Thursday, February 26, 2015

Never, Ever, Ever & Here's Why

 Would you have ever guessed these  boots are from Jimmy Choo?
Neither did I. 
Welcome into my learning curve. As my great pal Pseu,
  Une Femme, told me: "You are just going to love doing 
these templates. You'll learn in no time. It takes a little practice. 
It's like playing paper dolls on a computer."

         Well, she was absolutely right. I've sort of figured it 
out and now that I have (sort of) I don't want to do anything
 else other than put together outfits. Last night MRFLIF asked me
 if dinner was scheduled and if so would it be before midnight.

       I hope you'll be on board with my latest obsession. 
I promise all the outfits, except for today, will be clothes I love 
and think work beautifully for women of a certain age, 
defined  by me as 49 to forever. 

       I thought I would start my first ensemble with a collection 
of what most would consider très, très, French items
 that I would never, never, never wear. Twist on a theme if you will.

       It's not that I don't appreciate the pieces below and 
in fact like them
 on other women, but they are so not me 
that I would never 
wear any of them. OK, we could quibble 
over the scarf perhaps
 because it's Hermes and it's pretty I suppose, 
but it's not me. 
I'm not a silk square kind of girl and as I've said, 
Hermes is not my thing.

Never, Ever, Ever & Here's Why

Never, Ever, Ever & Here's Why by tishjett featuring a leather motorcycle jacket

   Green nail polish?  I just wouldn't. It's ridiculous for me. Leave it for 
the girls. 
Red, red lipstick? I think red lipstick is divine -- on others. 
On me, as I've said, it's terrifying.

Tête de mort jewelry, I don't think so.  Creepy. 
By all means, don't agree with me.

Well, maybe. . . these look they came right out of Karl's closet
           Now for the basics, the very French of it all: a motor cycle jacket 
(and this one is from YSL no less), slim jeans and shiny black derbies. 
For someone like me: 5'10" and not grass blade slim, 
the combo is waaaay to masculine. I would literally 
look like I should own a souped up Harley and sidle up 
to a bar in a Hell's Angels equivalent in Pigalle 
(or wherever, I'm not really up on these things).

        The jeans are really quite chic I think, but unlike the rest of the women
 in the world I've never embraced jeans. Now I'm beginning to wonder why. 
I'm re-thinking the question.

Ed. Note:  You'll notice that my learning curve didn't include properly lining up my text. Years ago I saw a hilarious cartoon -- it's funnier in the seeing than in the telling -- with a man teaching another man how to throw knives at an assistant in the circus. All of the knives the "student" threw at the assistant were in the assistant. The teacher said, "Excellent, now we'll work on aim."

Now I'll work on the rest. . .

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Mid-Week Break from A Theme

My mother had a beautiful dressing table and my most vivid memory of the items on it was her signature fragrance, Arpege, from Lanvin. She never wore another perfume.
     It seems to me we need a break from my petits cadeaux series, but not completely. . .

          Often your comments provoke reactions, or questions, that simply will not exit from my brain. Case in point, the one below referencing Monday's post (please scroll down):
      I love this series, but I think perhaps, I am too set in my ways to appreciate any of these gifts! I would just regift all of them or give them to my housekeeper. Your thoughtfulness is so kind, but as I've grown older I have my favorite eyeliner, hand cream, notepad and pen in my purse. It is difficult to find small, thoughtful gifts. Even candles are tricky....fragrance is such a specific thing. I hope I can learn something from you and in the comments, as I am always at a loss to find a genuine find! Thank you for giving us some thoughts.
          Her observation is quite intriguing I think and I'm wondering where my loyalties and buying habits fit into her remarks. I'm also wondering what you think.

          In the past women were unwaveringly loyal to their perfumes, lipstick shades, night creams and perhaps hand creams as well. We had our favorite fountain pens which, over time, were ours and ours alone because the structure of the nib accommodated our signature way of writing -- angle, pressure. 

Imagine, choosing the absolute perfect nib. It's sort of thrilling in a way don't you think? (Context.)
         Remember, we never let anyone use our pens because they were "custom-made" to our hand, unlike the ubiquitous ballpoint pen.

          In a recent conversation with an American journalist friend, we were talking about reality TV and other popular television programs in the States, including the well-respected cable cult programs. I remarked that I had never seen the Kardashian family living large for broadcast although I, like probably every French person living in France, am quite aware of the family and its antics. 

