- Chantez et vous trouverez votre chanson -

Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.
     -George Bernard Shaw

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves- in finding themselves.
      -Andre Gide

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Dreaded Packing List

Yikes-- time is flying and I leave for France exactly one week from today.  Major bout of anxiety and minor freak-out have begun...

Packing is going to be rough.  By nature, I am not a light packer.  But from the experience of my last trip to France, I know that I do NOT want to be lugging around an insanely heavy suitcase through the streets and into TGV train cars.  So, I am going to be a responsible traveler and do a "dry run" so-to-speak of my luggage tomorrow and see what fits and what is completely unnecessary.  Someone may need to help me with this...I grow attached to all my shoes and outfits and think of every "what if" situation that might cause me to need ridiculous items.

Here is the packing list.  Drum roll please...

Clothes, clothes and more clothes:
- Nike Shox for the daily run I hope to take
- black leggings, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 tees, Under Armour (running gear)
- hot pink Converse sneakers
- one pair of cute sandals, one pair of flip flops
- black suede booties
- brown wedge sandals that can easily go from summer to fall
- 10 pairs of socks ( who knows when I'll get to do laundry)
- gray and black tissue thin cardigans to throw over t-shirts or dresses as the weather gets colder
- red and white stripe lightweight sweater
- black skinny jeans, denim skinny jeans, wide leg jeans
- air brush Madonna tee
- white v-neck tee
- "vintage" (aka Goodwill) purple transit authority tee
- cream eyelet blouse
- red v-neck blouse
- gray braided edge tee
- gray/back silk tunic
- American Apparel gray, cream and black tanks
- 2 dressier tanks
- 2 long sleeve tops
- 3 dresses and/or skirts
- cutoff jean shorts
- thick tights
- black yoga pants
- pretty scarves!
- brown skinny belt, black thick belt
- white double-breasted crop jacket
- all the "unmentionables"
- Wallaroo straw hat to shadeeee me from the sun in style
- simple string bikini for those European beaches...should I even bring a top? ha

Pour la Toilette:
- my super cute, incredibly tiny TS-2 Detailer flat iron
- Biolage Scalptherapie Oil Control Treatment (dry shampoo)
- wide tooth comb
- Cor silver soap big bar...best travel face wash everr because it lasts forever, it's solid (not liquid) and I don't need any other products
- razor
- travel-size deodorant and toothpaste
- toothbrush
-Bath & Body Works self-meditating body butter
- nail file and clippers
- make-up bag (condensed version)
- turquoise earrings from Mexico, thin silver hoops, small interlocking gold hoops
- gold cuff bracelet, silver dream bracelet, back-up nose ring, cross necklace
- small case of bobby pins and hair twisties

- Wellness H2O water bottle to filter out any funky tap water I come across (Man this would have been helpful last year on Spring Break in Mexico...)
- umbrella
- Sephora Microfiber Hair Towel, regular towel
- tryptophan herbal pills to adjust to the time difference and sleep better
- Macbook, charger, protective sleeve
- digital camera, batteries, camera cord
- travel pillow
- oversized zip tote bag for weekend trips and backpacking
- zebra print beach bag/messenger bag for everyday wear
- address book for all my V.I.P.s that will be receiving post cards
- small journal
- Plan de Paris
- i-pod, obvi
- cream clutch
- oil paints and canvas notebook

Wheww.  Is that too much?  I guess tomorrow will tell.  Do I need gloves and a warm hat during mid-October in France??  Hmm...

Also, I need to buy plug converters and maybe those "As Seen On TV" vacuum bags (depending on how stuffed my suitcase looks).  I plan to buy shampoo, soap, etc. once I arrive in Paris from one of the many pharmacies that dot the streets.  I figure that will make a littleeee more room in my bag (though not much), avoid accidental leaks in my luggage, and allow me to buy cute French toiletries!

Am I missing anything else?  Thoughts??

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Well ladies and gents, I did it.

After about six months of thinking and debating...I bought a non-refundable roundtrip ticket to Paris for a two month solo trip and quit my job in PR.  Eeek!  I don't normally do daring things like this!!

Yesterday was my last day on the job and after a celebration to remember with all of my wonderful co-workers, I woke up this morning, grabbed a huuge iced coffee and hit the open road to Pittsburgh for family time before shipping out to France.

The road trip was exactly what I needed to sort my thoughts.  What is it about open windows, loud music and interstates that makes it so freeing?  During my seven glorious hours in the car (glorious=sarcasm...seven hours cooped up in a car without cruise control is never quite glorious), I sung, I cried, I used the steering wheel as my own personal drum set, I yelled, I daydreamed, and I tried to comprehend all that is currently happening in my life.

