Monday, April 25, 2016

two days in paris.

The Parisian skyline.
Don't mind if I do!

The first (but certainly not the last) creperie I visited.

My first crepe in Paris! This buckwheat flour crepe with a perfectly over easy egg was the ideal start to my day.

Sacre Coeur looking majestic.

Crepe #2 was a lovely lemon, butter, and sugar number.

The Montmartre neighborhood stole my heart.

Notre Dame looks magnifique!

The perfect afternoon snack - a cool glass of milk and the cutest raspberry tart.
I made it to the Love Wall!
I didn't go into the Louvre, but I enjoyed walking around the park outside.
The highlight of my trip! Standing in front of the Eiffel Tower was surreal.
I had to go with a chocolate lava cake for dessert on night 1.
One of the most charming locations in Paris!
Instead of relaxing on a beach or living it up in some tropical destination, I decided to book a ticket to France for spring break. I spent two days in Paris before taking the train to Lyon for another two days. It was, without a doubt, one of the most magical trips I've ever taken. I saw some amazing places, ate wonderful food, and experienced the beauty of French culture.

My first two days in Paris were incredible. I sat inside Sacre Coeur and gazed in awe at the majestic architecture and designs. I wandered through the streets of Montmartre and discovered the coolest pop-up shops and boutiques (and yes, I did some shopping). I stood in front of the Eiffel Tower and lived out all my Monte Carlo and French Kiss inspired dreams. In short, I had a memorable time wherever I went.

As for food, I unleashed my inner foodie and sampled the best that Paris had to offer. In addition to downing my fair share of freshly baked baguettes, I savored everything from a raspberry tart and a traditional lemon and sugar crepe to a specialty buckwheat flour crepe and a perfectly roasted chicken dinner. Paris definitely spoiled me with delicious food.

I can now understand why so many people are enamored by the City of Lights. With its glowing ambiance and natural charm, it truly is one of the star cities of Europe. Che magnifique!



P.S. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my trip to France. You'll never believe the adventures I had in Lyon!

Monday, April 18, 2016

things to do before going on vacation.

Who.A.U. bikini top, Gilly Hicks bottoms, Pac Sun sunglasses
Vacation season is upon us! I don't know about you, but the beautiful spring weather has me itching to head somewhere new. Fortunately, I have a few trips planned for spring and summer that will satisfy my wanderlust. Stay tuned to see what adventures I get up to!

As far as prepping for a vacation goes, I have a few essential to-do items that help me feel calm, cool, and collected before I head out the door. Whether you're planning  a beach getaway, a city exploration, or some combination of the two, here are a few tips that will get you set for your travels.

Do a suitcase edit.
By suitcase, I mean whatever bag you plan to bring with you. For most of my trips, I rely exclusively upon my trusty Jansport and a small purse. Regardless of the bag I take, I always try to lay out everything I want to bring at least two days before my trip. That way I have some time to figure out what I actually need and delete anything that isn't essential. I'm all about packing as light as possible. This is particularly important when you're traveling carry-on only and you plan to buy things on your trip. You need all the space you can get.

Download or print out a map of your destination.
Going to a new place can be disorienting at first. I try to ease this discomfort a bit by feeling as prepared and knowledgeable as possible. For me, this means knowing how to get to basic destinations, like the airport, the train station, and my hostel. I like to either print out Google directions or download a map of the area to my phone. Then I don't have to worry about getting lost at the beginning of my trip.

Charge your tech.
The thing about traveling is you're always on the move. Because of this, the opportunity to juice up your electronics may not come up as frequently as you think. I save myself this stress by charging all my technology, whether that means my phone, my Ipod, or my camera, before I leave. That way I know I'll be good to go once I reach my destination.

Have a pamper session.
Traveling on the cheap often means minimalist packing and inexpensive accommodations. I prefer to focus more upon fully experiencing my trip location than spending time on unnecessary luxuries like spa treatments and fancy hotel rooms. Instead, I'll give myself a mini spa night before I leave. A fresh mani/pedi and a good exfoliation and skin moisture session always help me to feel my best before I depart.

