Sunday, August 29, 2010

Probleme Technique

I'm on a friend's computer and just wanted to tell you that the French telephone company tells me I will have no internet access until Thursday. So, I'm on a forced vacation and am about to sign up for aqua gym classes. This also gives Cherie a few extra days at the spa--which she doesn't deserve. At least someone is happy.

Stay tuned because the next installment will be more exciting than anything you've ever seen...

I've discovered that my blog has become an addiction... Scary(!)

A bientot (I hope!)

Friday, August 27, 2010

On-the-Street-Cheat or Déjà Vu Part IV

Fully recovered from my recent unpleasant on-the-street encounter, but still suffering from an overall paresse (laziness). 

Believe it or not, it takes lots of energy to spiel the spiel, smile the smile, and snap the snap.

I do promise I shall be back out there soon. Until then. . . a few more déjà vu photos in quick review.

Now that the boutiques in my corner of the world have reopened and most certainly the Parisiennes are shopping for fall, I'm sure I will find delightful subjects for the very near future.
I hope, as in "delightful" -- I know I'll find stylish, that's a given.

P.S: Yes, Place Victor Hugo.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dear Cherie. . .

The minute, no the second, this post is written Cherie is off to Quiberon, the famous Brittany thalasso spa, for some detox and decompression.

This vacation business -- Saint-Tropez, Cap Ferret, Deauville and the regrets for invitations to Sardina, Portofino and Ibiza -- well you can imagine, Cherie is exhausted. Her face hurts from smiling and even she is forced to admit: too much champagne is too much champagne. 

It's time for fresh ocean air -- lots of deeeeep breathing to get those precious iodes, or whatever, into the system and plenty of water, inside and outside the body. Lots of hosing down of high-pressure waters and sublime, warm seaweed wraps. Cherie needs R&R.

Cherie is in a rush, so let's get to your questions so she can get on her way to redemption.

Q: Mme. S, Dear Cherie, While you were in Saint-Tropez did you drink any of that new champagne from Moët et Chandon which has been "formulated" (or how ever the marketing department explains it) to be drunk "on the rocks?"

A: Dear Mme. S, You must be joking. Cherie ordered her usual Krug millésimé. (She didn't pay for it, but she ordered it.) The Moët et Chandon is a kitchy/cute summer cocktail supposedly created to be consumed in the piscine, on the beach, etcRemember, Cherie doesn't do cute in any of its manifestations.

Q: Mme. G, Dear, dear Cherie, Have you seen the a-dor-able children's clothes all the designers -- Marc Jacobs, Kenzo and Paul Smith among them -- are turning out these days? It makes one either wish she could wear them herself or she had a few children. 

A: Dear Mme. G, Get a grip. If one tries to stay on top of fashion through the magazines it is inevitable that one stumbles across children's clothes in this frenzied back-to-school moment one must endure every year. Yes, of course, Cherie has seen them, but let's be perfectly clear, You-Know-Who thinks children are a-dor-able, but Cherie does not. They are nothing but wrinkle causing problems, no matter how cute they are. Remember, Cherie doesn't do cute.

That's what nannies were created for, to raise other people's children. In that case it might be fun to dress them up. Cherie thinks she could take a child for a short walk in this little red coat from Bonpoint.

Q: Mme. B, Dear Cherie, We all know you have that enviable combination of exquisite taste and infinite means. Many of the rest of us do not. That is why we turn to you. In your infinite wisdom, do you think you could find one accessory that is priced within our budgets that you yourself would consider owning? 

A: Dear Mme. B, Merci. You're in luck. Cherie stumbled upon this sac which on first glance she thought, hmmm Chanel (?), but no it's from Asos, it's priced comfortably under 200 Euros and it really is leather. Cherie thinks even the most discerning eye will think it's tres cher and of course, tres chic.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On-the-Street-Cheat or Déjà Vu Part III

The other day I was in Rambouillet when I spotted an attractive woman of a certain age with her most attractive mother of an age certain, as my friend Anne-Françoise says with a pronounced emphasis on the final "certain."

