Saturday, January 28, 2012


Ovvy got his first real test today with chewy chocolate cookies.

I mixed the dough by hand in my Ikea bowl, using the awesome spatula that Diego gave me. I miss my KitchenAid mixer!

This morning I tried to buy a cookie sheet at one of the really awesome professional kitchen stores here in Paris, but my oven was too small for the sheets they sold. Instead I bought a mini-tart tin, which looked like it would allow me to make a dozen cookies in minimal space.

I was right! They came out perfectly!

And they tasted delicious!

Here's the recipe (which I created by trial and error from several other recipes):

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
3/4 c. (150g) white granulated sugar
1/2 c. (100g) salted butter, room temp
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract (reduce to 1/2 t. if using the strong French syrup-style vanilla)
1/2 t. baking soda (bicarbonate)
3/8 c. (45g) cocoa powder
1 c. (120g) all-purpose flour (bio type 65)

Mix together sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in soda and cocoa powder. Add flour. Mix well. Bake for 10 minutes, at 325F (165C) for dark pans and 350F (175C) for light metal pans. Enjoy warm with ice cream or cool with a glass of milk!

Friday, January 27, 2012


This has been a Bambi week. In other words "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". So I'm sorry its been a bit quiet on the blogging front, so I'll try to catch up since a lot of really great things happened today!

First of all, I FINALLY got my receipt stating that I have turned in all my documents for my resident permit. I was supposed to get this two months ago, before my entry visa expired. Anyways, through a ridiculous series of events, I finally got it today, thanks to the help of two incredible ladies! (More about that in another post.)

"Look, Mom, I'm official!"

And then the next, and possibly even more incredible thing happened when I got home. Diego's birthday present to me arrived early!

"Hello, I'm Ovvy the Oven!"

DIEGO IS AMAZING!!!!!! He bought me a totally kickass oven for my birthday!!!! I've already preheated it and tomorrow I'll pick out which recipe to use to inaugurate it. My lab mates better get ready for some cookies on Monday!!!

Just incredible, from 3000 miles away, that guy still knows exactly what to do to make me get all teary-eyed and know that he is thinking about how to make me smile every minute. I am so lucky!!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Buttons and beyond

This weekend, I went searching for buttons for a knitting project. I looked on Ravelry to find some recommended places in Paris and ended up heading to Le Marais, an area in the 4th arrondissement (district). There I found Entrée des Fournisseurs, an adorable crafting store. You can see some of the ribbons and buttons through the windows. It was a lovely place full of all sorts of knitting and sewing supplies. I even bought a small sewing kit since I managed to give away ALL of my sewing stuff before leaving Boston and I've managed to put a few holes in things here in Paris. And I bought buttons! But those are a post for another day, since the recipient has not yet received them.

Oh yes, and there were glowing sheep. They were for a completely different store, one that was selling nice wool sweaters.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Motto for today

and most other days too:

(It is one of Diego's Christmas presents to me that definitely gets a lot of use!)

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Don't park your matte black Beemer SUV like an asshole or bad things will happen...

(Look at the mirror...)

Saturday, January 21, 2012


This weekend, I decided to take advantage of the arts scene in Paris, so I went to see an Exposition at the Grand Palais about Matisse, Cézanne, and Picasso. It was centered around the Stein family, who were very big patrons of modern art in the early 20th century in Paris. There weren't any photos allowed, so just trust me that it was a really great show! I especially liked the progression of styles shown in the Picasso works. I don't think I've ever seen so many of his works in one place. I'm definitely a fan of his work from about 1900-1910, but I'm decidedly less interested as he delves into cubism. Also, the Matisses were fabulous, and the colors were cheery and intense, especially when contrasted with the grey raining winter days of Paris.

Overall, a fun way to spend an afternoon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Un bébé

When I go back to Boston for my graduation, my friend and amazing brow girl Tina said she will come in during her maternity leave to do my brows for me for the big day! So I picked up a little something for her during Les Soldes. So freaking cute!!!!!

And some closeups so you can see the french...

Small, medium, large

"I pinch!" "Pinch me!" They are in a boat.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Knitting magic

Today I was feeling uninspired in the knitting department, so I decided to play around with a new kind of yarn I had ordered a few months ago for a project. This is plötulopi.

Its Icelandic. It arrived at my apartment in Paris in a small brown bag smelling distinctly of farm. And tonight, I busted open the wrapping and started swatching. Plötulopi is special because its completely unspun. Its basically just a long wad of fibers.

Which makes it super-delicate. But the magic happens as you knit it. The super-long Icelandic sheep fibers catch and twist around each other, and you get a super-warm, durable, but beautiful knitted fabric. I think its magical.

