Where The Heck Are Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro You Ask?

We posted our Map of where we are going on our Next Bella’s Travels, hopefully you saw it, if not it’s on here- under WHERE.

After almost a year, we are departing France for at least a few months to explore regions we have never been to.  Some places you may have never heard of, so I thought, rather than just showing a map, I would show photos of Where we are going.  That way, you will get a real idea of where we will be exploring and posting from.  Unsure what type of WIFI we will have so it may not be daily like you are accustomed to but the photos will be Awesome as the places we are going look Spectacular.


We are leaving Paris and heading East towards Germany but stopping in two beautiful French Cities – Nancy and Strasbourg.  Then we will be saying Merci, Au Revoir to France  and Guten Tag, as we head into Germany!  Oh no, another new language, we barely learned French!


From Crazy Ludwig’s Castles, and the Black Forest, to naked massage health spas in Baden Baden, we start our exploration of Germany or really, Bavaria, Southern Germany. (I have NOT decided if this Okie can bare it all in a all naked health spa though!)

Heading down thru Bavaria, exploring the country of the Black Forest, the famed German Castles and Hitlers hideaway at the Eagle’s Nest, it will be a new and very different History we will start to learn as we travel.

Laufenburg Baden und Schweiz

Laufenburg Baden und Schweiz

Briefly crossing into Austria to see Salzburg and then heading straight South to the shores of Slovenia. To say “Dober Vecer” (good afternoon in Slovenian)


Yes, you might know where that is, because Donald Trumps wife is from there! ha ha little Political humor there for you!  Slovenia has a tiny stretch of gorgeous beaches and is located just above the top of Croatia.  We start our Coastal Tour at Piran, Slovenia and then head down the coast into Croatia: Roving, Pula, Zadar, Split and the capital of Dubrovnik.




Briefly into Montenegro and its gorgeous beaches and ferry over to Puglia, Italy in Bari.



Buon Pomeriggio, Italy. (Good Afternoon in Italian!)   We are exploring the Heel of the Boot of Lower Eastern Italy. Puglia, is undiscovered by most Americans as its hard to get to, but the French, Spanish and other Europeans know about it, but we are hoping its still slower moving than the beaches of France and Spain that are too full for us.



We head from the lower heal, back over to the top of the boot, to the areas most of you will know:  Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Naples to see Pompeii and Capri.

From the touristy spots, we head down to a little more off the path to Sicily.  Land of the Godfather!  Good Food, Gorgeous Beaches.


If you’ve noticed, Yes, there is a theme in all these locations; they are mostly ALL beach cities and towns. Water and sand are what we are in search of!  France, Spain and Portugal, weren’t our thing beach wise so far. Ah, to find a home on the sand and water.  Hoping this journey might find us our final Home Away in the Sun and Sand.

Taking a car ferry from Sicily, we then go to Sardinia and then another car ferry, back in to France’s Island of Corsica.


Taking another car ferry, we come back over to the mainland of Western Italy to hike the lovely cities of Cinque Terre, after a fast stop in Pisa.

Cutting back across Italy, from Bologna to end in Venice!!! Hoping we miss the Huge crowds of August, and get a bit cooler, slower September in the water city.  That is the GRAND SUMMER TOUR!

Whew I’m exhausted Before we leave! Seven Countries, Six languages, we will be SO well rounded and educated by my birthday in October.  Gotta get my tour books, history books read and highlighted and learn learn.

Come along, enjoy the ride from the comfort of your couch, and we hope we entertain you.  Thanks for stopping by and we LOVE to hear from you 🙂 

Click here for interactive Map!





Crazy Night of fireworks in Paris

Wow what a wild night!  We decided to venture out for what we believed, and turned out to be, one of the greatest fireworks shows on earth.  We planned the spot and prepared ourselves for camping out, French style, read Champagne etc…, hours early.


Then came the people…  And more people.  By the time the fireworks were ready to begin we were fearing for our safety.  No Joke.  At one point the police drove 8 blue vans with a motorcycle in the lead though the crowd of thousands, displacing people willy nilly.  These shots are before it got crowded!



