Saturday, August 31, 2013


{View from atop of the Park du Chateau}

     You can't help but love Nice. I laugh now when I think about the first time we visited (4 or 5 years ago) and it was raining. We didn't want to get wet so we only did a drive-by and quickly concluded, we didn't really like it. (Because we all know, you can totally get the feel of a city in a car. On a rainy day. After a long drive. With 3 people in the car. And 2 dogs.) At the time, I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. It seemed blah. Maybe it was the rain streaked windows but I asked myself, where was this Nice everyone was talking about? This vibrant place with energy, history and oodles of character? Well the second time we went, I found all that and more. It clicked. I got what everyone was talking about and each time I return, I find Nice has a little something for everyone, the beach, great food, lively ambiance, history and beautiful architecture (or what I now refer to as 'eye-candy'.) So when we have visitors and they ask what there is to do and see in Nice, I find it is almost better to remain vague about it, to let it speak for itself because if there is one thing I have learned in the last 4 or 5 years, Nice never disappoints.

{Nice's sherbet colored buildings}

{Hanging laundry never looked so chic}

{Flavored sugars that I regret not buying}

    While exploring the Parc du Chateau which overlooks the city, we stumbled upon a beautiful cemetery called the Cimetiere du Chateau with the most ornate tombs and headstones. We spent a peaceful 30 minutes admiring the detail and the beauty and even spotted some recognizable names such as Alfred Van Cleef (the jeweler) and Emil Jellinik, who named a a certain car after his daughter, Mercedes. See that is the thing about Nice, just when you think you have seen it all, you realize you've only just scratched the surface.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We're back


     Yes folks, we are back. After an all too long break from blogging, I feel like it may be time to start back up again. My absence was not for a lack of action in our life, just a lack of interest in documenting it, or more probable, a lack of time to organize my thoughts. So with out further ado, here is my brain dump. After my last post here where I talked about Shaun getting the go-ahead to start practicing after his Achilles tear, a lot happened. He practiced, he played in the play-offs, he got a big head, his team won the championship, we celebrated, we went back to the U.S. for an all too short 8 weeks, we visited family, then we flew back here to Antibes and found ourselves back in the routine as if none of that ever happened. A few days ago while at the beach drinking some rose (yes our life is sometimes really rough), Shaun and I talked about how all the above seems like a blur to us. Maybe it was the short summer or maybe it was the fact that when we walked balk into our apartment for the first time, it felt like we had only been away for a long weekend. Time had stood still, our cupboards were full, our clothes still hung, all the usual suspects were still at the beach and the local boulanger greeted me with the same half-smile she did 2 months ago. (A full smile is tough to get from her but since she did say it was nice to see me since it had been a while, I will take that as an equivalent to a full smile and maybe even a hug in her book.) It is amazing to me how after being away for a few months, one can snap right back into the swings of things so easily and organically. So since pictures are worth a thousand words, I will let them detail our last few months and let's hope that getting back into 'blogging' will be as as easy and organic as it was for us to settle back into French life.

{Semi-finals against Pau, photo cred Romain Robini}

{Shaun and his 'big head' I was talking about}

{This didn't end well...notice the proximity I am to these two donkeys}

{Doing the obligatory 'medal bite' while Jaws the mascot seemed to be attempting to do his own 'bite' on Shaun}

{The pay-off after 10 months of hard work}

{The French National Team christening the new gym}

{Sunset in Juan les Pins}

{Some rose and the beach}

{One of the not so great perks of living in such a popular tourist destination, the crowds}

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Times are a changin'

{Huge billboards all over the city in anticipation of the play-offs which has prompted calls and texts from our non-basketball friends at all hours of the day when they see it with comments like, 'look at his guns', 'his hair is messed up' and my personal favorite 'he has a Godly like glow'.}

     Shall I re-introduce myself...? April was a weird month for us, kind of a tweener if you will. We moaned and groaned about the weather in March leaving us with big expectations for April. Well, April was O.K., some great days but still no extended time with sunshine and no rain. It is considerably warmer but still very unpredictable so we took as much advantage of the sun and went to the beach when possible. The Antibes Yacht show also rolled into town and since we have a few friends in the 'bis', we decided to check it out. As I have wrote before here, Antibes is the playground for the rich and famous, most of those being yacht owners (as if there are non rich yacht owners out there) so we have seen all sorts of yachts roll in through out the year, some small, 80-100ft, and some larger, 300 ft. Shaun and I laughed because we would be happy with just 1 of the tender boats, the little(er) boats that shuttle the guests back and forth from port if they dock at sea, that sit underneath the big boy yachts. Can't wait for next week and the Cannes Film Festival, that is when the serious players come out and play, so I promise I will take my 'good' camera out and snag a few pics.

