Places in Paris: Pink Mamma

You guys, I have been on a hunt for really good pizza in Paris. I know I won’t find any deep dish, extra cheesy and greasy pepperoni like my beloved Round Table Pizza so I needed to compromise with a decent Italian pizza. I heard about a beautiful restaurant called Pink Mamma in Pigalle, a popular spot on Instagram so we headed out on a late Saturday afternoon. We took the bus to Pigalle which took longer than we expected so we arrive a little after 7pm (just after opening). I was surprised to find a long line ahead of us. Then I realized there were no reservations so when we made it inside the hostess told us to return at dix, Liv translated to us that she meant come back at TEN PM!! Holy Cow, there was no way I was going to wait three hours to eat. We were starving. Since we were already there I decided to hang out and take photos of the four story gorgeous interior. The decor is different on every floor and I tried to capture what my eyes saw however, it was awkward taking photos of strangers eating so I had to be discreet about it. Luckily, the light was at golden hour so Antz took these incredible photos of me feeling like an Italian Goddess. I never looked so fancy riding a public bus before.






The four story staircase was bananas. It was like being inside of an art gallery. We spent a lot of time checking out the paintings.




Was hoping to snag this table on the top floor but it was reserved for a party of five.


I mean, could I ask for better light. My kind hubby was playing paparazzi while the diners were looking at me like I was an alien. Whatever, I was feeling myself!




Liv and I headed to the loo, which was in the basement.


I have never seen a meatlocker look so chic. I mean, I was looking for a mirror and instead we got a view of all of the meat.


Just as we were about to leave, the hostess saw we were still there and she said if we wanted to eat now, she could get us a table. I was disappointed that we couldn’t dine on the top floor (which looked like the best spot) however, we were so hungry we happily took whatever we could get.


I didn’t have any high expectations for the food (I have been so disappointed by food in Paris before) so I was pleasantly surprised by the menu. I hadn’t had any delicious bruschetta since our goodbye dinner with Leslie and Stephen last February at my favorite Colombo’s Italian restaurant in Eagle Rock. I do wish they used balsamic vinegar but I really liked the fresh apricot that was added in place of tomatos, very rustic. Antz ordered a steak and potatoes dish that he loved and Liv had kids pasta. I had pretty yummy pizza. I enjoyed it but I not a big fan of the burnt thin crust, Margherita style pizza. Sorry, I still miss American food terribly. The good news was our bill was reasonable for such a fancy place. Around €60 with wine.





So, Pink Mamma definitely lived up to all the hype. Be sure to go well before they open to get a good table. We ended up walking around lower Pigalle neighborhood after our meal and popped into the trendy Hotel Amour for dessert on their patio. The weather was lovely, Antz and I shared a delightful strawberry tart. Liv had ice cream. Then we took an Uber home.






Pink Mamma
6:45 – 11 pm
20bis Rue de Douai
75009 Paris

Hotel Amour
8 Rue de Navarin
75009 Paris

Places in Paris: rue Crémieux

The city of Paris is a blogger’s dream. Every street is the perfect backdrop full of adorable cafes and vivid blue doors begging to be photographed, so of course I am like a kid in a candy store living here. One of the locations I’ve had on my photoshoot list is rue Cremieux. It’s a residential, short street that has the most colorful, pastel painted houses on both sides. With a majority of Paris covered in six story Haussmann buildings, they definitely stand out. It’s obviously a popular place for tourists to take selfies so the residents of these vibrant houses seem displeased with the constant barrage of people posing on their stoops. We hopped on the metro a few stops towards Bastille and I accidentally caught my skirt in the subway door. Luckily, it didn’t stain or tear. It was a short walk to the street located near Gare Lyon train station in the 12th arrondissement.

