Music Monday: Ça fait rire les oiseaux

Now playing on my French song playlist:

Title: Ça fait rire les oiseaux

Songwriters: Daniel Vangarde, Jean Kluger

Performed by: La Compagnie Créole

Lyrics I like:

Si y a du gris dans ta nuit, des larmes dans ton cœur

La musique est là pour ça

Y a toujours une mélodie pour des jours meilleurs

Allez, tape dans tes mains, ça porte bonheur

C’est magique, un refrain qu’on reprend tous en chœur

Et ça fait rire les oiseaux, ça fait chanter les abeilles

Ça chasse les nuages et fait briller le soleil

Ça fait rire les oiseaux et danser les écureuils

Ça rajoute des couleurs aux couleurs de l’arc-en-ciel

Ça fait rire les oiseaux oh, oh, oh, rire les oiseaux


If there is gray in your night, tears in your heart

The music is there for that

There is always a melody for better days

Come on, clap your hands, it brings good luck

It’s magic, a refrain that we all take up in chorus

And it makes the birds laugh, it makes the bees sing

It chases away the clouds and makes the sun shine

It makes the birds laugh and the squirrels dance

It adds colors to the colors of the rainbow

It makes the birds laugh oh, oh, oh, the birds laugh


Until next Music Monday, have a good week ahead. 👏🏼🍀🐥🐝 ⛅️ 🐿 🌈 🎶

*music & lyrics | all rights reserved*

Bay to Breakers: San Francisco’s Famous Foot Race is Going Virtual

The 109th Bay to Breakers 12K foot race through the streets of San Francisco will now be a virtual race taking place from Sunday, September 20, 2020 to Friday, October 2, 2020!

Instead of the traditional “live” route through San Francisco — from downtown SF (“Bay”) all the way to the Pacific Ocean, where the waves break and touch the shore (“Breakers”) — participants will get to choose their own route. Each day, there will also be a costume theme.

They call it virtual, but it won’t be filmed. Instead, participants will have the option to run around their neighborhoods or on their treadmills at home. It’s not quite the same, but Bay to Breakers organizers are determined to keep its spirit alive!

So far, I have done Bay to Breakers three times – in 2011, 2014, and 2018. I’m a long-distance walker, not a runner, so I go for the fun of it.

Bay to Breakers 2011

Doing Bay to Breakers is like being in a parade. It’s festive! It’s like a traveling fashion show. It’s a great opportunity to re-use an old Halloween costume. One year, I felt especially creative and made Frozen-inspired costumes. My friend was Queen Elsa and I was Princess Anna!

Bay to Breakers 2014

bacon-wrapped hot dogs

I spy a French bakery – do you see it?

Alamo Square and the Painted Ladies

Bay to Breakers is an all-ages affair, but if you want to bring the baby, you’ll need to wear the child in a backpack-type of carrier. A few years ago, they banned alcohol and anything on wheels, like floats.

But part of the fun is trying to see what you can get away with, right? So, you’ll see the course dotted with the occasional baby stroller. Also, some people carry alcoholic beverages in plain-looking water bottles. Security officers are not likely to stop or cite rule breakers if they are discreet.

The event is also educational, let’s just say! You learn about plants (cannabis), anatomy (nudity), and games (adult toys and paraphernalia)…and so much more!

But no one judges and no one cares because it’s all for fun. Sure there’s serious prize money involved, but those winnings go to the top two finishers who usually reach the finish line around the 30-minute mark. Incredible! It takes me 30 minutes just to locate the starting line for the walkers’ corral!

Bay to Breakers 2018

“athletic” is used loosely here

Traditional tortilla toss at the starting line

The Murphy Windmill, one of two windmills in Golden Gate Park

Every registered participant who reaches the finish line gets a finisher’s medal and all the free snacks you can eat courtesy of event sponsors.

By no means did I win any costume contests nor break any speed records (my personal best remains at 2:15:50 at my first Bay to Breakers in 2011.)

Bay to Breakers 2011

But walking through San Francisco —literally from downtown SF all the way to Ocean Beach — provides a feeling of satisfaction like no other. It’s kind of addictive. Maybe that’s why people sign up year after year!

Question is: Will people sign up this year for the virtual race? I’m concerned about everyone’s safety. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, with recent spikes in new cases in many places (California, sadly, being one of them.) We are still required to practice physical distancing.

It’ll be interesting to see how the virtual race will go. According to the Bay to Breakers website, “You can run wherever. The beauty of a virtual race is you can create your own course – we recommend something that’ll shock the neighbors.”

Like what? Participants wearing face masks and not much else, perhaps? I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s Bay to Breakers – that’s the spirit!

