Getting around Paris on a budget

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We're off to the museums again today!

This time, we booked ourselves some tickets to the Big Bus Tour.  If you're like us & not a fan of following big groups or time constraints, this hop on, hop off tour bus works great for getting around. For €38, we got a two day pass to unlimited use of their buses. The Big Bus tours in Paris, have two intersecting routes, with double decker buses (some open on top), that take you around to most of the tourist attractions you would want to see.

Buses started at 9am, with one route picking up from each stop every 15 minutes, the other every 30 minutes. This included places like Grand and Petit Palais, the Arc de Triomphe (where our hotel is), the Louvre, Tour Eiffel, Moulin Rouge, Montmartre, and Notre Dame. Not to mention, there are headphones on board the bus for an audio guided tour of wherever you go, in 8 different languages. 

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Not to mention, there are headphones on board the bus for an audio guided tour of wherever you go. We started our day getting picked up at the Arc de Triomphe and heading to a short visit to the Petit Palais.

Then it was off to the Louvre

Despite this being my second visit to Paris, I was excited, since this would my first time inside the Louvre. (Last time to was shut down during Paris fashion week). 

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And of course, whilst I know that most people tell me it's slightly overhyped, we made a bee-line to the Mona Lisa. I can now confirm, that yes, it is smaller than you expect it to be & indeed in a very large room. Although not alone, it is on lone wall, and roped off. After we crossed that off the bucketlist, we wandered to other parts of the Louvre.

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The thing that makes me fall in love with Paris though, isn't their sweet confections, but their beautiful buildings. The Frenchs' attention to detail, from the grandeur of their arches, to their impressive vaulted murals, make their buildings beautiful works of art in their own right, in addition to the beautiful art pieces these buildings house. The French also have an admirable commitment to preserving their architectural history, and way of life. And for that, I will always appreciate Paris. Love, Jen

Coat from Express
Backpack from Michael Kors
Boots from Alexander Wang

Girls in Paris

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Good morning from Paris!

Hello everyone! Guess who's back in Paris! Last time I was here, was in September of 2016. I was two weeks into a solo backpacking trip & post my third ever Disney half marathon. This time though, I'm on a trip with the girls!

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Three girls, one week, and the beautiful city of Paris. I can't even begin to describe how excited I was, to start 2018 off this way. I've packed a little more than usual, I have more time here, and now we have each others company. You best believe that this trip is going to be a whole lot different than my last visit. It might be a little wilder, it might be a little girly (or a lot), but it'll definitely be a lot more stylish! You know, a girls girl kind of trip!

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For our first full day, us three girls were quite productive! We woke up early, had some breakfast at a cafe near our hotel, by the Arc de Triomphe. Then it was off to the MusΓ©e d'Orsay! We made our way, floor by floor, up to the famous clock up top. It was fun to see what changed since my last visit. Then it was across the Seine to the Louvre. Museum-ed out, we decided to leave the inside for another day, and we were off to the top of the Eiffel Tower (my first time up)! Lastly, we ended our night with dinner at Carbon Paris.

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Suddenly, everything I loved about this city was coming back to me. Coupled with the fact that I had been reading up on some French history & learning some more French words, this first day was more than I could ask for. I just can't wait to see what the next few days with these ladies have in store for more! Thanks for reading! Love, Jen

Coat & Top from Express
Backpack from Michael Kors
Boots from Alexander Wang

2017 Annual Review

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It's that time of the year again!

If you've been following my blog, or me, for awhile, you'll know that at the end of every year, I do a kind of annual review. It's to look at the goals I sent for myself last year (not resolutions), what worked, what didn't work, what goals were met & to think about where I want to take my life for the next year. So let's start by looking at my 2017 goals.


GOALS FOR 2017

TRAVEL

  • Spend more time actually exploring the PNW that's already around me.
  • Disney birthday trip with my girls
  • Road trip & hike Canada

LEARNING

  • Read at least 1 book a month (Take two!)

FINANCIAL

  • Buy myself a new (adult) car. It's time for the Scion tC of  my 16-year-old self to go.

HEALTH

  • Workout on a more regular basis, despite work schedule - focusing on cardio & weights.
  • Teaching myself to cook more & eat out less.

So What Went Well, What Not So Well?

I'm actually proud to say, that of all the goals I set for 2017, I accomplished all but two: working out on a more on a regular basis, and reading a book a month. In total, I read like 4 books, which is still an improvement. As for working out, it's still a struggle to find a consistent time todo it, when you work a dynamic schedule like I do. I did pick up some, should we call, alternative workouts?  I manage to scatter my year with hikes & ski days, at least until I sprained my ankle skiing (picture 4), and after I recovered I picked up kick boxing!

The biggest thing in 2017, was me "cutting back on traveling."

Somewhere my coworkers are rolling their eyes at that statement. Ok, fine. I kind of cut back. Baby steps okay? I "only" went to Disneyland twice & did only one international trip. It was the challenge of shifting my financial responsibilities, but all that overtime, and 70 work hours week, paid off! I bought my dream car: the Lexus NX F (emphasis on the F), which I named Becky. It's such a good feeling too, because I know I earned it, and I feel so grateful everyday when I drive it, & with how safe I feel when I take it up to the pass, or on and hikes. 

Other than that, I set out to road trip to Canada & I did (with Becky). I set out to do a birthday trip with my girls & we blew it out of the water.  I set out to work on my cooking skills, and now I'm packing lunch 4 times a week. I even saw my first total solar eclipse & added Scotland to my travel resume. A successful year! Now my goals for 2018!


GOALS FOR 2018

FINANCIAL

  • Put away a set amount each month so I can buy my own home at the end of 2018, or the beginning of 2019.
  • Any desired expenditures outside of that (like travel) or any other financial responsibilities (bills), must be financed by lifestyle changes to save money, or overtime! (Lots of overtime.)
  • Set a smaller amount aside each month, for a mission trip to Guatemala in February 2019

HEALTH

Be more consistent with working out in general, in any form (hike, ski, swim, kickboxing, etc)

TRAVEL

  • Trip back to France with my friend Shahrzad, where I learn more French history.
  • Road trip deeper into Canada for hiking.
  • (Hopefully, pending approval) A trip to China: particularly Shanghai & Hong Kong.

LEARNING

  • Read at least 1 book a month (Take three!)
  • Take a surfing lesson - California?
  • Learn Spanish so I can communicate with patients at work & for Guatemala 2019
  • Teach myself to more 100% dairy-free meals & maybe put together my own personal cookbook.

And finally, the mission statement. 

2018: THE YEAR OF epic FInancial Responsibility & the Independent woman

In 2018, I will challenge myself financially, more than ever. I will set aside a big portion of my income every month, with the intention of own home in Seattle's housing market, on my own, by the end of 2018 or early 2019. That is my priority. Everything else I want do this year, whether it be traveling, fitness, or education, will only be a secondary a result of how successful I am at learning to save money & how hard I work (overtime). 

Can you tell I'm ready to take this year by storm? Watch out 2018. I'm about to slay this! Love, JEN