Daydreaming of: Rooftops

Ever since I was little I’ve loved the idea of sitting in a window late at night with a cup of tea and looking over rows of moonlit rooftops. I know you can only accomplish this from a higher level in a building, and typically in a bigger city. Maybe I should just do a painting of rooftops, and hang them all over the place, so I always have one to look at. Here’s a few of my favorites.

 I completely blame movies like 101 Dalmations, Peter Pan, and Mary Poppins for my love of rooftops.

Mary Poppins,

… and Peter Pan.

I would love to see this out of my window. Especially at night.

This is a sketch I saw on Etsy one time. I love this style of house. Chicago? London? Paris? I would go to any of those places.

This picture from one of my favorite Paris Blogs, Prêt à Voyager, has tips and tricks on relocating to and living in Paris.

Paris, again. So much to see!

This rooftop is absolutely lovely.

I found this one on Paris’s Craigslist posting about an apartment. It was advertised as “this could be the view out of your window!” Not too shabby.

Maybe someday I will find an apartment with a rooftop where I can have my tea, look out over the neighbors, and read a book.

Happy Daydreaming!


Daydreaming of an Adventure

I’m sitting here in a house that i’m watching for some clients (it comes equipt with 2 teenagers!) and I’m daydreaming about selling all of my things, (minus the new car) and packing it full of just the things I love and moving to a warmer location, where life is simple, I can live in a 500 sq ft studio, loving my job, my neighbors, my local farmer’s market, with great friends and having my family visit. Is that odd? That i’m 29 and willing to scrap everything for a re-do? My mother did it every year, and I hated it. She would up and move us to a new house, new neighborhood, new friends, and new school. Making my total 13 schools by High School graduation. Granted I don’t have children, and wouldn’t do that to my kids. But while I DON’T have kids, everyone is always telling me to move somewhere warm, leave Green Bay, do what you love. Why not?

I just dream of a simple life. Somewhere warm where I can take a bike to work, help people with their organizational problems, hit the flea market and eat lunch outside more than 4 months out of the year and be… happy. You know, the point of life. Where is this place, you ask? I don’t know. But when I find it, i’ll be blogging to you in the sun, in February.

This is my new car. I love it! It belongs with a surf board. Why would I deny my car what it belongs with?

Is it the San Francisco area I belong in? Maybe. Although I would have to work my buns off just to live in a studio apartment. A closet rents for $900 there. Yikes. Although it would be gorgeous, and there would be tons to do.

Is it Portland? Who knows. They aren’t as warm as California, but they have a very laid back lifestyle that I also have. Very liberal, lots of culture (in a good way) and close to the coast.

Is it Charleston, South Carolina? Maybe. I love the historic nature of the city, and it seems like the less sweaty version of Savannah, Georgia, where I’ve always wanted to visit. It has a population of 115K, which is good, but a higher crime rate than the national average, which is bad. The humidity levels are kind of high, but the winters stay around 40 degrees, and I can handle that.

What do you think? What is your ideal city? Happy day dreaming!

Daydreaming of: San Francisco

Knowing my lease is up in about 3 months, I’ve been letting my mind wander as to where I would go if money or distance from everyone I’ve ever met were no object. Of course, I would go to Europe, but I may get homesick seeing as how that’s a very big pond to cross permanently. So today my mind has gone to San Francisco. The boyfriend just got back from there, and I can just tell, he’s still dreaming of the Golden Gate Bridge. There has been talk of a vacation in the future. Can I be so lucky? We shall see. Here’s what I’ve been dreaming of.

Gorgeous Painted Ladies.

A Trolley Ride.

Amazing views of the city, and…

…the Golden Gate Bridge. Check out this site for many other great shots of San Francisco.

Alcatraz. Yes, for some reason I look forward to seeing a jail. Thank Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery for that one.

Fisherman’s Wharf. I would love to try FRESH seafood! I live in Wisconsin people. I don’t expect Grade-A lobster here.

Ok, so Boyfriend got to go sailing when he was out there. I would love to do the same, or at least go to the beach and listen to the waves for a bit.

Ok, so this isn’t in San Francisco, it’s a short drive south to San Jose, but I MUST see the Winchester Mystery House. Creepy History, and most likely awesome architecture.

