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Oh, Hello there!!!  XD   Hope you are having a wonderful day, well, so you tell me I just called you! But I wanted to wish you a happy birthday as well on here! I love you so veeeerry much! AND guess what your favorite daughter has got planned for you?? Lyonnaise (arguably the best French cuisine, besides haute, and you would like it more because it’s a lot more French country-side/down to earth type) sausages and moutarde (mustard) from Dijon!

Hope you and mom enjoy celebrating your birthday tonight! Pistachio encrusted trout does sound pretty tasty.

I love and miss you!!

♥ Laura

Yeah. The highlight of my day was explaining to my ever-curious roommate what ROOT BEER was… Yeah. I can’t even think how he could have lived his whole life without drinking even a sip of that delicious glorious drink of the Gods (ok, so that’s nectar but still, it might as well be the drink of the Gods). So I had made some tasty apple crumble the other day and I had forgotten about it because Florent, our agent called out of nowhere to come over and get the manual for the downstairs dishwasher in order to see why it was acting up, so the second I got off the phone with him I ran around the kitchen trying to clean it up (it had gotten a tad bit dirty during the previous evening) so I quickly shoved the dish into the oven to hide it. lol.

Anyhow! I rediscovered it today and decided to have it with some veeeerry vanilla ice cream. And while I was enjoying the ice cream infinitely more than the crumble, standing there in the kitchen… hovering over the carton of frozen cream… didn’t stop until I had successfully put another quarter carton dent in it (The first being when I was making pumpkin soup and I thought it was too salty so I emptied a 1/4 carton of this vanilla ice cream into the pot… it actually came out really well – sweet, spicy, pumpkin-y). Hah, so something in my mind snapped back and I realized what I was doing, I asked myself out loud “Why do I like this so much… it’s not even gourmet or anything, I got it for 2 euros at the Intermarche… wait… OH! Because it tastes just like a root beer float!”  In which my Belgian roommate then replied “root beer float?” So I said “Yeah you know, fill a glass with root beer and add a few scoops of vanilla ice cream.”

“No, what is root beer?”

So, the following conversation went something like this:

Me(incredulously): “Um…. Say what? Did you just ask me what ROOT beer was?”

J.H.: “Oh wait, it’s a dark beer, right?”

Me: “… It’s not alcoholic.”

J.H. “Oh.”

This is coming from the guy who had gone through childhood without ever being introduced to the concept of s’mores… but it’s ok! There are probably a million things that I have never heard of in Belgium – we’ll all just have to have a black cow and s’mores movie night! Now all I have to do is play ignorant to my knowledge of Belgian Waffles and we can all have “Tasty Breakfast Day.”

We should make that tomorrow – we don’t have school, nor does anyone in Europe. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 WWI officially ended. Be sure to honor this with a moment of silence tomorrow morning at 11:00. =)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

The trailer is up right now but it isn’t much to go by: www.percyjacksonthemovie.com

 

 

So I was into these books called “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” a while ago, the first one in the series being “The Lightning Thief” and I always thought they would make great movies – sort of a Greek Mythology meets Harry Potter if you will. And GUESS WHAT – they have! The first one comes out February 2010 – director Chris Columbus, so…. I’m not sure how it will turn out, after all he did direct the first two HP movies as well… who knows, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Personally I don’t think the author Rick Riordan writes nearly as well as J.K. Rowling, but the concept is pretty cool and he does give it a very entertaining flair. Although Riordan is one of the two screenwriters for the movie, so maybe it won’t be so bad, hmm?

I really hope they do well with this series, make me proud. There are a few well-known actors being cast as well. Uma Thurman (Medusa… lol), Sean Bean (Zeus), Pierce Brosnan (Chiron – LOL I think he’s going to be pretty funny as a centaur…), Rosario Dawson (Persephone), Steve Coogan (Hades! Awesome. I think he is going to make a hilaaaarious Hades) and some guy I haven’t heard of as Luke, who becomes the antagonist of Percy (Perseus is his full name – the “Hero” – played by a guy I’ve never heard of but he looks the part). It’s kind of like how Draco Malfoy was the enemy of Harry, but there was always the higher evil of Lord Voldemort – in The Percy Jackson series, “Luke” is kind of like that Draco, but more badass, I hope. And instead of Lord Voldemort, it is Kronos.

 Quick Greek Myth summary on this piece of work: Kronos is a 1st-generation Titan who castrated his own father, overthrew him, had three sons you may have heard of: Zeus, Poseidon and Hades only to be overthrown by the lot of them who then sent him into the depths of Tartarus and sealed him there for all eternity. Something like that. So the Greek Gods have always been tied to places and cultures of power, which is why they currently reside in the U.S. and why Mt. Olympus is hovering over the Empire State Building. Lol. So then the children of these Gods who have messed around with mortals are half human, half god (demi-gods) who must fight the Titans among other obstacles, and thus begins the premise of the series. A lot of it is actually very original, pretty creative… plus I really enjoy Greek Myth. So I’m looking forward to it =)

