Monday, April 23, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Moving My Brand Overseas

Outfit Details

Now that I'm a fully-fledged Swedish resident, I figure it's probably time for a life update. I moved here almost 4 months ago, and I can finally say that I am used to the weather, the people and the lifestyle. But I'm still struggling to figure out how my brand fits in and it's something I'm trying to figure out all the time. For those who have been following along with me for many years, you know that I live a very colorful lifestyle. I've always been inspired by colorful clothing, colorful food, colorful buildings, etc etc which show in my work. But Sweden is a whole different world, especially the small town that I have moved to. Life moves a lot slower here, and though there are many-a pastel building, things are truly different. You won't find a new craze of desserts here such as charcoal ice cream or rainbow crepe cakes. I no longer have the luxury of getting into my car and driving to places like Palm Springs, San Diego, or Vegas, which often served as backdrops for many of my photos. My new backdrops are boats, barns and dark cafes. The next biggest city is over an hour away, but the only way I can get there is if my boyfriend drives me, and, well, he's a busy guy. Craft stores here are very limited for supplies if I want to do a flat lay. Brand events are a thing of the past (pretty sure I'm the only blogger in this town so blogger events simply don't exist here). Collaborations are harder to come by (I feel like I get excluded from many collaborations now because I'm in Europe and many of the companies I used to work with are US-based only). It's been hard, not going to lie. I've had moments of being sad about what I've lost, business-wise, by moving here, and have been up at night worrying about how my brand will ever grow at this rate, and if anyone even cares anymore.

Ever since returning from Paris, though, I've sorta kinda turned a new leaf. Traveling is so therapeutic for me as it is for many people, and it really helped put things into perspective. I recently watched a travel vlog from one of my favorite bloggers, ADashofFash, who is a blogger from Amsterdam. In the short but informative video, she showed the best places to see in the city centre of Amsterdam, and it really inspired me. The reality is: I no longer live in LA, but I do live in Sweden, and Sweden is a beautiful country. The town I moved to is adorable, and will only get more fun as the weather gets warmer (and the flowers start to bloom), so why not show it off? There are so many adorable street corners, cafes, walking paths, castles.. I could go on and on. 

So that brings me to the question: How can I keep my content fresh, in a small town that doesn't have a lot "going on"? The answer is: I don't know! I'm always trying to think of new ideas. I've been toying with the idea of starting a youtube channel, but the thought of it totally overwhelms me every time I get closer to it, and I haven't yet gotten to a point of feeling "ready", so for now it's off the table again. I think the best thing I can do for myself, at this point, is to not be so hard on myself if I can't produce a new blog post every week, and f I don't have the money to travel somewhere exciting for a while. I have to just enjoy what's right in front of me, and share this amazing place even if it's in a very simple way: by photographing it, writing about it, and by continuing to be my crazy colorful self. One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou and it goes, "Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud". That quote right there is the perfect example of why I do what I do. I love nothing more than to bring my love for color and fun into people's lives, and I hope that I can continue the same even though my lifestyle has changed so drastically.

And here is where I need your help: What would you love to see more of from me on the blog and on instagram? Does a YouTube channel interest you or would you rather just watch an Instagram story? Do you want to learn more about the Swedish culture? If so, in what way(s)? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My Colorful Paris Guide

When I first moved to Sweden, I promised myself that I would try to visit as many countries as I could within the next few years since I'd be living so close to so many of them in Europe. Well, I finally was able to check a new country off my travel bucket list: France! Max and I had been thinking of seeing the band Fall Out Boy on their European tour and almost went with Amsterdam as our destination choice, but since I'd always wanted to visit Paris, I figured that would be a great city to go with, and it was!

Our flight was super easy, and only two hours long! Being in the same time zone meant we had no jet lag, so yay for that! Where things got tricky was when we tried to hop on the train to take us into Paris from the airport. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to board as an unaccompanied bag was left on the train, so everyone had to take a shuttle bus instead, which, frankly, was a total nightmare. And then the train ride was a little uncomfortable with a million people stuffed together, but once we finally got there and I stepped outside for the first time, all of the annoyances of that morning faded away. We hopped into a taxi and made our way to our hotel.

We spent four days and three nights in the city of lights and stayed at Hotel Josephine, which is an eclectic small boutique hotel located down the street from the Moulin Rouge and an arm's stretch from Montmartre in the South Pigalle district (9th arrondissement). Pigalle is super hip with little bistros and cafes everywhere, and we loved it. I think what drew me to it was the fact that it was less touristy than other parts of the city.

The hotel itself was super colorful and the staff was very friendly and kind. Our room was on the 5th floor and we had an amazing view of our neighborhood from our balcony. Artwork of Can Can girls adorned the walls in our cheery green wallpapered room. We opted out of the breakfast, but I'm sure that was delicious, too. Oh and I should mention that lobby offered tea, coffee and water for free, and if you chose to not have your room cleaned during your stay, you would be gifted at the end of your stay. We opted to take that route because I was so curious about what the gift was, and it ended up being a little set of fruit jams! I bought a mini baguette yesterday and tried all of the flavors and they were delicious! I would definitely recommend Hotel Josephine to anyone traveling to Paris, just keep in mind that it is on the opposite side of town where the Eiffel Tower is, if that's your thing.

