Where Horses Run Wild

October 23, 2014

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I have dreamt of going to Montana my whole life. The rugged open spaces, beautiful snow-capped mountains, wild horses and cowboys.

Earlier this month, Matt and I went to the southwestern corner of Montana. It was just as beautiful as I had imagined – the most untouched beauty. There is so much to explore in this part of our country and sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the options. Should we stay in Missoula and then road trip to Glacier National Park? What about Whitefish? There is just so much to see. Instead, we decided that we would pick a place and stay put so that we could really take in all the beauty surrounding us.

Once I came across Triple Creek Ranch online, I knew that we had found our little piece of Montana heaven.  It was voted #1 World’s Best Hotel by Travel + Leisure in 2014 (I’m obsessed with T+L). Horse back riding all day, sapphire panning, fly fishing? Sold.

Triple Creek is one of the most peaceful and wonderful places I’ve stayed. We had a huge log cabin to ourselves with a wood-burning fireplace, big hot tub outside, our own little golf cart, and his / hers bathrooms. We definitely felt spoiled.

I hope that someday soon we can return to Big Sky country. I would love to experience this beautiful place with my sisters, that is for sure.

Talmont-sur-Gironde

October 8, 2014

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One of my favorite parts of visiting France is taking time to explore small villages. Talmont is a breathtaking seaside village in the southwestern part of France. There are few things I love more than being on the coast.

A favorite place: St. Emilion

October 6, 2014

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I’ve been going to France since I was a baby. You could say that I’ve been going to St. Emilion since I was a baby, too. My grandfather always jokes that I don’t know it well enough. And perhaps there’s some truth to that? Even if you know a place by heart – could trace and re-trace the steps in the dark – there’s something that time and age and growth do to a place that you know so well. You change, and your experiences, although alike, are never identical. I think perhaps that is what is so special about revisiting the same place every single year – the only variable shifting is me. It’s pretty incredible to be in a place so old, so beautiful and timeless, and realize only how you’ve grown.

If you find yourself in southwestern France, please please please stop by St. Emilion! If you love wine, you’ll be happy. If you love old, beautiful churches, you’ll be happy. If you love traditional macarons, you’ll be happy (these are my favorite). I could go on and on.

St. Emilion is one of the most charming places. Steep cobblestone streets winding down towards the town “center”, where there are several large terraces and the beautiful church. It’s a very expensive – and can be touristy – area, but truly one of the most beautiful. One of my favorite spots (aside from the lookout point) is to go to Les Cordeliers, pop a bottle of bubbles, enjoy macarons, all while taking in the beautiful ruins reminding us that this place has been here long before us.

For more: last summer’s visit to St. Emilion here.

Paris, this time

October 3, 2014

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I knew that I wanted to spend some time alone in Paris this summer. Don’t get me wrong – Paris is amazing with other people. It’s one of the most romantic cities, after all! But, that’s partially the allure of going solo. Although I am an outgoing person, I consider myself to be an introvert. Spending quality reflective time is really important to me – and a necessity. Getting to do that in as incredible of a city as Paris has always been so appealing to me.

The opportunity to do just that arose this summer as I was heading to France a week before Matt. I spent the time walking about the city, sitting on lovely patios enjoying wine, and realizing that as much as I love being in the city by myself, I have grown to prefer it with others. It’s funny how things change as you get older.

Paris is one of my favorite places. It is steeped with history, but always presents new and interesting things to do / see / eat / drink. I love the intersection of old and new. While I have my favorite go-to’s (see my Paris guide here), I wanted to bridge out and try a few new things this summer. Here are a few places I came across that I’d recommend:

Au Passage – Brooklyn meets Paris at this hip restaurant. Make reservations unless you want to sit at the bar, which can be delightful, though cramped. The menu changes daily and is super fresh. Au Passage features inventive takes on some more traditional, comfort foods.

Ladurée - I’ve long enjoyed Ladurée macarons, but had never visited the tea house, until this summer. Although you pay quite a bit more to sit and enjoy, it’s so worth it. Delicious teas (quite the extensive menu), an impressive macaron menu and more desserts than your stomach can handle. There are several Ladurees in Paris. I personally love the Ladurée Bonaparte tea house.

Le Petit Cler – A true Parisian bistro, Le Petit Cler sits on one of my favorite shopping streets, Rue Cler. I love to sit outside and get a front row seat to people passing by on the street. The salads are delicious!

As always, packing a picnic and wandering the city are the best. It’s hard to go wrong in Paris. If you’ve been before, I’d love to know your favorite places. Do tell!

The farm

September 26, 2014

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It goes something like this: fumbling to get out the door – did I feed the dog? do I have my passport? did I turn the iron off?, two hours waiting in the airport, six hours high above floating in the sky, customs and two hours pacing charles de gaulle, three hours sitting on a train, watching the countryside zip on by.

We pull into the train station, and excitedly, I jump onto the platform. Bonjour, Angouleme. I’ve missed you.

