Mom’s Black-Eyed-Pea “Salad”

Anyone else having a hard time coming up with lunches these days? It was either the truly gourmet selections of pb&J, cereal, or Annie’s enchiladas OR ordering SweetGreen and spending too much money on UberEATS’ delivery fees. That’s why this weekend, I decided to attempt to re-create my mom’s black-eyed-pea and garbanzo bean “salad” so I’d having something legitimate to snack on during my lunchtime.

Salads are weird. Pasta salad? Sure. Potato salad? Why not? Fruit salad with that mysterious pink fluff? Dope. Throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, add a dressing and poof! you’ve got yourself a salad. 

Here’s what you need to create the black-eyed-pea “salad”:

  • 1 can of black-eyed-peas
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 carton cherry or grape tomatoes (what’s the difference?!?!)
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup (ish?) Italian dressing
  • Drizzle of lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

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Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open, drain, and rinse the BEPs and chickpeas. Combine in your medium-sized bowl.

2. Finely chop your half onion and half bell pepper. I’m obsessed with my OXO Chopper for this type of chopping.

3. Cut your tomatoes into small pieces. I cut mine into 6ths (one slice down the middle and two horizontally). Pro tip – way easier to cut when they’re cold and firm.

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4. Cut your fresh parsley

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5. Mix everything into a medium-size bowl & stir.

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6. Add in liquid ingredients and salt & pepper to taste. I say 1/4 cup of the dressing but honestly, I eyeball it. Keep in mind that the ingredients will absorb the liquids over time.

Best if you let sit to marinate in the fridge for a bit. I let mine sit for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!

If you test out this recipe, let me know!

Bon appétit! 

July and August 2020

As I was putting this month’s playlist and post together, I looked back at my April and May (skipped June’s post, sorry!) playlist posts and boy, was I not expecting that we’d be here more than 4 months later… still at home. Josh and I have been #blessed enough to still have jobs and to have the ability to work from anywhere with WiFi. Since our place in Chicago doesn’t have any outdoor space, we’ve been traveling around Michigan, bopping between up north and our family homes in metro-Detroit. Hours in Cranberry (my red fusion – judge me) requires lots of good new music, which leads me to this DOUBLE MONTH playlist. Quite a bit of *good vibes* songs in here to mellow out your q-tine anxiety 🙂 

  • Say You Will – Kygo, Patrick Droney & Petey
  • U Move, I Move (feat. Jhene Aiko)
  • Slow Grenade (feat. Lauv) – Ellie Goulding
  • Strangers – Mt. Joy
  • BELIEVE IT – PARTYNEXTDOOR & Rihanna
  • Castles – Freya Ridings
  • What’s Love Got to Do with It – Kygo & Tina Turner
  • Experience – Victoria Monet, Khalid & SG Lewis
  • Power – Ellie Goulding (her new album is AMAZING)
  • Catching Feelings (feat. SIX60) – Drax Project (one of those *good vibes* songs I mentioned)
  • Funny – Zedd & Jasmine Thompson
  • Oh What a Feeling – Walk Off the Earth (such a happy *good vibes* tune)
  • Like No One Does – Jake Scott
  • Alien – Dennis Lloyd
  • Love I’m Given – Ellie Goulding
  • Past Life – Trevor Daniel & Selena Gomez
  • Woke Up Late (feat. Hailee Steinfeld) – Drax Project
  • Black Parade – Beyonce
  • How Will It Be This Summer – Sax House & Francesco Digilio
  • Dopamine (feat. JHart) – Kungs
  • Feel the Beat – Black Eyed Peas & Maluma
  • you were good to me (shallou remix) – Jeremy Zucker, Chelsea Cutler, Shallou
  • All Your Days – Shallou, Emmit Fenn
  • For the Crowd – Everly
  • Jealous – Khamari
  • Live Forever (with Cheat Codes) – Liam Payne, Cheat Codes
  • Summer 2020 – Jhene Aiko
  • Tokyo (feat. Kayleigh Noble) – 1000 Beasts
  • Desire (single edit) – Bob Moses & ZHU
  • To Be Young (feat. Doja Cat) – Anne-Marie
  • All Into Nothing – R3HAB, Mokita
  • Sunflower, Vol. 6 – Harry Styles
  • Coffee – Quinn XCII & Marc E. Bassy
  • i don’t wanna know (acoustic) – GOLDHOUSE & Mokita
  • Something for Nothing – Otto Knows & Klahr
  • Lion – Hearts & Colors
  • Face To Face – Mat Kearney
  • Best of You (feat. Elle King) – Andy Grammer
  • Checklist (feat. Chromeo) – MAX
  • Cold Feet – Loud Luxury

