Monthly Archives: September 2013

An Estate in Majorca

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This is a departure from my usual tastes (especially because I can feel the pulverizing heat of the sun just from looking at these photos), but this home in Majorca, Spain is gorgeous. It’s for sale for $5.5 million, a veritable steal given the TEN bedrooms and eight bathrooms. You could use a different bathroom every day of the week without repeating! Six of the bedrooms are in the main house, with the remaining four located in the guest house, which also has its own pool. The house has views of the Tramuntana mountains and the Puerto Andtrax harbor. I love all the beams and I bet the interior stone floor is cool underfoot. Who wants to come with me?

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

Fashion Week Favorites

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Michael Kors

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J. Crew

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I’m not one of those people who religiously follows “the shows” every season; mostly my wardrobe consists of black, gray, and navy basics with the occasional scarf, if I’m feeling wild. So it’s no surprise my favorites from the Spring 2014 Fashion Week in New York are mostly within my wheelhouse. Michael Kors’s collection was so spectacular this year: some masculine suiting pieces, tailored pants, lots of tie-neck tops. The looks all seem as though they stepped out of a 1940s London library. I’m in love. I’m anxiously awaiting that “Oui, mon cheri” top from J. Crew to make its way into stores, but the real heart-stealer for me this year absolutely had to be Tocca. I would wear any of the pieces in Emma Fletcher’s collection in a millisecond; that all-black suit number is perfection.

Have a good weekend, kiddos! What are you up to? I’m hopefully painting the living room tomorrow, but I’ve been saying that for months.

September 13, 2013 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 9

The World According to Karl

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Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel, sunglass-wearer, and all around fabulous enigma, has a lot to say about a lot of things. On sweatpants: “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” On Andy Warhol: “I shouldn’t say this, but physically he was quite repulsive.” These bite sized snippets of wisdom are known affectionately as “Karlisms,” and there’s a whole page of them on his website. The above are just a few of my (kinder) favorites.

Because we all need some sassy advice from someone infinitely chicer and judgy-er than us: there’s a book coming out this month of Karl’s greatest hits, appropriately titled, “The World According to Karl.” While he wasn’t involved in the book, he apparently approves.

In case you can’t wait for the release date, might I point you in the direction of this achingly funny faux-Karl blog: Karl Lagerfeld’s Guide to Life, written in a convincingly accurate tone:

I like to spend mornings in bed with a dictionary, of which I cut out all the ugly words with a small golden guillotine I have named Jean Rameu (pronounced John, of course). John Rameu and I do enjoy cutting out such words as “moist” and “spit” and “phlegm” and so on- I think of it as a kind of act of beauty for the world. If one eradicates ugly words, how can one express ugliness?…When I am done I will release the dictionary into the wild and perhaps the tongues of everybody will turn silver. It’s linguistic eugenics, really.

(While I love the Karl Lagerfeld character, I will never support or buy Chanel, since Coco herself was a Nazi sympathizer and documented anti-semite)

September 12, 2013 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 23

Found Painting

There is a house a few doors down from us that I am in love with. It’s one of the few remaining original (read: old) row homes on the street that hasn’t been torn down and replaced with a boxy, cookie-cutter, new-construction monstrosity. It has a glass pane front door, old doorknobs, a tiled foyer, and from what I’ve been able to see from stealing glances (read: peepin’ and a’creepin’) original fireplaces and a gorgeous flight of stairs with a carved banister. It finally went on the market a few months ago, for a staggering $500k, and my heart sank: there’s no way we could afford it. The house needs a lot of work; the windowsills are rotted, there’s no central air, the light fixture next to the front door has been hanging at a precarious 45 degree angle for a few months. But it has charm. And, judging from the curb-fulls of stuff that keep appearing every weekend as the landlord paints or cleans it up, it also has a treasure trove of junk. That it’s sat on the market even for this long without being snatched up by some greedy developer set on destroying all of the original character speaks volumes to what the house must look like inside, buried under stuff.

The frat boys that have lived there for the last however-many years have had to start emptying the home of their things, and there have been sofas, and giant tube tvs, and old dusty tables missing legs, and black trash bags full of clothes. And one day, strewn on yet another laminate dining table next to a Donald Trump book from the 90s, there was even this:

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My Paris-sense went off the moment I opened our door to take Fitz out for a walk one afternoon. And as I approached that house and prepared to start Frogger-ing my way through the detritus that had exploded in yet another wave from the basement, I spotted this painting. It was undoubtedly Montmartre, with the domes of Sacré-Cœur in the background, and one of the many notorious street artists that line the little hilly streets of the neighborhood. In that moment I understood what the first discoverers of the Titanic must have felt.

