Greetings from Ghent! We’re making our way half an hour west to Bruges later, checking in to our rental apartment and trying to locate all the major sites from the movie “In Bruges.” I already have so many pictures to share with you guys when I get back. In the meantime, Lauren of Still + Life has graciously offered to share a story she calls, “Around the World in 12 Years.” Take it away, Lauren!
I will be the first to admit that we are, perhaps, not the best vacationers. For starters, we’re cheap, and I’m not as good as Erin at ferreting lovely things out for not much. Need to get her planning our next vacation, I think. But anyhoo. We also live at the beach, so when this (note: above) is minutes away, it can get hard to, well, get away.
Today is our last day in Paris before we make our way back to Belgium for a quick stop in Ghent. I’m pretty sure Boyfriend is going to have to drag me kicking and screaming to the train. It’s been a great two days so far, I can’t wait to finally explore Belgium! You know, the country we planned this vacation around. Today’s post is an especially romantic one. Without further ado…
Hi guys, it’s Sam here over from Bright Space, guest posting whilst the lovely Erin is skipping her way around Europe.
Erin’s asked me come up with best holiday themed post, and having been inspired by her trip to Paris, I’m sharing with you today, my special and romantic trip to California and Nevada with my husband Den in December 2007. It’s particularly special to me because it’s where we got engaged. “Awww,” I hear you say!
Bonjour! Today is our second day in Paris. While I’m off skipping around the Louvre and stuffing my face with macarons, I’ve asked my hilarious friend Süsk of Süsk and Banoo to share her honeymoon story. If you remember, Süsk sweetly made me a personalized guide to the 17th Arrondissement, which I have in my bag right now. The story she chose to share is absolutely hysterical. I’ll let her take it from here:
As I sit here with a scarf coiled around my head on a windy, grey Monday morning in London, Sicily seems a lifetime away. Hunched over my computer in two dressing gowns (truth!) and going through hundreds of photos on my hard drive of a tanned, glowing me romping in the nature of Italy’s Southern island, I am reminded just how wonderful a holiday can be. Throw in a few near-death experiences and Mafia run-ins, and you’re talking superawesome holiday times.
In 2009 Banoo and I headed to Sicily for our honeymoon. We avoided the tourist-y Northwestern coast and instead opted for a city clinging to the edge of a volcano named Taormina. From here we rented what was possibly the most ill-suited car ever for the 90 degree inclines that scaled the volcanic crag and masqueraded as roads, and headed out to explore this island that tectonic activity had thrust out of the sea thousands of years ago.
Hey guys! We landed in Brussels early this morning and took a train straight to Paris (I cried the entire way out of a mixture of exhaustion and excitement, it was really attractive). We’re here! We’re finally here! While I’m off squeezing as much of this amazing city in as I can, I’m delighted to introduce my first (of 8!) guest-blogger to you. Take it away, Annie!
Hey everyone, it’s Annie from insideology here. Erin is currently swooning around the streets of Paris, croissant in hand, and has asked me to drop by and tell you about my favourite holiday.
I have been to many beautiful places in the world but Patagonia is the one that has stayed with me more than any other. The wildness, the scale and the awesome strength of nature. That feeling where you are nothing more than an insignificant dot that can be whipped off the top of a mountain at any moment by a playful gust of Antarctic wind.
In 2007 I was lucky enough to spend three months travelling around South America. In the middle of January, still weak from having just spent five days in a Peruvian hospital recovering from Salmonella, I set off from the Mediterranean warmth of Buenos Aires to the harsh Andean summer of the Torres del Paine and Fitzroy national parks.
I know, my Friday Five streak is tarnished between last week and today. I’m sorry! If I could have found a way to include emotions rather than material objects, I would have done a round-up (featured feelings would have included excitement, anxiety, joy, terror, and shopping, and yes shopping is totally a feeling. I have it all the time). The truth is I’ve spent the past 6 weeks compulsively buying things specifically for this trip and I really don’t want or need (like/want/need!) anything else. I have everything I need right now, and I’m just ready to get on that plane on Sunday and spend a 8 days enjoying Paris, Brussels, Gent, and Bruges.
