Christmas Eve in New Jersey: Nostalgia, the tree, and a pickpocket

Lucky Duck at Keelen's Ponderosa

Lucky Duck visits Keelen’s Ponderosa.

Well, a miniature version, residing in the hand-painted village under my mom’s Christmas tree. My Grandma Wilma and Aunt Sue spent years painting each piece, and it’s certainly a sight to be seen.

The village under the tree

A Christmas Eve interview and tour

Hear about the pickpocket in Penn Station, as well as get a look at what it’s like inside Club Keelen on The Night Before Christmas.

Merry Christmas, from Lucky Duck, my family and me

The pond

One horse open sleigh

Snowing in Central Park

Snow in Central Park Shannon Truax

Lucky Duck enjoys the most beautiful Winter Wonderland in New York City.

Central Park in the snow is one of the most beautiful things that you will ever see. This is especially true during the Holiday season, when the beautiful windows of Bergdorf Goodman inspire, the lights of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center sparkle, the Christmas Markets are in full swing, and The Empire State Building lights up NYC in red and green.

Live reporting from the snow with Katrina

The Winter Wonderland of Central Park

Central Park in the snow

Central Park in the snow

Katrina Stahl in Central Park in the snow

Central Park in the snow

Shannon Truax at Central Park Holiday Market

A quick list of my favorite Christmas blog posts

Happy Holidays!

Lucky Duck and I wish you the best Christmas and Holiday season!

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Christmas shopping at The Union Square Holiday Market in New York City

Union Square Holiday Market

Lucky Duck lends a hand to Santa at The Union Square Holiday Market.

Every holiday season, the white tents pop up around New York, and I love it! I Today, I returned to The Union Square Holiday Market and had a lot of fun checking out the crafts and eating a warm, yummy cinnamon pretzel.

I met Quinn here a few weeks ago, and today, we followed up and had a little jaunt in the festive holiday space. Here’s a video we did to capture the spirit of the season. Quinn makes an appearance at the end.

These little buddies were having a good time, too!

Union Square Holiday Market New York

Union Square Holiday Market New York

Union Square Holiday Market New York

Merry Christmas, and Happy Last Minute Shopping!

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My first real Christmas tree

Trim the Lucky Duck tree of fun

Lucky Duck trims the tree Chez Moi.

This is a first

I actually have a real, live Christmas tree this year! Those who know me from my past are likely shocked, as my MO was to put up one of those white lawn ornaments in my apartment every year in Seattle. Here’s a shot from my Queen Anne abode in 2004. As you can see, I’ve upped my game, in terms of Christmas tree and Santa dress.

My old tree

My first Christmas in New York

Kristen and I aren’t traveling back to Seattle for the holidays this year, for a number of reasons: cost, timing, and then there’s always the chance you’ll get stuck. Two years ago, Kristen was forced to stay in Seattle through the New Year because New York was covered in snow. We were on the news at Sea-Tac Airport because of the situation.

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Buying the tree

It was really important to me to have a tree this year. Rory, my adorable tree salesman, offered a ton of great info about the trees. My gosh, I got lucky being able to shop with this little muffin. Look at this little guy!

Rory helps me pick out a tree

Rory picked this one out for me, and we had it wrapped up. It’s really the perfect tree! It stands a bit over 8 feet tall, but it’s not so wide that I can’t use my dining table. In fact, the table fits right next to my tree, so I can turn off all the lights, turn on the tree, and enjoy cozy, yummy meals for the next 10 days!

Wrapping up my 9 foot tree

Santa attire, of course

Last year, I had Jamie Von Stratton make me a Santa dress. It was probably one of the best wardrobe decisions I’ve ever made. We went to the fabric store, and in one day, this amazing creation existed… Here’s a video describing my attire, with a nod to the tree, my rubber duck nativity set, and diamond mistletoe.

While I realize that my home-crafted Santa Rubber Ducky earrings are in the video, they are too amazing not to shine a bright light on right here. Thank you for the idea, Kristen! And thank you, Cheryl and Tim, for sending me these adorable Christmas ornaments!