Fitz, nowhere near the Francophile I am, of course kept pulling to the nearest tree to do his business, and I had to follow. We disappeared around a corner for less than two minutes, and the whole time I was sweating profusely, convinced someone else would come along and grab the painting before I got back. I cleaned up after Fitz and all but sprinted back to the trash pile where the painting sat, all but glowing and calling my name. Jamal actually high fived me when I burst in the door to show off my prize. WHAT ARE THE ODDS that just three doors away was a painting of my favorite neighborhood in Paris just waiting to be rescued? I may not be able to buy that house and restore it to all its former glory, but I’ll always have a piece of it.

September 11, 2013 / art / photo / LEAVE A COMMENT / 10

I Forgot My Phone

Christine linked to this last Friday but I thought it was so important it bore repeating here. I’ve recently been feeling overconnected again, and I don’t like the squirmy feeling it gives me to not even realize I’ve been glued to my phone and look up and see Fitz next to me, just staring at me, asking for attention. He gives me these looks like, “Oh. That thing again. Guess you can’t pet me.” Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing, but when your dog gives you guilty stares because your laptop is on and your tv is on and you’re still scrolling through your phone instead of rubbing his belly, maybe it’s time to cut back on technology.

I grew up without a cell phone, and when I finally did get one in high school, no one had text messaging. We didn’t have Facebook or Myspace or even Youtube, forget Instagram and Pinterest. We hung out in person, not Google+ hangouts, and no one spent the meal with their face buried in a smartphone. I miss that.

I spend 9 hours a day at work in front of two computers, why on earth do I need a phone to send me more email during my short commute home, where I have another two computers? Or get Twitter messages in bed? Long story short: I’m going back to my Nokia bar phone for a while, as a cleanse. Unlike those unhealthy and bizarre juice cleanses, this one makes sense. A phone that just makes phone calls. What a novel concept.

September 10, 2013 / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 18

Turtleneck Weather

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Peter Lindbergh for the Pirelli Calendar 2014

Let the record reflect that today, September 9th, I wore my first turtleneck of the season. Granted, it’s a short sleeved sweater, but it still counts. It was a chilly 60 this morning, going up to 75. I need it to dip another 10-15 degrees so I can bust out the rest of my impressive stack of turtlenecks. I look as good in them as these fine ladies do, obviously.

PS. Thank you all for the kind words on this post. They mean more to me than you know. I love you guys.

September 9, 2013 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 9

My Dad in Paris

When my dad died seven years ago, my brother and I had to undertake the arduous task of packing up his nearly 70 year life into boxes. Some things we gave to goodwill (furniture, kitchen goods), some things we threw away, but most went into boxes and into storage, where they sat up until two weekends ago, when my brother had everything brought to the garage at his new house. There was simultaneously less and more than I remember; maybe 60 boxes and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of paintings, canvases, framed, in stacks inside print racks. I went out this past weekend to help inventory the boxes and begin unraveling some of what we’ve kept out of sight over the last seven years, and also got to pick through and bring some things home with me. I suspect I will end up taking a LOT more as we really start unpacking (and we already have his drafting table as our dining table), but for now I took a few boxes of giant art books on Turner, Sargent, Monet, some dishes (like his espresso cup set and crème brûlée ramekins), and, most excitingly, several packs of photographs from his trip to Paris in the early 90s. He stayed in an apartment on Rue Cler with his best friend and his best friend’s wife.

When I try to explain to people what Paris means to me, it’s hard to verbalize because it just feels like an engrained piece of who I am. I’m Erin, I love Paris. Going through my dad’s things, seeing his piles of books of Paris walking tours and Parisian art history and Parisian maps and historical fictions, it became more obvious to me than ever before that this is genetic. I didn’t inherit Paris from thin air; Paris was a humongous part of my dad’s heart and soul, and it’s part of mine, too. I didn’t have a choice in the matter. It’s just how it is.

I debated over sharing these photos (some things are just a little too personal), but I couldn’t help but want to share the joy going through them brought me. There must be 300 photographs, and my dad is in precisely two. It was incredible seeing Paris through his eyes.

