Paris in September

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I spent the weekend before last in Paris with friends. It was beautiful and happy and a little bit magical. I love that place! But also coming back to Madrid was so welcome; the trip made me realize how much this city is starting to feel like home, however temporary, and also I so appreciate being able to communicate! Someone recently told me that not being able to speak the language of the place you’re in is like having your hands tied behind your back and I agree so completely. Language is power, having the power to communicate is something I always hope to cultivate.

All that aside, Paris is a really wondrous city and I had the best time for those few days.

My one request for our itinerary was a visit to l’Orangerie Museum–it was arguably my favorite part of the trip I took two years ago and it struck me just as hard this time. Seeing those water lilies in action is such a profound experience. They are SPECTACULAR, I tell you! There is absolutely no way to appreciate their magnitude and depth other than in person. And I’ve seen them in person twice! Lucky duck, I am.

Other notable things from Friday : being touristy @ the Louvre, pastries at Odette, boat tour on the Seine (so much fun!), and a delicious dinner involving a bottle of red wine and french onion soup, yum.

  

  

Saturday : Picnic by the Eiffel Tower! So yummy and cheap and the view wasn’t half bad 😉 On the recommendation of the lovely Alison Graham we spent the afternoon in the Jewish Quarter exploring shops and art galleries–and of course I bought a t-shirt at Cheap Monday. You can never have enough basics, is what I have to say about that. We grabbed sushi for dinner and then had THE BEST EVER crepes as a late night treat. I am not kidding when I say that they were some of the most delectable things I have ever put into my mouth. I’m developing an increasing dread that I will never again have a crepe without sighing longingly in remembrance of those. RIP, dear crepes.

  

Sunday : We went to the Catacombs and they were amazing. The amount of bones in that place is unbelievable, and being so far under the ground is a crazy feeling. You can’t help but think about all the rock pressing down above you and the possibility of its collapse (!!!). Overall, highly recommend. Afterward we did lots of walking, hot chocolate drinking, and macaron eating. We ended up by the Sacre Coeur and spent a long time just sitting and looking. Such an incredibly beautiful spot, and lots of good people watching. It was the perfect way to start bidding the city goodbye before our early flight the next morning.

Merci, Paris! See you soon.

Cafelito

Sitting on a comfy chair in this place, my favorite café so far in Madrid. The right amount of quiet and cozy, lots of positive energy bouncing around in this small space,. People writing and chatting and and drinking from cups on happy little saucers with warm drinks inside. It’s raining again and here they play quiet jazz with just the right amount of brass, good for these drowsy days.

I wrote my friend Sarah an email this morning and I’m hoping to do more of that. It’s a nice way to excise my thoughts and work through ideas and and easy to keep in touch.

I’m trying to practice things, to write often and take photos and strike the balance between seeing and making // listening and talking. My days are often busy but there are quiet spaces in between, in motion and otherwise.

Today

Today was windy and gray and later on the rain came. I walked home through the park listening to music, soft enough to hear droplets falling between branches shading the quiet paths. The trees are turning here and seeing leaves loose and dry on the ground excites me.

I like the way this coolness feels, the air of it whipping my hair and papers, the need to turn down cuffed sleeves. I like to be in this place, the newness of it and the freedom, the lightness the future holds. The feeling of unsettlement and the act of settling. I like to walk and to wander, to run and think and make new ideas. I need to write down more ideas.

Each day is a little bit different but mostly it all just feels like now.

Travel || NYC

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The last weekend in July Julie and I took off to stay a few days in NYC / Boston and spend time with lovely women friends. We laughed a lot and ate a lot and walked, walked, walked. It was a very full + active time, and made me so grateful to be a young person with freedom and resources to travel. Below I’ve shared some photos and words about our time in New York; a post on Boston will come later this week.

