Archive for the ‘Past Trips’ Category

Moje ljeto ljubavi, iz Dubrovnika

Posted: August 25, 2016 in Past Trips

Old City Dubrovnik

It’s the final countdown…

When something is truly right, I suppose things fall into place, just right.
This truly has been my summer of love. Not only are we counting down to the end of it, but also to my final days as the perennially single woman. 😁

And I couldn’t have chosen a more stunning place to get that final stamp in my single-girl American passport. Albeit, my emergency passport 🙄 as my 5-year old one with all the visas, high-security Israeli threat 5 sticker and stamps from literally all over the world never turned up after Disney Paris. Which is actually a blessing in disguise, I think! As I touch wood… 😳

I needed to go to Paris anyway, to l’ambassade américaine for some (more) goofy papers required for our French marriage license. Kismet… I picked up an emergency passport whilst there! 😆 Après, we spent a weekend in Dublin. My frenchman got down on one knee in front of Dublin Castle, and a small group of young girls… and officially asked me to marry him. 😍 Soon after that we went to London for my “fiancé” 😆 to speak at an industry conference, en anglais, for his travail. We met some incredible friends, discovered a perfect London hotel, and bought my wedding dress!!! 👰🏼

As our ‘summer of love’ began, everything fell right into place! Which has pretty much been the status quo since I met my illustrious man a couple years ago. Sorry to speak for my him (oh what the hell I’ll be his wife in 29 days) 😉 but neither of us have ever been so perfectly ‘in love’, ‘in sync’ and ‘in absolute certainty’ of anything before this. We’ve spent our summer planning the wedding together, watching every detail fall… yep you guessed it! Right into place. 😍 With no stress, in two languages and with inexplicable ease.

Sitting now at the edges of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, there is time to quietly reflect on everything we’ve both accomplished. With our jobs, our merger, our families, our finances and especially our future. ✨ And I’ll tell you what… it is a fucking fairy tale!

We continue to grow more savvy with our immigration comprehension 🌍 which is the purpose of this little Dubrovnik jaunt. Well… one of the reasons! 😅 I’ve organized three trips to this incroyable country cette année and we are just months before it officially enters the Schengen Zone. Both the French and Croatians seem quite lax already with their immigration reciprocity. The young aéroport policier at Toulouse Blagnac kindly handed my unstamped American emergency passport back to me. I smiled and intimated my utmost French charm saying “merci monsieur… mais c’est nécessaire pour le timbre, pour moi? Oui?” (insert glimmering smile and batted eyelashes here) 😇

“Oui, okay… pour vous.” STAMP! ✔️ Phew! Mission accomplished.

Dubrovnik is extraordinaire. It IS crowded, and reminiscent of Venice in that way… but unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before. It’s authentic. It’s not expensive. Inside the old city walls there are no Golden Arches or Subway Sandwiches. The stone stairs inside this medieval city are steep, but seductive. The shops are fantastic, it’s nothing like the Grand Bazaar or Jewish Quarter. The views are magical and the glistening sea summons. Once again, the restaurants are really delicious 😋 and I’m not gonna lie… I’m a picky eater!
Just outside the old city walls are some of the most stunning views you could imagine. Red roofs atop ancient stone nestled along a crystal clear turquoise sea. Wow. 😍 I understand now why my clients here in June, simply were not going to leave as scheduled! This is my true definition of paradise. 🇭🇷 And only a two-hour flight from home, pour moi!

Uncertain where to stay as it was a quick trip all by my lonesome, I went against my usual judgment. Booking.com and I became quite friendly as I settled on what has turned out to be one of the BEST options imaginable! Sure it would be great to have the luxury, a gorgeous pool and convenient beachside bar service. But those hotels are not plentiful in Dubrovnik and located well outside these old city walls. 🤔 There are a bazillion options for those needing to get their feet in the sparkling warm water. The ‘guesthouse’ I chose, called Prijeko Palace, is close to an old city entrance with only one small flight of steep stairs to manage. It’s in a 14th century building yet filled with original art. The rooms are spacious, comfortable and quiet. It has the renowned Stara Loza Restaurant attached, just along restaurant row, and hosts the second-only elevator within the medieval borders. And it just happens to be around the stone corner from D’Vino, best wine bar in the city! 🍷

The only thing that could make this any better is if my frenchman were here… and If I was 4 kilograms lighter. 😄 Be that as it may, I have not a doubt in the world that my summer of love will glide sweetly into unequivocal bliss come September. 😍

I reckon our lives won’t really be much different, as we’ve got kids, work, loads of travel and California Christmas ahead. However I will proudly don a gorgeous (french-made) wedding band and learn to spell Georjon out in french! 😁 C’est pas facile! Mais très beau.❤️

Breakfast at Prijeko Palace 😍

An unforgettable Dubrovnik view

All humexed up and nowhere to go!

