A Rabbit Hole in France

by Tessa on July 4, 2013

in France, Style, Trips & Travels

French tree-lined roadsFrench tree-lined roadsFrench tree-lined roadsFrench tree-lined roadsFrench tree-lined roadsFrench tree-lined roadsSunset via A Lavender Sea BLogSunset via A Lavender Sea BlogIt seems that in France, it’s a trend to line the streets with towering trees; and often, major tree-lined streets diverge into smaller tree-lined streets. But who can complain!? Especially when the roads are long and windy and make you feel as though you’re not actually driving through France but Wonderland instead.  And when the sun sets and casts a majestic glow through the canopy of leaves that you can hear rustling in the warm summer breeze, it’s nothing short of paradise. So, yes, I can understand the French infatuation with this wonderful combination of trees and streets. And I can only imagine what this little Wonderland-ish street would look like in the fall when the leaves would be a breathtaking array of autumn hues. Why, if this street were a rabbit hole, I’d fall through it dozens of times! Wouldn’t you!?

In other news, happy fourth of July to everyone in the States!! We’ll be back in America in a week so we’ve barely missed the celebrations of one of my favorite holidays!! No fireworks or bbqs for us but we’ll be meeting at the Arc de Triumph to picnic with some other expat friends today (because you honestly can’t not have watermelon and lemonade on the fourth!!).

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The Best Travel Days

by Tessa on July 2, 2013

in France, Trips & Travels

Pizza PizzaPizza PizzaPizza PizzaPizza PizzaPizza PizzaPizza PizzaPizza PizzaPizza PizzaPizza PizzaPizza PizzaSometimes when you travel, you just have to wear those really comfy European-like pants (which should probably be ironed again) that you bought at the neighborhood thrift shop and that feel like you’re walking around in pajamas all day. And sometimes you just have to buy pizza from the pizza truck because in France, everything is gourmet and whether you’re buying pizza from a restaurant or a truck, you’ll be eating heaven. And sometimes, comfy pants and pizza truck days are the best kind of days. And on those days, you just have to smile like the crazy man on the pizza box.

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Cherry standIt’s been a while. It’s been a while. We’ve been in France for the past week and a half, driving through all the quaint towns in Provence, WHICH brings me to theses adorable cherry stands! They were all along the sides of the major streets; you’d just pull off the road, buy your cherries, and head back on your way! Genius. Some cherry stands were run out of the big trucks of bearded men while others were run by adorable French ladies and set up with signs and adorable little decorations that I died over:)
Cherry standCherriesCherriesOur baskets of cherries added the perfect touch to our adventure. As we cruised through the south of France, French jazz played on the radio while the breeze that carried the delicious scent of the Lavender fields came in through the windows while cherry pits flew out; bread and cheese was passed around and for a few delightful moments we felt like we weren’t just visiting France but that we belonged there.
Cherry treeWhen we saw this lone but laden cherry tree, we stopped to admire its beauty. How can you not admire its grandeur!? It’s nothing short of majestic. I’d like to buy a small cottage with a large yard and plant a cherry pit in the middle. It’s just a shame it would take soooo long to grow into a tree as grand as this one!
By the cherry treeIn the cherry treeBy the cherry treeFruit standCherry standThese said cherry stands were everywhere and they completely stole my heart!! I believe that after my own cherry tree is big and grand, I’ll start having my own cherry stands! America needs more fruit stands. Right!?CherriesCherriesStrawberriesCherriesCherriesCherriesAlso, I’d eat the sign too, IT’S SO ADORABLE! But I guess hanging it on my wall would be more socially acceptable.

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Naguisa / Relatos del calzado EL YUTE from Pablo de Val on Vimeo.

I first saw a pair of Naguisa shoes through a window late one night when we were in Valencia. After that moment, I had been dreaming about them until the day I walked into one of my favorite boutiques in the Born district of Barcelona and saw them sitting on the shelf as part of their new spring collection! Spain is known for their craftsmen shoes; 90% of the time, when you flip a shoe over, it will say handmade in Spain. I love that! I love reading the words handmade especially since we live in a time when so many things are mechanized. I love the idea that by purchasing a pair of handmade shoes, you’re also purchasing the creativity, imagination, and delicate hand work that went into producing them. And even more than that, you’re enabling an artisan to continue the work he/she loves.

