Bringing Bébé: Part 2, SLEEPING (or not?!)

Part two in a small series on the practicalities of traveling with a one-year old

Recap: Michael and I decided to bring our one-year old on a 2.5-week trip to London and Paris this past December. This series is all about what we learned as new parents during this adventure. If you missed part one, here’s the link to the post on what to pack.

Today’s topic is one dear to any parent of little ones: SLEEP. It was my number one hesitation about attempting to take a one-year old to another time zone, even more so than it being his first flight.

While I don’t think that should stop one from traveling, it is good to have a realistic expectation and know that things will be bit rough. Time zones (plus sleeping in a new place) can throw adults for a loop, so naturally will be confusing and uncomfortable to a little one who doesn’t understand what is happening. That said, here’s what we did to prepare ahead of time when selecting where to stay, and what we did in the moment during bedtime.

Read More

Bringing Bébé: Part One, PACKING

Part one in a small series on the practicalities of traveling with a one-year old

There was a time when Michael and I prided ourselves on being able to travel light - not a skill that came naturally to me, but  over time one that I honed out of both necessity and convenience. (You can do it too!)

Then we had a baby. I’ve realized that I need these skills more than ever - I still have to pack relatively light for myself because all free hands and resources are now dedicated to hauling said baby’s stuff.  

Read More

Bon Paris-versaire

The other day, a feeling came over me that I was forgetting to do something. You know that familiar sensation when a to-do list item is just out of reach from your mind’s grasp. It’s common for this to happen to me these days, between managing work and major house renovations and day-to-day life in general. Finally I looked at a calendar and realized what it could be this time.

I should be planning my next Paris-versary party. And I would be, if we still lived in Paris.

Let me explain. 
Paris-versary (n): The festivity that ensues on the weekend nearest the calendar date of moving to Paris, marking another year of life in France and celebrating the friends that made it wonderful. 

Read More

Park it in Paris: Parc André Citroën

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

The last park spotlighted in this series, the Square des Batignolles, took me a very long time to get around to discovering it. Similarly, this featured parc du jour waited a while for me to step foot inside. Over three and a half years of living in Paris passed by and just five days before our flight out to NYC, we made the trip over to check out the Parc André Citroën.

Read More

Sheep in the Big City // Salon de l’Agriculture

Picture this for a moment. You’re in the metro and you see some posters for an event called the Salon International de l’Agriculture (International Agricultural Show). What is your general concept of what this show entails?

If you are like me, a few things come to mind: farmers, pitchforks, plows, soil, crops, barns. Basically, a whole world of things that are very far removed from me. This is why for two years, I wrote off the advertisements as an event that wasn’t for someone like me. Certainly not for a someone who struggles to take care of the occasional house plant that has the misfortune of falling under my guardianship. I assumed it was a nice convention for farmers to put aside their road barricades (as seen in articles like this one) and meet up peacefully to discuss the hottest tractor of the year.

I’m here to do my civic duty of telling you this is NOT what the Salon is all about! Thanks to a post by Expat Edna, and then a huge food post highlighting the event by David Lebovitz, I realized last year that I had it all wrong. I needed to go check it out and -- and if you’re in Paris, you need to as well. It starts on Saturday, February 27, 2016 - so here’s a little of what you can expect.

Read More

Park it in Paris: Square des Batignolles

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

I used to think that parks were only meant to be visited in the warmer months of the year. That concept was formed in my suburban days, as I grew up surrounded by trees and grass and was even accustomed to seeing wildlife such as deer wander through our property. Living in a city as an adult made me realize the need to see nature all year round - something I had long taken for granted.

That’s why I’m sharing another “Park it in Paris” in the dead of winter. Today’s parc du jour was a brand new one for me to set foot in during my visit this December: Square des Batignolles. I love that even after living in Paris for a couple of years, I can still go back and continue to discover new places.

Read More

Natural Beauty: Winter in Paris, Part Deux

If you want to see an intimate side of Paris, pay a visit during the winter.

This isn’t the first time I’ve shared this sentiment. Last year I shared this post full of my favorite photos from our last winter living in Paris. Every time I look at those pictures, they bring back a sense of calm and peacefulness. Paris felt like it was ours, devoid of tourists and full of true locals hunkering down for a season of chilly weather and overcast skies.