Posted: December 14, 2015 in Past Trips

 

just another day at the bird zoo

I think I’m in deep. I’m officially in the middle of nowhere France avec sept enfants for Toussaint school holidays! I imagine this must be better than glamping, and can’t wait to hear how the ‘welcome apero’ around the pool went à midi… as soon as my frenchman gets back. 😁
Meanwhile back at the ranch, I managed to shower and drag myself out of bed thanks to Humex, despite my nearly illegible voice. 😷 Elle est malade. Thanks to those damn foreigners in my French class who arrive hacking and sneezing all over the place with absolutely no consideration where they leave their snot rags and the direction in which they breathe. Assholes. 😣

No… actually I understand… the school is expensive and I wouldn’t want to miss it either! Except for a week in the middle of nowhere with seven French children. 😜 The truth is that yes I have been sick, but as I’ve claimed for years now: the French have once again cured me! 🇫🇷 At least temporarily anyway. This Humex stuff is legit! Elle peut parler maintenant.
Three weeks into my daily French courses, I’ve made more than one friend and understand how to put a sentence together. Before, I would just spit out a verb with a noun, and if I was lucky sometimes an adjective. People seem to understand my point 😁 most of the time. Maintenant, I understand how to structure my words and can even extrapolate enough from conversations to get a sense what’s going on. I am fortunate to have a week pause for vacances avec le frere de mon frenchman, and his lovely family. 😊
We are in Cap d’Agde, France. Situated just south of Montpellier and on the Mediterranean Sea. It really is quite relaxing and quaint. Internet works well enough for work, the games we play à nuit are super-fun and the cousins are happy being together. It’s a funny little place and unfortunately not warm enough for la piscine, or the beach. However we’ve seen strolled through downtown Agde, played basket and foot, toured the Agde Aquarium, did a little pre-Halloween face-painting and spent the day at a bird zoo. Yes, a bird zoo. It is rewarding to watch my Frenchman with his beloved older brother. 😍
I feel very proud to be the first woman to spend a week holidays with my frenchman’s family. 😊 They are all incredibly kind, welcoming and I get the sense they like me. I know it makes them very happy to see how happy we are together. In an attempt to Americanize my new family, I made mashed potatoes instead of purée and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I think they liked it! 😋 I wonder what I should do when they are all in our home for Noël 😳 it’ll just be 11 French people and me! Piece of cake… or should I say crêpe.

a stop in adorable Carcassonne on the way home

 

That’s my name on the doorbell

Posted: September 15, 2015 in Travels

Living happily together on our ‘Fifth Avenue’

It’s official! Perhaps not entirely legal yet 😁 but definitely official. My illustrious frenchman added my name to our door buzzers and the mailbox. 😘🇫🇷

Extraordinary research has been performed on every expat and American organisation within the Midi-Pyrénées and we attended our first social event avec beaucoup de plaisir. 🇺🇸 It really is quite exciting. I think my life in France will prove to be a perfect fit. We also happy-hour’ed 🍸 with fellow Americans, though my stage fright quickly emerged. 😰 My frenchman saw another side of this scrappy little fun-seeker, all sweaty and timid for no apparent reason. Last time we were at the Crowne Plaza (yes, a Crowne Plaza, don’t judge me, this is Toulouse!) bar, by the time my frenchman walked in, I had a room full of hilarious airline pilots whooping it up. 😉 However this time, I did get to exchange cards with the new Consulate for the US Embassy. We’ve been busy trying to strategize my path forward. I’ve got links to every American company with an office in this little metropolis, and enrolled in language school so I can put on that marketing envizage charm. Yes… school, one of my least favourite things at one of my least favourite time of day. 😣 Oh come on, suck it up buttercup 😳 it’s only five 4-hour mornings per week, for six weeks straight! Minus one middle-of-nowhere France 😘 family holiday for yet another random French ‘vacance’: Toussaint. Alrighty then. 🇫🇷 Viva la France!

