I’m struggling in the research process

I’m writing this to light a fire under my booty and to hold my future self accountable – there is no way I’m going to come on here in a few months and write a post about how I couldn’t finish my Master’s degree.

My research director is atypical of professors at French universities. From what I hear from friends and work and school colleagues of all nationalities, there is usually little to no guidance from one’s research director due to the large volume of students (PhD, Master’s, and License = Bachelor’s) under their direction. My directrice is constantly asking us to turn in bits of work, and she meets with us regularly to discuss our research. It’s always very helpful, but stressful since there is always a deadline. I know that I would leave most of the work until the end if she didn’t do this, but it doesn’t make it any less painful!

Reading and writing constantly in French is really difficult, but the worst part of all is every bit of progress I make, I realize how much more work I have to do. I guess that’s just how research is. I can’t believe some people do this their whole lives.

I took three lovely days off during our week of vacation last week to go to Dieppe in Normandy. I’m going to write a blog post as soon as I finish the 20 pages I need to turn in this week.

I want to go back here:

Dieppe-France

Lovely beach in Dieppe

Instead I am here:

Bibliothèque

Bibliothèque

Yay education!

Advertisements

Mid-Master’s – retrouve-moi au café

I’ve been insanely busy with school, my internship, and my volunteer work on the Board of my choir. Thus, not much time for blogging these days.

Recipes I’ve made lately that I might get around to posting include balsamic-roasted mushrooms with special umami salt as well as brown-butter cookies with pistachios and chocolate, although I wish I had dried cherries or candied orange rind to put in there too.

I’m in crunch mode for my mémoire so I’ve been rotating through cafes, libraries, and my bedroom.

I highly recommend Dose on the rue Mouffetard, even though it’s small. The baristas are so nice (they tutoyer-ed me!) and they have a stamp card (I’m a freak and I actually save up frequent buyer things to get my perks). And obviously good coffee.

And I love Institut Finlandais, right next to my Sorbonne classes. The baristas are very nice and I like how spacious it is. They have nice art exhibits on the giant wall and in the front you can buy cute expensive pillows and such.

IMG_2252

Hello cappuccino.

Back to work!

Grotesque shoes

I mentioned that during the rainstorm in Barcelona, Ottilia and I stopped into a Grotesque boutique and after trying on a few pairs I fell upon these. They were instantly super comfortable and totally fit my style. We all agreed that I had to have them – they seemed to be made just for me! In short, I fell in love. 🙂 I love me some shoes.

Grotesque_booties

My new booties!

I love wearing heels, but not when they hurt – who does?  I admit that comfort level and high prices are not necessarily correlated, as I’ve had some heels from Payless and Target that were super comfy.  Sometimes though, it’s worth it to splurge.  I just do that whole cost-per-wear calculation and I feel much better about spending a lot.

If a heel has a good, sturdy sole and a real leather or suede upper, it’s more likely to be comfortable and last longer. I took a gamble on this brand since I had never heard of them or owned a pair before, but after a month or so of testing, I can assure you that Grotesque shoes are worth the investment!

Grotesque_shoes_Longchamp

Shoes w/outfit

The soles are very stiff and sturdy so my feet were a little bit tender the first few times I wore them. But with the help of rough Paris streets and kilometers of metro tunnels I’ve been slowly molding them to my feet. The other slight ding I’m giving them is the suede laces – they become unlaced so easily, and it’s something I hated about my Sperry’s when I had them. Tying a knot before tying a bow has worked to keep them from coming untied, so it’s not the end of the world.

It looks like you can order online, although the prices are much higher and the options fewer than in-store in Barcelona. But, if you live in Barcelona, Munich, or Oporto, I highly recommend you pop in! Or, as it says on the website, you can write in for other “salespoints” – cute word! Happy shopping!

