Monday Dare (and giveaway!): Rich People Ambitions

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Get outta here

As a kid, I wanted to lead the life of the rich, but not the Richie Rich kind of wealth. A robot maid and an amusement park in the backyard would have helped my popularity at school, but as the daughter of a mechanic and a stay-at-home mom, I knew I had to Keep It Real and bring it down a notch. I decided my two Rich Indicators would be a Marithe+Francoise Girbaud shirt and a trip to Europe.

Surprisingly, the first goal turned out to be easy. During after-school pickup one day, I pointed to a few kids who were already styling in Girbaud gear, and BAM, just a week later, I was the proud owner of not one, but TWO Girbaud items- a sweatshirt and a t-shirt. Turns out, both were conterfeits that my mom had picked up at a swap meet, but I still wore them around. Every day. Proudly.

When I broached the subject of Europe at the dinner table, my parents didn’t say “no” immediately. I took this as a promising sign. Instead, they insisted that I get specific about which country I wanted to visit. I picked Italy because my teacher, Mrs. Moulton, made such a big to-do about it being shaped like a boot. Her hype twisted my tiny little brain into believing that Italy was THE place to go.

For weeks, I was a one-person Italian Vacation Campaign. I sent away for free brochures and looked up facts about the country in the Britannica-wannabe encyclopedia from Sam’s Club that I got as a gift one Christmas.

I refused to eat Domino’s pizza or canned SpaghettiO’s because I didn’t want to dirty my palate with imitations when I knew the real thing was awaiting me.

After two months of looking through brochures that I had painstakingly highlighted and listening to me recite the Italian national anthem, Il Canto degli Italiani, my parents shattered my dream. “It wasn’t in the budget this year,” they said, but they wanted to make it up to me by going to a place that was almost as good as the real thing.

I closed my eyes during the car ride because I wanted the experience of Almost Italy to hit me all at once. Twenty minutes later, I heard the engine shut off, and my mother gingerly guided me out of the car.

We were in front of an Olive Garden.

Maybe this is where I’m supposed to tell you that it was a big disappointment and that I filed for legal emancipation soon afterwards. Just the opposite. That place was fucking magical. I had never been to Olive Garden before, and when they brought out the chilled plates for the salad, I nearly died. It was the gold standard for good living for the rest of my pre-adult years. I even celebrated my Sweet Sixteenth birthday at OG with my family.

Cal is now the same age I was when I first experienced high living, and I want to pass it on. Unfortunately, I spoiled her, and she’s already familiar with the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks.

So I’ve decided to take her to Europe for several weeks instead. We leave this week for multiple stops in Germany and then Paris. Cal has diligently been looking up practical German phrases and working her French Rosetta Stone like a boss. I only know two German words- Volkswagen and Wienerschnitzel. The only thing I know how to say in French is “Why is the butter so expensive?” If Cal and I get separated, I’m fucked.

I would be grateful for your guidance. If you have any tips on how to travel smart (including jet lag tips, packing tips, and any other general travel tips), or places around Frankfurt and Paris that are a must-see, please DO share.


When Dallas of Miro Notebooks first reached out to me, I was all “No thanks, thug, I don’t really do giveaways.” But Dallas sent a handsomely generous package my way, no strings attached. And I fell in love. The notebooks are not only functional, but also beautiful and sleek. And since I can’t keep good shit like this all to myself, I want you to have them. (P.S. The Journal Series is so popular, they are currently sold out. And they are part of the giveaway!)

Just leave a comment below, along with your travel tip, and you’ll be entered into the giveaway. I’ll announce the winner in next week’s Monday Dare.
Want to get the latest word on my European trip debacle? I’ll be posting updates on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. “Like” the page and you’ll be the first to know if I end up in a European jail. If they have Internet access in jail. And they let me keep my phone.
first image via pinterest

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  • Brittany Rae Olson

    OMG!  Congrats on living the high life.  Keep your $$ on you at all times.  Put it in a ziplock when you shower because it will go missing.  When we went to HI the first time my friends mom got all her $$ stolen just like that and the fun ended shortly there after. 
    I am so excited for you.  Please do a post on here once you get back because I don’t FB. 
    And those journals look pretty magical to me!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      GET OUT. That is HORRIBLE. Well, you know what they say…When you take a dollar from someone dishonestly, you get five dollars taken from you in return. 

      I’m not sure if I have the dollar amounts right on that, but the premise still holds. 

  • Makila Ison

    Avoid salty foods before your flight and make sure you get up and walk the aisle during your flight or you’ll walk off the plane with cankles.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I totally swell up like a blowfish, even on short flights, so I will def have to watch the salty foods, which I just LOVE. 

  • Random- the high end hobo

    Don’t try to sneak into a pay toilet right after another person used it without paying. Just trust me on this :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh, I know that’s one time not to get all frugal and shit. ;) They spray that sucker down between each use and you get caught in some kind of chemical storm. 

  • Marie DeMars

    Giveaway! Enter me!
    And bring your own toilet paper.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Uh oh. I don’t like the sound of this. 

      • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

        But I will. Because I can think of few things worse than being caught without TP. xo

  • Becs

    It’s not particularly thug (not at all really) but it’s got great tips!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thanks for the recommendation. Helpful people are always thugs in my book. ;)

  • Jaclyn Flores

    I’m an insane overpacker, so I have no advice. I suck at traveling. When we went to Peru with Caitlyn, my carry-on weighed no less than 40lbs. Ask me how much of that shit I actually used. Umm… besides that?  I guess don’t eat anything you know will give you diarrhea before the flight? I didn’t eat anything, exactly, but I definitely got the traveler’s shits on the way home which made for an awesome flight experience home with a 10 month old in my lap. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh Lordy, that must have been a terrible experience. Were you alone on the plane with her. Was there a kind trustworthy granny on the plane who held Caitlyn while you did you biznass? Gah. This is great advice, though. Fuck the shits. I was going to say Shit the shits but I thought it made even less sense than Fuck the shits.

  • Teala Miller

    The only advice I have is to pack all of the essentials in your carry-on that way if you check luggage and it’s late or lost you still have all of the homette-necessities. Also? Those notebooks are beautiful. WANT. <3

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh man, I’ve totally had luggage go missing before. It is the WORST. Good advice, homette.

  • Becca (aka SMC)

    Avian face spray.I know it sounds absurd but after all that time in the air and jet lag this spray will rehydrate dry skin, help refresh you and not going to lie, it looks pretty neat. When in Paris don’t be afraid to wander the little side streets and smaller less touristy squared and markets. That is the real Paris.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I was addicted to that stuff like cheap crack when I was in Korea. That first blast is always a little jarring, but I loved that it kept my face from looking like dried-out mud. 

  • Taminginsanity

    My super excellent travel tip? Eat where the local eat. They’ve got to know a place with unlimited soup, salad an breadsticks, right?

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress


      I wonder if they offer that in Italy anywhere. If yes, I gotta make a pit stop.

  • Erica Dunn Rácz

    Oh Darlin, do I have tips for YOU!
    1) In Paris, start the day with croissants, and eat whatever you want on this trip. You’ll walk it off all day long.
    2) Bring earplugs or some sort of white noise provider. 19th Century hotel builders didn’t anticipate sirens and cabs running all night long.
    3) A friend and I were in Paris when we were 25 and I remember walking down the street in April (it was snowing) and she suddenly stopped and said, “That’s IT! These socks won’t stay UP and I’m DONE with them.” She peeled them off and threw them straight into the nearest bin. That was the beginning of my lesson in packing– if shit ain’t comfy, don’t bring it. You don’t know anyone there, you’re not gonna give a rat’s ass WHAT they think of how you look.
    4) Feel beautiful. Paris LOVES women of all shapes and sizes–the misconception is that they hate Americans. Wrong. They just hate loud, obnoxious, cheesy, gum-snapping, shiny faux-track-suit & sneaker wearing, Americans. You might be loud, but I’m pretty confident you aren’t tacky. 
    5) In Germany, do NOT bring up the Holocaust. Germans are MORTIFIED that it occurred, and want so much to move forward.
    6) Celebrate all the time! Life is a flourish in progress! (yes, I stole that from you, but I’m banking on that imitation/flattery thing.)

    Have a SPECTACULAR time! 

    • Erica Dunn Rácz

      oh, in case I wasn’t clear as a writer that I’d like to be in the giveaway, please enter me! 

      • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

        Fo sho.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I plan to carry an extra croissant in my pocket at all times. I figure stuff like that is acceptable in France, yes?

      LOL. Your friend reminds me of this one chick I knew back in the day. She was going to Europe for the first time and wanted to look styling every single moment. She only packed high heels and dresses. By day 3, she had to admit defeat and bought a pair of comfy flats. Lesson learned!

  • Melissa Clutterella

    I ‘m a horrific overpacker, which is a problem in Europe because there are tons of stairs and cobblestones and such. Last year I went to Ireland with a 40 pound suitcase and it was kinda rough.
    But I just found this article the other day that tells you how to get a lot of clothes into a small bag.

    I’m super excited for you and your trip!

    • Melissa Clutterella

      Oh, one more thing- The Everwhereist has been writing a lot of posts about Germany lately (including “7 Badass Bavarian Foods You Must Try), and I’m pretty sure she’s got some France posts in her archives as well. Great tips about what is and isn’t worth seeing and how to get there.

      • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

        Thanks for all the links. Lots of good reading ahead!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That was TOTALLY going to be me before I started reading these comments. I always like to pack 9 extra pairs of shoes…in case. In case of what I don’t really know, but it always ends up being a hassle and I still do it. 

  • RealMommyChron

    My darling, because I actually like you as a person AND a blogger, here is the truthful best advice I can give you:

    Packing – roll, don’t fold. EVERYTHING
    Jet lag – water, water and more water. So tempting to get hammered on the flight but my rule is, ‘anything over 3 hours, drink water, not scotch.’
    Travel in General – learn how to say ‘Hello, How are you?, Thank you, and one funny saying’ in the language of each country you visit and then tell them you are American and you will get the Royal Treatment (for effort alone)

    So happy for you guys! Enjoy! And bring us back some wiener schnitzel please! (I’ll be pretty stoked if I win that notebook, Too) ;)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Wow, this rolling the clothes thing must really be the shit. It might be Tip #1 by the time I’m done reading!

      It’s going to be so hard not to drink on that long-ass flight. I drink when I get bored and I have heard a scary rumor that there might not be wi-fi. 

      See you in August!

  • KristineinSouthAfrica

    I am le master of jet lag. I had a 22 hour flight (including layovers) from TX to South Africa across 7 time zones. Nailed it.

    The trick is not to pass out immediately when you get there, tempting as those benches by the luggage carousals look. Stay up for at least 2 hours. Get something to eat. If you arrive in the morning you can take a nap after the 2 hour marathon of being awake, but make it a nap not a passing out. Arrive in the afternoon or evening = no nap.