Last Friday we went to Paris, so I could frolic with my two favourite men for the weekend. ✈️ Untrue to form, we all stayed in the tiniest little hobbit shoebox sized hotel. We made the best of it 🍸 with plenty of cocktails. 😆 We walked the Champs Élysées, drank wine on the lawn by the Eiffel Tower, ‘popped’ 😉 through Montmartre and took enough selfies to prove it was a lovely weekend. A couple days later I decided to randomly join my Canadian for an overnight in Madrid. There really is something to this whole European thing! 😍

Our grande vacances (as the French call it) in July/August were fabulous. Two weeks ‘just the two of us’ in Paris and then my New York. Upper East Side bliss which my frenchman fell immediately in love with. When we returned to Toulouse, we spent the end of grande vacances with a week in my Bordeaux flat, followed by a road-trip to Saint-Chamond avec all quatre enfants. 😜 We ended our summer by saying a final goodbye to Bordeaux with an incredible Joël Robuchon farewell dinner. Then packed up the Renault to start our new life, together, in Toulouse. We are settling now into our routine of salads, spinning, school, visa comprehension and work… usually always ending with a thrilling episode of ‘House of Cards’. ❤️

The path forward is looking more clear pour moi! And yes, it is so annoying to be one of those ‘we’ people. “We went to Paris”, “we’ve been busy”, “we stayed in”… and on that note I think we are very excited about this coming weekend in Roma!!! ✈️🇮🇹 exactly one year later. 😍

Miss you!!! Love you! Mean it. 😉

Hilarious what some people will 'bitch' about!

Hilarious what some people will ‘bitch’ about!

Paris with my guys…

My Southwest of France

Posted: June 15, 2015 in Travels

Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux

SNCF Toulouse Matabiau to Bordeaux Saint-Jean

Wilson Circle in Toulouse

After what was quite a riveting few weeks in late April with an impromptu trip to Southern California, I truly was exhausted… 😴 but oh so happy to be back in my chosen country. 🇫🇷

These days, my weeks are more and more split between my beloved Bordeaux and Toulouse. 😁 It is fabulous now that my stays in The Pink City no longer require très cher l’hotel… or the ridiculously tedious schlepping of toiletries! I can’t help but laugh to remember my girlfriend in Roma last summer, talking about the sud-ouest de France. Who would have ever thought it could become my home!!? 😍 A mere nine months later… and I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. ❤️

I am accustomed now to the perpetual “bonjour”, “bonne journée” et “au revoir” that exists with even the most brief encounter, and actually find it charming. My pronunciation is improving with the help of gentile French children… who je pense are tolerant because of my blonde hair and American heritage! 😉 It’s kind of cool being the only American they’ve ever met. Though I realise I must improve mon francais. Having thoroughly explored Bordeaux and Aquitaine, Toulouse and Saint-Chamond… we recently ventured even further into Nîmes. ❤️🇫🇷

My French love-affair began the moment I arrived Avignon, back in 2008. I’ll never forget it. Un œuf sur mon salade!!? 😆 Subsequent visits to Paris and Cannes solidified that this love is veritable. Now, my unexpected familiarisation with the sud-ouest feels innate! Sure… I’ve sussed out every ethnic restaurant in the region because despite all the love, my palate cannot seem to acclimate to the canard, fois gras et poisson avec bones. Although I must admit BBQed canard is quite delicious! 😋 I am well-suited for the customs of French friends, charming apéro and all the courses maman de mon compagnon prepares… which is truly incredible. I love the cheese shop within the castle walls of Carcassonne, the Pessac Leognan at Le Leopard d’Or in the middle of nowhere Samazan and the pooping elephant at Arènes de Nîmes! 😜 I get the meaning of all the vocal sounds like “tuk”, “hup” and “pbbbt”, and know how to deliver the perfect hand ‘ooh la la’ up-and-down shaking gesture that means “holy shit” or “yikes” as I can best translate. It is like living in a fairy tale. Cinderella had to have been set in France, however I’d choose the fairy tale I currently live any day of the week! 😃 It is more sincere than I could have ever hoped for and easier than any other time in my past… a dream.💫 It is constantly filled with surprising coincidences and sweet similarities. I am in love with everyday life. I love living in France. 🇫🇷 I love my SNCF week-end carte pass! Plus, I’ve finally discovered the French equivalent to sour cream…

