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6 Things To Remember For Those Days You Just Don’t Feel You Did Enough

We all have those days you just don’t feel you did enough. You have a giant to-do list, and unexpected things keep popping up and you’re just not getting through that list like you thought you had, like you planned on. It happens, but it can make us feel like failures.

Here’s 6 things to remember for those days you just don’t feel you did enough.

  1. You’re only one person. Yeah, I know people are out there saying that you and Beyonce both have 24 hours in a day. Well, technically, that is true, but Beyonce has a professional driver, chef, maid, personal assistant, and nanny, last time I checked, unless you have her money, odds are you don’t have any of that. I think I’d get more done too if I didn’t have to cook, clean, or plan out my day myself. So cut yourself some slack.
  2. Take it one task at a time. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed by all that I need to accomplish in a day, I sometimes jump from one task to another, never actually completing anything. So sure, I start my to-do list, but I never get to check anything off at the end of the day. That can definitely make me feel like I didn’t get enough done in a day, since nothing got completed. So instead of bouncing around from task to task, start at the top of your list, and only move on when a task is completely finished.
  3. Take a minute to breathe. Having a giant to-do list looming over you can definitely make you feel stressed, and for most people, stress ultimately works against us. So take a minute to yourself. I know, you don’t have time to get it all done, and now I want you to take time to breathe? I must be crazy. But I promise you, it’s for your well-being.
  4. Get a good night’s rest. It’s so much harder to get stuff done when you’re trudging through that list on about 3 hours of sleep. For most people, it just doesn’t work, and even though you think you’re getting more done by staying up late, odds are you’re going to be more distracted, less sharp, and not be able to work as quickly, so you actually lose that time you thought you were making up.
  5. Eat the frog. Weird saying, right? But it means, when you get up in the morning, knock out that big task that you have looming over you. If you get it done right away, you will feel more energized and more able to get the smaller stuff done throughout the day, rather than procrastinating your day away avoiding that big task.
  6. Write down everything you did accomplish. Maybe you weren’t able to get to the grocery store or you didn’t get a chance to vacuum the house. But I bet you will feel better if you write down all that you did get done. I love to-do lists, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes rather than helping me, they just make me feel bummed when I don’t get as much done. Usually, that’s because unexpected things came up that weren’t accounted for on the list. If you write down all of those on a task-completed list, you may feel better about your day.

Just keep in mind, you’re not alone with your struggle. We all have days where things just don’t go according to plan, and we don’t accomplish what we needed to. It happens, it’s all a part of this crazy thing we call life. But just because it didn’t happen that day, doesn’t mean you don’t have tomorrow. Each sunrise is a new day where you can accomplish new goals. But don’t beat yourself up if you weren’t able to cook that gourmet meal and you have to just order in. Balancing a job, working out, having a social life, getting enough sleep, and getting everything that needs to be done done, is not an easy task. Just make sure you get the important stuff done, the stuff you need for your physical and mental health, and you’ll be good.

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T-Shirt Quilts, A New Kind of Upcycling

Ever since I joined Kappa Alpha Theta, I have had a great time with my sisters and representing my sorority. We always have a blast going anywhere, and I am always filled with a sense of pride when I wear my letters, even four years out of college. The only downside to my sorority life, is all the extra things that I’ve gathered.

I have a huge collection of t-shirts from every event. Not sure why, but it’s basically an unwritten law that if there is an event on campus that we were a part of, we had to have a shirt to go with it. I gathered probably close to thirty shirts, all for different events. While I love having them as they bring back memories of each event, I also have nowhere to put them in my closet. So after a bit of research and thinking, I’ve decided to upcycle my shirts, the sorority girl way. I’m going to take all of my shirts and make them into a quilt. A few sisters of mine have done that with their clothing, and I know my freshman year roomie had a t-shirt quilt made from all of her old lacrosse shirts from high school. When done properly, it can look really cute, and be a fun way to keep the shirts, without losing that all too valuable drawer space that I desperately need.

I’ve gathered a few different sites that offer different packages for t-shirt quilts depending on what best fits your needs.