Grotesque Shoes
C/Elisabets 20 local 1
08001 Barcelona
Spain

La REcyclerie

Iiiiii am so happy that this unique place exists! I have some of my classes as well as my stage (=internship) at Porte de Clignancourt, a mention of which usually doesn’t elicit sighs of jealousy from my friends. Ok, so it’s not Saint Germain. However, real people live and work in this area, and there are some hidden treasures next to the Macdo, KFC and un-classy stores selling imitation shoes and suitcases – beautiful music performed by conservatory/Sorbonne students for affordable prices at one of the campuses of Paris-Sorbonne University (this is where I study and work, shameless marketing plug alert), an antique market every weekend, stores like this with cheap vintage clothes just waiting to be dug up, and now, La REcyclerie!

entrance_of_La_REcyclerie-Paris_18-Porte-de-Clignancourt

Upon entry of La REcyclerie

Where to begin? There are so many great things happening in this place. It is located right inside the old, abandoned train station that was part of la petite ceinture (basically the pre-Métro – great photos here). It is a restaurant, bar, cafe, event space, all with a no-waste, green ethos. And yes, I see the irony in my writing a blog post on my Macbook Air about an association whose philosophy is centered around low-tech things, but hey…the new generation gets their information online, so I’m providing it. They have frequent workshops – DIY eco-beauty products, and events where you can use their tools for free to give new life to broken furniture and things. I love the spirit behind that.

Lamb-brochettes-La-REcyclerie_Paris-18_Porte-de-Clignancourt

Lamb brochettes

The inside is spacious and light-filled with plenty of seating options. The canteen-style food is based on regional themes that change weekly. The week I ate there was Moroccan week, and it was good! It’s definitely the best option for lunch in the quartier – I must say that I’ve had my fill of CROUS food.

I’ve also popped in just to study and write – the espresso is good and I love that they have sirop à l’eau for just 1€. And because the space is so big, there are no glares from the servers, and did I mention there is free wifi?

La-terrasse_La-REcyclerie_Paris-18_Porte-de-Clignancourt

La terrasse

Ok so I saved the best for last: you can also go outside to a long, narrow terrasse right next to the old tracks, which faces a community garden and is right under the chicken coop! It’s so nice to be in a space like this instead of directly on the street like most cafes.

La-terrasse_La-REcyclerie_Paris-18_Porte-de-Clignancourt

Looking back at the cafe from the terrasse

A friend had her birthday here a few weeks ago.  Though there were many people there that night, it didn’t feel packed like every other bar here.  There is so much space for everyone to spread out!  No sweating and shouting to be heard on a Friday night?!

La REcyclerie
2 rue Belliard
75018 Paris

Chez Paul

No, I’m not talking about this place (although I’ve totally eaten there before – ça passe!) – Chez Paul is a lovely, classic French restaurant not far from my current apartment.

I was lucky enough to have a week-long visit from my parents last week. I can’t believe how many things we managed to do – Seine dinner cruise (do it), the Louvre (never again), Giverny (amazing), OpenTour bus ride (surprisingly awesome), Musée Carnavalet (my new favorite museum), plus shopping, eating, and café-ing.

Based on the décor, which looked to be 60s-era (with some fun neon tube lighting added on in the 80s), and some of the staff who joked around and seemed to know everyone, the restaurant seems to have been around forever. We ordered classic dishes (steak with sauce Béarnaise for my mom and I and poulet for my dad) and desserts (tarte tatin and fruit salad with crème anglaise), and wine of course. It was the exact type of meal we love to eat when they are in Paris. High-quality, perfectly cooked meat with my ultimate vice, fried potatoes.

Dad awaits his chicken

Dad awaits his chicken

This place is no-fuss, charming, and reasonably priced. They have tables out front and the area has tons of bars and restaurants. We profité-d by going to Atelier Charonne right down the street after dinner to hear some jazz. It was a super soirée!

Chez Paul
13 rue de Charonne
75011 Paris
Tel : 01 47 00 34 57
Métro : Ledru-Rollin (8), Bastille (1, 5, 8), Charonne (9)

Atelier Charonne
21 rue de Charonne
75011 Paris
Tel : 01 40 21 83 35
same métros as Chez Paul

Used clothing shopping

So, not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but Paris is expensive. WHAT!

