Monthly Archives: September 2012

My Inner French Girl

I’ve been writing. Furiously, frequently, and often snippets in my notebook or in an email draft on my phone if I’m not near a pen. This will please my mom to no end, as she’s been encouraging me to get back to writing for years. And Boyfriend, too, who is convinced that I will write a bestseller and my millions will float us around the world on lavish vacations. Or maybe that’s me.

Either way,  this whole My Inner French Girl series has sparked something inside of me and I’m feeling really inspired to delve into it further and flush it out. Unfortunately for you, that means the details I’ll be sharing in each post will be more limited going forward, so I’m not giving everything away up front, and saving some story lines for off-line. That being said…

Sylvie closes the gallery for the last 3 weeks in August to take her annual vacation (all of the prominent art dealers and buyers are gone from Paris at the end of the summer), and for the first week Mirette sat around her apartment feeling sorry for herself and avoiding the back windows, lest she catch a glimpse of Matthieu practicing in his apartment across the alley. Seemingly, all of her girlfriends are away on their own vacations, so when her mobile rang and Sylvie’s number flashed across the screen, Mirette accepted the invitation to spend a week with her boss and her husband at their summer home in La Ciotat without hesitation.

1. Shirt / 2. Hat / 3. Sunglasses / 4. Bathing suit / 5. Bag / 6. Shorts / 7. Sandals /
8. Bracelet  / 9. Sunscreen / 10. Hair spray / 11. Book

She packed quickly and lightly, planning for the coastal heat, before heading to the train station. She stops at a flower shop to pick up a bouquet for her hosts, so as not to show up empty handed. Sylvie’s offer is kind and much-needed. It’s about a three hour train ride from Paris to Marseille, where Sylvie and Andrés (her Spanish husband and her gallery’s most exhibited artist) will meet her in their vintage red convertible. They’ll ride with the top down, Sylvie curling around her seat to talk to Mirette over the noise of the wind and the highway. Sylvie doesn’t want to bring it up, but Mirette can tell from the crease of her eyebrows that all of her questions as to the state of Mirette’s well-being revolve around Matthieu. Mirette doesn’t want to talk about it, she just wants to patter around their house, feel the cool stone tile against her feet and the hear ocean out the windows. And enjoy the company of Antoine, a close friend of Andrès and Sylvie’s and the best man at their wedding, who is staying at their summer home indefinitely, and who is seemingly fascinated by Mirette.

(I’m actually reading Irène Némirovsky’s “Dimanche” now and can’t recommend it enough. Though if you haven’t read “Suite Francaise” pick up that one first. Her writing is incredible, and so is her story. She was born in Kiev and fled with her family to Paris to escape the Russian Revolution, only to get swept up in WWII and, because she was Jewish and married to a Jew, ended up dying in Auschwitz. “Suite Francaise” wasn’t published until the early 2000s after the manuscript was discovered by her daughter. “Dimanche” is a collection of short stories. It’s beautiful.)

What are you guys up to this weekend? I’m not doing a damn thing other than laundry and napping. Just the way nature intended it. Also, I’m  beyond relieved those shorts are sold out, because I was so close to  buying 10 pairs of them. Trés adorable.

September 14, 2012 / fashion / vanity / My Inner French Girl / read / watch / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 16

Reality TV Addiction

The other day I did some quick calculating (this is a lie; anything involving math takes me an hour) and figured out that Boyfriend has only been home 6 days since August 18th. Six! That leaves over 3 weeks when he was gone, which adds up to a lot of hours of bad reality television shows watched in an effort to distract myself. I know, I know, I could’ve been reading a book or something noble, but sometimes a girl needs to just zone out. If you figure I was soaking up 3 hours a day on the weekdays and 8 on the weekends (conservative estimates), what does that average out to? 5.5? Multiply that by x, where x equals the number of days Boyfriend was in India or Cincinnati or DC and you come up with OH MY GOD, MY BRAIN IS MELTING.

Not every reality show I indulged in was particularly terrible, but there is a certain level of, shall we say, grossness that comes with watching a scripted drama trying to pass itself off as reality in any number of staged situations. Such gems included Project Runway, Million Dollar Listing, Real Housewives (New York and New Jersey), etc. Halfway through The Best Three Weeks for My Cable Box, I started to notice something funny about some of the “characters” (because that’s essentially what they are); they reminded me of other people I’d seen before, and not just because I’d watched the same episodes multiple times already. Lots of the faces looked familiar, but I couldn’t place them.

