Beach outfit ideas

Welcome, hot temperatures, beaches and palm trees ! Summer is my favorite time of the year – not very original, I know – so I’m very happy!

I’m also very excited because I am in Greece right now, on the island of Rhodes, and I am having so much fun. I’ll make a video of our trip but for now you can follow our adventure on my instagram.

Greece is full of incredible beaches and breathtaking landscapes, so I selected for you  four beach outfits that I hope will inspire you! 

 

Between the City and the Sea

HELLO-3This amazing red one-piece bathing suit is from New Look, if you wear it with shorts, it can be turned into a top that you can wear outside of the beach. The shorts are from H&M, they are a basic, high-waisted model. The scandals are from Minelli and I’m in love with the colors and the gold feathers. For the accessories, I selected these clubmaster RayBan sunglasses and a tote bag from H&M.

 

Bohemian Beauty

HELLOI find this look perfect for a more secluded, wild kind of beach. The Bikini is from Calzedonia, (Top and bottom) I like the different tones of green. It matches perfectly with this Folys beach bag. I put a touch of yellow with the H&M flower headband and H&M sandals. I chose a white off the shoulder dress from New Look and for the finishing touch, I added this light brown pair of RayBans.

 

Chic in Black

HELLO-2I wanted to create a chic style and for me nothing is chicer than black. The off the shoulder one piece bathing suit is from New look. I am in love with it, and paired it with these Ivyrevel mesh shorts. I chose a straw hat from H&M  with a dark touch to match the rest the outfit. The transparent beach bag is from ZARA, the sandals from Bershka. To finish, I added a Micheal Kors watch to elevate the whole outfit and a pair of sunglasses from Marc Jacob.

 

 

Chill in Blue

HELLO-4This look is the one that reflects my own style the most. In a previous video, I told you about this Ivyrevel off the shoulder bikini (Top and Bottom).  I  love it for the colors, the flower pattern and the shape of the top. It looks great with this pair of New Look shorts and these Micheal Kors sunglasses. These are the sunglasses I discovered at the MK outlet in Cannes. Since the outfit is very colorful already, I chose these silver Havaianas and a transparent tote from New Look to complete the look with a neutral touch.

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Sweet Home Chicago

Just a disclaimer: you may come across a few articles about Chicago in the next month or so. I recently found out that I was going to relocate to the East Coast at the end of July.

This means that I will be leaving the city that has been my home for the past six and a half years. Looking back, I realize that it’s been a long time! While I am happy to move on to new adventures, there are definitely many things I will miss about this amazing city.

So this first article will  mention some of the things that make Chicago my home.

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  • Walking/jogging by the lake

In my time here, I have moved a few times within the city, but I always made sure to stay within walking distance to Lake Michigan. It is one of the Great Lakes, so it resembles a sea because you cannot see the other side.  Though it does not have a salty breeze. I love being near the water; it is one of the few things that relax me. I don’t really care for lake beaches, but it is in Chicago that I really started jogging on a regular basis.  While I am no marathon runner, I go at least once a week on the lake path and it has become essential to my well-being. I should also add that the view of the skyline from the lakefront is pretty amazing.

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  • The yearly traditions

I love that Chicago has all four seasons, although the Spring often blends into the others. Each one of them brings yearly events that I love to attend. Two in particular are my favorites:

– The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House, which happens every year in October. For a weekend, many public and private buildings are made available to the public. Chicago’s architecture is amazing and I love exploring places that are closed to the public most of the time. It is like a weekend adventure into the unknown without leaving your own city and the list of participating locations change every year.

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– The ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago has a free zoo in the heart of the city and every Christmas, in collaboration with ComEd, they deck out the entire space with colorful light displays. It is like walking into a magical wonderland and I have not missed it since December 2012!

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  • The food scene

Chicago has an amazing restaurant scene. For a place famous for its hot dogs, pizza and Italian beef, the food scene is actually very diverse! There are a lot of up and coming restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines, and my boyfriend and I love exploring new hot spots, whether they are gastronomic institutions, or neighborhood gems. As a tribute to our neighborhood, and because I intend to make a more expansive article on restaurants later, I will only mention the unassuming places we typically walk to and leave out the acclaimed culinary temples you will find on a guide. Our favorite for Thai is Andy’s Thai Kitchen. For a local burger we got to DryHop or Kuma’s too.  For sushi – and the competition is fierce around here – we love Sushi Mon, and my favorite, everyday/healthy option is Vegetarian Express. This place is literally a hole in the wall; as a matter of fact I don’t think I ever ate inside it, but their food makes for awesome take out!

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  • The neighborhoods

Chicago has a multitude of neighborhoods. When I first arrived, I was surprised of how serious people are about the neighborhood they are from. They all have a different vibe and different trends. The funny part is as I spent time in the city, I too became attached to my neighborhood! Chicago is so spread out that people end up spending a lot of time in their respective neighborhoods because it helps make living here more personal.