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And there’s my daddy, somewhere in the Tuileries, pretending to hold up the Obélisque in the Place de la Concorde in the background. That was his uniform, right down to his beloved Teva sandals. If it were chilly he would wear socks with them. Chillier still, long pants, maybe a sweater. He’s right there, frozen in time in my favorite city in the entire world, just as goofy and fun as he always was. It’s the perfect photograph of him. My heart burst when I first flipped to it. Hi, daddy. You know I’m going to replicate this photo the next time I’m in Paris, right? Mais oui.

Have a wonderful weekend, kiddos. Hug your papas tight.

September 6, 2013 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 20

150 Dollar Brunch

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My brother and sister-in-law very generously gifted us a super fancy brunch at Lacroix, in the Rittenhouse Hotel, for Christmas last year. We kept putting off making a reservation, convinced we needed an Extra Special Occasion, but figured a four day holiday weekend was the best opportunity we would get. So this past Sunday we put on our fanciest eating pants and went. At $70 per person for brunch (not including drinks), it wasn’t something that had even made its way onto my radar before, because while I LOVE brunch food, I’m content with $8 waffles from a diner. But having been now, I can safely say it is the only thing I want to eat forever and ever, amen. You guys, when I say there was SO MUCH GOOD FOOD please trust that I am not exaggerating. We’re talking (and these are just the things I can remember) stations of ceviche, and house-made sushi, and grilled octopus skewers, and four kinds of caviar, and east and west coast oysters, and shrimp, and fresh croissants, and yogurt panna cotta, and fresh fruit, and waffles, and pancakes, and smoked duck, and grilled salmon, and fleur de sel potatoes, and flank steak, and cheese boards, and shooters of Vietnamese broth with quail eggs, and two chocolate fountains, one milk, one dark, with homemade donuts and marshmallows and pretzels for dipping, and an ice cream station with lavender ice cream and blood orange sorbet, and a towering dessert table with miniature chocolate lava cakes, and macarons, and The Best Thing I Have Ever Eaten Ever Ever: cherry ricotta bread pudding with a croissant crumb crust. I thought about taking a giant scoop home in my purse, were it not decidedly déclassé.

The service, as you would expect in this kind of establishment, was totally top-drawer. Every waiter and chef (because the majority of the stations were in the kitchen, which was neat) seemed to be placed on earth solely to ensure you had the perfect meal. The restaurant itself looks out over Rittenhouse Square, and the broad stretch of windows were equipped with automatic blinds that lowered incrementally throughout the meal to make sure the sunlight streamed in beautifully.Was it a luxury? Absolutely. Did I roll myself home and nap for two hours? You better believe it. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had, second only to our hilarious engagement dinner in Paris.

Lacroix Restaurant at The Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. Brunch served only on Sundays.

September 5, 2013 / art / photo / eat / drink / LEAVE A COMMENT / 23

We Went to the Aquarium

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Over the long weekend, Jamal suggested we do something we’d never done before despite one of us having been born and raised here: take the ferry from Philly to Camden and go to Adventure Aquarium. So as not to seem too juvenile, we invited along two sets of his friends and their children (3 under 3). I love aquariums. I love fish and water and sea life and turtles and PENGUINS. Good lord, those African Penguins and their perfectly cute butt-wiggles. Did you know that most of the animals at the aquarium are fed restaurant-quality food? Including steaks for the sharks, squid for the penguins. I don’t know what they feed seahorses or sea dragons, but I’m guessing it’s Adorable Pills because come on. The latter look like cartoons. It was a great afternoon with great friends (AND PENGUINS). Not pictured: the explosive diarrhea one of the hippos released right next to the glass where we were standing. You’re welcome!

(It goes without saying: I love my new(old) lens)

September 4, 2013 / art / photo / LEAVE A COMMENT / 16

Pure Collection

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You would think I’d be safe from the shopping bug while reading the Sunday NYTimes, considering it’s purely an intellectual pursuit, and you’d be right…until it comes to T Magazine or the small clothing catalogues they sometimes include, folded in with the rest of the sections. This weekend’s catalogue insert introduced me to Pure Collection, a UK clothing company specializing in cashmere tops and sweaters and even dresses. How did I live before without a cashmere boyfriend sweater? A raw silk dress? Aren’t these photos from their lookbook just stunning? They feel like Grown Up Clothes. I’m holding off on buying everything (heather gray cashmere, why are you so pretty?) because I have yet to go a month without spending money, per my 26 in 26. But you are under no such restrictions! Shop! Shop away! And if you shop through Ebates, you’ll get an extra 5% cash back!

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September 3, 2013 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 7