An American in Paris: Day 3

Lizzie does Paris

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Travel Journal Continued…

“Today, it is simply perfect outside. A little bit on the windy side, but the skies are blue and the sun is shining. It’s Louvre day.

Lizzie does Paris

Lizzie does Paris - The Louvre

I find the Louvre to be rather overwhelming. My cousin Sterling did recommend a book she let me borrow that has the whole contents mapped out and well explained. But I preferred to just wander my way through this time around. When I return one day, (and I absolutely will return one day!) I’ll bring that book and make a concerted effort to seek out all the art, artifacts, antiquities, etc. that most intrigue me and hunt them down. A Louvre scavenger hunt…that’s what I’ll do next time!

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Lizzie does Paris - The Louvre

Lizzie does Paris instastory - The Louvre

Part of feeling a little “Meh” at the sight of the Mona Lisa stems purely from my overwhelming reaction to Monet’s Waterlillies. In comparison, I just have to say…the Mona Lisa didn’t do it for me. It’s not her fault that Monet so completely stole my heart the previous day!! But the response of the crowd…and boy, do the crowds respond to her, that made it very interesting to watch. People fought their way to the front of the line…just to find out that yes…she really does live there.

Lizzie does Paris instastory - Mona Lisa Louvre

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Lizzie does Paris - The Louvre

Throughout my Paris adventures…you’ll see plenty of photos taken by someone else. More on that later. But a quick note…some people get it right (pictured below) and some people don’t know what they’re doing. Hedge your bets and ask lots of different people. If you keep trying, eventually you’ll get one you like!

Lizzie does Parie - the Louvre

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Look…I’m not shy about taking selfies! Especially when I’m by myself. Yep…I want a picture of myself in this magical place. And yep…I can probably do it better than a stranger passing by. So, yep…I’m taking selfies!!

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I got a little Pain du Chocolat before leaving the museum and in line I met a charming man from Turkey who was an artist and was immediately drawn to me because of my bright hair. We chatted over our tea and Pain. He drew me a picture on his business card and requested that we stay in touch.


Next stop: Notre Dame. I walked over there and as I did, the skies continued to open and the day grew brighter and more picturesque!!

I mean…

Lizzie does Paris - Notre Dame

Lizzie does Paris - Notre Dame

I had a mind to attend morning mass at Notre Dame today, since it’s Sunday, but I’m glad I skipped it. Catholicism really is not for me and listening to just a sliver of their afternoon service left me with the sense that sleeping in was the right choice for me today!

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Here’s an example of a stranger NOT getting the picture I was looking for. I wanted Notre Dame to be in it, but look what they captured instead…a charming action shot of me being candidly me. This is what I love about what a complete stranger can add to your gallery. Let them try!

The Cathedral is as breathtaking as one could imagine. Outside it towers above you, tall and majestic. The inside is equally as gorgeous. Though I wondered to myself ‘how do people attend church in places like this?’

Lizzie does Paris - Nore Dame

Lizzie does Paris - Notre Dame

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It feels too grand and monumental compared to my church at home. It seems too much of a landmark to be able to actually worship here. But perhaps that is putting a constraint on God that does not exist. He is as present here in this massive behemoth as he is in the most intimate chapels. So perhaps it’s merely me that can’t seem to connect to His spirit here. That’s not God’s fault at all!

While I was here, I added an extra stop on my pilgrimage (which you will hear more about in the next post.) I lit a candle for my Gran, who just passed away in August. And I lit one for Wally, my dear friend who was taken away, just months ago. I lit one for me and I lit one for the people dearest to both of them. And it was very powerful!

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I stopped for some lunch right next to Notre Dame. I had my first glass of New Year’s Eve champagne!!

Lizzie does Paris - lunch time

My waiter is quite the charmer and wanted to take a picture with me. I’m not sure if the maitre’d meant to take a selfie or just didn’t know how the camera worked, but this is the souvenir I went home with that day:

Lizzie does Paris

On my way to Saint Chapelle, I stumbled upon Pont Neuf…aka: one of the many (now that it’s so popular) Love Bridges…aka: the purpose of my emotional pilgrimage. Luckily, I thought to put my family’s ribbons in my purse this morning, just in case. I had no idea when I was going to find it, but here it is.

