I’ve Got You and Paris on My Mind: Part Two

In case you missed it, you can read Part One here.

I think we all underestimated the size of the Palace de Versailles and how long it would take to tour the estate, and because we had plans for that evening we didn’t get to see all of it. In fact, we hardly had time to grab some quality French food at McDonald’s before catching the RER back to the city.

McD’s in France has taters, And they are fantastic, FYI.

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking, “who on earth goes to France and eats McDonalds?” Just so we are clear, this was not the plan, it was simply the only place we could grab food quickly before catching our train. And we couldn’t miss it, because we had somewhere very important to be…

The Fleetwood Mac Concert!

And it was fan-freaking-tastic. Sure, I didn’t know all of the songs, but who cares, they put on an excellent show. Incredibly high energy. And sitting through all the songs I didn’t know was worth it just to get to see them play all the ones I love, like Landslide and Go Your Own Way. Lindsay Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood’s guitar and drum solos gave me chills. They are unbelievably talented musicians. Unfortunately all my pictures from that night pretty much suck.

I’m a girl who can only be on her feet for so long, and needs quite a bit of sleep. And after the concert, I was exhausted. I would have been completely content with going back to our apartment and crawling in bed. But Shelley and Jennifer were having none of that. They wanted to go to an Authentic Irish Pub in Paris and have a drink or two. I wasn’t at all interest because, like I said, I was tired, and also, I did not like Irish pubs. However, I’m such a wonderful team player that I gave in and agreed to suck it up and go.

We took the metro all the way to the Red Light District to a small pub called Concoran’s. It was a nice enough place, but the beers were 7 euros. And the girls weren’t impressed because they played Top 40 instead of traditional Irish music. Because of that we decided one beer was enough to have there, and that we would head down the street to another Authentic Irish Pub, O’Sullivans. Again, the beer was pricey and the DJ was playing Top 40. This was not what Jennifer had envisioned, so we set off back across the city to the Opera district for one last stab at finding an Authentic Irish Pub. And Jennifer found it, Kitty O’Shea’s. Well, that’s what she thought anyways, because apparently it was Top 40 night everywhere. We had a drink there anyways. And regardless off the lack of Irish music, we had a good time, the staff was awesome, and since it was slow they chatted with us quite a bit. At this point we were kind of tipsy, from our three drinks, and Jennifer decided to ask them, “how can you call this place an Irish Pub, when there’s no Irish music?” And then we were educated. “Irish pubs, don’t play Irish music.” Jennifer wasn’t satisfied with that response though, because she had been to Ireland, and they played Irish music in the bars, and she promptly told our Irish bartender this fact. And he started laughing. “Tooooourist Trap!” So, as it turns out, I do like Irish bars. They serve cold beer, and don’t play Irish music. 

The next day someone was hungover, hint: it wasn’t me. So instead of doing anything too strenuous we decided to explore St. Germain and the Latin Quarter. It was nice to spend a day just strolling through the streets, enjoying our surroundings without an agenda or schedule.

I was particularly interested in this area of the city because it had been highly recommended by some of you, and it was frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. And I find that intriguing. Which is probably why I jumped at the opportunity to eat lunch at Les Deux Magots, a stop on the “Hemingway Tour” in my Frommer’s guidebook. It was the first time I ever ate in a restaurant where the waiters wore tuxes, and was definitely the place where I decided that I don’t like French food. Let’s just say, it is my preference that my food be cooked, well. Raw just doesn’t do it for me.

Croque Madame

Honestly, I probably would have really enjoyed the meal if there hadn’t been nutmeg on my bread (blech!), and the egg had been cooked better. I like mine flipped and cooked on both sides, half raw is nasty. The food aside, the experience was nice. We sat outside, enjoyed the fresh air, and the service was quite good by Paris standards. The prices weren’t too steep either, I really expected to pay more given the fact that its a popular tourist spot.

After lunch we visited the oldest church in Paris, Eglise Saint Germain-de-Pres. It’s so beautiful that it was hard to believe that it is over 1000 years old. We were captivated the arches, large wooden doors and stonework. I’m not a religious person, but there was something about that church that warmed my soul and I couldn’t help but light a candle there for mine and Shelley’s grandmother who passed away in 2006. I know she would have loved that we had went there.

 

We finished our Left Bank adventure with a stop at Shakespeare & Company, an old and tiny, yet gorgeous book store near Notre Dame that sells new and used books, everything from the classics to new releases. It was another suggested stop on the “Hemingway Tour” and was very busy. There was a line up to get in, but we waited and I’m glad we did. It was like a bookstore straight out of the movies. Tight cramped spaces, floor to ceiling books, and ladders to help retrieve them. I didn’t buy anything, but I really wish I had. I love books and want to add some classics to my collection, and it would have been nice to have had one as a souvenir.

