Allô ☎️

Photo credit to @theartistlauren

hello friends 👋

As I count down the five (eek!) short days until my semester in France begins, I decided I should probably review my packing list. At the end of the list I compiled months ago was something I’ve been mulling over for awhile — a journal.

You see, as a person who confides in journals as if they were her best friend in times of distress/excitement/any other basic human emotion, I am very particular on what type of journal I have. Just ask the stack of journals sitting in my drawer what their individual story is: Dreams, thoughts, poems, rants, doodles… there’s a journal for them all. I even paid $60 for a journal from Pike Place Market one time because I’m from Seattle. #NoShame. That being said, I have completely neglected the thought of choosing one singular journal for my entire duration of time spent in France. I mean, this journal would have to be PERFECT — and I can’t even begin to think how devastated I would be if anything were to happen to my irreplaceable collection of thoughts.

While I’m usually the type of person who likes to have everything hand-written for the mere sake of resisting humanity’s inevitable reliance on technology, I caved. Thus, AVEC ANDI was born. Quick run-down on the name — “avec” translates to “with” in French and “andi” is a shortened version of my name, Andrea. What’s fun is that it can be read “ave candi” and “avec and i” which don’t necessarily mean anything but are as equally relevant to my life as “avec andi” is. Versatility is key.  I also get imported-european-clothing-brand vibes from #AVECANDI so that’s cool, too.

It will serve as a platform for me to drown myself in thoughts on culture shock, assimilation, survival, and exposure to the uncertain.

just kidding.

While those topics will likely arise in the midst of my time abroad, this blog is something I intend to be long-term and hope to maintain after I’ve returned from my reality hiatus. Highly inspired by my obsession with ~la culture français~, I can promise to you, my beloved reader, at least one post regarding one of the following topics each week: Style (does a blogger even blog without blogging about fashion?), Cuisine (crêpes, croissants, and cheeses — oh my), Voyages (where will I go? even I don’t know!), Beauté (because you’re dying to know which shade of BB cream I use), and Yoga (my one true love).

C’est tout ! That’s all!

Along with the occasional vlog (millenial-ing at its finest), I hope that this little “journal” will give some insight into my pseudo-parisienne lifestyle for the next few months. I can’t wait to see where it will take me and hope you follow along. ✈️




La fin : What now?

It’s difficult to believe and even more difficult to admit but my semester abroad has officially come to an end. All of the concerns, curiosities, questions, excitement, and unknown are now in the past.

Over the course of the past four months, I have grown exponentially in terms of confidence, independence, and openness. I have made friends from all over the world and learned great amounts about other cultures. Of course, I also improved my French tremendously.

To study abroad is to completely change your viewpoint on the world. The more you meet new people and learn about differences between cultures, you start to realize that we’re not all that different after all. A place that was once so foreign and unknown to me is now my second home.

I could not be more grateful for this opportunity and would instantly recommend the experience to anyone considering study abroad. The knowledge gained and relationships built are irreplaceable and incomparable to anything you’ve ever experienced, guaranteed. Caen, Paris, and Rennes have great locations and programs for studying abroad in France!


But wait — your blog is based on your time in France. What now?


Now that I’ve been immersed in the French culture and have a generally good understanding of it, I will dedicate my blog to sharing lifestyle (fashion, beauty, good eats, and health) tips and tricks that can be completed from anywhere in the world. I’m also going to start making more visual content in Chicago so expect some cool videos of Chicago and anywhere else I may have the opportunity to visit (watch for a Youtube channel coming soon!). I’m lucky to have some beautiful French friends with impeccable style so I’m excited to collaborate with them as well.

I look forward to AVEC ANDI’s future! I’m reaching the point in my life where every day is a new adventure and I can’t wait to share that all with you. Even though I’m no longer in France, I hope that you will continue along with this journey avec moi. ☆



Timeless Trends

Timeless trends — the phrase itself seems to be contradictory. How can a trend be timeless? After all, the very definition of “trend” is focused around ideas of movement, change, and development.

