Sense Appeal XXVI: Overseas Edition


for the eyes:
 photo IMG_9803_zps4481425c.jpg
Hotel Particulier Arles
While Europe in general is a feast for the eyes, this hotel had the most desirable courtyard tucked away in the small French town of Arles--the ideal escape after weeks of immersion in big city life.

for the mind:
At Sunday brunch a couple weeks back, my sis Erin pulled up an article listing Pope Francis's 'Ten Commandments' for the betterment of today's people and their overall happiness. All are worthwhile, but these three stood out.

1. Embrace a "healthy sense of leisure." Too often, he (I'd say accurately) claims people today dismiss pleasures like art, literature and playing together. So, turn off the TV when eating dinner. Put away your cell phone in the car. Leave work early. It'll all get done.

2. Sundays should be true days of rest and reserved for family. My mom has always applauded retail businesses that close on Sundays. I'm happy my Sundays spent slaving away on homework have come and gone, and I can be faithful to Sundays filled with family and friends. 

3. Stop being negative. Most of my woes would fall under #firstworldproblems, so I like to remind myself that I shouldn't let trivial troubles overshadow the many joys of my daily life. After all, I didn't say I was a glass-half-empty kinda girl.

for the ears:
I didn't listen to much music while I was abroad; but, when I did, Evvy's 'Got Me Movin' always made the playlist.

fashion for feel:
 photo photo3_zps393e898d.jpg
Prior to this trip, I'd always been overconfident in my abilities to travel in flimsy flip-flops. This summer, I succumbed to the idea of a more supportive closed-toe shoe. I soon learned that they were not only more practical but also more fitting footwear on the European sidewalks where sandals are just not a thing. And now, I'm bringing that style to State's streets.

for taste:
 photo IMG_9788_zps2f7343be.jpg
The most popular study abroad destination among my circle of friends has been Barcelona for obvious reasons--Spanish credit, city-wide wi-fi, beach access, etcetera.

 photo IMG_9791_zpsc70a18e6.jpg
I'd heard about Brunch & Cake from these friends more times than I could count and to be honest, I doubted it would be all it was cracked up to be.

 photo IMG_9780_zps4c2b523c.jpg
While en route from southern Spain to southern France, the besties and our moms made a pitstop in Barca with just enough time to see Sagrada Familia and grab a quick lunch at B&C. BELIEVE THE HYPE.

 photo IMG_9787_zpse836f99d.jpg
My brie strawberry sandwich served alongside a poached truffled egg salad with spinach leaves and chilled potatoes was out of this world.

 photo IMG_9784_zps3214383e.jpg
Smile, Meems!

 photo IMG_9785_zpsc9279f56.jpg
You're on coffee camera!

A Tally of Two Cities: Take II


 photo IMG_9213_zps86cecfa8.jpg
Over the past four years, I've had one foot in Houston and another in Austin. If I had to choose one place to have two homes, it'd easily be Texas. But, Europe is a close second, so today we continue our tally of Paris and Sevilla.

fancy feet
 photo fancyfeet1_zps48e39c4c.jpg
bought black booties one month

 photo fancyfeet2_zpsa3b59f10.jpg
Spanish sandals the next

+1 Paris 'cause I rocked the booty-booty-booties everywhere from Britain to Berlin

 photo frenchopen_zps41dbd40f.jpg
French Open at Roland Garros

 photo bullfight_zps3c022ae2.jpg
 bullfighting at Plaza de Toros

+1 Paris for one of the best Sunday Fundays I'll ever have
-1 Sevilla for scaring away all my friends away from this Spaniard tradition

quite the site 
 photo IMG_8832_zpsf6925539.jpg
Eiffel Tower

 photo plazadespana_zpsecd7bdea.jpg
Plaza d'España

both designed for the World Fair
Tower's taller but the Plaza deserves more, win!

