Paris Travel Part 1: What to do when you have no itinerary

There's SO much I can say about the beautiful Parisian city, I almost don't know where to start.  But I can say I fell in love.  I've always admired from afar the architecture, Parisian sense of style, and the overall energy of the city.  I feel so lucky to have actually experienced this in person. 

Because there's so much, I'm breaking down my Paris trip in a 2 part series!  Today I'm sharing 6 most memorable things we did.

Do you ever travel without an agenda?  Without a check list of places to go?  We did not have an itinerary to follow for the most part.  What we did do though, is once we checked into our Airbnb, we wrote down a few places as a starting point for the day.  Then we went from there.  But we went about our days without expectations.  I almost prefer this way of traveling.  What about you?  Do you like to plan out your trips or go with the flow?  

Either way, here are 6 things things you can consider doing if you're like me, and didn't plan beforehand, ha! 

1.  Walk the City

I never thought I'd say this, but I was so excited to walk.  Coming from LA you get so used to driving everywhere, you think walking down the street to the grocery store is a hassle.  But not in Paris.  By walking, you get to actually see the architecture, the ornate details of every building, people walking, sit down at a cafe, and be a part of the everyday Parisian people.  I recommend taking the metro to be able to visit more areas, but walk as much as you can. 

What to do in Paris
What to do in Paris
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paris travel blog
paris travel blog
Paris travel blog review what to do in paris blogger

2.  Angelina 

Angelina Paris

If you want a Parisian restaurant experience, have lunch at Angelina (or brunch or dinner, of course).  I've actually never heard of Angelina until my travel sister mentioned it.  But when I looked it up, I was so excited to see the interior and try their famous Mont Blanc!  The restaurant is over 100 years old and is the epitome of what a Parisian restaurant would look like.  To be honest, I was more excited about the interior, than the food :p That's not to say the food wasn't good though - the roasted sea bass fillet I had, was well prepared, juicy, and tasty.  But I'd have to say, the Mont Blanc was my favorite and I would return for these.  They also retail chocolates (which they're known for), teas, confectionaries, and other delicatessen products.

Angelina Paris
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Angelina Paris
Paris angelina travel blog what to do review

3.  Rent a bike

When in Paris, ride a bike through the city.  This was one of the scariest things I did while we were there. I was so scared at the thought of going through the streets of an unfamiliar place, riding only inches away from cars... I almost didn't do it.  But ended up being the most fun and exhilarating activities we did. Sounds so cliche but there's nothing like the wind blowing through your hair and taking in the beauty of the city, being uncomfortable but comfortable all at the same time. 

paris travel blog what to do
paris travel blog what to do
travel blogger hikari paris city guide what to do

4.  Musee Carnavalet

Musee Carnavalet was the one place both Lara and I really wanted to visit.  We saw photos on Instagram and knew we had to get a few photos of our own!  Nestled in Le Marais, this museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of the city.  The day we went, admission was free, so we scored there!  I actually loved how intimate this museum was.  It was a smaller museum, packed with history.  My favorite was the courtyard.  I could sit in the courtyard forever...!

Musee Carnavalet
Musee Carnavalet blog review
Musee Carnavalet blog review
musee carnavalet review photos
musee carnavalet review photos
musee carnavalet review photos
Musee carnavalet review travel blog paris blogger hikari murakami

5.  Stroll the La Seine Area

One of my favorite things we did was take a (long) walk along La Seine. La Seine is "The River" where you can take your time to stroll, rest at a cafe, visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame, take a boat ride, or walk across Ponte Alexandre III.  Pretty much wherever you end up, there's scenery to admire and something to do.  HIGHLY recommended!    

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Paris travel blog review what to do in paris blogger
La Seine review paris travel blog
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travel blogger hikari paris city guide what to do

6.  The Louvre

Louvre museum travel blog city guide
The louvre travel paris blog what to do

Not to be such a sap, but the magnificence of the Louvre really got to me when I saw this place in person.  Pictures don't do justice at all and I won't forget how I felt.  We came when it was about to close, so we didn't get to explore the inside, but because of how big it is, you would probably need a whole day inside!  But even if you don't have time to go inside, it's totally worth it to visit for the outside!

Louvre paris blog travel

Je t'aime Paris, I'll be back

There's so much more (to do) to Paris, but you'll just need to get there to experience it firsthand ;)  Can't wait to be back in my favorite city and explore more.  Stay tuned for Part 2 - What To Wear & Practical Travel Tips.

Au Revoir!

Night paris blog travel

5 Things I Focused on During My First Year of Freelancing Full Time

I quit my corporate job exactly one year ago, and proud to say that I've been freelancing hair/makeup full time now for a good year (I was freelancing on the side prior).  There were things from my corporate job that I applied as a freelancer, but I've learned a lot more by being on my own and actively growing my own business.  Having no safety blanket of a corporate job lit a fire under my a** to really get my business going.

Thought I would share 5 things I focused on this year and how it all went! 

