Thursday, November 13, 2014

Things to Do in Paris

If you could only pick one city in the world to visit, what would it be? The city of your dreams? Would it be Paris?

While I hope that you're able to travel to many places in your life, if you only ever went to Paris, you would still have an amazing adventure. Paris is a unique place. I've been lucky enough to visit Paris several times, and I'm in the process of planning another trip.

If you're planning to travel to Paris, I have a few recommendation about places that you should visit while you're there. Of course, there are so many different things to do in Paris, but these are a few of my favorites.

Places to Visit in Paris
Musée D'Orsay - Sometimes when you walk into an art museum, you know that you're supposed to appreciate the painting that you see, but unless you know about art, you aren't exactly sure why. That is not the case at the Musée D'Orsay. First of all, the Museum is in an old train station and the building itself is beautiful. Second, the Museum has artists you are likely to know. Degas, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh. Most of the paintings are easy for the casual visitor to enjoy. This museum is my favorite one that I have been to so far in Paris.

Musée Rodin - Another great art museum in Paris. In addition to the art itself, this museum has a beautiful garden. You will see Rodin's famous The Thinker. There are also plenty of other statues scattered among rosebushes and other flowers. If you are in Paris during the warmer months, you must spend time in the garden.

Palais Garnier (Opera House) - If you have seen The Phantom of the Opera, you may recognize this place. Yes, the book is set in this Opera House. The inside of the Opera House is absolutely stunning.

Sacré Couer - Head up to this Basilique in Montmarte for one of the best views of Paris. On the way up be sure to stop by the artists' stalls and take a look at the paintings. There are also a few good places to stop for crêpes in Montmarte, so I'd advise that as well.

Louvre - You knew that this one would be on the list. Chances are that you do want to see the Mona Lisa. There is lots of art to see in this museum. You could spend days in there, and not see everything. That being said, if you're pressed for time or if you want to avoid crowds and art isn't your thing anyway, you might want to chose a different art museum.

Notre Dame - While you could just view Notre Dame from the outside, it's worth taking the time to walk through the inside as well.

Eiffel Tower - It's up to you to decide whether you want to spend the time and money to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower (I personally would, but it's ok if you don't). However, you should explore the area in front of the tower. Bring a picnic for a meal and enjoy the view. Also, the Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour at night until midnight. You need to see this.

Other Things to Do

Eat a crêpe. This must be done. I'd advise nutella and banana.

Walk down the Champs-Élysées. This where many famous shops are. You'll want to window shop. Stop by Laduree for a macaroon or two if the line isn't too long.

Spend a day at Versailles. Where Marie Antoinette lived. The palace is stunning. It's outside of Paris, so visiting it will involve a day trip.

Walk along the Seine. Either bank of the river is good for walking and people watching.

Shop at Galleries Lafayette. You don't actually have to buy anything at this huge department store, but you should take a look around. It reminds me of Macy's in New York or Harrod's in London.

There are so many more great places in Paris, but that's my list of current favorites. Do you have any suggestions or questions?  

If you found this list helpful, we'd love it if you'd or

Linked up with Travel Tuesday on A Compass Rose

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Leave the Comparisions Behind

Today's post is going to be a little different from normal. Usually I stick to topics like recipes, how-tos, and books. Partly because those are areas that I absolutely love, and I would be doing those things even if I didn't have a blog to share those interests with you. But partly, I always stick to those areas because they feel safe. I feel as if I know how to write about those topics, and I don't know if I can write about other areas.

Still, today I am going to try. Because a wonderful group of women called #fireworkpeople has a blog tour going on right now. This group is made up of women who have big dreams and who encourage each other. That's something I want to be a part of, so for that reason I'm participating in the blog tour today.

So, even though writing this feels a bit odd for me and I'm going to have to think for a while before hitting the publish button on this post, here it goes.

You know how there are people on facebook or your social media outlet of choice whose posts always seem exciting and who make you just a little bit (or maybe a lot) envious?

I think that at the moment, I might be one of those people.

