Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Swiss mountain magic


Switzerland is without a doubt quirky. And for that, I love it!

From their Hansel and Gretelesque gingerbread housing to promo graphics depicting hiking pigs, through to their bell-chiming cows and of course, yodelling.

It's all fabulous and completely my cup of chocolat chaud (hot chocolate).

Ever since my arrival, I have felt playful - like a wide-eyed child. You just can't help feeling joyful in this amazing place.

Perhaps this childlike wonder comes from being dwarfed by the spectacular mountains. There's something completely magical about the Swiss alps that words cannot do justice.

These towering majestic beauties are both humbling and empowering, they're calming yet uplifting, their presence can be felt even with your eyes closed. This is what I call Swiss mountain magic.

I've attempted to capture this awe on video, but alas it is only a mere sample of the overall wonderment. For your convenience, I've embedded the video below for blog visitors whereas email subscribers can click here to view (don't you just love how I do things for your convenience? I ought to be an informercial).



Until tomorrow, find the magic that has you feeling like a playful child.

Grace xx

PS. A big happy 40th birthday to my cousin Danni. We had many magical, playful-child moments growing up together.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Housekeeping


Sometimes, no matter where you are in the world, one needs to do some basic housekeeping.

While I acknowledge that housekeeping (AKA maintenance) is necessary, I find it utterly tedious - ESPECIALLY when travelling.

Keeping the laundry up to date, trimming toenails and eliminating unwanted bodily hair is such a bore - not to mention paying bills and sorting through the gazillion emails sitting in your inbox.

Sooooo not fun.

I reluctantly started 'housekeeping' when I arrived in Switzerland after having spent a day without undies (luckily I was wearing trousers, though I was certain they would split at any time).

The washing is now up to date and I am no longer concerned that there is a real possibility of snagging my trousers on a rogue vine in this Swiss village, thus revealing the absence of underwear. Phew.

Today is earmarked for total body deforestation and clipping my talons before I cause grievous bodily harm to the next person I shake hands with. I have to say, I am totally uninspired by this when I have hot thermal springs beckoning me.

Why is it that we put off the necessary, when we know we'll feel so much better after it's done?

You know when I was a little girl I would put off the urge to relieve my bladder to the point of tragedy. It was traumatic. Yet I could never drag myself away from an entertaining moment to do the business. It seems I am much the same today, only I've traded the loose bladder for Brooke Shields eyebrows and legs that resemble a wooly mammoth.

So without further ado, I bid you adieu - for there are many housekeeping chores that ensue.

Until tomorrow, do the business and avoid tragic moments.

Grace xx

PS. Today's other post, All My Paris Videos, was part of my digital housekeeping - and also brings my number of posts equal to the number of days of Project Grace 2010 (remember how I took the first weekend off?). Ah, I feel so complete. Now for these legs...

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All My Paris Videos


Just in case you missed any, here are all my Paris YouTube videos in one spot - for your convenience of course.

































Until tomorrow, remember that batching and putting things into one place is as much for sanity as it is for convenience.

Grace xx

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Monday, 28 June 2010

The hills are alive with bikers... and a milkmaid


You might be wondering why I am in Switzerland since it has nothing to do with our upcoming Tour de France tour.

There is a mega mountain bike event called PASS'PORTES du Soleil that attracts bikers from around the world, especially those with a penchant for gratuitous Swiss French mountain food.

Patrick is here to 1. test ride a BMC bike,
2. gather material for a magazine article (he writes for several publications in Australia and Asia), 3. test ride a new BMC bike, 4. 'rekky' the trails (AKA do a reconnaissance) and 5. test ride a brand new BMC bike.

Did I mention Pat gets to test ride a brand new BMC bike for an entire week? He is one happy chappy.

So while it sounds like all play, and feels like play, it actually is work - truly.

I didn't plan on riding whilst up here and was without appropriate gear. Fortune smiled upon me in the guise of a loaned mountain bike and free lift pass, though the gift Gods were short on Lycra.

Knicks aside, I simply could not resist. Most of my clothes however, were in one of the various laundering stages (who washes in Paris?) and all I was left with was a pair of stretchy Capri jeans, a tank top and ruffled cotton shirt.

I looked more like a milkmaid in search of an udder than a mountain biker in search of a trail. Hilarious. Needless to say I copped a fair share of odd looks on the trails. But who cares what you look like when you're surrounded by the magnanimous beauty of the Swiss French alps?

