Mon Amour, Paris

They say that Paris is for lovers, and boy, isn't that true! Aashish and I, after two years of being married, finally got to take our honeymoon earlier this year. We each chose a city. I picked Paris, Aashish picked Rome. We ended up spending nine days in this glorious city and we didn't waste a second of it. Every morning we got up at 8:30 and were out the door by 9:00. We would spend all day exploring the city, and wouldn't return to our AirBnB until 10:00 or 11:00 at night. It still wasn't enought time.

We saw so much while we were in Paris! We hit all the major attractions, such as the Louvre and Versailles, as well as the littler, lesser known attractions, such as Victor Hugo's appartment and the Marie Curie Museum. Because we saw so, so much and took way too many photos, I just wanted to share a few highlights of the trip.

The Musée d'Orsay

 
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While the Louvre is by far the most famous museum in Paris, perhaps even in the world, it was not our favorite museum that we visited while in the City of Lights. The award for the best museum would definitely have to go to the Musée d'Orsay. We have a few Parisian friends and they all indicated that the Musée d'Orsay was their favorite Parisian Museum too. It was certainly stunning, from the incredible architechture, to the beautiful collection of sculptures and paintings, to the breathtaking views. My favorite things to see in the museum were striking (no pun intended) clock fixtures throughout the top floor. Pro tip: rather than wait in the super crowded line in the Impressionist exhibit to take a photo in front of the clock, grab a bite to eat at the cafe. The food is delicious, not as expensive as you'd expect, and there is no line for the clock!

Sainte-Chapelle

 
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Sainte-Chapelle is one of the few sights I have seen that literally took my breath away. The photos simply don't do it justice. The entire chapel is comprised of floor-to-ceiling stained glass panels. The guidebook estimates that over three-quarters of the building is made of glass. I felt like someone had shrunk me down and put me into the most ornate Turkish lantern I had ever seen. We went on a gloomy day when the skies were overcast, but this building was still filled with the most dazzling light I had ever seen. We were bathed in beams of blue and gold and purple. We got the combined ticket that also gave us access to the Conciergerie. The Conciergerie was one of my favorite museums simply because of the way the museum provides a compelling narrative of history of the French Revolution. I usually prefer museums that are more visual, with art and architecture that keep me interested. But the Conciergerie, while significantly more informational than visual, kept me intruigued throughout, hanging on every word the curators had to say.

Shakespeare & Company

 
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The Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore located in the Latin District was of course a must-see for me. This bookstore is tiny but filled to the brim with books, music, and laughter. The store is everything I could ever dream of. Walls covered in books, books piled in the corner, a quaint little staircase that leads up to the second floor that is filled with more books, plants, a piano, and windows that look out onto the Seine and the busy Parisian streets. Can I just live there forever? *Sigh*

Ballon Generali de Paris

 
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How the Ballon Generali does not even feature on most Paris travel guides beats me. This was one of the most spectacular things Aashish and I did while in Paris. You have to call ahead and make sure the balloon is not down due to weather conditions, and I suggest getting there early to beat the heat. It is about a 40 minute trip from city-center. It is only a 15 minute ride up into the air, but it costs about 10 euros per person, so it is pretty afforable. It was worth every bit of effort and every penny it cost. The balloon is out of the center of Paris, is very peaceful and quiet, and goes up high enough that you get spectacular bird's eye views of the city. It is a truly unique experience a little off the beaten path and provides a great photo-op.

The Parisian Streets Themselves

 
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Honestly, the best part of Paris, though, was just the Parisian streets themselves. We would literally hit the ground running each morning and just walk and walk until our feet were going to fall off, stop for a picnic and rest, then walk and walk some more. Every little corner of Paris is just so beautiful, and there is so much to see by just meandering and getting lost. Beautiful buildings, quaint allies with fire escpapes covered in plants, hidden parks blooming with roses and peonies, murals and street art, and just simply the people too!

I have so many photos from this trip, but I won't bore you with them all. I still have photos from Rome to share too, so stay posted for those.

