Are we ready to bare it all? Should we be?

What exactly constitutes indecent exposure?  No shirt, No shoes, No service; we all know that. But when the weather warms up, things come off and people tend to push the limits with what is acceptable attire.  How much is too much?

Apparently in New York there is no way of knowing.  You really never know what you may find.  Just the other day I saw a lady walking down Broadway with blue lipstick and painted lines on her face.  Maybe she was an actor off to a gig, I don’t know, but nobody budged.  New Yorkers are immune to crazy.  They eat crazy for dinner.

The girl I saw this afternoon, however, was different from most.  It all began in my office actually. My coworker approached me and told me that she had just passed a girl on the street wearing jeans and no top.  I asked the obvious questions: “you mean no bra? No sheer shirt? She was wearing nothing?”  When the answers all pointed to “Yes, this girl was bare breasted, no top in sight,” I was shocked that someone would have the balls to walk around like that.  Then I ventured out of the office and went to the park.  People were lying around, half-naked, trying to capture as much vitamin D as possible.  No harm in that!  Then I noticed everyone starting in one direction with looks of amused disbelief (are you getting that image?).  I turned around to see what the source was and that is when I saw her; jeans, shoes, tote bag, and no top to be found!  Was she trying to form a public opinion about something?  A crazy journalistic scheme?  Honestly, I think she just thought it was OK.  OK to sit there and not have a top on.

Was it? Is it?

our lady is top right.

My sister has a vivid memory of our first trip to France.  It includes breasts;  naturally.  We were living with a family in Provence and spent the afternoon at a rocky, sea urchin infested beach (I am bitter because one of these creatures got stuck in my foot. Story for another post!).  Maybe I was so upset about my foot that I wasnt as affected by the exposed woman on the beach, or maybe it was my inner European/French side taking flight.  Anyhow, my sister remembers a woman who had a tattoo of the sun encircling her nipple.  It was only this past weekend that her “traumatic” event was exposed (pun intended?).  Seeing woman with their breasts bare, even on the beach (sun tatoo or not), was culturally shocking to my sister.  I have to imagine it would be like this for most Americans. We are prudish when it comes to nudity.  Even when the nude are children.  For example, this weekend our neighbors at the shore had their two little girls running around outside, playing games and walking their baby doll in a stroller, stark naked.  Not the usual bottoms-only beach attire that kids sometimes have, but entirely naked.  I really didn’t think much of it, I actually think that’s part of the beach baby look.  My relatives however, seemed to think it was the most “hippie” thing ever!  “So granola,” they said.

In France, babies and woman wear bottoms-only at the beach while men walk around in tiny Speedos.  Same in Spain and most of Europe I assume, although I have not traveled to all of the world’s beaches (now there is an idea..).  It is an acceptable part of their culture and people don’t gawk at the site of saggy boobs or sunshine tattoos.

I am not saying that “naked lady in the park” should have been exposing her chest to the world, although after some research I have found that it is entirely legal activity.  It does bring up some cultural conversations though.  Maybe we Americans need to relax a bit; loosen up.  After living in Europe, I appreciate America for its ability to harvest our craziest dreams.  On the flip side however, there are so many issues that we are stuck-in-our-ways about.  Drinking age, topless beaches, filtering movies and songs because of content…

Are we uptight?  Is one bare-breasted lady ready to start a revolution? Should we be taking our tops off….ok ok I have gotten a head of myself:)

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Much ado about something

Here I am, back at my desk and back to mulling over the worlds problems. Or just my own world’s problems I guess. 

What to do next…  With an expired lease staring me in the face, lots of debt and a less-than-Manhattan-worthy salary at a job that depresses me; decisions seem to be evident.  The door is open but should I walk through it or continue walking blindly optimistic down this hallway?   The room with the open door would be so comfortable, especially as the hallway’s lights seem to flicker making it hard to see what’s around the corner.  Of course progress has been made and why leave when so many other doors fill the hall?  Who knows what awaits if I just persist a bit more.  But how much longer? 