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DAY 1 (thursday)  :

walking : Times Square, Bryant Park, Union Square Park, the Strand.

noms : NY soft serve (eeee!), Blue Bottle Coffee (that cappuccino!), Ngam (Chiang Mai Fries were A+), and Sundaes and Cones for our second sweet treat (I got the tiramisu ice cream and it was on point, but the green tea was super refreshing and wonderful too. Shout out to Julie for tasting practically every flavor before she chose).

fun people : We had dinner/dessert with a two of my sweetest friends from school, Yumi + Sarah. It was such a funny feeling to see them because it seemed totally natural–there was nothing out of the ordinary in meeting for dinner, just lots of happiness and love. The thing about having cool friends all over is that although I don’t talk to everyone regularly, I have this great sense of pride at knowing these wonderful people doing wonderful things.

                    

DAY 2 (friday) :

noms : Breakfast at Mudshop (super cool vibe/design, good coffee and food), lunch at a tiny Italian restaurant in the Upper East side (thinly sliced lemon on a sandwich! who knew?), macarons from Ladurée, dinner at Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown, tiny dessert plate from a place in Little Italy. Bubble tea!

walking : Museum mile (+the National Academy Museum), little Japanese food store where Julie and I stocked up on candy, Central Park, SoHo, West Village

       

DAY 3 (saturday) :

noms : Breakfast at Brooklyn Bagel (AHHHHHH DELICIOUS!!), Jack’s Coffee (really good iced cappuccino), tiny pastry shop, Gran Electrica (Niki and I got matching tacos and they were delicious.

walking : The High Line, Chelsea Market (I bought a boob mug), Brooklyn Bridge (+waterfront park), (shops in) Dumbo.

We averaged 10ish miles of walking a day and saw so much of the city that way. Niki took us to all the hip spots 😉 and did a great job picking out the places we visited. Also the salesgirl in Alice + Olivia complimented my dress, and I’d say that’s one definite way to measure success, tehe.

Lots of love to you, Niki! See ya soon, kiddo.

Travel || Washington D.C.

Last Sunday Mike and I drove to D.C. so I could put in a visa application for my semester in Spain (!). We were in the city for less than 48 hours but managed to fit in some delicious meals, crazy long walks, and aggressive museum going. I haven’t been for more than 10 years and  it was extra special to spend some brief vacation time with him.

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Day 1: Rooftop view + dinner at Sprig and Sprout. I wanted to see the monuments so we walked down through Georgetown to the Lincoln and WWII memorials-crowded but worth it.

Day 2: A cupcake for breakfast at Baked & Wired (I’m still dreaming of that thing, I swear) and fresh-made guacamole for lunch at Oyamel. We visited the Freer + the National Museum of African Art  + the National Gallery, a collectively spectacular experience. I particularly enjoyed this photography exhibition & the sculpture garden. We took a long walk back and ogled the embassies along the way, lots of which were gorgeous.

Overall, a super fun and active trip. I’m happy to keep traveling over the next few weeks and excited to leave for Spain in a little more than a month.

THE WINDOW SEAT

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The thing about flying is that it’s really, really crazy when you stop to think about it. When you pause for a second in the midst of your day and your book and the uncomfortable pressure in your left ear and contemplate the fact that you’re higher than the clouds and the trees and the birds. It’s fascinating, when you’re landing, to watch the highways; to see the cars merge in and weave out, to observe the surprising clarity of the lines marking the lanes and the way that those tiny individuals will turn. I think it’s one of the most immediate and physical of shifts perspective we can experience-to be here in the sky and there, an hour later, in a car that merges and weaves. I think it’s really incredible.

Some things from this week:

My thoughts have been with the victims of the Chapel Hill shooting and the members of that community. I have very few words, but this article does a beautiful job.

For some reason I’d never discovered First Kit’s cover of America, but it’s done been discovered now and I am absolutely in love. Claire and I have been absolutely obsessed and singing it to each other every day- “Kathy, I’m lost”, I said, though I know she was sleeping. “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.”

