Ten days in Europe in one carry-on

0c7717c9-b477-4388-a7dd-01390034dbfcThis summer we spent a glorious ten days in Paris and Brussels.  It was a magical trip and I’ll share more recs for each city soon, but in the meantime… packing!  I’ve had more than one request to share my tips for traveling (relatively) light, so here we are.

Due to both the hassle of wrangling suitcases on trains and metros and the airline fees involved for checking bags, we decided to only take one carry-on for each of us (plus my purse, of course).  It was warm and summery in both cities so I didn’t need to worry about bulky outerwear, which helped immensely!  I knew we were going to be walking quite a bit, so I planned outfits with that in mind.  Stylish and easy, with several options to dress comfortably for a day of sightseeing, or dress up a bit for dinner out.

Here is what I packed: Continue reading “Ten days in Europe in one carry-on”

Dreaming…

A recent CNN article reminded me that in some towns in Italy, you can buy a fixer-upper for ONE EURO.  That’s right, you read that correctly!  For just a little over $1, you can own your very own pied-à-terre in Italy.  The stipulations vary from town to town, but generally there is a deposit of around $3,000 and a time limit of a few years to fix up the property to a minimum level of livability, after which point you get your deposit back.

While the price tag is beyond tempting, I’m not sure we can jump into a renovation project on a different continent at this juncture in our lives.  That being said, I’m still dreaming!  All of these stunning spaces leave me inspired and longing for a pretty place of my own to relax abroad — even more so since we just returned from Paris.  Le sigh.

Via studiolowsheen  contemporist  lonny magazine  decoholic  ari signes  matisse nz  jetsetter

J’adore Paris

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Oh Paris, how I love thee.  I’ve been planning a Paris travel guide for some time, but it always seems daunting to distill my favorite city into a single post, as I could wax poetic for hours.  I’ve been several times now, and with every return trip it feels more and more like my heart-home.  This guide is far from comprehensive, but here are a few of my very favorite places to eat and visit in the City of Light.

Visit

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Continue reading “J’adore Paris”

One of my favorites: Pigment

Nestled on 30th Street in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego, Pigment is perhaps my favorite store in the city.  They strive to embody all the things I admire about a brand: organic, modern, friendly, homegrown, and local, with incredible style to boot.  It is a beautiful gift store with a laid-back vibe, full of plants, jewelry, home goods, accessories, stationery, and much more.  Every time I visit I am inspired!

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Besides amazing home wares, Pigment offers a “plant lab” where you can choose your plant, a planter or terrarium, and any number of pretty decorative stones, gravel mixes, and sand options to assemble your own creation right there in the store.

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Pigment also carries sweet children’s goods and an enviable selection of bath and body care, including tons of swoon-worthy candles.  (Btw, I am kicking myself for not buying that pretty little rainbow print to add to my gallery wall at home — isn’t it precious?)

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If you’re in San Diego and have a bit of time, Pigment is not to be missed.  Saunter, browse, and enjoy!  They are always adding fun new things, and many of their products are by local brands and makers.  If you only wish you could be in San Diego, they have an online shop as well.

Craving a bite to eat or an excellent cup of coffee?  Urban Solace two doors down serves a delicious brunch, and you can hop across the street for coffee at Dark Horse Roasters while you wait for a table.  Let’s just say you won’t be sorry.

On home, and tea

acs_0133Thanks to Erin Boyle I stumbled across a beautiful mediation on home, travel, and belonging in Candace Rose Rardon’s essay, Home is a Cup of Tea.  She combines sweet sketches with simple musings about traveling, moving, settling, loving, and living — and how we define “home.”  Like Rardon, I have fond memories of drinking tea.  The tall, narrow cupboard in my childhood home full of tea tins, the fun of choosing a flavor for that particular afternoon, and the steamy, milky sweetness in my cup.

Even though the world may be extraordinarily challenging and difficult right now, we can pull strength and resilience from a sense of home, whatever that might be for each of us.  Some days, a cup of tea and a quiet moment to recharge are exactly what is needed.  Then we can jump back into the fray, renewed and ready to face the day.

Hey, Seattle (part II)

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Welcome to Part II of my little Seattle guide, with things to do and places to stay.  If you missed Part I you can read it here for all kinds of great places to eat!

Visit:

Pike Place Market

No visit to Seattle would be complete without a stroll through the public market.  Amazingly fresh seafood, bites of all kinds (see! told you more food!), beautiful flower stalls, and the original Starbucks location await you here.  Grab a salmon pâté piroshky from Piroshky Piroshky, walk down to pick up some smoked salmon from Pure Food Fish Market, and then wander as you munch.  You can duck upstairs to Storyville Coffee to escape the bustle for a few minutes if you like.  Oh, and I highly recommend a stop at Le Panier before you leave — this boulangerie and patisserie offers the best pain au chocolat I’ve had since Paris.

 

Seattle Art Museum

With an excellent permanent collection and innovative exhibitions, SAM is well worth a visit.  The museum “contains nearly 25,000 works of art from around the world. Dating from antiquity to the present, the permanent collection represents a wide range of global cultures and historical perspectives.”  The current temporary exhibit, Double Exposure, is worth a look even on its own; it is a satisfyingly nuanced look at portrayals of Pacific Northwest native peoples over the last 150 years.

 

The Elliott Bay Book Company

This bookstore in the Capital Hill neighborhood has been serving Seattle for over four decades, and is a delight in every way.  Highlighted local authors and subjects, quirky giftware for the bibliophile, and an on-site cafe make for a lovely afternoon.  Despite the likelihood of an overly-heavy suitcase, I had to bring three books home with me.

 

Melrose Market

Melrose Market is like the teeny tiny well-curated cousin of Pike Place.  Meats, liquor, shellfish, homewares — all can be found in this little urban refuge.  Sitka and Spruce is located here, as it the most excellent homeware store Butter Home.  I wanted one of everything!  Their art prints and jewelry in particular caught my eye, but their are tons of other fun things to be had in this lovely little shop.  Visit if you can, and then grab a cocktail at Still Liquor.

 

Segway Tours of Seattle

Perhaps a little cheesy and touristy, but so much fun!  We spent a morning touring the city center by Segway, and got to see so many great spots.  The Space Needle, Lake Union, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, and the Museum of Pop Culture were highlights, but the running commentary from our excellent guide was no less interesting.  We actually walked back to the Gates Foundation Discovery Center for a closer look later in the afternoon, which proved to be both fascinating and inspiring.

 

Seattle is the city where Nordstrom was founded, so you can visit their original store location for kicks (and excellent shopping).  And the Chihuly Garden and Glass is definitely on my list for next time.

 

Stay:

Seattle is full of both excellent hotels and great AirBnB choices.  This visit we stayed at the Ballard Jungalow and had a delightful stay.  The host is kind, and her home is just the kind of serene escape I was craving.

If I you prefer a hotel, I have heard nothing but good things about the ever-hip Ace Hotel Seattle.  Reasonable prices, great vibes, and a great central location make this one a great pick.

Thank you for such a lovely week, Seattle!  We had so much fun and can’t wait to return!

 

Let’s move to Sweden!

Niki over at My Scandinavian Home has done it again with a house tour that has me dying to move to Sweden rightthisveryminute.  Everything about this space, from the high ceilings and clean white walls to the luxe layers of texture (that linen! the warm wood! those moldings!) has me yearning to call that space my own.  Stunning photos, right this way:

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If you have the flexibility to move to a foreign country and happen to be wealthier than I am, this gorgeous home is actually for sale!  I’ll have to dream from afar, I’m afraid, but if you’d like some more eye candy, visit My Scandinavian Home.