Monday, August 13, 2012

Mon Pierre...

As I stated in the last post, what happened after I sang, was simply incredible...

As most of you know, I have been dreaming of France to meet my very own, Non-Smoking, Pierre. I've been teasing my friends and family for months that I was going to France and a beautiful French man would sweep me off my feet and I would fall in love, only to quickly return with Brady (and my ex-husband - he would LOVE France by the way) and never come home again.

That didn't exactly happen...but it seemed mon Pierre had been sitting in the audience watching me sing the entire evening.

After the "show", a young, very well dressed man, approached the table of my new French friends.  He thanked me for my singing (in his beautiful French/English accent) and asked if I had come to France with someone or if I was here by myself.

He had slightly curly, sandy blonde hair, and green/blue eyes that could melt your soul.  He was wearing a turquoise blue polo shirt (popped collar of course - that's how they roll in France) and jeans that were the perfect French slim cut. He was maybe 6 feet, slim but muscular, and with an accent to die for.

I explained that I came with my mom, but she was asleep in the hotel room, and that I was only in town for one more day.  We chatted briefly about being from Texas and America but it seems their only knowledge of the show...Dallas (yikes!). He explained that he was going to Dallas for a Foreign Exchange program and that it was tres magnifique to know someone there.

I also quickly realized he spoke only some English, which was comical next to my less than stellar French. None the less, we communicated (him in French and I in English) and he tried his best to translate the conversation of my new French friends.  The translation was truly comical (think a hilarious version of Pictionary meets English to French dictionary) but it only made my evening seem more spectacular. 

I must've looked like a goon with my full face grin, but shit, I was in France...with an extraordinarily good looking Frenchmen holding my hand (they are quite affectionate, the French) and speaking with a table of new found friends.

Next thing I know, my male friend is leading me towards the exit door of the bar and trying to get me to go with him and all our new friends.  He kept repeating "Avec Moi?"  (translation: with me?)  I was concerned to say the least, and alarm bells were going off in my brain (go with Mr. French hottie where? In a country where I barely speak the language and where my navigation skills are far from perfect...EEK!) but seeing the alarm on my face, the young girl that was with us explained that they were all headed to a Discotheque and they wanted me to join them. Why not, I thought.  This is my once chance and I am in France for God sake :)

The discotheque was nothing to write home about (think very cheesy disco balls with blue circle lights illuminating the walls, and bad techno music) but my new French friends and I were having a blast and I wasn't going to let a cheesy environment ruin my mood! We danced and laughed like college kids!

After realizing the discotheque was not our scene, we walked into the karaoke portion of this bar (or whatever it was) only to realize this was a worse scene than before.  The girl singing "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Deon, IN FRENCH, and far from the correct key, was not going to keep me awake. It was late and my mom was getting worried.

I told my new friends I had to leave, kissed each cheeks, and left with French Hottie (FH) and his cousin (who affectionately referred to himself as Lumierre (as if I haven't seen Beauty and Beast...HA!)) so they could walk me back to the hotel. Lumierre wondered off and FH and I arrived at the hotel at the prompt hour of 3 AM.  Apparently, French hotel lobbies shut down at 2 AM (whoops!) and I had to text my mom to come let me in.

As we waited and stared at the darkened lobby, FH whispered in my ear...Andrea, you are tres jolie (very beautiful).  Regardez Moi, s'il vous plais (look at me, if you please).  Ok, so looking back, it was probably cheesy, but considering my was the most welcomed French words I have ever heard. 

And then...he leaned in and kissed me.

WARNING: If you are related to me (or think of me like a sister), please don't read the next few lines of this post ;)  *It was unexpected but sweet and gentle.  He smelled like L'Occitane (think Lavender and flowers meets European Spa) and tasted like fruit...and he was a damn good kisser...hee hee!*

I don't know how long the kiss lasted but when I turned around, a hotel employee was opening the door and I was being whisked inside. Au Revoir FH, I waved. And that was it. FH was gone ;)

I will end this post by saying that my mom and I could not have been more pleased with France.  It exceeded (and over exceeded) our expectations.  The food was a mouthwatering exploration of our palates, and the wine and Champagne were beyond what we had hoped.