  • https://www.projectrepat.com -this site offers you the ability to choose how many t-shirts you want to use in your quilt. You choose the size and all the details, then you box up your shirts and send them over. When they’re done, you get everything back in a beautiful quilt that captures all of your memories. Prices vary depending on the size of the quilt, but overall it’s a great option for you to get some use out of those old t-shirts again.
  • http://www.campusquilt.com/ -this site is great because you can mix a variety of things. So it doesn’t just have to be t-shirts, but it could be old sweatshirts, t-shirts, even old blanket scraps.
  • https://www.toocooltshirtquilts.com/ -this is another great option. You can use any number of t-shirts you need, and it’s not going to be done row by row, but rather more of a mismatched style, which if you’re like me, you love how that style makes chaos organized.

Any of these are great options for designing your t-shirt quilt and keeping your memories there, without just sitting in a closet abandoned.

Skin Cancer Scare

Hey y’all. So I wanted to talk about a topic that has recently become an important factor in how I live my life and my day to day habits. Currently, it’s the hottest time of the year, at least for us in Florida until September. Now, as a born and raised Floridian, that usually means beach days or time spent at the water park or hanging by the pool working on that glorious tan.

Recently, I went to a dermatologist and had to have four spots removed. Normally, they find a spot or two that looks suspicious, but when they scrape a bit off and remove it, it always comes back negative for anything and completely fine. Well, I had my appointment, waited two weeks, and called the office for the results. Out of the four spots, 3 were fine. One however, came back as severely atypical. For those of you who don’t know what that means, since I didn’t, the doctor explained that it means my freckle was either already turned cancerous, or it had an extremely high likelihood of doing so. The problem was, they weren’t sure which it was, and I had to go in for a minor procedure where they took more of it, in a larger area, to ensure that they not only got all of those atypical cells, but also had enough to properly test and find out what was going on.

This spot was on my right hand, on my middle finger. I’m ambidextrous, but prefer to use my right hand for many tasks. When I went in for my procedure, I was prepared to either get stitches or have some algae packed in that would help it heal and keep it closed up. Well, upon review of where exactly the spot was, it was determined that I would get neither, as there wasn’t enough skin for stitches, and they prefer not to use the algae for fingers. So instead, they were going to cauterize the wound and leave me with a gaping hole that would eventually heal on its own with proper wound care.

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Pic is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

Well, I’m not going to lie, a needle in your finger hurts, especially right by the nail. What hurt even more though, was the fact that at one point, he didn’t numb me far enough out, and I felt him cutting through my skin. Turns out a “whoops that shouldn’t have happened” doesn’t make you feel very confident in your doctor. Thankfully, besides that one instance, I didn’t feel a thing. The cauterizing definitely is not the most pleasant smell, go figure, burning skin, but it didn’t hurt, and it helped stop the bleeding. Which, as we all know, fingers bleed, a lot.

After my procedure, I was told to minimize movement of my hand and put my arm in a sling. No kidding, a sling. I work on computers all day, and I didn’t want to take any sick time, so I adapted and worked with one hand. Not the best experience, but it definitely made me super thankful that I was only having to do that for a short amount of time. I also have not been able to play tennis, and have had to be very careful about not hitting it on random surfaces, otherwise I cause a nice throbbing sensation to go through my finger for a few minutes. It’s fun.

After anxiously waiting another two weeks, I called the office and got told that I was good, there was no need to have anything else removed, that they had gotten enough. Unfortunately, whenever you go in for a procedure like that, there’s always a chance that they will have to call you back in to get a little more.

Now, mine had a good ending thankfully, except for the fact that as I write this, my finger is still bandaged. I am going 10 weeks after this whole thing started. I have new skin growing in, but it definitely is taking its time. However, not everyone is as lucky as I am. I’m only 24 years old, but now I have had a scare that requires I see a dermatologist every 6 months. So many others I know haven’t even seen a dermatologist, and they’ve been Floridians their whole lives. I’m writing to stress the importance of it. It’s definitely not the most fun, but it is so absolutely necessary. Yes, I will have a weird spot on my hand forever now. And yes, I have a few other weird spots from where they took samples. But, knowing that skin cancer is one of the most deadly, and yet also the most preventable, I feel thankful.

