My trip to Paris, France

I’m not going to be one of those travel bloggers who reports that everywhere I go is all butterflies and rainbows and the most magical experience of my life. Why? Because that’s all I read about pre my first trip abroad and guess what… It wasn’t my reality.

With that being said….I LOVED Paris. Okay, let me back up… I ended up loving Paris. The first couple days I was still in shock. It wasn’t this picture perfect french paradise everyone makes it out to be. Its dirty, and a little run down and guess what.. its just another city. But once you get past the shock of all of that, you see it is full of beautiful historical and breathtaking culture. No really it is! The touristy areas are a bit dumpy. But I think its because there are just masses of people who just leave their trash (this really made me mad) and Gypsies on every corner hassling you. But if you ignore that you appreciate how beautiful those landmarks are and then you move onto the not so touristy areas, where you see the real Parisian beauty.

The night we got there we were pretty tired from traveling. Our hotel was right next to the Eiffel Tower so we walked around for a bit and then grabbed some dinner at Le Bailli de SuffrenIMG_6940 IMG_6941 IMG_6942

I thought the food was pretty good. Although from the Tripadvisor reviews it says this place can be a hit or miss. All I know is that the chicken was so moist and delicious especially compared to other places we went to. I also tried Croque-monsieur (the dish with the egg on it) which was really yummy and of course “Frites”. It’s not the high end french cuisine but all in all I left happy and thought it was pretty good.

Our first day we decided to wake up early to go to the Louvre. We got there right when it opened and there was already a good amount of people in line, luckily it didn’t take too long. (When we left the line was crazy long so I was glad we got there early.) I hear there is another entrance that is quicker… but the courtyard is really beautiful. I really love the glass pyramids and the sky was helping with a nice beautiful cloudy background. I would love to come back one day and just sit and people watch in the courtyard and take pictures of those beautiful iconic pyramids. Maybe during a nice sunset!

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This place is HUGE! I mean you can easily spend a whole day here. But after a while of looking around I was getting hot and irritated from the mass crowd of people so we looked for the Mona Lisa and left.

It was so much smaller than I thought. But it was really cool to see it in person after seeing it in History books your whole life. Just prepare to fight the crowd of people to get a close up.

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One item on my france bucket list was to get a crepe so we found a little stand… it was soooo good!! If you are going to Paris… a crepe is a must! I mean… just look how good it looks! And as an American we aren’t too familiar with Nutella. Europeans LOVE their Nutella, now I see why and its my new favorite thing! lol!

After lunch we found our way to Notre Dame. This Cathedral is Breathtaking! The pictures really don’t do it justice. But once again… mass crowds of people. (I just wanted 1 photo! lol!)

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The detail on this cathedral is just mind blowing. Every little piece… every little arch… every statue… its really amazing to see.

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Here is a picture of some of the saints… I thought it was interesting that one of them is holding his head. lol.

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What made this church the most exciting though was the inside. We didn’t even realize we were there on a sunday and they would be in the middle of mass. Words can’t even describe the feeling you get when your inside and the choir is singing. They really knew what they were doing when they built this. And there are chandeliers lining the halls lit by candle and beautiful tall arches.

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You can’t help but feel closer to God walking through this place. It literally takes your breath away.

Another Item on my list was to see the Bridges with all of the “Lovers Locks”. Shortly before our trip they had announced they will be removing all of the locks so I was pretty bummed about it. But we walked over there anyway and to my surprise they still had some up!! While I was busy snapping pictures of it, Alex was super sweet and surprised me with our own lock!

DSC_0034image no-logo-0037I know they will be taking it down, but the memory will last forever.

As busy as this day was already, we wanted to trek to 1 more spot before dinner which was the Arc de Triomphe. We got there just before the sun was setting and it was the PERFECT spot to be.

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How is that for a nice sunset?! (If you remember from this summer I was trying to capture the perfect sunset).