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Here are some of my favorites: Lakeview (you should hit up Boystown at least once!) for the bar life and fun times. Lincoln Park and Old Town are a bit more yuppy, but they are my favorite areas to live. I love the old brownstones! Wicker Park, aka hipster central, is super popular for vintage shops, bars and entertainment. River North is the hip, urban neighborhood with a booming night life and the West Loop developed a top notch foodie scene. Make sure to spend some quality time with its Randolph street restaurants. Because I am lazy, I do not often venture there, but these neighborhoods are also worth exploring: Pilsen, with its vibrant murals and rich Mexican influence is a good one. Hyde Park, home of the renowned University of Chicago and Barack Obama, is also definitely worth the trip! Just a tip though, rely on a car or take the Metra (the commuter rail system) as they can be hard to reach with the CTA.

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After writing this, I realize I have so much more to write about Chicago, so bear with me through the summer!

 

Going to Cannes is a great idea!

I wanted to congratulate my boyfriend for his promotion and celebrate his birthday, so I surprised him with a two-day stay in Cannes including spa, mojitos, beach time… all the things he and I love.

There are many incredible places in the world and Cannes is one of them. Here are some reasons why I enjoyed it so much, and why it’s a perfect destination for a weekend with your significant other.

  • The incredible views

In Cannes you’ve got many rooftops and terraces overlooking the sea. Most of the time they are hotel bars or restaurants. We were staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel, and it offers two great view points: the first one was a bar restaurant with a panoramic view on the beaches and the port.

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The second one was the rooftop pool and Jacuzzi that we enjoyed a lot in the afternoon. It was not as high up as the bar/restaurant but it was my favorite part of this hotel.

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  • The window shopping

We took a walk on La Croisette, the famous promenade overlooking the beach, and gazed at the luxury shops windows. I loved the atmosphere of this place, with the sunshine, the palm trees and the palaces surrounding this beautiful avenue. I also enjoyed looking at the Chanel’s, Dior’s and Yves Saint Laurent’s new collections with dreamy eyes. I fell in love again with the Michael Kors shop, which is a bit more affordable, and I am now coveting this pair of sunglasses.

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  • The private beaches

While on vacation, I particularly appreciate having lunch or dinner at the beach. Cannes is full of really nice private beaches that make you feel like you are on a paradise island.

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We went to a few beaches, my favorite was the Cristal Beach on the West side of the port. I loved the menu and the decor with the banana trees. We rented lounging chairs for the afternoon. It is so enjoyable to take a nap lulled by the sound of the sea.

  • No need for a car

When we arrived, we parked the car and did not move it until we left. It’s a real pleasure not being stuck in traffic or having to look for a parking spot for 20 minutes while on vacation. Cannes is a small city where you can get to almost everything by foot.

  • Being there in the low season

Going to the French Riviera in May has its advantages. We were there at the perfect time, ten days before the Cannes film festival. In May, the weather is great most of the time.  The temperature allows you to enjoy the pool or lie on your towel and get a tan. Because the tourists have not yet arrived, there is always an available lounging chair on the first row at the beach, or available tables at restaurants, and the sidewalks are not yet crowded. We are used to planning and booking everything in advance, so it was quite relaxing to choose our activities at the last minute without having to worry that it may be overbooked.
To end this article, here is a little Vlog.

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Tips for traveling alone

Last month, at almost thirty years old, I took a trip by myself for the first time. I was a bit nervous, because I had never done things like eat at a restaurant by myself or be alone in an unknown environment.

It wasn’t so much that I was worried about my safety. I fly alone frequently and I have traveled quite a bit. It was more that I was uncomfortable appearing alone in public places, or being alone with my thoughts for days! When I told some of my friends about it, I received very mixed reactions. Some of them said that they could never do it, while others seemed surprised and even made me feel silly for feeling weird about it at all. Only my friend Christine told me that while she dreaded it at first, she ended up loving it. She was right. Traveling alone was exhilarating. Here are some tips that definitely made my life easier.

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Fossil Passport Holder (similar)
  • Plan ahead

This seems like a no-brainer, but when you are alone, you want to avoid getting lost or ending up in potentially dangerous situations. I recommend mapping your itinerary and doing some research on places to visit and where to go. I asked my friends who knew DC for recommendations and used Google Maps to chart everything before heading out of the hotel. I also made sure I researched the restaurants I went to, to ensure I could sit at a bar, since I didn’t want to be alone at a table. I hate waiting so this was definitely one of the perks of the trip: when you are alone, you can do things you want at your own pace.

