Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Farmhouse in Sweden

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This Swedish farmhouse southeast of Malmö is for sale for just over $1.2 million (7.9 million kronor). A small price to pay for absolute perfection, I think (though I’d love it even more if it I could pick up the house and move it 1,000 miles north to the top of Sweden, obviously). The combination of white and pale stone everywhere is so beautiful, not to mention the white floors upstairs and the catwalk under the attic. I can’t tell what my favorite piece is; maybe that blue painting in the living room. It’s rare that I find a home where I wouldn’t change a single thing, but this is definitely an exception.

August 16, 2013 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 10

Café de Flore

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One of the most iconically Parisian cafés, Café de Flore was an St-Germain old haunt for the likes of Hemingway, Sartre, Camus, and countless other creatives and intellectuals. Opened in 1885, it’s one of the oldest and most famous cafés in the city. I’ve never been. How is this possible? I recently learned they have a small boutique just up the street from the café entrance, where they sell official cups and saucers, tea pots, and other essentials. Needless to say, this will be an important stop on my next trip back.

I know that realistically, there is no perfect spot in which to write. You either write well anywhere or not at all. There isn’t a magical seat in the world where some creative vortex opens and voila, your book pops out at you, complete and perfect. I know that. But it doesn’t mean I can’t daydream about sitting at a table under the cream awning in the early morning chill of a quiet spring day, scribbling away furiously having been divinely inspired by the ghosts of writers past, ordering cup after cup of tea and basking in my own genius. Une fille peut rêve.

August 15, 2013 / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 21

Fall/Winter Basics

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Sweater / Scarf / Boots
Sweater / Scarf / Boots
Sweater / ScarfBoots

In case you were curious: yes, I’m still on my winter kick. I cannot wait for boot season (even snow boot season!). Here are three sets of basics to get you through October to January in style. I had a pair of those cognac leather boots for three years before I finally wore them to death. It goes without saying that I’ll be purchasing another pair this fall. And if you live in the northeast like me and need good snow/rain boots, I cannot recommend those duck boots in the middle highly enough. I had to break them out yesterday during a torrential downpour, and I forgot how much I loved them since last winter. What are your winter staples?

August 14, 2013 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 28

Meanwhile, in Sweden…

It’s no secret I love winter and hate summer. The people at my office have declared me a vampire on more than one occasion; give me cold, dark days and lots of snow over cancer-causing sun beams and sweat. While enjoying a nice bbq over the weekend at my brother’s house, I ended up with 11 bites mosquito around my ankles and feet, even after spraying a ton of bug spray on myself. I really prefer snow. I love winter. And I love Google Earth. When the two collide, I end up in northern Sweden, wishing I could beam myself there.

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I will live here, please and thank you.

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Especially because the neighborhood is inhabited by adorable, tiny Swedish children pulling sleds.

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Google Earth is full of magical little quirks, including this portion of lake Torneträsk at the tippy top of Sweden’s border, where you can WALK ON WATER. Apparently the whole lake freezes over in the winter, making it a giant, plush field of snow bordered by rolling hills.

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I “spun” around and caught sight of this creepy stranger on a snow mobile, trailing me. Don’t think I didn’t have four consecutive heart attacks upon seeing this. It’s something straight out of a Jo Nesbø thriller.

What about you? Are you over summer like me?

August 13, 2013 / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 15

Donuts

One day, not that long ago, I went into Dunkin Donuts after having the biggest donut craving possible. I asked for a strawberry frosted donut, and as the man was bagging it up, I said, “…and maybe a powdered jelly, too.” You know, for later. And as he added that to the bag, I realized I was going to have to wait for the bus and thought it would be prudent to have a snack in case the bus took forever and I got hungry, so I said, “And can I have an extra strawberry frosted, too?” I paid for them with my head hung in shame and proceeded with my three donuts to the bus stop, where I ate one of the two strawberry frosted, and then exhausted every ounce of willpower I had on the bus ride home, repeating,”Don’t eat the other two right now, don’t eat the other two right now.” I succeeded! …And then I walked in the door of my house and inhaled the remaining two donuts. You know, just a simple 900 calorie snack.