For dinner that night we walked around and found Bistrot Le Champ de Mars

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Alex was really wanting some French Onion Soup. I wanted to try what he had the night before which was the chicken and frites. The soup was better though. The chicken here was very dry.

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But you just can’t beat a night of drinking wine and soaking up the streets of Paris. This is when the magic starting happening for me. This moment right here.

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Another item on my Paris bucket list was to get a good picture of the Eiffel tower. One at night when it sparkled and one in the day time. Here is what I got!

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The next day we tried to get up to go see the Catacombs, but to our surprise they are closed on Mondays! Go figure. lol! So we enjoyed some Cafe Lattes while figuring out what to do next.

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Yum! I tell you sitting on the outside of these little cafe’s never gets old. Especially if you love to people watch. Or if you are like me and just love to sit and soak in the atmosphere and the memory of the moment.

We decided to go look for a market next. We ended up in this beautiful area of Paris and boom… we got stormed on. Literally stormed on! I’m not talking a little rain, I’m talking about it raining so hard that the umbrella wasn’t keeping us dry, and the wind blowing so hard that it ended up breaking our umbrella in half!! lol!!! But when the storm let up a little I got this shot that I am absolutely in love with.

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To make the day that much better…. we walked all that way in the storm to find out the market wasn’t even there. (thanks internet tippers) But the adventure was still totally worth it. We of course had to stop and get lunch since we were in a new area.

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We found this little spot called La Fontaine. I couldn’t find it online to share the link, but it wasn’t the greatest spot anyway. It was good just not great. Not like you’re missing out on anything spectacular if you don’t go. The cheese plate was a plus though and of course the wine was great!

After our adventure in the storm we took the metro to Champs-Élysées. Incase you don’t know, that’s a famous street for shopping. We didn’t really care to shop much, but we found this interesting store that had this GIANT slide! Which we of course had to ride.

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LOL! This was so fun! We had a blast riding the slide and had a very interesting experience with their “race car simulator” Although that was probably just a be there kind of moment. If you go there I would recommend getting 2 slide tickets and skipping the simulator. Just trust me on this one. lol!!

Now I’m sure you have heard of the french dessert called macaroons right? We went to the store called Ladurée which is said to be the first bakery to create the yummy dessert. They were delicious by the way. We had to go in and buy some.

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Put this place on your Paris bucket list! Seriously!

Ok now if you want to know a place to eat in Paris that is an ABSOLUTE MUST get excited because here it is. It’s this little spot called La Jacobine. This place was AMAZING!

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The service here was fantastic, which if you have been to Europe you know that’s pretty rare in itself. The food tasted so fresh and flavorful. I had to try escargot at least once. How often am I in France? So I got that as my starter and Alex got the French Onion Soup. Both were Excellent by the way! I never thought I would find snails tasty. lol!!

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I can’t remember the names of our dishes but I ordered whatever sounded really french and tasty and just went with it. lol.

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If you think this looks delicious? It tastes even better! So rich, so flavorful, meat cooked to perfection. It really felt like we were spoiling ourselves to some fancy french cuisine without spending a fortune. I Definitely recommend this place! But wait one more thing… We had to have dessert.

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We had the Tiramisu. BEST…. TIRAMISU…. I… HAVE… EVER… HAD! Not even joking. And of course I had to throw in a latte.

That was such a crazy day, 2 spots being closed… getting stormed on. But it made for great memories. Just goes to show that even when things don’t go as planned you can still have a great time. (Or at least look back on it as a messy adventure). LOL!

Our last day in Paris was a shorter one. We only had the morning to early afternoon to get in what we could that was left. Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower of course was a must and since the lines get insanely long (especially in the summer) we decided to hit that as soon as they opened in the morning. We actually got there 30 mins before they opened… I highly suggest this if going in the summer.

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Look at that view!!

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As someone who is very scared of heights…. it was totally worth it! And here is a view from the other side.