If you’re concerned about not liking the food in France, don’t worry about it. There’s tons for normal American food to be found. We decided to balance out our less than wonderful French lunch, with take out from the always delish Pizza Hut.

Pepperoni and chicken. Yum.

Check back tomorrow for Part Three about our day trip into the countryside of France.

It’s #backthatazzup Friday!

The purpose: To start our weekend with some fantastic jams.
The station that inspired it: “Back That Azz Up” on Pandora Radio.
The rules: Link your jams up with Whitney and have a jam sesh with all of us!

Today’s tune is my favorite Fleetwood Mac song.

Happy Friday!
Grab a button, pick your jam, link up and let’s get this weekend started off on the right foot!

I’ve Got You And Paris On My Mind: Part One

(Warning: Picture Overload. May cause extreme jealousy)

My vacation was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. Sure the weather was cold and wet, there were a lot of early mornings, a few late nights, and one or two meltdowns, but all of that combined couldn’t put a damper on how happy I was.

We rented a small one bedroom apartment in the 1st arrondissement. We were two streets away from Avenue de l’Opera, about halfway between the Louvre and Palais Garnier. Opera is a busy street with gorgeous buildings, and wonderful stores, restaurants, boulangeries, and chocolate shops. Being so close to it made me feel unbelievably alive.

There was a Starbucks on our corner, Hallelujah. Caramel Macchiato’s make me happy. We were also across the street from the very best boulangerie we found, and believe me, we tried quite a few. If you are ever in Paris and near the Opera you absolutely have to go to Boulangerie Julien. I promise that the Pain au Chocolat  and the Brioche Chocolat Pistache are worth it.

The yumminess on the right is a fresh raspberry macaron and a strawberry tartlette. Om nom nom.

I’ve dreamed of visiting Paris since I was a little girl. And all the dreaming in the world could never have prepared me for it. Its beauty and vibrance was overwhelming in the absolute best kind of way. For a girl who loves architecture, detail and decor it was absolute heaven.

Its hard to narrow down what my favorite thing about Paris is. Sure, I could pick an attraction, or a building, or a restaurant. But that would be too typical. But if I have to pick just one thing, its the design, detail, and creativity that is put into every inch of the city. Nothing is over looked. And it blows my mind. I could quite easily spend days walking the streets, soaking up my surroundings, and marveling at how ornate everything seems to be.
Sadly on a trip that’s only 8 days long wandering the streets is really not an option if you want to see all the popular sights. So, on the first full day we were there we decided to do a hop on – hop off tour with L’Open Tour. Except well, we didn’t do much hopping off. We just rode the bus around the city to get a feel for it, find out where everything was, and decide what areas of town we wanted to revisit. It turned out to be a great idea, and I’d recommend it to anyone visiting the city for the first time. I’d recommend the tour company we used as well. The buses were clean, they had an audio option, and they have four different tours to choose from. I’ve gotta say, there’s something to be said for riding around a new city on the top of a bus, even if you are frozen. There’s also something to be said for a man in a well tailored suit like 85% of the men in Paris wear, but I didn’t even try to take any pictures of that, for fear of being caught.

We were frozen, and hats and mitts were purchased that night. But we had a wonderful day.
We also decided to buy Navigo passes for unlimited access to the bus, metro and RER while we were there. A pass for two weeks was just 80 euros each, and we used them a lot. Seriously, we either walked or used our Navigo passes to get everywhere including the airport and suburbs. The pass also gave us access to bike rentals that you could pick up and return to any part of the city. We didn’t use those though, we were too scared of trying to bike around in Paris traffic, which is nuts by the way. I would never try to drive there. Before I left home I downloaded an app for my iPhone that helps you navigate the metro, even without wifi. It was a godsend. 
Having RER access meant we could easily get to the suburbs to visit the Palace de Versailles. This particular excursion was on Shelley’s list of things to do. And if I’m being honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I’m not all that interested in history so I had less than zero desire to spend a entire day in the palace of a fallen monarchy, especially since wasn’t even a castle. But holy crap, I was blown away. It is huge, like GINORMOUS.  It was beautiful. I know I keep saying that about everything, but it really truly was. We took a guided tour that gave us access to areas of the palace that are off limits to people with regular passes. I’m glad we did because it actually made me interested in the history of the palace and the monarchy instead of just the insanely amazing architecture. It blows my mind that all of this was built by hand hundreds of years ago. Long before cranes and cement trucks. 
Those are not individual buildings people. All different wings of the same one. Huge right? 
So much detail everywhere.
All that gold paint you see, yeah, that’s real gold. Everywhere.
We learned a lot about Marie Antoinette, who I must admit I thought was a fictional character until two weeks ago. What? Its not my fault. They don’t teach that stuff in school anymore. Turns out she wasn’t a very good queen, and they killed her by guillotine, but not before she built her own hamlet on the estate. Because you know, every queen needs her own hamlet when the rest of the country is starving.

