Monday, October 20, 2014

Transformations | Fall Playlist 2014


        It is evident that time is always changing. Due to this fact, we all desperately try to live in the moment, and yet; our clarity is still fogged and we are unable to see what is right before us. In English class, we've been discussing the concept of observations and time, which are both huge aspects of our 9 months here. During the first month, I did my best to soak everything up and realize that yes, I am living France, but before I knew it, I found my self already nearing the end of 2 months, still baffled by how quickly everything has changed in such a short amount of time. 

Keeping this idea in mind, I had the idea to do a playlist focused around "transformations". I took the above pictures in the same spot of my host mom's backyard, each at different times of the day, noting the minor details. Despite believing this day would be completely sunny, it progressed to a cloudy one within a few hours, showing that not everything is guaranteed (especially when it comes to Brittany weather!) When it comes to the music, I tried to arrange these songs that I've been liking lately from slow paced to more upbeat to keep the "changes" idea incorporated. I hope you enjoy these songs and pictures! xoxo

Transformations | Fall Playlist 2014 by Isabelle N on Grooveshark

Wednesday, October 15, 2014



Wearing:// Top: Aritzia, Skirt: Nordstrom, Shoes: Vince, Necklace: Boutique in Rennes, Bracelets: Alex + Ani 

Being a semi-observant person, I'd say one of the first things I notice about a person is what they wear. At home, I had already been roughly familiar with the style of each coast and the individuality that comes with each area (north, south, east, west, etc). However, going to school in Europe, more specifically France, threw me for a curveball. 

I've always read magazines like Teen Vogue and Nylon religiously, scanning the pages for the "latest trends", which I often never actually saw people trying out. Some things were understandably only magazine ready, while other things had a ready to wear feel to them, yet nobody in America wore them. On the contrary, I've now come to realize that the style of the ever so graceful "French girl" is that which you see in magazines. Their style is incredibly effortless, with scarves flowing in the wind and the click-clack of their stylish boots strutting on the pavement echoing. Something I've noticed as well is their love for flowy tops + blazers , a skirt or jeans, and consistently killer shoes/bags. The top pieces hold less precedence in comparison to the accessories, which always need to be on point. In my one of my first efforts to emulate this style montra, I wore my graphic blouse from Artizia, with colorful graphics and a basic black skirt. Simple as can be. 

Happy Thursday! I hope you are all doing well. This past week of school has been a whirlwind of activities + far from simple, from the PSAT on Wednesday to last minute assessments before the Toussaint break. Toussaint is a national holiday that celebrates All Saints and is a nearly two week break. This weekend, my friend is having a mini party with all of our friends, and we are going bowling to kick off the break! I haven't bowled in a while, so that should be interesting. However, from Monday through Wednesday we will be heading to the Loire Valley on another school trip, where we will be visiting the Chateau Du Chambord, which we've been studying in Art History. The pictures I've seen on Google images are so beautiful, and I can't wait to capture some of my own, haha. Otherwise, I don't have many plans for that break except for another trip to the beach, finally planning some blog posts, and sleeping in as much as possible! Thank goodness for Toussaint. I'll post pictures ASAP from the Loire Valley! Have a wonderful day. xo

P.S. These pictures were shot in the Parc du Thabor  by my "host sister" Jeanne. It is such a breathtaking park, with a plentiful amount of flowers everywhere you look. It is definitely a must see in Rennes! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lilly | Changes


Wearing:// Top: Topshop (Lace Crop Tee), Skirt: Shopbop (Parker Mckenna Skirt), Shoes: Made-Well (Steve Madden Dateme Flats), Bag: UO (old), Bracelets: Alex + Ani 

Yesterday afternoon I was sorting through all of my recent pictures and came across these outfit photos that I had completely forgotten I had taken late August. Hopefully that explains why I don't look like I am teeth chattering freezing, considering I'm not wearing tights. While my mom and I may have shot them a day or so before my departure, I have been so invested in the excitement of this French world I now live in, that everything pre-France is a blur. I now live in a world filled with tongue burning chocolate croissants and beautiful leather booties- aka heaven. To most people, one month away from home might not sound like much, but somehow it has felt like an eternity. After completing just 1/9 month(s) here, I feel like I've already changed a ton from when theses pictures were taken- meaning my French has improved and my shopping addiction worsened (the shopping here is so very dangerous!). It's funny to look back at these pictures nearly a month later and realize how much can change within a month, whether it be location, opinions, friendships, etc. etc. This epiphany just reminds me of how I love how easily photography can capture events or memories, and I've been really enjoying sharing pictures from my school year abroad on my blog. I hope you all are enjoying them as well!

