SOCIAL MEDIA

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Israel and Estonia Part 1

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I got my act together and got my first post from my trip last week done and ready for you all. Granted, it isn't that long due to some complications, but here it is. Enjoy.

I left on a Saturday since it takes a long time to get from the West Coast to Tel Aviv, Israel. We already had a tight schedule, but then delays started happening and our trip to Tel Aviv got shorter and shorter. Our first delay was here at my home airport. When you fly into San Francisco, you are almost always delayed due to weather including rain or fog. This time it was due to massive rain storms along with wind and lightening.

We ended up on a flight that was supposed to leave an hour and a half before ours, but left an hour and 45 minutes after our original flight was supposed to. Basically, we had an hour to get from a domestic gate to the international gate and pray our luggage made it onto our Lufthansa flight. Spoiler: it did not.

We made our flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt. It was a long flight, but I watched movies including A Star is Born. How I hadn't seen it yet was beyond me, but it was soooo good. I totally understand the hype. I even watched it again on the way home a week later and then I bought the blu-ray (+ digital copy) when I landed back in the States.

Anyways, next we flew from Frankfurt to Tel Aviv. It was a long two-ish days. Once we arrived in Tel Aviv, we went to collect our baggage and they were not there. We waited and waited and nothing, so we headed to lost luggage to file a claim and find out where our luggage was. They had no idea where it was, gave us a paper and told us to keep trying a certain website for updates and that we could call the next day for an update as well.

So we headed to our hotel, checked in and then decided to go walk around to get some money and some toiletries. Luckily, there was a "pharmacy" a couple blocks away. I was able to grab a hair brush, some laundry detergent and water. Then we set out to find an atm. It took about 6 different places before we got any money. Then we headed back to the hotel to hand wash our clothes and get ready for our meetings the next day.
Hebrew Laundry Detergent

Monday we had meetings and we had to show up in our travel clothes. Not what we wanted, but at least they were clean. We used that "baby detergent" and then hair dryers to dry our clothes. Glamorous.

After our meetings, we were able to call Lufthansa to get an update. Our luggage was to arrive that night on a direct flight from SFO, but they wouldn't deliver it in time before our flight the next morning.

We headed out to Old Jaffa to walk around, sightsee a tiny bit and then grabbed dinner before heading to the airport to get our luggage.
Tel Aviv Israel
 The view from my hotel looking into the city

Tel Aviv Israel
The view looking out into the Mediterranean Sea

Old Jaffa
 Looking out towards Old Jaffa

Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea (last time I was here, I got to swim in the Mediterranean)

We got our luggage and got back to the hotel around 10 pm. I was able to actually wash my face and get ready in the morning.

Tuesday morning, we headed out to the airport at 5 am to head to Tallinn, Estonia. But first, a stop in Frankfurt. As we were landing in Tallinn, I snapped this picture and sent it to Rory with the caption "it sure does look cold here".
Tallinn Estonia

Once we had our luggage, we headed to the hotel. I unpacked a bit and headed to the gym. Once I was done, we headed out to dinner. We went to a burger place which was pretty good. Plus we paired it with some Estonian beers.

Wednesday we had meetings all day, but once we were done, I hit the gym again and then went to dinner at Tabula Rasa. This place was soooo good. They had amazing cocktails and even better food.
Tabula Rasa
 Artwork

Tabula Rasa
 This was a pork tenderloin with wine braised cabbage, grilled veggies, carrot cream, a potato cake and cranberry sauce. It was heavenly.

Tabula Rasa
 For dessert, I ordered a passionfruit cheesecake which was soooo amazing. Seriously some of the best.

They also brought us out the Napoleon Cake to try (for free) and it did not disappoint either.

The bartender also paired our meal with honey lavender old fashions. So good. It was the best. After dinner, we went to a bar around the corner to meet one of our contacts from the meeting we attended. Then we headed back to the hotel for the night.

And I will save the last two days for another post as I was able to see and do a bit more those two days.
Monday, March 18, 2019

Paris and Belgium Part 2

If you missed Part 1, you can read about my first days in Paris and Gibraltar, here.

We left off the night before our last day in Paris (Monday). We headed into Tuesday having another day of meetings. Once our meetings were over, we headed out to the Musee d'orsay. This was another item that I was told was a must see. This museum houses Monet, Van Gogh, Seurat and so many others. From the moment you walk in, you are captivated by the building itself.
Musee d'orsay

We made our way around each floor, taking in all of the sculptures, paintings and art. It was beyond beautiful. Plus I got to see Starry Night by Van Gogh, so that made my day. I even got a book for the girls about the Starry Night.
Monet's L'hotel des Roches Noires
 Monet's L'hotel des Roches Noires

Monet's Magpie
 Monet's Magpie

Van Gogh's Terrace of a Cafe on Montmartre
Van Gogh's Terrace of a Cafe on Montmartre

Van Gogh's The Restaurant de la Sirene at Asnieres
 Van Gogh's The Restaurant de la Sirene at Asnieres

