Paris: Day 2!

Can’t believe it’s our second day here! We finally got a good nights sleep, so this morning we were up early to head to the catacombs. In the late 1700s they decided to move the remains from the largest French cemetery to unused limestone quarries (due to public health reasons). Visitors can walk through the catacombs and see the bones and skulls in the old quarries, which are under both the metro and sewer systems. Sounds morbid, but it was really cool to see and worth the 2 hour wait (and only 4 euro to get in)!

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We then headed to the le marais, the Jewish area in Paris, to get falafel for lunch. It was really good; basically it’s fried balls of chick peas in a pita with eggplant, cabbage, hummus, and some sort of dill/yogurt sauce. We also stopped and got macarons, which are little French cookies…I got pistachio and coconut! From there we took the metro to the Louvre, which was closed today, so we just took pictures outside and at le Jardin Des Tuileries (the gardens)…we will head back to see the inside of the Louvre later in the week.

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From there we headed to the champs élysées, which is a famous street with a bunch of fancy shops (like Louis Vuitton). I bought my first Parisian non-food/drink purchase, which was natural a new purse…but it had sequins and bright colors, so two of my favorite things! We then went to see the arc de triomphe, which is at the end of the street, and took some pictures there. Unfortunately it started raining, but we took the metro to a good viewing point to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower (we plan to go see it and climb up in it Thursday).

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Since it started raining harder, we decided to head back the apartment for a bit. We stopped on our way to get some groceries, and while we were there I had to get bounty bars…they are basically like almond joys without the almonds (and we all know I love coconut). We got wine, cheese, and a baguette, so we had our own happy hour and snacks at the apartment!

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We then headed to ile de la cite, a touristy part of Paris, for dinner. We had another 3 course meal (for only 12 euro); this one came with a complementary glass of wine! I also ordered a bottle of Kronenbourg, which is a French beer…it tasted like a lighter Stella. For the meal I ordered French onion soup, moules frites (mussels in wine sauce with French fries), and apple pie. Everything was great and we were super full! Tomorrow is supposed to be really nice, so we plan to head to Versailles and the Louvre, then go out at night again!

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Arrival in Paris!

I can’t believe one day has already gone by here in France! We arrived around 1 PM (7 AM EST) and took the train to meet my friend in another part of Paris. From there we went to our apartment, which in a nice neighborhood and is set up like a studio, with a bed and a couch along with laundry and a kitchen. We then set out to get some groceries for the week. Turns out France has a “sugar tax” on cookies, candy etc but fruit and veggies are super cheap…now I know how they stay so skinny! We then got our first French meal…mine was a quiche Lorraine (ham), which was delicious!

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We then set off to do some sightseeing. We walked from our apartment towards Notre Dame church and the Seine. We went in the church and walked around outside, seeing beautiful flowers and the bridge of locks.

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As soon as we needed a break we headed to a bar for happy hour! Apparently happy hour here starts as early as 4 and can go as late as 10. I tried a raspberry mojito and a screaming orgasm (yes that is the real name)…both were half off for happy hour! We then got on the metro and headed to another section of Paris to get dinner. The place we chose had a “prix fixe” menu, meaning you pick one appetizer, entree, and dessert for a set price (16 euro), which is a really good deal! I chose escargots (snails), beef bourgignon, and creme brûlée. So good!! Then we called it a night since Sam and I are running off a few hours of airplane sleep…need to get our rest for another busy day tomorrow!

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Kate Middleton = Perfection

Well Kate Middleton is perfect. There’s no denying it. I literally don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of her looking bad. I’m sure even when she gets the flu, she looks more beautiful than I ever could hope to be. Not fair! I just came across this picture of her; how great is that Lela Rose dress?! Unfortunately it costs $1500…maybe someone will make an affordable look-a-like version? Or I’ll win the lottery? Here’s hoping!

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I’m leaving Sunday for France! Still seems a little unreal, but I do need to start packing…stay tuned for my (hopefully daily) updates from my trip!

My Daily Salad!

I am pretty predictable when it comes to my lunches at work…4 out of 5 days I usually bring the same salad, and while I should be sick of them by now, I’m not! I love the combo of the feta with the balsamic vinegar, and I like the mixture of spring mix and spinach. I try to have a salad for one meal a day, because it’s a great way for me to get my daily servings of veggies, while the feta provides protein and the volume of veggies keeps me full. On days when I work at my bartending job, I have a Greek salad with steak tips while I’m there, because they make the BEST steak tips; I will have to post a picture of that the next time I work. I usually cut all my veggies on Sundays, that way during the week I just have to throw everything together in a Tupperware and bring it to work!

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My salad: spring mix, spinach, green pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, croutons, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar

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Salad prep!

