To Paris With Love

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J’adore Paris. Non, j’adore toute la France.

Sorry I’ve been incommunicado this past week. I left at 4:30AM last Friday to catch a plane to Paris. Despite barely sleeping the night before, it was an absolutely wonderful morning. I flew Air France which served hot chocolate and pastries that were absolutely delicious. When I landed, not only was I greeted by my wonderful boyfriend at Charles de Gaulle, but he brought me chocolates from Jeff de Bruges and flowers. Totally makes up for a long distance Valentine’s Day.

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I spent Friday through Wednesday in Paris and then we hopped on a train (despite a few minor mishaps) to Nice for the rest of the week. Since there were obviously a lot of things I saw, did and tasted, I’ll keep this post as brief as possible by simply including the highlights of Paris. More on Nice to come later.

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On Friday night Will took me to Notre Dame. Took me back to the days of Esmerelda and Quasimodo.

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I have become obsessed with the Eiffel Tower. I love that you can see it from virtually any point within the city center. It’s a great way to complete any picture. Just frame the Eiffel Tower in the background and it’s automatically a perfect Instagram.

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The Louvre was massive. I can’t believe that so much art and history can be held in one place. Will took me on a whirlwind tour and I was absolutely exhausted by the end.

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Here are my classic Louvre pictures, which were kind of fails. 

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Will couldn’t quite get my finger on top of the pyramid.

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My best attempt at a Mona Lisa smile.

On Sunday we went to Versailles, which could take up an entire post with pictures of what we saw, but I have to fit in all of Paris! Here’s Will and I outside of the gates (free entry on Sundays!) They were  gorgeous and when we came out at the end of the day the sun was glittering off. I can’t imagine going to sleep and waking up to that every day. Louis XIV was one lavish guy that’s for sure. He knew how to live (while simultaneously driving his country into a debt that would eventually cause the upheaval of the monarchy, but who cares right? Okay well maybe Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette cared, but they were living it up too).

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Will treated me to hot chocolate from Angelina’s. Not only did I get to sit down and sip on chocolate chaud in Versailles, but it was definitely the most delicious hot chocolate I have ever tasted. That’s saying a lot because Will and I aren’t coffee fans so we rate the hot chocolates of every cafe we go to.

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I honestly loved Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, especially for the scene at her cottages.

Will lovingly trekked all across the royal grounds in search of the cottages. Truth be told I was more obsessed with the cottages than I was with the actual palace. There was something so romantic and peaceful about them. They were a twenty minute walk away from the most grand palace in the world and yet the area was perfectly serene (when you ignored all the tourists traipsing through).

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On Monday Will had an exam, but afterwards it turned into a beautiful day and he took me to the Eiffel Tower. It was absolutely gorgeous. We decided not to go up since the prettiest part of the Paris skyline is the Eiffel Tower.

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We brought a mini champagne bottle and sipped from it under the warm Parisian sun and the Eiffel Tower. It was the perfect afternoon.

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As the icing on the cake, we walked up Champs Elysees on our way to The Arc de Triomphe. On our walk I managed to talk Will into not only getting me my first real French crepe, but also macaroons from McDonald’s. Seriously, McCafe has delicious macaroons for super cheap. We got six flavors and shared them.

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Oh yeah and a chocolate fudge McDonald’s sundae… We did a lot of walking that day.

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After hiking up to the top of The Arc I saw the most amazing view of Paris. The Arc is right in the center of the city as a massive roundabout and you can see all of streets stretching out from it.

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After all this walking, Will wanted to take me to Montmartre to watch the sunset. “Why not,” I thought. I mean are you really going to turn down a man trying to take you to watch the sunset over Paris?

Well, I didn’t quite realize how many stairs it would take to climb to the top of this hill, but I made it and I didn’t even take the tram up to the top. We listened to a man singing Adele one minute and then Eye of the Tiger the next with some Rastafarians trying to bust in with some Bob Marley.

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After being thoroughly entertained we headed up the hill a bit more and got a delicious dinner before heading home for the night completely exhausted.

On Tuesday, Will had class in the afternoon so he took me to the Pompidou beforehand so I could walk around while I waited. Unfortunately it was closed, but I got to see my first Banksy! Honestly that was better than any art museum.

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Since the museum was closed, Will took me to go shopping and I got some tennis shoes aka trainers, which I have been desperately needing since I left mine in America. Who would’ve thought I’d want to start working out while I was in Europe?

After shopping I started walking alone along the Seine on my way to The Louvre when I realized that for several blocks it was nothing but pet shops and flower shops. I had found Parisian heaven. If all dogs do go to heaven, this is where they go. I was in love.

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After spending a good hour going into every single pet shop I saw I made it to The Louvre only to find that it was closed. But, right when I realized this my knight in shining armor came to rescue me! Will had gotten out of class an hour early (okay he had really gone to class an hour late and mixed up class times, but it was good news for me!)

I sat on the edge of the fountain in front of The Louvre while I waited for my knight in shining armor (okay button down and khakis) to ride his noble steed (okay a broken down Metro) to come and save me. I simply sat and soaked in Paris. I watched the children running around and chasing the pigeons. I watched a little boy wash off his hands in the fountain. I watched a young woman get a call telling her she’d gotten the job she’d been dying for. I watched her rejoice with her friend after she got off the phone. I just sat and watched and let the complete happiness wash over me. That is my Paris.

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Finally my knight conquered the broken down Metro and swept me off my feet. There was a man outside the Louvre making huge bubbles for the kids to play with, so of course Will was playing with them too.

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We met up with him and his friends and walked through the Tuileries Gardens. There were a bunch of little kids with sticks pushing around these wooden boats in the park. It was so beautiful with the sunset behind them.

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After that we headed to Laduree for some real French meringues. I got the Marie Antoinette. It was delicious, but honestly McDonald’s was just as good and a third of the price.

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On Wednesday before we left for Nice, we finally did what Will had promised we would do for the whole trip. We got our very own lock. Yup, it’s official, we are locked together now.

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Will giving it a kiss for good luck before I tossed it into The Seine.

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And there it goes into The Seine! (Don’t worry there are two extra keys in case things go awry. Those street vendors sure know what they’re doing by giving you three keys.)

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We headed over to Saint Sulpice and then to The Hungarian Institute to get us warmed up for Budapest in April!

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From there we went to The Pantheon, which was unfortunately closed, but it was still pretty impressive from the outside.

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Before we went home, we stopped by The Pompidou again to see if it was open and it was! Modern art is interesting, but it’s neither of our cups of tea. We both prefer Impressionism so we weren’t in there too long. Some of the pieces were amazing and some were just a bit too strange, but that’s art.

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After a long day it was time to head back and get ready for our trip to Nice which turned into one problem after another, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Like always, Will and I figured it all out for the best, but that’s a story for another blog post!

