City Guide: Paris

Paris is one of those cities you could live in for a year and not see everything.

This was my fourth time visiting and the first time I really felt at home there. I knew my favorite place to get croissants in the morning and exactly what time to hit Angelina to miss the line. It made all the difference. Shamefully, I felt fairly apathetic about Paris before this trip. The sites were incredible, but I felt like I never really got the chance to wander around properly. But now that I have, I am a convert.


Start your day near Notre Dame and grab a croissant from the bakery under the Albe Hotel. It is a no brainer.

La Cave Gormande

Undoubtedly the best meal of my life was in this magical little restaurant. It was the first night on my most recent trip with my best friend on a rainy night in Montmartre I had heard there were delicious restaurants on this street and we picked this one at random. We ordered the crispy goats cheese salad and the beef bourguignon and ate and ate and ate. Every bite was perfect. 


This is me essentially making out with a crêpe. It was a beautiful moment. The thing is, this is probably one of the touristy places to get a crêpe - right across the river from the Eiffel Tower. But it is SO delicious.


This is my Dad's favorite place in Paris and it is pretty obvious why. After a few visits I have figured that going around 11am is the perfect time to get the sunshine coming through the windows. 

The Lock Bridge

I knew of this place but found it for the first time when I went wandering with my sister. Super photogenic and there are some pretty cool locks. Also gives you my favorite view of this place...

Notre Dame 

There isn't many new things to say about Notre Dame. It is just epically Parisian. Personally, I think this is the superior view to the front. Just check out those buttresses. 

The Eiffel Tower 

The obvious thing to do in Paris and a bit cliché at this point, but check out that architecture. Worth the visit even if it is littered with selfie sticks and people trying to sell Eiffel Tower key chains.

Visit Museums

Art is my thing so this will come as no surprise, but must be included every time I visit. Must see museums: Musée d'Orsay, Louvre, Pompidou, Musée Rodin. Hit as many as time allows.

P.S. This is one of my favorite pictures of my sister. Stunner.


In my opinion, the most amazing part of Paris is wandering around and taking time to explore. There are beautiful stalls along the river and gorgeous architecture everywhere you turn. These moment have been my favorite in this city. 


March Favorites

March went by like a whirlwind. Moving into April feels even more dramatic now that the weather has changed and it is no longer getting dark at 5pm (hip hip hooray). Bring on the spring!

Washi Tape Wall from Everything Emily

This cute kids rooms totally swept me off my feet. The best part is obviously the wall which Emily created with washi tape. Can you believe it?! Such a creative way to spice up a space without breaking the bank or committing to something forever. Perfect for renters. 

Good Nature Soy Candle from Anthropologie 

So I went for my regular Volcano candle top up from Anthropologie and you would never believe it, they were sold out. Say what?! After my initial panic, I started sniffing around some new scents. I fell in love The Good Nature Soy Candle line. I bought the Pomelo & Sea Salt, but the Grapefruit & Cilantro and Avocado & Mint were out of this world as well. 

Pizza from Gusta Pizza

If you are in Florence, do yourself a favor and get some pizza from Gusta Pizza. It is a-ma-zing. I am going to do a Florence city guide so I don't want to spill all the beans yet, but I am sure this picture will wet your appetite for more. 

Fashion Statement 
Image from Scent of Obsession
Comfortable and fashionable? Yes, please. I have been wearing sneakers any chance I can. Particular favorites are these Vans and these Nike Free Runs. I am also looking to add to the collection with the burgundy New Balance trainers pictured above. 


She loves food, loves traveling and lives in London - I think Rosie and I could be buds. She blogs about everything and has really beautiful pictures documenting all her adventures. She also has good, honest advise about starting a blog. Definitely worth checking out. 


Easter Weekend and Kitchen Ghosts

On this long weekend I have been happily relaxing and resting my tired feet after a few weeks of playing tourist.

I will be spending most of tomorrow baking and cooking in preparation for Easter dinner at my Mother In Law's house. I am pretty excited since it has been a while since I have been able to spend a whole day playing around in the kitchen. 

If you are less excited and looking for some inspiration to get cooking, you have to check out the cooking cinemagraphs on Kitchen Ghosts. The chocolate sauce being poured on the pastries literally makes my mouth water. I can't capture the video in all it's glory so you will have to check it out here

Here is to a weekend full of yummy treats and lots of family time!


A Little Bit of London

One of my best friends is visiting from the good ole US of A and I have been playing tourist with her for the last few days. It has made me realize I don't take advantage of London enough. I know one day I will come to regret watching reruns of 'Say Yes to the Dress' on a Saturday instead of going out and exploring.

