Category Archives: Travel

Around the South in 14 Days: Summer Road Trip 2015 in Photos

This post is long over due. But better late than never.

On the morning of July 3, my boyfriend and I departed for a journey of epic proportions through the South Eastern United States. We endured humidity, heat, and endless hours in the car, but what we gained made every drop of sweat, every backache, and every sunburn worth it. Five thousand three hundred and seventy-three miles later, I have a new appreciation for the stunning beauty, diversity, and complexity of my country, and more importantly, I have a deeper love for and trust in the man with whom I share my life.

Here are some photos from our trip, along with a map of our route. I hope they inspire you to take an adventure, whether it’s to the other side of town, or to the other side of your own country.

Day 1: From Tucson to Houston (A 16 hour trip, all in one day. Texas is HUGE!)

Entering NM in Tree Pose

Day 2: Houston (No photos of Houston, sorry.)

Day 3: Houston to Memphis

Arkansas/Mermaid 1

Our breathtaking AirBnB in the heart of Memphis:

Memphis AirBnB

Day 4: Memphis (spent mostly at the Memphis Zoo, which is fantastic!)

At the Zoo



Our Memphis Favorites:

Otherlands Coffee Bar (try the toasted muffins!), The Memphis Zoo (make sure to catch the bear feeding), the march of the Peabody Ducks (get there early!), and Memphis Pizza Café

Day 5: Memphis to Asheville

Crow Pose

Day 6: Asheville

P1070141 P1070154P1070165

Our Asheville Favorites:

Mount Pisgah Campground (make sure to go on a hike!), and the Folk Art Center 

Day 7: Asheville to Savannah

Savannah in Savannah

Our Savannah Favorites:

Foxy Loxy Café (go for the Horchatta Latté), Fire Street Food (try the Savannah Roll), and Forsyth Park (bring bug spray)

Day 8: Savannah to Sarasota

Day 9: Holmes Beach (the location of my family reunion. That stunning woman at my side is my momma.)

Mom and MeGulfSunset

Day 10: Sarasota to Baton Rouge


Day 11: New Orleans

P1070250 P1070251

Our New Orleans Favorites:

Café du Monde (bring cash!), the Audbon Aquarium of the Americas, and Mr. B’s Bistro (save room for dessert— the bread pudding is divine!)

Day 12: Baton Rouge to Houston


Day 13: Houston (Again, no photos. But certainly some precious memories.)

Day 14: Houston to Tucson


We arrived home exhausted with sore butts and sleepy eyes. We were happy to have left home, and even happier to return. As I’ve learned time and time again, it is often in my journeys far from home that I come to appreciate all that I have right here in my own community. This trip, like all adventures, reinforced my gratitude for where I’m at, who I’m with, and who I am, right here, right now.

Next stop, Portland, Oregon! We just made plans to visit PDX in October. I’ve always wanted to see this city, and luckily, I’ll have an excellent tour guide. Stay tuned!


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To Rome and Back Again

There are few sights as picturesque as Rome in the sunlight, standing against a summer-blue sky. And for weary travelers, there are few sights as welcoming. Luckily for my family and me, this was the Rome that greeted us when we arrived two weeks ago in the Italian capital.

Trevi 2Rome 2

The first time I went to Italy, I was with a large group of students and our experience was rushed, exhausting and hectic. This time, I got to truly enjoy Italy and its many pleasures. Food, history, architecture, Italians! All was mine to take in and share with my family.

We spent the majority of your time in the country in Rome, where we spent our days seeing monuments, wandering the streets and filling our bellies. Pasta, pizza, pasta.

After a couple months of toiling away here in Paris, I was able to truly relax and appreciate the differences between Italy and France, between North and South. I have to say, I think I’m a Southern girl.

SculptedColosseum  Rome

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Rome, relative to Paris, is the color. The buildings in Rome are built in the typical Mediterranean style, with tiled roofs and brightly painted facades. Every building is a different color, be it dusty orange, corn-field yellow or hazel green, and wooden shutters adorn every window.  As you look out over the city, you can see the big umbrella pines standing like leafy canopies, or Dr. Seuss’s  truffula trees, over the ruins. Paris is a beautiful city, but its palette lacks the diversity and liveliness you find in Rome.

Me at the Trevi

From Italy we headed back to France, first to see family friends in Provence, and then to return me to Paris. And what did we find when we stepped onto the platform at Gare de Lyon? Winter! Then, a few days later, snow! Needless to say, our Italian getaway was well appreciated, especially when we found ourselves trudging around in slush and ice beneath the snow-besieged Tour Eiffel.

Mais c’est la vie, n’est-ce pas?

Ciao mes belles,



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I AMsterdam(ed)

If Amsterdam isn’t already on your “places to see in Europe” list, it needs to be. Amsterdam is one of the friendliest cities I’ve visited on this continent, and in more way than one. The people there are happy and helpful. The buildings are whimsical and colorful. The streets are bustling and musical. And at night, the lights shimmer, reflecting in the canals like candles in darkened windows.

canal at night at night

I visited Amsterdam with my best friend for two days after Christmas. It made a perfect escape from Paris. The minute I stepped out of the car, I could tell that the air was cleaner and the sun was a little brighter. As we started to explore the city, I noticed that the streets moved a little slower and the people I shared them with were a little less agressive. I felt welcome from the beginning.

central station

While in Amsterdam, we stayed at Amsterdam Hostel Leidseplein, which I can’t recommend highly enough. Not only is this hostel comfortable, accommodating and well-equipped, but it happens to be in a great location: Leidseplein.