    DON’T CARRY YOUR PASSPORT. Carry a certified copy. Punks stole my purse with my passport in it (I am not le master of catching punks, unfortunately). Know where the US embassy is, just in case you need anything. They’re awesome & helpful.

    • KristineinSouthAfrica

      Oh, and I’m all for entering giveaways.

      • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

        Fo sho. P.S. My reply to your first comment is down below. Still can’t figure out how the comment system decides to nest this stuff.

    • Kait

      We took four kids from St Louis to Uganda and back so I’m declaring myself an authority on jetlag and travel with small humans. 

      Which is why I’m saying what Kristine said is spot on. Basically, from the time you leave your house to head to the airport put yourself on the time of the place you’re heading to. Sleep when it’s night time there (even if it’s 7 am your time) and be awake when they will be. Or just sleep as much as possible on the plane. I basically sleep the entire 24 hours of traveling back and forth to Africa every time I do it and never have a problem with jetlag. 

      • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

        Kait- You are one very brave woman. That is amazing! How did you like Uganda? And the kids? 

        I think I’m going to set my watch to Frankfurt time when we board and try to stay on that schedule. I was going to drink and pass out on the plane, but it seems like that is not suggested, so I plan to stare at one spot on the chair in front of me until I pass out from boredom. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Kristine- Holy shitballs. That is truly one motherfucking journey. Are you a native Texan? I hold a special place in my heart for fellow ex-Texans. =)

      We are leaving at 7 pm and arriving in the morning, so I am going to try hard to stay up. I may pass out standing up. 

      Those punks. I am becoming more and more fearful of all possible theft. I think I’m going to buy one of those under the shirt wraparound wallet things and NOT carry my actual passport as you suggested. Thank you!

  • Samantha ODonnell

    Put all your shampoo and toiletries in plastic ziplocs with tape over the tops. nothing worse than opening you bag with a bunch of goo everywhere.  also makes it easy to take out at security if need be.

    Eat food at counters and smaller places off the main tourist areas. better food, more interesting people and less expensive. My husband and I had the best meals ever in Italy when we went to a local grocery store and got fresh bread, cheese and fruit and brought it to our hotel to eat.

    Pack clothes you can layer in case it is colder or warmer than you expected.

    Can’t help you with jet lag except to just stay awake until you should normally go to bed in that time zone.

    Bidets in Europe are fun… the small towel is for your HANDS.


    Id like to be entered in the giveaway!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh! Do I get any brownie points if I already do the tape/ziploc baggie thing? I finally started doing it after many incidents of opening my toiletry bag and seeing a mess. It wasn’t even cleaning everything off that was the bummer, it was sometimes losing all that spendy face creams or potions that was the real mood killer. 

      Small towel tip- check.

  • A Life Less Ordinary

    I am so super jealous right now. 

    Travel tip: Put together a small make up bag of emergency items: travel toothbrush & paste, needle & thread, those foldable flipflops, compact mirror, chapstick, baby wipes, $20, emergency contact #’s, pen, paper, etc… you get my drift…. KEEP IT ON YOU AT ALL TIMES. 

    pick me!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Needle and thread-very important. In case I get in a fight and need to close an open wound. 

  • Crystal (C-Dawg)

    OK, Crystal’s #1 ultimate travel tip: Install a navigation app on your cell phone and use that bad boy! I busted mine out recently and it enabled me to walk all the way from the bus depot to the university in a town I had never been to before without getting even a little bit lost (this is notable given that I was born without a sense of direction).

    Pretty please enter me in the contest – an aspiring writer like me could always use more notebooks… *flutters eyelashes*

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress


      I used the nav app in NY last year when I was trying to get from point A to point B, which, if I’m being honest, was an obscenely short distance. However, I still managed to get lost and finally ask someone. I win at life.

  • msally99

    I haven’t gotten to travel enough (yet!) to have any tips, so my tip is to listen to all the other fabulous tips!

    (Those journals are beyootiful!)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      These tips truly are fabulous. I’m glad I know so many worldly people. Otherwise, I would be screwed.

  • Thepishposh

    Ok this sounds silly but wear comfortable shoes. If you are uncomfortable it will ruin your life and they walk everywhere in Europe. Also if youre going to go crazy on the cheese in France, better take a lactaid supplement. Carry a passport pouch tucked in your pants not in your purse. It’s summer so wear capris, flats, tops, light jacket, or dress. They don’t wear shorts. Don’t bring a heavy camera, it’s not worth it. You better eat lots of chocolate and have tons of fun :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You don’t know how much grief you just saved me. I was prepared to pack denim shorts, white shorts, black shorts, linen shorts. I shit you not.

  • Tmtran36

    You should make photo copies of your passport photo page to carry with you at all times and keep your actual passport locked up in the hotel safe. Also, wine is cheaper than water or coke so prepare your liver ;)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      My liver is just going to have to man up then. 

      Photo copies- check. Thank you!

  • Jen

    Rick Steves writes the greatest travel books; lots of hidden gems of restaurants and attractions, and he’s a snarky mofo to boot.

    My best tips for jet lag are (1) no matter how zonked you are, stay awake and get on your new schedule like Chris Brown on Rihanna, and (2) take Valerian root. Don’t know how, don’t know why, but it works every damned time.

    Have fun, and froliche Sommerzeit!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Snarky? Oh then, I’ll probably LOVE that motherfucker. I have never seen him, but he has a tv show or something, yes?

      OOOOOooooo, you went there with that Chris Brown thing, huh? THIS is why I admire you- your extremely large balls. 

      Looking forward to seeing you soon. xo.

  • nancy ross vecchione

    Be sure you adapt your cell phone for European useage or you’ll come home w/a huge bill (and your phone may or may not work). My favorite (if not particularly gorgeous suggestion? buy Keen shoes/sandals whatever works for you.) Order an dozen pair from zappos and send back the ones that don’t work comfort-wise. Keen makes the best shoes! If I have to trek around anywhere, especially w/cobblestones please give me KEENS! Personal fave? The flea markets. If you’re going try Marché aux Puces in Paris which officially opens at the weekend only, but travel there on Friday – when stallholders are unpacking – to find treasures.                       

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Cell phone- check! Excellent tip. Read this earlier this week and made sure to make the arrangements so that we don’t have to come home and sell everything we own to pay the phone bill.

      I love flea markets. LOVE. 

      You should be the spokesperson for Keen. Seriously. You are very convincing.

  • Gigi Griffis

    Congrats! Have so much fun in Europe!

    A few of my favorite tips from many trips over the years:

    1. Pack by outfit, not item. When I pack, I lay out index cards with each day of the week and pack outfits for each day (including appropriate undergarments that work with each outfit). This helps ensure that things you pack actually go together and makes it easy to get up and dressed and going, especially on the first few days when you are jet lagged and over-excited. :)

    2. Take at least one nice outfit. You never know when you’ll have a chance to go to the opera or something and will want to dress up a bit.

    3. Keep copies of your credit cards and passports in a separate bag (if you have the real things in your handbag, keep copies in your main bag and vice versa). If something gets stolen, this makes it way easier to either replace your passport or shut down your credit card account immediately.

    4. Extra underwear is always a good idea.

    A very different type of trip, but in case it helps, here’s my packing list:

    Have fun!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      All of these are amazing tips but I am expecially thankful for #1. My packing strategy is to figure out how many days I will be gone and then double that number to decide how many pants, shirts, undergarments and shoes to pack. Sometimes, shit just doesn’t match. 

  • kristin delooff

    DON’T go to the Louvre.  If you want to see art, go to the Musee D’Orsay–you’ll see the impressionists like Van Gogh and Monet.  Awesome.  All the other tips are really great.  If you or Cal get motion sickness, bring ginger candy.  It’s spicy, but it works!  Also, bring your own barf bags–the airlines are cutting back–gallon size ziplocks work.  Grody, I know, but you’re better off knowing.  As for neighborhoods in Paris, please please go check out Montmartre; it’s beautiful.  Take the Metro, you’ll be fine!  I think I’ve been to Frankfort, but only the airport there.  Packing?  Gather together everything you think you need to take, then reduce it by one third, then reduce it again by one third.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      This whole reducing my 1/3 and then again makes me nervous. I always overpack, but the wrong things. Oh, and always 10 seconds before I have to go to the airport. I have actually missed flights because of this. 

      Musee D’Orsay…added to the list. Thanks. 

  • jen

    My number one Paris activity is going for a walk down the Seine and looking at all the antique book stalls along it.  The canal cruises are great if you’ve got a child along and you’re tired of walking :-)  I also agree that the Musee D’Orsay is much better for a short trip than the Louvre!  There are also free museum days, so keep your eyes open for when those are.  Not too much interesting to see in Frankfurt, I’m afraid, there are nice city walks you can do through the old town. Otherwise Mainz is close by and GORGEOUS.  The Guttenberg Museum is there as well as a stained glass window by Chagall.  Train transport in Germany is super fast and easy and everyone working at the train station should speak English, so it won’t be difficult to day trip it.  Also if you plan to travel in Germany with a family, make sure you get a group ticket or a weekend ticket if you can, they’re much cheaper.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh la la. Canal Cruise. Cal would DIG that. 

      I read your comment earlier this week and looked up more info on Frankfurt. Man! Not too much at all. All financial-y and shiz. But I’m easily impressed. 

  • Jen

    Oh! almost forgot…in France and Germany if you come to a white striped crosswalk and there is no crossing light, it’s pedestrian’s right of way.  In Germany the drivers will usually slow down for you when they see you standing on the corner, but in Paris you just have to wait till the cars are a bit far away, close your eyes and plunge into traffic. They will stop!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Excellent tip. My usual way is life is just to close my eyes and forge ahead, so I’m going to put this to good use in Europe. =)

  • Jpineau0328

    I want a notebook. And, it’s totally touristy, but visit the underground ruins beneath Notre Dame. Really cool. And don’t pretend you have a shoe bomb at the airport. They drown upon it.

    • Jpineau0328

      They also FROWN upon it. I’m so not gangsta.

      • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

        Yo, drowning is way more gangsta.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      DAMN. How am I going to have fun at the airport now??

  • Missus Clark

    *Comfy, supportive shoes are key. I like Skechers.
    *A cross-body bag with a wide fabric strap is the most comfortable bag for serious sightseeing. Thin straps dig in and cut off circulation after an hour or two. I found a beautiful one on Etsy.
    *Rick Steves’ Paris is indeed the guide book of choice. We carried it everywhere and called it the Oracle.
    *Dress in layers.
    *Don’t bother to take things like umbrellas or scarves; those can be purchased on the streets in Paris and you’ll have a lovely souvenir. *The best cure for tourist fatigue is to find a cafe and have a glass of Provencal rose and a plate of pasta. (Citron presse for Cal) Don’t stop at the nearest cafe, go a few blocks away. Less tourists and lower prices.
    *Get a museum pass; they have 2, 3 or 6 day passes which get you into almost every museum and sometimes, like at the Louvre, you get a special entrance with a shorter line. I can’t agree with Kristin above; we were in the Louvre 4 times. But only spend an hour, two at the most at any one time. With the pass, you can drop in whenever the whim strikes. See what you want; Hammurabi’s Code, Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa, then bug out. Surgical strikes, baby. Or you’ll get all art-ed out.
    *Do not, as we so foolishly did, see Notre Dame first. All the cool gargoyles and chimera? Up 400 steps. NO lift. Walk around the city for a bit and get some training in before you climb the North Tower. I nearly died.

