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Thursday, November 26, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone!

It's Thanksgiving, and even though I am living in France right now, I have decided to celebrate. I have a vegan pumpkin cheezcake in the oven and two artichokes on the stove. My sister and I tend to eat artichokes every Thanksgiving together. And so even though she's not here with me, I'm having one in her honor. With margarine and nutritional yeast! YUM! Aside from that, I'm not really doing anything special. In the past, when I was teaching English, we made turkey hands, and I made my students write something they were thankful for in each finger. That really reminded me that it was Thanksgiving, and that Thanksgiving is special. This year, I am jobless (:-( ) and broke, so I've got to find ways to remind myself.
I hope all of you guys in the U S of A are having a fantastic time with your friends and family!



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!
Just try to tell me you don't feel sorry for that poor turkey.

And since it's Thanksgiving, I've been reading some great lists of things that other people are thankful for. I decided that I needed to make a list of 10 things of my own.
So, what am I thankful for this year?

I AM THANKFUL FOR:
1)The fact that there are more and more vegans out there every year meaning that more and more turkeys survive this holiday.

2)All of my friends and family who love me and care about me (and whom I love and care about) and who support me through all of the crazy things I decide to do, be it write a novel in 30 days or move to Japan for 9 months (Normally, this will be happening soon) without a job or a friend in sight. (And who take care of my cat, Zedster, while I am off doing said crazy things.)

3)Guillaume aka the greatest, most wonderful boyfriend a girl could ever ask for.

4)Discovering the book blogging community and all of the wonderful people in it.

5)The store Thanksgiving, in the Marais, which, I am convinced, is the ONLY place in all of Paris where you can buy grits and canned pumpkin. Even if they are ridiculously expensive.

6)Organic farmers.

7)Starbucks venti soy classic hot chocolate with peppermint syrup and no whipped cream.

8)My stuffed dog, Eva, who has lived with me through thick and thin since I was 4 years old, who was there for me when my real dog, Eva, a Brittany Spaniel, died. I had had her and loved her since I was 7.

9)Courage and the odd places in which I often find it lurking.

10)And, of course, no list of things I am thankful for would be complete without BOOKS!!!! I will put being able to see and knowing how to read along with this one as well.

X I am cross-posting this to Brizmus Blogs Books. X

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Paris Vegan Day

I am RIDICULOUSLY excited!!!! Why, you might ask?
Well, first I am excited because tomorrow is my three year anniversary with Guillaume. That's right - THREE years!!!!



HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Audrey and Guillaume!!

Paris, because sometimes it can be nice, has decided to do something to help us celebrate. TOMORROW is Paris Vegan Day. I know, I know - it sounds crazy. A vegan day. In Paris, France. But it's true, and it looks like it is going to be MEGA fun!!!!

There are going to be food demonstrations and cooking lessons. I'm especially excited about the demonstration "Dix façons de remplacer l’œuf" = 10 ways to replace eggs. I've been lazy lately and just using a mixture of silken tofu and ground flax seeds, instead of actually picking something that would actually be good for the recipe. So this will be good for me.

Plus, there's going to be a skincare demonstration by Lush!! Do you hear me squealing with excitement? Well, I absolutely am! I love Lush and all of their wonderful vegan products!

There's also going to be a vegan pizza party at the end of the day. Can you say AWESOME?!? I will DEFINITELY be hitting that up! I love me some vegan pizza, even moe so because I actually hated pizza before becoming a vegan - so now I get to love it all the more.

Anyhow, if you're in the area, I hope you'll be hitting it up!!

HAPPY PARIS VEGAN DAY!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action

I just realized that I never posted this video in here. I'm part of a Philips forum, and there was a video contest. We had to make a video saying why we loved our favorite Philips product that we own. Or why we can't live without a Philips product that we don't own.


video

I decided to test my video making skills for the very first time, and despite the fact that my Windows Movie Maker has a bug that made this take hours and hours on end to put together, and despite the fact that I only had my crappy digital camera to film with, and despite the fact that I know nothing about cutting and putting videos together,. . .well, despite nothing. It turned out badly.

Still, it won me third place!!!!
The other videos weren't that fantastic, either.
Enjoy! and let me know what you think.

And a long time ago, I promised you guys a New Kids on the Block music video. It's coming soon, really it is. . . I just have to find the guts to work with Windows Movie Maker again. Glah!

Also, you guys perhaps remember last November,. . .when I was participating in NaNoWriMo. I kept you updated pretty regularly.



Well, I'm participating again this year, and I'm actually writing my life story. It didn't start off that way, but somehow that's what it's turned into. I started off with a bang, but for the past week, I have had trouble making myself write at all. Apparently the years of my life between 5th and 8th grade are just, well, boring. And tragic. Uninteresting and yet I still don't want to have to dredge up all the horrible memories that I had during that time period. I'm at 35,700 words despite the fact that I can't have written more than 5000 words in the past two weeks.