Coming back to France is always bittersweet – mostly sweet, but I can’t help to acknowledge the ever-so-slight bitter aftertaste. Like there’s something more? It’s too dynamic a thing to be one-sided. The memories of years before – my sisters and I, young and freshly kissed by life’s innocence, dancing in summer’s light – and the years to come – the unknown – tumble onto the platform beside me as I fumble to grab all my belongings and rush towards the street entrance.

I search the crowds for a familiar face – and there he is, out of the corner of my eye, my sweet, adorable grandfather who has met me on this platform countless times before.

Each time I see Papy, I count my blessings. I am so lucky to have him in my life – and at thirty years old, no less. I realize that this time is precious, real, in movement.

This August, I visited the farm twice. Saying goodbye, but knowing I would return was such a relief. I could leave things unfinished, unsaid, undone – the weightlessness with leaving for just a few days was immense.

In addition to visiting with friends, I was able to spend several days at the farm – just Papy and I. It was easy. Lazy mornings, trips to the market, easy dinners of ratoutille and fried eggs. I would rise in the morning, birds chirping, sun peeking out from behind the clouds.

In the afternoon, we sometimes drove to my grandmother’s house a few towns over. She’s been gone three years now. But her roses are in full bloom. Her house is quiet, untouched. Umbrellas stand in line by the door, waiting to be taken out for a twirl on the next rainy day.

In this moment, despite what’s been and what’s to come, it feels so good to be here.

Coming Home

September 23, 2014

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I’m back home after a month on the road. It’s never easy to untangle the sights and scents, new tastes that you savored, people and moments which you’ll recall for years to come. How do we make sense of the moments we’ve had and the people we’ve met along the way? For me, it takes time. And often more plane rides, where I find my hands catching up to the words as they flow.

One of my favorite things about traveling may come as a surprise. In contrast to a life on-the-go, nothing quite compares to the way you melt into your own bed, how the water pressure in your own shower is just right, and the smell – you know the one – of your own home. The familiarity of your life that sometimes you can only see from a distance. There’s nothing I love more than coming back to the incredible life that I have at home.

This fall is going to be wild. I’m bracing myself so that I can enjoy moments – the simple, the complicated, and the fleeting. Next weekend, I am headed to Montana. It’s been a lifelong dream to ride horses in the Montana wild (we are going to be staying here – pinch me). I’ll be making many mental notes as I’ve always dreamed of going to Montana with my sisters. I can’t wait to go back with them.

I’m also starting to pull together details for a trip to Argentina and Uruguay this November. I’m thrilled about the adventure in my life right now, but find myself craving the home-life. I’m so happy that for the moment, this is where I am.

Lake Tahoe

August 28, 2014

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Although I’m in France at the moment, I want to share our trip to Lake Tahoe before I dive into all things Europe. I always wrote off Lake Tahoe. I’m an ocean person and as such, we’d often choose Big Sur (heaven) over exploring different areas. I’m glad we finally made it to Lake Tahoe last month.

We stayed in Truckee, which although isn’t lakefront, I’d definitely recommend. We stayed at The Ritz, which was nestled in the mountains, glorious views from all angles. Truckee has an adorable downtown with little shops and restaurants, and is a bit quieter than South Lake Tahoe.

Here are a few favorites:

To Do / drive around the lake. Just do it. It takes about 90 minutes, but longer if you stop of course. Favorite stops included the gorgeous Emerald Bay, various look-out points in South Lake Tahoe and on the Nevada side. We contemplated renting kayaks or paddle boards, but we were pretty exhausted and decided to just kick back and relax.

To eat / Breakfast is an important meal in Tahoe – a must to fuel for the day ahead (even if your day’s itinerary includes only naps and s’mores). We loved breakfast at The Old Post Office and Fire Sign Cafe (get the huevos rancheros). My favorite meal was at Marty’s in Truckee. The owners are so friendly and the food is incredible (get the sloppy joe).

To drink / Although perhaps a bit overrated and overpriced, Hyatt’s Pier 111 is worth it for a drink. The bungalow bar sits on the water – no better view!

Shop! / Shopping in Lake Tahoe is not budget-friendly, but it’s always fun to peruse. If you find yourself in North Lake Tahoe, you must stop by Bespoke. The beautifully curated shop has some of the neatest things including an adorable kids section and gorgeous jewelry.

Have you been to Lake Tahoe? What are your favorite spots? Although I’m not a big skier, I can only imagine how beautiful it is come winter.

Looking to Thirty

August 18, 2014

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On the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I find myself pulling together the fragments and sentiments of the last decade. That time my eyes first locked with Matt’s and I could feel his authenticity and kindness before I even knew him. The decisions to leave past career molds and forge into the unknown – although at times was scary, these are the moments that allow you to crack the boundaries and emerge a more confident, more loving, more self-aware version of yourself.

I’ve thought a lot lately about turning thirty, as people expect you to have some kind of crazy revelation or melt down – or maybe a combination of the two? I haven’t had either, exactly, and I don’t feel really any thing about turning thirty except this: grateful. To be alive, in this moment, with the people I love, in this world that we live in. Even in the hardest moments, life is good (and I strongly believe that our worst moments unhinge the roof on gratitude and make space for more than you even thought possible).