More to come as the months go on, I’m sure!

PS: Just because I didn’t write a post on June doesn’t mean there wasn’t a playlist! Make sure to check it out if you haven’t already. 

As always, you can find this playlist and all others on Spotify and Apple Music by searching “baconama.” On Spotify, this month’s playlist is titled “Against The Grain_July and August 2020.” Apple Music users can find it titled “July and August 2020.” 

 

May 2020

Oye. Almost 8 weeks?! Stay-at-home restrictions are still in place for at least another month so if you do leave your bubble, stay 6 feet apart and don’t be dumb – wear a mask. That’s really all I have to say on that. Now to the music:

Here’s what you’ll hear in this month’s playlist:

  • I’m Ready – Sam Smith & Demi Lovato
  • Freedom – Kygo & Zak Abel
  • Do Si Do – Diplo & Blanco Brown
  • Broke Boy (Club Mix) – Malia Civetz
  • somebody loves you – Jeremy Zucker
  • I Got You – Bazzi
  • you broke me first – Tate McRae
  • Sunday Best – Surfaces
  • I’ll Wait – Kygo & Sasha Sloan
  • Say So – Doja Cat
  • Champagne Night – Lady Antebellum
  • Hold You Tonight – Gryffin & Chris Lane
  • The Sound – The 1975
  • Sad Tonight – Chelsea Cutler
  • Life in the City – The Lumineers
  • Down By the River – Koosen, Green Bull & FETS
  • Love Song – Duke Dumont
  • Missing U – Robyn
  • Best Part (feat. H.E.R) – Daniel Caesar
  • Check Your Phone – Cheap Cuts
  • Get Ready – Pitbull
  • Lie Machine – Sole Sole
  • Boys Like You – Kids At Midnight
  • I Know Alone – HAIM
  • We Are Warriors – Avril Lavigne
  • Off the Grid (feat. Khalid) – Aline Baraz
  • Monsters – Midnight Kids [did the people of Midnight Kids talk to the people of Kids At Midnight to discuss band names?!]
  • Straight to You – Stephanie Poetri
  • ilomilo – Billie Eilish
  • Cotton Candy Skies – I See Colors, GLNNA
  • Last Time – Midnight Kids
  • Peligrosa (Mimosas) – Matoma, LATENIGHTJIGGY

As always, you can find this playlist and all others on Spotify and Apple Music by searching “baconama.” On Spotify, this month’s playlist is titled “Against The Grain_May 2020.” Apple Music users can find it titled “May 2020.” 

 

 

Mykonos, Greece

It’s been over 6 months since our honeymoon to Greece! (!!!!) I’ve been meaning to write about our time there for a while now but first it was the holidays, then getting back into the MBA program grind, and now Covid-19 chaos made time fly by so I’m just now getting to it… 

When we were planning our honeymoon, we knew we wanted a mix of doing-nothing-and-sitting-by-a-body-of-water time and let’s-actually-see-the-world-and-experience-culture time. I wanted the Seychelles or the Maldives and Josh wanted Italy so naturally we settled on the Greek Islands and Athens. I’m so happy that we decided on Greece. We know a lot of couples who took their honeymoon trips to Greece, so we were able to ask them for advice on which islands to visit, where to stay, and how long to visit each location. We landed on the perfect combination of down time and culture time: Mykonos for 3 nights, Santorini for 6 nights, and Athens for 2 nights. Today’s post is all about our time on the island of Mykonos, part of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. Sit back because this is a long one…

How we got there

We flew AirCanada from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Montreal and then from Montreal to Athens. Once in Athens, we took Olympic Airlines to Mykonos. Our travels started at 10:40am CST on September 16th and stretched until we finally landed in Mykonos at 2:14pm local time on September 17th. Needless to say, by the time we landed and found a taxi (there aren’t any ride share apps and taxis are few and far between so learn from us and book your ride ahead of time) to take us to our AirBnb (more on that in a second), we were exhausted. 