I’m not actually looking for answers (and maybe you don’t even “get” my analogy).  I know I need to be silent and listen to myself.  Difficult to do in a city like Manhattan.

I recently read this writing sample from Marina Keegan, a 22-year-old Yale grad who died just this past weekend in a car accident.  Her words are powerful and thought-provoking.  Take a read

Me?  I am going to find a bench and a pad of paper: essentials for my decision-making process.

Memorial Day weekend

I hope that everyone enjoyed a great memorial day weekend. I was happy to leave the city grind and head to the beach.  Long Beach Island New Jersey has always been my home away from home.  It’s my number one escape destination.  A relaxing place to be and a place that holds so many cherished memories for my family and me.

Seafood, sand, long walks and lots of laughing.  We had a great weekend and AMAZINGLY sunny weather. I was even able to take a dip (65* waters).

 

1. clams for happy hour

2. surf and turf. Salmon and Moroccan chicken.

3. drinks!! PLus an impromptu wine tasting with my dernière bouteille of David Duband wine (back to France in a month for more).

4. Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all of our troops, past and present.

 

MDCV

This post will be brief. Brief because my work day is brief. Brief because this week was too long to add to it a long post. Brief because the holiday weekend (the one that rings in the summer) awaits us all. Let’s begin…

Love checking out this site to see what people are making out of their passions. INSPIRED

I think I need white sneakers this summer. INVESTMENT

This is my idea of greatness! YUMMY

Answer this. It will make your day brighter. HAPPY

I don’t know where this is but I want to sit there, turn off my brain and read a book that makes me laugh.  DESIRE

I’m off to the beach. Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone.

PS-I took this photo in Italy. Isn’t she sassy!? I am in the process of uploading my photography to Flickr. Make sure to check it out 🙂

Finally

Over Mother’s Day weekend I FINALLY made the bean sloppy-joe recipe that I have mentioned so many times.

I was craving burgers, so instead of using the beans as a main course we put them together for a tasty side dish.  I even had enough to bring back to NYC with me 🙂

If I remember correctly, the sloppy joe was one of the American meals I made in France.  The family I lived with always asked me to make American meals but thinking of truly “American” things never seemed easy.  We did burgers, a spin on macaroni and cheese (Velveeta was the plan but I had trouble finding the box) and I even made pancakes with Bisquick (I actually had my dad bring over a box when they visited).  Since America is a melting pot of cultures, each time I thought of meals I was used to eating on the other side of the pond I came up with Italian, Mexican, German…  A sloppy joe however, well that is about as American as I can think of!

Only if for a night

Last weekend I went to see Florence and the Machine in concert.  It all went down in Atlantic City, NJ at the Borgata.  It was my first time seeing a show there and I was really impressed.  The acoustics were great and the standing room made for an intimate experience.

My friend Chelsea’s family has a beautiful house in Ocean City where we stayed the night.  On our way down Saturday, we stopped in center city Philadelphia to enjoy the gorgeous weather.  After a nice stroll and yummy food we were Jersey bound, arriving just in time for happy hour margaritas on the deck.

When we arrived in Atlantic City later that evening the sun was setting, making for a great photo.

Then it was time for the concert.  After a less than stellar opening act, Florence came out in a black cape with metallic detailing on the shoulder pads.  As she twirled, jumped and belted her hits, we tried to find the best place to enjoy the show (the beauty of standing room).  Our final choice was right up front and to the side of the stage.  Except for a drunk girl who ran like a maniac through the crowd spilling beer all over us,  our “seats” rocked; room to dance and fully enjoy Florence!

We couldn’t leave the casino without testing our gambling luck.  It’s a good thing that luck was on our side ($7 worth of luck) because the cabs out of AC are a bit pricey.  We managed to barter it down a bit but those drivers really ask a lot for the trip home.

All in all a great weekend activity.  Great music, venue and time with friends.

