Monthly Slice: February

A little slice of February…

I can sum up the month of February in two words: school and Whole 30 (not technically a single word, but roll with me). As I predicted, second semester has been a whirlwind so far. I’m taking fewer classes but I started an awesome new job (I get to learn lots of digital tools and play with WordPress) so I am just about as busy as I was before. (So if you sent me a message and I took forever to respond… I’m sorry!)

One of the perks about being in the localization industry so close to Silicon Valley is that we get to attend events at major tech companies – this month we went to Apple and I tried not to geek out too much. I didn’t dare pull out my ancient iPhone.

(This might just be American materialism, but I am dying to get the newest iPhone so that I can take better photos. Does anyone have it?! Is the camera all it’s cracked up to be?)

Another cool thing: my marketing class visited a local chocolate factory last week – most delicious “field trip” ever. If you’re ever somewhere where you can get your hands on Lula’s chocolates, I highly recommend them. (I believe they’re only available in the U.S. at the moment. Get the salted caramel.)

Highlights: Sunday strolls with Hugo! (Zzzz. Sorry, that’s the most exciting thing I’ve got.) We live in such a beautiful area, and it’s so refreshing to blow off studying for a little bit to walk on the beach or wander around Carmel. (The beach in February? Yes – it’s 12 degrees Celsius on a cold day here. Winter is not so much a thing. Although we did get a crazy amount of rain and storms in January.)


In the kitchen: You might remember from one of my recent posts that I did a Whole 30 last month! If you followed my Whole 30 Instagram diary @wherearemycarbs you know how that turned out… I’ll write more about it in another post. Basically, I’m glad I did it, I’m glad it’s over, and I finally figured out what’s been terrorizing my skin (after I poisoned myself with it for months.)

If you’re interested in “clean eating” (what does that even mean? Who decided beef is “clean” and white rice is not?) I made a Pinterest board just for Whole30/Paleo recipes (of course I did).


Blogging: As usual, I have a lot of posts in my draft folder that I don’t have time to finish. I have some Paris, some Lyon, a lesson plan post that I secretly hate… I also want to share a post from Hugo’s perspective on being a French guy in California. Let me know if you have any questions for him!

I like to balance what I write between useful posts, travel posts, and my own musings, but lately it’s been a lot about ME… my blog, my whims, right? No, actually it’s because I’m enjoying writing these monthly updates, but I don’t have a lot of time to blog 😦 so the number of posts between monthly updates is minimal. One day I will find blogging balance! (And maybe figure out why I’m doing this in the first place. Why do I blog, again?)

Can I be honest about something? I wrote this mini-post this month because I wanted to share a little anecdote without making it into a big post, and I immediately regretted it — it seemed so orphaned and sad and boring all alone, and I wished I had combined lots of little stories into one post instead. Now I feel like I either have to delete it or write more mini-posts so that it’s a little series. (Luckily I have a lot of anecdotes about French.) #OverthinkingIt

A really nice person shared this design blog with me and I can’t stop watching her videos. She has some WordPress resources too!

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time playing with WordPress at work and now I’m addicted to WP Theme Detector to find out which themes and plugins people with beautiful functional blogs are using.

What I’m listening to: Hugo and I watched the movie Begin Again while we were dog-sitting for friends (we loved being dog parents for a day!) and I can’t get the songs out of my head. I’m not sure how I feel about the movie (full disclosure, I fell asleep. But to be fair, I usually fall asleep during movies) but the music was catchy. It’s all about a songwriter in New York City. I always think how much pressure it must be for the people who actually write the songs that are supposed to sound like they could be major hits.

Favorite Trader Joe’s snack: I couldn’t eat a lot of Trader Joe’s goodies this month because of my Whole 30 (grocery shopping made me so sad and hangry. I know that’s not how you’re supposed to feel on Whole 30 but I did) but I LOVE their kale salad. I used to hate kale but I’ve come over to the dark green side.

(For those of you who live in France, can you buy kale where you live? I know you can in Paris, and when I left Lyon, they were selling it at Monoprix. For anyone who doesn’t know, this all started with The Kale Project. Now I’ve talked so much about kale that you’re going to think I’m some kind of kale fiend, but I’m really, really not. WAIT one more thing. I love this funny kale story from one of my favorite blogs of all time.)

Let’s see, kale, Carmel, blogging struggles… yes, that pretty much sums it up! What was the highlight of your February?


17 thoughts on “Monthly Slice: February

  1. So great to see you visited Carmel! Such a beautiful place, even in the dead of winter…TJ does it right with their kale salads, but what I most miss from there is its peanut butter cups, cookie butter, and 2-buck chuck wine (not healthy, though!).

