As we ring in summer with shorter shorts and longer days we’ve compiled the perfect beach-ready playlist of bronze-worthy beats. Go ahead, dive right in.
heeeeeeellllooooo barcelona! and cue the flu. it must of been the recycled air on the airplane because the flu that thankfully decided to give me a few days off in paris was back in action the second we got to spain. so while we saw a LOT while we were here, i am sure there are things we missed because i was under the covers with the chills.
ps a couple of friends have told me to put vicks vapor rub on my feet and wear socks before going to sleep to get rid of a wicked cold. arian finally found a pharmacy that had it and within 24 hours my cold was 90% better. a miracle in a jar. i just wish i had found it earlier!
follow the map so you can mark down some of our favorite barcelona spots…
now, onto our adventures. basically 100 people warned me that we were in danger of getting robbed in barcelona. i considered rocking a fanny pack, but decided i would just be careful with my messenger bag. we never experienced anything sketchy and never felt unsafe the whole time and luckily went home with our passports and credit cards. i am sure there are areas where this is happening, but don’t be afraid if you go, okay? just watch your purse (you will notice all the ladies have their purses in the front of their body and never to the back) and guys keep your wallet in your shirt pocket instead. you’ll be fine if you’re smart about it.
we rented an apartment in the born district from airbnb (see the listing here.) it was $198 a night and we were told it was a cool area to stay in. we pulled up and i felt like i was dropped into another century. the buildings all had a very gothic feeling to them. our host met us, warned us about the pick pockets, and offered us a beer at his gallery downstairs. the place was a lot bigger than our apartment in paris and definitely felt more lived in as well. it had a lot of charm. the giant windows and the courtyard full of plants were pretty wonderful.
without sounding like a divA, i always say that renting an apartment is really nice for about 4 or 5 days…and by the 6th or 7th day your towels are dirty, the place is a mess from all the luggage and i’m missing a hotel room. sometimes it’s nice to book a few nights in a hotel and a few in an apartment so you can experience both!
the location was perfect. we walked a TON of places and always felt like there was something to do within a few minutes of us. our first night we ate at a fancier tapas place called 7 portes. arian recently started eating fish after being a vegetarian for 9 years, so he has been excited about trying new seafood dishes these days. we ordered the paella and sangria and WOW was it good. we were definitely in spain.
we also cooked in the apartment a few days…
on fridays they have a brunch at a little spot called picnic down the street from our apartment. it was our favorite breakfast, we both got the huevos rancheros. another great brunch spot was milk for the berry smoothies and salmon benedict. i wish i was feeling better because their bloody marys looked legit too.
it is difficult to get on the spanish schedule, i gotta say. we would wake up hungry and want to eat breakfast at 10 and NOTHING was open. places open at 11 or 12 here and then also take a break in the middle of the day. they also stay up super late. we found it hard to adjust and one morning got in a big fight because we were so grumpy from walking around looking for food. we found something eventually and made up. turns out we both aren’t very nice when we are hungry.
something i loved going to was the picasso museum. it’s 11 euros (only 6 if you are under age 29)and you can see a wide variety of picassos paintings and read all about his life. i was so impressed by his talent at such a young age and his journey of exploring different mediums and styles. you have to go!
(and yes, that’s just a wig. i was sick and over taking care of my appearance. ha) over the weekend we decided to rent bikes (green bikes is cheap!) and go to sagrada familia, gaudí famous work of art. he was working on this church and never got to finish it because he was hit by a tram and died. someone told me he became so obsessed with segrada familia and it took two days to actually identify his body because he appeared homeless. the detail of this building really will blow your mind. we turned the corner on our bikes and bam, there it was. i remember gasping when i saw it because it really is remarkable.
arian had fun jumping off all of the slanted walls…(boys)
next stop, park güell. the craziest park i have ever been to in my life. it feels like it’s straight out of alice and wonderland or something. more of gaudí’s masterpieces live here (they said he hated straight lines and it really shows) everything is winding, curvy, and detailed. we sat and enjoyed the sunshine and the fantastic view of the city. this park is a MUST see.
we walked down near the beach because a few guys recommended this seafood spot called can mano. guys would come in from off the street and play songs for you at the table with so much energy you just had to smile. they served the fish very simple (oil, salt, whole fish with all the bones), you can get a bottle of wine for a couple euros, and dine with the locals.
the next morning we went to the market. we had heard the markets in barcelona are a great place to wander around and experience the fresh local food. la boqueria is the main one that is supposed to be incredible. we just walked to santa caterina (we heard it was less crowded/touristy there too)around the corner from us and it was still a treat. we had potato omelets with tomato bread (a common food there) and just admired all of the the produce and amazing juices.