A Royal Fascination

Remember that movie The Prince & Me? Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a 29%, but viewers gave it a 67%. One critic called it a “Royal Letdown.” Well if it was such a letdown then why did so many viewers, myself included, enjoy it? Not only is it a love story, but it’s a royal love story. One thing that I had personally forgotten about this movie was which royal family it was based on and wouldn’t you know, it was the Danish royal family! After Lauren reminded me of this, I sat down on Wednesday and watched it.

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I loved all the little bits of Danish history they mentioned and felt really smart when I knew what they meant by kroner (its the Danish currency). I recognized a lot of the places when they finally got to Denmark. And as a little (sort of) bonus, I can’t turn off my Danish subtitles on the Danish Netflix so I got to read along everything they were saying. My personal favorite was when Julia Stiles and all of her friends said, “Cheers!” and it read “Skål!”

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On Wednesday Lauren and I wanted something fun to do so after being inspired by The Prince & Me we headed to Christiansborg Palace. This palace is in the city center and is where Parliament currently meets. We decided to drop $14 to take a tour of the inside, which was absolutely gorgeous.

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But before we even got inside we had a little fun pretending that we were in The Prince & Me.


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On the side of the guard stations there were these precious holes cut in the shape of hearts. Lauren thinks that they’re there so you can walk up and give the guard a kiss on the cheek.

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The inside of the palace was gorgeous. The queen still receives a public audience in the throne room, but today she stands instead of being seated in the throne. I loved the wallpaper with the tiny crowns on it and there was one room, The Velvet Room, in which the red velvet behind the thrones covered the walls.

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Every inch of the palace is given attention. I loved the tiny raised crowns as wallpaper in the throne room. They were so simple, but were the perfect touch to the already immaculate room.

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The crest was made into a rug in one room. Check out our awesome booties that we got to wear to keep the palace in pristine condition.

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The view on the rest of the city from the palace is beautiful, even if it was a bit grey outside. Copenhagen doesn’t have any skyscrapers so you don’t have to go very far up to get a great view. Many Danes prefer to live on the top floor even when there aren’t elevators and now I can see why.

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The chandeliers in the palace were beautiful. I have an affinity towards chandeliers that I blame on the small one we had in our foyer when I was younger. I used to think that the stones hanging from it were actual diamonds. I even snuck a few off once in an attempt to make my own diamond earrings. I’m sure the guards would not have been as forgiving as my parents if I had done the same with this chandelier. The Danes are so proud of it that they made replicas to send to Norway for its anniversary. What a lovely alliance.

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I’m not sure what the fascination is with the Danish royalty and china decorated in mushrooms, but they’re keeping things interesting. Nothing like the usual china you see.

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I loved these men holding up the palace like Atlas. Each one was different with small details. The front one wiping his brow was my personal favorite. His facial expression is so vivid and you can see the anguish almost dripping out of the marble.

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We even found a painting of a rooster on a clock. South Carolina is following us all the way to Denmark. Gooooo Cocks!

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And obviously we had to take a mirror pic in the palace. Always keeping it classy and a little bit sassy.

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In the last room we visited there was a life size cutout of the queen that nearly gave each of us a heart attack. For a second I thought she was actually in the palace, which wasn’t too much of a stretch since we’d been told that the prince had been there earlier that day.

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After watching The Prince & Me and our tourist date I can understand why there is such a fascination with royalty. I think every girl kind of hopes and dreams that she’ll be a princess when she grows up and Julia Stiles made it seem like it could actually happen. But, to set things straight the Crown Prince Frederik is married with a son and Edvard could never have been the name of the Danish crown prince as the alternate between Frederik and Christian. Sorry Eddie and Julia, we were rooting for you. Maybe you would have hit 30% if you had just changed your name to Freddie.

The Blizzard Effect

This morning I woke up to a blizzard. I looked out my window and all I could see were a million white specks hurling themselves at the ground. “Great,” I thought, “today will be the most dreary day in Copenhagen ever.” I looked at the weather and saw that the snow was going to turn into a nice slushy wintry mix and then into rain by the end of the day. Not fun, but I pulled on my L.L. Bean boots, threw on my Patagonia raincoat (which screams American in its “Flash Pink”) and sucked it up.

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I made it to my first class, The Meaning of Style, in which we talked about fashion in relation to social class. Throughout the lecture it became clear that we automatically group people in social classes by their habits, particularly by their choice in clothes. One of the phenomenons we talked about was the “Trickle Down Effect,” which essentially means that fashion trickles down from the elite to the lower levels of society. After class I couldn’t help but think this rain would turn into a trickle, but no such luck.

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I pulled up my hood and trekked back home. When I made it in the door I immediately treated myself to a cup of hot chocolate and a delicious cinnamon roll.

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The rain slowed down a bit for the rest of the day and the rest of my classes went well, but the best part came at the end of the day. My Meaning of Style class was scheduled to watch The September Issue at 7, which I was looking forward to because there is nothing I love more than a good documentary and The September Issue is one of my favorites. However, as I sat waiting for the movie to start my snuggly bed kept calling me home.

 My whole class sat in the chilly top floor of the building waiting for it to start and wondering where the snacks were that our professor had promised)when my professor made one of the most wonderful announcements I’ve ever heard. He had a whole spread of food waiting for us in the next room. Everything I love was sitting on that table. He carefully went through every dish that he had laid out for us. Every type of cheese you could imagine, homemade mini meatballs, fresh fruit, beautiful baguettes. He even made us virgin Cosmopolitans. My stomach was singing hallelujah!

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I cut off a huge piece of bread, grabbed a delicious apple and bunch of grapes, sliced up several types of cheese, and scooped up a few meatballs. I filled up my plate, but don’t worry, I went back for seconds after the movie. There’s something about not making food yourself that makes it that much more delicious. My entire class was drooling.

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It was like we were in a dream. As we all sipped our cosmos and nibbled on our cheese we got to watch the entire process of creating the September issue of Vogue. I’d have to say, watching it was better the second time around. The September Issue was filmed during the preparation for the 2007 September issue. I tried to do some research about my own sense of style at the time, but I didn’t even have a Facebook back then let alone a sense of style. However, when you look at Anna Wintour she looks fabulous, classic and chic. Everyone in the office looks wonderful and not the slightest bit out of date. I realized that everything they were wearing was in fashion right now, almost six years later. Talk about the trickle down effect.

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Actually, let’s call it the blizzard effect in light of the current weather. One major shoot that Grace Coddington headed for the September issue was an exploration in  texture. A main focus of that shoot was a big chunky orange scarf. I remember thinking the first time I watched The September Issue that it looked outrageous, but look at me now. Here I am in Copenhagen with my very own chunky scarf right next to the Vogue 2007 September Issue’s chunky orange scarf. Yes, I would call that quite a blizzard effect. It may have taken six years for Vogue to get to me, but it has taken me and the rest of Copenhagen by storm with these chunky scarves. And trust me nothing is better than a chunky scarf when one of those Scandinavian storms hits.

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                                                                                         My lessons of the day were to show up for outside of class events when food is promised and to believe in Vogue (as if I didn’t already.)

In Vogue we trust. 

