An American in Paris: Day 5

Lizzie does Paris

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Travel Journal Continued…

“Before coming to Paris, I was starting to feel, or rather have felt for a while, like I lost my adaptability, my spontaneity. Things are so routine at home for me most days. And sometimes often times, I’ve found myself stuck in my ways. And I greatly dislike that feeling. I also think…that’s not the real me!!

Life is what comes at you. And what you make of each moment. I’ve felt like I haven’t made very much of what I’ve been given. I’ve taken a lot for granted. Maybe I’ve rolled with the punches, but I’ve whined about being punched in the first place.

But along comes Paris and ‘Hello, old girl!’Lizzie does Paris - travel blogI got lost on my first day. I found myself wandering in circles around the Paris Opera House and all of a sudden where I was going didn’t matter, cause look where I was! And hey, I saw more of the city that way, then I did from knowing exactly where I was going and making it there in one piece. Sure my pinkie toes are still busted from New Year’s Eve, but along comes over the counter Paris Advil and we’re back in business.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And I guess what I’m trying to say is, my will is stronger over here, in a place I’ve never been, in a country where I don’t speak the language, when I’m on my own and lost, than it is when I’m comfortable and settled and home. Over here adaptability is my middle name. Over here I am Nomad, I am Wanderer, I am giving directions to lost Canadian tourists.

Hello, familiar feeling of being capable as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!! I am much more capable than I give myself credit for in my every day life.

But…this is the challenge. To bring this spirit home with me. I need to find this version of me in my own backyard. I need to keep all this in my mind’s eye and in my heart’s memory and recall it every single day. I need to draw on this strength of character. And I don’t have to wonder if it’s there…I KNOW IT IS!

I know that the every day life needs to be tended to. Bills need to be paid, routines upheld, commitments fulfilled. But, oh yeah…Life is a grand adventure. I was starting to forget that or maybe I even made it all the way to ‘forgot.’

At the same time that I know I have a life back home worth living…I also know that I could be happy living life on the run.”

Lizzie does Paris - Versailles

Interjection: All this existential life searching happened while I waited in a 3 hour line to get into the Palace of Versailles. It was cold and rainy and the line was discouraging at first. But then I put my headphones in, listened to The Greatest Showman and started writing and all of a sudden I was walking through the doors of the Palace!

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“WOW! Versailles is the epitome of French to me. Walking through these palatial hall, I can’t imagine anyone, even a King, living here. One could get lost simply trying to find the closet.

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

What I can imagine, are the kinds of royal parties that must have been held here and in the gardens outside.

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This was worth every freezing cold minute I spent standing in line this morning. I would love to come back and see these gardens in the Spring (I’ve added that to my to do list for when I return, and I will return!)

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

I opted not to have the audio guides as I walked through the Palace today. I’m sure they are illuminating. I’m sure they add a lot to the history and understanding of this place. But I have enjoyed using my own imagination and thoughts as I’ve wandered through these rooms.

Lizzie does Paris - Palace of Versailles

Another banner day! Will Paris ever cease to amaze me? Probably not!!

I ended my Versailles day with dinner AND dessert crepes. Can you have too many crepes…the answer is no! Trust me! And a side of Rosé Cider.

Paradise Found

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl surrounded by her bestest of friends is the happiest of people. UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED. And I’m not talking about your run of the mill acquaintance here…I’m talking deep, unfailing friendship.20170224_140811.jpg

The kind of friends that tell you “Those shorts do not work with your ass.” They tell you “No, no, no the bangs look great with your face, you’re overthinking it.” They tell you “He is not worth your tears, girl. Save ’em for a better man!”

These are the friends that will stand the test of time. When other friends fade away…they will remain. I am blessed to have a handful of these “Forever Friends.” And last month I got to spend a weekend in Miami with two such gemstones. Check it out…

Ladies' Weekend 2017

There were a lot of options going into Ladies Weekend 2017. Last year (Ladies Weekend 2016) we ended up in sunny Orlando, Florida. Home of the happiest place on Earth, Hogwarts and yours truly. And we had a blast, check it out. So…the bar was pretty high. We waffled between New Orleans, Las Vegas, Mexico and even Paris made an appearance as a viable option, given that flights were only $400 round trip when we were looking. But in the end we decided to hit up Cristina’s home town…Miami! Another sunny vacation…not too shabby.Miami Florida Diplomat Beach Resort travels

I’ve mentioned this to you before, blog readers, but I am a summer girl!! 100%. All the way! The thought of spending a vacation anywhere where the temperature might drop below 75…no thank you! (Talk to me next year when we hit London for Ladies Weekend 2018.)

