juliettiful

Posts by this author:

cult-favorites worth the hype

Today I'm sharing some of my favorite products of all time!

It’s like Oprah’s Favorite Things - but I’m not Oprah and I can’t afford to give them out to everyone reading this... #Juliettesfavoritethings haha.

A lot of them are cult-favorites! I love trying items with a lot of hype around them and seeing if they live up to the hype. These ones allll do, in my humble opinion.

Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

I remember seeing this oddly shaped packaging in Sephora years ago, but never really checked it out until I received it in a PR box in 2018. Like many products marketed to be firming and tightening, I didn’t expect to see crazy results. Surprisingly, upon application I feel a tightening sensation without any sort of discomfort. It is also pretty moisturizing without being greasy. The scent though… the smell alone could be enough to make you buy a full size jar. It’s tropical but not artificial. It smells sweet and natural with notes of coconut, pistachio, and vanilla. People ALWAYS ask what perfume I’m wearing, and it’s always just the lotion. It lasts all day! I even bought the body spray so I can soak myself in this scent at any given time. Let it be known, I’m not even a lotion person - I didn’t regularly use lotion before finding this stuff. HOLY. GRAIL. ITEM.

Isle of Paradise Drops

I have tried every self-tanner in the book. Everything from lotions to mousses, instant tanners to gradual tanners… And in the past I’ve *thought* I found the one. That is, until trying the Isle of Paradise drops. I use the shade “dark”, which has purple undertones. I use about 4 drops per limb (2 drops on my torso, 1 on my face) combined with my favorite lotion. You can use any moisturizer, lotion, or body butter with this! I mix up the drops with the lotion in my hands, then thoroughly cover my body using circular motions to avoid any streaks. The glow it gives me is natural looking and buildable. I can wear white the same day, and it doesn’t have a distinct smell like some tanners do. I like to reapply twice weekly. I constantly rave about these drops on my Instagram, to the point where people think they sponsor me. Nope, I just reallllly love them!

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush

I was skeptical to try this, as dryer brushes typically remind me of some gimmick you’d see on a TV infomercial. After seeing some of my blogger friends talk about it on their stories, I figured I would try it out. For a little background, I typically do a rough dry with a standard blow dryer. I’m not skilled in volumizing, and I would lose a decent amount of hair when I’d dry it. Then this styling tool came into my life and changed the game. I don’t lose much hair when drying with it - the bristles are soft and gentle. The time it takes to finish my hair routine has basically been cut in half, this totally speeds up the process and gives my hair that va-va-voom I was lacking. I feel like I got a blowout every time I use it, and it leaves me with soft, full, voluminous hair without sacrificing my hair health.

Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Gloss

The Lip Injection Extreme Gloss by Too Faced is another one I was a little bit hesitant to try after reading some reviews of people being burnt by this plumping gloss. It works well for me, I like that it brings a little life to my lips! I’ve never felt burnt by it. If it gets on the skin around my lips, sometimes the skin gets a little irritated but that’s it. My lips lack natural color and sometimes turn really pale when I’m cold (which is like, always). When I apply this gloss, it increases the circulation and gives me just the slightest plump. I like to put it over a tinted chapstick when I’m going for a natural makeup look; I get the clear gloss but it also comes in shades. Oh and it’s free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

This is a product I probably wouldn’t have tried if it wasn’t gifted to me. I have makeup savvy friends who absolutely love this powder, but my routine is super simple. I rarely introduce new makeup products to my routine. I was gifted both the original translucent powder and the glow powder. I like using the original with my everyday makeup routine. It ever-so-slightly mattifies my skin and keeps things looking shine-free. I like the glow version for when I want a little extra shimmer, but it’s super subtle. My face never feels powdery or cakey, just soft and smooth. If I conceal a pimple, sometimes I set it with this powder and it works well to keep the concealer on.

ColourPop Super Shock Highlighter

I ADORE ColourPop - especially the Super Shock line. They have some of the best quality beauty products, even compared to some high-end brands. The highlighter is creamy without being a cream - if that makes sense. It gives you such a beautiful shine without looking too fake and holographic or over-the-top. It’s not glittery - just a gorgeous shine. I actually apply it with my finger and blend just a little bit onto my cheekbones!


