Le Grand Salon Paris

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

I was looking through some shots I took of some beautiful French hotels I stayed at last time I was in Paris and it inspired me to shoot a little boudoir theme collection of my January Favorites! Paris is the easiest city to fall in love with, don’t you think? 🗼❤️

Shop my picks below:

XOXO

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All images taken by me, Rachel Christian, © 2011 – 2017

Blush Blouses (Under $35!)

This weekend I had a tiny bit of time to myself and decided to pop into the Galleria in Nashville for some “retail therapy!” I ended up scoring some pieces from newly released Spring lines and one of my favorite pieces was this bow tie blouse from Forever21 for only $18! I had to share! What better way to wear a pretty blush blouse than styled in a Valentine’s themed vignette? I hope you love it and get a little style inspiration of your own! Shop the whole look at the end of the post.💋

Romantic Blush Blouses under $25! Romantic Blush Blouses under $25!

Romantic Blush Blouses under $25!

Romantic Blush Blouses under $25! Romantic Blush Blouses under $25!

Romantic Blush Blouses under $25!

Romantic Blush Blouses under $25! Romantic Blush Blouses under $25! Romantic Blush Blouses under $25! Romantic Blush Blouses under $25!

Romantic Blush Blouses under $25!

Shop the style below!

XOXO,

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Romantic NYE Trunk Picnic

New Year’s Eve for us always ends up being really amazing or really awful! One year we were in Berlin and I seriously remember like 10 minutes of the entire night, while another time we accidentally fell asleep in our pajamas, in our apartment (even though all our friends were only 2 blocks away waiting on us to arrive at our favorite bar!) and missed everything. For this NYE I wanted something romantic and low key that would still feel like a celebration! The only thing that threatened to ruin my “trunk picnic” plan was the immanent rain! Thankfully there was only the lightest of misting here in Nashville on NYE and we were able to enjoy our champagne toast at midnight ❤️

Romantic NYE Trunk Picnic

I decorated the trunk of my Jeep Latitude with a faux fur rug, disco ball, tinsel strands, a vintage picnic basket, roses, poppers, strawberries, champagne and macarons! I had everything set up so that the tailgate could open and close with everything inside! Watch the video below to see! (There was a LOT of scotch tape involved!) 

While trying to find an alternate route to my office one day I discovered the perfect spot to watch fireworks over Nashville! We had a beautiful cityscape view on NYE, just long enough to catch the midnight barrage of fireworks before the fog set in.

Romantic NYE Trunk Picnic

Romantic NYE Trunk Picnic

Romantic NYE Trunk Picnic

Romantic NYE Trunk Picnic

Shop the post below!

Romantic NYE Trunk Picnic

Even though this was the simplest NYE date ever I think it’s by far my favorite! Back in 2010 we did NYE in Nashville on Broadway, and I have to say, I don’t plan on doing that again! I love the idea of dressing to the nines and sipping champagne in your own living room, or at a quiet spot overlooking the brightly lit city, with those few special people who make life worth living. NYE is a time for reflection, celebration and thankfulness. It doesn’t have to be spent in Times Square, or attending Gorgeous at the Ritz, to feel like it was a successful one!

What’s the best NYE you ever had and what made it special?

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Simple & Sweet Valentine Ideas

Valentine’s Day is my favorite day of the year. You can be as sappy and romantic as you want, chocolate calories don’t count, and decorating everything in sight with pink and red is socially acceptable. My husband doesn’t really understand my obsession with Valentine’s Day but he respects that I absolutely adore it, and being the cheesy person that I am, need him to acknowledge that! Because we respect each other’s arbitrary preferences he does his best to make Valentine’s day special for me… just like I make major football game days fun for him (I even cancelled plans for a highly anticipated NYE party this year so he could watch a game that went from 7-10 that night!). Even though he doesn’t get excited about Valentine’s day I still try to surprise him so he enjoys it as much as I do!

DIY Valentine Scratch off Lottery Ticket

Valentine Mantle Decor

Friday morning I went out to my Jeep and found this sweet cuddly teddy bear in my front passenger seat! Yes, I took him to work with me 🙂

Oversized Valentine Teddy Bear

Later that morning a bouquet of gorgeous roses arrived! He knows how much it means to me to receive flowers at my office especially if Valentine’s Day falls on a week day I can’t take off — of course it didn’t this time, which is why the flowers were such a surprise!