MDCV

How is it Friday again?  I cannot believe I am saying this but it feels like just yesterday I was writing last week’s TGIF post!  I have been a busy bee…so busy that I have a few half-written posts about last weekend’s adventures that need to be shared! Désolé mes amis. Good things are worth the wait 🙂

Here are the tidbits from my week of interviewing, working multiple jobs and getting little sleep.  Even if blog stalking was on a back burner, I still have some things to share as you begin a beautiful weekend. PS- weather.com is just as pumped for weekends as Becoming French; they have a countdown on their page.  J’adore!

 

Madison Square Park

 

“Every Friday Lindsey from Lost in Cheeseland writes about a francophile.  She asks consistent questions but the answers are always interesting because she finds such different candidates to share.  This week things really got creative because Texas and Paris have converged on her site.  Enjoy reading about this Parisian cowgirl (I didn’t even know that was possible). 
Before I leave this subject, I have to quote the post because what Ellise says is one of the many things I enjoy most about France (read it and say AMEN with me),

“It’s still hard to understand how the city’s most famous ice cream maker, Berthillon, closes for the month of August, the biggest tourist month of the year. As an American you think, how is this possible? They could make so much money! This would never happen in the U.S. – and it probably wouldn’t. But this tells you everything a foreigner needs to know about French culture: business and making money aren’t the most important things in life.”

“Last night I watched HBO’s new show, “Girls”.  I am still trying to figure out how I feel about it.  In the beginning (when it aired) I was a bit anti but last night I very haphazardly gave it a try.  I am not sure I really want to spend any amount of time watching people have awkward sexual encounters (check out my friend’s blog for more on that topic), as this seems to be a bulk of the show.  Despite this, I found myself laughing out loud and sadly relating to the “broke girl in NYC” parts.  So do I give it a chance?  Is this going to become my guilty pleasure? Only time will tell.

“Simple enough: I’m craving this.  After a week of chocolate cravings to the max, I am ready for the fruity yet tangy bite that rhubarb gives.  This fruit/veggie (it is confused, much like a tomato) was first introduced to me as I indulged with a homemade tarte in France last year.  I was hooked!

“Love Reed Krakoff. Adore Garance Doré.  So when they collaborated on this project I knew I would love it! I think you will too.

“I’m dreaming this week of Cannes, France where the annual film festival began Wednesday.  This event is like a fairytale (most film events have this impression on me).  Celebrity, French Riviera, yachts, movies, fancy fashion, cocktail parties… Unfortunately, last year when living in France, I dropped the ball on making the dream of attending a reality.  Guess that just means I have something to look forward to (I want to go when I have the money to spend on such lavish living anyways).  This year the event kicked off with “Moonrise Kingdom.”  I am curious to see how the featured films are received by the press and public.  Last year’s event launched “The Artist” all the way to the Oscar podium.  Will this year bode such results?

“I’m so pumped because one of my favorite blogs is BACK!  I was wondering where she had been hiding and am happy to see the blog taking new design and inspiration.  Change is good!

OK ENOUGH! Go outside and enjoy the weather. Get off your computer! My best friend is in town and I cannot wait to explore the city with her.  She gets off the train in about 2 hours and I plan to meet her halfway (my office is super close).  Meeting halfway, coming off of the train, luggage in hand, on the streets of NYC; I am thinking it will be like a 1920’s film.  We may just have to run into each others arms… I told you I get carried away when I think of movies 🙂

Fra0238-small by lucbus
Fra0238-small, a photo by lucbus on Flickr.

vegan eats

Living in France my diet was very meat heavy.  I went to the butcher about once or twice a week and picked up fresh-cut veal, lamb, steaks and many times things that I did not recognize (just translate tête de veau and get back to me).  My diet was heavy in cheese, wine and red meats but I felt healthier in France than I ever did in America (my theories behind this for a future post).  So when I got back to The States where chicken is the staple on my table, I missed the charcuterie and unprocessed meats I ate overseas.  A bigger shock, however, was getting used to the large vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan culture that has developed in America. 

