Lower East Side || Neighborhood Guide

I spent one year living in the Lower East Side. One year getting to know what’s housed between fire escapes on Ludlow, Rivington, Eldridge and Orchard. A year embracing the trash smells, but living in the heart of it all, and taking the good with the bad. One year walking up 68 steps to our fifth story walk-up. My year in my cozy, exposed brick, if-you-lean-your-head-out-the-window you’ll get a view of the Empire State Building apartment and I’m leaving and moving a stones throw across the East River.

To celebrate and thank LES, I am sharing with you my LES Neighborhood Guide.

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EAT

Spaghetti Incident — Under my old apartment, this cozy spot serves up inexpensive but hearty Italian dishes. The waitstaff carries out their duties with gusto, and in no time you will have a delicious bowl of housemade Bucatini in front of you. Pro tip: if you’re visiting late night, get their pasta to-go, served in a paper cone.

Pho Grand — Broth. When it comes down to it, this place’s broth has got it going on. Sure, there are other authentic spots in the same neighborhood, but there’s something about this broth and noodle combo that keeps bringing me back.IMG_0586.jpeg

Russ & Daughters — Enjoy a bagel just the way your grandma would want you to. Choose from a variety of smoked salmons, browse the selection of caviar, dried fruits and chocolate covered candies.

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La Margarita Pizza — Favorite by the slice spot in the city. Served Sicilian style, with the perfect ratio of doughy center to crunchy outer layer, this is a must for a quick lunch or late night bite.

il laboratorio del gelato — You’ve heard me rave before. If I was granted one wish it would be to eat dessert here everyday for the rest of my life. Flavors change daily and range from Turkish coffee, to basil, to cream cheese.

Goa Taco — What tacos should taste like. Served in the cutest apparatus, devour a crunchy taco that’s bursting with flavor.

DRINK

Jadis Wine Bar — French wine cave where you feel right at home. Enjoy the selection of wines and cheeses, and coffee table books and board games on their bookshelves.

Atta Boy — This spot serves up specialty cocktails, shaves their own ice, and requires a special eye and patience to make it in.

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Verlaine — $6 Lychee Martinis. Best in Manhattan. That is all.

DO

Sara Roosevelt Park — Take a walk down the park and prepare for sensory overload. Little old ladies doing Tai Chi here, 6 ft 5 basketball players keeping score there. A children’s soccer game, hidden gardens with turtle ponds, a running track, racquetball courts, etc. This park has it all.

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Sunshine Cinema — A quaint movie theatre that shows indie films and has the best snack bar selection of any theatre I’ve been to. Escape from the bustle of the city in here.

2nd Ave Park — A graffiti park exists across Houston. Installations come and go – there was once the famous heart wall, and now it’s home to pop artists facades such as Drake, Adele and RiRi.

Walk — Get lost and enter. The thing I will miss most is walking around this neighborhood. There is always more to see. Something new that catches my eye. Someone to stop and talk to.

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But let’s be honest, you know I’m excited to find my new spots in Brooklyn 😉

Corianna’s NYC Favorites

I’ve reached a pinnacle point in my relationship with the city. It’s about this time when I feel as if the city is truly mine, because I have found my favorite places. These spots are available to the entire city, yet they feel like my own due to the frequency that I enjoy them.

A few coveted favorites:

  1. Coffee || Maman

Not only is their font and branding off the chain (I mean, who doesn’t love a insulated serrated to-go mug) but the vibe in this small coffee shop in Little Italy is as cozy as it gets. Indulge in a flakey croissant or matcha cake while enjoying a cappuccino and flipping through a carefully curated selection of recipe books. The music and good eats put this at the top of my list out of all the coffee I’ve enjoyed in NYC.

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2. Pho || Pho Vietnam

I can’t say enough about this spot that I visit on a weekly basis. What do I love about it? Well, everything. Where can you fill up for under $10 in NYC? In fact, two large bowls of simmering broth and goodness will only set you back $14. It is spotless in here, which is a rarity for one dollar sign haunts. A bowl of pho gá comes with all white meat, and is piled high with vegetables. Service is A+.