 

 


That time we tried to go to the zoo…

And then we ended up in Sweden. That’s right, Sweden, specifically Malmö. It all started the night before at Night Fever, which is this great bar right down the street from DIS. The dance floor is made up of colorful lit up tiles and all they play are throwbacks so naturally Lauren requested multiple *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys songs and I led the bar in the YMCA. Night Fever is fantastic, right down to the disco ball.

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On Saturday around noon Lauren and I finally rolled out of bed and went in search of a delicious breakfast. We ended up at O’s, this great American restaurant down the street from Lauren’s DRC (DIS Residential Community). We walked in and it smelled exactly like Greenville’s Stax or Nashville’s Noshville. Just imagine any classic breakfast place (except maybe Waffle House) and you get O’s. A little spot of American heaven in Copenhagen. Lauren’s is the top and mine’s the bottom. When abroad always Instagram your meals, especially when they include bacon.

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After breakfast we decided that we wanted to do something really fun with our Saturday so we headed to the Copenhagen Zoo. We took the 6A bus (yay Lauren for conquering public transportation!) and finally got there. When we got up to the line we realized that all these people were waiting in line to pay $30 to go to the zoo on a dreary day. We decided that we’d rather spend our $30 on a sunnier day in the spring when the aquarium would be open too so we headed back on the 6A. On the way to the center we decided we’d try to go to Hamlet’s Castle out in Helsingør, which is about an hour and a half outside of Copenhagen. We looked at the map and realized that it was a ferry ride away from Sweden so we decided to go back and grab our passports just in case. When we looked up the visiting times for the castle we realized that we’d only have a half hour to tour it so bagged that idea and headed to Central Station. We walked up to the line and asked for a ticket to Sweden and got a deal for $30 for a roundtrip and all we had to do was make it back by 4AM. Thirteen hours to conquer Sweden? No problem.

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After a little slow start (our train stopped, I’d tell you why but all the announcements were in Danish) we were on our way to Malmö. It only took about thirty minutes and then we got there. Easy as pie; no one even checked our ticket or our passports.

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Malmö was a lot like Copenhagen, just a little bit cleaner feeling with a little less snow and lower prices. There were a lot of great shops, but by the time we got there at 4:30 most of them were getting ready to close. Lauren managed to snag a really cool top to wear in Croatia though so it was a total success! We also found this strange art in the middle of the street. No idea what it was for, but it made a great photo-op!

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We kept wandering around Malmö and ended up in this charming cemetery. There’s something about Sweden, even their cemeteries are cute and charming!

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After our walk through the cemetery it was time to find some food. All we wanted was some really good Italian food- Lauren kept reminding of the great gnocchi we’d had on our study tour. We wandered around forever and even stumbled on some great street performing complete with tambourine player.

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We almost settled for a burger place until we spotted Gustav Adolf’s, the perfect Italian restaurant. We ordered matching meals- delicious tortellini (of course) and garlic bread. I ate it all up, even all of the veggies. I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but Copenhagen has made me the least picky eater ever.

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After dinner we decided to head back to Copenhagen and try to find some yummy ice cream for dessert. First we had to find our train though. After going to one wrong track and asking a few nice people for help we found it!

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Sweden was wonderful, but it felt nice to walk out of the train station and see Copenhagen. It’s really starting to feel like home. I’m so excited to travel in these next few months, but it’s nice to know that I’ll be happy to come home from those trips.

Shout out to Lauren for letting me borrow some of her great pictures and going on a crazy Swedish adventure with me!

Also on an unrelated note I just got the most amazing little today! I can’t wait to add you to this amazing family and shower you with so much love even if we’re separated by an entire ocean! Chi Omega love from Denmark!

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Les Deux

It’s cliche, but I’ve already fallen in love on this Valentine’s Day. It was one of those love at first sight kind of loves. I saw it and I just knew. Today was the day that I fell in l-o-v-e with Les Deux.

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For those of you French speakers out there you’ll know “Les Deux” means “The Two,” but who are The Two? They are two young entrepreneurs who have started their own Danish clothing company. Andreas, 24, and Virgil, 21, are the two men behind this prep meets street style chic line. The brand started with a simple white t-shirt that Virgil had sewn military patches onto. He and Andreas met one day to talk and Andreas immediately fell for the shirt. Thus in 2009 Les Deux was born. Virgil and Andreas came to speak to my Meaning of Style class today to tell us what exactly it’s like to build your own company in the fashion world while still in college.

Virgil has a history in the fashion industry and founded one of the top men’s fashion blogs in Denmark, Superbial. He designs and works on public relations and marketing. Andreas is an entrepreneur at his core and works with sales and accounting, while also assisting Virgil in the design.

After not much luck in trying to get their t-shirt on the market by driving around Western Denmark they finally got their big break. A big guy in Danish culture, Remee, was seen on TV2 wearing “The Sweat,” their first sweatshirt design. He had bought it off of one of their friends without them even knowing. TV2 got 400 inquiries that day about the sweatshirt Remee was wearing. From there things skyrocketed and there was no looking back.

Here are a few of their great items for sale on their website currently, but they’ll be releasing a lot more in the next few weeks from watches to shirts to pants. Their clothes are technically menswear, but they look just as good on women.

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Andreas was wearing this sweatshirt when he came to speak to our class today and I’m swooning over it. Maybe it was just the fact that he looked so pulled together with his oxford underneath and light camel coat over it. These guys are well dressed to say the least. That being said, I would not be opposed to someone surprising me with this…

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Currently Les Deux is offered in stores throughout Denmark, Germany and England and are quickly expanding. Right now they plan to conquer Europe before moving on to the US, but they do sell in the US through select distributors. When thinking of Jack Wills, a very similar British brand, I asked them if they had plans to open their own store and they said that neither of them knew how to run a store and planned to stick with distributors for now. Things are currently underway to get their clothes in Urban Outfitters, which would obviously help them reach a much larger market.

Les Deux is all about being a fun brand that you can trust to be of high quality and high value. The clothes are a bit pricey, but that’s the price you pay to know that the people that made your clothes are being treated fairly. Here’s a video of the Fall 2012 photoshoot to give you an idea of how fun and light Les Deux is. They obviously work very hard on marketing with well done videos such as this.

Not only is Les Deux fun, but they are committed to CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility. Andreas said that it’s not so much about CSR, but because they want to do their part. They are currently funding students in Zambia with everything from books to clothes to phones and their school will open in 2014 with 50 students attending.

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Les Deux is a great company with a great message behind its clothes. It’s amazing to see what these two guys have accomplished in just four years (and all while in college, Andreas just graduated last week and Virgil is still in school). It was inspiring to hear them speak about the obstacles they had to overcome and just jumping into something without any real idea of where it would go. As Andreas said, “Nike was right, ‘just do it.'”

Note: all images and videos belong to Les Deux.

