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6 Tips for Navigating Google Classroom while Distance Learning


Google Classroom Post PIc

If someone would have told me at the start of this school year that we would be finishing the last four months from home, I would have laughed. But, here we are. Times are crazy, friends. Distance learning is officially how we will finish out our year. I understand that expectations for distance learning are vastly different, depending on your state, district, and school. And let’s be honest, we’re all figuring it out as we go and doing the best we can – and that’s all that we can do! So, I’m not here to offer up expert advice about how to master distance learning. I am, however, going to show you 6 Google Classroom tips that have made my life easier. You may read this and think, “Heather, these are not groundbreaking. Everyone knows this.” Or, you may think I’m a tech wizard. Hopefully, you’ll land somewhere in between. Here we go:


Tip #1: Create Topics for Easy Organization


This one may seem like a no-brainer, but hear me out. Creating topics to organize assignments is one of the most essential things for Google Classroom. With so many things popping up on students’ streams throughout the week, topics are key to making it easy to navigate for you and for students. I personally have topics for all of my core subjects, as well as announcements (where Zoom meeting links go) and morning messages. That helps both myself and my students know where to look for specific things that they need. You can create topics to organize in any way that works for you! Under each topic, you can post all of your assignments, as well as materials (things that are not “due” but live on their Classroom page) and questions you may ask for check ins, morning message engagement, and more. Like I said, this one may seem simple, but it is really a lifesaver!

To create a topic, click on the “classwork” tab at the top of your screen, click “create,” then select “topic,” and give it a name. You can click and drag the topics on your Classwork page to order them in the way that makes the most sense for you. When you create an assignment, just make sure you designate the topic you’d like it to go under using the drop down menu on the right of the screen. Then, boom! Instantly organized!


Tip #2: Create an Assignment Title Format

Assigmment FormatThis is another one that may seem simple, but offers is quite the organizational hack. When posting assignments, create a format that you will keep across the board. If you post assignments daily, it could be something as simple as “Day, Subject Assignment” (ex: Tuesday Math Assignment, Wednesday Math Assignment) or “Day, Date, Subject Assignment” (ex: Friday 4/10 Literacy Assignment, Friday 4/10 Writing Assignment). If you post more long term, you could name things by topic or unit (ex: Because of Winn Dixie Chapter 1-4, Because of Winn Dixie Chapter 5-8). Whatever format you choose, keep it consistent across all subjects. This will help students to easily find their particular assignments and help you to stay organized!



Tip #3: Differentiate Assignments with Symbols 

Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 10.46.25 PMThis hint was one that I heard in a webinar and it is a game changer! You can use emojis to easily differentiate assignments or materials. In order to do this, you also need to know how to assign things to only certain students, so this is a two for one tip!

The first thing you need to do is create your assignment or material. If it is going to be very similar for each group of students, you may want to use the reuse post feature (read tip #4!) to keep the bones of the assignment the same and modify from there. Once your assignment is created, you can alter the directions as you please and add the links/docs you need for that particular group. To make sure the differentiation easy to keep track of, you are going to use an emoji in the title! To do this, go to and find the symbols you would like to use. Click on the symbol, press copy, then go back to Google Classroom and paste it into your assignment title.


Once the assignment or material is created and your symbol is in the title, it is time to assign to your groups. To do this, on the right side of the assignment/material screen, click the “All Students” drop down, uncheck all students, and click those that you want the assignment to go to (alternatively, if you are only taking a few students off the assignment, you can just uncheck their names). Make sure that you assign the correct emoji to the corresponding group, and you are good to go! Students cannot see the other assignments you have created, so they will not know that there are other symbols/assignments going to their classmates.


Tip #4: Reuse Posts to Save Time and Energy

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As I quickly mentioned in tip #3, you can reuse assignments that are similar to avoid having to recreate them repeatedly! This is great for assignments that have the same directions, but may need different materials, or for things like morning messages that have a similar format daily. This is also perfect for recurring meetings that you may want to remind students of each week and include the login information and password to. The only tricky thing here is that if you are only assigning the post to particular students, you do need to reselect them each time you reuse the post, as it defaults to “All Students.”