It finally clicked for me when, in the middle of a marathon of Million Dollar Listing New York, a car commercial came on with a cameo appearance by Tom Brady. So that’s where I’d seen one of the brokers on the show before! He’s a dead-ringer for the Patriots quarterback, although a much crouch-ier version. My friend Hunter came up with that word, it’s a combination of creep and douche.

Uncanny, am I right? And then it’s like the floodgates to whatever bizarre part of my mind is responsible for recognizing faces opened up and I couldn’t watch anything without mentally comparing them to the visual rolodex in my head. Shit got weird for a while.

Near the end of Boyfriend’s hiatus from America, I got really into old MTV reruns of Real World/Road Rules Challenges. You know what I’m talking about, the good old days of MTV from the early 2000s where they would have a million different gauntlet-style battles, wherein a bunch of 20-somethings, aiming to stay relevant after their respective season of their other reality show had ended, lived in Island villas and competed in pointless battles of physical strength and there was lots of scheming and conniving to eliminate fellow teammates and lots and lots of hooking up. Too bad they don’t air repeats on tv anymore, but at least there’s Youtube. You know what’s on Youtube? EVERYTHING. Including Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes from 2003, the show that introduced me to hot dudes with French accents by way of Antoine de Bouverie. I’m pretty sure he is what started the entire French Man obsession, all those years ago.

Thanks, buddy. Call me, maybe.

Another contestant was Tonya, of Real World fame, who I figured out looks just like one of the idiots from Teen Mom 2. It’s like a reality tv gold medal, trying to see which of these girls can out un-class the other.  And before you get all judge-y on me, NO, I don’t watch Teen Mom. Even I have standards. Sidenote: you try finding a picture of a slutty former porn star-turned-Real World contestant with all her clothes on. And they say blogging isn’t hard work.

They could be past and future versions of each other. Don’t worry, 17 year old girl with twins, you will grow up and still be on MTV!

And then there’s another Real World contestant, Robin, who looks sort of like Scarlett Johansson. I said “sort of” because it’s not identical, and it’s harder to see it in photos than it is when she’s talking on screen.

Also, if Robin’s boobs get any farther apart they are going to end up in her armpits.

Like I said, I don’t always watch such inarguable garbage. Project Runway is actually a respectable show. It’s won Emmys! And the drama is always contained to things like “You stole my sewing machine!” not “You stole my man!” But occasionally, there is a contestant so ridiculous that the only comparison I can make is…well, here you go:

Aside from the fact that Kooan could barely speak English, he provided so much entertainment in the time he was on the show. Here, he is wearing a bright blue jumpsuit that he has tied around his waist. He’s the spitting image of a Sanrio cartoon.

If you made it through this entire post and a) didn’t roll your eyes and b) still want to associate with me, congratulations! I tried to scale it back; I have an entire post dedicated to America’s Next Top Model look-alikes that I’ve spared you from.

September 13, 2012 / random / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 12

Stripes, Un-Check

I’d consider online shopping to be one of my strongest skills. I’m able to find almost anything online and at record speeds. Not having a car and living in the city where, while there might be an abundance of shops, you’re definitely paying a premium on the cost of goods, has made me really good at internet-bargain hunting.

If you recall, I ordered this Dwell Studio Draper duvet set back in the middle of July, fully aware of the 3-4 week delivery time it had. I figured if I was getting it for something like 60% off full-price, I could exercise my non-existent patience. I’m of the school of Instant Gratification, in case you haven’t guessed by now, so it was a very difficult feat to sit idly waiting. The day it was supposed to ship in August I got an email from AllModern (heretofore referred to as The Worst Company in the World) not informing me that the duvet had shipped, no no, but rather saying it was backordered an additional 3-4 weeks, but would definitely ship by September 10th. For those of you near a calendar, that was Monday. I don’t have the duvet. Instead, The Worst Company in the World emailed me on Friday saying my order and been cancelled. No apology. No reason. Not even an email from a customer service rep, just a basic, auto-generated email telling me the status of my order was that there no longer was an order. Awesome! I’ve since deduced that they were likely sold out of it back when I ordered it.

from Hyperbole and a Half

So I spent two months dreaming of all the stripey, poppy goodness coming my way only to have my hopes dashed. But then I realized that the $185 could probably be better spent elsewhere (or would be happier sitting in my savings account) and that owning so fancy a duvet set with a manic puppy that sheds approximately 40lbs of hair a week was a dumb idea. I guess I’ll have to employ my superior Internet Squirrel skills to find a suitable replacement that is reasonably priced.

Moral of the story, kiddos: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You’re welcome for that nugget of previously-unheard-of advice.