Read More

2015: A Year of Wander

2016 has arrived and everyone’s looking ahead  to new beginnings, fresh starts, and wish lists for the upcoming year. I am too - but I’m a little behind, and I can’t fully move on until I take a long pause and reflect on all that 2015 was before I catch up with the rest of you.

Some years slide by us, and as the calendar flips to January, it just marks the passage of time. Then there are some years that are so life-changing and momentous and exhausting yet exhilarating all the same that as that last digit changes, you try to peer out of the wild haze you are surrounded in, wondering aloud, “Did that just happen?” That was this January 1st for me. And because of that, more than anything I need to recap it all for myself so one day in the future I remember what was built in the tumultuous year of wander that was 2015.

Read More

A New Perspective on Thanksgiving

“Do you like Thanksgiving?” a co-worker asked recently, after admitting that she wasn’t too fond of the holiday.

I was taken aback at first. I didn’t think that Thanksgiving needed to be defended. What’s not to like about an excuse to gather together and eat wonderful seasonal one-offs like sweet potato casserole and pecan pie, and, being a conversation set in America - get one (and often two) whole days off?? 

But as I headed home, I reflected and realized that while I’ve always enjoyed Thanksgiving as an opportunity to spend time with my family, I never loved it until I moved to France.

Read More

Simply Sara Eats: With the Little Bro

My brother was born a foodie. Back before anyone was labeling themselves as such, he was one. While the rest of us “normal” elementary-school aged kids were requesting peanut butter and jelly, or perhaps the standard turkey sandwich, David was asking my mom to make him chicken cutlet sandwiches every day for lunch with a side of French dressing for dipping. He loved Idaho potatoes, boiled or mashed, and could taste if those spuds didn’t hail from the Gem State. Not only did he enjoy food like most boys do, but he had strong opinions as to what he was chowing down on when it came to mealtime.

Fast forward through school and college. My little brother is no longer little, yet at his core, he’s still that chicken cutlet and Idaho potato-loving gourmand. He lives in Manhattan and has extensive lists of favorite restaurants and ones to try on the horizon. So it should come as no surprise that when he came to visit with his fiancée one last time while we were living in Paris, the food scene was at the top of the to-do list.

To be clear, he didn’t merely say he wanted to try some French food, or eat croissants every morning, like most guests do. He wrote to me expressing the desire to go “belly to the wall.”

If you’re like me, you might not fully grasp the expression. Did he want to eat so much that his belly would extend to the wall? (A huge feat, if you saw my skinny brother.) I was unclear, but I got the jist. We were going to go all out for one last hurrah in Paris.

We had three full days to do it up, and if I say so myself, I think we accomplished our mission. If you’re like David and want some ideas of how to coordinate a foodie extravaganza in Paris, here are some of the places we hit during his visit:

Read More

7 Steps to the Ultimate Paris Picnic

So...remember how I said that "the only way to get over moving away from Paris is to keep returning?" Well, I sort of jumped on that advice immediately and am going back in a few days! In honor of my last-minute trip, I'm going to share about an activity I plan to do every day in Paris if weather allows...

Going on a picnic is my all-time favorite thing to do in Paris, ever. It combines some of the very best elements that Paris has to offer - picturesque settings, delectable food and wine, and good company. The thing is, picnickers are not born, but raised...

Read More

Discover Walks: Marais Walking Tour and Picasso Museum

One thing I love about Paris is that for as much time you can spend exploring and learning about the city, there is always more. There is so much history, so many details, and centuries worth of characters who have colored this city into the beauty it is today. That’s why even though I had lived in the Marais for almost three years, when Discover Walks offered me a tour of my neighborhood, I jumped. Certainly there had to be more to learn about that a guide could give a new perspective on.

Read More

Park it in Paris: Jardin d'Acclimatation

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

When I think about going to the parks of Paris, the first thing that comes to mind is my red picnic blanket - spread out over a green lawn with a baguette, some cheese and charcuterie, a bottle of wine and a fully loaded Kindle. My husband and I can sit for hours on end just people watching, reading, and grazing on our snacks. I've already written about two iconic Parisian parks, Parc Monceau and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which fit the bill for a perfect afternoon spent doing absolutely nothing of importance.

But I get it. You're on a vacation to Paris, time is limited, and you want to get up and do something! If that sentiment describes how you're feeling right now, the Jardin d’Acclimation is for you.  Located in the Bois de Boulogne on the western outskirts of the city, this park has it all - from peacocks roaming free to restaurants and even a museum.

Read More