Paris, Donnez-Moi L’Amour!

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The disproportionate hands of the clock could not tick fast enough as I counted down to July 23, 2014, the day I departed for my European vacation. Germany, Netherlands, France and Italy were all on the itinerary. Of the four countries, guess which one I anticipated most? France, but of course! Why? Because we are like bare feet and warm sand, we belong together.

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I credit some of my fascination with France to my French-American father. He lived and attended elementary school there, before his parents returned to “the land of the free and the home of the braaaave”.

Papa named me Roshell after La Rochelle (or so I thought), a city in western France on the Biscay Bay southwest of Tours. Apparently, someone lied to me. Either way, I share a name with a city in France… WE GO TOGETHER.

Fun Fact: La Rochelle is the sister city of New Rochelle in New York… another place I gravitate toward. Coincidence? Not sure.

What I am sure of is crème brûlée, the rich creamy custard topped with a contrasting layer of crispy caramelized sugar, torched to perfection. If you ever want to be my best friend, bring me crème brulee, it’s my favorite dessert.IMG_1070Crème Brûlée at Cafe Vavin

While on vacation, I stayed in Paris for a week and finally devoured creme brûlée in its homeland. Magnifique! I mentioned before that of the four countries, I anticipated France the most, that’s because of Paris. Paris, the city of love. I anxiously awaited walking the streets of the city that oozes the magical red gooeyness that makes us all warm and tingly inside.

At the mountain peak of my list of “best things in the whole wide world” is LOVE. It is up there next to perfectly tearing out a sheet of perforated paper

I imagined watching couples stroll hand in hand down the Champs Elysees all kissy-faced and googly-eyed. My ears anticipated hearing street singers perform their best renditions of the greatest love songs ever. My eye couldn’t wait to see the most beautiful architecture-lined streets. I awaited being bear-hugged by Paris’ comforting arms of love.

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Imagine my surprise when my fellow Frenchmen did not recognize me. No hugs or kisses. No hearts falling from the sky as couples skipped down the sidewalk to the tune of “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie. Whaaaa? I thought, where am I? Should I denounce my love for France and apologize to America for having eyes for another?

No. Just like the bare feet and warm sand, we can’t always be together and we don’t always agree with one another, but that doesn’t mean we don’t go together. France and I are stuck for life. We share a name, dessert, and love… in some weird way. We are stuck until I find a new favorite dessert and trade in La Rochelle for New Rochelle because it loves me more. Until then… j et’ aime, France.
IMG_1177Macarons at LaduréeIMG_0709Le Petit Dejeuner

IMG_0924Mona Lisa at Musee du LouvreIMG_0625Salmon CrepeIMG_1081Egg & Cheese Buckwheat Crepe at Berthillon

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See more photos on my Facebook page in my “Travel” album. Here’s a quick video of footage I captured in Paris.

Hugs,

Roshell

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Am-ster-DAMN!

IMG_0582From Germany, we headed to  Amsterdam, Netherlands via train intending to sleep during the five-hour ride. We were lucky enough to NOT have seats because the powers that be overbooked the train. We sat on the floor and attempted to sleep in our laps. Tiare and I were not successful. Augi, the sleep master, enjoyed a little shut eye.

On our second night in Amsterdam, I suffered a baby heart attack because I accidentally deleted about 300 vacay pictures. I digress.

We took a boat tour through the canals, explored the city by foot, shopped (not until we dropped), and filled our bellies.  Oh! And I recovered a some deleted pics. All in all, we had a great silly time in Amsterdam.

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Danke, Germany: Pforzheim & Stuttgart

Apologies for the delay. Better late than never, no?

My “Best Vacay Ever (so far)” ended and last week reality fully kicked in.

Cramming twenty-one days into one blog post seems unreasonable, so multi-city and single-city posts it is. First stop… Pforzheim and Stuttgart, Germany.

After 14+ travel hours the wings landed, Augi (my sister) and I happily squeezed Tiare (my cousin) when she greeted us at the airport in Stuttgart. Grateful to feel the blood flowing in my legs, I marched with my full blatter to the restroom (I avoided the lavatory).

I imagined that my first international dilemma would be communicating, wrong, it turned out to be flushing the toilet. After pulling and tapping everything attached to and near the toilet, I pushed the life-sized circle on the wall, got it!

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We dropped off our bags and headed to Tiare’s school where we met up with her brother (my other half-German cousin). After they registered for classes we chatted at this fancy little coffee shop (pictured below).

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Fast forward to dinner. With Adrian’s help, I ordered in my best German (see video below).

The most exciting thing about my first German meal (wait for it)? Placing the ordering. Adrian suggested the ravioli-like pasta he ordered, but I chose meatloaf (center plate on right). The meatloaf tasted like Spam. I don’t like Spam.

