June Desktop Wallpaper

Semiahmoo Resort, Blaine, WA

Yay for getting the June wallpaper out on time!

This is the month of our one year wedding anniversary, so I thought I’d pick a picture that reminds us of the happy celebrations: a picture of the exact spot where we got married a year ago! You’re also subjected to the date of our anniversary being in a slightly different colour, just because I can.

Here’s also to hoping for a lot more sunshine and a lot less rain, wherever you are. Here in Vancouver, we’re back to chilly and rainy days with no sight of summer in the near future. I’m still optimistic for a change coming soon, so I can finally stop rummaging my sister’s closet for old sweatshirts!

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May Wallpaper

Manarola, part of the Cinque Terre in Italy

I’ve been a Bad Blogger. We’ve missed two desktop wallpapers on this blog so far, but it’s May 2nd, and I haven’t forgotten, and I’ve been photoshopping like crazy in the last hour to get this out to say sorry, I’m terrible.

Let me try to give you a quick overview of my life since March, and the rhythm of my days these days. On March 4th I became so homeless like you wouldn’t believe. Our lease on our Parisian apartment ran out, and I vacated to take shelter on my friend’s couch in her mini dollhouse-esque studio flat. Thus began my month of living out of suitcases, which I thought might be fun, but really, I’m not so sure anymore. I went to Italy with my trusty backpack and a few girls from school on March 9th, the morning after my final exam at Le Cordon Bleu. We lugged our bags around Torino, Cinque Terre, and Rome. I found Torino to be a charming little place that was not too touristy, and thus perfect for exploring. We cottoned on to the €1 espressos served at the bakeries and cafés around town, and the slightly more expensive €1.50 triple-scoop-gelati at the gelaterias…and feasted accordingly.

In Cinque Terre we insisted on lying on the pebbly beaches (or just rock faces, whatever) in our bathing suits, despite the fact that it was barely above 20 degrees Celsius. It was a much needed couple of days of relaxing in the sunshine when we could, and trying to eat as much fresh seafood as possible. However, Cinque Terre being a much more touristy place, we also found our euros depleting rather quickly there.

Rome took us by surprise with its griminess, but once we walked into the presence of the ancient, ancient, ancient sights, it was all worth it. It is a splendid historical city that’s not just flaunting some man-made iron tower from the last couple of centuries – respect, man! It wasn’t my first time there, but I certainly hope it won’t be my last, either!

So back to Paris, I continued living on a couch. Then I moved from Paris to London, onto another couch…this time at my ex-colleague’s flat in London. There I stayed for a week before taking a suitcase, a knife/pastry toolkit, and a bag of baking ingredients onto a train headed for the Isle of Wight. We stayed with Alex’s grandma for a long weekend, celebrating her 80th birthday. I sweated and fussed and stressed in Alex’s aunt and uncle’s kitchen for two days straight before the birthday party, as 5(!) cakes baked slowly in the tiny gas oven. At least being at Grandma’s place, I was offered a lovely real bed, and the chance to use her jacuzzi bathtub. Ahhhhhh, the simple luxuries of life.

I left the Isle of Wight, and left behind over 1.5kg of delicious French butter and cheese that I meant to casually bring back to Canada in my luggage to share with friends and family. UGH. After a stressful month of constantly being on the move, that little incident nearly brought me to tears. And then things just kept on going downhill. I realized there was so much involved in my spousal visa application to settle in the UK that I decided to delay the submission until I got home to Vancouver. I sat on my glasses when I meant to wear them on the plane ride home. I noticed two giant tears in my spring coat, my only coat I was bringing back to Canada with me, when I was at the airport waiting to board my plane.

When the flight attendant announced “This plane is on its way home to Canada” and I was settled into my seat struggling with my brand new blister-pack headphones, I almost burst into tears of happiness. (It took me at least ten minutes to open the packaging, and I had to use a plastic knife that the flight attendant kindly provided. Just in case you were wondering.)

I had a brief visit in Toronto, still living out of a suitcase at my sister’s, but at least sleeping on my old bed that I love. Then finally, I made it home to Vancouver. Since then I’ve spent a good chunk of time working on my visa application, then sorting out my belongings for shipping, and of course lounging around in my pajamas. Today the shipping company came and swooped in for an hour to pack up and take away all 30 boxes of our belongings, and I feel a great weight lifted off my shoulders. (Slightly – ah screw it, very – nervous about our Pottery Barn oversized picture frame that didn’t fit in any box. I’m just imagining receiving a bunch of broken wood pieces and glass shards in London.)

Now, it’s just a waiting game for my visa application to be decision’d (not a word, I know), and I’ll be off! In the mean time, I’ll try to get cracking on this blog a bit more. Thanks for staying with me!

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February Wallpaper

I made this on January 31st, I really did! I know I’m yet again a little late to this wallpaper thing, and I have no good excuses. My only crap excuse is that this past week has been 6:30AM wakeup calls for me everyday, and an exceptional 5:30AM one on Tuesday for a school field trip to the markets outside Paris. I’m just a little tired, given that unemployment has made me less of a morning person.

