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.

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?

A France-y Fall Guest Host

Today I’m super de-duper busy working (okay cruisin Bloglovin), writing my Macroeconomics midterm, obsessing over my trip to Paris and partying it up at my friend Sheila’s wedding.

And because I’m so busy I’m super lucky to have Chelsey, our Huge Ad Giveaway winner here to keep you entertained. She’s probably the prettiest blogger ever, and I kinda think she looks like a modern day Anne of Green Gables. Perhaps its the red hair, or the floppy hat. Either way. I’m going with it. She’s got great style and parties with celebrities, so I think you should check her out.

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So excited to be guest posting while Kathryn is busy enjoying all the pleasures Paris has to offer!  My name is Chelsey, and I am the snap, crackle, and the pop over at Patti Cake!  (Sorry, I must have rice crispy treats on the brain)  Since I am super jealy that Kathryn is off galavanting in Europe, I am reminiscing about the time I spent in France this past June!  I certainly had fun running around the Eiffel tower and channeling my inner Audrey Hepburn á la Roman Holiday which you can read more about herehere, and well let’s face it, here!

Kathryn, you must try some flammekuech while you’re there!  And fellow Americans, we need to open a restaurant for this here.  Seriously, someone open it, and I will go to it.  Every day.  Every other day.

Yes June was a great month!  Sweet June, not that long ago we were preparing ourselves for the heat of the summer, and now we are readying ourselves for layers, and brisk autumn breezes.  How time flies when you’re dressing for fun!  Though I must say I can’t get as excited as the other fashion blogs wanting me to lace up my riding boots and don a leather jacket while drinking a pumpkin spiced latte.  (I caved here, the theme of the fashion blog link up was leather, what was a girl to do besides sweat through a quick photo shoot?)  

It gives me that same feeling as when department stores put up Christmas Decorations before Thanksgiving, or when Targets & Walmarts start advertising their back to school specials in the middle of summer- I DON’T WANT TO SEE IT!  Not yet anyways, let me live in the now, man.  😉  Okay, I guess we can start to sip on cider, as it is October.  Just hard to acknowledge when it’s 86 degrees outside.  
Alright, it’s time for me to run along home to Patti Cake, but many thanks to Kathryn for letting me share on her blog today!  Looking forward to reading her adventures in Paris upon her return!  
Cheers Folks!

Deep Breaths

October 8th marks the beginning of the second vacation I’ve ever taken without parental supervision.  And while this may seem a little sad given the fact that I’m 26 freaking years old, I have to admit I actually like travelling with them. They’re decently fun, my mom loves to shop as much as I do, plus it doesn’t hurt that they pay for a lot of the expenses. Let’s just say my dad likes to spoil his little girl.

The closer I get to putting my ass on that Air Canada flight for Paris, the more excited I get. Just one week left until my first European adventure, and I can hardly sit still long enough to get any work done. The planner/organizer in me would much rather be researching the best metro routes and places to eat instead of reviewing Health & Safety policies.

But as excited as I am, and believe me I’m really really really excited, I’m also quite nervous. Which you probably think is super crazy since I’m going to a place I’ve dreamt about visiting since birth, or possibly even conception.  So to follow up yesterdays post about all the exciting things, here are all the things that give me a little anxiety.

– I’ve traveled quite a few times, but never outside North America.

– I’ve never been on a flight for more than four hours, and flying gives me anxiety, so Shelley and Jennifer have been warned that things could get interesting.

– I don’t speak French, like, at all.

– Being robbed by a gypsy.. Paris apparently is full of them. Or so Google tells me. I’ve never been to a place where pick pocketing was a prominent issue.

– I’ve used public transit exactly twice in my life. And both times I had someone with me who knew what they were doing.

– Travelling from the airport on the RER and then having to walk a few blocks, all while toting my 28″ spinner. Its large yes, don’t judge. It’s necessary for all the shopping. Understood? That’s a long way to go pulling a suitcase and praying no one tries to steal from it.

– Running out of cash. Obviously this worries me. Most times I’ve traveled to the states, the currency was close to par, so having to be aware of conversion wasn’t much of a concern. Euros however are quite a bit more than the Canadian dollar. So I don’t want to accidentally spend more than I should and lose track of how much I have left.

– As much as I’m looking forward to the food, I can be a picky eater. When I eat out, I always choose safe options than I know I will like. That’s going to be difficult with the language barrier. Don’t want to accidentally order frog legs, or something else completely disgusting.

– I’ve never been on a train. And we will be taking one out into the middle of nowhere to visit Beaumont Hamel. Crossing my fingers that we can get direct transit and not have to do transfers. I don’t want to hop on the wrong train.

– I tend to get sick often when I travel. I’m not sure if the climate change doesn’t agree with my body, or if its just bad luck. But it would be quite terrible if I got sick on this trip.

I’m sure there are more things, but I just can’t think of them right now. I’m too big a ball of anxiety trying to make sure that I leave enough money in my bank account for all the bills that need to be paid while I’m gone. Ugh.

Annnnnd I’m still looking for a few people to take over some posts while I’m away, I’d hate this little piece of the web to get neglected while I’m frolicking around France.