The French themselves are incredibly tolerant and peaceful.  I applaud them and after observing them tolerate people step on their belongings, toes and fingers multiple times I was amazed that the only time a fellow got riled was when a rude youth almost stepped on his child rather than go around.  I on the other hand was another story.  I am not sure where the feeling of invasion of personal space comes from but I seem to suffer from it rather badly.  It was not the French locals causing such issues but the large groups of people whose culture seems to know no personal boundaries.  They thought that was ok to push, shove, lean and generally make themselves at home on my lap.  When I mentioned that I would enjoy a wee bit more elbow room they seemed really put out.  I therefore clarified myself a bit and the issue seemed to resolve itself.  Then the little gypsy child tried to run off with the backpack that I was standing on.  Sneaky little so and so…  Oh and then this happened…??

This guy was making a delivery amongst 1000’s of people packed so tight it took him 5 minutes to pass in front of us ha ha ha.



Later back at the Tower the music began and the show started in earnest.  All was put aside as the singing and general merrymaking began.  There was a part of me that cried out God, just get it over with, start the bloody fireworks already so we can all go home!  Then they did start and while holding my belongings securely and being incredibly spacially aware with Darla in tow, I had the incredible pleasure of enjoying a display of music, enthusiastic singing, light and pyrotechnics incorporating the iconic Tour Eiffel to an amazing effect.  Just cool, I kept thinking how cool is this?!?


The show ended and the crowd slowly parted as we stood still just waiting for the space to breathe again.  Eventually we said goodbye to the neighbors we liked 😉 and made our way down the street.

We stopped a block or so away to take a picture for Darla’s mom and then continued on a bit more.




It was then I looked back and saw a large plume of smoke rising in front of the tower and wondered what was on fire.  I took this picture and left it at that till we got home.  Turned out a fireworks truck accidentally caught fire.



My final rant: I am glad we did it.  I am glad we got to experience the whole thing but I will never put us in that situation again.  I felt that way even before we heard the news about Nice.  We were so vulnerable there.  We endeavor never to be in a situation where we could be victimized but this was undeniably that.  The police are woefully ill equipped to deal with these kinds of events.  It is and should be our responsibility to care for our own safety.  We will not be exposing ourselves to this kind of situation again.

IMG_6065With regard to the cowardly, despicable act in Nice last night, people who don’t value their own life will never value other peoples lives.  That is the challenge we all face.  How to live and thrive on this planet and allow others to do the same?  Everyone inherently knows this, yet so many in power disregard the truth for greed and power.  Assholes!  K nuff said, to all my family and friends all around the world I love respect and miss you all.  Till we meet again, peace out…



How Many Have You Been Saying Wrong?

The correct way to pronounce 9 French brand names you’ve been saying all wrong

Veuve Clicquot

Who hasn’t had one of those slightly embarrassing “seen-it-but-never-said-it” moments with a high-profile foreign brand?Especially with a French brand.

Brands hailing from francophone speaking countries are tricky for an untrained ear, considering French is a language you can’t really pronounce phonetically.

But be it because of a language barrier or just simple unfamiliarity, below are some of the most frequently mispronounced French brand names accompanied with a Parisian’s pronunciation.

Merci a Lucas Paszkowiak pour la prononciation en Française.

 1. Yves Saint Laurent
1. Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

The French fashion house was named after its founder Yves Saint Laurent who started the brand with his partner Pierre Bergé in 1961.

YSL is known for pioneering androgynous styles for women such as, Le Smoking suit, arguably the most classic tuxedo suit for females.

YSL sits alongside elite fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, Prada, and Louis Vuitton.

2. Hermès

2. Hermès


In 1837, Thierry Hermès opened his Parisian workshop crafting leather saddles and harnesses for carriages.

Hermès has expanded to specialize in luxury accessories, leather, clothing, and perfumes.

Just to make sure that our customers are happy we also still dress horses as well as helicopters, cars, bicycles, boats, dogs and the occasional leopard,” the company notes.

L’Occitane en Provence

3. L’Occitane en Provence
3. L'Occitane en Provence

L’Occitane en Provence

L’Occitane en Provence is an international retailer of skin care, fragrances, makeup, men’s products, hair care, and home products.

L’Occitane was founded in 1976 by Olivier Baussan and is based in Manosque, France.

5. Le Pain Quotidien

5. Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien, which translates to “the daily bread,” is an international chain of bakery-restaurants founded by chef Alain Coumont in Brussels, Belgium in 1990.

Part cafe, part restaurant, Le Pain Quotidien is known for its rustic bread and communal tables.

