Spring fever!

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It’s official; I have spring fever! I’m cleaning my house, I’m taking my winter clothes out of the closet, I’m organizing every drawer and on top of that I started doing my taxes! My hubby is on a trip this week, and I’m sure he’s happy to be gone when I’m in OCD- cleaning mode. I don’t blame him, I’m a whirlwind and like to throw everything out, and I’ll ask him constantly if he still needs this or that, needless to say it’s a bit much.. Now he’s not home, does that give me permission to decide for him? I think it does… haha. I’m sure he’ll be grateful when he comes back to a happy wife in a clean and organized home ;)

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Don’t you think we are kind of like squirrels in winter time? We collect stuff, we move less, make our home really comfortable and maybe gain a few winter pounds.  Then when spring is around the corner we follow our instinct; we feel the need to clean up, to go outside  and shed some weight. It feels like a new beginning,  we are ready to sow new seeds.  I like to make a priority list  of the things I’d like to invest my time in and manifest and then I ask myself if I have room to receive this in my life? Sometimes we ask for things to manifest but we don’t even have room for it in our busy minds and life. So we need to make space… Space in our mind, our body and our home!  What do you want to attract in your life?”

 

TAYLOR_W_1On another note; A week ago I was on a fitness shoot and worked with this great girl, Taylor Walker. At lunch time we started chatting and we had this instant connection. We have a lot in common and couldn’t stop talking about our passion for health, nutrition and sports. Taylor is the Winner of the “Wilhelmina Fitness search 2013″ and recently started blogging and I wanted to introduce her to you. She’s real, she’s fun and has a wonderful upbeat personality! Watch her make this delicious and healthy  “Curry shrimp with snap peas” dish, and check out her website www.taylorwalkerfit.com.

Have a great start of the week, and don’t forget to make room for the things you want in your life! :)

XO JillScreen Shot 2014-03-17 at 3.18.28 PM

Time for yourself

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Do you have kids? Do you have a demanding job? Do you study? Are you in a relationship? Or maybe you have kids, a demanding job, you study AND you’re in a relationship. Needless to say you work hard and give from the morning until the time that you go to bed your energy to what’s important to you. Often times there’s little to no time or energy left to do something for yourself and you wish there were more hours in a day. Sounds familiar? Yes for me too, I don’t have kids yet but my days are packed. I admit I love being busy, It makes me feel like superwoman when I manage to get the max out of my day (work/study/social life) And especially when things go well;  it boosts my energy and I’ll do even more. I sometimes think my energy is infinite, even when I’m tired I push through, I go to bed late, wake up early again and do that over and over again until my body is ready to shut me down.

When I don’t listen to the signs my body’s giving me to slow down it will pull the plug eventually. And what better way to stop me then getting the flu? Saturday evening I walked across the Williamsburg bridge and went to do AT&T store to get some information on a phone plan. As the representative is talking to me I feel the chills running from my tailbone to the back of my neck, suddenly my energy is gone and I feel completely spaced out. Oh noooo… I know this feeling, this is not good; It’s time to go home. I cancelled my evening appointment and went straight to bed with a good amount of vitamin supplements: Oregano, garlic, goldenseal and l drank lots of water with Apple Cider Vinegar (antibacterial properties)

After ten hours of sleep I woke up feeling much better already, just felt a bit weak.. Normally I would continue the weekend as if nothing had happened but this time I listened to my body and took it easy. I was so grateful that my body recovered overnight that I decided to give my body a gift. The gift of massage:

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I booked a 90 minute massage, and it was incredible. The massage therapist was super intuitive and went straight to the knots. It was intense and had to bring my breath to where it was tight and sore. His hands were like a pizza dough roller on my body; getting rid of all the stress I was holding on too. And a bonus ; a s small bone in my shoulder popped back into place when he massaged my shoulder, which relieved the tension.  Boy I must say this was the best massage of my life! I promise myself to go once a month at least instead of twice a year..:)

imagesWhen was the last time you got a massage? Or took the day off just to do nothing? You are probably good at fulfilling other people’s needs but what do YOU need to recharge?

It’s not selfish to think about your needs, it’s an act of self love. When you take time to recharge your batteries you’ll be able to give more too. At work you’ll be more productive, you’ll be a better friend and partner by investing time in yourself. It’ s well worth it! Treat yourself on a massage, go have a fun night out, go for a run, do that yoga class you’ve been wanting to do. Do something just for you.  The laundry can wait, and yes switching your phone of for a bit sounds like a good idea ;)

XO Jill

What’s in your water?

