Paris, je t’aime.

Paris, for more reasons than I can describe, will always have a special place in my heart.

We hadn’t even been in London for a full day at this point, but Sabrina, Travis and I had planned a short excursion to Paris while we were in Europe.  We boarded a 5:40am train to Paris and enjoyed views of France as the sun rose.

Once we arrived, we took a taxi (a new-ish Mercedes E-class, none the less) to our hotel.  We checked in, spent about 15 minutes in the room and headed off to explore.

In front of the Louvre.  T’was closed on Tuesday, but our hotel was a 5 minute walk away so we passed it a couple of times.

Fueled only by a croissant we had before boarding the plane, we were on a mission to find a place to eat that was quintessentially Paris.  We found a restaurant in the heart of Champs-Élysées that fit the bill.  It was reasonably priced, with the exception of a few things.

That’s 5.40 euros for a small Coca-Cola.  Converted to dollars, that’s $6.96.  For a small botte of Coke.  Nah.

I had a Croque Monsieur.  It was pretty good.  No Coca-Cola for me though.  Only an equally expensive bottled water.  In hindsight, I should have had a coffee.

Ahh… the Louis Vuitton store.  The flagship of flagships.  The store was five stories tall and filled with monogram dreams.  The store even housed some of the most incredible pieces of LV jewelry, most I didn’t even realize existed.  I felt an obligation to buy something and to this day, I regret that I didn’t.

I had Instagram-ed it a few days before we had left, but I opened up my purse to look for my wallet and randomly read the side of my purse.

What?!  This address has been written inside my handbag the whole time!?

Unknowingly, the address was also inscribed on the belt Travis was wearing that day.  It feels almost like we were a part of history.  Practically.

Paris, if we already didn’t know, is a city filled with tourists and tourists and tourists.  Everyone is seen taking pictures with X in the background.  The Arc de Triomphe was proof of this.  When we approached the Arc, everyone and their mamas were taking pictures.  It was tricky getting a picture without someone else in the background taking a picture or unintentionally photo-bombing.  The three of us were in good spirits and we all had fun with it.  We still ended up with some decent pictures.

After the Arc de Triomphe, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower.  I’ve already told you all about that.

Here are a few more photographs from what I consider the most perfect journey through Paris.  I really was the lucky one here.  Sabrina and Travis like each other because the have to like each other.  For me, though, they are my true loves.  I wouldn’t have shared these days (especially the moment of my engagement) with any other people in the world.

 

 

 

The Eiffel Tower

Sabrina, Travis, and I have been in Paris for the past two days.  I promised a few of you that I’d blog about my entire journey in London and Paris, but I want to skip to this part first.  We’ve had a lot of fun so far and I promise, I’ll recap it all.

I was in Paris, France a few days ago.  As luck would have it, I am positioned to see one of the most iconic structures (i.e. The Eiffel Tower) in the whole world in person.  All anyone really wants is to get a picture with it.   I did.  I didn’t really care that much about learning about it or going up the darn thing.  I just want a frame-able picture to put at my desk at work so my coworkers could go “Oh you’ve been to Paris?!  COOL!”

If I recall correctly, there was a Kodak commercial that introduced the long panoramic shots via an older lady whose only picture with the Eiffel Tower was one where her head was cut of; hence, the genuis idea of the panoramic shot (ohhh…).  My point is that everyone wants a picture with the Eiffel Tower.

Sabrina, Travis and I had already had a long journey in Paris.  We arrived at 9:20am (after boarding a train at 5:40am), walked over a calculated 15 kilometers, passing through many of the city’s famous landmarks and found ourselves dead tired by the time we got the Eiffel Tower.  It sucked being so tired.  First, our feet were bloody.  Next, my makeup was smeared.  How was I supposed to get the perfect Eiffel Tower photograph if my eyeliner was running and you could see the true tone of my skin?

I wasn’t really trippin’.  I’d photoshop some eyeliner on and use some artsy filter so you couldn’t see that my blush had already worn off.