So guys, seriously, get an appointment to see a dermatologist. Even if you think you have nothing that fits the spectrum of weird spots. Guess what, my freckle on my hand, it didn’t fit any of the signs they tell us to watch out for. It was small, perfectly round, one color, and I’d had it for years and years without it changing. Also, wear sunscreen. I know, it smells weird, makes you feel sticky or oily. It doesn’t matter, it is so important to wear sunscreen and protect your skin. I love laying out by the pool or spending time outside with friends, but I also know that every sunburn I get, takes me one step closer to skin cancer. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take, especially not after having to deal with my skin being cut up. Just wear the sunscreen, get proper tinting on your vehicle, whatever you need to do to protect your skin during this heat. Plus, excessive sun leads to wrinkles and leathery looking skin. None of us want that.

Lakeridge Winery Tour & Tasting

I am a huge wine fan. Back in college, my roomies and friends used to do wine nights, where we would go to the store, buy cookie dough and other treats, and a cheap $5 bottle of wine (or two) for us to share that night. We would just sit around the living room and either watch a movie or just talk about life, classes, boys, the future, you get the idea. Since then, I’ve enjoyed a good glass of wine. Whether it’s unwinding with friends or a desperately needed one after a long day of work, I enjoy a glass of wine in moderation.

My tour of Lakeridge Winery in Clermont, FL reminded me of that. It’s not a far drive for me, so it was an inexpensive way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I had heard about it from a co-worker, and figured it would be fun to get a tour and do a tasting. Now, I did a little bit of research and heard good things, the winery had good ratings, and it was close enough that it would be an inexpensive, but yet different thing to do.

We had to wait about 10 minutes after we got there for the tour to begin. It started out with a nice little video about how the winery got started, and how wine could even be made in Florida (I knew of Napa Valley as wine country, not Florida). From there, we then got to see where the wine is stored, and then where the grapes are grown. It was absolutely beautiful, beautiful land, beautiful view, and a really neat process.IMG_0699

After that came the best part. The wine tasting. Now, I have never done a wine tasting before, so it was something completely new for me. We tried about 10 wines, starting with dry and ending with sweet. Overall, I think there was only one wine that I didn’t enjoy, all the others were really good or fairly decent. We had a great group doing the tour with us, we all had a good laugh, and had a good time. I left there with 6 bottles of wine to take home, and yeah I know, seems like a lot, but trust me, I wasn’t even their best customer from our group.

Just like those memories of those wine nights, I now have a wonderful memory of a great day spending time at a local winery. I’ve lived in this area my whole life, and had never heard of this place. In fact, until I looked it up, I wasn’t even sure we could grow grapes for wine in this state. So, yes, it was a touristy day trip, but it was fun, I got to try delicious wine, and I got to see a local gem that I otherwise wouldn’t have ever known about. So if you’re near that area, go give them a try.

10 Tips to Help You De-Stress

Hey guys. So I am a stressed person. Unfortunately, it’s in my genes, as a Type A personality, who likes to be in control, stress is more common that I’d like it to be. While I’m trying to work on that, I’ve also accepted that I do get stressed, we all do, and I need to find a way to help manage it, in addition to working on stressing less. I’ve included 10 tips to help you de-stress, because I don’t care if you’re a college student struggling to make ends meet or you’re a hot-shot millionaire, we all need to take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally.

