Plumdog: A Review
Plumdog is a beautifully illustrated tale of a sweet mutt named Plum in London. Plum's human mother, Emma Chichester Clark, has been blogging her dog's adventures since 2012. This book is a diary-like year-long tale of Plum's "discoveries, wry observations, and social engagements."
Wow - today kicks off our last week in France. In exactly one week, we'll be on a plane headed to Charlotte-Douglas. The next day, we'll be in cars back to Greenville. Everything went oh-so-fast. But there will be time for remembering and reflection later - today the only thing we're remembering (sort of) is our last full weekend in France that we spent with my little brudder and sissy-in-law.
Side note: Growing up, I did not want any siblings. When my mother was pregnant with my brother, they asked if I wanted a little brother or sister. My response? "Emmy run away." (True story. My parents got it on video).
But things change. At age 31, I've decided having siblings is the best thing ever. So we were pretty excited when Wes and Megan said they were coming to visit on our last full weekend in France. I cannot think of any other two people I'd rather have visit us for one last chance to play tourist, visit a chateau, go wine tasting, and to generally have a good time burning the olive oil to make boeuf bourguinon whilst drinking honest-to-God Champagne and listening to Eric Church on Spotify while discussing which 2009 UNC Clef Hanger best sang "Africa" by Toto. Among other things.
Boeuf bourguinon takes a few hours to simmer. Conversations got interesting while we waited. We're really not as crazy as we sound, I promise.
One of the question I'm most often asked is, "What are you reading?" Or its closely related cousin: "What book(s) do you recommend?" It's one of my favorite questions to answer; I love helping someone find a really great book to read (just as much as I love them returning the favor!). In an effort to keep you up-to-date on the books frequently making their way into our apartment, I came up with this.
Books on Tap will become a semi-regular feature here at Something New, Something Different to let you into my often challenging but always rewarding literary world. I'll do another one as soon as I have read enough books to actually warrant another blog post. The next one should actually come fairly quickly since I'll be spending 8 hours on an airplane in the near future, and that facilitates a lot of reading.
So pour yourself a cup of tea, put the dog on your lap, and snuggle up - here comes the inaugural Books on Tap. May you find your next page-turner, and get thee to a library.
peace, love, and literature,
Bringing pretty home
Now that our time here is all-too-quickly drawing to a close, I'm making a special effort to enjoy those things that I know I'll miss most - fresh croissants, quality wine, cool weather. But there are a few things I like about France that I'll be able to bring back with me...like beauty products.
French women have quite the reputation for beauty, style, and elegance. Even after living here for six months, I still don't quite have the knack of emulating their look entirely. As Carrie Bradshaw famously said, "I will never be the woman with perfect hair who can wear white and not spill on it." These beauty products, however, are a good start. They've all been major lifesavers, and I'll definitely be stocking up before I return home.
The powers-that-be have spoken. Although we thought things were looking promising to get our stay extended, it's with sadness as well as happiness that we announce we are, in fact, coming home as planned: on October 5th. So this trip was pretty special, since it's our last weekend trip out of Tours until we head to Paris to fly home.
The giggles keep on coming, y'all. I can't help myself - I have to photograph them. And I share them with you because there's enough negative stuff out there. Sometimes you just need a good laugh. Enjoy round two - happy Friday!
It began with a tomato festival. After our raging success at the Garlic and Basil Festival, we were pretty excited to see posters advertising a tomato festival. I mean, between the two festivals, that's pasta sauce right there. Even better, this one was at a chateau, so we could mark another one off our list. So off we went, camera in hand and raincoat on arm in the event of rain. Thanks to a faulty GPS we went on a dirt road through fields and then onto what we suspect was a bike-only path before crossing the highway at a traffic circle to find the chateau. But we made it, in typical Stevenson fashion.
We were in London. When my brother was there on his (oft-mentioned) Eurotour, he had taken a phenomenal picture of the Eye. But no matter where I dragged my husband in a half-mile radius of that thing, I couldn't figure out where Wes had taken that picture to get the perfect combination of the Eye, greenery, and sky. We had crossed the river to the other side, walked down a little ways, and were crossing back on a different bridge when I absolutely lost it.
"Why can't I just be normal?! Why can't I take three photos with my iPhone and call it a day? Why do I have to lug around this @#$%ing heavy camera and take 4,000 pictures and walk around in circles trying to get the best possible angle/view and never being satisfied with it, anyway?!!"
On a completely unrelated note, my husband is a saint.
A college town notoriously full of writers and boozers - what could possibly be a better end to our Eurotrip than Dublin? Not much, as it turns out. We just wished we had had more time there - much more time. There were so many things in Dublin we didn't get to see: the Kilmainham Gaol, the Book of Kells at Trinity College Library, Dublinia Museum, Christ Church, and on and on and on.
But we're grateful we got to see what we did. Dublin was an amazing little town that we both love and we highly recommend visiting. It was an especially great for this bookworm and her beer/whiskey-loving husband. Both members of Team Stevenson gave Dublin a big thumbs-up. Want to end your Eurotour with a bang like we did? Keep reading for your final EuroTips blog...
Of all our destinations, I was most nervous about London. I was afraid I would hate it after the paradise that is Santorini. Funny how I was proven wrong.
Maybe it's because the cloudy 70-degree weather was a huge relief after the unrelenting heat and sunshine of Italy and Greece. Maybe it's because TONS of my most favorite, beloved books take place here. Maybe it's because I've always loved New York, and London is basically its classier big sister. Maybe it was all the warm pubs (I love cozy old-world pubs). Maybe it was because everyone was friendly and cheerful to the point that I suspected the entire population of London was on methamphetamines. Whatever the reason, I really, really loved London.