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Paris Part Three: Versailles

21 May

Grandiose. Opulent. Gaudy. Lavish. Ostentatious. Versailles.

We really lucked out with lines on our trip to Paris. The longest line we waited in was undoubtedly at Versailles, and even there we waited no more than thirty minutes.

Louis the Fourteenth greeted us at the golden gates.

Louis XIV Statue Versailles

Versailles Gate

Hallway at Versailles

The ceiling of the Royal Chapel transported me back to our honeymoon reminding me of all the gorgeous Italian frescos we saw.

Versailles Ceiling

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Paris Eats

20 May

Here is what I found odd and endearing about eating in Paris:

  1. No butter or oil for your baguette
  2. No bread plates -patrons placed their bread directly on the table
  3. Tips tax included in the menu price -how spoilingly (yep, made up that word) refreshing
  4. Waiters looking at you sideways if you refused espresso and/or dessert after any meal
  5. How long the French linger over each meal
  6. Having to request your check each time you finished your food- it is thought rude for a server to present a bill before it is requested

Anthony and I learned quickly that most Parisian restaurants are closed between lunch and dinner and reopen around 7:30pm. We weren’t quite hungry for lunch after getting situated in our HomeAway, missed our first opportunity for a good meal, and were starving by dinner time. La Fontaine de Mars, a suggestion I had picked up from an article about interior designer Kelly Wearstler, served excellent French fare . There, I ate Morel mushrooms for the first time. I’m a believer.

La Fontaine de Mars | Paris, France

Rue Saint Dominique, an avenue near the Eiffel Tower, was packed with too many wonderful restaurants and patisseries. Some of my other favorites in the neighborhood were Les CocottesGateaux Thoumieux, and Aux Merveilleux de Fred.

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Paris Museums

19 May

I was pretty proud of myself for having written two blog posts in advance that posted while I was in Paris. What I failed to prepare for was the need for a vacation after my vacation. I have been back from Paris for just at a week now and have readjusted back to normalcy, which is far less exciting yet somehow far more exhausting than the thirteen hour days I spent traipsing around the City of Lights with my husband.

It is unreal how much we crammed into five days in Paris. While I wish we had another day or two so we would have slowed the pace and sipped just a little more wine in the outward-facing cafe chairs, I think we did Paris well, and we certainly did it big.

I have sifted through over a thousand pictures (eek!) and will share about 100 photos of our trip over the next five days. Today, I’ll focus on museums, tomorrow, French food!

Anthony and I opted to purchase the Paris museum pass, which is something I have always forgone in other cities. With it, we skipped some long lines and saved a few euros, while being able to pop into a few museums we wouldn’t have otherwise made time for.

Musee d’Orsay had an amazing Van Gogh exhibit going on.

Musee d'Orsay

Orsay Museum

Inside d'Orsay

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Round Top Antique Show

8 Apr

This past Saturday, Anthony and I drove east to a tiny town, population 90, to browse a gigantic antique fair in hopes to find a few treasures for our home.

Little did I know what I would be getting us into…

Round Top Antique Fair | Gusto & Grace

I heard Round Top Antique Fair was large, but there was no way I could have prepared for what turned out to be nearly 6 miles of antique stores and booths.

The thrift shops in Austin can be fruitful, but I have not found a great local source for antiques yet so I was eager to purchase some “oldies but goodies.”

I came home empty-handed, but I took a few photos of a few of my favorite things.

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South By so far

14 Mar

I ignored the warnings. “Stay away from South By,” and “Don’t go near downtown!” are phrases I’ve heard from many an Austinite regarding the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival that happens every year in March.

I ignored the warnings, and I am so glad I did.

Instead of a typical Gusto & Grace project based post, I am going to write about all the things I’ve been doing instead of blogging. O0000000ops!
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San Antonio in Pictures

7 Mar

One of the many great things about living in Central Texas is that you have so many options for day trips to take on a whim. Dallas: 3 hours. Houston: 2.5 hours. San Antonio: 1 hour.

This past weekend, Anthony and I found ourselves with a wide open schedule, so we saddled up and headed to San Antone.

After visiting Anthony’s Little Grandma (no, I’m not putting her down, that’s what they’ve always called her), we headed to Hotel Havana’s Ocho to grab a drink and poke around. It is such a quiet, charming place.

oHotel_Havana_San_Antonio_Texas Hotel_Havana_Sign_San_Antonio_Texas Ocho_Hotel_Havana_San_Antonio_Texas

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Free Printable Prada Marfa Watercolour Art

28 Feb

When you aren’t inspired enough to paint over every beige room in your home, cover them with art!

Well, that is what I am doing, since I have not committed to paint colors. I also don’t feel like dedicating months worth of weekends to painting all but three rooms in my abode right now.

Free Printable #PradaMarfa Watercolor Art www.gustoandgraceblog.com

After hearing about the new app, Waterlogue, I quickly decided to purchase the app, which is currently only available for iPhones and iPads, and transform my favorite photo of Prada Marfa from our recent trip out west. Here is what I found: if you start with a high quality photo, you get good results. Lower quality photos don’t create desirable results.