6. Guerlain

6. Guerlain


Founded in 1828 by perfumer Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain, the French perfume house created scents for royalty, most notably French Emperor Napoleon III, earning Guerlain the prestigious title of being “His Majesty’s Official Perfumer.”

In addition to its exquisite fragrances, the luxury brand is known for its cosmetics and skin care.

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The Germans think of everything!!

No chance of a tropical storm here. Incredible pictures show luxury resort complete with sandy beaches, palm trees and clear blue water inside enormous German hangar surrounded by snow. With sandy beaches, clear blue water and palm trees, this looks like a spectacular and luxurious sun-kissed resort. Holidaymakers can be seen relaxing in swimming shorts and bikinis. Even the occasional flamingo can be spotted.
Luxury: With sandy beaches, clear blue water and palm trees, this looks like a spectacular sun-kissed resort

Fun: Despite appearances, not everything is as it seems at Tropical Islands
Fun: Despite appearances, not everything is as it seems at Tropical Islands
Odd: The 'resort' is actually located on the site of a former Soviet military air base in Krausnick, Germany

The ‘resort’ is actually located on the site of a former Soviet military air base in Krausnick, Germany, inside a hangar built originally to house airships designed to haul long-distance cargo. And despite it looking like temperatures are through the roof – outside the giant hanger it is actually snowing.
As these incredible pictures show, the resort contains a beach, a lagoon, and water slide and adventure park. Guests can enjoy numerous restaurants, evening shows and can also relax in a sauna.

Indoor: Tropical Islands is located inside this giant hangar - with the actual weather a far cry from the conditions inside

Cold: Snow surrounds the giant hangar which houses Tropical Islands

Cold: Snow surrounds the giant hangar which houses Tropical Islands

Relaxing: Tropical Islands is inside a hangar built originally to house airships designed to haul long-distance cargo. Visitors can be seen swimming in the lagoon at the resort

Holiday: The resort contains a beach, lagoon, water slide and adventure park. Guests can also enjoy numerous restaurants, evening shows and saunas

Guests can also enjoy numerous restaurants, evening shows and saunas
A range of options are available for stays, from the basic to luxury. Accommodation includes quaint looking cottages and even beach tents. As well as flamingos, free-flying canaries also fly around the site. It is believed that the hall which Tropical Islands is located in is the biggest free-standing hall in the world.

Popular: Tropical Islands attracts up to 6,000 visitors a day and in its first year attracted 975,000 visitors

Popular: Tropical Islands attracts up to 6,000 visitors a day and in its first year attracted 975,000 visitors

Accommodation: A range of options are available for stays, from the basic to luxury. Accommodation includes cottages, pictured, and even beach tents

Simple: Guests can also stay in one of the beach tents

As well as the thousands of visitors each day, approximately 500 people work at the site. Tropical Islands opened to members of the public in 2004. Incredibly, the hangar, which is 360 metres long, 210 metres wide and 107 metres high, is tall enough to enclose the Statue of Liberty.

The Chatou Brocante fair – YouTube

The Chatou Brocante fair – YouTube

OMG!! I am Literally Drooling!! This is one of my favorite websites.  We are soooo close and yet so far away right now and missing the March show, argh!  Who wants to meet me in September??? Oh my this is beyond YUMMY, enjoy 🙂




Market lessons in Paris


Wow, What a great article, I learned a lot and thought you might enjoy it too!  This is what we hope to do in the future, taking people on Tours.  Would you want to come be our guests and have us be your tour guides?  Three-day trip to Paris includes shopping, cooking, dining class

Source: Market lessons in Paris

Renoir, my Favorite. Another France thing I Love. Never Knew This about Renoir


How To Be More French Looking Now That I Almost Have My French Residency Card!

Found some good advice online from a great blog site:

The French Girl Beauty Rules: Makeup Artist Violette Shares Her 8 Essential Secrets


Photographed by Taylor Jewell

As the fashion flock settles down in Paris for the last leg of the spring 2015 collections, that age-old question resurfaces once more: What is it about French women? The country’s unofficial motto—to bear the torch for a kind of covetable, casual cool that relies heavily on mussed-up hair and minimal makeup—is on full display this week in front rows and sunny sidewalk cafes alike. “In each country, I think there is an idea of what beauty is,” suggests the Paris-based editorial makeup artist Violette. “But for the French, it’s very particular: What we want is to be ourselves—not a better version of ourselves. We feel like it’s better to be used to something than to try to change it. So we think: What style can I have with this face, and with this hair? That mentality is 100 percent French.”  Still, she admits, there are a few local secrets for how to look perfectly imperfect, without ever trying too hard. Here, Violette offers a glimpse into the French girl’s beauty bible with her eight essential rules for a Paris-approved definition of pretty.

