Autumn in Paris

Thursday, November 16, 2017

We are back from France and it's taken me far too long to chronicle our trip.  It sounds cliche but it's actually quite true- it's hard to take a bad picture in the city of lights or frankly anywhere in France. I've actually not edited one of these pictures! However, sorting through all these great pictures has taken me nearly a month. So without further adieu, here are some of the highlights of our time in Paris. I've hopefully got another post on Provence coming too!

We started our trip in Paris, and with only a couple of days in the city we tried our best to see as much of everything we could.  That being said, we didn't get to so many of my favorite spots and we hardly slept the 3 days we were there. It was hardly enjoying the French way of life. All fun but also hurried. 

The Luxembourg gardens were incredibly gorgeous.  The trees were turning color but the sun was still warm enough to sit outside and the flowers were still in bloom. Always one of my favorite places to visit, this time did not disappoint.

Thankfully, we did sit and enjoy the park and try to slow down for a minute with a glass of Cotes de Provence.  If there is anything more French to me it's sitting at a small table outside enjoying a cafe or a glass of wine with no agenda ahead. 

This was my Dad's first trip to France and thus we wanted to give him the grand tour of Paris.  All the  usual must sees- Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Montmarte, the Seine River, the Louvre, Sacré-Cœur, Le Marais, the Latin Quarter, St. Germain, Galleries Lafayette, on and on the list goes.  You get the idea that it's impossible to see everything in 3 days.  

One of our first stops after checking into our airbnb and enjoying our first French meal was Notre Dame.  The crowds were light and we got to spend time inside. I always love observing those who actually come to pray and light a candle vs just gawk at the architecture. 

We crossed the Île de la Cité and made our way to St. Germain to check out some of our favorite streets. As always in France, the outside is the most popular place to sit. I will always love little cafe tables and bistro chairs. 

We didn't time our trip to Paris to coincide with fashion week but that's exactly what happened. We didn't have time to catch any shoes, but we did go to Louis Vuitton and Colette- before it closes for good!

We basically ran through Galleries Lafayette before closing. With over 9 floors and the atrium it takes time and unfortunately we didn't get to see any of it. Galleries also has rooftop deck with an incredible 360 view of the city that we didn't get to do. Bummer!

This time we stayed in the 1st arrondissement. Our Airbnb was nicely located for access to most everything. The only draw back was that is might of been too nicely located. With so many restaurants and bars right under our windows, there was singing, yelling, and just fun partying go on all night long. Sleep was difficult. 

We had some really good meals in Paris and some just alright meals. Maybe it's that our expectations are always high?  One thing that didn't disappoint was the cheese.  This time around we made sure to order the cheese course (at almost every meal) and it was heavenly!

Escargot and Foie Gras

Cheese instead of dessert

These are the exception to my no bad pictures in France.  I love French handwriting on a menu chalkboard. I wish I had taken the time to take better pictures!  

That's a wrap on this Paris trip.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post on Provence!



Saturday, August 26, 2017

We’ve been using and enjoying Airbnb since we started traveling abroad three years ago. Now, it’s the only way we travel (if possible). It makes traveling accessible and affordable. My parents and sister even Airbnb’d a ship (boat?) in Greece for their accommodations. There are absolutely incredible Airbnb homes around the world for as little as $30 a night.

Some of the places we’ve stayed or will be staying at.





So it was a natural progression to become Airbnb hosts ourselves. This summer we listed our basement mini suite and to date we have been booked over 12 times, nearly every single weekend from August to October.

It’s been an adventure. Initially, we decided to host and kind of feel it out. Well, within the first 24 hours we were booked 7 times. We even had people wanting to come the very next day after listing. We scrambled. We thought we might get some interest around the eclipse, not really expecting to host so quickly or so much.

Thankfully, we made a few adjustments and things have been working well. I kind of secretly have always wanted to run a bed & breakfast since my college days. We’ve had fun setting up a homey and inviting space for our guests. I enjoy putting out special touches like fresh flowers and homemade baked goods. And, our guests seem to be enjoying it as well. We’ve had all 5 star reviews (knock on wood) and are on our way to becoming Airbnb super hosts!

So, the next time you have guests in town and need a place for them to stay, think of us! And, if you have a space your willing to rent out, we would be more then happy to refer you to Airbnb. Let us know!