Yet, somehow, the French have captured this idea and continue to establish timeless trends for the rest of the world to follow. Trends are now dominating the fashion industry as an effect of fast fashion‘s fairly recent emergence. Society’s obsession with the next biggest thing is our issue at hand. Why dump your money into fleeting trends like oversized corduroy bell bottomed trousers and pearl-drenched tops when that money could’ve been invested on a fantastic white blouse that you’ll adore and wear a little too much over the course of the next two – or five – years?

Below you’ll find some pieces that I notice re-occurring on the streets of France time and time again. I promise, these looks aren’t going away anytime soon.

The Blazer

This underestimated piece of clothing is the holy grail of the fashion world. It cleans up an outfit and subconsciously tells others that they don’t want to mess with you. A blazer is slick, yet effortless. Use it to put the finishing touch on an elegant evening look, or dress it down with some cut-up Levi’s, a white tee, and a red lip. Other colors and fabrics are becoming more commonly seen, but stick to black for best results.




Speaking of Levi’s, a good pair of jeans or two is essential for the completion of any closet. Classic medium-wash skinny jeans are my personal favorite, however boyfriend style jeans are a good choice as well. The versatility of this piece is incredible and denim is a known staple material. Throw on a pair of pointed black heels and put your hair in a top knot to give off that Parisian vibe.

Rag & Bone


Little Black Dress

This piece is your best friend and partner in crime. You wear it to get lunch with the girls as well as to the most upscale dinner events. No one will know that you’ve worn it dress one million times, because the amount of ways you can style it is infinite. Sleek and flattering, don’t hesitate to splurge on your LBD because it is worth fifty cheap, on-trend dresses.

Sandro Paris (huge sale going on right now!)


Wear it open so it catches the wind. Halfway buttoned and tucked into high-waisted trousers. Closed up completely to mimic the look of a turtleneck and achieve the Vogue-chic look. Always opt for a well-fitted, comfortable, and light blouse. If you’re bored by a plain white blouse, try a baby blue or salmon pink pinstripe.



Now, don’t get confused. I don’t mean the cheap, almost see-through leggings we all rocked in middle school. Well-made leggings are one of my favorite go-to pieces to merge comfort with style. Try a fun but basic print (like gingham) or leather leggings to take it up a step from plain black. Zippers and buttons can also work wonders to elevate the style of a legging.


Leather Jacket

If you want to dress more French, this is all you need. If I had a dollar for every leather jacket I see on the streets each day, I would have enough to buy you a plane ticket so you can see this phenomenon first-hand.  It’s an incredibly functional piece that adds flair and edge to any combination. Meeting with classmates or coworkers? Throw it on with a graphic tee and black jeans. Going out with your man for drinks? It’s perfect over your LBD and stilettos. Steer clear of the embroidered ones, you’ll be able to wear a clean black leather jacket for the next ten years.



Congratulations, you now own only black and white clothes. But trust me, it’s worth the lack of color! These staple pieces can be mixed and matched in a million ways, guaranteeing that they will never go out of style. Each time you are tempted to purchase something new, ask yourself, “Can I create at least 5 different outfits out of this piece and what I already own?”

Happy shopping! xx,



City of Light + Love

Oh, you know, just got back from a causal weekend in Paris. A mere 1.5 hour train ride separates me from the city of love so when my boyfriend Marc was finished with his work week spent in Lisbon, we decided to meet for a few days and experience the Parisian magic together. I finished my last exam for the day and was headed home to pack for the weekend. Little did I know that Marc had different plans. I turned the street corner and…


I found this one standing in front of my house!! I’ve honestly never been so surprised in my life. And pleasantly surprised, at that. After packing and showing him a taste of Angers, we hopped on the train back to Paris. I’ve been deprived of sushi so the first order of business was to find some bomb sushi in the Latin Quarter, where we were staying. We ended up at Oi Sushi. The place was packed and only 2 sushi chefs crammed in the minuscule kitchen were grinding out hundreds of rolls. It was insanely fresh and a great value.