You may know all of their names, so I'll just let you fill in for me.
         Again, I know about most aspects of popular culture, the good, the bad and the ridiculous: television, books, personalities -- political as well as pathetic -- etc. through articles I read. My friend was arguing the importance of "staying relevant" and that one way to do so is to be conversant with mainstream culture. "It keeps us young," she said.

        Another journalist friend and I were discussing technology, she's a whizz. In that exchange I was telling her that I was terrified of not being able to effectively learn and execute the skills my new blog will require. She instantly rebuffed me, "You'll practice until you learn whatever you need to know and, by-the-way, you haven't been on your Facebook pages for months, you don't do Instagram, it's been almost a year since you bothered to write a few words on Twitter and you still haven't applied yourself to Pinterest."

        Honestly, I wanted to take an Advil and lie down except we were having lunch in a restaurant at the time. Again, she pulled out the "staying relevant and young" cards. 

        Yes, I want to be "relevant" and I want to keep my brain "bright and young" by doing whatever I am capable of doing, but sometimes I clutch at the thought of my limitations.

My best childhood friend has been wearing Joy since we were teenagers.  It's part of her personality. 
        Back to the charming woman and her comment (yes, I know, once again I've veered and detoured off subject). . . I have products I love and that probably never will be removed from my repertoire, but I cannot resist temptation. Maybe something else will be better, deliver amazing results, work with what I already use. Hmmmm, make me look younger? 

       Oh, never mind,  good for my age -- inside and outside my head. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Les Petits Cadeaux Series V

Edible flowers to decorate salads for example from one of my favorite sources, Terry Exotique.
    When I think of the little gifts I choose for friends and family to mark an occasion (or just because. . .) my intention is always to say in the simplest way: "You are important to me and I wanted to show you with this small gesture."

          I want each cadeau to be special (at least in my eyes) and trèstrès French.

          Today I'm moving out of beauty, although I may return to that department before the week is over. Like the beauty products the scale is small making them, I always hope, an expression of thoughtfulness and sentiment without being over the top.

          We're moving from the boudoir to the cuisine with these presents.

          These are three of my absolute favorite small hostess gifts, particularly when grouped together or, once again for no reason at all gifts.

By far, one of my all-time special objects and, I think, an objet d'art or at least an objet de curiosite
           1.) A silver plated champagne opener. This one is fun because very often people don't know it exists. It is perfect for those of us who are a little nervous about popping a champagne cork in our hand without it flying across the room with that classic Pop(!).

          When MRFLIF is not available this is my go-to utensil.

          2.) Almost anything from the absolutely incredible line of herbs, spices, natural food coloring products, edible flowers and on and on from Terre Exotique. The company is French and has expanded to include the most exotic products from the most exotic corners of the earth.

        For my purposes, to stay on message, I select something from France.

The ones I buy do not have holes in the handle.
         3.) White porcelain spoons. They come in all shapes and sizes. I find them at an inexpensive chain store in Paris, La Vaissellerie, that sells primarily white porcelain and other objects -- some shockingly kitsch -- for the home.

         I started using mine for mustard when not using my little crystal Baccarat purpose-made pot a mustard (the auto-correct, which is maddening, would absolutely not accept mustard in French) with its accessory crystal spoon. It's sort of a pain for every day use whereas a little bowl filled with mustard and one of these spoons is perfect. They are great for jams, jellies, all sorts of condiments and probably other uses I haven't thought of yet.

        I get delivery request for these.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Into The Sac, Small French Cadeaux

Clarins fun to use Dot-Dot-Dot eyeliner, another of my favorite gifts
        Staying on the beauty theme to fill the little pochettes a message I love to give as cadeaux to friends and family, I've collected three more very French items I like to slip into them:

          Rêve de Miel, the fit in the palm of the hand pot of lip balm from Nuxe. It really works. I keep mine on my bed table.

One of my newest "tiny gift" finds. Christine, had a basket of them in her pharmacy during the holidays and I scooped up about 15 of them, just in case. . .
          Des petits tubes of sublimely scented hand and nail cream from Roger-Gallet.  The tubes slip into a handbag, a pocket, a glove compartment, any place really. My favorite fragrances in the collection are: rose, bois d'orange and fleur d'osmanthus.

Clarins 3-Dot eyeliner.
          The 3-Dot eyeliner from Clarins. Now, this is fun to use but takes a little technique, i.e. practice required. That said, once practice makes perfect easy eye lining will become a daily habit.