Refreshing ourselves on the gardens beneath the towers, we collectively decided that we were at the Eiffel Tower and that it would be ok to wait in the hour+ long line to make it all the way to the top.  Supposedly it’s a really good view of Paris, something or other.

There are two ways to go up.  You can either go halfway up, to the second observation deck, or for 4 euros more, go all the way up to the top.  We’re rolling in the euros (not true, especially if you’re converting from dollars, btw), so we made the choice to go all the way up top.

It turns out that you stop on the second observation deck anyway.  We snapped a couple of pictures, and to me, the view was already spectacular.  Paris is beautiful.  The architecture is breathtaking and the city is visually full of history.

We then made our way to the top.  Repeat: I was at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Here are a few more pictures that we took at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

No.  I did not know that was going to happen.

Had I known, I would have done a few things first.

  •  Brought a little bit of eyeliner, mascara, foundation and blush, just to touch up a bit.
  • Made sure the sides of my purse were symmetrical.
  • Put the shopping bag in my right hand down. (Contents were a car we bought for Jaxson, if you’re seriously worried about what was in there.)
  • Made sure my hair didn’t look like I hadn’t washed it in 5 days. (It’s ok.  I see the pictures.  It looks pretty dirty.)

The photographs speak for themselves.  The decision to wait in the line to escalate up to the top was actually mine and Sabrina’s rather than Travis’, so I was completely caught off guard.

Here’s the skinny.

When we arrived to the top, we were so surprised to see that the view was better than it was on the lower observation deck.  The city actually seemed closer.  You saw a better view of all of the buildings and to me, I found more detail.  Travis and I separated from Sabrina, unintentionally so we were forced to take a few self-portraits with the city as our background.

The top of the Tower is crowded.  It’s a smaller area housing a lot more people.  It was difficult to get a good shot, so Travis suggested we found a spot that wasn’t crowded.  It totally made sense to me then.  If we found a spot that wasn’t crowded, we could get a better picture, duh!  We found Sabrina, asked her politely to take a picture.  (Reference first picture in the series).  Quietly, Travis lovingly whispered, “You know I love you so much.”  I responded, “Yeah.”  Sure, my response was short and probably should have been a lot nicer in hindsight, but we’re taking a picture! I’ll talk to you in a second!

The rest was indescribable.  There is no way to explain what getting proposed to feels like, especially when you don’t see it coming (AT ALL.).  In the moment, you stop thinking and you only feel.  It’s overwhelming and even though you think you know what’s going on, you don’t.  I’m so thankful that Sabrina was there to take pictures, because I likely would have forgotten such an important moment in my life.

I remember is verbally expressing the apparent concerns in my mind at that time:

  • “That box better not be empty.”
  • “That better be a ring in there.”
  • (After seeing it wasn’t empty and that it was a ring) “Please don’t drop it.)

The first concern was in my mind because Travis and I had joked for awhile about proposals.  He would playfully grab the wrong hand or throw me empty jewelry boxes.  I remember that my first thought was that it was a playful joke and was going to be a psychotic pissed off mess if it turned out to be.

The second concern came out because I felt like I had x-ray vision and saw a superhero themed cufflink in the box.  It was specifically superhero themed.

The last silly concern was very legitimate.  I remember saying, “Please don’t drop it.” with tears in my eyes and actually looking down at the city below.  One of the pictures in the series actually shows me looking down at the city to remind myself why I told him not to drop it.

I remember the words coming out of Travis’ mouth were as sweet as ever, but ask me to recite them back to you and I would fail.  I remember the important question, but that’s about all.  I’m actually hoping he wrote it down somewhere so he could read it to me some time again soon.  I really wanna know what he said.

I turned to my sister slightly upset and yelled, “YOU KNEW?!” It turns out that she didn’t.

