30.9.11

francophile friday: france email #3

This is a continuation of my lost emails that I sent while I was living in France. You can read more about it here.

This email was sent out on September 30, 2007 - right before I gave my presentation for Middle Ages class. I used a power point presentation with words which apparently isn't allowed for this. Since I was the first student to go, after I was finished my professor said, "That was a very good presentation but you cannot have any words on your power point. But this is ok because she, you know, is foreign."

Hello Everyone,

Well I finally got through my first week of classes. My schedule isn't exactly how I wanted it but it isn't really bad. My schedule looks like this:

Tuesdays
8:30 - 10:30 Art History of the Middle Ages (discussion)
10:30 - 12:30 Art History of the Middle Ages (lecture)
1:00 - 3:30 Contemporary History (discussion)

Thursday
8:30 - 10:30 Antique Art History (discussion)
10:30 - 12:30 Antique Art History (lecture)

Friday
8:30 - 10:00 Contemporary History (lecture)

I didn't want classes on Fridays so I could travel but I still have Mondays off and if one needs to skip the lectures they can because there are about 200 people in the lecture and only the discussions are "madatory."

I didn't really do much this week and weekend because I have a French presentation on Tuesday In my Middle Ages class and it has to be in French (obviously) and 15 minutes long. I have no trouble with public speaking in English but I get extremely nervous in French and now my class is not a class full of fellow non-French speaking students. But after I humiliate myself on Tuesday, I am pretty much finished with anything hard that I need to do. For my Art History of the Middle Ages class, I have that presentation on Tuesday and then all I have to do after that is write a paper because the agreement with our school and Bordeaux is that we don't take any tests. For my Contemporary History class, I have a presentation but since I am a foreign student she only wants a presentation in front of her and on any of the subjects we discuss in class that I want. I also have to write a paper for that class on anything I want again and due whenever. For my Antique Art History, all I have to do is read the assigned readings and participate in class. I kept asking her "Are you sure you dont want me to write a paper or something?" and she kept saying no. As a foreign student you basically have to beg for work. I guess I can't complain.

Tonight I had my first african dinner. Nezia cooked chicken and beans and made and avocado an tomato salad. It was very yummy but it took us forever to make because we only have two little burners and limited cooking supplies but we managed. Ok well I have to go to bed because I have to get up tomorrow and practice my presentation.

Love,
Morgan

29.9.11

a coded dress code

I have had my share of dress code dilemmas lately. Although I always err on the side of formality, I don't want to look completely ridiculous when I am at a social gathering.

My first dilemma was a few weekends ago when I was invited to a beach side barbecue for a rehearsal dinner. Normally, when I hear "rehearsal dinner," I think a dress or skirt and fancy top and heels. But, in this case, the beach side barbecue threw me off. I had some help from a few coworkers who convinced me that white pants with heels would work. I paired it with a colorful tunic that had silver sequins around the neckline, cuffs, and bottom. My outfit ended up being casual enough but the sequins jazzed it up a bit. And it worked out well.

The next issue was that I was invited to a VIP party for a charity event this past weekend. I knew it would be at someone's house and would have drinks and heavy hor d'oeuvres so I thought "cocktail party." But the invitation said "casual elegance." I don't know about you but I don't think those two things really go together. And how is this different from maybe using cocktail attire or business casual? So I just made up something. I wore a cream-colored silk button-down blouse with a black pencil skirt and nude pumps. It was classy but a little unexpected in a sea of dresses. And it worked.

Now I have another dilemma. Most likely, the Hubs and I will be going to a masquerade ball towards the end of October. The dress code is actually a standard one - black tie optional. But what does that mean for me? Should I wear a floor length gown or a cocktail dress? I don't go to balls very often so I definitely want to go super fancy either way. But Salisbury isn't New York or LA so I may go with something that is knee length. And, of course, I will need to find a fun mask.

Have you ever encountered weird dress codes? What did you end up wearing? What would you wear to black tie optional function? What do you think is best for the guy to wear?

