Guys… I think I have a problem. I can’t stop wearing this gorgeous light blue color. Not only do I love pastel colors to perk up my winter wardrobe, but they also make great transition pieces as spring approaches. I wanted to add some femininity to this otherwise edgy look by incorporating the baby blue sweater. The color contributes to the overall 90’s influences, but the boxy shape of the sweater gives it a nice modern touch. With the end of January upon us, I am anxiously awaiting warmer temps (and spring fashion!). What are some of your go-to transition pieces from winter to spring?
I know this may sound cheesy, but I have to admit that Paris was my first love. France was the first country outside the U.S. that I visited and while that trip primarily took place in Normandy and the western coastal towns of France, the final two days that I spent in Paris were enough to spark an obsession. My first French adventure was through my college’s study abroad program, so we were hosted by French students and their families. My host, Julien, and I have been close friends ever since. He came to visit Tennessee the summer following my trip to France and the following year he hosted my friend, Niki, and I in Paris. Although I’ve spent only a short amount of time overall in Paris, (a total of two weeks and two days) I feel very at home there. Obviously it helps when you have such a knowledgeable friend and guide, and I believe that is how we were able to make the most of our precious time in Paris. Between my two trips there, I’ve seen most of the typical tourist “attractions” as well as some sights that are a bit more off the map. If you only have a short amount of time in Paris, here are the things that I would see over what the guidebooks recommend. If you’re enjoying a substantial amount of time in the City of Light, then by all means, do both my recommendations AND the guidebook ones. Paris is an incredible city with lots to offer but to get a true Parisian experience, these are my preferred activities.
Skip Musée du Louvre / See Musée D’Orsay
Unless you have a good amount of time to spend in Paris, paying admission to the Louvre is a waste of both time and money. Sure, The Louvre is one of the biggest museums in the world, but unless you can spend a whole day (or two) wandering around inside, you won’t do it justice. Trust me – it’s not worth what you pay just to see the Mona Lisa. I do think it is an incredible museum, but only if you have the time to appreciate and see all, or most of (let’s be real – it’s HUGE) what it has to offer. Because it’s such a big tourist destination you have to deal with large crowds and we all know how I feel about tourists in art museums… Meanwhile the Musée D’Orsay, formerly known as Gare d’Orsay (an old railway station), is fairly quaint and sits along the Seine River. Since its much smaller than the Louvre, it has a more natural flow of traffic and you’re less likely to get lost. It boasts an impressive collection as well, featuring work from French artists such as Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and several pieces by Vincent Van Gogh. The building is absolutely beautiful, with lots of natural light and since its not as much of a tourist destination as the Louvre, the crowds are much more bearable. When comparing Musée du Louvre to Musée D’Orsay, the phrase that comes to mind is “quality over quantity”. While the Louvre may have a hundred more exhibits and a thousand more pieces, I wouldn’t consider anything on display at the Musée D’Orsay to be a “filler” piece.
Skip Eating Out Every Meal / See Parks & Monuments over a Picnic
One of my favorite memories that I have from my trip to Paris was taking some time to sit down and have lunch in beautiful locations all around the city. We only ate out twice in our two weeks there, so we packed lunches each day and took them with us to wherever we were headed. My favorite picnic spots were in front of Sacre Coeur, on benches in Le Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, along the Seine river, and overlooking Place du Trocadéro. You are able to see more of Paris by not having to backtrack at all for lunch and dinner and you’ll save a crazy amount of money, too.
Skip the Top of the Eiffel Tower / See the View from Arc de Triomphe
Since the Tower gets progressively thinner as you get to the top, the wait time to the highest viewing deck is usually a couple of hours. It has a total of three decks and there is minimal to no wait time for the lower two because they are much wider and don’t require elevator access. There is plenty of room to walk around and I still recommend viewing Paris from the Tower, if you have time, as it gives a good perspective of where everything is in relation to Tour Eiffel. However, I think everyone agrees that the tower is the City of Light’s single most famous landmark so what’s the point of a good view if its without the symbol of the city? The Arc de Triomphe sits in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle and is on the western end of the most famous avenue in the world, Avenue Champs-Élysées. Several smaller avenues radiate out from the Arc and you have an amazing 360-degree view of Paris, including the tower.
Skip the Guided Walking Tour / See Paris from the Seine River via Boat Tour
One quality that makes Paris one of the dreamiest cities is the beautiful Seine River that runs through most of the city, providing numerous waterfront views. Boarding a boat and taking a tour by river is the best introduction to Paris. It allows you to develop a sense of relation and helps to set your internal compass. One of the first things I do when I’m visiting a new place is take a tour, whether that’s just walking through the neighborhood or jumping on a tour bus or boat, to get to know the city and gain a sense of direction. I feel more comfortable to explore the city by just having general idea of where everything is. You may be able to see a little bit more during the day, but my favorite time to do this tour is right before sunset because you’re still able to see the sights but the atmosphere is very Parisian.
Skip Going Out for Drinks / See the Louvre at Night over a Bottle of Wine
When I reflect on my time spent in Paris, one of my fondest memories is sitting on the benches surrounding the fountains and the pyramids of the Louvre drinking wine with two of my best friends. I promise I’m not an alcoholic, but one thing I always look forward to when going to other countries is the freedom to drink wherever I want, so I take full advantage of the lack of open container laws while abroad. I much prefer the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the Louvre at night to the chaos and crowds during the day.
