Paris Haul #1: Nail Polish

I guess it's time to share my enormous humble *cough* Paris makeup haul with you guys. I've been dying to show you everything I picked up ever since we returned home, but I have to say that taking photos, editing and composing such a post is quite time consuming. A huge thanks to Øyvind for acting as my personal photographer, and for bearing with me and my mighty annoying perfectionism. Sorry for the delay, but now I'm back on track.

Since I'm very aware of having readers who couldn't care less about makeup and shopping, those of you who are interested will have to click "continue reading" for the juicy details, including pictures. I have decided to break it all down into smaller posts, so stay tuned for more. Grin


Shopping with Amira!

On Friday I finally got to meet my darling friend Amira for the very first time, and it was so nice finally seeing her! We've been chatting online for several years, but never had the chance to meet until now. We met outside Jardin du Luxembourg, and sat down on a bench in the park just talking until she had to catch her bus home. It's hard to explain, but it's so awesome when you meet someone in real life, who you've only known online, and you just click. I'm so lucky to have friends like her in my life.. just as I have Pinchy, Fieran and Ingrid, who always manage to magically brighten my days.

We decided to meet up again on Saturday to go shopping. Poor Øyvind, leaving with two makeup and shopping crazy girls, but at least he was able to bring his iPad to avoid death by boredom, or even makeup overkill. I have to say that I'm amazed by the bus system here in Paris, it's so easily accessible! We just have to point at my wheelchair and the driver stops, ejects the ramp, and I'm all set. Since we all needed some food we decided to start off at KFC, which I've never been to. Yes, I am a fast-food lover, so naturally it had to be checked out like everything else! It was crowded by doves, making my heart ache for them with all their injuries (some lacked feathers, others lacked claws and feet), but we managed to have a nice meal without any dove-crashing-into-any-heads-incidents while sitting there.

After having eaten a little we decided to venture on, and stopped by the huge Apple Store on Opéra because of it's nice architecture. I wanted to take a look at their accessories, and I ended up buying a Griffin A-Frame Stand for my iPad - I did tell you that I bought an iPad, no? Anyway. I'm loving the stand, it's the perfect height and everything. Makes nerding so much more convenient. We then moved on to the enormous department store called Galeries Lafayette, heaven for a shopping geek like myself! OK, so I was a bit overwhelmed when we entered, there was people everywhere not really minding me, but I still managed to navigate in between everyone (without injuring any toes). And the ceiling? So incredible! I'll go back and take some pictures during the week, I promise. Inside I found a gorgeous bright coral pashmina I had to get, now regretting that I didn't get one in another color as well, before hitting all the makeup counters. Honestly I can't really remember what we saw when, but the first counter we stopped at was M·A·C. Of course. Amira wanted to take a closer look at the new mineralize eye shadows from Semi-Precious, and I wanted the 234 brush which I didn't find at the local M·A·C. I scored! I don't remember if I said so already, but in addition to the two MES I got on the first day here I also got two more: "Dark Indulgence" and "Blue Sheen". They all look so gorgeous in the pan, and applied wet they are indeed to die for. I also purchased a bottle of Dior Rock Coat, a top coat meant to "smoke up" any regular nail polish. Quite cool actually! I might get a few other Dior nail polishes, we'll see what happens. There's a color called Nirvana, which keeps calling my name.

After a quick break at a Starbucks - I cannot understand why we don't have Starbucks back home, their Frappuccino® Chocolate Chip or even Java Chip is the most amazing beverage on Earth - the next stop on our plan was the other ginormous department store called Printemps. Another heaven! I immediately saw the Giorgio Armani counter, and wanted to take a look at their Eyes to Kill eye shadows. My God. It's something in-between a cream and a powder, without actually being a cream. So smooth, so nice, and the "02 Lust Red" is such an amazing color! I kinda wish I could get more, but with their steep price I refuse to dish out for more than maybe two. I'm lemming "04 Pulp Fiction" as well, but I'm leaning towards skipping it.

After seeing these amazing department stores it was time to head back to the hotel, and in the meantime it had started to rain. Like a lot. Like seriously. Stupid as I am I was wearing a white shirt, white linen pants and a white and silver scarf, so when we arrived back at "our" bus stop and had to walk to the hotel - without an umbrella - I suddenly realized that my clothes had indeed gone see-thru. I was soaking wet from head to toe! Oh well. Just a little everyday action there, I guess? Anyway, I had such an amazing day with Amira that no rain could ruin the day for me.

Interested in knowing what I've shopped so far?
Feel free to "continue reading".


