Friday, April 17, 2015

Paris: Favorite Places

Today I'm linking up with Erika, Narci and Andrea to share some of my favorite places we visited in Paris this month!
We visited the Eiffel Tower several times, day and night. We had a picnic there. We sat on a bench and talked by the lovely little pond (to the left of the tower as you're facing it from this angle). Our favorite visit there was at night to watch it sparkle on the hour. Isn't it amazing?

We climbed the tower at Notre Dame. There are so many fantastic places in the city to see a beautiful view. This was one of my favorites. Notre Dame is in the center of Paris and this allows you to look out to lots of other monuments in the city, plus see the "island" of Ile de St Louis from an aerial view.

Pierre Herme had my favorite treats of the trip. The macarons there were out of this world. We visited a lot of chocolate shops, patisseries, and boulangeries. And the macarons here were definitely a favorite!
Luxembourg Gardens was my favorite park. There were people playing games, families strolling together, children playing with toy boats, and lots of groups exercising. There was even a station for pony rides for children! It was a sunny day and everyone was outside enjoying some Vitamin D. This afternoon was definitely one of my favorites in Paris!
Finally, this is one of my favorite pictures from Paris. The gold fixtures on Pont Alexandre Bridge, the gold dome covering Napoleon's tomb, the lamp posts and wide boulevards all scream "PARIS Baby!" and we visited this bridge on several occasions. Enjoying sunny days was a rare treat in early April and this also makes this a favorite moment.

Hope you enjoyed my Parisian tour and will leave a comment to welcome me back :)

Happy Friday all!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Paris: Part 1

We just returned from Paris and had a wonderful visit. Here's a peek into our memories:
April showers on the bridge with lovers hanging locks. Lots of rain! We were grateful to have a sturdy umbrella with us at all times.

We visited Notre Dame, St. Chapelle, St. Germain de Pres, St. Severin, St. Eustache and Sacre Coeur while we were there. Lots of churches! This is the window of Saint Chapelle which holds the crown of thorns on the altar.

We walked 10-12 miles each day. Lots of walking! Cobblestone streets and lovely old buildings are all around Paris.
We visited many museums including Louvre, Orsay, Rodin, L'Orangerie and Invalides/Napoleon's Tomb. Lots of art, sculpture, and history! The museum pass made it a great value to visit all different types of exhibits during our time there. We tried to do 1 museum in the morning and 1 site/museum in the afternoon with a leisurely lunch sitting down for several hours at mid-day. Paris has some of the best museums in the world.
The city of lights, at night. Lots of lights! When the sun went down we generally headed home as that is our preference when we travel. But we always enjoyed seeing the city all lit up at night on our walks home. 

Tomorrow I'll share another post with more pictures of monuments and sites we visited!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Paris 2015

Wish me luck! I'm leaving tomorrow for Paris. I'll be on a bloggy break for 2-3 weeks and will return with photos and memories to share.

A bientot.... 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March Goals: A Review

professional goals
attend a committee mtg
complete current mentoring relationship
Register for summer courses and submit forms to employer

relationship goals
weekly generosity/random acts of kindness 
offer to host friends for dinner in our home 
hang out with girlfriends twice
nourish my best 4 girlfriends monthly

reach out to both sides of family monthly

financial goals
Complete 100 things challenge
Submit course reimbursements
File taxes- state and federal
Pay property taxes

personal goals
Read 10 books- I only read 5 books this month but I'm hoping to finish 2 more this weekend!
Walk or run 8 miles each week- I've been slacking on this... going to have to kick this into gear when I get home.

fun goals
Finish planning our getaway to Paris
10 date/movie nights with my husband (go out to the theater 1-2x with gift cards we have)- We had 6 date nights and will try to have 2 more this weekend!

Monday, March 16, 2015

100 Things Challenge: Final Summary

This week I completed the challenge!
As of last week I had sold or given away 93 things. This week I tackled a really dirty closet and began scavenging for items we no longer needed. My husband was reluctant to get rid of 2 jackets he never wears which was frustrating for me. Maybe next year.

But I sent 2 jackets to the yard sale pile. And yes, I still have like 10 more. Ridiculous. We have so much stuff. I popped 2 pair of shoes into the yard sale pile (And yes, I still have like 10-12 more pair of shoes). Again, ridiculous. My husband agreed to get rid of 1 pair of shoes (and by that, I mean toss, because he had an identical pair in equally rough shape). 

That brought me to 98 things (more if you count the shoes as individual things, but I didn't and counted a pair as 1 item). I had tons of hotel toiletries I purposely placed in the bathroom and used this month. But I didn't want to count those towards this challenge either as the point was to declutter AND try to raise money. So I took a deep breath and went through my winter closet. I added 1 sports coat, 2 shirts, and 3 pair of pants to the pile. 104 items.

Sold: Another $10 in electronic stuff (dvds, cds, and such) and $5 for the costume stuff online

Next step... having a yard sale. I will post back at the end of the month on my goals if we earn any money on the yard sale. These always stress me out. If 2 days of yard sale don't go well I'm probably going to bring everything to Goodwill and just be grateful to have decluttered my home a bit more.

Total earned: $135
$51 since March 1
$14 since February 1
$70 since January 1

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Blessing others with Acts of Kindness

As I said in January, one of my big goals for this year was to expand our generosity to make sure we are caring for others and acknowledging people we know, and strangers, on a regular basis. Finding small ways to bless the people we know is one of our goals for this year to keep this goal at the forefront of what we do each month. In February, I sought ways to give to friends and family to let them know they were loved. 

I'm not the only one that loved this show as a teen am I?
Here are some ways we have been able to bless others this month:
-Took a coworker who has been such a blessing to me out for ice cream
-Mailed another unexpected gift to a friend who has been down
-Donated money to a school program
-Brought pizza to surprise a friend who has been working long hours at work and needed a night off from cooking

My friend loved the pizza so much that we have decided to do it again for another couple next week (not as a surprise). $10 worth of pizza can brighten someone's day unexpectedly. For friends who have been going through a difficult few months we are looking forward to taking the cooking burden off them, bringing a bottle of wine with our pizza, and going to their house to talk, and listen, to show them we care. 

I'm looking forward to blessing more friends and family in the months ahead!

But, here's a question:
Recently a coworker lost his job due to irresponsibility. He's not really a friend but he helped us out a few times with small things in the past. How can we offer help to someone who is not necessarily a friend but is going through a difficult time? Ideas? Suggestions?

Monday, March 9, 2015

100 Things Challenge: Week 10 Update

As of last week, I had sold or donated 84 items. I listed a bunch of new stuff on ebay. I finally got some more selling happening around here. And I worked some overtime which is what is going to end up funding the bulk of this trip I think given the sales figures around here the past few months!

This week I got rid of:
2 more books I sent to a friend
4 small items with sentimental value that I'm gifting to a dear friend who will love them
2 more textbooks listed and sold for $20
Another video to the yard sale pile
Total things: 93

Sold in March: Another $20 from textbooks that sold and $7 for costume accessories on ebay

Total earned: $120
$36 since March 1
$14 since February 1
$70 since January 1