Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Long Road Trip Essentials [For You & the Pup!]

Today is our last full day in Portland before we venture back down to San Francisco tomorrow. I would love to get in the habit of flying SFO => PDX in the future but that has yet to happen for a variety of reasons. The first time I drove down, it was because I moved here and had to get my car to the bay. Second long drive, was when I drove up for a wedding (post here) and couldn't get a flight on short notice without paying an exorbitant cost. And for this Christmas visit, we were staying over a week and wanted the dog with us at Christmas (it's obviously a very important day to him, wink wink). Chandler is 35 lbs thus won't fit under a plane seat and I'd never have the heart to let him fly cargo so driving it was.

Since I've now done a 9+ hour drive for the umpteenth time and am prepared to do it again tomorrow (we drove here and are driving back overnight vs the day), I found that here's how Jay, Chandler and me survive the life on the long, long, open road.

//Wear//
Sweats // You may be fancier than me when it comes to road trips but I am all about the sweats. Hopefully they're cute but sometimes they're not and I don't care one iota. All that matters is that they maximize the leisure.
Warm shoes // An Ugg (or anything mimicking it) is my go-to. Little foot sweaters.
Sunglasses // You never know when you might round a bend and need those shades. I always have a pair in my car no matter what.

//Eat//
Packed Snacks // Fruit + a crunchy (chips, popcorn, etc.) + a light entree (e.g. a sandwich) go a long way in the quest to stay alert, happy, full and on schedule.

//Drink//
Caffeine (for the driver) // I rarely advocate drinking a lot of pop but 9+ hours warrants it, that and coffee.
Water // Always have water on hand. Lots and lots of water. I like to keep a case in the car as much for my ease of thirst quenching as it is in case of emergency.

//Listen//
Podcasts // I'm not a huge fan of podcasts to be honest but there are some good ones. My favorite one thus far is this one [NSFW name of podcast FYI =>] HERE. It looks kinda sleazy but hearing them is honestly like sitting at a table with your girlfriends (or at least mine). Them chicks are hilarious, brazen and really smart. I also like 9/11 ones (always interesting) and ones about crime (such as "Serial").
Spotify // A good playlist has saved me many a night rides. Keep one ready to go.
Louis CK //  Listen to his crude stand-up and never look back. Laughing makes the miles pass. Here's his take on millennials. 

//Extras//
Face Mask (for the passenger) // If you're taking turns driving, the face mask is quite helpful for the off-duty passenger. 
Blanket & Pillow // Not only can the passenger use this as they sleep but it just makes sense if something were to happen (knock on wood) and you had to sleep in your car for some reason. Staying warm is important.
Chapstick // Maybe this is me but I feel like long drives drive my skin/lips crazy. Give me moisture!!
Paper Towels // Sometimes your dog pukes in the car. Sometimes you spill your pop all over. Sometimes you have to have something to use when you can't hold it anymore and you pull over in no man's land to go #1. I'm just saying, paper towels are the gift that keep on giving.
Hand Sanitizer // For reasons just like the above ^ plus the added bonus of gas station visits. Best to have on hand.
iPhone // As if anyone wouldn't have their phone with them unless they read this stupid post, ha. But, when you need to take a quick walk and pull over for a 10-minute break, there's generally some nice views to snap as you stretch your legs that will remind you of this journey in retrospect.

//Pup Essentials//
Poop Bags // Just because it's the side of the road doesn't make you any less obligated! 
Dog Treats, Water & Collapsible Bowls // Rest Areas aren't just for you. Make the breaks something good for your canine too! A quick run around the parking lot, a bowl of water and some treats will help ease their stress as they head back into the crate.
Comfortable Auto Accommodations // Chandler rides perfectly in his blanket-lined crate nestled in the back seat but is super uneasy when he's just in the car without it. We are so glad we found a way that he rides in comfort. Find a way to keep your dog safe (not roaming free adjacent to the air bag!) and emotionally/physically comfortable for the journey. 

What's a road trip essential for you??
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Monday, December 28, 2015

The Mall Cart

My husband hates shopping. 

He hates shopping.

