Forget Paris

It is pretty obvious that I am in love with Paris.  I had the opportunity to once again visit my favorite city a few weeks ago.  The trip to Paris was for work, and I went 2 days early to visit my friend Sara.  She, too, had recently become a mother and I was dying to snuggle her son.

This was not my first time leaving Matilda.  Prior to this trip, I had visited Amsterdam for 3 days.  I was sad to leave my baby but took advantage of 3 full nights of sleep.  Also, I brought back a disturbingly large amount of stroopwaffles to indulge in.

I had also been in Chicago for my Grandfather’s funeral.  Returning to Matilda was a bit more emotional because my feelings were very raw.  Those sad times really called for her cuddles and giggles.

So when it came time to leave for Paris, I felt fully prepared to spend time away from her.  I had done it twice before, why should Paris be any different?  Little did I know that Paris was about to be replaced by my new true love, Matilda.

Upon arriving to Paris via train, I was flooded with those familiar sights, smells and emotions that are so Parisian.  Fresh bread and cigarette smoke.  Fancy perfume and car exhaust.  People, people, people everywhere.  I quickly made it to my friend’s adorable flat in Le Marais and commenced cuddling her new son.  That was when the pangs of missing Matilda first started.  His baby smell, his baby sound – it made me yearn for her.  However his presence helped me push past those feelings to enjoy my weekend.

paris

The next day, we took full advantage of the delicious Parisian food and the famous Parisian soldes (sales).  Everywhere we looked, there were amazing and stunning outfits, shoes, bags on sale.  Everywhere I turned, my nose filled with incredible smells, mixing salty with sweet.  On this gorgeous summer weekend, Paris was even better than I remembered.

paris

But I also saw, on every street corner, a gray Babyzen Yoyo stroller.  It is the exact same stroller we have.  On the one hand, I thought – “wow, we must be cool parents considering every Parisian mom has this same stroller.”  But on the other hand, it made me miss my baby even more.

paris

I was slowly beginning to realize that not even my favorite city could overpower being away from her.  I loved her so much that all I wanted to smell, mixed in with those great Parisian smells, was her baby skin.

At the end of the day, the trip was incredible.  I had so much fun with my friend, and per usual, she introduced me to exquisite restaurants.  Work that week was extremely productive and I learned a lot.  I also connected with many colleagues that I don’t often get to see in person.

But I could not wait to get home and snuggle my baby girl…..and model my new clothes for her.   😆

Forget Paris – I’m a mom!

Happy New Year and Sincerest Thanks, 2016!

Happy New Year, everyone!  2015 was a pretty spectacular year for Tony and I, and one I didn’t think we could top.  Well, 2016 proved me wrong.  It was full of amazing adventures, wonderful family and friends, success at work, and the greatest blessing of all – the creation of our first baby.

To welcome in the New Year, I am taking a look back on our magical 2016.  There are so many to thank for this incredible year.  I thank God and my husband.  I also thank my supportive and loving family and friends.  And of course, I thank my wonderful place of employment which brought us to Switzerland in the first place.

January

January kicked off with another visit to Dubai and India.  I try to visit colleagues in India once a year, and given the distance from Zurich, I usually spend 2 weeks traveling throughout this incredible country.  This trip was really special because my dear friends Pratiti, Sonale and Deepali showed me the true, local hot spots of both Mumbai and Chennai.  It was also my first time wearing a sari!

My first sari

Kingfisher at Leopold’s Cafe

February

Even though February is the shortest month, there were a lot of wonderful things I got to experience.  February took us to Nepal for the very first time.  What made this trip special was that Tony was able to tag along, and we were able to visit a local school.  I head up the Corporate Social Responsibility program at work, and we partner with an organization called Room to Read.  I was able to see their work in action and I was floored at what a strong impact they had made at just one school.  We watched first graders learn to read and write in Nepalese and you could see their little minds capturing and storing the information.