  • Bring books (or magazines, or your tablet)

I used to love reading and would spend most of my vacations as a kid going through books. Unfortunately as a gown-up, I often don’t have time to read and I waste too much time on social media to be able to pick-up a book at night. This was a welcome opportunity to catch up on some books I had been meaning to read and I loved being alone in my bubble enjoying a story.

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This is also great if you feel anxious at the idea of being alone and awkward in public, and so much more refined than being sucked into your phone! If you don’t like to read, you can always get a magazine, play games or watch movies on your tablet.

  • Get ready to talk to strangers

I am a fairly sociable person, and decided that the best way to not feel awkward, when being alone in places like bars, was to strike up a conversation. (In this case, you should probably drop the book). Usually, people tend to talk to you more if you look like you are alone anyways. As long as you seem open to it, you can end up meeting really interesting people along the way. Some of them are also be traveling by themselves. As grown-ups we don’t really get many chances to randomly meet new people, so why not enjoy it?

  • Prepare a playlist

Since you do not have anybody to talk to, I recommend making a playlist, which will set the mood of your trip. I personally was into my Big Little Lies phase (seriously, if you haven’t watched the series, you should!) so I played this. It kept me company as I walked, and I know this is silly, but I almost felt like I was starring in my own movie! So pick something you like that makes you feel good and get going!

  • Treat yourself!

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Although I mentioned it briefly in some parts of this blog, I think this last point is worth having its own paragraph: since you are alone, you can do whatever you want! So pick the type of food you love, take long walks if you love to walk, or take a taxi if you hate walking. Have your favorite drink, watch a sunset, sit out in the sun or go for a run. Just do things for you. You don’t have to compromise with a friend, significant other, work schedule, or a family request. You made it alone all the way here, so enjoy yourself!

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Things to do in Washington D.C.

I was just thinking that this blog is starting to look like a travel blog between May’s trip to Berlin and this trip to D.C. but these trips were purely coincidental!

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As it turns out, I had to take a last minute trip to Washington D.C.  It was my first time in the city and I had to travel alone, which was scary at first, but made it even better because I was free to do what I wanted for a couple days. I was fortunate enough to have friends who were familiar with D.C. to advise me on where to go and what to do, so I want to share some of my adventures.

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The night tour of all the Memorials

The part of Washington D.C. that everyone is familiar with is the National Mall. This is the area with the Washington Monument, the White House and all the Memorials.  I was advised to tour the monuments at night because they are lit up and it makes for a unique experience. It took me about an hour and thirty minutes, but I am a pretty fast walker. I started my tour at dusk at the Lincoln Memorial and walked around the Tidal Basin . The memorials emerging from darkness gave out this eerie, almost surreal impression. Even as a foreign national, I felt a great amount of emotion and significance emanate from these monuments. Standing there, you definitely feel the importance of the people who have shaped the most powerful country in the world.

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Georgetown and walking by the Potomac River

With its river walk and pretty homes, Georgetown is probably one of the prettiest neighborhoods in D.C., although it may be a bit preppy for some tastes. I had lunch at Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place by the Potomac River on Sunday and loved the relaxing atmosphere. It was a warm sunny day and a lot of people were boating, walking around, or simply sitting at the restaurants’ terraces. I ordered crab cakes since it is a local specialty and enjoyed basking in the sun. I highly recommend a walk in this area!

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The Museums

Since my trip was very last minute and quite short, I did not have the time and flexibility to efficiently plan my visit. I read that the second most visited piece of art, after the Mona Lisa, was the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian. I have already seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, so I felt compelled to go see the Hope Diamond. One thing worth noting is that most museums in Washington D.C. are free. This is great for obvious financial reasons, but also because it makes people flow through the museums faster since there are no lines at the cashier. The Hope Diamond is located at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I am not a fan of watching stuffed animals or volcano formations, so I headed straight to the gems and precious stones area. They have some truly magnificent pieces, but I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed by the Hope Diamond. It is so big and bulky, and does not even seem real!

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If you enjoy art, I recommend visiting the National Gallery. The lady at the information kiosk was one of the kindest and most helpful people I have ever encountered in a museum! She basically created a personalized itinerary based on my taste and what I told her I hoped to see. The collections are really good and I really liked the modern East Building with its great architecture.

I thought I had managed my time well enough to be able to see the Newseum, the museum of the press. Unfortunately, I showed up an hour before closing time and was turned away! Just a cautionary tale: buy the tickets in advance or plan ample time for a visit.

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The neighborhoods

The center of Washington D.C. feels a bit surreal with the National Mall, the museums and official buildings. As soon as you get outside of the center, you feel this homey, almost European neighborhood feeling. I loved the row homes in the Dupont Circle area for example. The city is so green, especially in the spring when the cherry trees are in bloom. Adams Morgan is great if you like animated neighborhoods and going out to bars. I got breakfast at Tryst , which is super famous, and it did not disappoint. I highly recommend just walking around and stopping by any cute place that strikes your fancy, as there are many of them.

