Reasons we loved Lyon (2014)

Lyon, France was a must-see weekend destination for Carolyn and me because my husband actually studied there before we met. He had nothing but good things to say about it and we knew we had to explore!

Obligatory photo when we first arrived

Vieux Lyon

One can be adult get consumed by Old Lyon’s charm! Wandering the streets is a great way to spend an afternoon.

A couple in love

Lyon Cathédral

I believe it’s obligatory to visit cathedrals when visiting Europe, and this one certainly delivered on beauty and history.

Parc de la Tête d’Or

This park is another great way to spend an afternoon. It provides you with ample people-watching and photography opportunities!

The food!

I saved the best for last! There’s no shortage of good food here in Lyon. With tons of bakeries, candy shops and markets, you won’t leave the city hungry.

Carolyn LOVED this pirate-themed candy shop!
Raspberry-mango-lemon gelato

Perusing the streets (and past memories) of Paris

With the COVID-19 chaos among us, all I can think of is traveling. Last Monday I was supposed to venture off to Banff National Park for some solo adventuring, yet here I am soaking up some sun on my couch…

While I may not be educating myself on wolf-dogs, tubing down mountains or glacier hiking, I am currently lost in past travels. I recently spoke with one of my best friends who I met while we studied in France, so I’ll continue my French-inspired posts for now.

One of my favorite photos from the weekend…

Carolyn and I spent one weekend in Paris during over summer abroad; for both good and bad reasons, it was a weekend we’ll never forget. I can only explain our weekend mishaps by sharing a piece of my matron of honor speech from September 2019:

“During our time in France, there was only one moment when I feared that Carolyn wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore. We were lost in Paris for a while, wandering the outskirts in the middle of the night. Let’s just say that it brought out the worst in us. Our phones weren’t working and we had no clue how or when we would find our way back.

For once, there were no stories about our significant others, no rants about Veronique and her subpar cooking, and most importantly, no laughter. Thankfully, things went back to normal once we found our hotel, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

In fact, we’ve had a reunion every year since that summer, and in 2015 we were also lost in Chicago late at night. We laughed while we struggled to find our way back to the hotel, and it brought me back to that hectic night in Paris.”

I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy and happy with your loved ones (and favorite TV series!) ❤️

Fond of France (2014)

I officially started this blog in 2015 by being forced into it as a class assignment. I thought, “no one is going to care what I have to say,” but thank you for reading and following my journey anyway. 

With this gratitude, I will be sharing my first study abroad experience with you: Aix-en-Provence, France (2014). I have shared some photos way back, but it’s time you saw and heard about one of my favorite countries to this day. I’m feeling just as grateful for my summer in southern France as I am for all of you! 
Thank you for all of your love and support, always. 
Cate

January Jazz

We’re one month into the new year and 2020 has already proven to be a roller coaster. Despite being hit with a viral infection during the holidays and the flu last weekend, January was a fantastic month overall! 
In early January, Juan was finally able to meet two of my closest friends from work, Zachary and Bethany. That might seem crazy, but I actually live two hours away from our headquarters. And THAT is the crazy part 🙂 
The four of us went to the Purple Door Tea Room in Ferndale, Michigan to celebrate Zachary’s birthday the fanciest way possible. The tea was nice and all, but we were still hungry and obviously needed to visit the Detroit Cookie Co. for the goods! 
Après cookies à la mode, we walked around the Detroit Zoo to see the infamous Zoo Lights show. It was nice because I’ve never been to this festival with Juan, and it was awesome to have such a good evening with great friends. 

Another cool thing I did in early January was visit Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern for some upbeat, eclectic jazz music. The secret is out: I LOVE JAZZ!!! Seeing two unique bands perform – who have clearly been friends since they were in diapers – was a fun, ‘dance like no one’s watching’ experience. I highly recommend this bar if you’re ever in Toronto. 

The jazz continued throughout the month as I recently bought an alto saxophone, which is an instrument I’ve wanted to play for over ten years! I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of it… 
My inspiration grew even more because Juan and I treated my parents to a birthday dinner at Cliff Bell’s, Detroit’s best jazz club (and one of my all-time favorite spots on earth!). The four of us had an unforgettable night together – we’re still talking about it as though it happened yesterday! 
Aside from all the jazz music and Detroit shenanigans, I’ve also been blessed to have quality time with some of my best friends. I was able to see two of my best friends from college, KayLee and Madison, earlier in the month as well as one of my best friends from home, Danielle. I’ve been chatting it up while indulging in all the ice cream and tea lattes a gal could wish for. 

My Dorky Dog

I am IN LOVE with my dorky dog! Linley is a good boy with a little bit of sass every now and then…

During the holidays, Linley was not a fan of his new PJs or the fact that I donated some of his old toys to pups in need.

He also poses around the house and looks at me with disapproval when I eat too much chocolate!

Linley is also the side-eye expert, especially when I’m taking photos of him or when he’s my copilot.

Did I mention that my pupper is tired of all the photos?

But did I mention that it’s tiring to carry him around while I’m trying to cook dinner? Lin is a needy pup!

I love my dorky, sassy, high-maintenance pup! Linley is truly my best friend.

PS: yes, that is a toy with my husband’s face on it 😂

Happiness in my Marriage

2019 was challenging to say the very least; I was tirelessly searching for happiness and inner peace amidst the chaos around me.

At least I could (and still can!) say this: there is always happiness in my marriage, even on the not-so-good days. Why is this? I married my best friend, the person who allows me to be weird, and actually loves me unconditionally for being my dorky self!

Find yourself, and embrace who you are. And if you’re searching for your soulmate…

1) it truly happens when you least expect it.

2) don’t try so hard!!! It’s not authentic if you do…

3) allow your partner to be weird, too. Life’s more fun that way 🤗

Everyday Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your loved ones.

I never establish New Years resolutions per se; however, I believe in continuous personal growth and becoming better every single day.

Things I’m scraping:

  • Allowing others to bring me down
  • One-way friendships/giving people too many chances
  • Comparing myself to others/feeling inadequate
  • Not putting myself first (sleepless nights, etc.)
  • Pressure to be “normal” (no need to follow others’ status quo)

Things I’m embracing:

  • Spending quality time with the best people
  • More travel (duh, it’s me!)
  • Volunteering more
  • Gaining 10+ pounds
❣️
PS: please note the new name and domain change 🙂

Niagara Falls

My friend Alice, who is visiting during the holidays, has always wanted to see the Niagara Falls. We went to the Canada side over the weekend and we were blessed with some good weather and great views!

Best. Wedding. Ever.

As I currently lay in bed with puffy eyes, a clogged nose and a sore throat, I try to reflect on the good of 2019.

2019 was by far the most challenging year I have under my belt. It was the epitome of struggle and adversity (especially when it comes to family and work). But 2019 has also brought many unexpected blessings, which shouldn’t be overlooked.

One of those blessings (perhaps THE best thing that happened this year) was the honor of standing by my best friend’s side as she married the man of her dreams.

Looking back at these photos makes me feel nostalgic and homesick in a way, because Carolyn, Ryan, their friends, family and bridal party all made me feel welcomed immediately. I might attend nice weddings in the near future, but none of them will ever top this feeling…