Christmas ornament earrings

A fantastic Christmas party

After filming the video, we hopped on the L train to go out to Greenpoint for a Christmas party, when Hanukkah Girl got on.

Lady Santa and Hanukkah Girl

My role at the party was to play up the photo booth. That was fun! Here are some of my favorite shots.

Kristen and me at Mikeys party

 

Mikey and me

Mikey's Christmas party 1

Shannon and Kristen at Mikeys party

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Christmas in New York: The tree by day and Shopping at Macy’s

The tree at Rockefeller Center Macy's on 34th Street

Lucky Duck kicks off the Christmas Season in New York City.

I wanted to start celebrating Christmas in New York right away, and it’s always fun to do it with friends. Today, Simon and I set out to check out the world-famous Christmas landmarks, in the city we call home.

Coffee at Chelsea Market

First, we started with 6 oz. Espressos with Milk at Chelsea Market.

Espresso and Milk at Chelsea Market

Next stop – The Tree at Rockefeller Center

I’ve seen the tree many times, but never as a New York City resident. We took the D train from 14th over to Rockefeller Center. It was pretty exciting coming down 5th Avenue and making our way to the big tree.

Shannon Harms and Simon Baltovic at the Ice Skating Rink

Shannon Harms and Simon Baltovic at the tree

The Swarovski Star

Then we stopped to check out the Swarovski Star, in honor of the amazing Swarovski green duck that Simon picked up for me in Hong Kong.

Swarovski Star at Rockefeller Center Green Swarovski Duck

Holiday Shopping at Macy’s

Right now, it’s Friends and Family at Macy’s, which is just in time for Christmas. I knew what I wanted to buy my mom, and I definitely wanted to take advantage of the Sale of the Century. Here’s some reportage from just outside the mecca on 34th Street.

Before going in, we checked out the festive windows.

Macy's Holiday Windows

When we got inside, it actually went well! I found my mom and Al the perfect Christmas gift from Kristen and me! I also wrote a letter to Santa. Here’s a look!

We didn’t make it back to Rockefeller Center at dark; we were starving and had to call it good. But we’ll be back there soon enough for some more reportage under the lights.

It was a lot of fun to get out and spread some New York City Christmastime cheer. I can’t wait to do it again.

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Christmas in the Flatiron District

Update 12/7/12: It has been brought to my attention that I have completely misinterpreted the Christmas display in the Flatiron District! Brandon pointed out that this display is actually an old school pop up card, opened up, sitting on the mantle.

The concept is BRILLIANT and thought provoking! Whoever created this display is genius.

So, New York, my most sincere apologies for not reading the signage and catching on sooner. Don’t hate me. I’m new in town, and I promise that you’ll be happy to have me here.

Flatiron Upside Down Christmas decorations

Lucky Duck checks out the Flatiron 23rd Partnership Christmas display on 5th  and Broadway.

My sister and I were out at our friend Josh’s holiday party tonight on the Upper East Side, and we decided to get off the 6 train at 23rd and walk – so glad we did!

Christmas decorations bloopers in the Flatiron District

As we were making our way back to Chelsea, this caught our eye…

Flatiron Upside Down Christmas decorations

When I saw that Tiffany’s sponsored this exhibit, it amplified the issue for me. Really? I bet it will be fixed by morning… so funny.

Here’s a look at the other side:

Flatiron District Christmas Display

Lots of Josh in the Flatiron District

As I mentioned, Kristen and I were coming back from Josh’s holiday party. Our friend Josh is amazing, and the party was a blast, as evidenced by this random party shot.

Josh's Christmas party

Well, guess who is on the Sprint ad in the Flatiron Building, right by this holiday light disaster – Josh!! Apparently, he’s just here to help. :)

Josh is in a Sprint ad

Conversocial’s New York office is in the Flatiron District. Josh March is the co-founder and CEO. He was just on Bloomberg.

