It’s too early in the year to already have a Friday Five; I’ve been too concerned with remembering to write “13″ instead of “12″ on everything I save at work to have had my eye on five other things. Unfortunately, thanks to back to back holidays (and holiday weekends of laziness and time spent with friends) I haven’t had time to write, either. I’m at a standstill, but I plan on getting back to business this weekend. In a big way. I’m close to hitting 20k words, which means I might get to finally pop open the bottle of Rosé I bought for New Year’s Eve but never drank because I’m an old lady. If this little landmark isn’t cause for celebration, I don’t know what is. I’m getting ahead of myself.
But to really set the mood, I wanted to do another My Inner French Girl post. I’ve shown you Sylvie and Andrés, but today we’re back to Mirette (though I do have one in the works for her best friend, Sophie). It’s after Christmas, and Mirette is taking advantage of the the gallery’s winter hours to spend her morning at the Ladurée Rue Royal (the prettiest one) having thé et macarons. She has “merci” cards to write (they might look familiar) for generous Christmas gifts, but she mostly just wants some quiet time to herself to read and be annoyingly chic.
The possibility of being able to wear cropped pants and open ballet flats in the beginning of January is a stretch, I admit. And I’m running of stereotypes anyway, but the whole outfit is just so classically “Parisian” I couldn’t help myself. I just ordered that book, “Haussmann, Or the Distinction,” an historical fiction of Baron Haussmann’s renovation of Paris to what we know today (pale stone buildings, zinc roofs, giant wooden doors) in the mid 1800s and a scandalous affair. Imagine my delight when I said, “You know, I’d really love to read an historical fiction account of the transformation of Paris,” (not even shy about my dork-dom) and then viola, there just so happens to be one. The list of books I have to read is growing massively; Boyfriend bought me all of these for Christmas, too.
With this post, I’ve officially blogged for an entire week about Paris related things. Grande victoire. What are you up to this weekend, kiddos? Tea at Ladurée, perhaps?
You would think that as someone that spent something like 17 years (18! I had that 5th year of college you get stuck with if you change majors, and that, conveniently, no one remembers to tell you about!) in school (and yes, I am including kindergarten, because don’t try to tell me “sharing” isn’t a hard thing to learn; kindergarten totally counts) I’d be better about that thing that all students do called “procrastinating” and dealing with the anxiety that comes along with it. To wit: my French teacher assigned plus de l’homework last week, and I waited until last night before I was leaving for French class to do it. And yes, it definitely inspired dream-sweats of “Oh my god, I didn’t do my homework, I’ll try to do it in class so she won’t notice. OH NO, SHE FOUND OUT.” But I haven’t learned. I repeated a mantra the whole way home from last night’s class, a la Bart Simpson, “I will do my homework early this week. I will do my homework early this week.” What is French for “lol yeah right”?
In related news, French class continues to kick my le ass. After class, one of the other students told me my accent was “like, perfect” which was, like, awesome. Rachel, the teacher, is insistent that we don’t write things down, that we get used to the sounds, the pronunciation, that writing it down is not learning to speak the language. She’s working to get us off the page.
And speaking of page (check out that segue!), over the weekend when I wasn’t busy drowning my liver, I read an essay by author Oliver Sacks in the NYTimes Book Review section called “Reading the Fine Print.” This quote in particular stood out to me, “I do not want a Kindle or a Nook or an iPad…I want a real book made of paper with print — a book with heft, with a bookish smell, as books have had for the last 550 years, a book that I can slip into my pocket or keep with its fellows on my bookshelves where my eye might alight on it at unexpected times.” This sums up my entire opinion on the death of the printed book (alleged death, as I am single handedly keeping my local Barnes & Noble in business) and the rise of those awful, awful contraptions known as e-readers. I love books. I love the feel of them, the soft whisping noise the pages make as you turn them, and most of all, I love the smell.
So when my friend Audrey (the comment-artist known as Gary Oldman) alerted me to the existence of a perfume THAT SMELLS LIKE BOOKS, I just about lost my mind.
It’s called Paper Passion, byt Steidl, with packaging is by Karl Lagerfeld. And oh my god, the packaging. It’s a book with stunning orange pages, notched in the shape of the bottle.
