The Crazies of my 30th Birthday in Paris


That day I woke up at 3 Am in Dublin, Ireland. I got dressed, woke up my baby boy and put him into the baby carrier as my husband packed our luggage into the taxi. I walked through our Dublin apartment and said my last goodbyes to the beautiful Georgian place that was our home away for a few days.


We went through the airport and the 1 hour flight so quickly that the next thing I remember was sitting at the cafe in Charles de Gaulle airport watching the reunited couples making out as their coffee was cooling off on the table, totally a Paris thing, the full on making out in public that is.

Paris in June, for my 30th birthday.

The day when nothing went right but ended up perfect.

So what if my day started out with tired but wired where I couldn’t sleep of excitement and once we came to our Paris apartment, which was also just an absolute dream, I passed out for a few hours for a good nap!


What I found out later, like 2 days later, was that while I was napping my husband went to find a store which sold perfume, with the sweetest of love stories, and since they only sell that perfume in Paris and not online he went to pick it up. After finding the store, of course it was still closed, he waited for a while until past the time it was supposed to open, and there was still no one there, so he came back. (we visited the store 2 more times during this week and it was still closed – no luck, but the thought to get there and all the walking around really counts too)

Walking down on the street where we stayed.

We were staying in 7th Arr. and it was just beautiful! There was a store next door where they sold candles with a perfumer creating a scent for each arrondissement of Paris. Since we were staying in 7th, my husband picked up a candle for 7th and 6th to remind me of the smell and this place! Now that we are home for the last two days I am already burning the candle and it smells just like Paris.


It was a beautiful sunny day out so we went out thinking maybe we could squeeze a museum visit out of it, it didn’t happen once we saw the line. Naturally we went further to get something to snack or even find a place to eat dinner.


This is where fun started. We were walking as a family, looking at this beautiful city, and kept walking, and kept walking, my husband had a specific place in mind with a great view to sit and eat dinner there. We sat down to enjoy dinner, fed the baby, had a great view, a musician came over and situated himself in front of the restaurant playing saxophone, a family walking by broke into dancing and that was really fun to watch.

View from the restaurant. The musician came shortly after thusbphoto was taken.

Then the fun really started! Our food came and baby was sitting back in the stroller chewing some bread when my husband’s stomach pain became too real and he went to get some medicine at the near by pharmacy. He was complaining of stomach pain, but we thought he was just hungry. Within a minute of taking some medicine they recommended he said he was feeling nauseous, got up from the table and barely walked 10 feet before he just threw up. In the street. In front of the restaurant.

Once I recovered from basically dying and going through the ground to disappear from sitting front row center in the middle of the sidewalk, which is usually a great spot for a Paris cafe, I apologized for my husband to the people around, collected my baby and called a cab.

One thing I am thankful for – right before we left for our long walk to get to this restaurant we stopped by the bakery and picked up some dessert for later that night. There was wine at the apartment and two spacious bathrooms with a soaking tub. Once both my babies were asleep, one recovering from a day of travel and being shoved around in the stroller, and the other from food poisoning or whatever made him sick, I filled that tub!


Certainly I didn’t plan to spend my day this way. But life throws a curve ball, you just go with it. Oh, and I ate ALL of the dessert we bought that night.


This year I will take every opportunity to be thankful, for turning 30, going on a spontaneous trip to Dublin and Paris, for having a healthy baby and a trip where no one got sick or injured (well except for the one night ..). This year I am starting with valuing what I have, my family, my friends, people who surround me and love me for who I am. This year I am going to be thankful for crazy memories of diaper leaking in Louis Vuitton (more on that later) and throwing up in front of a restaurant, for missed flights, for mistakes, and most of all for forgiveness.


This was an amazing way to celebrate and a trip I will most definitely remember for a lifetime.

The day I gave away my greencard

I became an American Citizen on Friday.

