Monday, April 30, 2012

April in Paris, The Final Chapter

High or. . .
. . . low, nude is the ultimate chic shoe choice.
On this, the last day of April, I asked my great pal and creator of the extraordinary blog 
The Vivienne Files, to see what she could do with beige. 

She chose blue to give it character and verve. I think it's stunning.
Beige metallic cardigan – Vanessa Bruno, gold stud earrings – Roberto Coin, Trench coat – A.P.C., scarf (Early American) – Hermès, ivory tee – Precis, pants – Ralph Lauren,  suede loafers – Tod’s, tote bag - Gucci

Sunglasses – Prism London, Beige tank – MICHAEL Michael Kors, v-neck sweater – Miu Miu, gold hoop earrings – Khleo, cashmere cardigan – Patagonia, printed dress - DVF, capris – Miu Miu, bracelet – Oscar de la Renta, cotton twill skirt – Carven, scarf – Dior, striped tee – Chinti and Parker, blue cross-body bag – Monsoon, ballet flats – Lanvin, pumps – Jimmy Choo

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Next Week or La Semaine Prochaine

Trite, but true:  Can you believe next week we will be in the month of May? Let's hope the weather lightens up -- literally -- so I can hit the streets again.

Today the temperatures are warmer, a timid sun pops in and out of the clouds and the wind is sending fruit tree flower petals all over the garden. It looks like pink show.

Without a transition sentence, here is what will be on the calendar in the days ahead -- more or less in the order as listed:

1.) The final installment of April In Paris dressing by the brilliant creator of The Vivienne Files.

2.) Marsi returns with a surprise. As you know, whatever she tells us is "value-added," i.e. we learn something.

3.) The scarf saga will continue. This week it will be "find the American" among les femme Françaises.

4.) This & That/News & Views.

5.) A surprise.

6.) A French Country Weekend

7.) Election Day in France.

I hope you're having a delightful Sunday.

A demain mes trés, trés, trés chers amis.

P.S. On Sundays I have a chausson aux pommes for breakfast, my very special treat.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A French Country Weekend

Fields of colza (rapeseed).
As you know, we live in the countryside west of Paris which puts us in the middle of farmland surrounded by the Rambouillet forrest dotted with small towns and villages. Yes, bucolic seems appropriate.

As the seasons change so do the fields and for me spring is always the most thrilling. All around us as far as the preverbal eye can see are fields of colza (rapeseed) for canola oil or, according to My-Reason-For-Living-In-France, more likely to feed the cows. Next up the same fields will be planted with corn, which out here is definitely grown for livestock and not for human consumption.

In the meantime I'll appreciate my frissons of pleasure as I pass the glorious golden vistas.

Off to the market to see what looks good, then will cut bouquets of lilacs that despite the chill temperatures decided to open their buds.

Oh yes, for breakfast today. . . I had my morning glass of water with fresh lemon juice (just in case it's good for me);  two kiwis peeled and cut in bite-size pieces -- that's the way I like to eat them (are you bored yet?) -- three pieces of cereal/whole grain bread with a little butter and natural apricot jam from the health food store, i.e. no sugar added; and a grand café au lait.

Et voila! I guess that's why the blog books tell us not to write about what we ate for breakfast.

A demain my dear friends.

Friday, April 27, 2012

And, The Winner of The Cadeau Is. . .

When I decided to start blogging I had no idea how to execute my momentous decision. So, I did what any ignorant person might do. I bought two paperback guides to help me fathom this terrifying new adventure.

My niece did all the basic set-ups and then I turned to my how-to books to see what one should offer on her fledgling blog. Of course I knew the subject, but I was convinced these books would give me an "edge"-- you know, in the old-fashioned sense of the word as opposed to "edgy". . .

Hmmm, "plain English". . .  I missed this one. Maybe it's not too late.
Within the pages of the techie code speak, which I could not and will never be able to understand, were a few tidbits in real language which the editors must have insisted be included in order to push sales up to a few hundred copies. This is where I learned the most important rules of the game:

1.) Do not tell your potential readers what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- nobody cares.

2.) Try to write well.

