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FAQ

FAQ

As much as I love getting emails from readers–it seriously makes my day!–here’s a little collection of the most frequently asked questions I receive when it comes to travel, lifestyle and work. Feel free to email me at cestchristineblog@gmail.com if you have any others that aren’t answered here.

TRAVEL

What’s your favorite country you’ve ever visited?

Vietnam. It’s super affordable, the food is just blow-your-mind ridiculously good, and the people are so friendly. Hop on the back of a motorbike and just soak up the stunning Central Highlands, try to cross the street in Saigon, lie on the beach in Phu Quoc, have custom dresses made and eat until you can’t eat anymore in Hoi An, sail through the limestone cliffs in Halong Bay. It’s the best.

I’m going to New York City for a weekend. What can’t I miss?

You’re in luck! Here are the 10 things you can’t miss in NYC, and here is my “perfect weekend in NYC” itinerary.

If I’m in NYC, should I go to Brooklyn?

Yes! I chose to live in Brooklyn for most of my time in NYC (first in Williamsburg, and then on the border of Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill), and I absolutely loved it. Here’s why it’s worth going to Brooklyn: basically, all of the best restaurants, bars and cafes and some of the prettiest brownstone-lined blocks.

Where should I stay when I’m in New York City?

NOT IN MIDTOWN. You’ll be tempted because it looks like all of these major NYC things are located here, but you can go to all of them in one morning and it’s a super boring neighborhood for food, drinks, character, etc. People work here, but don’t really live here–look at SoHo, West Village, the Upper West Side in Manhattan or most neighborhoods in Brooklyn instead. AirBnb will almost always be more affordable than hotels, too!

Where did you study French?

I’ve studied French at the Alliance Francaise in Nice and Paris, and I highly recommend it. The Alliance Française method is simple: speak only in French. Because classes are of mixed first languages–the Paris branch welcomes more than 160 nationalities each year–there is no translating into a mother tongue, even at the introductory level. Focus on basic interactions and vocabulary, and then integrate grammar. Speak, write and use real-life situations as much as possible. Bonus: you can go for any length of time (from a few days to several months), it’s a great way to meet people and Alliance Francaise can help coordinate housing (student apartments or homestays with French families) and jobs.

What are your favorite beaches in Nice?

As much as I love Nice, the beaches are not the best in the world. The beach scene in Nice can be a bit complicated–it’s a mess of public and private, stones and sand, crashing waves and calm inlets. Here’s my guide on the best beaches in Nice. I definitely recommend splurging on a private beach if you stay in Nice, but I also love watching people jump off the crazy diving board at La Reserve or taking the 1 Euro bus out to Cap d’Ail.

When’s the best time to visit Paris?

I’ve visited Paris in all of the seasons, and honestly: winter is my favorite. My mom and I used to go to Paris during my long holiday break in college, and I really fell in love with Paris in January. Even though it can be chilly, the tourist sites aren’t nearly as crowded and there’s the extra bonus of les soldes! Plus, it’s the best time of year for red wine and French onion soup.

What can’t be missed in Paris?

When my best friend visited Paris for the first time, I put together an itinerary for her weekend there: it’s a great resource for first-time visitors to the City. And if you want a little bit more inspiration, here are my favorite streets in Paris, the best views in Paris, the two tours I always recommend, the 10 things that I do every time I visit Paris, and the neighborhood I always stay in.

What was your favorite part of living in Australia?

I won’t lie: I probably loved the Melbourne coffee scene and the delicious Australian sweets the most! I’m a huge fan of Australia, and I would honestly love to go back one day (fingers crossed!). Here’s a sum-up of what I loved and hated about living in Australia.

Do you have any tips on how to look stylish while traveling?

SO MANY. Backpacking is not an excuse to look like a slob, no matter where you’re traveling. I swear by solid colors, great jewelry and a little black dress. Here are my best tips for how not to look like a backpacker while living out of a backpack.

Do you have any tips for visiting Iceland?

Go in the summer, rent a campervan, don’t forget a swimsuit and pack a lot of snacks. Here are the best places to swim in Iceland, the guide to hipster Reykjavik and my favorite Instagram photos.

I’m traveling to the Middle East. What should I wear?

Maxidresses, scarves and nothing too form-fitting. Here’s my guide on how to pack stylishly for Jordan.

I want to move to New York City. Do you have any tips?

So many! Head over to my NYC page for all of my posts that dealing with moving to and living in New York City, as well as all of my favorite things to do, eat and drink here. In particular, you might appreciate advice on finding an apartment in NYC, how to save money and some general tips on moving there.

LIFESTYLE

Why did you move to San Diego?

Five winters in New York City was five winters too much for me! Although I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to live in New York City, it’s a grueling place: I didn’t want to sign up for a lifetime of subway delays, snowstorms and exorbitant rent. After I realized that my born-and-raised-New-Yorker husband was also open to moving, we spent most of 2016 and early 2017 considering places to move. We had three main criteria: better weather, more affordable housing, and a growing tech industry (aka jobs for us!). We visited PortlandAustinOakland and San Diego (and considered Denver). We immediately fell in love with San Diego: the year-round great weather and proximity to the ocean makes it easy to be active outside, it was closer to my family and the vibe is very upbeat and laid-back. We’re really happy to be here!