After getting buzzed off of sake, it was time to bar hop and make our way over to Concrete, the club we had decided to check out. It takes place on a three-level boat docked on the Seine and is infamous for its all-day parties. It took us about an hour to get in because of the ridiculous line, but it was well worth it. With different DJs on each level, you get the option of music and environment you want throughout the night — its basically three clubs in one. They also served vegetarian hot dogs so kudos on that, Concrete!


Good morning, Paris! We woke to cloudy skies but despite the rain and wind, we leisurely made our way around the city and stopped at a café across from Sainte Chapelle for brunch.


We strolled some more and ended up walking past the Louvre (which was covered up with a tarp — poor visitors who had never seen it before!) and towards l’Arc de Triomphe. It was really starting to get windy and rainy at this point, so we stopped for another coffee break when Marc had the brilliant idea to accompany our cappuccinos with a Nutella pizza. This thing was INSANE. It was a full size pizza smothered in what must have been a full jar of Nutella, topped with powdered sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Let’s just say it was a sugar rush.


Hyped on caffeine, sugar, and cold air, we braved the weather and made it to the last place on our very unstructured check-list — La Tour Eiffel, obviously. He’d never been to the top so we decided there wasn’t much of an option. I mean, how could we go to Paris and not go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower?!

If we thought it was windy on the ground, we were wrong. 1,096 feet in the air, we were one with the clouds which was actually a cool experience in comparison to seeing the skyline on a clear day. And there was no way the weather could stop us from enjoying a glass of champagne up there.


It was the perfect ending to our short but sweet weekend in Paris! The city of light never fails to fill my heart with happiness, especially when experienced with mon amour.



Easy Ways to Stay Slim in Winter Months (Apartment-friendly!)

Along with Fall’s breezy weather comes cozy sweaters, pants, and scarves — AKA the perfect ingredients for covering up your body. It can be tempting to trade in your beach body for PSLs and warm apple pie. Or, in my case, Nutella filled croissants (yes, they’re as dangerous as they sound).

HOWEVER. While a bite into freshly baked cookies is temporary happiness, having a little too much trouble walking up a flight of stairs isn’t. As much as I wish that I could continue to eat whatever I want, I’m definitely feeling the study abroad version of the Freshman Fifteen, which I call the France Fifteen. For those of you won’t aren’t familiar, the Freshman Fifteen is the fifteen pounds that every college freshman gains due to exposure to (typically) unlimited amount of food on a daily basis in addition to lack of activity.

Moral of the story: I recently realized I desperately need to workout. It used to be my entire life and two months of inactivity have resulted in an unfortunate amount of muscle loss… including loss of ability to hold handstands. 😢 On a budget, I decided to skip the gym membership (for now) and take advantage of the internet. Youtube has thousands and thousands of free videos to follow along with. You can find everything from hardcore cardio circuits to relaxing yoga flows. And the best part? They’re trained instructors, not just your average Joe.

So, what’s your workout regimen? 

It’s essential to start in the morning to wake up your body. The first thing I do after rolling out of bed is a slow stretch. Nothing crazy — just 20 minutes of loosening up your muscles will suffice. If I’m feeling it and have the time, sometimes I’ll follow along with a yoga flow on Youtube. Some of my favorites are: Morgan Tyler, Yoga with Adriene, and Yoga TX. They all offer flows of all lengths and for all levels, so don’t be intimidated if you’re a beginner.

The next thing I always make sure to do is squeeze in a few pilates videos every day. They’re only 20 minutes each and really help with toning your muscles. I watch the ones posted by Elle (this is my favorite), which are in French so it’s great for me but equally as easy to follow along with if you don’t speak French because the movements are simple and repetitive. Another great alternative is the wide array of apartment-friendly cardio videos by Blogilates.