I walked up to the pair, proffered my card and started my spiel, whereupon the woman said to me: "I know you." Of course I'm thinking, well move over Sartorialist and Garance Doré, now you've got some serious competition.

She then continued, "The last time you asked me if you could take my picture, I told you 'no,' and it's still 'no'." 

Yikes! I didn't recognize her. I'm not a masochist. 

These are the types of encounters that keep me off the streets until I can stop reeling and recuperate. I'm feeling better and will recommence, but it takes time. I must heal. . .

Here then, a few more of my favorites. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why Did You Move To France?

So, why did you move to France?

All of us, the confederate of expats, immigrants, aliens (!) if you will, have been asked that question more times than we can count.

For me, the more interesting question is, “Why did you stay?”

Mine is a classic saga of how best laid plans can turn out to be better than one expects.

Here’s my story – why I came to France and why I stayed:

The job. It was a dream job, Style Editor of the International Herald Tribune.

The risky part was that it was on a contractual basis; I was not an employee with benefits and security. At the same time I was a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and had freelance assignments from the States, particularly during the periods of the couture and ready-to-wear collections.

The decision was made, I quit my job in New York, announced the decision to my eight-year-old daughter (who was clearly too young to absorb the ramifications), had a container packed with some furniture, and commissioned three large crates to be built to transport our very big dogs from the Bedford, New York, SPCA.

Because of the dogs we couldn’t live in Paris. Thankfully, by some miracle, I found a thatched-roofed cottage in the country outside Paris, bought an ancient Renault 4L, drove to the station, took the train into la gare Montparnasse and then the Metro to the paper when we were putting out a style section.

It was a rented house and along with the deal came two ponies and a magnificent horse named Déesse (Goddess) and indeed she was. She, Andrea, I and the dogs became so friendly with her that she often came into the kitchen – or as far in as she could get her body -- to see if there were apples or carrots waiting for her. Her fare was always included on my market lists. The ponies were biters, cute as can be, but we needed to be wary.

This was the plan: Two years, max. In two years I figured I could parlay my experience into a fantastic job in New York, Andrea would speak perfect French, thus giving her an edge for the future and we would be looking at a win-win all around.

Then fate stepped in. At a dinner party – out here in the country -- I was sitting across the table from an extremely attractive bachelor who was invited to the soirée not solely because he was unmarried, but also because he spoke English, a distinct advantage when the American guest spoke, for all practical purposes, not a word of French.

At table he asked for everyone’s telephone numbers, explaining he would like to invite the group chez lui for cocktails. When we left the dinner, he held my hand for just a few seconds too long. I thought, “Oh, no, a French man, how obnoxious. Well, I suppose he’ll be calling in the near future.”

He didn’t call! I couldn’t believe it. (I learned later he was in the middle of extricating himself from a complicated relationship and didn't want to call me before it was over.) 

Four months later: another dinner party, same routine. At this point my resolve to keep to my two-year deadline was firmer than ever.

He hadn’t lost my telephone number because he called the next day and every-single-day thereafter – often several times a day – until we married.

Between the beginning and the culmination, Andrea learned to speak decent French in three months and perfectly in six. She attended the village school where we lived and every afternoon was tutored by a retired French teacher who had a dog named Dog.

Andrea didn’t care about learning another language; she wanted friends. When we would shop together I would say to her, for example, “Drea, where’s the milk?” When I turned around she was nowhere to be found. My speaking English to an eight or nine-year-old in public was apparently hugely embarrassing.

Let’s see what else? Andrea asked me if she could please have a cat. I thought, “What’s one more animal at this point?” Enter Mimi one of the most exquisite creatures to ever walk upon this earth and completely bi-lingual. He (yes he) quickly trained the dogs to obey him and all was well.

