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Paris: the day of Diana

Here is a look at the Seine river from our hotel room window.  We rose on the morning of day 2 to find it quite overcast.  Not to be deterred by the gloomy weather, we got all gussied up, me in a skirt and sandals and him in shorts and a tee, and headed out for our first full day in Paris.  The moment we headed out the exit we were shocked with a chilly breeze (the day before it had been sweltering), and I turned tail and headed back up to our room to change into jeans.

The first stop of the day was this cute little Boulangerie a couple of blocks from our hotel.  So cute, in fact, that we proceeded to eat there every single morning for the rest of our trip.  I dare anyone to try and stroll past a Boulangerie window and not be swooned by the sweet Parisian atmosphere and the aroma of fresh baked breads and pastries.

Because it was getting close to lunchtime, we split this savory french bread dressed in melted cheese and tomato slices.

Next, we headed to the Louvre.

This glass pyramid was constructed in 1989 due to some problems with the main entrance of the museum.  It is now used as the entrance – visitors enter the structure, then immediately descend down by way of escalator to the lobby of the museum.  When plans were made to build the pyramid, there was much controversy as many people believed the modernity detracted from the beauty of the Louvre’s architecture.  While Jon loved it and thought it was brilliant, I was, at first a bit more skeptical; however, it didn’t take long for it to really grow on me and by the time we left I found the contrast of styles quite charming.

This sculpture of the Greek Goddess Nike owns the top of the front entry staircase.

Gotta love the peacefully quiet ambiance.  lol.

Speaking of peacefulness, poor Mona Lisa will never have peace in her life again.  This room was a madhouse.  It was rather surreal to see The Mona Lisa in person, but by the end of the experience I wondered if it was worth it!  These people were crazy.  We got pushed, pulled, elbowed, stepped on, and even harshly reprimanded by another museum goer for taking pictures, when there is no rule about using cameras as long as there is no flash.

As I said, however, it was still quite novel.

And of course we both had to have our picture taken.  If nothing else to make all the work of getting to the front of the mob worthwhile! ha.

On our way out.

We stopped for a snack at this little place – and the owner was a bit crazy!  He even looks crazy.

I ended up with the only thing they had outside the realm of ham and hotdogs – a baguette with cheese and tomatoes.  Very similar to what I had for breakfast a few hours earlier.  Cheese and bread actually made quite a presence in my life while in Paris.  All my hopes for veggies and legumes were crushed as we encountered cafe after cafe, serving jambon (ham), and fromage (cheese).  And bread of course.  I made due, though, and tried to enjoy the cheesefest.

Next up, we visited this Cultural Center.  It was built with all the electrical wires on the outside.  Nestled in among the charming French architecture, it is seen as an eyesore by many people and was also very controversial when it was built.

While I personally didn’t see much culture inside, I did find a couple of wonderful things – this clock, which is the exact same cuckoo clock we have hanging in our living room (random much?) and this….

The Mini Diana camera.  It is a smaller version of the Diana F+ camera – but even better because it uses 35 mm film and has the unique ability to shoot half frame or square frame photos.  Throughout our last days in Paris, I used two rolls of film in this gal and got some really amazing pictures out of them.  If you stop back by tonight, I’ll be putting them up on the blog.  It’s my new baby.

Don’t worry, Olive, you’re still my favorite:)

I’m not sure which one of us is more excited about the new addition to our family:)

Okay, okay.  We’ll start taking pictures with Diana rather than of Diana;)

How about if we bike over and get some food??

Enter the Canal Saint Martin, Paris’ lesser known waterway (next to the Seine) that runs through old parts of the city and is lined with beautiful trees, cafes and locals living it up in their own Parisian way.  We strolled by the water for awhile before stumbling on this perfect little cafe.

Cheese Ravioli with a cream and tomato sauce

And Spinach Ravioli with cheese on top

We shared these two dishes, and it was the best meal this side of heaven.  Regardless of the fact that it was technically still cheese and bread (my third of the day), it was so delicious it didn’t matter.  The cheese was French, and it had just a hint of sweetness.  I die.

And the bread, of course.

We worked off dinner by biking home the long way back to our hotel.  Hands down, the best part of the trip.

Did you know that every hour for ten minutes the Eiffel Tower illuminates with these tiny flashing bulbs that make it appear as if it is glittering?  I didn’t know that beforehand, but it was so beautiful.  We would often stop at it’s feet on our way home at night and linger for just a few extra minutes to catch the show.

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simple pleasures

Today has been the best day ever.  And there was nothing major that happened.  It was all about the simple pleasures.

A constant thunderstorm all day.  Got to lay in bed with J after the alarm went off and had time to make him breakfast.  Went to the gym and wasn’t rushed.  Picked up my Mini Diana pictures (more to come on this).  Blogged TWICE!  Ran errands with J.  Was able to do lots of laundry and get the bathroom cleaned.

