B~Inspired with Natalia

July 23, 2014

I'd like to introduce you to Natalia! Natalia is the voice behind All The Things, Etc and co-owner of Tailor & Table. I've been following her blog for quite some time, but when she started her own business this year - I knew she'd be a perfect addition to my B~Inspired series, not to mention she pretty much has my dream job! I'm so happy that she agreed to take part in this little Q&A and hope you all enjoy getting to know Natalia a bit more! 

Biana: What are three things you'll never leave the house without?
Natalia: iPhone, sunglasses (I have quite the collection), and lip balm.

Biana: What is your current go-to scent?
Natalia: Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black is my go-to on most days, but I always wear Robert Piguet Fracas when I put my fancy pants on.

Biana: If you were to give your 21 year old self advice what would it be?
Natalia: Know who you are, and know that it's enough. Treat others with that same respect. Stay true to your convictions and always, always, ALWAYS trust your gut. Stop eating pizza that's sat out on the counter overnight (um, I'm still working on this one).

Biana: Where is your dream vacation take you?
Natalia: Greece. A million times Greece.

Biana: What woman would you want to have dinner with?
Natalia: Mindy Kaling. She's funny, smart and accomplished. She's a feminist who embraces femininity, and I love that about her! We'd probably drink champagne and order one of everything on the menu (dessert menu included!).

Biana: What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?
Natalia: I can't think of anything more risky than leaving a good, comfortable job to start my own business. Talk about a leap of faith!

Biana: What's your #1 wish list item?
Natalia: If we're dreaming big, I'd like a Cartier Solo Tank Watch and large pieces of original artwork for my home. My next big purchase in real life will be a schmancy DSLR camera (hooray!).

Biana: Who should play you in a movie?
Natalia: Anna Kendrick
{I can totally see it}

Biana: How did you decide to venture out on your own?
Natalia: I always knew that I wanted to be a boss one day (I'm bossy by nature, just ask my younger siblings!). When my amazingly talented partner approached me about starting Tailor & Table, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to do something great. I knew that it was going to be more work than I ever could imagine, but I also knew that it would be worth it. Boy, was I right about both!

Biana: What's a regular work day like for you?
Natalia: Oh goodness -- I travel all over for our clients, so every day is so different! If I'm not on-site at an event, traveling, or meeting with a client, my day goes something like this:

7AM: Wake up, fix myself a cup of coffee. Lay in bed while I drink my cup of jo and catch up on Instagram, Facebook, and a few of my favorite blogs. I so cherish this ritual!

8AM: Head upstairs to my home office, answer emails, choose my Pandora station of the day.

8AM - 3PM: Tackle current design projects, budgets/financials (blech), social media/blog posts, phone calls, etc. I usually eat breakfast and lunch at my desk. In addition to T&T work, I also try to and publish 2-3 posts a week on my personal blog, All the Things Etc.

3PM: Levi and I both take a break for fresh air and play fetch with our sweet rescue hound dog, Georgia. This is my favorite part of the day.
{couldn't resist sharing a photo of their adorable pup}

3:30-6PM: More work, errands, maybe an evening group fitness class if I'm feeling ambitious.

7PM-11PM: Levi and I eat dinner together and then the rest of the night varies -- sometimes we'll attend an event, sometimes we'll keep working from our offices, and other nights we'll just enjoy our favorite shows on Netflix.

11PM: We try to be in bed by 11PM at the latest -- I need my 8 hours! Once in bed, I'll Pinterest from my phone for about 30 minutes before falling asleep. It drives Levi crazy, but it really helps me decompress.

...Rinse and repeat!

Biana: What has been the best moment in your career thus far?
Natalia: Every single time that a client tells me that they want to pay me for doing what I love is the best moment ever. Does it get any better than that?!

Biana: What's the quote you live by?
Natalia: "If you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen" -- Conan O'Brien

Biana: And finally, what has been your most inspired moment?
Natalia: I could never pick just one! The best part of my job is the ability to be a story teller through design. With every new project, I get the opportunity to craft a new tale. I'm constantly inspired by cultures, architecture, fashion, history, art, nature, and my clients' personal style.

A huge thank you to Natalia for fueling my inspirations even further!! If you want to reach out personally you can find Natalia at her blog, instagram or via pinterest

In case you missed the first installment of B~Inspired with Amanda - you can find it here

Do any of you have aspirations to own your own business?