And I know that that makes him the same as every single male on the face of the planet save for one fact. I think most males hate following around their lady as she tries on numerous outfits in a store yet they do actually like shopping for themselves. Jay is a big hater of both. It's just not his forte. So when we had to go to the crowded mall to wrap up Christmas shopping on December 22nd, you can pretty much guess his excitement level for that one.

But even with a desperately bored husband who found every single "boyfriend bench" in lightening speed, I still had a great time. In fact, I was laughing almost the entire duration of our stay. And that's due to the fact that after we purchased my dad's gift, I decided to let Jay be in charge of getting it through the mall as we finished the rest of our shopping.
And I tell you friends, I was almost unable to breathe due to laughter every time I looked over amongst the Christmas cheer at his extremely bored face as he navigated the crowds with his cumbersome, loathsome, awkward burden. Pretty sure he would have rather been anywhere else on the planet in that moment.

It's the little things in life, right? Gosh, I love you Jay. You crack me up.
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merriest Christmas everyone! 
^Christmas Eve, 2015

I hope you all had a wonderful, festive week with family and friends. We are in Portland right now and I've been busy soaking up as much of my loved ones as I can.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Thankful for blog land. I love having an outlet to feed my creative desires and I adore the window I get into everyone else's world. 

XO, back on Monday.

Merry Christmas!
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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Paris Adventures | KONG

A Visit to KONG in Paris, France | Candyfloss & Persie
Two similar things that bring me great joy in this world are movie/TV show quotes and seeing things in real life that I saw in such mediums.  I’m really bad at a lot of things but where I do shine (in a talent that does nothing to better my life), is in my ability to recall – most of the time in a verbatim capacity- lines and scenes. With the precision and skill of a heart surgeon saving a life, I can tell you the exact inflection a character used when they uttered their script, what was said following it and inform you of nuances such as if “next” or “then” was used. What can I say? It’s a stupid, useless talent that I’ve always been pretty darn good at.

So let’s get into why I’m telling you this mindless drivel. That’s because when we were in Paris, I used all these special skills and desires to guide two kicking and screaming men into the restaurant where the opening scene of the “Sex and the City” series finale was filmed which was surprisingly only about a 15-minute walk from our flat. Perhaps it was the anticipation of watching the LAST EPISODE EVER or just the daydreaming about what life in Paris was like as I watched Carrie turn into a lady who lunches with her manfriend’s ex-wife [first part of scene HERE], but I definitely instantly took note of its aesthetics. Ghost chairs adorned with done-up model faces. Traditional walls replaced with one transparent, decadent cave of glass. And a thriving spot where many sat and enjoyed wine and cigarettes (though, the latter is never of interest to me) amongst the hubbub. What was this place?
Well I can now tell you it is called KONG and it was just as gorgeous and dreamy as it looked on your flat screen. And in the spirit of full discretion, the boys had no issue stopping here either. After all, Paris is about roaming and stopping at cafes and we had done 1,000 of them by this point. Why not switch it up and do the mandatory satiating at a less traditional Parisian location?
^iPhone snaps compliments of the waiter
^"They're hideous. Hideous."

As we settled into the KONG vibe, I was able to figure out a bit more about its personality not evident from its silver screen debut. It’s an Asian-Fusion restaurant which has more than one floor. The traditional bar is downstairs and this room is the upscale restaurant. The waitresses are insanely gorgeous. We had snacked on bread and cheese prior to our arrival but we figured it was vital to nosh on something alongside our wine.
^Fresh foie gras terrine & toasts ordered by Jay & his bro. When I asked what ‘foie gras’ was, they stated “honestly, you probably don’t want to know”. Okay then.

^Edamame for my order
^Bread and a light jelly
^Don't whine, just wine
^Happy eaters
One of the coolest things about being there was seeing that the SATC production company did virtually nothing to change the interior for the show. I know it had always been important to them to depict NYC spots as they are and clearly they made no exception across the pond. 
^Only pic of all 3 of us here (and it's from my phone, dangit!)

The view outside was the right one (see the LV that’s behind Carrie in the video?), the chairs adorn the same “hideous” face and the paint color is as vibrant green as it was in the opening credits. This wasn’t a contrived Paris spot, this was Paris in all her glory.