When I still lived in the US, I shopped at used-clothing stores all the time to save money. Living in a high-fashion, trendy place sucks when you have no cash. It’s not that Paris doesn’t have used-clothing stores, but they are more “vintage” than “thrift” and so the store owners charge unbelievably high prices. For my budget shopping here I’ve been relegated to stores that I’m getting so sick of – H&M, C&A, Tati (so classy!), stores in Belleville…

Recently my coworker mentioned Guerrisol. I’m STOKED – it’s an actual used-clothing store and it’s cheap. I now pop in every chance I get and rifle through the clothes, slinking around the store employees who are usually removing more fripes from giant plastic bags and placing them on the racks.

Last week I SCORED a silk butterfly sequin top, made in India – in great condition and only €10. I’ve had a rough month so I treated myself.

I HAD to have it

I HAD to have it

Plus, it’s definitely a wardrobe staple – every girl needs one in her closet. 😉

Front and back!

Butterflies on both sides!

Go find your treasure!

Guerrisol
96 bd de Barbes
75018 Paris
(This location had a lot of Indian items, the one in the 13th has smaller sizes)

IMG_0789

Sparkle motion!

Raviolis Chinois Nord-est

OMG let me tell you about my new favorite restaurant – 5€ for 10 raviolis! But French people are weird and what they call raviolis are what I call potstickers, so don’t go here expecting any cheese or tomato sauce.

Raviolis!

Raviolis!

My friend Kate brought me here a few weeks ago and I went again last weekend after suggesting it to a friend for her birthday dinner. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall place right in Belleville. The menu is simple – tons of raviolis in different incarnations either grillé (fried) or à la vapeur (steamed), plus some soups and salads. I really enjoy the porc/poivron ravioli, and I became obsessed with their peanut salad! It’s just carrots, cucumbers, and peanuts in a really spicy dressing (hot chili oil and raw garlic are the only ingredients I could figure out but I’m sure there are others) – but there’s something about it that’s just so good! I’ve attempted a version of it at home because I was getting major cravings for it after eating there the first time and I can’t make it up to Belleville every day. Dice up some carrots, cucumbers with the skin on, radishes (my addition), and mix them with salted peanuts, some hot chili paste or oil, half a minced clove of garlic and a bit of vinegar for a zingy and crunchy salad!

Fun to eat with chopsticks

Fun to eat with chopsticks

This place is a must for anyone on a budget, or if you simply want to change it up from the old jambon-beurre on baguette. There is one non-meat version with tofu that my friend seemed to enjoy, so vegetarians won’t be completely left out. The service was friendly and quick both times I went. Oh, and if you realllly love these, you can purchase 100 frozen ones for 20€ – I’m so tempted but I think I’d eat them all in one go.

Raviolis Chinois Nord-est
11 rue Civiale
Paris 10e

Happy Nouilles

Zati at Happy Nouilles

In December, I decided to check out this noodle place I’d read about on Girl’s Guide to Paris. I met up with Phoebe to try it for the first time; she was running late, so I stood outside and noticed that one of the chefs was making the noodles I was about to eat by hand!  I quickly became engrossed as she took a large chunk of dough in her hands and stretched her arms wide, pulling the dough with her as she went. She did this repeatedly until she had an armful of noodles. Who knew it was so simple?!  Every so often she would look up at me and smile, and I’d try to slyly look away and pretend I wasn’t drooling.

Phoebe and I sat at one of the tiny tables and we both ordered the noodle soup called “Zati” that is made with spicy ground pork. It’s hard to know which aspect of this amazing soup to devour first – the spicy and flavorful broth, the chewy and salty noodles, the meat and beans hidden throughout, or the sprinkling of onions and cilantro that freshen it up.

Zati 2 at Happy Nouilles

This is embarrassing but the following fact will illustrate how good this place is: I went to Happy Nouilles three times in three weeks and returned a fourth time last weekend. It snowed for a few days last week and I was chilled to the bone.  I knew this soup would be the perfect thing for a snowy Saturday.  Now I’m hoping it snows again so I can return, although if it doesn’t I’ll probably go anyways.  🙂

Happy Nouilles
95 Rue Beaubourg
75003 Paris
metro Arts et Métiers
*be aware that it’s usually packed and there is not much space between each table – not the most comfortable dining experience but delicious all the same