HONORABLE MENTIONS
FROM MY INSTAGRAM FRIENDS! 

 

new haven faves

Ah, life in Connecticut. I tend to complain about it to my friends, but it’s really not so bad. In fact, there are so many gems that I realized I missed when I was living abroad. I have been living in the New Haven area since I began college, but now I’m actually downtown and it’s been a blast. I like being able to walk to my favorite spots and I’ve gotten to know some cool local people! I get messages on instagram from people asking me for recommendations in the Elm City, so I created a little list of my favorite coffee shops, places to eat, and things to do. Enjoy!

 

Coffee shops

Koffee?

Koffee is easily my favorite coffee shop in New Haven. The first time I came here, it felt familiar - it’s lived in, comfy, and full of warm colors and kind people. There’s a variety of seating, art, and board games.  They even transform into Koffee After Dark for drinks. It’s just quirky and perfect. I constantly rave about their flavored roasts which change frequently, and they also have some of the best espresso I’ve had in Connecticut. Their muffins are delicious, and they have GF, vegan, and vegetarian options all day. It’s usually pretty busy, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how awesome this spot is. 

East Rock Coffee

This tiny spot in East Rock is such a pleasant place to start your day. They have managed to adhere to a strict no-electronic policy and because of that, you can really feel a sense of presence and connection in this space. Leave a doodle in the community sketchbook while you sip a delicious espresso drink and enjoy a pastry. Just don’t expect to find seating every time since it’s so small. 

Book Trader Cafe

Up on Chapel, there is this little spot that I fell in love with a few years ago. I haven’t been in a while but it never disappoints. It’s part used-bookstore and part cafe, with seating in an atrium style room with big windows and a bookshelf wall. I’ve been told that they get their bagels brought in from NYC, so they are the real deal. Their books are all organized and reasonably priced. Book Trader is the perfect place to get lost in a book for a few hours, or to get some work done. 


EATS

Claire’s Corner Copia

If you have talked to me for over 20 minutes, you’ve probably heard of Claire’s. I constantly rave about it. In fact, at work last week I heard one of my coworkers talking to a guest who was holding a cup from Claire’s - “That’s Juliette’s FAVORITE!”. Claire’s is a cozy little spot that feels like home. All of their dishes are vegetarian, sustainable and organic. Their dishes can be made vegan and gluten-free, too. They have really yummy and wholesome hot foods, as well as salads, smoothies, and an entire display filled with baked goods. They are known for their Lithuanian Coffee Cake. MSNBC calls it “One of the 10 best heart-healthy restaurants in America”. I’ve come to adore the kind people who work here. If you’re lucky, you might even see Claire herself here! 

WHAT I GET:  for breakfast I opt for a hazelnut coffee and a make your own smoothie with allll the greens.  Their avocado toast is delish and filling, and if you like a sweet treat for breakfast try any of their muffins or scones! For dinner… oh boy, where do I start… the roasted organic vegetable salad is a dream! I add buffalo soy chicken. The best part are the loaves they give you with your dinner. You guys know I take bread very seriously. The mini bread loaves are so good. I’ll never turn one down. Their Mexican entrees are also really yummy and the portions are huuuge. 

 

 

Mezcal

The best Mexican food in New Haven. It’s traditional and the inside decor is fun and authentic, lots of papel picado (paper banners), Frida Kahlo, and colorful Mexican sayings plastered around the room. The chips and salsa are yummy and everyone loves the margaritas. If you ask your waiter about the massive glass tequila gun, be ready for a shot or two. The place has great energy overall, and it’s in East Rock so it’s away from the craziness downtown. There’s another Mexican spot downtown but Mezcal blows it away! WHAT I ORDER: Ensalada Mezcal without cheese, or I’ll share the fajitas. Both are soooo good. Now I’m craving Mezcal… 

 

Modern Apizza

The New Haven Pizza debate continues. I mean clearly New Haven Pizza is better than New York Pizza, but people argue which is best (Pepe’s, Sally’s, Modern…). Modern will always have my vote. Their New Haven style thin crust is my favorite, and they are known for the Italian Bomb. Expect a wait, but it moves fast. It’s part of the experience. Also this is a hot-take but I actually prefer the GF crust as opposed to the normal crust. I like the veggie bomb (without cheese), but honestly, you can’t go wrong with anything. 