    That’s all I got for the moment. Are you glad you asked for advice?!

    Oh, and sign me up for the giveaway, pls!

    Ayez un beau temps à Paris, mon très cher! Bon voyage!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      All you got? Gah, how could you be so stingy with my, J? I thought we were FRIENDS!

      I think the smaller chunks of time at the museum is a brilliant idea. I get art-ed out pretty easily, because being at a museum requires me to THINK, and I am terrible at thinking. Just ask my family. They will verify this statement. 

      Don’t take accessories? Buy in Paris. You know I’m going to put it on you when Harv asks why I’m buying so much shit, don’t you? Come on, take one for the team. I’ll cover for you next time. =) Love you. See you soon!

  • CrysHouse

    You can only bring home so much wine…in your suitcase. What’s in your belly is your business.

    I always love a good journal.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I laughed so hard when I read this earlier in the week and it just made me bust out laughing again. 

      Thank you.

  • Lesley Whyte

    Paris is severely overrated, and Germany underrated. Seriously, Cologne is beautiful. I can’t wait to go back there. Also, don’t pack with a particular weather in mind. I spent a week in London in April and took jumpers – hottest week of the year. I had the sunburn to prove it.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh, that would totally be my luck, says the girl who packed short glittery dresses for New York. IN NOVEMBER.

  • Amy Zhou0106

    Beware of pick pocketers! And please enter me thank you and have a wonderful trip!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I am so oblivious about those shady guys. Good reminder!!

  • Andiette

    Take time to enjoy the small things and the lOcal color! Love the journals!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      We will! Or…we’ll try our best.=)

  • Cindy K.

    Wow! What a fun trip for you and Cal!!! I too dreamt of going to Paris in high school and it pained my parents to say no that it wasn’t in the budget. I even brought my lunch every day rather than spending 2.50 a day on lunch. Can you believe that was the going rate back then??? Anyway, I haven’t been to very many places overseas, but if you are a bit of a germ phobe, you may want to bring clorox wipes and hand sanitizer… and wean yourself from soda. Heard it is brutally expensive out there. :) have a fun and amazing trip building sweet and funny moments with her!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Totally feel you on this! I took French in HS (which shames me to admit since I don’t know the language at all now) and every yr, the French students got to go to Paris for like, I don’t know, 1000 bucks or something. And every year, my parents said we couldn’t afford it. I still think about that, can you believe it!?

      I’m such a germaphobe!! I will totally be taking sanitizer, both liquid and wipes. 

  • Agentsme

    As you are so close, I suggest you put Vienna, Austria as one of your stops as well. It is the most beautiful city and I think you and Cal should go. Also, to help with Jetlag, sit outside for about 20-30min the day of your arrival. I read somewhere that this helps your body orient itself with the sun and somehow help. Have a fabulous trip!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I have heard AMAZING things about Vienna. In HS, I had a friend who’s dad was tranferred over there for some reason and she had nothing but good things to say about it. Hmmm….sounds like a side trip may be in the making!

  • Alison

    Pack comfortable shoes.
    Pack twice the number of tops for every pair of bottoms you bring (in case your Math sucks, 1 pair of jeans = 2 tees).
    Take a lot of pictures.
    HAVE FUN!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You know me too well if you had to spell out the ratio for me. 

      Because my math DOES suck. ;)

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    I haven’t been to France, and I’ve only been to the airport in Germany, but here are my travel tips:  Beware the pickpockets!  If two people come up to talk to you, one is trying to steal your bag.  And watch out for people who are invading your personal space – they’re trying to lift your wallet. So get one of those geeky but helpful wallets to wear inside your clothes for your passport, plane tickets, and your extra cash/traveller’s checks.  You can put your credit card there too, but it’s a little awkward to get back out. 

    See the big stuff, but take a walk through some neighborhoods or smaller towns that aren’t major tourist destinations.  You’ll get a better feel for the country that way.

    Don’t pay attention to anyone yelling “Japanese?” at you…

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh man, lots of pickpocket warnings. This is so, so valuable, because I’m just about the most unaware person I know and I am going to make an conscious, concerted effort to focus on not getting jacked. 

      I won’t pay attention. I’ve had a lot of practice ignoring that shit from drunken college boys in the US. 

  • James Taipale

    I read your blog a lot but this is my first ever post.
    I am also a flight attendant so I’d be happy to share some tips.

    1. Pack light. See if your hotel has an affordable laundry service. Be comfortable wearing shirts and pants multiple times and see about packing extra underwear. You’ll feel much better with a lighter bag. I promise. Also throw a few dryer sheets loose in your bag. And comfort over fashion. Look classy but don’t wear 6″ for a whole day out. 

    2. Learn at least “please” and “thank you” in French and German. They really like it.

    3. Don’t use your phone. Just get a calling card. You wont be surprised that way. Or use skype

    4. Bring a pen and a pad of paper everywhere. For directions or just to keep a light journal of what’s happned while you were out. Not being immersed in English will be overwhelming at first.

    5. Put plastic bags and a little first aid kit in your suit case.

    6. Buy an adapter. You will be lost without it. 

    7. As for jet lag try to engage in some physical activity when you get in before you sleep. Power walk to the supermarket and buy some snacks or something. It’s odd but it helps. Also melatonin is great for the plane.

    8. Pick some things to do but don’t wear yourself out. Be open to just going for a wander around to see what you can find! I’m in Germany a lot and the Germans are super friendly. Locals know where to go and what to see! Don’t rush yourselves. Plan lots of time for things.

    9. Carry cash but not in an external pocket. No clutch purses. And only purses that close. Take only some money out with you and a copy of your passport. Put the rest in the safe in your room. I usually carry 1 visa card with me with either a small credit limit OR a prepaid one for emergencies.

    10. Taking a cab? Have the hotel arrange it or discuss the price before leaving. 

    11. Have fun! 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      James! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to leave me these gems. Gah, the stories you must have from your travels-the things you’ve seen and heard and experienced. I hope you blog because that would just be hilarious to read, even if you have to be anonymous about it. 

      I just bought a little notebook for Cal so she could take notes, but I think I’m going to do it as well. That way, when I DO end up in jail for some misunderstanding, I will be able to accurately recount the facts for y’all. 


  • Carol

    Have fun in Germany. My mom lives in the most German city in Brazil. Yeah, I know, it sounds weird to me, too. Anyway, German pies (actually all of their desserts) are to die for. And if you like sausage (which I’m not a fan) you might like currywurst. It’s a sausage (wurst means sausage) sliced up and slathered with curry flavored ketchup. It’s street-food. When you go to a new country you got to try street-food. Always.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Germany is an excellent place to fuel my sugar addiction? EXCELLENT!!! I was under the impression that German food was bland, so you have no idea how HAPPY this makes me. 

      I’m all about street food. ;)

  • chemegirljaime

    I want to go to Italy SOOO bad.. my sister and I have plans to go there after I graduate.

    my one travel tip is to always bring extra chapstick.. that shit is tiny so you’ll always lose at least one.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I have at least two kinds of chapstick hand at all times. One, because my lips are like cracked mud and two, because I lose shit so easily. Good advice, girl.

      I hope you go to Italy. Don’t forget to take a shitload of pictures and be sure to share them!!!

  • Heather (30onLife)

    I took French for 4 years in high school and two in college. I know about 3 phrases but they should come in handy:
    1. Ou es la toilette? (where is the bathroom)
    2. Ou es vos pantalons? (where are your pants)
    3. Voulez vous couchez avec moi, ce soir (will you sleep with me tonight)

    Okay, maybe not so much the third one… :) Have a great time. I am dying to get to Paris, and would love to take a boat trip down the Rhine in Germany to see all the castles. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I hope this is the kind of trip where I chance to use #2. 

      And if I have a chance to use #3 on a random hot Frenchie, I hope Harv forgives me. JUST KIDDING. (Mostly because Harv reads these comments.) ;)  

  • Miranda Kaye

    I’ve always wanted to backpack through Europe….hopefully one of these days ill be able to. I hope you and Cal have a blast!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Girl, you are one of the bravest, most resilient people I know. So you should totally do this backpacking thing. xoxo

  • Katie

    Always keep cash or cards in your pocket, harder to grab and go!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Good thinking. I will, however, leave one dollar in my wallet and if it gets stolen, the pickpocket will see this note attached “Sorry, sucker.”

  • Ana Elisa Miranda

    I’m Brazilian and I just came back from living in Belgium for one year. Europe is just amazing! I went to 10 countries. I was lucky and most people spoke English everywhere I went, but it’s good to know the basics. Enjoy Paris, the food, a picnic at the park near Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysèes, Moulin Rouge, Café Deux Moulins (Amelie Poulin’s café!), the view from Sacre Coeur (after climbing i dont know how many steps, its worth it, trust me). You should take a train to Belgium (90 minutes on Thalys), there are lovely towns and castles to visit, plus the best chocolate and the best beer+fries+waffles on earth!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I am SO envious of people who have a chance to live abroad for any length of time. It’s BIG PIMPIN and I hope Cal gets this chance one day. 

      10 countries?! AMAZINGGGGGGGGGG.

      Can’t pass up the chocolate. I’m addicted.

  • Rhonda Barth

    Oooh!  A giveaway! I want a journal :-)

    I’ve never been to Europe. But I have been to countries where English is not the primary language.

    My tips:
    1. Know how to say “Where is the bathroom” in every language you’ll experience.
    2. Know how to ask for an adult beverage in every language you’ll experience. Whether beer, wine, liquor . . . your choice, just know how to ask!
    3.  Know how to say please and thank you in every language you’ll experience. Not being able to say those makes you seem rude!

    Have fun!  We can’t wait to hear about your trip!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      #1 is good to know but I think #2 is essential, especially if I have to do a lot of walking. I haven’t wlaked as my primary source of transportation for 10 years, so I assume I’ll need an adult beverage every night. ;)

  • RachelFelson

    Hey Liz! I LOVE your site! (all caps – thats how serious I am, this is some funny shit!) 

    Here is my advice. While you are more then welcome to go to the Louvre, be sure you go pee before. When I went, I of course forgot to go pee before hand – and let me tell you, that place is fucking massive. It took us 37 minutes to even find a bathroom (I timed it, thats how much I had to pee). My second piece of advice is find a map, and mark which bathroom you used. Because if you decide to use the convent hooks on the back of the door to hold… oh say, your bag that is holding your::

    wallet, camera, umbrella (cause it was really cloudy that morning), brand new “I’m going to Paris so I need sexy lips” $30 lip gloss, and all the hotel keys for your friends (you were trying to a nice person and hold them).