my friend elizabeth told me that i HAD TO rent a car and take it to dali’s house in a small fisherman’s town called cadaqués. if you want to go inside his house, make sure to make a reservation a day or two before…we didn’t and weren’t able to go inside. but even if you can’t go in, it’s worth the trip! it was about a two hour drive, we took one wrong turn and got in a hilarious old married couple fight about it, we were lost for about 30 minutes and then got back on track. (i am the worst backseat driver.) we drove through the countryside which was misty and peaceful…a nice break from walking around constantly! the road was really small and actually a little scary once you approach the town. it’s winding on a cliff, the views are epic, but you sort of feel like you might die also. however, i’m a chicken. and then you see it. a town full of white buildings all clustered together and glowing at the bottom of the hill on the water…it felt surreal!
once we made it there, we b-lined for the cafes along the boardwalk. (we picked the one with the most people) this was our most memorable spanish meal. tapas has always been my favorite way to eat, sharing little bites. i’m not sure i’ll ever have shrimp that was better than that that. we spent some time admiring the water and walking around taking pictures. a day i will never forget.
our last night we wanted to have a little fun. i finally started feeling better and i wanted to hear some live music and not be in bed by 9 for once. first stop was la champagneria! one of my blogshop students told me if i didn’t go here i was crazy, so i took her advice. talk about a unique experience. you can only order one drink here: champagne! it’s about 0.90 euros per glass and you have to order it with tapas (they range from 1-3 euros each, so super cheap!) there are no seats in this place so you just have to push yourself to the bar, point to what you want to eat and get your champagne. they have bacon hamburgers, chorizo, and these spicy green chilis that i fell in love with. if you want a great experience, you go here.
and we ended our trip with a jazzy night of live music at cafe royale in the barrio gótico neighborhood. it was a romantic evening, we sat and looked through old photos and videos on my phone when we first met and talked about how excited we were to get home to see our cats. this whole trip definitely bonded us closer together. you don’t realize how disconnected you can get from each other when life gets busy. this was a much needed break from reality in a beautiful country.
i hope you check out some of these spots if you ever visit barcelona!
(all photos by designlovefest & modshift. video by modshift. map illustration by asia pietrzyk. this post is a collaboration with the creative council by UGG Australia.. – see our paris post here and here)
man, where do i even begin? paris is always the city that makes me feel the most inspired, the most awestruck, the most wide-eyed, the most happy. each time i have visited has been very different, but also very the same. we were a part of the creative council team for this trip…which allowed us to wander around, explore and film/document the whole thing and then share our favorite spots withyou. i really love a brand that is open to change, open for exploration and of course allows creative freedom.
let’s start with this little gem of an apartment, shall we? it’s small but they maximized the space and fixed it up real nice. it’s in the perfect spot in le marais on rue de rosiers…tons of cafes, bars and shops right below us.
renting an apartment you just never know what you are going to get….i was pleasantly surprised that for under $180 a night we could stay here and it felt like a hotel! clean, safe, beautiful views, a skylight, nice appliances & bathroom. it was a total score.
i met arian on our front doorstep (i was coming from london and him from LA) paris always feels a little like a fairytale when you get there, but waiting for your guy to come around the corner with his luggage somehow felt extra fairytale-like. with him being jet lagged we decided to just eat ravioli and enjoy the rain from our comfy room and do the whole tourist thing the next day.
use this map to bookmark some of our spots from our trip! thanks so much for creating it, asia!
our first morning we slept in and then walked to café charlot for eggs benedict and a cafe creme. this café is very cute (and has free wifi which is always a plus when traveling abroad for those of you that go through instagram withdrawals.)
we decided to go to this street rue montorgueil (where my friend jordan took us when i visited with jenlast year!) to pick up some flowers for the apartment, cheese & cornichons, and of course a baguette for a picnic on Île Saint-Louis later in the afternoon. we also had to stop by one of the most delicious patisseries, maison collet, to get a few chocolate eclairs for dessert. the sun was shining and it was beautiful.
we headed towards the river for our picnic, but it started to rain so we just ducked inside of the restaurants on the saint-louis island and shared a bottle of wine and a goat cheese salad. they always say the waiters are rude in france…generally i would say if you at least attempt french and you’re polite then they are pretty nice to you. the guy at this restaurant was an exception, he hated us from the start. you just have to laugh it off though.
i was excited to take arian that evening to one of my favorite restaurants in paris, le refuge des fondues in montmartre (remember this post?) where the wine is served in baby bottles and you eat endless amounts of cheese. we met angela there and it was pretty packed (go early!) but we managed to get the last couple seats in the place. this is the spot where you have to climb on the tables to get to your seat, so get comfortable with eating community style…elbows to elbows. next door there is a little hole in the wall bar where we ended up meeting some of the locals and dancing to french music (you have to watch the video for this, it’s pretty funny.)
