Reader Questions Answered

photo by iheartparis

photo by iheartparis

Bonjour! I feel like it has been a while since I have written a personal post. I recently reached out on Instagram and Facebook and asked readers for questions. I left it open to anything and I loved seeing all the questions come through. I know that if one or two of you are asking the same question, a lot of you are thinking the same thing. I hope this is a good resource in learning more about me.

If you didn’t get a chance to ask a question, comment below and I am happy to do another round up soon!

Q:Favorite cities in France outside of Paris to visit?

A: Last Summer, I went to the South of France with my family and I loved it. We spent a week in an apartment in Nice and traveled doing day trips (with two small kids) each day. I personally loved Menton and I hope to spend more time exploring again soon. Nice is beautiful and it was great just to sit on the beach with my family and play in the water. My heart exploded seeing my family enjoy France. Each morning, I would walk to the boulangerie on the corner and pick up a baguette, croissants and coffee and everyone would enjoy them while planning out or adventure of the day. It was those simple moments that were my favorite last Summer.

I have friends that own a small Bed and Breakfast in the South West of France that I really loved. I want to get back for a visit with them soon. The food was incredible made right in their kitchen and the town nearby was so cute.

Q: How did you learn to speak French?

A: I started learning French in middle school when I was in 7/8th grade and continued in high school. We didn’t learn conversational French but a lot of vocabulary and conjugations. A lot of what I know was what I picked up when spending long amounts of time in Paris. I made a lot of mistakes and learned the best this way. I listened to the pronunciation of stops on the Metro and repeat them over and over. This really helped to be able to say areas correctly and sound more like a local. I took French lessons from my sweet friend Caroline a few years ago but she moved back to France. You can read all about that experience in this post.

Q: When will tourism open up in France? When will we be able to return to Paris?

A: I wish I had a crystal ball to be able to tell you for sure. I had a girls trip of 20 that was supposed to be in Paris right now and it was postponed. We were looking at October but honestly, I don’t feel comfortable traveling out of the country without a vaccine. Afar wrote an article on their thoughts on when travel would open up in Europe. You can read it here.

Q: Did you have a hard time adjusting/culture shock back in Paris after living in Paris?

A: It was so hard coming home that first time. Everything looked ugly (just not Paris) I didn’t want to eat anything (nothing tasted good) and I felt so disconnected. This is one of the big reasons why I decided to write the blog. Once I connected with people on Instagram who missed Paris too, I knew I had an opportunity to create a space that helped cure the homesickness for Paris. It has really helped me so much and I hope it helps other Francophiles bring Paris into their lives too.

Q: How many lenses do I travel with? What computer and software do I use for editing?

A: I have cut down a lot on the amount of lenses I travel with just because my back was killing me from the weight of it all. I love my 35mm and 50mm lens for my DSLR. I have an 85mm but I rarely used it and it just took up space in my bag. All of my lenses are fixed lenses which mean they don’t have zoom on them. I started doing this back in 2014 and it took a minute to get used to it but now I don’t know any other way. My brain knows the focal point of each lens and what I will get from them so I know naturally which lens to use when shooting different things around Paris. I bought a Cannon 70D in 2014 and I have been using it ever since. I purchased a Fujix100f a few years ago and I really love it for the power and size. I have been using this a lot more as I walk around Paris. There is a fixed lens on this one that was a learning curve but I am used to it now. I shoot in RAW so my files are really large with the new Fuji. Recently, my computer decided that they were too large and it was time to get a bigger hard drive. I back up everything in different ways between external hard drives, disks, and Dropbox. I have a back up of my back up too just in case 🙂

When it comes to photography, I always think that it is the photographer that makes the picture and not the camera. I see so many people around Paris walking around with expensive camera equipment that isn’t necessary or chances are they don’t know how to use it.

For editing, I use a MacBook Pro. My new one is on it’s way to me now and I can’t wait to start getting back to editing with a larger hard drive. I use Photoshop and Lightroom (to organize) I don’t put filters on photos and do very little editing work. I share my photos online and sell them in The Print Shop so it is important that they are smaller resolution for online use since my photos are stolen/used without permission on the regular.

Q: How do I not gain weight yet eat so lovely?