And ate lots of good, healthy food right at my own table.

Breakfast:  Oikos plain greek yogurt, Optimum Cereal, sliced banana, cinnamon.

Snack number one: a bowl of fresh cherries.

Lunch:  Morningstar spicy black bean burger, leftover guacamole, hummus, onion, tomato, pickles. With an unpictured ear of corn on the cob (obsessed).

Snack two:  more Optimum cereal with soy milk.

Dinner:  a spinach lavash wrap, organic mushroom and wine pasta sauce, broccoli slaw, leftover veggie and hummus mix.  And slightly overcooked brussels on the side.

I’m off to hang out with J and possible enjoy some more of my current read, Glass Castle.  One of my goals for this summer was to read more just for pleasure.  I read American Wife and Sarah’s Key while we were on vacation, and now I’m on to this new one.  Being an English teacher, I of course love to read, but it seems like it has been months since I’ve been able to just sit and read for pleasure.  I hope you all have had a wonderful Monday!

Off I go!

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dallas day two

Day two of our little mini vaca was quite fun!  Before I get to that, though, let me finish off day one.

As anticipated, we hit up Whole Foods for lunch.  This picture is actually from day two/Whole Foods trip numero dos.  I got pretty much the same thing both days, though.  Hey, when you don’t have a Whole Foods within an hour radius of where you live, you gotta take advantage of it!

I had a salad with onions, peas, corn, artichoke hearts, cauliflower, mushrooms, grated beets, grated carrots and hummus.  On the side I had a delicious raw kale salad, a zucchini salad, and cappelinni with a lemon marinade and tomotoes.  So, so good!!!!

Saturday night Jon took me to our hotel – Aloft.  It’s a lower scale version of the W hotel, which we only dream of staying at!  Aloft was really nice, though, and we loved having a night away!  We only stayed there one night, and we stayed with my sister the other nights.  Sunday morning we slept in of course, then got up and went on a hunt for our camera.  We ended up finding a really great deal at Best Buy.   We decided on the Canon Rebel xsi.  We love it!   I am now obsessed with it, and I carry it everywhere I go;)  I think Olive is getting a little jealous.  We also did some fun shopping at Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Crate and Barrel.

Warning: there may be some really random pics coming up on the blog because I tend to take a picture of everything I see!

Later that day we met up with my sister and spent some time at Ikea.  We got a few odds and ends.  Once we get them up around the house I’ll post some pictures.  I snacked on a Cliff bar on the way to Ikea.  You definitely don’t want to get caught in the middle of Ikea hungry.

After galavanting around Ikea for about 2 hours, we headed out for dinner.  My sister knew of a vegetarian/vegan restaurant that she wanted to take me to.  She had never been there, but a couple of her friends had and they said it was great.  It was supposedly in a Hindu temple, but that was all we knew.

Unfortunately, we were not impressed with the look of the buffet.  I know a lot of people LOVE Indian food, but I am not a fan, and there was a high percentage of Indian dishes.  It was definitely a very cultural experience, but we opted out of eating there and decided to hit up a different vegetarian restaurant called Cosmic Cafe that she had taken us to before, but not before I snapped some shots of the temple.

Cosmic Cafe is so quirky, and they have a great menu.  I wish I would have taken a picture. We started off with the hummus because it is to die for!  It comes with warm nan for dipping.

I ordered the “Pizza Mystica,” which consisted of black bean burger crumbled on top of nan with a tomoato sauce, mushrooms, spinach, onions, and some other veggies.  I asked for them to hold the cheese.  This pizza was excellent, and I totally want to reinvent it at home!

My sis and Jon both ordered the veggie tacos.  I had a few bites of course.  They were awesome as well!  The black beans that came with them were a little undercooked, but the white rice was awesome!  It had some sort of flavoring on it that I couldn’t quite place.

Throughout our entire dinner I was facing a menu board that was advertising vegan cakes – chocolate, hazlenut chocolate and vanilla chai.  So, naturally, by the time I finished eating I convinced Jon and Cristen to share a slice with me.  We ate about half this slice, then I finished the other half off for breakfast the next morning.  Hey, it’s vacation, right?!

I kind of felt like the blueberries and green sprinkles were a little random, but I wasn’t about to complain!  ha!

Here are a few shots of the restaurant.  This place is so fun; I can’t wait to go back!

After dinner we headed back to Cristen’s apartment.  It was pretty late, and we were all exhausted!  Besides, the babies were waiting for us after having been locked up for several hours.