A couple weeks ago in Toulouse, I helped host poker night. 😍 It’s been a long time since I was able to fully embrace my keen hostessing skills. Despite my poker ‘tard list which is currently hostage in Jersey storage, I actually played well too. Jimmy would be so proud! ♥️♣️♦️♠️ Trying to fit into my new français world, I was taught the quintessential French card game of Belote! Ummm… it’s just slightly complicated 😳 and of course that had nothing to do with the beer, wine and whiskey.🍷

As my French life continues to settle, happiness seems effervescent! My ‘nesting’ in Toulouse is affectionately welcomed, I am consistently surprised with incredible ideas, and am using our machine de séchage et lave-vaisselle with fluency! ☺️ Believe it or not, the incredibly satisfying spontaneous, positive and fun life I’ve built hasn’t really changed much. It just happens to be in France and accompanied by the most amazing equal a person could ever imagine. 😍 I’ve always wanted to spend Bastille Day in Paris… and merci to the kindness of my Frenchman and Le Meurice that dream is a reality in 2015. With an ever-increasing craving for Manhattan, I was offered a logical 10-day fling just after Paris. Look out New York: HERE WE COME! Imagining all the amazing randomness that awaits us is almost too exciting to contain. Fortunately between then and now we have a friend from Loire visiting, Season 4 de Homeland en français, and a 4th of July pendaison de crémaillère to host. 🇺🇸❤️🇫🇷

As happy as it all is… my heart goes out to Ventura remembering eight years of happy memories with a very sweet and beautiful ‘damn dog’. 😘

Fromage et vin in Carcassonne

Arenes de Nimes

Lemon drops!

Bopping around Europe these last few months, I recently discovered the most amazing Witness Protection Program, offering voluntary-enrollment! Intrigued, I signed up for one week… with options to extend. 😉 Whether it’s with the Feds or UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)… well that bit remains confidential. 😉

I can’t remember much about it though, it’s so strange. There were passports and lemon drops, airports and trams. There were French serenades and angry What’s Apps. 😆 Four Seasons champagne and Jimmy Fallon, Skype and melatonin. Perhaps it would have been wise to write something down, next to the open bottle of Pessac Leognan or checked the credentials of the Bordelaise Sûreté, before I left ‘home’. 😜 Even better still: upon completion of my curriculum, this Witness Protection Program (Programme de Protection des Témoins) entirely wipes out the reason I even enlisted in the first place! Poof, here I am in Seattle. Love that! 😜

For day two, aesthetics was on the agenda. A full highlight with my 40vol plus 10g Aveda Enlightenment & Dash colour, new makeup and a haircut… I’m certain no one could recongnise me now. 👸 I have to admit, the whole thing was pretty legit. A true ‘walkabout’. My cardboard sign would read: “HAVE CASH – WILL TRAVEL”. 🌎 If I show up unannounced in New York, California, Portugal, London, Toulouse, Dubai or random in Seattle: please forgive my lack of advance warning. 😘 Don’t worry, I bring all the necessary accoutrements: grey goose, champagne and Pringles. I am admittedly feeling a little rock star-esque… especially after reading my Facebook 😙 and decided one week was plenty of time for the WPP and me.

