We started this series in some way, shape, or form last year when we got a peek into our friend Jaifa’s life
. She, and our dear friend Eleni
of Eleni Eyebrows
fame, generously provided fashion tips for busy women. We didn’t realize then that this profile piece would pave the way for an entire series of interesting, driven, unique people right here in Lausanne. Our desire is to highlight ordinary people living an extraordinary life in this city we call home. So without further delay, we introduce to you: Ashley & Luna.
We met Ashley last year after a mutual friend suggested it would be crazy for us not to know each other. Turns out that our mutual friend was right. Ashley is energetic and passionate; an advocate for women’s rights, she spends her days working for the WISH (Women in Science and Humanties) foundation at EPFL. When discussing just about any feminist issue, Ashley’s eyes light up and the subject absolutely consumes her–we love the excitement and dedication she commits to such a great cause. She doesn’t leave this sentiment at work either, it spills out and permeates her life, especially in her parenting style. Being a single mother, Ashley is determined to make what most would see as a hindrance as an advantage–she is raising her daughter Luna, 4, by leading as an example. She is exposing Luna to the world through the lens of an empowered, independent, and beautiful woman, both inside and out. Just a few weeks ago we got to spend a Saturday morning with Ashley & Luna, and we got to pick her brain about travel, her life hacks, and what the perfect night in Lausanne would entail.
How long have you lived in Lausanne and what brought you here?
Seriously, what’s a girl from Nashville, Tennessee doing here? It’s a long story but my heart led me here in 2010 and now proudly raising my daughter in the most beautiful place in the world.
What products can you not live without?
- Keihl’s Avocado Eye Cream (you can literally feel it absorbing in your skin and great for people with contacts!)
- Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation hides all (bazillion) imperfections naturally.
- Clinque’s natural lip chubby sticks.
- Nars cream blush (orgasm) makes you curious already….I know….
- Skin- Karin Herzog has changed the game and prices are also on point- and if the Princess, Kate Middleton uses it, enough said!
- Not a huge fan of permanent nail polish, but I have converted to Chanel Nail Polish (buy in the airport its 25 euros!) current fave is Secret, lasts from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.
- Longchamp Pliage Sac – I will never invest in any other kind of bag for travel / gym / beach, most versatile and literally can clean it in the shower. My current bag is 5 years old – surviving over 150 international flights, one child, deserts of Jordan, beaches of Thailand, mountains of Canada, swamps in Miami, horse back in Costa Rica- and still going strong….. buy one.
Tell us about the best night out you’ve had in Lausanne.
Lausanne is a relaxed city with great nightlife (often better than the day!) I love all kinds of nights, the best for me are some home cooking and snuggling up with Luna. But if I needed to have a night of guaranteed “fun” with friends (babysitter!) it starts with an apéro at Le Hotel, a lovely stroll to Ta Cave for their amazing wines and tapas, dinner at the Bedroom in the Mad Club so a little dancing afterwards, a nice nightcap at O Buro. Finally if we get a wild hair to dance like fools, we’ll end up at the 13eme near the cathedral. Warning: this evening may require an afternoon nap before attempting it.
What’s one of your general “Life hack” (any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life) secrets?
My life hack is simple: “don’t get too caught up making a living, you forget to make a life.” None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, and we can’t forget to enjoy life and live. You could say finding myself as a single mom in Lausanne, Switzerland challenging, but it isn’t a handicap. Waiting, hoping for change and complaining gets you no where. You must take action and work to create the life you want to live and surround yourself with people who make you a better person.
Life’s too short to wait around….. or drink bad wine 🙂
Best secret for living well in Lausanne?
Buy some good shoes (that don’t get stuck in the cobble stones) & get out of your comfort zone and try something new! There are many cool festivals, delicious food trucks, boutiques, markets, museums, and not to be cheesy but I follow your blog to make sure I’m not missing anything- cool and happening. This is really one of the best cities in the world, it’s transforming more than ever and to live well here you need to get out, discover and enjoy it!
What do you particularly love about Lausanne?
The dramatic views, the lake, local wines, summers at the Buvette in Lutry, the markets on Saturday- especially the tomatoes at Palud, people watching at St. François, the bazillion stairs that remind me its useless to pay for a gym membership. I love that Lausanne is full of little pockets everywhere that are still left to be discovered. I love my neighbors- and living in the old town. I mean honestly what’s not to love about this bustling little city?
What is one thing you’d change about Lausanne if you could?
Stop making all the streets pedestrian! Parking is a drag, and hiking around Lausanne, well you can open my closet and see that “ALL” my shoes look like they have been eaten by a pack of wolves. Please let me drive sometimes! Not everyone is 18, single and in running shoes around Lausanne.
You’re known for your “get up and go” attitude which has resulted in so many adventurous travels around the world with a daughter in-tow. How many countries have you visited?
My 4 yr. old Luna, has been to 18 countries and I have been to 27 (whoa thanks for the discovery-had to do some math!) Our next country together will be Brazil and can’t wait!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to hesitant travellers, especially parents who are nervous to travel with their kids?
One, stop being nervous. Children will adapt (better than us even)- and if you aren’t nervous they won’t be either. What’s a better education than discovering something new with your children? Also, try to find flights with the least number of connections. I look at flights from both Zurich and Geneva in order to have fewer layovers. It’s tough to change planes with kids; the stress of catching the next flight as well as the increased possibility of losing your luggage.
Another problem is people are afraid they can’t afford it. Everything is possible but you must research, think off-season, travel on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, airbnb, home exchange, public transportation, be knowledgeable about exchange rates, sign-up for travel alerts, accumulate miles with credit cards, etc. There are so many ways to save money and make travel possible.
What’s your current favorite destination?
Gosh, if Luna was a little bit bigger I’d say it was Costa Rica- but she’s still a bit small to really profit from everything it has to offer. Thailand was a really nice surprise – everyone always talked about how amazing it was, so my expectations were high. Verdict is in and it was amazing, affordable, delicious, no one got sick, extremely family oriented, beautiful beaches, they understand service and hospitality- so you really get a vacation without abusing your wallet. That said- we will be repeating Asia next winter.
What’s one product you cannot travel without?
I WILL NOT TRAVEL WITHOUT baby wipes! No baby necessary – cleans everything from bums to bumpers, nice refresher after a long flight, makeup remover, spaghetti spill… do I need to go on?
What’s the most “doable” trip from Lausanne, in your opinion?
Split, Croatia (gasp!) It’s one of my most favorite places on earth. Direct flight- EasyJet, under 2 hours to paradise. It’s changed a lot in the last couple years- and a hot destination these days. If you haven’t been you better hurry! Also, from Split you can easily take day trips to all of the surrounding islands.
Thanks so much to Ashley and Luna for opening their home and their Saturday morning to us! And thanks to our über talented photographer, Gabriel
, for capturing these beauties! If you want to know more about Ashley and Luna’s adventures, you can follow her blog Luna Guide to Travel
and if you’d like to see more photos from our day together, click through the photos below:
Do you know someone who would be a good fit for the Lausanne Life series? Get in touch with us at email@example.com and tell us why!