3.) Tip: Typing words in all caps reduces reading speed by 10% and can put readers off by giving the appearance of shouting. (Well, HELLO!, that's what all caps were designed to do.)

4.) Keep paragraphs short.

5.) Try not to be depressing.

6.) Stay focused. (Whatever.)

7.) Do not write a post explaining to potential readers why you are not writing a post.

I am about to break rule number seven. Yes, I shall now tell you why this is not a real post today. It's because: when I click on "Publish" I'm off to meet my great friend Pseu creator of the delightful blog Une Femme for lunch, gossip and shopping. These excursions are an annual event.

It's true, I probably should have written a real post last night but I had a large glass of Chablis and I figured I would have broken rule six and probably two as well.

***Now, the most important business of the day: the winner of Jennifer Beaudet's painting. If you click here, Jennifer will tell you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

French News & Views

Why would you?
Most definitely a "this and that" kind of day. As always, I'll separate with mini-headlines. Here we go then. . .

Give Me A Knot Any Day

Unless it was a question of melting them down for resale or redesign, I would opt for the verrrry reasonably priced mariner's knot bracelet from Agatha over the Cartier relaunch -- I'm probably supposed to say "iconic" at this point -- of its "Just Un Clou" ("Just a Nail" )bracelet.

One collection starts at around 35 Euros, the other somewhere in the neighborhood of 4000 Euros.

The collections also include rings. (I admit I prefer the "heft" of the clou.)

Time To Bring Out the Créoles

If you're like me, I wear my créoles almost every day of the year but there is definitely something warm weather festive about them. The choices are always myriad.

At the moment I'm particularly liking these from Gas Bijoux with the bits of colored shell rimming the hoops.

A Costume Change

From Karl to Jean-Paul Gaultier Coca-Cola has a wardrobe update. For the first time ever a bottle of the soft drink has a waist thanks to his lacy bustier.

Speaking of Karl. . .

If you're incredibly bored and you like playing on the Internet you could pass a few minutes chez I know we've already talked about his venture into cyberspace, but really who wants to wear Karl on her chest or on her tote?

I don't get it. Maybe it's an age thing?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Scarves and La Femme Française

It has been so frisky chilly these days that the scarves and shawls are out in full force. In fact, scarves rarely disappear completely.

In the summer they may not be tied in one of those wonderfully creative ways, but instead free-floating. Today, in the third installment of our scarf series once again in the midst of the French there is one woman who is not.

Your challenge is getting more and more difficult. See if you can single her out of the group. (Remember these are pictures I've taken over time which explains the variance in attire.)

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ten Pan Alley

As always, Marsi, featured below, has inspired me. The last time she wrote about tossing our lipsticks I parted with a multi-brand handful of pinky browns, brown-y pinks, beige-y pinks, slightly pinky beige-y browns -- you get the idea, all more or less the same hue bought by a woman terrified of too much lip color. (Fortunately I saved one. I rationalized the purge by telling myself that most were waaay past their shelf life.)
Today, thank you again Marsi, I went to my bathroom and am pleased to report the following items will no longer take up space: John Frieda Collection Frizz-Ease (why I have this product I have no idea, I do not have super curly hair); Jergens Natural Glow self-tanner; a couple of sample-size body lotions from hotels (I get so excited about these products in the moment for some reason) and finally Kiehl's Just-Out-of The-Shower Hair Gel (great product, but I can't even remember what year I bought it).

Et voila, that's my story, here follows Marsi's:

In the beauty blogosphere, there's a phenomenon called Project Ten Pan, in which a beauty junkie refuses to buy any more cosmetics until she "hits pan" on ten items languishing in her collection.

A beauty blogger shows what it's like to "hit pan."

I love streamlining my life, so naturally, the concept of Project Ten Pan intrigues me. But between excavating my lipstick graveyard earlier this year (this post) and finally having acquired the discipline to buy only items that work well for me, Project Ten Pan for my makeup bag seems pointless. But then I asked myself, "Well, what about your medicine cabinet then? Why not play Project Ten Pan with your unloved skincare loot?"

So, here's what's up for elimination.