Lizzie does Paris - Pont Neuf (Love Bridge with locks)

My pilgrimage was completed on New Year’s Eve. How perfect is that. But more on that later!!


Lizzie does Paris - Map

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Next stop: Saint Chapelle, a recommendation from my cousin, Sterling and her husband, Wesley. They preferred it to Notre Dame. And I have to say I agree, as far as the interior is concerned. There was a significant amount of construction happening around the exterior and the pure majesty of Notre Dame’s exterior is truly hard to beat.

But Saint Chapelle sure gave it the college try!

Lizzie does Paris - Saint Chapelle

But the interior makes think of a line from the song ‘Maria’ in West Side Story: ‘…say it loud and there’s music playing, say it soft and it’s almost like praying.’

Lizzie does Paris - Saint Chapelle

That is the best way I can accurately describe the differences in the 2 churches. Just blocks from one another. One is big and bold and makes you think of bright, loud music. The other is a whisper when you step inside. It’s intimate and close and I could just imagine…when you find God inside Saint Chapelle, He’s sitting on a bench. He looks up…sees you and He nods, beckoning you to come over and join Him. You tiptoe, as not to upset the quiet you find there. You take a seat and He speaks so softly and…’it’s almost like praying.’

Lizzie does Paris - Saint Chapelle

After Saint Chapelle, I trekked it back to my little room at Libertel Gare du Nord Suede…Room 105 for a nap and a costume change. It was New Year’s Eve after all. And I had a date with a Tower…

Today was rather exhausting and I took a longer nap than planned, something that is becoming a habit over here. I rallied pretty quickly and changed clothes. It was finally time to break out my pretty, flowery dress and pointy-toed shoes. I don’t have that much walking planned for tonight, so they should serve me well. (I’ll do a whole blog about my Paris wardrobe…don’t worry!)

Lizzie does Paris
Dress from Goodwill            Belt & Shoes from OMG Thrift

I have a date with a tall, sparkly tower named Eiffel and she will not be kept waiting.


I MEAN….anything I was dreaming of absolutely pales in comparison to how she shines! I’m so glad I saved her for tonight…on New Year’s Eve.

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She and I will start the night off right. I’m trying to remember if I felt this way about Times Square when I first saw it, or the Statue of Liberty. I think I felt really close to this when I saw Niagara Falls for the first time. I am small and the world is so big. These wonders have been here long before I came around and will remain long after I’m gone. Generations have stood here and had their breath taken away…just like me right now.

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Legacy is something that I have thought a lot about this year. What we bring into this world…what we leave behind. Do we leave it just as we found it? Or do we make our mark and change what we see for the better? The Eiffel Tower has me thinking more and more about Legacy. What is mine? I did not anticipate these to be the thoughts running through my head. But here they are, just the same.

Every hour, on the hour, she sparkles like a diamond. I stayed for 2 hours and watched her sparkly night show twice.

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At the base of her, there was a little market with such things as mulled wine (Vin Chaud) and pretzels. Crepes and hot chocolate. Seeing as I had big plans to eat a fancy dinner somewhere later, I opted just for the hot wine.

I found a perch to drink my wine and watch my Tower (for tonight, she shines just for me!) I considered staying for a 3rd sparkly showing, that would make 3 hours of Eiffel Tower gazing, but leave it to some sleazy man to come and try to borrow a piece of my perfect night. I let him talk to me for a little while. He spoke no English and seemed harmless enough. I was surrounded by people and in no real danger. But he just kept talking and weaseling and when he Skyped a friend of his to show off the “Très Jolie American” he’d found…and when that friend texted him ‘She sleep white you?’ I was officially done. He showed me the text and I LAUGHED IN HIS FACE, to be quite honest with you!

