Posts in Happy Travels
France-iversary, Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, Tim surprised me with a trip down to Monterey to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our France trip...or, as I like to call it, our France-iversary!

Going to Monterey has become a family tradition for us. It was the first trip we ever took together, when Tim surprised me nearly three years ago (whoa!) with a trip down there. We now try to go every year, always staying in the same hotel (hello complimentary room service breakfast!) and making sure to visit Monterey Bay's amazing aquarium.

This trip was a smashing success!

A few of the highlights:

We rented a bicylcle built for two (so so fun!) and rode out to a beautiful picnic point.

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We had a delicious lunch that was reminiscent of all of our France picnics. I really do miss that style of eating.

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France-iversary 2

That night, we had an amazing dinner at the adorable Bistro Moulin. The restaurant owners were just lovely and the food blew us away. Our meal was as good as the best meals we ate while on our trip.

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The next day, we slept in and then headed off to visit the aquarium. And I found so much inspiration of things to paint! The flamingos! The sea horses! The penguins! Oh my!

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We then went back to the lovely Bistro Moulin for lunch and to wait out the field trip children at the aquarium. Seriously, the food was that good that we had to go back. There was still stuff left on the menu to try! Like the gnocchi gratin. You would die.

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All in all, we had such a fantastic time. It's had to believe that it's already been a year since we had our dream trip overseas...I feel like it's time to start talking to the Universe about our next adventure...

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Franny's Cup & Saucer

A few weeks ago, Tim and I headed up the coast to Sea Ranch for a couple of days to spend some time out of town with the family.

While there, we had the good fortune of a family friend introducing us to the CUTEST BAKERY IN THE WORLD! Seriously, y'all, I've seen plenty of cute in my day, and this place was swoon-worthy!

Franny's Cup & Saucer is located in Point Arena, CA and is well worth a visit if you're in the area. In fact, I would say that this adorable place could be the actual reason for a visit to this area if you're anywhere near it. It's that cute.

Frannys_1

{Ahem} Please pardon the vacation hair and bummy clothes. This was an unexpected photo shoot!

The storefront is pretty small, but is full of the cutest little gifty items. And they even had a giraffe! Come on! Of course, I was completely smitten!

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Frannys_3 

And, oh my...the baked goods really floored me! They had peanut butter and jelly macaroons that blew me away. They were just as good as the ones we had in France, if not a little bit better!

Frannys_4 

This place was such a treat and such a sweet surprise to find. I'll definitely be coming back on subsequent visits!

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Happy France-iversary!

Happy Friday friends!

Earlier this week, Tim surprised me with a getaway down to Monterey to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our France trip -- or as I like to call it, our France-iversary! 

We had an awesome time, ate awesome food, and saw many beautiful things -- pics will be up next week!!

In the meantime, I hope you all have a really wonderful weekend and that you find something to celebrate! Shouldn't there always be something to celebrate?

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looking forward

I feel like my life has been in chaos for the past few months. SinceFebruary, I have: quit my job, traveled to Oregon, traveled to Colorado, traveled to South Carolina, taken a month-long trip to France (more recaps coming, I promise!), moved in with my lovely boyfriend, got the flu and other illnesses that had me down for the count for a solid 6 weeks, traveled to Arizona, traveled back to South Carolina, went to San Diego, saw the Avett Brothers in concert!, did a 150-mile bike ride, had tons of friends visit, turned 30!, got a job, and attended 3 weddings.

I haven't really looked at it all spread out like that, but, phew, that's a lot. Just reading the list makes me a little tired.

Tired, but happy. And fulfilled. I've had an amazing few months (minus the plague!) and have gotten to do so many wonderful things. And, I can comfortably say that I'm also ready for some down time, some nesting, some getting settled and focusing on things I need to do.

Here are just a few of the things I'm looking forward to in the coming months:

  • a puppy!! Yes, you read that right: a puppy! If all goes as planned, we will have a puppy(!) in the house by tomorrow. Crazy! And awesome! {Yeah, sorry for all the !, but can you talk about a puppy without getting excited?}
  • my etsy shop! You can see it here: crafty fanny's etsy shop, but don't get too excited, there's nothing listed just quite yet...but soon, very soon...
  • cooking! On my short list: homemade pie crust and then pie, homemade pizza crust, pulled pork, and tons of soups
  • and finally, holiday movies. I'll tell the truth, the holiday movie I'm most looking forward to is, of course,

New_moon

For the record, I'm totally Team Edward.

How about you? Any fun things you're looking forward to for the coming holiday season and 2010?

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road trippin'
Fanny_driving_hands
Tim and I are heading down to Phoenix for a few days to spend some time with his family. I hope we don't melt. 111 degrees on Monday? Yeesh, even if it is a dry heat, that's a lot of digits!