I am definitely going to learn from this and do a bit more about London here on State of Sunshine. To kick it off, here is a highlight of some of the things we have hit up in the last few days.

 We ate ourselves silly at Borough Market. 

We took the river bus down the Thames and got some killer shots along the way.

We absorbed the sunshine in front of St. Paul's Cathedral.

 We enjoyed the geometry at the British Museum. 

 We found this killer view of Big Ben.

We stood on two hemispheres at once in Greenwich. 

Now, off to Paris and Florence. Get excited for those city guides to be coming your way. 


4 Things to Make Your Day Go From 'Blah' to 'Brilliant'

Today started off as one of those lame days. Nothing went wrong, but it just didn't feel all that exciting and invigorating. You know that feeling? And as I was getting ready for bed I realized the day totally turned itself around. Thinking about is further I realized there were particular moment that helped the day make a U-turn.

Here are the 4 things that made my day go from 'blah' to 'brilliant'...

1. I read this on Pinterest

2. I heard about this on Vogue 

3. I ate this for dinner 

4. And I hung out with people that made me laugh, a lot. 

Some days start and end blah and some get better as they go on. I am glad today was the latter. 


City Guide: Budapest

As you may know, we decided to celebrate our first anniversary with a trip to Budapest. We got married in February so we knew we wanted to celebrate somewhere that would be beautiful in the cold. Budapest was a perfect pic because of its thermal baths and rich food. If nothing else, this post will leave you hungry for Hungary (sorry, but I had to get that punch line in somewhere).

The Jewish Quarter

We were lucky enough to stay at a beautiful hotel in the Jewish Quarter thanks to all our BA miles. The Jewish Quarter is outside the main touristy areas, but still close enough to be anywhere important in about 15 minutes. The best thing about this part of town were the streets to wander through. Graffiti, bakeries, book stores - all part of a morning strolls.

Anything with Paprika

I don't know if I am alone here but paprika has never jumped out at me as an all star spice. Man, was I wrong. Pretty much everything here has paprika (it is the Hungarian national spice) and all the dishes have incredible flavor. Our favorite was the pork medallions with roasted veggies and slices of chorizo in the paprika sauce from Cafe Intenzo. So good we went back for seconds the next night.


We had probably 3 desserts each day and still didn't manage to try everything. The best baker we tried was the 160 year old bakery called Ruszwurm. We had the Vanilla cake and the Dobos cake - both traditional Hungarian dessert and oh my goodness these were good. The Vanilla was by far my favorite with its thick cream that was somewhere between English custard and whipped cream. Not to mention this was a cheap date - about £2 (or $3) for both.

Rose Gelato

Everyone we spoke to prior to our trip recommended we go near St. Stephen's Basilica and try the Gelarto Rosa. Everyone was right. Not only was it adorable but it was some of the best gelato I have ever tried. Husband got the vanilla and salted caramel cream. I was a bit more adventurous and tried the basil lime and the strawberry and elderflower. The flavors were just as wonderful as their creative construction.

Fisherman's Bastion and St. Matthias church

The Fisherman's Bastion is on the Buda side of the Danube and is well worth the walk uphill. Not only is the architecture stunning, but the view from the top is equally beautiful. It is also next to St. Matthias church with the most incredible roof - check out those colors.

Shoes on the Danube Bank

Just down from the Parliament on the Pest side is a beautiful tribute to honor the Jews who were killed during WWII in Budapest. The sculptor created 60 pairs of shoes that are period appropriate. The day we visited was very foggy and it gave an even more somber tone to the memorial against the stunning views of Buda across the river.

Take a free tour

I have done these tours in Berlin, Barcelona and now Budapest and they never disappoint. The tour guides are knowledgeable and it is a great way to get a lay of the land when you arrive. Our guide gave us great tips for where to eat, when the best times were to go to museums and which baths were the best. The greatest thing is at the end you pay what you think the tour was worth. This insures great tours are available to rich and poor alike - you just give what you can afford.

Take a bath

If you do nothing else go to one of the many bath houses around the city. We went to the Szechenyi Baths in the city park and it was nothing short of stunning. We spend the majority of our time in the outdoor pools surrounded by the gorgeous architecture. The pools are heated to a lovely 36 C (about 96F) which is perfect for the Hungarian winter. Inside there is room after room with different pools at different temperatures. After a long day of walking around ad site seeing this is definitely the place to go and relax.

I am now looking forward to Paris and Florence later this month with one of my best friends from the states. Look out for those cities guides in a few weeks!