Reuse Post

To reuse a post, go to the “classwork” page and click “create.” Then, scroll down to “reuse post.” Click that, then select the assignment you would like to reuse from the menu. This will open up a new assignment/material that is the same as the one you are reusing! If you need to modify it, add materials, or select only certain students to post to, you can do that all before you assign or schedule it!


Tip #5: Schedule Posts in Advance

Schedule Post

Thank god for the “schedule” feature on Google, amirite? Honestly, I don’t know where I have been, but I didn’t start using the “schedule send” feature in my email until this year. Now that I discovered it on Google Classroom, my life has been forever changed. This feature is amazing for batch creating assignments, then having them post to students’ stream on a particular day/time. If you know what your upcoming week will look like in advance, you can create all of your assignments beforehand and rather than having to save them as a draft, log on at the time you want to post, and press assign, you can simply schedule them!


My team schedules all of our assignments for the upcoming week on Friday afternoon, so we do not have to worry about creating and posting them daily. We schedule send our assignments to post a minute or two apart on student streams every morning, based on the order we want them to appear in, starting with the assignment we want students to see last and ending with the assignment we want students to see first (ex: Science/Social Studies at 7:50, Writing at 7:55, Literacy at 8:00, Math at 8:05, Morning Message at 8:10). We also schedule send announcements for later on in the day so that students see them on their stream as they do work. This is great for Zoom meeting information that students may need throughout the day!

Schedule on Stream

To schedule send assignments, create them as you normally would first. Then, click the small arrow next to “assign” on the top right of the screen. Click “schedule,” then choose the date and time you would like the assignment to post to students’ stream! LIFE. IS. GOOD.


Tip #6: Save Extensions for Early Finishers

Extension Material

Whether we are in the classroom or virtual learning, there are always going to be students who finish early or are looking for extensions to their activities. A great way to save time and energy, as well as make resources easily available for these students, is to create a material under a specific topic that houses all of your extensions and early finisher activities. It’s important that this is a material, rather than an assignment, because it is likely not required, so it will not have a due date. It is simply always there for students to access, should they choose to. For me and my team, this is as simple as a material that links to a Google Doc containing links to games, programs, challenges, and more. All of the extensions are in one place as a menu for students to choose from. When students finish early and leave the inevitable, “I’m done what should I do now?” comment, you can simply direct them to that material. A Google doc with links or a direct link to an extensions folder is great for this because you can constantly add to it without having to create a new material on Google Classroom each time you find something new!

There you have it- my hacks for Google Classroom! Hopefully you learned a thing or two that can save you a bit of time and keep you organized as we navigate learning from home. Best of luck, friends, and let me know if there are any ways that I can help from afar!


Cricut Send a Little Joy Card Tutorial

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.

Three Cards

Hi friends! As you are all well-aware, we are living in a crazy time. While many of us are fortunate enough to be staying at home to stop the spread of COVID19, there are many essential employees working hard to keep us safe every day. They are putting themselves in the line of fire on the front lines to ensure that we are as healthy as possible. So, I’ve teamed up with Cricut to send them a little joy, using my Joy! If you want to join in and send a little joy to a doctor, nurse, first responder, or those who may not be able to share joy with their loved ones in person, like nursing home residents, here are a few ideas to get you started.


Cricut Joy machine

-Cricut Joy Insert Cards

-Cricut Joy CardMat

-Your computer/phone for Design Space

-Some double sided-tape or glue

Card #1: Thank You Heart


You can find this template here. This card is the quickest and easiest of the three to make.

To make this card:

  1. Make sure your Joy is on and connected to your computer or phone
  2. Open the template in Design Space and press “Make It”Step 2
  3. When asked how you will load your materials for the project, select “On Card Mat” and then select 4.25” x 5.5 for your material size on the “review artwork” screen
  4. Load your Insert Card onto your CardMatStep 4
  5. Press continue and load your mat into your Joy machineStep 5
  6. When you are done, unload the machine
  7. Using double sided tape or glue, stick the insert to the inner cover of the cardStep 7
  8. Optional step: using glue, stick the middle section of the letter “A” directly onto the insert. I prefer to do this, although you do not have to!Thank You Heart Card
  9. Send away!