I turned to my left and it turns out that I had developed quite an audience.  Many women teary eyed, as Travis and I escaped an embrace, I heard an applause and cheers.  I heard many congratulatory comments and lots of “OMG AWW-like words”.  I continued to hear “Congratulations!” all the way down to the ground floor and in many different foreign accents.

If you didn’t read any of what I had written, here’s the summarized version: I got engaged at the top of the Eiffel Tower!

Wanna see the ring?

(Hehehehe this is my ring at the Louvre)

Oh, and here’s that picture in front of the Eiffel Tower I always wanted.

Lucky, lucky me.

If you want to leave a congratulatory comment, please comment on the blog instead of on Facebook.  I would love to keep your comments as close to this entry as possible so I can read them constantly and love you.

Birthdays

I have never been a huge fan of my birthday. 

People who say that their birthday isn’t a big deal to them are lying.  

It’s a holiday that was made for you and only you.  You don’t have to share is with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, President Lincoln or the United States of America.  When you claim that you are, in fact, a really big fan of your birthday, though, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.  

You expect the day to resemble a dream.  The day is expected to be magical and full of glitter and wishes.  Even though your birthday was a great freaking day, you didn’t run into Justin Bieber, you didn’t find $1,000,000 in a suitcase.  You actually didn’t even win $500 on that lottery scratcher you bought on a coffee run.  

During the day, you spend it reflecting over the last year of your life.  It’s likely that you’ll make a New Year’s style resolution, because “26 will be the year I…”

I did all of that.  

It was my birthday yesterday and I even though the Biebs was nowhere to be found and I’m still not a part of the 1%, I had a great day.

I spent Birthday-eve (Birthday is capitalized because you capitalize all holidays, don’t you?) like most 12 year olds do.  

26bowling

Cosmic bowling.  

For anyone paying attention, like my mother, you’ll notice that I have spent 6 out of the 8 last birthdays bowling.

We had dinner at Bottles and Burgers at Tivoli Village beforehand.  No pictures and not much to review since it wasn’t overly memorable and the hostesses were rude.

I slept, like average people do at night, and then…

The Birthday.

I spent the early afternoon eating brunch with a bunch of tourists.

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I’m fortunately my most charming around tourists and as the boo and I were waiting for our table to be ready, we chatted it up with four dudes from [I don’t remember/can’t recall/didn’t care].  After 5 minutes of charismatic small talk, they sent a couple of mojitos our way.  Happy Birthday to me!

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I started with the tiger shrimp and roasted garlic corn tamale.  I had this a few years back and remember saying that it was the best cooked shrimp I had ever had.  No difference now.  The shrimp was tender, juicy and melted like butter in my mouth.  I only wish the tamale had some heat. It was pretty tame and I guess I expected the chili-king Bobby Flay to sneak bits of chili into everything on his menu.

 

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Even though we were here during brunch hours, I went for the Ancho-Chili Honey Glazed Salmon.  Doesn’t it make your mouth water just looking at it?  The fish was cooked medium (with permission) and now I’m not likely to have it prepared any other way.   It was accompanied with a black bean sauce and jalapeno cream and sauteed spinach hiding underneath the fish.

Bobby Flay has a Mesa Grill cookbook.  I wonder if the recipe for this is in it.  If so, someone get me a late birthday present, please.

 

Besides the food, I spent the rest of the afternoon getting spoiled…

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(If you’re wondering why I’m carrying the purse and the shopping bag it came from at the same time, it’s because 3 seconds after the lady wrapped up my new purse in the super large gift box, I stepped outside of the store [because asking if you can “wear it out” seemed so tacky], threw the Guc in the oversized gift box and rocked my new wallet carrier for the rest of the day.)

 

…and with the best greeting card picker in the world.

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I had a great Birthday.  Reflecting over the day right before bed, we equally couldn’t believe how much laughter we expelled.  We didn’t reflect long, as we were asleep by 9.  

I am grateful for the [best] friends that didn’t need a Facebook notification to remind them that it was my day and the son that (practically) didn’t need a reminder that January 14th was mommy’s birthday.  

