Monthly Archives: April 2012

This is where we’ve lived for the last four months and where we’ll spend the next two. We rented it furnished, and though it took a little while to get used to living among another person’s things, the cozy little place finally feels like home.

You enter into the kitchen. And if you walk straight through, you’ll see a tiny bedroom for three just big enough for a double bed and a small desk.

Turn around and you’re back in the kitchen. It’s a nice size, with a table where we’ve sat six, creaky old floorboards, and ample shelving.

On your way into the living room, you’ll see the bathroom on your left. Nice bathtub.

Here’s our nice big living room with its pullout couch that guests say is very comfy. That white rug I picked up at Habitat adds a lot to the comfort level of the room. The window overlooking the canal is the best thing about the whole apartment.

Elodie loves here bouncy “donkey” and she often takes her baby for a walk in her stroller. I bought that colorful pillow at a cute store called Antoine & Lili right down the street.

Here’s what you see if you’re sitting on the couch. We don’t watch TV, but we have a small collection of Audrey Hepburn movies on rotation for when we feel like taking it easy. I can’t believe our time in this little apartment is almost over. I will surely miss it.

Rama’s parents are coming tomorrow and I’m so super duper excited! Not only will I have two lovely companions but it’s my father-in-law’s first visit to Paris and he’s a mega francophile so it’s going to be a blast showing him around the city. Since we’ve been here, we’ve had a few guests. We always love having people come and stay with us wherever we’re living, and I always look forward to being a good hostess. Here are a few things I think about before company arrives.

1. Clean linens. This is common sense, but make sure your guest bedroom is fully outfitted with nice clean bedding, or in our case, if your guests are sleeping on the pull-out couch, make sure your extra sheets are clean.

2. Clean towels. If you don’t have a dryer and you have to hang all your laundry on a funny-shaped indoor clothes dryer (like we do), make sure your towels are clean and dried well in advance!

3. Stock your fridge/pantry. Food is one of the most essential elements of a good time. Drink too of course. Make sure you’ve got lots of nice local food items in the fridge. We made a nice pot of carrot soup, and I always think about how when we moved to Berlin in 2007, how our host had a delicious pot of soup waiting for us when we arrived. We drank half the bottle of wine I bought. Oops. But if it’s your parents you’re hosting, you can be forgiven for not having a bunch of wine at the ready. They will buy it for you when they get there! Also, sparkling water always feels special. Pick up a few bottles if you don’t have one of those tap water carbonation thingies, which are very cool and I want to get one.

4. Fresh flowers. Um… I wasn’t actually able to find a bouquet that I liked in time. I did get a little potted pink geranium though, which is very cute and I know my mother-in-law is going to love. If you’ve got a guest bedroom, put a simple bouquet next to the bed. A bouquet on the kitchen table is always nice too! A little bud vase in the bathroom? Yes!

5. Clean the house. Everyone loves a clean house. Make sure the bathrooms are sparkling.

6. Out and about. Take your guests along with you on your daily activities. But only if they’re fun activities. For example, I know my in-laws will love going to the local outdoor market, but they probably wouldn’t have as much fun accompanying me on a trip to the post office.

7. Being a tourist. Make sure you’ve found out the very best things to do in your city so you can show your guests a really good time. We’re in Paris, so there’s lots and lots of amazing things to do here. But everyone knows about the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Make a list of off-beat things to do in your town and ask your guests what they’d like to do. Also, get some travel books from the library if you don’t already have some on hand.

8. Late night snacks. Put a basket of goodies next to your guests’ bed. My friend Lauren made an extra special guest basket for me when I stayed with her in London a few years ago, and it was so sweet and special. Don’t forget a carafe of filtered water.

9. Friends meeting friends. If your guests are especially social, they might enjoy meeting some of your other friends. Why not host a dinner party? Or plan a picnic in the park.

10. Tell them what you want. When my friend Rachael asked me what I’d like from Belgium, I didn’t hesitate to tell her I’d love some hot chocolate mix. And that’s what I got! If your friends ask you if you’d like something from wherever it is they’re coming from, tell them. It will make them feel good to bring a nice hostess gift and it will make you feel good to get something you like. If it’s your parents coming, you can go ahead and ask them to bring whatever it is you would like from your home country. I asked for Aveeno and sippy cups!



Happy Easter! Did you have a nice one? Ours was sensational! It started with chocolate bunnies and ended with champagne. Here’s a little peek at our day.

Notre Dame Cathedral. What were we thinking? Easter mass at the most famous church in the world on one of the most important Catholic holidays means lots and lots of people. We made it through the door with Elodie asleep in her stroller, didn’t even attempt to take a seat in the congregation, instead slowly crept our way along with the throngs of visitors past the little side chapels to the back of the church where it was actually quite pleasant. There’s a really pretty chapel in the way back of the cathedral with beautiful stained glass windows and art nouveau wall motifs. It was peaceful back there and there was lots of space and we were able to sit and listen to the choir. After mass we escaped through a side exit and headed across the river for a yummy lunch of hamburgers and cokes.

Jardin des Plantes. This beautiful garden in the 5th arrondissement was abloom in poppies, lilacs, and cherry blossoms. So pretty. An hour early for the Easter egg hunt, we strolled around the gardens and watched the bees pollinating the poppies. There’s also a museum of natural history, a museum of paleontology, a zoo, and a restaurant there. I got a tea at the garden kiosk while we waited for the festivities to begin.

The Easter Egg Hunt. It was chaotic but fun. Look at all those kids! The adults were just throwing the chocolate eggs on the ground every so often in front of the little ones. I was a bit overwhelmed, but Elodie had a blast. We saw a bunch of our anglophone friends there too.

Easter Girls. This is one of my favorite shots from the day. Two girls and two daddies. Look at their Easter baskets. Aren’t they so cute? They’re miniature French market baskets. I was so excited to find them at a beautiful children’s store on rue JP Timbaud in the 11th, not far from our house, so I picked one up for Elodie and her best friend Dayze.

On our walk home, Elodie was so worn out from all the Easter fun she conked out in the stroller, leaving mom and dad free to sit at an outdoor cafe and drink champagne! I forgot to take a picture, but we had a really nice table overlooking the canal at a place called La Marine right down the street from our house. It was delightful! I can’t wait for next Easter so we can do it all over again!



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