Card #2: Sending You Sunshine

Sending You Sunshine Card

You can find this template here. If you are like me and prefer to stick the middles of the letters (ex: the “d” and “e” in the word sending), this card is a little more time consuming, but still relatively easy. Follow the same steps as above to make this card!

Card #3: Strong, Brave, Selfless

Strong Brave Selfless Card

You can find this template here. If you are like me and prefer to stick the middles of the letters (ex: the “o” and “g” in the word strong), this card is the most time consuming and difficult of the three. Follow the same steps as above to make this card!


I hope that this post helps inspire you to send a little joy to those around you during this scary time! These cards are heading straight to my nurse and first responder friends (along with a coffee) to say thank you for all that they do! Sending love your way!

*This post contains affiliate links

A Dietitian’s Guide to Snacks

Let’s talk about snacks. They’re one of my favorite things in the whole entire world, honestly. I might love snacks more than my husband (kidding, kind of). But snacking in the classroom can be tricky when trying to navigate around allergies, especially nut allergies. So I’ve teamed up with my friend, Emilie Burgess, a Registered Dietitian, to share some nut-free snack ideas with you all. She has put together some great options for nutrient-dense, yummy snacks. These are perfect for you to pack as a teacher, to toss in your kids’ lunch boxes, or to share with your students’ families as classroom-approved snacks! 

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Emilie encourages snacking in pairs to combine a protein source with another food group. Let’s take a look at some of her perfect pair ideas!

-Pretzels and SunbutterSunbutter is made with seeds, so it is a nut-free alternative for dipping

-Yogurt and nut-free granola– As a teacher, I feel like I need to say this: don’t forget to pack a spoon! Reusable ones are best to be eco-friendly

-Nut-free snack bars and strawberries– There are many nut-free bar options out there, like Made Good Bars or 88 Acres. Check the wrapper for the ingredients!

-Dried chickpeas and apple slices – Apple slices are one of my go-to snacks in and out of the classroom. Toss them in lemon juice or cinnamon to avoid browning

-Applesauce and cheese – Mini Babybel wheels or cheese sticks are super easy to toss into lunch boxes!

Carrot sticks and hummus– For the veggie haters out there, pretzels are a great dipping option


-Fig Newtons and berries– I swear my parents convinced me Fig Newtons were better than Oreos when I was a kid, so these are a throwback for me!

-Banana and seed butter– Sunbutter and watermelon seed butters are great options and many come in squeezepacks to avoid the mess

-Crackers and cheese– This is my personal favorite, so I had to save the best for last

Processed with Rookie Cam

Emilie was kind enough to compile this list into a printable for you, including some brands she has tried and loves. Click on the image below to download it and keep it on your fridge for future reference. Happy snacking, friends! 

Nut Free Snacks

Honeymoon Guide: Paris

Welcome to part three of the Honeymoon series! If you’ve made it this far, you’re either a champ who has read all three parts or are just interested in Paris. Either way, I’ve got info for you! Paris is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. I studied French from middle school through college and always dreamed of studying abroad there (spoiler alert: I didn’t, but that’s a story for another time). So, when Kev and I began planning the honeymoon, I pushed and pushed for Paris. It was a place I had been dying to visit since I was an awkward preteen and I was thrilled when we finally booked it. I may have even cried when we got there and I saw the Eiffel Tower. However, looking back now, I definitely think this could have been part of another trip. Transitioning from the beachy, island vibes in Greece to the more city and touristy feel of Paris was tricky, but nonetheless, it was an amazing few days!


Where we stayed: Hotel Le Littré

Our hotel was a very typical European hotel, in my opinion. Nothing crazy or exciting to report about it (especially after those we had in Greece). However, it was decently central to most things!

