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

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

Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter

Great Eats North of Boston

My parents were in town (from Hawaii) last week, and while they’ve visited me on the East Coast twice before, this is the first time they’ve come since I left the city. Since we’re a family that loves food, I took them to a few foodie gems we’ve found closer to home, as well as a couple of great places in the city. If you’re visiting New England, I highly recommend stopping by any of these dining establishments to grab a bite.

Blue Fin

Good Eats North of Boston

We live just outside of a forest and within a stone’s throw of several farms, yet somehow we also have a fabulous Japanese restaurant in our neighborhood as well. Asian restaurants here are often fusion, with Chinese places serving sushi and Thai restaurants serving Chinese food (confusing!), but at Blue Fin you’ll only find real homestyle Japanese food and incredible sushi. The sashimi is always fresh. The sushi chefs are artists. And they serve up a pretty mean martini. Insider tip: the bar is the most comfortable, relaxed place to sit.

Richardson’s

Good Eats North of Boston

Just down the street from Blue Fin is Richardson’s dairy farm, which is a New England institution. I can’t tell you how many times James and I have finished off our sushi, only to drive two minutes down the road for dessert at Richardson’s. My favorite is the cherry vanilla ice cream, but I haven’t had a bad scoop there yet, and I’ve tried a lot of them! Mini golfing and batting cages are on the premises, but the real excitement is that there are cows! The ones that make the milk that goes in the ice cream! I mentally thank them every time we drive by.

Shea’s

Good Eats North of Boston

My dad’s number one request: New England clam chowder. James pointed us to Shea’s, which is a cozy restaurant on the water with award-winning chowder. I’m not sure if we’re just lucky, but we’ve never had to wait there, despite the fact that the fried clam place across the street is always insane and the food here is awesome. The chowder is perfect, and the sandwiches and salads are equally mouthwatering. You can easily get to the beach or to a bunch of antique stores from Shea’s, so it’s a perfect stop on the North Shore.

Mill River Winery

Good Eats North of Boston

Before heading to Shea’s, we stopped at this gorgeous little winery on the North Shore, in Rowley. The space is relatively new–airy and bright. They produce a wide variety of wines, and for just $5 you can taste them all. Although the chardonnay is award winning, our favorite was their crisp, dry Riesling. We might not be Napa, but this is a definite must for wine lovers. (Find a more comprehensive review, complete with actual wine vocabulary, at The Eats.)

I’m considering featuring more local places here on Frock Files with first-hand photos. Let me know if this sounds interesting to you. There are so many good ones; this is just a start! Where do you take people when they’re visiting your hometown?

Photo Credits: Blue Fin | Richardson’s | Shea’s | Mill River Winery

 

 

Three Days in New York

Back in March, when it was still snowing and I was desperate for spring, I started planning a little trip to celebrate James’ birthday. Last year, we went to Portsmouth, NH for a couple of nights, and while that was relaxing and fun, I thought I’d go for something a little more exciting this year. We’ve both been dying to see The Book of Mormon for years now, so I booked seats to the musical, bought train tickets, and reserved two nights at the Refinery Hotel.

Quick Visit to New York City | Frock Files

We hopped on the train and got into the city in the late afternoon, with enough time to get ready for the show. It was sprinkling outside but I curled my hair anyway, and even though I’m generally anti-selfie I took a picture to document the fact that I did a decent job for once. By the time we got to the theatre, we were damp and frizzy haired but so excited. And for good reason–the show was hilarious, sweet, and full of the most talented people! And, yes, also full of all the profanity and thinly veiled lewdness you’d expect from the creators of South Park. We loved it.

Quick Visit to New York City | Frock Files

Most of the rest of our trip revolved around roaming and eating, so  you won’t see a lot of pictures of landmarks or museums here. Since we only had one full day, we decided to spend it exploring Greenwich Village.

James found a walking tour published by the New York Times, which we followed loosely, stopping in to say hello to the puppies at a boutique pet shop and to have the best cupcakes ever at Molly’s Cupcakes. Crème brûlée cupcakes, so moist and perfectly spongy and slightly crisp on top with a custard center. I would be in trouble if this place were within a 50 mile radius of our home. Also, the bar seats there are swings and now I want to put swings everywhere!

Quick Visit to New York City | Frock Files Quick Visit to New York City | Frock Files

We found a great little cafe called The Grey Dog, which has a big menu, a few craft beers, and lots of options for those of us who can’t drink a drop during the daylight hours unless a nap is in order immediately afterward. A friendly server showed us a colorful handkerchief, which she put on a table to save our spot. We played the “If we lived in Greenwich Village” game the entire time we were in the area, and The Grey Dog made it into our “If we lived in Greenwich Village, we would have brunch here all the time” spot.

Quick Visit to New York City | Frock Files

Later that afternoon the rain started again, but we were pooped from walking all over the place anyway. The Refinery has a great restaurant called Parker Quinn, so after relaxing for awhile, we had a big dinner and got cozy in the hotel bathrobes for the night. I should point out here that The Refinery is a little oasis in the Garment District. As soon as you come in off the street, it’s quiet and welcoming, with a really friendly hotel staff, super comfortable beds, and an overall aesthetic that feels, to me, like a mix of Brooklyn-hipster and Paris-chic. Black, white, gold, and wood.

Quick Visit to New York City | Frock Files

The next morning, we had breakfast at a restaurant called The Shop, which is in the Andaz 5th Avenue hotel, directly across from the New York Public Library.

Quick Visit to New York City | Frock Files

I’m working on a little summer travel project for work featuring the school’s mascot, so after breakfast James shot this photo of me holding the stuffed mascot up to one of the NYPL lions. (The mascot’s next stop is Greece – so lucky!)

Quick Visit to New York City | Frock Files

And then we were whisked out of the city on the train! Taking the Amtrak into the city is one of my favorite parts about the trip. It’s definitely more expensive than the bus, but it’s so peaceful and pleasant. And after a couple of days in the busy, busy streets of Manhattan, it’s a welcome reprieve.

I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend, too! Now that we’re refreshed and relaxed, we’re excited about getting back to all of our summer plans. Do you have any travel on the horizon?

 

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