I hope to return, in the very near future, to explore more wine country and maybe stop in Reins to jam with a band.

Au Revoir France!!  Je T'Aime Bouquet!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


The Champagne flowed, as mom and I sat at an outside cafe on our first day in Reims. We realized this town was going to be way better than Paris! Nothing against Paris but this was Champagne country baby!

The setting was majestic. There was a gold angel high above the town square signaling its strength of many years ago. There were cafe's lining the street, fashion, and it was everything our hearts dreamed of...and more.

We finished our bottle of champagne (yes, I said bottle - and my mother, the ever lightweight - was less help in this matter, but at least she's a goofy drunk ;)) and we walked back to our very posh hotel.  The first night was finished with a divine dinner of Oysters and Salmon and plenty of wine. Truly a great way to start this part of our trip.

The second day, we woke up early and opened our windows (yes, you can do that in French Hotels) and it was off to visit another church.  This time, it was the original Notre Dame, where every French King has been coranated since the year 411. Grande, Breathtaking, and Awe Inspiring, are not even accurate adjectives for what we witnessed. I would even go as far as to say, they barely scrape the surface of this exquisite church.

After plenty of walking, it was time for dinner. We decided to dine outside at a local restaurant beneath the square. The wine was good but the food was impeccable; Penne pasta with a Dijon Cream Sauce and Salmon and Beef Carpaccio por moi. Spectacular!

After dinner my mom retired to the room and I changed to hit the town (heels and a skirt were a must). I am too young to go to bed at 9 France! Especially when I hadn't managed to meet my non-smoking Pierre.

I landed at a local bar, withing walking distance of the hotel, and settled into a table to listen to the very loud (and good) band jam some 70's songs.  Just my groove! After sitting for a bit, I noticed quite a few people from the audience jumping on stage...apparently it was Open Mic Night.  To say I swooned and died at the same time would be an understatement.  This was no accident I was here...this mon frere is divine intervention.

Nothing was going to stop me from jumping on stage.  Nothing!  Carpe Diem baby!!

I couldn't remember how to tell the band members I sang (in French), so when one guy got off stage, I jumped up there like I owned the place! Maybe it was the Belgium Beer (or all the wine at dinner) surging through my veins (liquid courage if you will) but I was hell-bent on showing these French that I could sing.

I started by singing one note A Capella...and that was all it took. The band jumped right in with a funky blues song that I am assuming was made up on the spot.  We sounded good, it grooved, and it seemed the audience was pleased with my ability. The crowd sitting outside came inside to hear me and people were actually stopping on the street. My first song ended with fluster of applause and I was asked to sing more.

I stayed on for 5 or 6 songs, even closing the night with the band, and when I stepped off the stage I felt on top of the world. This was, better than was AMAZEBALLS!

The next thing I knew, there were 6 to 8 people circling around me, hugging and kissing my cheeks. One guy even told me I was "Superb!" and the bartender offered me free beer for life! HAHA! He quickly figured out I was from Texas and very American and changed his offer to Free Beer each time I returned :) Le Swoon!

Although, what happened next was/is truly spectacular...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Au Revoir (for now) Paris...

Yesterday was our last day in Paris & we wanted  to go out with a bang!  We started our morning with une petite dejeurnes et une cafe ole. This goes without saying, but the croissants are to die for. I'm pretty sure I've eaten 20 in the past 4 days, and as my work spouse says, gained a whole microgram because of it  ;) 

Then it was off to enjoy my favorite! We walked the streets, popping in stores, as if we were Parisian. "Bonjour!" we greeted each employee, "Merci, au revoir. Bon journe!" I found some great threads. As hunger pains approached, we were off to our favorite Italian restaurant for 5 fromage pizza et une carafe a vin. 