Free Printable Watercolor Prada Marfa Print www.gustoandgraceblog.com

I also waterlogued a photo of Big Tex from our engagement session.

Free Printable Watercolor Art www.gustoandgraceblog.com

I put each 11×17 print in 20×28 RIBBA frames from Ikea, cut new mats from posterboard, and hung the prints in my dining room.

I love my new, inexpensive wall art and have decided to make the Prada Marfa print available to my faithful blog readers. When I took the files to FedEx Office, they said the image should print clearly as large as 18×20. Since the original Big Tex image was taken professionally, I thought it best if I not share that one. Who besides us wants a print of a creepy, giant cowboy anyway?

Click HERE to download the Prada Marfa print.

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

Good Day Austin | DIY Wedding Invitations

25 Feb

 

 

I had a great time with Good Day Austin’s Anchor, Lauren Petrowski, talking about DIYing wedding invitations for their Make It Monday segment. I was thrilled to have the opportunity and am excited about the possibility of being a guest on the morning show again within the next few months.
FOX 7 | Good Day Austin: Make it Monday | DIY Wedding Invitations www.gustoandgraceblog.com

 

The image above may be deceiving, as you can’t actually press the play button. Unfortunately WordPress.com doesn’t support FOX 7 videos. You can watch the video by visiting Good Day Austin’s website here: DIY Invitations.

The three minute segment really flew by, so be sure to check out my  six tips for DIYing your wedding invitation suite.

Thanks for reading and, now, watching,

♥ Dominique

New York City at Christmastime

3 Jan

The day after Christmas this year, I boarded a plane with my mom and my brother and spent “Christmas” with my sister and brother-in-law for the first year since they moved to New York.  Call us crazy, but we left on New Year’s Eve and I was back in Austin in time to give my husband a New Year’s kiss.

This trip, I didn’t do much in the way of exploration, but instead enjoyed being along for the ride, spending time with my mom and siblings. I snapped only a few photos.

Shake Shack New York CityAustin is set to get a Shake Shack later this year!

Empire State Building

Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows 2013 Holidays On Ice NYC www.gustoandgraceblog.comThis year, the theme for the Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows was Holidays On Ice. Each window was thematic to a specific holiday. The holidays featured included Valentine’s Day, Halloween, 4th of July (pictured above), April Fools Day. and Arbor Day. Smaller windows featured Groundhog’s Day, Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve.

If you are wanting to spend a part of the holiday season in New York City, let me suggest Thanksgiving to you. Last year, Anthony and I went at Thanksgiving and watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade-watching crowd was far less dense than 5th Avenue after Christmas. The holiday windows were already decorated. Lines for ice skating rinks were not 3 hours long. We even made it to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Heading to New York City? Check out a few of my favorite places.

How was your Christmas? What are your New Year’s resolutions?

How to Celebrate Christmas Like an Austinite

20 Dec

Austin Christmas GrafittiTraditions make a city feel more like home. When I first moved to Austin, I started thinking about why Fort Worth felt so much like home. After the obvious family and friend connections, and the sheer amount of time I lived there, I think it felt like home because of the traditions I had.

Each September or October I would go to the State Fair, I’d eat a mustard-covered Fletcher’s Corn Dog, and ride the Texas Star Ferris Wheel. Every November I would eat a gyro and chocolate baklava at the Greek Food Festival. Each December I would look forward to my friends’ Christmas In Black and White decade-themed costume Christmas party.

In an effort to make my new home feel more like home, I insisted on finding a few Austin events or activities I could look forward to year after year. If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas as an Austinite, here is what I suggest:

Trail of Lights 2013

1. Walk through the Festival of Lights in Zilker Park

Take a stroll through the light tunnels. Grab a cuppa hot chocolate. Get dizzy spinning under the tree. This year, there was a flip-book video booth and Anthony and I got an awesome memento our evening.

Zilker Park Tree

2. Buy your gifts from a local artist or store. 

Austin is filled with small businesses and local artists, buying gifts from these places is just the Austin way.

3. Go to a quote-along at the Alamo Drafthouse

I’m a believer. The Alamo Drafthouse is the best movie theater in the nation world. They have fun events year round, but during the holidays they host Elf Quote-Alongs and Home Alone All-you-can-eat-cheese-pizza parties. My husband and I learned of them too late to get tickets this year, so I scoured six stores before finding Home Alone on DVD, ordered plain cheese pizza, and had a party at home this year.

4. Decorate a tree on 360, or at least go and look at them

Before I moved here, Anthony told me how people would decorate trees on 360. I didn’t understand until we drove down highway and saw miles of trees decked out in tinsel and garland. My favorite tree was decorated like a reindeer. Next year, you’ll find me on the top of one of the hills, trimming a tree for all to see.

Hawaiin Tree Austin Texas

5. Go ice skating on the Plaza at Whole Foods downtown

The skating rink at the Austin-based grocery chain might be the closest thing to a white Christmas you will see in the capital city.

If you’ve moved to a new town and are missing home, I encourage to get out and try a few new things you can repeat at least annually.

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