Rule #1: Prep (Don’t Primp)

“French women treat their ‘base’ as best as they can—so we try to have amazing skin, and an amazing body, and amazing hair, so we don’t have to do too much else,” says Violette. Her complexion routine happens to be fairly involved, but we’d expect nothing less from a disciple of the school of Joëlle Ciocco, the legendary Parisian facialist whom Violette calls “a skin god.” After massaging away all of the day’s impurities with La Roche-Posay’s cleansing milk—always with her fingertips to increase circulation—Violette rinses with water and follows with the brand’s calming cream. “Then, in order to make my skin drink, because it needs nurturing, I use these little glass capsules that you break open. One is called ‘granions de manganèse,’ and the other is ‘granions de sélénium.’ I get them from the pharmacy,” she explains. As a final step, Violette slathers on a gel cream called Oxelio Topique, another French-pharmacy staple. “It helps my skin fight aggression, like stress, pollution, and bad food.”

Rule #2: Practice Everything in Moderation
“The way to have good skin is not actually about what you put on your skin,” Violette admits, in spite of her multistep facial routine. “It’s about what you eat. French women try to eat organic as much as possible—and as little sugar as possible. We’re more concerned about sugar, not so much low-fat.”

Rule #3: Only Go to the Gym If You Feel Like It
“A French woman is like a wild horse—she is very rebellious, and she’d rather kill herself than go to the gym!” Violette says with a laugh, before admitting that the workout trend is starting to pick up steam in the City of Light, even though it was nearly nonexistent a decade ago. “We need to take pleasure in everything we do,” she continues, explaining that even newly popular classes, like the barre method, should be fun—the philosophy being: “Never get stuck in a hardcore, rigid habit.”

Violette Makeup Artist 

Photographed by Taylor Jewell

Rule #4: Forget About Blowouts
“French women want amazing texture with their hair,” confirms Violette, referencing that coveted lived-in look commonly seen on the likes of Caroline de Maigret, Constance Jablonski, and Aymeline Valade. “We like to shampoo our hair, air dry, then wait a day. When you wash your hair the first day, you don’t know what to do with it. The second day, it looks much better,” she says. (If and when Violette does get a blowout, she is careful to plan her appointment for the day before she actually needs to look good.)

Rule #5: Commit to Regular Cuts
“French women like their hair to be very healthy and shiny, so when they wear it messy, it doesn’t look dry and damaged,” according to Violette. “We’re much more about looking for a good haircut than a good styling product,” she continues, pointing out that most French women like short or shoulder-dusting crops—which, admittedly, puts her own chest-length hair at odds with her countrywomen. “I actually get my hair cut at Eva Scrivo in New York,” she admits. “I find that American hairstylists understand the long-hair culture more than the French!”

Rule #6: Say Yes to a Red Lip
Bardot and Deneuve might be best remembered for the black, feline flicks they scrawled onto their upper lash lines, but French women don’t really use eyeliner, says Violette. “I think we’re more about red lips,” she claims, listing MAC’s cult-classic lipstick in Ruby Woo as one of her all-time favorite bullets. “That’s the identity of a Parisian woman.” It’s how you wear a crimson or scarlet shade that makes it fully French, though, she insists. “Red lipstick is a fashion accessory. So we won’t wear any other makeup with it. Then our hair has to be messy, our skin has to be perfect, and we’ll just wear jeans and heels because the lipstick makes the statement.”

Rule #7: Bring Light (Not Shadow) to the Face
“We never contour,” Violette says of an inherent dislike of brownish shading powders or creams. “For French women, contouring is very scary, because it changes the sculpture of the face. It’s much more about adding highlights,” she explains. “They catch the light on the cheeks, and on the Cupid’s bow of lips so you don’t really need contouring.”