Hello, I hope you’re having a great start of the New Year, with new energy to start a project, to finish some others and to work towards your dreams and goals!

I certainly feel rejuvenated; I spend lots of time with my husband a.k.a “The director of Happiness” (his real work title ha-ha) Needless to say that makes me very happy :)

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A new year in a new home in a new city, with lots of wonderful friends close by and exciting new job developments = a recipe for a great year!

I really enjoy being in the city again, there’s something to say about being part of the energy that human beings create ;) It’s fun to be surrounded by people from all different ethnicities, to chat with a young Jewish Orthodox woman and share details about the relationships we have with our husbands, and to listen to a school bus driver concerns about the upcoming snow storm. People in New York City can come across cold at times especially in winter but when you take the time to connect to a person, the city instantly feels warmer and more human.

The weather has been slightly different than in Miami LOL. It was surprisingly easy to adjust to.  Never thought I would say this but after living two years in the heat It’s actually great to wear boots, sweaters and jackets again.

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Ever since I moved to New York I noticed my hair has become dry and unruly. It looked like I needed a trim. But I just had a trim before moving and it was in great condition. What happened? The quality of New York City water is terrible, there’s so much chlorine in it, which dries out my hair and skin. After doing lots of research on water filters I ordered this shower filter on Amazon and can’t wait to install it.

(Read this article for more information on why you should consider a shower filter)

In the meantime I wanted to find an all-natural way to make my hair feel and look healthy again, I went online and read many great reviews about Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water.  As you might know I’m a big fan of ACV but I was a little skeptical because I have a lot of hair, fine hair that gets entangled badly. Without conditioner my hair wouldn’t survive.

But I’m always up for a little experiment; I had nothing to loose. After washing my hair I poored the ACV mixture all over my hair, left it for a few minutes and then rinsed it out. Read; I did NOT use a conditioner; the ultimate test! I towel-dried my hair and started brushing and noticed it was much easier to comb through… I then blow-dried it and the results was IMPRESSIVE, the ACV left it shiny and soft! This really works; my hubby even noticed the difference! Wehooo, I found a new secret weapon for gorgeous hair! You should totally try this; I part ACV and 2 parts water ( I used about 1/4 cup ACV and 1/2 cup water)

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I’ve been filtering my tap water with a “Brita” filter for years but stopped using it recently when my dear friend Dr Nikki Noce explained that the Brita filter doesn’t filter out the fluoride. And fluoride happens to be damaging to our body.  (Read more about this.) Aaaarghhh.. Allright, with this new knowledge I figure to invest in a Alkaline Water System Drinking  Reverse Osmosis for the kitchen. This filters everything out and makes the water alkaline. It costs $175, not cheap but also not expensive when you think about the tremendous health benefits.

If I may suggest something to invest in this year? Your health! It’s the most rewarding investment; looking and feeling great is priceless! I wish you the best of health and happiness this year!

XO Jill

Euphoria & vegetarian split pea recipe

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Euphoria= a mental and emotional condition in which a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement, and joy.

That’s how I feel since I arrived in New York City :)

unnamed-2I just got  back from an appointment and on my way home I passed the Union Square farmers market. I picked up a shot of wheat grass, bought my favorite fresh baked bread and got a hold of a piece of organic chicken. Boy I felt like the happiest girl on the planet with my purchases and I think it showed. I walked into the subway station when a homeless person looked up at me and the biggest smile appeared on his face. He started waving at me and we locked eyes. I took a moment to smile back and to greet him, it was a beautiful moment. A smile goes a long way!

Living in a new place brings wonderful and exciting new energy. I think of us as modern gypsies, we move around the country, lived in many places and love traveling in our RV. Before we can get bored we are already onto something new. Never a dull moment in our lives. We make bald decision, when things feel right we move forward without hesitation, and it’s magical to see everything fall into place. I never thought we’d be moving back to NY but I’m SO happy we did. We are in a new phase in our lives and this city has so much to offer!

We moved from a big house + yard to a one bedroom apartment and got rid of a lot of stuff. It took weeks to go through all our belongings, it was a lot of work but it felt great to shed of the things we no longer need; cleansing!   Surprisingly living in a much smaller place is so much fun. It’s cosy, easy to clean, and what I love about this apartment is that the kitchen is part of the living room, great for entertaining.