  1. Make sure that you have eaten today. It’s amazing how cranky, bummed out, and stressed out we can get when we are hangry. I personally am not always the nicest person when I’m starving, so if I’m feeling upset about anything, I try to take a minute and think if I’ve eaten. Now, if you haven’t, don’t just go out and grab a burger, that’s not the best thing for you. Go for something filling, yet still healthy. You’ll feel better, especially as your blood sugar levels stabilize.
  2. Drink enough water. I know, we say it a million times, and yet that’s where most of us slack off. I am terrible about drinking enough water, I always am too busy or just completely forgetful. But dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and more, so it’s really important to ensure that you’re getting enough H2O to support yourself.
  3. Exercise! Even if you absolutely hate being on a treadmill, find an exercise you like to do and do it. As Elle Woods once famously said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. And endorphins make you happy…” There is so much truth to that statement! Whether you are anxious about a big presentation coming up or have had a life altering thing happen, a little exercise can help clear your head, let you see the big picture, and make you feel better.
  4. Get enough sleep. I know, we live in a world that is constantly on the go, and we all joke that we can sleep when we’re dead. Well, hate to break it to you, but lack of sleep is not so great for your mental and physical health. It can cause a lot of issues, especially if you are running on very little sleep over a long period of time. I’m a Type A personality, so I know how hard it can be to not constantly be working on something or towards something. But sometimes, you just need a little cat nap.IMG_1857 (2)
  5. Listen to some music. We all need “me” time, and sometimes listening to music is just the ticket. Whether you’re into rock or screamo or love ballads, if it works for you, then listen to it. It can make you feel better, especially if you unplug from everything else.
  6. Try a coloring book. We all used to color as kids, but then we became adults, and that ended. Well, luckily for us, someone had the genius idea of adult coloring books. I personally love them, they force me to slow down, and relax, and I have spent a few evenings with my coloring book, some colored pencils, and a glass of wine, and I must say, that has helped me to get rejuvenated and refreshed for what life has to throw my way next.
  7. Take a bubble bath. Turn on some music, light some candles, grab a good book and a neck pillow, and prepare for relaxation. You get to spend some time alone, away from the world, in a relaxing setting that you have turned your bathroom into. Heck, add some cucumber over your eyes, and you can forget you’re even still at your house, and imagine you’re at a 5 star resort. Your stress will melt away
  8. Get a massage. Even better than the bubble bath, a whole hour of someone getting rid of all the horrible knots and kinks that you have, while listening to serene music, and smelling wonderful from the oil. Yes please, sign me up for that.
  9. Read a book. I personally am such a huge fan of reading. I love being able to escape into someone else’s world, even if just for a little bit. Make a cup of tea, find a cozy reading chair, and get lost. Whether you’re reading something new or re-reading an old favorite, jump in with the characters, and let reality slip away for a bit. It’ll still be waiting for you when you get back.
  10. Find some quiet time. No matter if you prefer to go hiking or would rather sit in a yoga class, it’s important that we all have a bit of quiet time to escape the hustle and bustle of the world, and relax. Take some time to ourselves, where we aren’t fielding questions or focusing our energy on the housework or our next tasks. IMG_4368 (1)

Of course, stress is a monster some of us have to fight every day. Hopefully some of these tips help you, but I’m always open to new tips. Share if you have a tried and true de-stressor! I’d love to hear about it.

Memorial Day- Remember the Fallen

We all love a good long weekend. There’s nothing better than having an extra day off to relax, avoid responsibilities, and spend time with loved ones. Especially at the beginning of summer, it’s the best time to head to the beach or pool, and fire up the barbecue. While we all are looking forward to our extra day off today, we also need to keep in mind why we have been given this day off.

Memorial Day, while it may be a great long weekend for us, is also one that can be extremely painful for others. Memorial Day is the day meant to honor those soldiers that have fallen while serving our country. I have always been proud to support our military, and as the granddaughter of a Navy Lieutenant-Commander, that won’t ever change. Luckily, my grandfather served, and was able to retire and return to civilian life and continue living and raising his family with his wife. So many don’t get that luxury. Instead, their families have to deal with the harsh reality of getting that dreaded knock on the door. I can’t even imagine getting a visit like that, and I never want to. I also know that while those families and those soldiers paid the ultimate price for our freedom, that we need to properly honor them and what they did.

There are a few days each year that we specifically set aside to honor our military and the different sacrifices they make for our country. Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday of May, is to honor those who are actively serving our country. Memorial Day is to remember those who have fallen. Veterans Day is to honor those who have served on November 11. While it is never a bad thing to thank a veteran or someone actively serving for their country, it is important to understand that each day is different, and each one holds its own meaning.

So while you are enjoying your long weekend, barbecuing with friends and family, and sitting down for a nice meal, keep in mind all of those families who are setting a table with one less place setting, because their family member made the ultimate sacrifice for us and our freedom. Keep them in mind, and say a prayer for them and their families tomorrow. They gave up everything, so that we can continue to live our lives in peace.

