Category Archives: Travel

Monet’s Gardens in Giverny

September 27, 2015

Monet's GardensHello! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share these photos. My mom came to Paris for 3 weeks back in the Spring, and this one of our adventures we had together. We hopped on a train from Paris to Giverny to see Claude Monet’s gardens behind his home there. It was a warm, spring day, and the whole experience was pretty magical.

Mom's Trip to Paris-7 Mom's Trip to Paris-12 Mom's Trip to Paris-18It was impossible to get a photo without other tourists in the shot, especially from this part of the garden. I had to take it really quickly before someone else hopped in front of me.

Mom's Trip to Paris-24 Mom's Trip to Paris-27 Mom's Trip to Paris-28All these flowers were so much more beautiful in person. Occasionally, I feel like no photo could do justice to the real thing, and this was definitely one of those times. It didn’t stop me, though!

Mom's Trip to Paris-34 Mom's Trip to Paris-58 Mom's Trip to Paris-43Our favorite part was the aqua gardens. My mom and I both shed a few tears – it was so moving and has been a dream of my mother’s to see this place. To get to do it together, with my sweet baby sleeping in his stroller, was pretty much the best.

Mom's Trip to Paris-65 Mom's Trip to Paris-62It was such a great trip!

 

Visiting Stavanger, Norway: Scandinavian Design

June 17, 2015

Scandinavian Accessories

I’m sitting at our hotel in Stavanger, Norway, a place so far off my radar until now it might as well have been on Mars. My husband had a three week long work trip here, and in lieu of sitting home alone in Paris on my birthday, we decided to take the two hour plane ride to visit for 10 days. Upon landing in Stavanger, I was immediately captivated by the landscape – you could see the low sitting mountains and hills and beautiful farmhouses from the plane, not too mention the navy blue sea on either side of the city. I was nervous because I don’t understand even a small inkling of the Norwegian language, but luckily, everyone (and I mean everyone) speaks English here. It’s impressive and almost erie how Norwegians go from perfect native language to perfect English in one sentence.
It’s no surprise, what with Stavanger being the oil capital of Norway – they are used to visitors.
Also not surprising is how cold it is here. We are right on the water, which I need to point out, is the most beautiful blue color of any ocean water I have ever stood next to. The fish that come from that water are also equally as beautiful and delicious.
However my favorite part about being here in Norway is getting to creep on all of the gorgeous Scandinavian design. It’s everywhere. Every store front is taunting. My favorite spot to drool over Scandinavian design so far here in Stavanger has been ting, a two story boutique with tons of choices for kitchen wares, home accessories, furniture, beauty products and gifts.
I have always loved furniture coming from this part of the world, but this trip introduced me to the side of Scandinavian design that is more attainable for me – accessories. I discovered three new Scandinavian brands here that I love, and wanted to share- some of my favorite picks from the three are below, left to right:

1/ Muuto “Restore” Small Item Storage
2/ Menu Stone Storage Jars
3/ Muuto Visu Woodbase Chair in Pink
4/ Menu Tribeca Reade Table Lamp
5/ Menu Wire Base
6/ Normann Copenhagen Tablo Table
7/ Menu Chamber Light Candle Holder
8/ Muuto “The Dots” Wall Hanging System
9/ Menu Steel Wall Clock in Green
10/ Normann Copenhagen Block Table (tea cart)

Our Airbnb in Cormolain, France: An old Norman Farmhouse.

May 4, 2015

Colin's First Birthday-62Last weekend we took a train from Paris to Bayuex, France, a small town just south of the Normandy coastline. Bayeux has the oldest tapestry known to date, as well as a beautiful cathedral that was built in the same era as Notre Dame. I found an amazing old farmhouse to stay in on Airbnb, a.k.a. my favorite way to travel. The farmhouse we rented was in Cormolain, about a 25 minute drive south of Bayeux, and was recently converted into a loft on the top floor, with 3 beds, a small toddler sized bed and a beautiful bathroom overlooking a wood storage space and the prairies behind the house. There are a few things I look for in an Airbnb. One is obviously space. Since we were travelling with 5 people (one being tiny, but still), I wanted to make sure we had enough room to sprawl out and get comfy, and not feel on top of eachother. Also, travelling with a baby makes hotel rooms virtually impossible – we need a kitchen to clean bottles and make small meals for him, and we need room for him to crawl/toddle around in. This Airbnb had all of those things, and more!

Norman Farmhouse Colin's First Birthday-18 Colin's First Birthday-5Corinne, our wonderful host, did a really amazing job making this space feel huge, open, and contemporary, while still adding in a few details that made the space feel old world French. We definitely felt like we were on a farm – there were sheep outside and a beautiful little garden. Still, it was so clean and contemporary – we really had the best of both worlds here.

Colin's First Birthday-38 Colin's First Birthday-34The white paint, unfinished wood and sky lights created the most dreamy light I have ever seen. I seriously could not believe how gorgeous this room was at any time of day.

Colin's First Birthday-37 Colin's First Birthday-29

Every single detail was perfect and in it’s place…

Colin's First Birthday-28 Colin's First Birthday-69Another interesting feature was the huge picture window in the bathroom that looked out into a small cave that housed fire wood (there was a small fournace in the living room downstairs. Corinne had a fire going for us when we got there to “warm the place for the baby”). The wood cave also had a huge picture window looking out onto the prairies of the farm. It was so beautiful.

Colin's First Birthday-79 Colin's First Birthday-82 Colin's First Birthday-66 Colin's First Birthday-86For so long, I have been striving for a minimalist aesthetic in my own home, and often things can look a little cold or too contemporary. Corinne mixed both modern and traditional design aesthetics perfectly. It was so inspiring! I need to head back to the flea markets here in Paris soon so that I can start adding some details like these to my home.