I was excited for the shoot but didn’t factor in the weather cooperating. Of course the sky was gray instead of it’s usual bright blue. I tried to use it to our advantage since too much sun can make shadows in my photos. We arrived to find the small, colorful street full of people! There were also a few signs located in front of the candy-painted houses saying no photography. I mean, come on! I’ve seen hundreds of photos of this street on Pinterest and Instagram and there never seems to be a crowd of tourist. I always wonder if the people who post perfect shots wake up at 5 am or are they just photoshop experts? I seem to always get tons of bystanders, trucks and even trash cans when I take photos.

As you can see, there is no right time of day to visit this location. There were unofficial lines of people waiting to take a photo in front of the brightest houses. There was an entourage standing around a woman who was filming a music video. We watched the singer perform her song for so long that she offered us the spot in front of the bright pink house after getting a photo with Liv. I wish I remembered her name!

The street had more of a Caribbean vibe than a traditional Parisian style. We got tired of waiting for people to move so we had to get creative, we utilized the houses that weren’t as busy. Liv and I look like we are about to drop our Christian power ballad album. We were just waiting for people to move when Antz took these candids.

Liv loved this house with a cat painted on it.

Such an awesome door!

rue cremieux

I swear I didn’t see the no photos sign until we took this. Oops!

Right before we left Antz lined me up to block all the people behind me to create the magic that I had the street all to myself. just ignore the guy sitting on the right!

We decided to grab a goûter at Au Petit Versailles du Marais. I wish I took more photos inside because the pastries looked straight out of the Marie Antoinette film.

Best tarte aux fraise in Paris!

A bientôt mes amis.

Visiting French castles

Liv and I were super bummed to find that we missed this year’s Fêtes Galantes (which is a fancy dress up event) at Versailles so I started researching castles nearby to visit. I decided it would be fun to play tourists and booked a day tour with Viator. We took a luxurious air conditioned coach to Château Vaux Le Comte and Fontainebleau. I was pleasantly surprised with the group we traveled with, mostly older folks but very friendly and lovely, not obnoxious tourists types. No-one even took pictures with an iPad!

Our first stop was the Château Vaux le Comte which is a baroque French château located in Mainly just southwest of Paris. The château was constructed from 1658 to 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV. I read that this place was the inspiration for the palace of Versailles. Olivia was in heaven. She would wear her Marie Antoinette dress everyday if we let her. It was nice to visit a place that wasn’t packed with crowds and we were able to explore the château at our own pace.

This was the tree lined road to the château!

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WOW! We walked up a narrow staircase to the tower.


This was a master bathroom from the 1600s!

The kitchen was in the basement to keep the food cool. Along with the Man in the Iron Mask.



We spent so much time in the chateau that we only had 45 minutes left to explore the huge gardens. We rented a golf cart and wow, it was so fun!




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We made it back just in time to our coach and drove about a half an hour to château Fontainebleau. The earliest record of a fortified castle at Fontaineau dates to 1137. It became a favorite residence and hunting lodge of the Kings of France because of the abundant game and many springs in the surrounding forest. it took its name from one of the springs, the fountain de Bliaud, located now in the English garden, next to the wing of Louis XV.


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I mean, I guess it’s alright.

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To top off the opulence, there was a live piano concert playing in the enchanting musicians gallery.

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As we were leaving we saw several wedding parties taking photos in front of the chateau. Tell me that sky is not painted.


She literally skipped all the way home.


Day Trip to Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is located on the French/German border in the Alsace region of eastern France. We were super excited to visit this city. It’s a four hour train ride from Paris and since it’s so close to Germany, it has a Bavarian vibe to it. Most of the people speak German. We arrived on an unbelievably hot day so we were so happy to relax and enjoy our hour long river cruise! We only had five short hours in the city before we had to take the train back so we rushed through the sightseeing.

Gare de l’est is one of my favorite train stations in Paris. It’s smaller than it’s neighbor Gare Nord but it has a charming appeal and a turn-of-the-century vibe to it. Amelie was filmed there so of course I adore it.

We had breakfast at Starbucks and had some freeloaders came begging for our crumbs.


The train ride to Strasbourg was a long one, over four hours, however we had an awesome Club four seat which meant we could play games and spread out comfortably.