We took this photo at the Parc Floral de Paris on the last sunny and tolerably warm day in January before the weather gods became evil. Some creative soul had come along and strung together all the fallen leaves into hearts, and hung them on the trees. This is why Paris is the city of love!

Download the 1920×1200 February desktop wallpaper
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(New size has been added at a friend’s request, and I’ve removed an outdated size. Again, leave a comment if your preferred size is missing!)


January Desktop Wallpaper

Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a fantabulous 2012!

This year will be the year Alex and I “rehabilitate” ourselves back into the working world, and I’m excited to see what will unfold. Today’s going to be a short blog post to get the wallpaper going, and I’ll be back again soon with some holiday updates and 2012 goals etc.

À bientôt!

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December Wallpaper

Finally, it’s here. Better late than never, right?

The image is taken in Paris, and yes, I recognize it could’ve been taken anywhere. I’ve been obsessing over finding the perfect images of Paris during the holidays. According to Murphy’s Law, I haven’t found the “it” photo because I’m searching high and low for “it”. So for now, happy December, and yay for holiday decorations!

Download the 1920×1200 December desktop wallpaper
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Download the 1028×764 December desktop wallpaper

PS – please let me know in the comments what sizes you’ve been downloading/you need! I’d like to make sure I’m making the right sizes – my Flickr download stats can only tell me so much…Thanks!


November Wallpaper

Today’s a double post kind of day, because I woke up super early and went for a run (my first run in Paris!), and then holed up inside catching up on life while it poured most of the afternoon. Good productive day.

The picture is from the south of Taiwan, in Kenting. I took the picture with the wallpaper feature in mind, but never remembered to use it until today. It’s a fitting day to use this picture, because I’m at that point where I kind of miss variety in my life. Our traveling life was so different and exciting everyday, and there was always something unexpected to look forward to. I miss that feeling of living uncertainly. Also, I miss Taiwanese food. I miss all the usual ‘haunts’ of Asian or North American food we had in Toronto, actually. One of the things we Canadians take for granted is the delicious cuisines we have access to – that’s definitely one of the best benefits of living in a country made up of immigrants. I had really blah and overpriced sushi yesterday, and I ate it while thinking about the delicious and affordable sushi in Vancouver. Parisian food is wonderful, but I need variety!

Right-o, with all that senseless whining about overindulging on pastries and escargots, get your wallpaper anyway.

Download the 1920×1200 November desktop wallpaper
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Download the 1024×768 November desktop wallpaper


October Wallpaper

After a little reminder from Kasia, here is the October wallpaper!

This photo was taken on my walk home after class the other day. It was a good reminder about how much France rocks, and it came at the right time. I had had a bad class day that I will post about later, and I just felt exhausted about all this trying to apply for my Carte de Séjour thing.

We’re not stupid people. We started out at the OFII – the office for immigration, kind of. There, the nice man pointed us to the nearest police station, where foreigners register for their Cartes de Séjour. We walked to the police station, and the nice security guard said that the station wasn’t it, but the station right across the river was. Fine, we walked across the river, went through security at the most massive complex of a police station, and the nice lady behind the counter said no, she wasn’t it either. However, she produced a document that had an address for where I should go, along with my “case” example described (EU spouse, no visa currently except tourist stamp thing in passport). She said we just had to go there, show our passports, and our marriage certificate.

That marriage certificate best be in French, she added. Then she showed us a list of certified court translators who can translate the document for us.

Not wanting to pay the fees, we went to the Canadian Embassy to see if they could help by attesting our marriage. It really should not have been a problem: two Canadians, showing up with a marriage certificate that is universally recognized in Canada without additional documentation or registration. Nope, since the document wasn’t produced by a Canadian government institution, they didn’t want anything to do with us. Even though there’s nothing Canadian that would replace this document, and yes, we did mention that Canada would recognize and use this document for all marriage-certifying-related-incidents.

So we had to call up a translator down the street, give him the piece of paper for a week, to translate for €50. BAH.

We picked up the translation last week, went to the Carte de Séjour office as given to us by the nice lady behind the counter.

We checked in through yet another security station at yet another police station, and when it came our turn and we presented “all that we needed”, along with extras I had brought for reinforcement (rent contract, school papers, etc.), the super-fast-French-speaking woman rebutted with a FOUR PAGE DOCUMENT with lists of things I should have. ALL ORIGINAL copies.

Among this list: my birth certificate, our apartment insurance documents, proof that we have money to live in France.

Let me just pause and ask the readers of this blog – who keeps their original birth certificate when they travel?! Double-ew-tee-eff. I explained in anxiety-laden-barely-comprehensible French that our insurance was purchased through the internet so the “original” is this printout, as far as I can tell, and it works for all other purposes. No…apparently I have to track down this company in the middle of nowhere in France and get them to send me an “original”.

By then I was shocked out of my wits that I couldn’t piece together another sentence if I wanted. Alex read the list front and back many times with his brows furrowed, but we just couldn’t make any more sense out of it.