Mecha

The go-to date night/happy hour spot. This noodle house has both pho and ramen, and is the best to cozy up on a winter night. There’s some communal seating and a bar, as well as booths and tables so it’s pretty versatile for whatever your vibe is. I was researching what the actual “type” of food they serve is called, and they are against the term fusion and call themselves “American-Vietnamese-Japanese-Thai-Chinese-Korean-New England-Momofuku-Totto-and-Ippudo-inspired.” Cool. I usually get the Pho Ga or the Kale Salad which I know that probably sounds SO boring... but it has both fresh kale and kale chips so it’s super yummy. They also have thai tea! 

Mamoun’s

While Mamoun’s is known for being open until 3am and being BYOB, they actually have a really interesting backstory. Mamoun’s calls itself America’s first falafel restaurant and they haven’t changed their recipes for 50 years since their founder (Mamoun) came from Syria and opened his first NYC location. I stand with many others when I say it’s the best falafel I’ve had. Second to the mouthwatering Middle Eastern flavors, the best part is how inexpensive it is. Note: I love pita bread and hummus and could probably survive on just that. Anyone else?!?!

 

The Juice Box

The Juice Box is a cool smoothie/juice/acai place. This place has a lot of personality and the fruits and vegetables they use are always SO fresh and flavorful. There’s not a lot of seating inside but it’s right across from the Yale Art Gallery so there is plenty of outdoor seating. When I go, I order either a smoothie or acai bowl. For smoothies, I get the #3 and add MACA! And as far as acai bowls, I opt for the almond butter bowl. 


SWEETS & Drinks

Arethusa

Local ice cream / dairy shop right on Chapel. Made with fresh milk and cream from the Arethusa Farm in Litchfield, CT.  Their ice cream is the richest around, and the single scoop is massive. I’m a pistachio girl, but I must advise you… get your lactaid pills ready if you are sensitive to dairy. 

Photo by my friend Tiffany aka @_foodiewithabootyPhoto by my friend Tiffany aka @_foodiewithabooty

Three Sheets

This lively dive bar is one of the only bars I like to go to as someone who doesn’t really drink. However, I know that they have a rotating beer selection and good cocktails. The ambience is enough for me it’s hip but not pretentious and they have live music some nights (without cover charge!) They are locally known for their bar food, there are vegan and non-vegan options. Fried pickles, anyone? 

The Ordinary

Another amazing vibe but totally different than anything else around. The interior is sooo cozy and rich with oak-paneling and wood carvings, complete with a fireplace. It reminds me of a speakeasy. I would recommend this for a date spot - it’s suitable for the first or fiftieth date. Great service and unique cocktails. 


THINGS TO DO

Yale Art Gallery

I’ve been going to the Yale Art Gallery for years. The building itself is a work of art and it’s full of different types of art, both from antiquity and modern eras. It checks off everything on your list ranging from Ancient Greek and Roman busts to the works of Van Gogh and Picasso. The special collections are always really interesting too. Not to mention - it’s FREE.

Yale Campus

You can spend hours just wandering around this scenic and historic campus. I have taken many alternate routes walking home just to see what is hiding around the corner. I would recommend parking on College Street or Elm Street and walking through Old Campus if you want to see the main part of Yale. However, Hillhouse Avenue is my favorite section of the campus. Lined with nineteenth century mansions, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain both called Hillhouse the most beautiful street in America.

Shopping

On Broadway there are a number of shops:  lululemon, J Crew, Urban Outfitters, Patagonia, and a couple more. There aren’t too many shops, but it’s nice to walk around and see what you can find. There are also some boutiques on Chapel Street. 

