Our Holiday Card

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Whatever it is you celebrate, however you celebrate, we’re wishing you everything that is cozy and wonderful!

Merry Everything

from Crowning Victoria!!

Just Louvrely

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When we first decided to visit Paris I immediately researched the art collection housed in the The Louvre.  At that point the sheer volume of art overwhelmed me.  After actually going and seeing about a third of the sixteen kilometers, I was sixteenthly overwhelmed!

Gorgeous, stunning, beautiful – there are so many adjectives to describe everything we saw!

Also: stolen.   Think back to the age of colonization and empire expansion.  Larger counties found themselves saying “mine!” and then adding the land/artifacts/art to their collection.  When visiting the British Museum we thought they had sticky fingers in Egypt.  Well, nothing really compares to the Louvre’s display of ancient Greecian, Roman, and Italian sculptures:

Do you see the Venus D’Milo in the background of the photo on the left?  That room was filled to the max with detailed, stone people, much more amazing than skillfully described by me.

At an early age I found myself drawn to art, thanks to a teacher.  I learned of names like El Greco, Degas, Picasso, Cézanne, Dali, and many others.  So when visiting the Louvre I expected to see hoards of things I loved.

I have to say, I didn’t see as pieces I loved or even recognized.  There’s just so much to see, and navigating that museum is not easy, either!  Plus, much of it is old or “classical”, not modern or very recent.

But we saw this lady:

Many warned me that the size of this paining might surprise me.  I actually found the small scale fitting.  Large paintings tend to have much going on, and the Mona Lisa portrays beauty simply.  I dug it.

And after much walking we finally found a few recognizable names like Renoir, Monet, and Degas. I mean, come on, this French museum had to be hiding their acclaimed artists somewhere!

Eventually you just start having fun with the art:

Overall, I’m glad we went and saw the Louvre.  However I think they could learn something from the cliche “quality over quantity.”  (Not to say that the art presented was not amazing, there was just so much freaking art all over the place like some collector just threw up years of history into a giant museum.)   If time permitted, then a trip to the Musée de l’Orangerie allows visitors to gaze at the splendor of  Monet’s Water Lilies.  I guess that will happen on our next trip!

Oh and I leave you with this.

I love everything about this so much:

totally frame worthy.

Paris, Louvre, Art, Love, Us.

Yes.

How to Beat Jet-lag 101

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We arrived in London early last Tuesday morning, which felt more like 3am to us American East Coasters.   Thanks to modern medicine and mini bottles of wine, I found 5 hours of sleep on that plane ride.

Mike’s good buddy, Rob, picked us up and whisked us off to his flat.  Thankfully Rob had to take the day off to spend with us, or else loose his leave in 2013.  We spent the day playing the must. stay. awake. game to beat jet-lag.

When flying ahead of time (the opposite of Back to the Future), here are some things you can do to stay alert mildly coherent until bedtime:

  • meet up with friends you haven’t seen in 4 years (including new baby!) for lunch
  • Eat, a lot, including an English Breakfast because, duh, you’re in London.

 

 

 

 

 

  • caffeinate highly, including but not limited to an Americano since no one outside of America can really make “American style coffee,”  red bull, more coffee, and something called “Go Fast” which we assumed was the equivalent of a 5-hour-energy drink but tasted of overly sweetened koolaid
  • buy Jaffa Cakes, a whole tube of them, and eat them with reckless abandon (because they are just that good and not available in the states). Notice the laser eyes in this picture.  This is totally normal when adjusting to jet-lag.  Pschew! pschew!

  • Go to a mall and walk around, a lot.
  • Go to a department store and buy a gift for the wedding you’re attending that weekend (aka the whole reason we traveled to London).
  • Visit a local grocery in the mall (Um, hi, Marks & Spencers store needs to come to the states! It’s like a mini-Target or a huge Trader Joes where you can buy leggings) and buy many more random food items.
  • Go back to the department store to buy more random items, including gifts for the person watching your cats back home.
  • Go to a pub! Any ever notice that we have no true Pubs in the states? Sure we have places that try to be pubs, but really never succeed.
  • Have a beer with friends, at said pub.
  • Take many pictures, because making your brain work means staying awake.
  • Side note, do you see what these boys are looking at???  Boys… I shake my head at you.

  • Go to the bathroom wherever you are and take more pictures.
  • Finally, pass out and get ready to head to Paris (or where-ever you hope to find yourself the next day)!

 

 

 

Top Five List – Thanksgiving Overseas Style!