I Follow Rivers. ❤️

Back in America for now, I am a little surprised by my jet lag. I’ve only been in Europe four continuous months. You’d think that where you were born, things would just shift right back into place. Like the feeling of comfort food. In my case, aside from stocking up on my Arm & Hammer toothpaste and Excedrin, I miss France. 😘 🇫🇷 I miss saying ‘bonjour’ and ‘au revoir’ to every person I encounter as though it were natural. I will look forward to when I go home, 🎶 “home is wherever I’m with you.” 😍 I miss The Voice: la plus belle voix and cute judge Jenifer. I miss oysters and St. Estephe. I miss men in pantalon rouge. I even miss the signature ‘ding ding ding’ of SNCF… so that should really put it into perspective! 😉

Having come to the surface here in Washington, how perfect to spend time with my nephew’s adorable family! I am so excited. I’ve not met little miss Brooklyn yet or seen my niece this pregnant. 😁 Two little toddlers loving up their great-auntie, plus that down-home comfort of my nephew and wife… it will be so fun and lovely! I brought Kinder Surprises for the girls. 😙 Afterward, I’ll be ‘making the rounds’ with not much of a planned structure. I’ll touch as many of my lovelies as I can while I am in America… and still need to select a fun route home. 😄 hint hint.

Sufficed to say, whatever happens in the Witness Protection Program STAYS in the Witness Protection Program. 😉  It was better than actual waifdom last year, plus it includes day time martinis.🍸 It’s strange to think that I’ve got a home in Bordeaux now and have hopefully begun to build a truly beautiful life between it and La Ville Rosé. 😍🇫🇷❤️ Make A Wish! 🌟

Meanwhile… back on the ranch, did someone say ‘BBQ this Saturday’? 😉

Ready to go back to France!

The only American in Dubai

Posted: March 16, 2015 in Travels

Dubai Marina, a view from Silverene

The anticipation leading up to my drama-less voyage to Dubai was barely endurable. Nothing but love and pure excitement saturated us all: the Canadian, Frenchman, Aussie, Brit and me: the Yank. High five! 😉


Having eliminated the antagonism of my Dubai past, we were free to play, free to be ourselves, free to sing out loud, free to laugh, free to eat pizza, and free to dance in the streets. All of which there was plenty of! That, and perhaps some heckling 😐 which I barely remember. But it was all in good fun: no drama. 😄

I’m sure it sounds a bit surreal and surprising to sustain… having close and meaningful friendships in places so far away. Somehow it’s just not. Not for me, anyway. My friendships are important and I pay them the attention they deserve. Distance is not a factor… only kindness. So when one of the most dear people I know was feeling ambivalent about an impending move, the idea for a Friday the 13th “moving party” emerged. 😁 In Dubai? Pas de problème… and finally the opportunity for my love to meet some friends. 😍 Way to live positively!

Trams, trains and airplanes from Bordeaux to Toulouse, Munich and Dubai was all it took, and poof! There we were. Such little time in such a bizarro destination… was it legal for us to kiss on the street?! Was it in poor taste to hold hands?!! Shoot, I forgot my pashmina at the hotel! 😬 Leave it to my fabulous posse to show us an incredible time, in true over-the-top Dubai fashion. 😄 Before we knew it we were lunching aside the “world’s biggest water fountain” in the “world’s tallest building” with the “world’s most British” hotelier 😜 and friend. No time for jet lag and rest… we had a Michael Bublé concert to attend! After delivering our large contribution of duty free alcohol for the party, off we went to find the Dubai International Cricket Stadium! Instantly intoxicated by my hilarious friends and unstoppable laughter, we collectively decided vodka was the cocktail of the evening (big shock!) and charmed a friendly bartender. 😆 ‘George’ couldn’t give us ‘triples’… but obliged with doubles plus a little extra to top it off. 😉 We’ll have four please. And then four more🍸and then another four…

We sang along with the ‘bubes’, pliéd and twirled across the ground floor, and danced like nobody was watching. All night! What an amazing time… until I refused to move or find anyone until I was done eating a pizza, uh-hem another pizza 😳 “let the guys find us!” 😁 so I am told. Nice one. I’m so fortunate my frenchman loves me… he survived and tolerated a whole weekend of crazy Liz fun. 😍

Friday the 13th finally came 🎉 and we went to swim in the Arabian Sea. Only my brave frenchman succeeded as it was still a bit cold for me. I prefer the bathtub temperatures experienced in June last year. We managed to sunburn sur la plage within 30 minutes but had to get ready for “Bust this joint dot com hashtag Silverene” anyway. 😆 We arrived to meet the most fascinating and rather hilarious Argentinean couple. One spoke better French than English which is a treat for my love to chat with. The other performed a private special duet of Aladdin for our small group, as Jasmine. ✨

By the time the Arabian sun set, there was an apartment full of Dubai expats: all incredibly kind, interesting and fun. Knowing their host so well, it’s no wonder his guest list would be amazing.com. 😘 I turned out being the only American! Love that. After a ginger-apple shisha it was time to call it a night… or for me, time to start work. 😳 Only in Dubai!