Let me know what you would add to this list! I'm surely missing some spots, but these are my favorites. XO J

 

amsterdam recap & recs.

I can’t believe how fast these past 3 months flew by. My journey abroad came to an end faster than I could’ve ever imagined. For my last weekend trip in Europe, my friend Micah and I decided to head over to Amsterdam.

We flew from Sevilla into Eindhoven, then hopped on a train into Amsterdam to stay for 3 nights. This ended up being under $200, which is pretty good for a super last-minute trip. I have to say, as much as I am not ready to go home, I will NOT miss the hell that is low-budget European airlines. I’m about you, RyanAir.

We stayed at the coziest Airbnb in a perfect location - the neighborhood was quiet but central and walkable to all of Amsterdam’s top spots. The apartment was clean and simple, and we had the authentic experience of having a dutch staircase - which, if you didn’t know - are impossibly steep, winding, and nearly impossible to navigate after a drink or two (or a space cake…) I shared most of my Amsterdam finds on my Instagram stories and received some great feedback and responses about the cafes, shops, and sights. I always think about going back someday.

 

What to Do

Art Canal Light Tour - we found this on Airbnb experiences and totally recommend for a nighttime activity! You'll get onto a comfy houseboat, equipped with blankets, mulled wine, Dutch snacks, and guides that navigate you comfortably through the canals. While cruising through the canals you'll see light art installations of the Light Festival.

De Pindakaaswinkel (the Peanut Butter Bar) - stumbled upon this gem! They make fresh peanut butter and it comes in so many flavors including coconut, coffee, stroopwaffel, even spicy chili. You can make your own if you're feeling up for it, but I just got 3 mini jars. Downstairs is a candy store where you can sample delicious chocolate too. You really can't go wrong with pb & chocolate.

Wake Me Up When I'm Famous Bench - this bench located in De Pijp makes for a fun photo-op. No one was there when we went, and the neighborhood is quiet and hip. Definitely head to Rainbowls after (keep reading).

Anne Frank House - unfortunately we couldn't get tickets to the Anne Frank house. We tried and tried, but it was sold out and we couldn't even get the reserve tickets released every morning. If you are planning on going to Amsterdam, buy tickets to the Anne Frank house as far in advance as possible.

Bloemenmarkt - prepare to have your mind blown by the floating flower shops of Bloemenmarkt. It's so colorful, and you can find an incredible variety of flowers and gardening goods. Of course, the Netherlands are known for their tulips! Here you can buy bulbs, seeds, and gifts. Even if you aren't planning on buying any flowers, it's an awesome tourist experience.

Boerejongens Coffeeshop - It's not a cafe. It's a coffeeshop... Listen, we all know it's legal in Amsterdam. Not SAYING I did it, but if you ARE going to do it, this is the spot. Clean, upscale, simple. Not that I know or anything...

Rocycle - one of the nicest cycling studios I've been to! The class was taught in English, and the staff were all welcoming. They had a nice smoothie/juice bar inside too.

Where to Eat

Rainbowls -  the most instagram-worthy smoothie bowl of your life. I promise. They have plenty of vegan-friendly fare, really good coffees and homemade tea too. I loved that everything was served in coconut bowls or with bamboo straws. This spot attracts tourists and locals alike, but it was in De Pijp, which is a bit outside of the busiest sections. I got a bowl and a tea - we came back twice because it was the perfect spot to recharge halfway through a busy day!

Pluk - if you are looking for a cozy breakfast spot, Pluk will surely satisfy. It's decked out with white, pink, avocados, and everything millennial. There are two locations, we preferred the one on Berenstraat. They have baked goods along with a menu full of healthy bowls, sandwiches, and typical breakfast foods. I got the Double Paradise Bowl, and Micah got the Eggs Benedict. They also sell pretty kitchenware and goodies of all sorts.

Polaberry - a teeeny tiny compact shop with gorgeous Belgian chocolate covered strawberries, cake pops, sweets & espresso drinks. I loved how carefully crafted the chocolate treats were, they were little works of art! Not to mention, sooo delicious. We split a box of 4 strawberries which was perfect for the two of us. I liked the dark chocolate crunch one.