1.  BRANDING

Branding was the first thing I worked on.  As an artist, I feel that I'm constantly working on this.  Branding is almost like soul searching.  You have to ask yourself, what kind of artist are you?  Who are you and who do you want to be?  What's your persona and how do you want to be perceived?  You can't be afraid of "going there".  I feel that's most of the battle.  As silly as this sounds, this is the first thing (I think) you should start exploring.  Because once you start figuring this part out, you start attracting the kind of jobs you want and taking the photos you need for your branding.  You can then think about how you want to lay out your website, blog, and social media platforms.  It makes you think about what and how you want to post photos on Instagram, update your Facebook status, or blog.  I completely reworked my websites and upped my visual game on Instagram for cohesive branding all across!  But don't get too stuck on thinking, because starting is better than no action.

2.  Improved Photo editing skills

This goes along with branding, but I think it deserves it's own description.  I used to only share professional photos of my work - meaning only posting photos I received from photographers I've worked with.  At first, I thought this was enough and to a certain extent, it was.  But after awhile, I wanted to show my personality more.  I needed more content.  This meant I had to learn how to take good photos on my own and edit them.  I analyzed lighting and composition to the level that I can, so I could take (good) photos, even if it was just on an iPhone.  I took the time to learn how to edit my photos via VSCO (Vscocam) and photoshop app on my phone (and currently learning Lightroom).  By learning how to take and edit photos, this helped me achieve consistent branding.  The reason why you might be attracted to your favorite blogger or artist, is probably because they got #1 and #2 down.  Branding and photo editing skills.

Hikari instagram branding

3.  (Social Media) NETWORKING

Networking is a no brainer!  No matter how advanced you are in your career, you need to constantly be doing this.  Especially if you're just starting out, networking both in person and on social media will get you further (and sometimes faster).  Being an introvert myself, this was something I had to "get over" and just do.  If you're shy, start out by showing up on social media.   If I were to be totally honest, networking events still make me nervous.  So I like to "social media" network beforehand, so these in-person networking events don't feel as awkward.  By connecting online first, it would break down my introverted tendencies, and then allow opportunities to meet creatives that I felt like I already knew!  Whether through Facebook groups or Instagram, I've met a ton of great people along the way - for that, I'm grateful to Social Media.

4.  Hustle

My motto's always been, whatever you're doing, work hard and give it all you got.  For me, hustling means doing things even if it's not about the money or convenience.  As a freelancer, we all get presented with opportunities, sometimes paid, sometimes not.  In the beginning of your career, the latter is more common.  You think about the time and cost involved, and then you make a choice to take it or leave it.  Hustling doesn't mean doing anything and everything (paid or not), but it does mean to take an opportunity to invest in the value it brings.  Invest in a relationship you want to build or invest in the experience you'll gain.  So in that sense, you do whatever it takes, and hustle.  For example, driving 2/3 hours to a non-paid photoshoot might seem like too much of a hassle.  But I choose to look at it differently.  Maybe I'm trying to connect with a photographer I really want to work with, or a big time vendor is going to be at the same shoot and I want to meet them in person.  At the time, it'll cost me more time and even money.  But once those connections are made, that's forever.  They'll most likely remember you and hopefully refer jobs.  And you will refer them.  Which happened many times for me! Yay!  Hustling means doing something for your business everyday. Whether that'd be sending out emails to people you want work with, networking, reworking your website so it's SEO optimized, etc.  Something everyday.  Because "dreams only work if you do."

5.  Speak up

I saved the best for last.  This one (along with #1) is huge, especially for me.  I've struggled with speaking up almost my entire life.  I had confidence issues like...what if the things I had to say wasn't important? Is this a stupid idea?  What if I get rejected?  God forbid...what if they say NO?!  Some months ago, I heard a quote that changed me and my career forever.  

"A closed mouth doesn't get fed" 

It seems so obvious - but for me, I've realized that being too quiet wasn't going to get me anywhere!  Sure, my feelings were less hurt because people couldn't tell me NO, but I wasn't letting people say YES to me either.  Because all you have to do is speak up and ask for opportunities.  Talk about your dreams and ambitions more to others and pretty soon, those things will manifest.  You could start with "hey I really want to do more of _____, do you know of anyone that could help" or "hey I'm really interested in what you're doing, can you tell me more/can I assist you?" or "hey I know you regularly work with _____, but if you ever needed a backup, I'd be happy to work with you" or "I really love how you're editing your photos, can you share what apps you use?" etc.  There's a million ways to speak up!  If you're anything like me, I know this can be tough, but trust that it works.  It's helped my business so much this year!!

This year was a TOTAL whirlwind!  I reached goals that I didn't know I could this year.  I've learned more about myself.  It makes me slightly emotional thinking about where I started and where I'm at now.  I can only imagine what's in store!  

I hope this was helpful and if there's anything that YOU did to add to this, please let us all know!

business branding freelance vscocam VSCO

Till Next Time!