Online Shopping Deals!

So I told myself I wouldn’t buy anything new before France, but here I am advocating more online shopping…I tend to justify purchases by saying “it’s on sale!” I had been eyeing this J.Crew Factory baseball sweater for awhile, so when I saw that it was an extra 25% off the already 50% marked down price, I took the plunge. Only $27.13 total (with shipping)…find it here!

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I bought this one (navy/white), but there are also a couple other colors!

 

I also had been looking into buying a pair of Jack Rogers sandals, but at over $100, they were definitely not in my price range! I found some knock-offs here, but figured I would wait until summer and try to find them then. But then I saw a bunch of posts on Instagram last night about a way to get real Jacks for cheap! Basically there is a Living Social deal right now for $50 to spend on lastcall.com (which is like a Neiman Marcus outlet), but the deal only costs $22! And the Jacks on lastcall.com are on crazy sale right now, so I bought the deal (for $22) and paid $14.40 with shipping for the sandals (since the deal was worth $50). So in total, these $100-plus sandals cost me $36.40!  But hurry…I think the Living Social deal for $22 is only good today and the sale on Last Call is only until 4/25!

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I bought this style! There are tons of others, I had a hard time choosing 🙂

Now I promise, NO MORE shopping til France! 🙂

Happy Easter and a Breakfast Shake

Yes this post is a little late, but I’ve been busy this week since I am leaving for FRANCE on Sunday!! I cannot wait and have been running around trying to get everything done before I go. Just wanted to share a couple pictures of my Easter outfit…I bought this dress over a year ago for a fancy date and haven’t been able to wear it again, since it’s too white for a wedding and I really haven’t had any other fancy events 😦 However, Easter mass was the perfect place to wear it! [That’s my cat Salem photo-bombing…she’s too cute]

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Dress: Express (old, belt included) | Wedges: Payless (old) | Necklace: Edith Marie Jewelry (on sale!)

I also wanted to share a new breakfast shake I tried…although I guess it’s not really a shake, it’s more of a protein-coffee-milk. I usually have a whole wheat English muffin with natural peanut butter and a banana for breakfast, which is a good protein-fat-carb combo to keep me full all morning. However, since I was home for Easter this weekend, my mother sent me back with some of her delicious raisin bran muffins, which are decently filling but won’t hold me until lunch! Rather than eat two, I usually opt to add in a banana or other fruit, but that still usually isn’t enough to keep the stomach grumbles away. So, inspired by my friend Jess’s recipe for a not-so-chunky-monkey protein shake, I decided to try making a coffee-protein drink to keep me a little more full. I don’t usually make my own coffee (simply because I usually drink tea instead), so all I had was instant coffee; I didn’t realize how AWFUL instant coffee is!! Next time I think I will need to get some real coffee because I think that will make it 100x better! But it kept me full until lunch, so it did what I wanted it to. Success!

Coffee-Protein-Milk (I need a snazzier name for this)

Ingredients:

1 cup brewed coffee (avoid instant at all costs!)

8 oz. almond milk (I use unsweetened original)

1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Ice Cream whey protein

1 packet Sweet n’ Low

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a  Blender bottle with ice and shake it all up! Would also be good blended in a blender; I’ll have to try that next time!

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Coffee-protein-milk!

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My mom’s bran muffin! (Half-eaten in the car en route to work…)

Recipe of the Week: Creamy Tomato and Veggie Polenta

So I once again slacked and didn’t take any step-by-step photos of my recipe this week :/ I tend to cook while doing other things and before I know it I’m done and out the door! However, this recipe was really good and I sort of made it up in my head, so I’m proud and wanted to share it (hence the Tupperware lunch photo). I decided to make this because I love polenta, I found pre-cooked polenta at Trader Joe’s (in a cookie-doughish tube, so it was super easy), and I wanted to recreate the Polenta Provencale that I had bought from Trader Joe’s last week, but without the peas (I’m not a big fan). So here’s what I came up with!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package pre-cooked Trader Joe’s polenta (or you can make your own from scratch!)
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 bag baby spinach leaves
  • Grape tomatoes, halved (however many you desire)
  • 1 tbsp diced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jar Trader Joe’s Creamy Tomato and Basil sauce
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  1. Boil about 1.5 cups water and add the bag of frozen broccoli. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender. While broccoli is simmering, open tube of polenta and cut into small slices, then into cubes, and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic and spinach leaves, cook until wilted. Then add the polenta cubes and cook for a few minutes in the oil. Mix in the broccoli and tomatoes and stir-fry them all together.
  3. Once cooked, add the jar of sauce and mix well. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste (depending how spicy you would like it).