Stay healthy and safe, everyone! 😷

Like I’ve Been There Before: ‘Friends’ 25th Anniversary Pop-Up Experience in San Francisco

Fans of the hit comedy, Friends, will have a blast at the show’s 25th Anniversary pop-up that recently opened in downtown San Francisco!

view of Market Street from the second floor of One Powell

Located inside the AT&T Flagship Store at One Powell (in front of the Cable Car Turnaround), visitors can enjoy two floors of interactive digital displays, view actual props and costumes used on the show, and step into recreated show sets, like Central Perk and Monica & Rachel’s apartment in West Village.

It was my first time at the Friends 25th Anniversary Pop-Up Experience, but the spot-on sets and familiar memorabilia on display made me feel… like I’d been there before!

not sure why I’m knocking here – after all, I’m “inside” apartment 20!

Enjoy two floors of interactive displays:

Look through the peephole and view a short clip from the show:

Record your cover of Phoebe’s famous song, “Smelly Cat”:

Read lines from scripts:

Visit the mini Friends museum with real costumes and props from the show:

Chandler’s Halloween costume

the award that Joey stole, plus Rachel’s wedding garter

Find Friends-themed merch at the Friends Boutique:

Check out the couch that Ross, Rachel, and Chandler tried to carry upstairs:

… and the fountain and orange couch from the opening credits:

Central Perk:

Watch the video for the Friends’ theme song here (from YouTube – All rights reserved) >

Your Friends will be there for you, but this Pop-Up will be in San Francisco for a limited time! ☕️

Are you a big Friends fan like me? If I had to pick a favorite character, I’d pick Phoebe (she’s kind, plays guitar, and speaks French)! Who’s your favorite Friends character? Tell me in the comments below!

Halloween Costume: Coco Chanel 🦁

For Halloween this year, I dressed up as the one and only Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel!

To imitate the fashion legend’s style, I wore the hat I bought from a souvenir shop in Montmartre:

… and the black and white blouse I wore in Toulouse:

me at Le Capitole in Toulouse | photo by my dear friend, François

Then I added a faux pearl necklace and earrings.

I got a sample of Chanel No. 5 Parfum and put some on my inner wrists.

Finally, I bought some mints, sugar cookies, and mini chocolate bars from a party store and glued on a clip-art logo.

Voilà! DIY Coco Chanel-inspired costume and sweet treats!

What was your Halloween costume? Tell me in the comments below! 🎃

Oh, Snap! You Can Experience the 90’s at This Pop-Up Museum in Oakland

Yo! Opening night at 90’s Experience was hella fresh, dude

For a limited time (through August 2019), you can go to an interactive pop-up museum at Oakland’s Jack London Square and have a 90’s Experience! No, not in the nonagenarian sense (although that might be interesting, too!)

At this 90’s Experience, you get to relive the era of grunge music, slap bracelets, acid wash jeans, and party like it’s 1999!

A nostalgic mixtape of 90’s jams gets the party started inside the former office space (no pun intended, Mmm kay?) while energetic staff members highly encourage visitors to snap pictures with fun 90’s-themed displays, including:

  • The throne from the popular Will Smith TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:

  • Laser beam school portrait background:

  • Giant cereal boxes and milk cartons:

  • You can recreate Nirvana’s iconic Nevermind album cover:

  • Doodle on a giant composition notebook page with giant scented markers:

  • Beep, beep! 1-4-3 means I love you! Look at this giant pager:

  • Teenage bedroom with a day bed, Trimline corded phone, and posters of boy bands and Britney on the wall:

  • I’ll be there for you…Have a seat on the Friends couch or take a pic with the curvy yellow frame hanging on the door:

Before they let us inside the pop-up museum, a staff member asked us, “What’s your favorite 90’s movie?” I said, Titanic! Like Rose promised Jack (who could’ve fit on that door, by the way), “I’ll never let go…”

As my trip down memory lane came to an end (and into the gift shop), my heart sank with the realization that I had just spent $32 (plus fees) for an experience that wasn’t all that and a bag of chips. The experience was enjoyable, but left me wanting more.

For instance, I would have liked a room where you could learn 90’s dances, like the Achy Breaky Heart, Vogue, Macarena, or Kid ‘n’ Play! Where are the Magic Eye books or posters? How did dial-up internet sound? (Listen here.)

But it’s all good. I learned that the 90s Experience will donate a portion of its proceeds to a variety of local non-profits, so I gotta give ’em props for that!

Good times: In the 90’s, I graduated from high school and college, visited France for the first time, and got my first car! Tell me in the comments below: What’s your favorite accomplishment, movie, song, or memory of the 90’s?

Wednesday Postcard: Mallorca, Spain

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale is from Mallorca, Spain! It’s the largest of the three Balearic Islands, located east of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea.

One of my dearest friends sent me this postcard featuring Port de Pollença (Puerto de Pollensa), which is located on the northern part of Mallorca.

She tells me that the people on this island, also known as Majorca, are very friendly. She and her family also enjoy the ocean, good food, and sunshine there!