What we did: We actually kept ourselves very busy in Paris! We spent a bit of time on tours and sightseeing, but also spend a TON of time picnicking and riding Lime scooters all over the city (truly my favorite way of getting around). Here’s a little highlight reel:


-Dinner in the Eiffel Tower: this was the FIRST thing that I booked when I found out we were going to Paris. It was definitely a splurge experience, but it was so worth it! We took the lift to the first floor, were greeted inside the restaurant with champagne and a view of the Trocadero as the sun set, and then dined on the tasting menu. More on the food below!

-Picnic on the Champ de Mars and in the Luxembourg Gardens: we picked up a small blanket for 10 euro at the Monoprix (what someone described to me as the French version of Target lol), stocked up on cheese, crackers, veggies, and of COURSE a Jambon-Beurre (ham, cheese, and butter on a baguette) from a local bakery, and headed to our picnic spots…occasionally by Lime scooter.

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-Fat Tire Tours Bike Tour: this was something I was a little hesitant about, but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip! We took beach cruiser style bikes around the city with a tour guide to see all the major sights. We stopped for just enough background/historical information from our tour guide and then proceeded on. We did this our first morning in Paris and I think that was a perfect time because it helped us to get our bearings of the city!

-Louvre: okay, hear me out here. I hated this. Sure, it was cool to go because it’s Paris and you feel like you should wander around and see everything inside. However, I’m not a huge art person, so I didn’t love it. I was more interested in the historical artifacts and the architecture of the building. It’s also HUGE so you have to really know what you are looking for. And don’t even get me started on the entire room of people pushing through just to see the 8×10 Mona Lisa. If you’re into art, this is likely the place for you…it just was not for me.

-Musee d’Armee des Invalides: Kevin and I tend to lean toward museums that have more to do with history, so we decided we wanted to check out the Army Museum. It had a TON of cool stuff, but we had been walking around all day and our feet hurt so bad that we could barely enjoy it. I probably would get an audio tour for this (if they have one) because most of the info is in French.

-Paris and Montmartre Night Tour (with Champagne): picture this – you’re basically Lindsay Lohan in Herbie Fully Loaded and are riding in the back of the French version of an old VW bug without a roof riding through Paris at night. Your tour guide shows you around the sights of the city as the sun is setting, then drives you up to Montmartre where you get out just in time to watch the sun go down over the city with a glass of champagne in your hand. Sounds romantic, right? Well, you hop back into the car with a bottle of champagne between you and your new husband (or wife) and you’re eager to see the rest of the city lights. Only, the car doesn’t start. The engine won’t turn over and the driver jokingly says we might have to push it up the hill in front of everyone sitting outside Sacre-Coeur watching the sunset. Except he’s not kidding. So, you and your husband (or wife) climb out of the back seat and, with the help of a random Frenchmen, PUSH THE CAR UP THE HILL UNTIL IT STARTS. The car putts away and you chase it down, hop back in, and chug champagne as you drip sweat and drive around Paris until you return back to your hotel. If that sounds like your type of thing and you want a potentially hilarious story to tell, sign yourself up. Honestly, though, we did see some cool spots of the city that we didn’t see on our bike tour, but we probably could have done so without Herbie.



-Bonus: sunrise photoshoot! We had a friend who has a photography business who happened to be in Paris while we were, which turned into a magical sunrise photoshoot by the Eiffel Tower and through the streets of Paris. 10/10 would recommend!

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Our favorite spots to eat:

-Any local patisserie or café where you can grab a pain au chocolat in the morning!

-Some of the many crepe stands: our favorite Nutella crepe was from Café de la Place but we also got another yummy one (along with a ham and cheese gallette) from a cute spot along the walking path of the Seine)

-La Cantine au Troquet: this might have been the best meal we had in Paris. It was a small spot near our hotel recommended by our bike tour, with a menu written only in French on a chalkboard (I finally got to put my French skills to use here!). The steak was unbelievable and so was Kev’s pork chop. Honestly, my mouth is watering thinking about it.

-Café les Deux Magots: the BEST cappuccino and pain au chocolat combo for breakfast! We stopped here after taking photos and it was delicious!

