Lolly gagger

As much as I hate the transition of our unbeatable summers here in Seattle to our cozy fall with predications of rain until June it always puts me in a mood to overanalyze and sort things out. Most of my days are spent up in my office editing away, day dreaming, and drifting. This fall I found myself questioning what exactly am I doing and what direction am I headed? I have so many interests and pursuits how could I possibly narrow them down and become specialized in one certain thing. I think I have ran this question through my mind about 78 times this month alone.

I got a text from a friend the other day asking me “What makes you happiest” and “What are you most scared of?” Out of the blue I had to put my thoughts into words and immediately it answered my own quandaries. These are my best moments. The larger answer to this question is I feel most alive when I am inspired. It sounds vague but it really isn’t. I get inspired by the energy of cities, the momentum of people in each others lives, by the people I meet, their stories, struggles, and triumphs. I am endlessly inspired by the art of fashion, photography, the way people decorate their interiors of their homes, humor, oddities, space, compromises, kids insight, voice inflections, promises we make, careers people chose, the way people walk, shadows and sunlight. The list is endless.

In my travels being a lolly gagger on the internet I run across things daily I share with friends, family, and save to favorites. Recently I have thought about starting a more personal blog or tumblr or whatever is the freshest thing. But then, I’m like who needs another blog to read?! Aren’t they all starting to run together?

Well, I have some ideas in store and may be taking a bit of another route this year so stay tuned.

For now here are some fun things I ran across lately.

I read this advice today and immediately sent it to my dearest longest friend who is about to embark on mommy land. It’s straight forward and brilliant. I also think it can be translated into all our individual lives.

“When it comes to being a mother, don’t listen to anyone. Absolutely no one. Ignore all of it: the breastfeeding tips, the sleep-training dogma, the attachment parenting books, the wooden toys credo, food allergies hysteria, EVERYTHING. Being a mom is about developing your own style, just like anything else. Your kid is going to be complicated and tormented and amazing just like every other human being that walks this earth no matter what, so trust your instincts and drown out the noise. The only person who knows what your child needs is you.”

Books I have been reading and are on my fall list:
As a three time reader of Grace when I heard of Asylum I had a moment of inner giddy.

I read about ManRepeller in Fast Company earlier this summer. I google stalked Leandra Medine and knew her and I would be distant best friends. If her blog and book hasn’t found you yet PLEASE take a look. Laughs will ensue.

This just fascinates me Brain of Fire

Julia Child Rules; lessons on savoring life. Wildly inappropriate for her time and beautifully poised and successful. No explanation needed.

Truth! After reading this I purposely would leave my lifeline (iphone) at home while I ran errands or waslked to pick up the kids from school. Torture at first. As if I lost an appendage. I survived and it felt a little good.

Following your intuition.

Interesting article on an alternative to all our 30+ ladies skincare woes. :)

I LOVE LOVE this ladies philosophy on wedding land. It resonates in many ways. This is the best thing I read all week. I almost cried.

While I work I switch between music and podcasts. Music makes me daydream and podcasts urge me listen. Some funny and many fascinating ones I listened to this week:
Roderick on the Line
Aha moments

I realized this week I have a new liking for men’s scents on myself. I feel like I have a hot man following me around all day. It’s a good time of the year to try it out. Get some samples of these:
Acqua di Parma Essenza… It will curb your Italian dreams. :)
Anything by Creed Yum!

Total girl and hair crush of mine just got signed for a book deal.Can’t wait to scope this one out. I am still working on the balls to swing this hair.

I mentioned daydreaming. I just love these images and have looked at them 1000 times.

If you have any thoughts on the blog, tumblr, whatevs idea I would love to know what you think.

Happy Weekending!

xo,
nicole

Becoming a Mrs… Smiles, Mariachi, and two places to know about!

Smiles
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Besides all the beautiful love at weddings the maker or breaker is often your DJ or band. If a rad DJ is part of your crew they will keep the energy alive and know how to work the crowd. This foxy lady is Smiles Davis. Isn’t she so adorable?! I have had a crush on her since I started shooting weddings. Clearly, she was on the top of my list to book for our wedding. I am real excited to boogie down with all my favorite people.

