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Custom Scarf Give-away!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hello everyone!

I hope finals and all of its lovely side-effects is treating you well. Hopefully I'll be able to start posting again! Soon...

Anyways, here is a lovely scarf giveaway!

Kandas creates custom-made scarves inspired from Paris fashion. What could be better than cute, unique, and FREE accessories?

BYU Duck Pond

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Maybe you've lived your entire life in the Provo, Utah area. Or perhaps you're a BYU graduate with plenty of fond memories of BYU life: the clean campus, sunny summer days spent licking Creamery ice-creams, bustling Wilkinson Student Center, and juicy J Dawgs. Either way, if you live in the Provo area or you're just passing through, you really should visit the BYU duck pond. There aren't very many more relaxing and pleasurable places to pass a Sunday afternoon than in this quaint, newly-renovated area.

Over the last year, the entire hillside South-West of campus has been completely transformed. It began with the cobblestone path zigzagging the overgrown woods of the South-campus hill. The deep, muddy ravine that claimed dozens of tennis balls, flip-flops, and tennis-shoes weekly became a stone-lined stream with crystal water tumbling over sand-colored rocks and spilling out of boulders in artificial waterfalls. The overgrown underbrush was cleared and pruned. Stone tablets now mark the freshly-planted foliage. Iris cascade from the hillside, nodding their fragrant heads to passerby.

And finally, the duck pond. The dirt paths leading to the banks of the pond have been paved with dusty, burnt red cobblestones. Fresh, dark woodchips blanket tree beds, kissing the green grass in crisp, curved lines. And a new wooden dock frames the once unkempt dirt pond banks.

This Sunday afternoon, I watched as young families gathered on the wooden benches eating sandwiches or fried chicken. A larger group sang happy birthday to an elated young boy, then passed out ice creams to the energetic children. One boy pushed a stroller with a watermelon almost as large as he. The children knelt near the dock edge, gripping the wooden rim and leaning eagerly over as they pointed enthusiastically at the young ducklings swimming in that adorable quick-bobbing fashion.

A handsome mallard perched on a large rock in the water, lazily pruning his feathers. The rest of the ducks horded near the bank where three young boys were tossing bread crumbs. Two females, however, broke from the group when they eyed me sitting on the far bench. One cautiously hopped up on the dock. When my attention remained focused on my notebook, the duck began quacking insistently, waddling in my direction and eyeing me pointedly. Smiling, I promised her I’d bring bread crumbs next time I visited. So the young brown duck waddled to the grass to nibble clover heads, clearly disappointed.

This duck pond and the cobblestone path above it are by far my favorite places on BYU campus. Here are some great ways to spend time in this pleasant little area:

·         Play Sequence® – my favorite card/board game – at one of the metal tables next to the stream and the hillside path.
·         Picnic under a large tree in the green grass next to the pond.
·         Read a novel in the summer shade.
·         And of course, feed the ducks!

Le Marché aux Puces

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A treasure trove of the bizarre and the brilliant, the Marché aux Puces is a nonpareil of Parisian flea markets. Home to thousands of unique stalls, it is a shopping experience unlike any other. It is a stop not to be missed, even if you have just a short week in Paris. 

To reach the Marché aux Puces, take the metro to Porte de Clignancourt. When you exit you will find yourself in a teeming common-place market of cheap clothing and accessories. Press on till you find Rue des Rosiers, where you will find the Marché’s truly enchanting discoveries. Trinkets and baubles spill out of wooden crates that line the narrow streets. Cozy covered market rooms open to the paved roads, enticing bystanders with charming displays that press passerby to peruse their products. Old-fashioned cashiers and large leather books lay on wooden tables. Antique women's fashion ads and gold-framed mirrors hang from the walls. School desks with wrought iron framework house ivory quills and silver ink bottles. Ebony brooches and Victorian silhouette pendants poke out of drawers. Eery porcelain dolls and faded teddy bears cuddle on velvet couches. From over-priced rubbish to priceless finds, anything and everything can be found at the Marché aux Puces.

My friend Betty and I spent a wonderful Saturday afternoon browsing the stalls at the Marché. For photographing and antiquing enthusiasts like me, the Marché was my own Eden. Each stall had a unique personality, from the charming to the curious. Some were Victorian Versaillaise, others Thomas Edison Steampunk. One stall looked like a toy maker's workshop from an old Christmas storybook, another looked like a mad scientist's laboratory. Exploring the Marché was one of my most memorable experiences in Paris.

This is a photo of Betty and I at the "Toy Maker's Workshop," as I call it.