All this blogging about Les Deux’s wonderful success story has caused me to totally lose track of time. Time to enjoy some good old burnt to a crisp grilled cheese. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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Procrastination At Its Finest

I have a test in Strategic Communication today at 4:25, which is right after my 2:50 class. At the time of typing this, I have two hours and eighteen minutes to study for my first test. Naturally I am blogging. And naturally I have been procrastinating for quite some time. Those notes just don’t look very interesting at all. Also, keep reading to the end for some exciting news!

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Since being here I have finished all three seasons of Downton Abbey and the first season of Netflix’s new series House of Cards (yes the one that was just released last Friday). I love everything that Copenhagen has to offer and I’m spending a lot of my time exploring the city, but one thing I really love about Copenhagen is the free time. Back at school I never have free time. If I do it’s being filled up with things for Chi O, my friends and just finding time to eat (miss you Tort Tues and Greg Hawley). This semester I’m only taking 12 hours, which has freed up a lot of time and thanks to the heavy amounts of snowfall lately I’ve been opting for staying snuggled under my covers. Trudging through the snow to look at a castle gets a tiring after the fourth time. This is my semester to explore Europe, but it’s also my semester to catch up on the things that I love and anyone who knows me knows that I love TV.

I don’t love that trash TV. Ask my sister, I can’t even keep the Kardashians straight. As my dad always says, “It’s the Golden Age of Television,” and what better place to take part in it than Denmark, one of the capitals of great television. You know The Killing? Yup, it was originally known as Forbrydelsen. And be on the lookout for Those Who Kill on A&E.  Danish dramas are very popular abroad. They take their drama seriously and like to think of Danish TV as a combination of PBS (or BBC) and HBO. Here’s an article that my dad sent me about how important and influential Danish television is http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/01/new-yorker-danish-tv/. Ironically, a lot of this is going to be on my test in a few hours so I guess I’m studying after all!

I can’t finish this post without quickly saying why House of Cards is so fantastic. First of all, like everyone’s been saying, it was released all at once by Netflix. Many people are against this because no one will be at the same point in the series like they are when shows are released on a schedule. Since I have not watched a series live since having TiVo I don’t see much reason to criticize such a tactic. Yes, there will be some of us who gorge ourselves on a series, but if it’s really that good is gorging such a bad thing? House of Cards doesn’t end with cliffhangers like some series do, but it leaves you wanting more. The series is about suspense for what’s coming next. You go into the series with an idea of what will happen, but you watch to see how it will all unfold. For several days this past week I would just watch one episode before going to bed, but on Saturday I decided to watch the last few episodes in a row to finish off the series. If you don’t want spoilers, tell people what episode you are on and don’t read anything that might offer a spoiler. It’s as simple as that. My dad doesn’t look at the sports section the next morning after a big game until he’s watched the TiVoed game.

Not only is the release method interesting from a marketing perspective (you can theoretically only get House of Cards from Netflix), but the show in general is captivating. Kevin Spacey plays a Democrat representing South Carolina’s Fifth Congressional District (being a Democrat from South Carolina this is a dream come true in itself). In case you’re unfamiliar with South Carolina, the Fifth Congressional District is the home of Gaffney and the Peachoid water tower off I-85, a state landmark. Yup, it’s a real beauty. 

Other than Kevin Spacey sounding more like he’s from the South of Broad than Gaffney, he does an excellent job portraying a calculating politician with a one track mind. In one of the first episodes his character, Frank Underwood, says, “Such a waste of talent. He chose money over power, in this town a mistake nearly everyone makes. Money is the McMansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after ten years, power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I can not respect someone who does not see the difference.” Throughout the first season, we know that the end goal is power and we know that everything will play into achieving that end goal, but we don’t quite see how all the pieces fit together until the finale. The characters in House of Cards represent everything that scares us about Washington from using an education bill as a means to get ahead politically to non-profits cozying up to large corporations that are exactly against their mission. After these past few weeks of learning about reputation management and preparing for a test on it in a few hours I have found House of Cards to be the perfect example of its importance. Every episode is essentially a case study on crisis management, sometimes even crises that the characters purposefully create. Hopefully there will be an open ended question on this test so I can use House of Cards for inspiration. According to my dad, 99% of what I know comes from TV. I might as well put it to use in my GPA.

Well enough procrastinating, I better get back to my focaccia from Lagkagehuset and studying.

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Oh, I almost forgot the super exciting news- I’ve been selected to be a part of new blog initiative by InsideVandy! You can check out my blog and the other selected blogs at http://www.insidevandy.com/blogs/.

Strat Comm does Western Denmark

This week is core course week and for the beginning of the week my class, Strategic Communication, went to Western Denmark. We visited Odense, Aarhus and the Jello Stones- excuse me, the Jelling Stones. The trip only lasted three days, but it was filled with so many different things both having to do with communications and being immersed in Danish culture.

We started early by bus on Monday. I have never been on such a quiet bus. We all slept the whole way there. At one point I woke up to see that we were driving over a long stretch of water. Denmark is essentially made up of islands so in order to get to Western Denmark you have to cross water, but luckily they have bridges so we didn’t have to take a ferry. It was kind of unnerving because it was definitely the longest bridge I’ve ever been on.

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Once we got to Odense, we got to see the TV2 studio. TV2 is one of the broadcasting networks in Denmark and is run by the Danish government. Like most Danish workplaces, the building looks old from the outside, but is clean and sleek on the inside with modern art on the walls and big TVs in every room.

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The TV2 station actually used to be a cattle market until the late 1980s when TV2 was founded. The main hall of the building has a quote that says “No cattle in the middle hall” because the cattle were only allowed in the smaller sections off the the main hall. Each of the triangles is one of those smaller sections that used to hold the cattle, but now it holds the 550 employees at TV2.

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Since TV2 is a public service, Danes pay about $200 in taxes a year to keep their television services running and then they can choose whether to add additional channels starting at $2. Since TV is a public service, they are only allowed to play a maximum of 12 minutes of commercials of hours and programs are never interrupted. That means for the entire showing of the Titanic there wouldn’t be a single commercial! Three hours of no commercials on public television?!

Our guides asked us about public television in the US and we had to admit that we have PBS, but none of us ever watch it because it’s either kids’ shows or shows that would never offend anyone. The Danes are much more laid back and said that there is no censorship at all. During an interview, Madonna once said, “Fuck” on accident and started apologizing, but the host just looked at her and told her that you can do that in Denmark. Also, nudity is not an issue at all. TV2 buys TV shows and broadcasts them, but also conducts interviews. They are no bipartisan shows and they said they laugh at us when they watch our news. This tiny black room is where TV2 conducts interviews and news stories Jon Stewart style where the speaker just stands in front of a screen that projects where they want to be. The queen has even been interviewed here!

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This room is where they track everything that is going on on TV. On one of the screens they had a giant frozen picture of Beyonce looking fierce as always. I’m skeptical as to whether they were really “tracking” what she was doing the night before at the Superbowl.

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We got to see the studio where they do the nightly news and we saw the anchors on our way there. It was only 11 and the anchors for the 7 and 10 o’clock news were already in the studio preparing.

