Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Paris Engagement

I was going to post about all the wonderful restaurants and food we had in Paris, but now that all the right people have been told I can finally blog about it and share the photos!  

There was a surprise engagement while we were in Paris!
Congratulations Karisa and Nathan!

Let me start with their sweet love story.

They met one year ago on a flight back from Paris.  They happened to be sitting next to each other on the plane.  She was in yoga pants without any make-up and he couldn't stop talking to her.  She said they talked for the entire 10 hour flight.  They just happened to both be flying home to San Diego.

When he was in Paris last year, he had gone to the Passerelle Solférino, (where lovers clasp a lock to the bridge and throw the key in the river signifying their unbreakable love).  He added his own lock to the bridge and kept the key as a way to signify that he was ready to open his heart and find love.  He then got on the plane home and was seated next to her.  :)

I got the message a few weeks before we left, my friends' boyfriend was going to need a bit of help when we were all in Paris.

We had already planned to meet up with them while we were there.  They were stopping there for one day on their way to an amazing Italian holiday - Venice, a villa in Tuscany for 2 weeks and then Cinque Terre! {I'm so jealous they're still there now.}

Before we left my friend had sent me a rough (but very full) itinerary of what they hoped to do while in Paris for just that one day.  Her boyfriends' message to me requested that I get her to the Passerelle Solférino at 9.30 the morning that we had planned to meet up.  He had booked a photographer to meet us there. {Smart guy!}

My first thought was excitement, my second was, wow that's early!  Luckily due to her packed schedule she had no problem meeting up early.

We met up at their hotel and hopped on the RER towards the Musée d'Orsay under the guise that we were taking a morning walk through the jardin des Tuileries on our way to Angelina (a delicious tea salon I highly recommend).

When we got to the bridge, as planned, Dan and I hung back and started taking photos of the view.
 Nathan gave Karisa the key and told her how important it was to him and asked her to help him search for the lock.  They searched for a while but couldn't find it.  (I think the French cut off the locks to make room for more.)

Karisa at one point thought that we must really like the view since we were taking so many photos. She never even noticed the guy stealthy taking photos of them.
When Nathan realized they weren't going to find the lock, he got down on one knee and proposed.

My knees were literally shaking from excitement.  I think Dan and I were more nervous than he was!

I think she was surprised.  She was completely speechless and she's never speechless.
Dan was excited for them too.
We celebrated at Angelina with their to-die-for hot chocolate and coffee and pastries.
Afterwards, we headed up to Montmartre to walk around the Sacré-Coeur and the artists square, place du Tertre.
We headed back and grabbed lunch on rue du Buci, in St. Germain and walked around jardin du Luxembourg.  {I told you it was a packed day!  They had a lot they wanted to see in the one day they were there.}
The day was gorgeous, so the garden was filled with people.
Danny and I had our own photo opportunity in the garden.
When he dipped me, but then dropped me!
  I think he underestimated how tired my feet were.
I took full advantage when he leaned me back. :)
On the walk to dinner.

Congratulations again to Karisa and Nathan!

She's quite literally my oldest friend.  When my mom had just had me and was still in the hospital, her mom called to tell her congratulations and announced that she was pregnant.

Thank you so much for letting me share in such a wonderful moment in your lives.  I love you both!

See more of our trip to Paris {here}.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I can't believe we're back already.  I don't know why I thought six days would be enough time in Paris.  At least I had those six days there though.

Returning home from Paris always makes me want to be better.  Does anyone else have a place like that?  I always feel rejuvenated and motivated to be a better me after I've spent time in Paris.

I want to practice my french more, plan more trips abroad, eat more fresh foods, leave the car at home and walk more, brush my hair more often for photos...
{in front of my old apartment building - 56, blvd de la Tour-Maubourg - I wish I could've remembered the code to have a peak inside!}

I think my favorite part of the trip was seeing Dan's reaction to my favorite Paris sites, foods, places, everything.
{I was thrilled that he loved the Musée Rodin - one of my favs}

We woke up each morning and had coffee and croissants.  Dan was shocked how much better they were in Paris. (Seriously, how do they do it?! - the boulangeries are so much better there.)

