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!

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).

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

Monday, September 21, 2009

Vegan Voyager: Slovakia

After Vienna, we hopped on a train over to Bratislava.
Apparantly Vienna and Bratislava are the two closest capital cities in the world, at a whopping 45 km apart. Cool, huh?

Anyhow, I absolutely LOVED Bratislava! In general, I think I'd say that Slovakia was my favorite place that we visited. Guillaume says that this is because it was the most "bleddard," which basically means middle-of-nowhere/backcountry ish. He's probably right. . . much to his dismay, I quite like "le bled."

Me and Guillaume at Bratislava Castle, with the ex-communist side of Bratislava behind us.

MY FAVORITE PART OF BRATISLAVA:The city was full of all of these really ridiculous but cool statues. Guillaume and I did a sort of statue finding scavenger hunt, and, while I know we missed some, I think we did manage to find most of them.

Supposedly there was a mostly naked imp hanging out of a window, which we missed. My favorite was either the ear guy (see above) or the one that was supposed to be a paparazzi (see left). Definitely click on one of the pictures to go to the album to see all of the other statues.

We rented a car to leave Bratislava, and we headed to small town Slovakia. We spent a few nights in Piestany, where no one was smoking and everyone was running and biking everywhere. I was totally into it.
This leads me to

MY FAVORITE PART OF SLOVAKIA: (which was not my favorite part of Bratislava) We took a day trip from Piestany to see Trencin castle, which was SO awesome! It was really like I always dream of castles being. Guillaume and I got to shoot a bow and arrow, and Guillaume also shot a really old school gun. I got to pet a donkey and a goat (which totally rubbed it's horn up against my leg trying to get my food bag and gave me a horrible bruise). We took a tour of the whole castle; we got to see the kitchen and the bathroom (which was a hole in the wall that went out into a small enclosed area outside of the castle) and the portraits of all the people that lived there.

Us shooting the bow and arrow - Guillaume was way better than I was

View from Trencin Castle

MOST ANNOYING THING IN SLOVAKIA:This would be the incredible lack of vegan food. Seriously. We found one restaurant in Bratislava that had ONE (yes, count it, one) vegan option that was one of the more disgusting things we had ever eaten (see photo to right). Luckily, there was a kitchen where we were staying. In Piestany, though, there was no kitchen. Luckily, I had brought along some vegan pad thai to which one just had to add hot water. We borrowed a hot water heater from the hotel. We'd also luckily brought along some bread and so bought things to make sandwiches. Which were not good because the vegetables we found were crap. Apparently they just do meat there. I shouldn't complain, though. We didn't starve, and that's what counts.
So, VEGANS GOING TO SLOVAKIA - stay in places with kitchens!!!! This is actually hard to do outside of Bratislava, so also BRING ALONG YOUR OWN FOOD!!!!

So, yes, aside from the food sitch, Slovakia was totally awesome.

Click on this photo to go straight to the album of all the photos. Or click on any of the other photos to be led to the album! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Can't Stop Crying aka Patrick Swayze is Awesome!

I am sitting here watching video clips from all of the songs from Dirty Dancing, and I just can't stop crying. I really can't believe that Patrick Swayze is dead.
Dirty Dancing is up there in my "Top Five Favorite Movies Of All Time," and Patrick Swayze is really just extra super duper amazing in it. And in "the Outsiders." And in "Ghost." And in all of his other movies, of course, even though there are quite a few of them that I have never seen.

I was sad about Michael Jackson, y'know, but it was NOTHING compared to how absolutely devestated I am by the death of Patrick Swayze.
Watching these video clips, though, I can't help but think that he will never die. I mean, this movie was just FANTABULOUS, and it affected so many people and will hopefully continue to affect so many people, and through that he will live on forever.


Wow, it's pathetic that I really am crying over this. It really is just so sad, though.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Six Things That Make Me Happy

Cathryn tagged me in her blog, so now I will list six things that make me happy.

rules for this tag: List six little things that make you happy. Tag six bloggers and let them know they're 'it'.

1. BOOKS (of all kinds and shapes and forms and sizes)

2. really awesome TV shows

3. Guillaume getting home from work in a super good mood

4. Ethiopian Food

5. Japanese classes on Tuesdays (and Vovinam Viet Vo Dao on Wednesdays and Saturdays)

6. Punk rock loves songs <3!!!! (this one is stolen from Cathryn, but it's just so true - punk rock love songs make me ever so happy

And now, I know that I am supposed to tag people, but I don't know who (if anyone other than Cathryn) reads my blog, so I'm just going to say - if you read this, post a comment with six happy things for you. :-)

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Vampire Diaries

Helllooo Blog Readers!
Please make your way to

in order to read my thoughts on the new CW series, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES!!!!
I know you're interested.
Also, I've been updating like crazy with all of the books that I read this summer, so definitely go check those out, too. :-)

My friends Rachel and Josh are going to be arriving tomorrow morning, which I am super psyched about! YAY for Rachel and Josh!!!! This, of course, means, though, that I most likely won't be updating for a little while. I'm going to try to post about Slovakia before they get here, but it looks like Budapest is going to have to wait until after they leave.
Never fear, though, blog readers, all of my summer vacation pictures WILL eventually get posted!