 

 

Canola Fields Forever.

May 3, 2015

Colin's First Birthday-48It’s been almost a month since I have posted anything here, and that’s because we have been busy having visitors, traveling and having a one year old baby (HOW?!?!). My in laws came to Paris and after a week of site seeing here, we traveled to the beaches of Normandy, France and then to Chinon to taste wines along the Loire Valley. I really hope to write a few more posts about the trip because it was truly amazing and the landscapes were breathtaking.

Colin's First Birthday-50 Colin's First Birthday-47

Until I can get my act together, I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos from our trip. These bright, yellow canola fields were all over France as we drove around. These flowers are pressed to make Canola Oil, hence the name. They colors were so vivid and contrasting that I had to turn my settings on my camera waaaaay lower than i usually do. It was even more beautiful in person, if you can imagine that. Just fields and fields of yellow.

Colin's First Birthday-5 Colin's First Birthday-9 Colin's First Birthday-33

 

5 Tips on Visiting/Moving to Paris

February 19, 2015

untitled-47While I love to babble on all day about home design and obsess over other design/DIY blogs, I also love the pragmatic posts here and again, when applicable. When I found out we were moving overseas, I relied on the kindness of other bloggers’ willingness to share their experiences on travel and moving to a new country. So this post is, in a way, my version of paying it forward.

I know many of my friends, family and readers are planning to travel abroad, and some of you newbies might be think of doing so, too. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your time in Paris more:

untitled-51.) What’s the plan, man?
If you are like me, you love to plan. I still make little lists for the day (don’t confuse “planning” with “organization” – these are two very different things). No matter the day, I always have the greatest intentions to scratch things off of my list. In Paris, however, you might be dissappointed from time to time. One thing I love about Paris culture is how laid back everyone is about almost everything. The downside to that is that things take tiiiiimmmmmmeeee here. Seriously. Like real time. And if something is under construction (like the Pantheon in Paris, pictured above), expect that it will be for a bit. This can interfere with site-seeing plans if you are visiting, so be sure to research ahead of time and buy tickets to as much as you can in advance! You might pay a little extra but, hey, you’re in Paris! Also, Parisians exercise their right to strike very often – the trains, the busses, the hospitals. It’s kind of a common thing here, and while I kind of love the moxy behind it, it can be a little daunting.

Luxembourg Gardens-1222.) Taking the metro:
While a bit confusing at first, the metro is an incredible efficient and intuitive way to get around Paris. I’ve ridden the subway in New York several times and, by comparison, the metro in Paris is much easier to figure out. However, if you have a baby stroller (like yours truly) or are handicapped in any way, the metro is almost a no go. Paris is an old, old city, and is not completely retrofitted to meet modern day handicapped standards. Some metro stops have escalators and elevators, but most do not. And trying to make connections to the stops that are accessible can put you completely out of the way of where you are trying to go. The bus system is a much more accessible route for anyone with babies or handicapped needs. While a little bit slower, you can still get a much broader view of the city is transit. And people like to talk on the bus! It’s fun and feels a little more coloquial. The metro is all business – for the most part- like any other subway line. Headphones on, no chatting.

Luxembourg Gardens-116

3.) Get your shoes on!
I could probably talk for hours about shoe culture in Paris (what does that say about me?). This is one area where you need to be sure to be comfortable at all times. I think because Paris is such a huge hub for fashion that we, as foreigners, all asume that women and men walk around in incredibly chic, outrageously uncomfortable shoes all day. At least, that was my assumption before I moved here. That is definitely not the case – most people wear comfortable shoes, or at least, moderately comfortable, meaning lots of trendy tennis shoes and low heeled boots. Another shoe point (<PUN!) is that your nice shoes will get DESTROYED within the first few days here, and that is NOT an exaggeration. The streets are cobbled and bumby and going up and down stairs and running in and out of shops is hard on the feet. So don’t bring that super expensive pair of shoes you have been saving just for Paris unless you plan to wear them door to door via a car.

Luxembourg Gardens-1174.) Push it!
There are over 2 million people living in Paris proper, which is about 40 square miles big. That’s a lot of people in a condensed amount of space. Most people here use public transportation of some kind. Like any pedestrian city, be prepared to hustle through the streets on almost any given day. Parisians, much like New Yorkers, are in a hurry, and will not get our of your way. It feels a little dog-eat-dog at times, but it’s really just a result of a long history of relying on foot to get you around. Be prepared to get shoved and pushed a little, and don’t take it personally.

untitled-325.) Utilize apps!
A lot of buildings look the same here, and the city is based on a “snail system”, not a grid. So, take it from me, it is very, very easy to get lost here if you don’t know the city very well. Paris is compartmentalized into 20 districts, or, “arrondissements”, and anytime a local asks where you live or are staying or where a certain place is, they are referring to the district. Locals call each district by number – the 11th is a cool part of town, the 3rd is where The Marais is, which is a really awesome part of town…and so on. The districts are planned out like a snail, starting at the center of Paris at the 1st. There are lots of good apps to help you navigate the city –  CityMapper is a great one, as well as SNFC if you are feeling adventurous. Goole Maps is great, but I’ve learned the hard way that even trusty ole Google can get it wrong from time to time.

Lastly is not so much a tip as it is a myth debunction (is that a word?): Parisians are friendly! Don’t believe the rumors! People in Paris are definitely not in your face with politness, but they are very warm and friendly people. I can’t tell you how many times someone has helped me lift Colin’s stroller up a flight of stairs or pinched his cheeks.

We love Paris and hope that any of you visitors do, too! Bon voyage!