This and that: NARS, Weleda, Philosophy,
La Roche-Posay, Avene, MAC, Mario Badescu,
Biologique Recherche, TilVee, and Lancome. 
Like so many of you, I've gotten particular about what I put on my face, so I plan to use most of these creams on my décolletage, and the rest I'll slather on my feet right before bed. (Pourquoi pas, non?)

It's oddly gratifying, isn't it, to use up a product and free some space in our zone, so if you'd like to join me in a little spring cleaning, please leave a comment below. It can be makeup, skincare, or body care -- and even a combination thereof. A month from now, we'll check in with each other to see how we're doing.


P.S. Have you met Henri, the existentialist cat?

Monday, April 23, 2012

April in Paris: Neutral, with Texture

Hermès, of course.
Neutrals built on a black base -- so perfectly Parisian. My pal, the creator of The Vivienne Files, continues her series on dressing for April in Paris. Luckily she included a raincoat because, as I've said, all it does is rain these days. We've also been treated to spurts of hail. Still, the sun breaks through for a few hours between the showers making Paris and the countryside sparkle with fresh spring color.

Cream wool cardigan – Paul Smith, black pearl and diamond stud earrings – Blue Nile, Black knit pants – Donna Karan, back cashmere scarf – Barneys New York, tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins, Trench –- Day Birger et Mikkelsen, bag – Marc by Marc Jacobs, loafers - Asos

Sunglasses- Ray-Ban’s, Printed silk tee – Michael Michael Kors, stars tee shirt – Mulberry, brass & pearl braceletLanvin, white tee shirt – MTWTFSS, Crinkle fabric skirt – Proenza Schouler, striped tee – Saint James, black cardigan Day Birger et Mikkelsen, pearl stud earrings – Astley Clarke, diamond and gold stud earrings – Minor Obsessions, black crepe capris – Alexander McQueen, crocheted tee – Miss Selfridge, dress – Weekend by Maxmara, straw and leather clutch – Windsor Store, Square scarves (Les Clefs, et Jeux d’Ombres) – Hermès, black patent flats – Salvatore Ferragamo, black & beige flat sandals – Tod’s

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Next Week or La Semaine Prochaine

While I'm out and about conducting interviews, I'll have a lot of help from my friends next week.

The days ahead look like this:

Marsi will be back -- "cooking up" something very, very interesting as always.

The Vivienne Files creator continues the April in Paris series -- I asked her to please remember to include a trench or some kind of rainwear because all it does is rain, rain, rain. . .

A surprise post from one of my favorite bloggers because she is so fashion savvy and writes like a dream (you'll see).

Some News & Views from me including the announcement for the winner of Jennifer Beaudet's painting.

Another scarf game: "Can You Find The Woman Who Is Not French". . .

As an aside, if the whether clears and I can muster my courage I'll try to take some street pictures for you.

Now, I'm off to watch French people vote in our little village. Translation: while My-Reason-For-Living-In-France casts his ballot; I wait. Then we're meeting friends for lunch in the local bistro.

A demain mes cherest amis.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A French Country Weekend

Despite the week of unseasonably nippy temperatures, hail and rain, rain, rain, my lilacs are just about to burst out of their buds.

Now I'm off to Paris to do an interview with someone I've been dreaming about meeting who almost never gives interviews and I am really, really excited.

I'm sorry this is so short, but I am addicted to you and can't pass a single day without telling you.

A demain mes trés, trés, trés chers amis.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Presidential Politics

Valérie Trierweiler
You thought I was going to talk about the American presidential campaign didn't you? Not on your life will I jump into that morass.

Carla Bruni Sarkozy
Instead I thought I would address a very peculiar phenomenon -- in my opinion -- that is at the center of the French presidential race. The women attached to the candidates are all but nonexistent. Eva Jolie,  the sole woman running we assume is unattached at the moment. Of the other nine candidates -- yes, can you believe it (?) 10 candidates total -- except for the two top runners we have no idea what their spouses look like. As far as I know we don't even know their names or if they have children -- or dogs. . .
Ségolène Royal
The former top model, Madame Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who is France's current first lady remains mostly hidden in the shadows. The man challenging Nicolas Sarkozy, Socialist François Hollande, has never been married although he fathered four children with Ségolène Royal who lost her presidential run five years ago against France's current leader. Today Hollande's partner is the journalist Valérie Trierweiler who is often front row center, but never on the stage with her partner although she is apparently a vociferous Tweeter.