That morning I felt so frustrated, so alone and so rushed as I was getting ready for my ceremony. I even had a dream about my first half marathon race in New York. These feelings were similar, 7 years ago I ran my first half marathon in Queens NY, and after I crossed the finish line I walked away with a medal weighing heavy on my heart and felt my heart break with every tear that ran down my cheek.

It was such a big accomplishment, yet I felt so alone. There was no one there to witness this super important event, no one to cheer me on. My naturalization day came with similar feelings, except I invited friends to come, and they came. They responded, they texted and were present before I even I realized that I needed to be the one to invite them.

When your baby is asleep in your arms, but you have to take an oath to become an american. 


I gave up my citizenship of Ukraine on Friday. I gave up the country I was born in and grew up in. Today, I realize that for almost 15 years I tried really hard to fit in and be this American, which I wasn’t, be this person I thought an American should be. So who is this american that we all chase trying to become? Is it a dream that drives us as individuals to achieve, because in achieving THE dream we become the evidence of what this country is built on?

I was brought up valuing community; the people around you – they mean everything and share everything with you. The pain, the joy, the sorrow and the bliss. Everyone knows everything and you don’t mind one bit doing life with people all up in your business. Ukrainians value community, it’s not spoken of, but you know it when you go to a friends house for a baby shower and leave 9 hours later or when you have people show up at your house within hours notice, or no notice at all, and you all sit around the dinner table drinking tea until it’s 1:30 am and you can’t be late to work anymore, so they go home. I married an American and I had to learn this new way of doing community.

The American dream is about each individual achieveihg their dream life. Today I gave citizenship of the country I grew up in and I know in my soul that for me, being an American means to take the old and the new into the same melting pot and live from the lessons of the past. I didn’t have anyone come to cheer me on my first race because I didn’t ask, I felt alone because I didn’t let anyone in. Maybe I just needed a break from everyone knowing my business like when I grew up, but I am so thankful for the reminder to reach out, to ask, to let others know what goes on with me and invite them into my life.

That piece of paper is so important. It’s the one piece that you need that proves this day a reality.  Also, I wore the good shoes for the occasion. 


Perhaps later I can share with you more about what my American Dream is, but for now, I hope to make you appreciate your country, your origin, your ethnicity and your nationality. Be proud of where you come from and proud of where you are going. I hope to inspire you to think of what your dream is and take the reroute if your dreams have taken the back burner spot. Detours in life happen, but you can always turn around.

I feel blessed to have friends who either showed up, or responded to my invitation to come witness my swearing in ceremony. I feel freedom. I think that I will continue to experience freedom and learn its meaning in many new ways in the years to come, and very soon as I am rushing to get a passport for our first trip out of the country as all american citizen. As my country of birth has been at war and without peace for a some years now, I have peace, knowing that no new law or regulation or mistake can make me leave a place I know and now call home and the many people I now call family.

Taking a photo next to the county clerk and the judge, both of whom my husband knows from working together. Only to think that I wouldn’t have these photos if my friend Brigit didn’t show up with less then an hours notice ( love you lady!!) 


I will take lessons from both countries. I will be the dream chaser like a true American inspiration. I will be a gentle soul and a true friend or the community like my parents taught me to be, and I will do my best to inspire you to hug your close ones tight, be present in their life and get all up in each other’s business because that’s what makes us not alone, but a community.

P.S. here are some fun things that happened during the ceremony. The whole thing took about two hours, and if you have a baby, you know they will be hungry and need a nap and a diaper change within that kind of time frame. So I sat there, then nursed my baby without a nursing cover of my nursing friendly shirt, I rocked my baby gently to sleep for a 30 minute nap and he woke up just as my husband got there. That way I didn’t hold him in my arms as I went to get the official papers. And my friend who came with her baby got to experience the same thing and some baby talking on top of everything. We ran into a couple of people we knew in the court room and it was a memorable day as I shared this experience with 66 individuals from 47 countries. Also, I had to surrender my green card, which was my travel ticket for so long!

p.s.s. What’s your naturalization story?

Inappropriate things people say to new moms 

It’s completely possible that you have said something inappropriate to new mom and didn’t even know it!

