Monday, February 28, 2011


So, super Passport Smiles style (train-train-bus-flight-bus-train), I'm going to Stockholm, Sweden. Currently, I'm sitting in the Frankfurt-Hahn airport, waiting for my late flight. I have February vacation with my school in France, so...I'm off! Well, I can trace my desire to go to Sweden to when I was studying Swedish society and politics in my International Studies major, because, well, it represents somewhat of a utopia. Yet, my cultural fascination really plays the role, by giving it that extra oomph. So here are just a few of my favorites from Sweden:

1) Ingmar Bergman (film):

 2) Jens Lekman (music):

3) Sandra and Elsa (Blogs): These two girls make me wish I had a fabulously fashionable Swedish life to document. Note to self: find super hip group of friends, buy good camera, move to Stockholm.
Niotillfem (aka Sandra--even though she's now living in New York City instead of Stockholm)
and Elsa Billgren:

And finally, my want to see Stockholm was further ignited by the "Sweden" Episode of Anthony Bourdain's series, No much so I think I had to journal about it while sitting in my cute little apartment in Murray, Kentucky during my Senior year of college (I hadn't been abroad then and doubted it would ever happen). So, the fact that I am finally about to go to Stockholm really means a lot to me. I wish I could go back to that doubtful-wanderlusting 23-year old and assure her it would happen. Okay, all that to say, last night, to pump myself for the trip like a good all locker-room speech before the game, I rewatched Anthony Bourdain while simultaneously bringing a little somethin' from home: sweet potato fries with horseradish sauce (a Nashville, Tennessee specialty, Fido style). YUM!

And since I haven't updated with a photo in a I am from last night, exhausted while prepping for my big trip...

And after Stockholm I will go to Copenhagen, Denmark. I hope to continue to blog along the way, but I make no promises. Woops, gotta go...don't want to miss the flight. A plus!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nashville Street Style

I would love to start a Nashville Street Style blog...if I were living in Nashville, but for the last few years, it's just been my home base. Yet, Refinery29 proves that it would, indeed be a great idea. Nashville was featured today on their website for street-style, and I can't help but share when my hometown gets a shout-out:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fun France Facts: Sippin' and Grubbin'

From the interesting to the trivial to the the mundane to the hilarious, here's an ongoing list of things that I have come to learn or realize during my months spent in Lorraine, France. Come back next time for 3 more.

Fun France Facts, Volume III: Sippin' and Grubbin'

Yes, what a surprise: talking about eating and drinking as a part of French culture is like mentioning drinking beer and eating donuts as the culture of Homer Simpson. It goes without saying, right? This is something that I love about the French: they are all about soaking up every ounce of pleasure while wining and dining. To ensure that this happens, they do the following...

1) C'est pas l'heure/ Il faut s'attabler:
 In America, you eat whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. In America, it's about convenience and swiftness. In France, it's about taking your time, sitting at the table, and having a proper meal at the proper time. One way that they ensure this happens is that restaurants and shops close down during the afternoon between lunch and dinner. In addition, grocery stores only stay open til around 7:30 or 8:00. That's right, no late night trips to the grocery if you have a hankering for Doritos. No Cheesecake Factory staying open til 11pm to eat a late dinner. Not only do the French view this  "eating at the right time " as a great way to enjoy a meal the most, it's also seen as a way to maintain a proper healthy lifestyle (to stay thin) and keep the family together. Almost every night, French families eat together, whereas, I believe, this part is deteriorating in the US.  
2) Wine Country: "Everything in Moderation, even Moderation." I've often heard the French joke about the fact that their are viewed as alcoholics from abroad. However, I find it to be the contraire, mon frère (sorry, I had to). Yes, of course you have your alcoholics, but apart from that, I really respect the French's moderate attitude towards alcohol. In fact, alcohol is really just another vessel to better enjoy the meal (what a suprise!). You have an "aperitif" like white or port wine before the meal. During, you usually drink red. Then, sometimes after, an eau de vie or a liquor as dessert. As it is usually only consumed with a meal (which usually lasts for a long time with many courses), alcohol is more moderately consumed. In this sense, I believe it is a more "healthy" approach. Alcohol is something one can enjoy instead of just getting schmammered.

