Inspiration Boards

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Today let’s talk about inspiration boards. Real life ones, not ones that exist on Pinterest (though I do love Pinterest for the ease with which I can now amass all my favorite houses and funny pictures of dogs. It would be nearly impossible to have as wide selection to choose from as the internet presents available off-line without buying a lot of magazines). I mean ones that you tack everything to, tear-sheets from fashion magazines, dried flowers, cocktail napkins with scribbled thoughts on them, postcards, Polaroids, sketches, mementos. Do you have one of these in your home? What do you pin to it? Does it help? While I love the images above, I would probably find them too visually overwhelming to live with every day. But now that I’m writing a book (I should probably stop announcing that I’m writing a book until I have actually written the book because in the likelihood that I don’t complete it I’m going to look like a giant doofus) I’m finding that it might be helpful to have a little board next to my computer that capture the images swirling around in my head. The metro map of Paris, a beach in La Ciotat, this pin in particular to remind me to stay on track, etc. What do you think?

And thank you for all the great apple recipes you guys doled out on Friday! We ended up restraining ourselves, and it helped that the pickin’s were slim. We did buy a pumpkin, out of which Boyfriend made pumpkin bread. Like, not from canned pumpkin, and it was delicious. His domesticity puts me to shame. How was your weekend?

Books in Paris

My need for books is insatiable, and books on/in Paris escalate it wildly. In conversation with Rooth in the comments of yesterday’s post, I recommended two books by John Baxter on Paris and it occurred to me that my Inner Francophile (different than my Inner French Girl, but I’m beginning to suspect I have multiple personality disorder or something) has persuaded me to read a bunch of really wonderful books set in Paris, so I decided to do a round-up of my favorites. You don’t know how hard it was not to include Madeline or Babar in this list.

There’s no better way to start than with the classic account of Paris in the 1920s than with Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.” Just be sure not to buy a ‘restored’ edition, because the grandson of Hemingway’s second wife all but rewrote the book to display his grandmother in a more flattering light. From a NYTimes piece on the edition, “The grandson has removed several sections of the book’s final chapter and replaced them with other writing of Hemingway’s that the grandson feels paints his grandma in a more sympathetic light. Ten other chapters that roused the grandson’s displeasure have been relegated to an appendix, thereby, according to the grandson, creating “a truer representation of the book my grandfather intended to publish.” Shady, shady business, so do yourself a favor and get an un-edited version.

I picked up my first Baxter, “The Most Beautiful Walk in the World”, as I made my way home from seeing Midnight in Paris by myself last year. I was eager to stoke the magical, wonderful feeling the movie left me with and the book just happened to be sitting on a table on the first floor of Barnes and Noble. What’s French for fate? The back cover spoke of Paris in the 1920s, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, falling in love with a Parisienne, a history of art. I was sold. I quickly moved on to another one of his books, “We’ll Always Have Paris,” and fell just as in love all over again.

Then there’s Peter Mayle, who I’m ashamed I only started reading recently when Boyfriend bought me “French Lessons” for Christmas. Like Baxter, his writing feels like he is talking directly to you as a dear old friend. Both writers are hilarious and witty and self-effacing. But if you’re looking for something less cheerful, pick anything from the bottom row. We have heartbreaking tales of Paris during the German occupation with Irene Nemirovsky’s “Suite Française,” (I’ve recommded this book to almost everyone I know) and emotional fictionalizations of Hadley and Ernest Hemingway’s courtship and marriage in “The Paris Wife.”

Of course, you could always curl up on your sofa and do a double feature of Amélie and Midnight in Paris, too. Which I fully plan on doing (for the second time this week, ahem. I call it “book research”) this weekend. I’m also excited to announce that in addition for French classes this winter, I’ve also signed up for a 1 day, 6-hour immersion course at the same school because I’m crazy to get my feet wet. I didn’t do as poorly as I assumed on the placement exam, and have been put into a Basic level class, one step above Beginner, but below Intermediate. Pas mal!

Tomorrow I’m going apple and pumpkin picking! Any good fall recipes you guys can share? We always end up with 6lbs of apples.

Plus Paris, Naturellement

prints via

How amazing are these prints by The Love Shop? I need both, though I much prefer the type treatment on the one on the right, because they are my life’s mottos. I’ve been listening to the Amelie soundtrack non-stop for days now (can we just talk about how amazing it is? because it is) and so I had to watch the movie again for the millionth time. One day I will live in Paris, and my life will be scored with wonderful accordian music.