If you’re an e-book person, two of my absolute favorites are the raved-about BBG guide by Kayla Itsines and Ab’asanas by my favorite yogi, Morgan Tyler (@the_southern_yogi).

These videos or e-book workouts combined with cardio a few times a week is an easy and quick way to make sure you can enjoy your favorite foods while feeling confident in your skin!







Munich + Salzburg

Hello friends, or should I say… Hallo !

This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting up with my boyfriend Marc in Munich, Germany, and spending a day in his hometown, Salzburg, Austria. Let me tell you something — it was a dream. Both cities are absolutely stunning and full of life. People are friendly, culture is thriving, and the scenery is breathtaking.

Below you’ll see my first taste of downtown Munich! We stayed at Ruby Lilly hotel which has a very fun atmosphere and is a quick 10 minute walk from the heart of the city. It’s also accommodating to English speakers, which was a plus (although almost everywhere in Munich is).


The next day, we decided to get lunch so I could experience this mysterious bread that Marc has been raving about for weeks. Its called Schwarzbrot mit Aufstrich and apparently doesn’t exist in America the same way that it does in Germany. I was skeptical at first, but now I have to admit that he’s right. It has a certain taste and texture that warms the heart (or palette) of any food lover, especially with savory cheese or hummus smothered on top. Mmm.


After eating, we ventured to the Schloss Nymphenburg. Blessed with perfect weather, we strolled the palace grounds and marveled at the interior. We had to spend a good 20 minutes taking pictures in there, obviously.


Friday night was dedicated to experiencing the nightlife of Munich. Already tired from the busy day, we took a two hour nap with an alarm set for midnight. Midnight is a reasonable time to go out on a Friday night, right?

Wrong. Every bar we went to was roughly 1/3 full of people and despite the good music, nobody was out. We managed to kill a few hours bar hopping until going to the one club we knew we wanted to go to, Palais Club. We arrived at 4:30am. It HAS to be packed, we thought. Wrong again. We were told at the door that it wouldn’t be busy for another hour so we felt obliged to stay. However, people didn’t start coming until 6:30am. SIX THIRTY IN THE MORNING. When we left, the club was serving breakfast to welcome entering party-goers.


Slightly hungover and pushing through exhaustion, we travelled 30 minutes outside of Munich to meet his grandparents for lunch. Once I saw the venue of this lunch, all was good again. We enjoyed truffle pizza while soaking up some lake-side sun. This is the cure to any and all hangovers, in case you were wondering.


The next day, we made the scenic 1.5 hour drive from Munich to Salzburg. I’m sure that it’s always beautiful, but treetops adorned in various hues of Autumn always give a place new magic.

Salzburg is a lovely city. From the castle to the cobblestone streets, its full of history. However, you can also find top-end stores and an undeniable contemporary feel to the city.

We took the tram up to the castle and snapped some selfies before coming back down and stopping for a mid-day treat of coffee and a slice of Salzburg’s famous chocolate cake, Sacher Torte. On our way back to the house, I spotted the bridge with love locks and deemed it mandatory that we participate.


We then had a magnificent dinner at one of his family’s favorite restaurants. We talked, laughed, and left the way you’re supposed to leave a good dinner — just a little too full. Before heading back, we took a stroll through downtown which gave me a chance to see how Salzburg glimmers under moonlight.



I truly couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. While it was a quick trip, it’s incredible how helpful getting away from reality for just a few days can be. I would highly, highly recommend visiting these two cities to experience the fashion, food, and overall quality of life.

Thanks for following along with this excursion… avec moi !



Painted Paris

Legs crossed, lounging in a café chair alongside la Seine with her elbow resting on the mirrored tabletop. The sun gleams down mimicking spotlights as a musician in the street lets his ambient voice carry with the wind. She balances a delicate wine glass effortlessly between the tips of her fingers and examines which morsel of cheese to enlighten her tastebuds with next.