Valentine's Day Red Roses

When I left my office Friday I went home and made him heart shaped pepperoni pizza and chocolate fondue with strawberries for dinner and surprised him with a mock “lottery ticket” as a gift. He has a little ritual of buying those $1 lottery tickets after something lucky happens and the funny thing is he always either breaks even or wins over the value of the ticket! So I knew he would get a kick out of receiving a “lottery ticket” on Valentine’s Day!DIY Heart Shape Pepperoni for Valentines Day

DIY Valentine Scratch off Lottery Ticket

Creating the “lottery ticket” was so easy. I designed a ‘ticket’ using graphics on PicMonkey.com and printed it on 4″ x 6″ paper in full color ink. Using a silver paint pen I wrote the ‘prizes’ inside the lip prints. Next, I covered the front and back of the ‘ticket’ in clear contact paper and trimmed the excess to 4″ x 6″. Lastly, I used a Sharpie poster paint pen to draw over the contact paper and cover the prizes inside the lip prints. After drying (maybe 10 minutes) the gold poster paint easily scratches off using a coin… just like a real lottery ticket!

DIY Heart Pepperoni

Saturday morning I made him an omelet with heart pepperoni served on a heart shaped plate and chocolate milk in the cutest red and gold mug I found at Homegoods. It’s hard, even for someone who thinks Valentine’s Day is unnecessary, to dislike a special Saturday morning breakfast!

Valentine's Day Mantle Decor

Valentine's Day Lipstick

Any excuse to wear my favorite red lipstick is a red letter day for me!

Cartier Love Ring

Cartier for Valentines Day

When one of your Valentine’s Day gifts appears on your mantle as an unexpected surprise, and comes in a little red box, you decorate the rest of your mantle around it as your inspiration!

Special Edition Valentine Cupcakes from Sprinkles Nashville

On Saturday my best friend and I celebrated GAL-entine’s and went to Sprinkles cupcakes on 12 South for the first time. We ended up scoring two of the limited edition raspberry and chocolate chip cupcakes for FREE and later stopped at a new coffee shop on 21st to exchange our Valentines.

Valentine's Day Brunch Accessories

On Sunday morning I took my husband to Josephine’s on 12 South. My best friend introduced me to this delightful spot a few months ago and after going on and on about how amazing it was to my husband I knew I had to take him. What better day to enjoy a delicious, cozy brunch than on a cold and gray Valentine’s Day?

A huge thank you to Rocksbox for the crystal peach Perry Street earrings and crystal Loren Hope necklace you see above to wear for this special date!

Valentines Brunch at 12 South

Cheers to the sweetest Valentine’s weekend ever!

What do you love (or hate!?) about Valentine’s Day?

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An Expat’s Review of Chodovar Beer & Wellness Spa in Plana Czech Republic

For Valentine’s day weekend this year my husband took me on a totally work-free, romantic-couple-time, no-stress-allowed spa date! I’m so excited to share specifics about where we went because it was an amazing experience for a phenomenal price. This is my first official ‘review’ of anywhere I’ve traveled and let me just say now, If you’re an expat living in Germany, you’ll definitely want to add the Chodovar Beer & Wellness Spa in Plana, Czech Republic to your list of places to go before PCS-ing back to the States!

Valentine treats in the hotel suite

{Pictured above, snapshots of the ‘Romantic Decorations’ package and treats my husband brought along as a surprise for our suite}

If you live near Grafenwoehr or Vilseck (as so many expats in Germany do) you’ll be excited to hear the Chodovar spa is even closer than Prague! The parking when you arrive is in a gated courtyard belonging to the spa and cost only 2 euro per night. Everything (including restaurants) are within walking distance to the suites. Once we parked we didn’t use the car again till we were leaving.

Our entire 72 hour weekend only cost about $500 — that included meals, treatments and a shopping trip! You could do everything we did in 1 day instead of 3 and save money on the room if you wanted.

plana, czech republic beer wellness spa

Our weekend (Feb. 13th – 15th) included:

  • 2 nights in the U Sladka hotel
  • 4, 50 minute massages (2 hot stone and 2 full body)
  • Large buffet style breakfast (included in room price – Saturday & Sunday)
  • 40 minute couple’s beer bath treatment
  • 45 minute brewery tour
  • 3 multiple-course dinners (with drinks – Fri, Sat, & Sun nights)
  • 2 lunches (Saturday & Sunday)
  • 6 full sized bottles of assorted beer cosmetics made in the brewery
  • 30 assorted Chodovar bottled beers to take home
  • 12 bottles of flavored mineral water from the near by mineral springs to take home
  • 3 decorative, locally crafted, hand-painted ceramic pieces
  • A trip to a local grocery shop on our way back to Germany to pick up our favorite Czech foods!