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Our friends, Johnny & Lara (who you might remember from my wedding!) will walk down the aisle together this coming Sunday.  As with any wedding in which you know the bride and groom, I am beyond excited.  However, this wedding will take place in London, England — not exactly our backyard.  This is the perfect excuse for a trip abroad!

And since you can’t go to Europe and only visit one country (at least in my book you can surely try to see more than one country!), we’re taking a side trip to Paris.  No big deal.

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The top five things I am looking forward to while on our trip to the other side of the pond:

5.  Sightseeing – Four years ago we found ourselves in London for another couple’s wedding and had a chance to do the tourist thing. I’m excited to see some new and maybe not-so-mainstreamed sights this time.  The last time I visited Paris I was a teeny 3 year-old.  I can’t wait to check out everything there, including the beautiful Eiffel Tower and The Louvre !

4.  Eating out every day – Let’s face it, taking a break from your kitchen great, especially when it will involve a few days of fancy Parisian food!  Thanksgiving in Paris is sure to be a treat.

3.  LaduréeI know I already said food, but this pastry shop in Paris is partially credited for the modern day french macron.  We literally stumbled upon their only American location while in New York for my 30thbirthday.  That was my first macron experience and nothing else ever compares.  Hello Caramel with Salted Butter, Blackcurrent Violet, and Pistachio tiny pockets of yum!!! There’s even a line of Incroyables Macrons.  Incroyables people, Incroyables.

Also this video. It makes me shiver with excitement.

2.  Photographing ALL THE THINGS — I love taking my camera with me to see and do exciting things. Expect wonderful, photo-filled blog posts upon my return.

1.  Celebrating friends! – friends getting married, friends with a new baby girl, friends just being with friends!!  And let me tell you I can’t wait to hug Jacki’s face right off.  We met at BlogHer and she is graciously opening her home in Paris to Mike and I.  This is sure to be EPIC.

Do you have a top 5 list for Thanksgiving?

Also, any last minute recommendations for London or Paris?

Au revoir!!

 

Settling in

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About two years ago while adjusting to our engagement, I mourned the (then) upcoming loss of my last name.  I grew up fantasizing taking a new last name, scribbling “Vicki” or “Victoria” followed by some new, sophisticated surname.  I always wanted to take my husband’s last name, but faced with the reality of the situation I grieved a little.

For so many years I identified with my ten-letter-long, weirdly spelled, Polish last name.  Scared of the identity crisis and not to mention the paperwork, a huge part of me considered keeping my maiden-name.

But I continued towards adopting my new name, as I wanted to join with my husband in unity with our last name. I know there are plenty of people who chose to keep their name, but I wanted that change.  I wanted the newness.  I wanted the familial aspect.

Only recently though have I come to feel a kinship as a Soloman*.

While administering my students’ first round of standardized tests (my feelings on that make a whole ‘nother blog post), the powers that be require you to read something along the lines of, “Please check to make sure your name, school, test and teacher’s name are correct before we begin.”  I’m not kidding when I tell you every single little hand shot up like a rocket.  “But Mrs. Soloman, that’s not your name!”  “Mrs. Soloman there’s something weird written here.” “Mrs. Soloman who’s Victoria Walskfdjasodfjaslkdjsfalski?”

Quickly, as to calm their fears during an already stressful situation, I told my students that W-name was my old last name.

And as I said it, I felt it.

I felt right in my new last name.

My maiden name remains a part of me as my middle name.  It will always represent my family ties and how I grew up.  I hope that one day my hypothetical son or daughter will use it as a password reminder, as I use my mother’s maiden name.

I went from reluctantly letting go to calling everyone and their supervisor to change my name.  I feel like most every time I turn around, a different form needs filling out, or reminding that I already filled it out, to continue moving on to the next version of me.   It might not be the easiest thing I ever did fourteen thousand times over, but the merits far outweigh any challenges.  It’s only my name, but it represents me and my husband, and our life together.

 

Um, how cute is that Mike & Vicki pre-marriage picture, back before I knew what highlights were and Mike knew what contacts were like! D’aww.

*I want to note, initially I never intended to share my last name on this blog. I like some anonymity, and since I am a teacher I like my personal space here in the internets.  However I decided I want to share who I am, but still hiding a little bit.  Soloman is my last name, just not spelled that way.  You pronounce it “Soloman” (like the King from the Bible) but with different letters.  So it’s me, but yet I am allowed a little bit of secrecy.  Also if you were at BlogHer, or know me on Facebook, you saw the correct spelling anyways!