{image via my pinterest}

28.9.11

guest post from tommy of specs appeal

{Todays post is from Tommy of Specs Appeal. I think this DIY would be perfect to make custom made stationary or for different wedding projects.}

Hello! And thanks to Morgan for having me over. A few weeks ago I attended the grand opening of the Paper Source in Nashville. Let me tell ya--it was fun. If you're at all into paper, crafting, or the like, you may not know what you're missing. Paper Source is hands-down my favorite place to get what I call the 'raw' materials of DIY correspondence. It's quite reasonably priced, and it makes a thoughtful gift.

At the grand opening, the staff offered a 'rookie rubber stamping' class that got the ol' creative juices flowing. You may be thinking Ummm....don't you just plop the stamp in the ink and then on the dang paper? Well, yes. And no. You can also do the awesome technique known as heat embossing. It creates a raised, glossy effect, and you can use any stamp imaginable. Here are the things you need to get started and the steps to take after you've assembled your supplies:

* rubber stamp(s)
* ink or watermark pad
* embossing powder(s)
* heat gun (yes, mine is pink--that's all they had)
* scrap paper
* cards, envelopes, gift tags, etc.

1. Take the ink or watermark pad and actually hold it upside-down on the stamp. This gives you more control and keeps everything crisp.

2. Place the stamp down on the paper, but resist the temptation to rock. Just give it a good press.

3. Remove the stamp and gingerly sprinkle embossing powder over the design.

4. Gently tap the card to remove the excess powder. (Do this over scrap paper so that you can funnel the extra powder back into its container.) If any stray powder sticks to the non-stamped paper, just give it another tap or take a toothpick and clear it away.

5. Then hold the heat gun a few inches away from the paper and slowly move the card (not the gun) around so that each part of powder gets the hotness.

6. And, since we're on a French-themed blog, voila!

27.9.11

if you can't stand the heat

For the last two and a half weeks, I have not cooked a thing. Because of late nights at work and traveling, I haven't even been to the grocery store. And I am traveling the rest of the week and next week will be full of more late nights. Hopefully this weekend will allow me to make at least one meal.

To me, it is not just about cooking to eat. Cooking itself is an experience that is enjoyable and exciting. There is just something about not only creating something new but making something that brings people together. When the seasons change I get so inspired to try new seasonal recipes but especially when fall arrives. Maybe that is why I am having this anxious feeling about cooking.

When all this traveling is over:
1. I want to find a simple French onion soup recipe.
2. I want to try and recreate the berry wheat salad that I found at the salad bar at Whole Foods.
3. I want to find at least three easy and healthy casserole recipes that freeze well.
4. I want to browse the farmer's market and feel inspired by autumn's ingredients.
5. I want to photograph more food and share more recipes with all of you.

Any fall recipes that you would like to share? What is on your cooking wish list?

{image via here}

26.9.11

anchors aweigh

EQUIPMENT blouse
The other day, my friend Katie and I were window shopping in Bethesda, waiting for some friends to meet us for dinner. I saw this blouse and instantly stopped. It was beautiful! I checked the tag and noticed that it was an Equipment shirt. I thought I bet this shirt is about $160. Wrong. $268 - a little out of my budget.

So I was thinking you could help me out. If you are out and about and see a similar shirt with little anchors all over it, could you let me know? I am still obsessing over this but I am hoping I can find one that is under $50. Thanks guys!

23.9.11

francophile friday: france email #2

This is a continuation of my lost emails that I sent while living in France. You can read more about it here.

Today's email is from September 22, 2007. The jet-lag had worn off and I was having a wonderful time living the fabulous life in Bordeaux.

Bonjour Tout le Monde!!

Well, even though I still have not started classes yet, I felt like it was time to send out another mass email because I wrote the last email after my first email after my two worst days here (and my only bad days).

