A Taste of France

I recently returned from an amazing trip to France. We made it to Provence and Paris – 2 incredibly different (but both incredible) cities.

If I could bottle up the French culture and bring it home I would – espressos in the middle of the day just because, an appreciation for markets and fresh produce, a love of fresh cheese, frequent stops for bread and pastries, and a sincere adoration for great wine.

We had fantastic food while there, a lot of adventures, and yes, a lot of wine. It was a trip to remember and below are a few snapshots. Enjoy!

Cafe Gratitude - Amazing

Cafe Gratitude - Amazing

Summer Lovin’ at Bass Lake

Bass Lake is my go-to every summer.  After spending 9 summers there (summer camp for 7 and camp counselor for 2), I am officially hooked on its beauty - trees for miles, 80 degree lake water, the smell of pine as soon as you step out of your car/cabin.  Life does not get better than this.

Hawaii :: Instagrammed

Hawaii truly is one of the most beautiful places…with the most amazing fruit a girl could ask for. 

must. go. back. soon

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is one of my favorite holidays because there is love all around.  And chocolate.  

Spread the love today, eat sweets, and wear something fabulous.  Single, in a relationship, or married, this is the day to go all out and treat yourself.

Cheers to chocolate!

xoxo

Who Doesn’t Love Fondue?

In this latest series of posts that are, um, 2-3 years late, I bring you a post about the oh-so-fabulous Switzerland.  I ventured to a place called Montreux (try to pronounce that in French and you’ll really impress your friends), which is just an hour away from Geneva.  IT IS GORGEOUS.

We flew into Geneva, picked up some amazingly delicious salty and bready pretzels (and salads) from this little shop in the airport/train station, hopped on the train, and experienced the most lovely train ride I could ever imagine.  The whole time, we were surrounded by trees and vinyards and though it was only 35 degrees outside, it was easy to forget that as soon as I stepped out of the train, I would literally freeze..because I was so distracted by the beauty. (the beauty being that besides the train running among a million gorgeous trees, it also happened to run parallel to Lake Geneva, so we got to stare at that the whole time.  It’s a pretty amazing sight to see.)

We stayed at this hotel, which seemed too fancy to be true, drank tea, and explored…until we could not feel our faces.

We found the best little sandwiches and pastries AND the most incredible Swiss chocolate known to man (at least according to my parents who were lucky enough to receive a bar of dark chocolate goodness when I returned from my trip…they know their chocolate so I trust their judgement).

At night we got traditional and ate fondue at the famous local fondue place.  What an experience.  A true fondue experience is something everyone must partake in.  Just think: cheese, potatoes, bread..heaven?  Not to mention the chocolate variety: bananas, pineapple, strawberries, star fruit, and rich, gooey (in this case, gooey is a sexy word), divine dipping chocolate.

Okay totally awkward pic, I know, but I figured you needed the full shot of the chocolate.  Drool away.

Montreux is the place to be, even if it’s freezing.  A cool little tidbit: they are famous for this enormous Jazz Festival the whole town hosts every year.  I hear it’s AMAZE. Go.

Also, go to Harry’s New York Bar (yes, I am still writing about Montreux). If nothing else, it’s a place to see and be seen…and you’ll probably want to save up if you plan to order a drink.  The bill can get pricey, but it’s all worth it.  I promise.

Feeling Lucky

Lately I have been feeling lucky because:

A. I love my jobs

B. I have a fabulous family and network of friends..and a boyfriend who is super supportive

C. I have an awesome jewelry company (Little Sparrow Designs) and fabulous healthy living website (melslife)…and another really cool blog (Definition of Fabulous)

D. I live by the ocean

E. Why feel any other way??

On Tuesday I bought 2 lottery tickets AND the first 2 numbers on my ticket matched the first 2 numbers listed in the line of “winning numbers.”  So, I did the logical thing and told everyone that I almost won the lottery.  And then I bought 3 more tickets.

If I win the lottery, I am not going to tell you because then you’ll think that just because you read my blog, you are entitled to a million bucks.  I am sure you are worth a trillion bucks, but the truth is that if I win, I’m paying back my school loans and then booking it to a quiet retreat for 2 weeks where I can blog day and night and take awesome pictures to post on here.

SO, if I somehow start posting pictures of awesome places and start blogging more consistently, you’ll know I’ve won.

An Ode to Croatia

If I had to sum up Croatia in one word it would be “Beautiful.”  Let me explain.

The people are beautiful, the water is beautiful, the food is beautiful (and amazing), and overall, it’s just a lovely place.

My friend Lindsay and I ventured here in 2010 and took the place by storm.  The thing about life is that you get distracted and now here I am, a year and a half later, finally posting these (not so fabulous because they were taken with my iPhone 3G) pictures.

The beaches are a bit pebbly, but whatevs!  Oh, also—you can get a massage ON THE BEACH, for pebbles pennies.  Seriously, I think her name is Maria, and she knows how to work the back.