So this little milkmaid had the time of her life, not caring how inappropriately dressed I was for the occasion. It made me wonder how often we stop ourselves from doing things because we're not prepared. Sometimes opportunity presents itself and you just have to go for it.

Until tomorrow, grab the opportunities that knock - with or without knicks.

Grace xx

PS. A big thank you to Kate who gifted me a fabulous song called "I wish I could go travelling again" by Stacey Kent. So thoughtful and perfectly quirky, I love it. Merci beaucoup xx

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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sunday Sentence



"A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?"

- Kahlil Gibran

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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Saturday Quiz No.4


First things first.

A big congratulations to Garrie top gun tenor and quiz solver extraordinaire, who correctly guessed Saturday Quiz No.3.

The answer was COMBAT.

Well done Garrie, you have won the Eiffel Tower keychain, which was last week's jackpot prize.

Please email me your postal address so I can send you your fabulous prize.

The winner of today's quiz will also win a prize, though I haven't bought it yet so I can't tell you what it is.

I can say that it will be Swiss (or made in China for the Swiss) and it is unlikely to be more than 5.00 CHF (Swiss Fancs) as that's all I have in my purse.

Until Monday, have a splendiferous Sunday.

Grace xx

PS. There are two possible answers for this quiz, however in the words of The Kurgen in Highlander, "There can be only one"... and that is the one that inspired the quiz in the first instance.

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Friday, 25 June 2010

Swiss Cheese


This morning I decided to take a self portrait from our balcony, which overlooks the village main street and its amazing alpine backdrop.

Stunning.

Please take a moment to appreciate this particular photo, as I contorted myself into strange positions to ensure everything was in reasonable shot.

This exercise revealed that my body is unaccustomed to Cirque de Soleilesque twists and turns, and I was challenged to replace my grimace with a convincing smile.

After several failed attempts, and being disturbed by my constipated expression, I came up with a brilliant solution to utter 'cheese' before each camera click.

And then it came to me, Swiss cheese. I laughed.

Swiss cheese can turn a dull, uncomfortable moment on its head in no time. So too can the queen of le fromage suisse, Suzi. She owns a fabulous cheese shop here called Fromage Etc, which is the social, culinary and information hub of Champéry.

Susy invited me to her daughter's end of school year break up, which consisted of a mini concert of adorable primary school children singing cute French songs. It concluded with kids scrambling for their free ice cream, which marked the beginning of their summer holidays (I never received free ice cream at school, these kids are on a winner!).

After the show, Susy organised for me to read my book 'Nubsy McNoodle Wanted A Poodle' to a small gathering of English speaking children. Who'd have thought that Zia Grace (AKA me) would be putting on a show in Switzerland? It was fabulous and I was thrilled.

So as I sit here on my balcony overlooking the village main street with its amazing backdrop of the Swiss Alps, I remember Swiss cheese. It makes you smile naturally thus instantly eliminating unwanted constipated expressions. And so too does reading to children.

Until tomorrow, have at least one Swiss cheese moment a day.

Grace xx

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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Tired? Stressed? Swisse?


If yesterday was crazy, then today was INSANE!

After a mere half hour shut eye I was up and out the door waiting for my cab by 4:25am.

Turns out that the Paris metro doesn't open till 5:30am at some stations, AKA ours, and that's simply not enough time to make check-in curfew.

Had I arrived one nanosecond after said curfew, I'd have been reduced to tears - and Tight Arse Airways would've no doubt been in cheers.

No thank you.

I thought a cab fare would be cheaper than another airfare - but after a rude $55 shock, perhaps not.

After a short flight I landed in Geneva and commenced making my way to the French speaking village of Champéry in the Swiss Alps. This is where it gets interesting...

I must have dozed off at my connection and started getting suspicious when the voiceovers and station signage had changed from French to German. After a panicked enquiry to a neighbouring passenger, it was revealed that I had indeed travelled 40 minutes past my stop.

Scheisse!

I changed trains and before long Herr Kondukter wanted to fine me $50 for falling asleep. Okay, not quite, he wanted me to pay for my unplanned journey. I felt sick at the thought. First the cab driver who I'm sure took me for an extended tour of Paris en route to the airport and now this - NO!

So I elected to get off at the next stop (apparently it's cheaper to purchase tickets at the station than it is on the train) and he let me go. I boarded the next train and the rest is history, I am here.