Buuuuuut still you probably shouldn’t. =) So Monaco is not actually part of France, it is a very small sovereign city-state surrounded by 3 sides by France (the 4th side faces the coastline) with a castle and everything – it is also one of the wealthiest countries in the world! People there mostly speak either French or Italian. I have been there three different times now, and I really love it. =) The first time I went was on a whim back in September- had talked to a girl I had just met that day who was going with a few friends to Monte Carlo to celebrate after finishing an exam, and they were going to get on the train in Antibes around six, so after I got home from school I literally ran around trying to decided if I wanted to go, asked Hazel but she was thinking that she didn’t know if she wanted to pay 20 euros for just the train ticket(it ended up only costing 9) and then whatever it would cost at the casino and for dinner, and she would rather spend the money if she was going for a whole day and not for 5 hours. Very valid point, and I was struggling with this too but in the end I tried to find something to wear and ran out to catch the bus. Luckily I remembered to grab a pair of under-skirt shorts on the way out and some flip flips for when my high-heels started to eat my feet. Basically if you are in the vicinity of the Monte Carlo square, everyone is dressed up – and if you wear shorts after five in the evening you won’t be allowed in anywhere. They really try to keep a certain appearance about the place. (Sidenote: Has anyone ever seen that BBC show – “Keeping up Appearances” with Mrs. Bucket (Bou-que) it was kinda funny, always felt sorry for the poor husband for being married to her). The train ride to Monaco is one of my favorites because the train hugs the coast, giving you a front seat view of the Mediterranean as it zips in and out of tunnels in the mountains, each view more magnificent than the last. Monaco at night was still very illuminated and there was this huge yacht show. However you would have to pay 6o euros just to look at them. Hah, I just took pictures from above stalker-style and foiled them! There was this neat mechanical-looking dragon so I took a picture of it for you, Alex! So we walked up to the square where the Hotel de Paris and the Monte Carlo Casino are. Dinner was nice – we ate outdoors at a restaurant nearby and I decided to try anchovy pizza (I didn’t want to spend too much money that night) because I had never had anchovies. They are saaaaaalty….  reeeeaally salty. Anyways, so we headed over to the Monte Carlo and parked directly in front of the casino was a row of ferraris… very nice.  And there were some other pretty awesome cars too, I liked the blue Ferrari California. =)  And there was a really neat concept car on display: VERITAS – which I had never heard of, I just know it means “truth” in Latin. The car in question is the Veritas RS III – and although I have pictures of it you can probably see it better if you just google it. So the Monte Carlo is pretty amazing inside as well – you have your rooms for roulette, for blackjack, and private rooms for the high-rollers, which you can get into for a pricey entrance fee. They have a room for slot machines as well, which is where I went! (I didn’t want to put down too much money, I just wanted to see if I was lucky. Lol, I only won 15 euros but it was pretty sweet!) Oh sidenote: There is a story that floats around CERAM because all the teachers know it too, but this one student went to the MCC and won 300 euros – so guess what he did: Paid for a helicopter ride back to Antibes! Sweet. As beautiful as the casino is on the inside with all it’s old world ambiance and detailed decor, the exterior is even more beautiful and intricate, every sculpture, every motif. I was not allowed to take any pictures inside the casino, but I do have several of the outside and in the daylight as well. The second time I went to Monaco was during the day to visit several gardens. There was an “exotic garden (Jardin Exotique)” which had some pretty cool cacti – a lot of what I had seen in Arizona but still very neat. They also had caverns but I just missed the tour. The cool thing about Monaco is that when you are trying to get somewhere and you start from high up you can see where you need to go and follow it all the way down. That’s how I got to the second garden – you just weave in and out through and down the streets. You can also see what people do with the rooftops! They have gardens on them! I would like to imagine having a rooftop tea party there =) So the next place that I went was a rosarie in honor their Princess Grace, and it had some very interesting names for the roses (not their real names, but I suppose the names of people and things she liked) For example, Elvis was one name… hehe. There was a fountain there and I filled up my bottle of water and it even tasted like roses!  I have pictures of the roses and the Japanese Zen Garden I went to after that as well, I put them up one post ago.  On my way down to the rosarie I came across a cemetery of families of Monaco since long ago. The sculptures are amazing… I am beginning to notice that my favorite form of art would be sculptures… they just capture so much, every curve, every edge… in marble, granite, etc… and their expressions…  hmm. The gravestones were gorgeous, and my favorite was an angel watching over the grave of two families with her finger to her lips for silence (tread softly and let them rest in peace is what I take from it). I walked to the harbor after that, and saw a pretty sleek speedboat and it reminded me of something Jonathon might like (color scheme being black and orange and it makes me think of a James Bond sort of feel… not that he’d like it  for the second reason, but yeah, pretty sweet). I headed up a crazy huge hill to get to Monaco’s castle which is still very much in use today. Of course when I got to the top I found the elevators. heh.  For lunch I found this amazing Asian Tapas place named ZenZen – a chain sort of fast food place, but it being Monaco and all it didn’t seem like a fast food place to me. They have the cutest macot hee hee. Man, I had really been missing buffalo wings…. yum. HAH. Yes, I know, I am in France and I miss buffalo wings – go figure. Oh, and I know I haven’t been putting much of anything up involving food that I have made while I have been here, but a lot of that was me not wanting to spend a lot of money or having the time. But recently I had decided to take the time, eat a bit healthier, sit back and enjoy.  The third time I went to Monaco was to meet up with the roomies after I spent my day in Villefrenche Sur Mer (my favorite views are from that city- I will do that post as well) and it’s funny, Monaco is pretty easy to get around, find your way after only the second time. Enjoy the pictures, and enjoy your day!  =)

Dani's Rose - Bright, Beautiful, Warm and daring with some spunk :)

Dani's Rose! Very unique: Bright, Beautiful, Warm, and daring with a lot of spunk!

Here is wishing you an amaaaaaaazing day and how I wish I could be there to celebrate it with you! As a mini-gift until I get to see you, I went to a Japanese Zen Garden and a Rosarie in Monaco and so all the pictures from them are for you (check the side bar!) : )

I miss you sooooooo much!

♥  Love you,

Laura

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In Discovery of Ourselves

Photographies

Fragonard Parfumes for the girls!

The Streets of Grasse

Olga smelling the pot pourri

Pot pourri

I almost sat on this bench, er Fountain...

Galimard orange chocolate parfume... yum.

Galimard bath stars

Love Louise's attire

Louise being... louise. lol.

ZOMG hand.

More Photos