Check out these reviews from The New York Times and Frommer's to learn more about the Marché aux Puces!

The Pope's Party at Notre Dame

Life is teasing, frustrating, breathtaking, and glorious. But for the most part, life is just full of surprises. That is the beauty of life: as you travel through it, you never know what you will come across, what surprise will be hidden at the next turn of the road.

Last night, I stumbled upon a delightful surprise: a stunning artistic presentation of the Catholic faith in front of Notre Dame.

My friend Betty and I were just returning from a Single's activity, where we'd baked American-style chocolate chip cookies to give away to friends who needed a visit or would simply enjoy the oozing warm cookies. So after the baking activity, instead of going straight to the metro station, we took a detour to deliver our freshly baked goodies to Betty's friend. On our way back from her friend's apartment we happened to pass by Notre Dame. It was nearly ten o'clock already, but a large crowd was gathered in front of the cathedral and the main square was roped off.  A dulcet yet compelling woman's voice echoed in the warm late-March evening in enunciated French. We reached the rope, and a young man in a white T-shirt greeted us, asking if we would care for a bottled water. Thinking that he was just another teenager slinking around Paris, hoping to make easy money off of foreign tourists, Betty quickly declined.

"Sorry, I don't have anything on me," Betty apologized.

"No problem," the young man said with a smile, "It is a gift from the Pope."

Curious and pleasantly surprised, we accepted the water bottles, thanked him, and began looking for the entrance to the square. While we meandered through the crowds, I listened as the voice spoke of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the Fall of Man. When we found the entrance to the temporary barrier, we stepped through and caught our first glimpse of Notre Dame. She was breathtaking. Spectacular. Glorious. A projection decorated the cathedral in moving digital art that complimented and revered the ancient French Gothic architecture of the church.

We pressed on till we found a small gap in the gathering.

I watched as a tree grew on the cathedral walls, glistening pearl white against a navy blue background. Branches curled elegantly, intricately weaving across the facade. Then scarlet apples blossomed on the ends: the Tree of Life.

We stared, completely enraptured, as the Tree of Life faded and the door to Hell was carved out of the cathedral's great wooden doors. A burning red outlined slowly bled its way around the framework, then the door opened and flames poured onto Notre Dame, until the church was completely engulfed in flames. Then the embers calmed, a peaceful blue returned to the cathedral walls, and light spilled from the doors. The door to Paradise opened, and misty angels floated in graceful circles. The voice spoke of judgement, of the choices we make in this life, and how our actions will be weighed and judged. An old-fashioned balance scale glowed on the cathedral wall. But, the voice added, if we accept Christ in our hearts and make correct choices, we need not worry about the after-life. Notre Dame instantly burst into colors, the columns turned mustard yellow and ruby red banners waved triumphantly. The colorful projections brought to life the row of usually somber Saint-statues, garbing them in gay attire and bringing smiles to their faces while they did a little standing jive.

When the voice finally faded into soft background music, it took a few moments before the awe-struck crowd could break away from its trance. Men and woman continued to snap photos with their iPhones. Huddled groups animatedly chattered. Finally blinking away our astonishment, Betty and I made our way to the exit, where another young man in a white T-shirt passed out plastic packets of treats. We split the last packet together, enjoying the baguette bread, French cheese, and chocolates on the metro commute home. We couldn't stop talking about our discovery.

Undeniably, the Pope knows how to organize an incredible, unforgettable evening.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Situated on top of the Causse Noir plateau, just a half an hour North East of Millau, is Mother Nature's majestic creation: Montpellier-le-Vieux. During the warm summer season, both locals and tourists come to admire Montpellier-le-Vieux's grand landscape. Strange rocks burst from the earth: archways and columns topped with bulbous heads that seem to smile down in caricature humor. There are several color coded trailways, with paths for both novice and seasoned hikers.  Most of the trails are paved, making Montpellier-le-Vieux a perfect outing for families of all ages. However, for the more adventurous hiker, there are several smaller and more savage trails breaking off from the main paths. There is also a quaint little train that runs through the mountains offering tours for a small fee.

Montpellier-le-Vieux is always open for visitors. However, the small train, the restrooms, and the tourism office are only open from March 26th to November 6th. For ticket prices during the tourist season, visit this site. However, I visited the area at the beginning of March. With the ticket booth closed, we were able to enjoy nature's wonder for free! The early March visit was wonderful; the weather was beautiful and we missed the large tourist crowds.

Montpellier-le-Vieux is an incredible place to pass a few hours or an entire day exploring and picnicking. Whether you are passing through the area or staying a few days, try to stop by this impressive landmark.