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Bonjour Paris

July 22, 2014

On Monday the 14th we took the EuroStar train to Paris! You would have thought I was a kid on Christmas morning because I was so excited to arrive in Paris. It's on my 30 before 30 list and I'm so happy to be able to check that one off!
Both Gary and I have lived abroad before, but we don't speak a lick of French (aside from the universal words) and it became apparent we were going to have a tough time communicating when we tried to find our hotel once we got out of the train station. I wish someone would have recorded me asking a newstand guy where “Rue de Rennes” was (comedy hour at it's finest)...finally we were pointed in the right direction. 

The Digs:
{Tres Magnifique!}
As I mentioned in the London recap having a hotel near public transport was key! We stayed at The Legend Hotel in the 6th Arr. of the Saint Germain area. I booked directly from their site and found them through another deal website. It was actually cheaper to book directly on the hotel website, as it is for most Parisian boutique hotels. To give you an idea of location, we were about a 30 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower and a 7 minute walk to the Luxembourg Gardens.

Monday: We didn't plan our arrival into Paris on Bastille Day, it was just a happy accident. We knew the Eiffel Tower would be the best view of the fireworks, but we were both in shock at just how many people would be there! It gets dark SUPER late in Paris and the fireworks didn't start until 11:00 PM.
It's an indescribable feeling to see the Eiffel Tower in person. It may sound cliché, but it's a moment I'll remember forever! Seeing the Eiffel Tower shooting out fireworks put's every other fireworks display I've seen to shame! 

Tuesday: I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in chocolate croissants during this trip and I don't feel bad about it at all, especially with all the walking we were doing.
We opted for a semi-guided tour and skip the line pass for the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to Easy Pass Tours, we didn't have to wait in the 4+ hour wait to tour the Eiffel Tower. There are two observation levels to the Eiffel Tower. The fast pass gets you to the second level without having to wait in line, but once up there everyone has to wait to get to the top viewing deck, which isn't bad if you go straightaway without looking around the second level first. We made our way to the first level viewing deck and the views are really magnificent!
After a quick lunch we decided to visit Musée d'Orsay. I'm not a big museum person (not a shocker for those who know me), but in Paris there were two that I knew we'd have to visit and Musée D'Orsay was on that list. It's a beautiful museum in a converted train station! I think we lucked out with lines on this trip because they say museums are the worst for them, but we went right around 2 PM and there was a small 10 minute wait through the security line.
You aren't allowed to take photos in the museum, but sometimes rules are meant to be broken! 

We had some great meals in Paris, but two really stood out and the first was in a cute little restaurant near our hotel.
{scallops with the most delicious cheese pesto risotto}

Wednesday: I had been looking forward to Wednesday in Paris since March, when we booked a tour with Michael. He owns ParisFind  and pretty much everyone in my family (including extended family) and friends have toured with him. He is an American who has been living Paris for the past 16 years and has been offering tours for years. He knows interesting facts that aren't in any guide books and takes your through the city in ways you wouldn't get there otherwise! As an added bonus, we wouldn't have to ask strangers to take our pictures!!
Before Michael met us at our hotel, we made sure to get some crepes!! 
{nutella heaven}
Our first stop was a walk through the Luxembourg Garden (which honestly I'm embarrassed I didn't realize was right near our hotel). The Palace is so grand and the grounds are meticulous kept up!
We walked through the Saint Germain area hooking into little streets with the most interesting stories behind them. I had heard about Sainte Chapelle and seen the stained glass in Paris Guide books, but seeing the church first hand was incredible.

Every single window pane has a chapter from the bible...beautiful work!! 

It seemed like everything was right next to each other, but it was just the way Michael guided us - didn't feel like we were walking at all!
{Outside Notre Dame}
{Back view of Notre Dame}

A must while we were in Paris was to leave our lock on the "Love Bridge," there are currently three around Paris now. {If you want to read about the history of how it started click here}
We forgot a lock at home, but of course there were endless people selling them nearby! Funny enough, this guy tried to get us to pay 12 euros for one lock! That was never going to happen, we haggled him down to 3 euros so easily - still way more than we should have paid! 
They say it means you'll have eternal love...but I already knew that :)

Hope you'll come back Thursday for Part II (also final part) of the Paris re-cap which picks up at the Moulin Rouge!

Tomorrow I'm really excited to share the second installment of the B~Inspired Series!!

In case you missed the London recap - you can read it here.