Josh March on Bloomberg

If your business is looking for a way to manage customer service in your social channels, Conversocial is your answer. Period. They just hosted a meet-up at Delicatessen in SoHo, and it was a fantastic event. I’m so glad that I was able to attend. Hertz presented on the tremendous success they’ve seen since working with Conversocial.

Shannon Harms and Josh March

What a funny night in the Flatiron District…

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Post-Christmas shopping at The Mall of America

The Mall of America Nickelodeon Theme Park

Lucky Duck hits the rides, and the sales, at The Mall of America.

A quick recap of the itinerary

It certainly was an unexpected surprise of Divine Intervention. Mike and I shared the best Christmas we’ve ever had. I flew out to meet him in Paris, where we enjoyed five days taking in all the famous sites and an amazing meal atop the Eiffel Tower. From there, we flew in to Orlando and spent two days at Disney World. Then we drove to Sarasota to spend Christmas at Mike’s mom’s and revisit where we got married. Our flight home connected through in Minneapolis.

Here’s a visual. My path is red, Mike’s is blue, the black is when we traveled together.

World Travels

Getting lost, re-routed, and out to the MOA

I was in charge of navigation in our drive to Orlando International Airport, and I did something wrong. We were lost and practically missed our flight home. We made it with just a few minutes to spare and were able to upgrade to first class. Whew! Right? Wrong! Just then, we got word that a Delta cart hit the plane and caused structural damage. Our flight was delayed for 5 hours, and we had to be rebooked.

Because of the holiday rush, we couldn’t get out of Minneapolis until late the next day, so we took about 60 bucks in vouchers to Outback Steakhouse. We flew out to Minneapolis five hours later, stayed the night, and set out to check out the Mall of America while we waited for the last leg of our journey home.

The Mall of America is a blast

Shannon at The Mall of America entrance

While at first we were pretty upset about the delay, we realized that there was nothing we could do about it and to make the best of a weird situation. I worried though that Mike would freak out knowing that he had to shop in a mall for 6 hours, but I think he had more fun than I did!

Nickelodeon Universe

The middle of the mall is a big theme park, filled with rides, food, and games. We rode Dora Explorer’s Ferris Wheel, Balloon Race, and the carousel. Mike played Air Ball and won a football that he gave away to a cute little boy who was having a hard time winning a prize. (This prize was pretty fitting – Mike won his Fantasy Football league while we were away!)

Ferris Wheel View from on top of the ferris wheel
The balloons Mike wins a football
Carousel Carousel

Lucky Duck makes friends at Peeps

Look at what Lucky Duck was able to spot from the Ferris Wheel – A big Peeps store!

Peeps store at Mall of America

And inside, he met a ton of friends.

Peeps Plushies Peeps Plushies Peepsters Santa Peeps Plushies

Lucky Duck even found a couple of friends who have a lot in common with him. They pose in a life ring, take photos with the world’s most famous icons, and they were just at The Eiffel Tower too!

Peeps Ahoy Peeps Ahoy

Mike and I didn’t make any new friends, but we did find some of our favorite snacks.

Mike & Ike Hot Tamales The Icee Bear

 

Time to go shopping

The Mall of America offers more than 520 stores (see more cool Mall of America facts), so we had to pick and choose which ones we wanted to visit. Mike actually picked out a few stores that interested him – some Sports themed stores, a cool flags store, an Irish store where he bought a very cool Ireland zip-up, and the one that took the cake – Alpaca World!

Mike loves Alpaca World

I picked out my two favorite stores – Nordstrom Rack where I bought a sequins Vince Camuto cocktail dress, and The Microsoft Store where I found Minnesota-themed Xboxes!

Nordstrom Rack at MOA Nordstrom Rack sale at MOA
Microsoft Store at MOA Minnesota themed Xboxes

And Lucky Duck picked a couple of stores too – Lego World and the candy store, where he bought me a boxed set of U.S. President PEZ dispensers! (This was fitting too – we went to The Hall of Presidents at Disney World!)

