the best week ever!