Baguettes & Berets

Globetrotting. One adventure at a time.


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Back At It

Hello Everyone!

I’ve been busy with school so I haven’t been able to travel as much as I would have liked to, but in less than a month I’ll be headed back to Europe for a couple of weeks.

I will spend three days in Paris, a week in Brussels, a day in Lille, and a day in Maastricht. It may sound like a completely random trip but it is actually for a Model European Union conference for my major, which is held in Brussels. I’m choosing to spend a few days in France because it was cheaper to fly into Paris than it was to fly in Belgium and well, why not? Paris has been and always will be one of my favorite cities.

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Some of the things I hope to do this time around:

  • See the Masterpiece Collection at the Louvre
  • Go to la musée de l’orangerie (where Monet’s work is featured)
  • Eat an authentic French meal
  • Go on a walking tour (because I really hate bus tours)

Now that I’ve traveled significantly more than before I’m excited because so many things I had to learn the hard way I now know and I know I’ll have an even better experience exploring.

Another reason I’m excited to go back is because this time it will be a significantly different political culture than it was two years ago. Two years ago the biggest problem anyone really had was with the French government, and now? Well, I bet they’d be stoked to go back to those days. I know I would be. So, it will be nothing short of interesting to see how these political crises have shaped and are shaping the French culture. Will I even see a difference, or will France be the same old France but better and stronger? Only time will tell.

Stay tuned,

-EG

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Five Restaurants I’m Obsessed with in New York City

Food is a pretty big deal. I used to be quite the picky eater, but as I’ve grown up, I’ve found that the weirder the food, the more apt I am to try it. With that in mind, I still have a long way to go when it comes to “developing a refined palate,” but here are some of my favorite restaurants you just have to check out next time you’re in the city.

1. Crif Dogs. Yes. A hot dog restaurant. Well, more like a hole in the wall. But you can get four gourmet hot dogs and a basket of waffle fries for a mere $20, a feat in the city that never sleeps. They even serve veggie dogs if you’re into that. My personal recommendations? Try the everything bagel and the bacon and egg flavors, you will not regret it.

Location: East Village, 113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

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(These hot dogs at Crif Dogs are even more delicious than they look. Photo Courtesy of NeoGaf)

2. Giano Restaurant. Finding a good Italian spot here is hit or miss. Many Italian restaurants simply aren’t that memorable and my cooking skills (or lack there of) could easily rival some of their creations. For Giano Restaurant, however, this is so not the case. I went here on an exceptional date. The entire staff is from Italy (and I think sometimes forgets they are in America) and is extremely helpful and friendly. The food? Another world. I had gnocchi (my personal cryptonite) and it was HEAVEN. Yes, HEAVEN. My date ate another pasta dish that was equally enjoyable, even though what it was escapes me, I’m too busy dreaming of that gnocchi. The ambience is warm with simple decor and serves as a lovely place for a great dinner at a good price.

Location: Almost Alphabet City, 126 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

giano Trip Advisor

(What did I tell you? Giano Restaurant is a stellar pick for a first date. Just look at that mood lighting! Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor

3.The Mermaid Inn: I’ve tried cooked oysters and I loved them. I didn’t realize how much I’d love raw oysters until I tried them at this swanky joint in the East Village for one of my roommates’ birthday. It was busy and we waited ages for a table, but we hung out at the bar and ate two dozen oysters there before enjoying appetizers at our table. My personal favorite part of this restaurant is that at the end of your meal, they give you an espresso shot’s worth of chocolate mousse with cream and a magic fish fortune teller! It’s quirky, but it made the evening more than memorable.

Location: East Village, 96 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

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(This place is way too cute to not try their oysters. Photo courtesy of Indulge Inspire Imbibe.) 

4. Caffe Linda: As I’ve previously mentioned, it isn’t easy for an Italian restaurant to make the cut. I’ve lived in the region pasta was invented, so I’m a tough critic. I’ve been to Caffe Linda on two separate occasions and have loved the service and the impeccable cuisine both times. It’s a charming place to enjoy a glass (or five) of their best wine with your friends and family, and it’s a great place to get a delicious meal. The best part? It’s a tiny restaurant so it feels as if they’ve transported you straight into a small village in Italy, which, for anyone who has a case of wanderlust, is the best feeling in the world.