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I mean really, it’s like adults need education on what NOT to say and very often what questions NOT to ask! So here are my top favorite (means I dread them the most) inappropriate things people have said to me.

When are you going to have another one?

Ok. So you just had a baby, and the first time you’re in public, barely able to walk, feeling every stitch and every stretched muscle that just brought this babe into the world, and someone, there is always someone who will say “oh your baby is so cute! You should have another one!” Ok, people, slow down, let my behind heal first and maybe we can talk again in the future after a lot of chocolate, wine and “so sorry”s.

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Is he sleeping through the night yet?

Um. So the first time someone asked me this one, my baby was 2-3 weeks old, and I was sleep deprived, in pain, on Advil, sore, super hormonal, hungry, bloated, and all I wanted was to go to a grocery store. That someone came dangerously close to having been punched in the face by a crying hot mad new mom of a newborn. People, you just don’t ask that, ever. Because that’s salt on a wound of someone who isn’t sleeping.

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He’s perfect the way he is. Both of my babies are. 

Is he rolling over yet? Is he crawling? Is he saying words yet? Is he eating solids yet?

There have been so many in this category, and I am just going to put it all into one category of “milestones”. As soon as you find out how old my baby is and you want to know if my baby is doing what others are ‘supposed’ to do at that age? Well, my baby doesn’t like to roll over. He’s on his belly lots, doing tummy time and he loves it, but he’s perfectly content, there is nothing wrong with him if he isn’t doing one or another thing that other babies usually do at a certain age. That kind of question comes with lots of explaining and judgy looks, and I am sure I am not the only mom who was made feel guilty. No. Just no, my baby is a freaking genius, just wait and see.

Is there a baby in there?

This one is probably my favorite. So I am in the store, doing my business shopping for groceries, and my newborn is perfectly asleep in the car seat with a full cover. The cover is there specifically for these nosy people who want to see and often touch the baby. DO NOT TOUCH A SLEEPING BABY! You might wake a mama bear. Every single time I am out in public with this car seat cover I am asked if there is a baby in there, and then if they can see. Um, no, I’m walking around with a stroller and car seat as a fashion statement. Cracks me up.

Just wait until they grow up, boys are terrible when they are a toddler, I have a toddler who drives me crazy!

Let’s just sum up every comment I’ve ever received in this category about someone else terrible toddler or the most amazing infant. So what if my infant isn’t the most amazing, or what if that night I didn’t sleep, what if I’m already scared and you’re going to freak me out with your horror stories of terrible twos? Don’t jinx my baby. All I’m saying.

What I have learned so far is that there is no perfect baby, no perfect parent.  We are both just doing the best we can at this thing that’s new and difficult for both of us. Being a baby and learning how to do literally everything is not easy I am sure. Maybe I have been that mom to brag about my amazing baby who’s perfect and you walk away whispering under your breath and feeling that knot in your stomach because you haven’t slept in what feels like a decade.

Let me tell you, I’ve had and still have lots and lots of great moments, and lots and lots of pull your week old unwashed hair moments. I’ve had to deal with skin care issues and a baby who couldn’t breathe properly for 3 months because of congestion, rash of every kind hitting him up all at once, while I couldn’t do much to fix it and soothe him, I was doing what you moms do every day. I was trying to do my best and fail and get up and learn from it.

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Most of my mornings he’s either watching me do my makeup, or in my lap while I do my beauty routine of the day. I know I am not alone in this. 

So moms everywhere, keep up the good work, you’re doing a great job. And please continue doing a great job taking care of your babies.

If you don’t have a baby yet, and find this post some what comical, great! It was meant to be so! Also, just in case you need some suggestions, here is an appropriate thing to say instead to a new mom. In my opinion.

Your baby is adorable, I am sure all your babies will make the most beautiful family!

How is he/she sleeping? Are they letting you get some rest?

How is your baby doing?

The key: open ended questions.

Please don’t share horror stories and if you do share a lovely story about your babies, no matter what age they are, please consider leaving the young new mom in a hopeful and positive mood.

