There’s something super charming about renting an apartment when visiting Europe. To live like a local for a few days or even a few weeks really helps you indulge in the culture and lets you see the city in a different light. Paris is MY city… I mean, it’s not literally mine but I just have this connection with it. The city, the people, the food…. the buildings! The buildings and architectures are this perfect blend of Gothic style and elegance. I have been to Paris twice now and both times have stayed at a rental property. Each so different yet both exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend renting a place in one of these beautiful buildings when visiting. These are a few of my favorite apartments that can be found through Cobblestone Paris Rentals.

  1. Balcon Notre Dame – This is the apartment I rented on my last visit to Paris just a few weeks ago. First of all, it’s located in the Latin Quarter (5th & 6th arrondissements) which happens to be my favorite part of Paris to stay in. It literally is located in the middle of everything and the ideal location for walking to many of the landmarks. The apartment itself fits 4 guest very comfortably between its 2 bedrooms and has a modern kitchen with a spacious livingroom area. My favorite part of the apartment is the walk out balcony that overlooks the Seine River and Notre Dame Cathedral. 1 2 3 4
  2. La Charme Du Marais – This rental is super dreamy and where I want to stay for my next visit to Paris. It is an elegantly furnished 1 bedroom apartment that can accommodate 4 guests with a large open-style living/dining space with a full kitchen. It’s located on the border of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Arrondissements so you will have the pleasure of enjoying 3 wonderful neighborhoods of Paris. The small walk out balcony with chairs is a charming addition. 1 2 3 4
  3. Le Triomphe Elysees – This apartment is on the border of the 8th & 17th arrondissement where some of the most famous shops, five-star hotels and Michelin gourmet restaurants are located. You are steps from the famous Arc de Triomphe and from the “Place De L’Etoile” where you can check out views of Champs Elysees Boulevard and the Eiffel Tower. This one bedroom apartment is filled with historic Parisian charm. 1 23
  4. Terrasse Du Sorbonne – This 2 bedroom apartment is located in one of the most desirable neighborhoods, the Latin Quarter, right beside the Sorbonne University. It is a large, 2 bedroom apartment that fits up to 5 guests. From this apartment you will have an easy walk to many central sights such as Saint Germain Des Pres, The River Seine, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musee D’Orsay, Musee Du Louvre and the Jardin Luxembourg. It’s truly in the true center of it all and best of all – has a private terrace! 1 2 3
  5. Le Grand En Isle – This one bedroom apartment can accommodate up to 4 Guests. It’s located on exclusive Ile Saint Louis which is steps from Notre-Dame Cathedral. it is renovated with high-end fittings and furnishings and is stylishly decorated in a historic style to accentuate the original 17th century architectural. 1 2 3 4

 

Don’t these rentals make you just want to hop on the next flight to Paris?! Make sure to check out Cobblestone Paris as they have many more rentals all over the city.

If you guys have any more questions on where to stay when visiting – feel free to shoot me over an email.

The honeymoon is suppose to be the relaxing part of getting married. It’s where you jet off somewhere to unwind and finally be able to kick your feet up after all those months of vigorous wedding planning. Unfortunately for some people, planning the honeymoon can just be added stress. Where do you go? What do you do? What is the best time to visit?

Ahhh, ok. I get it.

Planning in general isn’t for everyone. For me though – planning vacations is MY THING. I love researching places, activities to do, must see sites etc. BUT every once in awhile I stumble across a website or book that just helps me tremendously and that is exactly why I wanted to share The Honeymoon Handbook with you guys.

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First of all – reading through this book gave me major wanderlust. After making a mental list of all the places that need to go on my bucketlist I started to take in all the super useful information.

Here are 2 of my favorite tips from the book:

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Planning tips will help you cover off the basics and bypass the stress, with advice on:

– When to go, how long to go for, and how to factor in seasons and climates

– How to build a multi-stop honeymoon

– How to pick hotels

– Working out a realistic budget, and sticking to it

– How to compromise with your other half

– The benefit of mini-moons, and how to plan the best one possible

– Getting married abroad, including logistics and legalities

– A host of top-rated destinations, listed by type of trip

– The best destinations for same sex couples

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While this book technically is for helping you book a honeymoon, the tips and information you find in it can be applied for any vacation you need help planning. Click HERE to find + purchase the book (ps it’s ON SALE!)