My point is that I love donuts more than I should. So when I saw this new Kate Spade line my eyes popped out of my head and my stomach growled audibly. Turns out, there are a lot of donut-themed goodies out there. Because I wasn’t tempted enough already.

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1. Sweatshirt / 2. Cushion / 3. Watch / 4. Earrings / 5. Headphones / 6. Coin Purse / 7. Flask / 8. Flats / 9. Inflatable Pool Tube

August 12, 2013 / design / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 24

Paris Elopement

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As if I needed another reason to want to elope to Paris, these photos of a couple’s recent wedding in my favorite city are doing the trick. Having the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop for your nuptials? Oui, merci. The groom’s name is Jeff! That’s a sign, right? His suit is the perfect shade of blue, I’m going to have to remember this when Jamal goes to pick his. I love the bride’s dress and the vintage green car they had for the day. See more here.

August 9, 2013 / art / photo / wedding / LEAVE A COMMENT / 11

Crystallized Books

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Artist Alexis Arnold turns books into dazzling crystallized sculptures. She says they create a “commentary on the peril of the printed book,” and that the “crystals remove the text and transform the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects, leaving the stories to remain as memories.” Okay, but to me they look like rock candy, which means my usual appetite for books has taken on a whole new dimension.

August 8, 2013 / art / photo / LEAVE A COMMENT / 11

Rain, Rain

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I’m feeling under the weather and a bit sad this week, so you’ll have to excuse my absence until (hopefully) tomorrow.

August 7, 2013 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 20

Ecole du Louvre

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On our last day in Paris last May before we made our way to Belgium, we went to the Louvre for a half-day scramble. That museum is impossible to see in just a few hours; you’d need a week, at least. After seeing the Mona Lisa (mandatory) we intentionally got lost in the upper floors of the museum, far from the throngs of tourists. We were alone, wandering some incredible galleries when we came upon this man. He was painting quietly, noticed me staring at him, and smiled before turning back to his canvas. My first instinct was that we had stumbled onto a forgery scandal in progress, obviously.

It wasn’t until I got home that I looked it up. Turns out, he was no forger (darn!), but rather an École du Louvre student. And if you’re lucky, you can sometimes spot them painting all around the museum.

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Founded in 1882, the école offers an eight year program, consisting of a three year undergraduate degree, a two year masters, and a three year research degree,  with concentrations in archeology, art history, anthropology, and museology. All of the courses are, of course, in French, taught by museum curators and experts. Can you imagine anything more beautiful than going to class at the Louvre everyday for eight years? I’m having a hard time.

August 6, 2013 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 5

“Tu As Pris le Pain?”

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Agnes Dherbeys for The NY Times

Jamal sent me this article last week, and my jaw dropped. Apparently, the French are increasingly shunning bread, from a combination of diets and busy schedules, and it’s become a problem for the Observatoire du Pain (yes. France has a bread makers’ coalition). According to the article, the “average Frenchman these days eats only half a baguette a day compared with almost a whole baguette in 1970 and more than three in 1900. Women, still the main shoppers in most families, eat about a third less than men, and young people almost 30 percent less than a decade ago.” Look, I’m doing my part; just last week I bought a baguette after work and shamelessly ripped into it on the walk home. But apparently I’m on the wrong continent.

So an ad campaign was launched in 130 cities around France with the slogan “Coucou, tu as pris le pain?” (“Hi there, have you picked up the bread?”), attempting to remind people to stop at their local boulangerie. “Buying fresh bread on the way home is a simple way of showing loved ones that you have thought about them and of giving them pleasure during the day.” As if I needed encouragement.

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August 5, 2013 / eat / drink / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 23