Kathmandu

1st Grade Class

Another great thing about February, which happened while we were in Nepal, was the birth of my nephew Adrian!  We were so thrilled to welcome the first baby to the Scarpaci family, and I was back in Chicago only a couple weeks later to visit him in person.  I never knew I could fall in love with someone I had just met.

My handsome nephew

The final amazing thing about February was a promotion at work.  I made sure to take myself to Prada to celebrate.  🙂

March

In March, I went to Doha for work and Copenhagen for the Easter holiday with friends.  Both trips revolved around food which was absolutely fine with me!  Arabic food is some of my favorite in the world so I indulged in Doha, and Copenhagen is known for its high volume of Michelin star restaurants.  However, those few restaurants emptied out our pockets for the rest of the month.   Whoopsie.  😳

Copenhagen

April

April took me back to Dubai for a 2 week work trip, and upon returning, my brother arrived in Zurich.  Getting back to my love of Arabic food, I went all out in Dubai, but I was ready to get out of the heat by the end of the two weeks.  Being in Zurich mid-Spring was super refreshing, and it was nice to spend some quality time with my brother.  I love it when he visits.

Brother and I

May

May slowed down travel wise, allowing Tony and I to enjoy the beautiful weather that was descending upon Zurich.  We tried bowling in Switzerland for the first time which was incredibly fun and felt very American.  We also found out the most amazing news of all – I was pregnant!

June

In June, Tony and I went to Budapest for a long weekend, and I visited London for work.  Budapest was my first trip knowing I was pregnant, and I found myself constantly Googling what I could and could not eat.  Who knew if this Swiss/American baby could handle Hungarian food?  Everything ended up being fine and it was a good first lesson in not stressing during pregnancy.

Budapest

London was much more enjoyable than normal because my friend Sara met me there for the first half of the trip.  We hit up the great sales and trendy restaurants and enjoyed a couple days sans husbands (no offence to Tony).

London

July

During the month of July, I traveled to Spain for the first time.  I was in Mallorca for work for a few days, and it felt like Heaven.  The sun, water, and food (again, me with the food) were all so calm and relaxed.  The people were constantly happy, and the breeze was always available to cool you off.  I didn’t realize a place like this existed!

The end of the month was a treat too because I went back to Chicago to spend time with my family.  There were some very special events that occurred in July with family and friends.  My nephew had grown so much from February and I was very thankful to be able to attend his Christening.

I also attended a very special wedding.  My dear friend Francesca got married at the top of the city, with my dad as my super cool date.

My besties and I wrapped up my trip with our annual birthday dinner.  We’ve held onto this tradition for 17 years!  WOW!

August

August is always special to me because it is my birthday month AND my wedding month.  But this time, it was also the month of our most epic vacation ever.  We did an 11 day cruise in the Baltic Sea and saw so many wonderful new countries and cities.  It started in Copenhagen and took us through Germany, Estonia, Russia, Norway, and Sweden.  It was unlike anything we’d ever done before, and even with all of the cities we saw, sometimes my favorite part was just sitting on our balcony and watching the waves below me.

Our cruise ship

September

By September, I had wrapped up most of my work travel.  My baby bump was starting to show more and more as I was moving into my 3rd trimester.  Tony and I took a weekend trip to Barcelona, our first time in this city.  We really enjoyed the food and as I write this I realize that is probably the theme of my travel this year.  🙂  We were present during Catalan National Day and saw thousands of people out and about, celebrating their nationalism.

October

We took two small trips in October because by now, I was really showing and my mobility was becoming more and more limited.  We spent a weekend in Poland with Tony’s sister and her kids.  We really enjoyed spending quality family time and being back in Krakow.  It has one of the best central plazas or platz in Europe.

Krakow

The end of the month we were in Catania, Sicily, for a last go at summer weather, and it was there we watched the Cubs win the pennant!  They were off to the World Series!

