When booking any trip, whether within the states or abroad, one of the first things we always do is check out local Airbnbs…this time around we decided to shake things up and stay at a hotel during our time in Paris. While searching through a tonnnn of results, we very excitedly came across the Hotel des Grands Boulevards and were immediately in love. The feminine art-deco yet modern design stole our hearts, plus the location was prime! We were in walking distance to Sezane and the Jardin du Palais Royal, where we spent many mornings enjoying (our second round) of espresso and croissants from Café Kitsuné, and one of our favorite dinner spots: Daroco. Step outside of the hotel and walk just a few steps to hop on the metro to visit the Eiffel Tower or enjoy an afternoon of shopping at Le Bon Marché. When we’re not walking, we always travel by metro when in Paris. A lot of you asked about how we get around so easily, so if you’re planning a trip download the CityMapper app on your phone. It takes all the guess work out of your days and will leave you feeling super confident getting around.
Being interior design junkies the style of Hotel des Grands Boulevards seriously made our hearts sing. From the bathroom tile to the velvet headboard and cute lounge area in the restaurant downstairs, we couldn’t stop ooo-ing and ahh-ing at every detail. Ohhh, let’s not forget the charm of the doors – yes, doors people! After dinner at the restaurant one evening (their pastas and seafood are spot on, guys!), we moseyed back up to our room and found the designer, Dorothée Meilichzon . Unfortauntely Dorothée only works on commercial properties (boo for us), but she did just complete an adorable Italian restaurant nearby, called Atelier Bizzo, so of course we had to go.
Design aside, we will definitely be staying at Hotel des Grands Boulevards again. It was a very special place to continue our anniversary trip, and bit fancy too which was perfect for this 5 year celebration. Plus, the staff was super sweet and made us feel better at our poor attempts speaking French. If you’re thinking about a trip, check them out!
Here’s some favorites nearby:
-Jardin du Palais Royal
-Frenchie to Go
-Café Le Brebant
You might have seen me sporting this blush circle bag all around London and Paris the last few weeks. This pretty Mansur Gavriel bag was a Valentine’s Day gift from Rob, and since then I haven’t stopped wearing it. I love the blush shade, which almost acts as a neutral and how it pulls any outfit together. I’ve noticed a ton of circle bags pop up around the internet lately, and it seems like they’re here to stay for spring and summer, so I wanted to put together a little round up with a few of my favorites. I love how most of these have a crossbody strap too, so they can go easily from day to night. Take a peek below!
My plan for this post was to share everything I wish we knew before we started remodeling our house last year, because as many of you know, we’re continuing work in other areas with a new contractor and also…redoing the kitchen. I had a fear of sharing that we will be redoing the kitchen for a while now, because at first it sounds a bit ridiculous, I know, but here’s why we decided to just do it.
To begin with, the whole thing started with us wanting to add French doors to our dining room. We thought: “Oh, this should be easy!” Ha! Silly silly us. We knew we had to knock down the wall separating our dining room and laundry room, which we didn’t mind…our laundry room was small and we wanted to add a compact washer/dryer unit in the master closet, so we weren’t going to miss it. From there we realized we had to redo the flooring if we wanted everything to look uniform and cohesive, because the laundry room and kitchen flooring were running in a different direction than the dining room and there was also a small step up from the dining room into those other rooms. So leveling it out came into play…which then brought us to how the kitchen would be preserved during the process. Our cabinets would get pretty beat up, and our new contractor (same team who we worked with on our guest house — cannot express how much we love them!) suggested we do new cabinetry. I was pretty excited about this initially, because we just added new faces on them in the previous kitchen project and honestly, I don’t even think they were new. You must be wondering, how don’t you know…well rule #1 when doing a renovation, do a ton of research on your contractor. Our previous contractor was recommended by a friend who does remodels and flips in town and we checked out their work in some homes and loved it, but when it came time for work in our home, things were a bit different and it was one thing after the other. However, I feel like before we go any further, we should put out a little disclaimer, the kitchen cost was almost like a bonus…very affordable, so I can’t be too upset…but still in the end, it was money spent.
So when we initially had the kitchen redone (it was last after the bathrooms), by that point I kind of just surrendered. Our cabinet hardware was lost and I had to repurchase it, along with an entire light fixture. They had redone the tile work twice and it was still pretty messy, which word to the wise: when going with dark grout be picky with your contractor! Imperfections show 10x more with dark grout and it’s a lot harder to make look neat. There was no customization within the cabinetry, which now living with the house, we realized we really should have paid more attention to. Think of how you live in the space, does your pantry have enough shelves, do your cabinets and drawers have enough room for you to grab your pots easily? We had one cabinet where everything was literally just piled on each other making it a whole project to just pull out what we needed to prepare any meal. With the new kitchen, cabinets and organization are our main priority. As far as the tile and grout…we’re ditching it and going for something cleaner. You can’t really tell in photos, but it kind of drives us nuts.
WHAT ARE WE CHANGING? WHAT WORKED?