3) Les règles: OH MY! The rules of eating. There are so many that I doubt that I have them all down. If a French person is reading this, feel free to correct me. Okay, here we go...
  • Eat with both hands: fork in the left, knife in the right. Use the knife to "shovel" the food nicely onto the fork. This is actually something that is customary in many countries in Europe, but is not present in America. In the USA, we normally only eat like that while cutting a steak. Otherwise, it is polite to leave the hand you are not using resting under the table in your lap. Yet, in Europe, you are seen as poorly brought up if you eat like this.
  • Keep you hand on the table at all times: This goes along with the point above. You must keep you wrists and hands on the table during the whole meal...even in between courses when there is perhaps a long break. In America, we are taught to keep your hands nicely folded in your lap in between courses. In Europe, as I have been informed, this is seen as peasantry.
  • The bread stays on the table next to your plate, not on the plate. Bread is a huge part of the French diet, but it has it's own place during the meal. It will be used to eat with the meal (shoveling the food a bit) and after to render the plate clean.
  • The salad is eaten after the main course. Not before.
  • The appetizer is called "l'entree" where as an "entree" is the main dish in America (just one example of a false cognate from French).
  • After the meal, one can be offered cheese to eat instead of dessert.
  • A part from drinking wine, I have noticed that, in general, the French barely drink anything while eating. In fact, they barely drink any water at all. Just coffee and a lot of wine.
AH! Okay, that's all. Now go eat some Macaroons (another obsession of mine while in France)... ...and come back next week for 3 more Fun French Facts!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Be Mine

     (picture found via MILK--one of my favorite blogs)
    (Snoop Dogg and McD's found via Baubauhaus, another fav)

    Notes about Valentine's Day in France:
    1) It's only meant for couples; therefore, it's not celebrated in elementary schools like it is in the USA. No Valentine's Day decorated boxes for cards and candy.
    2) The Valentine's Candy hearts don't exist. I should've asked someone to ship them over for class.
    3) French people don't use XOXOXO to express kisses and hugs. Who would've known?

    Tomorrow, I will make my students create "friendly" Valentine's cards. I think it will work with the 6th graders, but I doubt it will work with any grade that's older. The risk of vulgarity is too strong.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

    Living abroad has really been a catalyst for change. You always hear that, but I can confirm that it's the truth. I've taken pretty huge strides in the personal development area of my life....even feeling fleeting moments of self-actualization (key word: FLEETING).

     (poster above- Mike Lamnski)
    Specifically, since Christmas, I've made 2 huge steps for the good of Sarah-mankind (me).  I won't go into too much detail, because, well, it's way too personal.

    Yet, I will say that one of the events involved being offended by a French Dr. Somebody while the other concerned a battle between the head and the heart in 3 different languages. (The heart trumped all).

    The reason I'm speaking of this specifically today, is because, well, that "heart trumped brain" decision was made today. The result=freedom. Yes, I feel free...

    No better feeling in the world. You see, after agonizing over a certain something, I finally made a decision and said NO or NON!
    So, I know that I've been surprising people with my actions and my new-found changes. In response to these people, nobody can express my sentiments better than Bachman-Turner Overdrive:
    You ain't seen nothin' yet
    B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen n-n-n-nothin' yet
    Here's something that you're never gonna forget
    B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen n-n-n-nothin' yet

    Kodachrome Thursday: Hedi Slimane

    HEDI SLIMANE: a French photographer and stylist. In his world, all is black and white. And, sometimes, that's just comforting.
    There's a whole lot more from where that came from. OOOddles and oodles more on his website. 
     Go there... now!
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