This morning I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with two Richmond-area bloggers in real life (!): Kelly of Austen Hill and author Karen A. Chase.
The reason for our meeting was quite exciting: a month or so ago, Karen and Kelly teamed up to give away a signed copy of Karen's memoir, Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log: (40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds.) and by some miracle, I won! When we realized that all three of us are in Richmond, we decided to arrange a coffee date to exchange the book and chat about our shared love of Paris.
I had discovered Bonjour 40 at least a year ago, though I can't remember exactly how. No doubt I was trolling Amazon in search of books about Paris during one of my "Sigh, I Miss Paris" periods when I came across Bonjour 40.
I quickly downloaded the eBook and devoured it in two days. I tried very hard to restrict myself and tell myself to slow down and savor every minute, but I just couldn't do it. As I read, I was so excited to find that the things that Karen loved about Paris were many of the same things that I love. Little non-touristy things that we had both discovered and cherished. And we shared something else: both of us live in Richmond. I felt like I had found a kindred spirit.
Prior to December 2012, Bonjour 40 was only available in eBook format. While I loved every word of the eBook, I longed to see Karen's photos from her time there and to have something real to hold. I was so happy when Karen announced that she was publishing a hard copy of Bonjour 40 and looked forward to its publish date, determined to obtain a copy for myself as soon as possible. I was shocked and thrilled when I won and even more excited to have the opportunity to meet Kelly and Karen.
I ask you, what better place to meet to sigh over Paris than Carytown's Can Can Brasserie?
Karen, Kelly, and I met at 8:30 over coffee and pastries (or in my case, a "Fragel" - french bread bagel - divine, I tell you!) and hit it off immediately. Conversation went from love of Paris to the merits of pretending (or being) Canadian to the best places to eat in Church Hill to book club selections to our respective library fine tabs. As we parted, we all declared that we see more coffee dates in our future.
It was a great start to my Wednesday and I feel so lucky to have been able to connect with two wonderful, talented ladies who live right here in Richmond.