The fact that these pictures were taken with my (old school-not so) smart phone, you know that they are not doing the place justice.  Yet still, how gorgeous does that water look?  And how expensive do those yachts look (actually not sure if I included the Yacht pic here—I don’t think it turned out so well)?  Seriously, those things are all over.  Do you have to be swimming in money to venture to Croatia?  No…but that would be nice, wouldn’t it?  

If my friend and I played our cards right, we probably could have ridden on one of those monster boats.  Maybe next time.

The gelato is SO good that we had two cones in one sitting (yes, two cones each…and no, we are not gluttons all of the time).

If you look close enough, you’ll see those monster yachts I refer to above.

Assorted Bruschetta?  Yes please!

Some of the best pizza we’ve had came from Croatia (it’s close to Italy!) and we made a ton of friends because everyone wants to talk to you.  

When I told people I was going to Croatia, their first response was, “Why??”  Well, the best answer is, “Why not?”  This place is AMAZING.

A summary of the trip:

1. Visited Split (it’s a bit of a port town, but that’s where we found the pizza and a waiter friend who gave us really gross “interesting” Panna Cotta (that may, or may not, have ended up in our napkins)

2. Visited Brach (that’s where Maria gives the massages)

3. Visited Hvar (our favorite because it had the gelato pictured above and we stayed in a 5 star hotel for practically nothing!)

Have questions about where we stayed?  Email me! mel.melslife@gmail.com.

A Little Nashville

Last year we went to Nashville, TN for my little brother’s high school graduation trip. Though I am constantly daydreaming of where to travel next, I figure that it’s probably a good idea to acknowledge the fabulousness that occurred while traveling last year. And thus, I bring you this post about Nashville—my brother’s most favorite city in the world (yes in the world—personally I would choose Paris or Rome, but by brother has a soft spot for grits and southern charm).

None of the contents of this cute little red basket were vegan, but as a foodie, I can appreciate a good looking piece of cornbread and a melt-in-your-mouth roll. The fam enjoyed devoured them.

The best part about the south? Being served water in mason jars. BEST idea ever. I think that if water was served this way here, we would all drink more of it. Obvi.

The sign is for corn, yes, but I think we can all appreciate what’s really pictured—a true southern peach. Yum and yum…and more yum.

I love-am obsessed with-can’t live without-jam.

The trip was a good old fashioned southern good time filled with a lot of eating (of course) and some lovely sight seeing. The highlights of the trip are as follows:

1. Eating at The Wild Cow—an amazing vegetarian restaurant where my family enjoyed devoured some of the best food we have ever had (that is saying a lot, by the way!).

2. Seeing the look of joy on my little brother’s face as he walked around his favorite place.

3. Discovering these amazing little hand-painted bowls with sparrows on them (if you didn’t know, I own a company called Little Sparrow Designs) from this amazing little store called  Nest Interiors.

4. Experiencing southern hospitality at its finest—I have never ever seen such happy waiters and waitresses.

5. Getting to hear country music every which way I turned.

Nashville, I will be back!

Words to live by!!
maisha-nzuri:

made by mollyinkenya :)

Words to live by!!

maisha-nzuri:

made by mollyinkenya :)

(via aplaceforart)

These places look amazing and I’m ready to buy my plane tickets.  Enjoy!

Where should I go?!

Aside from blogging more, another resolution of mine is to visit 12 new places in 2012. SO, the big question is, where should I go?  I am open to anywhere as long as I haven’t been.   

I have started a list of places I am looking into going so far to and NEED YOUR HELP (!) to 

A) Add to this list and (please choose somewhere in Europe)

B) Figure out what to do/see/eat/blog about in these places!

Oh the places I’ll go…

1. Seattle (going here before I walk in my Gonzaga graduation)

2. Arizona (potentially going a Chicago Cubs spring training game)

3. Lake Arrowhead (going here to stay with my fabulous friends April and Karen)

4. Big Sur (it just looks gorgeous)


And with that—I need you.  Comment and tell me your most favorite, must go, can’t live without going places so I can get excited about the adventures to come.

xo mel

The NEW melslife blog + a resolution

Welcome to the new & improved melslife blog.  Still a work in progress, yes, BUT better than before (I hope..I really do hope).  A resolution of mine is to become a better blogger.  I have so many thoughts running through my head ALWAYS and a million blogs to write.  The logical response would be to write on all of them alllll of the time.  But, of course, as luck would have it, my brain decides to turn off…to search Pinterest all night long, or to read some of my favorite blogs (more on those later).  When I read my favorite blogs, I get inspired to write AND then I eat some chocolate chips, crash from the sugar overload, and start the whole process over again the next day.  Needless to say, not much gets written and it makes me sad.

breakfast feast

The photo above {a famous breakfast feast} reminds me why I love to blog—I love it because I get to share pictures of food, I get to talk about random things {like said breakfast feast}, and I get to connect with the community and my friends {and food always brings us together}.

I am pretty good about new years resolutions SO as my first resolution, I promise myself to be better at blogging—on all of my blogs, but specifically on the melslife blog.  I owe it to myself to get back in touch with my inner writer.  I didn’t say she was good, but she sure can type fast, and, well, that works for me.

Here’s to 2012 and a whole lot of blogging!!

xo mel