A: This is a question I get a lot on Instagram! What I share on Instagram is just a small portion of my daily life. I work out every morning from 9:15-10:15 with cardio and weights. Before quarantine, I was walking at least 5 miles a day around my neighborhood to go to the grocery or to the dance studio and back. I try to get out for a walk daily but it isn’t as long. I eat a healthy breakfast (fruit, eggs, or granola) a big salad with chicken for lunch, and chicken/pasta/meat for dinner. My weight fluctuates from time to time due to stress levels and traveling but I try to stick to a balanced diet.

Q: What’s my Inspiration to start taking photos and who inspired you to be a better photographer?

I started doing film photography in High School a long time ago. I was intrigued by the process of film and printing in a dark room. Growing up in Cincinnati, I didn’t have much inspiration around me to shoot. I started photographing the kids I babysat. Their family still has these photos hanging in their house and they are all grown and out. It was a lot of fun capturing their personalities and they were beautiful children. I took a break from photography when I went to college because I thought it wasn’t a possibility for a career. I studied abroad in Italy and I got my first digital camera that year to capture my life abroad back in 2003. Once I lost my job five years later, I picked up the camera again and decided to follow my dreams. I started selling on Etsy in 2009 and went to Paris on airline miles from my previous job.

For inspiration, I love Instagram. Paris is a city that has been photographed over and over but there are new ways to see it through the eyes of someone different. I also love Jamie Beck, her work is beautiful.

Q: What is your biggest French splurge?

A: I think I spend the most on skincare. I would say it is an embarrassing habit but hopefully in 10 – 20 years, I will still have decent looking skin to show for it. I budget a certain amount for the Pharmacie each visit and also try new products and buy repeat favorites. I am way overdue for a blog post on everything I use.

My other big splurge is hotel rooms. I pay for my own travel unless I am working with a hotel. I will pay extra to have a view of the Eiffel Tower because I know it will make a great photo or I really want a good place to rest if I am working a lot. I spend a lot of time working on my computer from editing/answering emails in between shooting full days in Paris. I love to come back to a clean room and a nice bathroom. Some of my trips are broken up staying at different places due to projects. I like to add on a night at the end that is a “splurge” and real treat. Since I travel alone, big fancy meals don’t really appeal to me they are better shared with someone and I travel in a carry on so my space is limited!

Q: What is your favorite place to shop for home decor/furniture?

A: I am still trying to figure out if this is in France or the US. I think my dream house would be a mixture of One Kings Lane Antiques, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn/Crate and Barrel/West Elm mixed in. I love antiques, my mom and grandma got me started on them when I was young and I love that they are unique and there is always a search to find just the right one and a story behind each piece. My first apartment in Chicago was mostly antiques from flea markets, auctions and estate sales. My style has changed over the years and I like a good mixture between antiques and new. I think One Kings Lane is a great resource for home decor/furniture.

In Paris, I would hit the brocantes if I lived there full time. It is too hard to bring things back. I have fallen in love with a set of dishes, mirrors, and chairs over the years. I just can’t afford to bring it all home. You can find the brocantes on different weekends in various arrondissements around the city. I also love Fleux for home goods.

Q: What’s my inspiration that keeps me moving?

A: I love to travel and I work to see the world. I honestly love what I do to be able to write a blog and connect with so many people around the world and share my work through my photography. I know how much it costs to roughly go on a week/two week trip so I will focus on working hard so I can make that happen and continue to travel. I honestly never planned to be a Paris photographer or even write a blog it just happened naturally. Paris has been such an inspiration for me. It has healed my broken heart, the loss of a loved one and helped me start my life over when I lost my job. I feel so grateful.

I have an older sister by two years and I always felt competitive with her growing up. I have this competitive nature and she has it as well. Now I compete with myself more than anything. I always want to do better and be better. I am always looking at what I am doing and how I can do it better.

Q: Websites for learning photography?

I think Skillshare is a great resource for online learning. There are so many classes and you can try it for Free for 2 months. Also, if you want to learn from Annie Lebovitz, you can take an online Masterclass here.

Q: Can You describe the various Diptyque candles that you featured?

I share my favorites in this blog post here. Tuberose, Mimosa, and Fig are my favorites.

Q: Have I ever had a French bob?

A: I cut my very long hair last year into a LOB (long bob) and I loved it. I don’t think I could go as short as the French for the classic short look but I can’t wait to get my haircut when it is safe to go back and I will go shorter than I did last time for sure. Hopefully, that will be sometime this Summer!

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