The Worst Souvenir Ever

We bought the worst souvenir ever while on our honeymoon in Paris.

Coffee and map reading.

Coffee and map reading.

I know what you are thinking –

How is that possible? It was your honeymoon! Everything should have been oozing romance and perfection. What prompted you to purchase something that would have been anything less than satisfactory?

I had such HIGH hopes for this souvenir too, it makes me so sad to think that it is now hidden away in my closet, stacked between heavy books not easily moved.

It is not a common souvenir.
In fact, it was custom made, right before our eyes.
One of a kind.
A complete original.

It is not one of those cheesy dime-a-dozen key chains with the Eiffel tower or a neon-green shirt with ‘City of Love’ sprayed across the chest in obnoxiously large font.

Nope. It is way better that.

It is a charcoal drawing/sketch of my portrait done by a seemingly talented artist who was standing right along the Seine, just next to the Eiffel tower.

As if, this was the most convenient place for an artist to create art.

Moments before we found the artist.

My camera bag is only slightly large. Moments before we found the artist.

He caught our eye because he had just finished a sketch and it was stunning. The woman looked beautiful. She had deep shades to show the contour of her facial bones and her eyes were smiling. Immediately, Mr. Speedy asked how much and agreed I would be the subject.

However, the artist’s work that we just saw, and approved of, was taking a break so his co-worker promptly stepped in and began my sketch.

This is so exhilarating! We can frame this and always remember our honeymoon and Paris… I thought as I sat and positioned myself to look at the artist.

I used to be an model for the Art Department at grad school and it was my favorite job ever. This brought back a flood of memories and kind of gives a person a whole new level of value that they can keep to themselves. I can be the subject. I am the subject. I am being art.

However, after some time and sketching, it was apparent something was very very very wrong.

Mr. Speedy kept snooping, peeking over the artist’s shoulder, and making these contorted faces as if he just bit into a rotten apple.

And when the artist was finally done and wiped his brow, as if to say You were difficult… but I am a master, I held my breath hoping it was a notable likeness.

To my horror, this is what he saw in me:

My neck is a size XXL. Just to let you know if you buy me a button up.

My lips are NOT that lush. Those eyebrows… did he miss out on how the thickness? My neck is a size XXL. Just to let you know if you buy me a button up.

Man. I am a man.

Man. I am a man.

WHAT IS THIS.

WHAT IS THIS.

We payed the artist, and walked away with our sketch (if you can even call it that, it is more like a long-lost twin brother), and wondered how on Earth did the man think that this looked anything like me?

“I feel like he looked at you, and any type of flaw, like your thicker eyebrows or freckles, he altered your face. I don’t like it. I love your face and this is not it,” Mr. Speedy said.

It’s true – my real features are pretty plain – I have small lips, large eyes, thick eyelashes, crazy eyebrows, freckles, and a very thin neck.

Mr. Speedy things that this portrait looks like….

  • Me as a male football player
  • Me as an male army sargent
  • Me if I got lip injection, a nose job, and tweezed all my eyebrows out
  • Me if I was not me

I guess in the future, if we REALLY want a portrait done, we should probably go with an artist who is a bit more legitimate than a man sketching tourists along the Seine.

Sincerely,

Lily

p.S. On a completely unrelated note, I just figured out our iPad has Photobooth which means I can take pictures like this:

20140717-183610-66970429.jpg

The Best Stamp in my Passport

Name this movie-

But Jack, Jack gave me the perfect gift
a stamp in my passport.
He took me to Florence for our honeymoon.
I guess he might say he gave me the world.

While You Were Sleeping.

While You Were Sleeping.

As I held my ticket to Paris, this scene and these words kept replaying in my head.

I was about to see the world, a world I only had studied and read about in Art History, a world that Mr. Speedy knew meant everything to me.

I hope one day I can give him the world.
The trip of a lifetime.
Take him some place he has always wanted to go but never had the chance.
Maybe this will just a be a lifetime of making a home, family, and memories with him?