*Note: You don’t have to fly from Athens to Mykonos. There are tons of ferries that can allow you to island hop, but we wanted to get to our destination as quickly as possible and flying seemed like the best way to make that happen. 

*Another note: Have an open mind when traveling within Greece – the airports are chaotic and the ferry boarding process is a free-for-all. Also, 100% worth it to upgrade to VIP on the ferries – shout out to Mallory for this recommendation. 

Where we stayed

We decided to be fancy in Santorini since it was our longest leg of the honeymoon, so we landed on booking an AirBnb for our Mykonos portion of the trip. We found a cute little (emphasis on little) apartment in downtown Mykonos Town that wound up being in the best location. Once we got past the fact that we had to navigate the tiny alleys and haul our luggage from the main street to our apartment [that was down several flights of stone steps] (Mykonos Town is vehicle-free for the most part), we were really able to enjoy our time.

What we did

It’s so easy to wander and get lost in the tiny streets of Mykonos Town, which is what we did the majority of the time we were there. A few must dos in Mykonos are:

  • Check out the Kato Milli, or the 5 windmills. I recommend going over around sunset and soaking in the views. It’s stray cat central over there, so if you’re not a kitty fan, proceed with caution.
  • On the way to Kato Milli, walk along the water to take in Little Venice. This part of town is super charming, with houses and restaurants that touch the water, resembling certain areas of Venice, Italy. This is also a perfect spot to grab a drink and take in the sunset.
  • Take a ferry shuttle to Delos, a World Heritage Site with so many historical artifacts and ruins. A short ferry ride from Mykonos Town’s port gets you to there and back. On your way there, don’t forget to look back and take in the view of Mykonos Town from the water. Once there, 12 euros per person lets you wander around the island as you like and take in the ruins of what was once the religious center of Greece and was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. My favorite part was checking out the stone lions, even though I thought they looked more like sea lions than land lions.

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Where we ate

  • Kadena – Located right in Mykonos Town Port, this restaurant lets you people watch all you want. We went here our first night in town and it was the perfect introduction to Greek culture. We ordered baked feta (obviously) with peppers, kesseri cheese, and tomatoes that were drizzled in a tomato sauce. For our entrees, I ordered a veggie risotto and Josh got a Mediterranean pasta.

 

  • Sakis Grill House – We stopped here for a quick lunch while we were wandering around the tiny streets. I ordered souvlaki chicken (chicken kabobs served with tzatziki sauce), while Josh got a mixed meat (chicken & lamb) gyro.
  • Kastro’s Bar-Restaurant – The perfect place to have a drink and take in the sunset. Located just outside of Little Venice, you can’t beat the sunset and sailboat views from Kastro’s. We sat in a teenie little alleyway and enjoyed a glass of wine before heading off to dinner.

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  • Taverna Niko’s – Highly recommended by the locals and expands across the whole square. Vibrant red and white checkered cloths grace the tables. Yummy food and great wine.
  • D’Angelo Restaurant-Bar – Very cute, but it sits on one of the very few streets that allow cars, so it’s noisy and distracting. Great food, but not the best location.

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Questions regarding our trip to Mykonos? Not sure where to stay or how long you should go? Ask away! Happy to share more of our experience and would love to help you plan your trip. As mentioned before, I’m a big fan of trip planning and have quite a few spreadsheets to help you with your plans. 