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The cool chick that introduced me to Pho Vietnam. We both frequent it once a week, not a surprise to run into her! 

3. Bagel || Heaven’s Hot Bagel

Just a few steps down the road from Russ & Daughters (a favorite for bagels + lox) you will find Heaven’s Hot. This cash only spot has every kind of bagel you would want, and all the fixin’s. Go here for that bagel breakfast sandwich you’ve been craving, or just a good ole’ sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese.

4. Wine Bar || Jadis

Wines by the glass, cheese boards, and various appetizers make this wine bar a go-to. Tucked away just a few blocks from my apartment, I love Jadis for their great selection of wine, the cozy casual vibe and the bookshelves full of coffee table books.

5. Dessert || Veniero’s

If it’s a favorite of Larry David’s, it’s a favorite of mine. This East Village institution serves up hearty slices of original NY cheesecake and other Italian pastry delicacies. I love coming here to stock up on biscotti, or butter cookies, or just sit down and enjoy a coffee and a slice of cheese cake.

What are some of your favorite NYC spots?

XC

 

Corianna’s City Guide: A Perfect Day in Park Slope

I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a three day weekend that didn’t come attached to an itinerary. This past weekend was one of those unique times. I have the advantage of living in a city with many neighborhoods and boroughs, so it was really just a matter of choosing which one to explore for a staycation. The choice: Park Slope.

Park Slope is located in Brooklyn, and is a suburb of Manhattan. The neighborhood is nestled into neatly packed streets where brownstones line avenues, growing more ornate as they reach up the slope towards Prospect Park. Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s Central Park, though way more manageable in size. There are large fields where families play frisbee, dogs are off-leash and guitar chords echo under limestone bridges.

Corianna Goes XC’s Itinerary for a day in Park Slope: 

You can get to Park Slope by taking the B, Q, 2, 3, F, or G.

Make your way to Union Street and walk through a maze of high value brownstones.

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Head over to grab some fuel for the day and brunch at Rose Water . A prix-fixe brunch menu includes a house made beverage and delectable entree. Below are the bosc pear crepes filled with ricotta cheese. The homemade bread basket was an unexpected treat from the host, too!

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After brunch, it’s time for a Bloody Mary. Before leaving Rose Water, look across the street and marvel at the community grocery co-op then walk towards Union Hall, where you will be cozy in the dimly lit bar warmed by two fireplaces. Enjoy a game of bocce ball while listening to good tunes and sipping your drink.

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After a close game of bocce ball, it’s time to get some fresh air in Prospect Park. On Saturday’s there is a Farmer’s Market towards the entrance. I recommend fresh cheese from Cato Corner Farm.

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After a walk through the park, you will have a nice dose of suburban living before heading back to Manhattan, or whichever area you hail from. The best part? No waiting in an airport/train station/etc., cause that’s the beauty of a staycation – discovering your own city and its surroundings.

New York, I love you

It’s raining. Horns are honking. Billie Holiday is playing over the speakers. I’m living a cliché. I’m making homemade croutons for a salad that will accompany pesto pasta that I picked up from a local gourmet grocer, to surprise my boyfriend with after he returns from his PhD program. My kitten is laying next to me. Life is pretty good. It’s even better because I’m doing it all in New York. A city I’ve loved and admired for years. My childhood self would be giving me a high five for actually making it here.

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Life since I got to New York has been a spectacle. The air smells fresher (is that possible!?), the coffee taste better and my heart beats a little faster.

I leapt at the chance to make it here and I don’t think I’ve ever been more confident with a decision. This city has me hooked.

Cheers to accomplishing dreams and doing things that scare you. Make your childhood self proud.

XC

101 in 1001

An exciting life change is about to happen. I am about to fulfill a lifelong dream, and move to NYC. Seemed like the perfect time to set some future goals. Thanks to Mackenzie from Design Darling for creating this concept, and to my sorority sister Sarah of Global Gal for inspiring me to create my own! Here’s to completing goals!