Iceland has been the ultimate hot spot the last few years with tourism up by 40% from 2015 to 2016. I’ve dreamt about visiting a destination where I might have the opportunity of catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights for as long as I can remember. Literally on a whim, I found myself booking a trip to Reykjavik for the beginning of February 2017. What lead me to taking the plunge was finding a really awesome deal with WOW Airlines. Here’s a glimpse at where we stayed, what we did and some of my recommendations for while visiting.

While I love hotels because of the amenities, there’s nothing like a rental property when away – especially now that I travel with my toddler. I found the perfect rental in Reykjavik via VRBO.com and booked instantly. This apt had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 separate living room areas, washer/dryer, full kitchen + dining room and had enough space for us (a group of 5 adults/1 child) and for Victor to run around after a long day out in the city. The location was also perfect and that is KEY!

Click HERE to view our rental.

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Since we were visiting in the heart of the winter season, I decided to book tours vs. rent a car and go on our own. While I have heard great things about exploring on your own, I was little nervous about Iceland’s frequently changing weather while traveling with a 17 month old. We booked all of our tours and transfers through BusTravel Iceland. Click HERE to check out some of their top tours! They were so helpful in assisting me book everything as well as super accommodating that we were traveling with a child and even offered a car seat for each tour.

Day 1:

Blue Lagoon + Northern Lights Tour 

A lot of people will go on and on about how the Blue Lagoon is “touristy” and you know what – it is, but in the BEST way possible. While there are a ton of natural lagoons all over Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is a must when visiting. I could have spent hours here! It was so beautiful, relaxing and exactly what we needed after that overnight flight and time change.

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Chasing the Northern Lights will always be a hit or miss but I was still super excited to do so. I’m so happy to say that we totally lucked out and were able to see them during our tour even though the activity wasn’t super strong.

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Day 2:

Golden Circle 

For Day 2, we went with the Afternoon Golden Circle Tour. This worked out perfectly because it allowed us to get a good nights rest since we weren’t picked up until about 10am. With this tour we were able to visit and explore the Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall, Þingvellir National Park and Kerið volcanic crater. All of these locations were simply breathtaking! It started to snow these huge flakes while we were at Kerið for about 5 minutes and then a beautiful rainbow came out and it was sunny. This was the perfect example of the Icelandic saying “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes.”

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Day 3:

Southern Iceland

This was our last full day in Iceland and we spent it exploring Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Skógafoss Waterfall, Sólheimajökull Glacier and Black Sand Beach. The Southern part of Iceland was amazing and I feel like it is a must see when visiting. I look forward to spending more time there when I return.

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Our flight home the following day wasn’t until the late afternoon so we spent the morning walking around Reykjavik and checking out a few landmarks. We came across some really awesome shops, cafes, street art and hot dog carts (which are super popular in Iceland!)

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A few tips I would give anyone planning a visit to Iceland would be the following:

Book early! Because of the booming tourism, hotels + apartment rentals sell out quickly.

Plan ahead! Regardless if you plan to explore on your own or book tours, there’s nothing like being prepared before arriving and having a list of what you want to do and see. This is key if you have a short visit.

It’s all about the layers! Seriously, I was so surprised how not cold Iceland was. OK… I take that back. The night we chased the Northern Lights it was FREEZING but during the day, I was actually hot in my down coat. The weather is unpredictable so make sure to check the weather forecast before heading out there and remember to pack layers (long sleeves, leggings, snow pants etc.) These items will be easy to put on + take off  depending on how the weather turns out.

Budget wisely! I always try to save a little more than what I originally budget for spending money while away  because… well, you just never know. Iceland is expensive!! I’m talking like $20 for a burger and $15 for a mixed drink expensive. And gas…. it’s $7.50 a gallon!

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To say that I am in love with Iceland would be an understatement. Visually – it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. The people were so friendly and helpful and I felt safe the entire time. Waterfalls are everywhere and the scenery will leave you breathless. I plan to visit again…. and hopefully soon.

If you have any questions about Iceland – don’t hesitate to reach out!

I’m no Fashionista, but I love Fashion…. and more than that, I love Paris. Before my first trip back in 2015 I was so worried when packing for my visit. I didn’t want to look like a typical tourist but I wanted to stay true to my sense of style. Luckily for me – Parisian style isn’t much different than my own. Here are a few style tips to keep in mind for your trip to the City of Light + Love.