Vegan Voyager: Vienna

After Prague, we headed down to Vienna. Once again, I had already been there, this time with Neil and Pat. And once again, I was excited about the prospect of going back. When I went with Neil and Pat, it was late December/early January, and Vienna was snow-covered and beautiful. I was excited to get to see it in the summer, sun-drenched and beautiful.

Guillaume and I at the Habsburgs' summer palace

As expected, Vienna was absolutely GORGEOUS in the summer! It's really a majestical city. And it was cool to get to see some of the sites I had seen with Neil and Pat all over again from a summer point of view. And also to see some new things that I hadn't seen with them. My favorite of which was the Hapsburgs' summer palace (see picture above).

Viennese children must really love to play; we found some AWESOME playgrounds all around Vienna. And despite the fact that we are not children on the outside, we PLAYED! There were real swings and rope swings and tires to bump around on and fountains that you got to make work yourself. There was also this really cool bird that you got to climb up in to make flap its' wings. And, not to be forgotten, there was a mini dirt dumping machine (I have no idea how this thing is supposed to be called), and I got to amuse myself digging holes and attempting to throw dirt at Guillaume.

That dirt you see flying out of my shovel thing - yeah, it was headed right towards Guillaume.

We were by Stephensplatz attempting to make our way towards the Manner wafer store (yes, that's right, the Manner wafer store. Manner Mignon = the most DELICIOUS vegan wafer in existence. Soooo good, and I was super psyched to finally get to share this deliciousness with Guillaume) when this woman walks by, stops practically on top of us, ashes her cigarette on Guillaume's foot, lifts up her cigarette into Guillaume's shirt (seriously - the fact that it didn't burn a hole in his shirt is shocking) and then ashes again, right onto Guillaume again. When I point out to her that she should try to pay more attention to where she ashes and where she puts her cigarette (I should have also pointed out that it's not polite to stop right on top of people), she made crazy person circles around her ears.
Perhaps I was crazy in that moment, though, because of how annoyed I was by how completely inconsiderate she was with her deathstick.
I dream of the day cigarette fascism takes over and smoking becomes illegal.

Unfortunately, as it was vacation time for us, it was also vacation time for the restaurants. A lot of them were closed, but we were lucky to discover one little open gem called Bio Bar Von Antun. It was a little bit expensive, but it was absolutely worth it. We had what were possibly the most delicious mashed potatoes either of us had ever tasted. We also had scrumptious veggies and some vegan ice cream that we had both been long craving, what with the summer heat and all.
On our last day there, a small little restaurant called Formosa Food opened back up, so we stopped by for lunch and were not disappointed. Especially because, once again, we had the treat of vegan ice cream. Ohhhhh, yeah!
One night, after discovering that all of the other restaurants we wanted to go to were closed, we found ourselves at Vegestasia, which had been our last choice. It wasn't bad, though, by any means. Everything on the menu, though, seemed to be FRIED, so it was a little heavy.
I think that if we would have been there not during vacation time, we would have discovered just how amazing vegan dining in Vienna can be. It seems very vegan-friendly.

So, despite the heat wave going on while we were there, and despite almost all of the restaurants being closed, we had a beautiful time in Vienna. We saw many beautiful things and some not so beautiful things (see picture above). Yep, we made the mistake of going to the Museum of Modern Art, which I absolutely do NOT recommend. It should have been called the "museum of squiggles and inappropriate sexual pieces disguised as art." Oh, and as can be seen to the left, I found what I would LOVE to have as my halloween costume for this year.

Again, click on any of the pictures to find yourself at the album, or you can just click on the following link:
Vienna Summer 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vegan Voyager: Prague

Well, after leaving the states, I headed back to France, where I stayed for approximately 2 whole days before packing up and leaving again. After all, Guillaume and I had a summer vacation to take together.
And the first stop on that vacation was Prague!

Me and Guillaume on the Charles Bridge

Now, Prague. . .well, I had already been there once before with Pat and Marika, but I was excited to have an opportunity to return with Guillaume.
This means, though, that I have now been to Prague TWICE, and THIS is the closest I have come to seeing an actual Golem:

Seriously. . .I thought the Czech Republic, and especially Prague, is supposed to be known for its golems.
Despite not seeing a real golem, this statue did manage to cause some negativity.
After seeing the golem, we went into an internet cafe to send a quick e-mail to let our guesthouse know that we were going to arrive later in Vienna than expected. *I* for some reason had the camera. . . and anyone who knows me knows that allowing me to hold onto the camera is a BAD IDEA, as I proved once again. Because after we left the internet cafe, we arrived at the statue on the left. I thought it was cool, and I wanted to take a picture of it. Guess what?!? We couldn't find the camera. We hastily made our way back to the internet cafe (which was HARD in Prague, with the windy streets everywhere) and considered ourselves very lucky when the camera was still sitting there right where I had left it.