STARTS: JULY 1, 2015

ENDS: APRIL 14, 2018

{17 COMPLETE, 84 TO GO!}

  1. Move to NYC August 22, 2015 {Lower East Side!}
  2. Visit a new country December 2015 {Aruba}
  3. See the aurora borealis
  4. Volunteer on PR committee of non-profit
  5. Save up and buy a Chanel purse
  6. Do something special for each member of my family
  7. Get a pet Luna the kitten, July 16
  8. Plan an extraordinary date for my significant other
  9. Get promoted
  10. Reconnect with my French host mom  After Paris attacks
  11. Reconnect with an old friend
  12. Drive cross country
  13. Take untraditional transportation to work for a week
  14. Eat paleo for 2 weeks Before Aruba! Totally recommend.
  15. Learn ancient Greek mythology
  16. Take lessons in a foreign language
  17. Read 5 classics 1. Bell Jar
  18. Start a mature collection (Coffee Table books?)
  19. Drink 64 oz. of water every day for a week
  20. Learn how to invest in the stock market and buy stocks
  21. Donate to the College of Charleston Alumni Association
  22. Get a crazy hair cut  Blunt cut, July 1st 2015
  23. Vote in presidential election
  24. Donate to a Kickstarter campaign I believe in OR create one.
  25. Start a new blog series
  26. Publish three “how to” posts
  27. Attend Saturday Night Live in NYC
  28. Do something special for my grandparents
  29. Create a cookbook of grandparent’s favorite recipes
  30. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge October 2015
  31. Buy a piece of art
  32. Visit 5 new cities 1. Sintra, PT 2. Caicais, PT 3. Winter Park, CO
  33. Visit a new continent
  34. Try a cronut
  35. Pay for someone’s coffee
  36. Make my own sushi
  37. Visit three new museums 1. The Frick 2. The Met
  38. Take a trip with my mom and sister
  39. See a professional sports game
  40. See 5 Broadway shows 1. Something Rotten
  41. See Shakespeare in the Park
  42. Plan a picnic
  43. Watch the sunrise July 26, Miami Beach, with Bertram!
  44. Take a carriage ride in Central Park
  45. Start a club
  46. Open library account at NYPL
  47. Get an NYC license December 2015
  48. Attend an awards show
  49. Learn a new skill
  50. Cook a cuisine I have never made before
  51. Inspire someone else to do a 100 in 1001
  52. Inspire someone to start a blog My intern, Esther July 21, 2015 – hushcenter.wordpress.com
  53. Make a perfect old-fashioned
  54. Successfully memorize names when first meeting people
  55. See Sleep No More
  56. Plan a reunion (Montana friends or Shadybrook gals)
  57. Read a book my grandpa suggested
  58. Read a book my mom suggested
  59. Read a book my boyfriend suggested
  60. Sit in the studio audience at Jimmy Fallon
  61. Leave a 100% tip for good service
  62. Research three charities to donate to
  63. Learn to meditate
  64. Do yoga every morning for a week
  65. Run a 5k
  66. Understand rules of a sport
  67. Learn to make macarons
  68. Attend the opera
  69. Attend the ballet
  70. Successfully hold the crow pose
  71. Successfully do a handstand
  72. Send flowers to a friend
  73. No soda for a month
  74. Sleep under the stars
  75. See a drive-in movie
  76. Finish a NYT crossword puzzle
  77. Learn how to play poker Ok, not poker. But Blackjack and Roulette, January 2016
  78. Make a homemade jam
  79. Learn how to pickle July 9 – Made pickles from cukes at NC Farmers Market
  80. Watch every Academy Award winner, starting from the year I was born 1991
  81. Cook Thanksgiving Dinner
  82. Successfully create an indoor garden
  83. Be a bridesmaid! Erin’s wedding in Colorado
  84. Start a new tradition
  85. Host a dinner party
  86. Attend a NYFW show
  87. Mail out holiday cards December 2015
  88. Attend a music festival
  89. Visit a friend spur of the moment
  90. Create a bar cart
  91. Repurpose a piece of furniture
  92. Purge closet and donate unworn
  93. Make crepes
  94. Do a month of squats!
  95. Ride in a hot air balloon
  96. Find favorite local market in NYC
  97. Find favorite park in NYC and frequent it
  98. Read a short story in French
  99. Attend a lecture Adweek 2015
  100. Help someone follow their dream
  101. Write a letter to myself on the day this ends!