Right now, I'm living in France and teaching English in two elementary schools in a small French town. The town has a beautiful river going through the center of it, and all of the houses have red roofs made of clay tiles. Each Tuesday morning, my town has a small open-air market with vegetables, fruits, and cheese. If you were to draw a picture of the ideal small French town that couldn't possibly be real, it would look a lot like the one that I teach in.

Basically, I'm currently living the dream of quite a lot of Francophiles (minus the ones who want to be living in Paris).


There's always a but, isn't there.

But, the thing is that I still compare myself to other people.

I am doing exactly what I want to do at this point in my life. I want to be in France. I want to teach English. I want to work with elementary students.

Before I left, I spent some time talking with a friend, and I realized that almost all of my friends are currently working on getting their master's. By the time that I get back, most of them will be either finished or halfway through. And I won't.

Sitting at the table talking, even though I knew that I was about to leave to do exactly what I wanted to do more than anything else, I still felt left behind everyone else.

I felt as if what I had chosen to do wasn't good enough compared to what they were doing.

Which is just absurd.

If we compare ourselves to everyone else, we will never be satisfied with what we have.

It's so easy to forget that life is not a list of tasks to complete and then check off. And even if it were, we wouldn't all have the same tasks on our lists.

Chances are that while you feel down because you are comparing yourself to someone else, another person is looking at you and feeling envious as well. No one comes out well in this cycle.

We should always celebrate the accomplishments and triumphs of our friends, but we shouldn't let that little bit of envy creep in to mar the celebration. Not only does that create resentment in the friendship, but it also keeps us from recognizing the good in our own lives.

Leave the comparisions behind.

Live your own life. Whatever that looks like for you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Treats and Tricks

Since I'm in France right now, there isn't much Halloween going on right now. Although there may be small celebrations happening throughout the month of October, it isn't a custom here. Today during my English classes, I taught the children a little bit about celebrating Halloween in the United States. They seemed to enjoy the idea. Some of them even tried to convince their teacher that they should celebrate Halloween at the school. I think that those children really just wanted to go around asking for candy. Which I completely understand.

Although I will not be decorating or baking for Halloween this year, I have found some awesome ideas on other blogs that I'd love to share with you today.

Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies with Burnt Butter Icing- Cranberries make everything better, and the burnt butter icing sounds absolutely delicious.

Candy Dipped Pretzel Rods - Pretzel rods are a good combination of sweet plus salty. They work for any occasion with just a few color changes. A jar full of orange and black pretzel rods would be perfect for a Halloween event.

Witch Hat Cookies - These witch hat cookies involve icing, oreos, and hershey's kisses. They seem super simple to make, but still seem impressive to serve.

Halloween Mummy Cupcakes - It isn't a party with cupcakes. Why not mummy cupcakes?

Halloween Cake Pops - My cake pops never look this good. Obviously, the only solution is to practice and eat all the ones that don't turn out right.

Glittered Pumpkin Centerpiece - Carving a pumpkin is fun, but putting glitter on a pumpkin seems like just as much fun.

DIY Halloween Trick or Treat Bags - With a free printable. If I were throwing a Halloween party, I would send everyone home with these bags filled with a little bit of candy.

Cobweb Halloween Wreath - You know that cobweb stuff that people use to decorate their fireplaces and front porches like a spider's web. Turns out that you can make a spooky wreath with it as well. That stuff sticks to anything, so the process seems easy.

Do you have any awesome Halloween inspired ideas? Share them in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Field Notes: September 2014

A few of the things that we've been loving in September.

In my free time lately, I've been watching a lot of TED talks. This one is one of my favorites. A rich life with less stuff.

Here's a great post from Kory Woodard about what she wished she knew before finishing college.

Broken, Made Beautiful. This wonderful site called One Day Lighter has lots of inspiring posts like this one.

We love clothes, but we also know that it's important to know how our actions and choices impact others. Shopping With Ethics: A 5 Step Guide to Ethical Fashion has some advice on how to do that.