Lego World at MOA Lego World at MOA

 

Candy store with lots of PEZ PEZ Presidents dispensers

The Mall of America is decorated for Christmas

One of my favorite things about traveling during Christmastime is enjoying all the beautiful Christmas decorations. We sure saw some amazing ones in Paris and Disney World, and MOA was gorgeous too.

Christmas at MOA Christmas at MOA

All of this sure can work up an appetite

And there is definitely not a shortage of restaurants to pick from. Mike and I actually picked three. In six hours of walking, shopping, and playing on rides, we got pretty hungry!

We had our morning coffee and egg sandwiches at Caribou right as the mall was opening.

Caribou Coffee

We stopped at Crave for sushi, salads, and mussels. I loved the drinks too!

Mussels at Crave Sparkling Strawberries at Crave

Later, we stopped at Tucci Benucch for happy hour and got a mini pizza, mini meatballs, and a strawberry, basil, balsamic mojito.

Drinks at Tucci Benucch Happy hour at Tucci Benucch

When it was time to fly home, I was actually ready to head out. Vacation was awesome, and our special day at The Mall of America was such a very cool opportunity. I’ll never forget it. It was honestly the best Christmas I’ve ever had.

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Lucky Duck spends Christmas in Sarasota

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Lucky Duck wraps all his gifts in Christmas Disney Princesses.

Mike and I left Disney World and headed out to spend Christmas in Sarasota, the place where we got married and where Mike’s mom lives. We opened our generous gifts, shopped in St. Armand’s Circle, and spent time at two beautiful beaches.

Here’s a quick look at some of Lucky Duck’s favorite gifts:

French soap from the Champs Elysees Christmas Market Rubber Duckie and book
Mardi Gras beads with rubber ducks Rubber ducks in Santa hats ornaments

And here’s a quick look at some of mine:

Chanel Earrings Badgley Mischka earrings from Charm and Chain

 

I got so many very nice, generous gifts. For example, my mother-in-law gave me a French-themed present, and Mike bought me earrings and more bangles in India.

Sarasota is such a beautiful and relaxing place for us. We couldn’t wait to walk the beach and revisit The Ritz-Carlton Member’s Beach Club, the place where we got married two years ago.

As we visited our meaningful place, I grabbed some photos for a side-by-side comparison of us in the spot today, next to the same spot in 2009.

Christmas 2011

Our wedding 2009

The Ritz-Carlton Member's Beach Club A smooch at the Beach Club Entrance
Lido Beach Lido Beach
Tiki Bar Tiki Bar
Tiki Bar fire pit Tiki Bar fire pit

 

This was the best Christmas that I’ve ever had. At the end of the day, I’m the most thankful for Mike. He has truly changed my life, and I am so blessed to have been lucky enough to marry him on this beach two years ago.

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Lucky Duck meets Mickey at Disney World

Disney World Cinderella's castle

Lucky Duck wishes upon a star at The Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

With a two day park pass, Mike and I knew that we really had to be on the move at Disney World. We took on the same strategy as Paris: get a book, get a map, and make a plan. We decided to spend our full day at The Magic Kingdom and our partial day at Epcot.

It was a little difficult to successfully make it in to Orlando, after missing our connection in Atlanta and having to wait another hour for my luggage to get in on a different plane. But when we checked in at 9:00 p.m., we immediately made our way out to the Boardwalk to take a walk, take in the lights, and take a chance on the carnival games.

Disney Boardwalk Panorama

The lobster game Mike playing the lobster game

We ate pizza and drank sangria outside, and even though we were getting to bed kinda late, we still woke up at 7:00 a.m. to get out to the park.

The Magic Kingdom

 

Mickey Mouse ears

My Disney outfit went over really big at the park. I have my mom’s Mickey Mouse club ringer t-shirt from the 70’s, as well as a pair of Mickey Mouse stud earrings from 1990. I wore patent leather sneakers and carried my MZ Wallace bag with the red piping.

Shannon on Main Street U.S.A.

