Spring break necessities

Even though I’m in Europe, spring break is here for all of my friends back home. We’re going to Cabo. Or Rocky Point. Or Mission Beach. Or where ever else you can make a complete fool of yourself for a week and it’s 100 percent acceptable. Although what happens on spring break should stay on spring break, there will be pictures. Drunk eyes and unforgivable facial expressions are inevitable, but poor style doesn’t have to be. Here’s the lowdown of a few spring break necessities that will leave you looking adorable from the neck down.

A good bikini

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This is where I kind of stumbled along the way last year. During spring break you spend pretty much all day in your swimsuit, so make sure it’s a cute one. Every girl really steps her bikini game up, so make sure that you aren’t the one wearing a Target swimsuit that you’ve had since high school (low key, that was me and I’ll never forgive myself.) Don’t let the fear of weird tan lines keep you from buying a cool bikini, I promise it will all even out in the end.

High-waisted shorts

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Okay Emmy, we’ll alert the media that you need high-waisted shorts on spring break. But there’s one thing you have to be absolutely aware of when you pack your shorts for the trip. Make sure they fit. There is nothing worse than trying to squeeze into a pair tiny Levi’s with a belly full of mango margs. Opt for a size larger, because not only will you be a whole lot more comfortable, the bigger size will make you look slimmer.

Body suits

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I don’t know what it is about having your shirt securely wrapped around your entire body, but let me tell you it is comforting. God forbid you get a little overzealous during the all-time classic “Get Low” and something pops out of your shirt. This is where bodysuits come in. They keep everything in the same place and make sure to provide that little extra bit of support that we could all use during spring break.

Final note… make sure to bring shoes you don’t care about. There might be one day where you just get sick of wearing them and decide to bury them in the sand at Mango Deck… or maybe that’s just me.

A great day for a prêt-à-porter

I attended Paris Fashion Week.

These are words that I never thought that I would be able to say anytime soon. After months of stalking schedules and imagining what it would be like to get into a show, my dreams finally came true. I’m not even joking, I teared up when I first sat down in my seat (yeah I somehow got a seat, too). How did I get in? We went to the venue about an hour before the show and waited outside. As the crowd began to pour in, we made sure to keep our spot at the front of the line. Once all of the ticketed attendees entered the building, it was time for us to take our spots at the Dévastée.

FullSizeRenderUpon entry we were given a booklet that contains the entire Paris Fashion Week schedule. This is available online, so it wasn’t anything too exciting, but then we realized that this book contained something a little more exclusive. Filled with cocktail hours, designer showcases and exclusive meet and greets, this booklet is basically the Holy Grail of fashion week. Granted, you need an invitation to get into some of these events, but there are just any many where you don’t.

We tried to get into three different shows today, and let me tell you it is absolutely exhausting. I’ll post my full collection review of Dévastée soon, but for now here are a few of my favorite shots from the show.

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderI’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures, but I had the perfect vantage point to get shots of both the front and back of all the looks. I took of video of the final walk, so check out my Instagram (@ehmeebaby) to make sure you don’t miss it! My eyes are closing as I write this, so that’s all for now. I’ll be attempting to attend even more défilés tomorrow, so make to keep a close eye on HFbC to stay updated on Paris Fashion Week.

And the bucket list begins…

I feel so sorry for people who only get to spend a week or two in Paris. I have four and half months here and I’m stressed about seeing everything. It’s absolutely insane how much there is to discover in Paris– you could live here your entire life and still not see everything. So in an effort to see as much as possible, I’ve made a list of all the sights that I want to see while I’m here. This weekend I crossed off a quite a few of the touristic giants.

The Louvre

10981950_10154186410192837_3533867580661463133_nAttempting to contemplate art…

IMG_0031The Venus de Milo

IMG_0050Fought my way through a sea of tourists to get this photo for you lovely people. In case you were wondering, the Mona Lisa is actually pretty tiny.

IMG_0037Lounging in the Louvre.

IMG_0054Just one of the few artists that we saw recreating paintings right in the museum.

I once read that if you spent eight seconds in front of each piece of art at the Louvre it would take you one year to see everything. I’m not sure if this is true, but I can say that this place is absolutely huge. It’s broken up into three sections and then divided by different regions. During our few hours at the Louvre we saw Greek statues, French and Italian paintings (including the Mona Lisa), and ancient Egyptian relics.