The write up says,”This is an opportunity to celebrate all the gloriosensuality of books, at a time when many in the industry are turning against them. The idea is that is should relax you, like when you read a book, to a level of meditation and concentration. Paper Passion has evolved into something quite beautiful and unique. To wear the smell of a book is something very chic. Books are players in the intellectual world, but also in the world of luxury.” Okay, that’s a little frou-frou (gloriosensuality!?), and at $98 a bottle to smell like dusty paper, it’s probably not something I’d buy myself as a necessity. But I wouldn’t kick it out of the house if it somehow appeared in my Christmas stocking.
This is something I’ve mentioned before, but I am basically allergic to color. As colorful as I get is navy blue. And even then I start to worry people are staring. I like black, gray, and white. Hence last week’s Gift Guide in all monochrome. Today’s Gift Guide is the complete opposite, and despite the fact that I started breaking out in hives, I sort of love everything on the list. Nothing is overtly flashy or tacky (the two things I assume colors are, ha), and almost everything is under $50. Damn Diptyque candles, being so pretty and pricey.
All of these gifts are practical (well, okay. Gold pig bookends and giant pink plastic serving spoons might not qualify as a necessity) and fun. When in doubt, give a handle of my favorite gin (distilled in Philly!). Are you done all your Christmas shopping? I wrapped everything last night while Fitz stood by helping/shedding on everything. Apologies in advance if your present includes rogue dog hair.
Tonight is my office Christmas party (at the Ritz!) and tomorrow night is Boyfriend’s. Last year, my company gave away door-prizes in a raffle, including a flat screen tv, several iPads, game systems, and Amex gift cards. MAMA WANTS TO WIN. Sunday I’m having brunch with Aisling and Audrey (who insists on commenting here as “Gary Oldman” so that every time I get an email alerting me to a new comment my heart stops beating) at the same place Aisling and I went before. I love the holidays. Have a great weekend, everyone! What are you up to?
For those who follow me on Instagram (seriously, are you following me on Instagram?), you’ll know that over the weekend I crossed a significant milestone in the writing process: 15,000 words. I thought there would be fanfare and fireworks and that I’d feel a deep sense of accomplishment, but I can barely pull my head above water right now, so deeply entrenched am I in this story. The time for celebrations and back-patting can wait; even though that number sounds so impressive, it represents maybe a small fraction of what I still need to do. I’m excited about having written 15,192 words, don’t get me wrong, but I’m more excited about the next 85,000 words that still have to make an appearance.
Last week, I introduced you to Sylvie, and made mention of her older Spanish painter husband, Andrés. I haven’t flushed him out yet completely, or really figured out his role in everything, but I kind of adore him. Is that weird? I’ll stop asking that question. I don’t care. I love my fictional characters.
So, about halfway through I realized I was designing this with my dad in mind, HA. Art imitates life or life imitates art, or whatever. That’s why I like these posts so much. I end up learning more about the characters than I knew when I started, despite having written about them every chance I get for a few months now. The glasses are the only part of the outfit that doesn’t ring true to the vision I had in my head of Andrés. But maybe he only wears them when he’s reading? Which he does, voraciously. He’s also an abstract painter, a pipe smoker, and a true romantic. He adores Sylvie, loves her more than anything else in the world, and has from the moment he met her. He’s got a big beard, a bigger belly, and the biggest heart. He is loyal to a fault. Andrés will sit on the small balcony in their apartment and paint for hours (he’s had exhibits in New York and his hometown of Barcelona, and is represented at Sylvie’s gallery), until Sylvie comes home and reminds him he needs to eat. He is the chef in the relationship, though, so he ends up cooking most nights. They have a house on the Côte d’Azur where he spends a few weeks out of the year, quietly painting and pondering life.
I love him, and I love his devotion to Sylvie. I have to think of who to profile next. Maybe I’ll get another 1,000 words done this weekend and have a better idea.
Tis the season! Every Friday between now and Christmas, I’ll post a gift-guide round-up. Last year I rolled it into my normal Friday Fives, but this year I apparently have my eye on a lot more stuff, so 5 things wasn’t just going to cut it. Here’s the first in the series: Black & White. Have a monochromatic holiday season.
I wouldn’t particularly mind if that calendar or glasses showed up under my Christmas tree, which!, by the way!, I’m picking up tomorrow. Today though, I’m spending the day baking with my Mommom. It’s a tradition. We spend one entire day each December baking Christmas cookies (yes, my Jewish grandmother is in charge of baking all the Christmas cookies). I wrote about it last year but shamefully didn’t take any pictures (even though I said “n between baking and decorating I’ll be taking lots of pictures, trying not to get flour all over my camera.” LIES). This year, I will be. We make thousands. I’m so excited to skip a day of work and hang out with the sassiest lady I know, eating sweetened carbohydrates. What are you up to this weekend?
