London Edited-17

I’ll say it right now: my time in London was way too short. Sandwiched between a week in Paris and a quick jaunt to Rome, London was my first experience with backpacking and a welcome break from struggling through my limited foreign language vocabulary.

Getting there alone was an adventure — to save money on travel and hotel for an extra night, we opted for a 10-hour overnight bus ride from Paris, which involved the bus itself boarding a boat and us being paraded through customs in Calais.

We arrived without much of a plan and flew by the seat of our pants for the next two days. After fueling up on some English breakfast at a greasy joint near Kings Cross station, our first order of business was to find the nearest Wifi spot  to book a hotel for the night (thank God for Starbucks!) My friend Jusan had been to London a few times, and Alex and I were more than happy to follow his lead, as he took us on an epic walking tour through London, guided mostly by memory and the occasional glance at Google Maps.

As we explored one neighborhood after the other, I couldn’t help making comparisons to New York — from what we saw during the two days, London felt like New York City’s cooler, more mature sister with a distinct European flair. View Post

The Ultimate Summer Guide to New York City - 17 summer bucket list ideas

Monday was the first official day of summer, but let’s face it — I’ve been in summer mode since the first warm day back in May. As I’ve written here before, this is absolutely my favorite season. The days are longer, my energy levels are higher and New York City becomes my playground. It’s the one time of year that I’m not dying to get on a plane out of here.

Here are my favorite summer activities in New York City, for locals and tourists alike. Go ahead, add them to your summer bucket list. View Post

 

Paris Food Guide: 5 Awesome Restaurants to Try in ParisOne thing you should know about me is that I take my food seriously. I love a good home-cooked meal, but going out to eat at quality restaurants with good people is another kind of pleasure. So when I travel, one of the first things I do is scope out the dining options and make a list of places to try. Paris was no different.

Food can be pricey in Europe, but I’d honestly rather skip the shopping trips and fancy hotels so I can eat better. Still, we tried to keep things affordable when possible — on our first day in Paris, we had French McDonald’s at Alex’s insistence (my verdict: not that great, but that’s to be expected) and ate breakfast everyday from the little boulangeries and cafes in our neighborhood. We even bought food at a little shop on our block and made ourselves some scrambled eggs and ham one morning.

But at least once a day, we’d try to venture out a little more. Here’s a round-up of the 5 best meals we had in Paris. Even if you’re traveling on a budget, I’d recommend trying at least one of them while you’re there.

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Paris Edited-1-6PSD

About a month ago, I was helping to clean up an event space where a gala I’d spent the last few months planning had just wrapped up. As the guests started to head out, I felt a combination of intense relief and pride at how my team’s hard work had all come together.

“This was amazing. You did a great job!” said one my co-workers to me in the earshot of a few other people.

My automatic reply was something to the effect of “Thanks, but I can’t take all the credit. It was totally a team effort.”

“Yes, but I’m saying YOU did a good job. I’m sure you worked really hard on it.”

I chuckled nervously and insisted that I couldn’t have done it on my own.

“Just accept the compliment,” she said in mock exasperation. “I’ll congratulate them too, but right now I’m congratulating you.”

She was right, of course. Ever since that moment, I’ve been thinking about how uncomfortable I seem to be with accepting praise.

My go-to response is generally to talk about all the help I received or to downplay the accomplishment, in what I can only guess is an attempt to seem humble. View Post

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

I don’t know when I started dreaming about Paris. It must have been back in college, somewhere between watching one too many Audrey Hepburn movies and pondering the possibilities of studying abroad.

I never did get there until last fall, but the years only intensified my fascination with the city.

In my mind, my boyfriend and I would stroll the banks of the Seine with a baguette in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. We’d ride bikes through the city, exploring the hidden alleyways that you see only in romantic movies and blog photos. There would be cobblestone streets everywhere. And maybe, just maybe, the theme song from “Midnight in Paris” would be on repeat.

A sweet kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Click for more cool photos. View Post