Ok so I must say: besides the first two days it has been absolutely fabulous here and it has been almost a blur. I am always so busy here. I just want to tell everyone that if I am not back when I am supposed to be, don't be alarmed, I am just probably hiding somewhere where they have good French wine and cheese hoping everyone forgets I am not back yet.

Ok so I will start with the first Saturday here. I went window shopping with Jenny, the girl I told you about in the previous email. She has been so helpful here and has really helped me adjust. Her parents are really nice too and have helped me a lot. We also went to a coffee shop called "The French Coffee Shop." Of course I am in France and I have to go to the American coffee shop (this was absolutely not my choosing). I just couldn't deny Jenny her chai tea that she discovered in America. She didn’t know that any coffee shops here sold chai tea until we stumbled on this place (even though it was hot out and we ended up getting smoothies). I also went to dinner with her at this pasta place where they give you pasta in Chinese takeout containers. It was probably the best pasta I have ever had because the portion wasn’t huge and the sauces here are not so thick and rich, even for the vodka sauce I got that had cream in it.


Sunday, I went to the bassin d'arcachon and climbed the highest dune in Europe. My sponsor Katia drove me there with her husband and their two friends. Her husband goes (on the ride over before I can see the dune), "Do you want to climb the highest dune in Europe?" And I was like sure no problem. He was like it is really steep and hard to climb. I was oh lets do it. Apparently I was way to optimistic. I am really not sure why I think I can take on athletically inclined things when I am NOT athletically inclined. It was really hard to climb because with every one step you slid down two because of the sand and how incredibly steep it was. But I was determined - especially because her husband made it so easy, snapping pictures along the way. And of course the competitive American came out and I most certainly was not going to be the last one up. When you got to the top, it was beautiful. You could look on the one side we climbed and see the top of the forest down below and you could look at the other side and see the bassin d'arcachon. The bassin has no waves because the coast is actually farther out. Look on a map of France. Then we went down and walked around arcachon and I had the best peach ice cream ever.

Then we drove again and went to a beach called biscarrousse. That was fun. I got in even though the water was cold. Then we went to have dinner in town and had really good pizza (not dominos). I had a really good pizza with mozzarella tomatoes and pesto.

Monday, I had my first day of orientation and I met two Americans who seem really nice. Their names are Sahar and Laci and they are from Oklahoma. After that I met Jenny in the city and I went into the Longchamp store just to look - well I ended up buying. I am going to justify this by saying I only brought two purses and both are too small to carry my wallet camera and sunglasses and so since I was going to buy a Longchamp purse at some point here because they are cheaper here I figured why waste my money on buying a cheaper one and then buying the Longchamp later. I got one for 62 euros which is about 80 American dollars. In this US this purse goes for almost 200. And I am not allowed to buy any clothes until some Monday in October - I wrote it down in my planner. It stinks here because you can’t "wait for it to go on sale." So whatever clothes I buy here will be full price which I almost never do. They only have sales here after Christmas and in July for which neither I am here. I am in love with this store called Zara and I am definitely going to get some of that but hopefully in Spain where Zara is cheaper. Monday afternoon Jenny's mom took me to the auchan because I had to buy heavy stuff like laundry detergent. I also ate dinner at their house. It was so good. One interesting thing I learned on that auchan trip while buying milk for my tea - you don’t have to put the milk in the fridge until you open it here. Wild! So I was able to buy two and sit one on my desk and not have it go bad.

Tuesday, orientation was actually informative. They gave us some maps of Bordeaux and a guide thinger. Some stuff in it looks interesting. But of course, typical of this school and the French, orientation was supposed to start at 9 am but they changed it to 10 without telling anyone. So I went with Nezia, Laci and this girl Julia we met to go have hot chocolate for me and coffee for them in the student place. The hot chocolate was really good and only 1 euro. Tuesday, Jenny tried to help us figure out with our class schedule. Nezia and I found out since we are not here for finals and wont be taking tests we don’t need to sign up for classes, we just need to have our professor sign this thing on the first day of class saying that they allowed us to take it. If it all works out the way I am hoping I will only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is great for traveling on weekends.