We'd leave the flat in the morning and walk all over the city, returning in the afternoon for a rejuvenating nap and then back out for dinner and nightlife.

We found a flat on airbnb - which I highly recommend.  It was much more affordable than a hotel and we had a much larger space for our money (this may only apply to Paris and other $$$ cities).

{a sweet little courtyard we walked by everyday when leaving our flat - I love how there are so many of these all over Paris - most hidden behind the large street doors}

{pensive at St. Chapelle}
{being weird together - I think that's love}
{daily afternoon café - helps with jet-lag too}
{at the Louvre - apparently I packed a lot of polka dots}
{there's something about a Paris sky}
{in love with the doors at Notre Dame - Parisian buildings have the most amazing details}

I'll post later this week about our favorite restaurants and eateries.  There were so many good ones!

What are you favorite things to see in Paris?  Or if you haven't been, what would you most wish to see there?
I'm always curious what other people think of Paris.

A bientôt.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I've been at my desk at 6 am the past 2 mornings, 
so I guess there's something positive to say about jet-lag. 

I'm not one who does well with a lack of sleep.  I'm prone to headaches and those come easily when I haven't slept enough.  I've also been told from people close to me, that I'm not my usual delightful self when I'm tired.  I'm not exactly sure what the mean, but...

A lot of my travels have been short, quick trips for work or for play where I've needed to be alert for meetings or making the most of my trip in a new city.

I've found a few things that really help me when it comes to jet lag.

1. get on the new schedule as soon as possible - this includes sleeping and eating.  If it's morning in my arrival city, I eat breakfast, no matter what time it was when I left home.  When I go to sleep at night, I set my alarm for early the next morning and actually get up. {The getting up part is hard for me.}  During our trip to Paris, the first night I woke up around 4 am and couldn't get back to sleep.  Instead of getting out of bed and in front of a screen {TV, computer, internet - which I think disrupts sleep}, I laid in bed and read.  After about an hour, I knew I had to get more sleep if I wanted to by out the whole next day.  I turned off the light and started slowly counting backwards from 100 - it sounds silly but it worked.  Every time my mind wandered, I'd go back to counting.  I ended up getting to 76, and the following night to 88.

2. get into the sun - our body natural acclimates to the sun.  In winter I naturally sleep in a bit and in summer I tend to wake a bit earlier.  Rather than taking a nap when I arrive, I get outside as soon as possible and walk {and walk and walk}.  This has probably been the most helpful for me when traveling.

3. plan flights accordingly - I try to book my flights so that I'm arriving at my destination earlier in the day.  This isn't always possible but if I can I try to book this way.  It really helps me with getting out in the sun when I arrive.

4. drink water - It's only taken me a couple decades, but I'm finally a firm believer in all the hype about water.  It really is the miracle cure - fatigue, weight loss, aging - it really does it all.  During our trip, I woke up with an awful headache one morning.  I drank a bottle of water and within 30 minutes my headache was gone.  Staying hydrated for me, especially when flying as been a huge help.

5. move - I think one of the reasons getting outside in the sun when I arrive always helps me, is because I'm moving.  Walking around a new city and exploring is always one of my favorite things to do.  On the day I arrive, I usually don't have anything planned so getting out and walking around helps me start to get to know the city and tires me out so I have a better chance of sleeping that night.

6.  eat fresh - I always try to pack a few snacks for the plane ride, especially now that so many domestic flights are over-charging for sub-par food.  Also, I've found that the less salt I eat on the plane, the better I feel when I get there.  My feet are prone to swelling and turn into little sausages when I fly {I won't torture you with a photo.} - cutting down on salt definitely makes it easier to slip my shoes back on when we land.  {I've had a problem with this before.  So embarrassing.}  I try to pack a couple a pieces of fresh fruit like an apple, banana or tangerines {not easily squishable}, raw almonds and/or a Kind or Luna bar.  I've found that eating lighter on the plane helps a lot so I try not to eat out of boredom during long flights.