You can see Smiles work her magic here:

Mariachi
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Truth… I really love Mariachi bands. I love their energy. I love their friendly approach. I love Mexican culture! I thought it would perfect fun to have our guests arrive to some authentic Mexican music. Los Salazar is a well known three piece mariachi band; father, daughter, and son located in Santa Ana. They will also be playing for our cocktail hour.

Places to know about if you are in Palm Springs!

The Parker Hotel
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You will find me out here the morning of the wedding…

I have been dying for an excuse to stay here for the past couple of years. Jonathan Adler designed this gem of a hotel.The grounds, the rooms are all so well done. My ladies, the kids, and I are shacking up here the night before the wedding and will be doing the getting ready process here the next day as well. I am really excited to see in person. Just take a look at this place

Workshop
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I saw this place and knew instantly this is where we would take all our loved ones and have a beautiful feast the night before the wedding. It reminds me of Seattle with the farm to table approach and obviously has a great design aesthetic.

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This picture cracks me up!

We leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow for our wedding week adventure. This is my last post on all the wedding planning, insight, and gems of people I have found along the way. We are both giddy like first graders and have found many different satisfying moments in the process of Becoming a Mr & Mrs!

Because it really can be a beautiful process.
If you want to follow the Palm Springs wedding week, you can find me here: instagram

Loves,
Nicole

becoming a mrs! design, video, and lounge furniture

Julia, Lady Design
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Early on Nate and I talked about what the invites would be like knowing it sets the tone for the whole endeavor. Nate being a man of the internets and completely unconventional (interpretation: web developer and designer) and me being drawn to sparkly things we thought up an simple design that would represent us both and our mid century-modern wedding.

Instead of all the usual information that goes on the invites, we provided a link to the website. The website is where we had all the info you needed and the RSVP. Nate built the website from Julia’s designs. See it here:
http://desertwedding.us/

My friend Julia, is also a photographer and an all around creative. She is currently in design school at the UW and does small business branding and design on the side.

Julia helped us take our ideas we dreamed up to completion for our invites and all the design you will see at our wedding. She is a laid back lady with a great ability to communicate ideas and concepts. I am more than thrilled to work with her and know she will have a bright future as an artist.

See more of Julia’s beautiful work here:
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Oh Brian… aka Sharkpig!
Brian is one of those guys that evoke belly laughs in the first five minutes you are in his presence. He’s sincere, honest, and is the best story teller I have ever met. He just moved back to LA after living in Seattle for the past year. He is already missed. Brian does video. In the best incredible way possible. See for yourself here:

Lounging!
Sticking with the design and era of the house it made total sense to rent lounge furniture from our friends at Yeah! rentals in LA. We also opted out of the formal sit down dinner style. Instead, we went for a more casual approach and rented poufs, wooden side tables, chairs, and our bar. All the poufs and tables will be dispersed all over the backyard for a more casual chill vibe. Check them out here: YEAH! rentals

YEAH!rentals from Son of Shark Pig on Vimeo.

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becoming a mrs! my beauty guru and the not flowers in Palm Springs.

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Next to feeling beautiful and comfortable in your dress the closest thing is having a makeup and hair artist who can do the same for you. That person for me is Tiffany of Tiffany Colors.
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I have been seeing Tiff for the past three years. She is in charge of all things beauty for me and on occasion we collaborate together on shoots. I never really give her direction I just tell her where I am going and what I am wearing and say GO… She knows my quirky sense of style and has a good twist of her own so we blend perfectly. Total trust.
So, clearly getting her out to Palm Springs was at the top of my list for the wedding festivities as well. I wanted to feel my best and have all my golden ladies feel taken care of as well. I have seen far too many episodes of brides hating their hair or feeling like a mad stranger to themselves on their special day. Thank you brides, lesson learned.

Turns out the wedding has turned into a family vacation for Tiff and company. Yay!

Tiff is located in Seattle at SKYN salon in Pioneer square. If you are looking for a new stylist with loads of personality and talent for days… you know where to go! Her resume is extensive just take a peek here!