One of my dearest friends is vegan; Another one vegetarian.  My friends and I often get together over meals so I had to get used to making sure that the places where we meet are sensitive to my friends’ needs.  Whole Foods is an easy choice but a girl can only eat so much quinoa and sprouts in a box.  So we have made sure to do some investigating and take trips to unknown destinations to spice it up a bit.  Major metropolitan areas seem to have an abundance of options available for the food sensitive and since we live just outside of Philadelphia, taking advantage of them is not a problem. 

Since my homecoming, I have experienced some really great restaurants and foods during these girls-night-outs.  Many of them are places I would never have found without my ladies because the cuisine is specifically catered to the vegan culture.  And don’t just think of salads or veggie burgers.  One of my favorite vegan plates was the smoked coconut club at Memphis Taproom.  My favorite part was that the smoked coconut tasted like bacon!  Maybe that grosses some vegans out but for a non-vegan, eating vegan, it was a nice surprise. 

Last weekend the destination was Hip City Veg.  This new hot spot is not only vegan safe but it strives to provide a completely plant-based experience.  From the delivery of food (on a bike) to the packaging of the gigantic burgers (compostable paper), this Rittenhouse Square eatery impressed me by putting its “hippest” foot forward 🙂

And what is dinner without dessert?  My friends and I crave ending a meal on a sweet note.  I am baking challenged, but I know that eggs and milk are important in creating that moist, well-balanced baked good.  If you know anything about the vegan diet, you realize that these ingredients are on the Do Not Consume list.  So when vegan desserts first came to my mind I was nervous that things would crumble apart.  (Remember my experience doing some vegan baking?)  Well this is just not the case.  There are so many alternative ingredients and ways to make finger-lickable treats.  My friend always finds delicious recipes: she is a great baker!  This weekend, after our feast at Hip City, we decided to buy our goodies at a bakery on South Street.  The bakery we chose, which was featured on Cupcake Wars, is worth putting on your list.   

Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia is gluten-free, vegan and allergy friendly. I suggest getting the huge cookie sandwiches with icing in the middle.

But I am who I am and even if I love eating these new foods and hanging out with my friends while doing it, a slice (or 5) of pizza at the beach is something I just wont be giving up 🙂

Celebrating my Mom

I am always a little sad as I travel back into the city on a Monday morning.  Especially after spending such a nice weekend with friends, family and sunshine.  So with gray skies and rain again on the radar, I am planning on reliving my weekend by sharing it all here with you this week!

Visiting me in Franceland!

In France Mother’s Day will be the last Sunday in May but for us Americans it was this past Sunday.  I feel the need to tribute my mom with a post 🙂

My mom is the best!  Simply put.  I have found that during the past few years I have developed a new relationship with many members of my family.  Part of growing up I guess.  My mom is no exception, as our relationship has grown into a very give and take sort of thing; advice and support dished and received from both parties.  I also feel that I might appreciate my mom more than ever after living in a foreign country where I saw many different versions of moms (and where I “played mom” some days myself).

My mom is a very tough lady (the only girl in between four boys might have been the cause)!  She has three daughters who still lean on her almost every day even though we all live under separate roofs.  She has an extremely challenging job working with autistic high schoolers.  She just went back to get her masters and earned a 4.0 while doing it.  She makes time to meet friends for coffee and stays actively involved in church and community activities.   And these are things in the present.  When we were all living at home and swimming 24/7, she was waking up early to get us to this or that practice, making sure a hot meal was ready to be eaten right when we walked in, taking us shopping before the big dances (and spending money on it too)…. I could go on forever.  She does it all and always has.

She and my dad raised my two sisters and me in a way where there were rules and structure.  When we reached a certain age, however, we were let go to make our own mistakes, decisions and create our identity.  We really weren’t given a limit to how high we were allowed to dream; for me, especially within the past few years, this is the biggest blessing!