 

When you first arrive you’ll check in and be given your room cards, then you can drive around the main hotel building and park in the courtyard. There is an entrance back into the hotel from the courtyard. The courtyard has sun bathing areas and a mini golf course (for use during warmer months) and lies between the main hotel and a separate building where hot stone massages and beer baths are administered.

Chodovar Beer & Wellness Spa

The pool area features a kneipp foot bath which we enjoyed for about 20 minutes after our hot stone massages. The pool room also has a warmer whirling portion closest to the windows and a steam room (sauna) that you can reserve (at least an hour before you want to use it) for free if you are staying in the hotel over night.

Plana, Czech Republic Chodovar Beer Spa & Wellness Center Details

{Above collage featuring photographs from the Chodovar website showing the pool area, dining hall, couple’s beer bath and beer cosmetics}

About 10 minutes before your scheduled treatments are ready to begin just go down to the front desk and they will tell you where to go for each one.

There was nothing I didn’t like about any of the treatments. I will have to say though, it was very European in nature… i.e. the treatments were all done completely in the nude (you of course had towels during the massages) and it was somewhat unsettling at first! However the therapists seemed to be very unconcerned and I realized it’s just one of those ‘European’ things that is so different from American’s view of nudity. In (most of) Europe nudity doesn’t automatically equate sexuality. I didn’t mind after the first 2 minutes but be warned it could ruin the whole point of relaxing if this bothers you.

A few notes about the beer bath (because these were questions I had going into it): 1. Yes, you have your own private area sectioned off with curtains, so even though you can hear other guests chatting in their baths, no one is staring at each other. 2. My skin has never felt so hydrated or soft the way it did after getting out of the bath. 3. You don’t smell at all after getting out. I thought it would be a gross beer smell but there’s literally no smell at all. You can rinse off if you like in the locker rooms after a 20 minute rest after the beer bath (your body needs time to soak up the effects).

The rooms were very clean, the staff amazingly friendly and sweet, and the treatments done in elegant, clean settings with very professional masseurs and staff. I still can’t get over the professional quality of everything for the price we paid.

Plana, Czech Republic Chodovar Brewery Tour Snapshots

{Photos above taken with my camera phone during the brewery tour}

The brewery tour was about 45 minutes long, and even though the speaking portion was in German, we were handed printed copies of the entire speech in English, so it really didn’t matter. The factory doesn’t run on Saturdays, hence no people in any of the work rooms.

The best part about the whole weekend was the fact that it was very much like any another spa except that it was all centered around the beer — so it truly was the perfect couples date because we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Don’t be deterred by the amount we chose to spend for this weekend. You can easily enjoy the spa without spending as much time or money. It would be a tight squeeze time wise, but you could drive down from the Grafenwoehr area (about 45 minutes) in time for a 10am hot stone massage, followed by a beer bath, then a full body massage and take the tour at 2pm followed by dinner at the hotel restaurant. This way your total cost would not include the 3 night hotel stay, or additional meals, thus cutting about $200 from the trip. You could cut out even more spending by not bringing home the amount of (or any) extra souvenirs we chose to purchase.

Everything in Czech is priced like you’re in the 80s. They seriously have name brand bottles of wine and spirits for $5 or things like Monster Energy drinks at their grocery store for less than $1. We spent maybe $30 on food on our way back, stopping at the Penny Market for an embarrassing amount of chocolates and wine, and a pizza lunch in a little town about 4 miles from the spa.

Chodovar U Sladka Beer & Wellness Spa Czech Republic

{Above – More camera phone snapshots during our stay}

In all I would give the experience a 4.5 out of 5 stars for the quality and price. The only downside were the food options on site. Although delicious, it was a bit overwhelming to eat such hearty Czech food for 5 meals in a row. But I’m a pretty picky eater so it may have just been me. They did have a good selection of menu choices but it was all one type of food… meats, breads and countless ways to serve potatoes.

I hope this review gave you some insight if you’re living in Germany and want to plan an inexpensive unique weekend trip. It was definitely worth it and I would certainly go again.