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We attempted one more time to see the catacombs but the line was already at a 4 hour wait so we didn’t make it to see that. So we browsed around the shops and found this awesome market with crazy cheese!

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And that was our trip to Paris! At first it was a little shaky. It was the first city outside of the states for me, which gave me a little anxiety. Navigating a new country was a bit nerve-racking too. But it all wore off and the city is definitely a city I would love to return to one day.

Have you been to Paris? How did you like it? What recommendations would you give? I would LOVE to hear about it so comment below!

And here I leave you all with some little randoms about Paris:

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  1. I loved the walk signs! Most people might not even notice but they are different than here in the states and I thought they looked cool. haha!

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2. I saw these posters plastered everywhere. Its photos of the Kennedy’s. I still don’t know why these were there but I thought it was neat. If anyone knows why please share!

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3. McDonnalds in Paris has a dessert and cafe counter where they have macaroons!

Hope you all enjoyed this post! Au Revoir!

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Photography – Trying to capture a perfect sunset

This week I was determined to capture the perfect sunset. You know, the ones with all the pink and orange colors in the sky. It didn’t happen because mother nature doesn’t care what my plans are but I still tried! If you have ever lived by the beach you know that the weather can be very temperamental. This year we have had May grey, June gloom, and now no sky July!! What is going on dang it? The good thing about that is we can come across some amazing sunsets when it’s just the right amount of clouds in the sky (or so I hear… lol!) I am going to keep trying, maybe one of these days I’ll catch that perfect one. But for now I have pictures of 2 very different sky’s that still took my breath away. Isn’t mother nature great in reminding us how beautiful our planet is?

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This photo was taken at Victoria Beach in Laguna. I am in love with the clouds here. Even though they blocked out all the vibrant colors of the sky (as you can see in the small strip at the bottom) they still are pretty beautiful.

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As you can see the next days Sunset was a lot clearer! Beautiful and orangey. These next photos are all at Pearl Street beach in Laguna. I also love the clouds in this pic. And I LOVE when I can catch a good set of waves.

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I was really loving all the clouds that day.

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If you have never been to Pearl Street beach in Laguna, these rocks are what its known for. When the tide is low you can walk through the tunnel looking hole that’s in it. I also heard they have a lot of tide pools as well. This was my first trip to this beach so I will have to check it out again when the tide is low.

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Not the pinkest sunset but I was still loving the colors in this pic. I also love how my camera captured the little rays coming from the sun.

And those are my photos for this week. Hope you all enjoyed! It’s been about 8 months now with my Nikon DSLR and I think I have made some great progress. Below is a picture from one of my first times trying to take pictures at the beach. LOL!!! As you can see there’s not much of a subject. No real good timing on the waves. Also I would suggest this wasn’t the best time of day to go out. Mid-day the daylight can be so harsh and so your limited to what techniques you can try.

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But we all gotta start somewhere!!! Moral of this last bit is to pick up that DSLR that you spent bookoo bucks on, get it off the auto-mode and practice! You have no idea what you are capable of until you try. I think I still have a lot to learn but I continually surprise myself and It’s such a good feeling!

What have you all been taking pictures of this week? Are you newer to photography? Have you been doing this for years? Share your stories and photos, I would LOVE to hear about it and see what you’ve captured! I created a new Instagram specifically to this blog so check it out to follow my daily photos and tag me in any photos you would like to share! (who knows I may just feature some!)

If you love any of my photos on my blog and would like prints, I am working on an online store. So stay tuned! Hope you all have a great day!

Photo Updates – New Techniques

This last week I was struggling a lot again with feeling inspired to go out and take my daily photos. But they say this challenge is our challenge and to not beat ourselves up over it! So while I didn’t go out everyday, I did practice some new techniques when I did. And that’s what I would like to share with you all!

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This is one of my favorite photos from the Maternity session I did for one of my best friends. I don’t have much experience yet with portraits or maternity but I was very happy with the outcome! Do you take portraits? What is your favorite way of posing people? My favorite is to get them to naturally laugh. Do you have a favorite lens? time of day? One tip I have is to not take photos of people mid-day, the light is too harsh and your subjects are often squinting (not good for pictures).

