The truth is...

Sometimes I really just feel like this.

Being an adult is exhausting sometimes, am I right? I miss the simple days of water slides, fort building, Disney movies and the ice cream man.

Who am I kidding? I still watch Disney movies. :)

I hope you all have a lovely and stress free day! And that wherever you are is warmer than this ice age happening in Paris. Bisous!


Spain: Madrid

Ah, the best weekend ever has came and went. I'm so sad it is over but I had the greatest time with two of my best friends. I am so thankful for these two and all the memories we have shared over the years. We had so much fun just talking, cooking, eating, drinking and being together like the good old days in college. We made our very first Thanksgiving meal for all their Spanish friends which turned out to be a success after a good amount of stress.

haha sorry for this photo it just makes me laugh everytime!

Jaime's poor parents got two seriously panicked skype calls from us concerned about the turkey that we were pretty sure was NOT going to be cooked in time. Just picture two of us holding up the turkey from the oven and Jaime holding up her computer to show her mom so she could diagnose the problem.  Needless to say, she has awesome parents who didn't judge our lack of domestic skills.

After Erin bit off all her nail polish because she was so stressed about the bird, we served up the successfully and thoroughly cooked turkey to their friends (some of whom this was their very first Thanksgiving meal!).

We went out dancing until the wee hours of the morning, stuffed our hangovers with delicious Spanish food and had a wonderful movie night in. Thai take out, Love Actually, PJ's, YouTube videos, and great friends...it was absolutely perfect.

I miss them and Spain so much already. I am seriously considering just moving in with them. It would be magical. Like living at Disneyland everyday.

I can't wait to start planning another trip to visit them in the next year because I know these girls are not leaving Spain any time soon. I love you Erin and Jaime! Thanks for the best weekend ever!


Thankful Thoughts Vol. 4: Miss Coco Marie

One of the best things about living abroad is that it brings people together. I have spent time with people here in Paris when we never even used to hang out back in California. Its really great to connect with people from your past and also making new friends. Coco is one of those girls. We went to SDSU together and were in all the same class (both hospitality/event majors) but we never became close. When I moved to Paris I got in touch with her for some moving advice and now we spend almost every day together. We had to travel across the world to become such good friends!

Funny how it works, right? 

Well, I am thankful for her and our adventures and I asked her to tell you guys what she is thankful for this holiday season. She has been living in Paris for over 2 and a half years and just made the decision to move her life back home. We are on the same flight back to LAX! So here she is, go check out her blog for more Paris secrets and amazing travel stories!

When Brittany asked me to write a guest post about all that I was thankful for I was excited and then hit with a feeling of worry. Why? Because trying to think of everything I am thankful this year seemed like an overwhelming task. Once I finally forced myself to sit down and crank it out, I was so happy I had time to think about my last year. Life is constantly going to quickly and I think there is less and less time to focus on appreciating what we have.

With this being my third Thanksgiving abroad, I am starting to forget what an awesome holiday Thanksgiving actually is. I mean yeah, of course any holiday that consists of eating all day, at least 3 different desserts, and some serious family time is incredible but Thanksgiving is more than that. It is just what this post has allowed me to do: reflect.

Being an expat is always hard during American holidays, but it is a prime example of one of the things I am most thankful this year: family. I don’t mean only family in the conventional way. When living abroad you are forced to create your own family here because you have nothing else. I have had many “families” while living in France and I am thankful for each one. I couldn’t have survived the hardships of being an au pair with out my fellow cohorts and this year I have found people who share the interests and goals as me (and can relate to our insane lives dealing with the French!)

And of course I am thankful for my actual family. I am SO thankful for Skype, Whatsapp, Heytell, etc. It is not the easiest thing living thousands of miles away but I could have never done this without the constant support of my family. They are truly my strength, cheerleading squad, and support system all wrapped into one!

I am also thankful for the experiences this year brought me. I did the impossible: I found a job in a foreign country, found a flat in the center of Paris, and got a work visa during the reign of Sarkozy. I traveled many new places, learned many new things, and made fabulous new friends. I fell in love over and over again with the wonderful city I could call home.

Although the hardest times of my life happened this year, I am grateful for each and every experience, good and bad. They all have taught me and allowed me to grow. So this Thanksgiving I am most thankful for my experiences over the last year and the people I have been able to share them with. Yeah, I may be giving thanks in a tiny flat instead of with my family and a plate full of turkey, but it doesn't make me any less appreciative this year. I am one lucky girl!

Happy Thanksgiving à tous!



Happy Thanksgiving from Paris!

This is my first Thanksgiving away from home and probably the only one where I will be able to celebrate with foie gras, French wine, fish and pavlova while teaching my friend from South Africa how to draw her very first "hand" turkey. She needs to know these important life lessons.

I definitely am missing my friends and family back home. Especially when I Facetime with them and they are all together and knowing that even Mike gets to see my family and they get to see his family at the Turkey Trot this morning. It's great to know they are all together but there is a little bit of sadness being away from it.