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Enjoying a glass at the POV, the W Hotel’s rooftop

After a hectic day on Monday, I decided to reward myself and celebrate my last night in D.C.  with a glass of wine on the city’s most famous rooftop, the POV Bar at the W Hotel. There is a panoramic view of the Washington Monument and the White House.  It is not the type of spot where I’d spend an entire night out, but it is most definitely worth stopping by for a glass or two. Take pictures!

Overall, I really loved the city and wish I had had more time to visit, as I have a long list of things I still want to do! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

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Things I discovered in Berlin

Hallo Leute!

I just came back from a three-day stay in Berlin with my mother and it was so much fun. We went to very popular and touristic places such as the Brandenburg gate, the Bundestag (German Parliament) and of course the famous Checkpoint Charlie.

Berlin has surprised me in many ways and that’s what I want to share with you in this article.

The wall is everywhere in the city

Of course you can’t go to Berlin without seeing the wall. I was so moved to be in front of such a huge part of history. For the record, the wall circled West Berlin from 1961 to 1989, it was 154km (96 miles) long with 302 observations towers.

In my imagination, the wall was only visible in some specific places in Berlin. I didn’t expect to see parts of the wall displayed everywhere in the city. I even saw some parts of it in shops or on display in some streets. Basically, the wall was chopped in pieces and these pieces were placed in different parts of Berlin as small memorials.

Today, only a few small stretches of the wall remain at the original Berlin sites. There is the famous East Side Gallery, which is the longest standing wall section (1.3 km/ 0.6miles). One hundred and eighteen artists from 21 different countries painted on the wall, making it the biggest street art exhibition.

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I was most interested by the last intact part of the wall, near Bernauer Straße. You can clearly see the “no man’s land” between the two walls, where nobody was allowed to be. Human presence there was considered a legal offense: any intruder was to be shot down by one or other of the factions.

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The history of Berlin is so interesting, you can click here to find out more about the wall.

The polemic during the work of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Near the famous Brandenburg gate is this very powerful memorial honoring the 6 million Holocaust victims. It is made of 2711 concrete concrete slabs on 19 000 square meters and no two slabs are exactly the same. The place made a strong impression on me, even though it is very simple and modern looking, it is very solemn. There is also a museum about the Holocaust under the memorial.

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When the memorial was being built, a scandal broke out. The supplier of the anti-graffiti coating applied to the slabs is no other than Degussa, the same company that produced Zyklon B, a gas used in Nazi extermination camps. In the end, the company’s important involvement for the conservation and tribute of the tragedy since the end of the war contributed to end the polemic.

Don’t worry about public transportation

While preparing my trip, I asked my German friend for information about Berlin. When the transportation came up she told me “Oh! you don’t have to worry about it in Berlin” and she changed the topic. It’s only when I arrived that I understood. All the lines, buses, trams, metro are so well organized and frequent (we never waited more than five minutes) and very cheap on top of it (7€ for an unlimited day-pass).

Speaking about the price, I was surprised that there were no turnstiles and you can board the subway without any control. I really appreciated that German people rely on trust.

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In fact, I discovered that everyday, all the tubes and buses together travel about the same distance as eight times around the Earth. The subway in Berlin was inaugurated in 1902, and although some stations look really old, everything is very clean.

One of the highest towers of Europe

At a height of 368 meters, the Berliner Fernsehturm (Television Tower) is the tallest building in Germany and one of the tallest constructions in Europe. I was so surprised to find out that the Fernsehturn tower is higher than the Eiffel Tower.

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It was built between 1965 and 1969 by the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The Tower was a symbol of the party, it was built to display the superiority of communism over capitalism, it was intended to show that the East was working to create a better future. Also, the shape of the tower was supposed to mirror the shape of the soviet satellite Sputnik.

Forty percent of the city is underground

The city is almost double the size than it appears thanks to a huge underground railway station and many of the World War II bunkers, escape tunnels, sewers and brewery cellars. Tourists can visit the underground world of Berlin. The association Berliner Unterwelten organizes different tours of the various bunkers.

I was so excited to go on one of their tours, but unfortunately they take place from Friday to Monday… and we were in Berlin from Tuesday to Thursday.

Ruins as a memory of the war

Berlin underwent 363 Allied air raids during World War II, so the city was in ruins. If nowadays Berlin is a beautiful city, some buildings and monuments are still in ruins. However, in most cases, Berliners made a conscious decision to keep them that way so that they never forget what they overcame.

The most emblematic and most relevant of all is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, built in the 1890’s and badly damaged by bombing raids in 1943.

Although a large majority of the building was renovated, some parts of it remain damaged by the bombing, like the statue in ruins at the entrance for example.

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