Aside from that, sorry that I haven't updated in AGES. I've been sort of busy working on Brizmus Blogs Books and writing my NaNoWriMo novel. Before that, I was working on another novel, to which I actually find myself very attached, that I had to set aside for NaNoWriMo. Still, I'll try to update more often. :-)

Ooh, and I've also been working on veganizing all of the recipes in "Chocolate: A Love Story," the chocolate cookbook from Max Brenner, the bald chocolate man. It's a project that I'm very excited about!!!! So far I've made some incredibly delicious chocolatey scrumptiousness! I'll be posting about it in Brizmus Blogs Books. Yay!

Hope everyone is well! Let me know what you think of the video!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!



HAPPY HALLOWEEN, everyone!!!! And I promise a real entry is coming soon - I have so much to update about! :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vegan Voyager: Neuchatel, Switzerland

I've been so caught up with my book blog and reading and writing and preparing for NaNoWriMo that I haven't updated this blog in a very long time. SORRY! I am once again behind!

So, a few weekends ago, I took the very last vacation of what ended up being my extraordinarly LONG vacation time.

Guillaume, some of his friends, and I headed over to Neuchatel, Switzerland, which is right across the border from France, to celebrate La Fete des Vendanges with one of his friends that lives there.



Lovely view from their house

La Fete des Vendanges is basically a festival to celebrate the fact that grapes are harvestable for making wine. Which in no way whatsoever means that people sit around together and drink wine. The opposite almost.

Neuchatel, population approximately 33,000, is a very small city. It closes down it's streets for three whole days and has a sort of fair. There are booths everywhere in which you can find every type of alcohol (although I don't think I ever once saw any wine available) and every type of food (except for maybe vegan food) available. There are all sorts of rides and fair games and lots of cute little tents selling fun things (like at a street fair). During the day there are parades and at night there are random float things that drive around shooting balls of confetti everywhere.


We are covered in confetti!!!!

And, because Neuchatel is so small and people come in from all over Switzerland and all over France, it ends up being COMPLETE CHAOS!!!!

During the day, it was fun. We walked around by the lake and watched a cool parade and got to experience the city. There were far too many people, but it was survivable.


A couple parade pictures!

The night, however, was not my cup of tea. We were there for two nights - the first night we went down to the festival, and I left after about an hour or two because it was just too claustrophobic. There were SO MANY PEOPLE everywhere that I could barely breathe, and most of them were drunk and over half of them were smoking. I tried to have fun, occasionally stopping to dance to the music with the others. But there was just too much cigarette and too many lame drunk people and not enough space to move, much less breathe.

Needless to say, I did not return the next night when they all went out, instead opting to stay in and enjoy the much more Audreyesque activity of reading. I had a great time, they had a great time, all was well.

So, even though I wasn't the hugest fan of the festival, I had a great time, and the part of Switzerland we were in was BEAUTIFUL! I am really glad that we decided to go. I could definitely see myself living in a cute little small place like that. (except that it is so small that no matter where you live, you tend to live right by the train track, which I wouldn't love).

On the drive back, we got to stop in Besancon for a bit to say hi to Guillaume's grandmother. It was lovely.
All in all, the weekend was a success!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Favorite Fictional Character

So I was reading a post over at My World about on of her favorite fictional characters.

Well, the character this week just so happens to also be one of MY favorite fictional characters. Possibly my favorite of all time. A couple years ago, I dressed up as her for Halloween. And NO ONE KNEW WHO I WAS!!!! That might be a slight exaggeration. There were maybe two or three people who knew whom I was. . .after I told them.

So, WHO AM I?



Unfortunately the left one is blurry. Sorry!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Rachel and Josh (and then Josh arrives)!

NOTE: ALL PICTURES TAKEN BY EITHER RACHEL OR JOSH
(except the very last one)

So, after the graveyard, we headed back to my apartment to wait for the imminent arrival of Josh!
Upon his arrival, we decided to take a walk over to the Bastille to get smoothies.
We went to Wanna Juice, and Josh got this weird basil smoothie that he claimed was one of the best smoothies he'd ever had.



Josh and his smoothie at La Bastille

We continued on a nice walk down the Canal St-Martin and got to see one of the boats being let down on the boat stairs thing. Very cool!


Canal St-Martin


The next day was mega touristy day! We saw Les Champs-Elysees and L'Arc de Triomphe.


Us at L'Arc de Triomphe


The we headed over to the Eiffel Tower.


Me and Josh at the Eiffel Tower



One of those Eiffel Tower pictures that just has to be taken!

