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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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Blogvember #4: Sleepy on the Tube.


After landing at Heathrow, my hostess and friend had already taken me to dinner, ice cream, a walk around Leicester Square (where I saw my love), and a bit of other sightseeing in between. Here on the Tube, finally headed to her home in Ipswich, was the face of gleeful jet-lagged sensory overload. Look at those eyes.

How I miss London.

Happy Friyay, y’all.

Fabu Fashion Monday: A Little Night Music.

Last weekend, my friend and I headed up to NYC to catch a concert by Damien Escobar, a violinist I discovered a few months ago. It was a nice chance to get out of town, even for a quick weekend. Digressing: have I discussed my love/hate relationship with the city? It’s a fantastic place for the arts, for museums, for my beloved Broadway–but my goodness, what is that infernal odor that persists in the air? It’s been there since 1986, when we first met. Anyway, our embattled relationship goes on.

We took the bus up to the city and checked in at Staybridge Suites, a nice hotel in the Hell’s Kitchen area (so many contrasts in that last sentence, no?), which wasn’t too far from the venue. Prior to this show, you guys, I wrangled with what I wanted to wear. My summer concert wear is typically comfortable and easy. But something intriguing happens when you’re headed to the big city, something that requests that you up the chic factor and slay all day. At least it happened to me. Anyone else get that feeling of wanting to look extra when you’re headed out of town and away from all you know at home? I certainly did. I went back and forth and back again with what I wanted to wear. Finally, after a few hours of searching the racks at my tried-and-true Ross a few days before the trip, I decided to stop stressing and went the simple route: a nice, comfortable shirt-dress. Here it is.

As you can see, très simple and très comfortable. I completed the look with square hoops in my ears and those bangles on my wrist. Honestly, I wanted my hair (kinky twists, protective style #1,097 since February of this year) and my lips to be the showstoppers. (This is always the case, dear reader. I live for awesome hair and awesome lips.) And so I did the side-swept thing by pinning back one side of the hair and pushing most of the twists to the other side. Then I applied my bestie Ruby Woo until the redness was the right shade of fiyah. A bit of mascara, some light eye shadow, and we were ready to go.

ConcertEns2

We had a good time overall. I could have done without waiting in line forever just to get inside the Highline Ballroom, where the concert was held, when we were told that arriving early would prevent that from happening and that we would have seats. No seats were had. We stood for three hours. (If you could waiting in line from 5-ish to the end of the show around 10-ish, we stood for 5 hours or so. Insert highly irritated This Square Peg emoji here.) Nevertheless, barring sound issues and things of that nature, it was nice to hang out with my friend and hear some good music.

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How was your weekend, my dear reader?

Meanwhile, in Paris: To All the Crêpes I’ve Loved Before…

…bow before your benevolent mistress.

crepeParis

It was inevitable that I, a faithful lover of crêpes since my aunt introduced me to them when I was about six years old, would enjoy one of my favorite desserts in the country of its birth. I ate it in seconds, pausing only for one of my girls to snap this photo of me. (Can we talk about her marvelous photo, by the way? Capturing that lovely Eiffel and the breathtaking moon all in one fell swoop? I still hold my breath when I look at this picture.)

A few things:

  • Inside the crêpe was warm Nutella chocolate. So basically all of my dreams coming true and life being given.
  • You’ll notice my one gloved hand. It was chilly that evening, but I certainly had to eat my beloved delicacy with a free, naked hand. Enter the quirky compromise.
  • See that joy in my eyes? This is what crêpes do.

All right, that’s my cue to stop before I start penning sonnets.

Want to tell me everything about your favorite dessert? Make it good and yummy. 

Meanwhile, in Paris…

Parisienne4
Image courtesy of Pinterest, which was courtesy of Vicki Archer, who I am now following on Pinterest..

I think this Parisienne embodies my future life in the City of Lights. In every way you can think of.

Bursting with a thousand words, and I agree with every letter.

Happy Friday, and bon weekend, mes amis.

where to next?

After my traveling whirlwind within the past few months (London and Germany and Paris, oh my…and Luxembourg, too), it’s certainly a popular question I get from friends and family: where to next? Below are some of the places on my list to visit hopefully sooner than later, depending on how things play out in the neat future. All images are courtesy of Pinterest, and there’s no real order of importance, being that I salivate and dream about these locales equally.