7. sleep when needed - I always try to sleep on the plane as much as possible.  During the trip, if I need an afternoon nap, I let myself have it.  I may let myself sleep for an hour or so but I always set my alarm and try not to let myself sleep much more than that.  

What are your best techniques for jet-lag?  

Happy travels and hope your weekend's lovely!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Avocado & strawberry salad with balsamic reduction {Recipe}

While we're in Paris, I thought I'd make good on a couple of the promises I've made on the blog and get a few recipes up that I've mentioned.

This is one of my favorite salads to make.  It's easy, beautiful and delicious.
I "talked" about it here for my mother's day brunch post, but I actually make it fairly often.  

Now is a great time to make it since strawberries and avocados are in season.

The flavors from the tart goat cheese, sweet strawberries and creamy avocado really go well together.  I'm not usually one for fruit in my salads, but I make an exception for this.

Avocado & Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Reduction
 - butter lettuce, washed and torn
 - spring mix
 - strawberries, washed and sliced
 - avocados, sliced and removed from rind
 - red onion, sliced in half rings
 - balsamic vinegar
 - olive oil
 - salt, to taste

 - sliced radishes
 - creamy goat cheese

Put all of the veggies and fruits in a large salad bowl.

Add balsamic vinegar to a large saute pan or skillet on medium-high heat.  You'll need about 4 times balsamic as you think you'll need to dress the salad.  It's reduces, hence the name. :)  Bring it to boil.  Once it's boiling reduce it to a simmer until it's almost as thick as you want it.  It will keep reducing once it's off the heat.  You can make this before hand and let it sit before you dress the salad.  It will stay thick.

Drizzle the reduction over the veggies and fruits (and cheese).  Add a pinch of salt.  Depending on how wet you like the salad, you can add a bit of olive oil and more balsamic if you like.  I usually add just a bit of olive oil and only the reduction.  I like to really taste the veggies in my salads.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I posted about this earlier in the year and it's finally here!

I will be showing my love around one of my favorite cities for the next week, eating croque madames, macrons, and every other french food I can possibly get my hands on.

I hope you all have a lovely week!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Birthday

Pacino turned 1 this weekend and like any good pup parent with a new camera,
I strapped a crown on him and snapped a few photos.

Those poses!  Seriously, it's like he knew it was his birthday or something.

I made the crowns from a paper towel roll; an idea I found here.
{please note this photo was taken after a day of wine tasting}

Happy Birthday Pacino!

Today's one of those days when it's especially important to remember how lucky I am to live in a country where I can spend my weekends taking silly photos of my pup and wine tasting with my boyfriend.  

Thank you to all who have made that possible.
We will never forget.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Summers Last Weekend

You know all those times where you have big, huge expectations and then the event or weekend turns out to be kind of anti-climatic, still fun but kind of not as big as you thought, 
like New Years sometimes.  

My last weekend of summer was the exact opposite of that.  I had imagined it to be a fun weekend with family and friends but it was so much better.
I said good-bye to my Boston-bound cousins (the 2 on either end).  
They've had enough of California for a while and are packing up and heading east, with a few job prospects and an apartment they've never seen before.  

I could not be more proud of them or more excited for their adventure.  
Plus it means I get to visit :)

The next day I headed to Vegas with some girlfriends.  It wasn't your typical Vegas trip.  We stayed with my friend's mom and never even made it to the strip.  

My friend, Laurel, is moving to New Zealand at the end of the month {!!!} and we've had so many awesome Vegas trips in the past decade+ together we decided that would be the perfect send off.  

We started each day by putting on our bikinis and 50 spf {desert sun!} and heading out to the pool.  We pretty much stayed there until the sun went down.  It was perfect.
The weekend included an amazing home-cooked dinner by Allison, dance parties, a synchronized swimming performance, shannon-balls, and our own personal bodyguard at the club (Laurel's brother), plus me diving for the first time.  It wasn't graceful but I did it!

 Monday I came home to my boys and we had a huge BBQ at my parents.  Huge in the amount of food not the amount of people.  I don't know why my mother always cooks like the entire extended family is coming over when it's just 4 of us.  But it's always delicious!  

Hope your last days of summer are just as perfect for you!

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