I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk

After receiving a small raise last week, I immediately booked a trip to Paris.

To be fair, I’d been mulling over this trip during a break at work to visit a dear friend who is working on her master’s degree, but once I heard about the raise, it pushed me over the edge. Basically, what I’m saying is though Angela Clark annoys me at times, I kinda get her impulsiveness thing.

(Also weird – last month I went to Los Angeles (Book #2), I’m heading to Paris (Book #3) next month and then to Las Vegas (Book #4) the month after that. Not on purpose, but just coincidence. I don’t have any current plans to head to London (Book #5), but it is my favorite place, so hmmm….)

20422324Anyway, when I realized the next I Heart book was set in Paris, I pulled it up immediately. It’s a quick read and Angela is a little less annoying than usual, if only because most of the bad stuff that’s happening to her actually isn’t her fault this time. She still drinks way too much and spends way too much money on stupid stuff. (Seriously, if I hear about her stupid Marc Jacobs handbag one more time, I’m going to throw something!) Angela’s boyfriend gets invited to play a festival in Paris and invites Angela to go with. At the same time, she gets a big meeting with the head of the company who owns the magazine where she works which gets her an article in this universe’s version of Vogue. Her suitcase gets blown up at JFK (which she finds out at CDG), leaving her without her MacBook charger, borrowed clothes, make up, and research for the article.

While this would be enough to make anyone crazy, she’s more concerned that her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend is back on the scene and now he’s being distant than her work project. I have to keep reminding myself that Angela is 27, so she’s kinda ditzy sometimes because I spent most of the book wanting to shake some sense into her. There are so many things that she’s “hopeless” at – like reading maps, working technology, doing research, stopping herself from spending money she doesn’t have on clothes she doesn’t need, telling her boyfriend the truth…it wears.

There are some actual consequences to her actions this time, which is a nice change of pace, even if everyone is telling her not worry about it. It’s a quick read and I like that I can dip my toes back into this universe every once in a while, but I definitely need a break before the next book. I’ve loaded up my TBR queue with a bunch of Paris books, so get excited!

Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel

italian I picked up this novel at the library book sale last year, based primarily on the title, cover art, and summary that a lady in her mid-30s is off to Rome on a whim. I haven’t had the best luck with $1 novels from the book sale, but this one was AMAZING!

Cat Connelly is stuck in her life, even though she doesn’t feel like she is. A messed up childhood has left her feeling responsible for her father and sister, even though she’s nearly 35. After meeting a nice guy at her sister’s wedding who is NOT what she thought, she’s convinced to take a month off and head to Rome. It gets a little Roman Holiday from there (or so I’m told since I’ve not seen the film), but it does make me want to hop a plane tomorrow!

I enjoyed Cat finding out the truth of her family situation, finding her new passion, and meeting good people who help her with all of the above. As someone who is planning a trip to one of my parents’ childhood countries (though no traumatic event is inspiring it!), it made me excited to explore a new place and see if maybe I might fit there too.

Tribute to Londonist Out Loud

“Hello hello! You’re listening to the sound of London. This is Londonist Out Loud.”

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of an Anglophile. A year ago yesterday, I was looking for the London Walks podcast in preparation of my upcoming trip to London over spring break. However, while searching iTunes, I found that Londonist.com had their own podcast. I downloaded the latest episode and gave it a listen. Look Up! gave me two new obsessions – this podcast and Katie Wignall’s Look Up London blog/Instagram/walking tours. It had never occurred to me to listen to a walking tour of a place of I wasn’t currently in, but I was immediately in love. I could picture some of things she mentioned as I walked home from work and made notes of things I wanted to look up. I immediately downloaded as many episodes as I could from the back catalog to bring London with me wherever I was.

So imagine my disappointment when the podcast stopped updating at the end of January. And then last weekend, there was this tweet:

To say I’m devastated that the show has ended just as I’ve finally caught up is putting it mildly. I understand that things happen and shows end, but I was just not prepared. And given that I’ve canceled my plans to go abroad for my vacation this year due to uncertainty at home, losing this connection to my favorite city in the world is really hard. So this is my small way of saying thank you to Londonist, N Quentin Woolf and all the people involved in making this my favorite podcast (even if I only discovered you a year ago).

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What I’m Looking Forward To This Year

Today’s Challenge prompt makes me think of all the places I want to go. I logged into TripIt yesterday and saw that screen. It’s been such a long time since I didn’t have a trip on the horizon. So of course, I started planning! Continue reading

Happiness Is…

Today’s prompt is “Happiness Is” and my first thought was that I could finally finish this draft of a post about my visit to Neverland with my mom back in January. There’s a lot of ways I could answer that prompt (watching the sunset over the ocean, a really good hug, when the Giants win the World Series), but watching Matthew Morrison sing and dance his heart out from the front row is up there. Continue reading