You guys, I’ve been dreaming about Havana, Cuba, for the longest. In fact, when I think of Havana, I frequently entertain an recurring image. I am being driven through the streets of Old Havana in the backseat of one of the classic cars shown above, clad in a flowery red dress with a matching flower in my fro. Next to me is an unknown gentleman dressed in an old-fashioned suit from the Desi Arnaz collection. We bow our heads and listen as breezy, intoxicating music roams about the atmosphere. Right?? Oh la la. Anyway, now that travel restrictions between the US and Cuba have significantly loosened, I’m hoping that I’ll see myself walking down those old streets soon. And definitely with a flower in my fro.

Oh, Santorini. I’ve mentioned this delectable (yes, it’s so lovely that it’s edible) Greek island before. (Here and here.) I simply want to go to there. Those shades of blue need to be mine. We can even get my unknown Mister out of that Desi suit and into some white linen. I need those views, that water, strolls to the marketplace. I’ll stop here before this drool resumes.

Amalfi Coast/Positano, Italy. Notably, a bunch of my good friends are perplexed that I haven’t yet made my way to Italy. I’ll be honest: when I was a teenager, Italy was everything after Paris. I wanted to see Rome, I wanted to see all the dark hair and olive skin, I wanted to at least pose next to a pink Vespa. And with my enduring love of A Room with a View, you’d think I would have hightailed it over there already. Alas, no. Why? Let me tell you: I lost my love for Italy. Don’t ask me how. One day, I kind of grew bored with the idea of Rome and Tuscany. But then Pinterest came along and pinners with their photos of Amalfi and Positano and my eyes grew wide again and…you get my drift. In love again. Sure, I want to see the big cities. But it’s these lovely areas, the Amalfi Coast and Positano, a village located on the coast, that really call out to me. See that car on the far right there? Just imagine my unknown Mister behind the wheel, me next to him as we slowly drive down the coast, a scarf and his arm around my shoulders, his linen suit replaced with a crisp white shirt and slacks…

Le sigh. Remove the unknown Mister and I still have definite plans to visit these places. And there are more, mind you. The Netherlands, Morocco, South Africa, Japan. We’ll get to them eventually. There’s no expiration date on wanderlust, is there?

Are you a traveler? Tell me where you’re headed next or where you’d love to go.

I Volunteer as Tribute?

If you’re talking about flying standby, then the answer is no.

Sure, I’ll volunteer for all kinds of things: bringing napkins and utensils to parties (not food; I’m sure the guests want to live to see another day); picking people up or driving someone to a destination; taking my sister’s place so I can fight some kids for food. But when you’re talking about giving up my seat on the flight I paid for? And throwing my travel plans to the wind? In that instance, no, madame, I cannot volunteer as tribute.

Katniss
You’re a better woman than me, Katniss.

Am I the only one that remains unaffected and unmoved when they make this announcement at the airport? I remain right in my chair, flipping through my silly magazine, patiently waiting to board. There’s never a voice that says, “Self, help out a fellow passenger and give up your seat and take the voucher and just fly another time/the next day.” If anything, I marvel at the brave souls that respond to this cheerful plea by heading up to the counter. But I can marvel right from my seat, clutching my boarding pass until my knuckles turn white. Let me explain a few things about your flying Square Peg:

  1. Short of unavoidable/uncontrollable changes to a flight, my aim is to arrive where I need to be exactly the way I arranged it.
  2. This Square Peg is all for trying new things (within reason; I’m a proud square peg, after all), but let’s not get crazy.

The only time I’ve responded to an announcement to approach the counter was when they asked if anyone wanted to upgrade to first class. I basically raced up there. Selfish. Worth it, though.

Let me know: have you ever agreed to give up your ticket and fly standby? Did you collapse? Seriously, what inspired your decision? Kindly assuage my curiosity and tell me in the comments. Of course, it won’t change my mind, but I’ll marvel at you all the same.

Throwback Tea-sday.