As soon as we entered the park and got to Main Street U.S.A., I felt like a small child. Mike bought me a pair of sparkly Minnie Mouse ears right away, and we stuck around to meet some characters and eat popcorn.

Pluto Mike with Pooh Shannon with Snow
Mike Donald Shannon Tigger Mike Pooh Shan Mike Shan Pluto

We caught a very fun show at Cinderella’s Castle, and then a parade with an upbeat jingle that we danced to in the street.

The Peter Pan portion of the show Shannon and Mike at the castle Balloons

After about two hours, we were heading out to get our fast pass for Splash Mountain and start on the rides!

NOTE: If you go to Disney, you’ll want to get your fast pass for every ride that offers one. You just put your park ticket in a machine, and a pass pops out, telling you what time to come back. When you come back, there’s no line, and you get right on the ride. It was amazing, and this is why we were able to go on 8 rides in one day.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad The railroad coaster comes
Splash Mountain
We actually sat in the very front and got soaked. Haha! It was ok though because it was pretty hot out, so we welcomed the “splash.” * Get your fast pass for this ride!
Splash Mt
Pirates of the Caribbean
At the end of the ride, they put you through to the gift shop, and I found rubber duckie! It’s Donald Duck, dressed up as a pirate!!
Donald Duck Pirate rubber duck
The Pirate show by the ride
Prince Charming’s Carousel The carousel
It’s a Small World
While I realize that this ride is a classic, it’s pretty dated, and not very good. I think it takes up a lot of space and needs to go. Disney should sell off each doll, give the money to charity, and put in something more up-to-date.
Mike on the boat, passing the dessert
The Adventures of Peter Pan
* Get your fast pass for this ride!
Waiting for our boat for Peter Pan
Jungle Cruise
* Get your fast pass for this ride!
Jungle Cruise
The Haunted Mansion
As you get closer, you’ll see a fork in the line – to the mansion and through the cemetery. Mike really liked the cemetery and thought the poetic tombstones were funny.  There’s stuff like this in the cemetery:
The cemetery at The Haunted Mansion
Mike at The Haunted Mansion

Disney at night

Disney had a couple of things in common with Paris. One was the beautiful lights that come out at night. Cinderella’s castle has a beautiful lighting ceremony where The Fairy God Mother has the crowd chant “bippidi boppidi boo,” and then the castle lights up in sparkly white lights turret by turret. It was truly magnificent.

Mike and Shannon at the castle at night Mike and Shannon at the castle at night

Epcot

We’d have half a day here, so we were bookin it through the park. We got up by 5:00 a.m. to pack up, check out, and be at the gate when the park opened at 9:00 a.m. I wore the same outfit; however, I sported my new Mickey Mouse purse that I bought with the Princess gift card that my mom gave me for Christmas.

Using my Disney Princess gift card Mickey Mouse purse

We got to the park about ten minutes before it opened, via boat. They let us in, and we sprinted to Soarin’ and only had a 20 minute wait time. It was a lot of fun. You’re basically watching an IMAX about California, but you’re sitting in a contraption that simulates you flying in a hang glider. I loved it!

The world showcase opens at 11:00, so after the ride, we had about an hour to take pictures with the iconic Epcot ball (where inside, you can find a “Future” world)…

Epcot Epcot

… and meet all of Disney’s most famous characters.

Mike, Shannon, and Mickey Mouse Mike, Shannon, and Minnie Mouse Mike, Shannon, and Donald Duck Mike, Shannon, and Goofy

 

When the World Showcase opened at 11:00, I was first in line in Mexico to get us tacos and nachos, which were yummy! We then moved pretty quickly around the big circle, checking out each country and capturing a shot of the whole lake.

Shannon and Mike in China Shannon and Mike in Italy Shannon and Mike in Colonial America Shannon and Mike in Japan

 

Epcot panorama

My favorite was Morocco, where I lost track of time in a beautiful store picking out a blouse and a new dress (that I wore to Lido Beach on Christmas Eve).