The weather here is slightly different than in Miami ;)  I’ve been craving potatoes, soups, hot cereal; everything that makes me feel warm and full. I love this very-easy-to-make Split pea soup, it brings back a lot of childhood memories and after eating a big bowl I feel satisfied and full for many hours afterwards. This soup is laden with veggies and nature’s antibiotics; onion and garlic. A great way to keep the flu and cold symptoms at bay. My hubby isn’t a big fan of split pea soup, so when he asked for seconds I knew I nailed it!

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Split pea soup 

4-6 servings

Prep time: 15-20 min. Cook: 1 hour

ingredients

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Garnish with shredded carrots and green onions. Add salt to taste.

I highly recommend finishing  this dish with some nutmeg; it’s delicious!

Enjoy & stay warm!

XO Jill

Exercise and Vegan Thanksgiving recipes

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The past five days I was in Bogata,Columbia. Bogata the second highest capital in the world, lying at approximately 8,646 feet (2620 meters) above sea level. At higher elevations it is more difficult to get the amount of oxygen from the air that your body has become accustomed to (from living at lower elevations) Less oxygen in the blood means less oxygen getting int your cells , it made me feel dizzy, fatigued  and bloated. It took a few days for my body to adjust. Yes, it influenced my mood.. at one point I felt so cranky. I was laying on the bed in my hotel room and didn’t know what to do with myself. It was too early to go to sleep and I was too tired to do anything. Even though I felt heavy headed and I had no energy I decided to go to the gym anyway. I had the feeling that would do me good. When I arrived at the gym I was happy to find a spinning bicycle , riding a bicycle felt like a better option than running. Soon after I started peddling my body warmed up, my mind cleared up; I could think straight again and positive thoughts entered. I felt so good afterwards, the difference was day and night. I felt like myself again, happy and energetic.

Often times we come up with a lot of excuses why we can not go exercise. But has there ever been a time that you feel less good about yourself or less happy when you finish exercising? No right?! Why then not just do it, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Don’t let your mind trick you!

Interestingly enough we seem to take better care of ourselves when we feel good than when we don’t. But don’t we need to take a bit more care of ourselves when we are not feeling great?

Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome”

Vegan Thanks giving recipes:

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I was really excited when Slenderbread magazine asked me to develop recipes for a Vegan Thanksgiving.  Even though I’m not vegan, the vegan cuisine certainly inspires me to eat cleaner and to be more creative.

Brussels sprouts and quinoa both deserve a spot in the “superfood” category, they are insanely good for us but they need a little help to make my taste buds dance. With only a few ingredients I turned the Brussels sprouts into candy tasting veggies and I cooked the quinoa in fresh carrot juice to give it a festive color and a sweet flavor.

But what to make for the main course? I called my fellow model blogger and vegan friend Emily Nolan (mykindoflife.com)to ask if she could help me with that. She didn’t have to think long, spicy chili; her husbands favorite!

What makes this recipe different than most chili recipes is that the soup includes cacao powder and coffee; most people love both and are somewhat addictive, so how could anyone turn down a bowl.

Sweet Brussel Sprouts (4 servings)

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Trim the stem ends and remove the outer layer of the sprout. Rinse the sprouts with water and cut them in half.

Boil an inch water in a pot into which your steamer basket fits. Steam the Brussels sprouts for 10 min.

Heat up a frying pan with 2 tbsp olive oil. When hot transfer Brussels sprouts to frying pan, try to lay the sprouts on the flat side first.  Keep an eye on them, they’ll get nice and brown quickly. Turn them over and stir for another minute. When they are almost ready poor in the maple syrup and toss the sprouts until evenly coated.

Place the sprouts on a dish and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on them. Mix in the cranberries and hazelnuts and enjoy this Sweet Brussels Sprouts dish!

Side dishes:

Carrot Ginger Quinoa (Serves 4)

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Heat up a medium size saucepan, add oil and unions and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes)

Stir in the carrot juice, ginger, and quinoa. Bring to a boil and when it boils let it simmer (reduce heat to medium-low) until all liquid is absorbed (15-20 min).

Let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

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Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic (my husband likes mucho garlic) and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, tomato paste and tortillas and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 4 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the coffee (I use decaf if I’m going to be eating this at night) and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, cacao powder, beans and 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. About 10 minutes before the chili is done cooking, stir in the grated cauliflower. Cook the chili for 10 minutes with the cauliflower in it and then remove it from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt. Add some water if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and add scallions and sour cream.