(view from our room)

(our cute room!)

Day One
Our first day was mostly spent relaxing in our room and walking around the neighborhood. We stumbled into a very cute bistro called Le Bla Bla. I wasn't particularly hungry but I saw nutella crepes on the menu so I had to order them, and Max ordered an asian style shrimp pasta dish, and we had a few beers. It made me happy that even a small bistro in Paris would be as colorful as my outfit, and the food did not disappoint. In fact, we ended up going there on our last night to have a drink, too!

In the afternoon, we made our way to where the Opera House was so that I could check out the Marimekko collaboration at Uniqlo and I bought a few things. We also found a really cool "department store" for street clothes called Citadium where Max found a hat and I bought the cutest straw crossbody bag by Pull & Bear. The women's clothing floor was seriously insane and if I had more money I would've bought so much more. I'll definitely be going back there when we visit Paris

Address for Citadium (where you can find Pull & Bear on the 2nd to top floor):
56 Rue de Caumartin, 75009 Paris, France

At night we went to See Fall Out Boy and finally passed out around 1 or 2 am! First day was a success.

Day Two
For our second day, we walked through Montmartre. One of my all-time favorite movies is Funny Face and since they filmed a few scenes at La Maison Rose, I knew I had to go and snap a photo there. It was at the very top of a hill in Montmartre and was just as adorable as I'd seen in photos, and we even met a few Swedish people taking photos of it as well.

Address for La Maison Rose: 2 Rue de l'Abreuvoir, 75018 Paris, France

In Montmartre, you will also find the restaurant from one of my other favorite movies, Amelie! I wish we hadn't just eaten or else I would've opted for a meal at the table where Amelie sat in the movie. Next time!

Floral skirt from Gina Tricot
Striped tee from Gina Tricot
Address for Cafe 2 Moulins: 15 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France

In Pigalle also lies the most colorful basketball court you will ever see! It was closed when we walked by, but we took some photos of it anyway because my outfit was screaming for it.

Day Three
Our third day, we decided to be really ambitious and make our way to Saint Germain (which is on the complete opposite side of town!). To start, we walked through Pigalle, then into La Marais, through through the Latin Quarter and finally into Saint Germain. Along the way, we saw the Notre Dame, had amazing eclairs in La Marais, and I bought new glasses from a really cool company called Izipizi from the one and only Merci shop, which I'd read so much about. Had to take a photo outside with the cute little red car, as well!

Sweater is from Joanie Clothing
Jeans are from Madewell
Flats are from ASOS

While walking though La Marais, we stopped and ate burgers at a very colorful restaurant called PNY Marais, which is run by the same people who have Cafe Henrie in New York City. I'd been so excited to try this place and it did not disappoint.

Stopped for some drinks at another cute spot, the cafe at Hotel Grand Amour, also in La Marais. Look how cute the decor is! I totally geeked out taking photos of it, and I have no shame. 

As we finally started to make our way into the Latin Quarter, we took some photos at Rue Cremieux, a street famously known for the rainbow-hued buildings. It was BEAUTIFUL in person and we were lucky that there weren't too many people taking photos so we practically had the whole street to ourselves!

In the Latin Quarter, it was my mission to find the steps where Owen Wilson sat and got picked up by the buggy in Midnight in Paris, and we found them! I was so tired by then that I don't remember much of the area, but there were some cafes and a record shop on that street.

6 Place Sainte Genevieve75005 Paris, France (Quartier Latin)

Day Four
Our final day was spent visiting the Eiffel Tower. To be honest, I really don't like touristy spots, so this was not one of the highlights for me. The Eiffel Tower was beautiful and we were lucky to be there on a sunny day, but next time I visit Paris I probably won't be hanging out there much. I really preferred the quieter areas such as South Pigalle and the lower parts of Montmartre. I would love to spend more time in La Marais as I feel like we missed some of it, and would also love to check out more of Saint Germain. That's the cool thing about Paris - there's always more to see! I already have a hundred places added to my list for next time.

Sunnies are from Oui Fresh
Dress is from Lindex

Below you will find the addresses for where I went on my Paris adventures! If you've been to any of these places, I'd love to know in the comments! Thanks so much for reading! xoxo. Jenna

STAY // 
Hotel Josephine / Address: 67 Rue Blanche, 75009 Paris, France

EAT //
PNY Marais / Address: 1 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris, France

Le Bla Bla / Address:  66 Rue Blanche, 75009 Paris, France

Maison Landemaine / Address: 56 Rue de Clichy, 75009 Paris, France

Grand Amour Hotel / Address: 18 Rue de la Fidélité, 75010 Paris, France

SHOP // 
Des Petits Hauts / Address: 4 Rue Tholozé, 75018 Paris, France

Merci / Address: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France

Bonton / Address: 5 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris, France

L'Eclair de Genie / Address: 14 Rue Pavée, 75004 Paris, France

Odette Paris / Address: 77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, France

Pepone Cafe (for macarons or crepes) / Address: 10 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France

Pigalle Duperre (basketball court) / Address: 22 Rue Deperre, Paris France

Rue Cremieux (colorful street) / Address: Rue Cremieux75012 Paris, France