Paris, oh beautiful Paris

Today's post will be about my time in Paris.

Our appartment is in the 11th "arrondissement" (=neighborhood), but we were on the go and touring in many other places.

The arrondissements of Paris

We wandered around the Marais (3rd and 4th arrondissement) a lot, one of the most beautiful and most touristic neighborhoods of the city. One day we saw this performance artist conducting a "time machine". He got a lot of attention and it was quite hard to get a picture without somebody standing in front of the camera or shoving me out of the way.
The Marais has a Jewish stretch with five or six different felafel shops, where you can get a sandwich to-go or sit inside the restaurant. Personally, I think the to-go is the better option. You can find plenty of places in the Marais to sit down, whether it's on the steps of a monument, or a bench in the park...  you can just eat while walking. Plus, to-go is much cheaper and it's funner to have the fillings put in the bread then to have it spread out on a plate.
These felafel sandwiches are SO GOOD and just thinking about them is making me crave one, big time. By the way, if you specify that you don't want sauce in your sandwich (there isn't that much anyway) they're vegan. :)
 If you visit Paris this should definitely be on your list of things to do.
There were several vegan restaurants that I wanted to try and we only got to eat in one (which is in the 11th arrondissement) but I'm happy we got to fit that in, at least. It's called SOYA and it has a really groovy atmosphere... and yummy food:
We got a big spread with hummus, roasted veggies, beetroot dip, tzatziki, tofu and best of all the tofu-mint dip. It was amazing. I want to replicate it.

My brother got couscous with seitan and tofu, which was really, really tasty.

I got a salad of roasted veggies and quinoa and this pesto-sesame-sauce-thingy which I can't really remember apart from the fact that it tasted amazing.

One day we crossed Paris all the way to the 16th arrondissement (it felt like a totally different world from our neighborhood) to see some old friends. On the way we stopped at the American Library where I got five different books and a bunch of Friends DVDs. Then we proceeded to the 16th. We toured a little: we saw the statue of liberty (which honestly was much less interesting and pretty then the one in NY) and we strolled on the new walkway along the Seine.

One of the things which makes Paris so beautiful are the architectural details. Like the face over this window, for instance. You can find these on the façades of many buildings.

Other than touring my mom and I went to one or two yoga sessions per day and when it got too hot we spent time at the pool with my brother too.

Unfortunately, at some point during the trip my camera started freaking out and I couldn't take anymore pictures... I was planning to snap away at anything interesting I saw but therefore I was not able to. :(
I cannot tell you how many times I pulled out my camera to take a picture of something while we were out and then remembered that my camera would not co-operate. Kind of a drag, but I lived. ^^

In which I explain my roots

I am back! I am back! I was gone but I'm back! :D
I'm quite glad to be home, as you can probably tell...
So I've returned to the blogosphere. So much has happened while I was gone! I need to catch up on everything! Heeelp!

I bet you're dying to hear about Paris.
First let me tell you WHY I was in Paris.
I realize that on this blog I've never really explained  where I'm from and where I've lived. People are pretty amazed when they've heard my story... I hope I won't be too confusing.
My mom is American and my dad is Argentinian/Italian. They met in New Orleans, fell madly in love, and because of my dad's job (doctor with MSF, which is Doctors Without Borders) they moved a lot around Africa... and in 1999 I was born in Nairobi, Kenya (where they had been for two years but we moved to Uganda when I was four weeks old)
Two years later my mom couldn't stand life as an expat wife in Africa anymore and we moved to Paris. We lived there up until two years ago when we moved here to Lyon.
But our tiny apartment in Paris is truly a gem. We are so attached to it that my parents could not give it up and they rent it out by the year to expat families... and when we're between renters we get to have a vacation in Paris! Which is what happened this summer.

It was a great trip. Just wonderful. Being in Paris brought back so many memories and I did almost everything I had hoped to do (I will write more tomorrow and post the pictures!). But I do admit, while away, I missed my kitties and my fabulous sofa. ;)

By the way, something went wrong with the automatic posting. I wrote two posts which were supposed to be published on the 23rd and 27th but for some reason it didn't work!

Paris, me voici!

It is late and I should finish packing but I just wanted to tell you all that tomorrow at seven thirty I will be on a train to Paris. This means I won't be on the Internet for ten days.
There will be so much to catch up on!
Once I'm back home, I'll share pictures and write about my time in Paris.
I'll be doing Yoga (I've signed up for a week of unlimited yoga classes), which I'm REALLY REALLY REALLY excited about, I'll be swimming, seeing old friends... and exploring of course.
There are also several vegetarian restaurants that I've heard about and want to try.

I've written a few posts that will come out automatically so you won't be too bored in my absence ;)
So bye-bye for now!

