Sseko

It’s FALL YALL! Which means I want to be wearing sweatshirts 24/7.

How to do that without looking a bit like a slob you may wonder? (same) Well my loves at Sseko have created the perfect solution with their fall jewelry line. I can elevate my outfit with my personal favorites, the brass moon necklace, and the brass mini cube earrings – when I add these two pieces to a sweatshirt, it changes the whole look from grocery shopping to happy hour ready. Now comes the best part. With these beautiful additions to your wardrobe, comes the opportunity to also create brighter futures. This is why I love Sseko. The combination of beautiful, fun designs, with the knowledge that you are helping make the world a better place, and brightening the futures of deserving women in Uganda. Being connected with Sseko, I have a Sole Sister named Consy (she is talkative and loves reading, and going on adventures, and she is such a beautiful young girl) who hopes to attend University some day. When you purchase these lovely pieces of jewelry, or any of the other rad stuff from Sseko, you are helping Consy and others like her, make those dreams a reality. So go ahead! Join me in Elevating your wardrobe while creating brighter futures! 

Below are some photos of my current Sseko favorites that completely changed my cozy outfit. I got to be warm and comfy on a trip to the coast, while still feeling like I shouldn’t be on the couch watching Netflix.

PHOTOS OF ME BY : Lauren Witter of Owl and Anchor Studios

EDITED BY : Me!

If you are interested in becoming a Sseko Fellow and having your own Sole Sister, you can find out more about that process, here!

Morocco

Morocco was such a dream. It reminded me of Nepal in that, when people ask me what I liked about it, my answer is “Everything”.

The food, the culture, the beauty, architecture, and people – it’s all so good.

We stayed at a lovely Riad in Marrakech, that I can’t suggest enough. The team their was incredibly helpful, and truly went above and beyond in helping us to make the most out of our trip.

while in Marrakech, we would go out into the winding streets of the medina, and get lost. it was easy enough to find our way back to the riad each day, because these dizzying streets all circle around one giant life-filled square. This square holds snake charmers – eager to lay a cobra across your shoulders, hundreds of people selling goods, or henna tattoos, leather goods, tea, oils – it’s very touristy, and very overwhelming. Not in a bad way, just in a “wow there is so much to see and take in” and much like all rivers lead to the ocean, all these streets lead to the square. so once you figure out where you are staying in regards to the square, you can wander all you want.

Although we couldn’t get enough of bartering and shopping for beautiful moroccan goodies, and eating on rooftops overlooking the city, we did decide to leave Marrakech.

we drove 8 hours away, through miles of empty desert, the high atlas mountains, and countless beautiful cities and villages. We ended up at the cusp of the Sahara desert, where we jumped on some camels, and rode to our campground for the night. We stayed beneath the brightest starry sky, laughing, dancing, and singing with our bedouin hosts. This experience was one of my favorites of my life – we were there with three other groups of people, two German brothers, a group of cheerful Japanese girlfriends, and a French family. We couldn’t communicate, but we all shared the most beautiful night being brought together by our hosts as we held hands dancing around the fire. It was incredible.

My favorite memory from that night was scurrying up a massive sand dune with Jordan, to sit and watch the sun disappear into the horizontal line miles and miles away. Our legs were aching from the camel ride, but we didn’t let that stop us.

Morocco was magical. I can’t wait to go back, and I encourage anyone and everyone to consider visiting that beautiful country.

Portugal

Portugal was sort-of-in-the-middle of our 6 week, 7 country trip. At this point, we had been traveling for awhile, and were reasonably tired. The place we stayed was the perfect cure for that. It was rejuvenation, relaxing, and so beautiful. We were treated like royalty.

We stayed on the coast in the Algarve, and honestly, we didn’t explore enough. But that was totally okay with both of us, because we were so ready for relaxing days with zero sight seeing, train connections, ordering food in a different language, or walking miles and miles through beautiful cities. So instead, we soaked up the calmness, and natural beauty that is the Algarve.