Morocco at Epcot Lido Beach in my new dress from "Moracco"

At the end of our circle, we found the other thing that Disney has in common with Paris. Mike and I thought it was quite fitting to finish Disney World up with… The Eiffel Tower!

Mike and Shannon in France at Disney World

I told Mike that this has been the best Christmas that I’ve ever had. And I feel like it’s been going on forever. Honestly, it’s been going on for a month.

The best (and longest) Christmas season ever!

It started back at Thanksgiving when we stayed at The Four Seasons, Seattle and participated in all of Seattle’s Christmas festivities. Then it continued on through our anniversary, through Mike’s trip to India (where I saw lots of friends, and I watched the burlesque Nutcracker). Mike and I met in Paris, continued to Disney World, and are finishing up in Sarasota and getting lots of beach time.

Today, we’re going to go back to The Tiki Bar at The Ritz-Carlton where we got married to renew our vows. Also, Mike found a store in St. Armand’s Circle that reminded him of Disney’s Morocco. He got me a nice gift card for Christmas, so we’re going to head back today so that I can use it.

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A Christmas season in Paris

Lucky Duck visits The Mona Lisa at The Louvre

Lucky Duck gets up close and personal with Mona Lisa.

Lucky Duck joined Mike for a trip out to Paris back in September, and this Christmas, I was very lucky to be able to join Mike in The City of Love. We had a wonderful time. Paris is a very special place, and my first visit was better than I ever could have imagined.

Jays, our boutique hotel

We stayed at Jays Paris, a beautiful boutique hotel that’s ranked the #1 hotel in Paris on Trip Advisor. It’s in a great location by the Arc de Triomphe and has a wonderful staff.

We got the Arc Deco room Jays provides Hermes and Clairins products
Jays grand staircase Jays lobby

Row 1: Our art deco room, Hermes and Clairins toiletries are provided

Row 2: The top of the staircase, the bottom of the staircase

All the famous landmarks

I wanted to get the most out of our 4.5 day Paris stay, so I bought a book and a map beforehand, and I mapped out our route.  There are definitely parts of Paris that I missed (it’s a huge place!), but I’m thrilled to have seen these famous landmarks below. Nothing disappointed. Everything was truly magnificent.

The Eiffel Tower The Arc de Triomphe The Moulin Rouge
The Louvre The Notre Dame The Sacre Coeur

Row 1: The Eiffel Tower, The Arc de Triomphe, The Moulin Rouge

Row 2: The Louvre, The Notre Dame, The Sacre Coeur

Famous art at The Louvre

The Louvre is enormous, and I knew that I couldn’t see everything. I picked out a few choice areas, grabbed a map, and went for it.

View from Le Jules Verne Winged Victory Venus de Milo Egyptian wing

Pictured: The Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, the Egyptian wing

Best meal

When I landed at 8:30 a.m., Mike was waiting for me at baggage claim. All of our bags made it, and we brought them out to a black Mercedes for a ride to our hotel. We checked in, ate a little breakfast and scooted out the door to see The Eiffel Tower.

We had a lunch reservation at Le Jules Verne at 1:00. Le Jules Verne sits on the level of the observation deck, and if you have a reservation, you don’t have to wait in line to go up The Eiffel Tower. The views from the dining room are beautiful, and you can go out on the observation deck too.

View from Le Jules Verne DSC00033 View from Le Jules Verne

Pictured: View from inside Le Jules Verne, same, view from observation deck

The food is top notch and pricy, and it was my favorite meal in Paris. We actually bought a very nice bottle of rose champagne, which was amazing.