SO, how do you cope with such a thing? Well, you hop a plane to Madrid to see your best friend. Problemo solved! I need to start packing because I leave tomorrow after work and I am SO insanely excited. I get to see two of my best friends and be a part of this awesome life they have built living in Madrid. I'm also pretty excited just to be in Spain again. (I studied abroad in Barcelona in 2008 and haven't been back til NOW!)

Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful American friends and family. I hope you enjoy the day and count your blessing no matter what part of the world you might find yourself in.


I never win anything!

JC from Sweet Love and Ginger was so sweet and nominated me as one of her recipients for the Liebster award that has been floating around the blogspace. I feel like I just won a prize! Woo! Thanks JC!

The purpose of this award is to share and support little blogs like mine (under 200 followers) and maybe help us get some more awesome friends such as yourself. I'll share some bits and pieces about me and then my super cool nominee's can do the same (if they feel like participating, of course).

So, if you are still with me..here we go.

Award Rules:
1)      Post 11 things about yourself
2)      Answer all the questions your nominator sets for you
3)      Come up with 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated
4)      Choose 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award (200 followers or less)
5)      Go to their page and tell them

1. I saw Breaking Dawn Part 2 yesterday and I loved it. I'm a Twilight fan. There, its out in the open.
2. Wearing so many layers of clothes everyday is making me stressed out. I feel heavy and confined in all these jackets, scarves, hats and boots! How do you people do it every year??
3. I've discovered a love for tea recently. Maybe the cold weather? I love fruity and floral teas.
4. I have a bad habit of picking my split ends. Anyone else?
5. Something Corporate - all time favorite band since I was 13.
6. I get stressed out about how much I'm going to miss French bread and butter when I get home.
7. I also can't wait to grub on some In-n-Out, stat.
8. I'm excited for my weekend in Madrid this upcoming weekend! I can't wait to see some of my best friends and have patatas bravas all day!
9. Secret: I have only run three times since my half marathon last month! I just can't get motivated to run in 37 degree weather! Any tips??

10. I could be a professional sleeper. I just love sleeping and man, am I good at it.

11. I'm looking forward to my first Friends-giving away from home but missing my family at Thanksgiving this week also.

JC's Questions:

1)      If you could be a superhero which one would it be?
Sailor Moon! I spent a good amount of my childhood wanting to be her.

2)      What is your favorite way to spend an afternoon?
I love afternoons without plans. Just walking around the city, window shopping, meeting friends for drinks...casual things like that.

3)      What is your favorite color?
Pink and teal :)

4)      What got you into blogging?
I wanted a place to log my recipes. Then I decided I liked it.

5)      What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people scrape their plates with their fork/knife and it makes that screeching sound. It makes me want to jump out of my skin!!

6)      When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don't remember. I think the little mermaid. Yep, I wanted to be half fish, live underwater with a fish as my bff and brush my hair with a fork. Good choice, Brit.

7)      What is your dream vacation?
I think I'm living it right now! But I would love to go to South America next!

8)      What is your guilty pleasure?
Nutella. Its an unhealthy relationship but I do love it sooo.

9)      What drives you? (It can be a long term goal, or purpose in life etc..)
I just want to make a difference in the world, in some small way. I want to run a business, have a family and not take anything for granted. Happiness drives me!

10)  What do you spend the most money on?
Food. For sure. I mean I spend 4 euros on a little thing of smoked salt butter because its the best thing I've ever tasted! I shop for food like normal people shop for clothes.

11)  When you wake up what is the first thing you do?

TAG! You're it!
Lex at The Lexinary
Danielle at Bonjour Sweet Paris
Jessica at What's in a name?

Brittany at Birdie in Paris
Kaitlyn at kaitastrophical

Questions for YOU, darlings.
1. What is your core belief in life? Like a mantra you live by.
2. What type of animal would you want to be?
3. What is something on your bucket list?
4. Gotta ask...tell us an embarrassing story!
5. What is your favorite travel destination?
6. Do you have a cause you fight for/work with?
7. Favorite movie or tv show of all time?
8. Do you believe the world is going to end in a month?
9. Best meal/food you have ever eaten?
10. What are you looking forward to next year?
11. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Now, go check out these girls and share some blog love!
Thanks again, JC!


Thankful Thoughts Vol. 3: LOVE

As of today I have 5 more weeks left in Paris. Seems like a short amount of time compared to how long I have already been here but it seems like the closer it gets the longer it seems. Why? Because its like running to a finish line, the closer you get the harder it feels and the farther away it seems to be. I don't want to think of the end of Paris as a finish line but I definitely feel like I'm running towards something and not away from Paris. I'm running towards my friends and family and Mike. I'm feeling ready to start the next chapter of my life. (not that I won't miss Paris as soon as I touch down in LA).

My going away party January 2012

Can you believe that it has been almost 8 months since I have seen Mike? I think that is the longest we have ever gone without seeing each other since we met in high school. It has been a crazy and challenging year but I think our relationship has grown and strengthened so much through all the struggles and successes from being long distance. 