La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

1908289_10154186410347837_8083115082902621474_nI thought about cropping out homegirl in the bottom right, but her selfie pose was just too great.

13057_10154186410407837_964556655945867876_nHalfway there…

10959006_10154186410492837_8830112490861940974_nThe Sacré-Coeur is a beautiful Catholic church nestled in the top of Montmartre (18th arrondissement). It felt like we were hiking a mountain to get there, but as you can see the view from the top was totally incredible. It’s bizarre to see just how big and dense Paris is, because there are very few places where you can actually see all of it. We went inside of the church and it was absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures, so I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Le Moulin Rouge

1970484_10154186410567837_844571629512630447_nI think after the Sacré Coeur, the 18th arrondissement is the most known for the Moulin Rouge. Besides the famous red windmill, the place definitely isn’t as exciting or beautiful as it looks in all of the pictures you see on Pinterest. On top of that, the cheapest ticket to see the show is 92 euro. Maybe I’ll decide to splurge, because I’m sure the show is incredible, but I’ll probably just end up spending it on food.

A little travel tip… For those of you planning on visiting the 18th arrondissement anytime soon, make sure to do it during the day. When we stepped off the metro we were surrounded by sketchy men trying to sell us iPhones. For as long as we were on the main street (Boulevard de Rochechouart) we were holding onto our purses for dear life and making sure our iPhones were out of sight. But as soon as we started heading north toward Sacré Coeur, things took a drastic change for the better. There were so many chic little boutiques and decently priced cafés filled with normal, non-threatening humans.


Overall, it was a wonderful day. I can’t wait to visit the Louvre again because there’s one section that we didn’t even touch. And although Montmartre was slightly terrifying upon first sight, I’ll definitely be returning. Apparently there is a fondue restaurant in the 18th where they serve wine in baby bottles and you have to climb over tables to get to your set because the place is just that tiny, so you know I’ll have to check that out one night. That’s all I have for now, but check back soon to see what else I cross off my Parisian bucket list.

My shopping bag: February finds

The second installment of “My shopping bag” is here, and I think this is the most exciting post yet because all of my purchases were made in Paris. This probably won’t come as too much of a surprise, but the shopping here is phenomenal. For the first few days after I got here, I was feeling pretty down. I was freezing cold all the time, I went from have 200 sorority sisters to having zero friends and my feet felt like they were about to fall off from walking all day long. But then I found a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s called les soldes, AKA sales.

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 8.46.47 PMSeeing stripes

‘X’ marks the spot with this perfect chiffon tee from Comptoir des Cotonniers. I had never heard of this store until I was wandering down the cobblestone streets around my school and couldn’t help but go inside after eying some inspiring window displays. After a 60% off sale and a wonderfully kind sales associate who made me feel like I had a friend, I was sold on this classic tee.

Des bottines

French lessons with Emmy have officially begun, because I just taught you have to say “ankle boots.” I bought a pair of flats half a size too small, and after walking around in them for an hour I was actually nauseous from pain. By the grace of the shopping gods, I was only a block away from an H&M, and that’s how these cheeky little boots ended up in my closet.

Heating up

When most people think of Parisian fashion they think of two things– a lot of black and and a lot of scarves. Both of these notions are true. But let me tell you why scarves are everywhere in Paris, IT IS COLD. I had no idea how much of a difference it made having your neck covered when walking through the tundra that is France, until along came this knit infinity scarf that made me about 10 times warmer (not exaggerating).

The not so new classic

Like I said before, my feet were literally at a breaking point after walking around Paris in motorcycle boots and heeled Chelsea boots. Considering that I am the pickiest human alive when it comes to purchasing shoes, I was thrilled when a shining pair of comfy, padded New Balances sneakers greeted me when I walked into Comptoir des Cotonniers. All the French girls wear these shoes and now I totally understand why, not only do they add an instant cool factor, but it feels like you are walking on cloud nine.

Comment below with what’s in your shopping bag this month!