Today I underestimated the time it would take to get to the airport and the T was having delays and I was that crazy person sprinting catch the plane as the last boarding call sounded. But it was all good in the end and during the flight I read and afterward my Nana picked me up and we went to the Olive Garden which was just perfect.

Speaking of the Olive Garden, they make a surprisingly mean cappuccino. Though I have to admit, when our kind and extremely cheery waiter Mike asked me if I’d like whipped cream on top of my cappuccino I let out a small, involuntary chuckle. The experience was so fun but it reminded me of how grateful I am to have so many trendy joints nearby/v many hip places to explore.

BRUNCHING IN BACK BAY

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Things that make for good Saturday morning exploring:

1) A bangin’ partner in crime

2) A general plan. This does not have to include any specifics i.e. address of brunch place i.e. planned map of activities. But it’s always nice to have an area in mind.

3) A sense of humor and some confidence. You might have to ask to share a table with three random people. It’ll be cool. Don’t sweat it.

4) Your phone. Because there’s inevitably going to be a need for last minute Yelp searches and directions to the nearest T stop.

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Things that make for not so good Saturday morning exploring:

1) Cold weather. And wind. And frozen hands and toes and a “feels like” of 2 degrees. Yeah. That just about sums it up.

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So even though the air was frigid and the snow was piled higher than us and we had to wait to sit and eat our brunch, this morning was pretty swell. Elizabeth and I set out for adventure and I’d like to think we found it, too (with a little help). We had lovely coffee and noms at Render, which we chose for it’s reviews but, let’s be real, who can resist a trendy coffee bar with a chalk menu and a barista simultaneously taking your order and making pour over?

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Case in point.

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Stylish neighborhoods breed stylish debris. Also, I’m sure you thought you were really punny Jenn. And you were. I guess James just doesn’t get it… sigh.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 presetSo for some final thoughts, the orange line is weird, man. There’s a lot of wood paneling. And it smells a funky. But the Mass Ave stop is real nice, all out in the open air with snow making this soft blanket everywhere and some pretty shadows. I’d go back.

Graffiti to take us out.

ASHEVILLE NC


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Snow days, amirite? There’s a blizzard outside but I’ve been snuggled in bed nursing cups of earl grey and reading and remembering this trip to Asheville with Mike a few weeks ago. It wasn’t much warmer there but the skies were blue and it’s always the most fun to explore new places with him. We stayed a night in a lodge (+bubble bath which was heaven), ate so much good food, and took time to soak in (get it?!) some sweet art and book shops downtown.

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First order of business was obviously cappuccinos-we drove to Waking Life Espresso, which was a little outside of the downtown but so worth it. Listened to some music that Mike deemed “so Olivia.” Because, ya know. Weird songs with high plucky little notes are obvi so me.

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Walking around, looking in aforementioned sweet shops.

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I really loved Hannah Dansie‘s work. Such a fan of the collage/painting/illustration thing + her style is super cool.

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Dinner at Cúrate nom nom nom. 

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Logs in the morning

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Mike had three shots of espresso in that cappuccino and proclaimed it the best of his life. I had a salted caramel hot chocolate which was, as it sounds, divine. Three cheers for the French Broad Chocolate Lounge!

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Hehe little plants.

SONY DSCThe remains of a taco lunch. Tacos, eh. Queso, gud. The color of that booth, perfect.

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Feetz.

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Ya know, this magazine looked rad but was less rad to read. Sigh. I’m absolutely always in love with good design, though. Which this cover has. So. There’s that.

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A tour of the Moog factory. I thought it would be not quite my cup of tea but, I tell you what, that stuff is pretty cool. The tour guide was good. And Mike was enthralled. And his pants match the factory? Definitely he coordinated that ahead of time.

Finally got some tea and headed home. Overall quite a spectacular trip, I would say (and one of the best Christmas presents ever, thanks babe). I’d love to go back in the summertime when hiking and seeing beautiful green things is an option. Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear!