Independence Day 2018 in Paris

I spent a long weekend over Independence Day with Kev in Paris. We stayed at Hotel Malte – Astotel at 63 Rue De Richelieu which was a nice boutique hotel. The room was tiny but nicely decorated. Since we were only there for a short trip and I had been begging Kevin to go on another Paris trip for a while, I wanted to make sure we made the most with our time there. We booked several tours via Airbnb Experiences which ended up being the best decision because it forced us to power through our jet lag and we saw a good portion of the city in a relatively short amount of time.

Here’s a recap of our trip and jam-packed itinerary:

Wednesday, July 4th
We landed in the afternoon and though we were tired, we forced ourselves to go out. We stopped at Nina’s Paris, a Marie-Antoinette-themed tea shop that is pink and lovely. I read about Nina’s while doing my research on Paris and I’m so happy we went. The decorating of the parlor was so pretty and feminine and the classic pink cake was delicious as was the original Marie-Antoinette tea.  I ended up buying a can of the signature Marie-Antoinette tea which is a delicate tea flavored with apples and rose with a touch of strength from a Ceylon tea basis. So good!

After we were full from lunch, tea, and cake, we headed over to the  Eiffel Tower to watch the sun set and to take some evening pics at the tower.

Thursday, July 5th
We started the morning right with “The Delicious East Vegan tour.” We went to Comptoir Veggie for a vegan yogurt parfait and latte, Jay & Joy to sample several vegan cheeses, Manifeste011 to try on vegan clothing, and VG Pâtisserie for some delicious vegan pastries.

After eating our way through Paris we went on another tour, “Lourve-A Crash Course in Art History.” The Lourve can be overwhelming and I did not take art history in school, so I really enjoyed having a guide.

Friday, July 6th
On Friday morning we went on a biking tour, “Paris’ Best Kept Secrets Tour.” We rode electric bicycles which was pretty cool. I normally don’t feel comfortable biking in cities but it wasn’t too scary with our guide and we all chose to wear helmets (oddly, it was not a requirement of the tour company). It was a great way to cover more ground and we even unintentionally came across a new street art piece by famous street artist, Banksy.

After a pleasant morning biking around the city, we had afternoon tea at Salon Proust Ritz Paris. Afternoon tea is one of my favorite things to partake in when I’m in Europe. From there we watched France play Uraguay in the World Cup soccer game which was even more fun being in France for the semi-final. On our walk back to the hotel after a long day, we stopped at Guerlain to pick up one of my favorite perfumes. Guerlain is a French perfume and it’s special to me because not only does it smell good but it also makes me think of Paris and my great trips there.

Saturday, July 7th
On Saturday morning we went on our last tour, “Discover the Secrets of Versailles.” Similar to the Lourve tour, having a tour guide and being able to cut the extremely long line was key for the Versailles tour. The Palace of Versailles is beautiful and I loved hearing about the sun king, Louis XIV. The famous Hall of Mirrors was my favorite part of the palace and I loved everything about the gardens. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day to walk the grounds. We enjoyed it so much that as soon as we got home we went on a Netflix binge of the historical fiction show, Versailles.

After a morning walking around the Palace of Versailles, we were driven back to Paris. We enjoyed an afternoon snack with tea and iced hot chocolate at Angelina’s. The iced hot chocolate at Angelina’s is out of this world. From there we headed back to the hotel to grab our bags on the way to the airport but we made a quick stop at Maison Kitsuné to check out their Parisien collection on first.

Overall we had an amazing time. It was a beautiful, sunny weekend so we couldn’t have asked for better weather.  Paris is wonderful but the city is even more magical in the summer. I get all dreamy just thinking about the trip–I already can’t wait to go back. Also, Airbnb Experiences for the win! I will definitely be checking out their available tours in any new city I want to explore.




Memorial Day 2018 in Miami

This past Memorial Day we spent the weekend in Miami, and we stayed at the Kimpton EPIC. We booked the trip a few months in advance and were looking forward to sitting by the beach and pool, so we were disappointed that they had a storm and it was rainy and downcast most of the weekend. However, that didn’t stop us from still doing several activities and having fun.

We flew into Miami late Friday night so on Saturday we took our time getting up (especially since we didn’t need to hurry to get a spot by the pool since it was pouring) and then ventured out for brunch. We learned that Miami is definitely a driving city and there weren’t many options within walking distance from our hotel so we ended up just eating at the hotel restaurant. After that we took an Uber to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. We had a lot of fun there even though it was swarming with kids. I thought the scorpion fish were the most interesting. I’ve seen at least one on a dive before but it was easier to see them up close inside the clear tank. They are quite active little fellers and they kind of hop around rather than swimming like regular fish.  My favorite exhibit at the Frost Museum was the aquarium, but we also really enjoyed the special exhibit, The Power of Poison: From the Depths of the Sea to Your Own Backyard.

After the museum we went to Bodega for some good Mexican food and a drink before seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story. The movie was pretty good but what I liked even more was the Jack and Coke slurpee that the theater sold.

I had an art deco historic tour in Miami Beach scheduled for Sunday morning. The Art Deco Walking tour started on Ocean Drive at the Miami Design Preservation League. It lasted a little over 90 minutes and we learned all about the development of Miami Beach and how art deco was introduced from about 1920-1950. Of course we walked by the Versace Mansion which was cool. After the tour we stayed in Miami Beach for a while longer and had lunch at Naked Taco. The weather finally cleared up and it started getting a bit rowdy, so Kev and I made our way back to Miami to check out Wynwood Walls. Seeing all the street art was the highlight of my trip. There were so many good artists! Below are some of our favs:

Even though the weather wasn’t great, we made the most of it. It was also a great trip for Kev to play around with his new fancy camera. The picture of me “running with the lions” below is my favorite shot he took.

I would definitely go back to Miami but next time we’ll stay on Miami Beach and hopefully the weather will be better.