Josh had been amusing himself making things look miniature, and he managed to make the Eiffel Tower look like a mere trinket.


Look how small it is!

He also was having fun with double exposures and made it look like a carousel horse was eating the Eiffel Tower.


Hilariousness!


It was really cool because there was some rollerblading thing going on right in front of it, so we got to see some awesome rollerbladers doing some awesome tricks. I was mega impressed!


How rad is this?!?


Then I left them to enjoy museums without me (as I have been to so many of the museus here so many times; I just couldn't bring myself to do it all over again).

Unfortunately, I don't have Rachel's pictures for the next two days, and Josh's pictures aren't dated. My memory is for days and times is fairly bad, so I don't really remember WHEN we did what we did.
I know that we rented bikes (Velib!) and rode over to the Marais. We got delicious (but unfortunately slightly overexpensive) falafel at L'As du Falafel. Man, I love that place!
We took a quick ride around L'Ile St-Louis and discovered some pretty cute shops.
Then we rode around the Latin Quarter = St-Michel and saw the fountain and manoeuvred our way through all of the cute little strees.


Cool miniature of Notre Dame in Notre Dame



Hanging out in the Marais with a very cool store behind us



Rachel and I rockin' it on a bench on L'Ile St-Louis while Josh ate his lime basil sorbet and took pictures!


The other day, Rachel and Josh headed over to Versailles. I had already been (twice or maybe even thrice), so I decided to skip out on this time. I ended up doing absolutely NOTHING and so probably should have gone with them.

Their last day, Josh was unfortunately not feeling so well (the day before in St-Michel we were getting smoothies and this crazy woman was coughing herself to death right in the ridiculously small store. She was getting snot all over her arm and hacking out her lungs practically in our faces. So incredibly disgusting! I am sure we all got a little sick from it), but we headed over to Sacre-Coeur/Montmarte nonetheless.


Josh and I in front of Sacre Coeur

We went up to the top (it was a LOT of stairs) and got a pretty incredible view. I don't know how I had never gone up before.


View from the top



Josh and I at the top

After we walked around a bit and got to see this cute little French band playing. Not really our style, but VERY French.

Other than that, we had fun eating in delicious restaurants (La Victiore Supreme du Coeur; La Reine Shaba = deliciously wonderful Ethiopian food that still doesn't quite replace Ras Mesfin, the place where I always go for Ethiopian food that seems to have closed down; Loving Hut; Tien Hang; and Audrey's kitchen!) and playing cards and Dr. Mario chez me.


Rachel and Josh weren't in love with my New Kids on the Block poster. :-(


And then they had to leave. And vacation was REALLY over. Sort-of. ::sadness::

Rachel and Josh Visit (the just Rachel part)!

NOTE: ALL PICTURES TAKEN BY RACHEL

Okay, so when I say that the vacation was over, it wasn't really. . . only for Guillaume. :-P
Because a week after Guillaume went back to work, Rachel and Josh came to visit!!!!

Well, actually, I guess I should say Rachel then Josh came to visit. Josh had some issues getting here, so I ended up having a full two days with Rachel before his arrival.

And very full these two days were!
On Sunday, we took a day trip out to Giverny, home of Monet. We saw


his house and



tons of beautiful flowers!


Rachel tried to take a picture of me with a plant mustache,


but it failed.



Audrey and Rachel in Giverny


On Monday, day two, we took a trip over to Senlis to see awesome Gothic architecture!


This is awesome Gothic Architecture!



The beautiful town of Senlis!

And then we headed over to the neighboring town of Chantilly to take a tour of the castle there.


The Castle

We didn't go in, though, instead just exploring the gardens, which were huge and awesome!


Audrey and Rachel in the gardens!


There was also a section of really cute little houses


Me knocking on the door of a really cute little house

right before the entry way to a really awesome maze that we almost didn't get out of - you were supposed to collect clues along the way to find codes to get through 5 doors in the maze. We didn't collect clues and had to find other creative ways to get through the doors.


Us being other people at the end of the maze

Interesting Fact: In French, one of the words used to say whipped cream is creme chantilly. I THINK that this is basically an extra rich whipped cream (I can't be sure, because I don't eat the stuff!). This word came from the fact that, supposedly, back in the day, the cows living at the castle made extra super duper awesome whipped cream. And it therefore became associated with Chantilly.
It's weird, though, because now it's like the name of the town is Whipped Cream.

Tuesday morning, Rachel and I took a morning jaunt over to check out the cimetery Pere LaChaise before Josh's arrival. We had time to take a pretty good tour of it, and I actually FINALLY got to see Oscar Wilde's grave. I'd looked for it before but, despite thinking I had already seen it, I had apparently never found it.