My eyes are blurry and my brain is completely fatigued. It reminds me of that advertisement that's being run in Australia - you know the one? "Tired? Stressed? Swisse?" - my answer to that is yes, yes, YES!

(I just re-read my post and laughed out loud. I think my husband will like the sound of that after being away from each other for 10 days - gosh, I'm delirious!)

Until tomorrow, may all mishaps lead to funny stories and a yes, yes, YES!

Grace xx

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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Paris is Art


Today is my last in Paris until I return with our tour group at the end of July.

It's been a crazy day and I've just got in the door at 1:30am and I have to be up at 4am to catch my 4:30am cab.

Rachel, my host, wants to do work on her computer and we share a cable, so for me this is au revoir for now.

I will leave you with images of this great city, which is by far the home of art... as you would know from last Sunday's sentence.

Until tomorrow, remember that life itself is art.

Grace xx

PS. The painting top right (yes it is a painting) was one that I saw walking past a window in the Place des Vosges. If I had the cash, I'd probably own it by now. I love it!



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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Le Tour de Paris avec la Musique


Last night we celebrated la Fête de la Musique (music festival) which, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, marks the beginning of summer.

I was invited by my host, and now very good friend, Adélia to join her and her friends at an intimate bar in the south of Paris.

I accepted.

The evening was a blast and words cannot aptly describe the magnitude of fun-ness. So where words fail, images and music prevail.

I've compiled a sample of the evening's joyfulness in a YouTube video embedded below for your convenience. So if you can grab yourself a glass of vin rouge, or a beverage of your choice, sip a little and enjoy.

So how do you think we managed to finish off this fabulous evening?

Well it wasn't a drunken ride slumped in the back of a cab, in case you're wondering. Instead, Adélia had to cycle home and I joined her on one of Paris' rent-a-bike-by-the-side-of-the-road deals.

Not sure if you know, but Paris is full of Velib velos (bikes) that you can pick up and drop off at any of their gazillion brilliantly located depots. Usually nearby a Metro station or out the front of a cafe so you have to be super careful not to make a spectacle of yourself.

After a quick lesson on how the hiring process works, I mounted my stead and we were off - sans helmet and avec high heeled Mary Janes. Very Paris. Very Chic.

For the record I'd prefer to ride with a helmet, but that was not an option last night.

We took over an hour cycling home so I imagine we covered most music genres (and departments of Paris), everything from jazz and world music to hard rock and doof doof. Tunes were beating out at bars, restaurants and outdoor concert arenas. Man, Parisians sure do take this Fête de la Musique seriously. It had the same vibe as New Years Eve - buzzing!

Until tomorrow, uplift your spirit and play some tunes.

Grace xx



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Monday, 21 June 2010

Summer in Paris


Today marks the first day of Summer in Paris.

The entire city is alive with music from sunup to sundown, and beyond.

So what am I doing here writing this?

Well firstly, there's not much sun about, it's very chilly outside and I'm allowing my hair to dry naturally (no hairdryer, and I don't want to get head freeze by going out prematurely).

Secondly, I have a big night ahead so I'm pacing myself.

Thirdly, I want you to virtually be a part of this magical experience with me so I've gone and found the perfect YouTube video to get you in the Parisian summer spirit.

So without further ado I bid you un bon été... now put on your dancing shoes and join me for a fabulous first day of summer in Paris.



Until tomorrow, may it always be summer where there's music playing - even if there's no sun about and it's freezing!

Grace xx

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Sunday, 20 June 2010

Sunday Sentence




"An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris."

- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

German classical Scholar, Philosopher and Critic of culture.

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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Saturday Quiz No.3 - JACKPOT!


Okay people, Saturday Quiz No. 3 has not had a single response...

other than a very good clue added by Top Gun Tenor, Garrie who wrote:

"It's to do with the army!"

Yes, one could say that. And one did.

So instead of creating a new Saturday quiz, I've decided to do a JACKPOT give away. Only this time the prize is tangible.

You have till next Saturday to correctly guess last Saturday's quiz - so what are you waiting for?

The winner will receive this fabulous genuine reproduction Eiffel tower keyring valued at a whopping 0.25 Euro (pictured above). I can post it anywhere in the world and the parcel will have French stamps on them (or possibly Swiss, as I'll be in Switzerland next week).