September 12, 2012 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

Tuesday Tunes

I wasn’t planning on bringing Tuesday Tunes into the regular rotation, but I already have one scheduled for next week, and today’s was an unavoidable choice given that this is all I’ve listened to for the past 24 hours straight.

Christina Perri is a Philly native and within the past year has blown up on the scene, starting with a guest appearance on So You Think You Can Dance performing “Jar of Hearts,” and it wasn’t until yesterday that I figured out that it was her song, having heard it a bunch of times on tv. It was like putting a name to a face. “Arms” is such a beautiful song (I sort of want it to be my wedding song one day), and the rest of her album is equally as amazing. She’s currently on tour with Jason Mraz.

Funny story, I can sort of play Six Degrees of Separation with her. One of my dad’s closest friends, Tony, a fellow architect, amazing illustrator (his Christmas cards are always the highlight of the season) and all around motorcycle-driving badass (we have had a long standing arrangement wherein he is always on standby to beat up any boy who breaks my heart), is Christina’s uncle  cousin! (Sorry, Tony!!) I’ve grown up knowing Tony my entire life, and I wish I’d listened to him a lot earlier when he said how good Christina was. Oh well, better late than never, right?

What are you guys listening to these days?

PS. In honor of the 11th anniversary of 9/11, you should all go read Sam’s touching post on visiting the memorial site a few weeks ago.

September 11, 2012 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 23

Weekend in Pictures

This weekend was incredible, and I know that because I woke up this morning exhausted and wishing it were still Sunday.

After work on Friday, I went home and tried to straighten up, but mostly I was anxiously pacing around the house, eagerly awaiting Lauren’s arrival. As soon as they got to their hotel and checked in, I ran as fast as I could to meet them. There were lots of big, squeezing hugs and loads of high pitched squealing on my part. We went to dinner at Continental, split huge plates of food, and talked well past both mine and Cal’s bedtimes. It was the most surreal thing, sitting there with these 3 amazing people like it wasn’t the first time we’d met. There wasn’t a single awkward moment. And Cal even got a sparkler with dessert for his birthday!

Saturday morning I met them in Rittenhouse Square and the four of us went to Old City to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. I take living in the country’s most historic city for granted sometimes, so it was nice to see things through the eyes of a tourist and soak it all in. If you ever come to visit, just know that I’ll likely make this a required trip, seeing the birthplace of our nation’s independence.

We had lunch at Parc (!!), where Boyfriend (who had gotten in late the night before and was still feeling all gross and congested) joined us. We had one of those long, leisurely meals I love so much, and conversation flowed as if we’d all been friends for years. Lauren really did say it best, it didn’t feel like “meeting” so much as just “seeing” each other. Also, can I just take a moment to say that both Cal (and Sam’s son Barney, who I’d had the pleasure of meeting the week before) are so much more well behaved than I was at their age. They are both exceedingly polite and kind; I’m pretty sure I was a huge brat at 13.

After a quick nap, we reconvened and headed down to the baseball stadium for what turned out to be a rainy wash-out of a game, but we tried to make the most of it. Lauren and I split a classic Philly cheesesteak, and the boys each had their own. Boyfriend had a really fun time talking baseball with Cal. When the game was finally called for rain, we all left for home, heartbroken. But not before stopping for some frozen yogurt.

Sunday, Boyfriend made an elaborate spread for breakfast while I cleaned (read: slept in), including bagels, fresh fruit and veggies, and a mushroom, goat cheese, and roasted red pepper quiche. I was in charge of roasting the red pepper, and I succeeded….in setting the smoke alarm off at 8am. Lauren, Neel, and Cal came over for some grub and for some Fitz-lovin’. Fitz was in heaven with more people to play with and kiss and hogged all the attention. Lauren brought me a huge container of Doumar’s waffle cones and an adorable set of cheese knives with Eiffel Tower handles. The sweetest.

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September 10, 2012 / art / photo / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 32

Photobooth Fashion Show

I’m feeling worlds better than I was earlier in the week, thank you all for the well-wishes. I think the hydrangeas might have helped. Though when I got home yesterday after having a few drinks with my friend Amber, the blue stem was a wilted, shriveled mess, which was disappointing and also unacceptable given that they were a day old and didn’t come cheap (Boyfriend refused to tell me how much he spent because he is a gentleman, but I have my ways). I tried a few revival tricks I found online like sitting the stem in boiling water, dunking the flowers in cold water, a virgin sacrifice at the alter of Green Thumbs, etc, and this morning found them looking a lot better. Not as perfect and pert as the other two stems, but not sickly and tragic either. You don’t think it caught my cold do you? Should I try to give it orange juice? This is why I can’t have nice things.

