West Elm New Orleans + Giveaway!

Unless you've been living under a rock in New Orleans, I'm sure you've heard news of the West Elm store opening on Magazine Street. Having a physical store here adds so much to our growing retail landscape and not to mention we can now get first dibs on the always promising sale section!  I personally couldn't be more excited to welcome them to The Big Easy and to partner with them to bring you the latest on their launch! It's going to be HUGE.

Up first -- we are giving one lucky Upperlyne reader (and a plus one) an exclusive invite to the grand opening party on Wednesday, July 23rd from 6-8:00 PM AND a $50 West Elm gift card! There will be yummy bites, music, good people, and a special guest appearance that I'm going to keep tight-lipped for now.  To enter, simply fill out the form below.  Additional entries for leaving a comment here, sharing your entry on Twitter, and/or re-gramming my Instagram post and tagging me @juleytl and #westelmnola. The winner will be announced here on Monday, July 21st. Hop to it!


A Date with the City of Lights

Not sure if any of you know, but I'm quite the anti-social. When traveling, I steer clear of group trips, often choosing to go with just Josh or one other person. Too many agendas and opinions make my head swirl. I'm also one of the odd ones who really enjoy my alone time, not because I like myself that much but because I get to explore on a different level. So, of course, I made sure to get some one-on-one time with Paris. 

A big thank youuuu to those of you who took your time out to share your favorites via comments, Instagram, and by email. Couldn't have navigated Paris without your help!

Exihibit A: Effortlessly cool Parisian

Exihibit A: Effortlessly cool Parisian

 

 

My day started roughly around 9AM, took a quick cab ride to the Jardin des Tuileries where I met a lovely Indian girl who was on a whirlwind 28-country European tour. I learned that she was in her thirties and has worked in IT for some time. She felt compelled to book a ticket to tour Europe and Paris was the second city of her trip. After some small talk and a quick trade of pictures, we wandered the magnificent grounds and caught sight of the Louvre. Just as lovely as you would imagine! Exploring it with a stranger I just met was the icing on the cake. Does that even happen anymore?! I'm so glad it did.

Anyway, after we parted ways, I grabbed a sandwich from the Paul truck. It was a simple baguette with cornichons and salumi but so good and perfect. Plopped my happy self near the fountains and people watched for what may have been two hours before I realized it was time to go! Parisians are by far the best kind of people to watch. All equally effortlessly stylish and in their own little worlds.

 

 

Had some time to kill so I roamed some shops on St. Honore & Rue Royale. Picked up a few basics from & Other Stories. 

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The next big stop on my list was Poilane, the bakery of all bakeries in Paris, to see its beauty in the flesh. Picked up their famed sourdough loaf as a surprise for my oldest sister who brought me a gift from here during her trip nearly ten years ago!

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A cab ride later I was in the Le Marais neighborhood with roughly 45 minutes to kill before my baking class so I was able to snap a few pictures of the Seine River and the super cute neighborhood. I'll have to be sure to spend more time here during my next visit!

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Now onto the pièce de résistance! One of my favorite things about Paris is how the entire city celebrates bakeries so taking a baking class here has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I tossed this idea over to my trusted friend and travel consultant, Lila Fox, who quickly provided a list of great classes in the city. Since my visit was during peak tourism season, it was difficult to get into the coveted croissant class, but I quickly and happily settled on learning how to make baguettes with La Cuisine Paris! Every moment in Paris was magical, but the three hours I spent in this class just felt like home. The instructor was animated and hands-on. She taught us how to make baguettes with a home oven as well as Fougasse and bread rolls. Such a fun class that I'd recommend to anyone who loves bread or baking as much as I do! 

Pst..learned a few fun facts!
1. In Paris, an establishment cannot call themselves a bakery unless everything is made from scratch.
2. Croissants made with real butter are rolled straight, whereas crescent-shaped croissants denote margarine was used.
3. Parisian baguettes can only contain four ingredients: flour, salt, yeast, and water.

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Quite possibly one of the best dates a girl could have. I hope Paris calls me back! 


When in Paris

Kim and I were sitting at a corner street cafe attempting to take a selfie when a gentleman who was with his gorgeous six-year-old Japanese-French daughter offered to take the picture for us. He happened to be a photographer who happened to have an interest in shooting fashion and offered to snap our pictures. This situation could've turned out really weird but fortunately we had a good time. And now, we have these beautiful pictures for our memory books and a new friend to call when we return! 

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kim // vintage dress | la perla bodysuit | j.crew heels
juley // doo.ri top | forever 21 pants | massimo dutti heels 

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Observations

You know how I am admittedly the world's laziest traveler? Reference previous post about people watching and eating baguettes. It turns out my friend and business partner Kim is the ideal travel buddy for both our first times in Paris. Neither of us like to plan much so our days have been nicely bleeding together. Kim has been doing what she does best - shopping! Of course and why not for the most stylish person I've known since I was 15.  I've simply been observing and getting inspired for our new store. The people are entirely too cool for my comprehension.

One thing I've noticed is while Americans (including myself) have a hard time balancing social media and real socialization, Parisians don't seem to have this problem. During our last couple of dinners, both of us sort of gravitate towards our phones during quiet times. Parisians, on the other hand, have no cell phones on the tables or sitting on their laps. They're thoroughly engaged in conversation, even after a four-hour meal! We've been practicing this and naturally found ourselves in profoundly deep (and hilarious!) conversations.

Aside from a boat load of baguettes, I think I'll take this back with me to the states.

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She woke up in Paris.

Paris truly couldn't be any more beautiful.  We made it safe and sound to our hotel in the beautiful St. Germain area early in the day and started our lazy Parisian adventure around the Champs-Élysées where we filled ourselves with plenty of baguettes, cheese, and wine. I couldn't help but snap a ton of pictures. I can't help but be in awe.