So I’m a HUGE movie buff. There were many movies and TV shows filmed in San Francisco, and I would love to see some sites. Here’s a few things filmed in San Francisco I can think of off the top of my head:

  • So I Married an Axe Murderer. Here’s some film locations for this movie.
  • The Sweetest Thing. Here’s the locations for this movie.
  • Just Like Heaven (2005 with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo)
  • Full House
  • 48 Hours (In which Eddie Murphy sings my song from jail)
  • Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Charmed (TV show)
  • Parts of “Serendipity”
  • The Wedding Planner. Here’s film locations for that movie.
  • Woman on Top (Penelope Cruz movie)
  • X-Men The Last Stand (in which the Golden Gate Bridge gets destroyed)
  • Zodiac

Here’s a huge list of others! San Francisco just has so much culture, warmer climate, and History. Sure the apartments are an arm, a leg, and your first-born child, but IF I could get a job that paid enough, it may be worth it. Only the future can see! Happy Daydreaming!

Photo Vacation: Martha’s Vineyard

A neighbor to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard is a small island located off of the south of Cape Cod in New England. The Martha’s Vineyard website describes the island as “Beaches, bicycling, family vacations, fabulous food,  romantic getaways, vacations for every budget, destination weddings, corporate retreats, dazzling arts culture, fishing, birding, sailing and so much more awaits you!  Your Vineyard experience is just a short ferry ride or flight away, so welcome, explore and start planning your Island getaway .  The island of Martha’s Vineyard  – it’s all here, for everyone!”

According to Wikipedia, it was home to one of the earliest deaf communities, and even has a special form of sign language, MVSL. The year round population is only about 15,000 people, about the size of a small suburb, but harder to get to. In the summer however, the population grows to about 75,000, filling the 14,000 seasonally occupied houses. You have to fly, or take a ferry ride just to get to the small vacation island. Full of bed and breakfasts, it’s not a thrill ride of a getaway, but it is for those who want to relax, take part of a movie like community, and just sit by the fire and catch up with new, and old friends.

Locals refer to Martha’s Vineyard as “the Vineyard” and its residents as either “Vineyarders” or simply “Islanders.” People who move from the mainland (“off-Island”) to the island (“on-Island”) are sometimes called “wash-a-shores”. The island’s small year-round population has led to an active community of folks who are highly involved in the island’s day-to-day activities. Tourism, overdevelopment, politics and many other subjects are of keen interest to the community. Keeping the balance between the much-needed tourist economy and the ecology and wildlife of the island is of high importance to residents. Over the years the island has been a great little getaway to many famous people like Bill Murray, James Cagney, Meg Ryan, Larry David, Ted Danson, Shel Silverstein and Chelsea Handler. Who wouldn’t like running into these folks while on a walk?

Ever since I found a book by my favorite author, Alice Hoffman called “Illumination Night“, I have always wanted to travel to Martha’s Vineyard. The book is about the lives of strangers, who become friends, family, and form relationships through chance and odd circumstances but takes place on the island, and the “Grand Illumination” is actually a festival of sorts that happens every year, in mid August where neighbors that live in the cutest little gingerbread houses in the Oak Bluffs area put chinese lanterns, japanese lanterns, and string lights on their porches, and light them all up for guests and tourists to see. There’s a camp sing and band concert in the Tabernacle. The Grand Illumination started over a century ago and was to mark the visit of the Governor of Massachusetts.

Sounds idyllic, right? Wait till you see some photos…

Here’s a detailed map of the Vineyard.

Boating and spending time on the beach are just some of the many activities you can do on the Island.

Shopping is a must! The “Black Dog Tavern” is known for its trademark dog symbol, and with its popularity, a mouth-watering bakery, and a clothing store were added.Beautiful waterfront houses. Some are seasonal, and some are occupied year round.

Adorable! You almost expect 3 bears to live here, or for a pie to be cooling in the window.

One of the many adorable “Gingerbread” houses in the Oak Bluffs area of the Island.

Getting ready for Illumination Night.

All lit up!

Some more of the Gingerbread houses with their lanterns.

Many hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and resorts are available for travelers. According to the Wesley Hotel’s website, “The Wesley Hotel is one of the largest Ocean-front hotels on the Island. Relax and enjoy the view of the harbor from the rocking chairs on our spacious front porch, or visit with friends in our Victorian lobby sitting areas.”

Something you’ll learn at the Museum is that Martha’s Vineyard was named after an English explorer’s daughter, after tripping on the vines, which were most likely poison ivy and not grape.

I hope that someday I get the chance to visit Martha’s Vineyard. Maybe I’ll wait until I have kids and they are old enough to shop, eat candy and baked goods, and see the amazing Grand Illumination. If they’re lucky, maybe they will meet Goldilocks or the 3 bears.