Van Gogh's Starry Night
 Van Gogh's Starry Night

Van Gogh's Fritillaries in a Copper Vase
 Van Gogh's Fritillaries in a Copper Vase

Van Gogh's Self Portrait
 Van Gogh's Self Portrait

Musee d'orsay

Musee d'orsay

Musee d'orsay

stained glass at Musee d'orsay

Musee d'orsay

I had read about a mall that housed a beautiful stained glass dome and I had to see it. I shopped around a bit, but mostly just walked around. The glass dome was definitely the thing to see there.
Galeries Lafayette Paris
Galeries Lafayette Paris

I headed back to my hotel to meet my coworker and try out that French bistro that was recommended to us. It is called Chez Janou and I highly recommend it. It was the first restaurant (other than the steakhouse) that was reasonably priced. We each had a salad, then I had risotto with sea scallops and then we shared the largest pot of chocolate mousse. If you are in Paris, you must get the chocolate mousse. We couldn't finish the bowl because it is massive and heavenly. It isn't heavy at all, but sooooo good.
Chez Janou Chocolate Mousse
Chez Janou Chocolate Mousse

Wednesday took the train to Brussels, Belgium, but it was delayed two hours due to snow in Belgium. Once we got in, we had to take our luggage to our meeting with us since we didn't have time to drop it off. After our meeting, we went to our hotel, got settled in and then grabbed a late lunch. We went to Tonton Garby which was a little sandiwich shop behind our hotel. It was amazing. You tell him what cheeses you like, what you don't, he gives you suggestions and then you have the most amazing sandwich for about 6 euro.
Tonton Garby sandwich
My sandwich had an amazing soft cheese with some shaved chorizo, tomatoes, spicy mustard and soft yet crunchy bread.

After a late lunch, we walked around the city. We went to the Grand Palace, walked around the shops and to Delirium (beer).
Grand Palace Brussels
 Grand Palace Brussels

 This peeing boy statue is everywhere in Brussels.

Belgium Waffles
 We did try a Belgium waffle because when in Belgium, you must try one. They were good, but had soooo many toppings that it was overly sweet.

Pissing Boy Statue
 Peeing Boy Statue (we walked by this twice and didn't even notice it because it was so small).

graffiti artwork in Brussels

Delirium beer
Delirium beer (this was the cherry sour)

We grabbed dinner and then headed back to the hotel.

Thursday morning, we had a meeting that lasted all day. At the end of the meeting, they walked us around the area and then drove us out to Atomium.
Brussels, Belgium
Overlooking the city

Brussels clock

Atomium

Then we headed back to our hotel. I worked out since I ate soooo much food at our work lunch. Then we headed out again to grab some souvenirs, pick up some chocolate from one of the chocolate shops and get some Schwarma. We wanted something small, but amazing and this place nailed it. We paid 4 euros for a Schwarma wrap.
smurfs statue in brussels
 We kept seeing Smurf's everywhere, so we asked why. Smurf's was created in Belgium and they were celebrating their 60th anniversary!

Grand Palace at night
Grand Palace at night

We left the next day to head home. Our flight was at 7 am, so we had to be up bright and early. And I didn't sleep more than an hour on the flights home. But I did watch Bohemian Rapsody and it was amazing.

Have you ever been to Gibraltar, France or Belgium?
Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday Favorites and Happenings

This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

So I have been gone all week. I have been in Israel and Estonia this week for work. This is my last big trip for awhile (for work), so I have been enjoying it. What I haven't enjoyed is going from warm beautiful weather, hello Tel Aviv, to cold, wet Tallinn. Not that I am complaining too much since I have been traveling.

I head home today, so as you are reading this, I will be mid flight back into the States.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. Happy Birthday to my beautiful friend Stacey. It seems like every year I am traveling on her birthday, but I hope to make it back in time to help you celebrate!

TWO. I had to share one of the items that I got baby Charlotte because my girls loved these booties so much. I bought her the Zutano Cozy Fleece Booties. I got them in hot pink which is the same color I got my girls. I actually had a few different pairs of these booties over the first year of the girls life. They have a snap closure, so they actually stay on the babies feet. I would love a pair in my size. Ha.
Zutano Cozy Fleece Booties

THREE. I know Easter is still about a month away, but I am already thinking about Easter dresses. My go to stores for the girls are Hanna Andersson, Target, Old Navy and Gap. I used to go to Gymboree a lot, but sadly, they are closing. I put together a few of the dresses/jumpers that I am looking into for the girls. Last year, they wore jumpers, jean jackets and white slip on (all from Old Navy), and they were adorable. Here is a photo from last year's Easter.


And this year's picks:
preschool aged Easter outfits
ONE  |  TWOTHREE
FOUR  |  FIVE  |  SIX

I am really leaning between three and six. Knowing our crazy Spring, I am sure we will need tights and a cardigan, but they are just too darling. What are your littles wearing for Easter?

