I'm back in Boston. And to be really honest, I'm not the happiest about it. I mean I just spent this past year in Paris and Miami...Boston just doesn't seem to measure up anymore. Point blank. I tried to come into this semester with a positive mindset. But it was just really damn hard. This summer I fell in love with Miami in ways I didn't even know I could. My heart is there and my heart will always be in Paris (as I've mentioned repeatedly here and on Insta). The question is: will a part of my heart always be here too? I'm not so sure about that. Nonetheless, it's my last year...So I fully intend to make the most of it. My amazing friends make it a hell of a lot easier to and so does this gorgeous weather. It's been nothing but sunny, beautiful, refreshing days. Not too hot or cold. Since I know Boston well enough to know this won't last, I'm certainly taking advantage of the weather while I can. I've been wearing these Zara culottes cause they're basically the closet I'll get to wearing PJs in public (they're just so comfortable) and my quirky sunnies while the sun is still shining.
Top: Brandy // Fringe vest: Forever 21 // Jeans: ASOS // Boots: ASOS // Photos: Andrew Matos
See that fringe vest I'm wearing? Yeah, I've had it since sophomore year of high school (2008) and while I've gotten rid of most things that were a part of my closet then, there was something about this piece that made me keep it. I just couldn't fully let go. Something told me: you may not wear it now, but knowing all the phases you go through, you'll probs get into it again at some point. And that gut feeling was right. Here we are. Paired it with my fave high-waisted flares for some boho vibes and this crazy awesome necklace I bought at a market in Istanbul for like 5 bucks after bargaining with an old Turkish man. Proud about it.
I think my favorite thing about coming home for the summer is experiencing the magical Miami sunsets. Yes, Miami's hot and the humidity can get unbearable at times, but every evening, the sunset reminds me of how much I love it here. The colors are unreal -- blues, purples, pinks and oranges just kind of melt together in the sky and it's nearly impossible to contain myself from taking pics. My Instagram can attest to that. One of my favorite things to do in the summer? Grab some snacks and some music and go to the beach, not just on the weekend when everyone's there either, but at a time where the beach is nearly empty, around 6ish when it's calm and serene. Lie down, play some music, let the sun set. There's nothing more cleansing than that.
Here's a little outfit that was tailor-made to do just that. This summer I'm trying to stay as cool as possible by living living in bathing suits and crop tops and flowy pants. How do you stay cool and still look cool during the summer?
Paris photos by me // Outfit photos: Kara Korab // Overalls: thrifted at the Kilo Store // Boots: ASOS
It's been almost two months since I've posted on here... I could attribute it to all the traveling and all the crazy changes going on in my life, but the truth is, I've been avoiding this post. Every time I tell myself, today's the day, I've got a few free hours, I'm gonna do it, I end up coming up with a ridiculous excuse. Honestly, I think it's just hard. It's hard to think about all of my experiences and the beauty that is Paris without missing it or tearing up just a little. It's hard to even find the words to describe everything I experienced. I don't think it's possible. I don't have the capacity or the skill to accurately depict the beauty of every moment or how much I learned or how it changed me. It's hard to sum it up into one little blog post. It's hard and it definitely won't measure up to my expectations, but you deserve to know. You deserve to know just how amazing that city is. How much it means to me and possibly how much it could mean to you.
I'll start off by saying that anyone who knows me knows that Paris has always been my dream. I started taking French classes in 7th grade and have never stopped taking French classes since. I virtually fell in love with the city, the language, it's culture -- all before even stepping foot in its vicinity. When January came around, I was nervous. Finally, my dream was coming true: from mid-January to late May, I could say I was living in Paris. Talk about crazy. You know how sometimes, when you daydream about something or think about it too much and get your hopes up, it ends up miserably deceiving you? Yeah, I was nervous that would happen. And surprisingly, it didn't. It ended up taking my breath away more than I could've ever imagined it to.
