Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dear Cherie. . .

The first of July, ce n'est pas possible. So many long weekend trips planned, parties, possibilities. . . Cherie's newly blonder than blonde sublimely coiffed head is spinning.

You-Know-Who does whatever You-Know-Who does. We communicate primarily through Cherie's social secretary. She says she goes to "day camp" that means swimming every afternoon chez her friend Edith. Apparently they have a grand time. 

It is hot, hot, hot in Paris, but Cherie is not complaining, she is merely passing along a weather report. Mother brought us up with several strict rules, among them were: 

1.) Never complain about the weather, it's a bore and there is nothing you can do about it.

2.) Ennui is unacceptable. She maintained there is no excuse to ever be bored, life is full of adventures and pleasures, find them and apply yourself. 

Cherie certainly lives by the second rule and of course shares her never boring inspirations and advice with you. Soooo, today is our day, let's get to your questions.

Q: Mme.F: Dear Cherie, As you know we're approaching the long Fourth of July weekend and in the United States that means BBQs. You probably eschew such bug infested events, but what would you wear if you were invited and had no choice because it was a prince or something who sent the invitation?

A: Dear Mme. F, You are right on the mark on that one. Cherie does avoid BBQs. They're not really Cherie's "thing" if you will. Cherie has heard, even among people of her milieu, that they can be diverting and at times amusing. If Cherie did receive that hypothetical invitation she would wear something dramatic -- a long skirt perhaps with a boat neck, long-sleeved t-shirt, lots of semi-precious baubles, creoles, divine sandals -- and then leave right after the champagne. 

A note to all of you who live in the West and Southwest and find turquoise and coral shall we say demode or pas chic. Cherie lives in Paris -- huge difference.

They do serve champagne at BBQs, non?

On the what-to-wear issue. This flouncy get-up above was a barbecue apparel suggestion from French Elle. Who ever chose this needs to have her meds adjusted. 

Q: Mme: G: Dear, dear Cherie, If I were to ask you the one single item I should buy now (or if I already own one to get another for back up) what would you tell me?

A: Dear Mme. G, Assuming that's a convoluted question, Cherie's answer would be a white jacket. If you already own a blazer-like version, try something new. Cherie likes all of these.

From the top: Michael Kors, Givenchy (interesting twist), Stella McCartney, Etro, Chloe, Brioni and Akris.

Q: Mme. B: Chere Cherie, Anything new and intriguing you've picked-up on lately?

A: My dear Mme. B, Apparently so. Or, more to the point, You-Know-Who has been prattling on about a new blog she discovered and literally begged Cherie to take a look. It's called 
LuxeBytes, she obviously realized with the word "luxe" as part of the title Cherie would be curious.

Normally Cherie has little confidence in YKW's judgment, but at the same time Cherie considers herself -- usually -- intellectually honest, and in this case she is forced to admit, You-Know-Who has a point. LuxeBytes is now on Cherie's must read list -- to her great regret.

Apparently YKW plans a more in-depth blah-on regarding the blog next week so prepare yourself for her slavering slathering of laudatory adjectives. 

Note coy, though Cherie admits quite sophisticated, picture of the author. She appears to be quite pretty. Whatever.

Country Life -- On-the-Street

The proof is in the tiny streets in the town near our village: Summer has officially arrived and everyone is dressing accordingly. From shorts and cropped pants to dresses and the of-the-moment combination (jumpsuit), all the best of the season are on display.

Almost everyone was wearing some interpretation of a sandal and toenail colors varied from the red, reds I saw last week in Paris to the gray one French writer was quoted as saying is the sublime compliment to bronzé skin. Tough judgement call I would say.

Note the details -- or absence thereof, scarfs as belts, no fussy jewelry, all toenails polished, no fingernails with color, the absolute minimum makeup and as always, easy, breezy hair.

Today I'm off to Paris to see what is on the streets there. 

As you may know markdown dates are legislated by the government and coincidentally this is the first day of the sales. So while I'm there. . .

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

News, Views, Shoes. . .

In my deepest heart of hearts I wouldn't send out these news bulletins if I were not convinced you long to know what's on my radar.

To no one's surprise surely, today we will be exploring head-to-toe fashion finds and fripperies plus funny ha-ha and funny bizarre footwear. Basically shoes we would never wear for two, no make that three reasons: at a certain age one is supposed to possess some wisdom, we would surely break a hip, and then there's the price.