By now I should have a category simply titled “Paris,” to easily sort all the talking I do about the most beautiful city in the world. Seriously, I don’t have it set up already? Sacre bleu! Je suis ashamed. Speaking of speaking French (I’m writing this post after 2 cups of tea —Mariage Frères Vanilles des Iles, fyi– so if this seems all over the place it’s because I’M all over the place from caffeine. CAFFEINE! This is what happens when you never drink caffeine and then go crazy believing drinking tea will make you feel like you’re in Paris) I have some exciting news! I signed up for French classes! Sort of! They don’t start until December, but I went ahead and took the placement exam to see what level I’d place into. They prompt you before you begin to select your level of comfort with the language, and I got way too cocky and clicked too many boxes (“I can say this, and this, and this, and of course, I can explain that.” FALSE, I cannot.) and the exam it generated might as well have been an advanced Calculus theorem or something. I ended up writing an essay on my childhood and struggled hard (J’etais blonde, mais pas maintenant!). I’m pretty sure I’ll be put into a beginners class despite having taken 5.5 years of it between middle and high school, another year in college, and (what I thought to be) constant immersion in Parisian culture and movies and music and food. But c’est la vie. The course spans 10 weeks, for 2 hours every Wednesday night, and comes out to under $300 for the whole thing. I should have majored in French in college, what was I thinking? Is it too late to go back and get a second Bachelor’s degree?

Or maybe I could just take lessons from this adorable little girl. Have you seen this video yet? It’s the cutest thing in the entire world. And at 3 years old she speaks phenomenally better French than I do. You’re welcome in advance for how much better your day is going to get after you watch this.

In the Bag

Maybe it’s just me, and it might be, but I’m pretty sure having two X chromosomes means I will spend the rest of my life searching for the perfect bag. It’s genetically coded somewhere that I will never be satisfied for more than 6 months to a year with the same one, and that I’ll believe that the next bag will be it (it never is). I’ve had my trusty Marc Jacobs bag now since January (!!) and I think I’ve given it new life by starting to wear it cross-body instead of on my shoulder. I know, riveting stuff you’re reading. Someone stop and give me a Nobel Prize for literature.

But seriously, I know I’m not alone in this endless hunt for the bag that will make me never want another bag ever again. Fess up! Here are a few that I’ve got my eye on now, even though I’m on a self-imposted purse spending moratorium. No one said anything about candles, though, so I might’ve just bought a new Diptyque, ahem.

1. Fjällräven Kanken / 2. Cambridge Satchel / 3. Kate Spade Bon Shopper / 4. Zara City Bag

These four bags could not be more different in style or composition, and that’s where the dilemma lies. I love them each for different reasons (HELLO, THAT TOTE BAG HAS BAGUETTES ON IT) and if I were a millionaire I would buy all four of them without even blinking. The suede on that Zara bag looks so soft and supple, but I’m having a lot of meat-eater guilt about animals recently. My Marc Jacobs is nylon, and so is the Kanken backpack, which Süsk sold me on. I still want that red leather satchel I first wrote about here, but can’t help but think maybe it’s a fad that’s on its way out. Assuming money was no object, which would you choose? All of these are under  $150 pretty much.

Fall Fashion

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I took myself on a lunch date yesterday to Parc, my favorite place in the entire city (nay, country!). I used to be squeamish about eating alone in restaurants but I’ve come to really enjoy it (having a boyfriend who travels a ton necessitates it), sitting in a booth with a book and people watching. I realized that I don’t look at people eating alone and think, “Wow, what a loser” so why would people think that about me? Anyway, as the hostess was taking me to my table, she said, “I love your scarf. I’m so into burgundy this season.” I thanked her, and we had a little chat about how amazing scarf weather is. Because seriously. Is there any more perfect weather than one that requires a giant scarf? I can’t dress for any season as well I can for fall; my wardrobe just isn’t stocked for anything but cold weather. Give me thick wool tights, pea coats, oxfords and boots, cable knit scarves, and cold noses over shorts, sandals, and sweat any day. How chic and incredible do those 4 women above look? This is what I’m going for this autumn. What does your fall wardrobe look like?

PS. Did anyone watch Gossip Girl last night? Sweet lord.