What If?

One of the biggest questions that seems to haunt humanity is the question, what if? There’s something about thinking about that question that can bring us great joy or great sadness, it all depends on the question. Psychology calls this “counterfactual thinking” because we imagine scenarios that have already happened and change the outcome in our minds. In other cases, we also use it in a future tense, along the lines of “what if I win the lotto this weekend” and then begins our wonderful fantasy of everything we would do with our winnings.

Counterfactual thinking only looks at occurrences that have already happened, and what could have happened. For example, in honor of everyone graduating soon, when it was coming up on my graduation from UNF, I began to wonder “what if.” What if, I had gone to USF, like I considered? Well, for starters, I wouldn’t have met all the wonderful people that I did at UNF, I wouldn’t be able to call the same group of leading, inspiring women my sisters, and I wouldn’t have had the same experiences that shaped me into the woman I am today. In other cases, we sometimes wonder what if we had acted differently. What if, after the fight, I had talked to him, rather than just letting it be over? What if, after she confessed her feelings, he had done the same rather than shut down? Unfortunately, with counterfactual thinking, unless we have some parallel universe versions of ourselves, we will never know the actual answer to these questions. But they are great for making us ponder what has happened, and where we are in life right now, and think about the path that directed us there.

On the other hand, for that future what if thought, there’s still something we can do about it. It’s something that hasn’t happened yet, and you’re the pilot of whether you follow through on some of it. What if I tell him how I feel? Well, if you follow through on that, there are two scenarios: he either likes you back and shares that, or he doesn’t feel the same way and you most likely suffer some embarrassment. Let’s face it, putting ourselves out there is not fun AT ALL, but if no one ever put themselves out there, everyone would be alone (at least now, in the days of arranged marriages, that probably wasn’t a deciding factor). So yeah, there’s a possibility that it could go badly, but there’s another possibility that it could go great. What if, he likes you too, and that’s how your love story begins? Then, you’re one step closer to your happily ever after.

One thing that I’ve learned lately is that life is too short. So if you’re wondering “what if…” and it’s something you can control, then go for it! If you’re sitting there imagining your life if you did this or tried that, then try it! You never know if you never try. And sure, it could turn out badly, or it could turn out great. That’s never stopped us before. With any situation, it could go bad or it could be the best thing ever to happen to you. Unfortunately, unless you can see the future, there really is no way to know without trying. Now, if you’d rather go back and counterfactually think on it, that’s your choice. Or, you can take a chance, and go for making your what if your new reality.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

So one thing that bothers me to no end is seeing the general lack of respect that human beings seem to have towards one another. Usually, I am a big believer in respect being earned, but I also have been raised to respect those around me. Whether that’s respecting their opinions if I disagree, or respecting them because they are older, that’s just some good old fashioned raising that I had, and it definitely bothers me when I don’t see others respecting people.

You may be wondering what brought this to light. We have a family friend who has a son who we have do odd jobs around the house for us. We always give him some cash for his time, and in return, it’s expected that he do the job correctly, and have respect for the stuff around him, including us. Now, I can get over someone near my age disrespecting me, that’s fine. What I can’t get over is someone near my age disrespecting my parent. That is a line that I will not allow to cross. This guy has always been disrespectful to me, treated me like I’m an idiot princess who knows nothing, whereas he knows everything. Again, for the most part, while it irritates me, I can ignore it. Well, the other day he decided to drive his vehicle through our yard and park it in the yard, not only tearing up the grass, but also destroying a sprinkler in the process. When he was asked to move the vehicle, he decided to inform us that he knew better, and it wouldn’t do anything to the yard and he had missed the sprinkler because he had done it before. That’s right, he came over when we weren’t home and did what he wanted on our property. Maybe I’m wrong, but seems like a complete lack of respect to me. And then, to ignore someone telling him to get off the yard. That’s pretty disrespectful in itself, not to mention, extremely destructive. Well, when he deemed he was able to move his truck, so translation, when he had pretty much finished what he was doing and decided he actually could walk 5 steps to the truck rather than having it right there, he moved it. And then continued to be disrespectful with how he spoke to both me and my mom.