This bustling square has everything you need, from cozy bistros to local coffee shops. Amsterdam is small enough that you’ll have no problem walking from Leidseplein to attractions like the Red Light district, the I Amsterdam sign and museums.

We were able to use Leidseplein as a home-base while we explored the rest of Amsterdam. Here are some places we discovered, both near and far:

For dancing, music and a great show:



Rembrandtplein 11

Tel: + 31 20 622 11 11

For an authentic, local coffee shop experience:

coffee shop

Get Down To It

Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 77-79

For a burger that will make you melt and a cozy-casual atmosphere (all for a great price!):


De Saloon 

Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 102

For art that makes your head spin: 

hanging house balloon close balloon


Warmoesstraat 139

Open daily 12:00-18:00

I Am

Look! Savannah can make animated gifs! =D

Anyway… Amsterdam is a fun city and your time there will be well spent. One of my favorite parts of being there was simply strolling through the streets, looking at the architecture and meandering into every interesting place we found. I never knew what we would stumble upon next, whether it was the I Amsterdam sign or a giant swing. Amsterdam has won my heart, and I can’t wait to return.

 Are you planning a trip to Amsterdam? Here are a few sites we used to get ready for our adventure: 

Things to do

More things to do

Coffee Shop Info

General Information

If you know of other great sites, places to go, or things to do in Amsterdam, feel free to add them in the comments!

Happy Amsterdam-ing,



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Sceaux far from Paris


As I said this past Saturday, I got to escape Paris for several hours this weekend and visit Sceaux (pronounced “so”—ha! now do you get it?), where my friend Matthieu lives. Sceaux lies no more than 15 kilometers from the center of Paris, but it feels like a completely different world.

In Sceaux, the streets are dotted with cozy houses and leafy trees. The neighborhoods are quiet, and children’s toys sit in driveways and frontyards waiting for the next adventure. In the middle of the town, there is a park and a château (Parc de Sceaux). Canals weave their way across the park, and fountains spew water into the air like geisers, their mist falling like rain upon the passerby.

And the trees. Oh my, the trees. If it weren’t for the manicured branches, I’d say this park is more like a forest. Even better, the leaves are changing colors. They come dancing to the ground like fire-red rose petals, flashing orange like flames in the grass.

I was so thrilled to escape the noise, hustle and claustrophobia of Paris, even if only for a few hours! It really makes a difference, getting out of the city for a little bit. Then, when you go back, you can appreciate once again all the perks of your sunless, starless, hyperactive Parisian life. Or you can just plan your next great escape, like me. You’re probably sick of my Paris-bashing and my nature-girl talk. But at least I’m honest. 

If you’d like to visit Sceaux from Paris:

Hop on the RER B, heading South, and get off at Bourg-la-Reine.

Check out this site for info on the town’s attractions, and this blog by Le Monde to find out all the local secrets and activities! Oui, c’est en Français, but Google Translate does a decent (as in only mostly horrible) job.

…and that’s it. Not bad for a day trip, huh?

Merci, Matthieu, pour l’invitation! Ce Samedi était trop génial!

Do you ever feel pent up in big cities? How do you cope? Leave a comment and share your tips!

Smiles and all the best,




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Enter the Madness: Braderie de Lille 2012

I had the pleasure of visiting ma soeur française in Lille, a college town in Northern France, last weekend. This was the perfect time to be in the city because it was the weekend of la Braderie de LilleImagine a giant flea market that falls on Black Friday, and all weekend long! It seemed that all of France had flocked to Lille to partake in the city-wide shopping bonanza. Shoppers flooded the streets and sidewalks, shuffling inch by inch from store to store. Why all the frenzy? Every store and business in Lille cut their prices in half, or more. Pieces of furniture normally priced at 300 Euros sold for 100. Designer clothes normally priced at 150 Euros sold for 30. If you are the kind of person who marches straight through the front of the boutique and into the clearance section (me!) then this is the event for you!

I spent all of Saturday shopping and I managed to get some smokin’ deals:

2 Embroidered Scarves– 6 Euro

2 Jean Paul Throw Pillows– 50 Euro (originally 110 each)

Manoukian Skinny Jeans– 19 Euro (originally 79)

Another aspect of la Braderie is the the food. The menu? Mussels, fries and beer. So delicious! But quite perilous for the little sea creatures! Thousands upon thousands of empty shells sat in mounds along the streets; the piles stood several feet tall– pauvre moules!

By the end of the day, my feet were aching from wandering the city and my hands were throbbing from carrying my purchases. Even so, attending la Braderie proved to be a fantastic way to explore Lille and all it has to offer. It’s a lively place, and I can’t wait to visit again soon.

Merci beaucoup à tous, spécialement ma soeur française, for making this weekend so special!

À bientôt!


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