Speaking of nice things, I’m happy to report that my new glasses came! Actually, they came last Friday when I was hanging out in Manhattan with sweet Sam, but they were delivered to my office so I didn’t even get to try them on til Tuesday, and I wasn’t in the mood to model them obviously, given that I felt like I was suffering Death By Phlegm (totally a thing). I felt (and looked) more like my normal self this morning though and decided to snap a few Photobooth pics on my laptop. Man, that degree in Photojournalism is really going to good use.


Huxley in Whiskey Tortoise (old) and Crystal (new)

I don’t look awkward at all! I LOVE them in Crystal. Which is unsurprising since I love the frame shape in the dark tortoise I’ve had for the past year. I’m still going to wear the original pair when I’m at work, and save the crystal pair for less serious occasions (like reading in bed and generally looking cute). Huxleys were the way to go, and I’m so happy I snagged a pair (they were limited edition and are all sold out!). They feel lighter, look lighter, but still make me feel nerd-chic, which is really my whole goal. Being dorky all my life is paying off now that it’s hip to be square.

It’s a good thing I’m feeling better, because Boyfriend comes home tonight from his business trip to the exotic locale of Cincinnati and we have a fun weekend planned. Continuing my streak of “Hanging Out with People I Met on the Internet and Hoping They Aren’t Murderers” (you might have noticed this is a running theme in my life), the wonderful Lauren (and Neel and Callum the birthday boy!) are coming up to Philly for the weekend for Cal’s birthday. We’re going to dinner, going to a Phillies game tomorrow night, having lunch at Parc and brunch at our place on Sunday, where they will surely catch this gross cold from one of us. As Lauren so eloquently said in one of our many, many text message chats, “It doesn’t even feel like ‘meeting you,’ more like ‘seeing you'” since we talk in either text or Twitter message form multiple times a day at this point. I’m so, so excited.

So far September is shaping up to be amazing.

September 7, 2012 / fashion / vanity / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 13

Short & Sweet

I went home early on Tuesday from work after giving it a valiant effort. Around 3pm though, the combination of not sleeping the night before, the sensation that my eyes were going to burn out of their sockets, having the chills even though I was boiling, and still not being able to breathe properly through my nose proved to be too much. I crawled in bed and fell asleep almost instantly.

I was woken up at 6:30 by a figure appearing in the doorway of the bedroom, lit from behind by the hallway light. Because I’m me, my first thought was that it was a murderer coming to put me out of my misery, wielding a giant weapon. And then he came into focus, and it wasn’t a murderer at all, but rather Boyfriend, holding a large bouquet of hydrangeas. If that’s not the best medicine I don’t know what is.

He explained that he’d stopped on the way home and picked up my favorite flowers because I didn’t feel well. And because I’d taken care of him over the weekend when he was sick. And because he was leaving again Wednesday for yet another business trip. Multi-purpose blooms. Made even sweeter by the fact that he wasn’t there to kill me.

I tend not to go too personal, but this is one opportunity I will take to say that I am very, very lucky. I may complain a lot when he leaves me for India (twice in one year, ahem ahem), or just about everything in general (I know, it’s a cold, not the end of the world) but I’m lucky and happy and probably definitely don’t say it enough.

And I’m sure the hydrangeas smell as pretty as they look, but I can’t tell.

September 6, 2012 / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 26

My Inner French Girl

Thank you for your name suggestions on the last My Inner French Girl post. It took me a while (in fact, four previous posts about this mystery Parisienne), but my girl has a name. And yes, I realize the fanfare surrounding this is a bit on the loony side given that she isn’t even real but rather a figment of my overly active, Francophile brain. But her name is very important. Are you ready? Oui?

Je vous présente…Linnea ou Mirette!

That’s right, I can’t pick. Now, before you thumb your nose at both suggestions, I picked them from two of my favorite books from childhood. My dad read these to me a million times and both names represent the adorable, strong, smart French girls from the stories, each who had a proclivity for art.

Linnea in Monet’s Garden / Mirette on the High Wire

Linnea, a precocious girl, takes us on a journey through Monet’s most famous works and on a tour of his life and garden in Giverny. There was even a movie, which we also had. Mirette lives with her mother in the boarding house they run, surrounded by performers and artists. She learns to tight rope from the famous Bellini. The artwork is heavily French Impressionist, just like Monet (my dad was an artist, after all, and would have been dissatisfied only reading typical children’s books with me). Both books take us back to the turn of the 20th century in Paris.  You could say my love of all things Parisian is genetic, but it was also nurtured with books like these. I love both names so much, either would do My Inner French Girl justice and be wonderfully fitting.

