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:
1. Monogrammed Mug / 2. Mariage Frères Bonbons / 3. Teapot / 4. Diptyque Candle / 5. Artist Tea Bags / 6. Mariage Frères Black Opera Tea / 7. Mary Cassatt Painting / 8. Black Tea Lip Balm / 9. A Brief History of Tea
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.
Today is one of those days (I think it’s the overcast weather) where I’d love nothing more than to stay home, curl up with a blanket and a good book, and lose track of the time. If it were in a room like this it would be even better, but I’m not too picky.
Sue first turned me on to those wishbone chairs, and now I want to incorporate them into every room.
After an embarrassingly long hiatus from this series (oh my god, seriously? February?) my consumerism is making a comeback. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Not that we have any wall space left to spare at this point, but I’m really in love with this old photographs of Monet at Giverny. I love his hat and suit coat; he must’ve looked so formal, sitting at his easel. I know it’s one of the most obvious statements to make about photography, but I find it so incredible that records like that exist from the past. Do you think he knew that in 100 years we would be able to hang a photograph of him (not even a print of his work, just the man behind it) in our homes? How trippy is that? I think he’d say “Merci.” And in case you want to, you can say in style thanks to that J.Crew tee.
I am having a fight with this rug. I’ve had my eye on it for a while for the living room, but it was on backorder until the end of December when Home Decorators was having a 20% off + free shipping sale. I should have just ordered it to take advantage of the promotion, but the prospect of me exercising a modicum of patience, let alone enough to last me two months, seemed impossible. So I passed. But now it’s back in stock, and I still love it. It’s vintage-y and neutral while also possessing two very necessary qualities: 1. Fitz’s hair won’t stand out like a sore thumb, and 2. the pile isn’t too plush to freak Jamal out (dude hates flokati or any pile greater than a flatweave). What do I do? Wait for it to go on sale again? That’s the smart answer, right? And that settee, while it pairs perfectly with the rug, is just a pipe-dream; it’s adorable but seriously impractical. Do you see the brocade fabric wrapped around the back??
With all the books I buy/read (those are two very distinct categories) I would be broke were it not for the Amazon marketplace. I picked up a copy of “Le Divorce” for 99¢ earlier this week, and it arrived in pristine new condition. Somehow I missed the movie adaptation with Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts from 2003, but Emma referenced it in a comment last week and it sparked my interest (thanks, Emma!). Since I’m a purist, I want to read the book before seeing the movie. I’m already halfway through it and I’m loving it so far (despite the really negative reviews it got on Amazon). If you amortize the cost of a book over the time it takes you to read it, new books are sometimes an extravagance (a necessary indulgence, though, and I promise I’m not complaining).
What are you up to this weekend? Sunday is our annual Friendsgiving (we’re having a Greek potluck this year!) and in between prepping the house for company and trying not to eat all the hummus Jamal makes, I’m hoping to get (what else) some writing done. Have a good one, kiddos!
I graduated from 100 Level French classes last night, and am officially a 201 Level étudiante. To celebrate, our class (most of the six of us have been together since I joined in 103 last December, and a few of them even started 101 together) had champagne, cheese, baguette, chocolate, and played a French version of the “A is for, B is for,” game, using cities and names, en Français. I won one round, besting Romy with “Ubud,” a town in Bali, and then lost to Rachel, our flawless teacher, when I couldn’t think of another man’s name that started with “K.”
French class is the best money I’ve ever spent.
We’re all continuing onto 201, including Rachel, who is really excited to introduce us to the subjunctive tense. Having to memorize another tense seems impossible, given that my head is still swimming with the difference between le futur and le futur proche, and le passé compose and imparfait. And the present. And the conditional. Being the nerd that I am, though, I am thrilled at the challenge. Also, we get new textbooks since we are now “intermediate,” and who doesn’t love new books?
I came home last night obviously a little buzzed off champagne and French vocab, and then had to write a feature article for France Property Magazine. By the time I went to bed around midnight, I was so saturated with French-y things I might as well have been in Paris. Clearly I still had Paris on the brain this morning, so when I found this apartment for rent in Saint-Germaine, on Rue Saint-Sulpice, I knew I had to share.
Maybe it’s my own specific romantic notion, but I’ve always wanted an attic apartment in Paris to hole myself up in and write furiously all day and night, stopping only to make the long trek six flights down, darting quickly across the street to my local patisserie for my daily baguette, pulling my collar up as I step outside to fend off the morning fog. A sur-le-toit view of Paris through the windows, original wood beams criss-crossing the eaved ceiling. You know, just like in “Midnight in Paris.”
Gil: I’m pushing for a little attic in Paris with a skylight.
Carol: Ah, “La Boheme.”