If you’re feeling cheesy, serve it how my husband likes it and add a handful of Daiya cheese to the top of a piping hot soup bowl. Mix the cheese into the bowl until it gets gooey and stringy (this is important because this particular cheese tastes exceptionally good when it’s melted) and serve with a side of homemade cornbread or crunchy tortilla chips.

You can also make this soup into an amazing dip by adding less water and mixing the entire bag of Daiya cheese into the pot of soup to cook down. This makes for a fantastic chili queso recipe.

Emily and I wish you the most tasty and fun Thanksgiving ever!

XO Jill

Culinary journey + wheat berries recipe!

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I was raised in small village in Holland and our food was very basic. We grew some of our food, and our diet mainly consists of bread, dairy products, fruit, potatoes vegetables and some meat. My mum only used a little salt to season our food, there was no garlic or any other spices to be found in our house. Sound unimaginable now but back then it was normal, I didn’t know any different. Oh, boy, was I up for a culinary ride when I moved to Italy at age seventeen and entered a career that would take me around the world! I remember being in Spain for a job, where they served toasted bread with fresh tomatoes and garlic, a very common side dish called pan con tomate. I couldn’t believe my taste buds when I took the first bite and naively asked the crew the name of this miracle flavor. The answer was incredulous, and accompanied by looks of sheer disbelief. Did the señorita mean garlic? I was blown away as I realized that a single plant could add so much to a dish. It quickly dawned on me how much I’d been missing. I started opening my mind to explore and discover new flavors every day.

My mum was visiting last week and I took her on a culinary journey. Even though over the years she’s become more creative and she eats a great variety of food there were still so many things she had never heard of and never tried before. Every day again I introduced her to new food and she loved it. I had her try acai, chia seeds, vegan food, raw fish, smoked salmon, falafel and chicken curry. It was so much fun to see her enjoy all these new flavors and textures.  We cooked together and talked a lot about health and nutrition. When my “Integrative nutrition” study book came in she picked it up and couldn’t stop reading. She went home inspired and happy. We had some great bonding time and I’m grateful we share this interest now! :)

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When I was Vegan for a week I discovered wheat berries at the local farmers market. I really like the sweet, nutty taste and it has delightful chewy texture. At first I thought they weren’t fully cooked but after a few bites I really enjoyed the texture. I enjoy finding new delicious ways of satisfying  my big (healthy) appetite. This recipe is a really satisfying vegan meal, full of vitamins and fiber!

Wheat berries can take a fair amount of time to cook (up to 50 minutes), so making a big batch in the beginning of the week and storing it in the refrigerator is both a smart idea and a great beginning to many quick, healthy meals throughout the week! And it’s cheap too, I got a bag for $1.50!

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Do wheat berries need to be soaked?I pre-soaked the wheat berries (overnight) but after doing some research it seems like it only cooks 10 minutes faster if you wouldn’t soak them. So no need in doing that.

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Enjoy this wonderful meal!  Sending you lots of love, sunshine and a cool breeze from Miami!
XO
Jill

Five star RV dining.

Hello sweet friends,

Six days ago we left Miami and drove over 2000 miles. We wake up in one state, go to sleep in another. We’ve been driving through the mid west and boy I had no idea it was this beautiful; the state parks, lakes, rolling hills, free roaming cows, farms and corn fields; it’s feels so good to be in nature!

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It’s been a wonderful journey; on the road and inside of me. Finally time to unwind, to reflect, to be still and to spend quality time with my man. What I love about Rv-ing is the feeling of freedom, the exploration of places I’d normally not go and the enjoyment of the simple things in life.

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What do we eat on the road? Luckily the RV is equipped with a small kitchen :) I’ve been cooking a lot! We don’t eat out much cause it simply doesn’t taste as good and the few option are usually not that healthy.  It’s great not to depend on the roadside food chains such as Mc Donalds, Cracker Barrel, Subway, Dunkin Donuts etc. We are eating five star meals from the RV in the Pizza Hut parking lot LOL.  Black truffle & mushroom pasta with parmesan cheese. Brussel sprouts with ham, mushrooms and tricolor potatoes, Organic chicken shoarma with veggies in a pita pocket…If we would ever need money for gas we could turn this RV into a food truck ;)

I hereby share a really simple yummy, creamy  carrot ginger soup which I made twice this week!