Here is an overview of what we did/saw during our trip.

First, Mr. Speedy really went above and beyond with our stay in Pairs.
We stayed in a suite at the Saint James Pairs.
A previous mansion that is now a luxury hotel.

The lobby.

The lobby.

Us on the first night outside the Saint James.

Us on the first night outside the Saint James.

Our room was two levels and decorated in highly elaborate fabrics, wallpapers, patterns, and paintings. We had a spiral staircase that made me dizzy. Portraits of people. A set of really tall windows (no screens). It was very unique.

The sitting room. I LOVE this book wallpaper.

The sitting room. I LOVE this book wallpaper.

Enough about the room.

Here is what we did:

  • Arc de triomphe
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Musee de l’orangerie (see the beautiful massive Monet waterlilies here)
  • Champs Elysees (major street with shopping, shopping, and more shopping)
  • Musée Marmottan (a tour of a patron’s mansion…. SO much impressionism inside. GO SEE THIS.)
  • Louvre – we did not go in because that would take me weeks to get through, but walked along the outside
  • Notre Dame
  • Sainte Chapelle
  • Pont des arts (the lock bridge for lovers — DO THIS IF YOU GO TO PARIS WITH YOUR LOVE)
  • Musee Rodin (MY FAVORITE. I WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN HERE.)
  • Les Invalides (Napolean’s tomb…. it is massive and the most regal thing ever).
I started to cry when I saw this. I cried pretty much everywhere I went. It was all so beautiful.

I started to cry when I saw this. I cried pretty much everywhere I went. It was all so beautiful.

Oh someone was being funny.

Oh someone was being funny.

Zee River!

Zee River!

Lover’s Bridge-

Locks, Locks, Locks.

Locks, Locks, Locks.

He bought a big lock.

He bought a big lock.

Notre Dame.

Notre Dame.

My favorite place- Rodin’s museum and gardens-

I have no idea what I am doing.

I have no idea what I am doing.

Close -up of 'The Kiss'

Close -up of ‘The Kiss’

Napolean’s Tomb-

It was MASSIVE.

It was MASSIVE.

Then we took a train and went to Nice for the rest of the week.

Our hotel was built into the side of a rock formation (Hotel la Perouse), jutting out along the sea. Just above us, we could hike up to the castle ruins and overlook the entire town. Nice was relaxing, less crowded than Paris, and had all the food of Italy. I loved it.

View from hotel.

View from hotel.

Bird!

Bird!

Loved these steps.

Loved these steps.

Mountains in the distance.

Mountains in the distance.

Everything was in bloom!

Everything was in bloom!

We exlored the marina, I got my hair cut, and we sat long the coast.

It was a bit chilly!

It was a bit chilly!

Our room here was very romantic-

Hearts everywhere.

Hearts everywhere.

Kissing.

Kissing.

And the only sunset we caught was on our last night, in a hotel room at the airport, a perfect ending to the entire trip-

Airport sunset.

Airport sunset.

Tell me-

What has been your favorite vacation ever?

Was it Florida?
That time you went on a girls only getaway to your best friend’s house.
Italy.
Somewhere with a beach.
Tell me what blew your socks off.

 

Sincerely,

Lily

 

French Food (snails, gelato, and a recipe at the bottom)

 

Coffee and map reading.

Coffee and map reading. A daily thing we did.

One the greatest aspects of traveling to another country is indulging in the local cuisine.

Of the other European places I have been, here are a few favorites:

  • Italy: Margherita Pizza. You will get it and think you can’t possibly consume the entire pie but before you know it, you can taste the divine Tuscan hills and you will begin to think about ordering a second.
  • Bali: Watermelon with mint. It is refreshing, minty, and sweet.
  • England: The tea and cookie thing. The tea alone will make you feel so cozy and happy and content, all your problems dissolve in the first sip.
  • Italy (again): GELATO. No, this is not ice-cream and does not taste remotely like any frozen pre-packaged gelato you can find in your frozen department. It is smooth, rich, and kind of makes you feel like a supermodel. You deserve the best, so get two scoops.
  • Germany: Schnitzel. Or Brezel. Who doesn’t like a fresh pretzel or a thin-slice of breaded meat with a slice of lemon? Mhmmm.
  • Switzerland: The fondue. The cheese. The chocolate. It taste like nothing you have had before and after that, you will judge those little Kraft cheese slices forever.