 

Would I change anything about yesterday? 

I would have eaten birthday cake.

 

Wanna know what’s up?

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Oh nothin’.  Just hanging out with the Biebs at work.

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I know I’m going to have to take my decorations down once Christmas is over, but I wonder if anyone will mind if I keep the Justin Bieber poster up all year long.  Because I didn’t win any prizes for having such awesome decorations, I did exclaim very loudly that as punishment, he’s here to stay.

I’ve been looking forward to this time of year… that is, break from school and life to mellow out a little bit.  I had this “Things I Learned in 2011″ post planned and it might still be coming, in the meantime, I will just continue on life as normal.  I’m not playing catch up either (maybe).  We’re just going to start with what’s going on right now.

It’s the boo’s birthday this weekend.  It’s not just one day.  It’s a weekend.

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He hasn’t told me how old he’s turning, but I swear he doesn’t look a day over 22.

We went to Texas de Brazil with a couple of the pals and then hung out at Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar for the remainder of the night.

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We had never been to this piano bar before and we had a blast.  I love light hearted sing-a-longs and this place was just wonderful.  The birthday boy was appropriately serenaded, too.

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Today, we hung out at home and watched football all day long.  I caught up on the 12 magazines that I had sent here that I hadn’t been able to read and cleaned my beautiful kitchen.

Here’s what I have to look forward to in the next 7 days…

My sister comes home!!!  She’s been in Cape Town, South Africa for the past 4 weeks.  I know.  Her life sucks.

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That picture is from the backyard of the house she’s been staying at.  It seems as if infinity pools are the norm there. … and being able to spit into the ocean from your pool chair.

I’ll get into why she was there in a later post, but everyone knows that my sister is my since-birth-best-friend so I’ve been a little lost without her.  Jaxson misses her too, but I think me more than he.

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A four day weekend! (Do you want me to take a picture of a calendar so I have a picture to represent this part?)

A Christmas party with all of my family.

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That picture was from Thanksgiving.  We kept it a small group.

Thankfully, the whole family is coming over to my parent’s house for Christmas…

Hehehe…. just kidding.  I don’t think everyone’s coming for Christmas.

… Filling up the Gucci with tickets and hanging out with this guy..

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… and lastly, actually filling these up so all of the boys have a stocking full of goodies.

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I’ll keep the updates coming about the holiday season as best as I can.  I’ve got a couple days of work to get through and then the most wonderful time of the year.  To all of my friends that work in retail… hang tough.  You can do it.

Take care, friends!

2-month recap

Hi everyone! I realized that I never finished my Hawaii blogs from a month ago. I have them saved on my computer, but they’re so outdated that half of the writing is irrelevant. I guess it’s good to still have them diary-style though…

I still have lots of pictures to share from that vacation, so here!


I call this one “Pineapple in Paradise.” Travis still had to work on Friday, which left me alone with the hotel room and Hawaii in general. Since I had flirted with the city (see: the journey to Leonard’s), I just wanted to relax, hang out on the balcony, and eat some pineapple.

Funny sidenote… have any of you ever had pineapple burns? I had never experienced them until this tub of fruit. When pineapple is under-ripe (I wouldn’t have known it; it was already so sweet!), it produces an acid on your tongue and if you have enough of it, it burns just like a hot substance would. I hated it and I had a miserable two hours afterwards. When I say miserable, I really mean that I’m sorry to any stranger or tourist I met afterwards and complained about my pineapple tongue to.


Lava Flow #1


Girly Drink #2


Lava Flow (probably) #9


Girly Drink #23

… so on and so forth. I’m usually no frills when it comes to beverages. I’m not into super sweet, processed, order-something-with-a-dumb-name beverages. In Hawaii, supposedly that’s just the way you’re supposed to do it.

You know the couple that just hangs out in swimwear at the pool/beach bar and just lounges around while drinking brightly colored cocktails? Guilty!