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ingredients

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Lots of love from the roads of Wyoming !

XO JIll

Aldara’s art

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Spanish beauty Aldara Ortega is based out of NY and travels the world for her modeling gigs. She’s also a talented artist, her photographs and paintings are stunning. Check out her website!

Aldara and I are buddies, when we hang out we often do something creative and there will always be food ;) I love her upbeat personality,her adventurous spirit and.. her appetite!

Find out what inspires Aldara to make art. And what this Spanish delight loves to eat, and how she stays in bikini shape all year long :)

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Thanks Aldara, I’m looking forward to our next get-together :)

 

Scallop skewer

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Did you know that Scallops are more than 80% protein? That makes them a  great meat replacer! Proteins are the building blocks of life; essential for the production and repair of cells in your body.

I even recommend scallops to those who are not particularly fond of fish or other shellfish. The soft fleshy texture and delicately mild sweet flavor of scallops makes them a pretty safe bet.

But you do have to prepare them right; don’t overcook them otherwise they get chewy. I usually get large scallops and sear them 3 minutes on each side, the mini scallops no more than a minute each side.

In addition to their delectable taste, contain a variety of nutrients that can promote your cardiovascular health,; B12, omega-3, magnesium and potassium.

Give it a try, it’s quick and easy!  :)

ingredients

Cut up some avocado and sprinkle with some pepper. Cook the onion until translucent.

Heat a large skillet over medium- high heat. Pat the scallops dry using paper towel.

Drizzle some olive oil in the skillet and also rub a little oil on the top and bottom of the scallop. Evenly sprinkle some salt and pepper over the scallops.

Add scallops to skillet and sear for 3 minutes on each side. Once you’ve placed them in the skillet, do not move them around! Overcooked scallops get chewy, so keep an eye on the time. They are ready when they have a nice brown crust.

Take a skewer and start with a scallop, followed by a piece of avocado and some onion. Repeat twice.

Bon appetit!

 

 

Book recommendation by Sandrine

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It was a gorgeous sunny morning when I decided to take a citi bike from Brooklyn to Manhattan to attend the second day at the writers workshop. The bike station wasn’t working properly and after 15 minutes I gave up. I decided to get a cab but there were none to be found. I lost half an hour and was still on the wrong side of the bridge! I rushed to the subway and literally ran the last few blocks to the Pennsylvania hotel. As I’m waiting for the elevator in the hotel lobby another girls rushes to the elevator and gets in the elevator with me. We smile at each other, realize we are going to the same workshop and are both late.  We introduce ourselves, giggle and take a seat next to each other when we entered the room. We hang out all day, we share stories, have lunch, inspire each other; a friendship is born! Some things are just meant to be!

Meet the lovely, passionate French beauty Sandrine Marlier:

After a free spirited year backpacking and soul searching around the globe, Sandrine arrived in NYC to start a modeling career. (Over 8 years ago) A few years into modeling she felt a bit lost until she pursued her passion for writing. When Sandrine started writing her first book, named In between (now in edit) she got a renewed appreciation for her job; the interesting and beautiful people she meets, the endless opportunities it offers to explore herself and the world.

I asked her for a book recommendation and this is what she said:

A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway: It’s the oldest second-hand book I own. Vintage. It smells just as old as it looks and I love it! I came upon this book after having visited his most classic numbers and fell in awe with the early genius in action through sketches that show what his life in Paris in the twenties was like. Coincidentally, the movie ‘Midnight in Paris’ came out right after my read. That was the first time since Star Wars (the old episodes) that I went three times to see the same movie at the theatre, just because I could dive in that time and be with him.

Hemingway’s intense and sometimes dangerous adventures, his passion for his craft, for all form of art and for life in general (food and sex in particular- how French!) have encouraged me to dirty my hands when I sit down at my desk. Hemmingway recommends: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know,”. So I try my best to write from my heart, where emotions resonate the loudest, and let the narrative take whatever shape it needs, whether it be a novel, a short story, essay, poem or photograph. That is what those sketches in the book are for me: narratives that take on different shapes and colors and reveal just as much about the author as about his subject. There’s not one way of working your craft, doing your job, loving and living. You experiment, look for the truth in everything you do, mean what you say and do what you say.

If you like to read more about Sandrine check out her blog: http://frenchieventures.com/ or follow her on twitter @frenchieventure.

Thanks for sharing Sandrine! :)