Until next time!
Shayna

Yale University Art Gallery

Ah Yale, the alma matter of Rory Gilmore. As one of the top universities in my field, I decided to make this one of my first stops on the East Coast trip that I took last November. The campus was absolutely gorgeous, everything you would expect from an Ivy. While walking around, I mentioned to Claudia and Laura that it would be cool to go into a museum if we could find one. Well, it must have been fate becuase the second I said that I turned around and saw the Yale University Art Gallery. Get ready for a major photo dump...

Exploring the halls. It was too cold to properly channel Rory.

Exploring the halls. It was too cold to properly channel Rory.

Caught texting when I should be fawning over such beautiful pieces.

Caught texting when I should be fawning over such beautiful pieces.

El Anatsui!! Think I can make one of these from La Croix cans?

El Anatsui!! Think I can make one of these from La Croix cans?

Love Basquiat! Ignore my sassy face.

Love Basquiat! Ignore my sassy face.

Pieced back together from over 90 pieces and over 100 chips, this is like a jigsaw puzzle for art majors.

Pieced back together from over 90 pieces and over 100 chips, this is like a jigsaw puzzle for art majors.

Can I have this apartment please? Seriously.

Can I have this apartment please? Seriously.

Ideal gallery wall to go in above apartment.

Ideal gallery wall to go in above apartment.

Ancient sculptures and beautiful architecture.

Ancient sculptures and beautiful architecture.

One thing tha was so incredible about this museum was that it was completely free - to EVERYONE. Not just students. Not just New Haven residents. Everyone! I think it is so lovely that a private university of this caliber would provide access to the arts to the public.

Until next time!
Shayna

I ❤️ NY

I can't believe it has already been so long since I returned home from my trip to Boston and New York! It was really great to get to see Claudia and Laura, my oldest friends. We have all known each other since middle school, so being with them is like being with sisters. It was just the refreshing break I needed to come back ready to tackle finals.

All these photos are of the Manhattan skyline. Quite breathtaking, huh? The first two were from DUMBO Park in Brooklyn. The last one was taken while we were walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was such a beautiful little hike! I kept having to stop and remind myself I wasn't dreaming!

 
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Every trip I have had to New York has been much too short. But... while chatting with a few friends who live in New York (and not just New York, but Manhattan), I realized that it would actually be cheaper to live IN Manhattan than it does to live in the East Bay, let alone San Francisco itself! Crazy! But armed with this new information, Aashish and I are seriously contemplating moving to NY soon! It would put me just a short bus ride from Claudia, plus some of Aashish's closest friends live in NY too!

 
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We of course are still considering a few other destinations. We may just stay here in the Bay Area or go back to San Diego. We are also currently considering Boston, since there are tons of biotechs there for Aashish, as well as some amazing universities for me. But for now, I am keeping my fingers crossed for NYC!

Until next time!
Shayna

P.s. I took a ton of photos on this last trip, so expect a series of blog posts about the trip coming soon!

Berkeley Botanical Gardens

It has only been a year, but I have finally made it to the Berkeley Botanical Garden! Unfortunately, we mistakenly decided to go on a day that was hotter than ever and it was hard to enjoy myself since all I could think about was leaving to get ice cream and cool down. That being said, the gardens themselves were lovely, but be sure to check the weather report before going!

Right near the entrance they had the coolest greenhouse filled with all sorts of cacti. If it wasn't so darn hot, I could have spent forever looking at all the little details on each plant. Each was so unique!

 
 

Aashish snapped this cute photo of me looking at the greenery in the ferns and orchids section. There was also a big variety carnivorous plants which was very interesting. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and some look friendlier than you'd think!

 
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In the above photo on the right is the definitely the cutest carnivorous plant I have ever seen. It is called a Butterwort. Too cute, I really, really want to add one to my personal collections of plants (which, by the way, is simultaniously too big and never big enough).

Also, how freaking adorable are the tiny flowers below? I didn't see an I.D. for them, but if you know what they are called, let me know!

 
 
Until next time!
Shayna