Mike's visit to Paris in April 2012

I am definitely ready to be back with him and little Tay. I'm really excited and looking forward to what is next for us and to just be able to be together! Be able to have coffee together, go to a movie, play with Taylor at the park, spend time with our friends and families. It all sounds so wonderful. 

Homecoming circa 2005 muahahaha

I can't tell you all how thankful I am for this relationship. We have been through so many struggles together but have proven them all trivial in comparison to love for each other. He makes me laugh everyday, understands me sometimes more than I even understand myself, supported me moving half way across the world for a year, and really is the other half to my soul.

I am a lucky girl to have found such an incredible relationship and to be able to have watched each other grow up. We've been part of each other's lives since we were 14 and 15 years old and I think that growing up together really gives us a greater understanding of each other. I can not wait to get back to him...8 months is TOO long!!!

So, thank you, Mike. Thank you for supporting me so much and being there through it all. I love you and can not wait to actually see your face (not through a computer screen!). 35 days and counting. 


Recipe: Mille Feuille

Mille Feuille (1,000 leaves/layers) is still my favorite pastry. Specifically Mr. Pierre Herme's version filled with chocolate and praliné. Oh wow, I need to go get one of those soon.

I had dinner with a friend a few weeks ago at my apartment. She made delicious Korean BBQ ribs and I made the classic version of a vanilla mille feuille. The key to having a good mille feuille is to show off the two contrasting textures - crispy puff pastry with light and creamy vanilla cremé.

Want to give it a go? I think you should! It is a perfect surprise for Thanksgiving or Christmas! The best part is that you can make the pastry dough a day or two in advance. Just freeze the dough until its ready to be baked! OR if you really are pressed for time or simply don't want to attempt this somewhat daunting recipe - go ahead and buy frozen puff pastry from the market. Lets be honest, sometimes there is just NO time.

Pate Feuilletage Inverse (Puff Pastry dough)
Oven: 450F or 230C

400g Butter
130g Flour

In your mixer, combine butter and flour until smooth and homogenous. Form this into a cube and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

270g Flour
10g Salt
140g Water (approx.)

In your mixer, combine all ingredients to create a firm detrempe (read:dough). This is a French culinary term for the first stage in the process of making puff pastry, which requires only flour and water. After, form into another cube, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Onto a floured surface, roll out your butter dough in a rectangle just enough so that you can wrap the detrempe inside of it. Place the detrempe in the bottom half of the butter dough and fold the butter over the detrempe to enclose it as if it is a giant ravioli. Note: don't be afraid to use flour on the counter and the top of the dough, butter is easily melted and sticky so you will need to use flour to prevent the sticking and if the dough gets too warm and soft stick it in the refrigerator to firm up again. 

Press together the ends of the butter to close everything up. Place the dough with the longest seam to your left, as if it is a book (an upside down one). Roll the dough out to about 10 cm x 35 cm long. Now you will give the dough its first "turn". Visually divide the dough into thirds. Fold the top third down and fold the bottom third up. It will end up looking like this. 

Repeat this three more times to total four turns keeping the long seam to the left. Remember, if the dough gets too warm and starts sticking to your table wrap it and refrigerate it until firm again (15 mins-30 mins).

PHEW! The hard part is over. Now let your dough rest in the refrigerator for an hour or so. When you are ready, roll out the dough to the size of a baking sheet (normally 40cmx60cm). This size will give you enough servings for about 12-13 people. The thickness should be about 1 cm and it should be even in thickness all the way through. After you have rolled it out, let the dough rest in the fridge again for an hour because it is elastic and will retract a little. (This is when you would want to freeze the dough if you want!!)

Bake at about 190C/375F until golden brown and crispy. (If you can manage, flip the pastry half way through - probably about 30 minutes).


Now, pastry cream.

750g milk
250g cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
200g sugar
80g corn starch
220g egg yolks (about 6)
50g butter, unsalted, cut into pieces

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, cream and vanilla to a boil. In another bowl mix the sugar, starch and egg yolks together. When the milk boils, pour half of the milk onto the egg mixture and mix immediately. 

Put the milk back on the heat and add the egg mixture into the pot. Put on medium heat and mix constantly until the cream is thick and reaches a boil for 1 minute. Always mix! You don't want to burn the bottom of the cream :)

Scoop out onto a tray covered in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. You can also put it in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to cool it faster and then store in the fridge.

Now, combine the cooled pastry cream with about 25% whipped cream. 


Cut the puff pastry into three even sections lengthwise. Fill a pastry bag with the cream and pipe the cream on top of the first layer of puff pastry. Spread the cream with a spatula so it is evenly distributed and without holes. Place second layer of puff pastry on top. Repeat the layer of cream and top off with another layer of puff pastry. Top with a sprinkle of icing sugar or anything else you would like! In this photo I used the extra bits of puff pastry and crunched them up into small pieces to put all around the outside. Just cover the sides with left over cream and then press the crunchy bits into it.

VOILA! Phew, now go have a drink!


InstaParis 2

A while back I posted a bunch of my instagram photos of Paris since I had moved here. You all seemed to enjoy it so here is round two!

On Instagram? Follow me @britcampbell09 :)