The Not Flowers
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I had this wild assumption that some of my ladies and I would take a trip to LA and go to the flower mart a few days prior to the wedding. Bring home all our pretties and round up some bouquets. Julie is pretty talented at this so I thought we were solid. Well, insert Farra again and our 220 emails she so lovingly said “Um, I think they might not last out there! But I do know someone…”

I contacted Britt from Tend Living after I stalked her website for about 30 minutes dying over all her succulent, cacti, and air plants variety. I emailed her explaining what we were doing and asked if we were indeed crazy to think flowers would last a hot minute in the heat. She laughed… over email at least. I think to be exact she said “Honey, it’s going to be hotter than the devils’ panties!” I took her word and we collaborated straight from there.I am beyond thankful Farra sent her my way. You should take a look at her stuff she creates some really interesting work.
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This is a gollypod. How could I not order a red gollypod. I mean come on…
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How gorgeous is that bouquet? Mine will be very similar to this.
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becoming a mrs! food trucks, mixologists, and the barware

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Having experienced my very first spam tacos from Marination a couple years ago at a wedding I was sold. Really, they are super! So it was a pretty easy decision from the start. Only small problem… no food trucks in Palm Springs. What?! How could this be, in Seattle we have hundreds. So I started my search and ended up finding The Lime Truck who are in Los Angeles.

Maryann understood what I was looking for and she nailed our menu on the first response! Yes!!

My next quest was the most important DESSERT. Well, considering the temperatures will reign around 110 degrees that day I didn’t dare give any sort of cake/ frosting combo a second thought. I know, crazy. Some of our groomsmen were heartbroken. I would do what any reasonable sweet tooth would do and went for the next best thing… Hawaiian shave ice. Shave ice with ice cream in the middle… yes I think so. Again, nothing even close in Palm Springs. So I asked The Lime Truck for suggestions and she sent me to Haleiwa Shave ice. Reeaal excited about this treat as both Nate and I have never tried authentic Hawaiian shave ice.

Oh Farra… and then there was my dream Farra!
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One problem I ran across and completely didn’t think about when renting a house for an event is what will I use for dinnerware and barware. Luckily, the food trucks will take care of the plates, bowls, ect. However, I still needed barware. If you know me, you know I have a tiny obsession with collecting vintage barware, glasses, and serving pieces. They are great conversation pieces and make your drinks a bit funner to sip from. It’s the small things over here.

Instead of contacting the typical classic party rentals variety in Palm Springs I ran across Farra from The Hostess Haven on my internet travels. She lives in San Diego but turns out we knew many of the same people in the wedding photography community. You know when you meet someone and think I would totally be besties with her if we lived in the same zip code… well that was Farra. Everything I explained about our wedding, what I loved, and was looking for she came back with even better ideas and collaboration. I found myself with perma-grins reading her emails thinking Yes, Yes, Yes! Farra has an overflowing collection of vintage barware and tabletop gems. I LOVE them all. Oh, and I hear she can make some pretty stellar desserts! She is known to do a few dessert tables. What is not to love with this lady… really looking forward to meeting her in real life if you couldn’t already tell.
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After 220 emails back and forth I shared with her I was looking for a bartender and did she know anyone. Just so happens her husband owns a few businesses, The Vetted Table and Miho Gastrotruck. Well isn’t this a perfect duo. Done! I contacted Juan and we had a mixologist just like that. Instant approval! Juan like Farra has been a dream team extraordinaire to work with. Juan and his guys came up with two bespoke cocktails for us on the wedding day and they are nothing less than perfect for us.
Don’t these tables look dreamy?
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Also, Farra’s vintage collection here.
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Photos by: RAD + IN LOVE
& studiocastillero

becoming a mrs! the photographer…

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This is the first question people ask! Once people knew we were finally tying the knot they would ask “Oooh, who’s going to shoot it? It must be the hardest part of wedding planning trying to find a photographer?” Actually, it was the easiest decision yet.

We all have our favorites in the industry and on many occasions I have asked other photographers “Who would you love to have shoot your wedding, family, ect? I am curious.

Rewind to last year some friends met up at a local pub for a night of catch ups. Because of twitter and the life of the technology word travels fast and sometimes you don’t know who you will see and meet. This particular night it was a small group of us.