Tell me more about your engagement, elopement and party!

We got engaged in Prospect Park, which is one of our favorite spots in Brooklyn. To be honest, I never wanted a big fairytale wedding so I wasn’t very interested in traditional wedding planning. We opted to semi-elope on our fourth anniversary: we headed to City Hall for a sweet and simple ceremony with our immediate family and two best friends present. And then we celebrated with our two favorite things–whiskey and tacos!–a few months later with a bunch of our closest friends. I’m really glad we kept things low-key, and focused on the things that were important to us.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

The day after our semi-elopement, we flew out to the Caribbean for our honeymoon! We spent a few days soaking up the sun in Saint Lucia before heading to Dominica. We did a lot of hiking and waterfall-hunting during our stay at Rosalie Bay, and lots of relaxing and rum drinking in our private villa at Secret Bay.

What did you wear for your wedding?

Although I wanted to look “bridal,” I also wanted to be chic and comfortable–and not spend a million dollars on the look. Here’s how I created two wedding looks for under $1K.

What’s your beauty routine?

Here’s my beauty routine – but I think that my morning routine and my sleep routine are just as critical!

What kind of camera do you use?

Most of my photos are taken on an iPhone 7 and edited using VSCO.

WORK

Are you a full-time blogger?

Nope! In addition to blogging at C’est Christine, I work in ad sales at Gimlet Media. However, I’m always interested in additional freelance writing and social media opportunities.

Where (and how) did you work in France?

I waitressed and bartended at a gastronomic Irish pub in the heart of Old Nice in addition to working as an assistant in a French cooking school that catered to English-speaking tourists.

If you want to actually work in France—like, a real job with benefits and responsibilities—be prepared for some red tape. The French are notorious for their red tape, and with a high unemployment rate, they’re not too keen on hiring foreigners. Your French needs to be near-perfect and you need to be willing to do a lot of paperwork and wait in a lot of lines. It’s not for the faint of heart.

However, if you just wanted to earn some extra Euros while living in the world’s most visited country—for good reason—hospitality or tourism are great options for short-term, casual employment. It’s easiest in Paris or in the bigger cities along the French Riviera, like Nice or Cannes. Because of its yacht port popular with British boat owners, Antibes is another excellent option.

Working in France can be a bit tricky if you don’t have European Union citizenship. As an American, I was able to get around the regulations with a student visa that enabled me to work part-time and the good luck to find bosses who were willing to pay me in cash. If you do have European Union citizenship, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and stores  in Nice and the rest of the French Riviera that cater to English-speaking tourists.

Where (and how) did you work in Australia?

I coordinated the marketing and social media at a luxury Scandinavian furniture store in Melbourne. I went to Australia on a working holiday visa , which is the best option if you’re between 20 and 30 years old. The application is super easy–you basically pay a couple of hundred dollars, swear you don’t have leprosy or any felonies and that you’re not going to Australia to seek medical attention or commit any crimes. You can work anywhere you want for up to six months at a time, but I found that in certain industries–particularly social media, public relations and digital marketing–they really need people and are willing to offer sponsorship if you prove yourself quickly. Think of the six months as a trial period if you’re interested in staying in Australia for longer. I was offered sponsorship by my company, but I knew that if I stayed, I’d never leave–and I wanted to spend some serious time in Southeast Asia. I still miss it, and totally recommend doing a working holiday there!

Where (and how) did you work in New York City?

When I first moved to New York City, I didn’t have a job or an apartment lined up. I did a ton of networking (read: took so many people out to coffee) and eventually got a job as the social media and marketing manager at ONA. I was introduced to the founder of the company through a friend of a friend. I was the first full-time non-family employee, and I had so much fun growing the brand! I also got to drink a lot of coffee with a lot of fantastic photographers (that I now call friends).

After two awesome years at ONA, I decided to move to Vimeo. I made friends with someone who worked there while I was doing yoga teacher training, and I was interested in moving to a bigger company with more growth opportunities. I started out as an account manager on the brand partnerships team, where I worked with brands like Lincoln Motor Co, Olympus and Charles Schwab on branded video content projects. And then my manager mentioned that he thought I’d be good at sales: I leaned into his recommendation, and got promoted to account executive.

I was a big fan of podcasts StartUp and Reply All, so I was stoked when a Vimeo coworker got hired on the biz ops team there–and even more so when I noticed an opening for salespeople. I was hired as an account executive at Gimlet Media after two years at Vimeo, and it’s been a really fun and challenging place to work so far. It was especially great to have Gimlet agree to transfer me out to the West Coast: I currently cover the Pacific Northwest territory and split San Francisco with a coworker.

What’s your best advice for someone at the beginning of their career?

Get shit done and be nice. Seriously, that’s all there is to it.