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One of my closest girlfriends, Ana Clara, moved to Munich with her honey for work. Naturally I just had to make it over there to see her life there one weekend. Don’t forget that Munich is freakin’ cold. A February weekend in Munich was a brave choice on my part. Going when it’s balls cold made me even more excited to pop by when the sun is out and we can stroll through the English gardens.

Back to the point: I had been to Munich before twice, once when I was studying abroad for a year in France when I was 16 for a couple of days, and again during my Bachelor’s for Oktoberfest (obvs). This time was more about actually seeing the city. I’m a lucky lady cos Ana eats sanely and loves adorable places with quality products, so every place she took me was just wonderful. Did you know that Germans are super open to vegetarians and vegans and that faux sausages exist all over the place? Even at beer festivals?! High five for the Bavarians.

Ana Clara and Yann-Yves’s close group of friends in the city were so precious and organized a traditional Bavarian brunch when I was in town, which did involve include Witbier before noon, wurst, pretzels and the works. These fine people then accompanied us to the local Starkbierfest that was that exact weekend, ha, which made for the most Bavarian day possible. If you’re planning a trip to Munich and like beer and beer culture, definitely check out if there are any small beer festivals going on, nothing like a liter of beer and pretzels and men in Lederhosen!

Strolling through the Munich streets, I was constantly in love with the pastel buildings, and the wideness of the streets and spaciousness of the interiors. Something about it was just so charming. For a city that had been basically rebuilt, even the modern buildings keep their original architecture, which I though was pretty cool. BTW, don’t jay-walk in Munich, apparently it’s a no no.

Boogie Donuts – Donuts To Go
Daddy Longlegs – Healthy/Coffee/Breakfast/Lunch/Snack
Dallmayr – Specialty Shop/Chocolates/Tea
La Taquéria – Mexican/Lunch/Dinner
Joon – European/Dinner/Bar/Cocktails
Wirthaus Hörreshof – Traditional Bavarian/Lunch/Dinner

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While in Denver over the holidays, a weekend in Santa Fe was the perfect getaway within a getaway… entre filles. With my homegirls Liz and Caroline we made the trek due south for a mini 1-night road trip. Only 6 hours from Denver, one of the sources of my mom’s inspiration and taste and a place my bestie knew pretty darn well, believe it or not, I had never been. This entire post was prepared while listening to the song “Santa Fe” from my favorite musical, Rent, on repeat by the way. Ahem.

On the drive down we saw quite a bit of diverse landscapes: blue skies, a blizzard, icey mountain roads, South Park, the Collegiate Peaks covered with hats made of fog, lonely general stores that almost looked abandoned, the Great Sand Dunes from afar, the Colorado/New Mexico border…

Santa Fe is small but filled with history and traditions and it’s own vibe. The adobe buildings bring a whole completely, uniquely and utterly adorable look to the cityscape: one with more nature and for some reason a bit more of a cozy feeling. Something about it is just as charming as fuck. Many of the details were those that inspired my mom to decorate our home, so it all seemed awkwardly familiar. Having always seen my mom in her Native American jewelry as an Arizona-born gal, the local shops had windows filled with silver adorned with stones I somehow knew the name to. Alas, it was a fun experience, and our brief spin through the town still felt so worth it to me with two of my favorite gals on the planet.

Dragon Room @ The Pink Adobe // Restaurant & Bar // Cocktails out

Pasqual’s // Restaurant // Fancy New Mexican meal

The Plaza // Main square with local jewelers and shops

Tune up café // Café // Killer breakfast burrito

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Summer is rolling out. I’m hoping this Indian summer will stick around just a few days more before the leaves fully turn and fall from their branches and the rain falls more often.

This summer Louis and I didn’t get vacation. I know, surprising being in France, the country with 5 weeks paid vacation which is often unheard of to most hardworking Americans. As I had just started my new permanent contract (paid vacation days have to be earned throughout the first year for the following year… vivement next year!) and Louis just started a new project, we had to swing through summer working full time on our mix and match schedules. We have nothing to complain about though; we are loving what we do, and this summer we took in slow, enjoyed Paris, but also hopped on the highway just a short ride to the countryside for a breath of fresh air with the in-laws whenever we could. An excuse to get out of Paris on the weekends certainly made summer feel more real.

A la campagne it feels like summer year round. Not because of the weather, but because it’s relaxing and just so beautiful. We dine even with the chills outside, with light gardlands lit and candles topping the table as soon as the sun goes down, it is as charming as ever. With the foggy mornings and flowers for every season in bloom throughout the year, it’s safe to say that the countryside is pure magic. My father-in-law’s garden was at its peak later than expected this year, so our fruit and veggie explorations were the cherry on top of a good weekend away during the Indian summer.