After a half-assed attempt at a Marina 5k the following day, we enjoyed a Malibu smoothie and planned our last day: lounging with my two favourite guys. Off to another hotel for tequila and dinner at Maya: the best Mexican ever in all of Dubai, we prepared for our 01h50 departure. 😄 Planes, trains and trams through Frankfurt, Toulouse and finally back to Bordeaux… it was all quite worth it.

Such a short trip, but incredible! My brain won’t stop searching for more hilarious oxymorons and my frenchman and I already can’t wait to go back. Next time we will frolic in the desert at Al Maha! 😃

Thanks to my lovelies for an amazing quick trip… and for another homemade guacamole send-off! 😘

Bubbles, gifts and laughs before Bublé


Exactly where I want to be

Posted: February 24, 2015 in Travels
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Place de la Bourse… along my jogging route!

Impossible to have predicted yet it should come as no big surprise, I’m rather settled in Bordeaux… for now! I have no anxiety, don’t wish for my life to be more fulfilled (it’s not possible!), or anywhere else than exactly where it is. Actually living in France really is remarkable… like a dream come true. Mon français est encore pauvre, mais je gère très bien. 😃 I don’t care what anyone says… the French are kind, to me anyway. I continue ma étudier à la maison and practice at the nail salon and shops along Cours de L’Intendance. And, occasionally I find a chatty conductor on SCNF 😁 to practice with.

Speaking of SCNF, I was happily aboard the TGV to Toulouse on Friday… a jumpstart to the birthday weekend. Why wait for Illustrious when I can meet him in Toulouse and share a romantic French dinner in the middle of nowhere, southwest of France 😉 before heading back to Aquitaine?! 😍

Thankfully I’ve already figured this whole European train system out. If I’d adhered to the ‘rules’ I would have been sadly stuck in Bordeaux. Of course I was running late, but arrived in just enough time to actually purchase a train ticket in advance. Now that my US rail pass has expired… I must purchase like a normal European person. I was told the TGV was full! What’s the deal!? A winter rush on weekend travel to beautiful La Ville Rose?! 😳 Unwilling to sacrifice another moment apart from mon amour, I boarded the train anyway, and headed to la voiture de la boisson! 🍷 Safely on my way as the train headed southeast… I found a kind conductor, charmed by my attempt à français and bought a ticket. Il avait pas de problème! Love the French! 🇫🇷

I was quite excited for the weekend! After an unexpectedly perfect dinner in Samazan, and the discovery of Pessac-Leognan 🍷 we explored the chateaux of my favourite wine St. Estephe, and Medoc. 😍 What more could I ask for!? I’m exactly where I want to be. Despite the frustrating Envizage payments held hostage in the New York PO Box. It’s the one glitch! I suppose living abroad invites ‘challenge’ from time to time. 😣 Challenges that are easily erased by a charming French chateau, a romantic drive through the vineyards to the Atlantic Ocean, and a warm indoor swimming pool all to ourselves. ❤️ My ad libitum What’s App serenades from birthday #41 will be forever cherished… they are (all seven of them) the best gift ever. 😚

After discovering the contentment of absolute certain love, a Mexican birthday feast à la France, and the secret to a perfect crepe: I look forward to settling even more into my incredible life between Bordeaux and Toulouse. My people keep asking when I will return to New York… and that’s a tough one to answer! I have a moving-party in Dubai to help with, followed by a conference in Portugal. And we must figure out where is best to see Dominique À and Cats on Trees in concert. Life is tough, but ridiculously sweet avec a willing cohort. 😎 It’s a bit crazy to remember last year and realize what a difference one year makes. Now I ‘MAKE A WISH’ je ne suis pas un imbécile, and have to rely on the karma I’ve created in that whatever happens from here… is the best path forward for me. 😬

Merci beaucoup for the overwhelming messages for my 41st… I miss and love my people! 😘

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❤ Our love is easy…