What are we going to do this time around, you ask? Well, like we said, we’ll be swapping out the subway tile and dark grout for a marble (or marble-esque) backsplash slab. It’s a decision that we went back and forth on for quite a while, but we’re loving that style and think it’s going to give the kitchen a nice, sleek, bright, clean look. We’re into it! We won’t be changing the look of our kitchen entirely though… the open shelving will stay! After we revealed our kitchen last year, we received a few comments and messages from people who told us we’d regret the open shelving. “Everything is going to be dusty”, they said, but to be honest, we’ve had zero problems with the open shelving. We actually enjoy them so much that we did them again in our guest house, so yeah, we’re big fans. We’ll also be doing bright white cabinetry this time too. We didn’t love what was going on inside our cabinets last time (and we’ll be fixing that), but we did like the white cabinets. We love a space that feels airy and spacious, and while our kitchen is on the smaller side, the all-white-everything approach makes it feel bigger, which we like a lot!
We will be mixing up some hardware, lighting, and finishes in the new space, but we will be keeping all of our Frigidaire Professional appliances. We have had zero complaints and they just make sense for our family. Also, something we have received many questions about is our ‘hidden” microwave, well more like our absent microwave. With the original kitchen remodel we decided to ditch it and honestly haven’t looked back. If we have leftovers to heat up, we do so in the oven or stovetop. We use our kettle for tea in the morning and don’t eat many frozen meals so not having a microwave hasn’t been a huge change for us, and we won’t be reinstalling one with the new remodel.
We’re excited to dive more into the process and get things moving over here. We snapped the above photos a while back before we left for Paris and London, so when we came home we saw the below. Here’s the current set up. Maybe we’ll keep the minimal vibe…
What’s number one on your home project list? Any projects or design choices you’ve made that you regret? We’d love to hear and share throughout this whole process.
Hello! It’s been a while since we have done one of these. Sorry about that! We’re back from our two weeks of traveling through London and Paris. We’ll be home for less than ten days before our next trip, but who’s counting?! While our house is being renovated, and we live in our guest house, and Henry is at his boot camp dog training, we are going to be in and out of Phoenix quite a bit. And when the temperatures are already 100+ degrees here, that isn’t the worst thing ;). It is good to be home though, and to be back in a routine and a good rhythm. We have been up to a lot these days, and can’t wait to share everything with you guys. One thing we’ve been wanting to ramp up around here is more video content, and we have been doing quite a bit of it. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive updates every time a new video goes live. Today we’ll be sharing early access to a fun new home video for all of our newsletter subscribers, so be sure to check that out too, if you haven’t already. This weekend, we will be getting back to normal here in Phoenix and making some big decisions for our home renovation that is underway. We hope all you moms out there have an amazing Mother’s Day! Below are some links we’ve enjoyed from around the web this week. Cheers!
Something I’m super passionate about is skincare and sharing that with you guys. Some of you might remember my acne blog post a while back, and some of my newer skincare favorites post here, but since then my skin has gone through a whole new transformation. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I measure my skin’s progress and state more closely around a big milestone or celebration. None of us want to show up with a zit on our chin to a party, or celebrate an anniversary with patchy dry skin. I know there’s many worse things in the world to deal with, but I’m not ashamed to say my self esteem can take a major hit when I’m looking forward to a celebration and my skin will not cooperate with me.
We’ve had a busy few months gearing up for some home projects, visiting family in various states, looking into a trainer for Mr. Henry over here, and planning our anniversary trip. In the midst of it all, I decided to throw away all my acne medicated products and use clean products on my skin. Well my skin had a freak out moment to say the least, and over the last few weeks I’ve been working on clearing it up. Unfortunately when you’re working to clear up acne, your skin can become immensely dry, especially in those problem areas, which in turn just makes things worse. I’ve learned this the hard way a few years back by completely avoiding what our skin needs the most: moisture.
When SK-II reached out to me a few months ago to share my experience with their cult-favorite SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, I was beyond excited. I have heard so many amazing reviews about this product from friends and other blogs. Our fifth wedding anniversary is coming up (woah- has the time flown by!), so I thought what better time to get my skin in tip top shape? I was looking forward to really documenting my progress with this Miracle Water and using it consistently. Over the last month, I’ve turned to the j-beauty trend and the power of multi-step Asian routines; and the focus on loving your skin and giving it the TLC it needs has been life changing for me. I really look forward to removing my makeup each evening and using products that make me feel good. Even throughout my acne flareups, this essence has been keeping my skin hydrated and balanced, which is super important and can sometimes feel impossible to do when battling an oily t-zone. It has brought back a brightness to my skin tone and even a sense of dewiness, which I thought I would never have.
I recently brought a bottle of my new favorite “Miracle Water” with me to Florida, when visiting my family and got into this whole talk with my mom about essences and skincare. Needless to say, she was hooked by the end of our trip after trying it a few times, so I left her the bottle I was using so she could experience it fully for herself. Even though our skin is at such different stages in our lives, we both need the hydration and want the same things out of our skin: evenness, smoothness and firmness.
If you’re not familiar with an essence or are curious how to incorporate it into your routine, I’ll walk you through how I use it. I use the Facial Treatment Essence after double cleansing but before I apply my serum and moisturizer (both morning and night). Sometimes I saturate a
cotton pad to pat it on my face and other times I pour a few drops directly on my hands to pat on my face, neck and chest. It’s super light and watery, which is an A+ in my book because there’s no residue and it quickly absorbs into my skin. It’s definitely been a game changer, and has allowed me to feel better about my skin situation. I already started to plan what to pack for our trip to London and Paris, and this little bottle has been number one on my carry-on list. Looking forward to brighter skin and celebrating five years of marriage in Europe together!
Do you guys have a go-to product that gives you a little pick me up?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SK-II. The opinions and text are all mine.