Introspection: Find Your Life Purpose

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Wanted to share a lovely article done by Lululemon on finding your life purposeThis is the age-old question that is thought of by many, and answered by few. I encourage you all to take a quiet moment and answer the following questions.

Q. What would you do if you had six months to live?

A. Spend every last dime traveling and eating like a queen.

Q. What would your 90-year-old self tell you to do?

A. Stop looking at what I don’t have and appreciating what I do have. Spend more time with my family. Ask more questions. Face everyday with a positive attitude.

Q. What can you give yourself more credit for?

A. Being a self-sufficient 23 year old. How many people my age can say that they solely rely on themselves? Ok…except my cell phone bill.

Q. How would you be behaving if you were the best at what you do?

A. Always strive for greatness.

Q. What do people thank you for?

A. Honesty and Kindness.

Q. What is it time for in your life?

A. Time for memories.

XC

Corianna’s City Guide: Los Angeles

Ah, Los Angeles. The city of angels. Where old cinema glamour meet lights, camera, action. My first trip to LA was spent in heart-shaped sunglasses, marveling at the Hollywood sign, eating amazing food and bathing by the Pacific Ocean.

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EAT

So many restaurants, so little time. In a locale where who you know is key, I suggest making reservations. Of course, there’s always In N’ Out.

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Cleo | small Mediterranean plates & fizzy, fruity cocktails. Need I say more?

Joan’s on Third | an artisan market on 3rd, this is a one-stop-shop for tomato mozerella salads, gourmet gummy bears, and Asian chopped chicken salad.

Kettle Glazed | the donut craze on the west coast is a real thing. The cuteness factor, mouthwatering ice coffee, and cakey donuts are worth the trip to this small strip right off of Hollywood Blvd.

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Gracias Madre | enjoy vegetarian Mexican dishes on an celebrity-strewn outdoor patio, adorned by olive trees.

MILK | by all means, go to MILK. Yes, there will be a line wrapping around the corner. Wait in it. Ice cream sandwich macarons. Cough, my birthday is in November. Can someone ship me one? Indulge in fruity pebbles or grasshopper (mint chocolate chip).

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Sugarfish | Does it get better than salmon nigiri? YES. Well, at least it does at Sugarfish. Order a Trust Me Plate and prepare to be delighted by the feast that you are about to indulge in. Semi-warmed rice with a delicious tangy sauce, seaweed wrapped crab rolls, and specialties served directly from the sushi kitchen will grace your evening, keeping you dreaming of this sushi restaurant and holding it on the highest pedestal.

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DRINK

No Vacancy | This speakeasy finds home in Charlie Chaplin’s old Hollywood mansion. Enter through the Madame of the House’s bedroom, and after being granted access, find yourself in an atmosphere reminiscent of a party Jay Gatsby himself would host.

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Bar Marmont | If you can beat em’, join em’. Feel like royalty with a table at Bar Marmont, a glass of bubbly and a slice of olive oil + honey cake.

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DO

Runyon Canyon | While there are plenty of other hikes in LA, nothing beats the workout that you get at this hot spot. If you are going on a weekend, get there early as parking fills up fast!

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Hollywood Boulevard |  Classic LA destination. Be sure to take a picture with your favorite star. My faves? Lassie, the Rugrats, and Bing Crosby. While you’re over this way, find the “HOLLYWOOD” sign and the infamous Hollywood Tower of Terror (my favorite Disney ride).

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The Grove/Farmer’s Market | While I wouldn’t make a special trip to the Grove (it is a glorified mall), the Farmer’s Market in itself is worth the trip.