– Le Relais de l’Entrecôte: if you are in the market for steak frites, this is a must! You sit down and they literally only ask you how you’d like your steak cooked. It’s served with a yummy sauce and perfect shoestring fries. Oh, and don’t be alarmed when they come back with round two!

-58 Tour Eiffel: this is the restaurant on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower! We did the 9:30pm seating and did the tasting menu, which we decided just to lean into and try everything (although I could NOT stomach the foie gras…ew.). We had a truffle ricotta tart, squid ink pasta (delish), lamb, and an unreal hazelnut dessert. The menu changes seasonally, however, so you don’t know what you’re going to get! It was a fun experience!

-Laduree for macarons: self-explanatory.

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Well, that’s it! You’ve made it to the end of our honeymoon (and so have I, so now I’m sad). Paris was a magical city and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Again, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or reach out on Instagram or email! Happy Honeymooning!



Honeymoon Guide: Greece

If you made it through part one of this blog series, congrats! We’re now on to the fun stuff! And, well, if you didn’t read part one, you may want to check it out if you have some more general honeymoon questions. Oh, and if you’re looking for Paris, check out part three. But here we’re talking about one thing only: Greece. And man, was it amazing. Kevin and I spent eight days in Greece, in a few different places. We spent a single night in Athens upon arrival, but then the bulk of our time was spent on the islands of Naxos and Santorini. Below, I’ll give you a bit of information about where we stayed, what we did, and our favorite spots that we ate while we were on both islands!

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A quick note about travel from island to island: we were scheduled to take the high-speed ferry both from Athens to Naxos and then later from Naxos to Santorini. When we arrived in Athens, we were informed that there was a 24-hour ferry strike the next day (the day we were scheduled to take the ferry to Naxos). We ended up booking a 40-minute flight from Athens to Naxos rather than spending another night in Athens and taking the 4-hour ferry the next day. It was definitely a bit pricier (we were covered by the travel agency), but a quick option if you are short on time! As for Naxos to Santorini, we took the ferry without a problem and it was just a bit over an hour. We also made friends in line that we, to our surprise, found again later in our trip!


First Stop: Naxos

Naxos is a smaller island in Greece and, to us, felt very much like a small beach town. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel right on the beach, but within walking distance to the downtown area. Truthfully, we had nothing planned for our time in Naxos. We spent most of the days alternating between the beach in the morning and the pool in the afternoon, walking into town for lunch and dinner each day. The water in Naxos was very calm, so we even purchased pool floats to just relax and float in the sun for hours on end! I loved Naxos and thought it was a perfect way to start our honeymoon off!


Where we stayed: Nissaki Beach Hotel – an adorable hotel right on the beach with a gorgeous pool (see below), great rooms, and awesome service


What we did: A whole lot of relaxing. We chilled, read on the beach, swam in the pool, floated in the Aegean, ate a lot, and ran to the Apollo Temple for gorgeous ocean views.

Our favorite spots to eat:

-Yasouvlaki – cheap, delicious gyros and souvlaki. We ordered the Greek bruschetta, two gyros, and bottles of water for 11 euro. We may or may not have had lunch there twice

-Waffle House – some of the best gelato I have ever had. You can smell their waffle cones from a mile away. Waffle House is on a cute back street and gives you all of the Grecian town vibes. Again, we may have gone more than once

-Dal Professore – gorgeous sunset views and amazing food. There are quite a few great spots nearby for drinks and dinner as the sun sets, but this is one that we particularly loved the food at. We ordered lamb meatballs to start and shared fresh sea bass for dinner. Pro tip: if you don’t like to look into the eyes of your fish before you eat it, ask for it deboned!

-Like Home Bar – another great sunset spot (you can watch from their deck!) with yummy cocktails! We only grabbed drinks here, so nothing to report on food

-Bossa Café- again, we only grabbed drinks here in their big comfy chairs, but this spot is right on the water and has a fantastic sunset view. Not to mention you get an entire mini cheese board with your drink order.

-We also ate at the hotel’s restaurant, right on the beach! Locals told us our hotel has some of the best food in town, so venture to it for a great meal!

