Remembering Paris

The soft hum of vendors opening up their stores and the Parisian city slowing walking up is something I will never forget. The smell of fresh cut flowers from the local florist opening his doors and the warm smell of French pastries and café calling my name is something I will always remember. Every morning in Paris was magical {other than the man hanging from the roof on the building next to our hotel…I’m still not sure what exactly he was working on}. I woke up pinching myself that I was actually walking the streets, eating fresh pain au chocolats, and enjoying fine red wine. I’m sure Maria was sick of hearing me hum La Vie en Rose every time my foot stepped out the door, but I know she was secretly singing right along. Paris is a city to experience, a city to fall in love and a city to enjoy the simple pleasure of doing nothing.

  

In just four short days we walked and toured Paris. We watched the city move below us from the Tour Eiffel and wandered through the Musée RodinMusée d’Orsay & The Louvre. I cried at Cathédrale Notre Dame and lit candles at Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. We shopped at Galeries Lafayette, Longchamp, Rue Saint-Honoré and we ate. We stuffed ourselves with buttery croissants that melted in your hand and drank delicious wine that lingered in your mouth for hours. Everything about Paris was lovely and I can’t wait to go back again.

  

We stayed at a beautiful hotel named Hotel Londres Eiffel, just a two minute walk to the Eiffel Tower. It was the perfect location for us and felt like home except with a French-styled twist of course. The best part about this place was the area that it was in. Not only did we walk to the Eiffel Tower every morning and night but we enjoyed delicious pastries every morning and food from the restaurants literally minutes from the doorstep. If you are looking for a lovely place to stay in Paris, this is it!

Three Favorite Sites:

Musée de l’Orangerie – was built in 1852 as a small peaceful art gallery containing both impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. However, it is home and famous for 8 of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies murals and that is precisely why we went. The hour {yes hour} I spent in the two oval rooms left me in awe. I can still close my eyes and remember sitting there in the quite, still, diffused lit room staring into the murals of Monet’s Water Lilies and exhale knowing I’ve seen a masterpiece of art.

Château de Versailles – just a 45 minute train ride outside of Paris is this breath-taking Château. From the minute you walk through the golden gates you imminently feel as if you are a part of the royal court or even possibly the royal family. If you have a full day to explore something beautiful go to Versailles.

  

Cathédrale Notre Dame – a beautiful Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The moment I walked in there were tears in my eyes {beautiful churches do that to me}. Even though we were there on a cloudy Paris day the stained-glass windows were still beautiful in the 850 year-old cathedral, a must see for future visitors.

 

Favorite Restaurants:

Gusto Italia – down the street from our hotel was the most delicious Italian restaurant. I know it’s horrible; we ate more pizza in Paris than French food. It was delicious and a favorite among the locals! Watch when we go to Italy we will eat nothing but French and Spanish food.

Le Champ des Délices– our favorite place to grab breakfast. Every morning on our walk to the bus we bought croissants from the lovely ladies that worked there. It was right around the corner from our hotel.

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What places have you never forgotten?

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xox
Em

2012

2012 flew by faster than I ever expected! It feels like just yesterday I ringing in the New Year in Portland and counting down the seconds until 2012 began. Will 2013 fly by just as fast? Hopefully not! I do hope that 2013 is filled with as many memorable moments, adventures and laughs…here’s a recap of the past year:

Five Countries 

Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

Paris

Paris, France

London

London, England

NZ

Auckland, New Zealand

Australia

Sydney, Australia

Fabulous Ladies Weekends 

L.A..

L.A.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

EUG

Eugene

PDX

Portland

A few Animal Encounters 

zoo

Oregon Zoo with Hollyn and Kjirsten

Coast

Newport, Oregon

Special Birthday Weekends

Portland

Sammy & Ashley’s 24th Birthday, Portland

25th

My 25th Birthday, Eugene

Trips to a New City and a Favorite City 

LA

L.A.

Boston

Boston

And lots of Memorable Moments 

Maui 116 Barcelona.

On the beach in Kihei and the rooftop steps of La Pedrera in Barcelona

Paris. London.

My favorite museum in Paris & the train ride from Paris to London

If I had to choose one word to sum up 2012 it would have to be travel. I was lucky enough to spend much of the year exploring new places near and far and had the most wonderful time. I’m looking forward to 2013 and the new changes it brings!

Cheers to the New Year!

xox
Em 

Paradise

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We ended October with a week in Kihei. It was an amazing trip filled with beautiful weather, relaxation, delicious food, tropical drinks, and plenty of Maui sunshine!

I’m already looking forward to next year!

xox
Em 

24 Hours in Boston

This is my favorite time of year. Throughout October and November the leaves start to change color and the air feels crisp and fresh. I believe one of the best places to see the autumn change in action is the East Coast. I kicked off the month of October in Boston, one of my favorite cities. If you haven’t visited, you must! I always describe it as an old city with a young heart. Everywhere you look there are pieces of history that you would miss by simply blinking, yet the city is full with young people studying at Boston College, Harvard, MIT & Berklee College of Music.