On another occasion while we were tranquilly living in our thatched-roofed cottage, a gendarmerie van drove up, three gendarmes jumped out and explained – Andrea translated – that they were terribly sorry, but they had to deport us.

We were illegal aliens. It’s true. Since I didn’t speak French and all that paperwork was so complicated, I never bothered.

Fortunately, we were saved by the fast-talking silver tongue of my future Reason-For-Living-In-France. While we were at the police station, the gendarme said to him: “Wait a minute! Let me get this straight. You speak three languages, French, English and American?”

MRFLIF said, “Oui.” I said, “Let me get this straight; he’s allowed to carry a gun?” Whereupon my future husband said something like, “I think you should probably be quiet.”

My two-year plan has now grown into more than 20 and we’ve all lived happily ever after.

Monday, August 23, 2010

News, Views & La Rentrée

Before we plunge in, I would like to freely admit (confess?) that what follows is documented proof of my arrested development.

First, autumn is my favorite season. Agreed, that doesn't qualify as abnormal -- I'm simply setting the stage, offering context, background, you get the idea.   

Second, September to me means back-to-school! And, September is right around the corner. 

This is where it gets a little wacky. For me, fall continues to be symbolic of new clothes and supplies for the scholastic year although I don't really yearn to sit in a classroom. I do, however yearn for school supplies. 

This is what I want, heading into those crisp, promising days ahead:

1.) A new camel hair polo coat similar to this one from Brooks Brothers only maybe a bit longer if possible. (As I explained previously, the last one I had was in college; the one before in high school. Both were double-breasted, I think single will do nicely this time around.)

2.) Either these Chanel or those from Roger Vivier. Both pick up the fall camel vibe and I'm pretty well covered in the other details. Yes, Pseu, it's true, I'm meekly poaching in your territory.

3.) Spanking new classroom (OK, home desk, purse, next-to-the-bed) accessories. I am wildly mad about anything from Ben. I need a stylo case for all my colored pens and pencils -- which I love beyond reason -- and perhaps another one for my makeup because I like what both of them say.

Also on my list are some new notebooks, a fresh agenda which you will notice starts in September not in January -- completely normal as far as I'm concerned -- and a bunch of new pens in a rainbow of ink colors.

I'm so excited. I'll be the first person ready to roll into the new year or la rentrée, as the French say. 

I hope you don't think I'm joking.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Next Week or La Semaine Prochaine

On The Calendar for The Week Ahead:

Lundi: A Round-Up of News & Views 

***Starting Monday, and running throughout the week, Sharon, creator of the divinely charming and beautiful blog, My French Country Home, had the brilliant -- why didn't I think of that -- idea of asking fellow bloggers who live in France to tell the world how it all happened.

Sharon starts the series tomorrow. You really, really do not want to miss one single day.

Mardi: "Why Did You Move to France?" (More precisely, why I moved to France.)

Mercredi: Surprise (!)   [You know what that means. Right, neither do I.]

Jeudi: Dear Cherie. . .

Vendredi: On-the-Street (probably)

Samedi: A Weekend In the Country

Dimanche: Next Week's Agenda

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Weekend In The Country

As promised, a peek into our potager. Fascinating, non?

On many occasions I have revealed my lack of talent in the jardin and in the cuisine, but honestly I don't think it's my fault that all the tomatoes are green. If I'm not mistaken, one plants tomatoes (among other things) tries to keep weeds at bay, waters when necessary and hopes the sun will do the rest. Well, check, check, check and this year the farmer across the way gave us nice manure and other stuff to make the garden grow.

You know too how much I LOVE  our garden and the potager and when pressed I can turn out a fairly good repast, but I come from a long line of terrible cooks. 

(I think that's why my parents always had a martini cocktail hour before dinner which was then eaten by candlelight. Apparently there was always enough light to correct my table manners however.)