    1. Yummmm I haven’t had the cookie butter in so long!! I used to bring the peanut butter cups over to France with me 🙂 We almost never go down to Carmel even though it’s five minutes away, but it was nice to wander around, I forgot how pretty it is!

  2. Hello! I love Teela and subbed to her site last year. Her watercolor brush lettering class looks great and she makes it look so easy! Totally unrelated, do you watch Big Little Lies? I believe it’s set in Monterey. So beautiful. Anyway, great show if you have the time.
    About the kale, never seen it out here in the Maine-et-Loire.

  3. It has to be said, kale isn’t one of those veggies I look out for when shopping – but that’s quite possibly due to the fact I buy most of my fruit and veg at the market, and don’t often go near the veg aisles of supermarkets. Back in England, my parents seem to have bags of the curly green stuff bursting out of the fridge every time I’m home! Also thank you for your recommendation last month – I found Gad Gone Wild really funny, and in some ways he reminded me of my favourite British comedian Michael McIntyre. I’d be interested to know what Hugo misses about France that he didn’t anticipate missing. There are definitely a few things I miss about Britain that I didn’t think I’d miss that badly – like the weather (which is actually quite mild and nice in the UK, and rarely has any of these extreme bouts of cold like we had in Lyon in January) and instinctively knowing where to find everything in the supermarket (I always forget how much of a headache it is to find anything in the monstrous Carrefour of La Part Dieu).

    1. Oh my goodness that Carrefour is HUGE!! Just getting up to the fourth floor is a hassle! I always felt like I was going through a very crowded multi-level hamster maze. The market is much better! I never buy kale either because I find it tough and I don’t know how to prepare it, but other people (and Trader Joe’s) seem to be able to whip up tasty things with it.

      I’m glad you like Gad! (haha) I will have to find Michael McIntyre on YouTube (but sometimes I have to have British humour explained to me #stupidamerican).

      It surprises me so much that the weather is what you miss about home! I have this image in my head of Britain being very cold and grey – when I went to Oxford one October it was the same temperature as in France but I swear it felt damper and chillier! (that said, it was still 17 degrees on Halloween, so…) It seems like it was just a REALLY cold winter in France this year! Hugo seems to be adjusting really well – I think I miss France more than he does! But I think there have been some things that he didn’t expect. I’ll see what he says!

      1. I’ve always thought it’s a wee bit too big for its own good! (Brilliant analogy for it – a multi-level hamster maze!) I wouldn’t have a clue how to cook kale, so I always end up sticking to the vegetables I’m familiar with (#boringBrit). I’d say the majority of Michael McIntyre’s jokes are universally understandable, in that he doesn’t use too many expressions that non-Brits wouldn’t understand. He did do a pretty entertaining sketch on American words, which I showed to my LANSAD students when we were doing Americanisation. It’s definitely not something I thought I’d miss! I think the stereotype of British weather is fairly accurate – it’s usually cold, even in summer, and often pretty grey – but I think growing up there in some ways changes your perspective of it. The good thing is that it’s a fairly mild climate – so none of this yo-yo effect over here where it goes from really warm for a few weeks, back to freezing and then back again! Look forward to reading that post 🙂

      2. I’ve just looked up Michael McIntyre and I found a bit where he talks about American words — not sure if it’s the same one, but he talks about how Americans have changed words like pavement and bin to be more descriptive. The best one (and the most accurate one) is “horseback riding” — I never realized it was weird!! I am still not sure how to cook kale, so I only eat it when someone else has prepared it 🙂 I tried once and it was so tough! Maybe I was supposed to buy baby kale?

      3. Yes – it was exactly that clip! I was in fits of giggles over that last one, as it wasn’t really a word I’d given much thought to before but it does seem very weird when he points it out! I wonder why baby kale is sold as “baby kale” but normal kale isn’t sold as “adult kale” 🙂

  4. Aside from Pirates of the Caribbean & Bend It Like Beckham, there’s not a single movie with Keira Knightley in it that hasn’t made me fall asleep. I like her and everything, but I just drop off almost as soon as she comes on screen!
    When you were younger did you ever read the Mediator series by Meg Cabot? It was set in Carmel (which I thought was a fictional place but obviously not) and I’m not sure if it’s the same one you’re referring to in this post, but I just about died when I read you went there.

    1. Haha I’m giggling at your parenthetical comment about Carmel being a fictional place — it is indeed real! If the Mediator series was set on the central coast in California, it is one and the same. (Is it too late for me to read it? I feel like I should now.) Funny only slightly related story: the first book I ever read in French way way long ago was a Marc Levy novel that took place in Carmel, and my grasp of French was only so so at the time so it took me over half the book to figure out that it was actually a sequel to a book I hadn’t read. Whoops. ANYWAY I’m excited to hear about all these books and movies set in Carmel and Monterey, it makes my life seem a lot more glamorous!

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