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After our trip to TV2, we spent the rest of the day exploring Odense. DIS didn’t feed us lunch so we were left to on our own to find something within an hour. Ten of us found a Mexican place (yes Mexican). Good thing it only took 50 minutes to get our food out, giving me a whole 10 minutes to scarf down some nachos! Gotta love Danes and their timeliness!

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After scarfing down some nachos, we went on a Hans Christian Andersen tour because he was born and lived in Odense. What they don’t like to admit is that once Hans left Odense he never came back… Judging by the tour I’d guess he wasn’t too fond of churches since they consisted of about 90% of the tour. Since I think churches are beautiful and wonderful, but become redundant after about two pictures, I won’t bore you with them. However, here is a picture of the house that Hans was born and grew up in. It’s pretty small and quaint, which wasn’t so bad until we found out he shared it with four other families.

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One of the churches holds to bones of one of the first kings of Denmark. They’re a bit morbid, but after being told the fairytale Hans wrote about a girl getting her feet chopped off for wanting to wear red shoes I wasn’t too bothered by them. The thought of Dorothy without her ruby red slippers makes bones pretty bearable. Plus, they did a DNA test and these bones actually match the current queen of Denmark meaning that she’s a direct descendent and these bones are real.

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After our trip to Odense, we headed to Aarhus (formerly Århus, but it was changed so the rest of the world could understand and spell it). Aarhus is Denmark’s second largest city and has been chosen as the European City of Culture for 2017. When we got there, naturally we went to a delicious Italian restaurant with our whole class. Who needs Danish food? We were all served gnocchi with shrimp, wine and a big bowl of gelato. We were all in heaven after such a long day.

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Our hostel was actually pretty nice and we got to eat breakfast on the top floor which had a great view. We were also situated right along the canal and right across from all the bars and shopping district, which would have been great if our days hadn’t been so jam packed with things to do. We were so exhausted when we got back to our rooms that we would all pass out by 11.

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On Tuesday we visited the city hall of Aarhus. We learned about how Aarhus is attempting to brand itself and all of the construction its undergoing to prepare for 2017. Below is where the council meets. They had champagne and snacks set out for the handball team. Apparently we weren’t the honored guests of the day, but getting to see City Hall and learn about Aarhus from a communications perspective was really interesting.

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After our visit we went across the street to get a classic Danish lunch- open faced sandwiches. These were much more elaborate than the one I had had before and were better, but still messy. Eating a sandwich with a fork and knife just seems like too much trouble. The Danish cake they served after was delicious! I have no idea what it was, what was in it, or anything about it other than the fact that it was Danish and delicious and I’d highly recommend it.

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Once we finished lunch we got to choose whether we wanted to visit the office of M2 Film or a freelance web designer and journalist. I chose M2 Film. They’re the company that makes the commercials for Legos and they took us through the whole process of making the commercial for The Hobbit series.

The also had the coolest office space ever. Everyone in the company is really young and they even have a bar for Friday nights. I would love to work in such a creative workplace.

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After our touring M2 Films, we headed to ARoS, a modern art museum in Aarhus. It’s especially known for Your Rainbow Panorama which is basically a circle made up of every color of the rainbow that you can walk through. Obviously selfies were taken in every color. Best photo op ever. My entire newsfeed is filled with pictures of people at this museum.

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 I’ve become really good friends with a few girls from my trip, Lauren and Julia are the two in the green selfie respectively and Rachel and Allison are the two in the blue picture respectively. My whole Strat Comm class is so great and I’m so happy I chose that program! To balance out the good feelings of the rainbow room and new friends the Danes of course have to have something a bit gloomy. There was also a Munch exhibit in ARoS. They had his sketch of The Scream and a lot of other works, but as you can see from the quote below, Munch wasn’t the most cheery fellow.

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Luckily there were also some Warhol prints, which I was really excited about because the Warhol exhibit had just closed when Will and I went to the Met.

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And like all Danish things, there were some kind of cute, but kind of creepy things. A Strangers inspired child with an axe and brown bag over her head? And a giant boy statue? Thanks, but no thanks.

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I stuck with the Rainbow Panorama and huge mirror exhibit.

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After ARoS we went go karting! I haven’t been go karting in forever and all I can remember is Chloe’s little brother crashing into me and spinning me out. Needless to say I was the laughing stock when my friends and I would go. Except this go karting was way more intense than anything at Frankie’s. We got to wear outfits, gloves, helmets, the whole shabang. Here’s a picture that Lauren had of our whole class including Niels, our professor, on the right! We looked good.

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Once I got in that car, something got into me. I placed in the upper half in quals, which was already exciting enough. Once the real race got going I got this huge adrenaline rush. I had no idea how I was doing, but I knew that no one was passing me. When we finished I was expecting maybe 15th place or something, but I got 4th! Anyone who knows me knows that not only am I not competitive, but I’m terrible at anything slightly sports related. This is monumental! So naturally I got a milkshake to celebrate.

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The next morning we went to a lecture about the impact of social media in activism. It was really interesting to learn about negative versus positive activism. After the lecture we headed to rural Denmark where the Jelling Stones are (pronounced “yelling”). When we got on the bus that morning, one guy in our class had had a bit too much fun the night before needless to say and he kept yelling, “When are we going to the Jello Stones?” so from thereon out they were “The Jello Stones.” Before we got there we stopped for an authentic Danish buffet. Most of the food was pretty good. I tried herring and wasn’t the biggest fan, but cleaned my plate otherwise.

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We got to Jelling and had a great tour guide who gave one of the best tours I’ve ever seen. We learned a ton about Denmark in the 900s, which was during the time of the vikings. King Harald Bluetooth was the king behind the rune stones that we visited, the introduction of christianity to the vikings and also the guy behind bluetooth(as if you hadn’t already guessed). He built two giant mounds where the rune stones were and we climbed up one of the mounds. It was absolutely terrifying climbing down the icy steps, but the view was totally worth it.

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After Jelling, we finally headed back to Copenhagen. We’re assigned into groups to interview companies to present on Friday. My group doesn’t have our interview until tomorrow morning so we spent today researching our company, Amnesty International, and I did a little shopping afterwards with Lauren, Rachel and Quin.

On my first night out here I was talking to a Dane when Macklemore’s Thrift Shop came on. He’d never heard of it and I asked if he shopped at thrift shops, but he didn’t even know what they are. Since I have been shopping at thrift shops since middle school I was shocked by this. So when we stumbled on this awesome thrift shop right near DIS we were really excited! Lauren and I found actual Barbour jackets for sale. We each got one and they were only $60!

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Macklemore would be proud.

Copenhagen Fashion Week 2013

This past week has been full of runways, beautiful clothes, beautiful people and quite a few free drinks. Copenhagen Fashion Week was amazing. The whole city was buzzing, especially on Strøget, Europe’s longest shopping street which is entirely pedestrianized.