I met my photographer there that evening. Coincidentally, I emailed him that day (he had no idea). Not about shooting my wedding but about industry stuff. So we met. We has fresh conversation and became friends.

I mentioned my email.
We kept in touch.

Fast forward nine months — Finally. I booked the photographer. The photographer that was a favorite!

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I could tell you 106 reasons why I am drawn to his art, vision, creativity, and honest images. I could tell you why he is a rad friend and does everything with the best of intentions and pure love. I could tell you he is the best curator I have come across. I could tell you I love his family. I could tell you he has one MILLION pinterest followers :)

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Regardless, of all those things what I think is most important to share is I trust him 100 percent to show up and know he will kill it. He will fit in and become one of the gang like no one else and find the magic in it all. In the most wonderful way.

Check him out. Say hello. You won’t regret any part of it.

Let me introduce you to James (Jimmy) Moes.

Here is some of James work to drool over:

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Also…

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Meet my friend Roger. I asked him if he would be interested in shooting the wedding with any or all of his film cameras alongside James. No direction by me and free rein to be as creative and crazy awesome as Roger is. He said yes!! So Roger and his huge personality will be at our wedding making magic. You can find his work here and here!

Eeee!
Pure love.
Pure energy.
Pure madness.
All good. All in one place.

becoming a mrs! the venue…

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The second most popular question I get asked is why Palm Springs?
Palm springs is an easy place to fall in love with. Especially someone like me who is obsessed with mid century/ modern architecture, design, warm temperatures, and old Hollywood nostalgia. The desert and the unbelievable CA light is really a no brainer! Every time I am there it feels like I am transported back in time.

Once I had the dress we started the real talk about what was important to us and how we would like our wedding week to unfold. Both Nate and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to also make a family vacation out of the adventure. So, clearly it was obvious we should rent a fab house for a week and also get married there.

You know a Mad Men midcentury beautiful everything and throw a wedding dinner pool party with our closest friends and family. We both wanted an intimate gathering where we felt comfortable enough after the wedding we could all take our shoes off and just maybe jump in the pool.

When I get an idea in my head and mill it around a while and it seems reasonable I go to endless lengths to fulfill that idea. I scoured the internet. SCOURED. First I started with VRBO and airbnb. Those were bot great resources.

However, right from the start I ran into some problems.
- I found the exact interior I wanted but the exterior wasn’t exactly in line with my vision. Or vice versa.
- I found the exact house and then realized the day occupancy rate was 12 people. hmmm… yeah, pass.

So I upped my game and same thing. I found all these phenomenal celebrity homes (admittedly I might tour when I am there) like the Elvis house, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, and The Kauffman house. Obviously, they were slightly out of my price range. So I pressed on.

Then I found Casa Verona! I am beyond excited to stay here for the week and feel so lucky to have our wedding here.

Here are some images of the rental house:

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Casa Verona is ran through a company called Room Service and they also have other Midcentury homes to rent. Check out their site.

becoming a mrs! picking the dress…

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This week it all became real. I woke up on Monday with feelings of excitement, anxiety, and calm. How is that even possible?! To celebrate all this craziness and bliss the week leading up until we leave I wanted to share all the plans and the fabulous friends that are helping make our day special. We tried extra hard to be intentional and thoughtful in picking all the people who will be with us on this day and so far I would pass them along to anyone we know.

From the beginning…

Lucky for me I brought my best friend Julie along for my first dress trying on experience. I picked out 5 or 6 from a dress shop here in town and four steps out of the dressing room I could tell by the look on her face these were a no go! From there I left a little discouraged knowing the dress I wanted was all the way in the UK and was five times out of my budget.

Black Friday came along and Nate and I were out shopping for boots and I decided I needed to go upstairs to look for a holiday dress. I passed through the bridal collection like always and spotted a familiar Nicole Miller dress I tried on earlier in the summer. This time it was on the sample rack. I looked at the size and the price and knew I had to try it on again! My last experience squeezing into this dress was somewhat of a joke. In the end I learned that a size 2 doesn’t fit even if it is stretch silk and there should only be one true Kim Kardashian. Goodness!

