Friday, January 30, 2009

A meme I completed today on Facebook : 25 things about me

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1. My first train ride was caused by a Air France strike in Paris. So I
got lost in the French airport, eventually found the train station part
and hopped on the train to Lyon. But oops for some reason I forgot to
pick up my luggage...well I was only 15, alone and very flustered.
(Luggage arrived two weeks later).

2. I have never been to California (or anywhere past NM for that matter), but I think I might like to live out there.

3. I like cooking, but I lack the very necessary patience to make
extraordinary things. I count on one day finding that patience.

4. I am really bad at reading watches. I currently own a hot pink
plastic watch that announces the time when I press a button. I <3

5. At my first internship, one of my projects was interviewing
potential superheros! Probably one of my best professional moments...

6. I was scarred for life when, at five, I snuck into my sister
Ashley's sleepover and watched the movie The Witches with them. I still
have nightmares of Angelica Houston peeling off her skin.

7. Speaking of nightmares, shortly after this, my mom came into my room
and picked me up during one of these nightmare episodes, and I peed all
over her.

8.I wanted to go by my middle name when I went to college. I had big
plans of being called Alexis and burying the Brittany hatchet. But
sadly, when it came to my first introduction - I forgot. D:

9. I have an obsession with eating with my knife in my right hand. I
even don't know how to use only a fork anymore, because I can't seem to
get things on my fork without my knife.

10. My roommate Lana and I named the kitten we adopted after the street
that we got him on, his name is Edwin and he is perfect. I had to teach
Lana how to hold him as we carried him home. She looked like she was
strangling the little guy!

11. I have dreams of one day being some kind of educator.

12. When I was little I always wanted my little sister to sleep with
me, because I was afraid of the dark. I always made her sleep on the
side that was closest to the door.

13. My three sisters and I look nothing alike.

14. I love eating in grocery stores. There is nothing more delightful than going to Whole Foods EVERY SINGLE DAY.

15. I am a very bad speller (spell check is on all of my computer
applications), but for some reason one of my favorite parts of cranium
is gnilleps (group spelling backwards).

16. I generally think I am a very shy person, but somehow I have always been considered bold.

17. I have a tendency to make things up if I don't know the answer.
Some may call this lying, but I feel bad if I don't give an answer to
people. I like thinking that they have some kind of comfort. I'll give
directions to anyone!

18. I am terrified of escalators. Going up or going down - it doesn't
matter. I have no explanation for this fear, but I know that my heart
hurts when I can't see the top from the bottom of an escalator.

19. I have fought against being late all my life. Growing up, my family
as a whole was always late to everything. But even with all the trying
in the world - my sense of Blackmon time triumphs over all.

20.My school burnt down when I was in fifth grade. My Beauty and the
Beast songbook did not survive the fire, and so I never learned how to
completely play Tale as Old as Time.

21. My favorite artist is Botero as a whole. But oddly my favorite
sculpture, The Appeal to the Great Spirit, is found in front of the MFA
in Boston and not done by Botero at all.

22. I discovered my first polaroid land camera in a flea market last
spring in Paris. I have been a fan ( I have three now) of them ever

23. I dream in both French and English and have for the last 5 years.
But oddly enough, the people (like my parents) who normally speak
English, speak French in my dreams.

24. When I decide that I like something, it always becomes heralded as
THE VERY BEST THING, I HAVE EVER (insert verb here). I have inherited
this from my Grandfather, who (when I was growing up) was always
pulling out news clippings and talking about the BEST THING HE HAD EVER
HEARD OF. I do that too, only I send them by email ;-).

25. I have an awkward obsession with home goods, and crafty projects. I
could look at the IKEA catalogue for hours, and DesignSponge is one of
my favorite blogs!

Talking in Class

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The French talk in class. Not quick and quiet whispering, but they have actual conversations in the back of the room. The worst is when they all show up in full force like in my marketing class. We have five French girls that sit in the back of the classroom and giggle, chit-chat and disrupt the class during the entire six hours of the day.

 I don't understand it. I can't understand it. I won't understand it.

I know this is a bit of ridiculous ranting, but seriously - in the US if we talk in class the professors will actually tell you to leave (not ask- TELL). Three days ago in my marketing class, the French girls were up to it again, and the professor actually told them that she didn't mind if they talked, but if they would only talk more quietly. I think my mouth fell to the ground at that point. But then it got worse, when the professor went on to say that she UNDERSTOOD that her class might not be interesting to them, but they had to talk a little more quietly amongst themselves.

I mean what professor in their right mind tells her students that not only is ok to be disrespectful, but that they just need to do it more quietly! GAAAAAAH!

I mean, aren't they embarrassed at some level? I know I would be. If someone called me out in class and told me I was being disrespectful, I would stop immediately mostly out of embarrassment. But the girls in my class, just look the professors squarely in the eyes and glare at them like they are trying to say HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT I AM TALKING AND THAT I NEED TO DO IT MORE QUIETLY. It is the most insane thing ever.

