"Life itself is the proper binge." - Julia Child

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This picnic spread will forever go down in my books as one of my all-time favorite meals. We sat on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower and had a luxurious spread of meats, cheeses, the best butter in the world, the sweetest strawberries and raspberries I’ve ever had, and a crispy baguette. It was chilly outside and it wasn’t extremely crowded, so it was just perfect in every way.

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I love this fella of mine. His patience and kindness blows me away. Paul Child once said to Julia, “You’re the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life.” I feel that.

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We stopped into E. Dehillerin to see where Julia Child used to purchase her cooking supplies. It was a beautiful little shop - but it would have been too hard to take anything home.

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One of the top three things that I had to do in Paris was to see where Julia Child lived when she and Paul first moved there. We walked waaaaaay out of the way, and though it was just her front door - I’m so glad that I got to see it. She doesn’t have a plaque or anything marking her time there. It’s just her door. Big and beautiful like she was.

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Paris was sweet and decadent and I’m thankful every bit of it.

Now - it’s October. It’s autumn. Winter is coming and I’m craving my mom’s hot chocolate which tastes suspiciously similar to the World Famous hot chocolate at Angelina’s. I’m happy to be home - and happy to feel so refreshed with an awakened hunger for MORE. More good times, more self-care, more pushing myself, more treating myself, more doing, and more living.

Paris, I love you.

Nous sommes à la maison! We’re home! I’ve decided that Paris is best when shared. And, the more people of your loved ones that you can share it with - the better! We went with Tess and Mac - two fantastic travel buddies. Traveling can be such a stressful experience, so it’s a special thing to find people that you are compatible to travel with. We also met up with two more friends at the very end of the trip, and we wish that we could have spent more time with them! Bonjour, Dianne and Pierce!

Tess and Mac go to Paris any chance they get and Tess is pretty much fluent in French, so everything always felt so easy. Next trip: Germany. None of us will be prepared.

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I couldn’t get over the French architecture. Every building just blew me away. The terraces, the chimneys, the doors, the windows, all of it. I forgot every art history lesson that I ever learned and just soaked it all in. I went to Paris when I was 18, and I remember taking pictures of everything because I couldn’t help myself. When I left, my memory card was full of a lot of unimpressive nothings with just a few photos that i felt any sort of connection to. I made sure to do it differently this time.

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Next-door to our Airbnb was the most delicious boulangerie where honeybees flew freely all over the pastries. The smell of the pastries would waft through the walls in the morning and it was just heavenly. They didn’t sell baguettes, because they made their bread in the “traditional” way - with the end result being a gorgeous, rustic loaf.

One of our very first nights, we went to Le Refuge des Fondus, where wine is served in baby bottles (supposedly a tax-evasion trick?). When wine is served in baby bottles - you have a pretty accurate read for how much wine you’re drinking…but it doesn’t feel like you’ve really had that much. SO - the rest of the night ends up being a shiny, twinkly, giggly blur with memories of glorious cheesy fondue, Sacre Coeur, baguettes, public restrooms, Irish bars and singing happy birthday to a stranger, another bar, a Photo Booth (evidenced above), walking miles upon miles upon miles, then a lot of snacking on leftover Thai food and curry. The next day was mainly a day of recovery. Edith Piaf said “non, je ne regrette rien.” Well, Edith. je regrette des choses.

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I think that this will always be one of my favorite photographs that i’ve ever taken. October in Paris gave me all of the autumn feelings that i live for. Lines from Madeline, French Kiss, Amelie, Paris, je t’aime, and Julie and Julia played in my mind daily, and even when something was wrong - it was still right.

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I have more photos of Parisian doors than I’ll ever know what to do with and I love them all.

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In addition to the food, the great company, the beautiful sights, the sweet smells, the warm coffee, and the cool and breezy weather…it was nice to feel “unplugged”. Even with all of the walking and the going and moving and doing - it was still a relaxing vacation.

Part Deux Soon

Hilton Head, SC

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This year, our Hilton Head trip held no agendas of any kind. The only expectation we really had was that we expected it to be relaxing and refreshing. We brought books with us (that we never opened) and face masks (that we never did), because we were already relaxed enough. We watched Food Network Christmas specials and took naps when we were inside. We went to the beach and rode bikes when we were outside. It was warmer than we’ve ever experienced it - but that just meant that we spent even more time inside lounging and recharging.

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We drive home tomorrow, and we are scared to look at our work schedules because we are scared that they won’t overlap as much as we’d like for them to. I’m beyond grateful for Trey and for the time together that these trips give us. I love him. I love him. I love him.

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When we get home, it’s time for Christmas. We’ve talked about how if we get a live tree and decorate it, there’s a chance that we might be taking everything down and moving it if we are able to find a house before Christmas. We’ve also talked about how we have no idea what George is going to do when he’s locked in a teensy living room with a bright and shiny Christmas tree all day long. So, this has potential to be an eventful Christmas season, and I’m up for anything and everything. Let’s GET.IT.GOING.