    Yea you will forget that shit. I left my bag on the door as I was rushing to finish up (there was a line and I was trying to be courteous). 

    Well, by the time we re-found that damn bathroom (it was on the ground floor by the greek ceramics) all that was left was my lip gloss. But by that time I was like “Who cares?! The sun came out, I only had 2 bucks, the camera was like 3 years old, my friend had her ID so we could get new keys, and my lips still looked sexy!

    So lesson learned: Pee before you visit any museum larger then a McDonalds, mark which bathroom you use, and don’t try to be nice to others in said marked bathroom.

    Good luck and have a blast in Paris (and Germany – all I know about Germany is they sound angry all the time!)


    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      My bladder thanks you already. And I, as a whole, thank you for the kind and generous compliment. I love you for loving this site. 

      Damn. I am so sorry to hear about the theft. I used to leave my bag in the bathroom a lot or underneath a table when I went to eat out. The only reason I’ve stopped doing this is because I now hook my bag on my shoulder when I pee and I set the bag on top of the table when I’m at a restaurant. 

  • Jaimee Hunter

    I’m. So. Jealous. Have fun, babe! My tip…slip-on shoes and pj bottoms with a sweater and tshirt for the airport. Jersey material for all your clothes.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      OMG, you just reminded me to pack flip flops! I am a germaphobe and hate walking around hotel rooms in bare feet. 

      And totally great for the airport as well. 

      If you’re jealous, you should just come. We would have SO much fun. I guarantee it!

  • Brittany

    In France, say “s’il vous plaît” at the beginning and end of every English sentence. Like, “s’il vous plaît, Can you tell me where the best pastries are s’il vous plaît?” (I DO NOT speak French, but I think it’s pronounced se-von-play) Someone gave me this advice when I went to France and it worked beautifully. (Plus, you’re a young women. More French points for you).

    Germans are super kind to Americans. And while I speak just a little German I don’t have any wise advise like I do for France. Beer = Bier. That’s all you need to know (it’s pronounced the same way).

    (BTW this is my entry for the giveaway. I love me some journals).  


    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      It’s good to know that such an important word is pronounced the same in both languages. I will be using it often. =)

  • Bill-The Authentic Life

    Go to the Frankfurter Haus for traditional german fare. It has been there since 1702. I had a great time there. Apfelwein (wine made from apples) is a regional favorite. Try it, you might like it!

    Gute Reise!
    Bon Voyage!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Apple wine? Oh Bill, you always know exactly what to say.

  • Ally

    My travel tip is to carry hand sanitizer with you everywhere.  Some countries aren’t so big on hygiene.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I read this earlier this week and went out to buy two more bottles of sanitizer. ;) My health thanks you already. 

  • Sarah

    I’ve been to London and Paris on the same trip a few years ago. It was so magical and fun and just remember that at least in France (I’ve never been to Germany, have fun) people were always willing to give us directions and help us out. It’s such a beautiful city. And because Paris is inside out (suburbs on the inside, urban on the outskirts) it makes it very walkable (mostly) and the metro is super easy to take and understand (well it was for me at least, if not look lost and someone will help you). 

    I hope you and Cal have so much fun. Try not to get mugged. ;)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      This is so refreshing to hear. I’ve been told that the Frenchies are rude and unhelpful, and this had given me severe anxiety. Now I feel much better. 

      We will try out best to get mugged. Although….since it’s me we’re talking about here……;)

      • Sarah

        I would also have to echo the mantra of pack light. I took two pair of pants, one pair of shoes and four shirts. I tried to think about the clothes I would buy when I was there (and I did) and it’s so much easier to get more if you didn’t bring enough. I also think it’s cool to buy clothing because it always reminds you of where you’ve been and you’ll have it for years to come.

  • Lo

    I’ve never been to Europe, but for as a packing travel tip, roll your clothes to save room and wear the bulkiest clothes with you on your trip (I also get cold on the plane easily so it’s helpful). I hope this doesn’t happen, but think about what you would need/want with you in case your check-in luggage gets lost. Make sure you have all necessities with you in your carry-on.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Me too! I don’t know why they make those planes so damn cold. And I always end up sitting next to The Chatter, so not only am I cold as hell, I have to nod politely and look at cat pictures on most flights. ;)

  • Tanya Doyle

    I completely relate to your first OG experience.  We were so broke growing up that my first KFC was when I was 18.  So imagine my amazement when my then future husband took me to his family favorite Olive Garden.  I knew I had met the man of my dreams.

    Travel tips?  Always know the exact name of your hotel, to tell your driver when you get lost and need to catch a cab back.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      THAT ONE IS A KEEPER. Glad you locked that one down. 

      Shit….this reminds me….I REALLY have no idea what any of my hotels are named. Thank you for potentially saving me from disaster and mad cab fare.

  • Chelsi Leigh

    I love that you didn’t bash OG. When I got my first period, my mom to me to Red Lobster (the nicest restaurant I had ever been to). I still have a soft spot for those cheddar bay biscuits. 

    My travel tip: read my friend’s blog 
    She lives in London currently, but lived in Paris this spring. She’s got tons of great tips.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That was super dope move on your mom’s part. All I got was a trip to Target to stock up on supplies and a thumbs up. I’m going to totally do this for Cal. Thank you so much for the idea. 

      And thanks for the tip. I will totally check it out. 

  • nikkiana

    Make sure to pack some extra snacks to eat.  I inevitably get hungry before they serve food on the plane, so I always carry something along with me.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I read this tip earlier this week and I’m so glad I did. I stocked up on some tasty snacks last night. My belly thanks you. Actually, my whole family thanks you as I tend to get grouchy as fuck when I’m hungry.

  • Laura

    If things on the planes get rough, don’t’ put Cal on the floor between your feet.  I’m thinking she’s too big for that.  Also, if your hotel room has a chamber pot, you might want to find another hotel.

    That’s a awesome journal you got kickin’ there.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Hell yes. I have bad aim. A chamber pot would never work.

  • Kerochan88

    don’t take your iphone (or android, smart phone, or whatever) out in front of gypsies. they will david copperfield that shit out of your pockets and into theirs

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      LMAO. Seriously, I just laughed out loud. Thanks for the tip and for the chuckle.

  • Heidi

    Drink plenty of water on the flight about 2 glasses an hour. When you arrive don’t nap. Stay up til the time you would normally go to bed or later – if you break and sleep sooner, you will lose 2 days! You and Cal should pack a stick in your bag so you can poke each other when the eyelids start to droop.
    But really, I think the biggest tip is have fun. A trip to Europe is not the time to worry and stress about anything. Whatever happens just remember that you are away with your girl on a fantastic adventure. I’d like the journal too please and thankyou. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      A STICK! BRILLIANT! So multipurpose too. We can use it to stay awake and fend off the pick-pocketers. 

  • Melia

    You are going to have a BLAST! I’m kind of a travel freak, so don’t hate me after this long post! Here’s what you need to know:

    1. ALWAYS carry tissue with you. I mean all the time. Do not leave without it. Toilets there can be weird and often lacking in supplies. 
    2. When in Paris, go to Montmarte at night. Wander the streets, check the shops. It’s magical. Actually, my best advice for Paris is to do everything twice: Once in the day, once at night. There is a significant difference between the Eiffel at night and during the day. And you should see it both ways. 
    3. Keep your cash hidden and don’t carry a purse unless that sucker zips up every which way. And do not carry all your money on you or in the same place. Spread that shit out. 
    4. Eat a chocolate croissant. You will die happy. 
    5. Eating out can be expensive, so go to the local markets and get your own grub. Eat outside at a park. It’s a better way to experience the culture and the people. 
    6. Pack your suitcase with dryer sheets spread out. Just trust me.
    7. Have fun. And probably don’t swear too much. At least not until they know about your amazing blog. Then let loose.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Hate you? Girl, I love you right now for taking the time to leave me these golden nuggets of wisdom. 

      #2 is so brilliant. Even at home, I am amazed at how different everything looks and feels when the sun goes down. 

      #6 I’m LMAO off because I often spill stuff on my clothes and by the end of the trip, my suitcase often smells like whatever 50 things I spilled on my outfits. 

  • Kelsey

    Always make sure you know where the closest bathroom is when you go someplace. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      This is genius and very necessary for my pea-sized bladder.

  • unitedstatesofbecky

    Congrats on your travels!  Hope you have lots of fun.  Kinda jealous.  :)  Pretty awesome looking journals.  Now here’s my tip that I learned from my trip to the Bahamas.  Bottled water – bottled water – bottled water.  Buy it.  Drink it.  Drink more of it.  Always have some on hand and try to avoid local water.  Trust me.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I am getting the feeling that a few Euros spent on bottled water is going to be way less costly than being a prisoner of a hotel room due to, um, unfortunate issues, yes?

      • unitedstatesofbecky

        Yes.  Also?  When you miss your flight due to things coming up…it makes for a whole new mess.

  • Sparklespider

    Best tip ever: Wear your most comfortable shoes.  Wear your most comfortable shoes.  Wear your most comfortable shoes. My feet bled last year I walked so much in Paris. Nothing f*!!! up ones trip as much as aching and blistered feet. And then you have to waste your $$$ on ‘comfortable’ shoes when you would far rather purchase a pair of rhinestone encrusted wedges. I cried!! Have a fantasmagoric trip and Cal is so blessed to have a hip Momma like you for company. xxx

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I took an inventory of what I considered “comfortable shoes” after reading your tip earlier this week. 

      Very eye-opening. I bought a new pair of walkers. My feet thank you.

  • Tom B

    Jet lag suggestion: Reset your watch to your destination’s time immediately upon boarding the overseas flight. Then, start living on the destination time. If possible, deny yourself some sleep until the destination bedtime so that you sleep through your first night. The first day can be hard, but you will be pretty much over jet lag after the first destination night’s sleep.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Genius. I am totally doing this. I get so confused on flights because I can’t calculate what time it’s supposed to be anywhere except the place I just left. Thank you. 

  • Tom B

    Miscelkaneous advice: Carry a fold-up toothbrush and small toothpaste in your purse or carry- on. It is soooo nice to be able to brush your teeth when you wish to do so. You may also prefer your own earphones to the airline ones, although there is nothing wrong with the airline ones. Earplugs are nice, if the engine noise bothers you, although I never use the. Seats near the engine can be loud. Avoid the last row, because the seats do not recline.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      As a person with braces, this is also excellent advice. Even at home, I am hesitant to eat certain foods if I can’t brush my teeth right away. 

  • Claire

    I live in Belgium.  The people can be rude and smell.  You should warn Cal (or yourself) of this before she bursts out with “It smells like B.O.!” like my kid did on a tram once.  It was pretty sweet.  