My Inner French Girl

In case you’re wondering how the writing is going, I now have 9 whole pages, only 1 and a half of them are the outline. I keep getting worried I’m not writing it all down fast enough, that I’m going to lose something along the way but every time I sit down and open up the Word document, everything is still there, all in one piece. It’s been rewarding and frustrating at the same time, and despite paging through writer’s self-help books, I’m still struggling with translating all the little scenes and vignettes and details in my head into written words. I’m off from work today for Columbus Day (horray, celebrating the genocide of Native Americans; side-note, did you know Hawaii, Alaska, and South Dakota don’t observe the holiday, but rather replace with it some form of Native American observance day?) so hopefully I can bang out a few more pages uninterrupted. There’s a serious Gossip Girl marathon on tv though, so we’ll see how much I actually get done. Theresa, don’t forget, season 6 starts tonight!

The working title is simply “Mirette” and all the time I’ve spent thinking about her prompted a new Inner French Girl post. The weather has turned colder and she’s put away her light cardigans and sandals.

1. Blouse / 2. Leggings / 3. Blazer / 4. Hat / 5. Book / 6. Lotion / 7. Cuff /

8. Boots / 9. Lip balm / 10. Glasses / 11. Bag

Proving that she’s not a total priss who only wears skirts and red lipstick, here’s her normal fall weather outfit. Sylvie has her scouting new and emerging artists to exhibit at the gallery this winter, so she’s hopping on and off the metro and walking up multiple flights of stairs in lofts. She makes sure to have something to read and comfortable boots. And yes, I gave her the same glasses I have.

Friday Five

I hate to be a cliche, but I feel like this week flew by. I would sit down at my desk in the morning and blink and it would be 4pm. I don’t know how this kept happening but I’m beginning to suspect I’m either narcoleptic or being abducted by aliens. Both are equally plausible.

I found out yesterday that I have off on Monday for Columbus Day. It was like telling a small child that their birthday is happening twice this year, and guess what!, it’s 3 days from now! Oh, the napping I am going to catch up on. It will be well-deserved for all the sitting around I do this weekend while the menfolk install more flooring downstairs. Who knows, I may even go crazy and stop at West Elm and buy some blankets. More than likely, I will be reading and writing. What are you guys up to?

In the meantime, here’s this week’s Friday Five.

1. Poster / 2. Scarf / 3. Clutch / 4. Makeup Remover / 5. iPod Nano

There should be a like / want / need drinking game where every time I mention Paris we all have to do a shot. We’ll be wasted in no time. This week we’re good for at least 3.

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Two of a Kind

I’m sorry, it’s been how long since I last did one of these Two of a Kind posts? Over two months? Oh, for shame! I’m so embarrassed.  Getting back on the bike so to speak was more challenging than I remembered. But the fun kind of challenging, not like watching the Presidential Debate last night and trying to keep my expletive count to a minimum. Now THAT was difficult, and needless to say I failed.

Anyway, here’s a very colorful and busy Two of a Kind:

1. Sweater / 2. Pillow / 3. Painting / 4. Dress

This is more color than I’ve ever been comfortable with. If we desaturated everything I’d be better off, but I have to admit that each piece individually is pretty charming. Maybe it’s just everything together that makes it so overwhelming? I am absolutely in love with the artwork from Julia at Ebi Emporium. All her paintings are so vibrant and beautiful, and the strokes on the piece above match that shift dress perfectly. The pillow and shirt remind me of television static. I mean that in a good way.

Everyone send good vibes to Boyfriend, who is home sick with a fever and small bug today. Poor dude. But at least Fitz is keeping him company!

October Wish List

All my horn-tooting on Friday about how I’m the best girlfriend ever for getting Boyfriend tickets to the Jets game was in vain; we were the last row in the entire stadium of 80,000 and they lost 34-0. Pretty much the worst gift I’ve given him since Elbow-Pad-gate of Christmas 2010. Back then, I could blame the ill-received sweater on the fact that we’d only been together 6 months and how was I supposed to know that he wouldn’t want to dress like an old man? My bad. Yesterday just chalks up to a lot of bad luck (and a lot of driving. dude, New Jersey is huge). He took it well enough, but I feel terrible. 

Anyway, it’s October! My favorite month of the year is here and I am very excited about it. I have a lot of fun things planned for the month (off the blog, that is. you can expect the same ole same ole around here) that I look forward to every year. And as I’ve mentioned before, the cold, crisp weather and crunchy leaves are my favorite things about this time of the year. I haven’t made a monthly wish-list since July (I should say an official wish list, because I think I post about enough stuff that I like/want/need without having to specify by calendar month) so I thought it was time for a round-up. Here are some things I’m wishing for this month:

1. Apple Cider / 2. Blanket / 3. Knee socks / 4. Candle / 5. Snood / 6. Rose Mist

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