We arrived in Strasbourg a little after noon and hopped on the tram to take us into the city center.




The city was packed with tourists. We immediately hit the Strasbourg Cathedral of our Lady. It’s enormous, you can’t miss it. Mozart played the organ in the cathedral! The Sherlock Holmes sequel was filmed there.


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The cruise was super cute, you listen on headphones to characters give the history of medieval Strasbourg. We were so grateful for the air conditioned covered bateau!

This was our first time passing through a river lock. There are parts of the river that are higher so you go inside a tunnel part of the water (this is the lock) and a door closes behind the boat, then for four minutes water floods the area and the boat rises. Then the door ahead of us opens and we continue up the river. Locks are more common in England but there are some at the canal Saint-Martin in Paris.

Those holes you see in the walls were where they placed canons. Did you know that Strasbourg is one of the capitals of the European Union?

Don’t tell anyone, I don’t like pretzels unless they are the sugary, American kind from Auntie Anne’s in the mall. The architecture of the city blew me away. It’s like walking through a fairy tale!

While we were on our cruise, we missed the Pride parade. There are more students living in Strasbourg than any other age group. During our canal tour we learned that close to 50,000 students attend the University of Strasbourg.

Since we were in a rush, I almost left without seeing the place that was my entire reason for visiting Strasbourg, this lovely river side restaurant I found on Pinterest. I didn’t know the name of the place so the only clue I had was the sign on the covered ivy. Luckily I could make out “Au Pont St. Ma—” after a Google search and asking locals, we found it. Most of the places I visit are inspired by a photo I found on Pinterest. My travel board has over 600 places I hope to visit one day.


After staring at the river for awhile, we had to call an Uber to rush back to the train station to make our train back to Paris.


We loved Strasbourg so much that we were bummed we didn’t get to spend more time exploring. Luckily we are planning a trip to Colmar which is near Strasbourg soon.

Batorama boat tour
Embarcadère : Palais Rohan
67100 Strasbourg

Le Dîner en Blanc Paris 2018

Our fifth Dîner en Blanc was extra special because it was the 30th anniversary and Olivia joined us this year!

I was fortunate to have Antz craft these gorgeous crepe paper peonies for my headpiece. We found his Venetian mask for less than €7 at an art supply store near our apartment. I bought a huge, beautiful bouquet of white peonies for our table the day before but sadly they opened too soon so the day of the event, they were starting to whilt. I bought a bunch of babies breath (Les gypsophiles) and stuck them in Liv’s hair. We took an Uber to the Air France Museum. We arrived almost an hour early but I didn’t want to risk being late.


After checking in my group and waiting forever for the departure time, we walked a few blocks to Esplanade des Invalides. I was certain it would be further at the Jardin de Tuileries but this location was large enough to accommodate 13,000+ guests from all over the world!

We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. This year was the 30th anniversary of the DEB and as fickle as French weather can be, not once has it been canceled due to rain. We didn’t bring our roll-up table this year but we bought a patio table from Monoprix and borrowed two chairs from our friends in Nation. We used a grocery cart to wheel them around and put the tableware and food in my wicker cart. I bought our white plates, a white serving tray and our gold flatware from Ikea. You may remember from our last Dîner en Blanc Paris, our lovely desserts were smashed in my bag during the transport, so I made extra special care to have them wrapped and put in a smash-proof box. Wouldn’t you know it, the warm weather melted the white meringue! I am cursed when it comes to our desserts, only one barely survived.

I love how Liv is eyeing the only dessert that survived.

After I passed out sparklers to my table of guests and the official napkin twirl, Antz popped our champagne and we took a few sips before heading off to find our friends.










The coolest thing happened when we were wandering around admiring all the creative outfits and table settings. A woman ran up to me and excitedly told me she follows my blog! I was stunned by her kindness and enthusiasm. I totally love meeting new people at this event and finding out that someone is genuinely entertained by my blog made my night. Enchanté LaToya, you were a delight to meet!