Some of you may remember that I've mentioned Tirzah Magazine before for its inspiring, faith based articles. I'm so excited to get to share with you an article I wrote there called Growing Roots in Christ.

I've recently discovered a charming blog called 34 Magnolia Street. While there are lots of great posts, this one about hospitality as a lifestyle is one of my favorites.

Cupcakes are one of our favorite things. So, I can't wait to try this recipe for maple buttercream frosting

Jennifer is currently loving this blog - Southern Curls and Pearls.

I finished watching all four of the BBC episodes of Shakespeare Retold. My favorite was Much Ado About Nothing, of course. I also really liked A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. I had forgotten that basically everybody dies in MacBeth and that one was a little too dark for me. Overall, I enjoyed the adaptations.

Finally, I'll leave you with an adorable bunny.


Did you see August's field notes?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Guest Post on Escape and Inspire

I'm just stopping by today to tell you that you need to head over to Escape and Inspire. Jenny was nice enough to let me share 21 Journal Prompts with her readers. 

Take your time to enjoy all of the posts on Escape and Inspire. You won't be disappointed.

Some of my particular favorites are How Journaling Can Make You a Better Writer and 5 Easy Ways to Be More Productive.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

International Travel Advice

Advice for International Travelers

Some of you may know that I'll be in France teaching English for the current school year. I've made the trip across the Atlantic to France several times now. As much as I love traveling, going overseas always leaves me exhausted. Still, I have picked up a few tips that can make the journey just a little bit easier, and I'm happy to share those with you today.

- First, as you are preparing for your trip, make a packing list. Before you even begin to pack, write down everything that you plan to take. You can add to the list over several days as you think of things. As you pack, check each item off the list. This will help you to make sure that you do not forget anything. If you start packing several days in advance, you'll know exactly what's in your bags already, and you won't end up packing multiples of the same item.

- After you have packed everything, go back through your list. Do you absolutely need every single thing that you have? Try to take at least a few items out. The fewer things that you have to carry, the easier your trip will be.

- Bring several snacks to eat while you travel. My journey from home to my apartment in France ended up taking almost 24 hours. While I did eat meals in the airport, I did not buy any snacks there. Instead, I ate the carrots and granola bars that I had packed. Trying to go through shops and standing in line while carrying a backpack and a bag is not fun at all, so I tried to keep the number of times that I had to do that to a minimum.

- Bring an empty water bottle. You can fill it up with water at a fountain once you go through security. It's much cheaper than buying water in the airport. Plus, you will want water to drink while you are on the plane.

- Wear layers. It is usually cold on planes, but walking through the airport from one gate to another can get pretty warm. Try wearing a nice shirt that you can layer a sweater over, so that you're not too cold or too hot during your trip. Also, a scarf that is wide enough to double as a small blanket is a good idea, too.

Do you have any tips of your own for travelers?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coca Cola Cupcakes with Ganache Icing

After heading to Atlanta to get my visa, I'd been thinking about making coca cola cake. Of course, since I love cupcakes, I decided to modify a recipe to make cupcakes instead. You can't necessarily tell that these cupcakes have coca cola in them, but you can tell that there's something different about them.

Based on this coca cola cake recipe by Linton Hopkins.

Makes 12 cupcakes



1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 oz. butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 TBS cocoa powder
1/2 cup Coca Cola
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. In a saucepan combine the butter, oil, and Coca Cola. Allow the mixture to boil for about a minute. Then, remove it from the heat.
3. Combine the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl.
4. Add the Coca Cola mixture to the contents of the mixing bowl. Stir.
5. Add baking soda, sour cream, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Stir.
6. Add eggs, and mix until well combined.
7. Transfer the batter into the cupcake pan. Fill each liner about half full.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool before icing cupcakes.

Ganache Icing

3 TBS melted butter
2 1/2 TBS cocoa poweder
3 TBS Coca Cola
1 - 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Start with 1 cup of powdered sugar. Add more if necessary. The icing should be soft, but not runny. Ice the cupcakes once they have cooled.

Enjoy your cupcakes!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...