Monday, March 30, 2015

What To Do In Paris Part 1

I recently took an impromptu trip to Paris, France with a co-worker and her sister. My first experience of Paris was a couple of years ago and, well, it was just plain awful. So, naturally, I was kind of apprehensive. During that horrible trip, I was with thirty other high school students and it was a gigantic cluster of bad manners and yelling a lot. This is probably why we were treated so rudely every where we went. Thankfully, this time it was so much better. Since there were a total of three of us, we weren't treated like tourists. We were just English speaking people in France. 
Unfortunately, we weren't in Paris all that long, and there is so much to do in Paris. We only did a snippet of what is possible:


The catacombs were originally disused limestone quarries underneath Paris.  It now houses the remains from the Ossuary of the Innocents. This is not a walk for children who are afraid of the dark or any type of human bones. You can see from the images that the people who created the ossuary were very bored and started to create different designs with the bones. You can read more about the catacombs here

Eiffel Tower

Created for the World Fair in 1889, it is the symbol of Paris. You can ride to the very top for about 30 Euro or you can ride half way for around 18 Euro. I remember from my high school days that the view from up there is breath taking. You can buy cheaper tickets ahead of time here. It also twinkles on the hour every hour once it gets dark. I think it stops sometime around 1 AM. 


Oh I can't love the Louvre enough. I have to write a separate post about it though. All I'm going to say is that they weren't kidding when they said it would take three days to see every single piece of art. 

Notre Dame

The inspiring place that prompted an author to write about an unfortunate soul called "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" or in my Disney terms, "The Darkest Movie Disney Ever Created". You can read more on this cathedral here

Zero Point plate

From this plate, all points in Paris are measured. According to legend, if you touch this plate in front of Notre Dame, you will be blessed with the opportunity to return to Paris. Another tradition is perform your own personal ritual on top of it for good luck! You can read more about it here.

Arc De Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe was originally commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to honor the Grand Armee and the many victories they had won. He had conquered most of Europe at this time and so there were a lot of battles to honor. A total of 128 to be precise. It later became a World War I monument to honor the ceremony of the unknown soldiers.  You can read more about the Arc de Triomphe and how to by tickets here

Pont Des Arts

Pont des Arts is the famous "love lock" bridge in Paris. Since 2008, tourists have been placing locks on the bridge to declare their undying love to each other. However, the weight of all the locks has started to cause harm to the bridge. There is even an instance of when part of the bridge fell due to the weight of the locks. I was kind of sad to see this bridge all boarded up. I completely understand why they are trying prevent the locks on this bridge. You can see how the bridge bows in certain places from the weight. The Paris Mayor's office has even created a social media hashtag #lovewithoutlocks to help tourists find alternatives to placing a lock on the bridge. Read more about it here

Just take in the scenery

And really. Don't forget the Eiffel Tower. Its just so beautiful!

This is actually an unedited shot I took. Look how far my skills have come!

I'll be traveling back to Paris again with my mom in April. I'm sure I will have more to add to the list of things to do!

Image Map

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Crazy Love: March 27, 2015

I have been trying really hard to think about how to explain what this quote means to me. The best I think I can do is to describe a very small synopsis of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". Walter Mitty worked for TIME magazine and this quote is the motto of TIME in the movie. Walter dreamed of being anywhere but his mundane life. Unfortunately, this means he would be so lost in his daydreams that he would forget about the world that was going on around him. Then he finally gets an opportunity to live his dream and travel the world to find his favorite photographer. He learns much on the journey including how much he missed when living in his day dreams. And I think that is point of this quote. It isn't "Go Travel the World and Find Yourself", as it suggests at first glance. It is that you need to give life your all. To not live in a day dream and miss out on all of the opportunities this world has to offer. This can mean a multitude of things, such as striking up the courage to talk to someone you have feelings for, go for that promotion, or even not letting anything hold you back. That is the purpose of life. 

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CHEAP Programs to Use for Blogging

I am not in any way a Photoshop or Illustrator expert, and because of that I don't want to pay full price for the programs. Instead, I found some awesome programs to use instead of the Adobe ones. They still take a little bit to learn, but since they are inexpensive or free of charge, you feel bad if you don't use it.

1) Microsoft Word/Excel 
Do you actually know how much you can do with Word or Excel? Did you know there are classes out there specifically for Word and Excel because there is so much you can do with it?!?! I was able to create beautiful address labels from my own computer by simply using Mail Merge and an image. Aren't they pretty? 

On a side note: Did you know you can code with Excel? I didn't even know until one of my internships in college. I immediately set out and learned how to do it. Its so easy! Now, I use it for work and for personal things too. I've created budgets and other spreadsheets by using them. Its so simple! Maybe I'll create something and post it for you guys some day!

2) Google Drive
 I use Google Drive to save all of my work/codes/crafting ideas. As a consultant, I don't get to carry my personal laptop with me while traveling, and so I end up writing a lot of the blogs on the road. Google Drive allows me to save everything in a cloud, and access it from anywhere! I think Dropbox is also great too, but since I used a Google account to create this blog, I thought I should stick with what I have for now. I am also able to share files via Google Drive on a blog post. Its a really useful tool!

3) Gimp 
Gimp is amazing. Its free Photoshop, and thankfully there are so many tutorials out there on how to use it. I'm learning something new every day. I've used it on my previous blog template to modify my logo, create my signature, and to help create certain images for blogging. I will say it is difficult to get the hang of, but thankfully there are so many sites out there to help! Click here to download Gimp or here to look at some tutorials.