Wednesday, I don’t really remember what I did except find out that I couldn’t return my headset to the auchan that doesn’t work in my computer. See I wont be able to use skype with anyone until I get a usb headset because apparently the outlet that you plug the mic part into in my computer is broken and the only usb head set I found here is 69 euros which is 90 American dollars. A usb one is being sent to me from the states for a lot cheaper and will arrive soon. I will let everyone know when I can talk to people through skype.

Thursday, I met Jenny for a hot chocolate in the student place and then Thursday night I went to the international students party with Laci and Sahar at the Club House du Bec. It was fun. The theme was French wine and so we got to drink French wine (and pay for it) and meet a bunch of people and attempt to dance like French people. We met a bunch of Brits but we spoke to them in French. They seem nice.

Friday, I went into the city for a little bit and of course went to the auchan again because I was running out of food. I had been eating salad all week and decided it was time to eat some real food so I sautéed veggies last night with couscous. It was good. Vegetables and fruit are so much better tasting here - well everything really is. It just stinks we don’t have an oven. I could really do some dangerous cooking here. I am thinking about getting a French cookbook while I am here but all the measurements will be different for when I get home. I will probably just get one for the novelty of having one. After dinner, Nezia and I went to Jenny's to have some wine and attempt to figure out how one plays rugby (the rugby world cup is in France right now). We had an Italian wine that Jenny and I had bought at the auchan earlier that day. It is called Lambrusco and it is really good and had bubbles. It is cheap here too, only 2.80 euros. I am sure it is more expensive in the states. It amazes me how one can get good wine here for nothing. If anyone likes really fruity wines then this is good. After that we went to a British pub called Houses of Parliament to watch the rest of the game. The French one last night and everyone was crazy. I find drunk French people quite annoying. {Note random French man in the picture above. He was trying to kiss us all night. He finally got in his sneak attack while we were distracted by picture taking.} I thought Americans were supposed to be bad. After that we went to Jenny's to sleep because she lives in the city and the tram stops at 1 am and it was 1 30. I slept until noon - the French really know how to do blinds.

Today I really didn’t do much except make an amazing sandwich with amazing salami called rosetta and cheese called Port Salut and really good French mustard. I might bring the mustard home with me.

So I decided I would start a list for myself of good wines and cheeses I have while I am here so I can try and find them while I am home but I thought I would add them to the email in case anyone would like to try.

Yummy cheese
1. Port Salut
2. Rouy
3. Lendammer
4. Emmental (I have this shredded on pasta and veggies)

Yummy wine
1. Lambrusco (in red)
fruity, bubbly and italian

I will let everyone know how my classes go. I am going to try and do something touristy tomorrow.

A tout!

22.9.11

guest post: tessa from everyday love

Hi there! My name is Tessa, you’ll find me posting about fashion, food, décor, and more over on Everyday Love. When I started blogging at the end of last year Morgan was one of my first non-family followers and she has been a great supporter since then, so I was thrilled when she asked me to guest post.

On opposite sides of the world, Morgan is getting ready for cooler weather while I’m gearing up for a hot summer in Cape Town. Thinking about clothes, which I do all day long, there’s only one item I could think of that knows no season – my trusty jeans. I could wear them every day and be the happiest girl alive! So as we start our shopping for the new season, I’d like to share with you a few tips from the experts as well as some inspiration from the ever-stylish J Crew.

The surprisingly flattering piece on any woman is… “Wide-leg jeans or boot-cut jeans. They really elongate the leg. People think they have to wear everything skin-tight to look smaller, but that’s just not the case.” Rachel Zoe

“Skinny jeans: Not for all women. You have to have the right figure and confidence to wear them. When buying skinny jeans, look for jeans with stretch and little, or no, wash in dark hues. Light, distressed denim can look messy.” Tim Gunn

Go Natural: With a goal of being "effortlessly cool and sexy," opt for a V-neck top paired with skinny jeans. "Nothing is more alluring to a man than a woman who looks good in her jeans." Nina Garcia

"White jeans freshen up anything you wear, from a navy blazer and striped tee to an embellished tunic top or bright twinset. They also tend to feel a bit dressier than blue jeans. As for the fear factor, if light-colored pants fit well, they will not make your butt and hips seem bigger." O magazine's creative director, Adam Glassman

What style are you in search of this season? I’m loving those black matchstick jeans!