{Shaun's grumpy face because I wasn't on board with his fake story that he was a NBA agent looking to charter a yacht for one of his big name clients just so we could get on board and look at the inside}

     Also, April was the month that Shaun was given the 'all-clear' to get back to practicing. It was a long 5 months for me and I wasn't the one going through physical therapy so I can only imagine how happy he was to be back on the court in a 'semi-normal' capacity. Now as anyone who has had a major injury knows, there are stages in recovery, beginning with simply healing and ending with getting back to 'game shape' and 'game quickness'. Shaun healed relatively fast and strength trained all through-out the 5 months leaving him looking like he is in the best shape of his life. If it weren't for the fact that I have become acutely aware of Achilles injuries, I would of joined him in his rigorous rehab but since I am Achilles-shy, I run at a slow pace, prefer to take the ramp over the stairs and can not imagine jumping for any reason other than to avoid being hit by a car. (Although, I have found you can't run from an Achilles injury, just ask Kobe Bryant and the player who ran into Shaun when he tore his Achilles in November who just tore his own Achilles 2 weeks ago...true story). So with all that being said, you can imagine our faces when we are at the beach and people begin to play volleyball on the sand with no warm up what so ever. Back to Shaun and his practicing..I say 'semi-normal' since the first few days back his coach gave him strict instructions.."I don't want you to defend, to dribble, or to pass. Just shoot the ball every time you touch it." Shaun's response was an obvious, " Sure, and can I get that added to my contract for next year?" With 2 weeks of practice under his belt, he sees improvement everyday and hopes to be ready for the play-offs that start in a week. He has his good days, where he seems to flutter into the house, and his bad days, where I can hear him walking on the street dragging his bag and ice cooler all the way up to our place. And while he is defending now, however we are talking about someone who is shooting 57% from 3 so defending is not listed high on his bio, I am happy to report that he does dribble and pass now...and obviously, still shoots.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Insta-goodness (pretty much all of March)

{Took a walk on Easter Sunday and spent some time enjoying the sun and warm weather}

     Ok, so if you all thought I was slightly exaggerating about the crappy weather we have had, then you would be wrong. Shortly after my last post, I read an article in our local paper addressing the grayness and constant rain March brought. Since some of you do not read French, I will sum it up for basically said... I was right, March sucked. (Now if I could only get the paper to back me up on my multiple B.S. statements when talking to Shaun, I would be golden.) No, but seriously, it said we have had more rain in just 3 days of March than in March of '10, '11, and '12 combined...and that was just 3 days early on in March, and I will tell you, it continued. So with April arriving tomorrow, we are very hopeful that the weather will turn and we will be able to check things off on our end of the year 'bucket list' and if today was a preview, I like what I am seeing April, carry on.

{This guy was passing out at the club and I asked Shaun to take a pic of me with him...the guy rallied and opened his eyes. My hashtags read  #unlikefloridaclubcanhandlehimrightnow and #impassedoutbutgoingtopretendlikeimponderinglife}

{St. Patrick's Day goodies}

{A bright and sunny day which I thought was just a teaser of what was to come}

{Another sunny day and I decided I was going to have my morning coffee out at the beach from here on a little ahead of myself with the weather}

{Next morning, this is what we woke to. I had to dodge that cloud all through Antibes on my run. I am proud to say, not a drop found it's way on me}

{An unexpected and very much appreciated 'care package' from the Martins}

{The gazillionth day in a row of rain}

{Found a mozzarella bar in Nice and proceeded to eat this along with a plate of meats and then do it all again right after. I was good with Milan and their 'mozzy' bar since it was a 3 hour drive but Nice is only 15 minutes away, a little too tempting}

{Got a little giddy with the sun and pulled out an app and wrote on a picture. The sun does weird things to me}

{Visited the Absinthe Bar in Antibes and tried some absinthe. Since I love black licorice, I was in heaven but the entire process was cool, albeit a little heroin like with a spoon, but cool none the less. The ambiance added to the night with a crazy piano player, the passing of hats and singing out loud with strangers. Must. Do. Again.}

Saturday, March 23, 2013

End of the year 'Bucket List'

