Monthly Slice: July

I am writing this post from grey Monterey – it’s the first time in weeks that I’ve been able to get cozy in my sweatpants and spend some quality time with my own MacBook, not at work.

If you are at all in sync with the Gregorian calendar, you may have noticed that July ended a few weeks ago, and yet here I am still writing about it, because I stubbornly refuse to stop writing these monthly posts until I have a collection of twelve. I may have to rethink them next year though – my blogging time is limited and I would rather write more useful posts.

Highlights

July was awesome because Hugo’s parents came to visit from France! It was their first time on the west coast and they loved California. We showed them around San Francisco, spent a sweltering weekend in wine country, and took them down to foggy Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove. They were surprised by the Bay Area microclimates – drive twenty minutes east and the weather is completely different, for better or worse!

We visited Calistoga and St Helena, two tourist spots on the wine trail, but Healdsburg was my favorite. Exploring these little towns was the best part about visiting this region – wine tasting here can be pretty expensive. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather just pick up some bottles and have a DIY tasting with friends.

img_2875We had less than two days to show them around the Monterey area, where we’ve been living for most of the last year, but we came up with the perfect itinerary that hit almost all our favorite spots. (We went to three beaches in one day!)

There is always fresh, Instagrammable produce at my parents’ house. This turned into a delicious California dinner for Hugo’s parents. (There was even California cheese, which got the French stamp of approval.)

Our friends came to visit San Francisco on the one boiling hot day of the summer. We waited in a huge line to get ice cream from the Garden Creamery. It was so worth it.

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The company I interned at this summer encourages employees to take time off work to volunteer, and that’s how I ended up spending the day at City Slickers Farms in Oakland. Their mission is to educate community about urban farming and healthy food and to provide organic produce to West Oakland residents who wouldn’t otherwise have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

If you’re in the Bay Area, I highly recommend dropping in to volunteer on a Thursday or supporting their organic market on Saturday!

The company also took all 300+ interns to Santa Cruz for the day… and I remembered that I hate roller coasters! Turns out I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m about to be flung to my death.

The sunset was nice though. Next time I’ll stay on the ground and take pictures.

Weekday happy hour at Uno Dos Tacos is my go-to because it goes all evening (none of this 6 pm cutoff nonsense). And they make a great margarita in those pretty blue-rimmed glasses.

My favorite thing about living in California is the coastal views. Hugo and I were driving back from Half Moon Bay and we just pulled over to watch the sunset. Pictures never do it justice.

Reading

I blazed through Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert’s book on marriage. She relates her personal story of reconciling with her aversion to marriage through musings and a thorough examination of the institution of marriage across couples and cultures. This all happens when her partner – yes, the one from Eat, Pray, Love – is threatened with deportation, and the only recourse to get married… the one thing they’ve vowed not to do.

Watching

Master of None. Did anyone else watch the second season?! The first episode takes place in Modena, and it made me want to fly to small town Italy and eat all the pasta. I like this show because it’s not afraid to depart from the main arc and tell a story from someone else’s perspective (while at the same time telling the oldest story on earth: Dev wants a girl he can’t have.)

Trader Joe’s July favorite

We tried the vanilla éclairs and they are pretty tasty! The choux pastry can’t compare to a fresh éclair in France (it’s a little chewy), but if you eat them before they defrost all the way, the filling tastes like ice cream. Yum.

Pinterest board of the month

In honor of summer, a board of refreshing cocktail recipes! (If you’re not into cocktails, I have a board just for smoothies.)

Full disclosure: I am way too lazy to make any cocktail with more than three ingredients, but I keep adding fruity drinks to this Pinterest board in the hopes that I will someday become the kind of person who makes her own simple syrup and ice cubes with flowers in them.

I have a little break before the semester starts and I’m looking forward to catching up on my blog reading – I’ve missed a lot over the last couple months. (I’m sorry, blogger friends!) Let’s see if I can write about August before we’re already halfway through September. Cheers to the last month of summer!

 

13 Things to do in Lyon in the summer

I love Lyon all year round, but there’s something about summer. (For one thing, it’s the only time of year I actually want to leave my apartment after 9 pm.) Summer means rosé-drenched picnics, sunny afternoons with a cone of melon sorbet, and finally being able to wear that sundress that sits untouched in my closet nine months a year.

I admit that last summer, there was a period when it was so hot that I spent three days prone on the couch in front of the fan watching Orange is the New Black and drinking grapefruit Pulco like it was my job.

But when you’re not hiding from the scorching heat, Lyon is pretty great in the summer. Here are a few things I love to do during the estival months in Lyon.

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Monthly Slice: June

A slice of June..

Life in SF

June was my first full month in San Francisco and it was glorious! I explored new neighborhoods, wandering all over the city in the sunshine. I tried the Mint Mojito iced coffee from Philz for the first time – it sounds like it should be weird, but it’s delicious and refreshing!

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Monthly Slice: May

Hi! May went by in a blur. I wrapped up the end of the school year and Hugo and I moved up to San Francisco for the summer.

Wait, don’t you already live in San Francisco?

Nope! I go to school a few hours south of San Francisco in a small town on the coast. I’m excited to be in the city for the summer – I plan to eat my way through the neighborhoods, little by little. Leave me a note if you have any SF recommendations or favorite neighborhoods! (And if you’ve blogged about San Francisco, share the link – I’d love to read it.)

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Monthly Slice: April

A slice of April…

Sometimes, writing these little monthly reviews makes me feel like the most boring person on earth. Remember when I used to traipse around Europe and eat cake? These days, it’s mostly just me reading about machine translation and taking photos of my cat. Does the internet really need more photos of cats?

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A French Guy in California: Hugo talks about culture shock in the U.S.

I think that Hugo’s biggest moment of American culture shock was when he opened a bottle of ibuprofen.

He came running in and exclaimed, “Sweetie! The weirdest thing just happened!” He held out the plastic bottle. “Look what was in it!” Wide-eyed, he pulled out a wad of cotton. “C’est pas comme en France!” 

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French Expressions: Two times my students were the cutest ever

Most teachers know what it feels like to buried under a pile of marking (or what I call “grading”). Once I spent the entire week of Toussaint vacation grading exams, and it took more time than an actual week of teaching. The only bright spot was finding hilarious mistranslations and other mirth-inducing wranglings of the English language.

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Monthly Slice: March

A slice of March…

Highlights

A day in Santa Cruz – Hugo and I drove up to Santa Cruz and spent a lovely day wandering. We left our laptops behind and took the day off from normal life and it was wonderful. It was like a tiny vacation. That sounds silly because it’s less than an hour away, but I thought it was as much fun as wandering through Lisbon or Sète or Oxford. It’s just nice to go somewhere beautiful and explore, no matter how far from home you are.

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3 Dreamy Neighborhoods to Wander in Paris

Sometimes I read guides to Paris that claim there’s nothing much to see in the 19th and 20th (except for Père Lachaise) and it drives me absolutely batty. I adore this part of Paris. True, the outer arrondissements are large, so they’re not uniformly lovely and interesting, but that makes stumbling upon beautiful fairytale streets all the more delightful.

Paris is all about new discoveries for me. I lived there for a year before I moved to Lyon and I’ve been back countless times, but I still discover new pockets of the city every time I’m there. I visited all three of these neighborhoods for the first time on my last trip to Paris, and I think they’re some of the most enchanting streets in the whole city.

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What I Learned from my Whole 30

Last month I told you that I was doing a Whole 30 — some of you have been following along on Instagram where I mini-blogged the experience on a daily basis. The short story is that it didn’t accomplish what I was hoping for, but I’m still glad I did it, and food will never be the same.

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