Now, I know when I do odd jobs for people, whether it was helping my neighbor pack up her house to move or helping my Gram around her house, I am always very respectful of their wishes. If they don’t want me to do something a certain way, I change how I’m doing it. The reason I do this is because it is not my property or possessions, it’s theirs. And if I don’t have some respect for their ownership, then who’s to say I have respect for anything. Of course, I’ve had some times when I haven’t been the most respectful, who hasn’t but to continuously do so? No, that’s not how I was raised, and it’s certainly not how I act. That’s why as a kid, I stayed out of my neighbor’s yards, I stayed away from their vehicles, and I was never rude to any of them. Whether I knew them or not, I was taught to be polite, and respect boundaries. Now, in some cases, people are taught these same values and decide to ignore them. I truly believe in this case, arrogance has taken the lead and wiped out any good lessons that were given.

The saddest part is, rather than helping, he has now created more work for me, which last time I checked, was the opposite of helping. The whole point was so that we could focus on other stuff, while this one task got done. Now there are more tasks, in addition to finishing the one task, because goodness knows that didn’t actually get done. It would take more than working for an hour to complete a task of that size.

No matter what though, I just like to take this as a lesson and a reminder. A lesson that no matter what you are taught, clearly not everyone is going to act the same way. It also was a lesson in patience, as I definitely needed to stay patient and calm, rather than yelling and screaming, which trust me, I wanted to do. This situation then reminded me of how I was raised, and how I want to continue to act that way, and raise my own kids that way someday. It’s also a good reminder to treat everyone with respect, whether you think they deserve it or not. It’s not difficult.

Beachwaver S1 Limited Edition

Anyone who knows me knows that I love having curled hair, but I hate how long it takes me to get those glorious curls. I have super thick hair, so getting all of it styled takes me quite a bit of time. Of course, as time has gone on, I’ve gotten better about cutting down my get ready time, but if there’s a tool that’ll save me time, then I’m always open to try it. I had heard about the Beachwaver before, saw it was used in VS fashion shows, and it was popping up all over my Facebook feed. Finally, when my Little said she used it and loved it, I decided to give it a shot. The only downside is the price point. Lucky for me, they had a sale one weekend, offering the limited edition white ones for only $100 instead of $130. Now, that’s still quite a bit of money to spend on a curling iron, but I had already decided it was something I wanted to try, and getting it on sale was definitely a better solution than paying full price.

To my surprise, and delight, it only took a few days after my order for it to arrive, so I had it in no time. I tried it out, giving myself extra time just to make sure I could figure out how to get it to work best, and allow time for if I messed up some curls. I absolutely love it! It’s super easy to use, it has a handy home button if your clamp winds up on the opposite side of where it needs to be. It heated up in no time, and thanks to the adjustable temperature, which my other curling iron did not have, I didn’t have to fry my hair at 420 degrees, instead I could put it a little lower and still get amazing results. I did have a little issue when I accidentally hit the home button while I was in the middle of curling some hair, but I quickly got it released without any damage done. And that is more of a user error than something on the product, just me learning how it works. Now, this one is supposed to allow you to easily do three different types of curls based on how you hold the Beachwaver. I went for the classic, typical curls since that’s what I’m used to doing for my hair. I apparently messed up here and there, as I had some beach waves mixed in, but it still looked great.

Next time I try it, I will go for the beach waves, and see how that looks. Overall, I’m really pleased with my investment, and I think it’s definitely worth getting for anyone who could either use a little help with styling products, or who is lazy and wants something to do part of the work for you.What I really loved about it though was that it curled the hair for you, but you didn’t have to put your hair in some chamber never to be seen again. I am definitely paranoid about some of those products, like the Conair one, that sucks your hair in and spits it out curled. I’ve grown my hair out for a while, and the last thing I want is to have to get some short cut because I had to cut a styling tool out of my hair. So, I’d highly recommend you invest in it. It is a bit on the pricey side, but so far it has shown me great quality, and I’ve read good things that it lasts. We all know, in some cases, you get what you pay for. And here’s a picture of my hair, so you all can see the gorgeous curls. My hair did get attacked by the wind, so the curls got pulled out a bit, but I didn’t grab a picture before walking out, so that’s my bad. I would have shown a pre-Beachwaver pic, but I didn’t want to scare anyone 😉

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My Time in Paris

After I wrapped up my tour of Amsterdam, I continued it on to Paris by train. That part was pretty exciting, I had never been on a train before, heck, I hadn’t even been in a train station before then. So while some people had a bet that I would become motion sick from it, I am happy to report, I had no issues. Traveling by train is an easy way to get from one place to another where you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the scenery.