I brought this four-page-long document/list of things I need to school, to ask the people who are there to “help” you get this elusive Carte. I had two nice, but not helpful, ladies basically repeat the list back to me in English. Thanks, Google did that for me already.

Our bank in Canada wrote us a letter, printed off all of the past 6 months of transactions for us in all of our accounts, to “prove our resources” to live in France.

So armed with more preparation, we lined up again at the same police station today to validate that the documents we’ve acquired are sufficient and correct, and we can soon begin the process just as soon as we acquire some original documents in the mail (but in the mean time let us know if these printouts are even correct).

It was incredibly busy at the police station, and we had to stand in line outside to wait for the employees to have their afternoon break (between 1-2pm). Then as soon as the doors opened, we got trampled by some immigrants to whom queues mean absolutely sh*t all. Seriously, a broad wheeled her Stokke stroller right over my foot to get to the front of line…she came all the way from the back of the line.

We waited for quite a bit inside too, and finally when it came our turn we had the same bored super-fast-French-speaking lady again, even though I had kept my fingers crossed for the nice smiling blond lady in the Accueil section. I greeted this lady with a big smile, reminded her that I was here last week, and would now like some help to verify that I have everything right.

She began by harassing me about my birth certificate, which I most definitely still don’t have, and am holding out on a little bit. Seriously, the document is in Chinese, and the translation for my name could be anything, since there’s no relationship between my Chinese and English names. It could very well be the phoniest document I present to them, yet they still persist on getting it even though I tried to stress that there’s nothing of interest to them.

Fine. Moving on…the rent contract to prove our address. She flips through it, sees where I signed it back in April, and pushes it back at me with a “Non”.

Why not? Because it was signed in April…it means I might’ve already been here too long (i.e. over 2 months) that I am no longer eligible for the Carte.







Next up, document proving resources. We present proudly our life savings listed in the last 6 months of activity, along with a French letter stating our bank accounts’ balances, furnished by our Canadian bank.

Non. Your resources have to be in France.



We left, grumpier than ever, and more determined than ever to get this right. I cannot believe I am about to reunite with my birth certificate, and then meet it again in French. I’m not even sure why I am persisting on this Carte. It might be cheaper to take off every few days to different non-Schengen countries for short vacations than going down this path of craptastic days.


In the mean time, enjoy the pretty picture.

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September Wallpaper

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France

Today’s my first day of school!!!!!

I’m not sure what to think exactly. I have no idea what to expect. It is Orientation Day, where the students will receive their uniforms…ummm and that’s about all I know. I’m excited, of course, to check it out. What I’m really feeling, though, deep down in my stomach, is that feeling we all got the night before our first day in high school. Yes, high school, not university. You know the feeling. Are the teachers nice? Will the cool kids like me? Will I make friends? University was different because you either ended up in a dorm completely SOL on who your roommates were, or edged into large classrooms full of people where you could totally get lost in the crowd without anyone noticing all semester. Point is, you got to choose your friends in a population of over 1000 students in university. I digress.

Back to Le Cordon Bleu. I’m totally nervous about having scary chefs, mean translators, evil dishwashers, and back-stabbing classmates in the classroom. I’ve just summed up the worst possible scenario. I’ll let you know how it goes after my first day.

In the mean time, enjoy a picture from our stroll the other day from Le Cordon Bleu. We walked all the way from the school in the 15th back to our apartment in the 3rd. It took us about 1.5 hours, with brief réposes in the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Eric Kayser boulangerie in St Germain des Prés. I love the green spaces everywhere in Paris where people just chill, play with their kids, share picnics, read books, and nap under the trees and on benches. It is so different from North America, where park benches attract homeless people and bird poop. Sorry, that was a bad imagery.


August Wallpaper

Echo Beach – Bali, Indonesia

The August wallpaper is here! So sorry for the delay, but as you can probably see, this site has finally had a facelift! We’ve been cranking away on web design for the past month, simultaneously churning out this one as well as the official website for my mom’s work, michael’s bakery. Check it out and let us know what you think :)

The August wallpaper photo was taken in Bali. It was a perfect sunny day, one of our last days in Indonesia, and we had taken a moped around to check out some boutiques in Kuta and Seminyak, before finally ending up at Echo Beach, just down the street from our awesome resort. I picked up a super cute Roxy bikini, and we had a coffee by the ocean before returning to the Chillhouse for our daily massages. When I was picking out the August wallpaper, this photo immediately jumped out at me – we loved our stay in Bali, and I wanted to make sure everyone can see how amazing the place was to us!

click here to download the 1024×768 wallpaper
click here to download the 1280×800 wallpaper
click here to download the 1900×1200 wallpaper


July Wallpaper


Yes! We have a July wallpaper! Originally this was meant for June, but…you know, it’s July now, so that’ll do. The wedding is officially over, and we are now about to embark on the clean-up of my mom’s place (which looks like a tornado has ripped right through). I am looking forward to the summer ahead and all the things on my to-do list. Most importantly, I am working to get back to regularly-scheduled programming on the blog :)

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