O Mai - between the rainy and chilly weather and the lack of decent Asian food in Spain, we were elated to find this Vietnamese restaurant and enjoy some pho. The restaurant was reasonably priced, the staff were friendly, and they had a lotttt of options. Definitely not your traditional Dutch experience, but it hit the spot.

Van Wonderen - stroopwafel time. I read online somewhere that Van Wonderen was a tourist spot, so it may be a little pricier than your average stroopwafel, but they were made fresh and were absolutely delicious. We got regular sized stroopwafels with toppings, and a bag of minis to snack on. I also got my mom a tin to bring home to the U.S., and she loved them, along with the beautiful tin. While there are probably more authentic stroopwafel shops around Amsterdam, we had a great experience at Van Wonderen.

 

Where to Shop

The three shops I've listed were on The Nine Streets - De 9 Straatjes. This part of the Centrum has the best shopping, all in 9 little streets in Amsterdam canal belt. There are so many beautiful shops there, and you can spend the entire afternoon exploring, but the ones I chose to highlight stood out to me.

Ko - this concept store has so many fun odds and ends that make for great souvenirs. The items sold are carefully selected and range from clothes to home decor, from toys to books. Everything is color coordinated, creative, and original. I found really cool music themed tarot cards!

l'Étoile Luxury Vintage - such an awesome shop full of pre-loved designer bags and accessories. They have Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Fendi, and more. Some come with original boxes too - and from what I saw, items are reasonably priced. If you aren't planning on going to Amsterdam anytime soon, you should check out their website.

My Jewellry - this boutique sells sooo much jewelry, in every trendy design you can imagine. I got a pair of earrings and a cuff, but I wish I bought more. They also had cute clothes - mesh tops, funky handbags, dresses, you name it! The girls working were really sweet and helpful. I wish they shipped to the U.S. because I would totally order more.

 

I will most certainly be back someday. Hopefully soon. XO & HAPPY NEW YEARS!

 

 

study abroad q&a

Hello, hola, bonjour, good day!

A few days ago I asked on my Instagram stories for any questions about my experience studying abroad. If you are new, welcome! I am just finishing up my first semester of my senior year of college. I spent a wonderful semester at La Universidad de Sevilla in Sevilla, Spain.  I took classes taught in English and Spanish, mainly focused on culture and arts.

LET’S JUMP INTO THE QUESTIONS

Top 3 styles/trends abroad?

I love this question. The style in Spain, and in Europe in general, is just so fun. My balcony was directly across from a boutique – they were constantly changing the displays. Spanish fashion is constantly changing. I was quick to jump on board with some of the fashion trends I saw girls wearing here… seriously.  During my first week here I bought one of these bags – they sell them at a ton of boutiques in Los Remedios.

Another trend I’m a huge fan of is platform converse. I noticed a lot of girls wearing them here! Black, white, high top, low top… I ordered a pair to my American address. They’re way more expensive in the stores here.  And my third favorite fashion trend that I’ve totally fallen in love with is cropped flare jeans. I bought way more than I’m proud to admit, from Mango and Zara. 

Any customs/lifestyles you want to bring back to the U.S.?

I love how relaxed the Spanish lifestyle is. The work-life balance is incredible and something I would really appreciate. The shops in my neighborhood, and many throughout the city, close for a few hours daily for siesta. Sundays, everything is closed besides a select few shops and pharmacies. I wish we placed greater importance on relaxation and family time in the United States.  The neighborhood I lived in had a lot of families. I’d often see kids of all ages, even young adults, holding hands with a parent or grandparent when walking. Every time I saw this, I felt my heart grow a little bit, I swear. I wish we would see it more in the US. 

things you missed (besides Logan Porter)?

Logan Porter! Oh wait… okay.  Ah, this is hard, I didn’t really miss much. I missed eating dinner early – 8:30-10PM is the norm here. I was pretty quick to adapt to this though.  Another thing I missed was going to a department store to get all my errands run at once. Here, I would go to a market for groceries, a pharmacy for health products, and a special store for school supplies. I didn’t necessarily mind this, but it’s surely less convenient.