As promised, today I have a new My Inner French Girl Post, only it’s not about Mirette. So far, we’ve seen how she spends her mornings (lazily), how she spends her afternoons (lazily, in the park), where she lives, what she wears to brunch, how she spends her vacation (lazily, by the beach), what she does for work (thankfully un-lazily, as it’s her source of income), and even what her name is. But there are other people in her life that need a little attention, too. Take Sylvie, for example. Her boss.
Sylvie owns Gallery Victor in Saint-Germain, a surrealist and late impressionist gallery that often exhibits her own husband’s work. She is married to Andrés, a Spanish painter 15 years her senior. She is in her mid-40s, and is one of those annoyingly perfect French women we always hear about: impossibly chic, stunning, elegant, only she curses like a sailor. She is independent to a fault, but has to come to rely on Mirette during the three years Mirette has been her assistant. They both fulfill something in each other, as Sylvie never had children of her own, and Mirette has absent mother issues that are taking me forever to figure out. Sylvie is quickly become one of my favorite characters to write, her caustic wit matched in ferocity only by her maternal streak. And I admire any woman (real or fictional) who dresses like this and makes it look effortless. Trust me, Sylvie does. She even walks from her apartment in the 3eme to the gallery in the 6eme in heels (and not just any heels, but Louboutins, of course). Oh, and she wears clear-framed glasses. I might have borrowed that from real life, who knows. ;)
I totally had a Godfather moment with this post: “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in!” The “they” in this case is of course Two of a Kind and seriously, whenever I think that I’ve reached my limit and there are no more random pairings out there to be found, some magic blogging power prevails and voila! I’m back in.
Surprising absolutely no one, I apparently have an affinity for pillows and purses. Have I ever explained how this process works for me, gathering these pairs? I start with 15 open browser windows, pointed to sites where I’m familiar with the inventory (Net a Porter, Zara, Zara Home, Kate Spade, H&M, CB2, etc etc) and then I just…look. Look and look and look and compare everything against the extensive and unfortunate mental rolodex I’ve amassed. “Oh, that pillow looks like a Kate Spade tote” and “Didn’t Jonathan Adler have a whole line of pillows with punctuation on them?” You know, super worthwhile uses of my time. The upside is that this one came so easily I was able to cross another word-count milestone last night: 13,023.
And suddenly, it was December. Are the months getting shorter while I’m not looking? Wasn’t it just August? I feel like this is an oft-repeated complaint, but it’s true. The year is flying by and it’s been completely unremarkable in its speed. I love winter, I’m thrilled tomorrow is December (my birthday month! And Hanukkah! And Christmas! And New Year’s! PRESENTS!), I just….I want it to slow down a bit.
Speaking of going by in a flash, I finished “Gone Girl” last night. Continue reading »
I had the weirdest dream last night. Some stray, gray cat with patches of hair missing on its legs and bright blue eyes followed me home and waited outside the house while I went and bought cat food for it. It looked like this cat, that has been showing up all over my Pinterest homepage. Only it talked. And it was gross, it had fleas and other diseases and gave me giant hives but I loved it anyway. Then I woke up and told Boyfriend who promptly told me I was weird and that it was a nightmare, because he hates cats. To be fair, he’s actually allergic to cats, but there’s a fair amount of hatred in there, too. I don’t know, I kind of thought dream-cat was adorable.
Anyway, today is Friday which means a Friday Five is in order. It also means that tomorrow is Saturday and that means my French Immersion class is here! I AM SO PUMPED. I’m totally going to show up in a beret.
My work Christmas party is in a few weeks, and what everyone is planning on wearing was a big topic of discussion at girl’s dinner this week. I’m not the fanciest of people, nor am I the most fashion forward. I’m fine in leggings and an oversized sweater, but I’ve been looking for a new dress for the party since it’s at the Ritz and you know, leggings aren’t really black-tie. I found this little navy sequined number from Piperlime, and I’m sold. I’ll pair it with a bright red lip and to-be-determined heels (heels! I’m probably going to break an ankle) and voila: Christmas party dress acquired. And thanks to a 15% off coupon, it came to a cool $83. Not too bad, right?