Photo Vacation: Paris, France

Ok, so it may seem like I’ve already written a post about Paris, because I have. This time it’s because I woke up this morning with a faint memory of a dream of Paris in my mind. Now, this isn’t nearly as glamorous as it seems… I woke up remembering that I was leaving for a flight that left in an hour, I haven’t packed, I don’t have a passport, and my homework required to get on the plane was due yesterday, and I hadn’t started it. Sounds like a typical dream, right? Well, it had me thinking, if I were to go to Paris, where would I go? How could I best utilize my time in another country to get the fullest experience out of my vacation? Well, here’s some of the things I would do.

Do you think I would miss this? The Eiffel Tower is a not to be missed destination.

Notre Dame. I would go here just to try to see the hunchback or maybe some talking gargoyles.

I would definitely take a Paris Walk to see some sites. I would love to take the Amelie Paris Walking Tour, and walk through the sites in the movie. And after seeing the episode of the Samantha Brown show on the Travel Channel taking place in Paris, I knew the Latin Quarter was also a place that I HAVE to go someday. It’s located on the Left bank of the Seine River.

A photo of the Latin Quarter.

Another Photo of the Latin Quarter.

Also located in the Latin Quarter, Shakespeare and Company is the oldest english bookstore in Paris. And for someone dating and English Major (who would be my travel companion) , you know I’d have to go here.

I would have to see the Arc De Triomphe. Beautiful at Christmas Time!

Riding the Metro would be a great (and fast) way to site see.

This is the inside of the Garnier Opera House in Paris. Breathtaking.

Taking a day or two to just walk around, taste the food, take a bunch of pictures, and talk to locals, as long as I can speak the language, would be a must.

As super creepy as this is, it’s a part of Paris’s History. It’s the underground Catacombs.

I would love to visit the little village of Montmartre.

The Stairs at Rue Foyatier in Montmartre.

This is tHE Boulangerie Eric Kayser, and supposedly is the best bakery in Paris. How could I resist?

This 100-year-old department store dedicates an entire floor to just gourmet food — over 300 varieties of cheese, 3,000 bottles of wine and a champagne counter.

Well, there are just a few of the things that I would have to see if I were in Paris, granted I had the time, and money. I would have to set aside a few weeks, I’m sure, and I would probably have to sign contracts with my family members that I was coming back, just in case I decide to stay. And hopefully the next time I’m thinking of Paris, and traveling there, I’ll have my passport, my luggage will be packed, and my homework will be done.

Happy travels!

P.S. After the fact sidenote: Movies you MUST SEE to get a good look inside Paris:

1. Amelie

2. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen’s newest flick)

3. Ratatouille

4. Paris, I Love You

Great movies, I just saw Midnight in Paris this weekend, and fell in love even more with the beautiful city. The lights! The sights! The roaring 20’s!  Cheers! or, Au Revoir!

Photo Vacation: Greek Isles

With fall setting in and winter coming up I dream of going south for the winter. But as long as I’m dreaming… I’ll just think of a place even farther then the south of the US, and go to the Greek Isles. I love the photos I see of the tight knit clumps of houses, blue roofs, and shorelines. Sure, I’ll even take the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants trip and ride around on a donkey. Here are some photos to swoon over.

The area I’m thinking of.

Image Credit

That’s my destination for the day, and I’m sure more will follow, it’s a big world. Happy Travels!

French Living- How They’re Doing it Right.

Ever since I first heard that sweet sound of romantic french music, came across photos of little cobblestone streets, and watched Amelie, I was in love with french culture. I took french for a year in High School, and sad to say, like much of what I learned in those 4 years, not a whole lot stuck.

Now that I’ve grown into my own tastes, styles, and way of life, I am a big fan the French culture, and here are some of the neatest things i’ve learned that I would like to share with you. Now, I won’t touch on politics or religion, although important to the French and what shaped France as a country, I’d like to stay light hearted and share the fun stuff like design, food, and daily habits. I found this in a fun French website: “The French way of life is focussed on  appreciating what the country has to offer within its own frontiers;  beaches, mountains, fine art, wine, culture, cooking and traditions that date back centuries. Anyone who lives in France – particularly if they are in a rural area –  will quickly find that local customs and systems vary. At times the French can seem very set in their ways and reluctant to change. But this is part of the charm and attractiveness of living in what is also a very modern state and one of the world’s major economies.”