and the metro home…right under our apartment is the famous falafel place, L’As du Fallafel, that we kept hearing about. so even though we were stuffed from fondue we decided to split a falafal sandwich to see what all the hype was about (this place had a line out the door almost all day) we aren’t huge falafel people, but this was impressive. quick, cheap and delicious. it was a good night.
the next morning we really wanted to go to merci for “dipping eggs” as arian calls them at their cafe & tea room. they also have a salted butter there that i think about all the time and admittedly put in my purse if i don’t finish the whole thing. we have a lot of happy memories at this cafe, so it was nice to go back together. if you don’t know about merci, it’s incredible. (a commenter just told me they have a new online store that ships to this US! thanks for the heads up.) they have a store in addition to the cafe that is filled with all sorts of greatness. (most of it, i can’t afford, but hey) if you are able to, splurge on the bed linens (or at least the pillow cases!) and have a look upstairs at all the amazing tapes and journals. i would buy all my dishes there if i could too. last time i was here i was shopping next to sarah jessica parker which obviously made me feel like i was in a sex and the city episode and that her russian lova was just around the corner. i picked up a few treats and we were on our way.
i have been to paris a couple of times, so i was cool with skipping the louvre and the eiffel tower…although it’s still nice to watch it light up from afar! but we did decide to go to the Musée d’Orsay because arian wanted to check out an exhibit they had on demons at the time (it’s called compromise) and i wanted to see the post-impressionist paintings. it’s awesome how different arian and i are when it comes to art…i love bright, large brushstrokes, more abstract & graphic art. he loves intricate, dark, and scary paintings. men are from mars
a little worn out from the museum we were starving and decided to take the metro to bastille for pasta. a little note about the metro: it’s amazing here. i always feel like i know exactly where i am going, the lines are clear and easy to navigate…it’s the best. we dined at a spot called pause cafe and oh my gosh it was the most memorable meal i had in paris.
i got the linguini pasta with pesto and arian got the penne with marinera. cooked to perfection, a bread basket, a glass of wine, people watching on the sidewalk…i couldn’t stop smiling.
that evening we decided to just walk around our alleyways and look for an easy spot to eat. after a while you get tired of looking at your phone map, always navigating…you just want to wander. we found a little place that was open late and got french onion soup and blonde beers and headed home. we ended up just watching movie trailers on my laptop in bed (one of my favorite things to do)and then magically remembered that we never ate our chocolate eclairs in the fridge, so that was definitely a highlight. our last night in paris was full of laughing and simple joys.
we heard about a restaurant called breakfast in america around the corner, where they serve diner style food like they do in the states. we love breakfast the most, and while i am fine with how the french do it, a chocolate croissant and a coffee…arian was craving the full shabang. you can get pancakes, waffles, and eggs any style here. he was also pretty stoked about the bottomless cup of jo you can get here because he was a little fed up with the tiny coffees they serve in europe. ha.
i got too cocky with our flight info and didn’t double check it till the afternoon. i realized i read the arrival time in spain instead of the departure time from paris AND it was at an airport that i had never been to before. what? i am usually pretty good about this stuff! i blamed it on the cold medicine, we packed lightning fast, we ran and found a cab, and we somehow made it right on time for our flight to spain.
paris, you will always be my #1. thanks for following along on our journey…
It’s finally arrived folks. After waiting patiently all year music fest season is here! With SXSW kicking off last week and Coachella just around the corner we’ve rounded up our favorite must-haves to keep you rockin’-n-rollin’ — whether you’re blowing kisses to the Flaming Lips or screaming for more more more of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
GET FESTIVAL READY
Phew! We’ve had a busy year so far. We kicked off January at Sundance, both inside — watching scintillating flicks and hanging in the UGG lounge at Village at the Lift — and outside, putting our new, lightweight winter boots to the test with a hike in single-digit temps.
From Park City we hightailed it to N’awlins (ahem, New Orleans) for the Super Bowl, where we rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest shoulders in the industry at our NFL Lounge. The Bears’ running back, Matt Forte, actually requested that we make cleats — with sheepskin — as it’s the only thing that keeps him warm in Chicago winters (We’re on it Matt!)
Last stop: Californ-i-a, for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (aka SBIFF), where we took in a few films, and had the pleasure of awarding the ever-talented Jennifer Lawrence “Outstanding Performer of the Year.”
After countless hours of film-festing and Super-Bowling we’re ready for some much-needed R&R. UGG team, signing off …