I would love to go back and experience more of Portugal, but what I did experience, I loved. The relaxed vibes of coastal living, the beautiful scenery of the cliffy coasts, and the most beautiful turquoise waters, all combined to make our time in  Portugal some of my favorites. The amazing massage + facial I got while there also helped me fall in love ;)

Seville

The most lively and colorful of cities. I am a pretty lively and colorful person myself, but Sevilla was so intensely alive, that I spent most of my time sitting at cafes watching the city and soaking it up as if it were a movie, or song. Like something I didn’t have enough energy to take part in. The people are so beautiful. Like, 100% I just sat there with my jaw on the floor as these stunning Spanish women would walk by. If I were a very bold person, I would have been chasing them around begging them to model for me. But, instead I sat eating my food, and sipping on sangria just watching the beauty of the people and the city living life all around me.

One of my favorite things we did in Spain, besides enjoying Tapear, was exploring the Alcázar of Seville. It was such a magical place and I strongly suggest visiting it if you ever find yourself roaming the streets of Seville.

The colors of the city are perfect. You are surrounded by yellow and pink and it constantly feels like you are watching a golden sunset. The streets are alive with the beautiful people living life. Spain is  such a vibrant place, and I am glad to have been!

Brugge

Brugge. What a magical place. The frites, the waffles, THE CHOCOLATE! So many delicious treats to enjoy while walking along the most charming, quiet streets. Being in Brugge is like being in a beautifully preserved midevil town. It’s a wonderful mixture of both modern feeling, and rich in history and culture. We were there for a weekend, and fell head over heels in love with the city, and wandering the streets. We watched In Brugge, (as it was the only dvd at our airbnb) and LOVED it. Brugge is so small, so when watching the movie, you see so many of the landmarks you saw that day. Plus, it’s an amazing movie. My other favorite part was climbing the Belfry of Brugge. Seeing the gorgeous insides of the clock, and the breathtaking views from the windows of the Belfry was well worth the long climb up. I wish I had more specific suggestions of where to go, but Brugge is the kind of place that sort of guides you through it’s streets without much need for any type of guide. I loved my time there, and strongly suggest visiting if you are ever in Belgium!

Amsterdam

We spent such a short time in Amsterdam, I really feel silly writing anything about it. It was like taking a tiny bite out of a huge multi flavored wedding cake. What I do know is, Jordan and both want more. (I mean more Amsterdam, but I will say yes to cake, too)

The crooked, oddly thin buildings give the city a slight Tim Burton feel. The city is totally walkable, but with these curvy tiny streets, and the spiraling canals, I never could get my bearings and was perpetually, pleasantly lost.

There were so many adorable restaurants and juice places that I was dying to hop into, and an equal amount of rad looking retail boutiques. So I really need to go back to get brunch and shop, all in a super charming, super chill city.

 

Like I said, we were there for a very short time, so I don’t have many suggestions. But, I do have one very strong one – eat at Blue Amsterdam

 

Blue Amsterdam 

Blue Amsterdam has the most spectacular views of gorgeous Amsterdam. we went at sunset, and were blown away by the setting. The food was really good, and they had great healthy options, that were y u m. The prices were very reasonable, and the staff were super kind. We were there on Valentines day, and it was the perfect spot for a romantic dinner.

 

We also made sure to go to the Van Gogh museum. I love Van Gogh, so it was really fun for me to get to read more about him, and see how is art progressed. As far as museums go, it wasn’t my favorite. I would only suggest making the effort to go if you are a big Vincent fan.

 

As always, my favorite suggestion will be get lost. It’s something every traveler says, but for good reason. Heading out into a new city with very little in the way of a plan, is my favorite way to get a good fee

Paris

I have very strong feelings about Paris. I am in love with the city. And I really mean that when I say it. Not in the way I love Boston, or Morocco, (I REALLY love those places, too though) but in a soul crushing, ache-for-it when you are away, type of love. The same feelings people talk about having in the beginning of a relationship? that’s how I feel about Paris. But there is a very particular part of Paris that I fell in love with.