Yes, yes. The video’s in Spanish. So I’ll explain a few key elements. David, the narrator, is the son of Naguisa‘s founder who’s been making shoes for 30 years. He talks about how shoe making is an art form. With 5 basic yute models (the rope material on the bottom of the shoe), they can make many different designs, but each requires a significant amount of close hand work. He talks about how frustrating it can be to be a part of a craftsman shoe business when some people want to export the process of shoemaking to other countries where they can be made by machines completely and more cheaply. He talks about how proud he is of his family’s company and its legacy and how he doesn’t understand why people can want the same kind of product without the same kind of care and artistry that his family’s company puts into every pair of shoes.

The few pairs of handmade shoes I’ve invested in here, excite me more than any other shoes I’ve purchased from malls or large department stores in the past. I think that Spain has spoiled me and turned me into a shoe snob! Hah! But I’ve come to love this art of shoe making . . .  there’s a part of me that wants to change my declared major;)

There are so many other equally AWESOME  artisan shoemakers in Spain that I love. I wrote this post about Kokua shoes a few months back. And I also love this post about the importance of investing in handmade items that Secondhand Sundays wrote recently.

Provecho!! Tessa Lynn

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You, Me, and the Beautiful Sea

by Tessa on June 12, 2013

in Family, Spain

Summer This is summer. Eyes closed and arms stretched, reaching for the rays of the sun that bathe your face, lighting your features. The heat you feel on your skin causes a smile to stretch across your lips as the sun stretches across the sky.
SummerSummerSummer Summer is dancing in the waves that lap at your ankles. It’s the wet sand that oozes between your toes. It’s the the hem of your dress, wet from the spray of the salty ocean waves.SummerSummerSummer is the joy you can’t contain. So you jump! You jump because this world’s beautiful and you love it! You love the sound of the crashing waves and watching as the tide comes in and goes out and you imagine that as the waves rise, break, and come crashing before your feet that it’s bowing to you, saying hello. You jump because you love the heat of the sun washing over you wrapping you in its blanket of warmth!
SummerSummerSummerSummer is the the accumulation of moments spent with the people you love in a world that you love. It’s picking up the shells on your away back up the beach, lingering as long as you can, hoping the sun will linger in the sky just a little longer with you.SummerSummer You watch as the moment you enjoyed sets with the sun. You breathe in the beauty one last time because time doesn’t last forever, although sometimes you wish it would. And as you hop in the car, you bring the ocean with you on the hem of your dress and the sand that’s still stuck between your toes. But you plan to return tomorrow because you know that the sun, the sea, and the sand will all still be there,waiting for you at the height of its illustrious summer beauty.
Besitos, Tessa Lynn
(photo-cred to my dad for these amazing pictures)

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An Evening in Madrid

by Tessa on June 11, 2013

in Style, Trips & Travels

Royal Palace of MadridWe were only in Madrid for an evening but the sun came out of its hiding place, there was some street Jazz (my jam), and gorgeous architecture- I mean that palace (insert gasp)! It’s beautiful! Sometimes I think that it doesn’t matter how much time you have somewhere; if you enjoy it while you’re there then you won’t know what you missed, and you’ll always remember that day and that place as beautiful:)
Royal Palace of MadridRoyal Palace of MadridRoyal Palace of MadridMadrid, SpainRoyal Palace of Madrid gardenRoyal Palace of MadridAnd if you didn’t already know, the Spanish queen and I… we’re tight!! But it’s like whatever;)Almudena CathedralSadly both the palace and cathedral were closed when we went out for our evening walk, but at least there’s so much on the outside to relish and admire!!
pensivepensiveOutfit details: Shirt – thrifted // pants – vintage thrifted // shoes – coolway1000 year old palsPlaza MayorFun fact: pretty much every famous plaza in Spain is a square (or rectangle, whatever) but they’re all gorgeous!! Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Plaza Reial in Barcelona, and la Plaza de Salamanca in Salamanca are all the ones that I’ve walked through and admired. And at night, when they light up!… sigh.Plaza MayorIglesia de San AdresChurros & ChocolateIn this family, churros & chocolate are a must. If possible, we’d have them on a daily basis! We’d add them to the Davidson specialty food groups, which already consist of popcorn, hot chocolate, and crepes. Recently, we’ve been making them at home in hopes that we can perfect the art and not feel starved and desperate for another bite of heaven once we leave Spain!This old ladyThis old lady made my night when we were standing at a stop light and I saw her combing through her hair on her balcony. She looked over, smiled, waved, and blew me kisses!! I have a soft spot for adorable old folks, they’re far too adorable!Alter EgoIt seems that everywhere I travel, I take a piece of that place with me. I tuck it somewhere safe inside me so I can pull it out and reminisce on that day when I please. But it also seems that I leave a part of me behind, caught up in the breeze that touches each beautiful building that it passes by or attached to a street post where it can stay forever and admire the city and the people therein. So maybe if you’re a Madrid, you’ll see me, or more precisely a past memory of me, trapped on the roof of a bus stop, happy to stay and admire the people that pass by below.