Paul: All that’s missing is the tuberculosis.
I keep laughing hysterically at that, but it’s so true. What is killer about this charming attic apartment is the cost: €1400/mo. That’s only $1900! Why do I not live there?!
Do you think you could hack it in an apartment like this? This is rhetorical. The answer is obviously “oui.”
Do you ever get stuck on a particular interior? I’ve had this image pinned for well over a year, and I never tire of it. It’s the light and bright living room of this gorgeous home in Spain, and I keep coming back to it over and over again. Everything about it is perfect (well, except maybe those tacky glass palm trees in the foreground).
Is it the giant, beautiful canvas above the equally beautiful linen sofa? The plants? The mini gallery wall? I think it’s all that natural light streaming in, mostly. But all of the textures (and there are tons, from the dabs of paint on the canvas, to the thistly jute rug under foot) and the layout of the room keep pulling me in.
Here’s how to get the look:
My dad had a collection of Le Parfait canning jars, the glass ones with tight gasket snap-closures, on a rack in his kitchen. They held things like popcorn kernels, spices, coffee, sugar, pasta. He liked that they were sleek and attractive and added a cohesive visual look to otherwise boring food storage. His favorite part, though? That the jars were all made in France and sealed for shipment, meaning that, theoretically, there was French air trapped inside. For a Francophile like him, that was magical, something to be revered. Whenever he bought a new one, he’d unsnap it and take a deep breath in. It was one of those wonderful quirks of his that fill my heart to bursting whenever I think about it.
So when I came across these Canned Air tins on Etsy via Freshome, my dad was the first person I thought of. For the low price of $9.99, you too can have a can of air taken from Paris! (Or London, or Singapore, or New York!)
Whether or not I believe there is really Parisian air in there, I am just dying from the cuteness of the label alone. “20% from the Louvre”! “May contain traces of liberté, égalité and fraternité”! Come on. I may have to buy one just because I know my dad would have. If there were ever a gift more perfectly made for him, I haven’t found it yet.
Ignoring the fact that it’s Halloween (because we all know how I feel about Halloween, though I am TOTALLY wearing a turtleneck today accidentally), let’s take time to appreciate this beautiful apartment for sale in Stockholm, for an unfathomably reasonable $350k. Dark wood floors, white walls, farmhouse dining table, and gentle gray touches in the bedroom make this apartment the perfect, dreamy space despite only being 500ft2 (51m2). What more could you possibly need? I’m so in love with those butcher block counters and the vintage lockers in the bedroom for storage. I know that, realistically, there is no “perfect” spot to write, but check out that desk in the living room and try to tell me there isn’t an inspiration vortex lurking in that corner. Could you live here?
A few years ago I read a trick somewhere, and I wish I could remember where, but it went something like this: A friend calls you and says they’re in the neighborhood. Can they stop by in about 10 minutes? What do you do? Do you panic, and run around your house straightening up and cleaning and pushing things into closets like that scene in the beginning of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”? Suddenly the mess seems overwhelming; how are you supposed to get ready for company in 10 minutes when you have to spend hours on the weekend cleaning it?
That’s the trick: rather than spending hours doing everything at once (on your precious weekend, no less!) keep your home within 10 minutes of being “guest ready” by doing a little bit every day. For me it’s making the bed every morning, wiping down the bathroom counters with a Clorox wipe, tossing laundry in a hamper, keeping newspapers and magazines stacked and off of surfaces. Then all the “big stuff” that’s left to do on the weekends is vacuuming or mopping the floors, something your guests likely won’t even notice when they pop over unannounced (for the record, this has never actually happened. I just like a clean house and this justifies it, haha).
I’ve also heard a variation on this called the “20 minutes a day” rule, which is sort of the same thing: spend 20 minutes each weekday doing one cleaning task (dusting, scrubbing toilets, folding laundry) so that it never becomes overwhelming all at once. Do you guys subscribe to something similar? It’s so much nicer to walk in the door after work and see clutter-free surfaces and a made bed. What about you?
If you’ve ever wanted to undertake a total gut-renovation job, on an historic 4300 ft2 townhouse in Saint-Germain no less, now is your chance. The gorgeous bones are still there: the herringbone floors, built-in cabinets, winding staircase. It just needs some love (and perhaps a few million dollars on top of the unlisted, “Price Upon Request” listing) to restore it back to its former glory. I imagine it smells romantically musty and stuffy, and that there are hidden love letters stashed behind the shelves on either side of the original fireplace. Who lived here in the 1890s? Were there grand parties with string music and crinoline skirts? Did that fountain in the courtyard work? Did someone ever fill it with champagne? This house just oozes history and Belle Epoque charm. Want want want.