 

Stay fabulous!

L.

Third Trimester Photoshoot

Can you stop time please!? My baby boy keeps growing and getting so long! I am sitting here looking through his newborn photos and catching baby fever just starring at my own baby!

Motherhood isn’t what I thought it would be.

I have 10 siblings, and being the oldest, I of course thought that having kids would be just like having to babysit all the time. Even though I am babysitting all the time, 24/7, being a mom is so much more then that! No one prepares you for the struggles and certainly no one can prepare you for the love that grows towards another human being.

I loved my pregnancy journey and I love being a mommy to a beautiful baby boy! As I sit and think back to my favorite pregnancy moments, I went back to my third trimester photoshoot.

P.s. take pictures earlier, maybe around 32-35 weeks if you are pregnant. I felt amazing but looking back at these now I am amazed at how big my belly was and how just huge I looked!

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Thank you for following my pregnancy journey! It was the busiest time of our life, but also one of the absolute best!

After taking a little bit of a break, I’m back and excited to share with you my favorite baby things, baby moments, experiences, set backs and celebrations!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram! CHECK OUT our story of day to day things and shout out when you find me on Instagram!

love,
L.

My pregnancy highlights

9 months is a long time only until you carry a little human inside, then it happens in a blink of an eye!

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My first trimester was so rough and I was so sick that I barely remember what happened. It went by fast, however, in comparison to the other part of my pregnancy. So I thought I’d share with you all some of the highlights (good and bad) from my journey.

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What I’ll miss the most is the movements and all the kicks inside my belly. Feeling little feet was amazing, even if they were up in my ribs for the last two months!

I am glad that dealing with nausea is over with. The worst part of it for me was throwing up every time I was brushing my teeth. It was literally the only nightmare for me before I got pregnant and that’s exactly what happened to me for 3 months straight!

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Second trimester was my favorite time. I felt like my bump was adorable and I could dress it up in so many ways! I loved shopping for cute outfits online. So far my favorite place is asos.com with a lot of options for dresses, shirts and pants!

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I had a lot of really fun moments that I will treasure for a long time! Among them was getting dressed up and taking maternity photos! It was a great time getting my husband out to do it with me and even though he was resisting, in the end he had a fun time and loves the memories those pictures created! Our photoshoot was actually on our 4th wedding anniversary and it was a great way to start celebrating the weekend!

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My husband is currently running for public office in Albany and this has been one of the busiest seasons of our lives! That’s why getting away for a baby moon was so difficult and also extremely refreshing for both of us! We didn’t tell anyone when and where and long we were gone for. It was perfect. We recommend that to every expecting couple if your life allows it!

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Second month of pregnancy was weird for me. I had extreme sensitivities to smells and food, and it was so bad that the entire month the only thing I could eat was pad thai and bread. You can imagine where my grocery money went to.

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For a while I thought that I was feeling my ligaments stretch, especially on the left side right where my ribs are, only to see on the ultrasound that it was the baby’s foot up in my ribs so high it was giving me real issues. Sometimes I couldn’t sneeze, laugh, cough without sharp pain, and tylenol became a must to fall asleep without feeling those toes playing with my ribs as if it was a piano! Somehow I feel like this is the pain I will miss. A lot.

I hope that sharing some of my thoughts and experiences during this journey is encouraging to some of you ladies! I am actually a private person and learned how to have public face, there are a lot of things I have kept private about my pregnancy, I won’t tell you how much weight I’ve gained even if I tell you that it was a lot more then I was planning on or wanted to, but I can promise that I can still be real about the ups and downs. And I’ve certainly had my ups and downs with this experience. It’s not always glamorous and there are a lot of gross moments, but in the end, my body is making a human from scratch, and that’s pretty incredible!

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Love your body, and what its able to do! It’s the only one you have! Enjoy every moment and every disappointment! Love every pound you put on to keep that babe healthy! Share your thoughts and fears with other women, they will support you and love you! Don’t be afraid to cry! When you have a real pregnancy brain moment, like the super embarrassing one, just laugh at yourself and let it go! Life is too short!