{Sun, water and a cold beer}
 I can pretty much guarantee that those who live the same lives as us overseas have at least once uttered the words, "oh we'll get around to it". This phrase often times doubles as code for "once it warms up again, we will do it'.  And some do get around to it, and others would... if they could. For us, I can't complain. We have lived up in the north of France where it was cold and gray but never had to worry about snow towards the end of the season so I feel somewhat bad about touching on this subject. However, there has been those years where we missed out on activities because we waited too long and the weather changed and never really changed back before we headed home in late May/early June. Now living in the South of France, one would think we wouldn't have to worry about that, but I'm beginning to worry people. March has been mostly ughhhhh with 2 or 3 days of teasing sunshine. Shaun and I have counted around 18 days already this month in where we have had rain at some point during the day. At first it went unnoticed, then while I was looking at old pictures from Toulon last week, I saw we were beach bound around this time... then panic set in. What if this is one of those years where it really warms up in mid June....right when we are heading back to the US? I know good old Atlanta will bring the heat right when we get back but there is no sea there, no crystal clear waters and certainly not located about a block and a half from our place. So in order to be fully prepared and leave no stone unturned when it does warm up (doing everything in my power to will it to be warm like wearing neon colors, refusing to wear my big jacket and buying lots of lemons for lemonade), I am gathering all my things that I want to do before we head back to the states all in one place, an 'end of the year Bucket List'. God, Shaun is lucky to have someone as prepared (anal) as me...

So here goes...

Get back out on a boat. In October, we went out with some friends to celebrate a birthday and we got the itch. Must. Do. Again.

Get a tan. I am a shade of white that is not attractive right now and Shaun has turned this weird green color. I am waiting for him to bulk up and rip off his t-shirt a la 'The Hulk'. (I know when he reads this the first thing that will cross his mind is 'bulk up'? What? Hasn't she seen me lately?) Help!!

Attend the Monaco Grand Prix. A few years ago, we went to the practice round and talked about it ever since.

Take an end of the year trip. It will be hard because wherever we go, we will leave a sunny (hopefully) French Riviera but a change of scenery is always good. We have thrown around Italy, Spain, London and even Ireland since our Irish friends are pushing it.

Make a Key lime pie.

Use our snorkel gear. We bought snorkel gear a few years ago and used it quite often in Toulon. Could knock out 2 in 1 go if we do that while on the boat.

Go parasailing. The mecca for water activities is on the beach right in front of our house so no excuses.

Do another photo shoot with our friend Romain, just Shaun and I. We have too many self photos of the two of us. And too many turn out to be boogie checkers.

Have a team BBQ. Show the Frenchies what we do as Americans with hot dogs, hamburgers and maybe some smores to boot.

Run 13.1 miles. I will not say run a half-marathon because I have no desire to wake up early, get a number and stand in line with the many others just to run 13.1 miles. So instead, I will run 13.1 miles myself through town. Need to remember not to run past the house at any time because as history has proven, it is impossible for me to run by the house and not stop.

Have a picnic on the beach. Last year, I had full intentions of cooking this elaborate meal for our sunset picnic and in the end, we picked up KFC and it was AWESOME, no muss no fuss, just awesome.

Last but not least, get Shaun in a speedo, grape smuggler, banana hammock, ding-a-ling sling, budgie smuggler, spee-don't...whatever, you want to call it, I am dying to get him in one. Think this is more funny to me because it will never happen.

{Our KFC picnic with the most unbelievable sunset...and the dreaded long arm self photo}

Friday, March 15, 2013

The long road to recovery

    Having been an athlete in the past, I understand what injuries are. Some are small, some are nagging and then some are big, or shall I say shitty. I was fortunate enough to never experience the 'shitty' injuries, just broke a few bones here and there and rolled my ankles but nothing major. Up until November, I always thought that a torn ACL was the worst an athlete could suffer but seeing Shaun's Achilles first hand, I think an argument could be made that they both are equally devastating. And not in the searing pain of the actual injury way but in the long rehab one faces after the fact. Shaun was reading an article on Derek Jeter about his recovery from breaking his ankle and how he described it as 'learning how to walk' again. Sounds dramatic, I know. But there really isn't any better way to sum it up. So in agreeance with the Yankees skipper, Shaun has had to learn how to walk again. Only this time, with a tighter tendon, overall less mobility and with a calf that has not seen use in months. I won't lie and say it has been all rainbows and butterflies, but after 4 months of constant re-hab and activity, he has started jogging again. And not just jogging anywhere, but jogging on the soft sand at the beach. Sure, every morning he limps for the first few minutes until the tendon warms up and stretches out, but to be able to run again is such a great reward for all the hard work he has put in. He is progressing almost daily and most say that this time is when progress is most visible. I have already caught him jump shooting and we are secretly hoping the surgeon replaced his Achilles with someone else's that was an incredible jumper so that when Shaun jumps of his right foot, many will refer to him as the new Jordan, only white. And only off his right foot. So I guess that is not really like Jordan-esque at all. Or, even better, in 30 years Fein will be the new Jordan. But in the meantime, I am going to take advantage of this time and go for runs with Shaun since I am sure this may be the only time I can beat him. In other words,  I will strike while the iron's hot since knowing Shaun, it won't last long.

{Not bad when this is your view while rehabbing}