What's on your pre-trip to-do list? I'd love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter!



P.S. Check out my articles on The Holiday Girl for even more travel tips and recommendations.

Monday, April 11, 2016

4 workout videos I swear by.

In case you're just tuning in to the blog, here's an update. I've been living and working abroad in Italy for the past few months. While my time in bella Italia has been beyond amazing, things haven't been so easy on the fitness front. Not only are there no gyms in my area, but the cold temps have made it impossible to go on a run outside.

That's where YouTube comes into play. YouTube has been my savior while I'm abroad. Every day after work I pick one of my favorite videos to work out to for thirty minutes or so. Because of this, I've found quite a few stellar routines that I thought I'd share with you. There's something for everyone!

#1. At Home High Intensity Interval Training - FitnessBlender
FitnessBlender has some excellent workout routines on its channel. I love the unique moves and the high cardio intervals. I'm always out of breath by the time I finish this one!

#2. 8-Minute Full Body Tabata Workout - PopSugar
If you don't have a lot of time, this is the workout for you! There may only be four moves in this video, but don't let that get you thinking it will be easy. This routine is a challenge! You'll definitely be sweating by the end of it.

#3. Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Complete Workout - BeFiT
If, on the other hand, you have a lot of time, dare yourself to try this video. Jillian Michaels videos are always tough, but this one is a killer. It's nearly an hour long, and Jillian pushes you until the very end. I always feel exhausted in the best way after I finish this one.

#4. 30-Minute Flat Belly Workout - PopSugar
This is the type of workout I'll do on a normal day. It's approximately thirty minutes and it has a good balance of cardio and targeted muscle moves. PopSugar has the best variety of workout videos on the internet. Plus, Anna, the host, is always so positive. I'm always motivated to stick it out to the end!

Have you tried any of these? Any recommendations to share? I'd love to hear them!



P.S. Are you following me on Bloglovin? Hit the button on the sidebar or visit the Lip Tints & Leopard Prints page!

Monday, April 4, 2016

italian beauty buys.

My latest beauty discoveries.
I know what you're thinking. Those are all American brands! Yes, the names are in English. The products, however, are all discoveries I made while in Italy. Keep reading to hear my thoughts on each of them (Hint - I'm pretty impressed!).

Dove Nutriente Latte Per Pelle Secca (Dove Lotion for Dry Skin)
After I finished the bottle of Paris Amour Lotion from Bath & Body Works that I had packed with me, it was time to hunt for a new lotion. I knew I wanted something super moisturizing, since my skin gets particularly dry during the winter. This one is great because the thick formula absorbs quickly into my skin, leaving it feeling hydrated and refreshed. I also don't mind that it's relatively unscented, since I always layer perfume on top of it anyway.

Garnier Skin Naturals Fresh Latte Detergente Idratante (Garnier Skin Naturals Hydrating Makeup Removing Cream)
This product was a mistake purchase that turned out to be a winning find. I thought I was buying a natural face wash. Turns out I came home with a makeup removing cream instead (oops!). While I don't love having to use a cotton ball every time I remove my makeup, I do love how well this moisturizes my skin. It takes off all my makeup and leaves my skin feeling like I just applied a healthy slather of lotion on it. No dry patches here!

Miss Broadway Levasmalto Colori Scuri (Miss Broadway Dark Colors Nail Polish Remover)
While this may seem like an oddball product to include, I had to mention it. Not only does it remove dark polish in one fell swoop, but it also smells like almond extract. Yes, you read that right. No strong chemical smell here! It's really the little things that win me over.

That's all for now! I'll definitely do an update if I collect any more Italian beauty products before I leave.



P.S. Have you seen my articles for The Holiday Girl? I'm writing about travel, food, and fashion!