honeymoon (part 3)

IMG_2275On our last day in Paris we walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg with a baguette and soft cheese. Why is the cheese so good?? It was hot out, so we snagged some grass in the shade among and ate our (now VERY) soft cheese. While Dan relaxed and cooled off a bit I strolled through the gardens and took a few photos.IMG_2269 IMG_2277^^Reminds me of the lions outside the Art Institute of Chicago!

IMG_2279 IMG_2281 IMG_2284 IMG_2285 IMG_2287 IMG_2288 IMG_2289From there we walked to the Musee Rodin, a museum dedicated to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum used to be a hotel, and looks like a beautiful old mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens. I loved it here.IMG_2293 IMG_2325 IMG_2324 IMG_2322 IMG_2318 IMG_2313 IMG_2309 IMG_2308^^Dan’s holding a bottle of Amer Picon that he picked up on our walk from Jardin du Luxembourg to the Musee Rodin. He traveled with it all the way back to Los Angeles for a very special upcoming Whaling Club.

IMG_2306 IMG_2305 IMG_2300 IMG_2297 IMG_2296 IMG_2295 IMG_2294That night we had a delicious dinner and cocktails at Le Mary Celeste. We strolled back through Le Marais toward our flat, ate a nutella crepe, and stopped to have a few glasses of red wine and peanuts at a sidewalk cafe. Such a picturesque last night in Paris! In the morning we left our sweet Parisian flat and took the Eurostar to London. Last honeymoon post and London pictures up next!

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honeymoon (part 2)

IMG_2167webEveryone told us that Paris is a very walkable city–and it’s true! We walked almost everywhere with a few trips on the metro. (The metro, however, is amazing. So clean and we never waited more than two minutes for a train.) Walking also took us through neighborhoods we were interested in exploring, but didn’t have a specific destination for. We walked from our flat down to Sainte-Chapelle, and on the way Dan stopped for a jambon and cornichon baguette he had spotted the day before. Cornichons are one of his favorite foods, and we’d never seen them IN a sandwich before!IMG_2148 IMG_2152IMG_2158IMG_2159^^The line to get in to the Sainte-Chapelle was intimidatingly long, and we weren’t sure we’d get in in time to make our lunch reservation at Septime. But luckily it moved quickly. I read that each column was a different biblical story, and each window frame was a moment of that story. It’s kind of like the original comic strip, you know?IMG_2163 IMG_2164^^The winding stairs leading to the stained glass.IMG_2178IMG_2168We walked from the Sainte-Chapelle to Septime, which is in the Bastille neighborhood. Septime was one of the most highly anticipated meals of our trip, and it did not disappoint. Our friends Carly and JB had gifted us this meal through our Honeyfund, and scoring a reservation had been a challenge. So we were thrilled to get in. We arrived just in time for our reservation to a completely full restaurant, and we waited briefly at the bar for our table. The restaurant was simple and beautiful, with gorgeous light. The patrons all seemed to be speaking French, and we got the sense that it was mostly locals. The staff was very welcoming, and almost all spoke English. They brought us this bowl of thinly sliced ham and fresh bread while we waited (the bread and wine were consistently great everywhere we went). One of the waitresses came over and explained the menu to us, and we decided to go for it and have the tasting menu. She asked us if there was anything we wouldn’t eat, and we said no…IMG_2173IMG_2174IMG_2176One of the courses was pigeon, and there was an item on our plates that we couldn’t quite identify. We asked our server what it was, and she put her hand to her heart and said “it makes you strong.” It was the heart of the pigeon! Dan couldn’t quite bring himself to eat that, so I went for it and ate mine AND his! I’m extra strong now. As we were walking back to our flat, Dan commented that he felt like it was one of the most current meals we’d had, meaning we had experienced what the modern Paris cuisine scene was like right at this moment, and potentially where it would continue to go.IMG_2171^^Dessert was peaches, raspberries, and lily ice cream.IMG_2211^^That evening (after a little post-Septime nap) we went to the Arc de Triomphe. The light was beautiful, and we walked to the top for a 360 degree view of Paris. If you look closely, you can see all the people on the top of the Arc in the photo above. IMG_2200^^View of the Champs-Elysees.IMG_2210IMG_2209IMG_2214From there we walked down the Champs-Elysees to Laduree, a luxury French bakery, famous for their macarons. IMG_2215^^I ordered rose ice cream (it really tasted like roses, in a good way!) with four mini macarons on top. And then, because we couldn’t be stopped, we headed back to the Bastille neighborhood and went to Septime’s casual sister spot, Clamato, for a romantic dinner at the bar, where we continued the culinary adventure with snails, shrimp, and the highly recommended razor clams, all served on Falconware. The place was packed! IMG_2218

