Friday, February 28, 2014

Paris: Part One

Oh Paris – you were top on my list of places to visit, and finally I was able to make my dreams come true. I spent three full days exploring the city of love, on valentine’s weekend no less. Granted I was sans valentine, however I do feel like spending a few days in Paris constitutes “winning” the holiday.  I took the Eurostar over from London, which was super quick and really easy to do, plus it put me at a major train spot that brought me to a metro that dropped me off a block from my hotel. As a non-French speaker, I never had trouble navigating the metro ( I swear the States are the worse for clear public transit instructions).

The first night I was super tried, as I was out way too late the night before – oops. I haven’t seen 3 am in about 3 years until then – I guess there are worse things though then having a good time on a Friday night. I just got settled and made my way to a bistro for dinner before heading to an early bed time so I could take full advantage of my day on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

london nights

When traveling for work, a lot of times there isn't much time to explore the sites the city you are working in. This past trip I made sure to see a lot of local English watering holes at the end of each evening. I am a big fan of the pubs and of course delicious pub grub – French fries have to be a personal favorite. I do love getting to walk around and explore a little bit off the beaten path as well, and having locals take you to favorite spots is always well received by me.

I actually found myself at last call more times than I should admit, but it certainly was fun. I almost felt like I was back in my early twenties when staying out late and getting into work is no problem for the body. I also can confirm that at least for me, I don’t get a hangover from French wine – must be the lack of sulfates.

Hopefully, I’ll be back soon to visit and enjoy some more fun after the work is done.

Monday, February 24, 2014

happiness list

How is it almost March? Though I am desperately looking forward to spring, I still cannot believe February is nearly over – were we not just ringing in the new year like a week ago?  Anyway a happiness list to keep it real this month.
In typical Jill fashion, I return from some days off to instantly plan the next round of time away (vicious cycle I tell you). This time I am going to be heading somewhere sunny and hopefully warm for a few days. Bring on sunscreen and flip flops please.

Finally getting to the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones. I have been reading the books, and I haven’t watched the TV show (maybe a summer treat?), but I knew something big was coming and I was still shocked. There is something to be said for an author totally willing to kill off favorite characters – it’s bold and I like it.

I finally threw away my green tights. This made me ridiculously giddy, as every single time I wear them I feel like the understudy of the Wicked Witch. I cannot get over the fact my legs are green and it just seems more obnoxious to me than other colored tights.  As someone who hates to throw things that are not ripped or ruined away, this was a small victory.

Embracing some green behaviors at work these days. I have officially transitioned to a ceramic mug after being a disposable user for ages. I will preface that I would reuse my disposable cup all day long so I wasn’t so environmentally evil, but this feels like a giant leap forward for me and the planet.

Sadly, I am excited that the Olympics have ended so that my DVR can be stocked back up with things to watch. I can totally get on board with some good old Olympic watching, but it is nice to be able to get back on to seeing the final weeks of How I Met Your Mother and other distractions.

Friday, February 21, 2014

start the spark

James Blunt, where have you been? Oh you've been making my current favorite song, the one I cannot stop listening to on repeat, whenever I get a chance. Ironically, James Blunt was recently a joke on How I Met Your Mother, and what had happened to him and was he still as popular as he was in 2006. This song just makes me one happy camper. I hope you also enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

so jetlagged

I have a funny feeling I'll be feeling off until Monday comes around, I'll be battling between Central European time and Eastern Standard. I do think coming back to the states is a bit easier but oh my goodness, I am sitting in the airport waiting for a final flight back home and I am struggling and it's only 4 PM here.

Anyway, I won't complain about a nice long trip to Europe by any means. I am looking forward to sharing some adventures in the coming weeks. Just need some time to put pen to paper. I will say this though, travel often and where ever you can - even if it's just to another town nearby.

Monday, February 17, 2014

where is the love...

Well, I decided to take an unintended break from blogging last week. Working aboard led to not having much time to blog. Honestly, it was good to take a break and enjoy being with some of my friends in other offices. I've been out and about taking photos though in both London and Paris, so I'll have quite a few things to share over the next week or so.

Hope you had a lovely weekend!

Friday, February 7, 2014

from my bookshelf

I probably read more than the average person, typically in a year I read about a book a week. It’s certainly not completely evenly spread- when  I am working and only reading on my commutes and before bed I am reading at a slower pace, and vacations I tend to pick up and read a lot more.  It’s truly my favorite hobby- there’s nothing better to me than falling into a book and not being able to put it down. I thought I’d share some recent great reads in case you’re hankering for a recommendation.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. If you like twisted tales of who’s really the guilty party, this is a page turner. Just when you start to think one thing, you realize another character is even crazier than the last. Added bonus with this one is that it’s going to be a movie this fall staring Mr. Ben Affleck.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. The first installment of The Game of Thrones – not just a geeky fantasy book, but one with all sorts of tales. I particularly enjoy the different  viewpoints as each chapter switches characters. I am very fond of young Bran Stark- who’s only eight years old in this first book.

The Hit by David Baldacci. I have always enjoyed crime thrillers and this one was definitely had some interesting plots. When I discovered David Baldacci a few years ago, I was impressed by the topical subject matter, that really makes you wonder what the leaders of any government are up to – even our own. It feels like there’s so much going on behind the scenes, and this novel really makes you think about that. 

I'd love any recommendations for next reads if you have one.

(photo via pinterest)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

i see london...

In less than a week, I am heading over to London for business. I am looking forward to enjoying some spring like temperatures compared to the winter those of us on the eastern seaboard have been experiencing. I am hoping to see some new places, as well as enjoy the walk to and from the office each day – past the American Embassy - probably the ugliest building I saw while I was there last time, it just has a very utilitarian file compared to the historic architecture everywhere else on that walk. I am a complete tourist though, and I really just love popping in to shops and pubs on the way “home” to the hotel each night, and spending some social time with my friends and colleagues in that office. I cannot wait to spend some time in Selfridge's checking out all the fun items and getting lost in the amazing book section of the store.

However, I think the best part of this upcoming adventure is the one that I am tacking on to this trip - I am heading to Paris for a few days to finally do some sightseeing and see the Eiffel Tower. That's right I am tackling on of my 15 before 2015 items very early. I couldn't be more excited to get there!

(graphic via etsy)

Monday, February 3, 2014

february shouldn't be so scary

Over the weekend the groundhog saw his shadow, on a day that as 55 degrees and downright beautiful. According to folklore, this means six more weeks of winter. I wake up this morning, to a lovely little snow storm, with rumors of up to two more storms heading my way before the end of next weekend. Well, Groundhog, I would say you were correct – six more weeks of winter seems to be upon us, but I’d all for packing these six weeks into the next week – if that’s possible.

Anyway, I enjoyed my day watching the snow fall from my window at work all day –it’s always nice to know you can be safe and warm somewhere. I have a hankering for one of those late night walks tonight with the snow covered sidewalks that feels so peaceful.