I overdid the Lava Flows though. By our first night, the boyfriend and I were known to have drinks down at the lobby, and then order our last round to share on our balcony (notice how much I loved this balcony?).

I think I had my last one about 6 hours prior to leaving Honolulu. At this point, I was in a sugar coma and vowed never to order a blended beverage ever again. So far, so good. It really is just way too much.

The MF-in’ FOOD!


Mahi-Mahi with rice and other stuff. Looks great, but forgettable. Very, very forgettable. So much that I already forgot about it.


Did I tell you that I ran a second trip down to Leonard’s on Saturday morning so that I could get malasadas for the boo to try?

Oh yeah, pictures or it didn’t happen.

Saturday morning, I didn’t plan on running, but since sleepyhead boyfriend isn’t down with 6 am like I am, I got bored and laced up.

I was just going to run a little, but then I felt bad for not having shared my Leonard’s experience with the boy. I headed up, waited in line, and grabbed a half dozen to bring back to the hotel.

Leonard’s is almost 3 miles from the hotel and remember, I just told you I bought a half dozen malasadas. I tied the bag of malasadas to my running belt, realized that I would probably have to hold them since they were too heavy and were bouncing around everywhere, and jogged on. My goal was to get them back as fresh as possible.

So are you picturing it? Girl running with a box of malasadas through the streets of Honolulu, sweating and sweating hard. Oh, it rained, too. Hard.

I made it back to the hotel, slammed the hotel room door open, and yelled, “TAKE A PICTURE OF ME!” (For blogging purposes only. It was a funny story and I had every intention of posting it here.)

T replied, “You don’t want anyone to see a picture of you right now…”


SUSHI MONSTAHHH! That’s a roll of something with something and a garlic chip on top. It was delicious but I shamefully can’t remember what was inside of it for the life of me.

Our (only) date night in Hawaii was a planned sushi date. Unlike Australia, we had the luxury of Yelp-ing and Urban Spoon-ing places to eat at. We stumbled upon a sushi restaurant in the Waikiki shopping area. We had dinner outside on their terrace, overlooking the city.

OK, so now you’re caught up on Hawaii.

Time flew by and far too quickly, but we managed to take a couple of balcony (I <3 balconies) sunset pictures while we were there.

Again, I am really fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience Hawaii for the first time. It sucks that it was just a little teaser, but whatever. I’ll be back.



Love you all! Thanks for reading!


Welcome to Honolulu!

One of the most exciting parts of travelling to a new place is being able to take my morning run on a journey it’s never been.

Sorry Sydney, Honolulu wins this round.

This was, by far, the most pleasing run I had ever been on.

Travis and I were fortunate enough to stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village here in Honolulu. As soon as our room was booked, I shot an email over to the hotel and asked them if there was a jogging trail near the hotel. They replied:

“There is a cement walkway that skirts the outer banks of our property and runs the majority of the length of the world famous Waikiki Beach that will provide you with stunning views during your jogs.”

Major f-ing understatement.

Hawaii is 3 hours behind Las Vegas time so I wasn’t surprised when I woke up at 3:19am time fairly alert. I forced myself back to sleep and made it until 5am. I sat in bed and behaved since the partner was still fast asleep. When I couldn’t take it anymore (at 5:10am), I got up and peeked out the window.


The sun was adorably peeking above the ocean. The more it rose, the more anxiousness grew. I suited up in my gear, fanny-pack and all. Travis had to go to work anyway so I knew I had some time to kill before he was back at the hotel.


I couldn’t have asked for a better morning. The weather was perfect (the weather here just IS perfect), the walkway was fairly empty, and the ocean served as my companion.

After a blissful hour and a half of exercise, I stepped away from the oceanfront and make my way into the city. I had a destination to make my way to.

I headed away from the ocean and headed toward a more residential area. This was definitely “head to work” time in Honolulu because the traffic was terrible. Lucky for me, the sidewalks were empty.

