In September Shawn and I visited Paris. It was Shawn's first time but I have been there before a couple of times. This time was different because it was our first time taking a break from having the baby, it was with Shawn and we were looking to explore what Paris has to offer in food and drinks.  I was already obsessed with Paris before but this time made me realize even more why I am obsessed. In 2012 I even tried to get a job there and was applying for jobs in Paris. I never got it but was taking French language lessons and making home-made macaroons. If I could find a job I would move there right away. Paris is my favorite city in the world. To combine our trip in just one blog it is impossible. I decided to start with 5 spot to eat in Paris.

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Top places to Eat in Paris

1. Breakfast: Station République 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France 
This the most authentic patisserie/bakery we found.  It was so delicious that I can't even describe what happened in my mouth as I was enjoying a cheese croissant and a danish pastry. This is not quite a tourist location but you can walk up to San Martin canal. The patisserie has an outside large picnic table and there is a small supermarket nearby so you can get a drink and enjoy your meal. 

2. Snack: Aurore Capucine 3 Rue de Rochechouart, 75009 Paris, France
We found this tiny patisserie specializing in dessert and tea as we walked down from Montmartre. We passed the fabric district and kept walking down until we saw this window full of tarts. We enjoyed a chocolate coffe tart as we kept walking and checking the surrounding areas. 

3. Lunch: Marche Des Enfants Rouges: Marché des Enfants Rouges, 75003 Paris, France
Determined to find a cheese store we stumbled upon this authentic and crowded outdoor food market with different cuisines from America, French, Greek, Italian and so on. It was packed and difficult to order if you don't know French but totally worth going and eating there. nearby I even found a clothing boutique where I bought a pair of awesome suede shoes for $35. The only thing I bought while in Paris.
4. Dinner: La Cuisine De Phillipe 25 Rue Servandoni, 75006 Paris, France
There are plenty of tourist food traps in Paris as in any big city. These are located in the most popular locations. However, it is not impossible to find amazing food at a decent price. Be wary that you need to make reservations in advance if you want to reserve a spot but we found a trick. We would go in advance to see if they had any availability for the night. Most places would tell you no and to check back later at 8:45pm, kind of the last call. This is how we were able to secure a spot at this restaurant with a Michelin chef. The menu was a fixed menu priced at 40 euro, a steal if you consider we had lobster soufflé, duck and maroons soufflé. Oh and pate foie gras. Wine is an additional charge. I loved everything about the simple decor with the elegant and sophisticated menu.  Another trick to get a table at a great restaurant is to reserve through the hotel which is hosting the restaurant. Hotel Relais Saint-Germain takes reservation for its nearby restaurant and again we were able to get a table for dinner. The couple next to us said they reserved a table six months in advance and that the top chef in Denmark recommended that specific restaurant. We were very lucky!! 

5. Late snack:  L'avant Comptoir 9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006 Paris, France
We tried multiple times to get inside here. This place is so packed you can't even make it to the front door. This is a tapas place where you order and eat standing up. It is packed. I mean packed!! Finally we went so early like 5PM that we were able to get in and order some tapas and wine. The menu hangs from the ceiling and they have a little bit of everything from shrimp, to ossobuco, to french fries. Prices are cheap. We talked to the bartender and he said the place is always packed from 8PM to 12 when they close. They also have an outdoor crepes stand for late snacks. This is a good alternative to an expensive dinner. I have more recommendations and pictures but wanted to start with my top places to eat in Paris. 

Sometimes I get to the end of the day when I finally have some time to write on my blog and suddenly all the great ideas I had during the day for topics to discuss are gone and I am left with a blank page. Why? Is it because I am tired that I can't think straight? Does it ever happen to you? You start the day and you make lists of things you want to accomplish after work. It starts with laundry, organizing the dispenser, hanging those frames up that have been sitting in your closet since 1999, organize your pictures loaded in your desktop and so on. Then  6PM approaches, you end your work day, maybe go to the grocery, do some dishes, play with your dog or daughter. Suddenly it is 8PM, then 9PM then 10. You seat down to finally work on your blog and BAM: your brain is empty. You try hard to remember those awesome ideas by searching through Refinery29 or Instagram but everything seems bland and blah to you.

Apparently there is a scientific reason for this which relates to dopamine flow which is said to increase when we are relaxed as in taking a shower for example. After taking a hot shower I still had no ideas. There is also another article on Fast Company discussing how we get greater ideas at night. As a matter of fact when you are trying to be creative you will have more luck working at night when you are super tired. Unfortunately, that does not work for me. I don't consider myself a morning person, however I have managed to get to work by 7:30am for a long time and it seems that I am more productive in the morning. As soon as I eat something and the digestion works I get tired, which explains why my luncheons are a cup of coffee and cereal with milk. I also stopped working out which made me less alert at night. I used to work out everyday in the evening and when I would get back at the house I would spread energy around the house. But seriously, my great ideas are morning ideas. Is it because I am a mom now? In graduate school if you work on your papers during the day it was considered a sin. You would work in the library all night to finish that paper and always felt it was the best intellectual piece you ever written. Was it that I worked and still work better under pressure and my blog is a recreational activity? What about you reader: do you get your best ideas at night or in the morning? Does it change based on age or number of children you have?

**I wrote this past 10PM. :)

H&M pastel pink blazer // J.Crew Top // Cluse Watch

[DISCLAIMER: All content is all rights reserved. Please contact me at Fashion For Real People if you are interested in working with me. I ask not to re-publish my content without my permission]

I don't think I have ever been a fan of pink growing up. I prefer pink for objects, flowers, designs, but pulling off a pink outfit is very difficult, you could end up looking like a confetti. Here few tips on how to wear pink pants, pink jackets, pink leggings, pink everything without over doing it. 

