Monday, November 23, 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pierre Herme: Best Macarons in the World

We ate lots of delicious macarons in Paris, but the clear winner was Pierre Herme. The filling was so intensely vibrant and varied, plus everything was so pretty.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Paris Shopping Sneak Peek

My most treasured Paris purchase coming up...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Europe with a Toddler Part I: Sightseeing

Just got back from a wonderful two week trip with little k, K and my parents. I loved traveling with a toddler, I think that 3 is the perfect age to travel and we had so much fun sightseeing and eating our way through Europe. It was so wonderful seeing Europe through her eyes and it was a trip we'll never forget. She slept well on the redeye flight out, had zero jetlag while we were there, ate like a champ and was overall in great spirits through the entire trip. A few key things that I think made the trip a success: 1) spending almost the entire first week in one place, 2) picking one big sightseeing activity a day and allowing time in the afternoon to nap / rest, 3) renting an apartment with a kitchen and enough space for everyone, 4) a mixture of casual dinners and more formal reservation required places, 5) hanging out with other kids of a similar age, 6) reading books about Paris / London with the major landmarks, such as Madeleine, Everybody Bonjours and This is Paris, 7) flying business class with lie flat seats really helped with the sleep on the redeye. Here's our itinerary, which I think worked out really well:

Day 1 in Paris: a morning visit to Jardin des Plantes. We really loved the menagerie inside Jardin Des Plantes, one of the oldest zoos in the world; you could really get close to the animals, and it was a really walkable, toddler friendly place. In the afternoon, we visited Notre Dame. We didn't have time to go inside because of an early dinner reservation, but had a lot of fun running around the outside. Notre Dame was one of the major landmarks little k was familiar with from her books that we read before the trip. We also wanted to do Saint Chapelle, but didn't feel like paying the admission fee so early in the day.
 Day 2 in Paris: a little shopping in St. Germain Des Pres (celine) and then walked to the Louvre. Note for future visit: the Louvre is closed on Tuesday, but that means that it was pretty empty out front, and the kids had so much fun running around the pyramids. Then we let them run around the Jardin Palais Royale and picnicked around the fountain with some sandwiches from a nearby restaurant on Rue Richelieu.
Day 3 in Paris: visited the Eiffel Tower, which was probably the place little k was most excited about visiting. Note for future visit: book tickets for the elevators to go up as early as possible. Tickets were all sold out for both levels when I checked a few days before. The lines were quite long and we didn't have the time to wait, so just had fun running around the grass in the parks surrounding the Eiffel Tower. Also enjoyed watching a bit of the French Open on a big screen right in front of the Eiffel Tower. In the afternoon, we went for a walk in the beautiful Jardin Luxembourg which was only a half a block from our apartment on Rue de L'Odeon.
Day 4 in Paris: visited the children's playground in Jardin Luxembourg. Definitely worth the admission price to the playground, little k had fun trying all the various structures and particularly enjoyed the climbing structures. Really great park filled with locals and tourists alike. In the afternoon, we planned to take one of the Seine boat tours, the Bateaux Mouches / Bateaux Parisien from Notre Dame, but the schedules didn't work out so we just took the Batobus, which is an on / off boat that goes around the Seine. For future visit I would definitely check boat schedules ahead of time. The Batobus took a little too long and didn't have a tour guide.
Day 5 in Paris: had a family wedding ceremony at the local municipal office in the morning and visited the Louvre in the afternoon. little K was very excited to see the Mona Lisa, which was in pretty much all of her Paris books. For the future I would definitely book advance tickets to avoid the long line, but we wanted to keep a fluid schedule without too many firm commitments.

Day 6: rented a car from Gare du Nord to attend a family wedding at Chateau D'Aveny in Dampsmesnils, about an hour north of Paris
Day 7: Celebrated little k's third birthday in Giverny in Monet's garden, where she loved walking amongst the pathways lined with beautiful flowers as tall as she was, and also along the ponds with water lilies from some of my favorite Monet paintings. Also visited the impressionist museum nearby which was having a special Degas exhibition, featuring little k's favorite ballerinas.
Day 8: explored Amboise, which was our home base for our three days in the valley. Stayed in le Cardinale, an apartment in the heart of the little town. The chateau in Amboise had a large outdoor courtyard gardens on the top with views over the town and river. Plenty of space to run around in, and we also explored the indoor spaces including the chapel where Leonardo Da Vinci was buried and some of the living quarters. We also visited Clos Luce, Da Vinci's home and where he died. Little k enjoyed running around his gardens, but also looking at his various inventions inside his home.
Day 9: visited Chenonceau chateau, which is a stunning castle built on a bridge over the river. We enjoyed walking around the large beautifully manicured gardens outside with lovely views of the castle, as well as the interior of the castle as well. If I were to live in a castle, I would love for it to look like Chenonceau.
Day 10: travel day 2 London. Our longest and most exhausting travel day, with a three hour drive back to Gare du Nord in Paris, followed by the 2.5 hr Eurostar train ride to London. Note for future: definitely arrive at train station at least an hour ahead of the train as there is security and customs to clear before boarding the train. We literally made the train as it was pulling away from the station.
Day 11: explore London, visited Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Building, Buckingham Palace, Green Park in the morning. We didn't go inside anywhere as we had limited time in London but enjoyed seeing the major landmarks which were in our books. In the afternoon, visited the Princess Diana playground in Hyde Park, which is a wonderful park with a lots of different play areas, plus an old carousel right outside.
Day 12: visited the Natural History Museum. Little k really enjoyed the bug exhibit. The dinosaur exhibit was cool, but really packed and stuffy. Walked through the Victoria and Albert Museum and bought tickets for a later visit to the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty Exhibit.  We were lucky to be staying in a flat a block away from all the museums and it's so nice that all the museums were free admission so you could come and go as it suited. While little K was napping, my mom and I returned to view the Savage Beauty exhibit which was stunning. Alexander McQueen was such an incredible talent and there were so many exquisite and striking pieces. The exhibit was so well laid out and just a marvel to see.

Day 13: return home, tired but full of happy memories.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Childhood Relics: Birkenstocks & Fanny Packs

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I remember first wanting a pair of birkenstocks in the 90's. As a teenager, I could never afford a pair, but now, a few decades later, I finally have my first pair: the Arizona in mocha suede (narrow, with the soft footbed). I love them, it's just like walking on a very supportive yet cushy cloud. It will be hard to go back to flip flops. Another relic: the fanny pack. I'll admit, I have a Lululemon one that I use all the time when riding my bike, walking the dogs, going to Disneyland. This Clare Vivier for Other Stories one is just a dressed up version. Worn with my new but old (ss '13) Isabel Marant Aidan shorts from Yoox. I love Isabel Marant shorts / skorts, and this pretty white studded pair is perfect for summer. It's been in the 80's over here, crazy.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Son of a Gun

Isabel Marant Aidan shorts, Helmut Lang T, Arizona Birkenstocks, Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, Chanel necklace and Hermes watch
Had a really great meal at Son of a Gun on Friday. Other than sushi, seafood is usually not my first choice for a meal, but meat-free Fridays this time of year forces me out of my comfort zone, which I always end up appreciated. Highlights included the hamachi, linguini with clams and uni sauce, the uni burrata and grilled octopus salad. Such bold, fresh, tasty flavors. Getting really excited for our meal at Trois Mecs next week...


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