A night at the Opera

When I signed up for my study abroad program, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into– and in a good way. Along with a few weekend trips to Normandy and the Loire Valley, we also get to get to do a lot of cool activities during the weeks. Last night it was a visit to l’Opéra Garnier for the ballet ‘La Chant de la Terre.’ This building is the most beautiful one I’ve seen so far (sorry, Fontainebleau!) Here’s the entry…

FullSizeRenderAfter entering you’re greeted by a beautiful staircase filled with horsemen, baby angels and the most elaborate crown molding.

FullSizeRenderThen you take a look up and you see a rendezvous among the Greek gods. Can you imagine being the poor soul chosen to climb up that ladder and paint all of that?

FullSizeRenderAnd now we are in the theater! Although we were seated about as high as you can get, the view was fantastic. But let me warn you, if you ever go to this theater I would advise you to spend a little more on your seats because I was aching after being cramped in such a small spot for an hour and a half. Note: the drapes aren’t actually drapes, just a giant tapestry with drapes printed on to it.

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Again with the ceilings…

FullSizeRenderOverall, the ballet was beautiful and I’m so grateful that I chose a study abroad program that helps us make the most out of our Parisian experience.

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There is so much to do in Paris which makes it really easy to miss out on something amazing because you’re so caught up with being busy. So because of that I decided to make a Paris bucket list, filled with all of the museums, boutiques and restaurants that I want to visit while I’m here. A few of my must-sees include the Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris’s largest second-hand luxury store Réciproque and Le Baron Rouge, a wine bar that even the locals rave about. And of course, I’ll keep you all updated along the way.

Sunny daze

After being in Paris for two weeks I finally went to see the Eiffel Tour. Yesterday was a perfect day for sightseeing because the sky was clear and the sun was shining. I almost forgot what it was like to wear sunglasses because that’s how rarely the sky isn’t covered with clouds. Everyone always says that you’ll be really overwhelmed by how big the Eiffel tower is, and maybe this is just me being impossible to please, but I thought it was kind of small. But don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely beautiful– see for yourself.

FullSizeRenderNow let’s talk about what I wore, because after all that’s probably what attracted most of you to come read this. Here’s my version of the perfect sightseeing ensemble.

FullSizeRenderLet’s start from the ground up…

Shoes

If you are planning on visiting Paris, or any European city with a lot of walking, you absolutely need tennis shoes (‘des baskets’ en français). If you’re cringing at the thought of wearing athletic shoes with a otherwise feminine/classic outfit, don’t be afraid, I promise you’ll look fine, if not better with these on your feet.

Pants

So I got a little overzealous when I saw the sunshine yesterday and decided to only wear one pair of pants. Yes, you read that correctly. The key to keeping warm in Paris is layering. Normally I’ll wear a pair of tights underneath my jeans or double up on leggings. I know it sounds silly, but you’ll be thanking me later when you’re the only one who isn’t shivering walking down Champs Elysée.

Tops

Layers reign supreme yet again. Today I had on a tank top, long sleeve tee and blazer– sometimes I’ll even throw in another layer when it’s really chilly. I added on my black coat that I wear basically everyday and voilà.

Accessories

When sightseeing, you don’t want to have to worry about a big bulky bag. Bring one with a strap so you can sling it across your body when you get sick of holding it. I love my Rebecca Minkoff Perry Satchel, because it holds all of my necessities and it’s super easy to transport. Make sure to add a big, chunky scarf into the mix because I promise it will save you from the sniffles.

FullSizeRenderAnother perspective of la Tour Eiffel.

Studying abroad has really changed my ideas about perspective. It’s everything. So often I’ll find myself wasting my entire weekends doing nothing because it’s convenient. I’ll blast through about 7 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, with an occasional break to refill my snack arsenal, but finding my favorite frozen dinner at the back of the freezer often serves as my greatest victory. Here in Paris I see things a little bit differently.

The only times that I find myself sitting in bed watching Netflix are in passing. I’ll have a movie playing while I do my makeup in the morning or listen to The Bachelor while I work on my blog. But that’s it, because I am in Paris and it would be absolutely absurd to do anything but make the most of every single moment. Granted, Paris is an amazing city, but I think a big part of why it is so amazing has to do with perspective. Every day has the potential to be the most incredible day of your life, but I think sometimes we refuse to let it because of our surroundings. Coming here has made me realize that it’s not about where you are, but the attitude you choose to have about where you are each day.