From the top then:

Josephine Bonaparte Knew How to Choose Her Jewels

You are aware of my fascination with the complicated Empress Josephine, but as I've often said she did have sublime taste in her clothes, homes and jewels albeit amassing some hefty debts in the process of accumulating her objects of desire.

This past weekend Princess Victoria, heir to the Swedish throne, wore Josephine's cameo tiara to hold her veil during the wedding to her former gym professor (I'll bet the royal family was thrilled about that match). On her feet she wore Roger Vivier (not literally, but when you see the shoes below you could conceivably pose the question), which could not be seen because of her floor sweeping gown by Swedish designer Par Engsheden.

Don't you feel as if I've saved you a trip to the hair salon to read Gala by giving you all this info?

Sparkle Plenty

If you have the occasion and you would like a touch of ageless sparkle, diamonds -- if you're lucky -- or crystal barrettes are an excessively important statement piece at the moment. Worn appropriately, they can be ageless. May I suggest at the back of the head perhaps?

The bar barrette above was sold at auction among the fabulous jewels Ellen Barkin decided she no longer wished to own after her divorce from Ronald Perelman. It is a splendidly sober example of what one could wear for the rest of her life. If you're not into hair decoration, it would make a perfect pin.

The flower flourish is Swarovski crystal. 

If you're wondering why I bothered with this subject, it's because reportedly bright shiny objects were VERY big on the recent red carpet displays during the Cannes film festival. 

Let's Re-Visit "Fluo"

Am I nagging again? No, no and no, simply another gentle reminder and one that is btw pas cher. The fluo or fluorescent trend that adds a spark of color to the summer collections can be had for a song.

It is one of those ageless, though not timeless movements. That's why I recommend a smidge of it and not a major splash unless you find something on it's fourth markdown or you live in one of those places that has the word "Palm" in your address. But I digress. 

If you want a touch of fluo and you wish to protect your feet at the beach these Meduse plastic shoes are just what you need. Do we call them "Jellies"? 

On the subject -- sort of -- I think I like this Riviera nail polish from Chanel. It has a certain flashy, fashiony fluo flavor.

Let Me Entertain You

Nothing to say here really. How about, creative aberrations at aberrant price points? The fringe ones from Bruno Frissoni make me think one is walking on two small dogs. The Vuitton look like one has stepped on a sheep's foot and as for the Viktor and Rolf flowers and the terrifying baroque-ish number from Versace enjoy the show. The chandelier Prada mules have a certain appeal. Would I wear them if someone gave them to me? Probably.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Transatlantic Parallel

My divine partner has returned from her travels. We're back together again and our collaboration will now recommence.

For those of you unfamiliar with our "Transatlantic Parallel," it is the once-a-week exchange between a French woman, the brilliant Jeanne-Aelia Desparmet-Hart creator of the stunning blog Through the French Eye of Design, married to an American and living outside New York City and moi. I'm the flip side of the equation, married to a French man, living outside Paris.

Every Monday we select a subject to examine in our adopted lands which because of our official status as les etrangéres, we may find funning, infuriating, frustrating or just plain odd. Then we share our experiences with you -- the good, the bad and the unfortunate -- as we daily cope with the cultural pleasures and pressures of living on opposite sides of the Atlantic. 

The other day Jeanne-Aelia said, "Let's do faux amis" (false friends as it applies to language). "Brilliant idea, mon amie," said I. 

These are -- one thinks -- the same words in French and English (though not always spelled exactly the same way), but to our great dismay, have entirely different meanings. The misuse of them I've discovered over the years can put one (me) in the following types of situations: all conversation stops while people stare in shock, a minor tiff can be ignited,  or as happened yesterday, right after the pause of disbelief, great gales of laughter ensue.

I couldn't believe it really. How could this happen? How timely. Wait until Jeanne-Aelia hears this. 

It developed innocently enough as so many faux pas often do. We were eight, having tea after a swim chez my friend Edith. One of the women had brought a bag of store bought -- important detail, not boulanger purchased -- mini pain au chocolats.  Quickly, as is often the case in France, the conversation turned to the ingredients of the apparently offensive delights, whereupon after close reading of the label, it was discovered they contained the killer palm oil. Someone remarked, "oh that keeps them fresh longer," while My-Reason-For-Living-In-France noted his doctor says palm oil is poison. 