21.9.11

winner of the designed by dallas giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the custom coaster giveaway is Sarah who said her favorite places are Massachusetts, California, Ireland, and Australia. Congrats Sarah! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information.

And thanks to Dallas for sponsoring this fabulous giveaway!

terrain in pa

On our way to NJ this past weekend, the Hubs made a detour for me to terrain at the styer's in Glen Mills, Pa. Terrain is the garden love child of the Urban/Anthro brand. Through the website and at their one store location, you can buy beautiful housewares (very similar to what you would find in an Anthropologie store) as well as garden-related items. The store is styled just as you think it would be - the Hubs got a 10 minute dissertation on Anthro styling from me.

The actual store however is only part of what you will find there. Terrain was built on the Styer's which is an old nursery now functioning as an eco-friendly garden center. I wish I lived closer since I noticed they offered a wide-variety of classes - I would have loved to take the terrarium class.

There is also a café that I wanted to eat lunch at while we were there. Unfortunately, we didn't think there would be a wait and after shopping for 40 minutes we didn't have enough time to wait and then eat lunch and get to the rehearsal dinner in time. Next time I am there, I will be sure to put my name on the list pre-browsing.

Whether or not you have a green thumb, if you are in the Philly area, this is a fun place to stop. Have you ever been?

20.9.11

dreaming: a rustic café


Ever since I was young, I thought it would be fun to open up a restaurant. I had different ideas over the years and some were very outlandish. One idea I had in fourth grade was to open a "theme" restaurant. Each room would have a different look. One was an under the sea room, one was an outer space room, and one was a jungle room. However, now that I am older, I realize that owning a restaurant is hard work, long hours, and very risky. And just because I love food and love to cook doesn't mean I know how to run a restaurant.

Living in Salisbury, there are some great local restaurants but options are still limited. Lately (and by lately I mean the past few years) I have been wanting to open a little café with wholesome, rustic food on a simple, seasonal menu. The decor would be a lot like two of my favorite places in Bordeaux: Karl and Pain & Compagnie. The farmhouse tables would be long and homey. Walls would be covered with rustic shelves holding fresh bread and local jams, dips, and spreads. Of course, we would have a pâtisserie selection and great espresso.

We would have breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner on Friday and Saturday, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Food would be centered around local, seasonal ingredients while still keeping the menu affordable.

This would not only be a place for people to eat but for friends to come in the afternoon for a cup of coffee or family to gather with a bottle of wine and great conversation. And most know that food can only be great when you have someone to share it with.

Have you ever thought of opening a restaurant? Are there any business dreams that you have?

19.9.11

monday giveaway: designed by dallas (NOW CLOSED)

I am absolutely giddy about today's giveaway from the Etsy shop, Designed by Dallas. I LOVE pretty maps and traveling and this shop has a great selection of beautiful map coasters and travel photography prints.

Dallas, the shop owner, says, "I grew up in Texas but moved to NYC after graduating from a small theatre school. In NYC, I met my boyfriend who worked in what he calls the rat race, and one day he said he was quitting his job and asked if I wanted to travel the world with him for 6 months. I obliged, and for two years we traveled the world! When we returned we didn't want to go back to corporate America, so I started an Etsy store selling various items in hopes that it would one day pay the bills. The coasters have been selling the best thus far but I am soon launching some new travel themed items. They are fun to make because it reminds me of our travels. And I love how they make thoughtful gifts - I've given these to people whom have cried because I picked places that are very special to them."