That’s all for day two!  Stay tuned for day three tomorrow.  Day three was kind of a half day because we had to get back to my hometown by evening, which is about a 3 1/2 hour drive.  Sorry this post is SO long, I think I definitely set a record for number of pics.  I am loving my new camera, though.  I just need to figure out how to use it!

I’m off to make some spinach enchiladas with green verde sauce.  We aren’t necessarily celebrating St. Patrick’s day, but I guess it kind of works out!  Hope you all are having a great day!

I’ll also be working on a post to sum up the 20 day challenge.  I’ll have that up asap.  Let’s just say it did not go as planned, but I’ll go into more detail later:)

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dallas day one

Comin’ to you from the iPhone this morning! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately…there has been a lot going on around here. I mentioned several days ago that my grandma has been really sick. Yesterday morning she went to be with the Lord. While it seems surreal that she is gone, she’s much better off now that she’s “home” and not sick anymore.

Because we already had hotel reservations for our Dallas trip, we decided to go ahead and come a day early so we can So, we packed fast after work yesterday and hit the toad. We hit a lot of construction and traffic, and what is normally a 4 hour trip became a 6 hour trip- not cool! Either way we got here at about midnight last night, and we didn’t go to bed until 2ish. I can’t keep those kind of hours anymore!

We didn’t wake up until 10:30 this morning; we had planned to get in a six miler, but unfortunately yours truly is still feeling under the weather. So, the run got postponed and we opted for a walk with my sis and the dogs down to the corner cafe. I ordered an iced house coffee, and then came back and had a bowl of Kashi Heart to Heart with soy milk and a half of a sliced banana. I’ve never had this Kashi cereal before, but it was pretty tasty. I loved how it was in the shape of hearts- made me feel like a kid again!

We’re about to get ready to head out for some shopping- clothes and camera shopping-yea! Hopefully by the end of this weekend I’ll be posting pics of much better quality!

I’ll be back later- potentially with some pics from my favorite lunch spot. Any guesses? Think Valentines Day celebration;)

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exciting news

Jon and I are going shopping for a new camera next week!!  I am so stoked.  I have been taking all my blog pics with my iPhone, and it’s become so uninspiring.  I’m sure you feel the same way;)  We have wanted a new one for awhile, and since Jon’s side business has really taken off we’ve finally come to a point where we can get one.  Now the problem is just deciding which one to get.  Neither of us knows much about them, so we’re going to have to learn a lot…not only to buy it but to figure out how to use it!

Does anybody have an recommendations?  I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Canon Rebel, but aside from that I don’t have much to go on.  I’d love any suggestions you guys might have!

These past few days have been CRAZY.  On Saturday, my mom, step dad and sister came up to visit for the afternoon/evening.  I love hanging out with family.  My mom and I cooked dinner together while my stepdad and Jon went to Lowe’s to get a deadbolt for our front door.  Awhile later my sister got here, and we spent the rest of the night eating and just hanging out.  It is not often that my mom, sister and I all get to spend time together, and it was definitely the highlight of my week.  I wish we could do it more often.

Sunday also involved family, but was not nearly as pleasant.  My grandma recently found out she has pancreatic cancer, and her health is declining quite rapidly.  She doesn’t have much longer, so we drove to my hometown on Sunday, picked up my sister and went to visit her.  While I’m so glad we went, it was really hard to see her in the state that she’s in.  Needless to say these last couple of days have been a bit dismal feeling.

I do have some random pics of some eats from the last couple of days.  I promise that once we get our new camera (and figure out how to use it;) food pics will be much more exciting.  I can’t wait!

Regardless…

One of my favorites as of recent – stir fried carrots, zucchini, spinahc and brussels with soba noodles, doused in nutritional yeast obvs.

This is the kombucha that I brought home from Whole Foods when we went there on Valentine’s Day.  I saved it ever since then and finally broke it out after our 5 miler on Saturday.  It was totally worth the wait!!  Now I just need to figure out how to get another one…

This has become my current favorite way to eat oats – cooked in water and topped with soy yogurt on one side and almond butter on the other.  Sprinkled with a bit of Bob’s Red Mill cinnamon apple granola.  This is addicting.  I am so addicted to the combination of yogurt and granola.  I may have to add that to my challenge list.  haha! yeah right.

And last but not least, dinner tonight.  I kept it simple because Jon wasn’t home to eat with me, and I just didn’t feel like spending much time on dinner.

Avocado and hummus sandwiched between ezekiel bread.  Exactly what I was craving.  It totally hit the spot.  I love simple meals like this.  Obvs. this meal was lacking a bit in the veggie department, but I’m never low on veggies so I didn’t worry about it too much!

I hope everyone is having a great start to the week.  Only four more days and I’ll be on Spring Break when I get to spend every waking moment with the Mr.  It seems like a dream right now.

G’night!!

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