OK, as always, one thing led to another and I said, "well at least they don't have have any preservatives." All conversation came abruptly to a halt. All eyes were upon me.  I thought, you've done it again, but what? As is my wont, I repeated the fact they have no preservatives, except slightly louder this time. (I thought perhaps everyone was deaf.) More silence, followed by stifled giggles that finally erupted into guffaws.

Preservatives are condoms in France(!!) Food has conservateurs. Not a day goes by when I don't learn something new. What an exciting, stimulating life I lead.

My experience is not an example of a faux amis, just another humiliating day-in-the life. . . It was one more faux pas to add to my ever-growing list.

Here are a few genuine faux amis that have made my life either complicated, funny or annoying: 

1.) Chance: a possibility. Chance: to have good luck.

2.) Circulation: movement in general. Circulation: traffic.

3.) College: higher education, after high school graduation. College: junior high school.

4.) To demand: to order with force. Demander: to ask.

5.) Education: instruction in school. Education: upbringing. 

6.) Evidence: proof. Evidence: something obvious.

7.) To ignore: to not pay attention to something. Ignorer: to not know something.

8.) Crayons: those fun wax colored things we loved as children. Crayon: a pencil.

9.) Miserable: sad, unhappy. Miserable: poor.

10.) Occasion: a special moment. Occasion: an opportunity, a bargain.

11.) Phrase: a group of words. Phrase: a sentence.

12.) Remark: to mention. Remarquer: to notice.

13.) Piece: a portion of something. Pièce: a coin or a room.

14.) Robe: the garment we wear in the house. Robe: a dress.

15.) Legume: beans, grains, etc. Legume: a vegetable. (Féculents are the equivalent to legumes in English, note picture above.)

16.) Etiquette: good manners. Etiquette: the label on a product.

17.) Souvenir: an object. Souvenir: a memory.

18.) Actually: in fact, etc.  Actuellement: at the moment, currently.

19.) Library: library (bibliothèque in French). Librairie: bookshop.

Now you must dash over to Jeanne-Aelia, she will definitely have a creative take on this eternal conundrum. And for those of you who have studied Latin, I'm sure you see why some of these words have evolved in one language and not in the other.

P.S.: Jeanne-Aelia, please tell me if I've made any errors here. Merci par avance.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Next Week or La Semaine Prochaine

On The Calendar for The Week Ahead

Lundi: Re-uniting with my partner Jeanne-Aelia for our Transatlantic Parallel Series.

Mardi: News & Vews, etc.

Mercredi: Surprise (!)

Jeudi: Dear Cherie. . .

Vendredi: Out & About On-the-Streets

Samedi: A Weekend In The Country

Dimanche: Next Week's Line-up

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Weekend In The Country

From the garden: The first perfectly ripe cherries of the season. For the rest, we're in a standoff with the birds. Since they rise with the sun they will probably get to them first, but these were delicious.

No apricots this year. After the buds burst into bloom, the gel arrived. At least the tree has leaves. The plum trees are weighed down with fruit -- more on them later. We have a sort of hedge of wild plums that have been in the garden forever and three trees we planted long ago. (The birds prefer ours rather than nature's own.)

The weather is glorious today. I hope it's beautiful wherever you are.

Have a wonderful weekend.

A demain for the weekly line-up.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dans Les Rues de Paris

At last, summer has arrived and the street theater has begun. The costumes include everything from shorts and combinations (jumpsuits) to dresses -- short and over the knee -- long skirts, jeans in every imaginable cut, and smart linen trousers. 

Sandals are stepping out on perfectly pedicured feet with lots of red, red toes peeping out. And of course ballerinas continue. The young woman in the shorts is wearing open-weave bottines that she said were borrowed from her mother who wore them 30 years ago. "No, wait, maybe almost 40 years ago."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dear Cherie. . .

You know by now de temps en temps Cherie tends to exaggerate, which has absolutely nothing to do with stretching the truth. 

It's a simple creative penchant toward embellishment, a gift with which Cherie was blessed at birth. 