I'm also in the process of posting a few videos, so check out My YouTube Channel if you'd virtually like to join me here in Paris. You can also subscribe to my videos so you can stay aboob, I mean abreast, of my adventure.

Until Monday, have a wonderful Sunday.

Grace xx



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Friday, 18 June 2010

Don't forget your toothpaste!


I spent most of yesterday working on several jobs.

One for a photographer, one for a magazine and one for the little boy who lives down the lane (AKA my husband).

I just love having a portable office. All I need is internet access and occasional power to recharge the batteries. Somehow working in Paris is so much more inspiring than when I'm in Tullamarine. I wonder why?

Tullamarine is home to Melbourne's international airport. It's a working class suburb that doesn't raise too much interest - unless of course you're a fan of Hollywood superstar Eric Bana, who grew up there (hopefully there's something in the water and yours truly might be the next big thing).

As a result of spending most of my day working, I really don't have much to tell. Unless of course strolling to one's local organic grocery store to purchase lunch ingredients is deemed worthy blog fodder.

It is?

Okay.

I ditched the Birkenstocks and Puma runners (AKA trainers) for a pair of black Colorado Mary-Jane heels for the excursion (comfortable and stylish). As I walked down the cobbled street (pictured in yesterday's post) I noticed the local market was packing up for the day "Bummer!" I thought, "I didn't know that it was on today".

I ended up consoling myself with a selection of delicious biodynamic produce that included pickled sardines (OMG delicious), the sweetest cherry tomatoes and the most amazing to-die-for Chèvre (goat's cheese). Being in France, I was obligated to wash it all down with a glass of vin rouge. Bliss.

So what's with the toothpaste? I virtually hear you ask. Well this is the funny bit. When I went to brush my teeth after lunch, I had to be sure I grabbed the toothpaste.

What do you mean? I know you're thinking.

Well the first time I went to brush my teeth in Paris, I had the most bizarre experience. I put the paste on the bristles and proceeded to brush my teeth only to have the most disgusting taste permeate throughout my entire mouth.

Baffled by this, I grabbed the tube to investigate further. Turned out I was brushing my teeth with Ayurvedic mosquito repellent - GROSS! My mind raced back to the moment I was packing my toiletries bag. I remember swapping my large tube for this smaller one thinking it would save me weight. Now, after purchasing real toothpaste at an insane $7.87 per tube, I have two tubes, a hole in my budget and no weight saved. Thankfully the mosquito repellent was all natural and non-toxic, but 100% horrible!

Until tomorrow, make sure your substitutions are suitable substitutes.

Grace xx

PS. As for the Mary-Jane heels, it must have been enough to pass as a local. The lady in the store spoke to me in fast and furious French. When I looked puzzled she spoke more slowly asking if I have just moved to Paris (in French). When I shook my head 'no', she continued in English. This local experience is exactly what I was after. Victory!

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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Room with a view


Pictured right is the view from my second Parisian couch, albeit a very comfortable futon mattress on the floor.

I am now staying in Jourdain, Line 11, in the east of Paris. It's a great neighbourhood and I'm loving my host, Rachel.

After climbing what felt like thousand steps to her apartment, I was greeted with a very warm and welcoming "bon soir!" - lovely.

Rachel had flown in from a 10-day excursion to California and was battling jet lag as much as I was. Despite all this, we managed to shop for some organic produce to make a delectable salad that we washed down with a splash of vin rouge from Buzet in the Bordeaux region.

Our conversation ended at 2:00am, when we realised it was way past our bedtimes. We had both been in the moment and didn't bother to check our watches until our eyelids grew heavy. I love living like this.

I woke up this morning and after bidding Rachel au revoir, I took a moment to gaze out the 'couch-room' window and suck it all in - what a simple yet stunning view. So cool, so Paris.

Did I mention that I love living like this?

Until tomorrow, savour in the views from wherever you may be.

Grace xx

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Très Chic


Bonjour mes amis!

Yep, that's me getting all Frenchy on you.

I'm absolutely loving it here in Paris.

LOVING IT.

I touched down at 6:40am yesterday and made my way to the abode of my first couch surfing host, Viviane, in Montrouge just south of Paris (near Montparnasse).

Feeling groggy with jet-lag, I couldn't imagine doing much other than stopping myself from falling asleep before my desired bed time of 8:30pm (what am I, eight or eighty eight?).