I basically pretended I was the only car on the road-- I bet those cars driving near me on the PA turnpike got quite the entertaining show, ha.  The level that I rocked out to Kanye, Lucky Boys Confusion, Danity Kane, Jay Z, Fall Out Boy and Dave Matthews Band normally does not come out unless I'm drunk at a karaoke bar.  And yes, I realize that is quiteee the variety of music; don't judge.

I don't know about any of you out there...but I'm kind of over this "transitional," early twenties phase of life.  It's so confusing and so many things are changing.  That simple, fun and protective shell of college is gone, people are coming and going in and out of your life, and I swear the thoughts in my head are completely spastic.  One minute I want one thing, the next I want something else.  And really, at this age, we can do whatever it is that we want to do, but most of us are just so utterly indecisive that no one can figure it out.  I know my life will unfold as it should, but could the Big Guy just give me a little heads up and point me in the right direction, or lend a clue of what the future holds?  It would be much appreciated.

What's funny is, I bet when I'm 40 and hunkered down with a family and a never-ending job (...because maybe that's how I'll be when I'm 40?), I'll look back and miss these exciting times when I could go out 3 nights a week and survive, and quit my job and hop to France on a whim. Such is life.

But, oh my god...I really can't believe I'm really going to France for practically two months by myself.  Ahhhhhh it's going to be great.  I'm feeling excited but scared shitless, adventurous but very nervous.

The countdown is on.  I leave September 2nd...18 days to prep.  More is definitely to come.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

american girl's Summer Concert Tour

This american girl was one lucky lady this summer.  I saw four of the biggest concerts to hit New York over the past 3 months:

Read 'em and weep:

5/13/08 - Kanye West, Glow in the Dark Tour (round 1)

6/17/08 - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

7/18/08 - Billy Joel, Last Play at Shea (the real last play)

7/31/08 - Counting Crows and Maroon 5

Here's the skinny on all the awesome concerts you missed this summer, ha.

Kanye - His show really kicked ass, as previously mentioned.  It was pure entertainment and a high energy, rock opera-ish show with the craziest stage set up I've ever seen.  Rihanna, N.E.R.D. and Lupe were a great match for Kanye and put on awesome sets as well.  In my book, he lived up to his promotion of the tour and I'll go see him again anytime.

Tom Petty - Don't let his age or his previous, um, habits fool you.  His voice sounded amazinggg and just as it must've in the '70's/80's when my parents loved him (and therefore I loved him by association).  He really rocked out and played all of my favorites, closing with none other than "American Girl!!"  Love him!  
PS - My uncle also told me he saw Tom Petty in the early '80's and it was the best show he ever went to...clearly things haven't changed, so if he comes to your town soon, you should get yourself to his concert.

Billy Joel - As soon as I heard he was coming to Shea, I knew I wanted tickets.  I grew up listening to this guy, the River of Dreams album especially (a favorite of my mom's).  Little did I know it would be the history-making and INSANELY AMAZING performance that it was.  A 3 hour + set list including all the classics (You May Be Right, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, Only the Good Die Young, We Didn't Start the Fire...shall I go on??) combined with all-star guests Steven Tyler, Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, and Roger Daltrey blew me away.  When Paul McCartney joined him on stage at midnight, I lost it.  Lost it!!  I got to hear "Let it Be" live from an actual Beatle...that's not supposed to happen to someone in my generation.  It was magical to say the least.  This is a girl whose favorite movie at age 3 was The Yellow Submarine cartoon and loved to listen to her uncle read The Fat Budgie poem by John Lennon.  So, needless to say, this was the concert of the summer.  Look for it on DVD in the coming months if you missed it!  :)

Counting Crows/Maroon 5 - It's all about the venue, and the Jones Beach Amphitheater was the best venue I've been to so far this summer.  The stage basically looks like it's floating in the water.  Con - it's a national park, so no alcohol is served there, but it's still all open air, which is sort of key to a summer concert.  I went into this concert psyched to see the Counting Crows and happy a good band like Maroon 5 would be there with them...I left the concert affirmed that Maroon 5 was an awesome band, and disappointed in the Counting Crows, mostly Adam Duritz.  He forgot the words to one of his songs...not a good start.  Only playing a few of their major hits was pretty dumb, too in my book.  I've heard from others that the Counting Crows are iffy live-- sometimes great, sometimes not-so-good.  Looks like I got one of the not-so-good shows.  Sadness.  At least Maroon 5 was great; I really loveee their latest CD and Adam Levine isn't so bad to look at either, ha.

To sum up, I basically blew all of my money on concerts this summer, but I saw some amazing performances by many of my all-time favs...and hearing live music and being with friends really is a great way to spend your summer.  Worth every penny!