It isn’t the Eiffel tower, or really anything in the 7th arrondissement.

The 4th and the 3rd are where my heart beats fast, and I get butterflies as I walk along the streets in the Marais, or along the bank of the Seine with the sound of the bells of Notre Dam Cathedral singing in my ears. Ahh I want to be there right now. I swear there is magic in those streets – especially early in the morning. When I was there in February, we would wake up and walk along the almost empty streets, and something about it is intoxicating and addictive. I. am. absolutely. hooked.

Paris appeals to me for other reasons besides the pull it has on me – the fashion and style there are amazing, the culture and history, the food and wine, the people and the language – it’s all so beautiful and mesmerizing to me, and I love to be immersed in all of it.

But, I think Paris is an easy place to go to, and completely miss the magic. It’s a tourist haven – people from all over the world flock there because – it’s Paris. SIDE NOTE: To be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to love Paris for that very reason. If I were to choose a place to be in love with, it would be somewhere more exotic, and less visited. But I fell in love with Paris. I fell so hard, and I want to share with you how that happened, so that if you are so inclined, you can see the Paris that I love and ache for, and see if the magic speaks to you as well. So below, I’ll be sharing my opinions and tips about enjoying Paris. I am no expert on Paris. I’ve only been twice, and have spent a total of 20ish (too lazy to do the math SORRY) days there. But, I adore it, and would love to show you why. So here we go! Abby’s opinions all over the place!

 

USE THE METRO

you will miss out on a lot of time and money by failing to utilize the metro. Time spent walking a million miles, or money spent on taxis and ubers could be better used on baguettes, wine, and admission to the Louvre. So use the metro. I downloaded the app Paris Metro Map from Mapway, and it was great. you just type in your closest metro station, then the one you want to go to, and it makes a list of any changes you need to make etc. so that you don’t get lost. I took screen shots of different variations of what we might want while out, that way if we didn’t have wifi we would be set. But honestly, we find the metro to be so easy, that we only used the app once or twice. But I know many people find the Paris Metro to be difficult and confusing, so download the app just in case you fall into that category.

CHOOSE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD CAREFULLY

This can make or break your trip. Paris is made up of 20 arrondissements (or neighborhoods) that spiral out from the center (close to The Louvre). My first time in Paris (shoutout to Laura Elizabeth for being my travel gf that trip!) we stayed along the outskirts in the 18th. It was lovely, and we had zero complaints. But on that trip, I discovered the île Saint-Louis – a glorious island in the middle of the Seine. It is connected by a bridge to the island that holds Notre Dame cathedral. These islands are so calm and romantic. Everything is perfect, and you basically will never here a negative word about île Saint-Louis from me. BURY ME THERE PLEZ. I personally think that the 3rd and 4th arrondissements (where île Saint-Louis is) are the best places to stay. Clean, quiet, romantic – PERFECT. But close by in the 11th is where I am told the youths hang out. We walked through the Bastille area (the 11th) one night, and it was definitely a party vibe – so if you prefer dancing all night, that area may be for you. The Eiffel Tower is in the 7th, and I wouldn’t suggest staying there as it is so packed. And since the metro makes it so easy to get around, you don’t need to worry about being close to the Eiffel Tower. I definitely suggest doing your research, and finding out which arrondissement will be best fro your tip, then hop on airbnb, and make it happen.

MY FAVORITE SPOTS TO EAT

HolyBelly

it’s this amazing spot with the best breakfasts. Hash browns, eggs, the best beans ever – it’s just REALLY good.

from the website :

Is it an American diner? Definitely not. We love diners but we have no pretensions to be one. If anything Holybelly is really close to a Melbourne style Café in the sense that we specialise in delicious food served from 9am, good coffee and friendly service.” That gives a good vibe of Holybelly. You feel very at home there. It doesn’t feel exclusively french, or american, or any other label. It’s more of a breakfast spot for humans, which is a really lovely feeling. That + the amazing food, friendly service, make it a must eat. Another bonus, everyone speaks english there, so you can stop trying (and failing in my case) to communicate in french for an hour or so while you eat the best food ever. I suggest their chai latte which is heavenly, and their Holy Baked Beans which are magnificent.