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Second Stop: Santorini

If you are looking to visit only one island in Greece, Santorini would be my recommendation. I mean, I’ve only visited two, but after talking to others on our trip about other stops they made (ex: Mykonos), Santorini seemed to be a favorite all around! We stayed in Oia, at the very tip of the island. The sunsets were gorgeous, the food was delicious, and we walked just about everywhere (aside from the excursions we went on). It was one of the most romantic, beautiful places I have ever been. A much different vibe than Naxos, but absolutely amazing. In Santorini, we had a few more things planned than we did in Naxos because we felt like we were ready to explore and venture out a bit. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely spent plenty of time by the pools as well (even getting lunch delivered to us there the first day, ha!), but I loved both of our excursions and would highly recommend them to anyone visiting Santorini!



Where we stayed: Katikies Resort

Before you Google this one, I feel like I should tell you that this was our splurge hotel for the trip, but it was worth every penny. There are three infinity pools, the service is unbelievable, and breakfast was delivered to our balcony every day. We didn’t eat at the resort for our other meals, aside from lunch one day, but it is supposed to be delicious. I just couldn’t fathom spending $36 on a spicy tuna roll…lol


What we did:

Kevin and I spent plenty of time by the hotel pools, walked through the town of Oia, and had two planned excursions while in Santorini.

  1. Sunset Catamaran Cruise – this was quite possibly my favorite part of our entire honeymoon. We were picked up at our hotel, driven to the opposite end of the island, and boarded onto a Catamaran with about 20 other people (this is where we encountered our friends from the ferry again!). We spent the day on the boat, which sailed around the entire island and also stopped at two different beaches where we could swim and snorkel. They anchored for a bit of time at one of the beaches to cook a delicious Greek meal (oh, did I mention beer and wine are included?) and then we ate together as we sailed toward the sunset. We anchored again in the waters off of Oia where we watched the most beautiful sunset from the front of the boat outside of Amoudi Bay. Highly recommend!
  2. Cooking Class and Wine Tasting Experience – this was also SO much fun! If you love to cook (like me) and enjoy wineries (also like me), this is a tour for you! We did a shared tour, which we actually happened to share with another couple from the Boston area – a teacher and a lawyer to make it even smaller of a world! Again, for this tour we were picked up at our hotel and brought to the locations. We stopped at two wineries, tasting at Boutari Winery and then cooking and tasting at Artemis Karamolegos Winery. We learned all about how grapes in Santorini grow in a basket formation, rather than up, and tried some of the delicious Santorini white wines (no reds there!). We cooked up Greek salad, fava beans, tomato fritters, and pork with a wine sauce and then feasted on our meal in the beautiful winery restaurant, Aroma Avlis!

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Where we ate:

-Oia Gefsis: a very cute spot with an even cuter roof deck! If you make a reservation, they have sunset view seating, but we chose to watch it elsewhere (okay, we watched it in a parking lot with a bottle of wine and some Pringles) and then venture to dinner after. Food was amazing!

-Melitini: Kev will tell you this was his favorite meal in Santorini, and I would have to agree. Food here is tapas style, so we shared a few different mouth-watering plates. Our favorites were the saganaki and grilled octopus. I was nervous to try it at first, but now I am hooked!

-Santo Winery: this is an absolute MUST in Santorini for the sunset views. It is in Pyrgos, so we spent a bit of money to take a car there from Oia (they don’t do metered taxis so they can basically charge what they want – it was 50 euro one way but only 35 back…annoying), but truthfully, it was worth it. The food was amazing and the views were even better. Definitely make a reservation here!

-Pitogyros: we thought we had the best gyro in Naxos, but these were even better! A bit more expensive, but delicious for lunch!

-One place we did not eat that I wish we had was down in Amoudi Bay. We never got around to venturing down the many stairs to get there (particularly because two days we had lunch/dinner on our excursions and then we opted for Santo Winery instead), but all who we spoke to that did had wonderful things to report about the fresh seafood right on the water!

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Wow, I’m already wishing I was back in Greece! If you visit any of the places mentioned above, please let me know so I can live vicariously through you!



Now, on to Paris!