The next morning we tried to get to the Louvre early to beat the long lines. We entered from the underground entrance, since it was so hot out, which I think saved us some entry time. IMG_2230 IMG_2231^^Napoleon III ApartmentsIMG_2233 IMG_2238IMG_2246The Louvre is so huge! We spent hours taking it all in, then retreated to the Jardin des Tuileries to find a little shady spot after being surrounded by people in the museum. I was leaning back in one of the green park chairs, when I felt something wet drop onto my chest. A bird pooped on me!! That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me, and I know they say it’s good luck, but I’m pretty sure that’s just what they say to make you feel better (like rain on your wedding day). Luckily it didn’t land on my clothes, just skin, and Dan ran to an ice cream stand for some napkins and wiped it off because I was freaking a little. What a guy! From there we walked back to Le Marais, stopping at Berthillon for ice cream and sorbet.IMG_2247IMG_2249IMG_2251IMG_2252IMG_2254^^As you can see in many of these photos, Dan sweetly carried my beloved Ona camera bag whenever it started to feel heavy.

IMG_2255IMG_2259^^Cool street art.

IMG_2260We had a croque madame and charcuterie plate at a cute cafe around the corner from our flat, then cocktails at Candelaria, a taqueria with a speakeasy in the back. This took us a little bit north of our flat into part of Le Marais neighborhood we hadn’t explored yet. We loved seeing all the different cafes with outdoor seating. Dan pointed out that all the chairs were positioned to face out, so you ate sitting side by side and could look out to the street. This seemed to be the set up everywhere in Paris. It makes me smile to think about that evening, walking through “our” neighborhood, and taking it all in together. I have a bit more to share from Paris, then we’re off to London! Thanks for indulging me!

 

honeymoon (part 1)