HolyBelly 19 rue Lucien Sampaix 75010 Paris

St. Regis Cafe –

This cafe is in my favorite area in Paris. it sits almost directly across from Notre Dam Cathedral, and so whilenvisiting, you can take the Pont Saint-Louis and run right into it. (then after eating, you can enjoy my favorite island – île St. Louis) the breakfasts here are said to be incredible – unfortunately, we never tried, but the menu looked promising. They have a very sweet hot wine there that was lovely on a snowy afternoon, and we ate dinner here TWICE because we liked it so much. They have an english menu available, and the food was fairly priced, and very yummy.

St. Regis Cafe 6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris

Temps Des Cerises –

Jordan found this gem when we were going out to dinner with Jasmine + Brandon of @betheplebeian.

It is a tiny place in the 4th, and when we walked it, it was filled with locals. There wasnt’ an english menu, so we relied pretty heavily on our waitress. She was very kind and helpful, and the risotto with scallops + the onion soup were both unforgettable. My favorite things I ate while in Paris. It was fun being surrounded by locals, and really enjoying some french cuisine.

Temps Des Cerises 31 Rue de la Cerisaie, 75004 Paris, France

HOW TO SAVE SOME DOUGH – BY EATING IT!

ha ha ha omg aren’t I cleaver? But seriously, almost every morning, Jordan would go down the street and grab us a fresh baguette. we would usually scramble some eggs, and have cheese, olives, a baguette for breakfast. it was very very cheap, amazingly delicious, and very filling. We usually wouldn’t be hungry or need eat again till dinner. So to save on cash, I definitely suggest indulging in some yummy, inexpensive breads for some meals.

LEARN SOME BASIC FRENCH

I mean, this is pretty much across the board for everywhere you go. Just because english is spoken it lots of the countries we go to, doesn’t mean we can be jerks and just go in with no knowledge of how to say thanks and hello in said country’s language. It will take you like 1 week of light study to learn the things you should know, so just do it.

DONT SIGHT-SEE YOUR TRIP AWAY. JUST LIVE

There is soo much to do and see in Paris. I haven’t come close to doing and seeing everything I want to see. Two trips isn’t enough! So do your research and know going in what is important to you. But while we are talking about, can I make a few suggestions? Yes? Great!

-Don’t miss the Louvre. I did the first time I came cause I was like “blah I don’t get most art. I think I will be bored” fast forward to me openly weeping in the Louvre while staring at what is basically a polly pocket from ancient Egypt. You guys, we ALL get art like this. Winged Victory, and the Venus rocked my world and changed my heart. I think the Louvre is for everyone. SO DONT MISS IT. But also be aware that you can spend 5 hours in there and miss 75% of the art because it is just. that. big.

– Be intentional with how you first see the Eiffel Tower. When I went with Laura Arbo, we booked a Fat Tire bike tour, and this is their job, so it was amazing. My first intro to the Eiffel was breath-taking and I loved it. When I went back with Jordan, we took the metro and just walked to see it, and came from an angle that was way less magical than the Fat Tire entrance. Jordan was far less impressed and enamored than when I first saw it. BUT IT DID SNOW while we were there which was all kinds of special and amazing. But that is irrelevant to my point which is – book a Fat Tire tour. They are the most lovely company, and chances are you’ll end up friends with your guide, and they’ll give you amazing tips to enhance your trip.

– Get lost in The Marais. Just pick a day where you wander around these gorgeous streets, soaking in all that is Paris. Duck in to different shops and cafes, shop a little – and then thank me later. My favorite days in Paris have been days when I just lived. Nothing on the itinerary but experiencing the city, trying my best to blend in.

Well that’s it! I love Paris, and I hope you will too! If you want a link to our airbnb, or have any questions, please feel free to email me! I love talking about Paris, and sharing some of the little knowledge I have about the most amazing city on earth. Bonjour!

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apple picking + waffles

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