I’m not leaving you high and dry, though. I’ve been lucky to have 8 (eight!!) amazing and talented bloggers fill in for me while I’m gone. Every week day at 9am from Monday and the following Wednesday, you’ll get to hear their own favorite vacation stories. Some are hilarious, some are touching, all are jealousy-inducing. All were given graciously, even though it was time consuming and one more thing to add to their plate amidst their real-life responsibilities and their own blogging duties. I want it to be a surprise, so I’m not naming names, but ladies: you know who you are. Thank you so, so much. It’s not only a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that my blog will be tended to while I’m galavanting across Europe, it’s really one of the nicest things I can imagine someone doing for someone they’ve never met in person. So thank you. I mean it.
Have a great weekend, kiddos, and a great week and a half! I’ll be checking in when I can, but you’ll have to forgive my absence for a bit. We’re going to have to go on an honor code policy with my 365, as I might not have access to the internet everyday. I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule on Thursday the 24th! Bon Voyage!
PS. My middle school/high school (I was there from 5th-12th grade) was just ranked #1 in the state. Go Masterman! In a way, I owe this blog to my education there: I can’t imagine a more nurturing environment for personal growth. It was like a family, and they gave you every opportunity and tool to succeed. I wanted to write in high school, and I got endless encouragement for it. I’m immensely proud of my alma mater, and more proud to be an alum. If you get two drinks in me I’ll even belt out our school song.
Thanks so much for all the support and advice yesterday, kiddos. I know I say all the time how grateful I am for the amazing little community I’ve somehow been lucky enough to foster with this blog, but seriously. I mean it. You guys are the best. I’ve reconciled my decision to not do a weekly music post by deciding to do a monthly music post, or an occasional music post. And maybe an occasional homage to “Careless Whisper.” That might actually be the best song ever.
This trip is feeling more and more real to me. Last night I used google maps to “walk” from the metro in Paris to our hotel, and from our hotel in Brussels to a Lambic brewery where we’ll be taking a tour. I realized that aside from a few main attractions (ahem, visiting Ladurée 5 times a day and seeing the Design Museum in Gent), the entire vacation is open to as much wandering tiny backstreets and lazing in cafes and bars as we feel like. I say that, and then remember I’m traveling with someone who pops awake at 6:30 every morning with more energy than I’ve ever mustered about anything, ever. Oy.
Spring time in Sweden. Aren’t those cherry blossoms so soft and beautiful? And the way the light streams through in speckles? Amazing. I’m just noticing now that the perspective of both photos are very similar, but almost reversed. Total coincidence, though I’d like to think I’m that talented.
How is everyone doing this Thursday? I’m heading to lunch with a bunch of coworkers today to enjoy the nice weather we’re finally having. And speaking of weather, because I’ve been checking compulsively, the forecast calls for rain pretty much all the time everywhere we go in Belgium and Paris. Which isn’t making me crazy or anything. Good thing I bought a waterproof trench coat (and ironed it!).
Yesterday I printed out all of our hotel itineraries and our train tickets and organized everything with post-its and paper clips, worked 9 hours, and still found time to go to happy hour, and then went home and curled up in bed with “Amélie” playing on my laptop. All in all a good day.
I wanted to give this some thought, but after yesterday’s Tuesday Tunes post I think I came to a decision. I think my run with Tuesday Tunes has come to an end, after 36 weeks of posts. Music isn’t my strong suit, it never has been. If it’s not New Kids on the Block or one of the other 5 bands I know, it’s not for me. And this blog isn’t even really about music, I just went with the Tuesday Tunes series because I liked the aliteration and also liked that it gave me a set schedule. And after so much build up around the release of the new Keane album, I feel like I’d be struggling to find a new song every week. As much as I’d like to, I cannot just write about “Careless Whisper” or George Michael’s eyebrows over and over again.