I could have spent much more time there but we had things to do and places to see. But I’m supremely glad I went. After a week of so many traditional attractions, this contemporary one was a little close to my heart as a movie/show stalker.
^Blooper reel.

And in all honesty, had this place never been on television, I still would recommend it. Just a fabulous vibe in the city of lights, no matter what Aleksandr Petrovsky’s ex says about it now.
^I'll be back someday to see you again, KONG.

 
Have you ever sought out somewhere you've seen on screen?
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Paris Adventures | Night & Day

A couple hours after my Dad and Stepmom dropped me off at our airbnb (end of the post here) and jetted for the rest of their European adventure, I arose groggy from my nap while Jay attempted to will himself out of his own coma. We had been there many days now, had walked ourselves into the ground and here was the day that we were just plain exhausted. But you know what? We didn't have any time for that because in a couple hours, we had reservations for a boat dinner on the Seine river to celebrate my MIL's birthday. So off went the covers and on went the make-up and coats to gallivant into the city again as we prepped to take it by water. Though there was plenty to see on foot on the way over ...
 Such as this gorgeousness above ^ which was all the prettier with the blue hour sky. 

And long exposure shots like above ^ which alluded a bit to the city's famous nickname.

But nothing really compared to the dinner cruise. I didn't take too many pictures on it because we were all just so stinkin' tired but I think I got enough of the view for you to get the idea of its gorgeousness.
^Left: Birthday girl and me on the cruise | Right: I asked Jay to take a pic of me with the pretty sky. He assured me that I was looking at the camera and "looked pretty" after I felt that I didn't think I was paying attention when he had shot it. The one good thing about looking like a cat staring at a ghost is that I can now at least know I was right.
^Left: Dinner cruise views from the water | Right: Happy Birthday dessert!
^Boys take in the view between bites.
^Quick video I took of us passing it available here.

After spending many moons up on the top deck of the ship admiring that insane view and sipping espresso, we all decided to head back to the room to visit a dreamland that surely wouldn't measure up to the reality of the day. But the truth was, we needed to be well-rested as the parentals only had about 24 more hours to spend with us.

The next morning we all rose refreshed and looked forward to taking the day with gusto. Which is partially depicted in the images I have:
^My In-Laws soaking in those Parisian views from the Centre Pompidou.

^MIL/StepFIL & Mama and Son soak up their last time here at the Louvre.

We walked well over 12 miles that day and wanted to do even more by the time the sun was dropping closer and closer to the horizon. Which is good because we knew just where to go: Sacré-Cœur. A place known for its view, basilica, music, atmosphere and drinks.
^Live music at Sacré-Cœur -video here.
Time seriously stood still as we drank in that experience. We had raced and raced to get on the subway there before we lost the light and it paid off in spades. Our last night with his Mom was just as peaceful and happy as she wanted it to be. She had made it to Europe with her sons and this moment seemed to embody the exact reason why. We didn't eat that much that evening but we all still went to bed full on the experience and wanted for nothing. At about 4:30 AM the following morning, Jay's mom and stepdad left for the airport while we lingered for a few more days.
*
Which brings us to all this wandering the next afternoon. Which is a pretty enjoyable task across the pond, I must say.

^The brothers exploring on on foot the following day.
^I happily took pictures of things as we passed.
^And then there were 3: One of our last outings together in beautiful Paris.

And just like the night before, by day's end, it was a race again to make it to the Montparnasse Tower Viewing Deck to try and capture the Eiffel Tower before it was too late.


The views from the deck were seriously cool but the entire place was probably the most tourist-centric place in our entire visit. The top deck is one big commercial with patriotic tchotchkes everywhere in an effort to squeeze dry all the visiting guests. So if you go, prepare for that commercialization. But if you just want a view no matter the emotional cost, try it out. We only endured the crowd because my BIL and I both really wanted to practice with our cameras on that view. Here's the Instagram of the set-up to do so.

And with our feet now weighing the same as an Anvil block, we knew it was time to go to our nook of the woods for a nightcap and some much-needed sleep. So these two exhausted blokes and I boarded the train and rode the rail in perfect, exhausted silence.

And that was the name of that tune! :) 

PS: I'm really excited for tomorrow's Paris post and if you like Carrie Bradshaw, I think you will too. 
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