    Also, don’t order “cheval” or “tartare”…Cheval means horse, and tartare means raw.  Unless you are down with that sort of thing.  Oh, ask for flat water when ordering, they’ll serve you fizzy water otherwise.  And, don’t be shocked that you pay for water…you always get a bottle, not a glass from the tap.  To be quite honest you pay for everything in Europe.  Make sure you always carry tissues, as there is typically no toilet paper in the bathrooms.  Beware of pickpockets – use a bag that has a good closure, and has a crossbody strap.  I was pickpocketed a couple months ago…I was so pissed.  Public transport in Paris is very good, you can buy passes that last all day and maybe even all week.  

    You can check out my blog at  It’s about the trials and tribulations of my sweet life…well, it’s not always sweet.

    Have a great time on your trip.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Noted. I’m not a particularly adventurous eater and accidentally ordering raw horse meat might make me hide in the hotel for the rest of the trip. With my Ho-Hos. 

  • Sarah

    Let change happen without freaking out.  If Cal sees something that inspires a longer look just go with it.  You may miss scheduled times to see other stuff, but the moments you let your daughter’s whimsy lead you are guaranteed to be the most satisfying for both of you!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Cal has a knack for picking good stuff at restaurants, so I’ll keep this in mind as we travel. She might stumble of a gem that my narrow-minded adult brain would have missed.

  • Andrea

    Avoid caffenine on the flight.  Be sure to drink plenty of water.  Also, stretch your legs during the flight to avoid leg pain or worse conditions such as blog clots.
    And, pack all your essentials in your carry-on in case your luggage is delayed.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That is some scary ass shit. I’m going to be jogging up and down the aisles now. Sorry, fellow plane peoples. 

  • Kelly

    You know my travel tip… Buy more than Dos Cervasa, you’re going to need them. Trust me.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Being tip makes any locale better. Wait, did I just say that out loud?

  • Michelle Wheatcraft

    I just got back from France two weeks ago – two luscious weeks in Paris, with some side trips out into the country.  Things I know:  pack nice but comfortable shoes.  You’ll do more walking than you can imagine.  Even if it’s hot, they don’t dress “down” much so you’ll want something to cover your shoulders (they don’t do sleeveless much unless it’s a dress).  It probably will be hot although it’s been an unseasonably cool spring.  Also?  Make sure you have lots of batteries/chargers for the camera – I
    took (literally) a 1000 pictures.  I found a great power converter that
    has all three versions of adapters in one – get that

    Personally, I would skip the top of the Eiffel Tower and go to the top of the Montparnasse skyscraper instead – no lines to speak of, an elevator ride up an ugly building, and views of Paris that are unbelievable.  Did I mention, no lines to go up?  It’s fabulous.  Just go buy picnic foods on Rue Cler and have a picnic lunch on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower instead.  .  If you have limited time, start in the Left Bank (5th Arrondissment) – it seems to have most of the sites, and you can get to the nearby sites easily from there.  Things not to miss:  Saint Chapelle (stained glass), L’Orangerie (Monet’s Les Nympheas, full oval rooms with his paintings all the way around), Musee D’Orsay and the Louvre (we did the Louvre in a 1/2 day simply by sticking to two of the three wings and knowing before-hand what we wanted to see), any of the gardens, Versailles . . . and there is so much more in the country – chateaus and castles and gardens and history – it’s just gorgeous.  I would have said “Notre Dame,” but in my opinion you’re going to see a gazillion cathedrals, basilicas (basilicai?) and churches – probably by the time you get to Notre Dame you’ll be over the majesty of the flying buttresses :).

    In Germany, I’ve only been to Munich but it’s another beautiful city.  The Rathskeller there is amazing, as are the walks through the outdoor markets.  If you get a chance, go into the country – lots of little villages that are old Roman forts.

    Is Italy on the agenda?  Another great country – there, I would say don’t miss Rome – for all the hype, it’s truly a great city, and another great place to access by walking.  Same for Florence – you’ll get there and see from the skyline what all you need to see in person :).

    Finally, if you get the chance spend some time in London if you can avoid the Olympics crush (unless you’re going specifically for the Olympics – then you’ll have to embrace it).  Heathrow and British Air right now are a disaster though, so I would recommend flying into and out of any other airport except Heathrow.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Harv will be in London for part of the trip for work, but we are sticking to several spots in Germany and Paris.

      Good lookin out on the whole sleeveless tip. I just took out about 15 hoochie tank tops from my bag. I’m only a hoochie in the US, in Europe, I’m going to practice being a LADY. 

      God, I totally couldn’t keep a straight face while writing that.

      2 weeks?? Girl, you must be so rested and satisfied from all the deliciousness you just consumed.

  • Aurelia

    I just started reading your blog a couple of weeks ago and I just love it.  Congratulations on the upcoming trip.  The only advice I can give you is to pack some immodium….just in case.  That stuff is magic.  Please enter me in the contest….I am a total journal whore and would appreciate this one very much.  Bon Voyage!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thanks for the kind words!!

      Immodium- check! Bought this last night after reading your comment earlier this week. ;)

  • Katie Wilmot

    Lots of water on the flight.  Two benefits–it’ll keep you from getting dehydrated AND it’ll make you get up often (to use the HUGE facilities), which will keep blood pumping through your extremities. :)  Have a GREAT time!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Can’t beat this tip! Not have skin like dry mud and prevent those blood clots I’m hearing about from not moving about? Winning tip.

  • Megan

    1. Cross-body bag
    2. Ask the locals where they eat – you’ll never regret it
    3. Attempt to speak the language; it will get you much farther
    4. Take a sweater

    I have a total notebook fetish. Want those – now!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I didn’t have a cross-body bag before so I went out and purchased one this week along with one of those secret-ish wallets that goes around your belly. Feel a lot safer now. ;) xo

  • Cassandrap02

    So jealous of Cal! Have fun girl! I’ve never been to Europe, so I don’t have any real-life advice, but if Paris is anything like the movies DO NOT share a taxi with a French guy and make sure you have Liam Nielson’s cell number ;)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      LMAO. I’d like Liam Nielson along with his cell number. Is that too much to ask?

  • Monique

    Hey Girl…Don’t drink the water and take too many pictures!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I will take 1000’s. Pretty sure Cal is gonna be sick of my ass and the camera by the time we’re home.

  • Mrs. One Day

    Oh Liz! How exciting for you and Cal! You are such a good mother and I think you should adopt me. You know I love you!

    My travel tip is be sure to drink plenty of water because all that time in the flying metal tube can dehydrate you quickly. Also, I’d bring a cross-body purse so no one can snatch it and it will be a lot easier on your shoulders that way too.

    I can’t wait to get all the details and oh em gee I love notebooks! I am super old-fashioned in that way. I write down everything from my grocery list to blog ideas to letters. Often times I even write out my blog post first before I head to the keyboard. I would absolutely LOVE to win this prize, yo!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Done. Welcome to the family. Pack your bags quickly! We leave today, dear daughter. 

  • LessThanKate

    So jealous! I love traveling. My parents took me to London and Paris my senior year of high school and I loved it. I will say – in Paris, I tried to order a blueberry muffin and a sprite in french and the women seemed very upset that I tried to speak french and said “What size sprite?”. I was thoroughly upset. My traveling tips – beware of gypsies and pick pockets. They are everywhere, yo. I’ve never been to Germany, but I bet it’s awesome. Maybe don’t mention WWII around there? Ha ha. No idea for tips for there. 

    For Paris – see the Eiffel Tower at night for the first time if you can help it. I was a little girl OBSESSED with Madeline, so it was my dream to go to Paris since I was very little. Our tour guide took us through the streets of Paris at night when we first arrived and somehow managed to hide the tower from us until we walked around the corner to the overlook spot for the Eiffel tower (this has a name – no idea what it is though) at night and I almost cried. It was beautiful. It happened to be right on the hour when we showed up (pretty sure the tour guide planned it that way) so the whole tower was lit up and sparkling. I almost cried. No. We’re friends, I can be honest, I definitely cried. I almost stopped breathing. It was just perfect – exactly how I had imagined. I don’t remember the names of the other things we saw – but I loved it all. I had Nutella crepes underneath the Eiffel tower, and I went to the top of it with some friendly Canadian boys. We also went to the church that’s super high up and looks over the city (again – I can’t remember the name) at night and that was also amazing. The famous cemetery there was cool, and so was Versailles (which I loved because I’m a history buff… I just kept saying “DO YOU REALIZE THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES WAS SIGNED HERE? IN THIS ROOM? LIKE RIGHT HERE!?!?” and my mom kept saying “yes, I do, yes…” And of course the Louvre is awesome. And Notre Dame. So yeah – I pretty much loved it all. Ha ha! Have so much fun and be safe, and have some beer and brats in Germany for me and some wine and delicious little pastries in Paris for me!!!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      LOL. I will totally try not to bring up WWII in Germany. This means I probably shouldn’t drink too much. My lips tend to get looser the drunker I get. 

      I hope loves this trip and remembers it with as much fondness as you do of the trip your parents took you on.;) You remember so much (and I thank you for the invaluable advice) and I hope that I’m not so language-confused that I can’t soak in what I’m seeing. 

      I will have a croissant in your honor. Take good care and I’ll catch you when I get back. xoxo

  • Tabitha W

    Travel Tips..

    Ok  have traveled a lot. Paris is one of my fave places in the whole world!!!!! Dont try to butcher their beautiful language, they don’t look too kindly to that. Also, if you want to take a great day trip, for 90 E you and take the train from Paris to Belgium in just over an hour and a half. Very worth it. Locals are super friendly AND its so easy to get around. To be honest, a day will do ya there. Enough to have some beer, chocolate, fries and waffles then grab the train home again. and the best part is it is part of the EU so no need to bring a passport.

    Dont leave home without…..
    Heys packing cubes. They keep things wrinkle free and neat in your suitcase. Also, they stop things from being damaged or shifting during transit, seriously, best thing ever.

    Plug converter. They have different plugs you will need a converter to use things such as battery charger ect. Your blow dryer and hair straightener will NOT WORK. Also, if what ever plug you take does not have a voltage converter, it will smoke and blow up. So things like your laptop plug will usually be ok, but anything like your blowdryer will not.

    BRING a small travel luggage scale. Hyes sells one which is amazing. Bring extra batteries. Batteries are expensive so hit costco before you leave.

    BRING ALL THE MEDS YOU NEED – adliv, gravol, gasx, ect. They are so expensive to buy over there. Its also so nice to have what you need so you dont get stuck.

    BUY advance passes to popular places such as museums, art galleries, ect I good place to buy these thing are . The tour guides are amazing. That what you KNOW WHAT YOUR LOOKING AT and will have a much greater appreciation for that painting then you would normally.

    In Paris, go to the Luxemburg gardens and bring a picnic. Try to get to rue clare in the 7th district between tues – sat. Its a closed street full of food shopping. Its just amazing. ALSO, get up to  
    Montmartre. Its the most beautiful part of Paris and has the best views. Take the little 5 E train ride through the area. Its a good laugh and also nice to see the sites without walking.