Dallas is giving away a set up four custom map coasters on rustic stone. The winner can pick their four favorite places in the world. Dallas is a great "map consultant" and will help the winner coordinate colors and places. She can also ship them as a gift too!

To be eligible for the giveaway, you must be a follower of this blog so, if you aren't yet, be sure to sign up through Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin'. And please let me know what name you are following with. Due to the high price of shipping the stone, this is open to US residents only.

Ways to win:
1. Visit Designed by Dallas and let us know what your four favorite places in the world are.
2. Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave a separate comment below with a link to the post.
3. Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway, making sure to mention me in your tweet. Leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.
4. Visit Designed by Dallas and post your favorite item on your FB page. Leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.

A winner will be chosen at random. This giveaway ends Wednesday, September 21st at 7 pm Eastern Time.

18.9.11

weekend: the jersey shore

skeeball at the arcade . . . the sign outside of mariner's cove . . . outside during the cocktail hour . . . pizza from a new place in salisbury
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

i mostly drink loose leaf tea and i think this would be a fun project

of course, i think polka dots are always in style

tips to a happy marriage
~~~~
My weekend started early. The Hubs and I took Friday off to head up to the Jersey shore for his friend, Randy's, wedding. The Hubs was nice enough to make a detour to Glen Mills, Pennsylvania so I could visit terrain for the first time. (Don't worry - I will post pictures soon for all the Anthro obsessed.) Friday night, we attended a beach side barbecue for the rehearsal dinner and found ourselves at a bar and arcade afterwards. I totally schooled the Hubs in skeeball. Saturday, we went in search of a breakfast place recommended by the bride and groom. We found ourselves at Mariner's Cove in Brielle, New Jersey. They had over 200 types of omelettes and a wide variety of pancakes and french toast too. Saturday afternoon we attended the wedding and that evening we headed over to the Sunset Ballroom for the reception. It was great to see some friends we hadn't seen in awhile. Today, we drove home and for dinner we tried a new pizza place in town, Brick Oven Pizza. It was pretty good for a chain.

How was your weekend?

15.9.11

sponsor post: vintagerelics

I would like to introduce you to one of our new sponsors, VintageRelics. This Etsy shop has beautiful, unique jewelry, perfect for everyday or special occasions. here are a few of my favorites:

1. Freshwater Pearl Bracelet: Pearls are such a classic and I love this fun take on them. This could definitely dress up any outfit (and would be perfect for a wedding) and would always be in style.
2. Smoky Champagne Quartz Earrings: I love that these are very neutral so they could go with anything. The colors make it a great fall accessory.
3. Royal Blue Peridot and Quartz Earrings: These are so fun and flirty and I think they would be a perfect summer go-to. They are also in one of my fave color combinations.
4. Faceted Lemon Quartz Briolette Necklace: I LOVE the color of this gemstone. I think this would make a nice everyday necklace because of its simple beauty.

Please stop by VintageRelics and pick up something for your jewelry box. What is your favorite piece?

14.9.11

bad blogger

I am about to become a really bad blogger. Thursday kicks off travel season for me at my new job. As an Admissions Counselor that means traveling to high schools and college fairs pretty much through October. For you, it means a little less of me on the blog. But I am going to try the best I can to check in.

I have already asked some fellow bloggers to prepare guests posts for the next month and a half to use on those weeks when I am just too busy helping nervous students to write a blog post. So the good news is you might just get to meet someone new over the next month and a half.

But I have a favor to ask of you: want to right a blog post too? I have such great readers and, whether they are bloggers or not, they have such fabulous things to say. Send me an email with an idea to morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com if you would like to give it a try.

I would say "see you soon" but I will still be around here and there.

{image via my pinterest}

13.9.11

apple and pumpkin

My two favorite flavors are apple and pumpkin. They are one of the reasons I get so excited for fall to arrive. I love how versatile they are: they can be made into a sweet dish or can star in something savory. Do you have any great pumpkin or apples recipes that you would like to share? What are you favorite flavors?