 

xoxo

Pregnancy Identity Crisis

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I secretly hope every woman goes through this.

As I look back at these photos, taken by my talented friend, I am thinking back of the mess inside my own head as soon as the first trimester was over. My first trimester was just like a cloud over my life and I barely remember it now because I was so sick and so out of it. As soon as I started to feel like a human again, I felt like the rug was pulled under my feet and I had to figure out who I was all over again.

I was worried about everything. My ability to be a mother, time management, being able to cook and take care of the household things like I normally would, and then there is work, my business, involvement in the community and friendships I still want to continue to nurture. I felt overwhelmed because all these thoughts of “how will I be able to do all this and take care of a tiny human” were inside my own head.

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It felt like an identity crisis, and I believe it was. Naturally so, as your world is turned upside down, you are going to question your every move and thought.

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I hope I can encourage every woman out there who feels an identity crisis coming on because of whatever life circumstances, it’s normal, and it doesn’t last long. I also hope that sharing my process helps someone else to stay encouraged and keep going through the process.

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I talked to a couple of my friends, who are also moms and have gone through what I was going through at the moment (that is key!). Allowed their encouragement and advice to sink in and process. I prayed, took long walks and allowed the thoughts in my mind come through one by one dealing with the pain and the changes as they came emotionally and physically. I got through that little chapter of my pregnancy and came out confident in what I my future will hold.

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No more freaking out. At least not until I’m in labor. Then I can’t speak for what I will feel.

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Here is what I learned in the second trimester of my pregnancy: 

 

Identity crisis is ok. Just as long as you don’t get stuck there too long and seek help.

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Talking to people who love you is good. Even when talking about it is unbearably hard.

 

Becoming a mom is not going to change the woman I am. It just adds to the woman I am.

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Being a mom isn’t going to stop me from living the life I always wanted. It just asks for some adjustments in life and maybe a couple of detours.

 

I still can make a difference in the world. I will. Especially by raising a child who is an incredible human being and becomes the man God already designed him to be! Somehow the thought of helping a helpless little human become amazing makes up for everything!

 

On another note, can I just stop for a moment and say that I think what a woman’s body goes through is incredible! This has been the hardest my body has worked in my entire life, and it created a miracle I am about to meet very soon. The way God created this process, a process when the love of two people creates a life, is astonishing to me. I think its beautiful. I am so thankful to have been picked to carry a life inside me!

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I am no less of a woman then I was before I was pregnant. My identity didn’t change because my life circumstances are changing. I am more then I was before.

 

I believe that there is so much more to me now then just a wife, just a business owner, just a sister, just a girl. I didn’t know you can grow so much within such a short time and I fully believe change is a necessity to live life to the fullest!

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Thanks to my friend Elysia for letting me play dress up and take these beautiful pictures. I felt amazing and she captured the feeling exactly! These hills and fields of Pensilvania are gorgeous!

Dress is from asos.com

Makeup and hair done by me, all Mary Kay of course and my favorite ‘perfect nude’ lipstick for my skin tone in Mary Kay gel matte lipstick in Mauve moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris in November

We all dream of a trip to Paris don’t we? Especially since meeting my husband we have been dreaming of going together. He is fluent in French, and has been to the country almost 20 times. Yes, be jealous, I am. I knew France would be a big part of our life because of my husband’s love for the country (I’m not complaining), our mutual love for french wine, and my love for french Baroque decor.

Here are some highlights from our trip and my theory on traveling in general!

Traveling Details & Tips

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  • We live a couple of hours away from New York, so we drove there to save money on an extra flight, it was a little crazy because we had just flown in from a week in Colorado at midnight the night before. I picked an over night flight so we got to Paris in the morning and had the entire day to explore after getting a quick nap in.
  • Favorite things: braids and or a hat when traveling make it easier to look chic even when you’re tired. Loose fitted shirt in case airplane makes you bloat or not feel so good. Simple makeup with bold eye liner, mascara, and a favorite lipstick. Retouch is easy when you land and you can still look glam!