paris-honeymoonParis and London lived up to everything we hoped and expected. Our honeymoon was nothing short of spectacular! We registered with the Honeyfund, and knowing that so many of our family and friends gifted us parts of our honeymoon really made the whole trip extra special and truly connected to our marriage. We talked about and toasted so many of you during our trip! Oh, and you get to say husband a lot when you travel, so that’s fun! In Paris we decided to rent an apartment through Airbnb. After lots of searching we finally decided on this one for the amazing location and AC (a rare find!). Our host greeted us with flowers and a bottle of red wine to welcome us to Paris!paris-flowers-viewIMG_2055We arrived late the evening before, but jet lag had me up at 4am. I tried not to squirm as long as I could, but around 5:30am Dan woke up too and we watched the sun come up from our flat window. Our apartment was cozy (small) but completely renovated in an old Parisian building. We were on the top floor, and if you leaned out you could see the Eiffel Tower to the right! Below were the cobblestone streets of Le Marais with a mix of boutiques and falafel shops. IMG_2044IMG_2046Since we couldn’t sleep, we decided to roam the streets early that morning. Almost everything was closed at that hour, but it was such a calm and beautiful time to take in the city. IMG_2059^^The courtyard of our building.IMG_2062^^A bunch of people had recommended L’As du Fallafel. We knew it was in our neighborhood, but it turned out to be almost directly below our flat! We may have stopped in for second dinners a few times…it was too good and convenient to pass up! I don’t have a photo of it, but it’s directly across the street from this bright red store (also a falafel shop).IMG_2063IMG_2064^^Paris really knows how to embrace flower boxes! I felt inspired to add some greenery to our little balcony back in LA.IMG_2065IMG_2066IMG_2268^^Shortly after 8am we stumbled upon Cafe Loustic for coffee. I diligently did my best to order us two cappuccinos in French, although we found out later the barista was Australian. It became one of our favorite spots because it was one of the few spots we “discovered” rather than seeking it out as a destination.IMG_2071 IMG_2076From there we walked down to the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) and across the river to Notre Dame. The cathedral had just opened, and while there were plenty of people gathering, it was still relatively sparse. When we walked by a few days later in the afternoon, we were a bit shocked by the crowds in comparison.IMG_2144^^Totally unrelated but we passed this shop with the most massive meringues I’d ever seen!IMG_2081 IMG_2094IMG_2091IMG_2092IMG_2098IMG_2096IMG_2100IMG_2104IMG_2107^^The famous love locks!IMG_2109We had lunch reservations at Derriere (thank you, Gillian!), a large, eclectic restaurant that’s designed to look like a family apartment. The idea being that you entertain friends at home each night. Each corner of the restaurant is styled like a different room, and if you go upstairs, there are even bedrooms and boudoirs to dine in. We ate in what I think was the living room, right next to a ping pong table. The atmosphere was really fun, and the food here was simple and delicious. We had a string bean appetizer that was one of our favorite dishes from the trip, and I ate some of the only mushrooms I’ve ever liked in my life. Everything was really fresh and full of flavor. I’ve been told they also have an amazing brunch. I highly recommend checking it out. I made the reservation online and could only get lunch, but I think if you are able to call it would be easier to score a dinner reservation.IMG_2110IMG_2112IMG_2115IMG_2116IMG_2118IMG_2119IMG_2121After lunch we went to the modern art museum, Centre Pompidou, just down the street, and then headed back to our flat for a jet lag induced nap. Most of our days in Paris had us up early, with a nap in the afternoon. But the days were so long during this time of year (the sun didn’t set until 10pm!) that when we woke up it still felt like there were plenty of hours of daylight to take in the city. So we took the metro over to the Eiffel Tower, grabbed a bottle of rose just before the stores closed, and sat in the grass to watch the sunset. IMG_2122IMG_2123IMG_2129IMG_2132^^The other direction. We weren’t the only people with this idea!IMG_2143^^Right after sunset the tower starts sparkling with hundreds of glittering lights for about ten minutes. It was so romantic! (Apologies for the blur, I had to shoot this handheld on a really low shutter speed to get any of the crazy fast sparkling lights.) Then we hightailed it to Le Relais de l’Entrecote for double portions of the yummiest steak frites! Can I please end every day like this??

 

bridal shower

IMG_2028In March, my best friend and bridesmaid, Caitlin, and her mom, who I love so much, threw the most wonderful bridal shower for me! Dan and I are headed to Paris and London for our honeymoon this summer, so Mrs. Leutwiler and Caitlin pulled out all the themed stops. Seriously, it was like they had been collecting for this theme their whole life with the details they pulled off! Everything from the food to the table settings to the goodie bags with Scottie dog cookies (For Dan “Scott”) — and, of course, a life size cut-out of THE QUEEN was epic. This really felt like the kick off to the countdown of my wedding. I was very touched to be surrounded by my girlfriends, some of who flew in just for the shower, as well my future mother-in-law who also flew out. The Leutwilers live directly across the street from my home. Their house is basically an extension of my own. I took photos in their driveway every year through the end of high school on the first and last days of school, camped in their backyard, and would look to see if Caitlin’s bedroom light was on to see if it was too late to call. So you can imagine how special it was to me to have my shower there.

IMG_2035IMG_2023IMG_2029^^My friend Kristi, who is currently living in London and couldn’t be there, sent gorgeous gold crackers with wedding cake shaped bubbles inside!map-food^^Did you notice the tube map??WP_20140315_10_52_53_ProafterlightWP_20140315_11_07_12_PromomsdaughterstablegroupsWP_20140315_12_23_12_ProWP_20140315_12_21_59_Promoms-cake^^It was my birthday a few days later, so Mrs. Leutwiler also made me a Chocolate Biscuit Cake — the same cake Prince William had for his groom’s cake! And it was topped with the most amazing candle I’ve ever seen!Untitled-1