Viviane was heading out to a late afternoon appointment and offered me a ride to Montparnasse station, which is where our TdF tour ends next month. I thought it'd be a good idea to acquaint myself with the local area, not to mention pass time till snooze o'clock.

It was sunny and gorgeous when we left the house and I happily skipped along the streets of Paris during my reconnaissance. Okay, I didn't skip on the outside - but I was certainly skipping on the inside.

I did a timed run from the hotel to the Arc de Triomphe (French spelling) in order to calculate the time required to get the non-riding guests to meet up with the riders for our tour group photo.

As I surfaced from the metro the sun was low, bathing the arch in a warm glow (ooh that rhymes). It was gorgeous. Now that I was there, my brilliantly planned jet lag recovery sleep downgraded to a good idea that was never going to happen.

After several self portraits that I can't upload to my computer because Patrick pinched my card-reader, I started walking down the Champs Elysées. I had a slow-motion moment when voices quietened and I could hear my thoughts, "I'm in Paris. I. Am. In. Paris.".

Though this is not my first time - that was spent with five hours at Gare de Lyon waiting for our lost party to return (pre-mobile phone days). The second time rained consecutively for four days and we saw most of the city from the shelter of a dry hop-on-hop-off bus.

As soon as the aforementioned slow-motion moment passed, I continued on walking and walking and walking. I meandered for hours until I reached la Tour Eiffel. By that stage the sun had just set, and dusk painted the tower in an orange blaze. Magical. Spectacular.

Being completely thrown by daylight savings, it was past 10pm when I made my way home. By that stage it was getting cold. Very cold. When I exited the Montrouge station to walk a few blocks home, the wind was howling and I was freezing. I was so cold that I wished I could somehow be instantly transported home, or be instantly warm. Lucky for me one of those wishes was instantly granted.

I was walking past a charity donation bin that was full to the brim. Bags of clothes had been jammed in the opening hatch, which was bulging with plastic billows that spilled out onto the ground below. I noticed a bold houndstooth pattern that I simply had to explore further.

It turned out to be a three quarter length wool coat in immaculate condition, complete with dry cleaning tag stapled to the back-of-the-neck label. It was in a word, très chic (okay, two words). I slid my hands into each sleeve and pulled it over my shoulders. It fit like a glove. Snug.

Result?

Instant warmness, not to mention Parisian style straight out of Vogue. Fabulous. In fact, so fabulous that I struck a pose and took this self-portrait (in lieu of the ones I can't retreive from my memory card). The shiny gold curtain is the makeshift wardrobe in my bedroom, ahem, 'couch-room' - très glamour.

Until tomorrow, give thanks for wishes coming true - even if they were second on your list.

Grace xx

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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

My Parisian Couch

Have you ever heard of couch surfing?

It's a really cool concept where you register your name as a host, set up your profile, then you get access to couches all over the world.

Pictured right is me on my very first Parisian couch - though technically it's a mattress on the floor of a meditation room.

I've got 3% battery and my Euro converter plug isn't working so I'm signing off for now.

Until tomorrow, make sure you've got what it takes to finish what you start - and recharge your batteries.

Grace xx

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Monday, 14 June 2010

In Transit

Hey Groovers,

I'm in KL airport in transit. My flight to Paris departs in 35 minutes.

Having trouble uploading photo so sorry if it's looking a little bland.

There's a crazy woman beside me singing passionately with her eyes closed and raising her hands in the air. Freaky.

I'm signing off now and will write more from the city of lights.

Until tomorrow, dream of Paris.

Grace xx

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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Sunday Sentence


"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page"

- St. Augustine

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Saturday, 12 June 2010

Saturday Quiz No.3

I'm loving the Saturday Quizzes so here's another one for you.

Guess away in the comments section below and I'll publish the answer on next Saturday's post.

The answer to Saturday Quiz No. 2 was (drum roll)...

To be or not to be.

Now there were a few cheeky answers, which in a cut throat commercial environment would have been shot down in flames for being 'technically' incorrect.

Luckily, or unluckily, no one's making money here so we can afford to be lenient.

Christine the professional opera singer and bloggess extraordinaire wrote:

"Geez, this is a tough one, Grace. All I see are two bees, an oar, a knot, and then two more bees. What are you trying to tell us? That is the question. ;-)"

Srapbooking queen and master bloggerina Diana came up with:

"Two bees...oar...knot...two bees...what was the question (again?) :o)"

And lastly, fellow self-exploratory bloggeister
Inga O topped it off with:

"2 bee oar not knot 2 bee THAT is the question! Love it!"