Change your perspective, change your life. I think the saying rings true because I’ve been here for 14 days and I already feeling like things are changing for me in a really, really positive way.

 

Another hidden gem: 59 Rue de Rivoli

When you come across an entryway like this, it is difficult not to be totally intrigued. Along with the bright colors and intricate details, we also noticed a giant sign that said “free entry.” After taking a few minutes to try and figure out where exactly we were going, we realized this door led to a giant public art studio.

IMG_5271Here’s a little look into this amazing art studio.

IMG_5254How could you not go through this door?

Each floor in this six-level studio had its own unique aesthetic. Some floors even had artists actually working on paintings while we walked through and looked at their work. After seeing a few microwaves and makeshift cots, I think it’s safe to say that some of the artists live in these studios too.

IMG_5252This floor was fetus-themed. C’est la vie…

IMG_5258IMG_5267FullSizeRenderCigarette boxes left by visitors. There was also a pile of metro tickets with little notes on them on another table.

IMG_5269The view from the top.

IMG_5268Posing with Pangaea.

This unexpected find is just another example of a new reason to fall in love with Paris everyday. Granted, I’ve never been to New York City or spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, but I doubt I’d wander into something like walking down the street. I’m so excited for what other little hidden gems I’ll find within the next few months, and I’ll make sure to keep you all updated along the way!

Sweet as can be

I’m about a week and a half into my Parisian adventure and I can finally say I feel comfortable and happy, which might be the best feeling in the world. Now that I’ve gotten my bearings, I’ll no longer be neglecting writing here on HFbC. My absolute favorite thing to do in Paris, besides finding a glass of wine that costs less than 5€, is to go exploring (and when I’m lucky the two go hand-in-hand). But like any modern day explorer, a girl needs her fuel, right? Well, let’s just say I haven’t been slacking in the eating department.


After deciding to skip the half mile-long line at the Louvre, a friend and I went to wander around the 5th arrondissement, which is also known as the Latin Quarter. The biggest difference that I have noticed with Parisian restaurants compared to Americans ones is fixed price menus. With these menus you can pick from a few different items and get three courses for the price of what would usually compare just one entree. We stumbled upon a café right outside the metro stop St. Michel and noticed “americain” written above a menu fix prix. Needless to say, crêpes definitely are not American, but getting two eggs, a basket of bread, ham, coffee and juice was definitely worth 12 euro.

FullSizeRenderThe Parisian idea of an American breakfast. Although I prefer the giant brunch style meals back in the US, I can say their jam is easily ten times more enjoyable.  IMG_5285Paris has revived my love for coffee, and brought out my new-found love for button-ups.

After breakfast, we headed to little shop that specializes in gourmet eclairs. After many hours spent at home scouring Pinterest for the best hidden culinary gems in Paris, I found a photo filled with vibrant, beautiful eclairs and voilà, I discovered L’Éclair de Génie.

IMG_5298Obviously I got the most chocolately one they sell.

FullSizeRenderHi I’ll take one of everything.

The eclair was fantastic, but my sweet tooth is never satisfied. I still have a long way to go before I sample all of the amazing pastries Paris has to offer, but yesterday I crossed another classic off the list– a macaroon. I went with raspberry and vanilla, and let me tell you, the hype is definitely accurate. Macaroons are the perfect little snack when you’re craving some sweet and don’t feel like breaking the bank. Ladurée is next on my list of places to try, so I’ll let you know if their macaroons really are the stuff of legends.

IMG_5249Tunnel vision.

So there you have it! Just a few of the treats that I’ve tried so far. The food here is amazing, and I definitely cannot complain about living in one of the culinary capitals of the world. Oh and whoever said the portions here are tiny, you are very wrong, because I’ve been very happy (and full) after each meal. Check back soon for more of my French food and fashion finds.

Casual castle trips

I’ve had almost a week to get settled in and I’m finally starting to get used to everything in Paris. The metro is simple and I’m starting to get used to my host family’s different schedules and habits. Today we ventured a little bit outside of the Paris city center to visit le Château de Fontainebleau. Napoleon himself lived at this castle, along with many kings. It was the most beautiful building that I’ve ever seen, but more about that later, let’s talk about what I wore first.