{images via my pinterest}

12.9.11

siguenza family portraits

In July, my friend Katie asked if I would come to Bethany, Delaware where her family was vacationing to take some pictures of her family. I was really excited but a little nervous - I had never been a "photographer" for anyone before.

After work that day, I drove in awful rain to Bethany, willing it to go away. It was still raining when I got there but it finally stopped for a bit. We drove further north to beat the rain clouds that were moving behind us. It was very windy and was pretty much overcast the entire time but the sun managed to come out for few seconds so we could get a few sunset shots before it started to rain again.

What do you guys think? Any pointers?

9.9.11

francophile friday: france email #1

Sometime during the last semester at my alma mater, the email system deleted all my archived emails. This wouldn't have normally bothered me since I rarely archived emails when I was in college but I had saved all the emails that I sent to family and friends while I was living in France. I was devastated. But something exciting happened two weeks ago: I needed something from my school so, I thought in order to get what I needed, I had to sign up for a school email again. Well apparently it is just your old student email address AND all my archived folders were back - including the emails I had sent from France in 2007!

So I thought I would do something fun for the francophile fridays this fall. Around the dates that I sent the emails, I would post them. I am keeping them very close to the originals, just changing a few spelling mistakes (but not the French mistakes.) This way you could get a sense of how my experience was and what I was like as a student four years ago. I will try and post pictures that go along with the email as well.

Today's email was sent on September 14, 2007. I had just arrived in Bordeaux and had gotten a real taste of French bureaucracy. You can also tell I am a little jet-lagged and tired from the insane amounts of run-on sentences. Enjoy!

Bonjour Tout le Monde,

I am just warning you that this is going to be a long email. Ok I guess I will start with yesterday. Yesterday can be summed up in two words: absolutely horrible. First off, I never was able to sleep on the plane so I spent 48 hours awake which wasn't really bad until around 4 00 pm when I couldn't keep my eyes open. At least I had Nezia next to me on the plane, though. She goes to St. Mary’s and we met on Wednesday. She is nice and is actually not americain but african. I forget what country she is from now but I know she was born in Burundi. So the first flight wasn't bad but when we got to Paris de Gaulle we had to go through 2 security checkpoints and we made it to our gate with last call up on the sign in French. But at least we made it through.

Luckily, Mimivi (a girl who studied at St. Mary’s last year who Nezia knows) came to pick us up and help us for the day. She really saved us yesterday and I am forever indebted to her (you have no idea). She showed us how to get on the bus and the tram but we had to drag our luggage through it all but at least she was there to help especially because Nezia broke her bag at the airport. When we got to the school we learned of the mess we were about to face. (Now remember we are dragging bags across the huge campus).

First, Mimizi took us to the international relations office and they didn’t even realize that we were coming. They had to make up an acceptance letter for a CROUS room. Then we had to go to the housing secretary’s office and they told us that we couldn't get a room until we went to the CROUS (which is in the middle of the city and handles all the student housing in Bordeaux). But thankfully fluent French Mimivi said no they are tired and they are not dragging their bags around the city you are going to give them a room. So they did.

Our rooms are actually really nice compared to the dorm rooms at St. Mary’s. This was probably the only plus for yesterday. I am in a single room but it has its own bathroom and has a lot of storage space. The room is attached to a kitchen which is attached to 4 other rooms. It is pretty nice.

After we dropped off our bags, we (with Mimivi luckily) went in search of the CROUS in the city. They said we needed a paper with an account number from a bank in France (which neither of us have). So we went in search of a BNP which has an agreement with Bank of America. They wouldn't give us an account though because a) we were only here for three months and b) we didn't have a proof of residency. So here is the catch. To pay rent and to prove residency you need a bank account and to get a bank account you need to prove residency. So we decided to try another bank. We went to CIC or something like that and the lady let us slip through with us promising to bring back proof of residency later which was nice of her. So I had to go to BNP take out money with my Bank of America card and then give her 1300 Euros in cash to put in my bank account. Haha. As everyone here keeps saying to us "This is France!"