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Photo taken in Laguna Beach. Was loving the rocks!

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Sunset in Laguna Beach, CA. Was practicing using filters for the first time. Was pretty happy about being able to aim my lens at the sun. And I really like the reflection on the ground. Do you use lens filters? I definitely want to practice with them more after this!

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This photo is what I was most excited about! I have been trying to achieve this type of photo for a long time now and couldn’t figure out the right lighting/settings etc. They say it everywhere but its true, lighting is EVERYTHING when it comes to photography. Have you tried taking pictures of the water moving like this? How difficult was it for you to achieve? I’ll tell you it took me 4 months to figure this out! Yeah, now you can see why I was so excited lol!

Well hope you all enjoyed this last weeks photos! I am going to move the photo-a-day challenge to my Instagram so be sure to check it out. But if you aren’t on Instagram don’t worry I will be continuing to post my favorite highlights here! If you are doing the challenge, or just excited about your photos be sure to tag me/ or share them here!! I would LOVE to see them!

Hope you all have a great week!

Photo A Day: Week 1 – B&W Photos

Photo a day WEEK 1: I did it guys! I have to be honest I wasn’t too sure most days. But I finished all 7 days and I’m excited to share with you what I’ve got! I also decided to give these photo topics an extra flare by doing a theme! This week I wanted to do silhouettes, but the weather didn’t want to cooperate with me. So I went with black and white instead. I haven’t practiced B&W shots too much so it was a fun challenge to think of what would look good without color.

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From Below

Day 1: For my “From Below” topic I took a trip to the San Clemente Pier. The weather has been so gloomy so I thought it would make for a good black&white photo. It wasn’t my favorite shot as I tried to be quick, the tide was higher and I didn’t want to get trapped lol.

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Create a scene

Day 2: I don’t know why but I LOVE pictures like this. It is my second favorite to Candid shots. On a walk with my little family I saw this moment and couldn’t help but snap a pic. I think it turned out pretty sweet for a quick little sneak it quick picture.

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 Just a hint

Day 3: Okay so this one isn’t black&white but I did mess around with my editing to try and tone down the colors so you mostly see just a hint of the green and yellow. For this picture I used a slow shutter speed. I waited about 10 minutes for a car to come and change the street lights to green because I loved how the green glared off the wet ground, and with the slow shutter speed and quick changing lights it caught the light turning from green to yellow. That was a cool bonus I wasn’t expecting and I do like to turnout!

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On the Ground

Day 4: For those who don’t know me… I will use any excuse to photograph my dog. He is just so cute!

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Looking Up

Day 5: Just looking up into the trees, wondering what it would be like to have skills of a monkey and just climb to the top.

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Where I Stand

Day 6: For you fellow dog owners… where we stand is usually not too far from our furry children.. especially when we have food!

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Re-create

Day 7: Maybe you all have seen those add’s for elephant pants.. maybe not. But I saw it and fell for it instantly. Who wouldn’t want a pair of elephant pants to lounge around in and sip your tea/coffee?! PLUS $1-$2 goes to help stop the poaching of elephants. Double score! So I re-created their add.. in b&w to go with my theme… and added my yummy yogi tea instead of coffee. My yogi words of wisdom this packet was “let things come to you.” A good reminder for the days I don’t feel very Inspired.

And that was my week! I made it! That was rough I gotta tell you. I think the hardest part for me is staying inspired to go out and snap pictures when I just get off a long days work and REALLY just want to lay on my couch and netflix binge. But they say that it will get easier the more I put it into routine. Are you doing the daily photo challenge? Have you wanted to try it out? What photos/scenes do you think of when you see the following categories? If you are doing the challenge Tag me in your Instagram photos I would LOVE to see them! Or share them with me here! Hope you enjoyed!

Toodles!