Oscar Wilde's Grave

You see, covered with kisses like that - I would totally remember it.

And then Josh arrived.
TBC in the next entry! Are you excited?!? I hope so!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Off to La Frette and Even More Birthday!!!!

So, when we got back to France, our vacation was theoretically over, but Guillaume still had a few days before he had to head back to work, so we decided to head out to Guillaume's parents house in La Frette Sur Seine. In order to have some calm down time and, of course, to enjoy their new swimming pool.



Guillaume's parent's house is amazing!


We had a great time taking pictures of ourselves from underwater


I love that Guillaume's camera is waterproof!

And with the amazing view from his parent's swimming pool


That's the Seine behind me!


We watched movies and ate delicious food and all in all had a wonderful and relaxing time, which was just what we needed after our nonstop go vacation.

When we got back to Paris, we finally found time for the two of us to celebrate my birthday together. After some trouble, Guillaume made me a delicious cauliflower casserole for dinner, along with these potato pakora gallette things that would have been DELICIOUS had there not been too much turmeric in them. And I FINALLY got to open my presents! YAY!!!!




Good times were had, and I got some great presents. Unfortunately, the return to Paris didn't just mean getting to finally celebrate my birthday together. It also meant that Guillaume had to return to work. ::sadness:: Which indicated the end of our summer vacation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vegan Voyager: Budapest

So, next and last stop on our trip - Budapest!

MOST ANNOYING/INTERESTING HAPPENING(S) IN BUDAPEST:
I was really excited about Budapest, but upon arriving I became a little bit less excited. The train station we arrived at was riddled with homeless people, and the air was so thick with the smell of unshowered human and alcohol that I could barely breathe. Not to mention I could barely walk because there were so many people. And I'd say about 90% of them were smoking, and everyone knows how much I DESPISE that more than basically anything else in the world. (to the left see The train station at which I wish we had arrived)
Leaving the train station, it didn't really get better. The subways were so far underground I got dizzy and started feeling sick just from going down the escalator. Our hotel room was so small we could barely fit in it with our luggage. And the ceiling was low and slanted, and there was only one small spot in the room in which we could actually stand up. The bathroom floor was covered with wet hair, which once again made me want to throw up.

THEN, to continue on with our fabulous arrival, we go out to get falafel, we get a little bit lost, and we found ourselves on a small side road on which we see a very interesting sight. There was a woman walking towards us, arm in arm with a man, wearing a very small transparent white tank top. And that was it. No shoes, no socks, no bra, no pants, no underwear. No anything else. Just the tank top. We got a good view of, well, everything. Unfortunately, this wasn't the only time on the trip where we saw more of a woman than is appropriate.
We finally find the falafel place, and it's the WORST falafel we have ever had.
What a great first day in Budapest, eh?

The second day, I am happy to say, it got MUCH better!!!!



Great view of Buda from Pest; or wait, is it Pest from Buda?

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT BUDAPEST:We got to see some AMAZING architecture. I know I know, I live in Paris, which is supposed to be architectorial (is this even a word?) heaven. Or something like that. But to me, the greatest thing in Paris doesn't even compare to the greatest thing in Budapest. I mean, where in Paris can you see something as amazing as this:



Or as COOL and OLD SCHOOL as this:



You might disagree, but my answer is nowhere.
I also loved all of the really cool bronze statues. There were nowhere near as many as in Bratislava,but most of them were just as awesome. The bronze bridge on which you see Guillaume (to the right) was my absolute favorite, and oh, lucky us!, it was literally right next to where we were staying (for those of you who know me well, that means it was at least a 5 minute walk).

RESTAURANTS:
Well, we once again were on vacation when the restaurants were on vacation, so we pretty much had two options: the Hummus Bar, which had some of the worst soup, the worst hummus, and the worst falafel I had ever eaten. My mouth always hurt after eating there. I definitely would NOT recommend this place to anyone.
And Napfenyes Etterem, which I would absolutely recommend to everyone. It was 100% vegan, and they had some of the BEST pizza I had ever tasted. We went back often, and each time I had a different pizza, and each time it was delicious and awesome. Guillaume got things that weren't pizza, and those were delicious and awesome as well. See me to the left, lounging and barely unable to move from how full I am from the delicious pizza.


I don't know what this picture is supposed to be, but it's funny!


So, all in all, aside from our first day fiasco, we had an absolutely FANTASTIC time in Budapest, we got used to our small room (in which we spent very little time, in any case), and we even enjoyed the day it rained. It was actually a nice change from the heat wave that we had been previously experiencing.
Click on the picture above to go directly to the whole photo album or any of the others to be directed to it through another picture.
Or you can just click the link here: Budapest Summer 2009