4) PicMonkey
I have recently discovered the fantastic world of PicMonkey. I never knew you could do so much with the program. Of course I had heard of it before, but I just thought it was like Picnik. Boy, was I wrong. For around $5 a month, you can get a photo editor and a simple version of Photoshop. I have done most of my blog design using this tool. You can have a free month free?

5) Pixlr
I haven't actually tried this software yet. I've heard great things about it, but from what I can tell its a photo editing online software. I signed up for it and at a glance it looks like Photoshop or PicMonkey. 

I hope this helps out any future bloggers or bloggers stuck in the same situation as me. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Top Tips for Visiting Venice, Italy

I recently had the wonderful experience of going to Venice, Italy. It has been on my Bucket List for years. And honestly, it is an absolutely, breathtaking city. However, there isn't much to do in terms of major sights to see. Once you see St. Marc's, all we had left to do was shop and eat (not too many complaints here). I'm sure if we had done a little more research beforehand, we could have found something to do.


1) Research possible museums to visit. We showed up and all we knew about was St. Marc's Basilica. This means we ended up wandering around all day searching for something to do besides shopping, eating, and drinking.

2) Venice is sinking. I don't think it will become like the lost city of Atlantis any time soon. But this does cause frequent flooding, especially during rainy seasons. Don't believe me? Check out this article from NBC News here.

3) Venice does smell. I will not lie. We went in the winter and that is supposedly when the smell isn't bad. I beg to differ. In certain parts, where there is no water, yeah it doesn't smell. As soon as you cross a canal though. Ooof. Just a word to the wise: always expect a smell. 

4) Venice has two airports. One is the main one that can be accessed via normal means (train, bus, car). Then, there is this little tiny one that can only be accessed by a bus that fills up really quickly, aka the one I had to use. I think all of the RyanAir and Wizz flights go here. 

5) I am way too nice and indecisive for Italy. Getting onto the bus, I kept getting shoved aside and was refused to be allowed onto the bus because there wasn't any more sitting room. Thankfully, someone convinced the driver that we can just sit on the floor, which I didn't mind. Which leads to my next piece of advice...

6) HANG ON FOR DEAR LIFE IN A BUS DRIVEN BY AN ITALIAN. Oh my goodness you guys. If we had wrecked, I would have been done for. I was sitting on the walkway in a charter bus with nothing in front of me. It was scary. He was driving like he was behind the wheel of a Ferrari. Thankfully it was only a thirty minute drive. My heart nearly stopped for all thirty.

7) You might get to see a Google Street View Team Member. These are the people who record the pictures on Google Maps for us. You might even see me! I sped right past her after taking this picture. 

Overall, I did enjoy Venice. I just wished I had researched more so I knew what to do there. Do you have any favorite places in Italy?

Image Map

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Crazy Love March 20, 2015


For a long time, I had forgotten who I was. I had constantly molded myself to what everyone expected or to whatever would cause me to fit in. However, because no one ever got to know the real me, I never did fit in. Traveling for work has made me realize who I am again. I have had to be alone so often that I finally got back to doing the things I enjoyed, like photography, video games, and painting. And because I'm opening up more, I now have real friends again. Not just a lot of acquaintances like I had before. 
I am extremely blessed to be returning to my normal because of my travel experiences. While I love this quote and how it relates to me, travel may not be how every one discovers this. Sometimes it can happen in the weirdest of ways. Just as long as remember who you are, nothing else matters. 

Image Map

Monday, March 16, 2015

How To Use Google Maps to Plan Trips

On a recent trip, I discovered the miraculous idea of using Google Maps to plan my route for my trips. I thought I should show you all how its done. It only takes a little research to know where you are going and a computer to create it.

The first step is to access Google Maps at So, you click in the search bar to access the previous searches. You will notice at the bottom there is a link to "My Maps". Click it.

It will open onto a page that shows all of the maps you have created. Click the button to "Create New".

It will open to a screen that looks like the following:

The first thing to do is to search where you want to go. As I'm' writing this, my next trip is to Dublin and so I will create this map with that in mind.

It pulls up the magical city of Dublin, Ireland.

Then, you can edit the Map Title and Description. I'm creating this map for my trip around St. Patrick's Day. 

The next step is start marking landmarks. My first landmark is Temple Bar. This is a famous district in Dublin and will be a great place to go during St. Patrick's Day.

This little box pops up after I search for it. I click "Add to map".

Then, on the left side of the screen, a point is added to my "Untitled Layer". (You can name the layers by the way. I just didn't do it this time).

So there! You have a pin on a map. However, at a glance, I won't know what it is. So lets change the icon, shall we? Hover over the Name on the layer screen and you will see paint bucket button. Click it.

Then, another screen appears where you can change the color of the point, but I want to change the icon. So, I click the "More icons" button.

A whole list of icons appears. You can also add your own using the link at the bottom of the screen. I chose one in the shape of a martini glass as it is a bar. 

And now it is changed.

Next, I want to add my hotel. I search for it and click "Add to map".

Now I have two points on my map, but I want to change the hotel point as well.

I repeat the steps from above once more and choose a house shaped icon.

Now I have two points, but I need a little more.

Next, I searched for the Guinness Storehouse.

However, after creating the point, I want to add some information. I click the "Edit" button.

I added the link to the brewery, the address, and the contact number.

Now, anytime I need the information, it is just a click away.

Once you add all of the points, you have a very pretty map. The one below is the map I used for my London trip. I had all of the landmarks and some Harry Potter sightseeing as well.

I hope this helps you plan for you next trip.! Have a great day!

Image Map

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