Look, a cup of tea fixes everything. It’s a scientific fact. (It’s not, but let’s just agree, shall we?) The best part of my day at the OK Corral is getting up from my desk and grabbing a cup of tea at the cafe we have here in the building. Sipping that warm, vanilla-tinged liquid (I prefer chai) does absolute wonders for me (including softening the perpetual frown I seem to wear when I’m in the building.) When a friend recently posted 15 surprising facts about tea, as shown here, I was reminded of just how much of a tea lover I am.

Formerly a coffee disciple since the age of 12, fond of lapping up the leftover bits of coffee my parents would slyly leave me in their cups, I officially switched to tea in 2008. That was the year I realized that the loud drumming I assumed was coming from my co-worker’s desk radio was actually my heartbeat, in reaction to the coffee I was drinking. Needless to say, that was the moment we said our goodbyes. (I still love the scent of coffee, though. Do I ever.) For me, tea is like coffee’s milder, gentler cousin. The dependable Darcy to that wild Wickham. (If you know me by now, you’re not surprised by this effort to use an Austen/Pride and Prejudice analogy.) Anyhow, and more importantly, despite the caffeine in tea, it’s not as intense and I can enjoy it without wondering if I will soon need a defibrillator.

Below are some photos of the afternoon tea (and scones) I enjoyed at Harrods department store during my trip to London in October. After a particularly tourist-y day, it was nice to simply sit and drink and sigh and chew and people-watch.

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So, so tired.
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But we’re at Harrods, so…

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tea3
…all better now.

Now that we’ve sauntered down memory lane with our cups of tea in hand, tell me in the comments if you prefer tea and/or coffee. Or wine, if you’re about that life.

Meanwhile, (back) in Paris…

…we did a photo shoot in the City of Lights during our trip. One of my girls is developing a travel site and wanted some shots of the three of us gallivanting around the city. Here are three of my favorite shots (honestly, all of the photos are my favorite); I’ll share more as we merrily go along here on This Square Peg.

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Groupphoto1

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So here’s the thing:

  1. It was freezing that morning. That statement deserves italics: it was freezing that morning. As you can see, we didn’t have jackets, scarves, or gloves on in these photos, and we also wore our fancy shoes to and from le metro and on the streets. So yeah: cold, cranky, and craving a pair of flats. At least that was me.
  2. But I eventually appreciated, in line with the above, that such is the life of ladies who want lovely photos. My girls reminded me more than once about all those episodes of America’s Next Top Model I watched back in the day: you suffer for beauty and you smize while doing it. To get that dreamy light you see in the photos and to capture our chocolate selves in this amazing city, being cold/cranky/craving flats was worth it. And it really was. When we finally got back home and rubbed Aspercreme on our poor feet and limbs, we whooped with delight about the whole experience.
  3. My friends really are amazing. They didn’t have to ask me to join the photo (and real talk: I was minutes from going right back home on le metro when that cold air hit me) but they did. And I have these amazing pictorial memories to show for it.
  4. Our photographer was everything you imagine photogs to be: creative, intent on capturing awesome shots each and every time, and very comfortable with ordering us to “smile at each other!” over and over again. He was a delight.
  5. Parisians love seeing three women walking around the city as they pose for photos. We received more than a few smiles, curious stares in our direction, and a thumbs up from a funkily dressed lady who passed us by on the sidewalk.

It really was fun. As this Friday wears on and I find myself feeling slightly blue/down/not myself, it’s nice to reminisce and find a smile on my face as I recall that morning.

Have a lovely weekend, all.

Its Course is Fixed.

“So quietly flows the Seine that one hardly notices its presence. It is always there, quiet and unobtrusive, like a great artery running through the human body. In the wonderful peace that fell over me it seemed as if I had climbed to the top of a high mountain; for a little while I would be able to look around me, to take in the meaning of the landscape. Human beings make a strange fauna and flora. From a distance they appear negligible; close up they are apt to appear ugly and malicious. More than anything they need to be surrounded with sufficient space – space even more than time. The sun is setting. I feel this river flowing through me its past, its ancient soil, the changing climate. The hills gently girdle it about: its course is fixed.”

–Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Seine1Seine2Seine3Seine4

All photos courtesy of This Square Peg. Quiet wonder courtesy of La Seine.

Bon weekend, all.

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