Which brings me to today’s Two of a Kind. I guess this is becoming a regular series, however unintentionally. I can’t seem to shake the urge to keep curating these comparisons. Plus, there’s some room for aliteration if I moved it to Tuesday (Two of a Kind Tuesday?) and this feels like it’s much more in my comfort zone than dissecting music.
And I’ll forgive them for making the US release date the last, almost a week later than Europe, because it is so good. It’s 16 tracks of absolute perfection. Yes, 16, meaning yes I did buy the deluxe version (it was the first thing I did this morning when I woke up at 7am). It even came with a digital booklet of lyrics and photos. And I know to most people from the UK, there is nothing all that special about Bexhill. But to me, this photo is stunning.
I’ll be brief in my worship of them, as I’ve already espoused that here, here, here, here and here. But the following is a live studio version of one of the tracks from their new album, “Sovereign Light Cafe.” And if the purity, the pitch-perfect tone of his voice doesn’t impress you, well then we just can’t be friends.
Also, that accent. That accent kills me. Accents are my weakness, which should make my trip in 6 days (6!!) especially fun.
So spill. New music you’re listening to. Anything worth checking out?
Well, I didn’t find a dresser I was crazy about at the flea market on Saturday, but that is probably for the best as I can’t imagine attempting to sand a giant dresser outside on my front steps. I sanded and repainted a small table a few months back and that was awkward enough with people walking by. Also, something about sticking my clothes in something 30 years old gave me kind of the heebie jeebies. Yep, I just said heebie jeebies.
Whenever I’m starved for something to post about, I scroll the hundreds of pins of interiors I have on Pinterest, and inevitably something inspires me. Last night it happened to be this picture, which I’ve featured before in an Inspiration post, but still makes me swoon a little bit. Because I’m a total internet-squirrel, I decided to hunt down the items in this perfectly-styled (and surprise! Scandinavian) interior so that if I wanted to I could recreate the look in my own home (and let’s be honest, of course I do).
I have that radio (it was my dad’s) and the sound quality is seriously unparalleled. I know, who listens to the radio anymore, but Tivoli also makes iPod docks now, too! I’m thinking of buying that shelving unit for our laundry closet to create some organized storage in there. And come on, who doesn’t love some neon pink washi tape every now and then?
How was everyone’s weekend? I’m pulling a longer week at work to prepare for my trip next week (have I mentioned this trip yet?), but not so long as to not allow for a trip to IKEA today for lunch with my favorite coworkers. Can you tell I’m really excited?
I’m sorry, lovelies. I don’t have a Friday Five for you this week. I wanted to do a Photoshop tutorial for a question Sam raised earlier in the week, but I just didn’t have the energy last night to do anything but lay in bed. I thought rather than doing a Friday Five and quickly try to pull 5 things together at random that I wasn’t genuinely excited over, or do a Photoshop tutorial and not give it my all, I’d wait until next week when I got my stride back. I’m sorry. I feel like I’m letting myself down. I almost wasn’t going to post anything today, but I wouldn’t let myself break my 5-a-week blogging streak. It’s a silly, self-imposed expectation.
Today I’m seeing a Van Gogh exhibit at the Art Museum with my mom, and tonight Boyfriend and I are finally getting to meet his friends’ new baby. This Saturday is the bi-annual flea market I wait for with rabid excitement (Jennifer, this was the one I was talking about!). It snuck up on me this year but I’m very excited to go scavenge for some antique treasure. Maybe a dresser I can repaint? On Sunday, my oldest niece turns 8 (8!, oh my gosh), and I can’t believe the same little baby I rushed out of my AP English exam in high school to go see in the hospital when she was born (my dad texted me, in all caps, “IT’S A GIRL!”) is now a sassy, soon-to-be 2nd grader. I bought her a hardcover, special edition copy of The Phantom Tollbooth, but still need to pick up something else for her.
In lieu of something more substantial, I’ll leave you with these two gorgeous photographs of Paris. I know I’ve had a tendency to make a bigger deal out of going to Paris than the rest of Belgium, but I am seriously ecstatic over the whole trip. In case you weren’t sure.