You are all cheeky monkeys and for that I have three virtual prizes for you. You each have won an imaginary masseur whose gender and nationality can change with your desires. Simply close your eyes and your personal masseur will massage all your troubles away.

Until Monday, have a wonderful Sunday.

Grace xx

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Friday, 11 June 2010

3 Sleeps to the City of Lights

That's right gorgeous people, I have three sleeps to go before I'm up, up and away bound for Paris - city of lights.

How do I feel?

Excited, nervous and a tad stressed.

Okay, so here's the low down.

My husband Patrick and I, along with three other colleagues, are hosting a tour of fabulous, bubbly and enthusiastic New Zealanders for this year's Le Tour de France.

Our tour officially starts on the 14th July, so we made the difficult decision (not) of heading out a month earlier to do final preparations before the big event.

Patrick is going via Singapore to do a week of mountain bike skills coaching, while I'll be solo in Paris to practice my newly learnt French.

Instead of seeking out hotels, hostels and B&B's, I've decided to get local and seek out apartments and couch surfing. The latter is proving to be quite the adventure. I have virtually met a handful of very friendly Parisians who are keen to have me in their home and show me around their city. They've been completely delightful and I'm looking forward to meeting them.

During my search, I came across an absolutely stunning apartment advertised for a total of €1050 from May 14th until June 24th, which worked out to about €25 per day. I asked if it was available for my dates. It was. Bingo! or so I thought.

Turned out she mistyped her dates by 30 days, thus affecting the calculations and rendering the price to a far less attractive €105 per day. Bummer. Actually, tragic. I had fallen in love with the vision of me living in that apartment and possibly penning a splendiferous bestseller... or my daily blogs at the very least.

While it's still cheaper than many equally fabulously located hotels, it's still too pricey for this little budding author. I have to sell a few more thousand books, or find a sugar daddy, to live that lifestyle.

So with three sleeps to go, and no sugar daddy, I have loose plans to surf a few Parisian couches and let the adventure unfold before me. But before I do, I must climb a mountain of work - that's the 'tad stressed' part.

Until tomorrow, what adventure are you counting down sleeps towards?

Grace xx

PS. I took the above photo in 2005 during our first trip to Paris.

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Thursday, 10 June 2010

101 Dance Nations

Tonight was my last Bollywood dancing class before I take off for Paris on Monday.

We've been building up a routine section by section over the last five weeks. Tonight we put it all together and it was a dance sensation!

All in all, Bollywood dancing has been a blast and I totally love it.

It's quite physical - a lot of movement with arms above the head, shoulder shrugging, hip swaying and foot stomping.

It is also very feminine and graceful with pretty hand postures and smooth, sweeping movements.

There are also some quirky gestures like pseudo elbowing the person next to you, which is just my cup of chai.

Since this is my 101st post, I thought we could come up with 101 something that sounded like Dalmatians. So I after reflecting on my day, I thought of 101 Dance Nations. Cheesy I know, but that's me huh?

In the comments below, write one dance nation along with their trademark dance style. If you have a few, please list them as a separate comment. It'll be cool if we can reach 101 dance nations, which we can ascertain by the number of comments.

Until tomorrow, keep coming up with as many dance nations that you can think of.

Grace xx

PS. Picture above right was taken after class. It's me and my gorgeous Bollywood dance teacher. She's classically trained and is soooooo lovely. New classes start next Tuesday from 6:15pm to 7:15pm in Fitzroy. Highly recommended. Click this link if you're keen.

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Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Happy 100th Blog Post!

This is my 100th post - can you believe that?

Today also marks 101 days since embarking on Project Grace 2010, which I think is equal cause for celebration, albeit a virtual one.

In case you're thinking this doesn't add up, you might recall I took the first weekend off, then did a catch up post called The Polyfilla.

So how do we virtually celebrate?

We could eat virtual cake and not have to worry about sugar, wheat, gluten, fat, dairy or how high's the GI (Glycemic Index).

We could virtually drink the finest French Champagne - how about Krug? or Louis Cristal? Why not both? We don't have to worry about the price, getting tipsy or waking up with a hangover.

Sometimes it's nice living in this virtual world. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I love blogging so much. Right now you're in my world and I'm in yours. Physically, we could be a gazillion miles away and yet virtually, we couldn't be any closer.