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A Baguette Bigote

by Tessa on June 7, 2013

in Culture, Trips & Travels

Bigote/MustacheBigote/Mustache One my favorite things about traveling is the food. I just love food. The bread and the pastries in France are scrumptious! I was spoiled afterwards; anytime I have a pastry now, I compare it to the ones in France! Terrible, but true. Spain, however, is known for its paella and tapas, which are out of this world! And when we were cruising’ down the Danube last year, the food was equally as unique and delicious. Also, I do have to give props to my home country, America, for its burgers. You cannot find a burger in Spain that compares to deliciousness of In-n-Out, Islands, Five Guys, and the list goes on. Oh, and I’m a huge mexican food fan as well! I’ll take a fish burrito or cheese enchilada any day!
Often, when we’re on the road, we’ll grab a baguette (which sounds a little like bigote, Spanish for mustache) and humus and chow down; it’s a tradition now and one I’m in favor of:) I’d love love love to travel to India and Asia and so many other countries and experience the food and culture there as well. India is currently at the TOP of my bucket list! Where’ve you been, what’ve you eaten and loved? Any local places you love too?

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Peace.

by Tessa on June 5, 2013

in Daily Life, Spain, Trips & Travels

Segovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightSegovia, Spain at NightThere’s so much that goes on in life. There’s so much to get done, so much hustling around and worrying about how we’ll finish all the tasks that lay before us. Sometimes, we just need to slow down, take a breather, and remember how stinkin’ beautiful the world is and how blessed we are to live in it! My peaceful moments normally occur at night. Living in a big city, there are lights everywhere at night which would suggest noise and movement but sometimes, its the opposite: it’s perfectly still and quiet. It doesn’t matter if there are 1000 people out walking around at night or if there’s only 1, the street lights will always click on at their designated time; however, sometimes I like to pretend they click on for me. Especially on rainy nights, when the streets are desolate, I pretend the street, the lights, even the night and its beauty belongs to me. We have a fantastic view of the city from our apartment so sometimes, late at night, when all the lights in our own flat are out and everyone’s asleep, I like to sit on our porch in the crisp night air and just admire this city, the moon, the city lights, and the Sagrada Familia all lit up. Time seems to stand still, if only for a moment, but that moment is all I need to relax, recharge, and prepare myself for another busy day.

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It’s a Wonderful World

by Tessa on June 4, 2013

in Spain, Trips & Travels

Teva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainTeva, SpainWhat a wonderful world
So sometimes it hits me. Like REALLY hits me. We live in a BEAUTIFUL world. How blessed are we!? Summer normally has this effect on me. I’m continually reminded of all this world’s beauties, whether it’s the scene of rolling hills from the rundown castle in Teba, Spain or grass pushing its way through the cracks in the cobblestone streets. Summer is my favorite season; it’s a reason to have a sticky watermelon face, to always be dressed for the beach with a wet knot on the top of your head and smell like sunscreen. It’s a reason to run around like children again and to admire the world around you that is lush, ripe, and colorful. Summer is beauty. Summer is happiness.

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Because This is Reality

by Tessa on June 3, 2013

in Family, Spain, Trips & Travels

in Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spain
Just thought you’d like to know the routine. The weekly, daily, hourly routine. It’s all fun and games when this kid is jumpin’ around in front of the camera, but when I’m going through the photos and every few pictures, BOOM! there’s Silas or when a spectacular photo comes along and there he is, floatin’ in the air, his tongue sticking out and all… my head explodes! However, each time I see that adorable face of his with his chin up like Pinocchio’s, all of a sudden he could do nothing wrong in my eyes.
in Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spain
But to convince you (and myself for that matter) that my work (i.e. posing) ain’t completely  fruitless and that this adorable/mischievous child’s photobombing skills are only utilized part-time, I’ve included some of our only good photos my favorite photos from our day in Salamanca, Spain.
in Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spainin Salamanca, Spain
In short, I think I can say that this post most accurately describes my life more than any other post i’ve written. Therefore, since this has been a peak into what this life of mine really looks like, I guess you can call this a true and honest introduction. This kid, both these kids, make my life so enjoyable, I wouldn’t have them any other way:)

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