It makes life very hard to concentrate, and it is a pet peeve of mine to say the least that makes me want to tear my hair out.


Monday, January 26, 2009

A list of reasons why my life got better today

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  • I started my marketing majeure. This is pretty excellent on many fronts. It's a subject that makes me want to participate in class and participate I did today - answering prompted questions and even asking my own. I feel so much more confident in marketing, and it's a subject that gets me pumped up and actually EXCITED to learn about. I'm looking forward to all the speakers we will be having in the next few weeks AND our awesome branding project on M&M's.

  • I booked tickets to Marrakech, Morocco this evening! That's right, at the end of February, I am totally going to ride a camel in the desert! WOOT! And I will also be buying amazing scarves! Everyone who goes to Morocco comes back with gorgeous scarves!

  • We cleaned our kitchen/bathroom/living room when we got home. There was chocolate everywhere - on the floors, on the counters- from a saturday cake baking extravaganza. And we got out of class early today so we got home a half an hour earlier than usual, which totally brought up morale and made us ready for a cleaning frenzy! Next up: my bedroom! Eeeks!

  • I've lost a kilo (2.2lbs) since I've started my working out business. I've also been paying attention to what I eat, but all in all, progress has been made! This has me even more excited for hitting the pavement and staying away from aforementioned cakes ;-).


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today, I watched history in the making.

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Good luck, President Obama. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do. I'm hopeful, happy and ready for change. I know that a lot of things are not in your control, but I have faith that you will do what you can.

Here's to hope, my friends. :-D


Sunday, January 18, 2009

One by One

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This semester has kind of thrown me for a loop. Not only do I have my mémoire to worry about, but I am also taking 6 classes. Though interestingly enough, I am not taking them all at the same time. Let me explain...

For some reason, my school decided to make us all take each class (2 majors and 4 electives) one by one.  This is the first time I have ever done this and it is a pretty stressful system in terms of order, but day to day the schedule is much lighter.  For instance, during this week I had 3 days off and only two days of classes.  So technically, I had time to work on my mémoire and do a bunch of other things, but with me not being very motivated and also sick, my productivity level was not where it should have been. The reason the order is stressful is that I have to start a new subject every 2/3 weeks, meaning that I have no time to figure out what the professor wants or get comfortable with the material. It is all just BAM and WHAM and then there is final exam that comes out of nowhere- all too sudden, all too soon.

 January started off with my Human Ressources major that I have to take for 45 hours as compared with the electives that only  take 30 hours of my time. It all seems weird to say the very least, because at Northeastern to get a major in a subject, I had to take four classes (each a semester long) and then two electives in that major. Awkward, right?

I've almost completed my 45 hours of HR classes and to be honest, I don't really feel like I have majored in HR at all.  On Friday, when I take my exam, I will supposedly have completed my 'major' in HR, but does 45 hours of anything really mean that much? I can't say that I feel they do, especially when Northeastern is counting my 'major' as the equivalent to the Introduction to Human Ressources credit that all Northeastern students need to graduate with a business degree.

My next class is going to be the Marketing 'major'. I've talked with some of the other students that took it during this period and it sounds pretty elementary. But to be fair and openminded, I will give it a chance and update after the 45 hours have been completed.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Wall Street Bar

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I went to a new bar that has opened up in Reims as of late. It is called Wall Street Bar and it is a chain of bars that started in Paris. Last night's fun was based on market speculation and good musak.

The premise of the Wall Street bar is this: you go there and the drinks are a certain price, but depending on how many people are buying that drink the price goes up or down. When I arrived at the bar the Cosmopolitan was 7.50 euros and when I finally decided to buy the drink it was 5.50 euros, but as I received my drink the price dropped to 4.50! I was so upset! I had an opportunity cost of 1 euro! Gah!

Everyone in the bar is watching the screens to see the prices go up and down. And you see people running down the stairs when the price seems to be just right. They either come back with a drink or cursing their bad luck. It is pretty hilarious. Going to a Wall Street bar means that you get to make really ridiculous business jokes.

The DJ was housed in the front of a Volvo bus that they had attached to the wall.

The only downer was that it was really hot in the bar AND that it closed near midnight! Which is pretty absurd.

All in all a fun night out in Reims.

Sad, that I woke up this morning very sick D:


Sunday, January 11, 2009

iPod and Nike+

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What a genius product. I've been wanting one since they first came out but could never convince myself to buy an iPod Nano.  The Nano has always seemed so useless to me - it's small, doesn't hold that much memory, and in the beginning seemed quite a lot compared to the larger classic. But then again, the things that initially held me back from purchasing my Nano are now some of the things I love best about it.

  • Size: I love how small my violet Nano is. It's light and gives the illusion that there is nothing on my arm when I'm out and about running. It's so small that I don't mind  tucking it into my purse as I travel.