Loves me a tunnel.

Thanks for letting me relive my trip. Hope you’re enjoying it and are feeling a little inspired to visit. I promise not to turn this into a series that goes on forever, I just can’t do it justice in one post. So check back for Part Two tomorrow.

Oh Happy Day

I happy to say that some serious progress was made on the vacation recap last night. No, it will not be shared today, but tomorrow maybe if I can manage to work the same kinda magic I had happening last night.

And obviously since I was busy slaving away at that post and drooling over Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire, if you don’t watch it – you should, that I just didn’t have time to put together a quality post with words for today. But fear not, so many of you enjoyed this post last week, that I decided to do it again. Because ya know, I’m all about the reducin’, reusin’ and recycling of bottles (for money) and blog posts. Maybe this will become my Wednesday thing, maybe it won’t, maybe it’ll just be my go to thing for when I’m lazy, we’ll just have to wait and see.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

Cue drum roll………





Happy Hump Day!

Peace out trouts.

Some Goals and What Not

Who knew writing a vacation post would be so darn hard? Here’s the deal. I can’t decide how I want to organize things. I hate posts that go on and on forever, those get boring don’t they? But I’m also not a fan of vacation series’ either. I find I lose interest in both really fast. And Paris was so freaking amazing that I don’t want to you guys to be bored with it, or me for that matter.

The other delay is that I took eleventy billion pictures, and its taking a while to sort through all of them, get them organized, and delete the duplicates and crappy ones. And then Lord knows how I’ll decide which ones to share, cause I’m pretty sure no one will be happy if I even consider posting them all.

So instead of posting a poor quality post about my trip I’ve decided to share with you my 101 in 1001 that I started in August. And now seems like a good time to share it cause well, I’ve had a blank page dedicated to it for a while, and my vacation means I get to cross something off of it.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, 101 in 1001 is a list of 101 goals to hopefully be accomplished in approximately 2.75 year (1001 days). They can be anything you want them to be. I’ve been pondering over this list for a few weeks, and I’ve yet to come up with 101 goals, but 84 is a pretty good start right?

Get three new stamps on my passport 
     –France, 2013
Go on a legitimate road trip. 
Read 100 books. Novellas do not count. 
Take a ride on a train. 
     -Paris to Albert, October 2013
Complete a couch to 5k program 
Run the Downtown Dash. 
Run the Blue Nose 10k. 
Go to an NFL game. 
Go to an NHL game. 
Go to the airport and buy a random ticket to somewhere I’ve never been. 
Become proficient in another language 
Go to spring break somewhere 
Learn to fold a fitted sheet. 
Get a DSLR camera. 
Buy a house. 
Go to a ballet. 
Start my own business. 
Complete at least one Pinterest inspired pallet project. 
Refinish a piece of furniture. 
Try a Maine lobster. 
Try Sushi. 
Bake a cake from scratch. 
Learn how to use at least one new power tool. 
Host a dinner party 
Try Yoga 
Meet at least one blog friend 
Host a holiday celebration for my friends 
Hike the Man in The Mountain 
Hike Gros Morne 
Make 5 DIY projects on my Pinterest boards 
Eat dinner on a river boat. 
Pay off my credit card 
Buy one Designer piece (clothing, accessory, etc.) 
Send out 10 cards letting people know I’m thinking of them. 
Adopt a family for christmas 
Get a facial 
Learn how to use a sewing machine 
Make a quilt 
Find a red lipstick that looks good on me 
Buy a plant and keep it alive. 
Organize and use my office 
Buy a great watch 
Subscribe to the magazines I always buy in stores 
Learn how to do 5 new hairstyles 
Make my own artwork to hang in my own apartment 
Hang some of my own photos in my apartment 
Go on a picnic 
Get my daughter’s pride ring fixed and start wearing it again 
Be able to do 30 push ups 
Bring myself back down to weight I was when I graduated high school 
Save money for a cusion fund 
Try 10 new beer
     –Mill St. Brewery, August 2013
Put together a cookbook of recipes I love 
Go an entire week without watching tv 
Learn to fire a gun 
Go hunting with my dad 
Go out in boat with dad 
Buy a mug from Starbucks 
     –Paris, 2013
Guest post on 3 different blogs
     –Colorful Commotion, August 2013
Take at least 5 photos of every excursion
     –Paris, 2013
     –Beaumont-Hamel, 2013 
Start a dinner club with friends 
Face my fear of heights and go zip-lining 
Make a “mixed tape” and send it as a surprise to a friend 
Leave at least 10 Operation Beautiful notes 
Drink 8 glasses of water every day for a week 
Make 10 recipes from Pinterest 
Buy a floppy hat and wear it 
Learn sign language 
Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years 
Start saving for retirement 
Start a liquor cabinet and have at least 10 different kinds of alcohol in it 
Sell and item I made myself 
Go a month without eating out 
Write a post about a place that inspires someone to visit it 
Go strawberry picking 
Have 50 unique page visitors daily for a week straight 
Buy my own domain name 
Be able to do a chin up 
Buy a set of metal stamps and proceed to make some jewelry 
Get family photos done with my brother and parents 
Document each task completed with a blog post or photo 
Inspire someone to write a list of their own 
Give myself a small reward for every task completed 

Obviously a few of these are simple or trivial. But I feel that writing them down will help me save the the money required, or find the time to do them.