As you get older you notice more of the nitty-gritty of your family.  Mine is far from perfect.  But even so, I am sure if I sat and compared it to others, I would quickly be able to justify the facts that my mom, the supporter of the whole crazy flock, is the best!  She is the glue, she is the enforcer and she has shown me exactly how I want to raise my family one day.*

Even this morning she got up early to make me monkey bread.  Last night I realized that I had forgotten to make it during the weekend.  Totally unnecessary and totally my mom’s love shining through deliciously buttery and sugary goodness.  She is the bomb.

Mother bird is a 4.0 student,  4.0 daughter, 4.0 wife (I’ll speak for you dad) and most of all a 4.0 mom.  I just can’t believe how much my mom does!

She is the best and I love her so much.

I am weird and my mom loves me for it 🙂

 

*My dad AND mom do a phenomenal job together.  It takes two as they say.  But this past weekend wasn’t Fathers Day, so dad will just have to wait for his praise  🙂

 

MDCV

Les dames et monsieurs, we have again arrived at VENDREDI!!! yippie. I don’t know about you but this week has kicked my sorry butt.  I am super ready for a weekend adventure out of the city. 

`Tonight I travel home where I will be greeted at the train station by my lovely sister.  Last time I saw her was down in TN, so I am stoked to see her face. 

`Saturday I am off to New Jersey.  Being a shore-baby, I couldn’t be happier!  My two girlfriends and I have tickets to the Florence and the Machine concert in Atlantic City.  Lucky us, my friend’s family has an amazing house in Ocean City where we will be soaking in salt air and exfoliating our feet in the sand.  

`Sunday it’s back to PA for quality time with my momma.  More to come next week about our celebration of my amazing mother. 

Before it all begins, here are some tidbits and shenanigans from my week blog surfing behind my desk…

I have this new obsession with Amsterdam after seeing A Cup of Jo’s post about her vacation there.  Don’t her pictures just make you want to get on a bike and rent a house-boat?  Maybe I am just obsessed with bikes this week…

I’m getting super excited for my return to France in about a month; even if I did go against the original plan by actually buying a return ticket back home. I mentioned this before on my Tumblr, but I am planning on seeing this exhibit while in Paris.  These two ladies (one and two) have some photos from this Marc Jacobs/ Louis Vuitton showcasing.

I love asparagus.  Behind fresh corn on the cob, it is my favorite spring/summer side.  Al dente with no fuss of a dressing or sauce is my favorite way to enjoy.  In all honesty, I have never really seen it prepared in a creative way.  That was until I found this recipe where my favorite veggie is shaved and raw!  I just have to give this a try asap.  

I know very well that my blow dryer is out of date*.  Every day I use it and every day, when my hair finally dries, there is a strong smell of burning hair.  Gross, I know.  I realize its most likely going to blow up one day but for now I am just lucky to have fast drying locks.  Although it is old, my online browsing** this week opened my eyes to just how prehistoric it is.  Check out these dryers.  Seriously? A touch screen?  Do you guys have these futuristic tools?

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Not for its timing but for its components!  A hearty breakfast is perfect any time of the day.  When I was younger I always loved when breakfast was for dinner 🙂  In France I missed having brunch and Sunday morning pancakes.  This blogger shares my soft spot for this American staple and her photos just makes my mouth water!

My best friend has shown me this blog a few times and now I am showing you all because it’s perfect.  I especially love the “A Picture An Hour” section.  How adorable are these kiddos and how fun is their mom?!

So many of my favorite daily reads have been updating their blogs/sites these days.  It’s inspiring me to take the steps to improve my own!!  What would you all like to see? What am I missing?  I have my own ideas for changes and improvements but would love to hear from my readers as well.

Félicitations à Garance and Scott*** for receiving the  CFDA Eugenia Sheppard Media Award!  What a neat idea they have to collaborate with fans in producing a short video montage.  I think my videography skills might have to get some exercise this coming week.  Garance’s blog is something I read daily and I always find inspiration in her stories. 
 
*OK this one is super random for you all but something I think of daily.

**I say browse because as you know, shopping is something I am not allowed to be doing!

***Yes, I will call them by their first name like we know each other personally. Don’t judge me.

I hope youre weekend is as peaceful as this photo looks!