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The street begins at Rådhuspladsen, which is where my bus drops me off at every morning for class. DIS must want me to go totally broke because they are right next to this store called Company. Company is celebrating its 10th anniversary and had the most beautiful store front I have ever seen. The main feature is a table all decked out with candies, pastries and mannequins dressed in gorgeous clothes. They even designed custom birthday cards. I could have spent all day in there.

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As you continue down Strøget things become expensive pretty quick. While there are many H&Ms (there are four- a huge store, one dedicated to men, one to kids, and a smaller store) and other little shops the expensive stores like Burberry and Louis Vuitton are nearby at Kongens Nytorv. Eventually you run into Illum, which is Copenhagen’s version of Saks. The store doesn’t seem that large from the outside, but once you go in there are five floors worth.

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The first floor is a Sephora, jewelry and accessories, the second is men’s and the third is women’s. I didn’t even make it up to the top floor. The bottom floor has a cafe, bagel place, chocolate shop and even a grocery store. When I went with Haley, I got a focaccia and and giant cinnamon roll. Both were delicious and the perfect way to end a long day of shopping. We ended up staying until they were closing down. Apparently all of those announcements were not about a sale or lost child, but we figured it out and got out of there before getting locked in, though I wouldn’t have minded being locked in with all those beautiful clothes too much.

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Illum was the most beautiful store I’ve ever been in and my first time was most certainly not my last time there, but more on that later.

On Wednesday I got to go to an actual fashion show. I simply emailed a woman and she put me on the list. I felt so important being “on the list,” but my friend Jenny and I soon found out that it didn’t actually matter. They checked off buyers and press and everyone else just got to go in regardless of the list. Despite not being able to see my name checked off an almighty list, I still had a great time. We walked into City Hall, where the show was being held, and were immediately handed a glass of champagne each. The line we saw is called SAND and is by a Danish designing couple named Søren and Lene Sand. I could actually see myself wearing all of the pieces they showed.

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My favorite was the finale piece, which was a black blazer over a beautiful flowing white skirt. The piece is sewn in such a way that when you walk, it opens up and looks like a grown up version of the popular waterfall skirt. I will definitely have to get one of my own.

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As you can see from the finale walk, there was a lot of black and neutral colors. The Danes wear so much black, but like my class coordinator said, “They always look like they’re going to a super trendy funeral.” The black never looks drab or boring. While it may look a bit somber, they mix textures and wear beautiful simple pieces to have a very clean look. Of course, the fact that most of them are tall beautiful blondes who are able to throw their hair up in a messy bun and still look gorgeous helps a bit.

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Here’s Jenny and I after the show.

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We even got to get our toes in the SAND (ok fake snow, but still) on the runway after the show.

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Since I was freaking out about what to wear here’s a quick rundown of the appropriate attire should you ever get the chance to go to a fashion show in Copenhagen. As I said before, black. You can never have enough black. Don’t wear black in a gothic, grunge way, but a sophisticated way. Black silks and leather pants are a great option. If you’re like me and can’t do the whole black outfit, throw in a statement necklace for that pop of color. I’ll admit, I was probably the most colorful person there, but I didn’t feel too out of place. Since it’s Fashion Week, anything goes. Just feel good and wear it confidently. Oh, and a nice fur coat doesn’t hurt.

Friday was Fashion’s Night Out so a lot of the stores were having huge sales and events. I went shopping with my friends Claire and Maggie, two girls who live in Keops with me and are in my Meaning of Style class. We headed back to Illum which was not only having sales of most of the lines, but offered champagne and snacks at just about every store. Looking at beautiful clothes and sipping on free drinks was not a bad way to spend our Friday at all.

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The sales had me believing I could afford the clothes, but luckily I got out of there unscathed. Copenhagen definitely has me wanting a fur coat even though it’s something I would never buy (or need) at home.

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In one of the shoe departments there was a man with the cutest poodle I have ever seen. Those puppy dog eyes made me think that she couldn’t afford any of the clothes in that place either.

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I especially wanted these shoes. I couldn’t even make myself look at the price tag because I knew I’d be heartbroken.

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After our wonderful shopping day, we headed to another fashion show. This time we went to see Ready to Fish, which is another Scandinavian brand out of Sweden.

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This show was held in Bella Center rather than City Hall, but was just as beautiful of a space. I love how they use the old buildings because it gives you a chance to see the inside of them.

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This show was much more popular, but even though we weren’t on the list we still got in. Copenhagen Fashion Week is fairly laid back and is a great way to see shows without having to be put on a special guest list months in advance. When we walked into this show we had the choice of beer, sparkling water, gin and tonic, or vodka and ginger ale. The amount that is spent on drinks and snacks during Fashion Week must be outrageous.

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Soon the show started. This show had a bit more color, but not much. Forest green, cream and dark blues made many appearances alongside the beloved black.

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I was happy to see that across from me in the crowd was a man dressed in the most color I have seen in a long time. He wore a teal blazer, bright pink pants, a teal and pink pocket square, and a pair of fabulous pink leather gloves. He definitely stood out amongst the crowd of black.

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Claire, Maggie and I ventured out again on Saturday to do some more shopping. This time I actually bought some things. I’ve been wanting earmuffs so I can wear my hair up and stay warm. I heard that Urban Outfitters had some, but when I got there they were sold out. I did, however, get a great knitted headband to keep my ears warm. Yes, you may be thinking, really you went all the way to Copenhagen to shop at Urban? But the Danish Urban and our Urban are a bit different. First of all there’s a 10% student discount. I wasn’t going to pass that up. Second, they feature a lot of Danish brands in their store. There’s one section where I saw a few pieces that I had seen in Illum the day before. Third, the clothes just seem to have a different twist to them. They look Danish. The styling of the mannequins and pieces chosen for the store are slightly different from at home. In addition to my headband, I got a great new pair of big sunglasses. Many of the looks on the SAND runway had the models in round sunglasses and while I’m not a big fan of small round lenses, I’m a big fan of these. The sides are a subtle black snakeskin. They’re big, but the Danes love big sunglasses.

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I’m on my way to being totally incognito. All it takes is black on black on black and a big pair of sunglasses. Oh yeah and don’t speak. Not only will they not be able to pick out your accent, but the Danes don’t talk much anyways. Small talk is not a thing here. Don’t even try to talk on the bus unless you want to be pegged as an American.

After another long day of shopping we headed to the Studenterhuset for some yummy hot chocolate and croissants.

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On Friday night we ventured out looking for a fun Fashion Week party to go to. We soon realized that all the lines would probably take an hour to get in unless you had a table, which we didn’t. Where did we end up? The Happy Pig, naturally. Every weekend I have gone out I have ended up at Happy Pig and I’m totally okay with that. There’s live music, Danes dancing like crazy, and a few Americans to talk to. I ended up talking about politics with a Danish guy studying sociology for a good half hour. Talking political views in a bar. Doesn’t get more Danish than that. And the other thing that doesn’t get much more Danish? My footwear for the night. I wore my knockoff Keds out and I swear I was mistaken for a Dane. They all wear their Converse and Keds and combat boots out. No heels to be seen. Of course they are all six feet tall so heels aren’t really an issue. Still I’m loving the casual footwear.