As I reflect on the past ten years, some thoughts:

Beauty in the tiny moments. I strive to live in the little details. If you pass them by, I find that you miss out on so much of the good stuff. As it relates to gratitude, I have to thank my loving parents and sisters for instilling in me such a devout sense of hope and perpetual thanksgiving. The foundation that my childhood set allowed me to navigate the twists and turns of my twenties, confident that there was always a greater good, a silver lining, even if it was difficult to see. Taking evening walks with my Dad who has an ever curious childlike mind made me, too, look for beauty in odd places. To walk slowly so that we don’t miss the chance to see and feel. Matt has opened a new door on this kind of beauty, too, – his thoughtfulness is etched into every part of my heart.

Finding my balance through kindness. For years, I looked to others to help me find balance – as a sensitive soul, my nerves are sometimes in overdrive. This has been one of the largest takeaways from this decade – how to reckon with those nerves and instead of viewing them as the “obstacle” or “enemy”, I’ve changed my perspective to greet all those nerves and parts of myself instead of pushing into a dark corner. Above all, kindness breeds understanding, acceptance, and love. My nerves have calmed because they’ve been heard, understood – and although balance is something I still strive to find (and am sure I always will) – the bad vibes and general fear-related nerves have dissolved, stepped back, because they have been met with love.

This moment is the best moment. The wrinkles around my eyes have become just a little more defined in my twenty-ninth year. I like to believe that those hours of laughter were 100% worth it. It’s a funny thing. At twenty-five, you feel like you’ve peaked – that you are getting so old, that youth is a thing of the past. As I enter the realm of thirty-somethings, I want to remind myself that my future-self would beg of me to enjoy and embrace and hold on to and let go at every turn. The best moment is now.

Letting go. In my twenties, I recognize that I made a lot of decisions based on fear. I learned to stop hanging on to fear as a bad thing and instead decided to flow with it. It’s amazing what happens when you gently loosen the strains on resistance and allow space to breathe and let be.

As I head into this next part of my life, I don’t expect any big shift. I do like reflecting on the places I’ve been and things I’ve learned, so that these next years can be as liberating and beautiful as possible. I hope to continue to live authentically and seek adventure and good in all that I encounter. I hope to spend more time with those that I love and who overflow my cup with joy, love, and all-around abundance. I couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter, but man, with all – and despite of – the bad, crazy, and good moments of my twenties, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

A Sunny Wednesday

June 25, 2014

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As spring ushered out a long winter, I’ve been shedding past lives, too. Last month, I left my full-time job, which was actually more emotionally taxing than I ever thought leaving a job could be – I suppose that is the beauty of leaving something that you loved in so many ways. It was a tough decision, but ultimately the season to try new things has come. It’s exhilarating and scary and everything in-between.

In addition to working on several projects, I’ll be spending some time traveling. If you’ve been reading for some time, you’ll have noticed that travel is what inspires me, makes me feel alive. First up: I’ll be heading to Turkey and France for a month later this summer. In addition to traveling with friends and Matt, I will be alone for a little while, too. Traveling alone is so different – but there’s something about the quiet I find in unknown streets that is truly irreplaceable.

As I find my footing in this new routine, I often leave the house early in the morning – bag packed for the day with the essentials: extra change of clothes, that pair of gorgeous yet uncomfortable shoes that I will slip on later, makeup, computer and notebooks (I’ve loved getting back to writing the old-fashioned way). It’s safe to say that my schedule has been somewhat hurried – but I am looking to really seek out the quiet moments, especially as July nears. The summer can go so quickly – I want to really appreciate the small moments these next few weeks.

The Tipping Point

May 14, 2014

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It’s easy to pinpoint the moment(s) in your life when life as you knew it changed. Although these moments are cumulative and fluid, it can often feel like a sharp departure and you’re left grasping for the ground. Anything to hold on to, really.

I often find myself thinking about these moments – they can seem so small and insignificant – but in relation to where you are and who you are becoming, it can be the tipping point. The idea that these small shifts could really create a big riptide is equal parts exciting and terrifying.

I’ve always found solace in the simple things – the ordinary beauty. Letting Weber out in the morning, witnessing the way he greets fresh air as if to say, “hello, i’m happy to breathe you in”. Listening to a kettle of water boil – bubbling up and then settling back down. How nothing beats fresh (and warm) sheets on your bed. The way a good night’s sleep feels – ushering you into a drool-inducing slumber. No harm, no fear, only nourishment and peace.

When these small moments take residence, the bigger, scarier moments feel less in control. When I die, I want to be remembered for the “everyday me”. I want people to recall my kindness in holding open a door, in paying for the stranger’s coffee behind me in line. For genuinely living in possibility’s radiance and greeting the day with a positive outlook – whether scary or not. We have the power to determine what is scary and what just “is”. Save judgement and see what happens.