Mona Lisa at Louvre

I was supposed to write another post directly after the one about my Permobil, but apparently I forgot all about it. It's a tad optimistic to think that I'm supposed to remember everything we've done since that, but I'll try to sum up the most eventful parts anyway. On Monday we went to Louvre, you know.. when my wheelchair broke down, to have a look around and maybe catch a glimpse of the famous "Mona Lisa". Unfortunately the museum was closing as we approached for tickets, so we decided to just have a look around instead. We quickly found Le Carrousel du Louvre, and with it a futuristic and very nice Apple Store! Øyvind "secretly" wanted the new iPad 2, so we went in to check it out.. and suddenly we had a new "Apple baby" in our family. Now, I've never been interested in the whole iPad ordeal, I use my Kindle for reading, and I have my MacBook, but Øyvind kept insisting on showing me different apps, games, the graphic, until I was completely starstruck.

Tuesday went by without anything happening because of my wheelchair malfunction, we had Chinese takeout in our hotel room (the very best I've ever had). When my wheelchair was back up and running on Wednesday, we decided to take a trip back to Louvre while the museum was open. By then I had decided to spend a good potion of my vacation fun money on a shiny iPad for myself, and so we went back to the gorgeous Apple Store. Amazingly enough the sales lady actually remembered us (maybe not so weird, I'm kinda easy to remember with the wheelchair and all), as well as the customizations for the iPad we had bought two days earlier, so I got mine in a few minutes. We then ventured on to Louvre, and headed straight for "Mona Lisa". Sadly none of us are particularly interested in art, so we didn't really stay that long, but some of the huge paintings were quite impressive! When we finally found "Mona Lisa" there was a huge crowd of people there, but I was quickly guided in front of everyone so I could actually see the famous painting. I've been feeling like a queen ever since we came to Paris: Norway has a lot to learn about how to treat disabled people, that's for sure. Just as when we went to Notre Dame last year, I had this strange feeling while at the Louvre. There's something oddly powerful by looking at paintings you've only heard or read about, knowing that some world-famous person has been standing in front of the exact same piece, actually creating it. It's hard to explain, it's something that has to be experienced I think.

I'm not sure what happened on Thursday. We possibly spent the days somewhere close to the hotel, playing with our iPads or something. I mean, it's genius! With the iPad I'm finally able to play board games with Øyvind without any hassle, and it so much easier to use than I ever imagined. When the evening came we had planned to go to Jardin du Luxembourg to look at the Bastille Day fireworks, but unfortunately the park closed early - and even though we tried walking around the park to catch a glimpse of it, we could only hear it. Oh well, possibly next year? At least we had a nice walk.


All hail Permobil

Of course, when everything appears to be as good as can be, something bad is bound to happen. And it did. We decided to go up to Louvre today, and on our way back down the hotel I suddenly felt like my wheelchair was acting weird. At first I thought I might have punctured one on the wheels, but nothing looked wrong. Then I started feeling a subtle jerking to the right, and then came the sound - a screeching noise, and along the sound came the smell, the smell of something burning. Nice huh? Not so much. With several pauses I managed to get back to the hotel, where I'm now stuck until we get in contact with someone in France who might be able to fix my wheelchair. I wanna cry, I really do. You might think it's easy to get the hold of a spare wheelchair, and surely it is, but in my case I'm dependent of my own wheelchair to even get out of bed in the mornings. I can't use any generic chair, so when my wheelchair breaks down, I'm basically confined to whatever place I'm at when it happens. Which is what happened. I had to spend 1.5 days in our hotel room. Again.

Then all hell broke loose. I was sure our vacation was ruined after only three mere days in Paris, that we would have to go home to get the wheelchair repaired, and I didn't dare to move around much because of the smell of burning plastic and the screeching noise. It was late, too late to call any offices back in Norway, so we had to call the emergency number (if you experience any emergencies with your aids). Naturally the person answering didn't know anything about anything, but he opened up a case and asked us to call back the next day. So much for emergencies. He did fill out a requisition, so when we called Permobil the morning after, they could start working on a solution straight away. Now, finding the right people isn't always easy, and we ended up calling Oslo, then Sweden, then France, and lastly Oslo again before we got in contact with an extraordinary man who made a few phone calls on our behalf - and did a lot of magic. After a few calls back and forth we were told that the man in Paris was in a meeting, which would take all day, so our hope to get it fixed before Bastille Day was running out.. Luckily he called us back that very afternoon. He said it could be difficult to arrange because of the bank holiday since the needed spare parts were in Lyon, but he would do his best to find a solution for us. One hour later he called back and told us that it had been arranged, so a repair man would be at our hotel between 9 and 10 AM the following day. I can honestly said that was the most nerve-wrecking hours I've experienced in a long time!

Wednesday morning he arrived as promised, the hotel management gave him an empty room to work in, and he changed both motors of my wheelchair in about four hours. He then brought my wheelchair back, asked me to test it and check for abnormalities while he had lunch close to the hotel. I tested it, found a few minor issues that he fixed when he came back, and then everything was back to normal again! I was immensely happy, and I really couldn't thank our repair man enough. I'm forever grateful for all the help we received from both Hjelpemiddelsentralen (fixing all requisitions needed) and Permobil, you guys are utterly fantastic. And our french repair man? Extraordinaire! The very best there is.

.. and they all lived happily ever after ..