I’m going to let you weigh in and then make a decision.

1. Dress / 2. Necklace / 3. Blazer / 4. Lip Balm / 5. Perfume / 6. Illuminizer /
 7. Nail polish / 8. Scarf / 9. Clutch / 10. Booties

Linnea/Mirette works as an art assistant for a gallery in the 6th. I briefly considered having her work at Vogue Paris but I want to still like her, not envy her to the point of hatred. On her way to lunch one afternoon with her boss, Sylvie, she bumps (literally) into Matthieu coming out of a neighboring performance gallery. They give awkward, flushed hellos, and Sylvie’s eyebrows raise as she smirks at the exchange. My Inner French Girl’s cheeks turn the color of her blazer as Sylive extends a hand and says she has heard beaucoup about him. Matthieu explains he is playing with a friend who is a violinist that night, that they’ll be performing selected Antione Bohrer movements. She nods as if she understands. There’s a long pause, Matthieu stuffs his hands in his jacket pockets awkwardly before it dawns on him to invite her. She accepts, trying not to seem overly enthusiastic. Matthieu says goodbye, tells Sylvie it was nice to meet her, and leaves. As they continue on their way to lunch, Sylvie links arms with Linnea/Mirette and tries not to giggle.

My Inner French Girl realizes the concert starts too early for her to leave work to go home and change, so she’ll have to go in her work outfit. Sylvie finds her in the bathroom reapplying her makeup, gives an amused sigh, and pulls her a scarf out of her bag. She ties it around My Inner French Girl’s neck and wishes her good luck before leaving for the night. Linnea/Mirette makes her way down the block to the gallery, trying to stop worrying about how she looks. It doesn’t matter how she looks anyway, because as she walks into room and looks for a seat, the first person she spots is Matthieu, who’s changed into a dark, casual suit…and who is standing with his tall, impossibly thin, blonde girlfriend.

September 5, 2012 / fashion / vanity / My Inner French Girl / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 18

Tuesday Tunes

I was being facetious yesterday when I said Boyfriend has the black lung. Black lung was a respiratory condition coal miners developed from breathing in dirt and dust due to poor air quality underground in the mines. So technically he doesn’t have it, but I defy you to listen to him when he coughs and tell me otherwise. And as germs are wont to do, they’ve since spread to my defenseless body and are having a lot of fun playing a one-sided game of “You Can’t Breathe Through Your Nose.” The rules are you’re not allowed to lay down on your back or your side or generally assume any comfortable position conducive to sleep. Which meant that 4am this morning found me sitting upright on the sofa in the living room, mouth-breathing, watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. And let me tell you, absolutely nothing is funny at 4am. Unless gin is involved.

So today I’m a congested and sleep deprived monster. But it’s okay, pale and tragic looks really good on me. But because my mental capacity is understandably diminished from excess phlegm (sexy!), today’s post is an easy one. Tuesday Tunes are back! I should mention that I love Earth Wind & Fire. And it’s officially September, which means we can all dance our butts off to this disco classic. Except not me, because I am dying.

My mother was somewhat of a disco girl in her day (rumor has it she even owned a denim jumpsuit, I can’t even) so I feel like I heard this song growing up more than most kids my age. I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t know a single word of the song other than “September.” I mostly make some weird high-pitched noises along with the chorus and hope for the best. A la this moment (one of my all time favorites) from Friends:

Now that totally made me feel better.

September 4, 2012 / Tuesday Tunes / LEAVE A COMMENT / 9

Day 13

In case you had any doubts as to how adorable and sweet and charming Sam Lennie is in real life, let me confirm that she is every bit as lovely as I’d hoped and then some. The moment I met her it felt like we’d already been friends for years; it was so easy to talk to her and it felt like spending the day with an old girlfriend. There’s always a chance when meeting someone for the first time that it will be awkward or anticlimactic, but that couldn’t have been farther from how our Friday went. We spent the day shopping on 5th avenue and being eyed suspiciously by the staff at Bergdorf Goodman, having cocktails at my favorite bar in the city before drooling over every floor of ABC Home on Broadway, and capped off the day with an early dinner in Soho with Sam’s wonderful husband and son (for which they graciously paid and wouldn’t hear otherwise). We hopped on and off the subway a million times, chatted about everything under the sun (yes, you darlings all came up!), and the day passed way too quickly. Disconcertingly quickly. I could’ve used another day or two just soaking up that accent, to be honest.

Oh, and to everyone worried either she or I would end up being a serial killer using our blogs as bait for victims, you’ll be pleased as punch to know that didn’t happen either.

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September 3, 2012 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 20