Taking a break from my tangent to discuss the actual outfit- there's something about more girly style pieces which have an edgy/darker print that I love. Sometimes, I'm not exactly feeling the Docs look, however I'm also not going for the pearls and a bow vibe either- this is a nice business casual happy medium, haha. It's hard not to don the European black-everything style religiously, however knit and leather skirts have been my savior. Prints with contrast such as the one above create an easy way to keep your own style in mind while not being restricted to ankle booties, jeans, and a leather jacket. 

Occasionally, I like to look through my archives for whatever strange reason, and it's posts like this that make me miss summer. The weather here was quite beautiful throughout September, and all of a sudden dropped incredibly. Currently, a majority of the days begin extremely chilly when I'm en route to school (around 7:45), but by the afternoon, I'm nearly throwing off all of my layers with beads of sweat practically forming on my face. Oh! And you never know when it will randomly rain, thunder, lightning, or all three. Rule number one of Brittany weather: Do not trust the app and always have an umbrella. Just sayin'. 

Also, I just added Disqus to my blog and I'm thinking that I like it better than the old Blogger commenting system. The only downfall is my old comments didn't transfer over, but hopefully I'll figure that out. Lemme know (in a comment, haha) what you think of it and how you're doing! xoxo Isabelle 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Macaroon Heaven + The Mont Saint Michel


Coming to France, I knew the food would be delectable, but I didn't exactly know just how good. (As I type this, I am recovering from a chocolate lava cake coma. Eat. Sleep. Repeat). Through my school, a decent amount of students were given the opportunity to take 3 cooking classes in groups of 4, all with a plump little old lady. She is a full on French baker/chef extraordinaire, and is incredibly helpful with correcting our grammar and pronunciation mistakes. When she initially spoke about this possibility at a school meeting, my friends and I practically pounced on the sign up sheet. Because we have half-days on Wednesdays, we have been heading to her house a few hours after school and filling up on everything she has us make. Last week, we made an insane apple tart which you can see here, and this week was the ever so delicious and French macaroon. I would 100% attach the recipe, however it is in French and making conversions/translating to English is not really my thing. Although, I would recommend this recipe from the wonderful Martha Stewart- while requiring a ton of patience, macaroons really aren't as hard as they seem! 


        The process began by beating together egg whites and a collection of different types of flours. We had to make sure everything was extremely well mixed in order to avoid messing up the texture/shape of the macaroons. After mixing until the mix was reminiscent of homemade whipped cream, she added in some violet food coloring, but she made sure not to put a lot in for taste. The following step was probably the hardest- we were to take mini spoons, grab a mini-ball of the paste, and put a perfect amount onto the tray. It was especially difficult because even the slightest bit extra would make the macaroon giant once cooked. Thankfully, my friend Marisa and I had the tray with the shapes as guidelines. Yay!


           After letting the macaroon tops cool for a long long time, we were allowed to fill them up! The lady had already make some mint colored ones, which made filling them easy, however the purple tops we made were very delicate + touchy straight out of the oven. I definitely broke a few- which meant I could eat them right then and there, so I'm not complaining. Normally when I think of macaroons, I think of the filling as being sort of like jelly, however we were given all different types of ganache- vanilla, hazelnut, dark chocolate, caramel, etc. As you can see from the picture, I mostly filled mine with dark chocolate and hazelnut. So so yummy! 

   On Thursday, I was pretty burnout in general from school and, yet again, cooking class saved the day. Our cooking teacher came to school (she used to teach pronunciation!) and brought each of us mini chocolate balls with the leftover ganache inside them! Those chocolate balls were a definite pick me up. 