This fitting was a bit different. The dress was waaay too big. Too big to even take in without costing a fortune. However, once I was pinned and cinched and stepped into those gold heels I knew this was the dress for me and we would be great friends together! Nordstrom found the dress in Pennsylvania dress in my size and had it shipped to Seattle in a week.

Still, I had big plans for this dress…

Once the dress came in I met with Toma (alterations goddess) from Downtown Seattle Nordstrom and we took that baby to town. Her work is unbelievable and it turned out better than I imagined.

Double bonus: the stretch silk is so comfortable I can eat and dance my face off seamlessly. That’s huge!!

Here are some of Nicole Miller’s dresses:

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St. Tropez oh’ St. Tropez

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All of France is quite lovely but this charming fishing village on the Riviera stole my heart. Oh St. Tropez!

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We landed in St. Tropez before the May holidays began so we felt pretty lucky to experience the village when it was quiet, friendly and warm.

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St. Tropez is a good mix of charming and glitterati. The port is festooned with yachts, golden tans and seasoned shoppers (as in a Doir mansion)! Spectacular people watching. Upon recommendation tried we this super fance restaurant on the port called L’Escale. You dine with white sand underneath your feet, the rose is a must, and the seafood is tops. It’s a pretty penny but a must see while in St. Tropez.

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French children are to die for. Well mannered and inquisitive. That pretty much sums it up.

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Brigitte Bardot, my girl crush, is the most famous face around these parts. Filming And God Created Women there in the late 1950′s is what put St. Tropez on the map. Brigitte still lives in La Madrague but has not set foot on the port in ten years. Naturally, my mind kept getting lost curious about what it was like there then. The myth and essence of the 1960′s.

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Hotel De Lices was our little vintage boutique hotel we stayed at while we were there in St. Trop. Without reservation this was the best hotel experience I have had in my life. Family ran with dogs in tow, overly generous staff, drinks and fresh fruit aplenty, and a poolside scene I could have stayed at for days. Need I say more?
Oh yeah, this was where Brigitte stayed. Also, most French people have cocker spaniels and not poodles. Just to set the stereotypes straight.

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Plages de Pampelonne White sand, crystal clear water, many spots to get a chair and umbrella to compliment your apertif, beach food at Cap 21 and you are golden. Summary of my perfect day.

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Some other places worth checking out:

Restaurants
Bistro Canaille
Tapas are so well received you will leave wanting more. Fine wine flows like water. Owners Lili and Jean-Francoise are welcoming and love to speak English.
Le Sporting
Constantly packed like any good Brasserie, best spot to bask in the sun behind your sunnies and gaze at all the ensembles, staff is easy going and fun. c’est magnifique!

Shopping
ERES Chicest of chic suits
K Jacques The website does not do this glorious store any wonder. They are beautiful handmade sandals.
The emerald green bikini shop without a name on the port. You can’t miss it.

I owe Paris a thank you note!

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i owe paris a thank you note.

for…
Showing me what a real chocolate croissant was all about.
Women smelling irresistible.
Saying bonjour madame, bonsoir, and merci beaucoup endlessly.
The shoes!

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Tasting nectar of the gods some call fruit.
The FASHION! Understated? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
For a self realization. But not while I was there as I expected!
The comfort of a “bise” cheek kiss.

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Men aged 15 to 89 years old giving lingering looks at women in adoration.
Busy streets of fading french passing by.
Did I mention the shoes?!
Your pharmacies are a conversation starter. Beauty products to die for.

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Every door being like a modern version of the secret garden.
Referencing things as a box in english.
Being stimulated by the mystery of Paris.
The quietness of Parisians. Americans are kinda loud people.

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The crimes I committed indulging in french salted butter and decadent pastries daily.
No reason at all to drink champagne!
Children riding scooters through the city with their scarfs wafting in the wind as if they were just born this way!
Sugar packaged as “sucre en poudre” translation “sugar daddy” I love you for that.

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I felt right at home in Paris.

“What did you think?” and “How was it?”
I keep trying to find the word. The perfect way to express three weeks of constant sensory overload.