“Paris; What to See / What to Skip” photographed by Emily Davis
© Emily Davis
Growing up as the “artistic” type, I did – and still do, highly value inspiration. Anyone who makes art will agree that there is NOTHING worse than a creative block. I’ve found inspiration much easier to come by with the age of social media. If I’m bored with my daily makeup routine, I can go to Youtube and find tutorials from a thousand different beauty bloggers, each with their own version of an “everyday makeup look”. Maybe I got a scarf for Christmas and since I’m not an accessory person, I don’t know the first thing about how to wear a scarf. There is a Youtube tutorial AND a blog post AND an info-graph for that. With the rise of social media stardom there are hundreds, realistically thousands, of Instagram accounts and blogs to inspire all of us. I wanted to share a few of my favorites because after years of endless inspiration, I have them to thank for encouraging me to start my own in hopes that I, too, can inspire others.
CHIARA FERRAGNI | THE BLONDE SALAD
I have been following Chiara on Instagram for about 2 years now and I still look forward to her posts every day. Her sense of style is so unique and she truly pairs things like no one else. My favorite aspect of fashion is the ability to be a chameleon and to experiment with my look and personal style. Chiara inspires me and many others to do just that – to be who you want to be and to wear what you want to wear, regardless of what people will think or say. She was a pioneer of the now over-saturated blogging industry, posting pictures of her outfits online while she was in undergrad to prepare for law school. She now manages a team of over 10 people who help her keep her site, The Blonde Salad, afloat while she travels around the world to attend events, fashion weeks in various countries, and to manage her Chiara Ferragni Collection of shoes and bags designed by the blogger boss herself. She made herself into a social media star and made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2015, with an estimated income of $8 million just last year. If I had to name just one person who inspired me to create Epicurean Emily, it would be Chiara.
NICOLE WARNE | GARY PEPPER GIRL
I love Nicole’s classic style and her travel photos are wanderlust-inducing. A native Aussie, Nicole’s claim to fame all started from her e-Bay store, Gary Pepper Vintage, where she sold quirky vintage pieces. As the store became a success, so did the blog and she decided to pursue blogging full time and is now a creative director, model, digital influencer, and a Net-a-Porter.com ambassador as well as a founding member of their prestigious Style Council. Her fiancé is a well-renowned surf photographer and when they travel together, photographic magic happens.
JULIA ENGEL | GAL MEETS GLAM
I was first drawn to Julia’s Instagram because of the exceptional photography. I later found out that her and her husband are self-taught photographers who have been figuring it out along the way since she began her blog in 2011. I have a crazy amount of respect for both of them and their passion for each other and for Gal Meets Glam. There aren’t any “filler” posts and even if it’s a sponsored post, it is still beautifully and thoughtfully photographed. I am a total sucker for Julia’s style, but I must admit my favorite posts are their travel posts. They have an authentic way of telling a story between their sequence of photographs and the raw way that Julia writes that makes you feel like she’s your best friend filling you in on her latest getaway. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from Gal Meets Glam, it’s that passion makes all things possible.
KEIKO GROVES | KEIKO LYNN
Anyone who knows me will tell you that three of my favorite things are Disney, sunglasses, and bright lipstick and that, in a nutshell, is Keiko’s Instagram feed which I found via Modcloth. I recognized her from Pinterest as well (she’s also a beauty blogger who often swatches and reviews new products, and posts makeup and hair pictorials). I love Keiko’s retro, lady-like style and her eye for color and composition. Scrolling through her feed makes my design-craving heart happy. Bonus, she features her adorable pup, Miku, quite often.
WENDY NGUYEN | WENDY’S LOOKBOOK
So remember when I mentioned watching a Youtube video to learn how to wear a scarf??? That was my first introduction to Wendy’s Lookbook almost 4 years ago. She is the first fashion blogger that I ever followed and her styling and how-to videos were a nice transition into something different from my nightly make-up tutorial binge-watching (don’t judge – we’ve all done it). Her content has an elegance and consistency that I truly admire- the photographs are always crisp, clean, and beautifully lit, and her videos are cinematographic masterpieces.
“Five Favorite Bloggers” photos are not my own and were found on the websites linked below their feature.
Happy 2016, y’all! Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and are settling into the new year nicely. One of my resolutions for this year is to push myself to step out of my comfort zone more often because I’m learning that’s when greatness can be achieved. Though it may sound a little silly, layering (or winter fashion in general) is hard for me. During winter, I just want to be warm and I don’t care to look like the Michelin man from December to February so long as I stay toasty. But in the spirit of the new year, I thought I’d play around with some layers (by the way… how many items do you have to be wearing at one time before you can actually call it layering??? Baby steps…) Because everything is so glum this time of year, I prefer to wear bold but wintery colors. I love this bright cobalt blue in any season (it looks especially great on tanned skin) but this Target sweater was calling my name and I’m so glad it did as it is a very versatile piece. I can’t wait to dress it up with a statement necklace.
I was wearing;
Target Mossimo Cobalt Sweater; Exact HERE
Forever 21 Striped Turtleneck; Similar HERE
Levi’s High-Waisted Black Jeans; Similar HERE
Dr. Martens 1460 Smooth Boot; Exact HERE
Quay “My Girl” Sunglasses in Black; Exact HERE
DKNY Kelly Green Bowler Bag; Similar HERE
(couldn’t find a reasonable match to this one ANYWHERE but this yellow would look stunning as well)
“Cobalt Cool” Photographed by Rachel Emerson