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Life in Bethesda

Much has changed since my last post. I have officially moved from New York City to Bethesda, Maryland (explanation on that here); I have a new job at Vox.com in Washington, DC; Jake and I are fostering kittens; the wedding is mostly planned (you can get an idea of those plans on my Pinterest); I took on a new responsibility as one of the social chairs for the USUHS Spouses Club; I successfully made my first new friend. It’s been a crazy six months.

In the midst of all the transitions, I’ve been searching for things that I find familiar — or at least things that make my new house feel like a home. Living with Jake has been wonderful in so many ways — not the least of which is his cooking, which far outpaces mine — but moving so far from my family and friends, especially while planning something that’s supposed to be a family affair, has felt a little lonely. These are the things that have made the adjustment a little smoother and easier on my heart:

  1. Working with the local shelter to foster cats until they’re adopted. We’re on our third cycle right now after starting out with Libra and Aries, and having animals around somehow makes the whole place feel cozier.
  2. Decorating for the holidays. When we received a gift card to Pottery Barn as a housewarming / engagement gift, we used it to buy personalized stockings and hangers. They were a happy reminder that this is an exciting new chapter of the rest of our lives that we get to spend together.
  3. Joining Equinox. I procrastinated getting back into shape for literally years, but taking the plunge was possibly the best decision I’ve made since the move. It’s been nice to get out of my comfort zone and try different classes, meet some new people, and feel a little bit stronger every day.
  4. Finding a weekend routine. Jake and I start every Sunday with breakfast at home, followed by a walk to the farmer’s market, and then I go to barre class while he studies. In the afternoon we tidy or do the crossword or run errands or just hang out. It’s a part of my week that I always look forward to.
  5. Trying new restaurants. Coming from New York which has the best selection of amazing food was tough, but this has been a great opportunity to find our new favorite spots. So far, we’re really loving Kadhai, Mon Ami Gabi, and Woodmont Grill.

What have you done that’s made a move easier to stomach? I feel so, so lucky that it’s been a near-perfect experience, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what eases the pain on the difficult days.

More soon (for real this time).
Julie

PS: I know I promised the engagement story last time (ughhh six months ago I’m so sorry), but truly I think I’ve told it to everyone who’s ever spoken to me and I imagine y’all are pretty sick of it. If you do, in fact, want to hear it, let me know and I will talk your ear off.

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The best of Brussels (and Paris!)

It has been months and months and months. It has been months. So many months! I’ve been meaning to post this since April, and I don’t think my blog has been touched since January. There’s a lot to catch up on, and therefore probably lots of posts coming (?), so bear with me.

As many of you already know, Jake and I spend a magnificent 9 days in Europe — 4 days in Brussels followed by 4 days in Paris. I’ll keep it shorts and rattle off my top recommendations that might not be on your radar:

Brussels

  1. Day trip to Bruges! It was cold as hell, but super beautiful. I highly recommend a bike tour to Damme and the windmill.
  2. Eat at Tonton Garby, Belga Queen, and Peck 47. Tonton Garby is a teenie-tiny hole in the wall with the best sandwiches ever; Belga Queen is fancypants, but delicious; Peck47 is apparently famous for their egg sandwiches? But I wouldn’t know because I just had their ginger ale and that’s what was excellent.
  3. Drink at Cantillon Brewery. Even as a non-beer-lover, I thought it was dope. And the beer was really good! I hate beer, so that means a lot.
  4. Visit Grand Palace, do NOT visit Manekin Pis. I mean do visit it if you want to, but I did not think it was worth the few minutes out of my life.
  5. IF you go during the three weeks of the year when it’s open, try to stop at the Royal Gardens. It’s a really beautiful tour.

Paris

  1. Stay at The Grand Pigalle. The neighborhood is wonderful, the prices are reasonable, and the customer service is unbeatable. This was the view from our room. They even left me a box of my favorite imported Italian cookies on our last day, because they knew I loved them and that you couldn’t buy them anywhere else.
  2. Drink (coffee) at KB Café. It’s in the 9th and it’s delicious.
  3. Eat at Frenchie. Book a reservation as early as possible, by any means necessary. Ask your concierge, schedule the rest of your trip around that restaurant, I don’t care. But get a table.
  4. Take a day trip to Versailles with the Blue Bike Tour. It was one of my best memories of the trip — despite having the worst allergies of my life — and when my fiancé accidentally threw my phone in a dumpster, the tour guides came back to help me find it. Just…so f*cking amazing.
  5. Listen to the ensemble performance at Saint Chapelle. Try to see it when they’re performing the Four Seasons. I cried the whole way through.
  6. Buy a large volume of beauty products from any pharmacie. My favorite purchases were Bioderma Crealine and Reve de Miel.

Okay, that’s that for now! Updates to come about our engagement weekend, my recent articles, and an impending move to DC…