foulest dining
 photo fouldining_zps80daae6f.jpg

 photo foulest2_zps16d52635.jpg
hot dogs

French and Spanish need a lesson in true Texas hill country venison

-1 Paris for my friend coughing up 29 euros for this meal
+1 Paris because it was wash down-able with that wine
+1 Sevilla for serving it with ketchup with a bottle featuring the stars and stripes

finest dining 
 photo chzplz_zpsd2b9ed35.jpg
 photo dame_zpsdc6f83af.jpg
 photo dessertdame_zpsdd17a08c.jpg
 photo dame_zpsc7e093de.jpg
La Dame de Pic

 photo contendor_zps0aca6427.jpg
 photo contenedor_zps8fcbfeb4.jpg

Jordan and I savored every bite at Le Dame de Pic where you are greeted with a glass of rosé champagne and scented menus. Like a perfume parlor, you pick your favorite, and your five courses match accordingly to the aroma.

conTenedor was a slow dining spot we happened upon while coming home from our 4th of July festivities. Intrigued by the façade, I turned to TripAdvisor only to find that it was one of the best and only farm-to-table style restaurants serving fresh and local ingredients nightly. IT ALSO HAD WEE-FEE. We dug into cheese and ham plates, shareable salads and several meat courses all until our hearts were content-edor.

+3 Paris for rosé champagne, perfect au revoir dinner for jourdain, death by chocolate dessert
+3 Sevilla for cava to start, charming chalkboard menus kindly translated, and our entire group around one table of food

incomparable, incredible dining experiences. many delicious points to both here, but a tie nonetheless.

be jeweled 
 photo IMG_9218_zpsb9f58fbc.jpg
les bijoux

 photo sale2_zpsfdbd1056.jpg
las joyas

the jewels were plentiful in both cities and always fun to look at since they won't burst your 50 pound luggage limit bubble

+1 Sevilla simply for good timing as July is the month of rebajas (sale) in Spain

we know fro-yo 
 photo froyo1_zps20f0d74d.jpg
Le Paradis du Fruit

 photo froyo2_zps309d32c0.jpg
 llaollao & smooy

 photo photo-45_zps1e35908b.jpg
the 'we' refers to me and merl who have seriously considered global fro-yo connoisseurs as a fall-back career route. in any case, we know what's up and we'd both give the nod to Sevilla's Smooy, which fittingly, was my first tasty treat I had when reuniting with merl and caro in Spain.

+1 Sevilla

summertime sips 
 photo summersips1_zpsf7554ab0.jpg

 photo summersips2_zps5c0bb8f7.jpg
tinto de verrano

both new favorite drinks sources from the vine but for the blush color in the summer, I gotta say rose´
+1 Paris

weather report 
 photo forecast1_zpsc0fffaae.jpg
partly cloudy with a chance of showers

 photo forecast2_zpsff6de8c9.jpg
really sunny with a slim chance of shade

-1 me for not packing nearly enough warm clothing for Paris
+1 Paris for the dreary days making the sunny ones something special

 photo dressup1_zps15787c4e.jpg
wedding gowns

 photo dressup2_zps5f9128dc.jpg
flamenco dresses

A friend I met in Paris happened to just recently get engaged and invited a few of us to a fitting she scheduled in Paris for future inspiration. Fun fact: her fiancée had the same name as my boyfriend. Roca, my señora, insisted my friends and I try on her flamenco dresses.

+1 Sevilla since we all got to take part in the fun (and look like the emoji girl)

super salad!
 photo supersalad1_zps323ba060.jpg
Les Deux Oiseaux

 photo IMG_9755_zps841892d4.jpg
Cristina and Co.

+1 Paris for what I told the server was mon déjeuner favori a Paris

you take me higher
 photo up1_zpsfe92ead4.jpg

 photo up2_zpseb6dd7c3.jpg
Las Cetas

 photo montmartre_zps2ed7b937.jpg
+1 Paris

on the menu 
 photo menu1_zpse9e13862.jpg
La Faille

 photo menu_zps97e0b57c.jpg

+1 Paris for the color scheme coordinating perfectly with my journal and pen

not-so-secret gardens
 photo gardens2_zps71e40557.jpg
Jardin du Luxembourg

 photo garden2_zpse31f2b4f.jpg
Maria Luisa Park

both relaxing refuges from the intercity chaos. another win, win.

 photo gardens1_zps5f36b3fe.jpg
Both cities stole my heart, but numbers speak louder than words today and Paris takes the lead by three.
Rosé isn't red and Sevilla didn't make me blue, but Paris, I'll always love you.