The Three Caballeros

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We're back from Disney, and I love these travel buddies of mine. The three of us have been to Disney together countless times, but this time: it rained nearly the entire trip, Trey's Chaco's broke, we each had a turn trekking around in far-too-soggy shorts, we all had some wicked blisters, we took turns feeling under the weather, and it still ended up being my favorite Disney trip thus far. When one of us is low, the others are high and patient until the low one finds their way back up. There's empathy and kindness here, making them the very best travel companions. 

Home, Home

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I went to Florence last weekend for a visit that lifted me up and left me feeling a million times better. It's always hard to go home, because I know that I won't want to leave when my visit is over - especially during the holidays. I've always been a homebody, meaning that so much of my years were spent right at home. My mom and I would have "spa nights" together while all of my friends were at the movies or out getting ice cream. She and I would order our favorite salads, put on face masks, and curl up on the couch with movies that are now woven into every fiber of my being. This is why I can quote Notting Hill, You've Got Mail, Chocolat, Sabrina, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, One Fine Day, Two Weeks Notice, Pretty Woman, French Kiss, and many other 80's and 90's chick flicks backwards and forwards. We would bake together, and she and I would decorate for holidays as a team. At the very beginning of October, she would let me bring out the Halloween decorations, and I'd string faux spiderwebs down the banister. I'd bring out her vintage Santa collection, and arrange them just so for Christmas. We never missed decorating the Christmas tree together as a family. But, time passed, college happened, I moved away, my brother moved out, he traveled the world, and things slipped through the cracks. Now, she gets a tree whenever she has a chance, and we hope we are able to come help her decorate it. These are the bitter things about being home. I remember all of the things that I miss out on, and I know that I'm never around for things to be like they were.

But, the sweet things about being home are the new memories that we make. My dad moved into a new, beautiful house that is perfect for them. My mom and I make lists of everything we want to accomplish, and are doing a pretty good job so far of checking things off of it. My brother bought a house that I know is going to be a perfect home base for all of his travels to come to an end.

I've found that I'm making new, sweet memories every time I drive through the city of Florence and remember this parking lot where all of my friends piled in the back of Hope's SUV. I pass the spot where I had my first kiss, and the park where I would take Jon to throw rocks in the river. I take the back roads that I would drive in high school, just for fun. I pass the church that used to be the movie theater where I met my first boyfriend. I pass the coffee shop that I've been going to since before it was Rivertown, near the park where I once saw a stranger wait with a red rose for someone who never showed up. I pass the cemetery where I attended a policeman's funeral. I pass the park where I rode a tandem bicycle with my friend Samantha. I pass County Rd. 42, where I said something funny, which resulted in Hope making me a cd of songs, with my quote written in Sharpie as the album art. I pass the store where my mom used to buy soy milk for Jon, because all other milk made him sick. I pass the fairgrounds where I first saw my Wybie - my pup that my dad and stepmother have made their pup *grumble grumble*. I pass the clothing shop where my mom and I would get those little mini cheesecake bites during the Christmas parade. I remember feeling so fancy next to her, with her lipstick, and her wool coat, and her perfume floating along with her. I pass the ballpark where we would watch Andy play little league baseball. I pass the gas station where my dad met me after I walked up on my mom's house after someone had just broken in. I was panicking and I couldn't find my mom, but my dad rushed over to save the day. Oh, and my mom was at ballroom dance lessons the whole time *grumble grumble*. I pass Stagg's, where my dad and I would get hamburgers when I worked in the chemical plant with him that summer. I pass the place where he and I bought my steel-toed boots, and I remember thinking that I felt so badass, and that the old men in the shop couldn't handle my badassery. I pass the Indian Mound, that I visited once, and the restaurant that used to be Tourway, that I went to countless times. I pass Trowbridges, the ice-cream shop that I would walk to with my grandmother when I was very small, and then later as an adult with all of my friends. I still remember the pansies that were planted all around her apartment complex, and pansies always make me think of her. I have memories tied into every inch of my lovely hometown, and when I go home, they flood my heart and send me swimming.

Seeing things through a new, matured lens makes me want to hug my younger self, even if I'm sometimes embarrassed for her. I want to hug all of these memories close and never let them go.

Just Missing Things

I miss Disney World. I miss the walking, and the occasional blisters, and the blinding sun, and the hot dogs and lemonade at Casey’s Corner. I miss the smell of the Main Street Confectionery. I miss the Christmas decorations, and the Halloween parades. I miss casually seeing Peter Pan, strolling down the street. I miss the Disney hotels, and the fireworks at night. I miss the roller coasters, and the daily thunderstorms. I miss walking around the world in Epcot, and I miss the massive parking lots. I miss e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

I miss the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I miss the butterbeer. Oh, boy, do I miss the butterbeer. I miss the shops, and the magic of it all. I miss Moaning Myrtle in the girls’ bathroom. I miss the turkey legs, and the potatoes. I miss the pumpkin pasties. I miss the rides and the art that’s everywhere. I miss the dragon that breathes fire (that almost never works). I miss the breakfasts and the lunches and the dinners. I miss Universal hotels, and I miss Seuss Landing. I miss the Jurassic Park ride. I miss all of it.

Take me baaaack.

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