  • Memory: I love having on 8 GB on my iPod. Too often with my classic iPod, I find myself listening to songs I don't even like. Since I have to be careful about how many songs I am putting on my Nano, I only put playlists on it meaning that I am making thoughtful choices about my song choices.

  • Price: It wasn't that expensive.  Now a days the Nano is running $145 for 8 GB, the first Nanos were much more expensive, and so it makes sense that I felt I should buy the more memory / dollar classic when I choose my first two iPods.
If the top three things make me like the Nano, the Nike+ feature of the Nano has made me LOVE it.
This is probably the best thing that I could have purchased over winter break. It was an impulse purchase, but I am definitely glad that I sprung for it. I had been mulling over buying the Nano and Nike+ sensor (I already had the shoes)  during my entire vacation- looking for a way to motivate me to get on my New Year's resolutions.

And motivate me it has. There are so many thoughtful functions built into the software. Today, I made a goal to run at a good steady pace for the entire 3 miles, I was rewarded with Lance Armstrong's voice telling me that I had run my personal best. I'm even a tad embarrassed to admit this, but it definitely pumped me up and has me ready to get out there and hit the pavement some more.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dinner at the Penthouse - vegetarian stuffed peppers

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I don't know why this popped into my head, but I suddenly wanted to know exactly how much our meal cost for the night, maybe because we just went shopping at the French soldes.  We made vegetarian stuffed peppers, and it is a totally glorious and wonderfully decadent meal.  On the side we had roquette lettuce with balsamic vinegar dressing and chopped red onions.

The breakdown (euros):
4 peppers: 3.25
a little rice: 0.10
some onion: 0.20
half a pumpkin: 1.60
can of black beans: 0.80
small can of corn: 0.56
spices*: 0.20
*a meat curry spice (evidentally it resembles mexican spices) and spanish spice

roquette (1 pre-washed bag): 1.80
oil/vinegar/salt: .10
1/4 red onion: 0.35

galette des rois (store bought): 6.90

Grand total = 15.86 euros!*
*for 4 people = 3.97 each!

The splurges for the night were the Galette des Rois and the pre-washed roquette.

Being that it is the season for Galette des Rois and we all just got back from the holidays, we thought it would be a nice treat. The Galette des Rois is also known as a Three Kings cake and is a frangipane filled/buttery crust delight that is eaten after Ephiphany. The cake is baked with a fève (little ceramic toy) inside of it and whoever gets that little guy inside their piece becomes the king and has to wear a crown! The youngest member of the dinner party has to sit under the table and calls out one by one who gets served each piece! That way there is no cheating! Last year, I had a Star Wars themed one that had a Star Wars crown and an ewok fève inside!

For those feeling adventurous, you can see a recipe on Serious Eats!

The roquette is only expensive because it was pre-washed and we could have bought it for less in bulk. I am weird about lettuce being crisp, so I tend to always vote for bagged lettuce.

So there you have it, that is dinner at the Penthouse on a Wednesday night!


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hey you, 2009

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I've never stuck to my resolutions and honestly, haven't really ever done them before. But this year, I feel like i need to make some serious changes to my life, mostly because a lot of big changes are afoot.

So here we go for 2009:
  • I am going to loose a minimum of 25 lbs.  After stepping on the Wii fit at my parent's house, I knew that I was ready for a change. I'm going on a 750 kilometer bike trip in April, and Idefinitely do not want to be carrying all my extra weight over the Alps. So I'm going to do it. I bought an iPod nano with nike+ and I am planning on hitting the pavement at least 3x's a week.  I will also make an effort to eat better and less. 2009 is going to be the year of me getting my weight under control.

  • Find a job that I love. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it totally isn't. I don't want to be forced into a situation that is out of my control. I want to be paid well and also enjoy what I am doing and live in a new and exciting place. I am going to be on the search for my post-grad job starting in Feb, and I am going to find a really awesome job.

  • Work on my French grammar. This is something that needs to happen. Not only because I have to write a 100 page paper, but also because I really love French and I want my French to kick ass. I'm going to actually start reading my grammar book and get cracking on it.

  • Work on my English grammar. It's something that I am weak on and I know it, but also has a great deal to do with the fact that I don't take the time to reread.  And so I make this promise : this blog will be less hard to read by the end of 2009.

  • Be better at writing on my blog. I want to post at minimum once a week. Because this blog is written as much for me as the next person. I love going back and finding out what I did over the last year. So I need to make a big effort to write more often. I also want to feature more of the food I am eating and other fun things going on. So look out internet, this year you will be hearing a lot more from me.

  • Finish my CESEM scrapbook by the end of the year. Scrapbooks are something one should not mess around with. The longer you take to do them, the odds that they never happen gets larger and larger.

  • Be neater and more organized. I have got to get my life more organized. I bought an agenda for 2009 so here's to keeping records of all of my comings and goings this year. 
Fingers crossed and here we go!