Hopefully these pictures don't make you too hungry! Also, I feel terrible about not posting more outfits around town, but it's really hard to meet up with people to specifically do outfit pictures. It's really busy + touristy in town when I actually am with my friends and it's hard to find time to shoot outfits otherwise. I am hoping to get around to shooting some soon! Sorry guys. xoxo Isabelle 

P.S. Today marks one month in France! WOOO! To commemorate our one month anniversary if you will, we took a school trip this weekend to the Mont Saint Michel, which is where the following pictures were taken. This trip was only crossing the water which leads you to the actual structure, and it was quite the experience. It started out very strange as we trekked through mud and quick sand up to our calves, yet it was a fun experience to have with my friends and their host siblings. Just as we were coming out of the first mini water basin, it began to hail and it progressed to what I imagine a hurricane to be like. It was freezing and we were all donning our finest athletic shorts- the perfect combination. A few students' host siblings were younger as well as our English teacher's children, and they were definitely chilled to the bone. I'm honestly just glad that everyone made it out okay- it was that crazy. That was definitely a class trip I'll never forget!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

La Bretagne


1. The Pointe du Raz, 2. Some delicious macaroons, 3. Cathedral #1, 4. A couple picture with my friend Marisa, 5. The Château de Kerguéhennec, 6. Quimper resembling the Republique in Rennes, 7. The Breton flag, 8. At The Château de Kerguéhennec with Marisa + Nhyria, 9. Walking along the water in Douarnenez, 10. Triskell symbol decorated loafers, 11. The Pointe Du Raz with my English D gals (Marisa + Olivia), 12. Quimper cuteness, 13. Descending down the Pointe Du Raz

    Just last weekend, we took a school organized trip throughout Brittany and we visited Finistère and Morbihan, which are departments adjacent Ille-et-Vilaine. Coming off of our first full week of school, my enthusiasm was nearly nonexistent and my expectations low. You can't really expect too much excitement from school trips, but school trips in France definitely have an edge on the others. While a lot of it was historic and educational, there was still a good chunk of which interested me. After a few stops spent analyzing some gothic cathedrals, we stopped at the Château de Kerguéhennec, which you can see in the fifth picture. It was so grand and elaborate- we all could't help but joke that it was our summer house, haha. There was also a surrounding park with sculptures and a mini lake which added to the wanderlust. Eventually, we were back on the road again en route to Douarnenez, which is a town outfitted with boats and fishing galore. We took a stroll around the area and surveyed the different boats, then resorted to some comfy chairs in the museum lobby. Our next day, Saturday, was spent mostly in the town of Quimper. After a quick walk around and inside the under construction Gothic Cathedral of Quimper, we had a guided tour around the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, where we learned about different artistic techniques and intentions for painting. One of my favorite parts of the trip was probably the free time we were given in Quimper. I would describe it as a quainter and cuter version of Rennes. For lunch, my friends and I found a cafe at the center of the town, which was buzzing with people. We originally went to this cafe to avoid an extremely loud traveling musical group, but then they found there way to us, trumpets and all. I indulged in a galette with egg, cheese, and chorizo, and then we all split a wonderful lava cake brownie. Some of our teachers recommended Les Macarons de Philomene, which had some of the best macaroons I've ever eaten. Plus, the dark chocolate coco one was painted with a galaxy like overlay, which was a firm selling point for me. The day was finished with a visit to the Pointe Du Raz, which is the closest spot in France to the USA. When our teachers informed us of that, I was a little bummed to be "so close to home", but at the same time it was a really cool idea to think about. After just a few steps on the vast area, my friends and I had decided that this incredibly picturesque place was straight out of a Patagonia ad or even the movie National Treasure. We could hear the violently crashing waves without difficulty as we all descended down the rocky mountain. Many students were more brave than others and climbed different mini rock mountains, while my friends Marisa, Carolyn, Olivia, Heather, and I stayed on flat terrain and had a photo shoot. On our long return home, we made a stop at the museum of Jean Dubuffet, which was filled with over 200 of his works of art. It was a bit of an eerie museum, but I did quite enjoy his 3D sculptures from his Coucou Bazaar collection. As with all of our bus rides to each stop, we all then gave into sleep and woke up finally back in good ole' Rennes. 

P.S. We had an assignment to shoot different symbols of Bretagne, which includes the triskell (featured on the shoe basket) and the unofficial flag of Brittany. We learned about the symbols and flags in great detail as well, so it was interesting to see the images come to life. 

Hope you enjoyed this post! Things have been a little crazy here and it feels like school picked up the pace in a matter of a day, leaving everyone a little scattered/distressed. I've just been trying to get things figured out, especially the fact that I'm almost 1/9th done with my school year abroad. Insanity! Next weekend, we will be crossing the Mont Saint-Michel with our host siblings, and I honestly thought it was much further away- I guess the month just went quickly. Time is definitely flying by and I just hope I am not regretful of not using this year to the fullest. Just some Saturday afternoon thoughts. Have a wonderful day! xoxo

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