For more information:

See Mallorca – official website

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

8 Creative Things to Do on a Long Haul Flight

I was so impressed when I heard the news that Singapore Airlines will resume flying the world’s longest nonstop flight between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey beginning October 2018! But when I learned that the flight would take almost 19 hours, I didn’t know what to think. That’s a long time to be up in the air; it’s five hours shy of a whole day, after all!

The longest nonstop flight I’ve ever been on was about 10 hours. I can’t imagine what double that would be like. Surely I’d grow restless. So it got me thinking: If I were on an ultra long haul flight, how would I pass the time and entertain myself?

Apart from reading, listening to music, watching movies, playing games, sleeping, eating, and drinking, here are my ideas for 8 creative things to do on a long haul flight:

  • Do origami
  • Make lists
  • Recharge your crystals
  • Meditate
  • Write a poem on a barf bag with your less dominant hand
  • Take pictures of everything on the plane
  • Pamper yourself
  • Move your ankles*

Do origami

  • Practice the Japanese art of paper folding and pack some origami paper in your carry-on bag. Make cranes, frogs, or flowers. I like making fortune tellers and hearts.
  • origami paper at Daiso Japan

  • Make lists
  • Names for future kids or pets. Things you’re grateful for. Christmas card list. Future blog topics. All the food you’re eating. All the food you shouldn’t be eating. The list goes on…
  • Recharge crystals
  • I started learning about the healing qualities of crystals a few years ago. If you’ve got a window seat, open the tray and lay the crystals in front of you and let them absorb the sunlight or the moonlight to recharge and fill them with positive energy.
  • Meditate
  • On a bus trip I took from Washington, DC to Montréal, Québec, Canada, I remember one matronly woman who pulled out a bottle of fruity body spray and spritzed the air around her. Then, she declared to no one in particular, “I must pray the rosary now.” The point is, she managed to create a space to find her inner peace and calm. This practice could work on a long haul flight, too. I’d just suggest skipping the spritzing-the-air part. You never know people’s sensitivities!
  • Write a poem on the barf bag with your less dominant hand
  • Let’s face it: people either love or hate poetry. I’ve self-published a few books of poems so I’m obviously in the “I love it” camp. It irks me when some people scribble a few lines, hit the enter key at random times, and tack on a title longer than the poem, then call it poetry. Ah, if only it were that easy. It’s more complex than that. Writing haiku, with its three lines and 5-7-5 syllable format, is a good place to start. Compose a verse on the barf bag. As an extra challenge, write with your less dominant hand. It’ll make you choose your words more carefully. Then edit and re-write it. Repeat. You’re on a long haul flight – you’ve got time! If the poem is so bad it makes you want to vomit, well, you do have that bag.
  • Take pictures of everything on the plane
  • Of course if you get a window seat, you have the perfect spot to take countless pictures of clouds, the plane wing, and the view of the landscape below. If you don’t have a window seat, you need to get creative. You like the pattern on the carpet? Take a pic. Wow, that overhead bin is spacious. Put your bag in it, then take a pic. Like the fancy hand soap in the bathroom? Take a pic. Then check if Amazon can ship it to a locker near your home. What about signs in other languages? Take a pic and put it in Google Translate – do the translations match? I’d steer clear of taking pictures with random people in them, though. Would you want nameless, disheveled, and unattractive individuals using up your device’s precious storage space? Save your pixels for things you’ll want to remember.
  • Pamper yourself
  • In case you’re the random stranger who ends up in someone’s picture, make it a good one and beautify, people! Pack a small tabletop mirror (a handheld compact will work, too) and try out different hairstyles or makeup. Go ahead. You’re in a safe space. Apply a paper face mask. Cabin air dries out your skin, so it wouldn’t hurt to moisturize your face. And while you’re at it, moisturize your cuticles with oil, too. Make sure your products are unscented. You can do better than rosary bus lady.
  • Move your ankles*
  • If you aren’t already wearing compression socks to help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which is what happens when blood clots in your legs after sitting in the same position for a long time, keep the circulation up by doing this little exercise. I am not a doctor, but as your friend, I suggest you move your ankle as if you’re writing your name in cursive. Slowly. Include your middle name, too. If you don’t have a middle name, then make one up. Or borrow one from your list of names for future kids or pets. Then repeat this little exercise with the other ankle. Slowly. Repeat every hour.
  • Those are my ideas for 8 creative things to do on a long haul flight!

    Got any other ideas? Tell me in the comments below! Happy travels!

    For more information:

    • Airbus delivers A350-900ULR to Singapore Airlines (link)
    • Charging crystals (link)
    • The Longest Commercial Flight is 19 Hours Long (link)
    • *What is DVT? (link)

    *Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this information is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult a qualified health care provider to discuss your health.