We visited a church that was the sight of an apparition of the Virgin Mary just as we were about to leave a choir began singing. It was the most angelic and beautiful sound I have ever heard. It was if the heavens had opened & they were thanking us for stopping by. We bowed, crossed ourselves, & left the sparkling blue church. 

We ended our evening by dining on salads and more wine, while sitting outside on our favorite petite cafe chairs. I must also admit that our waiter was quite attractive & French, but alas his name was Will & he did not sweep me off my foot (insert sad face here).

I'll end our Paris adventure by saying I may have to retract my previous statement about moving here. The more time in Paris I spend, the more it feels like New York City. The metro is filled with commuters & traveling on it has made me more direct & pushy than I care to admit.

I wouldn't say Paris has lost its allure but I have quickly realized how similar (& different to dime extent)  those 2 cities are. The one vast difference, that I have absolutely fallen in love with, is the relaxed experience with restaurants & food. Instead of shoveling food in your mouth, they sit & enjoy the weather, food and wine easily.  There are even occasions when they just sit, smoking, and talking to the wait staff as if they are friends. It is as if they truly enjoy the company of others. No phones, no IPad's...just simple conversation. What an amazing concept ;)

Today, we are heading to Reins (pronounced like France with an R), which is the Champagne region. We hope to experience the real France; less tourist attractions & more champagne!

As I sit writing this, I am seated in a quaint cafe. I've eaten the most amazing omelette & croissant, & even the garbage man has stopped in to grab une espresso. 

C'est Magnifique Paris! Until next time!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 3

Day 3 started with a very late wake-up call. Mom & were apparently more tired that we realized becaus when we looked at the clock it was 11:30...oops!We had already missed breakfast, so we got ready in a jiff & headed to the local Brasserie. Who knew they had world famous Pizza Italian food in Paris? Could this get any better?!?

 The wait staff remembered us from the night before (apparently my shoes caught his eye) & he welcomed us with a big smile, handshake, & table with a view. I have absolutely no idea why they say the French are rude, because they have been nothing but friendly, honest & welcoming to us! Mom & I sat there dining on possibly the best pizza I've ever had & salmon carpaccio, while we felt the cool air, breeze in through the open window. It had begun to rain but nothing was going to keep us down!

 After eating & drinking ourselves into a stuper, we hopped on the Metro & braved the crowds (and rain) towards the Opera.  It was pouring by the time we got there, but the moment we stepped inside, we knew it was all worth it!!

We were instantly transported to a regal & more elegant era. The staircase is breathtaking and it takes little imagination to see how the Paris Opera is easily one of the best in the world. Just walking up those steps transports you to a visual of you, in a silk ball gown, walking those stairs while the Arias permeate the walls.

As is the Opera were not spectacular enough, Christian Lacroix's costumes were also on display, & the craftsmanship & fabric are unparalleled! The imagination it took to create those outfits is simply breathtaking!

After leaving the Opera, we headed back out in the cold rain, towards the grande Notre Dame. The cardinal was giving a mass & we weren't going to let our frizzy hair & cold bones stop us from that.  All I will say, is that the church, the mass, & the ambiance was amazing! To be seated in a church that has given mass since the 1600's is breathtaking & the Cardinal walking three steps from us, was icing on the cake.

After eating another amazing meal of lamb & duck with roasted peaches, we are back in our lovely hotel, relaxing.  We have one more day left in Paris & I will be sad to see it go! There is so much this city has to offer, & the people, the weather, & food has been nothing short of incredible!

Tomorrow is a day of shopping (sorry dad...we just can't help ourselves ;)) & then it is off to Champagne to drink & eat more!

Dear Pierre

Dear Pierre,

Although I have not run into yet, I am thoroughly enjoying the city of love!

