dreaming of Paris

Did you hear? Jordan Ferney is giving away a trip for two to Paris!

I am most certainly dreaming of winning. With thousands of entries so far I know my chances are slim, but a girl can dream, right?

During the summer before my senior year at Delaware, I studied abroad in London and I was able to take a 3-day side trip to Paris. (Sidenote: this was in 2001, just months before 9/11, and I remember my mom and brother being able to come with me to my gate at PHL before boarding the flight to London. Weird.)

The whole trip was life-changing for me as it was my first time leaving the US, but Paris was an especially magical place that impacted me immensely. I would love to go back with Nick to see it through more grown-up eyes alongside my best friend. I think I’d appreciate and savor it much more and notice things I wouldn’t have noticed as a college student.

The below photos were taken pre-digital days with a Kodak Advantix. Remember those things??

One of the best things about the study abroad trip was that one of my classes required that I keep a scrapbook of the entire trip. Without this requirement, I may not have held onto all of the little notes and mementos that I did, or kept such a detailed journal of my trip. When I learned about Jordan’s giveaway, I got out the ol’ scrapbook to page through it and reminisce. It was such fun to read the thoughts of a 20-year old me.

Look, almost exactly ten years ago! Man, I’m old…

Yes, my first meal in Paris was PIZZA. I am not proud of this, but I find it hilarious that this probably still seemed so Parisian and awesome to me. I didn’t care. I was in PARIS.

I love that I have this record of where I stayed (I never would have remembered otherwise) — if ever I’m back in Paris, I’ll have to see if the Alcyon Hotel is anything like I remember.

I always loved this picture, taken from the tip-top of the Eiffel Tower, of the shadow it cast onto the city below.

What is your dream travel destination? Did you go anywhere when you were younger that you’d like to revisit as an adult?

off-season sunset

A major perk of working for yourself: having the ability to work from wherever you want. I spent a few days down the shore this week, working and spending some quality time with Nick while he has the week off from work, and this was the gorgeous sunset we saw on Monday night.

iPhone photo with ShakeItPhoto effects

I love how quiet and serene the beach is in the off-season, and the weather has been absolutely perfect.

Number 94: Ms. Winfrey

Last Thursday, my mom and I jetted off to Chicago so I could check one more thing off of my 101 in 1001 list:

94. Go to a taping of Oprah

Let me tell you — it was FUN with a capital F-U-N. With it being Oprah’s final season of her show, we knew we had to find our way there soon if we were going to get there at all. Having a flexible schedule and a mom who is retired allowed us to book this somewhat last-minute trip when we lucked out with tickets (you can submit requests here), and we are so glad that we did. We were able to see guests Jon Stewart and Liza Minelli (the show airs today!), and went home with some fun loot (no trip to Australia, though ;).

You can tell by the sky that the sun was just coming up when we got to the studio around 6:20am; Oprah is probably the only person for whom I will wake up at 5am!

No photos are allowed inside the studio, so we snagged this shot outside after the taping

If you have the chance to go before the show ends, DO IT! It is so. much. fun.

Our trip was only Thursday to Saturday, but we still managed to see a bit of Chicago; I was there last year with Nick, but my mom had never been to the windy city. The weather was positively delightful on Thursday and Friday, and rain came just as we were heading to O’Hare to catch our flight home on Saturday, so we didn’t mind at all.

Anyone else planning to get to an Oprah Winfrey Show taping before the end of her final season? How is your 101 in 1001 list going?

Kick★ss Cupcakes

In case you didn’t know, Boston is my favorite city. If Nick and I ever had the opportunity to move there, I’m 99% sure that we would. (And that’s saying a lot for two people who have lived their entire lives in Pennsylvania… except for those four years of college that I spent in Delaware… but let’s be honest, it’s close enough that it may as well have been Pennsylvania.)