Neither woman is "on the trail" working the crowds for their men. In fact, Hollande was asked that if elected would he and Trierweiler marry. He said -- and I'm paraphrasing -- they were not concerned with convention and would not marry for the sake of social acceptability. He would be the first president in the history of the country not to be married.

All polls show that Sarkozy and Hollande will be the only candidates left standing after this Sunday's preliminary voting to winnow the race down to the top two for the final contest on May 6th.

We know quite a bit about President Sarkozy and his wife because they have been, by choice and by chance, in the public spotlight for five years. We know very little about Monsieur Hollande.

It seems to me that candidates' partners show another dimension of the man or woman running for office. I would like to know them. How do the two compliment one another? I agree with the French that we do not have to enter deeply into their private lives, but wouldn't it be nice to see the partnership?

Monsieur et Madame Sarkozy with baby Giulia.
Sarkozy was so reviled for sharing personal details of his courtship and marriage to Bruni that the two refused to allow any pictures to be published of their baby girl born late last year. They didn't want to be accused of using Giulia as a tender family public relations stunt.

If you think this musing is going someplace; I regret to say it is not. Maybe it's the American in me that would like to know the person as well as the politician even if the information is carefully staged. I want to be introduced to the family. They don't have to invite me for dinner; I simply want to meet them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

French News & Views

Frenchmen love red lipstick.
You know the drill on this one: I look, listen and read whatever strikes my fancy and then pass the information along to you in the hopes you will share my enthusiasm, surprise and delight. By definition these News & Views posts do not make a cohesive story, therefore headlines oblige.

Today I shall begin with a survey in this week's French Elle which asked Frenchmen what they like -- and more important perhaps -- what they don't like us to wear.

What Les Hommes Said. . .

Not only has Guerlain found a perfect red, but the company has also inserted it into a stunning mirrored tube.
Crazy colors lots of la-dee-da going on -- 56% said "non, merci."

Skirts above the knee (and waaay above the knee) -- "oui, oui, oui."  (Quelle suprise. . .)

Skirts covering the knees -- 90% don't like them.

Detest is the word used to describe wedge shoes or les compensées -- 72% beg us not to wear them.

On the other hand -- or foot -- they love stilettos, 74% would like us to wear them every day.

(A personal aside: Most men I know like ballerines although I cannot give you percentages.)

When it comes to prints, 68% don't like leopard and 66% say they're fine with flowers, polka dots, etc.

Some of these percentages are not particularly surprising: 82% percent want to banish one-piece maillots; 58% don't like running shoes as a street wear choice; 94% hate lots of brightly colored eye-shadow and 98% are crazy about les slims, i.e. second skin jeans and trousers.
Et voila.

A New Find

Mine are on the left. I didn't like the others.
Yesterday while shopping in one of my favorite "boutiques" -- the pharmacy -- I saw an exciting (!) two-for-one sale on Caudalie shower gels. They are dee-vine. I have recently been diagnosed with ultra sensitive skin and these products are for sensitive and delicate skin promising to be "non-irritating and soap-free."

They smell delicious and are a delightful consistency. Both are enriched with aloe vera. The Fleur de Vigne is lightly perfumed with white rose, rose pepper (I don't understand what that means, but the result is delicious) and a soupçon of melon water.

The Zeste de Vigne evokes an undefinable floral bouquet spiced with the leaves and fruits of lemon trees. It's impossible to explain, but out-of-this-world lovely.

Too Cool for The Pool
For every problem, a solution: a take with you wherever you go makeup sac that keeps products cool in all kinds of weather. At the beach, in the car -- anywhere where it's hot and things can melt, we now have one less worry. Tintamar has invented a system like those other sacks for sandwiches and such where you slide in a ice thingie right from the fridge that will keep all cosmetics cool.

The sacs, priced at 22 Euros, come in gold, silver or black.

I would imagine one could slip in some mood altering chocolate. I've found I have more problems with melted chocolate than melted lipsticks, but that's just me.
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