    TRY to get to Shakespear and Co book store. Its one of the most beautiful book stores in the world and also the oldest english book store in paris.

    DO THE CATACOMBS in Paris. but wear close toed shoes because you will step in death water which is creepy and gross and smelly and you will then think your foot will die and fall off when you sleep.

    But a pass for the metro. The metro is clean, safe and wonderful. But dont forget that you need to open the door to get off the train.

    Over all, have FUN! Enjoy!


    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      The second recommendation for beer+fries+waffles+chocolates in Belgium!! I’m definitely going to put this one on the schedule. 

      After reading your tips earlier this week, I got the an adapter for all my plug-ins. The thought of not having a hair dryer and subjecting those Europeans to my shitty ass hair was enough to scare me straight. =)

      I can’t wait to visit the bookstore. I am such a sucker for bookstores anyways, but to visit one that has books in one of the most beautiful languages in the world….sigh….happiness.

  • Alice C.

    Hi Elizabeth!  Good luck with your trip.  Sounds like a fabulous mother-daughter bonding experience.  Having travelled to many places including France and Germany, here are some tips:
    1.  Wear comfortable (but attractive shoes).
    2.  Do bring an umbrella and sunglasses.
    3.  Beware of pickpockets and scammers (if you didn’t knock into someone, you sure as heck didn’t break their glasses; and no, you didn’t lose a wedding ring).
    4.  Don’t plan on buying clothing.  It is super expensive in the EU, especially in France.
    5.  If you go to museums, go super early in the morning, like as soon as they open or the lines will be horrendous.  
    6.  Don’t go for set menus.  If you see a lot of tourists eating somewhere, avoid that restaurant at all costs.
    7.  Lawns are not for sitting in France.  They are very particular about their grass, so impromptu picnics are out.    
    7.  Cashiers do not pack up your bags in France.  You will be required to do so yourself.  
    7.  Restaurants and other shops close really early in France.  Be prepared so you won’t go hungry.  
    8.  You MUST check out the big flea market in Paris – kind of a sketchy neighborhood, FYI.
    9.  In Germany, you should try some currywurst.
    — Hope this helps!  Can’t wait to hear about your adventures.  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Whoa, girl, fabulous advice. Thank you so much. I shoulda just brought you with me because you clearly know your shit, and I…well, I just know jackshit. ;)

      #4 hurts my heart a little, ain’t gonna lie. I was planning to get some super chic clothes while I was over there, but it’s if too spendy I def won’t be able to. At least I’m prepared beforehand and I won’t be in for a rude awakening when I land. 

  • Angie Uncovered

    Have fun and here you go (French): 
    Ask how much something costs. C’est combien? 

    Ask for a lawyer. Je veux un avocat.

    Tell people that my name is Catherine and that I’m from Brussels. Je m’appelle Catherine. Je suis de Bruxelles. 

    Hello. I speak very little French, but I would like to get good bread, real butter, great wine, and a place to sleep where I won’t be molested by strangers. Please help me. Salut. Je parle français très peu, mais j’aimerais obtenir le bon pain, beurre, grand vin et un endroit pour dormir, où je ne molesté par des étrangers. Veuillez m’aider.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Clearly, you know me way too fucking well if you had to tell me how to ask for a lawyer in French.

      Also, I’ve just decided to go by Catherine in France. I think it’ll give the trip a memorable touch. 

      I like being molested by strangers, but…..I’ll learn this last one anyway. 

  • Heidi Lujan

    For the airport wear socks, with shoes that are easy to take off (I wore flip flops last time i flew and had to walk around barefoot on the nasty floor), and don’t wear any metal jewelry (beads and things that wont set off the metal detectors are fine if you just have to be FAB while flying :) )
    And of course wear comfy shoes everywhere. You will probably walk wayyy more than you think you will – on our trip to new york we had an app that tracked how far we walked, one day we were did 11 miles in 85 degree weather… my feet were swollen for days!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Holy shit! 11 miles?! I bow to your physical fortitude. I drive down the street to the gas station to get a pack of gum!

      I reassessed my shoe collection after seeing “wear comfortable shoes” so many times. Sad to say, I didn’t have any that really qualified. Or maybe….happy to say, since I had to buy new shoes. ;)

      • Heidi Lujan

        Holy shit is right! I thought I was gonna die that day. I was so ready to get back to Utah where we have CARS! And I can drive my fat ass two blocks to the gas station to get a drink.

  • Misty

    Get these:
    Use them for when the plane takes off and lands.  They have kid’s sizes and adult sizes.  That way you won’t have that annoying need to pop your ears.  Lifesavers.
    Have so much fun!  You know you are like the best mom ever, right?  Make sure you walk everywhere and eat lots and lots of delicous french pastries!  And definitely ask all the locals where the best places to eat are.  Go to the Louvre, but be prepared to walk for miles, cuz that place is hugemungous!  (Also be prepared that the Mona Lisa is the size of that notebook up there.  Seriously).  Walk up the Champs Elysee and stop into all the cute Parisian shops.  Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  Take a boat ride down the Seine.  Go to Notre Dame.  So much to do and so much fun to be had!  Enjoy every minute.
    I’ve got nothing for Germany.  Sorry.
    Oh, and I want the notebooks.  Obviously.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      BAM. I think you just saved me from crying like a little baby. My ears are wrecked from allergies right now anyway, so this will come in handy. 

      Damn girl, you know your Paris. Look at you all worldly and shit. Just another reason to love you. 

  • Rachel Smith

    Dammit! I was going to suggest eating croissants every morning.  Ok, buy bottled water. No? Ok, ummm…stare at the maps for the train and look utterly clueless while muttering “Je ne parle…” and someone will have mercy on you and point you in the right direction. That’s what I did in Paris. I cannot promise that they will not snicker behind your back tho.  And umm…yeah, I’d like the journals. Please and thank you.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Yo, croissants morning, noon, and night!

      I’m totally down with people laughing at me, used to it by now, so if I can get some assistance out of it, all the better!

  • Perfectly Single

    1. Water. Drinks lots of water on the flight; dehydration is not the way to start out your European tour!!  2. yoga pants and flip flops for the flight as well. You’re going to spend more than half-a-day traveling, might as well be super comfy. 3. If you can get away from Paris, I hear the South of France is much more exciting and fun than Paris!!

    I love journals!! I hope I win!! Have a great trip! Can’t wait to hear (read) all about it!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I look for every opportunity to wear yoga pants. I wear them even when it is not appropriate. ;)

  • Andi

    Oh my God, I am SO JEALOUS.  Of Cal.  I studied in England for a summer of college and wanted to go to Europe, but the money never materialized and now I’m old and broke….

    My travel tips are pretty general. If you’re doing any train travel, get passes as soon as you land; Eurorail is significantly cheaper by pass.  Take public transportation as much as possible because you do NOT want to do something silly with your AAA card, and taxis are ruinously expensive. Take machine-washable, durable clothes because European washing machines are bizarre and have odd cycles, and our machines at the college in England drove me crazy.  Take something where you can download books and maps (like a Kindle, iPad, iPhone).  Have some clothing that goes past your knee because if you want to visit cathedrals, they will sometimes insist that your knees and shoulders be covered.  Or your head.  In fact, just pack a long shawl and then you can improvise a cover-up!  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I am so glad for these tips. I can’t tell you how many pairs of hoochie shorts and tank tops I unpacked this week. I went to Forever 21 and bought a bunch of semi-respectable looking dresses so at least I won’t be denied entrance into spots. ;)

  • Lorraine

    My advice would be to not be afraid to talk to the locals.  The best experiences are with the people, not the place.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Soooo true! I haven’t traveled much outside the country, but even in different states, I love to talk up strangers. I don’t really know if they love it that much, but they sure at polite about it. =)

  • Djcghobbs4

    Drink plenty of water!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Will do!;)

  • Vicky VB

    Those look awesome!
    I always put a copy of my passport in each of my luggage/carry on just in case. I guess snapping a picture with my phone would work too… anyway, that way in case anything happens to your passport you have all the info on it. Hope you ladies have a fab time!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Spoken like a seasoned traveler. I feel pretty good about myself if I make it all the way to Target. It’s kinda far. Like 5 miles. 

  • thoughtsappear

    I wish you were my mom! Have a lovely trip!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I could be. And all my kids qualify to go on this trip, so……

  • LA

    I’ve been to Paris. I’ve been chased down the streets of Paris by horn dogs. It’s a different world Liz. If I catch someone’s eye here in the states by accident, I smile briefly and look down. In Paris, I NEVER looked anyone in the eye. I learned that the hard way. I looked one guy in the eye, smiled at him, and he took that as “You are slutty American, let’s do it.”  S’il vous plait is pronounced “See voo Play” Thank you =  Merci. Not pronounced “Mercy” like my friend said the entire trip (I wanted to murder her no joke) but more like…mehl say. The HL sound comes if you pretend like you are hocking a loogie. If you get sick of French food, find Le Bip Burger. They will live on in my heart. My two years of high school French didn’t prepare me for shit. However, I got into BIp Burger, saw Orangina (an orange drink of some sort) and lost my shit. “I LEARNED ABOUT THAT IN FRENCH CLASS!!!” I screamed. “Do you think they have ham sandwiches!? I can order ham sandwiches!” Je voudrais au sandwiche du jambone…bitches. It’s been well over 12 years since I have been in high school, so I may be writing that wrong, but you get the point. 
    Oh! one more thing. This was a scam when I was there, not sure if it still applies. You may have someone come up to you and give you a gold ring saying you lost it. You can try and insist you didn’t, but they will scamper off before you can give it back. You will see them a block or two later begging for money. Just FYI.  Oh lord, I forgot about the Eiffel Tower. You may not have it as bad as I did, because I am black, and the Africans saw a black person, lost their shit and tried to bombard me with souveniers to buy. I ran off with my friend and one of them screamed “COME BACK MY SISTER!!” There is usually a hoarde of them (Indians and Africans) waiting for you to show up and will somewhat harass you to buy cheap ass trinkets from them. I skipped the trinkets and got a really cute drawing of the tower. It is framed on my wall as we speak. It is really gorgeous. If I think of anything else, I’ll message you on FB or Twitter. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Are you hankering to go back at all. Actually, do you want to go anywhere? I’m down because it seems like traveling with you would be a fucking blast. Let’s just leave the menfolk at home and go somewhere and start some shit. Think about it. No pressure. 


  • LA

    Oh yeah, the Louve. My friend and I got separated. A guard yelled at me because I  just sat my ass on the floor (GET CHAIRS THEN MOFO!), I gave up on my friend and trekked back to the hotel. I read French better than I speak it, so I had no problems on the subway. My friend however, who has eschewed any type of foreign language (she’s half mexican and can’t speak spanish.) was lost for 2 hours. All she could say in passible French is Merci (which, like I said, she pronounced MERCY!) and Mardi Gras (and she put a hard S on the Gras *shudder) It took her a while to find someone to help her. By the time she made it back, I was in Bip Burger chilling with the owner. He was freaking awesome. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Well, people say that the ground is the world’s largest chair. 