I suppose with age and wonderful experiences I’m realizing that summer doesn’t only consist in getting away for vacation to a beach somewhere. A weekend away in good company, delicious and quality grub in a beautifully cozy home can certainly suffice. What makes your summer feel like summer?

istabul-turkey-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-21Istanbul had been on my bucket list for quite some time. The land where east meets west, in my mind it was a Mecca of sweets, coffee and other wonderful things. The Turkish pop music only made me want to go more, the culture that was always said to be so hospitable and full of life.

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My friend Olivia and her free spirit and craving for travel and the discovery of culture, moved to Istanbul late last year. Louis and I thus had been dreaming of stopping by, so we spontaneously booked some round trip tickets for a long weekend. A whopping 3 hour flight from Paris, we made it to the land of bling and baklava. We were welcomed by freshly folded Turkish towels in Olivia’s love shack, topped with soap sporting Louis’s last name, which we quickly learned is a soap brand and literally means “pure”. Cherry on top.

A few tips on these cliché but fantastic places: Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, beyond worth it. You could spend hours in both. Accept the tea they offer you in each stall and don’t be afraid to bargain your eye candy. Grab some freshly squeezed pomegranate juice on the street to boost your body. Buy some Turkish delights to bring back home for friends and family, nuts or olives do the trick as well. Wander around and find secret rooftop cafés where you can sit and chat with a local, enjoy a random pastry.

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On a side note, one of my favorite parts of the trip was strolling in the neighborhood market to make our own Turkish breakfast (did you see my video of the Turkish breakfast Olivia and Elif made in Paris? Well, there will be a version 2 coming up). If you whip out your best “merhaba” the vendors will give you a big smile.

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As for our Saturday night in Istanbul, we kicked off the evening at the lovely Akin Balik (in Beyoğlu, reservations recommended). If possible, bring a Turk with you to make sure what you order is spot on, but regardless, order heaps of mezze, some Raki and enjoy. The main fish we shared at our dreamy dinner were leverk and çupra… unfortunately I don’t have the translation (cough, Sedat). This restaurant has hanging lights, Turkish music, Efes and the works. It’s all outside on the seaside, and to allure despite the winter chills they heat the tables by burning coal at your feet — which is initially hot hot hot but then you realize it’s pretty fantastic. We then wandered to the Karaköy area, followed by taxying (why not) up to Taksim to check out a nameless mysterious and trendy cocktail bar ran by a American fellow off of Istiklal Street.

Our Sunday, and last day, was filled with sunshine and was perfect for our touristy excursions. We strolled around the breakthtaking Blue Mosque and  Hagia Sofia, visited the rainbow staircases and strolled through the trendy Galata neighborhood with coffee breaks at adorable cafés. We finished off the weekend with a stop by the Bosphorus Brewing Company, for some Turkish beer action. I’m not sure we could have had a better 3.5 days in Istanbul. There is still so much to see, and we certainly plan to go back.

Tips on playing tourist in the city: Don’t be afraid of the public transportation. The metro and trams in Istanbul are easy to navigate and can get you to and from major points of interest (you can buy individual tickets at all stations, so keep your lira coins!) Taxis are a good deal if you’re not going far, but try to know where you’re going, as can happen in any city, tourists can get taken on the long route. Wifi is everywhere, so don’t fret about being connected and looking up places to go while you’re out and about.

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Akin Balik – Traditional restaurant on the sea, perfect for a dinner out. Mezze/seafood. Reservations recommended.

Bosphorus Brewing Company - Brewery / Taproom / Restaurant

Café Galata - Café / Sweets

Constantinople – Hagia Sofia / Blue Mosque

Grand Bazaar - Turkish Marketplace

Karakoy Gulluoglu
– Baklava heaven

Kavalti Evi - Turkish Breakfast (Order menamen!)

Mavra - Café / Restaurant / Concept Store

Miss Pizza – Italian Restaurant / Pizzeria

Spice Market – Enough said

Unter – Restaurant / Bar (with music at night)

Velvet Café - Trendy Café / Snacks

 

Caen-De-quelle-planete-es-tu-12Every November, Louis and I go to celebrate birthdays with the family that I lived with when I was 16, where I caught onto French and fell in love with French culture. This marvelous family that I adore has since moved to Caen, and I was so excited to discover their new city and the sea on our little weekend getaway. On the sunny winter afternoon we drove up to the historical seaside, popping by the fish market to prepare for the lunch that followed.

On our way back to Paris, we spun through Pont Audemer, the town where I lived for a year with them, for a little dinner date before heading back to the city life.

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