Cristina is the planner of the group. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love planning too, but we are very different sort of planners and this was her hometown, so the agenda was all hers with some input from Erin and I. But it’s best to visit a town with a local. You can see all the cool spots you might miss if you are doing the tourist thing. So Cristina hooked us up with a home cooked meal at her childhood home. (Dad makes a mean sangria!!)

We also hit Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and of course… SOUTH BEACH!! Erin’s mother-in-law got us a SICK deal on a casita (way better than a cabana) at The Diplomat and let me tell you something, we felt like Queens! We had a personal server and about 5 other employees that made the rounds to check on us throughout the day (Thanks Leo, Cassandra, Jeff, Josh and Danny!) We ordered drinks and fancy lunch and swam and laid in the sun. This is the best way to spend any day, I am convinced. And a day spent like this in the presence of beautiful friends…well that’s where the Paradise Found part comes in!!

Yeah…we did a bunch of other stuff. We went to Cristina’s home church on Sunday. We did little photo shoots for an upcoming blog project I have in the works. We made a pilgrimage to Instagram mecca, aka Wynwood Walls. We ate ALL THE FOOD!! We even tried to hit up South Beach’s night life, but the weekend proved too strong for our dance moves and we tuckered out at around 11:45pm and hit the hay instead of the dance floor. (Don’t even think of calling us old…the sun took it out of us! I blame the sun!)

Wynwood Walls Miami Florida travels blogger

All in all, there were so many things that made it a perfect weekend, but the thing that will stay with me is hanging with my squad for a full 3 days. We each live in a different state these days and quality time is hard to come by. We do our best with phone calls, Google Chat, texting, Snapchat (life saver), Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But who are we kidding…it’s never going to be enough. Our lives have us moving in circles far from the ones we moved in when we lived in New York together and tore the town upside down whenever possible.

Does our current reality diminish what was? Of course not. I think it just serves to make those shining moments of “togetherness time” shine a little bit brighter and causes us to hold onto the new moments we create a little big tighter.20170226_131405.jpg

See you in London next February, my beautiful friends!!

Friends Forever

Disney Day Ladies Weekend Disney Bounding blog post

On the subject of friendships that will not be stopped by distance, hard times or stormy weather! Two of my quality handful came down to sunny, ole Florida for Ladies’ Weekend and it was completely epic!!

Thursday, I picked the girls up from the airport and revels were had!

Hogwarts Adventure Ladies Weekend #SlytherGryffinPuff blog post

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando, FL Ladies Weekend blog

On Friday, the three of us boarded the Hogwarts express and headed for that magical land known as Universal, home of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! Where we represented each of our houses in style.

I am the resident Gryffindor…brave, daring, chivalrous, courageous.

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Erin is the our Hufflepuff…loyal, kind, honest and friendly.

Ladies Weekend Follow Blog Erin Ellis Hufflepuff #SlytherGryffinPuff

And Cristina is our Slytherin…cunning, ambitious, determined, a leader.

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Together we are a powerful force to be reckoned with and while it’s true that we didn’t have a Ravenclaw to bring along on this trip, we really weren’t missing one. We are quite possibly the best traveling companions. Cristina is the planner, the one who keeps us organized and on schedule. I’m the one who makes sure we veer off schedule every once in a while and allows the wind to blow us here and there. And Erin steadies the two of our opposing forces. We are stronger together and it made for the most delightful day!

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Check out our Harry Potter adventures on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #SlytherGryffinPuff

Disney Day Ladies Weekend #DisneyDarlings blog post

Lizzie, Cristina and Erin Disney Bounding Share Your Ears Disney blog

Saturday, we were off to the other magical place in Florida…the most magical place in all the land (sorry Harry, the House of Mouse wins!) Disney World!! We had lofty goals and were going to attempt all four parks! We made it to everything we wanted to do at Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom and ended up in Epcot for dinner and fireworks. (Sadly Animal Kingdom had to be sacrificed for the greater good.) The best part of all is that months ago we decided to Disney Bound for our magical day. And we had a blast!

I was Rapunzel.

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Erin was Belle.