This is no exaggeration: Last week, on this very day, after Cherie's brooming appointment, followed by an entirely new, never been tried before haircut -- well, quite frankly, Cherie has fallen in love with herself all over again. Even You-Know-Who was amazed by the aureole of beauty radiating from the blonder than baby blonde tresses, the wispy, sensuous cut -- the new, improved, more exquisite than ever Cherie. 

Really, everyone is excited. The color and the cut resemble that of Ellen Barkin pictured here. Cherie does not look like Ellen, except perhaps for her body (ahem).

Why is Cherie seemingly prattling on about herself? (Beyond the fact it is her favorite subject that is?) It is because when Cherie plays, Cherie works. Cherie works for all of us.

While sitting beneath the magic hands of Sarah, followed later by Estelle's lightening scissors, boredom was beginning to set in. Even though Cherie is a natural blonde, we're talking about pumping it up several notches. That takes time.

But Cherie digresses -- what's new (?) -- after perusing Gala and all the other important literary magazines always available in hair salons while waiting for the highlights to cook, this is what was going on inside Cherie's head: What can these brilliant people share that we can add to our beauty routines?

Cherie doesn't know whether blondes have more fun, but things have definitely picked up in the last few days.

In an impromptu Q & A, Cherie discovered the following hair care secrets to extend the life of one's color plus a few tricks to boost the shine. (It's a lot of work, but you know how it is maintenance, maintenance, maintenance -- because we're worth it. . .)

1.) Two shampoos a week is plenty unless one has been exercising, for the latter a rinse might do the trick.

2.) Always two shampoos with only a nickel size dose of product mixed in the hand with warm water.

3.) The first shampoo should be specifically formulated for colored hair, but a neutral shampoo not one targeted for blonde hair. (This rule applies to blondes only apparently.)

4.) Blondes, especially with highlights, should never use shampoos created for blonde hair -- it turns it yellowish. That includes chamomile. 

5.) A tip for blondes and those who have dared the all white decision: A month or so after the color, the second shampoo should be violet to banish the yellow, for naturally white hair the violet should routinely replace the second shampoo.

6.) A leave-in or rinse out conditioner should be used at every shampoo, carefully keeping the product away from the scalp and roots of the hair.

7.) Products do not need to be expensive, just read labels. 

8.) When one bottle of shampoo is finished, change the brand. That works out to about four different types per year.

9.) A final rinse which guarantees sheen is a homemade remedy: one bottle of water with low calcium content into which four capfuls (or is it caps-full?) of white wine vinegar have been added, shake and save. One bottle equals three rinses.

10.) Masques are vital. The longer they stay on the hair the better. Sarah recommends twice a month and if you sleep with it coating your hair all the better.

Et voila.

Painting by Degas (of course)

Now to your questions

Q: Mme. B:  Dear Cherie, Have you made any radical fashion discoveries you would like to share with us?

A: Dear Mme. B, Cherie is delighted you asked. In fact she stumbled upon some earth-shaking news while You-Know-Who was on one of her "out and about" harassment hunts wherein she decided she will do a future post on the shoes on the feet of the women in the street. 

Anyway, sometimes it's amusing to watch her. Last week while snapping shoes, Babette, who owns several boutiques, admitted her ballerinas were not Repetto. Cherie leapt to her feet -- clad in John Galliano ballerinas btw -- to get more info on the subject.

Here's the scoop: Just like Repetto's origins as ballet slippers for dancers, there also exist an Italian company, Anniel, which Babette is wearing above and an English company, Bloch, (pictured) with the same pedigree. She sells all of the brands in her chic boutique. 

You-Know-Who snapped the pix for Cherie. The never-throw-away box is from Anniel. Both brands are slightly less expensive than Repetto and reportedly tres comfortable.

Q: Mme. D:  Dear, dear Cherie, I know you love your champagne and you no doubt have exquisite antique silver buckets to hold the once opened bottles, but I've heard Veuve Clicquot has come up with a funny new product that might be perfect for a picnic for example. True or false?

A: My dear Mme. D, It is oh-so-true. It's the Veuve Cliquot Fridge with a quirky vintage feel which keeps your champagne cool for two hours.  Let's not say it's chic, but it is amusing. Cherie likes to have fun just as much as anyone else. For a mere 42 Euros (not counting the bottle, unfortunately) why not? It's re-useable.
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