Allow me the briefest moment to rant…This brassy, assy Frenchman merely called me beautiful. Is that all it takes these days? It’s the most basic thing you can do for a women, call her beautiful! Women are beautiful…this is simple fact! You don’t get props or sex for having eyes. AMIRIGHT?!!

Side Note: It has taken me years to feel like I deserved more than a sloppy compliment from a stranger or anyone else for that matter. And there’s no turning back now!!

Lizzie does Paris - Champs Elysees

Moving on…These shoes were a mistake for New Year’s Eve. While the soles of my feet are holding up just fine, it’s the pinky toes that are suffering the worst of it. This is what happens when you don’t plan for all contingencies. Such as, going off schedule and deciding to take in the New Year’s Eve shindig at the Champs Elysées. That was not part of my plan! In fact, it definitely was not originally on my master list, I just added it moments before diverging from my well thought out and perfectly formed original plan…which included the Eiffel Tower, a fancy dinner and then my warm, comfy bed.

As I wait for the big show to start (the posters said it began at 21h, only 30 minutes to go) I can’t help but laugh. Because in the 8 and a half years I lived in New York City, I never once stepped foot in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Wouldn’t be caught dead there, is more accurate. But I guess…when in Rome Paris.

Lizzie does Paris - New Year's Eve Arc du Triomphe

As I wait for the big show to start (it did not start at 21h like the posters said it would) I am reminded why I never had an interest in Times Square, or any other event with 8 billion people in attendance, on New Year’s Eve.

Lizzie does Paris - New Year's Eve Arc du Triomphe

As I wait for the big show to start (apparently it does not start at 21h 30 either…time is coming and going so slowly now) I have a very short Asian woman tucked in at my arm pit…and though I try moving around to dislodge her, she will not be deterred. There is a swarthy Frenchman right in front of my vaping with what smells like cotton candy.

I’m never eating cotton candy again!

Lizzie does Paris - Arc du Triomphe

As I wait for the big show to start (it has to be soon…right? It has to be soon! RIGHT??!!) I can’t help but be thankful that my toes are frozen, because that is helping with the pain. These shoes were a perfectly fine choice for what I originally planned. But as we all know now…I did not follow the plan. I went off script…off book…off the map. And now I am close to no longer owning pinkie toes. Though, it is the least useful of the toes…so I do suppose it could be much, much worse!

Lizzie does Paris - Arc du Triomphe

As I wait for the big show to…….IT’S STARTING!!!!!!!!!!!

Lizzie does paris - New Year's Eve Arc du Triomphe

Lizzie does Paris - Arc du Triomphe


Sometimes we do things because we feel obligated, we think we should be doing one thing when all we want is another thing altogether. There was no one around for me to disappoint. If I hadn’t gone to the Champs Elysées and had settled for my beloved sparkly tower to end the night, no one would have known the difference. But sometimes the person we are worried most about disappointing is ourselves. There was a younger, more outgoing (if you can imagine), bolder, more fascinating, more personable, more energetic me once. And perhaps it’s my younger, 20 something-self I was trying to keep up with.

Lizzie does Paris - New Year's Eve Arc du Triomphe Champs Elyees

Yes…it was the first and the last time I will ever do a big city shindig on New Year’s Eve. But I’m glad I did it, after all. It’s Paris. It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s the Champs Elysées and the Arc du Triomphe. It’s days after my 35th birthday. It simply had to happen! And, if I’m continuing to be honest with myself (and why stop now) that 20 year old really knew how to coordinate a night!”

An American in Paris: Day 1

Ok, now you know how I made it to Paris.

Lizzie does Paris

Friday, December 29th, 2017

But I’ll bet you’re wondering what I got up to when I finally made it over there.

Before I even left for Paris, I created a very tentative list of things I wanted to do, along with a vague outline of when I might cross each thing off my list. Traveling with a strict schedule is just not how I do things. I wanted to leave a lot of space to change my mind, add new things to the list and choose days I thought would be best for each item.