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Weekending | It's good to be home!

July 21, 2014

Good Monday morning all!! I can't even tell you how good it feels to be back and writing! While traveling is a dream and this vacation was just that – there's nothing quite like being home! Gary and I got home on Saturday and had the rest of the weekend to unwind and get back in the swing of things!! 

I'm so excited to re-cap both London and Paris! I'll try to let the pictures do most of the talking & will recap by day! Off we go...

Thursday: We arrived in London bright and (errr it was actually really chilly and overcast) early on Thursday morning! Our flight was real quick, just over 5 hours, which put us in London at 7 AM (2 AM our time). We were hopeful our room would be ready because we were really in need of sleep, but it wasn't, so we tried our best to stay awake and explore. Gary lived in England after college and the one thing he missed most was the English breakfast's! First thing on his agenda was getting one!
{not my cup of tea at all...}
We had bought a few Fast Pass tickets to some attractions before leaving and the London Eye was one of them. (I can't even stress enough how amazing it is to skip the 2-3 hour lines at some of these attractions just by spending a few extra dollars – totally worth it)! 
I'm pretty sure I was in a drunk stupor going because when we got out at Westminster Abbey – I had to ask if that was Big Ben in front of me.

We were pretty much toast after the London Eye and had to get back to the hotel to take a nap. We really thought we'd have the whole day to explore, but our bodies didn't adjust as well as we thought and ended up going to sleep at 8:00 PM after a quick dinner near our hotel.
{wasn't too tired to get this photo}

The Digs:
We stayed at The Eccleston Square Hotel near Victoria Station. I found a great deal on JetSetter and the hotel was amazing!! Everything was super hi-tech and Gary was in heaven, it's actually been called the "007 hotel!" Aside from wanting the hotel to be nice – I wanted it to be really central to transportation as well as walking distance to some attractions, which both of our hotels were!!
{the shower was super fancy and would frost over with the touch of a button}

Eccelston Square has this beautiful garden in the center that guests as well as residents of the area have access to and we obviously had to have a photo shoot one of the days.
Friday: The weather still wasn't what we had hoped for, but it's London and rain is pretty much in the forecast every single day and it was also a lot colder than expected, but that jean jacket I bought really paid for itself on this trip!

After the Tower of London and  St. Paul's Cathedral we decided to use the hop on and off bus as a way to see more of the city and also as our taxi for the rest of the day/next day.

After a day full of sightseeing we were ready for our first night out in London!!
London is packed day & night – it's like New York on speed, at least Oxford Circus and the Picadilly area are like that!
{very reminiscent of Times Square}
Saturday: Included in the bus tour was a guided walking tour to take you through the changing of the guards. We thought it was going to be a stand and view sort of thing, but instead we had signed up for a 5-miler road race!! In the end it turned out to be great because we saw not only the changing of the guard but all the background that goes into the new guards coming in!

{our finish line}
As someone that prefers tea to coffee – a proper English Tea was on my list of things to do! Camellia's Tea House was recommended to us by one of Gary's friends who is living in London and she, her husband and precious little baby joined us there!
{probably our best meal in London}

After tea we ventured to Notting Hill & Portobello Market. 

Sunday: For our final full day in England we decided we'd do a day trip to see some of the neighboring must see sights. We booked a tour on Friday from Golden Tours to see Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath! 
The highlight of the day was most certainly Bath. It's a little bit of Italy right in the English Countryside! It probably helped that we had a beautiful day to see the city, but we'd totally go back for a weekend trip if we're in London again!
The tour was well worth the money and time spent! I do wish we had more time in Bath, but that just means we'll get to visit again!!

Onto the fashion of London:
Sadly I wasn't able to do any shopping at any of the stores on Oxford street or even make it to Harrods, but after hearing that a banana in their cafe cost 20 pounds, I think my wallet was thanking me. I noticed the women wearing a TON of black, there was little to no color in their wardrobes and everyone smokes – which I found to be really odd. The men are incredibly well dressed with tailored suits on most of the time. I also found that they wore sport jackets with jeans just about everywhere.
{window display at Selfridges}

We weren't able to cross everything off our to-do list, which is probably due to the fact the city is so large and expansive, but Gary is hopeful we'll be back! 

I'll leave you with a photo of what our nights looked like in London! 

I hope you'll come back tomorrow for the first half of my Paris re-cap...it was that good that I had to split it into 2 days!!

Have you ever been to London? 

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