      Actually, no one says this but me, but I think it’s totally valid. 

      Mercy for the tips. I mean…Merci. I swear I’m just kidding. Please don’t hit me. 

  • Nina Madrid

    Drink lots of water. Pack lightly. Take a pocket journal. Don’t forget to let people take pictures of YOU. There’s nothing worse than going through your pics and discovering there is not an ounce of proof YOU were there!!!

    Please enter me in the giveaway. I LOOOOOOOVVVVEEEE Miro notebooks!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Does this mean I have to brush my hair and put on some chapstick? Heavens no! ;)

  • MomtoLMA

    Chocolate Croissants in Paris…, That is all. (

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Amen, sista, amen.

  • Danielle R

    That trip sounds awesome! I hope you have a great time! :)
    As for travel tips, if you plan on shopping there, make sure to leave space for your new things in your luggage. Plan stuff that you want to do, but rank them in order of most importance because days always seem to fly by when you’re traveling.
    (I’d like to be entered in the giveaway, too! Those journals look so nice!)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      We’ve had vacations where we overplan and some that we underplan, and hands down, the ones where we leave room to just explore always seem more enjoyable. Which is why I told myself it’s totally okay that I haven’t thought of one thing to do and had to ask you guys instead. So, y’all are really planning this vacay for us. ;)

  • Therese

    Oh my …couldn’t read through all of it but packing tip is get packing cubesfor the cubes.  Makes life very easy esp when going to different countries/stops.  Bubble wrap wine bottle shaped sleeves for your “souvenirs”

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I totally just tried googling many different variations of cubesfor the cubes and came up empty-handed. Damn it, I wish I had more intuitive skills.

  • Alexandria Campbell

    Wow! Cal is one lucky ho-but ho in a good way. I don’t mean to imply ho like your daughter sleeps around a lot but like ho as a term of endearment ya know? Have a blast!

    Also this reminds me of when my brother wanted to buy an RV & drive to Disney. He sent away for all the promotional videos but when parents still said no he tried selling them as blank VHS tapes on EBAY. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress


      You have a very very ingenious brother. Although, this will make me check any future blank tape purchases on Ebay more thoroughly.;)

  • Lacey Elam

    I just returned to the States after living in Germany for four months. Germans are, on the whole, a very nice lot when it comes to tourists. Most people speak English quite well and if they don’t, they’ve mastered the art of pointing and communicating via lifted eyebrows. As for France, Parisians are not going to like you no matter what. The country side residents are much nicer! I hope you guys have a blast! I hope I can take my mom to Europe in a few years. :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      BAM. That’s so fucking gangsta that you got to live there. 

      I can’t wait to befriend the locals in Germany and just stay the fuck out of the way of those French. ;)

  • Lynellekw

    My travel tip: point and smile.  Smile a LOT.  I don’t speak anything other than English (well, I can order a large coffee and two scoops of chocolate icecream in French, ask for water in Korean, and manage hello/goodbye/thankyou in French, Korean, Indonesian, an Australian Aboriginal language, and Polish), but I tell people I’m fluent in pointing.  On a trip to France I once successfully ordered a quarter roast chicken through a combination of pointing at the menu and enthusiastic charades to explain I wanted the wing quarter, not the leg.  Much to the amusement of my dining companions (at least one of whom spoke some French, so why the hell they let me go through that bizarre performance with the waitress – we must have looked like we were performing some obscure dance routine – instead of just TELLING her what I wanted, I’ll never know).  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh, girl, I love how you’re all “I don’t speak anything other than English” and then you go on to list all your other language skills. Keepin’ it humble. I like your style. 

      Didn’t all that miming work up an appetite? So, everyone got a damn good show and you got some delish chicken. Win-win. ;)

      • Lynellekw

        One of my failings in life is I feel the need to be specific. ALL THE TIME.  It’s not enough for me to say, “I can ride a bike”, I have to say “I can ride a bike but I have to keep both hands on the handlebars and I don’t like to go fast or up hills.”  

        My other travel tip: don’t be grumpy.  People are helpful to confused tourists, kind to unwell tourists, and work hard to understand tourists who are smiling and imitating a chicken, but they have little tolerance for grumpy tourists.  I speak both as having been a tourist in countries where I don’t speak the local language and having lived in a town with a LOT of tourists that didn’t speak the local language.  And eat whenever you’re hungry.  That helps prevent the grumpy.

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          It’s like my husband sent you. I am SUPER grumpy when I am hungry but in the moment, I am too hungry to even realize this (I know that sounds really stupid, sorry) and my husband is always like “eat, eat!!” 

          • Lynellekw

            My mother & sister are the same. If we all travel together I keep an eye out for the early signs of a grumpiness attack and announce that I need a break if I think they’re getting hungry, because if I tell them they should eat they insist they’re not hungry and don’t need to and then it all gets worse.

  • Rachel B

    Lucky for you I’m the non douchey version of Rick Steves so here are a few of my travel musts,
    #1 ROLL your clothes. Seriously you can fit so much more in. Also, don’t be afraid to shove your underwear and socks into random nooks, inside your shoes, and empty water bottles. (bring a water bottle)
    #2 don’t take large liquid bottles for shampoo and toothpaste. Go immediately to LUSH and purchase their solid shampoo and toothpaste tablets. They take up much less room and are awesome. I use them both even when not traveling
    #3 SLEEP on the plane, if it means taking melatonin, Tylenol PM, or Vicodin you won’t regret it. Take it from someone who lived in rural Africa, time zones suck and the best way to combat jet lag is to sleep on the plane and not after you arrive.
    #4 if your prone to cancles take a baby aspirin before the flight to keep your blood circulating
    #5 take 2 pairs of comfy shoes to walk in so you don’t get blisters wearing the same pair every day
    #6 ENJOY. Have fun and take lots of pictures to remember this time with Cal.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      What’s this you say about solid shampoo and toothpaste tablets?? That sounds fucking awesome and I must get some immediately. 

      My body swells up like a blimp on flights. Even 3 hr flights to Tx. So, I assume I’m going to need that baby aspirin and some clothes with elastic. Awesome. 

  • you gotsars!

    First (and most important really) is there any possibility you gave up blue eyed blonde ass white child for adoption before you were born? If you may have then…. MOM!!! Take me with please??? I’ll be really quiet and good and totally make sure no thugs get anywhere near you or Cal and will take them out with my hardcore ninja skillz! If not then I would like to hear all about your trip when you steal Becca and come up to visit Jen, Bro-Ho and I in July. 

    Second… I too dream (to this day) of Italy. I’ve been overheard saying I would give up food for six weeks then eat my way around Italy to fatten back up. 

    Last, travel tips: don’t walk around with your headphones in, if you are going to use a navigator, designate one person to look and the rest to make sure they don’t smack into a pole (I’ve totally never done that or anything) and eat where the locals do not where other Americans are eating. Food is the best way to meet people and find out what’s happening. Families hanging out will show you where to take Cal and you will have a way better experience with her. Also, per Luis CK, stay away from ponies.

    love you. send me shit :D

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      July? Is that when the shiz is going down? I need deets!! I was not aware…unless y’all hos were keeping it from me.;)

      Also, now that you mention it, yes, YES, I do think I gave up a child several years before I was even born. I’ve always wondered how you turned out. I hope I don’t disappoint you as a birth mother. Come with us to Europe, child. 

      • you gotsars!

        It was the best miracle birth ever. Who needs a virgin birth when you can have a pre-conception birth… All the awesome with no weight gain. And details to follow via the emails

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          We should do some kind of documentary about this. 

          • you gotsars!

            We could be rich!!! Immaculate Double Conception!

          • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

            I like money so this really works for me. 

  • Korihale

    Loved France & Germany!! Tip – fast food is not cheap over there. Plan ahead my friend. And a better tip – drink a ton of water, it’s super easy to get dehydrated and not realize it until you have a migraine. Which means you need to pay extra attention to Rachel Felson’s advice above.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You know what I heard too? That the ketchup at “American” fast food joints tastes totally different! Not as sweet and more…savory? 

  • Jenna

    Pack light?  I don’t know, I have a cranky toddler, not much travelling for me lately.  I’ll need my own tips once I get out of the house.  Can’t wait to hear all about your trip.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I am TERRIBLE at packing light, so this is a good thing to keep in mind. 

      Oh man, sometimes staying in is so much easier than going anywhere with a small one. Many times, I didn’t even want to go to the store. It was too much of a hassle. Or maybe I was just lazy. I’m not sure.

  • Maya Nasr

    As far as France is concerned, escargot (snails) and langue du boeuf (cow tongue) will require you to take a moment to discern if you truly want to go down that digestive road. I mean, just think of Julia Roberts’ snail fiasco in “Pretty Woman” and that was before she even got a bite of the dish! 
    Enjoy every minute of your travels! :) 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      If I could have Julia’s cleavage, I would totally let a snail fly across the room. But otherwise, I think I may have to give certain dishes some serious consideration. xo

  • Jen Thornton O’Brien

    a. always take a tinkle before you set off sight seeing. also i’m not sure if France operates under the pay-for-toilet-paper rule that i found in Italy but make sure you have little money to pay for your squares.
    b. ask for vegetarian if the food looks too weird. when i went to Italy with a group, they would serve meat that i couldn’t figure out what it was so I asked for vegetarian to be safe.
    c. if you have a sensitive stomach or hell a stomach at all, take those Pepto pills with you, those are awesome.
    d.if you have ear popping issues, i highly recommend those Ear-Planes  ear plugs you can get at the drug store. These are the only way I can fly without screaming bloody murder.

    Have Fun!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh, the meat tip is golden!! My braces make it tough for me to chew tough meat anyway, so I am always super nervous when I have to order a dish and I don’t really know what’s in there. And this is when I can read every word of the menu in English. ;)

  • Mel

    I always pack more than I need, because I like to be extra prepared. I bring one or two pairs of jeans, and just a bunch of tops ranging from regular tees and nicer tops that I can wear to classier, less touristy places. Bring one jacket that will work for any situation; for my most recent trip, I brought a light mauve blazer and a light beige cardigan to match everything else I brought.

    If I know I’ll be gone while I’m on my period, I pack extra, extra tampons. But I don’t travel by plane, so I don’t know if TSA allows tampons.

    Know phrases in German and French. “Please” and “thank you” are musts, but also know how to ask for directions and help in case of emergency.

    The most important thing, though, is to be open-minded and adventurous! 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      LOL. girl, you must know the TSA pretty well. They have confiscated the weirdest shit from me. However, they let me though no less than 10 times with a lighter. Alrighty then.

  • LA

    Oh yeah, I want to be entered in the giveaway!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress


  • teapotlady

    The Paris flea-market is fabulous, if you enjoy that kind of thing.  Their antiques are REALLY antiques.  Fabulous stuff you’ll not find anywhere in the US.  I’d go again in a minute!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh LA LA. I am totally into that kinda thing! I don’t mind overpaying for old used stuff that my husband sometimes refers to as “junk.” If that’s the case, I LOVE JUNK!