Rule #8: Make Your Smoky Eye a Little Bit Messy
“The other makeup that is really French to me is the smoky eye—but it’s a messy smoky eye with a creamy texture,” contends Violette, who points out that dégradé lids, “sparkly effect” shadows, and perfect lashes are the opposite of chic, as far as French women are concerned. “We’re very lazy! We’ll just use one product, put it all over, and blend it with our finger. Then we’ll [groom] our eyebrows, put on a bit of blush and concealer, and go.” Her personal favorite is Dior’s black eye pencil, which she applies at the roots of her lashes to make them appear darker, before scribbling it across her entire lid, “like a kid would,” and smearing the pigment with a tiny bit of pharmacy-procured calendula lip balm. “Just a little bit so you have dewiness. French women don’t like powder shadows,” she adds firmly. “They’re too complicated.”



Where the Statues of Paris were sent to Die

Saw this cool post on one of our favorite, fellow Bloggers.  Thought you would enjoy it and be sure to click on the photo.  Cool read! Enjoy with your morning coffeeThe stony gaze of the statue upon his executor says it all. Most of the bronze “men” that once watched over Parisian streets and public squares of the French Third Republic met a most […]

Source: Where the Statues of Paris were sent to Die | Messy Nessy Chic


Top 5 Things About Scotland


There are so many amazing sites and things about Scotland.  We tried to narrow it down to 5 that summed up the feeling.  Everyone should visit at least once in their life.


  1.  The Land and it’s beauty.  It felt like we really experienced most of all Scotland has to offer in topography.  Arriving by ferry on the ocean shores with its crisp air, serene beauty and quiet lifestyle.  To the rolling hills and Huge pastures of the lowlands and Midlands.    You were shocked at how much land with so few people it felt like!  It is just mind boggling after living in Southern California.  Land land and more land.  To the Lochs and Highlands, of what you think IS Scotland.  The misty rain hanging over the lakes (lochs).  Tall mountains with waterfalls, and a lot of Pine trees which I wasn’t expecting.  The Troon beaches of Ayr, which are very South Carolina feeling with scrub brush and Big sandy beaches.   Really diverse and quiet pretty all around. One can feel life all around you.IMG_5756IMG_7545
  2. Scotch the “Water of Life”– So says Darren.  This one of course I can’t really agree on because everyone who knows me; knows that Champagne is MY Elixir of life.  But for men, Scotland is to men what Champagne France and Paris is to women.  Rugged outdoors with fine locally made, Single Malt Scotches, a mans world!  The Whiskey Trail is the region of Scotland where you can follow Scotch Distilleries and do tastings like you go to Napa to taste wine.  Beware however, Scotland has a ZERO tolerance for drinking and driving so be sure to have a designated driver!IMG_7498IMG_6472
  3. History– So we’ve been all over where History has been in England, Ireland, France, Italy and even America, but there really is something about the stories of Scotlands history.  Perhaps, because so many movies have been made and Mel Gibson made you know them; or you just know more about a lot of the names shared like Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and more.  Driving down the road and a castle popping up and you read the history and its facts, and you actually have read about them in school.  Wars you remember in movies and you are standing on the field that it actually took place!  You can still FEEL the history coming off the land and the buildings you are in.  The haunting bag pipe music really helps send it thru you too.IMG_6547IMG_6274
  4. Fresh Scottish Salmon!  I haven’t eaten Salmon since the Fukushima meltdown and I don’t like farm raised so to be finally able to eat wild caught Salmon in the cold waters of Scotland was a thrill for me.  And boy is it good, the smoked salmon especially from our favorite small smoker we found:  Marrbury Smokehouse, oh man this place was the best!  They too have a castle!!  Randomly we met the owners far from their restaurant in a town called Perth. They were so fun and nice.  Unfortunately they only ship within the UK but if you are ever over in Scotland its a Must visit.IMG_6259IMG_7149
  5. Castles, as always.  Always in search of more Castles, Scotland did not let us down.  We found some fabulous ones and even better, Actual Castles from Darren’s lineage of his Campbell Clan.  So exciting to see in person what we’ve researched online and then be standing in it!  Cannot imagine being a current descendant of direct lineage and knowing you OWN this castle, even if its been turned over to the National Trust. Crazy cool.  (many of the gentry had to turn there lands/castles/manors over to the National Trust due to the Very expensive taxation put on them)  TO SEE MORE OF SCOTLAND:   HTTP://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BELLASTRAVELS1