As with all celebrations, it's time to say thank you speeches at the end. I'm all for short speeches, so here goes...

Thank you for joining me on my journey. Thank you for being by my side. Thank you for standing up for me when I was beating myself up. Thank you for showing compassion and love when I was going through hardship. Thank you for your suggestions and ideas. Thank you for contributing and allowing me to realise I am not alone... and that I'm not crazy.

Most of all, thank you for allowing me to be the full spectrum that makes me - Me.

Until tomorrow, and the next hundredth post, thank you for being You.

Grace xx

PS. Since starting Project Grace 2010 I've completed a web design course, studied French level one and two, learnt Bollywood dancing, attained my First Aid certificate and lost over 22cms (8.8inches) from my body. All in all, a great result from such an inspiring project. I leave for France next Monday, which I'm sure will launch an exciting start to the next chapter - the second 100 days.

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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Emotional First Aid

Do you remember the post I did in April titled When 99% Equals Fail? Well it all came back to me today as I sat a theory test for my St. John's First Aid course.

I was a little nervous when the exam booklet was placed in front of me. The initial uneasiness grew to a nagging anxious feeling that bothered me.

Perhaps haunted or harassed are more apt descriptors.

Would I get 99% AGAIN?

I wondered whether I could ever shake it off. The fear of failing by 1%. I started thinking of how today's story would end. Would it be a tale of triumph or woes of disappointment.

As I progressed through the questions, I began to feel more and more confident that I was indeed doing well. But the more confident I felt, the more doubtful I became. It was an emotional paradox. I was edging close to attaining a perfect score (I could feel it in my waters) and yet one simple or silly mistake could shatter my joy.

Then a miracle happened.

I remembered that I'm in the midst of a metamorphosis. My transformation yet to be complete, but near enough to know that my new attitude is about focusing on the 1%ers as gains as opposed to 99% equals fail. The moment I had this realisation, my shoulders relaxed, my breathing calmed and I continued to the end without further anxiety.

I was the second person to hand in their paper. I proceeded to the lavatory and upon returning, was called over to the examiner's desk. Unsure what to expect, I approached to find out that my paper had been marked during my brief exit. He was all too eager to announce that I had scored 100%.

I was thrilled.

The perfect result was more to do with me conducting emotional first aid on myself than my score on the first aid exam. I recognised the signs and symptoms of an old pattern playing out and was able to stop the infection before it consumed and disabled me. This is progress. Major progress. Thankfully, 'tis also a tale of triumph.

Until tomorrow, administer first aid at the first sign of infection.

Grace xx

PS. Happy 40th Birthday to my cousin Michael... I'm not far behind you!

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Monday, 7 June 2010

Monday Monday

At last, the moment you've all been waiting for...

Today I launched MONDAY MEASURES!

Okay, if you weren't waiting for it and have no idea what I'm taking about - I am committed to changing the mindset of those battling the bulge to shift our focus from weight loss to measurement reduction.

On the first Monday of each month, I'll be taking measures... of my waist, chest, hips and thighs. My aim is to demonstrate that measuring oneself is a more rewarding and accurate way of tracking fat loss. It opposes popular culture that obsesses over weight loss.

I've embedded my first Monday Measures YouTube video below for your convenience (aren't I thoughtful?)

In keeping with the Monday theme, it's time I tell you that I leave for Paris next Monday. Yes you read correctly, Paris. I'll be there one week from today - woohoo! You may or may not know that I'm hosting a tour of non-riders for Le Tour de France next month and I am soooooo excited I can hardly breathe.

I've got a tonne of work to complete between now and then, so my posts are likely to be brief. But don't worry, I'll more than make up for it by sharing my French and Swiss adventures with you - deal?

I have to go to bed now. I'm in the midst of a St. John's First Aid course, which is totally fascinating as well as brain draining.

I'm sure you'd be delighted to know that if you ever lost a limb in my presence, and I managed to save it from the jaws of a pet, I can competently wrap it in plastic and keep it chilled (not iced) until medical help arrives. At this point I should warn you that if I'm required to pop it in the refrigerator, I'll have to write 'Limb in fridge' on your forehead so the ambulance officers don't leave without it. Thought that'd make you sleep easier tonight. Fabulous.

Without further ado, I must retire and recharge my batteries.

Until tomorrow, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sunday Sentence


"The only journey is the journey within"

- Rainer Maria Rilke

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