Here’s the Master List:

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I landed at Charles de Gaulle airport at about 1:30pm on Friday afternoon, December 29th. I opted to rely on wifi in places and turn my phone on airport mode to avoid roaming charges while in Paris. This meant that simple tools like my GPS and the internet were not available to me, except when I was in my hotel or at a cafe that had wifi. It also meant that I had to rely on my scrappy travel skills (of which I have many!)

An excerpt from my travel journal upon arriving in Paris after finding my way to my hotel:

“Finding my bearings in Paris makes me feel like it’s my first time in New York City all over again. There’s a feeling that I truly have no clue where I’m going or what I’m doing. I don’t speak this language and maybe I’ve been out of the big city game for too long.

But, there’s also the absolute knowledge and confidence that I am capable of mastering this. Flying solo can be a little scary initially, but also exciting and energizing! I’d forgotten that feeling. It’s not something I feel very often in Winter Park, Florida.

On the plane, I sat next to Max, a very kind, young guy, probably a bit younger than me in age if not in spirit. He gave me some recommendations and we shared laughs throughout the flight. I was reminded that there are new friends waiting around every corner, if you’re open enough to look for them. Brave enough to talk to them.”

Interjection: This was the start of a flood of writing that began the moment I landed in Paris and has not stopped since I’ve returned home! And I was certainly grateful to be reintroduced to the writer in me, all over again!

“My hotel, Libertel Gare du Nord Suede on Boulevard Magenta in the 10th Arrondissement, is so charming and tiny. It’s the absolute perfect size for me and my solo adventures! It’s cozy and has the right number of hangars for the Paris wardrobe I brought with me. More than just coincidence, I think!

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I laid down to take a quick 30 minute cat nap, here on Day 1 of my adventure, and woke up an hour and a half later than anticipated. Apparently my body had other plans. Once I finally woke up, I felt rested and ready to walk and see and EAT. Above all…EAT!!

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Interjection: I just sat down to my first dinner in Paris and I’m implementing a new rule…wine and dessert will be ordered at every meal! No exceptions!

My neighborhood is charming! I think I’ll be using that word a lot in Paris. There’s a lot to see. Plenty of hustle and bustle and I find it surprisingly easy to navigate, given the language barrier. As I took the opportunity to get the lay of the land in my Arrondissement, I passed my hotel 3 separate times without meaning to. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding my way around. It really does feel somehow like I’m back in New York, but maybe all big cities have this energy and I’ve just forgotten what it felt like.

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Also…I feel like I’ve found a familiar part of myself, long forgotten and abandoned.

Continue reading

Thrift Store Cosplay Big Finale!!

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 31: Star Wars Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay fashion blogger nerd post Instagram challenge

Day 31: Princess Leia, Han Solo & Luke Skywalker

Today is the final day of my thrift store cosplay series. I really hope you all have enjoyed my shopping adventures. I certainly had a blast doing it! And now my wardrobe is tricked out!!

I wanna hear what your favorites were and if this inspired you at any point to give your local thrift stores a try. Is there a cosplay you think I should resurrect for Halloween in October? Or a character you’d like to see me try for the next series? Let me know!!

For the big finale, I pulled out all the stops and I’m bringing you characters from my favorite movie franchise of all time. This should come as no surprise…it’s Star Wars. I chose Star Wars! A Princess, a Scoundrel and a Farm Boy!! Enjoy!

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 31: Star Wars Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker fashion blog post

Princess Leia:

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 31 grand finale Princess Leia Star Wars fashion blog post

Dress from Plato’s Closet

Shoes from OMG Thrift

Belt from Goodwill

Han Solo:

Han Solo thrift store cosplay

Vest, Pants and Belt from Goodwill

White Shirt from Plato’s Closet

Boots from my shoe closet

Luke Skywalker:

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 31 grand finale Luke Skywalker Star Wars

Tunic, Pants & Shoes from Goodwill

Belt from Salvation Army

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 30

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 30: Mickey Mouse styled by Disney World fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay fashion blogger nerd post Instagram challenge

Day 30: Mickey Mouse

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know that I am a die hard Disnerd. Mickey is my ride or die Mouse!!