"Fill your house with stacks of BOOKS, in all the crannies and all the nooks!"

Do you get as excited as I do when waiting for a book to arrive in the mail?
Last week I had the fun of surfing goodreads on a mission to choose which books I want to read next. 'Cause, you know, it's summer, and even though three books have to be read for school I definitely need some new books to devour.
In five days I'll be in Paris and I'll be able to visit the American Library of Paris to check out a few books to read until I return to Lyon.
But what happens after that? WHICH BOOKS WILL I READ?
You see, when you love reading like I do you think ahead to these types of situations.
Even if I don't get back from Paris until two weeks from now I've made plans for what I'm going to read next because I just know I'm going to need a book. And there have been several times where I've had nothing to read. Nothing.
Do you realize how horrible it is when that happens? Can you even begin to imagine? No books. No articles in The New Yorker. Not even a measly horoscope!
In those moments, I suffered. Oh, how I suffered.
Which is why I ordered these books:

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions, #1)
Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

The Summer I Became a Nerd
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller



Seeds of Yesterday (Dollanganger, #4)
Seeds of Yesterday by V.C. Andrews
Apart from Seeds of Yesterday (which I've been wanting to order for a while) the books I've ordered are girly and fun. When summer comes around I start craving uncomplicated girly books. It matches my mood.
These books should be coming any day now and I'm super excited!!!
What types of books do you like reading in the summer? Have you read any of these books? What will you be reading?
P.S: Creds to Dr.Seuss for the title of this post :)

The Absolute Best Carrot Cake Ever

Have you ever had carrot cake before? Maybe. But you haven't had THIS carrot cake.
Warning: You might just die of how good this is.
A little labour intensive, but totally worth it. Do you hear? IT IS TOTALLY, ABSO-FRIGGIN'-LUTELY, UNCONDITIONALLY worth it: chewy, sticky, moist, yet compact. I can't find a better way to explain it. Which is the very reason why you are going to drag your butt to the kitchen and make this right now. I said right now.
Some people are turned off by the idea of carrot cake. *No comment*.
Once they've tried a slice of this overwhelmingly amazing cake they will be thinking to themselves "how, oh, how could I have been so foolish to dismiss this dessert?" I promise.

You can make it into cupcakes if you want, which is what I did yesterday: The baking time was reduced to 20-25 minutes, and it made 30 to 50 cupcakes (depending on how big you want them)
This is a carrot cake which uses olive oil instead of butter (I think that's one of the things that makes this cake so special).

Carrot and Olive Oil Cake

-250 ml (1 cup) olive oil
-500 g (about 2 ½ cups) sugar
-4 eggs, beaten
-250 g (1 ⅔ cups) all-purpose flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp ground cloves
-1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
-1 tsp sea salt
-125 g ( ½ to 1 cup)  coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
-500 g ( a little over 1  pound) carrots, peeled and grated

For the fab frosting:

-125 g unsalted butter, softened
-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-250 g mascarpone or cream cheese (though mascarpone is best in my opinion)
-250 g icing sugar


Grease a 9-inch cake pan or prepare your cupcake tins
Put the olive oil, sugar and eggs in a bowl and stir until well mixed.
Sift the flour and other dry ingrédients into a separate bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg and oil mixture. Mix thorougly until blended. Add the nuts and carrots and mix well.

If making a cake: Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan  and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F  (170°C) for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan, then run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen and turn out.

If making cupcakes: Pour the batter into the cupcake tins and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F  (170°C) for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool.

To make the frosting, mix the softened butter, mascarpone (or cream cheese) and vanilla together until creamy (make sure there are no lumps! But don't overmix or the icing might curdle) Gradually add the icing sugar.
Spread onto the cake/cupcakes and ta-da! Enjoy!


So many delicious cupcakes...


Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy’s inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.

 Summer Sun, by Robert Louis Stevenson


Ahh, summer. Don't you love it?

After a busy school year, finally I get to relax and bathe in the warmest of suns.

Almost every summer I travel across the Atlantic with my family to visit my mother's side of the family, in the U.S, or my father's side of the family, in Argentina. But this year is different. We're not leaving France!
Right now I'm staying here in Lyon for ten more days until I go to Paris for a couple of weeks. Then I come back, and soon afterwards I leave for a windsurfing camp in St-Tropez with my friend. Once we're back from St-Tropez, I have a week or so in Lyon before I drive with my family to a chalet in the Alps for a week. After that I have ten days of vacation left before school starts!
I'm going to be in troisième! That's 9th grade! Eeeeeeeeeek!

So what are your plans for the summer? Are you going anywhere exciting? How do you like to spend your hot summer days?