IMG_5205IMG_5210Nordstrom hat, Missguided coat, Michael Kors sweater, Rebecca Minkoff bag, DTSLD jeans, H&M ankle boots

I think my favorite part about living the Parisian lifestyle is that I can dress as well as I want and never look out of place. Today I decided on gray skinny jeans and a giant wool sweater with a cowl neck. This sweater, combined with an over-sized coat and felt hat, kept me nice and warm while walking throughout this unheated castle. Thanks to a new pair of flats basically ripping my feet open yesterday, I bought new gray ankle boots that were the perfect fit to put everything together.


Here are few pictures of the castle- every single detail was absolutely beautiful. Enjoy!

IMG_5187 IMG_5188 IMG_5193 IMG_5194 IMG_5206 IMG_5209So there you have it, a real French castle! That’s all I have for now, but I’m going out for the first time tonight so wish me luck and check back soon for all the details.

Je suis arrivée: Day 1 in Paris

After the worst flying experience of my life, I finally made it to Paris at 6pm last night! I managed to get myself to my house without any issues and was greeted by my host sister Lauren. She, along with her friend, helped me carry my 50-lb. suitcase up the stairs and showed me around the house. It has three levels, with my room on the first, the living room and kitchen on the second, and three bedrooms and the bathroom upstairs. I have to lock my door every time I leave because apparently the door right next to mine is a studio apartment that my host mom’s cousin lives in. Along with that surprise, in French homes the toilet and the shower aren’t in the same room. In fact, my toilet is on a completely different floor from the shower which will definitely take some getting used to.

IMG_5156I took a quick pic walking to the métro this morning.

My host mom is also very kind. She arranged butter, jam and a plate to make a map of our neighborhood to show me where the closest metro stop was. She speaks a little bit of English, along with the rest of my family, but the majority of my conversations are in very broken French. You never realize how much you don’t know until you are trying to keep up with someone who is fluent. Luckily, I got my host brother to feel bad for me and tell me he actually speaks pretty good English. So at least I know someone understands me when I can’t figure out how to get my point across in French.

IMG_5157Notre Dame.

I got really lucky with my housing, because I only have to take one metro line to school and to the ISA (International Study Abroad) Office. There are like 20 different lines and the thought of having to switch from line to line makes my head spin, so I’m grateful I had an easy route for the first day! The metro isn’t as as awful as I had anticipated. It doesn’t smell any worse than the Phoenix light rail and I think my resting bitch face keeps the pick pockets at bay.

IMG_5162It was not very difficult finding the ISA office for orientation today, because my host mom told me to look for Notre Dame. It’s not easy to miss, and I just followed the Seine (the big river that runs through Paris) until I found the office. Orientation was pretty standard, but I learned that there’s actually quite a few people in my program from ASU.

IMG_5158A tour boat on the Seine

La cuisine (the food)

At orientation they gave us croissants and pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants). I stuck to a normal croissant and it was ten thousand times better than I could have imagined. I’ve still yet to try a crêpe, but that will be the first thing on my list tomorrow.

After we learned a few basics about Paris we had a break for a lunch, and a few girls and I went to an Italian restaurant. I had spaghetti because I am terrible under pressure when it comes to ordering at restaurants. Like most Americans, I used the twirling technique to get my pasta onto my fork and into my mouth. Apparently this wasn’t satisfactory for the waiter because he came up to me, grabbed my fork, and hand fed me my next (and final) bite of spaghetti. Although my cheeks turned bright red, it was some pretty great pasta.

As for dinner tonight, I just got done eating veggie pizza with a fork and knife. It felt super weird, but I’m just trying to be française. For both nights we have had salad with our meals, and I’m not sure what the dressing is made out, but I think it’s a gift from Jesus because I have never enjoyed salad so much in my life.

IMG_5163Apparently the Love Lock Bridge is right next to the ISA office.

Overall, I think this semester is going to have its ups and downs. Being 5,000 miles away from home without any friends might be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but I don’t think that anything worth having comes easily. As soon as I’m alone all I think about is how much I miss my family, friends and cats, but luckily there is so much to do here I doubt I’ll be alone often. Even though I can barely understand my host brother and sister’s banter, it’s still entertaining and I feel like I’m part of a family. I think it would be really to easy to lose myself while I’m here, but I also think this is such an amazing opportunity to grow and I’m definitely going to capitalize on the latter.