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Abbot Kinney | spend a day in Venice and the shops at Abbot Kinney. Grab a lemonade, visit a food truck and get yourself a new record at vinyl.

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And of course, don’t forget to blast this song driving down the streets – whether Melrose, Sunset, Hollywood or Mullholland Drive.

XC

Corianna’s City Guide: Paris

For those of you lucky enough to have an upcoming trip to Paris, or for those of you would like an excuse to daydream about time spent in Paris – I invite you to take a trip with me down the grand boulevards, the boat-lined Seine river, the quiet parks, the marble bridges and the noisy street café lined sidewalks, I’d like you take a trip with me to Paris.

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I spent five short months living in Paris during the spring of my junior year in college, and those months continue to fill me with some of the most warming thoughts and memories. Memories of petite children riding scooters to school, speaking French in high pitched voices; memories of quiet, dewy mornings in the park; memories of my bookshelf-lined attic apartment; smells of toasty baguettes and fresh flowers from a nearby stand, of dazzling lights and historical relics from a time of exuberance. If you’ve been to Paris, you love it. It’s impossible not to be infatuated with its metropolitan beauty. Paris is a place you go to fall in love, with a person, with yourself, with a rue, with a café, with a piece of art, with a city.

EAT

Let’s just say I wasn’t living like Marie Antoinette during my time in Paris. My money that would normally be reserved for eating out in the states was reserved for traveling throughout Europe on weekends (though there is no reason to leave Paris). It’s overwhelming to know that although you are in a city with some of the world’s greatest chefs, you won’t be able to make it to to even half of the great restaurants, or even a handful. Do not fret. You’ll be able to get a good meal anywhere in Paris. However, my recommendations for what to not miss are below.

Corianna recommends not missing the following in Paris:

Moules Mariniere
Mousse au chocolat
Pain aux raisins
Emmental cheese crepe
Steak Frites
Cheese, cheese and more cheese
Salted caramel from Normandy
Omelette au fromage
A baguette, fresh from the oven
Kinder Bars
Croque Madame

The list goes on and on…

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L’As du Fallafel | If you find yourself in the Marais, do not miss out on this falafel shop. Chewy pita, crispy falafel and all the fixings bring the lines to this joint. Stand in line or take a seat inside.

Au Rêve | …or a dream. If you are enjoying the historic Montmartre district, be sure to eat at this hilltop café. Serving up delicious specialties such as canard (duck) and homemade glace au chocolat (chocolate ice cream) there is nothing better than sitting outside and watching the day pass by.

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Berthillon | The line is worth it – the ice cream doesn’t get better than this. If you can’t wait in the line, go to any of the cafes on Île de-la-Cité, they all serve it. My favorite flavor was fig.

Ladurée tea salon | Ladurée is worth the fuss. They serve macarons so delicate that they melt in your mouth and keep the people lining up. My favorite flavor? Rose.

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Have access to a kitchen? Nothing will make you feel more like an American in Paris than buying summer vegetables at a local market and pulling together ratatouille. Julia Child would be proud.

DRINK

Get used to saying “une caraffe de vin (rouge/blanc), s’il vous plait,” to this, you will be given a carafe of the house white or red wine – and trust me…I was never disappointed.

Le Baron Rouge | A small neighborhood wine bar, that is seemingly always packed and serves up delicious wine for 3 euro a glass. There isn’t much room to sit, so people often stand, often overflowing into the street – it’s really one big party.

Les Closeries des Lilas | Ernest Hemmingway’s haunt is nestled in the neighborhood I resided in during my time in Paris. Come here to dance as you scarf down olives, listening to live piano jazz in the background, while drinking an American cocktail with a French twist.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway

DO

Museums

Musée de l’Orangerie | My favorite art museum in Paris. There is just the right amount of art from the impressionist period that makes you feel as if you’ve seen a good amount, yet doesn’t overwhelm you. This is where Monet’s water lilies or nymphs are.

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Musée D’Orsay | Another wonderful collection of art. You could easily spend the entire day here.

Catacombs | The Catacombs ran underneath the house I lived in during my time in Paris. They are one-of-a-kind & not for the faint of heart.