I had already logged 4 miles in, but my destination was another two miles away. Oh well, let’s go another two!


If you’re anybody that’s anybody, you know that you have to

have a Malasada when in Honolulu. It’s a very popular tourist spot and a frequent spot for tour buses to stop into.



The only, repeat: only, place to get them is from Leonard’s Bakery. A Malasada is a Portuguese-style donut without the hole, traditionally covered in sugar and sometimes filled with custard. The bakery was full of people and the line wrapped quite a way around. I stood in line and even though I already knew what I was going to order, I was still very tempted by the other sweets in the display.


When it was my turn to order, I grabbed two: one cinnamon and one haupia (coconut-custard).


I maneuvered my way through the tourists and found a place behind the bakery to dig into the goodies.


The cinnamon was good. It’s great to have them so fresh. It has a crispy shell and a soft and chewy interior. It’s melt-in-your-mouth warm and is superior to every donut I’d ever had. I finished about half because I had the idea down in my mind already.

But the haupia…


Oh the haupia…


I bit into this and instantly went to heaven. It had the same crispy outside as the cinnamon and would just as dough-y as the cinnamon, but the filling was incredible. I’m not a fan of custard or jelly filled donuts. I actually hate them, so I didn’t expect to like this. The custard was perfect. It wasn’t too sweet, had the perfect amount of coconut flavor, and complemented the dough so well.

I’m so glad that I made my way to have one of these.

Supposedly, it’s really important to fuel your body with carbs after a long workout. I’m sure this is exactly what they meant.

Wait, this was 2 miles away from my hotel? Does that mean that I have to run/jog/walk 2 miles to get back?

Oh, yeah.

I enjoyed it though. I walked through a better part of the city heading back and passed by cute little shops along the way.

I continued to enjoy Waikiki Beach, as everyone down here should.


See you in paradise!!

Hi again! For all of you that were worried, no, I have not forgotten about the blog.

Yes, I’ve been really busy. My normal life is regretfully too boring to blog about consistently. Do you want to know what I ate today? Yesterday? Want to see what I baked yesterday? Did you want to know how I felt about the start of the NFL season? I know you don’t so I’m saving you the trouble of filtering through posts to get to something good.

Guess what though? I’ll be spending the weekend in Honolulu. You know, no big deal. I’m holding back the 3 paragraph long tribute I had written in my mind about how great my boyfriend is to share an opportunity he had to go out of town with me. I get excited when I know I get to spend an entire work-free weekend with him, let alone in Hawaii.

To take you through my day thus far, I finished my work day (and it really felt like the longest ever) and now I’m hanging out in the airport. I was afraid of having to hang out with other traveling folk in the security line since the line at the D Gates were insanely flooded with people, but as I journeyed over to the C Gates, I was surprisingly the only person there. I even had the tram all to myself!


To maximize the time in paradise, I decided to fly from Las Vegas to LAX since Hawaiian Airlines had better flight times leaving LAX than they did at the McCarran. I promise, this had nothing to do with there being a Pinkberry at the terminal I was flying into.

I repeat, this had nothing to do with Pinkberry at the terminal I was flying into.


This decision had nothing to do with my body being Pinkberry-free against my will since October 2010.


It actually had a little to do with there being a Pinkberry at LAX. When I first started looking at flights, the ones coming from McCarran were stupid. Why would I want to depart at 1am and arrive there at 4am? I was a click away from booking that flight when I thought, “It would be so awesome if it connected in LAX. That way I could get Pinkberry.” I then came up with a genius idea to create my own connection. It just happened to work in my favor so that way I arrived in Hawaii at a reasonable hour.

That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.


What did I have in heaven?

(That’s what I’m calling it from now on)

Original tart with mango, blueberries and raspberries.

As if my life couldn’t already get any better, I learn that there’s a Pinkberry at Honolulu International Airport.

I swear, the decision go to Hawaii had nothing to do with me having contact with two different Pinkberry locations.