Happy weekending y'all! Stay cool if you can!

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Happy Bastille Day

Yay for Bastille Day!

In honor of the French national holiday, it seemed fitting to share some Bastille Day-y photos from our recent France trip:

These guards were some of the first people we saw on the Champs-Élyséesright after we arrived in Paris. This was one of the first of many times on the trip that Tim reminded me that my photos would be even more surreptitious if I turned my flash off.

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This is me being super cool on the Champ de Mars as we got ready for our bike tour of Paris. This bike tour made me really want a beach cruiser.
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 See those big clouds in the sky? Yeah, it totally poured on our bike tour. Others were not happy, I didn't really mind so much.
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Here I am at a Joan of Arc statue in Paris. She didn't really have anything to do with the French Revolution, but I think that she taught the French to fight for their country, no matter what. I'm positive that some of her spirit contributed to the spirit of the revolutionaries.


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This is us at the top of the Arc de Triomphe at night. So pretty!


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This photo was from the Maritime Museum -- this is one of Napolean's actual boats!


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And this is one of the actual buildings of Marie Antionette's hamlet at Versailles. Did you know that she and her friends used to dress up to play peasant, but they would do things like have the sheep dyed to match their dresses? When learning about her role in history, it's easy to see why really hungry, really poor people were super pissed.


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Have a wonderful day, my friends! And remember, Viva la Revolucion! But, not really, because that was a really tough time in French history. It all worked out in the end, but jeez, a lot of really bad stuff went down. Hmm...maybe this week's Friday Confession should be: I love gross understatments of historical facts.
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france recap #2: Provence, pt. 1

A few years ago, my book club read A Year in Provence. The book was good, but more than anything it made me want to give up everything and move to Provence where I could experience things like wacky neighbors, language barriers, and truffle-seeking pigs. With stuff like that going on, who wouldn't want to move to Provence?

On Day 4 of our trip, we picked up our rental car in Nice and headed to Arles (pronounced "Arghghhhh" for those non-French speakers out there. I realized that the French usually only pronounce about 40% of the letters in their words. This one was impossible for us to say and be understood by anyone French.), a sweet and teeny Provencial town on the Rhone River.

Here's our car. Fun and cute, huh? Using this car, and seeing all of the tiny cars throughout the country made me think Americans have a big-car problem. My Honda feels HUGE now!

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Our hotel, the lovely Hotel du Musee, was just a block from the bank of the Rhone River. This town was so full of pretty, I went a little overboard taking photos. I loved the pink-lined lanterns all over town.

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Um, giggle. I know, I'm a child. But, nord pinus?!? Awesome! (fyi: according to my desktop translator, it means north pinus. Perfect.)

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We had crazy-fantastic meals in Arles, and the best pain au chocolate of the trip. This might have been my second-favorite town for food. Our first night, we found this great wine bistro, Chez Ariane. It was soo very good and was well-decorated and super homey.

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I want to paint this photo. I love how it turned out.

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Our first dinner in Arles. That cheese was amazing. That wine was amazing. That salad was amazing, and I don't even LIKE hard-boiled egg or beets. Dining Perfection.

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Arles at night. Spooky, huh?

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Our hotel had this adorable courtyard where we had our coffee in the mornings. If you looked up the French word for "adorable" (which coincidentally, I think is adorable), a photo of this courtyard would be there.

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More pretty.

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Van Gogh also spent time in Arles. We spent one day doing a walking tour of some of his more famous paintings. They have these easels set up all over so you can see the painting with what inspired it.

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And they have an old Colliseum.

Our second night in Arles, we went to a restaurant right down the street from Chez Ariane, Le 16. Wow! It was so good, we went back there for a second meal!

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They had these clams. It's hard to describe how small they were -- each one was about the size of one of those pink pencil erasers. You know the ones you put on your pencil when you've already used up the one it came with? These. They were tiny, but incredible! They were cooked with a butter garlic sauce that made me speechless. That's a sign of good food; there's not much in this world that leaves me speechless!

Then we had this dish: a roasted duck breast with gratin potatoes. OMG. I didn't know what to do with myself after the first bite, it was that good. This definitely ranks in my top 3 best meals while in France. And I ate a LOT of meals while in France.

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And the potatoes. They weren't regular gratin potatoes, not like I'm used to here in the States. I think they were cooked more with cream (maybe sour cream?) than cheese. They tasted like heaven. They were rich, but light. And almost melted in your mouth.

So, um, I have more to tell you about Provence, but after writing about all this food, I think I need to go eat! But, needless to say, if you are heading to Provence, I would highly suggest a visit to Arles.

