This is what the inside of my head has looked like recently. Also this: the first piece of my novel I’ve ever shared. Consider it an early Christmas present from me to you (please be gentle).
And although he couldn’t recognize it at the time, this would be the moment he’d recall most frequently, as he slithered home with each stolen piece of art: this moment as he stood in his brightly lit office, assuming the sensation he felt inside of him as he watched Antoine coyly and modestly take credit for closing the sale he, Robert, had laid all the groundwork for, was pride, to realize only later had actually been jealousy in its most poisonous form.
Let’s continue with more Christmas Tunes, yes? If there is a song more quintessentially “Christmasy” than “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, maybe it exists. But I think everyone can agree it’s one of the absolute bests (and Mariah is never better than when she’s belting out Christmas songs). Something about the epic slow start at the beginning, the jingling bells, and her impressive vocal gymnastics sets off a Pavlovian response in me to sing along and dance like a dork no matter where I am (for some reason, it always comes on when I’m in a dressing room around this time of year, so there is a lot of awkward put-your-pants-on dancing).
Technically, this version of the song was performed in “Love Actually.” But it’s still a Christmas song and it’s even more special because it’s from my favorite Christmas movie. A double whammy. And let’s just pause to appreciate how great this movie is. My best friend and I have been texting each other random lines of dialogue back and forth for weeks. And considering it’s SNOWING again today (!!!) I think we all know what I’ll be popping in the DVD player when I get home from French class (!!!!) tonight.
If that doesn’t make you lose it, good luck on your life without a soul.
Today would have been my daddy’s 75th birthday. Happy, happy birthday to the man who shared all his favorite things with me: Turner, Paris, stinky cheese, chunky wool sweaters, neutral colors, IKEA, quiet times by yourself, books, tea, and a good sunset. I miss you every day.
I know you all need another gift guide like a hole in the head this holiday season, but I couldn’t resist. I have at least two cups of tea every day, including our nightly cup of decaf while we read on the sofa. Usually, my cup at work is an unfancy affair: a regular tea bag and some hot water from the cooler in the kitchen. But on the weekends I break out the loose leaf tins from Mariage Frères, either Paris Breakfast, Montagne D’Or, or Vanille des Îles. I love tea. For the tea lover in all of us, here are nine fabulous gifts:
The typical traveler to Japan, China, or Africa is more open-minded than the typical traveler to France. The fascinating rites of the Chinese, Japanese, or Zulus may cause travelers considerable discomfort and inconvenience, but travelers in these countries tend to accept the obstacles stoically, reasoning (rightly) that things are just done differently in foreign cultures. For some reason, when it comes to the French, North Americans drop this reflex. When North Americans are faced with France’s peculiar way of doing things, they do not reason that they are dealing with an ancient people who have their own way of doing things. Actually, they accuse the French of being inefficient, overly bureaucratic, unhyigenic, and stuck in their ways. And they take it personally.
Just a little food for thought from a new book I’m reading. I’ll come to the defense of the French at every opportunity (except, of course, when discussing WWII, and then it is totally acceptable to refer to them as “cheese eating surrender monkeys”) but especially when Americans harp on the French for being, well, French. As the punctuation-averse Gertrude Stein once said, “America is my country but Paris is my hometown.”
Have you heard the quote, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”? That came to mind immediately upon seeing this tiny Soho apartment (they’re claiming it’s 350ft², but maybe they’re including the inside of the bathtub as square footage? Ain’t no way). In this apartment you’d barely have room to take your shoes off without it feeling overcrowded. Designer Mischa Lampert has admittedly done a phenomenal job redesigning the space and making it feel larger than it really is. I think it’s all that dreamy white:
I cannot imagine having the bathtub jut right up against the kitchen sink, out in the open, but that’s just me. I would have closed it off and made that nook a big rain shower (the toilet is opposite in a closed off room). The apartment as a whole seems like it belongs somewhere in Europe, don’t you think? Could you live in a place this small? I’d need a writing desk for sure.
I was waiting to break out the Christmas music until December, a feat which required unparalleled strength and an itch I’m finally able to scratch now. To ramp up the holiday spirit, I thought I’d share a favorite Christmas song every Tuesday leading up to the 25th (Christmas Eve, it’s worth noting, falls perfectly on a Tuesday. It’s like Tuesday Christmas Tunes was meant to be!). If Jamal had a say, he’d start with this 1980s Dan Fogelberg song, “Same Old Lang Syne” which isn’t actually a Christmas song at all except that it mentions Christmas Eve in the beginning. But try to tell him that, he will blast this song all day during the holiday season if you let him.
To kick things off, let’s start with an absolute classic, shall we? John Denver and the Muppets will regale us with the most hilarious and adorable rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The part with Beaker just about kills me.
Happy December, kiddos! What holiday songs, if any, are you listening to this month?
Issue #3 of France Property Magazine is now live in the iTunes App store! Gearing up for winter, this month’s issue was all about chalets. I had two (two!) articles this month; the first features three chalets for sale near Mont Blanc:
The second is a profile on this impressive luxury hotel, Le K2, in Courchevel:
Sotheby’s and Christie’s Instagram accounts (top and bottom, respectively) are absolute treasure troves. Why it never occurred to me to check to see if the famed auction houses even had Instagram accounts is a mystery; I guess I thought they were too, um, fancy (?) to be slumming it on social media. It’s a sign of the times that you can follow both live auctions and go behind-the-scenes in the exclusive art world from the palm of your hand.
These are the perfect accounts to follow as I settle in to the long Thanksgiving weekend; I’m nearing the end of “Le Divorce,” the denouement of which will be an art auction at Drouot, and once I finish that book I’ll move on to “Sotheby’s: The Inside Story.” I’m thankful for many things this year (and always), but an uninterrupted stretch of reading time is at the top of my list. And canned cranberry sauce. And these pens (<3<3<3).