Parks

Jardin des Tuileries | Walk from the east to the west of the garden to end your walk with wonderful views of the Tour Eiffel and Place de la Concorde. If it’s nice, bring a picnic (including wine!)

Luxembourg Gardens | Perfect place to get lost. Take your time soaking in the wonderful gardens, moss covered fountains and bronze statues. If it’s warm out, watch children sail their homemade boats in the fountain. If it’s cold, sit at one of several cafes and enjoy a latte.

Parc Montsouris | My neighborhood park. Come here to snack on cheese, get an ice cream cone, read a book or people watch.

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See

La Tour Eiffel | I don’t care who you are, when the Eiffel Tower glitters and sparkles on the hour mark, everything is right in the world.

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Louvre | Though not my favorite art collections, the Louvre is not to be missed. Look for the Mona Lisa, and Venus de Milo among many other famous pieces.

Montmartre | Make your way to the north of Paris for spectacular views, and old-Parisian charm. If you get a chance, sneak to the cabaret… I recommend Au Lappin.

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Notre Dame | Enjoy scenic views of the marvelous cathedral from the banks of the Seine.

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The Marais | Touted as the hip neighborhood of Paris, the Marais has a lot to offer – from fun nightlife, to fabulous shops, and Musse Carnavalet. If you find yourself in the Marais, make a stop at L’as du Falafel mentioned above.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés | My favorite neighborhood in Paris. I’m definitely a left bank kind of girl. This is where Paris feels the most like Paris to me. With open air markets, famous cafes, and beaucoup de charm, the 6th arrondissement is not to be missed.

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Markets | Do not leave Paris without stopping by a market, if only to inhale the blue cheeses or get a glimpse of fresh rabbit. I urge you to pick up one thing you haven’t had before.

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This list is really just a beginning. On one of my first nights in Paris, my French cousin urged me to “get lost and enter,” and that is what I urge all of you to do as you find your own way through Paris.


I enlisted the help of my Parisian girlfriends that I studied abroad with to lend me their one favorite thing about Paris…the thing is, their one favorite thing turned into a bit more, because no one can decipher that one thing that made them fall in love in the City of Light.

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Brigitte | Eating bread and drinking wine.

Kate | My dear! You ask me my one favorite thing to do in Paris? Ce n’est pas possible! All things to do, eat, smell and see in Paris are my favorite. And since I hear you already stole away my hidden gem restaurant, Au Rêve, with the best canard in the city, I’ll have to say walking through Montmartre of course. While many tourists say “oh of course,” I don’t mean just sitting with great Nutella ice cream on the steps of the Sacre Coeur. I mean the elegant “other side” of the hill itself. While of course I’m bias, strolls passing famous artists’ such as Piacasso hot spots, seeing young French children play soccer in the street, and the Normandy style homes…It’s my oasis. Just that stroll. On my peaceful walk I would stop in my favorite crêperie in the city, Brocéliande. I don’t mean any crepe, one for those gluten free readers, traveling is hard enough eh? And forget those crêpes on the street , step inside this treasure in the corner of Montmarte and discover wonderful crêpes. Not just the sweet ones, but with eggs, fresh veggies and a cider to top it off. The buckwheat gluten free crêpes were my go to. All in all, taking a stroll is my favorite thing, in Montmartre or getting lost in the rest of the city. That was my favorite thing and still is my favorite thing to do in the whole world.

Kathryn | Waking up early & walking the empty streets as the sun rises from the rive droite to the rive gauche, stopping to get pain au chocolat & taking a bite out of a fresh/hot pastry. Admiring cute, drunken boys on my way to the Marché Raspail just returning home from a night of clubbing. Really taking time to notice people’s expressions & “Je ne sais quoi” — let’s be honest – drinking wine at 11am, drawing & journaling at cafe tables, being leisurely, still, quiet & sexy, wearing cashmere & pretending to be french, smirking at boys from across the café …


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Be sure to check out my Paris tab for more of my favorite things & feel free to ask questions in the comments section below!