This year my parents and I made a quick 24 hour trip. Here are a few snaps!


After landing and checking in we made our way to Faneuil Hall to capture a piece of history and do some shopping! After wandering around for a few hours we took a break and had a few beers before heading to the North End for dinner.

      

In the North End we wandered up and down Hanover looking for the best place to eat. Our hotel had given us a few names and we eventually settled on Panza. It was by far the best homemade Italian food I have ever had, well other than the food in Italy. My mom and I shared grilled Italian greens and eggplant parmigiana. We were stuffed but somehow found a way to enjoy some of my dad’s risotto that had yams and maple syrup. Needless to say we were in Italian food heaven.  I took pictures but they don’t do the meal justice! If you go to Boston, please eat at Panza, you won’t be disappointed!

We walked around the North End to make room for Mike’s Pastry’s famous cannolis. It was a beautiful night and it was lovely to walk around and look at The Old North Church and a few of the other places we had been to our last time in the city. Mike’s is another amazing place if you are looking for great dessert!

 Boston skyline at night

We woke up early knowing that we only had until the afternoon for our flight to leave and tried to fit in as much as possible!

 
I explored the library and did some shopping on Newbury Street

 
Walked through the Boston Public Garden

 And stood in Boston Common

My parents and I explored Long Wharf and ate at the Chart House


We even fit in a walk around the harbor before we had to catch our flight home

It was perfect timing, the rain started just as we were hopping on the T to the airport.

It was a perfect 24 hours. We definitely ate, drank and shopped our way through Boston and can’t wait to come back again, hopefully next year!

xox
Em

Oh Hey LA!

August was a crazy month hence the lack of posts. From weekends in Eugene, meetings in Portland, family time in Salem, a trip to the beach and two amazing reunions in LA and Vegas, the last 7 weeks have been amazing!

The third weekend of the month, Maria and I took a trip to LA. It was my first time to the popular city and I can’t wait to go back. Even though we were only there for a few days we had a fabulous time.

Our lovely Cali friend Emily drove down from Fresno to welcome us to the city and spend a few days with us basking in the sunshine. We started off the trip with a bit of pool time and then made our way to the Staples Center for the Enrique Iglesias & Jennifer Lopez concert.

Maria and I love going to concerts! Over the years we have been to some amazing performances but Enrique is by far our favorite. Last year we had the pleasure of seeing him in San Jose and this concert was just as good! He has the most unique stage presence and makes a huge crowd feel intimate, not to mention a great voice! We also loved seeing J LO who I have loved over the years. Her performance was like a Vegas show and we loved every minute of it from start to finish. I’m pretty sure the highlight was seeing Wisin y Yandel pop out of the stage for the last encore song! Trust me the video is priceless.

    

After the concert, we met up Emily and made our way to Trader Vic’s for some signature Maui Mai Tais and quality lady time! There’s nothing like a Trader Vic’s mai tai and delicious mouth-watering fries, if you haven’t been to one, you need to go.

Saturday began with complementary service by the pool complete with watermelon flavored water and popsicles {you wonder why I loved this vaca so much} and dips in the relaxing saltwater pool. We eventually checked out of the JW Marriott at L.A. Live, which was an amazing hotel, and made our way to Santa Monica.

  

We treated ourselves to brunch at M Street Kitchen where we munched on salads, quesadillas and glasses of sangria. It’s a delicious restaurant with a great atmosphere and just a few blocks from the beach! We eventually made our way down to the ocean and indulged ourselves in some much needed beach time!

 

I love the beach and my first Cali beach experience was perfect! I can’t wait to go back to LA and explore some of the other beaches that I have heard so much about.

Before flying back to Portland we grabbed a quick dinner at the Stella Rossa Pizza Bar, which is actually part of M Street Kitchen. We wanted to have brunch there but they were only open for dinner so we decided to come back after our day at the beach. We enjoyed the most delicious pizza and salad and after seeing plate after plate of their signature cookie go by we decided to order a chocolate chip cookie with fleur du sel. I swear it was one of the best cookies I have ever had. If you live in LA you need to visit M Street Bakery and taste one for yourself; Maria and I took two to go for the flight home!

LA was the perfect weekend getaway, and it was such a treat to have a mini reunion with our friend Emily who actually was just here in Oregon for a longer visit and full reunion with all of the ladies from university! I can’t wait to take another trip to LA in the near future and hopefully see some of my friends that I missed on this visit!

Stay tuned for a recap of Vegas and hopefully some more fun posts in the weeks to come! Promise I’ll try and do better at posting now that summer has calmed down a bit.

xox
Em