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  • On the plane: bring water, snacks that can fit into your purse – I always get hungry waiting for the plane to board, and some reading material.
  • My theory is to always bring the coat with me on the plane to save space in the luggage. I love my favorite oversized Burberry scarf on the plane. I often get cold and would rather have my coat in the overhead bin and get cozy with my scarf.
  • We flew via British airways using up some traveling points. One thing I wish we did was upgrade our seats or at least pay the extra 40 to pick our own seats, since this time we ended up all the way in the back of the plane. Lesson learned for the future.
  • After researching the luggage policy, we took 4 suitcases ( 2 carry ons and 2 large ones checked in). They were almost empty since I knew I’d be shopping and bringing stuff back! It really helped because we could bring wine and heavier items back and still fit into the weight limit. ** Key is to bring a travel scale, it saved us so much money and the embarrassing repacking in the terminal.

Hotel Stay

Hôtel Eiffel Trocadéro

  • I did a LOT of research on the hotel and where to stay, we set a budget on the hotel and since we were there for a week, it all adds up! We could not be happier with the hotel! I was there every day waking up and pinching myself!
  • You can find this hotel website here, or look it up on Expedia.com Link. We picked the Deluxe room with a view, and it was just unreal to wake up to the view of the Eiffel tower! And from the other window in the room we could see Arc de Triomphe.
  • Location was everything! We were steps away from the metro, coffee, food, the Eiffel tower, pharmacy (which we needed to visit often due to getting sick), and even some grocery story for shopping.

Here are some photos of our room, I was so in awe of our room I didn’t take pictures before we invaded with our luggage!

  • My tips – do the research and decide on what’s important to you – spend most of your money on that! Hotel stay with location and view was important to me, so I am very happy with the choice!

Food, food, food

  • I am pretty sure we ate a loaf of bread each day, baguette fresh from the bakery down the street was just about the best thing ever!
  • I can never go back to eating crepes in US, they now taste like pancakes in comparison to what I ate in Paris.
  • Experiment, have fun and try something different, I did and do not regret it! Check out my post about all my favorite food coming soon!
  • Coffee – if you love your extra large cup of coffee french pressed in the morning like I do, you may be disappointed. It was impossible to find a big mug of coffee first thing when you wake up! Parisians drink espresso shots like it’s water! So we did like Parisians do. Then we went home and bought an espresso machine for our home.

 

Experiences

  • My husband speaks fluent french, has many friends living in Paris, and it was actually his first time doing some of the touristy things because I wanted to, and it was his first time staying at a hotel in Paris since he always had a friend’s couch to crash on.
  • So we took on life in Paris for a week like we belonged there. It fit so well I wanted to stay forever! We walked the streets for hours, visited with friends, did some shopping and enjoyed some amazing views, food and deserts!
  • We planned to fly to London for a day super quick and unfortunately it didn’t work out. It was the middle of our trip and I woke up with a fever, sore throat and all the other pleasantries of being sick! Good thing my husband could visit the pharmacy real quick and get me some meds! I got thru the week getting him sick also, but we just embraced it and kept going out to do stuff pumped up on pain killers!

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The Louvre. Amazing. Take like a day to go and hang out!
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Hotel de Ville

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One of the fun things was finding a designer store with my name on it, and another one with my sister’s name.

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Hotel de Ville. Such a beautiful building, that hosts people working for the government. There is also great shopping just around the corner from this place.

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Love my hat to travel with. Saves you bad hair days. You’re welcome.

 

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Quick tip for tourists: if you want a picture of the two of you traveling look for a stranger who is old, handicapped (and can’t run away with your camera), or part of a family group; they are then less likely to take your camera or your phone and run. Especially around these famous locations there are a lot of people who speak english, and having to ask someone to take your photo is kind of a universal language. 

Thanks for checking out my favorite trip so far! Comment and give me a thumbs up!!

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xoxo

Luba