More recaps are coming though! Yay!

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France recap #1: Nice and the Côte d'Azur

FINALLY! I am feeling human again (yay! thanks for healing thoughts!) and ready to rock and roll!

Here is the first of many recaps of our France trip. I decided to split the recaps up into region, so as to simultaneously not overwhelm you with pictures while also going into some detail about our travels.

As I mentioned here, our France travels started in the lovely city of Nice. Our hotel was in a wonderful spot, just a few short blocks away from Old Nice and right on a beautiful square complete with a requisite fountain.

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In Nice, we were able to visit both the Matisse and Chagall museums. Both museums were pretty small (in a good way!) and the works they held were absolutely amazing. I didn't even know I was a fan of either until our visits. I walked away knowing that I was a fan of both!

We weren't able to take pictures inside the Matisse Museum, but here's the building. To get there, you had to walk through this beautiful park.

Matisse

It was really fun to see all the kids playing outside, just living their lives. I think that's one of the things I like most about France. There's so much history and culture, but everyone simply coexists around it. And they blend it into their lives. Beautiful.

{Side note: I had this same feeling of wonder when I saw young children playing soccer outside the Pantheon in Rome. They kept bouncing the ball off the columns, just no big deal, very breezy.}

Then we took the bus a bit down the road to the Chagall Museum.  Everything was just gorgeous!

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IF you ever find yourself in Nice (which I would highly recommend!) and IF you ever find yourself at the Chagall Museum (which I would also highly recommend!) BE SURE to spend sometime in the garden outside. We decided to sit in a sunny spot in the grass and both wound up falling asleep. It was one of the most delicious naps of our trip, and TRUST, we took a lot of naps on this trip!

The next day we took the train to Antibes, the home of many great mega-yachts of the world and the Picasso Museum. The museum is actually housed in the building where Picasso lived and worked for about 10 years during his Rose Period. Here's one of his sculptures:

Picasso_Water 

Nice water, huh? It's easy to imagine why he was so happy there!

This is the picnic we had in the park in Antibes. And yes, we traveled overseas with a swiss army knife, non-stick cheese knife, tupperware, small cutting board, wine opener, and picnic blanket. That's just how we roll, yo. Actually, that's how Tim rolls. My only contribution was the wine opener!

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Here are some more miscellaneous pretty things around Nice and Antibes. This is just a small offering of all the pretty that we were surrounded by.

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Nice_view 

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All in all, it was a wonderful start to a wonderful trip! I have decided (are you listening, Universe?) that Tim and I will move to Nice and open a sailing school. He'll run the school and do some of the teaching and I'll help with customer service and prepare lunches with market-fresh ingredients. In the spare time, I'll paint and make cards for extra income. It will be lovely!

Le sigh, I miss it already! Thanks to all of you for helping me relive our travels through the blog! Next stop...Provence!

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our Paris adventures -- the beginning!

Tim and I arrived in Paris on Thursday. Wow! It feels so big city compared to the countryside of Provence and the Loire Valley.

Our first stop after sleeping in on Friday: the grocery store and laundry!

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Outside the laundry

We sat outside the French Laundry (HA!) and read our guidebooks like a couple of good tourists. It was really nice to finally have some clean clothes after two weeks of traveling!

After laundry, we decided to wander around our neighborhood before heading out to the Pont des Artes for a picnic dinner and people watching.

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Our apartment is just a couple of blocks from the Luxembourg Gardens -- they are so beautiful!

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Some scenes from the street:

Maison de Poupee

SF Book Co

Our bridge picnic, starring a bottle of champagne to celebrate our first Parisian picnic:

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After sunset, we decided to walk over to Notre Dame to check it out at night. The verdict: beautiful.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Night

It was an AWESOME first day in Paris! Our second day was great too -- a bike tour, walk in the rain and a home-cooked meal. Deets soon, I promise!
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random reasons why France is awesome!

1. There are signs like this:

Uh_oh_wild_boar!

Wild boar crossing?!?!?!  John Locke would be in heaven, non?

Note: I'm completely out of the loop right now with LOST. I am planning on having a big LOST marathon when I get home. I've seen some headlines - it seems something big has gone down...that's all, now back to France!

2. There are these things at the entrances to most major freeways with a sign that (I think) says Driving with under-inflated tires = danger:

Tim_Michelin  

BTW, I have come to realize that my French is ATROCIOUS! I've been trying to own it nonetheless.

Another great thing about France is that their gas stations (and most major tourist attractions, I'm finding) have these great instant espresso/cappuccino machines with a little stand alone bar at which to drink said instant coffee. So civilized!

Tim and I are in Paris now and it's awesome! Many more pics coming soon!!

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