The train ride took about 3 and a half hours, so we finally got to Paris a little after noon. To say it was busy would be an understatement. I actually felt like I had stopped in New York when we were leaving the train station. It was so busy, and traffic was insane.

Once we dropped off our stuff at the hotel, we then took an hour and a half hike out to the Eiffel Tower. While it was a long walk, Paris is definitely a city made for walking. There are sidewalks everywhere, so you never had to worry about getting hit by a car, at least not too much, though I did see it happen (Side story: guy was crossing crosswalk when he shouldn’t and a car clipped him. He screamed then went running after it, still in the middle of the road for a good five minutes. The guy seemed fine, thankfully, but he had us all triple checking before we crossed the road.). Anyways, back to the Eiffel Tower. It is stunning. I mean, you see the pictures and you know it’s beautiful, but there’s something about being up close and standing underneath it, that is just so amazing. Since this was my first visit, I’m not sure how tight security usually is, but there was a long line to go through metal detectors and bag checks just to get inside to walk around. There was a secondary line to actually go up the Eiffel Tower, with additional security checks. While it was a long hike, it was definitely worth it. On the way back, I got the most perfect picture of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. I included it below, because it looks like a professional took it, not a 24 year old American tourist.

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The next day consisted of more walking around. We went wandering just to see all the different museums, memorials, arches, etc. Paris, just like Amsterdam, has beautiful architecture, and it was something to see. We walked through a beautiful park on the way to the Louvre. It was so peaceful and relaxing, I couldn’t help but love it there. With fountains and even a maze, it was stunning. From there, we went on to find Notre Dame. I was a little disappointed with just how touristy some of the sites had become. The line to actually go into the Notre Dame wrapped around and out into the road, so we opted not to spend our day in line (If I wanted to do that, I could just go to Disney World). And all of this navigating, I want it noted, I did without the use of my cell phone. I am directionally challenged, but I figured out how to get us around Paris without getting too lost. I’ll admit, we got a little lost here and there, but I figured out how to get us not lost, and that’s a win I will gladly take. After Notre Dame, we stopped for some coffee and creme brulee, and oh my gosh, the best creme brulee I’ve ever tasted. Needless to say, I love all their desserts, and probably had waaay too much sugar on this trip.To conclude our day of wandering, we went out to the Arc de Triomphe, which just had beautiful architecture. The fact that some of these monuments are hundreds of years old is amazing, the craftsmanship is just so beautiful.

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The third day we decided to take it a little bit easier since we had wandered so much the day before, so we wandered around downtown Paris for a bit shopping and just going in here and there. We found a chocolate museum, that was awesome. Then we went to this little champagne cellar for a tasting. We tried three different champagnes, and each one was absolutely delicious. The fact of being in an actual cellar was quite an experience too. Steep stairs and alcohol are not always the best mix, though thankfully I didn’t drink enough for that to be an issue. Then we ended our day heading to a hotel that was closer to the airport so we could get ready for our journey home.

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Of course, each night we went out to eat, and the food was again, just so delicious. Everything was made with fresh ingredients and great. One thing that did take some adjustments to was the slower pace. Here, dinner is sit down, eat, and leave, but in France and Amsterdam, a meal can go on for about two hours. They are in no rush for you to leave, even if you’re done eating, you can just sit back and talk and enjoy the restaurant for as long as you want.

Overall, it was another fantastic trip, that I am so blessed that I was able to go on. Parts were a bit touristy, but that’s to be expected when you go to the City of Lights. I think walking around was the best, because you got to break away from some of the touristy parts, and find some places that the locals go to.

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