Soup at Le Jules Verne Lobster at Le Jules Verne Dessert at Le Jules Verne

 

Row 1 (Mike’s side of the table): COOKPOT de pommes de terre fondantes et truffe noire
(Cookpot of tender potatoes and black truffle), TOURNEDOS DE BOEUF et foie gras de canard, pommes dauphine, sauce Périgueux (Pan-seared beef tournedos,fresh duck foie gras, dauphine potatoes, Périgueux sauce), L’ÉCROU AU CHOCOLAT et praliné croustillant, glace noisette (Tower bolt, dark chocolate praliné, hazelnut ice cream)

Row 2 (My side of the table): Bouillon léger de LENTILLES VERTES aiguillettes de poule faisane (Light green lentils soup, thinly-sliced fillet of hen pheasant), HOMARD de nos côtes en carapace, macaronis truffés, sucs de cuisson au Sauternes (Roasted brittany lobster, truffled macaroni pasta, cooking jus with Sauternes), SAINT-HONORÉ contemporain (Vanilla/caramel contemporary Saint-Honoré)

Best snack

After checking out The Louvre and The Notre Dame, we crossed the Seine river and found Café de Flore, a hot spot that Hawthorne and other intellectuals post-war would do some of their best work. We ordered a trio of frommages, a baguette, and champagne, and we sat outside on the sidewalk. I contemplated smoking my first cigarette but chickened out.

The Seine The Seine
Cafe de Flore Cafe de Flore
Cafe de Flore Cafe de Flore

Row 1: Walking along The Seine, Posing sur la pont

Row 2: Café de Flore sidewalk table, frommage and champagne arrive

Row 3: Cheers!, I love Mike!

Shopping high end

It goes without saying that Paris is famous for its shopping. Hermes, Chanel, and Christian Louboutin all call France home. I had a great time popping into stores like Au Printemps and Galleries Lafayette. The crowds were unbearable, but these are the two “Grand Magasins” worth checking out for their history and architecture. Oddly, while I was in Paris, the famous dome on Galleries Lafayette was on the Bing homepage

The dome at Galleries Lafayette The dome at Galleries Lafayette The dome at Galleries Lafayette is on Bing.com

Pictured: The tree in the dome at Galleries Lafayette, looking up at the dome at Galleries Lafayette, Galleries Lafayette on bing.com.

Just off The Champs Elysees is Avenue Montaigne, Paris’ answer to Rodeo Drive. Mike took me into Chanel to pick out a beautiful pair of classic “C” earrings for Christmas.

Chanel Chanel earrings Chanel earrings

Pictured: Chanel storefront, Chanel gift boxed up, my Chanel gift has been opened

Shopping Christmas markets is a blast

But honestly, my favorite shopping was in the outdoor Christmas markets sprinkled throughout Paris. Mike and I enjoyed several, at: The Eiffel Tower, The Champs Elysees, Montmartre, Notre Dame, and The Sacre Coeur. We’d drink chocolat chaud and chaud vin, eat crepes, and buy pretty things to keep and gift. Mike bought me a few really sweet things, like a bar of french soap carved into the shape of a rubber duck, matching pink wooden bangles for my sister and me, and the furry earmuffs & hat that I’m wearing in most all of my pictures.

Champs Elysee Christmas Market Monmartre Christmas Market Duck soap

Pictured: The white tents of the Christmas market on The Champs Elysees, Mike buying our moms polish pottery at the Montmartre Christmas market, French duck soap purchased at The Champs Elysee Christmas market

Lucky Duck made some good friends at the market in Montmartre, right after Mike bought the polish pottery.

Pick a duck at Montmartre Christmas market Massage ducks in the window of a sex shop Massage ducks at a normal store in Monmartre

Pictured: Carnival ducks at the Monmartre Christmas market, massage ducks in the window of a sex shop, massage ducks in a normal Montmartre store

The City of Lights

It was romantic to walk around The Eiffel Tower at night. Close by, we strolled outdoor food markets, where locals would buy fish, poultry, vegetables, and bread. Christmas lights hung overhead. And The Eiffel Tower looked truly magnificent all lit up. Also, starting at 6:00 each night, the tower sparkles every half hour for five minutes. It’s truly a sight to see.

City of Lights City of Lights

Pictured: Market selling fish, market selling meats

The Eiffel Tower at night The Eiffel Tower at night The Eiffel Tower sparkles at night

Pictured: The Eiffel Tower at night, the Eiffel Tower at night with the Christmas market, the Eiffel Tower sparkles at night

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