Paris, Part Deux

PARIS PART DEUX

On our last day in Paris, we did two things I’d been wanting to do the entire time: shop and buy macarons! It was still drizzling, but the wind had died down and we weren’t soaked through, so we ventured out. Here’s the email I sent my parents that day:

The weather was slightly better today, so we ventured out to the Galerie Vivienne. The verdict is that you both would love it. We went to the Galeries because people have said that they transport you back in time. It’s true. They were built in the Belle Époque era and they feel very classic.

Galerie Vivienne

We had lunch at a cozy cafe. I had a delicious Caesar salad and James had the (don’t freak out!) boeuf tartare.

Cafe at Galerie Vivienne

I found a wonderful boutique called aBis that had lots of Rifle Paper Co. stuff. I bought a pretty bracelet, a little purse for Jolie, and a scarf for Rebecca’s birthday. 

Here’s my bracelet:

Bracelet from aBis

Afterward, we went to Laduree to get Macarons as omiyage. We chose the St. Germain store because we were told it’s less busy than the one on the Champs Elysees. There was only one customer in front of us! I bought a TON of Macarons to take to work, only to come home and find out that they don’t last very long and may fall apart on our journey. So fingers crossed that they make it!

Laduree St. Germain

Laudree Macarons
We decided to have dinner at Nagoya again because tonight I was well enough to enjoy it. The oyako don was deeeelish! James had udon–also delish. 

Nagoya

On the way back to our flat, I took a picture of the charming flower shop in our neighborhood. 

Flower Shop in Montparnasse

Au revoir, Paris!

Paris!

Paris

We recently got back from Paris, where we arrived just in time for historic rain and, yes, flooding! We have impeccable timing. While we didn’t get to see everything we had hoped to see, what we did see was exactly as charming and as dreamy as we had hoped for. 

One of the things that made our stay so special was the lovely Airbnb apartment we rented in Montparnasse. We highly recommend it for anyone traveling to Paris, as it’s centrally located, near a metro station, within walking distance of a whole bunch of great restaurants, and completely comfortable. I chose it because it has a tiny rose garden. The owner of the apartment could not have been nicer. We arrived to fresh croissants and baguettes, which we promptly devoured with a bit of raw honey.

Airbnb in Montparnasse

I wrote my parents an email on our first and only sunny day there, which I’ll include here:

We are having fun in Paris! Last night, we went to a restaurant called Spring. My friend Kim just came to Paris a few months ago and she recommended it. She told me to say hi to her friend Jonathan who is a sommelier. He was delighted and he said that he loves Kim even though she doesn’t drink wine. They all took a picture with me to send to Kim:

Spring Paris

Afterward, we walked through the courtyard of the Louvre. 

Louvre Louis

Today, we had lunch at a little cafe called Madame. It was delicious! The waitress’ dog was there, which I thought was very sweet because he was so well behaved. But then I took this picture of him and ten seconds later he peed on that wall!

Cafe Madame

We still had coffee before leaving:

Cafe Madame Coffee

Then, we tried to go to the Luxembourg Gardens but just when we got there a thunderstorm rolled in! So we ducked into the Musee du Luxembourg, where we saw lots of Monets and Degas’ and other paintings. My favorite things were these birds in the gift shop:

Luxembourg Museum

Then, we decided to walk to a store I read about called Merci. Halfway there, we ran into a little stationery store where I found a card that reminded me of Auntie Shirley. I promptly forgot it was in my hand and walked off with it. When I returned to pay for it (flustered), the shop owner gave me a discount for “being so kind.”

Stationery Shop Paris

By the time we got to Merci and I took this photo outside, they were closing! They were very rude about it, in fact. But at least I got a good picture out of it:

Merci Paris

And while we were waiting for our Uber, this dog and his owner walked up to a bakery and the dog just waited outside while the owner went in for his bread. He didn’t move at all! We’ve seen a lot of very well-behaved dogs off leash here. I don’t know how they do it, but I wish they’d teach Kona.

Good Dogs in Paris

We just got back from a delicious hole-in-the-wall Chinese place where they make their own noodles. We saw the guy pulling them. We ate them too quickly to get a photo.

And now we’re back in our cute apartment to go to bed! I had to take a shower because my feet were black from all the walking we did today. I think we walked about eight miles in total, so at least we’re burning off some of these calories.

P.S. We found a flower shop that had more peonies together than I’ve ever seen IN MY LIFE. And they were ALL beautiful!!!!!

 
Peonies in Paris 

More Parisian adventures to come!

Love, Joy

Local’s Guide to Visiting Oahu

Local's Guide to Visiting Oahu

My dear friend Sarah Khandjian of Sarah Hearts will be visiting Oahu for the first time in May, so she asked for a few recommendations. Since we just got back from there (where my entire family still lives), everything was fresh in my mind–and I may have gotten a little carried away! If you’re looking for awesome places to eat, play, and shop that both locals and visitors enjoy, this is the post for you.

Honolulu: By Honolulu, I don’t mean Waikiki. I really don’t like to go to Waikiki because it’s such a weird place full of other people’s ideas of what they think Hawaii is supposed to be like. It’s fun for a couple of days and then it gets old. Here are a few places we love that are just outside of Waikiki, in the parts of Honolulu that locals actually go to

Kaimuki: A warning that this neighborhood isn’t very pretty but is chock full of great little gems. My sister lives around here, so we’ve done our fair share of exploring! Most of the things we love are food related. You can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Town (so delicious!), coffee at Coffee Talk, or dim sum at Happy Days. I adore the Sugarcane boutique. You can also drive up the road to Kahala Mall where there are more boutiques, a Whole Foods (if you want to stock up for your hotel/condo/cottage), and some good restaurants.