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Well…

Neither Nate nor I speak much french. We carried our way with the basics and learned very quickly how to charm our way around as humble eager travelers.

It’s been a week since we left France and I am still ruminating on “oh, remember that nutella crepe I devoured on the way to the Seine, the sugary smell of that dark brunette with a fabulous black hat, or walking side by side with my love both intoxicated with what we were seeing and re-learning parts of each other!”

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We were in France a couple days shy of 3 weeks and lucky enough to be in Paris for 8 nights. We rented two apartments in different arrondissements and pretty much walked the entire city while we were there. Some days 8 to 10 miles.

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We had a few suggestions of what to see and experience while we were there. Naturally, most of it was what to eat and where to shop. This time we didn’t go into one museum or monument. (next up on the kids trip) We both wanted to stay clear of lines and hours of waiting. For us it was about the culture and soaking in the city.

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So basically we ate our way through the city, shopped, people watched to no end, wandered, and enjoyed beautiful visits with Parisian and American ex-pat friends.

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Side note: the french were lovely and very gracious to us.

I love recommendations when I travel so I thought I would offer some for you my friends:

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Cafes/
Cafe de Flore Oh so charming art-deco and nostalgia for days. Café de Flore has been the stomping grounds for many an intellectual from Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to Pablo Picasso and Albert Camus. Steep prices but super chic. Tops for people watching here. Dining patrons and passersby’s alike.

Les Deux Magots Same same as Cafe de Flore with an alternative view a few doors down.

Cafe Charlot On a nice day you will wait for a table. The French darlings aren’t shy about sticking around for a while.

Le Perle We were recommended this place by one of our friends. It’s hip, dress code is unreal and you never know who you will see there. Drinks were a bargain as they weren’t $25 for A cocktail. Yay!

Cafe Pinson Is charming and reminded me of a Seattle cafe with French decor.

Chocolate croissant/
Ble Sucre This deserves it’s own category as I have never tasted something so decadent in my entire life. Game changer.

Restaurants/
Claus Was our agreed upon best proper breakfast experience. The whole experience was top shelf. The food and presentation was equally on par with the decor and atmosphere.

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Shopping/
Broken Arm Relaxed and hip artsy shop with a cafe inside. All boutique French designers. Very friendly and eager to chat. Not really my taste in style but has a cool vibe about it.

Bonton Best childrens store I have ever stepped into. Imagine a sweet delicate nursery with a whimsical spell over it. It’s everything you imagine as an adult what your childhood dreams are about. They carry clothing, books and toys. Really wonderful.

Merci A favorite among places to see in Paris. This little haven has a bit for all. Mens, womens, householdry, parfumerie and jewelry. French/ Japanese design, genius concept, and hip selection. More enjoyable is the cafe and bookstore downstairs. Comparable to a library coffee shop. Tres cool.

Le 29 Photo design dream paradise.

Nose Spectacular parfumerie that carries mostly French perfume. Only ze best.

Pierre Herme A better macroon. Rises above the rest. Trust me.

I couldn’t leave out some vintage goodness as well now could I? So…

Pretty Box Carries a variety of gems. Many high end designers. So high end some I have never heard of. Mixed in with some unknown french designers. All a great selection.

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Things to see even if you don’t want to go on tours/
Le Comptoir General/ Ghetto Museum This place is real special. It’s a secret to most travelers but known by the locals. It’s near Canal St Martin. Walking in you feel like you transported in time to 1976 Berlin boho chic.

Canal St Martin A nice escape from the tourist scene. On a warm day in Paris all the lovers and friends are out picnicking along the canal. Perfect postcard view.

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Gardens and parks are endless. I enjoyed the hiding ones you stumbled across while walking in the different arrondissements.

There are many places I still have on my list we weren’t able to see. Timing is a huge thing in Paris. Don’t forget they are real serious about lunch time and days off. Usually Sundays, Mondays and possibly Tuesdays.

My best advice is invest in some sturdy shoes you love (no sneakers, ever) (or three as I did) and get out there and lose your mind wandering in the city of dreams.

If you are curious to see more candids from our travels on instagram. Find me here nicolejfirestone

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Up next my favorite St Tropez…