I can truly say that in my whole life, I have never lived, I have never trulylived, as much as I did in those four months I was there. I was never home. I was always out, exploring a different arrondissement, picking and choosing which parks, museums, galleries, restaurants, bars to check out. Adding places to my list and constantly crossing them off. I laughed, I cried, I felt. I was aware of everything around me. I took in all of my surroundings, at all times. I wrote them down, I drew them, I photographed them, I reflected.What really surprised me? I never grew bored. There was always, and I mean always something new to see. Just knowing that you live in a city like that makes life so exciting, it gives life meaning.
The stereotype is true. In general, Parisians can be kind of cold and distant in comparison to Americans. But, honestly, I think that's kind of the same in every major city. Think about what most Americans think of New Yorkers. Everyone is just doing their own thing, trying to make it through somehow. And I mean I get it. Paris is the most visited city in the world. Can you imagine your city being invaded by billions of tourists each day? Like when you're trying to rush to make it to work and you constantly have to dodge at least 8 Asian tourists taking the same generic picture in front of a monument? It can get kind of old. It's also true that they dislike Americans. The second you say where you're from (if they haven't already guessed it by your accent), there will be a slight change of attitude about 80% of the time. Sometimes, if you're lucky, they'll actually be really fascinated by it and ask you a bunch of questions.
Alright, so I'm just gonna put this out there: I have never seen so much eye candy in my whole life. Yes, you see a lot of beautiful people in Paris, but it's not necessarily about how beautiful they are, but how damn well they dress. It's all so subtle too, it's like they don't even try. I think the key to understanding Parisian style is also understanding a key Parisian philosophy: less is always more. The more understated it is, the more classic, the more discrete, the better. That means -- no flashy logos, no glitz and glam, nothing too crazy, and yes, not too much color (the stereotype is true - Parisians love black). Also, nothing too revealing. French girls don't do revealing and, well, they are still sexy as hell. Coming from the U.S., this philosophy was a little hard to digest at first, but I learned to appreciate it. My ideal closet will apply that philosophy -- it will consist of a few timeless, quality pieces that I can easily mix and match.
The thing about Paris is that everywhere you turn, everywhere you look, you see beauty. The Haussmanian architecture, the art, the people, the food, just everything. You could be walking around for hours and get lost (because you will), but you'll never truly be angry because of the beauty you're surrounded by. What I found was that a lot of places you travel to, you have to know where to go and what to see in order to think of the city as beautiful. In Paris, that's not necessarily true, you can walk around anywhere and you'll see it. It's undeniable.
I'll end with a few words I posted on Instagram some months ago:
Paris, you're not what I expected. You're cold, you're rainy, you're slightly intimidating. You're not perfect, it's true...but you're breathtakingly beautiful in all your imperfection. When the sun is nowhere to be seen, and you are dressed in your signature shade of blue: soft, hazy, and dreamy, you take my breath away. And that's when I know, no matter where I go in the world, a part of my heart will always stay here, tucked tightly between your intimate cafes and thought-provoking conversations.
Merci et à bientôt
My Paris Guide:
I loved it when my friends would come and visit because it was almost like a little test to myself... how well did I accomplish my goal of really knowing Paris? Could I make my friends fall in love with it the way I did? Well here's where I would take them when I wanted to show them my Paris. I'm not going to waste your time nor mine by listing all of the tourist attractions because any idiot with a smart phone can figure that out. So here goes:
Canal Saint Martin
By far, my favorite area of Paris. Lots of young families, people from all over, a little grungy, lots of street art everywhere, not overly touristy, a definite must-see.