Then we went to the Auchun which is like the French Target but soooooooooooo much cooler. It has a huge French market inside and sells cheap (but still good apparently) wine and other alcohol and soo much good food and then of course Target-like stuff. And it is mostly inexpensive. So we had to buy sheets and pillows and then we went back to the tram. Now this was fun because a) it was rush hour and b) a tram had just had an accident and delayed all the trams for 25 minutes so when the tram finally came there were about 100 people waiting at the stop. So we had to squish on the tram between three big gypsy ladies (we found out they were gypsies today as we saw them in the street peddling) with huge pillows and bags of stuff. When I finally got home I didn't even eat dinner. I went straight to bed.

This morning I woke up and started to unpack. Then Nezia and I went to the secretary's office to drop off a paper and then we went in search of internet. We first went to the computer lab that we were told about but it was closed so we went to an office and asked them if there were other computers but she said they were in Village 5 where I live. So we went in search of them here but they were nowhere to be found. But I was determined. Yesterday was horrible and today was not going to be ruined. So we went to the housing secretary's office and asked if we could borrow computers. They said no but informed us that because we were in the newer housing that we could get wireless if we paid. So I finally got a signal and am now paying 19 euros a month for internet but at least it is in my room and I know I always have it. So now I am thinking about getting Skype because I believe it is free and I can talk to anyone else who has head set with a microphone and Skype for free. Let me know if anyone wants to talk through Skype once I get it.

Then at 2 30 we met Jenny who is another girl who went to St. Mary’s last year and she took me to Orange to get a pay-as-you-go phone and then took us to the Auchun to get some more stuff that we needed. Then we went to Mimivi’s house because she is letting us borrow some silverware. But her boyfriend was recording something with some friends (singing perhaps) and Nezia needed to borrow her phone so in order to wait we went to a cafe outside. Mimivi lives on la rue de St Catherine which is the longest street in Europe. It is really cool and had so many shops and cafes. It is like Champs Elysee in Paris but soooooooooooooooooo much longer. It would take you forever to walk it all. So we sat and I ordered my expensive bottled water and then we went upstairs and Nezia was able to make a call. Then we made our way home and, as Nezia and I got to our building, we noticed something familiar - a dominos delivery guy!! Haha. So we tracked him down and asked him how much a pizza was. He told us if we went there and ordered than it was buy one get one free. So we took the tram and went to dominos and then came home and our pizza and have a lot leftover. Neither of us our really big American pizza fans but we thought it was wonderful. Now I have been playing on the internet for the past two hours because it feels so wonderful to have it in my room.

So today was a lot better. I really really like the city. It is so beautiful but the campus is really ugly. I think I am going to like it here though and I am sure I will meet a lot of people next week at orientation.

Sorry if this email is hard to understand. I have been speaking in Franglish for the past few days and it is midnight here and I am very tired - I just wanted to get an email out because I know everyone wanted to make sure I was here. I miss everyone and I will email again soon!

Love, Morgan

8.9.11

sponsor post: little white chapel

I would like to introduce you to our new sponsor, Little White Chapel. This Etsy shop boasts beautiful jewelry and hairpieces for weddings and special occasions. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Je t'aime Charm Necklace: I love anything French inspired and this necklace is just precious. You don't see the little love letter until you open the envelope.
2. Blue and Gold Bridal Earrings: Wouldn't this be the perfect way to incorporate "something blue" on your wedding day? And, even better, they are definitely wearable for special occasions after that.
3. Antique Brass Crystal Necklace: I think this would be so lovely with a lace gown for a vintage inspired wedding but it so versatile it could dress up a pair of jeans as well.
4. Pearl Bridal Hairpins: These pins are such a classy way to dress up a hair style. They are simple yet make such a statement.

Please remember Little White Chapel for your wedding or next event. There is something for everyone. And let me know if you decide on something - I would love to know what you picked up!