Location: Midtown, 145 E 49th St #3, New York, NY 10017

caffe-linda Trip Advisor

(Oh how I wish that fork was mine. I can’t wait to go back for more at Caffe Linda! Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor.) 

5. Joe’s Shanghai: While there are three locations in NYC, the Chinatown location is the best. I magically become a non-vegetarian when I walk in the door and find myself happily devouring a thousand of the pork soup dumplings and I love enjoying one of the unique Asian beers they have. Definitely worth checking out!

Location: Chinatown, 9 Pell St, New York, NY 10013

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(This photo doesn’t do those pork dumplings justice. Do me a favor and try them for yourself, okay? Photo courtesy of Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant.


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10 Ways to Save Money When You Live in the Big Apple

This summer has taught me a lot about spending and saving my money. Here are some tips to help you navigate the concrete jungle a little better.

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(Skyline view of Manhattan from Governor’s Island.) 

  1. Go Grocery shopping. It’s not glamorous and it’s not convenient, but when you do the math, the reward pays off. Another tip? Be sure to comparison shop. Sometimes the deli around the corner will have a cheaper selection of certain items than Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
  2. Pre. Game. If you’re going out for a night on the town, the best way to avoid spending more than $30 is to make yourself a drink at home. A bottle of wine can get you much farther than a glass of it will at a bar.
  3. Don’t even think about taking a taxi. Save these for when it is absolutely necessary. Like the subway broke permanently or you broke both of your legs and both of your arms. Do the math here. $116 for a 30-day unlimited metro card. That’s the price of maybe four taxi rides if you’re lucky. Save those pretty pennies for a rainy day.
  4. Don’t pay to go to the Met or MoMA. This sounds terrible and I absolutely hate myself for saying this, but as an artist and college student who sometimes can’t afford to feed herself: Don’t pay to go to these museums. Sounds tempting and yes we all want to support the arts, but guess what? Rich people and tourists will pay up to cover you, no worries. The Met is donation based always, so give what you can, don’t feel bad if “give what you can” means $1. MoMA has free admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday evenings. You’re welcome.
  5. Invest in a quality umbrella. Buying those cheap $5 umbrellas on the street will get super annoying real fast when they break after hardly weathering one mild rain shower. Get one that costs $20 and your hair and your wallet will be forever grateful.
  6. Turn off your AC. If you’re not going to be home for the next 45 minutes or six hours, Turn. It. Off. It’ll save you big bucks when the electric bill comes in.
  7. Go to free events. This may sound like a no-brainer, but seriously, every day there are so many events going on, and a lot of them come with an extremely lovely price tag: “Free.” From live music to Poetry festivals, these are a great way to explore and have fun without breaking the bank.
  8. Bring your own lunch. Similar to grocery shopping, bringing your own lunch to work can save you quite a bit in the long run. Personal anecdote here: At work we have a fabulous cafeteria. Fabulous. Each piece of fruit (Peaches, bananas, oranges, you name it) costs $0.60 per piece. This sounds completely reasonable. However, you can buy five of those peaches at the grocery store for less than $2. You may lose convenience, but the benefits outweigh the negatives here.
  9. Treat Yo. Self. (But Plan for It). If you want to feel good about saving some dough, the best way I’ve found is to schedule in a day or two per month (you can base this off of your income) where you get to splurge, whether that’s on a nice dinner or a mani-pedi, it won’t hurt so bad when you’re eating that PB&J for lunch on Monday.
  10. Throw all of your money in the air because this city is expensive and you should just give up now. Okay I’m kidding, but seriously, not spending  20 years of income in a month should be an olympic event here.

Have other money saving tips? Leave them in the comments below!


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Spring Break on the Shore

After midterms and a busy past couple of weeks, spending a week on the beach was everything I needed. 18 of my sorority sisters and myself hit the road for a relaxing, fun week in Gulf Shores, Alabama, stopping in Memphis on the way.

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Beale Street at night.

In M-Town, barbecue and soul food rule. After a 10 hour ride, we arrived pretty late, but we weren’t about to miss our chance to experience Beale Street. We partied on the strip, meeting new friends and enjoying live music, taking in all the bright lights and cool accents.  Continue reading


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Spring Break Bucket List: Less Than Two Weeks!