Cuisine: Traditional French culture places a high priority on the enjoyment of food. Ingredients and dishes vary by region. There are many significant regional dishes that have become both national and regional. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated in different variations across the country in the present day. Cheeses, wines and breads are a big part of their cuisine. Another French product of special note is the Charolais Cattle, a beef that is common to France.

The French typically eat only a simple breakfast of, for example, coffee or tea, served traditionally in a large handleless bowl and bread or breakfast pastries , or yogurt. Lunch and dinner are the main meals of the day. Formal four course meals consist of a starter course, a main course, followed by a salad course, and finally a cheese and/or a dessert course. While French cuisine is often associated desserts, in most homes dessert consists of only a fruit or yogurt. But chocolate is enjoyed at any time through out the day. You can gather by this that they see eating lunch and dinner as a social event, enjoying their meals and the company in which it is shared. Lunchtime is also an important part of the day, It has fine wine and gourmet restaurants but also good basic local bistros where a glass of the house wine and a home cooked steak can seem like heaven.

Food shopping in France was formerly done almost daily in small local shops and markets, but the arrival of the supermarket in France have put a kink in this tradition. I still think of small markets and over flowing shopping bags when I think of the French preparing for dinner. Rates of obesity and heart disease in France have traditionally been lower than in other north-western European countries. With walking everywhere, and a diet full of fresh foods and red wines, who can argue? The French are trying to hold fast to their eating routines and keep their youth informed of such habits, and away from the fast food chains that populate main parts of France. And is it sad that one of my favorite movies about french food is Ratatouille?

My favorite little rat

Breakfast! According to Molly Mulshine, Author of the article, Anatomy of the French Breakfast, “Their morning meal is called le petit dejeuner, or a little lunch. From what I’ve gathered, the average French person has just a piece of fruit or a pastry and espresso for breakfast.”

A cute mini loaf of bread.

I would LOVE to eat here on a warm summer night…

Crepes. Mmmm…

Haha. I had to post this. The top triangle should say “chocolate”.

Leisure: Professional sailing in France is centred on singlehanded/shorthanded ocean racing with the pinnacle of this branch of the sport being the Vendee Globe singlehanded around the world race which starts every 4 years from the French Atlantic coast. “The leisure-loving French spend too much time on holidays and having long lunches and not enough time at work”, the country’s firebrand finance minister has once claimed. I don’t see a problem with that, as long as work gets done. Paris and other French cities offer a wide range of entertainment from opera, theatre, concerts, galleries and museums to festivals, book fairs and markets.

Travel: All cities have good bus services for getting about and Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Rennes have underground Metros. The French drive smaller cars, and less SUV’s then the US, and the Metro travel is better on the environment then everyone driving separately. When you live in a bigger city, you tend to walk and bike more places as well, which is not only better for you, it’s better for the planet.

Fashion: France is sometimes called “The Fashion Capital of the World”, right along side with Milan, New York, and London. I mean, who hasn’t heard of couture or haute couture in terms of high fashion? The French also have a very casual “less is more” motto when dressing for every day life, while looking totally chic.

Here’s a good example of casual fashion with layers, matching, and still looking chic.

A cute couple.

I don’t know much about Parisian Haute Couture, but this seems like it fits the bill. Here’s a link to some awesome tips on how french women dress.

Design: I’ve been in love with French design before I even knew what it was. The black and cream color palette, the flea marked inspired look, toile and thick stripes. A lot of home decor is new and custom made, but a lot is also second hand, flea market or purchased at a thrift store, and therefore better for the environment. Here are a few of my favorite examples:

The neutral back drop to leave room for pops of color, the flowers, and gold touches just screams “French Design”

The draping curtains, the flea market style wood furnishings, and just enough space to fit all that is necessary is also reminiscent of French Design.

Gorgeous. Gold. Ornate. Very French.

This ity-bitty kitchen is very familiar in French apartment living. There seems to be just enough space for 1 person, maybe 2 and only the appliances that are just big enough to fit what is needed, and nothing more.

Photo from Paris Luxe. This is where Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel stayed in Paris.

Another Paris Luxe apartment.

If only this were the view out of my kitchen…

Overall, with the leisurely attitude, the better food, chic style of dressing and abundant resources of the french as far as clothing and decor I would move there in a second. I would have to learn the language, of course, but I don’t have a problem with that. I could easily adapt to live in a country where wine is recommended to be had at lunchtime, the city’s history is older than 200 years, and the architecture is jaw dropping at every corner. Also, with other countries just a bus or boat ride away, culture is literally waiting out your front door. So why not?