I haven’t visited the windy city in years, so during my recent trip to Michigan I decided to go with my family and explore Chicago like genuine tourists. The architecture in this city is magnificent (see what I did there?) and the Navy Pier was truly dreamy. It was an amazing couple of days I got to enjoy with my parents and brother, and I really tried to stay in the moment rather than take thousands of pictures the whole time. I hope you like seeing the city through my eyes and feel inspired to visit it one day. P.S. any other Divergent fans recognize the ferris wheel? Just me? Xo
I’ve done quite a bit of traveling the past couple of years and in all honesty New York is my favorite city so far. I mean Greece was a dream, Paris was magical and Turkey was stunning, but NYC has a unique character and feel to it that gets me every time. I thought I’d share with you my top things to do in New York, and while you may have heard of or been to some of these places before, I hope you’ll enjoy seeing it through my eyes and want to visit the city my way.
- Brunch and the City: New York is notable for delicious weekend brunches topped with yummy egg concoctions, a Bloody Mary and bottomless Mimosas. I highly recommend Cafe Mogador in the quaint and charming East Village or The Cupping Room Cafe in Soho.
- Ferry-go-around: We didn’t have a chance to visit Lady Liberty, but we did see her on the ferry ride to Staten Island to visit family and let me tell you, the ride turned out to be beautiful with a magnificent view.
- Serendipity 3: Yes I am quite the sap and I do love a good chick flick, but this place is worth your while even if you aren’t the type to burst into tears while watching Rumor Has It, and my husband can attest to that. They have the most scrumptious frozen hot chocolate (yes you read that correctly) and the cutest retro diner decor. <Tip: there isn’t a long wait time if you go at night, and frozen hot chocolate is appropriate at any time of the day!>
- Across the bridge: While Manhattan is overflowing with great places to see, Brooklyn has it’s own appeal. Visit the botanic gardens, eat sizzling pizza and get a fab view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. Don’t miss the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory either, though you might have to wait in line for over 30 minutes.
- Central Park: This is an obvious one, but I suggest taking half a day for this gem. I personally think the horse and carriage ride is completely worth it and don’t miss out on a lovely lunch at The Loeb Boathouse (make sure to make your reservations far in advance).
- Cosmo Tai: If you’re on the go and don’t want to waste time styling your hair, head to the Dry Bar for a voluminous sexyblow out that can withstand even the muggiest New York nights.
I have a few different countries that are an integral part of who I am and Lebanon is one of them. Sometimes you need some time away to appreciate all the little things you love about a place. Summer in Lebanon means bright mornings, cool and crisp nights and whole lot of weddings. This year I got to enjoy it like a tourist and you can check out this video diary to see things through my eyes! Xx
They say when it rains, it pours and that’s exactly what happened in Barcelona. We spent a good chunk of time curled up on the couch of our hotel apartment watching Grey’s Anatomy while waiting for the thunder to subside. Don’t worry though, it eventually cleared and we even wore skirts and dresses (which was not the best idea, by the way).
Our first night was pretty quiet due to the storm, but we got to enjoy delicious burgers and the best Spanish olives imaginable. The next day we headed to a nearby bakery for a light breakfast, then trekked towards La Sagrada Família. The mere sight of Sagrada Família and its beautiful details was very poignant, with biblical stories portrayed all over it. We also visited the classroom where Gaudí taught which was beautifully preserved.
Next we headed to Park Güell, which is truly like a fairy-tale and looks like it’s made of gingerbread and candy. Although it was difficult to leave our new found wonderland, we weren’t done sight-seeing. With our Starbucks in hand, the shopping at La Rambla commenced.
After we were done with our retail therapy, we continued down La Rambla, stopped by the Boqueria market and ate some Gelato until we reached the Monument a Colom. We ended the night with sushi at Parco, in hopes Shakira stops by there for dinner (I’m only half joking). Our Euro trip ended here but my wanderlust has only intensified.
Home to the friendliest people and sweetest sangrias, Madrid embraced us with fresh and cheery weather. Paris left us maxed out on sightseeing and ready for some leisure, which is exactly what we got. After tucking away the chunky sweaters and pulling out our spring style, we indulged in an afternoon Gelato pick-me-up at the vivacious Plaza Puerta del Sol, followed by a stroll through Preciados where we did some much needed shopping at El Corte Inglés and Sfera.
In search of the Mercado St. Miguel, we found ourselves at the breathtaking Plaza de Oriente. I was completely smitten with the blend of historical architecture with modern shops and restaurants, manifesting that the heritage is preserved while the people and places evolve. Residing in a beautiful glass house, the Mercado was the first I’ve seen of its kind. Unlike the outdoor markets I’m used to, it had a cozy seating area and multiple food stations offering everything from Paella to sweets and fresh produce. We ended the night with tapas and bubble tea on La Calle del Arenal, where random strangers called out to us ‘Guapas’ – pretty ladies.
On our last day we visited the lush Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid. It was at the beginning stages of blooming and was glistening in the sunlight. Finally, our hotel concierge insisted that Macaroons originated in Madrid and directed us towards Pastelería Mallorca, a coffee shop laden with desserts of all kind. Let’s just say, I ate way too many macaroons that day and they were spectacular. To sum up my time in Madrid, it was late night gossip sessions with my girls, azure blue skies and a charming little city that felt like home.
Discovered by my friend before we flew off for our euro trip, Fragonard Musée du Parfum was a gratifying gem to explore. Located at the quaint Rue Scribe and set in a Napoleon III town house, the museum unveils a story of fragrance-making throughout the ages. Fragonard Parfumeur’s exclusive creations are found in a neighboring boutique which carries a variety of perfumes, soaps and lotions. Browse through the photos to view the exquisite gallery.
For more information and other locations click the link below.
Fragonard: Le musée du parfum
9 rue Scribe
“Paris is always a good idea. ~ Audrey Hepburn”
We got off our red eye flight and headed straight to our hotel room to freshen up and hit the streets of Paris. It’s amazing how a night of virtually no sleep has no sway when you’re this excited. A few droplets of rain splashed into our eyes by the time we reached Arc de Triomphe, but we were too dazzled with the sights around us to even care. Like something out of a brochure, it felt like I was transported to a different era. The building exteriors were romantic and rustic, embellished with the infamous French windows. There’s no arguing the flawless style of European women, hair effortlessly cascading down their shoulders and outfits beautifully mismatched creating a quintessential look.
The rest of the trip involved many long walks in the rain on throbbing feet while searching for our destinations à la Dora the Explorer. After the rain came clear blue skies, cotton ball clouds and a hand-drawn rainbow. I saw roses the size of my hand and peonies of all colors. With so much to see and not quite enough time, I’m certainly glad we didn’t compromise on tackling the whole list. We placed our love locks aboard the Pont des Arts, which was even more romantic in person, then set off towards the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris where hymns were being recited outside the glorious structure. Following our Parisian dinner we spotted the Eiffel Tour twinkling in the night.
Le Château de Versailles was our last stop, and while the palace is marvelous I was enraptured by the gardens most. I dragged my swollen feet as far as they can take me and snapped incessantly with my camera. If you asked me what I won’t forget I’d say the delicious hot pastries, creamy cups of coffee and the intoxicating smell of flowers everywhere. Most of all, I’ll miss the feeling of seeing all the magic for the very first time. In the words of the beautiful Ms. Audrey Hepburn, Paris is always a good idea.