And now France–

Snails in pesto.

Snails in pesto.

Mr. Speedy and I tried to order new things (he was more adventurous than I) and allowed ourselves to indulge in wine, sweets, fish, croissants, you name it. If you are going to travel (and really enjoy yourself), budget for food. Especially in France, where it is rather expensive. He was really good at reminding me that we were on our honeymoon and enjoying every moment.

“What do you think you’ll order?” he would ask.
“Oh well, I was thinking the filet… but you know, it is like expensive…”
“Lily,” he smiled, putting down his menu. “Order whatever you want, this is our honeymoon. I didn’t plan this trip for you to be worried or budgeting. Order whatever.”

So, I ordered what my tummy desired-

This was one of our favorites meals!

This was one of our favorites meals!

I have no idea what they did to the cherry tomatoes but I LOATHE tomatoes and tried one of these and holy swoon. They were completely sweet and lacked the seed-spraying texture that I usually gag at.

Another favorite thing about France is that on every single corner there is a pastry shop. Full of fresh macaroons, croissants, sweet rolls. You will peer in the window and want what you see- go ahead and enjoy it, because whatever you eat will forever make any other pastry seem lacking.

A shop!

A shop!

Macaroons!

Macaroons!

This little guys are probably the reason that I gained 3 lbs on this trip.

WORTH EVERY POUND.

We found the most darling little cafe along the Seine, just before we visited the Notre Dame cathedral. Mr. Speedy claimed this was the best burger he had ever consumed and I had a fantstic chicken cabbage salad that the waiter shook and created right in front of me.

 

He waited patiently for me to take this picture before eating.

He waited patiently for me to take this picture before eating.

So goooood.

So goooood.

We discovered that the Leffe beer was a drink we both enjoyed (a rare thing because I generally do not like beer):

Beer!

Beer!

Speaking of beer, one night in Paris we had the best party. It was just the two of us, a bag of chips, champagne, and beer. I highly recommend doing this. Even if you are at home. Throw on some robes and have a party-

Coffee and gelato breaks happened often. Especially when we were touring and Mr. Speedy saw a sign like this:

"Please, I need food. No more art."

“Please, I need food. No more art.”

How can I refuse this face?

Naturally, little breaks were crucial to his sanity and my determination to get through each museum.

Sandwich and husband.

Sandwich and husband.

Serious map reading.

Serious map reading.

The best breakfast we have was at Hotel la Perouse in Nice.

We ordered it in bed because well, isn’t that what honeymooners do? It literally ended up in our bed… so we moved to the balcony.

All this for TWO PEOPLE??

All this for TWO PEOPLE??

Yummy.

Yummy.

We really loved this balcony. The night before we had champagne and strawberries, compliments of the hotel.

It was picture perfect-

Oh hello.

Oh hello.

I LOVED Nice because it is oh-so-close to Italy which means they had my favorite kind of pizza…. it was better than ever.

And now for a little recipe –

We ordered this appetizer in Paris and it was healthy, light, and delicious.

Romaine hearts, beets, fresh Parmesan.

Romaine hearts, beets, fresh Parmesan.

I have already made two versions of this since being back and love it. All you need-

  • Romaine hearts
  • Sliced beets (or tomatoes if you prefer)
  • Freshly sliced Parmesan or mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil, balsamic vinegar

Lay out the romaine hearts on a plate. Placed sliced beets around. Place cheese on top, drizzle lightly with oil and vinegar. Chill and serve cold.