FOUR. Here is another Amazon clothing find. I am constantly looking for basic tees. I wear them all year and sadly go through them entirely too quickly. One would think that I would continue to buy my favorite Rag and Bone tee, but I only buy them on sale because $90 something for a tee is insane. I buy them usually or $35. Anyways, I found this cute off the shoulder basic tee and it lives up to the reviews. It is really soft, lightweight, and cute for Spring and Summer. I bought a black one, but really want to get more colors, like the Rose Red. I bought it in a large based off the reviews. I also wanted a bit of a looser fit.
Sarin Mathews Off Shoulder Top

FIVE. I have been tossing around the idea of doing IG stories and posts here with try-ons of the items I have bought to show you all what I think, how they fit me and to let you know that I actually do buy this stuff. I don't just post it here to make a quick buck. I only want to share things that I want, that I bought and the things that I love. Sometimes I feel like bloggers just post things to make money off of us. That they don't keep the things or even buy them. Plus I really need to get into posting more stories and talking to you all. I love IG stories, so I should do them myself. What do you think?


I am linking up with AprilA Little Bit of EverythingMeet @ the Barre and Becky.

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Gibraltar and Paris Part 1

I am finally getting around to writing my recap of my trip to Gibraltar, France and Belgium. I should have written this about a month ago, but life got busy and this was put on the back burner. So much so that I am currently on another trip right now for work. I hope to have my current trip up way sooner.

I left to Gibraltar on a Wednesday and got in on Thursday afternoon. Since I have been to Gibraltar before, I didn't take many photos or explore that much. I did eat good food, work out and walk into Spain.
Rock of Gibraltar
I took this photo while walking over to Spain. You walk across the runway of the airport to get between countries.

Sunborn Gibraltar
This is the view from the top deck of my hotel in Gibraltar (Sunborn Gibraltar)

We left to Paris on a Saturday. It is difficult getting to and from Gibraltar since there are only a few flights per day. So we had a full day of travel. We didn't get into Paris until almost midnight.

Sunday was a free day and of course it was raining. That didn't stop us from exploring. We had an expensive breakfast (20 euro for a chocolate croissant and cappuccino) and then went shopping along Avenue des Champs Elysees. I bought a Longchamp bag, Parisian outfits for the girls, some books another other things. We also stopped in Laduree for their famous macarons.
venue des Champs Elysee

Arc de Triomphe
 The Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe
 A memorial under the Arc de Triomphe

Laduree macarons
Laduree (I had macarons daily on my Paris trip)

That evening we headed over to the Eiffel Tower. We were going to walk up the stairs for the experience, but it was raining pretty hard and we didn't want to fall. So we took the elevator. And let me tell you, the views are amazing. And it is even more beautiful at night. We went to each level, we shopped around and took so many photos. It even hailed on us for a bit on the second platform.
Eiffel Tower
 Isn't she beautiful? Seeing the Eiffel Tower was always on my bucket list and that one is finally checked off!

Eiffel Tower
 Eiffel Tower views

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower
 This set up was on the first platform and behind me was a restaurant.

Eiffel Tower
Yes, I made my coworker take a photo of me and the Eiffel Tower

We were soaked but really happy. We went to a steakhouse that we had in London, but it was a French steakhouse, so we had to go to the one in Paris too. We went to Le Relais de l'Entrecote. They are a simple steakhouse where you pick how you want your steak cooked and they bring you out a salad, the steak, fries and that's it. We did share a bottle of wine. So good.
Le Relais de l'Entrecote
That green sauce is amazing. I could eat buckets of it.

We cabbed it back to our hotel and I had some macarons for dessert.
Laduree macarons

Monday we had to work all day, but I managed to snag the last tickets of the day to the Louvre. I had planned to go Tuesday afternoon after work, but they are closed on Tuesdays. So my co-worker hung out at the hotel and I went to the Louvre.

The Louvre has always been on my bucket list too. I read The Davinci Code and had to go see what it was all about. And it was amazing. I did get lost about 5 times, kept passing the area where the Mona Lisa was and spent the full two hours roaming around. I could write an entire post on the must sees for the Louvre.
the Louvrepyramid

Louvre

the Louvre

Centaur and Cupid
 Centaur and Cupid

Louvre

Venus de Milo
 Venus de Milo

the Louvre

the Louvre

the Louvre Benvenuto Shield
 Benvenuto Shield

Napolean's rooms
 Napolean's rooms

Napolean's dining room

Victoire de Samothrac
 Victoire de Samothrac

Mona Lisa

La Liberté Guidant le Peuple
La Liberté Guidant le Peuple

Michelangelo's Dying Slave
 Michelangelo's Dying Slave

sphynx
 Sphynx

Hieroglyphics
 Hieroglyphics

The Louvre at night

I took a cab back to our hotel to meet up with my coworker and then we went to Bar Italia Brasserie for dinner. We both had pastas and wine. But the highlight was meeting a couple who told us about an authentic French bistro to try for the next night.

Since I overloaded you all with a ton of photos, I will continue on with the last day of Paris and Belgium in my next post.