Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dear Kristen,

Today as I was deleting stuff from my computer a date jumped out at me and I realized I met you 1.5 years ago today. It wasn't anything special really, even if I always claim that the first night was magical. We were just regular awkward counselors at EFY and I thought you were a cool girl. I remember how interested you were in my recent return from Taiwan and Thailand and us sharing our memories of Thailand. You were the first person genuinely interested in what I had done in Taiwan and even today I am impressed at your ability to care about everyone. Little did I realize that I would come to love you more than anyone else. We have already had adventures together that surpass the ones we talked about. So here's to you Kristen. Happy Anniversary and many more to come!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

What the shamrock?!?!

'Tis a wee bit early for the shamrock motifs to be popping up on blogs all over the virtual universe, but what can I say, I love all things Irish! And green is one of my favorite colors anyway, so it works out nicely. I could come up with a good excuse for skipping Valentine's Day and say that we just want to honor our soon-departing Elder Brophy (from Dublin), but I'd being lying if I didn't come straight to the point and say that I just simply love St. Patrick's day. Without further ado, in honor of leprechauns, all things green, and Elder Brophy - who will likely be transfered this week - Happy early St. Pádraig's Day!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Scottish Parliament and Enlightenment

Steve has begun his internship at the Scottish Parliament.

Kristen has begun another semester at the University of Edinburgh.

(click on above links to read more)

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Orangina Museum

Somehow, 2009 slipped right through my fingers. I feel like it was yesterday when I was contemplating all the things that 2009 would include, which turned out even better than I could have imagined on 01.01.09, and here I am doing the very same regarding 2010. Oh the possibilities and adventures!
For our first adventure of 2010, Steve and I decided to ring in the new year with a lovely trip to Paris. Even though it was freezing cold, we had a blast running around in the City of Lights. Here's a photo montage to explain our trip...

Georges Pompidou Centre - constructed to show the interior on the exterior

Pompidou fountains - eclectic & funky

Steve's first authentic crêpe - jambon et fromage

Welcome to the Musée du Louvre!

We stopped at all the usual spots - Ms. Mona, the Great Hall, Venus de Milo, as well as happening upon Rubens' Marie de Medici cycle and so much more....sooooo cool!

After works by Bernini, this is my favorite sculpture - the Winged Victory. She stands at the intersection of three staircases in the Louvre and causes some major people-traffic-jams. Amazing.

Death by museum. Steve was such a good sport, even when paintings started blurring together in his head from seeing so much.

A gorgeous view of the Sacré Cœur (basilica of the sacred heart), located in Montmartre

Just around the corner of the basilica is one of the greatest spots in all of Paris....

Painter's Square!!! I absolutely LOVE this place! And I finally was able to purchase a painting here - two actually! And the best part, Steve likes them too!

Ever the ice-cream lover...

This is my favorite picture of the entire trip. It will be the next painting I complete. Pretty excited to get back to my brushes one of these days...

Enjoying the lovely views of the Eiffel Tower on a Seine River cruise at dusk. It was perfect timing!

This is the return trip of the river cruise....stunning!

This picture was taken in honor of Penelope - she introduced me to the deliciousness known as PAUL.

Concorde! Thankfully, an obelisk replaced Madame Guillotine

Steve wanted to take this photo for his mom, Julie. The fountain behind Steve is the one featured in The Devil Wears Prada when Andy tosses her cell phone into the fountain

Embrasse-moi! I hope I translated that correctly....

In case you couldn't see it in the last picture, here is l'Arc de Triomphe

An example of the crazy advertisements in the metro station

I'm speechless. Truly.

Enjoying my one and only nutella crepe (the rest were citron) - otherwise my blood sugar would never recover. Eating a nutella crepe is like trying to eat baby back ribs...absolutely delish, but a complete disaster with all the sauce. Nutella was everywhere.

the Thinkers - Dante meets Steve

Homage to MJ. This move is straight out of Thriller!

This is inside the Rodin Museum (such a cool place!) and I really liked this sculpture - Hand of God. He is holding Adam and Eve in the creation

Les Invalides - had to take a moment to visit Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb

Steve paying his respects

The Invalides Museum houses an amazing WWI and WWII exhibition. We wished we had more time to spend there...

Another fabulous museum - the Musee d'Orsay! Full of impressionism and post-impressionism, with a really cool temporary exhibit all about Art Nouveau

The Sun King - Louis XIV. Of everything I learned in AP European History, Louis XIV and his palace at Versailles (and all the history surrounding him) is the only stuff I still remember. At least it's really cool stuff. =)

The Hall of Mirrors
Seventeen huge mirror panels that correspond to seventeen windows overlooking the exquisite gardens of the palace

The exquisite gardens. The snow made them look even cooler.

A fun little cafe where we ate dinner after returning from Versailles - Cafe Jade.

One of the many bakeries offering tantalizing treats

And what is French cuisine without escargot?

If French cuisine isn't your thing, how about the up-and-coming French fashion of 2010? Coming to a runway near you!

Strolling along the Seine towards the end of our trip

I figured Steve would appreciate this more than a snowball. =)

Steve really likes Notre Dame - I think he took nearly 50 pictures of it at different times and from different angles. The Irvines would get along well here - we don't take down our Christmas tree until February (at the earliest).

Like I said, Steve really likes this cathedral

One of hundreds of stained-glass windows inside the cathedral. We weren't able to see St. Chapelle because of the freezing temperatures, but the windows at Notre Dame are a worthy alternative.

Palais Garnier! The Paris Opera house

It's impossible to get within 50 feet of this building and not sing Masquerade from The Phantom of the Opera in your head. Impossible.

We are officially Orangina addicts. It is delicious! The title of this post is courtesy of Steve. I ventured off to the Musee de l'Orangerie to see Monet's Water Lilies cycle, and when Steve tried to ask me about it he couldn't remember the name in French, so he ended up calling it the Orangina Museum. And it stuck. Whenever I think of Monet and other nineteenth-century painters, I'll remember the precious moments I spent inside the Orangina Museum.

And once again, ladies and gentlemen, the Eiffel Tower.

Not a bad way to welcome 2010. We have no idea where we will end 2010, but there will be plenty of adventures in between. Steve begins his internship with the Scottish parliament tomorrow, and my classes start this week as well. The next adventure in the foreseeable future? Graduate school applications. Steve pulled off some incredible scores on the GMAT and the GRE, so we're now in the process of figuring out what comes next when Scotland comes to an end. Stay tuned...