Picture painted in your head? Great, because that girl was me this past weekend. Or should I say my more confident, put-together alter ego.

Paris does something to you. It’s a city of romance.. of lust.. of luxury. Colors are brighter and music is louder. Paris is a drug to me. Complete and utter infatuation. Scroll on to see some snapshots from my weekend in utopia.

(Brace yourselves for photo overload).

22281101_1913979365295972_1140649524_o22279353_1913979321962643_383969464_o22278920_1913978621962713_552642648_oOur gorgeous Airbnb (just a 10 minute walk from Notre Dame) and the most stereotypical breakfast of all time.


22279195_1913979841962591_2022620985_o22278988_1913979758629266_2080203500_oOur stroll to see Notre Dame on the other side of la Seine.


22218018_1913979578629284_59403695_o22279248_1913979005296008_1136387180_o22311873_1913979488629293_939504906_o22281110_1913978765296032_391233024_oIn front of, in back of, inside of, and on top of the infamous Notre Dame (what a dizzy-ing climb up those spiral stairs!)


22292494_1913978568629385_1875427535_o22281457_1913978885296020_981847713_o22279194_1913978581962717_874492162_oSpent four glorious hours inside Musée d’Orsay. The third photo was taken by someone I don’t know who approached me after taking this and told me I was the girl in the painting. The girl depicted was even wearing the size hoop earrings as me.

Strange coincidence, isn’t it?


22292574_1913979091962666_99335878_oThe absolutely stunning stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle.


22281077_1913978661962709_193878714_o22279078_1913978645296044_2011781261_oIt’s absolutely mandatory to stop for a glass of wine before heading over to… 



La Tour Eiffel ! We did go all the way to the very top (against my will) but the beauty could not be captured in photo. However, there was a champagne bar up there! Anyone interested in a 20 euro glass of champagne? 


This weekend was a gift for my soul. If you ever have the chance, do yourself a favor and indulge in the parisien way of life. But for now, you can just tag along avec andi. 🙂




Is Baguette a Carb?

As many of you may–or may not, depending on our level of friendship–know, I’ve been vegetarian (with the occasional fish) for over three years now. I was unsure and slightly concerned about how living in France would affect my ability to remain vegetarian due to both the cultural norms and lack of vegetarian options.

Maybe just a little meat every once in awhile…

I used to love ham, why would I deny myself a croque monsieur?

But, the meat is much more natural in France…

All justifications I manifested even before I understood that France is 100% vegetarian friendly. And I mean 100% — I have not had a single issue in my two weeks here so far.

So… what am I eating?

Before school, I like to stop at the little pâtisserie down the street from my apartment and pick up a few croissants. They have simple butter croissants, Nutella filled, cinnamon/raison, and pretty much every other pastry you can imagine. The best part? Each one is only 1 euro. Oh, and NO TAX. Amazing. If I’m feeling cheap that day, I just make a piece of toast and coat it in jam until the bread is undetectable.


I’ve gotten into the habit of eating baguette sandwiches and dessert of either a pastry or gelato on a daily basis, which isn’t necessarily the healthiest choice but remains one of the cheapest and most accessible meals. Almost every café has the option to pair together a sandwich/panini, drink, and dessert together for around 6-8 euro and some places offer a student discount as low as 3 euro for the whole meal.



I haven’t been here long enough to have a steady routine for dinner, but usually I’ll get something small on the street or cook for myself. The easiest and fastest meal to make is pasta with sautéed vegetables accompanied by a baguette and wine, of course.




Basically, I’m only eating carbs and going to gain 40lbs while I’m here. Vive la France!

Cutting out meat definitely does limit your options, however it is completely possible to remain vegetarian in France. Also, major props to vegans here because I’m happily surviving on croissants, chocolate, and cheese. No complaints.

Thanks for reading! I think now I’ll work on some kind of exercise regimen and report back within the next week…