Travel Season

Thursday, July 27, 2017

You already know about the 12 days we spent in Cabo and very soon we will be spending a week in North Eastern Oregon- one of our most favorite places on Earth. Soon after that trip we are headed back to France. This time we will visit not only Paris, but also Southern France in the towns of Arles (Provence) and Nice (French Riviera).

We haven’t traveled much since the arrival of the bébé. But, now we are blowing the dust off our suitcases and getting back on the airplane.

It’s always a tough decision to leave our children for any extended period of time. Of course we miss them like crazy and the logistics of caring for 5 children is complicated. Even with lots of family around to help it’s not easy. I would love to bring our kids with us, but most of the trips we have been able to take are relatively short and we move much too quickly for family travel. We usually are up early and out late. Walking 10-15 miles a day. There is little sleep involved.

So, in the next few weeks stay tuned! I’m bringing the blog along for all the preparations, travel, and fun. We also have some exciting things happening here on the homefront. And, if you have any questions be sure to leave a comment so I can answer them!

Cabo San Lucas Part Three- Flora Farm & Field Kitchen

Monday, July 24, 2017

Think of the middle of no where and go further down a bumpy dirt road through a desolate rugged desert. A place so unfriendly, the only inhabitants are prickly cactuses and sage brush. Then imagine a tranquil lush oasis. This is Flora Farm & Field Kitchen. Flora Farms is a 150 acre ranch that includes a restaurant, shops, spa, luxury cottages, and more. It has attracted big name celebrities and become a must see to and do in Cabo.

And, then there is us. Our first time to Flora Farm was magical and all that it was touted to be. I couldn’t take enough pictures of this beautiful place.

Our first stop was a quick stroll through some of the shops. Flora Farms has presentation done perfectly. In addition to jewelry, art, lotions, and soaps (all made by local artisans), you can also purchase produce from the farm, eggs, honey, sweet treats, and freshly baked bread.

We took advantage of the beautiful grounds and dusky twilight to take some family pictures.

Dinner was an experience we won’t forget. The food is delicious although pricey, but ambiance is worth every penny. The kids ran around under palm trees, looked for turtles in the pond, and played with the resident dogs. It was one of our best memories. If you are ever in Cabo, we highly recommend making the trip out to Flora Farms.

Cabo San Lucas Part Two- Our Favorite Places

Thursday, July 20, 2017

There are so many great places to eat in Cabo and although it has been 8 years since our previous trip we were happy that all our favorite places (and some news ones) were still there.

Favorite Cabo Restaurants

Romeo & Julieta
Cabo has some amazing Italian food! It often feels like your only two dining options are either Mexican or Italian and really who can complain about that?! Romeo & Julieta has been renovated since our last trip and it’s even more beautiful. We love the Caesar salad which is prepared at your table. Did you know the Caesar salad was created in Mexico? It’s true! In 1924 Caesar Cardini a Tijuana, Mexico restaurant owner had run out of food, but needed something to feed his guests, so he threw together what few things he had left and ended up with what is now the world famous Caesar salad. Another fun memory are the Mexican coffees which the waiters also prepare table side along with some fire showmanship.

Edith’s is legendary in Cabo for it’s beautiful outdoor dining and authentic fresh Mexican food. We celebrated our 19 year anniversary here and we went back our last night because it’s so good.

La Catrina Restaurant
We celebrated Colette’s birthday at La Catrina. It was actually our first time eating at the restaurant, which we stumbled upon walking up from the beach. It also happens to have some of the best reviews on Trip Advisor. The food was really good but what made the night memorable was the hostess who held and rocked Colette so that we could eat our dinner without holding a baby at the same time. Our kids talk about this night as one of their most favorite of the entire trip.

One of my parent’s favorite restaurants and another Italian gem in Cabo. We ate at Alcaravea twice in Cabo!

Other Fun Options

Mango Deck
The Mango Deck can get a little Cabo crazy depending on what time of day you visit, but they also have some of the best ceviche and tacos. Right on the beach it’s a fun place to hang out and get a good meal.

Tanga Tanga
Another interesting place to find cheap tacos and beers. What it lacks in ambiance it makes up for in an inexpensive meal.

Baja Brewing
Baja Brewing has an incredible view and a great happy hour. It’s worth taking the stairs to the top of this building where the restaurant is located just for the view alone.

As you can tell we enjoy eating out on vacation. It’s a treat that we don’t liberally indulge in at home. We see it as a privilege and something to look forward to. One of our most favorite nights is coming up in an entire post devoted just to that experience. Stay tuned for Flora Farms.

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