Paris, je t'aime.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

If you follow me on Instagram, it's no secret that my new favorite place in the world is none other than the beautiful city of Paris.

When I was lucky enough to score another trip to Belgium for two weeks for work earlier this month, I couldn't wait to book my train ticket to spend the weekend in the greatest city in France. Unfortunately, Mike couldn't go with me on this trip, but when I return to Europe again in January, there is no doubt he will be in the seat right next to me! 

On our first morning there, we had a quick breakfast at the hotel which consisted of the most amazing croissants I have ever tasted and a ton of coffee since we knew it would be a long day. From The Louvre, to Notre Dame, to the Eiffel Tower, and back, my co-worker and I tried to hit as many of the major sights as possible before lunch. Our feet were pretty much falling off from all of the walking we did but it was so, so worth it. We quickly realized that the metro system is quite easy to navigate, so on our next trip there, we will definitely be using it as our main method of transportation around the city. 

We spent most of the afternoon wandering through the Tuileries Garden, stopping for crepes drenched in Nutella, strolling up and down the Seine with crisp, yellow leaves falling all around us, and then down the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. 

Somehow, just when I thought Paris couldn't get more beautiful, it would turn right around and blow me away. Each one of the landmarks that we visited was significantly more beautiful than the last. Seeing Paris from the top of the Arc de Triomphe was probably my favorite moment of the entire weekend. It was absolutely stunning and totally worth the climb up the tiny spiral staircase. 

My second favorite moment was most definitely seeing Monet's Nymphéas (better known as the water-lily paintings) at Musée de l'Orangerie. I've wanted to see these paintings since I learned about them years ago and they did not at all disappoint. They were spectacular and I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning getting to sit and admire them as Monet intended.

We dined that evening at a restaurant on the Seine with a clear view of Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle. The mussels I had were absolutely out of this world, but of course that could just be the wine talking. ;)

The next morning, we were up early and headed straight to the market shops along Fauborg Saint-Denis to hunt down some goodies (read: all the wines and baguettes) to take home.

Much to our surprise we found ourselves among the hustle and bustle of the local shoppers snagging deals on fruit, meat, and cheese on their Sunday morning trips. It was so neat to hear the competing cries of the produce salesmen stationed across the street from one another, shouting out deals on strawberries, trying to win the attention of each patron passing by. I could only tell this was what they were doing because one of ten words I know in french (aside from the necessities like "merci" and "vin blanc") is "fraises" which means strawberries. If I could have figured out how to ask how much they were, I would have surely bought some, but since there was no sign and I was clearly a clueless American, I just watched instead.

We spent the remainder of the day relaxing at a local cafe, snacking on charcuterie and people watching. We were sad to leave, but as we boarded the train, I knew that soon enough, I would return again. Paris is truly the most magical place in the world and nothing can keep me away for long.

Fall Weekends

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

After spending every fall weekend so far either in a foreign country, sick, or partying it up at one of the four weddings we have on the books, it was so nice to have an entire weekend to ourselves. We spent all of Saturday hopping around from place to place checking off as many things on our fall bucket list as we could.

Our first stop was to Rock Hill Orchard for some apple picking. I feel like we were super late to the game on this one, so I was worried that there wouldn't be many apples left, but fortunately for us, they had just opened sections of their orchard that contained my favorite varieties! I can't wait to bake up some tasty pies!

After we had eaten at least half a dozen apples and filled up our 20 pound bag, we took a long scenic drive back to Baltimore, enjoying all of the changing leaves along the way. It's amazing how everything changes so suddenly once the air starts getting a little crisper. To me, after being away for two weeks, it felt like coming home to this magical fall wonderland. All the bright reds, oranges, and yellows - gah, I can't get enough!

When we got into the city, our first stop was The (first annual) Great Baltimore Oyster Festival! My friend Megan of Soup of the Day was part of the team that organized the event and they all did such a fantastic job! I was really looking forward to this event when she told me about it, not only get to enjoy some amazing oysters, beer, and live music, but also to get to see her and support the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Healthy Harbor Initiative. The oysters were amazing and I hope that we get to go back again next year!

After the oyster fest, we walked over to Fells Point to enjoy a few hours of the Fells Point Fun Festival. This festival has been going on for years but somehow, we've never been before. The minute that we got there, we were amazed at the sheer size of the event. It covered just about the entire area of Fells. Up and down every street were tons of vendors selling the most amazing food, beer, arts and crafts. There were games to play at each of the bars (lots of cornhole) and three different stages with all kinds of different music. It was so much fun walking around, stuffing ourselves full of every snack we could imagine - from empanadas to Mexican street corn to grilled teriyaki chicken to funnel cake. It was amazing. We will most definitely be going back next year and bringing friends!

After the long day of walking (Mike's phone recorded a total of more than 15,000 steps!), we headed back home for a relaxing evening by the fire. While Mike built up the fire pit out back, I prepped some hot caramel apple cider (caramel vodka with warm apple cider - try it, you won't regret it) and s'mores with some of the chocolate I had brought back from Belgium.

At the end of the day, sitting there by the fire and hanging out just the two of us, we didn't realize just how much we needed some quality time together. It was fun running around to all of the fall festivals and just enjoying each other's company again. We've been getting so caught up in the rush of things, this easygoing fall Saturday was just what we needed.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Believe it or not, this little blog just turned THREE!

It's hard to believe that I have had this baby for three whole years. It's been so much fun getting to know the awesome community of bloggers in the Baltimore area and beyond. I'm so grateful for all of the friendships I've made and for all the support I've gotten over the years - in good times and in bad. You have no idea how sincerely I appreciate each and every one of you taking the time to read about what's going on in my little slice of life.

To celebrate, I went out and got a brand new layout! Likey? I do! It's much more bold and modern than I'm used to but I think I definitely needed the change. It's hard to be excited about blogging when your blog starts to feel a bit stale. So I figured there was no better way to freshen things up than doing a little redecorating! :)

I'm not really interested in majorly expanding things or trying to profit from The Life We've Imagined at this stage in my life (too much going on honestly). But I am so excited to keep nurturing this little blog and getting to know more incredible ladies for many years to come!

Thank you so much for sticking with me! I love you all!

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