In my second semester of my junior year, I’ve been a busy bee, so the prospects of spending 10 days in Gulf Shores, Alabama, sounds like a dream come true. I’ve never been to Alabama, and on the way we’re spending a night in Memphis, and on the way back, a night in St. Louis, to make that 18 hour drive a little more bearable. Since there are less than two weeks left, here are the top five things I want to do on spring break this year: 1. Try Grits! I’ve never had them other than that one time at a Waffle House in Missouri, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t count. url

(Image Source: The Daily Currant)

2. See the St. Louis Arch. Touristy? Yes. Necessary? Of course! images

(Image Source: TravelWebDir)

3. Get a sunburn. This probably isn’t the best goal for my skin, but living in the Midwest means I want proof I got a taste of weather that was a solid 50 degrees higher than it was back home. No image necessary for how attractive this will make me look when I get back. 4. Check out the Beale Street Historic District in Memphis. I mean it looks like this, can you blame me? beale-st-memphis-tn

(Image Source: Trip Advisor.)

5. Check out the Gulf State Park! Hiking, biking, swimming? Let’s do it.

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(Image Source: Gulf Shores Alabama)

Needless to say I can’t wait for this adventure to start! Stay tuned for more updates!


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Travel Gear to Grab This Month: February

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love travel, and even though a meager budget and being a full-time student have me stuck in Des Moines these days, here are 10 travel accessories and items I can’t live without this month:

1. Smashbox Full Exposure Travel Palette, $22, Sephora

Whether you’re on an airplane, train, or car, this palette will fit in any carry-on, purse, or clutch. A neutral palette, this will keep your eyes looking fresh even on the longest of travel days.

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2. Emma Sunglasses, in Black, $16, Urban Outfitters

Every traveler needs a good pair of sunglasses. If you’re looking for a low-cost option that you won’t care about if you lose them, they break, or they’re stolen, these adorable sunnies from Urban Outfitters are the shades for you!

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3. The Nokia Treasure Tag, $30, Microsoft

Never lose anything again. Well, anything you have synced to this fancy tag created by Nokia. Basically, if you have a smartphone and you sync it to the tag via bluetooth, it will notify you when you leave something behind. Talk about innovation!

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4. Knomad Mini Portable Organizer, $60, Knomo

Store your passport, credit card, tablet, pens, paper, lip gloss, and more all in one place! With four colors to choose from, there’s no reason you can’t travel in style.

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5. Rain Boots, $110, Däv

Däv is a brand based in Canada focused solely on providing luxury items that are completely weatherproof. With Spring right around the corner, it’s time to invest in a solid pair of rain boots. The best part about these Holloway Tall Black boots? They fold up so you can stow them easily in your luggage. You can thank me later.

DSC_0932_large_570a86fe-ea2d-40d1-a174-47d8dfcc48ca6. Umbrella, TRX Auto Open Close Light n’ Go Traveler Umbrella, in Chevron, $42, totes

Compact, light, and cute, this umbrella will keep you dry no matter the weather. Totes offers umbrellas at all price ranges, but I just couldn’t resist this bold chevron pattern!

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7. Long-Wear Lipstick, ColorStay Overtime, $10, Revlon

16+ hours? 24 shades? I’m sold. Definitely one to throw in that portable organizer, ladies!

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8. A good read: The New York Times, 36 Hours, 125 Weekends in Europe, $35, Barnes & Noble

Whether jet-setting tomorrow, or dreaming of a weekend getaway, the New York Times has done an impeccable job of compiling the greatest dives, tourist attractions, and everything just off the beaten path in their book series, 36 hours. Other locations include other continents, regions, and if you aren’t up for crossing the pond, ones covering each coast of North America.

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9. Travel Pillow, $15, Dick’s Sporting Goods

Adjustable, lightweight, and adjustable, this pillow will help the 7 hour flight to London go by in comfort.

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10.  Mini Sewing & First Aid Kits, $6.99 each, The Container Store

Fix a snag, tear, or cut with these fabulous minis. Easy to stow away, these two are ones you don’t want to leave home without!

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