We had to say Bonsoir to the founder of Dîner en Blanc, François Pasquier and his lovely wife. The genie guy was a bonus I suppose, I was sad that I forgot to take a photo with Antz in the picture, LAME! I did have a moment to exclaim my love for the dinner and babble about our move to Paris to his wife as I was a bit tipsy from the champagne.

Technically, the event is for ages 18 and over but everyone welcomed Liv with hugs and were impressed by her level of French fluency. Everyone wanted to take a photo with her and were blown away by her maturity. I had to convince them that she just turned eight!


We finally found my friend Aymeric and he introduced us to his stunning girlfriend!

The Eiffel Tower was sparkling in the background.

We were exhausted and Liv had school the next day so around midnight, we packed up and called an Uber.


I am so happy we brought Olivia to experience her first Dîner en Blanc. Paris is always a magical place but this dinner has an extra special place in my heart for the past five years. This photo was taken by the press and it shows the 13,000 attendees.


If you may be interested in attending, you must be invited through a member. Let me know, I get a few invites per year around April/May. I just may be retiring from the event with exception to attending the DEB in Iceland!

Here’s previous Dîner en Blanc  2013, 2014, 2015




Bienvenue dans Notre Appartement Parisien

Bonjour Amis,

Let me confess, the first two months were exhilarating and equally stressful for me. I was absolutely enjoying our time living in Nation (12th arrondissement) and exploring beautiful Paris but also I was staying up all night looking for potential apartments. Every time I got close to scoring a fabulous place, someone else would snap it up. I was starting to believe it was because I wasn’t French but we had our French friends call on our behalf and they got the same response. I was so close to renting my dream apartment on the sweetest street ever when the agent said the landlord just approved someone before us. I mean, I called every day, left voicemails, sent emails all during the whole enrolling Liv into school drama. I commend my own strength because I thought I would have a mental breakdown with stress and disappointment. It was house hunting all over again but with a two month deadline. I was also working with our real estate agent in Los Angeles trying to get our house rented. My stress was at an all time high during the first few months here.

Every apartment I saw I would compare to the beautiful, perfect place that we didn’t get.

I grieved over this place. It was €2400, a block from Liv’s ballet school, a 15 minute walk to her school, on a private street. I would have lived with the tiny fridge and non existent storage for those floors and that price. I asked the agent to be put on a backup list in case the renter fell through. This put me in a worst state because nothing came close to this place in terms of layout, gorgeous Parisian charm and price. I found a larger, cute place but it was in a sketchy area of the 10th near Gare Nord which would mean a 10 minute bus ride to school and then a 20 minute walk. I was running out of time and feeling like we would end up homeless in Paris.

The second I saw our apartment on the French real estate website I recognized it from years earlier when I first began looking for apartments. I couldn’t believe it was available the day after we were scheduled to move out of our exchange and it was under my budget. I immediately emailed the agent to schedule a viewing to make sure it wasn’t too good to be true. I’ve had such bad luck getting in touch with an agent (mostly due to not having a French phone number) and then discovering days later that the apartment had already been rented. I made sure to let them know I was ready to sign the lease that day. I made two lists of criteria for our apartment search.

Must Have – Dealbreakers
Close to our max budget €2450/$2950
Two Bedrooms
High ceilings
Hardwood floors
Oven/modern kitchen amenities
Walking distance to Liv’s school
Close to Metro/public transportation
Smoke-free apartment

Like to Have – Bonus
Haussmann building
Office Space for Antz
Herringbone hardwood floors
Large Refrigerator (typical Americans can’t live with a minibar fridge)
Storage (for our 14 suitcases!)
Nice view
Close to le Marais
Parisian Charm/Crown Molding
Good Layout
Nice furniture