Oddly enough, my favorite thing in Prague wasn't in any of the guidebooks. When I had gone with Pat and Marika, we passed by it, and I was just super impressed. I wanted to show Guillaume, but no one seemed to know about it, and we couldn't find anything written about it in our Central Europe Lonely Planet. Luckily, I was able to find it by memory. These buildings are supposed to resemble Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger. I just thin k it is such a unique and cool concept; to have the design of buildings be based on a dance and people.

Prague was actually kind of amazing for vegan restaurants. We went to one, Lehka Hlava - Clear Head, where we managed to find a vegan dish that Guillaume swears was almost exactly like Pasta Carbonara, which was his favorite food before he became a vegan. It was a little bit expensive, but it was so delicious we actually went twice.
There was another, Country Life, that was ridiculously expensive and actually kind of disgusting. It was a weigh your own food place, so it shouldn't have been expensive. And then some of the food looked delicious, but none of it actually was.
Then we went ot a place called Veg Food, one of the many restaurants being opened recently associated with the Supreme Master. It was incredibly delicious, and I wish it were in Paris.

Aside from that, the Prague castle was cool, and I was absolutely fascinated to see an actual blacksmith at work. And then the astronomical clock, which I actually got to see in action this time, was really cool.
All in all, we had a great time in Prague.

Click on any of the pictures to go to the album where you will find lots more photos. Or, if that doesn't work for you, click the link: Prague Summer 2009.
We took 155, but I managed to pick out only 58 for the album! Go me! I have a feeling it will be a little more difficult than that for the other countries.

Stateside: Colorado

And now I'm really almost done writing about my stateside experience.
After hanging out a couple days in Louisiana, Kristen and I hopped in her car and headed up to her home on Colorado.
The first night, we stopped in Dallas to spend yet another night with my Aunt Diane and Uncle Greg. It was so good to get to see them so much this summer.
In Dallas, my birthday got to CONTINUE (the day we spent the night there was my actual birthday) as my aunt had prepared a delicious birthday dinner for me and the most scrumptious of birthday cakes. It was SO good, and I have taken the recipe from her to try to recreate it.

Me with Aunt Diane, Uncle Greg, and the cake

Sorry about the quality - you can tell that my camera was still having issues.
They gave me the most beautiful little blue Swarovski jewelry case to carry my jewelry in when traveling. I love it!

The next day, we hopped back in the car and spent the WHOLE DAY driving (and, of course, rocking out and singing at the top of our lungs to New Kids on the Block and other fantastic 80's music!) until we arrived in Colorado, where we had a great time just relaxing and hanging out. We watched some fantastic movies - "Princess Protection Program," which I love love LOVED! It was so cute, and I totally wish a cool princess like Demi Lovato was in this movie would come hang out in my life.
We also watched "The Christmas Secret," which, aside from the annoyingness of the actor they chose for the main character, was AWESOME and basically proved that everything about Christmas really can exist. Kristen and I, of course, BELIEVE, so we didn't really need proof, but it was a very touching movie that should definitely be watched by all of the non-believers out there. For example, I am SO making Guillaume watch it with me this upcoming Christmas season. Which is coming up SO soon!!!! Yay!!!!

We didn't just watch movies, though. I also had the pleasure of getting the most WONDERFUL massage ever. It was an ashiatsu massage, which I had actually never even heard of before. Ashi means foot or leg in Japanese, atsu means pressure, so as you can probably guess, it was like a shiatsu massage, but done with the feet instead of the hands. It was super amazing. (I wonder if shi is supposed to mean hand or finger. Because I thought te was hand and yubi was finger. . .hmmmm. . .I wonder if shi, which also means 4 and death, is also another word for finger).

We also, of course, WENT SHOPPING! I think we both had a little birthday money left over, so we decided to go on a shopping spree, and we found ourselves at the biggest Forever 21 in all of Colorado. It was so huge that it was almost overwhelming. I'm convinced it had to have been the largest Forever 21 in existence. Afterwards, we decided to have a fashion show with all of our new clothes. Check it out!

Kristen and Audrey Fashion Show 2009

I unfortunately can't figure out how to get the video on my computer to embed it in this post, so hopefully the link will work.

We also got to drive up to Keystone to visit my Aunt Boogie and her husband Charles Martin, who I guess is my uncle but whom I refer to just as Charles Martin.

Aunt Boogie!

It was good to get to hang out with them some. Charles Martin whipped us up a delicious dinner, and afterwards, we watched Miss Potter. Now, I am totally NOT a Renee Zelwegger fan. She kind of annoys me, and I really thought they could have done a better job choosing someone the play the role of Beatrix Potter. She is why I had actually not previously seen this movie. Let me just say, though - if you are like me and not seeing this movie because of the presence of Renee Zelwegger in it, GET OVER IT!!!! This movie is absolutely FANTASTIC! Forget Becoming Jane (which was, withount a doubt, a marvelous movie), this is the most heartwarming, breathtaking, enchanting, touching story of a writer ever. Period. And that's all there is to it.

We spent the night there and then had some time in the morning to hang out chatting and letting mister photographer Charles Martin try out some new things with his camera.

Me and Krist rocking it in Keystone!

Then we had to drive to the airport in Denver, and I had to fly home to catch my flight back to France. ::sadness::