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 I’m starting to get a hang of this place and it’s starting to feel more like home. Fashion Week was perfect. I got to go to two fashion shows and see so many beautiful outfits while getting a few free drinks. What more can a girl ask for? Okay, I would have liked to have won a shopping spree in Illum, but we can’t have everything.

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

I ran across this quote from Helen Keller the other day and I felt it summed up how I want to face this semester. Not that Copenhagen isn’t a safe place, it most certainly is. But there is a sort of security at home where everything is familiar. Here the transportation is different, the language is different, the way of life is different. None of these things are bad differences, but they have stripped me of my sense of security. However, this doesn’t mean I should live in fear. I have learned to conquer the bus system, can say my particular bus stop (Bispebjerg sounds nothing like it is spelled) and begun to get accustomed to how people live here.

(Credit to ArtBox7 for the bicycle design below)

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And one aspect of living is learning. DIS does a great job of giving us a mix of American and Danish styles of college life. All of my professors are not only Danish, but are professionals working in their field (and not to mention pretty attractive- I guess it’s true, the Danes are one gorgeous bunch of people). One of my professors in my PR class was a reporter for DR, the main television station for Denmark, it even got her on Dancing with the Stars. Not only do my professors have real world experience (and therefore real world connections), but the Danes are much more informal. One of my professors is named Mads Christiansen and he told us not to call him professor, not to call him Mads (it’s a family tradition that every first born son be named Mads so that’s his father’s name), not to be called Christiansen, but to be called Chris. Don’t even have to shorten Professor to Prof, I get to jump right in with the Chris. This makes them all seem much more approachable, which is good considering they don’t have office hours (who can hold office hours when you’re running giant PR campaigns?). Not only are my professors great, but the classes are too. We’ve already dived into them and I’m finding them all so interesting. I got to read an entire article on wig… you’d think it has nothing to do with anything but they’re the reason for dry shampoo and why royalty walks so upright (because if they didn’t back in the day, their wig would’ve fallen off!).

Apart from classes I’ve continued to explore the city. As I said before, the Danes are obsessed with biking (hence why the first three of my pictures consist of bikes). So obsessed that they fashioned one of their largest US exports into a bike. Yeah that’s right- one of their largest exports is Legos. Don’t trust me? Go check Wikipedia- the master of all fact checking. Just don’t tell the librarian I told you so.


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Next to Keops (my kollegium) we have this great park. It has an awesome jungle gym, rock climbing wall, ping pong tables (made of steel to make it through the snow), a skateboard park. It’s 12 year old Emily’s dream come true. Ok maybe 19 year old Emily, too.

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On Saturday I went out with Haley and some guys to explore the area. We went to this cool gallery opening for a local street artist. His art was focused on all of the bad, but not tragic things that happen in daily life. Like the first picture you see here where they miss each other lips. Another one was of a man bent over a railing and his glasses falling off or a couple enjoying breakfast seconds before a parasailer crashes into their kitchen. Ya know, the kind of bad things that happen in a rom com but you laugh because it’s not you and you know they will be ok. I also experience my first smørrebrød which is the famous Danish open faced sandwich. It was delicious, but quite messy. I think I’ll stick to my closed sandwiches (plus why cut out the bread? gluten? what’s that?).

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On Sunday I got my Danish residence permit. Or at least begun the process. So I’m close to being official! I also met an awesome girl named Jenny on the bus there who is in my core course and a girl named Sally. I love how friendly everyone in DIS is. Before I got on the bus I did a little exploring to see if I could find a little cafe to wait in since I was early. I forgot that Danes don’t get out and about very early on Sunday mornings. Literally NOTHING was open before 10. Seriously nothing. But at least I have my main source of survival with me- duck boots, two pairs of socks (Icebreaker is a great option) and some Underarmor leggings under my jeans. I walked around and saw all of the beautiful buildings and the cute (closed) cafes. They all have little chairs with blankets sitting outside. It’s a bit too cold right now, but once March hits I’ll definitely take them up on that offer.

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On Sunday afternoon I met up with my visiting family for tea, ice-skating and dinner. They are the sweetest family of three, Rose (the mom), Finn (the dad), and Lea (the precious daughter). They have a beautiful home in Frederiksberg. There was fabulous art hanging up everywhere and was decorated beautifully, but still homey. After some delicious tea and talking to Rose, we headed to the rink that was only a few blocks away. At first Lea was very shy, but soon she warmed up to me. She’s learning English (and knows way more English than I know Danish) so we would hold hands and she would yell “Ready, setty, goooooo!” and we would take off skating around the rink. We had to watch out because there were tons of little boys whizzing past and through us- I guess the Danes are born on skates. Lea was already a natural.

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We skated dusk until dark. It was beautiful watching the sunset right next to the Summer Palace and Royal Garden I told you about earlier. I will definitely be back. But not for a while… my ankles are still pretty sore. However, I can proudly say that I only fell twice and not to point fingers, but it was totally due to having Lea crawling through my legs and making me skate backwards and throwing snowballs at me and any other thing you would rather not be happening while balance on skates, but that little girl has stolen my heart so I let her get away with all of it.

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We went home for a hot dinner (see I am getting fed well, Mom). Rose made a stir fry with this yummy fish and I ate it all up- even my vegetables (my family is singing hallelujah right now and wondering who this miracle worker is). And like any Danish encounter, we quickly began talking politics. Luckily we were on the same side so there was a fair amount of agreement, but I was still amazed at the amount of information they had on American politics. The Danes are such a well-informed people, which is so refreshing. After dinner Lea brought out her iPad which had English games to help her with her English and some Danish games which ended up helping me with my Danish. I’m a firm believer that being with kids is the easiest way to learn a new language.

So I’ve made it through my first week in Copenhagen and am still loving it. I can’t say I’m jaded yet (yesterday, I saw a man go past me not on a bike, but on skis with wheels on them and he was flying!) and I’m still excited about everything. Just making it to class every morning is an accomplishment. Everyday is so rewarding because everything is so much different here. And yet, it’s not all that different. People are people. We’re not all that different, but it’s just enough to keep me on my toes without getting discouraged.

The realization of how much I say “y’all”

So apparently I say “y’all” an absurd amount. My parents aren’t from the south, but South Carolina and Tennessee have still managed to slip in. I never realized how much I said “y’all” until I got here where not only are the people Danish, but I have yet to meet a fellow DIS student from the South (but I know they’re out there!). I have now caught myself saying it much more often than I’d like to admit. Culture shock number one: the use of “y’all” is not as popular here.