Minestrone Soup

Quarantine got you feeling cooped up and needing something cozy to eat? I’ve got you covered. This yummy (and super easy!) minestrone soup recipe is the perfect fix for these difficult times. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bag frozen mirepoix (onion, celery, carrot)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme)
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 32-oz. container low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can 15.5-oz can garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups roughly chopped spinach (can substitute with kale)
  • 1 cup gluten free filini noodles

Here’s what you need to do:

Prep your veggies…

  1. Mince garlic
  2. Roughly chop spinach
  3. If not using mirepoix, finely dice onion, celery, and carrot. 

Prep your stovetop…

  1. Heat large drizzle olive oil in large pot. Add mirepoix. Stir occasionally until softened. Add garlic, Italian herb seasoning, and salt + pepper to taste. Stir approximately 3 minutes.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, veggie broth, and garbanzo beans to the pot. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add in spinach and filini noodles and cook per instructions, approximately 4 minutes.
  4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese. 

 

Bon appétit! 

April 2020

This has been a hard three weeks for all of us and even harder weeks are to come. We all should be working from home by now, with the exception of essential workers (thanks, Mom & Stacy!). Working remotely can be a challenging adjustment for many people who weren’t used to it before, and we’re all just trying to figure out if we really CAN take that WebEx meeting from our couch while wearing PJ bottoms and a button down. It’s weird. 

One piece of advice that I have for you right now is to mix up where you work every day. Some days call for sitting in your comfy La-Z-Boy by the window, while others require sitting at your desk staring at an Excel file for 8 hours. If you’re anything like me, no day is the same. The one thing that DOES remain the same is my background music. April’s playlist is the perfect mix of upbeat and chill tunes to get you in the mood for whatever day you have in store.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Wildflower – 5 Seconds of Summer
  • Believe (feat. Justin Timberlake) – Meek Mill
  • Maniac – Conan Gray
  • Forever Yours (Avicii Tribute) – Kygo, Avicii, & Sandro Cavazza
  • Kings & Queens – Ava Max
  • Never Seen the Rain – Tones And I
  • How To Be Lonely – Rita Ora
  • Forever – FLETCHER
  • Modern Loneliness – Lauv
  • Break My Heart – Dua Lipa
  • Better Days – OneRepublic
  • Last Time I Say Sorry – Kane Brown & John Legend (unexpected collab, but I’m cool with it)
  • Aftertaste (feat. Morgan St. Jean) – Loud Luxury
  • Like It Is – Kygo, Zara Larsson, & Tyga
  • I Love You’s – Hailee Steinfeld
  • Break Up Song – Little Mix
  • julia – Jeremy Zucker
  • Good Example – R3HAB & Andy Grammer
  • OK, All Right – David Archuleta (I smell a comeback!)
  • Hold Me Close (feat. Ella Henderson) – Sam Feldt
  • This City (Acoustic) – Sam Fischer
  • Upside Down – KANDY
  • California (feat. Fairground Saints) – Molly Parton
  • You should be sad (Tiesto Remix) – Halsey & Tiesto
  • Think About You (feat. Valerie Broussard) [Galantis Remix] – Kygo
  • Rojo – J Balvin
  • Better Day (feat. Aloe Blacc) – Young Bombs
  • One Touch – Jess Glynne & Jax Jones
  • Mistakes – Jonas Blue & Paloma Faith
  • Harder – Jax Jones & Bebe Rexha
  • Built to Last (feat. RORY) – Feki, RORY
  • Better Apart (feat. Dresage) – Jai Wolf, Dresage

As always, you can find this playlist and all others on Spotify and Apple Music by searching “baconama.” On Spotify, this month’s playlist is titled “Against The Grain_April 2020.” Apple Music users can find it titled “April 2020.” 

Enjoy and please stay home and safe. Cheers! 

Flo’s Desserts: GF Coconut Macaroons

I looooove all things sweet. It’s such a good day when I come across a gluten-free dessert recipe, and last week I had one of those days.

Florence, a colleague of mine, has become quite the baker. Similarly to me, she likes to dabble with new recipes, so when she brought her gluten-free coconut macaroons into work, I was hooked. This coming from a gal who used to say “I don’t do coconuts.” Trust me, they’re that good and are SO easy to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 14 ounces (1 bag) shredded coconut
  • 14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 XL eggs used for egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • THAT’S IT!