Did you ever get lost?

In Sevilla, no. It took me about five days to understand the layout of the city. It’s a really comfortable size, and you can do everything by foot. Besides going to and from the airport. 

Favorite Spanish food?

I have eaten some damn good bread here in Spain. My favorite dish to get out is a tapa, espinacas con garbanzo. It’s a traditional spanish tapa of cooked spinach with chickpeas, sometimes served with an egg on top. I can’t wait to make this for my family at home… I also really enjoyed gazpacho during the beginning of the semester when it was more seasonal. 

Favorite city you visited?

My favorite city besides Sevilla would have to be Lisbon. I loved it so much and can see myself spending part of my life out there. I loved the size of the city, the culture/diversity, the hills, the tiles, and the art. 

I also really loved Rome, I wish I got to see more of Italy. It felt like home, the food was amazing, and I just love the Italian language and culture. This is a great segway to the next question…

Best food you ate abroad?

So easy. This gelato from Giolitti in Rome.

We ended up going twice.  My friends and I ran in the rain from our Airbnb, and it was worth getting soaked. We walked up to the counter in the dark, romantic gelateria, and each got a ticket for a small gelato.  “Piccolo, per favore”. With the ticket, we headed to the back where the gelato is served. There were easily over thirty different flavors, with a good amount of dairy free options. They also had boozy gelatos, a full bakery, and a bar.

The first night I got a scoop of dairy free dark chocolate and a scoop of dairy free pomegranate. I had every intention of respecting my stomach but then the man behind the counter asked if I wanted the fresh cream on top. I remembered my professor telling me to try the fresh cream, and I knew I had to. It was so worth it. This picture speaks for itself, I think. 

We went back the next day and I got a scoop of lemon and a scoop of blueberry. No dairy this day… one night of an upset stomach was enough. I wish my mom was there because she would have LOVED it. Especially the lemon. 

Advice for picking a city to study in?

It’s funny because I don’t really know how I stumbled upon Sevilla. I was originally thinking Madrid, but I knew I needed a smaller Spanish city. I didn’t really consider any others, I just saw Sevilla on the list and thought “This sounds good!” I recommend doing research about things that are important to you and your study abroad program. For instance, check out the climate, the cost of living, the classes offered, the safety, and the accessibility. 

Did you get homesick?

Shockingly, not really. I was too busy to really think about home. I expected to be terribly homesick the whole time. I adapted well, but I did feel homesick here and there. I spent my first weekend abroad in Madrid, and the culture shock made me want to go home. A few days later, I adjusted, but it was overwhelming for sure. I’d say that I felt more “ready to be back” than homesick. I felt this way after Rob visited and when the holiday season began. I still wish I could be here longer though… 3 months was NOT enough. 

Hardest cultural difference?

Personal space, or lack thereof. OMG. Personal space does not exist at all in Spain. AT ALL!!!

Best city to shop in?

I did most of my shopping in Sevilla, mainly because I was taking weekend trips with low-cost airlines that didn’t permit additional luggage. However, I would have to say Paris. So many good luxury high end stores, and cool boutiques. Also – there were some really good vintage shops here too. 

I answered the main questions that I thought would be beneficial for anyone planning on traveling abroad to know! I’m always a comment or email away if you have any burning questions about my experience abroad, haha. I love answering questions so this was fun! All the best, 

Juliette XO

things I don’t want to forget

About halfway through my semester abroad I created section in my journal called “Things I don’t want to forget.'' Here, I jot down a few words about encounters or things I see that only last a few seconds - but I never want to forget them.

I figured I’d share some of these little things with you.

Spanish people wear a LOT of cologne. Like, an amount that some would consider upsetting… but I love it. I’ve always been a fan of strong perfume and cologne. I appreciate it most when I’ve just walked through someone’s cloud of cigarette smoke, then an old man wearing way too much Giorgio Armani walks by - it cancels it out.