What would the world be with the OG Mouse? Mickey Mouse

Black Turtleneck, Red Pants and Yellow Shoes from OMG Thrift

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 30: Mickey Mouse flat lay styled by Disney fashion blog post

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Thrift Store Cosplay Day 29

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 29 Lilo and Stitch Disney Style fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay fashion blogger nerd post Instagram challenge

Day 29: Lilo from Lilo and Stitch

You guys!!! Thrift Store Cosplay is winding down and I only have 2 days of cosplay left to share with you. I have really enjoyed tricking out my closet with fun, whimsical and practical items. Some of which are very specifically costume-ish and others that I will definitely get some more wear out of. My closet is pretty amazing right now!! I must admit and because everything was procured at vintage, thrift, consignment and resale stores, I feel hella good about it!!

I’m gonna be taking some polls on which were your favorite characters and such from the whole August series, so keep an eye out for that!! Also I have a giveaway going on right now with JORD Watches. I hope you’ll take a minute to enter to win $100 at JORD! Use this link: woodwatches.com/g/nerdinthesand

JORD wood watches giveaway entry form nerd in the city nerd in the sand collab
Photo from JORD 

Ok…back to the cosplay. Today, I give you Lilo:

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 29 Lilo and Stitch Disney Style fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 29 flat lay 'Ohana Lilo and Stitch styled by Disney fashion blog post

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Thrift Store Cosplay Day 28

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 28: JEM and the Holograms rock star fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay fashion blogger nerd post Instagram challenge

Day 28: JEM from JEM and the Holograms

Out of all the characters I’ve chosen to cosplay this month, JEM is the one who is nearest and dearest to my heart. I used to watch the cartoon when I was a kid and dream of the day I could have pink hair and be a rock star!

SHOWTIME SYNERGY!!!

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 28: JEM and the Holograms rock star

Dress from OMG Thrift

Star Earrings and Heels from Goodwill

Belt from Salvation Army

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Truly Outrageous!!

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 27

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 27 Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones Mother of Dragons fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay fashion blogger nerd post Instagram challenge

Day 27: Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones

Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of the Andals, the Roynar and the First Men, Protector of the Realm, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mother of Dragons, The Unburnt Breaker of Chains!!

Who’s ready for the season 7 finale of Game of Thrones tonight? I know I am!

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 27 Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones Mother of Dragons

Dress from OMG Thrift

Arm Bands from Goodwill

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 27: Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones flat lay

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Thrift Store Cosplay Day 26

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 26: Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay fashion blogger nerd post Instagram challenge

Day 26: Bugs Bunny

What’s up, Doc?!

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Sweater, Top and Slippers from Goodwill

Gloves from OMG Thrift

Pants from Plato’s Closet

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 26:

Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 25

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 25 Marty McFly Back to the Future Michael J. Fox fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay fashion blogger nerd post Instagram challenge

Day 25: Marty McFly from Back to the Future

Bringing in the big guns, as I approach the end of August and the end of my #thriftstorecosplay series. I hope you guys have been enjoying these as much as I have!! You know what I just realized the other day, I have 31+ costumes to choose from for Halloween this year!! Win, win, win!

Which leads me to think I might need to regenerate a mini version of this series in October leading into Halloween. But I don’t want to come up with the ideas on my own this time. I’ll be running polls and taking suggestions and maybe come up with a 10 day countdown as Halloween approaches. So if you have any cosplays you want to see me attempt in the days leading up to Halloween, you can tweet me, comment on Instagram, comment here on the blog or email me at nerdinthecity01@gmail.com. Or maybe there’s a cosplay I did this series that you think would make the very best Halloween costume this year. Maybe you think I should take it to the streets, let me know!!

And in the meantime, here is my Mart McFly for your viewing pleasure!

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 25 Marty McFly Back to the Future Michael J. Fox fashion blog post

Plaid Shirt, Denim Shirt and Jeans from Goodwill

Red Vest from OMG Thrift 

High Tops from Plato’s Closet

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 25 Marty McFly back to the Future fashion blog post flat lay

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