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  • Grab yourself a big bowl and combine the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Mix.
  • Separate your egg whites (This was new for me, but is super easy so if I can do it, you can too!) into another bowl and add in the salt.
  • Using a hand mixer, blend the egg whites and salt until it gets frothy and little peaks begin to appear. (I probably could have blended mine for a bit longer [see photo], but it is what it is.)
  • Gently fold in the egg whites into the shredded coconut mixture.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, place ‘dough’ onto sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat if you’re feeling fancy. (I was at my parents house and mistook wax paper for parchment paper – don’t do that. That’s bad. Wax paper can burn. Learn from me and don’t do that.) 
  • Bake for 25-27 minutes until they’re goldeny brown goodness.
  • Enjoy!

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Let me know if you try out Flo’s GF Coconut Macaroon recipe! I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment here or on Instagram to share your experience. 

Bon appétit! 

March 2020

Happy March, friends! Chicago is finally seeing sunshine after months of gloom and grey skies. Temperatures are creeping above 45, which means midwesterners have already opened their windows and have swapped their parkas for jeans and a tee shirt. It’s inevitable that we’ll still have one more snow storm and cold snap, but for now, we’re embracing the sun and “warmth.” 

To get you in the Spring spirit, I’ve prepared a 2 hour+ playlist just for you. Here’s what you’ll hear:

  • ON (feat. Sia) – BTS
  • Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac
  • Sail Into the Sun – Gentlemen Hall
  • No Cars Go – Arcade Fire
  • Feel Me – Selena Gomez
  • Great Unknown – X Ambassadors
  • Intentions (feat. Quavo) – Justin Bieber
  • No Judgement – Niall Horan
  • Know Your Worth – Khalid & Disclosure
  • To Die For – Sam Smith
  • No Time To Die – Billie Eilish
  • Heartless (feat. Morgan Wallen) – Diplo & Julia Michaels
  • Oh My God – Alec Benjamin
  • Forever (feat. Post Malone) – Justin Bieber
  • No Shame – 5 Seconds of Summer
  • Birthday – Anne-Marie
  • Demons – Alec Benjamin
  • Mean It (feat. Wrabel) – Cash Cash
  • Therapy – Duke Dumont
  • Never Felt a Love Like This – Galantis & Hook N Sling
  • Better Off Without You (feat. Shift K3Y) – Becky Hill
  • Born To Love (feat. SHELLS) – Meduza
  • Moon Rider (feat. Wrabel) – Jai Wolf
  • Older – Shallou & Daya
  • Say My Name (feat. Zyra) – ODESZA
  • Lucky Me (feat. Great Good Fine Ok) – The Knocks
  • Nostalgic – ARIZONA
  • Keep It Simple (feat. Wilder Woods) – Matoma, Petey, Wilder Woods
  • The Reason Why – JP Cooper, Stefflon Don, Banx & Ranx
  • When We Were Young – Lost Kings, Norma Jean Martine
  • Younger – Jonas
  • Old Me – 5 Seconds of Summer
  • All Night (feat. Ally Brooke) – Afrojack
  • The Other Side – SZA & Justin Timberlake
  • Nights Like This – Loud Luxury & CID
  • Anywhere – Rita Ora
  • Follow You – Cheat Codes
  • Sun Models (feat. Madelyn Grant) – ODESZA

As always, head over to Spotify or Apple Music and search for “baconama.” This month’s playlist is called “Against The Grain_March 2020.” Apple Music fans, you’ll find this playlist under “March 2020.” Enjoy! 

February 2020

Is it just me or did January feel like it was 17 weeks long? It was tough, but we’ve finally made it to February, people! 29 days to jam out to this month’s playlist!