Yesterday started with a quiet breakfast of croissant, eggs, frommage, et cafe. Then it was off to Versailles. After mom & I braved La Metro, we arrived at Versailles, along with every other tourist in the city ;)

It was very gold & very large but squeezing through the hords of people was not really our idea of Paris, so we cut the trip short & headed for a cafe.

As we sat at another small round table, we soaked in the sights, smells, & sounds of Paris. The weather has been amazing & sitting to eat a gourmet meal with phenominal wine (that costs less than a coffee, I might add) is what we're here for!!

After a short stroll to walk off some calories, we stumbled across Le Tour Eiffel and it is simply stunning in person. It shoots up through the sky & gives such a regal & strong impression. There were couples picnicking on the lawns below & many pictures being taken, but aside from the tourists I still think it was one of my favorite moments.

 We headed home for a quick change and headed back to Seine. We snagged a boat tour (which was amazing!!!) and had our first taste of Paris rain. As we walked home we looked back to see the Eiffel tower sparkling. It is even more amazing at night!

To say Paris is amazing, simply isn't doing it justice! I will move here one day, mark my words!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ready, Set...Paris!!!

Luggage...check. International phone...check. Passport...check.  

I got to the airport in plenty of time & after waiting through a very thorough security check, it was time to board the plane. Squee!!

As I walked to my seat, I passed plenty of well dressed, French speaking men ;) Please let one of them be sitting next to me, I though. But, it was not to be window seat was located next to a very empty aisle seat. 

While sitting down I realize it's hot... Really hot! After about 30 minutes of no air in the plane, this young, well dressed man/boy sits next to me.  He was tall & slender, in a pale blue, striped linen shirt and jeans. He was probably 21 or 22. He had sandy blonde hair & piercing green eyes. This is who I am spending the next 10 hours with? JACKPOT! 

The only problem was, it didnt make the heat in the plane any better, & i would dare say it made it worse. Man/boy and I sit there, quietly sweating, until we hear the captain come over the speaker telling us that the plane has been delayed due to no air & we will have to get off the plane. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To My Mom

There are no words that can turly articulate the depths of personality and knowledge that is my mother.

She is creative, witty, intelligent (beyond words), ambitious, ever-evolving, and best of all...she is my "Ma!"

When I try to explain her to people, it feels like when you try to explain that breathtaking sunset but somehow your description lacks the true experience...

This is a woman that worked nights, so my father could quickly move up the corporate ladder, and did this solely so I could get the best education a child could have. Yet somehow, she never forgot to make my single cereal serving before she left.

She has never hesitated to put me first and she even went as far as making construction bunny footprints and tieing 1 single piece of red licorice to each limb on the tree outside, for a small Easter celebration.

This is also a woman who got up (at God know's what hour) and never complained about the toll it must have been taking on her. She made vegetable egg rolls at night, taught me about the many religions of the world, and sang Witchy Woman while sitting in traffic.

My mother is a plethora of knowledge and if you ever have a doubt in her ability, simply ask her. She will guide you about the best plants to plant and the best stain remover to get out crayons, all while discussing world issuses and debating over the current politics in the world.

I may have beat her at scrabble...once or twice ;) but I would challenge my theory and her endless amounts of useless information on anyone!

With that, today is Mother's Day.

And although she probably doesn't want me devoting my thoughts to only her on this Hallmark Holiday, I think it is rare that we sit back and truly appreciate all Mom's do.

To You Mom: You are my sunset. It is not possible to explain to others the bond or the love that we share. Please know, that in all the years I made you contemplate why you had such an unruly child...or why you did SO MUCH (and you did!)...or made you wonder how this was all going to turn out ;) Not one thing you have done, or continue to do, has gone unnoticed.

On top of that, my son thinks there is no one in the world like his Nonna. You (and he has told me this) always seem to find a playground, don't complain when he is covered in mud from head-to-toe, and baths... are supposed to be an hour long event!

There is no one like you and it continues to be a pleasure to call you Mom.

Je T'aime Momma!