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And Cristina was Snow White.

(Cristina is a crafty princess who managed not to get her individual princess portrait taken….. clearly a Slytherin!)

Disney Day Ladies Weekend Disney Bounding blog post

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For more from these gorgeous creatures who I am lucky enough to call friends, go check out their blogs. Yep…they’re both bloggers. Imagine that!

The Ever Changing Us 

The Littlest Fowler

Also make sure you are following all three of us on Instagram, but only if you love pictures of happy, adorable people who love life and each other! #LadiesWeekend2016

Cristina

Erin

Lizzie

The weekend may be over, but these friendships will last forever!! Next year we are deciding between New Orleans and Las Vegas and 2018 will see us in London for the most epic #SlytherGryffinPuff expedition ever imagined.

Ladies Weekend at Walt Disney World Disney Bounding blog post

So keep a weather eye on the horizon for more us!

That Time I Fell In Love

Having never been in love before, I didn’t recognize the feeling. The butterflies in my stomach, that nervous feeling like I might throw up at any given moment. It was strange and unsettling. I couldn’t sleep very well. I couldn’t eat…wait I could eat. I can always eat! But I knew this was something different than ever before. Exciting, scary, different, special and it just felt right. The way I imagine an older couple who’ve been married for over 40 years must feel when they hold hands or something. It was definitely love.

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That was me and New York in January of 2007. Love at first sight. It was bright and shiny. It kept me up all night, just thinking about it. Friends were made. A life was built. And not only did this become my home, but I even found family here.

You know what I love about me… I don’t just make friends, I find family wherever I go. Did you know that you can have more than one family? It’s pretty cool!!

There are the blood relations. The people God designed to be in your life no matter what. The people who raised you and who you grew up with. The people who teach you the things you’ll take through the rest of your life.

There’s college family. The people who were there in a difficult transitional period in life. The people you may have partied with. The people who teach you that life is bigger than the little bubble you came from.

There’s church family. The people who grow you spiritually. The people who challenge you and hold you accountable. The people who help you and pray for you and uplift you.

There are various work families. The people who understand the crazy things that happen at your job. The people you have happy hours with after long stressful days.

There are a bunch of other families that you can make. The people who understand your hobbies. The people you root with at sporting events. The people you cry with over television finales.

And then, if you’re lucky, you have all of the above. But there’s one more family. The kind that is unforeseen. It’s your New York family. Only they can understand what it means to leave those other little families behind to pursue something huge. To step onto this stage with a dollar and a dream. Maybe you get what you came here for. Maybe you leave with dashed hopes. Or maybe that family supports you through every bump and bruise till you are ready to leave on your own two feet to start a new adventure.

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That’s my story.

I came here thinking I’d fall in love. I came here thinking I’d make it big. And once I realized that no one defines my dreams and my accomplishments but me, then I knew that I did fall in love and I had made it big. It was never going to be conventional or “normal.” But then again I’ve always been extraordinary. I don’t mean that in the cocky, “I’m the best” sort of way. I mean, ordinary is not a word I understand. “Normal” is not a word that has ever applied to me. And New York gets that. Hell, New York invented extraordinary. (Well God invented extraordinary, but God also made New York so it still works!)

I found myself here. I found something I didn’t know I was missing. I fell in love with New York City! The funny thing about love is that it doesn’t go away, but it can change. It can become unrecognizable underneath the little annoyances, the little betrayals, the little boredoms, but it never fully goes away. The heart doesn’t forget like that. It’s the mind that tricks you into thinking that it isn’t love anymore. But it still is. And New York and I…we’re doing just fine. I have loved it here, in a way I never knew I could. And the best part about it, the part I know for sure, is that no one ever truly leaves New York. I intended to come here for my internship and then maybe stay for a year or two. Eight and a half years later…. I guess it’s time to go play in the sand for a while. But I know I’ll be back. New York is in my blood now. It’s a part of me. It’s where my family lives.

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This is surely the evidence of a life well lived.

Thanks, my pretty little city! See ya when I see ya!

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This nerd will return in August 2015…

Final Episode of My Series

Get ready, cause it’s the last episode of the series. The shelves have been cleared. The flowers have come down and my cab is on it’s way. A new chapter in my life is about to begin. New chapter, same Liz!!

Episode 40: FINALE

Starring:

Liz Tailor

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Thank you for watching!!