Aside from the minor wakeup call of how unexpectedly southern I actually am, being in Copenhagen and with DIS has been amazing! Please be prepared for a very long post. These past three, seriously just three, days have been jam packed with new people, places, sounds, tastes, you name it and I want to squeeze it all in. On our first day here we had an opening ceremony in The Royal Danish Academy of Music. IMG_5326

The orchestra was composed of Danish students and they played songs from Denmark to America to Europe. The crowd pleaser was most definitely the Champagnegaloppen. Check it out, there’s a part where a special instrument goes off that sounds a lot like the popping of a toy gun. The man on the right in the picture below is the professor that played this instrument, which basically looks like a very long pipe.

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Yesterday was a day full of learning to navigate the public transportation. I have to take the 6A bus in everyday to get to DIS from my Kollegium. It’s about a 25 minute ride into the heart of Copenhagen.

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Yesterday also consisted of buying groceries, which not only am I not very good at it in the first place, but in a foreign language it’s especially hard. Here are Danonino, which I assume are Danimals and are the closest American sounding food I could find. Everything else was very foreign. Looks like I’ll be trying a lot of different cheeses or as the Danes say, “ost.”

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On Monday night we decided to venture into the Copenhagen night life. My friends, Elizabeth, Kate, Hayley and Alex and I walked around downtown Copenhagen trying to find somewhere to go. It was so quiet since it was a Monday night and then it began to lightly snow, which was beautiful. We were even asked for directions! Sadly we couldn’t help them, but we were very excited that we’re already being mistaken for Danes!

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We finally went to a Danish bar called Den Glade Gris to meet up with some of Alex’s friends.

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When we got there we had to check our coats (which was nice considering we were in pretty heavy coats for the long trek there) and then we got to go inside. The atmosphere was a lot of fun, but it was pretty crowded. Everywhere you looked there were beautiful blonde, tall Danish girls and extraordinarily tall Danish guys. There were disco balls on the ceilings and lots of American music, both old and new, being played. A crowd favorite was “It’s Raining Men.” I think the Danes knew more words than us Americans.

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After the dance floor became way too crowded we made our way out towards the bar. I turned around and saw a sign for a dance floor upstairs. We went up and found two huge dance floors (complete with disco balls) and a bar with only about 20 people around. In no time it filled up, but was much less crowded than before. This gave the Danes (and us) plenty of room for our classic dance moves. Here there is no such thing as bumping and grinding. Danes dance the way that you do (or at least I did… ok do) when you are pretending (or want) to be in a music video. So much emotion, so much fun and total inhibition! We befriended some Danes (yes it can be done and we didn’t find it hard at all besides being told how shy they tend to be) and talked to them a lot. One of them was quite possibly the tallest man I have ever seen in my entire life. He was the king of this fabulous dancing and for some reason he singled me out as his dance partner. Aside from lifting me up to touch the ceiling he also gave me a new outfit! For some reason that is still unknown to all present, he had three trash bags. After using them as a prop for a bit, he took one, put it over his head (the babysitter in me wanted to scream “Stop you’ll suffocate!”) and then he tore three holes in it and made a trash bag dress. Then he did the same for me, which I wore the entire night as it progressed to becoming a Trash Beauty Queen sash. The photo below is my attempt to capture my first Danish friend in his trash bag glory.

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The whole night was filled with great conversations, spectacular dance moves and so many wonderful memories. When we came everything was covered in snow. We looked at the clock and realized that it was 1:30 AM. Oops… the trains stop runnings regularly around midnight which meant that we’d have to wait an hour for the next train. Luckily, as we were walking out, so was a guy who seemed to know what he was doing and he and his friend agreed to show us girls how to get to the bus stop. I assumed they were Danish at first, but found out that our new friends, Isidro and Fernando, were actually Spanish study abroad students. We spent the next hour hanging out in McDonald’s and waiting for our bus.

The next day we woke up bright and early and headed back to DIS for a scavenger hunt around Copenhagen. Of course there was now a good amount of snow on the ground to trek through, but it was still beautiful. This is what I saw out my window that morning that kind of warned me of the frozen toes and nose in the hours ahead.  IMG_5359

But the tour was so much fun and we saw so many cool parts of Copenhagen, all while getting to know the city! Since pictures are worth a thousand words and I’m realizing how prolific I am, here are some of the beautiful places we saw.

Below is the Christiansborg Castle and the view from the bridge into it. It was so grand and beautiful and led out into a large square that was central to most of the important Danish government buildings.

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And here’s an obligatory selfie in front of the Castle. And after we heard the history of the Castle we got free hot chocolate to warm us up!

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Then we made our way to the Round Tower which is connected to Trinity Church. This was fascinating because good old King Christian IV of Denmark built this observatory connected to a church, which was unheard of at the time because it connected science and religion- literally.

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Then we ventured to the Studenterhuset (or student house) for some free wienerbrød. After that it was time to head over the Rosenborg Slot, Christian IV’s summer palace, and the Royal Garden.

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There were so many dogs walking in the Garden and I was so excited to see a little dachshund just like mine at home! Oh and the palace was beautiful, but no surprise there.

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We headed down by the canal on our way to Amalienborg, which is the royal palace.

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When we got to the royal palace, the changing of the guard was taking place as the queen is currently in residence. That was so much fun to watch.

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After a very long day, I finally grabbed some lunch- a delicious faccia from a local cafe.

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The day ended and we were back again for some more Danish night life. However, Tuesday night was much more American than Monday night. Or so I thought. We got to the popular bar called Kulør bar, which is packed with DIS students on Tuesday nights. The bumping and grinding was most certainly present. I was already starting to miss my Danes when I ran into some familiar faces. Isidro and Fernando had come to the bar without telling me! And they brought about 10 of their friends. Some were from the Czech Republic and a lot were from Spain as well. They were so much fun and I ended up having a great time with them dancing in a much more Danish style and learning how to say cheers! Skål!!!! Which, coming from Spaniards turned into Skåååååååål and ended up sounding very much like GOALLLL! Nevertheless we had a great night and so much fun! And thank goodness Fernando brought a camera and was snapping away! Here are two of the gems. The top is Isidro and Fernando. And Isidro is just being a friendly Spaniard. Honest. Shout out to my wonderful boyfriend Will who is still stuck in America! Get over here already!

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Here are Haley (my friend from DIS), Marek (my new friend from Czech Republic) and Isidro, Fernando, Christina and Jaime (all from Spain). They have already been such a great help in telling me all about Copenhagen and assuring me that I will have an unforgettable semester!

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So the night wrapped up, we made it home safe and sound and woke up the next morning for a day full of learning how to live on a budget in Copenhagen. We visited lots of restaurants and got price comparisons. After all that, Haley and I walked around Copenhagen killing time before the Activities and Immersion Fair. That’s when I stumbled upon one of the most genius and delicious things I’ve ever experienced. The choco stick, an oddly shaped waffle dipped in melted chocolate and served hot. It was the perfect thing after walking around freezing Copenhagen.

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And so this long blog post finally comes to an end as does orientation. Classes start tomorrow and I can’t wait! I’m taking The Meaning of Style, Designing Communication Campaigns, Strategic Communication, and Journalism vs Public Relations. All four sounds amazing and I CANNOT wait for them to get started!