How to Wear Pink

1. Select a shade of pink that it is not too strong. I like pastel colors like a powder pink, closer to white than to a neon shocking pink. This shade of pink is classic, elegant and timeless, a nice alternative to nude or just ivory. 

Photo by Mallory Brooks 

2. Select only one pink item if you don't know how to pair colorful items all in once. If you choose pink pants you might want to think about what to pair pink pants with. Do you need solid colors or can you play with prints? Depending on the shade of your pink pants you might want to pair them with a simple gray tee, or a gray cardigan. If you are bold you could pair hot shocking pink pants with a red top and shoes. Just make sure you are ready to pull that outfit off. I chose to buy these gray and pink skinny jeans from Urban Outfitters few years ago and love them. As you can see I just pair them with a simple blazer, denim top with beads and ballet shoes. But I have literally worn the pants with denim jackets, white converse and white tops, and nude tops as well. 

3. If you are super afraid of wearing pink pants or jackets start with pink accessories. A giant pink scarf adds character to a neutral, boring black outfit. It also adds happiness to your winter cold days. It brightens your smile and your skin colors. Trust me, just try this winter to wear a vivid colorful scarf against a black coat and walk into a coffee shops. Everyone will be delighted to see you. Colors bring happiness. If you don't want to invest in a pink scarf, you could wear a pink lipstick, or watch. You can really play around here without going overboard with pinkness! 

Who am I? Mallory Brooks

I wanted to dedicate this session of the blog to fashion and women, more particularly on the women I know in my life who express fashion and style in their own way and who at times if not all the times inspire my style as well. Given that this is about fashion for real people, I wanted to represent all kind of women so expect to see exactly that: regular women who are very fashionable and authentic with their style. I chose the main picture to be that of a body, my friend's body, because we as women and the media put so much emphasis on our bodies and yet it might be weird to stare at just a body without a head, especially of a friend. ah! But I love it because it is so pertinent to our society and fashion, beauty and body obsessions.

The first person I thought about asking to be featured on my blog was my friend and also who is behind the camera when taking my pictures. Mallory's style can be described as colorful. I have never met a person who is so in love with colors and not afraid to wear them. Coming from Italy where black is the only norm I must say I went through a fashion shock when I first met her, but then made me realized that color is pretty cool and makes everyone's life much better! Here few random questions about fashion and life. You can check her photography blog on

Mallory Brooks from Tallahassee, FL

1. Red or White? On most occasions white

2. Lipstick or Chopstick? Lipstick

3. Finish the sentence: Flip Flops are ........ shoes I wear around the house or in the car to spare heels. 

4. You walk into a fashion store what do you end up buying most of the times? These days, I try not to walk out with anything (trying to keep my spending on clothing low). But if I did buy something, it's likely a cute top of some sort or a dress that I just have to have because it looks amazing on me. [Like the one she is wearing in the picture by H&M. Read how she got it here.

5. How would your friends describe your fashion style? Colorful would probably be the number one way to describe my outfits, followed by trendy.

6. What is the one fashion item for women you hate to wear? I don't wear anything I don't like. Though, it can be annoying to have to wear special bras with particular tops or dresses because of the cut.

7. Any trends you wish would go away? High waisted jean shorts with everything falling out. Not flattering on anyone.

8. Dior or Chanel? Honestly, I would not be able to tell the two apart. I know, it is fashion heresy.

9. Red or Nude lipstick Red. I feel naked without some sort of bright color on my lips.

10. Which era do you wish you lived for fashion purpose only? At the moment, I am loving all things 70s revival.

All Pictures Are Taken by Mallory. To see more photos from this shoot head over to her blog.

Over the months working with Mallory, I have learned few tricks on how to take great fashion pictures for my fashion blog. Here 5 tips on how to take photos for your fashion blog. If you have more feel free to leave a comment.

1. Think in advance:  To have great photos for your fashion blog or any other blogs you need to plan in advance. This could take 10-30 minutes. Think about location and the outfit you will be wearing. For example if you are wearing a white dress you probably want a background/location with a strong contrast like red/brick wall or pink. In the picture below, we played with the lines, green and the silver elevators.

2. Location: This is where your story will be told and potentially how you set the mood. A parking garage is an easy way to get a sense of urban or a city girl who goes out of town. Think about colors, lines, architecture that will help the framing of your picture. You don't need to think hard, a brick wall or a graffiti wall will function beautifully for your outfits.

3. Lighting: I always taught my students the importance of lighting. Avoid shooting at noon when the sun is harsh. Try to shoot before the sun is about to set or very early in the morning. The light is soft and will not enhance any imperfections on your face and body. It will actually wash it off (see the picture below. I don't look like that everyday. I have bags under my eyes).

4. Imitate others: Flip through fashion catalogue, Pinterest, Vogue magazine and see how models or other bloggers are posing. You will notice that eventually they all look the same, same walk, same glaze, same leg lifted. Use a mirror and practice. I know this is silly, but you need to know how your body works, how your moves look on the camera. The photo below was inspired by a picture I saw of a model seating on a wall. The location was totally different but I liked the way her arms wrapped her knee. Eventually this is what came out and I love it. 

5. Be natural: over the time shooting with Mallory I become more natural and comfortable. At first I was rigid and you could tell from the pictures. What gets me going is that I start talking to Mallory about my day and I move my arms, I laugh, I jump. That gets my body to be soft and the best pictures are the ones where Mallory catches my natural moments like this photo below. We found this window and liked the concept of using the design but we were not sure about the lighting. I started playing around and the pictures that came out of these 10 minutes were absolutely amazing.