The person who will receive this gift knows that its in the making. But it will take a while. But I promise it will be worth every minute! <3

A little post-holiday cheer

I bought myself a present!

He/she hasn't told me a name yet, so for now, this is just Orchid. :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The bad luck

My new purse ate my knitting project.

A knitting project that I had been working on since January 2011 with yarn that I have carried from NZ to USA to France.

I'm really really really sad! I tried salvaging it but so far, no luck - I think all is lost at this point. :'(

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday the 13th

It doesn't mean bad luck in France, it just means luck. So that means you can either have a really lucky or really unlucky day. I had both.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Les Soldes

I think that companies in the States make up holidays just so they can have sales. MKL weekend, President's Day, Washington's birthday, I remember seeing car ads about every weekend of the year with some sort of special deal or discount to take advantage of.

Its not the same in France. Here, the prevailing notion is that things are priced "reasonably", or that the price reflects the quality. Its also because the government mandates that there can only be two sales a year, so if things weren't priced reasonably, no one would ever buy anything!

Luckily for me, Les Soldes began on Wednesday, and I wasted no time in heading out and picking up a little something that I'd had my eyes on for a while... its a new purse! Its style seems to be very "in" right now in Paris. Plus, my favorite part is the convertible straps, so it can also be worn over the shoulder (when you're not trying to seem Parisienne by carrying it on your wrist):

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy Heart

Today I went to our Research Center's new year's celebration. Apparently many French companies do them - you have a party, there are speeches about the last year and what to look forward to this year, etc, etc. Its actually quite nice! And I'm not just saying that because there was a pastry buffet with champagne at the end! Anyways, it was a nice afternoon.

When I got home, I had another nice surprise waiting for me: my friend Sungyon had messaged me! We might be going to the same conference this year! That would be great, because its been almost a year and a half since we were last in the same place! And then I started thinking about it. I met her when we both started grad school. 2004. We spent New Year's together, chilling and knitting, probably somewhere around 2007. We both went to Paris together to visit another lab mate friend in 2008. She had already graduated and was doing a postdoc in France when I was in Paris the summer of 2010. And our next meet up? Beijing in August, assuming our papers get accepted to the conference. My heart is so full. I have so many wonderful friends, so many wonderful people in my life. And I am lucky enough that they are spread around the globe, so I can run into them in all sorts of wonderful places.

Team Peko in 2007:

Monday, January 9, 2012


Because sometimes, you just need someone to bring you REAL BACON!!!

For all those days, go to Breakfast In America, a shockingly popular breakfast place in Paris. Actually, they are so popular that now there are two, one on the Left Bank and one on the Right Bank. Also, note that although we are in an American restaurant, both Melissa and Adrienne are wearing their scarves, très Parisiennes! Actually, its because the restaurant is très Parisien and that window is really more for decoration - its very drafty!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Making it more like home

My tiny apartment is very nice, but the longer I'm here, the more I am annoyed by the fact that it doesn't feel like me. Its clearly decorated by a 55+ woman with a penchant for country chic. Which just isn't me. A few months ago I did an initial sweep, taking down her pictures and the painting of her as a child. But while I was in the States, I got some Christmas presents to make my apartment feel more MINE.

First, Mom made me some lovely pillow covers for the frilly pillows on the daybed.



So much better! Thanks Mom!

And right as I was about to get on the airplane, Diego gave me the same shower curtain from our old apartment. (Well, a new version of it, an old shower curtain is kind of gross!)

This shower curtain reminds me of our old apartment. When we first moved in, I was very opinionated about the shower curtain for the bathroom. He let me have my way, and after two days of it hanging in the bathroom, I finally agreed with him that it looked horrible in our bathroom. He returned it for me and brought home this one, with subtle white leaves on it. He said the shape of the leaves echoed the grey oval tiles on the walls. He was right, of course! Every time I see the new shower curtain in my bathroom, I smile.

Monday, January 2, 2012


There's still several things that I don't quite have figured out in France yet. Or I can't figure out why its so expensive. So on my way back to France, I made sure to pack my tiny suitcase full with lots and lots and lots of toiletries. I should be good for a couple of months, right? (And yes, that is brown sugar there on the top behind the cheese wiz. And no, the cheese wiz is not for consumption, it was to show my lab mates what "american" cheese is like.)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

back in Paris

I'm back in Paris, after spending New Year's Eve on an airplane. I managed to bring back an impressive array of toiletries, and a few presents that are very dear to my heart. Pictures after I sleep. (Stupid red-eye flights from the US to EU).