OK, back to my green tomatoes. Was there a recipe in that famous movie or do any of you have any suggestions? As you can see from the heavily drooping vines (of green tomatoes) if they turn red over night I will be in big trouble. Before you suggest or ask, obviously I don't know how to "can" anything.

Merci par avance. I can't wait, and if you come up with something spectacular I'm sure My-Reason-For-Living-In-France will be overwhelmed with gratitude.

P.S.: When bending over to take these pictures I pulled up a couple of weeds and tossed that little stone -- just saying. . .

A demain for the exciting line-up.

Friday, August 20, 2010

On-the-Street-Cheat or Déjà Vu Part II

Your kind indulgence for the repeat photos featured in Tuesday's post has drawn me to another conclusion (apart from the one about how wonderful you all are of course), which is: I think I'll do the same thing today!

Weather report: Sunny, gorgeous, warm but not stifling. None of that precludes the the absence of subjects on the street in the village near ours. It's still August. Also, to be perfectly honest, it does not preclude a lamentable laziness on my part.

Isn't the postcard Babette put in the window of one of her shops sweet?

Here then, more of my favorites and yes, déjà vu

A demain for a potager report. Can you still your beating heart?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dear Cherie. . .

Since you didn't ask, oui, oui, oui, Cherie had a divine time in Saint--Tropez last weekend. One cannot say it was restful because Cherie is always invited everywhere. Sometimes it is a strain keeping the smile in place, of course the style is always in place. 

When Cherie is tres fatigued she will ask one of the men sitting on either side of her a question about himself and rest in peace. He will natter on for hours; they all do.

This weekend once again Cherie is in a rush, she was invited to Portofino, but it was simply too complicated so she gracefully declined.  Instead it's off to friends who have a spectacular place (and one of those big boats) on Cap Ferrat.

So, let's get down to business: your questions.

Q: Mme. J: Dear Cherie, This in between time is always so difficult for me in the upper, upper northern reaches of the United States. Put simply, my feet get cold. It's too early to bring out the boots; ballerines look 'off' when not donned with bare feet; I'm ready to retire my sandals for the season, what can I do? Help!

A: Dear Mme. J: Socks. 

(Cherie is neither supporting, condoning or commenting -- merely passing on information,  fashion news if you will.)

From the top: Dolce & Gabanna (what's with those scary legs?), Marc by Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs and Prada.

Q: Mme. F:  Dear Cherie, I see You-Know-Who  caused quite a raucus in the ranks the other day when she showed all those pleated pants from the admittedly fab-u-lous Chloé collection. I was just wondering, where do you stand on the pleats? Also, does or rather can You-Know-Who wear them?

A: Dear Mme. F: Cherie dabbles in them from time-to-time. You-Know-Who doesn't and shouldn't. For those who are in the same bateau as she, Cherie has spent an inordinate amount of her precious time sifting through the collections and beyond to offer alternatives. 

Pictured: a pair from Talbot's bookended by two pairs from Marc Jacobs for example. There are lots more out there, but Cherie has better things to do than your shopping.

By-the-by, if you don't own gray flannels -- it wouldn't hurt to have more than one pair for heaven's sake, as Mere always said -- get them now before they are sold out. A well-dressed femme of any age cannot call herself elegant without them. 

Q: Mme. K: Dear, dear Cherie, Just a quickie, probably you know better than anyone how annoying You-Know-Who can be, but she told us she would keep us au courant on her bronzage project and not a word. Do you have any updates?

A: Dear Mme. K, You can say that again, the part about YKW being annoying. 

Let's get this subject off the table. Yes, she has been spraying her face every night (apparently she covers her highlights with a shower cap -- how chic. . .), she then follows the directions which say to move the mist around the visage in a circular rotation. (Is that redundant? Whatever)

Thus the problem, one is obliged to close one's eyes. 

Does Cherie need to paint a picture here? Her face is more or less bronzé and so is half of her neck. It looks like her neck is dirty. It's a look. 
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