Picnic on the Canal - Grab some friends, go to any Monoprix or Franprix and buy yourself some wine, some cheese, some snacks. Then, go to a boulangerie and buy yourself a baguette. Take it to the Canal. Preferably on a Sunday. Sit, watch and take it all in. Comptoir General (80 Quai de Jemmapes)- described as "the ghetto museum," this is a must-see destination. There's absolutely nothing like it. It's hard to describe because it's so many things all in one. It's a cafe, restaurant, bar, vintage store, cultural center type place. It's a place where Africans celebrate African culture and invite others to join them. The second you walk in you know you're somewhere special. The decor is like no other. And the people are always interestingly stylish and hip. Go during the day for coffee with a friend, go during happy hour to join in the mingling, go at night to dance (come early cause lines are long), or go on a lazy Sunday for some live music. Each time is an entirely new experience. Holy belly (19 Rue Lucien Sampaix) - Ok, so I'm kinda cheating with this one cause it's actually a restaurant run by Americans who serve American food. But it's absolutely fantastic and I'm still savoring the brunch I had there. The staff is super friendly and their branding is spot-on. Belleville
Buttes-Chaumont: Any park or garden that you go to will be perfectly manicured, the trees will be perfectly trimmed and all will be perfectly symmetrical. The Buttes Chaumont is one of the only parks in Paris that's not like that, featuring hills and trees that grow freely. It's also pretty huge. Go on any given sunny day and bring all you want to eat and drink and just lay out on the grass. I guarantee you it'll feel like all of Paris is doing the same. Once you're done relaxing, go for a walk and explore the park, specifically walk towards the Temple Sybille (preferably at sunset). It's perched on top of a cliff and gives you spectacular views of Paris. Look out for Sacre-Coeur while you're there. Cafe Cheri(e) (44 Boulevard de la Villette): My favorite place to go to on a friday/saturday night. Cafe Cheri(e) is a little gem of a bar in Belleville. It's inexpensive, laidback and always, always a good time. People are cool and friendly and will actually strike up a conversation with you. You'll always make friends and meet people and the DJ plays the BEST music. It's nothing fancy, it's just a genuinely good time. FYI: it gets unbearably crowded and hot around midnight, so plan on wearing something light. Le Marais
Le Kilo Shop (69-71 Rue de la Verrerie) - The best thrift shopping you'll get in Paris. Not the cheapest thrifting you'll ever do, but they have a great selection and it's all curated and organized by section, which saves you so much trouble. Place des Vosges - Gorgeous square in the heart of the Marais-- the oldest in Paris. La Cafeotheque (52 Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville) - My favorite coffee shop in Paris. There's a room with huge windows, L'as du Fallafel (32-34 Rue des Rosiers) - best fallafel you'll ever have in your life.
Also try to check out any of the art galleries in this area, there are a ton!
When doing the Marais, I would follow it up by a stroll in the Ile de Saint-Louis -- a little island of happiness on the Seine. It's in the heart of Paris, but seemingly isolated. It's tranquil and peaceful and unbelievably charming.
Jardin des plantes/ Austerlitz
Jardin des plantes & the Grand Mosque of Paris: Do these together. Pick a day when it's nice out, walk through the garden. Go inside the greenhouses. Be amazed. Walk up the hill, to the gazebo and sit there enjoying the view. Then, go to the grand mosque across the street. Visit the outdoor tea room, take in the views, people chatting, smoking hookah, drinking tea, the tile mosaics on the wall, the curve of the trees. Order the 2 euro best mint green tea of your life. Make the line for the pastries. Have fun trying to communicate which ones you want (not even french people know the names of them). They're also 2 euros each and insanely flavorful.
You can't do Paris without experiencing the art it has to offer. My recommendation is to pick one museum and go to it. My all-time favorite is La Fondation Louis Vuitton. It's lesser known by tourists and its architecture is equally as mind-blowing as the art on display.
Palais Royal - Daniel Buren columns & garden, Cafe Kitsune, Colette
For the best view of Paris: Roof of Printemps (also free)
Hotel Amour (hotel restaurant with a gorgeous outdoor terrace) & The Beef Club's Ballroom (speakeasy type bar)
* You'll find photos of most (if not all) of these recommended spots on my Instagram*