Sincerely,

I-want-some-Pizza-Lily

Kissinggggg. This happened like... every other 43 seconds.

Kissinggggg. This happened like… every other 43 seconds.

Memories of a Champagne Gown and a French romance

Marriage.

What a simple two-syllable word that already holds such a heavy, happy weight in my heart.

Married.

Married.

I don’t have any professional pictures or the video back yet, so I am going to only post a few pictures to give a brief overview.

This day was heavy and thick with emotion and in the future, I’ll blog about moments in-depth (such as opening my wedding gift from Mr. Speedy or finding out my little brother was wearing my veil and taking selfies).

The 1920’s theme turned out amazing! It was blast to see how everything came together.

I will say, my absolute most favorite part of that entire day, was saying my vows.

I really thought it was going to be when I first saw and locked eyes with Mr. Speedy while walking down the aisle… but saying my vows was the most surreal moment I have ever had in my short life. I’ll never forget the look of pure happiness and committment and love on his face.

And apparently (I do not remember this), I jumped up and down a little out of excitement in the middle of this process. Megan and Brittany, do you recall?

Vows.

Vows.

Favorite moment.

Favorite moment.

Married!

Married!

From there, the rest was a blur but a lot of fun and LET ME JUST SAY-

Having a big wedding is worth it for the fact that you are surrounded by a group of people who would probably never be together in the same room and there is such an overwhelming feeling of support and happiness, it makes it worth every single penny. After the vows, the best part was spending time and seeing people from near and far!

These kids were the best. I am so happy they were a part of the wedding.

These kids were the best. I am so happy they were a part of the wedding.

My wedding gift from Mr. Speedy was a beautiful pearl and crystal back drape necklace.

I am only going to wear backless gowns now.

I am only going to wear backless gowns now.

It matched perfectly and was simply stunning. If you really want one, you can get order one from BHLDN from here. And then we can be twins.

HONEYMOON-

So when did I find out where I was going???

While signing our marriage license with the Priest, best man, and maid of honor someone let the secret out.

The Priest.

Of all people, he simply says to me, “So, I heard you are going to Paris. That’ll be quite a trip.”

Mr. Speedy’s face was shocked. I think he felt somewhat betrayed by the man that just married us.

So the next morning, straight from the hotel, we flew to Paris. PARIS.
PARIS.
PARIS.
PARISSSSSSSS.

This is probably the most selfless trip Mr. Speedy could have planned. My undergraduate degree was in Art History and impressionism is my favorite, but I have never been to Paris. Mr. Speedy planned this entire honeymoon around my love of art.

Each morning, I’d ask him – “What do you want to do today?”
“I want to see you smile and happy.”
And then I usually would have an internal debate on exploring Paris or staying locked away in our honeymoon nest of hotel room and come up for air hours, days later.
What is a girl to do with a response like that?

Louvre!

Louvre!

I made an amazing discovery on this trip. Mr. Speedy is completely capable of looking at art for hours, but only if you feed him a beer or two every other hour or so. This kept him sustained to see and observe art in an enjoyable matter.
When I missed my opportunity to get him a beer or food, this is what resulted:
Sleeping in Notre Dame. Sleeping in Notre Dame.

On the other hand, I could have given up food and all drinks and showers for weeks and would have still had this smile-

Are you ready to see another cathedral???

Are you ready to see another cathedral???

We spent the first half of the week in Paris, then took a train to Nice for the remainder of our honeymoon.

And somewhere between getting married, being in Europe, and seeing so many new things –  I decieded t oget my hair cut by a man that did not speak any English and smelled strongly of espresso and chocolate.

It truly was a wonderful trip.

Hair cut! This is in Nice.

Hair cut! This is in Nice.

I am wearing the dress he bought me for the honeymoon in this picture. I felt extremely posh prancing around in this with my new haircut.

🙂

 

More to come this week….. XoXo

 

Sincerely,

Mr. Speedy’s WIFE

Musee Rodin! This was my favorite place.

Musee Rodin! This was my favorite place.