Mandarines. It’s become a habit of mine to grab some fruit from my local Carrefour market for dessert everyday. I am obsessed with these Moroccan mandarin oranges that are so incredibly juicy. They are the perfect balance of citrusy and sweet, and the skin peels off so easily. Anywho, I went to Carrefour on a Sunday afternoon and they had a pack of 5 mandarines for 1 euro since they were getting fresh produce the next day. I ate all five of them that evening. I don’t think I could ever get sick of them.

Sweet barista remembered me. I ran to this little local cafe near Alameda one morning, ordered an americano, and ran back. The barista was really kind - not overly, but was happy to whip me up some hot-bean-juice. I ran back two weeks later and our encounter went like this:
“buenos dias!”

“hola, buenos dias!”

“Un americano?”

(smiling and surprised he remembered) “si por favor!”

I went back a third time and he still remembered me. I like him.

 

Wish, the springer spaniel. Some friends and I were lying in the grass in a park outside of Lisbon, and this beautiful dog was frolicking nearby. We ended up petting it and chatting with the owner. The dogs name was Wish, and I thought that was so freaking sweet. And she was so well behaved!

Tree wearing a sweater. On a guided tour through Lisbon, we ended up in this neighborhood called Alfama that had a tiny square surrounded by tiled buildings and a few cafes. In the center stood a massive tree whose trunk was wrapped by a brightly colored knitted blanket. In this same neighborhood, artists created an exhibit on the walls of an alley with portraits of the elderly who have lived there their whole lives. The art in Alfama was so unique and unconventional… my favorite type of art.

Massive fruit spread in Rome. When I was in Rome, I asked my friend Regina who studied there for her favorite spots around the city. She was thrilled to recommend this spot called Ginger, specifically for their beautiful fruit platters. My friends and I ordered a medium fruit platter to share with our breakfast, and I swear it might be just as beautiful as the world famous Roman art we had seen. The mango was mouth watering, and passionfruit and papaya were so fresh and flavorful. I have to say, it was so nice to get some fresh fruit after living on pizza and pasta all weekend. Fiber, yay!

Birds in the cafe. We stayed at an Airbnb steps away from the Pantheon, and decided to check out some nearby cafes for affogati and cannoli. We sat towards the back of this brightly lit cafe, enjoying our bitter Italian espresso and the most decadent cannoli I’ve ever had. All of the sudden we see a pigeon land on the ground by our table. The Italian waiter did a loud *CLAP*, and like magic the bird flew straight out the front doors.

 

Erotic books in the bathroom. My friend Savannah brought us to the bookstore Shakespeare and Company, right by the Notre Dame. The bookstore is every bibliophile’s dream, and the cafe was a dream too. In the bathroom there was a glass cabinet above the toilet showcasing a collection of erotic books and magazines as decor - nothing too graphic - and I decided I’m gonna copy this in my future home.

Nirvana jacket. While sitting outside of Shakespeare and company with Savannah and Nora, we spotted this adorable gal wearing a denim jacket with an embroidery of Nirvana’s In Utero on the back. It was the coolest jacket ever, so I flagged her over. Luckily we spoke the same language, and she told us about the shop she bought it from in London for 15 Pounds! The girl and her friend were studying abroad in Florence and had been spending the weekend in Paris. They were really sweet. But damn, I want that jacket so badly.

Twinkling lights. Paris reminds me a lot of NYC, only more spread out and more sparkly. We saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle (it does it on the hour every evening!) and while walking to meet my friend Marisa and her family for dinner, I saw so many more twinkling lights lining the streets and restaurants. I see why they call it the city of lights.

Feeling at home. I spent some time with one of my best friends from home, who happened to be in Paris visiting her family. It was the most heartwarming thing ever being able to catch up with such a special soul in such a different environment. Her family was so incredibly welcoming too - her aunt and uncle invited me to their home for the night and made some delicious meals. I was lucky enough to go to the Paris Saint-Germain vs Lille game with them, which was a blast. We also went to an outdoor market on a rainy Saturday morning where local vendors sell fruits, vegetables, fish & meat, and pastries. We got chicken and potatoes to feast on for lunch… then Lebanese food for dinner… I ate so well that weekend haha.