I know I sound picky but every single place we found had something missing from my Must-Have list. Mostly two bedroom apartments were over budget or too far from school. I began getting more flexible by the second month and started considering one bedrooms, longer commutes to school and really horrible layouts. We visited an apartment that was way under-budget but on the 6th floor with no elevator and the world’s narrowest bathroom. It was as wide as the bathtub and you practically had to step over the toilet to get into the tub. There was no shower and even though it had herringbone floors in the living room, the place was dark and how no traditional Parisian design. It also wasn’t in my ideal neighborhood but the price tag was the only thing that made it enticing. The only reason we didn’t end up getting it was the owner wanted someone who would rent it for at least two years. So I guess that was a blessing in disguise. When it comes down to house hunting, location and price were my main dealbreakers. Everything else was negotiable. It took days of going back and forth to get the agent to schedule a viewing. The problem was the renter didn’t want to show it until the place was available so I was cutting it close to our move-out date. I finally got a call to see it so I dropped Liv off at school. Because it was so close to her school I decided to walk around the neighborhood and wait for our appointment. I was almost two hours early and the agent was late (because she was French, of course!). We buzzed the door of the building and waited. The appointment started fifteen minutes late so she tried to call the renter to let us in. We saw the window was open to the apartment but she didn’t answer. She called the agency and they confirmed the right place and right time. After a half an hour of impatiently waiting, she said let’s reschedule for next week. UNLUCKY LIZZIE! I was practically in tears and starting to feel like this was hopeless. I already began to fall in love with the neighborhood. Everything was a close walk and my favorite shop (Monoprix) was just a block away! I was already familiar with the neighborhood and getting excited that I could actually live in my favorite part of Paris.

All the while I was getting no leads for renting our house in LA. Our agent had a few open houses but hardly anyone showed serious interest. My agent was sure it was due to our cat Lola coming with the house and it being rented fully furnished. I was so nervous we lowered the price and asked my angel best friend Aimee to foster Lola for us so we could rent our place with pets. Then we found a family with a dog that was excited to rent our place. After a FaceTime meeting, I signed the lease and waited for them to send the deposit and then they flaked. This made Antz and I very nervous because we couldn’t rent a place in Paris without renting our house in LA. Like, a scale of 1 – 10 in the stress department, I was about 100. After some negotiations and hard work on our agent’s side, we found a lovely single woman with a cute small dog. She signed the lease, sent the full rental amount for three months and we are very relieved to have a responsible adult living in our house. Whew!

After the most intense week of my life the agent finally got the tenant to show us the apartment. The chick didn’t even offer an apology for not showing up for our first appointment and she laid in bed while we saw the apartment, lame. The place didn’t look exactly like the online pictures but I knew they were three years old. The renters were disgusting and they had a dog which I’m sure they didn’t clean up after. The courtyard is my least favorite. It’s dark and has cobblestone so Liv can’t really ride her scooter in the back. The furniture was rearranged in an odd way and older than I guessed but when I saw the floors, the light pouring in from the floor to ceiling windows and the beautiful fireplaces, I said, straight out of a movie “We’ll take it!

Then came the rental process. It’s a little more different than in the US, the French don’t really have a credit score rating. We also didn’t have a previous rental or French tax return to show so everything came down to Anthony’s pay stubs and being the first person to see it. I spent several days running back and forth to the print shop making copies to send to the agency. They needed to see our bank statements, we had to buy French annual renter’s insurance and they requested a letter from his job stating he would be employed for the year. I was worried about getting the letter in time because like I said before, apartments go fast and we were not prepared to lose this one. Thank goodness Antz job sent the letter right away. I saw the place right before we took our trip to London and we electronically signed the lease while we were in London! I couldn’t believe we finally did it. I have heard so many horror stories about Americans getting scammed online by having to wire huge cash deposits and losing the money. Or the landlord requesting up to a year of rent for a security deposit. We only had to put down two month’s rent deposit and pay an agency fee. I was ecstatic! I could finally breathe after so long, I found a place of our own in le Marais, a seven minute walk to the kid’s school with almost everything on my must-have list. The first week we didn’t have wifi so I almost died but lucky for us, we extended our house exchange so Antz would go to the other apartment to work. I don’t even mind that our building has world’s smallest elevator or the wonky furniture. I got my herringbone flooooooooooooors!! (Hope you heard that in Oprah’s voice)