I don’t know why we didn’t know about Kick★ss Cupcakes before our last visit to Beantown, but you can bet your sweet cupcake that the next time we head north, this will be on our list of required stops.

image source

image source

The flavors that I’m dying to try:

Green Monster | chocolate cupcake and chocolate beer ganache center with Sam Adams Cream Stout frosting

S’more | graham cracker cupcake with chocolate ganache and a toasted vanilla bean marshmallow

The Lucky Cupcake | luscious lemon cupcake with white chocolate buttercream and candied ginger, comes with a fortune

Between this place and Johnny Cupcakes being based in Boston, it’s like fate is telling me I belong there. (I am Mrs. Cupcake, after all.)

recovery

I’m still recovering from:

  1. a really annoying head cold (I should buy stock in DayQuill)
  2. a fabulously awesome trip to Las Vegas
  3. jetlag

I might be a little quiet on the blog front this week, but I’ll be back soon! xoxo

Bees in Vegas. Can’t you feel the love?

traveling in style

I’m taking a trip in a few days to a little place in Nevada; I’m very much looking forward to spending some time with a few cool ladies and enjoying some warmer weather. While it may not be warm enough to camp out poolside, being able to leave my snow boots at home in Pennsylvania will be a refreshing change.

There are a few outings planned and I want to look and feel stylish; considering I spent the majority of the month of February working from home in my pajamas, this will actually be quite a departure for me. I started planning my outfits in my head a few weeks ago, and I had a little fashion show for myself last week to see what would work and what I still needed to buy. Yes, this is very serious business.

In the past week I have picked up a few new things to supplement my current wardrobe so I’m stylin’ on the strip:

printed Kelsey ruffle top from J.Crew (mine is the same print, but in purple), on sale for $43.55

tunnel belt shirtdress from The Limited, on sale for $47.70
(it looks extremely shiny in these photos, but it is really not shiny at all)

Blooms print dress from Ann Taylor Loft, on sale for $41.99

Hush Puppies Rosemore heels in Silver Metallic leather from DSW, on clearance for $27.96,
paid $17.96 because I had a $10 rewards coupon

(I didn’t even know that Hush Puppies made heels, but these are cute, comfortable, and versatile enough that hopefully I will get a lot of wear out of them in the future)

long black trench coat from Target, $39.99

I’ll also be breaking out my favorite LBD (little black dress) from my girl Betsey. I have worn this to my mom’s 2008 wedding, my bridal shower (with a twist), and a wedding since I bought it. It truly is the perfect LBD!

Cute husband not included

What are your wardrobe staples when traveling?

Austin pics

It has been nearly two months since I took a trip to Austin, Texas, for the HOW Design Conference, but I never really blogged about the trip!

While the majority of my visit was spent inside the convention center, I was able to see just a tiny bit of the city before heading back to Philly. Overall, it was a cool place (and by cool I mean “neat”) yet it was extremely, stiflingly hot (and by hot I mean “unbearable”) for a northern girl like me. 106 degrees in June is just a bit of overkill, Austin.

Alas, I had a great time — I ate a LOT of Tex Mex, shopped on South Congress, and managed to capture a few cool pictures thanks to my little Panasonic Lumix TZ5 (and some sprucing up with a few fun Photoshop actions). Here are a few of my faves, all taken on my last day while shopping along SoCo (as the cool kids say).

Austin-bound

Tomorrow I am heading to Austin, TX, for the HOW Design Conference. I am super excited (although I still have to pack!!) and looking forward to getting inspired and rejuvenated to get in better touch with my designer-self. It will be a jam-packed several days and hopefully I’ll have a little bit of time to enjoy this amazing city.


Apparently it’s 100+ degrees in Austin… I am NOT a fan of the heat so we shall see how I hold up! See you all next week :-)

windy, indeed

Sorry for the lack of posting lately… Nick and I took a somewhat last-minute trip to Chicago last week! We found a great deal and decided to keep up with our annual May excursions (last year we went to Boston for a game at Fenway and to see the city; the year before that, we visited my relatives in New Orleans and went to JazzFest). Overall, we had a great time in the Windy City! Here are a few highlights:

Deep dish pizza (at both Gino’s East, shown below, and Lou Malnati’s, our favorite of the two)…
Spending time with an old friend…Gorgeous tulips all over the city…
A Cubs game at Wrigley Field…
Seeing some amazing works of art at the Art Institute of Chicago
Fun with the bean…
A cool exhibit of works inspired by or designed for the Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign…
Yummy food and good company (with two Chicago bees) at Carnivale
A clear day’s view from the 99th floor of the Sears Tower…
And fun with the fun house mirrors at Navy Pier.
I’m glad to be able to check #93 off my list! #94 will have to wait as Oprah was finished taping her season by the time we got into town, but that will just give me another excuse to get back to the Windy City another time soon.