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PC: @pearls_and_paris

  1. Keep it simple – simplicity, versatility and practicality are key to true Parisian style. Do not over accessorize.
  2. Flats are KEY – I think movies have jaded us to think that all Parisian women walk around in 5 inch stilettos everywhere and that is so far from the truth. Flats are key… especially for tourists. Paris has a lot of cobblestone and on top of that, most people walk A LOT during the day. Can you imagine doing that in heels? My last 2 trips I easily walked at least 10 miles EACH day.
  3. Blazers are a girls best friend – Putting on a blazer can instantly add a chic touch to any outfit. Everyone should have at least one classic blazer in their wardrobe and they are absolutely a staple for Parisian style. Throw on a pair of oxfords with it and you might pass off as a local 😉
  4. Relaxed Silhouettes – I noticed in my area (at least in NJ + NYC) form fitting clothes are what most women gravitate towards. Parisian style is slightly different. They appreciate flowy dresses and relaxed fit as well as tailored pieces vs. body con + overly baggy.
  5. All Black Everything! – Ok, maybe not everything lol Black + white hues are always trendy. I’m all about a pop of color from either your shoes or bag. Also think scarves! They are huge in Parisian style and can instantly add a pop of color and glam to your outfit.

Parisian style ultimately is about not being over or under dressed.

They are simply casual but at the same time elegant and carry a stylish confidence that is contagious. At the end of the day, staying true to your style is what is most important. If the tips above are ones you personally don’t prefer, go with your gut and wear what makes you feel beautiful and confident.

Beaucoup d’amour! xo  

I’m in a few awesome female travel groups on Facebook. Everyday I see posts that start off something like this “I want to travel full time, what job should I apply for?” In theory, how amazing does that sound? There’s a ton of ways to become a digital nomad but unfortunately, that doesn’t work for all of us. The average American has a full time, 9-5’ish, job/career that gives them 10 vacation days a year. YUP, that’s it.

I get asked pretty frequently how do I travel so much and that I must get a lot of vacation days at my job. WRONG! I too only have 10 vacation days a year. The difference is how I use them to my advantage to maximize my time away.

To all my NON digital nomads, here’s a few tips to help you make the most of your vacation days this year.

1. Go on short & extended weekend trips. – Yes, a 2 week vacation sounds luxurious but when you have ONLY 10 days per year, do you really want to use them all at once? Look into destinations that are only a few hours away, either by car or plane. You can leave Thursday night which will guarantee 2 full days at the destination of your choice before heading back home on Sunday. Planning this way will allow you to go away 10 times throughout the year, only taking 1 vacation day each trip. If you need a little more time, leave Wednesday night and that will give you 3 full days at the destination of your choice and a total of 5 trips for the year. If you live on the East Coast like me, that can mean a trip to Europe!

2. Plan around a holiday. – This goes hand in hand with the advice above. Planning a trip around a holiday weekend will help you extend that 2 or 3 day trip by a full day but without using a vacation day. For example, Memorial Day always falls on a Monday. Head out of town Wednesday evening and return Monday and you’ll have a nice little 4 night trip.

3. Take advantage of 2 weekends for a longer trip. – Some people just don’t like short trips and that is understandable. A good tip to have a longer vacation, while only using 5 of your vacation days, would be to plan a trip between two weekends. Catch a flight after work on Friday and return the following weekend on a Sunday. That sounds like a perfect 8 day / 7 night getaway to me! Plan this around a holiday weekend and you will only use 4 of your vacation days.

4. Ask for unpaid time off – Ok, so technically asking for this won’t literally maximize your accrued vacation days but rather extend whatever trip you want to take that you might not have enough vacation days for. I know for me this year, all of my vacation time will be used up by the first week of September and a little winter get away will absolutely be on my mind before Christmas time. What I can do is just get approval from my boss to take 2 days off, unpaid, and make a short weekend trip to the islands.

I think the main thing to remember is that if you genuinely love to travel, going somewhere for a few days is better than never getting to experience that place at all. So many of us tend to make bucket lists of things we want to do and see but then never execute those plans because we are so tied up with work. Last year a study came out that said over 50% of Americans don’t use all of their paid vacation time. The main reasons being fear of losing their job, falling behind while away or simply thinking that by not missing a day of work – it would lead to a promotion. I want to tell all of those people to RETHINK their lack of vacation. Taking time off can help your mental health, stress and overall productivity. 

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