Do you have a 101 in 1001 or a set of short term goals?

Take Me Back Where I Belong

I’m back, and I sooo don’t want to be.
I was made for Paris or travelling or maybe both.
The city was everything I dreamed it would be and more.
I’m truly at a loss for words partially because I’m not even close to being recovered from the jet lag, but mostly because Paris was so utterly amazing and beautiful.
There’s so much to tell you all about, but I want to make sure that I do it justice. And since I spent a majority of the weekend curled up in my bed asleep, zero blog posts were written. So please, bear with me. I promise it will be worth it. And I apologize in advance for the insane picture overload you will experience.
Now I’m off to struggle through the rest of this work day. Peace out trouts.

Hump Day Happies

It’s no secret that I love Pinterest. Its fantastical for crafts, and wedding ideas, and dreaming about clothes. But my favorite part is finding new funnies to brighten my day. And because I love being generous and giving and sharing and all that jazz, here are the ones I’m loving the most right now.

Don’t forget to check Twitter and Instagram for…

I Believe

That fall is the prettiest season.
You are never too old for a trip to a pumpkin patch.
In singing as loud as you can.
In YOLO and Carpe Diem.
In vacations.
That Disney World is the most magical place on earth.
In trips and experiences of a lifetime.
I believe in being a big sister to someone who needs one.
I believe in celebrating love.
That you can never own too many shoes.
That mascara works magic.
In a warm sweater, a caramel macchiato (preferably Starbucks), a blanket and a good book on a cold day.
In crying during sad movies, songs or stories.
In Chinese takeout being well worth the expensive price tag.
That chocolate is a suitable meal replacement.
That being nice gets you farther than being a bitch, but sometimes being a bitch is necessary.
In naps after a long day at work.
That a good 80’s pop song can make cleaning a little less unbearable.
In justice.
That Ryan Ferguson needs to be given back his freedom.
In me.

Don’t forget to check out Twitter and Instagram for…

Ain’t Nobody Got Time Fo Dat!

1. No one to tell you that you don’t need a new pair of shoes

2. You can talk to all the boys you want

3. You don’t have to share your closet aka more space for new purchases

4. No one will drink your beer

5. You can buy all the girly home decor you want

6. The toilet seat only moves when you move it

7. You can watch all the HGTV and TLC you want

8. You can talk to all the hotties you want to

9. You only have to watch the game when your team is playing

10. You can travel across the Atlantic for the trip of a lifetime with the girls, no questions asked, no permission needed

Don’t forget that if you want to follow along with my adventures in Paris you can find updates on Twitter and Instagram…

I Am Thankful

If everything has went as planned on our trip so far, we’ll be visiting Beaumont Hamel today. I’m really happy that as a part of this adventure we get to visit a place that is such an important part of Newfoundland history. And it is very fitting that we get to go there on Thanksgiving (in Canada). 
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Canadians!

For my family. I have been truly blessed.
For my friends.
For my freedom. Because so many people have died for it.
For my health.
For the opportunity to be in France right now.
For the success I’ve had so far.
For the disappointments and failures I’ve had, because they’ve made me grow.
For life.
I am thankful for the nights that turn into morning, the friends that turn into family, and the dreams that turn into reality.

Don’t forget to check Twitter and Instagram for…

If You Really Knew Me

You would know that…

I am terrified of heights.

I prefer beer to all other alcoholic bevies.

I have an insanely long list of places I want to visit.

I’ve been making lists of potential baby names since I was a kid. I’ll never be able to choose a name for future bambinos.

I watch an unhealthy amount of tv.

I am extremely competitive, about everything.

I love kids and sometimes prefer them to adults.

I can hold my own in sports conversations.

I cry during the father-daughter dances at weddings. For no reason.

I’m not much of an animal person. But I do find small kitties and puppies cute.

That I hate the bags and dark circles under my eyes, so I edit them out of almost every photo before uploading them.

I do not watch scary movies. Ever. Period. I’d like to thank my friend for having Scream as the movie at the sleepover for her 12th birthday. I have yet to recover.

I am extremely shy around people I don’t know well. Which leads to them sometimes thinking I’m a huge stuck up bitch.

Don’t forget that if you want to follow along with my adventures in Paris you can find them on Twitter and Instagram.