  • The Road – Faouzia
  • Anyone – Demi Lovato
  • Tusa – Karol G & Nicki Minaj
  • UCLA (feat. 24hrs) – RL Grime
  • What A Man Gotta Do – Jonas Brothers
  • Make You Feel My Love – JJ Heller
  • Wait (Chromeo Remix) – Maroon 5 [Also added this one to my Work Out playlist for those on Apple Music…]
  • Wherever You Are – Kodaline
  • When Boys Cry – Kiesza
  • In Your Eyes (feat. Alida) – Robin Schulz
  • Rare – Selena Gomez
  • I Lived – Ketreyah
  • You should be sad – Halsey
  • Ring – Selena Gomez
  • July – Noah Cyrus & Leon Bridges [Have had this one on repeat recently]
  • This City – Sam Fischer
  • Flames – R3HAB, Zayn, & Jungleboi
  • Stay – Gracie Abrams [Anyone else think Stacey Abrams? Too much politics for me? Okay..]
  • Get Me (feat. Kehlani) – Justin Bieber
  • Little of Your Love (BloodPop Remix) – HAIM & BloodPop
  • Only The Young – Taylor Swift [Have you watched the Miss Americana documentary on Netflix yet? Highly recommend: 11/10]
  • Physical – Dua Lipa
  • Sometimes – H.E.R
  • 11 Minutes (feat. Travis Barker) – Yungblud & Halsey
  • Dynamite – China Anne McClain [I realize this is a Disney pop cover of Taio
  • I’m On Fire – Chromatics
  • Tonight – Kesha

Head over to Spotify or Apple Music, search “baconama.” Spotify’s playlists are titled “Against the Grain_February 2020” and Apple Music’s are just “February 2020.”

When do you usually jam out to your playlists? While cleaning? At your desk? Have it on while you’re whipping up dinner? I want to know! Comment below with how you listen to these playlists 🙂 

Nice, France

Ever heard the saying, ‘Nice is nice’? Welp, it’s true.

Last May, Josh and I went on a two-week trip to Iceland, Paris, and Nice. Ending our trip in Nice was the perfect decision because it has a great mix of sight-seeing, yummy food, and beach time. We had been on the go for 9 days and were ready to soak up being engaged [and not having a day-by-day itinerary like we did in Iceland]. We didn’t even go in with anything in mind – no known places to see, restaurants in which to dine, or things to do.

Since this was Josh’s first time to Europe, we decided to take the scenic route and booked 2 first class seats on the TGV, France’s high-speed train. The journey from Gare de Lyon to Nice Ville took us about 6 hours. We were able to check out France’s countryside – something we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do from 30,000 feet up.

For our 3 days in Nice, we stayed in an AirBnb on Rue Paradis, right off of a cute pedestrian-only route, Rue Massena. The apartment was right near le Jardin d’Albert and was a super quick walk to Place Massena, their version of a town square. Our place was so central that we didn’t need to grab a cab for the duration of our stay, which is always clutch.

Here are some of the things we did:

  • Visited the #ILoveNice sign – A must-do in Nice in the age of Instagram. If you don’t get a picture with the sign, were you even in Nice?! How would anyone know?!
  • Walked around Place Massena
  • Checked out the Monument Aux Morts de NiceMonument_Nice
  • Walked along La Promenade des Anglais/Quai des Etats-Unis
    • The best views of the water, lots of restaurants, tons of shops & beach clubs

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  • Spent a half day laying out by the water at Plage Beau Rivage . One thing to note: the beaches in Nice are very pebbly and are uncomfortable to lay on without a beach chair. Since we didn’t bring beach towels, we opted to pay to hang out at Beau Rivage, where we had reserved beach chairs, towels, and had wait service right at our chairs. They even had burlap down as walkways to help with the heat and ouchies from walkingon stones.
    Beach 2_Nice
  • Wandered through the pedestrian streets and popped into the tiny shops. It’s so fun to get lost in the tiny foot-traffic-only alleys in European cities (more on this to come in my Greece notes) and to stumble upon some really great restaurants.

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  • Most importantly, ate a lot of charcuterie and macarons.

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    Have you ever been to Southern France? Which cities did you go to? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a note below or on ATG’s Instagram to share and stay tuned for more itineraries/city guides in the weeks to come!