Hawaii Kai: Just past Kaimuki and Kahala is Hawaii Kai, home to beautiful beaches. If you like to snorkel, head to Hanauma Bay. You might even see some turtles there!

Local's Guide to Visiting Oahu

Chinatown: Eat lunch or dinner at The Pig and the Lady, visit the authentic lei stands (that locals actually go to!), and if you can, catch a show at the historic Hawaii Theatre.

Local's Guide to Visiting Oahu

The Windward Side: We always stay in Kailua, even though it’s not really near anyone we know, because it’s so beautiful. The drive in and out of the Windward side always makes us feel like we’re heading into Jurassic Park. If you’re in the market for accommodations, there are lots of good ones out here–usually $150 or less, with a kitchenette and free parking. This one has been our favorite. Here are some other things we love in this laid back area:

Ho’omaluhia Botanical GardensI’ll pause here to say that I’m not really a botanical gardens kind of person, but this place is so magical and breathtaking that we make an effort to go every time we’re in Hawaii. It’s tranquil and lush. There are lots of places to sit and enjoy the atmosphere, so it’s a great place to bring a picnic.

Valley of the TemplesWe like to go here because it’s a little like popping into some gorgeous part of Japan for an hour or so. You can ring the gong, enjoy the koi, visit the big Buddha, and take some incredible photos.

Lanikai Beach

Boots & Kimo’s and Cinnamon’s are both Kailua institutions for breakfast or brunch. You’ll need a nap after eating at either!

 

shaveice

North Shore: You can drive from Kailua to the North Shore along Kamehameha Highway, which is very scenic. The route takes you along the perimeter of the island, through some VERY down home country towns. When we did it last week, we saw a bunch of signs that said things like, “Keep the country country!” Which probably sounds really southern, but actually means that they don’t want any strip malls on their beachfront properties.

Waimea Bay: Basically all you could ever hope for in a beach in Hawaii. I like to try to get there on the earlier side or else it can be difficult to find parking.

Hale’iwa Town: This is a little surf town and I just love it! If you only visit one of the places from this email, I think it should be Hale’iwa. It’s just so charming. We like Papoku’s for lunch (a real, Hawaii style plate lunch), Matsumoto’s for shave ice, and all of the little stores that line the streets.

Oh, now I’m homesick all over again!

P.S. Previous Oahu recommendations: Part 1 and Part 2

Life Update: Moving Forward

The other day, I was standing outside in the five degree sunrise with Kona and it dawned on me that we’ve turned a corner. After living for months and months on constant alert, the new year arrived and with it a sense of normalcy. While we’re busier than ever, and while there are still nights where I just want to have a bowl of cereal for dinner and be done with it, we’re not stuck in quicksand anymore. And we’ve come into this new period feeling so, so grateful.

As you may have already guessed, we postponed our trip to Hawaii in order to be near James’ dad after he took a spill and ended up with his second brain injury of 2014. I was briefly depressed about this change of plans, but then we realized that there are a lot of pros to going later. We’ll be done with the cold and desperately seeking an escape by then. And when we get back in early April, we’ll be thisclose to spring’s arrival. We also got to extend our trip by a few days, with stopovers in Portland on both ends.

We’re all healthy again. James’ dad is doing amazingly well. Last week no one could remember where the eyeglass repair kit was at their house, but he chimed in, “It’s in the second drawer in the laundry room!” Then he looked at me and said, “And they think I’m having memory problems. Ha!”

So now it’s time to start planning for more fun this year. While I was driving today, I heard an ad for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and thought about the possibility of going to Tanglewood for the 4th of July. When there’s space in your mind to think about summer in January, things must be going well.

How are things on your end?

Love, Joy

Life Update: Pacific Northwest Love

Headed to Portland!

We’re headed out to the West Coast for a few days on what I like to call “blogging business,” which mostly means seeing friends I don’t get to see often enough. What’s funny is that I didn’t know these ladies all that well when I actually lived in Portland, but now I can’t imagine visiting the city without seeing them! I can’t wait to see Stephanie, to finally meet Rachel in person, and to see Melissa so that we can keep the ball rolling on our big project. (The details are flying together on that one, so we may have more to reveal soon!)

And, of course, I’ll get to see my very best friend, Lindsey, and her new baby Olivia, who looks like a real life anime baby. Oh, the cheeks on that one! I think she’s made of mochi.

Going “Home”

I’ve lived in four different cities in my life, and I have a different kind of homesickness for each of them. Aside from my friends, I think what I miss most about Portland is how easy it is to live there. The neighborhoods are great, there’s hardly ever any traffic, it’s affordable, the food is amazing, and it rarely snows. Yeah, going for weeks at a time with grey skies is hard, but it’s nothing compared to the sheer terror I feel whenever there’s ice on the ground here.

And yet, when I lived in Portland I missed Boston–the pace, the New England fall, the quaintness of the towns and history of the city. So there always seem to be opposing forces pulling at my heart, which is kind of nice, in the end. So many places to call home.

Wish You Were Here

I’ll be snapping lots of photos, so come and see Portland with me on Instagram! We’ll be going to LOTS of our favorite food places. You may even get a hint or two about the project Melissa and I are working on. I’m so excited about this trip that I might burst!

J xoxo

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