This is my journal on documenting love, finding joy, and living life to the fullest. I'm so glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your stay!

This is my journal on documenting love,
finding joy, and living life to the fullest. I'm so glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your stay!

HELLO, I'm JENNIFER! welcome to MY blog!









Filed in: Personal

It’s time to turn over a new leaf and start on one of my 2014 goals: including more personal posts! I have been sitting on these images for a solid year now. It’s sad, I know. When we got back from Europe, I jumped right into spring wedding season and had no time to leisurely look through the thousands of photos that I took during our 20 day trip. But throughout the year, when I needed a visual break from weddings, I would work little by little on this set. I have finally finished choosing and editing my favorites and I’m happy to share part one with you today!

B and I had talked for months about taking a trip to Europe, but never took the initiative to book anything. That is, until last January when it hit me that my 2013 off-season was really the ONLY available time we could go. I wasn’t trying to put pressure on B, but I had an inkling that we were going to get engaged that year. I thought that with planning a wedding, then a honeymoon, and wanting to have kids *fairly* soon, (not to mention, shooting weddings all the while and maintaining a growing business) we would miss out on our opportunity to take our dream trip. I discussed my feelings with him and he agreed. So, with only three weeks before our departure date, we booked our flights to spend twenty days in Europe.

B & I are both big planners and do not take our vacations lightly. I want to fit as much as possible into every day we are traveling, so, needless to say, we were in a little bit of a panic trying to get everything together in less than three weeks. The first big decision we made was to backpack and take trains instead of using rolling luggage and plane hopping through countries. I know what you’re thinking: packing for twenty days in a 45L backpack?? If you know me and my affection towards clothes, this was extremely difficult. To give you a better picture, on my first trip to Europe when I studied abroad, I had an entire suitcase JUST for shoes. I was scared how this would turn out, but I was up for the adventure.

Our first stop on our trip was flying into Brussels, Belgium. It was cheaper than flying directly into Paris and we got to see more of Europe. We concluded that the decision was totally worth it after eating and drinking all the delicious things this country has to offer (waffles and chocolates and frites, oh my!). Not to mention, the city is quite beautiful.


Next stop: Paris. We arrived in the city of lights late at night, so I didn’t have my camera out. Jet lag was starting to set in so we were focused on getting to our hotel quickly. We navigated our way through the cold streets, and after turning the corner to find our destination, we saw the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower peeking over the tops of the buildings. I stopped dead in my tracks and became overwhelmed with emotion. My heart became all aflutter because it was so beautiful, and then I started to cry… uncontrollably. It was one of those moments that you dream of all your life, happening right before my eyes. I realized that not many people get to travel the world in their lifetime, and we were doing it.


If you’re ever in Paris, you MUST visit Angelina’s. Their croissants were life-changing, and they have the richest hot chocolate you’ll ever taste. B described it as a melted Godiva bar in a cup…we probably would have done better using a spoon than a straw!


Since I would often get caught up taking photos, B would wander ahead of me and hide behind things. Gotta love a guy that makes you laugh. We played this game (and still do) throughout the trip.


I quickly found out that you’re not supposed to take photos in the Musee d’Orsay. Oops.


On our second day in Paris, we took the train out to Versailles. The photo below shows a scale model of the palace, which depicts how vast the grounds are. See the small square and upside-down “U” shape in the bottom left quarter…that’s the actual palace! Now compare that to the rest of the model, and you can imagine how big this place is.


Hall of Mirrors.


On day three in Paris, we went to the Lourvre and our guidebooks suggested to get there really early to beat the crowds. We knew that Mona Lisa would be the first exhibit to become overwhelmed with people, so we got our tickets and basically ran through the museum to find her. There was only a few other patrons admiring the beauty when we entered the room, so we were able to enjoy the masterpiece in peace.

Art history was my favorite subject and for a brief while after college, I considered a career in the field. Seeing all the artwork that I studied and the paintings that I wrote papers on was magical.


On the left you’ll see our sad little picnic. We read in our books that picnicking was a must, so we made an attempt. Unfortunately, the lady at the fromagerie held true to the stereotype of “rude Parisian”. I was scoffed at for not knowing anything more about cheese other than wanting a goat’s cheese and cow’s cheese. We think she purposefully gave us the stinkiest cheese she had out of spite. The butcher shop was much nicer (he laughed off when I got mixed up and said “si” instead of “oui”) but we failed at picking the right meats. And the bread shop was closed: no croissant for us. So we sat on a bench looking out over the Seine, and tried to choke down enjoy the smelly cheese and meat. We ended up throwing away most of it, and opted for a salted caramel ice cream cone instead. MUCH better!!


I do have one regret about our time in Paris, and that was not going to see the Eiffel Tower in the daytime. We scheduled our tour at night so when we went to the top we could see all the lights of the city. It was still amazing in the dark, but unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of us with the tower. I suppose we’ll have to just visit again sometime. ;)


On our next day, we traveled out to Reims to visit the Champagne region.


We left Paris and began our journey to Italy, stopping in Beaune along the way. We found out that we don’t have much taste for French burgundy wine, but the tour we took was definitely a highlight! After they gave us a taster cup (see in the left photo on the bottom right), we descended into their cave cellars. Most wine tours have a guide that stays with you and pours the wine for you. Not this one! The guide gave us a brief history on their varietals and said to sample as much as we’d like as we made our way through the cellars. Then, she left us alone. There was only one other couple going through, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. There were about 20 different wines located on top of barrels throughout the caves and it goes without saying that we tried them all!


Next up, Italy and Spain! Stay tuned for Part II!

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