November

The only thing I can really say about November is CUUUUUUUBBBBBBSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!  On the morning of November 3rd, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908. Tony and I started watching game 7 at about 3am Zurich time and cried tears of joy when they made the final out against the Cleveland Indians.  The Cubs win cemented the fact that 2016 was officially the best.  Year.  Ever.

At the end of the month, we took our final baby-moon – a train trip to Paris to see my friend Sara again and celebrate an American style Thanksgiving.  Baby bump had to learn just how special this city was to us – the earlier it learns, the better.

Baby bump in Paris

December

And now, moving into December, typing this on the last day of 2016, I sit back and reflect once more on what an amazing and blessed year we’ve had.  We hosted Tony’s sister and her family for Christmas and it was so wonderful to be with our family during the holidays.

Merry Christmas

Within the next 3 weeks, we will meet our first baby which will be the most magical way to kick off 2017.  Like a kid on Christmas Eve, I excitedly await for what 2017 has in store.

Blessing and love to you and yours, and Happy New Year!

A Baby Bump in Paris

For our very last baby-moon, Tony and I spent a weekend in Paris.  Paris is our city – we were married here, and do all we can to visit each year.  We took the train this time, as I am getting too large to fly, and it was incredibly smooth.  I am already planning my next visit once the baby is here.

We arrived at Gare de Lyon at 19:45, with the train stopping right in front of the restaurant we hosted our wedding dinner.  Le Train Bleu is reminiscent of Versailles and it was such a fun and instant reminder of our wedding 6 years prior.

le-train-bleu-1

le-train-bleu-2

After checking in to the amazing Hotel du Louvre, we walked 10 minutes to one of my favorite restaurants, Little Georgette.  I love it because they do traditional food in a small plate fashion.  Tiny risotto, tiny burger, all prepared well and priced very reasonably.

We were in bed by 23:00 that first night because, let’s be honest, I’m pregnant and always tired.  We awoke for a luxurious breakfast in the hotel’s Brasserie the following morning.  I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon resting while Tony walked about the city doing some shopping.

One of the reasons we planned a visit to Paris was to see my dear friend Sara and her new Parisian apartment.  She was hosting an American-style Thanksgiving with her local friends and Tony and I were invited to participate.  The only item on my agenda besides the Thanksgiving dinner was to take baby-bump pics by the Eiffel Tower, so we stopped at Trocadero on the way to Sara’s place.

Of all the bump pics I’ve taken so far, these are my favorite.  As large as I’ve grown in certain places, I felt beautiful and I am so in love with how the Eiffel Tower and my baby are showcased in the same image.  The Eiffel Tower is my ultimate icon.  When coupled with the fact that we were married in this city, the entire setting was exceptionally sentimental.

Paris Baby Bump

Paris Baby Bump

Paris Baby Bump

Paris Baby Bump

Paris Baby Bump

Paris Baby Bump

Paris Baby Bump

What the Missus/Mommy Wore:  Dress from H&M//Coat from H&M//Wake Booties from Seychelles//Galleria Bag from Prada//Creeper Ultra Matte by Colourpops

With the hundreds and hundreds of people milling around Trocadero, Tony did an incredible job with these shots!

The American Thanksgiving was also a huge success.  Sara made so many delicious items, and her pecan pie was one of the biggest hits of all.  We brought mashed sweet potatoes based on a recipe we found on Huffington Post.  It was so nice to eat American comfort food in the company of people from all over the world.

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We finished our trip with a succulent brunch at Hardware Societe in Montmartre. It’s right across the street from Sacre Coeur and was well worth the wait.  I had a fruit brioche made with coffee-infused pears and paired it with a hot chocolate.   The entire weekend, I was reminded why Paris is known for its cuisine, and this restaurant was no exception.  I could’ve sat there and ate all day but sadly, we had a train to catch back to Zurich.

Paris always delivers us a memorable experience, and this last trip before the baby was no exception.

Until next time, Paris….