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Friday night made up for the Thursday food mishap. It happened to be 90s Night at Como Club in Pforzheim and the DJ played American music, go figure! N Sync, Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Montell Jordan, Backstreet Boys and Tupac (Europe loves Tupac)… How could we not have a blast?

Everyone in Como Club learned The Electric Slide that night. We left the club around 5:00am and headed for Amsterdam at 6:30am. Turn down for what?

I wish I could share video of our Family Night with my aunt, so priceless and entertaining. My aunt and sister would likely kill me. I have too much to live for, so I will not be sharing, but below is an “usie”.

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We were able to experience Germany twice since it’s where we arrived and departed.The second time around we went to a gourmet burger joint in Stuttgart. I thoroughly enjoyed the burger, especially the fresh fluffy bun (pictured below).IMG_2306IMG_2340

IMG_2358Later that day, we went to the mall, a hookah bar, and a few other places. The night (or morning) ended at a sweet coffee shop with some cool Germans (see picture below). Great times!

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That song played almost every time we were in the car in Germany. We heard it in Italy too, so we dubbed it our theme song.

Grab Your Passport! We’re Going To Europe.

Europe here we come! This summer me, my sister and cousin will travel through Europe visiting Germany, Netherlands, France and Italy. (insert happiest emoji)

Below are maps with circles highlighting places we will visit within each country. Flights are booked, passports are ready, but there is so much more to be done. My biggest challenge will definitely be packing. One suitcase for three weeks … how will I survive? I have already dreamt about packing, forgetting everything and almost missing the flight trying to pack last minute. The trip is in July, but I should start practice packing tomorrow.

Ahhh! I’m so excited. mgermany mfranceitaly_states_map

Upgrade You

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Whether it’s a career, job, relationship, friendship, health or fitness, don’t be afraid to upgrade.

Confession: I’ve allowed myself to accept less than I deserve and sat comfortably in a below great position. That’s not the person I am, nor want to be. I decided to give up good and go for great. Let’s do it together!

How to Upgrade You

1. Evaluate – Take notice of where you are and where you want to be. If you don’t know where you are and where you’re going, it’s easy to get lost.

2. Plan – Map out the steps you must take to reach your goals. Write a list, create a vision board and compose a outline. Having multiple visuals serve as constant reminders to keep you focused on your end game. Lists allow you a sense of accomplishment, each item crossed off brings you closer to your goal.

3. Execute – Fulfill the requirements of your lists, vision board and outline. Keep placing one foot in front of the other. It may seem that you are far away, but you can reach your goals. If you fall down, get back up. Remain consistent, positive, focused and work for what you want.

Throw It On: Style With Lo

While driving through Beverly Hills on Tuesday, a red light interrupted my mission. As I sat at the light I decided to people watch. There were so many clothes wearing people that I should call it “clothes watching”.

The price for a single top or pair of pumps could easily feed a small village, yet some looked no different than their less expensive competitors. Don’t get me wrong, I love my luxury brands just as much as the next girl. I know that quality is a factor but some items just don’t fit the bill.

I also know that an inexpensive item can shame an expensive one. We can purchase a $1,000 top, but if we don’t have style it can be mistaken for a 99 cent item from the discount store.

Style is what brings clothing to life, it’s the difference between wearing your clothes and letting them wear you.

I want to introduce you to Lo, she has great personal style. Let’s check out how she throws it on. Read the Q & A below to find out how she does it and connect with her.

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Describe yourself in one sentence.

Lo: One open-minded, adventurous, strong, funny, and intelligent female with a slight male demeanor.

Who/what inspires your personal style?

Lo: I wouldn’t say that there is anyone or anything in particular that inspires my personal style. How I am feeling, my mood is what inspires me.

What is your favorite piece and/or accessory right now?

Lo: My boyfriend cut destroyed denim jeans. I can dress them up or dress them down. I can throw on a colorful pump or rock a pair of retro Jordan’s with them. They are so comfortable and I love comfort.

Would you like to share anything else about you or your personal style?

Lo: I never thought I really had “style”. I simply just buy what I like and throw it on. 

Connect with Lo on Instagram and Twitter, both handles are @MyLifeAsLo

Life of Pi

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Happy New Year! I rang it in at the movie theatre watching Life of Pi.

Did I like it? Yes! The film is literally gorgeous. I am not crazy about 3D, but this was pretty awesome. Aside from it being easy on the eyes, it had an incredible story to match. Fantasy or not, Pi’s journey is captivating and inspirational.

The fact that I could (unexpectedly) relate to many themes covered in the film reeled me. Struggle, faith, love, friendship, family, spirituality, travel and independence are all relevant themes in my life.

Starting this year watching Life of Pi was my first good decision of 2013. Stayed tuned as I share my journey.

Check out the Life of Pi theatrical trailer below.