I finally signed up for One King’s Lane (adding it to my memberships to Gilt, Rue La La, Haute Look, etc) and was struck by a featured artist in their “Emerging Artists” sale a few weeks ago. Michelle Armas’ work is so vibrant and beautiful and I find more and more to love the longer I stare at this piece, entitled “Laura.” I’m not a huge fan of abstract art (like, at all), but I’ve made a special exception for her work. When designers talk about a “focal point” in a room, this is what I envision. Swoon.
I know I can’t be alone in this, but I sleep with the window cracked open even though the heat is on. I need a little bit of a chill. Otherwise it gets too stuffy, but either way I end up completely congested and the inside of my nose is about as crusted as it gets. TMI? My mom has an adorable penguin-shaped humidifier, and I think it’s high-time I invested in one of my own. Who doesn’t want to breath better and have a cute elephant on their night table? It blows air out of its trunk. Holy adorable.
The French dictionary should require no further explanation other than I AM SERIOUSLY SERIOUSLY SO EXCITED. French class! All day! Six hours! Free lunch! Do you think they’ll give out baguettes and butter? Can I bring my own? I have so many questions! I better leave the class with a tighter grip on the language, that’s for sure. The class isn’t exactly cheap (it’s about half the cost of the 10 week, 20 hour course I’m signed up for this winter, for a single day) so I better be able to come home and watch Amelie with the subtitles off. That’s cheating though, I know that movie by heart. And speaking of France…
And finally, I’m guest-posting over at Homestilo today! Santa is featuring a holiday gift guide and was so sweet to include me. Head on over to her amazing blog and check out my (surprise!) Paris themed holiday guide. My repertoire of French products is so expansive that I’ve never featured any of the goodies on my own blog before. Go go go! And thank you, Santa! I had so much fun.
What are you up to this weekend? Anyone want to come to French class with me?!
I could stare at this for hours. Here’s an Erin fun-fact: my book begins on New Years in Paris, so this is particularly magical. Everything is glittering! I remember our last night in Paris in May, we decided to go to the Eiffel Tower at 11pm after dinner at an amazing restaurant Süsk recommended, La Mascotte. We took the metro from Charles de Gaulle Etoile down to the Champs de Mar station, and I remember as the train crossed the Ponte Bir-Hakeim, it was pitch black and then the Eiffel Tower just appeared, sparkling, in the window. It was just there, magically, out of no where. I wasn’t prepared for it and it knocked the wind out of me. And then we took an elevator to the top of the tower, and I panicked the entire ride because I am terrified of elevators, and Boyfriend panicked the entire time we were on the observation deck because he is afraid of heights. It went something like this: “OPEN THE DOORS OPEN THE DOORS OPEN THE DOORS.” “GET AWAY FROM THE RAILING GET AWAY FROM THE RAILING.” I can’t wait to relive that.
So because I’m super anxious (you’re talking to the girl who ironed her trench coat before the last trip) I’ve already started packing for Paris in March. I just bought a new carry-on suitcase (it’s one of those spinners you can push in any direction) and I’ve been making list after list of outfit options. I’m going with light layers because the weather could be anywhere between 45 and rainy to 60 and sunny (based on the last two years of weather records for the dates we’re going in March. Yes, I’ve done my research). I bought a new coat (in black! waterproof! with a hood! just don’t tell anyone I own something from Bebe) and have apparently become even more allergic to color than I’d thought was possible. As I type this I’m sitting in black pants and a black turtleneck. So it should be no surprise that I’ve packed the following layerable basics:
1. Turtleneck / 2. Blouse / 3. Long sleeve shirt / 4. Cardigan / 5. Dress / 6. Black skirt / 7. Maroon skirt / 8. Boots / 9. Pants / 10. Leggings / 11. Purse / 12. Tights / 13. Tights / 14. Suitcase
With the exception of the boots and the long sleeve shirt, I have everything else. I didn’t buy anything with the specific intention of wearing it in Paris (lies, but for the most part I had all of these pieces already), but because everything is simple and basic, they can be mixed and matched and layered as needed. This obviously isn’t everything, because I’m still short a few days and at least one night dinner outfit. And who knows, I might end up having to revise my entire strategy as it gets closer to our departure date (ahem, not 4 months out) and we have a better idea of the weather. I’m oddly at peace being this neurotic and over-planning months in advance. It’s how I roll. I even bought travel-size face wash and I could be ready to go by the end of the week if I had to.
Hi! My name is Erin.
I like sleeping, Paris, gin, books, Oxford commas, and Gary Oldman. Read More→