      That sounded nasty a little bit. Sorry. 

  • Amber

    ooo those are nice notebooks. I’d love to win.
    My travel tip is…well I don’t really have one cause I don’t travel often. ha.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I used to sit my ass at home because I couldn’t afford to go anywhere. Now, I like to sit my ass at home because well, home is good sometimes. =)

  • Erma

    Take vitamins. You never know what you’re gonna catch.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Ah, yes. Are Ho-Ho’s vitamins?

  • Kathy Wilkinson

    Have a fabulous trip!   Take pictures but not at the expense of being in the moment.  And pick me!  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh, good tip. I am the Perfect Shot Getter, which takes like 5 min per pic. =)

  • Jes

    EVIAN SPRAY! And thick moisturizer. Slather and Spray your bad self all the way over. And make SURE to ask for ketchup in Paris. Also, on a real note, look for our American Troops in the German Airport, they are going home. :) Buy one a beer :). (<- I'm the wife of a Wounded Marine. I just totally volun-told you to buy them a beer or three ;)).

    Have fun!!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I listen whenever someone volun-tells me anything. 

      I will do it. And I will tell them Jes sent me. ;)

  • Jes

    Totally forgot.

    I’d love to be part of the giveaway. :)

    Thank you! And have fun!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Fo sho. 

  • Johi Kokjohn-Wagner

    Since it has been ages since I have really travelled, I will share with you the tip that I shared today on my blog: Put the napkin OVER the hand BEFORE you catch the vomit.
    You’re welcome.
    But seriously, have a great trip and don’t forget to pick me as The Winner.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      This is a total Golden Nugget of Wisdom. 

      Like, plaque-worthy. 


  • Anne

    What a lucky daughter you have.  Take public transit, I love the trains in Europe and find the train stations beautiful and fascinating. Visit Cologne, it is my favorite German city (compeletly biased because I live there).  Paris is fabulous as well, a nutella crepe from a stand is an absolute must.  Second the comment about Musee d’Orsay it is an incredible explosion of color and as it covers a shorter time period in art and while it is concentrated it is also possible to see the development of painting during the time period.

    Oh yeah, there is almost no air conditioning in Europe including most hotels that are affordable to stay in.  For a hot day the inside of a church or a museum is a good respite from the heat.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      We are SO excited to take the train from Frankfurt to Paris. I have never been on a long train ride like that and Cal certainly hasn’t so it’s going to be a total treat for us. 

      OMG. I totally forgot about Nutella! Guess what I’m gonna do ten times a day!?!?!?

  • Molly B.

    Nothing i love more than journals!  (well maybe my kids.  maybe.)  One of my favorite travel tips is to make sure you stop enough for your kids.  It may take longer, but  you will get there saner.  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I value what little sanity I have left. 

      I tend to be impatient and Cal tends to be slow. God has a sense of humor. 

  • Renee Squared

    Jetlag is a bitch.  For me drinking a lot of water and getting on local time as quickly as possible helps immensely.  So do naps and coffee. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I am more scared of jetlag than pickpockets. Naps for everyone!

  • Ann

    Some great suggestions here already! I’m going to echo some of my favorites. 
    – definitely pack as light as you can, and you can take a little bottle of ultra-condensed detergent to wash small items (tshirts, undies) in the sink in the hotel.
    – I was always more comfortable with my passport on me at all times; get one of those hidden belts or bags that go around your neck under your clothes. Dorky and gross, but great for peace of mind.
    – photocopy your passports and the front & back of your ID & credit cards. Keep one copy in the safe in your hotel room and leave one copy with someone you can reach at home.
    – pack comfy shoes, and walk as many places as you & Cal have energy to. If you take the subway everywhere, you miss so much!
    – leave time to wander and relax.
    Enjoy and safe travels!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Ah! detergent! perfect! I am a pretty sloppy person, even more than my 12 yr old, so this is a great tip. Thank you!

      I am going to try walking to more places. I was originally planning to cab it, but I guess the more I walk, the  more I can eat, yes? :)

  • danperezfilms

    If anybody gives you any shit in Germany, put on your gangsta face, look them in the eye, tell them, “Verpiss dich!” and stare them down like you’re about to kick their ass. Someone tries to give you shit in Paris? Gangsta face, look in eye, tell them “Va te faire foutre!”, stare them down.

    You’ll thank me afterwards.
    Safe travels :-)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Youre my resource for all things foreign gangsta. 

      You continue to delight and surprise me in many, many ways. Too bad all filmmakers can’t be so great. But I guess that makes the good ones even better. 

  • Vivian

    Ah, Olive Garden, my daughter’s fav place to eat & her go-to whenever we ask where she wants to go. Nevermind the fact that her dad can make a mean fettucini alfredo at home! Man, you sure you can’t take me with you & Cal?! Europe sounds pretty sweet right about now.

    Oh yea, DON’T forget to pack underwear. I wouldn’t want Cal coming back with that frilly exotic stuff from France now ;)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Come! The more, the merrier! Think of all the french books we could ooh and aah over. No matter that we can’t really read that stuff (or…can you?). 

  • Julronimo

    Drink the coffee. Everywhere. The best cup of coffee I ever had was in France. In a silly little outdoor restaurant. And if offered, get the strawberries and cream. No matter the cost. Trust me, they are worth it! Have a great time!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      OH man! I miss coffee and other caffeinated beverages so so much. I currently can’t have caffeine, but I bet the decaf is just as good. Please say yes. 

  • Amanda_couch

    Le Vertbois restaurant in Paris was such a delight I had dinner there two nights running. It’s small and has one seating, so reserve ahead. Very affordable, delish 3-course meal, and the owners will translate the menu for you.

    The best tourist attraction for me was the catacombs. Bring a flashlight if you want to photograph the skulls. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You had me translate. My belly thanks you already. I will be SURE to go. 

  • FunnyOrTragic

    I’ve traveled overseas quite a bit.  The first time my family traveled, it was to India on a business related trip for my dad.  Someone slit my mom’s fanny pack and stole our passports and cash.  WHich is why I tell you to know where the american embassy is.  And even though credit cards are everywhere, bring some travelers checks, so you can get refunded if they are stolen.  And bring some immodium and pepto tablets, cuz you never know what will sit funny with you.  Those are all essential.  Otherwise?  As horrible as it sounds, make sure everyone keeps their voice down.  The loud american thing is a stereotype that will get you seated at the crappiest table at a restaurant, the worst hotel room, etc.  On the up side?  Everything else is awesome and fun–even small stuff.  I had a friend who went to Brussels and kept talking about the tamarind flavored toothpaste they bought.  :D  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      NOOOOOO…..that is so shady. That musta been such a hassle for your family with no passports and at least a good chunk of money gone. 

      Those Indians are all about karma, no? Hmmm. 

      I’ll try to keep my voice down. I have to bring tape though if this is going to work. 

  • Shella

    When you go to a sit down restaurant, plan to be there a couple of hours.  Europeans aren’t as concerned with quickly flipping tables like Americans are.  They expect you to sit and talk over a bottle of wine for a considerable amount of time before and after your meal arrives. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Hil-fucking-arious. If I were to make a pit stop in Italy, could I table flip? If they get mad, I can say I learned it from one of their own. 

  • Rollerscrapper

    Only an og would love the olive garden, which would explain my love for their alfredo pasta :)
    My tip is that if you se something in the ground or someone drops something, do not pick it up, it is a scam where a person will try to get you to give them money, eg a man drops a ring, you pick it up and he acts like you stole it and you need to give him money, he will hassle you until you give him money. That happened to a friend, basically nothing is free, even taking you photo with a street performer, or peeing, so bring small coins or bills for that, the british day “spend a penny” for going to potty for a reason! Enjoy my og friend!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      OMG, just saw the email you sent and I cannot wait to go and adore all the pics and have major baby love. 

      Thanks for the tips, mama. (Does it still feel weird to be called mom? My kid is 12 and it still catches me off guard. Just kidding. A little.)

      • RollerScrapper

        yes totally, it is especially trippy how i find myself talking about myself in the third person like i was elmo or some shizz like that…mommy’s right here, mommy loves you, mommy needs a nap… :)

  • Jage Cooper

    Eat the bread in France. Someone might have said this already but trust me, do it. I went on a highschool trip and one girl refused to eat the bread and, no, it was delicious.

    And if you can get a cute bag that you can have on you at all times that is difficult to get to, do that too. I’ve had a few friends go over there and have their bags/cameras/wallets stolen and they swore they were taking extra precautions so somewhere that you can put your important things without it being a hassle is key.

    Have fun!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That girl missed out. I hope she knows. Or…maybe not….that’s not the kind of mistake you can recover from. ;)

      I am leaving all the better purses at home and purchased a cheapie crossbody bag at Target this week. If they want to steal it, they going to have to rip off my torso to do it. 

  • Jennifer Folmar

    I’m totally jelly. I’ve never been out of the US, but it’ll happen one day. I get vicarious pleasure through blogs like The gal who writes that one decided that living in Paris for a year was a definite yes, so she packed up the hubby and kids and off they went. She wrote about all the cool shit there is to do in and around Paris while there. Have so much fun! (Also, those notebooks are rad as hell. Office supplies and stationery make me furiously happy, just ask my boyfriend. I have been known to drop substantial cash on pencils, paper, stickers, etc. )

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      What a brave woman. I would totally do this and live somewhere overseas if I had the balls to do so. I’m afraid just navigating the streets of LA!

  • Ksyu

    My tip would be to pack light and bring home lots of souvenirs from the best parts of your vacation! Looking back at souvenirs always takes you back to your vacation, and who wouldn’t want to have memories of their favorite parts?  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I am a huge sucker for knick knacks, so this is an EXCELLENT tip. My mom used to collect souvenir spoons when I was a kid, so we had those laying around the house everywhere. I try to get things that are a little more practical….but it never really works out that way. =)

  • panalotta

    In Germany you can’t really shop on Sundays (except at airports and train stations), so watch out you don’t run out of anything important on a Saturday evening. And Frankfurt has great places, museums and suchlike but isn’t really very pretty in general, so wandering aimlessly around – which works fantastically in other cities – doesn’t really work here.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I’ve heard Frankfurt is a great spot if you’re really into museums or nightlife. I would really love to experience the latter, but I’m pretty sure they would frown upon a 12-year-old in their midst.=)

  • newfoundjoye

    Gaah! I’m too late to tell you about all of the awesome things you should do in Germany and Paris. Also, I was in Germany for two weeks (plus a short stint in Paris before you two arrived overseas)—therefore, we were in the same country for a while. Weird!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      AWWWW DAMN. It was kind of like we were on vacation together, though…..without actually hanging out or talking or sharing a meal. That’s a bad friend vacation, if I do say so myself. I hope you had an amazing time.