On the outside chance you do not know what an osmanthus looks like (I had no idea), see above.
          I'll continue this series through the week or until I run out of ideas, whichever comes first.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

French Notes II


         This is so much fun for me and helps me organisze my ideas about my Transatlantic gift giving.

           I'm so pleased the subject interests you.

           Another of my favorite very French items are small cahiers (notebooks) that can be slipped into a handbag for example. I have lots I like, but I'm particularly attracted to the black and white, five-by-seven inch ones by Ben for Quo Vadis.

          I'm obsessed with notebooks and pens and always hope that the recipients of these little caihiers enjoy them. Not a day goes by that I'm not taking notes about something.

          They are marvelous stocking stuffers, little "nothings" tucked into another gift or a stand-alone "just because"gesture. Usually I write something on the first page.

          A demain mes très, très, chers amis.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

French Notes

      A lazy Saturday afternoon -- all my shopping is finished, the wood is stacked in the fireplace waiting to be lighted for cocktails, and my bouquets are all arranged. . . So I thought this would be a good moment to answer your questions about those adorable pochettes a message I wrote about last Wednesday (just scroll down).

         Babette's boutique, where I buy them, is out here in the country which does not make it convenient for those of you who will be coming to Paris this year. If you click here you will be taken to Petite Mendigote, where you can order them if you would like.

        You'll also see in the header of the site the button where you can click on boutiques that sell the brand's products.

        As I said, they are small but I always manage to fill them with a few of my favorite French products. I gave one to my wonderful friend, Trisha Malcolm, on Thursday (scroll on down again) and in it I managed to squeeze in:

  • Les Gouttes Bleues, those fantastic blue eyedrops that all the professional makeup artists in the world have in their bag of tricks.
  •  Mixa sparkly barely there color lip balm.
  •  L'Oreal BB blush gel. (My new crush and I hear it's not available outside France.)
  • Lovely lavender savon which makes the whole package smell delicious.
          If you would like me to do a post about more of my French finds, please let me know.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Treatment vs. Cosmetics

If your face is feeling dry, do try. Made from all natural plant ingredients this oil  repairs dehydrated skin beautifully. And, it has a light, lovely scent. It's probably just me, but I love the "serious" aspect of a glass medicine dropper dispensing my treatment product.
    We all have our preferences and prejudices. I'm assuming you agree with me. Please understand, I'm talking about beauty. Skin deep is about as profound as I will ever venture in this space.

        My hesitations and convictions in this realm are quite clear:
  1. I only use treatment products recommended by either my dermatologist or my pharmacist or both.
  2. Logical extension of above: I never buy treatment products from cosmetic houses which spew out pretty boxes filled with perfumed lotions and potions bolstered by massive marketing and public relations campaigns and often featuring a famous, flawless (wouldn't it be lovely if these same companies could bottle Photoshop?) face suggesting that dreams really do come true. Hope in a bottle if you will.
  3. My favorite cosmetic products, those items we use to add color, cover-up what we don't like, reflect light, give us the glow, etc. all come from the cosmetic houses from which I never buy the "serious" products I expect to change -- to a reasonable degree -- the quality of my skin. 
          Now, that being said, I blithely ignored my major predilection out of what I felt at the time was an urgent necessity that had no other solution other than olive oil or the other oil I mix with it for salads that is a cocktail of omegas. Never mind. I digress.

          Recently I noticed that my skin, normally normal, appeared dry when I accidentally flipped to the magnifying side of my makeup mirror. As I said, a quick decision was required: salad oils or a gift I had never used (never even took out of the cellophane wrapped box) from the international public relations director of Clarins. 

        Now I'm hooked, but as is my wont I think I can sort of rationalize the use of my newest favorite product, Huile Orchidé Bleue, designed for the single purpose of fixing dehydrated skin. And it did and it does. 

        Let me tell you why I think it fits perfectly into my treatment product rationale: because it is concocted out of "100 percent pure plant extracts."  Et voila. It's as pure as any pharmacy purchased product though admittedly more expensive. Still, a verrrrry little goes a long way.

        Here's what the hype says (but I've bought into it and I think you can trust me): It's a hydrating treatment oil that restores "vitality and radiance to dehydrated skin. Patchouli and blue orchid extracts tone and revitalize moisture-depleted skin. Hazel nut oil softens, smoothes and seals in moisture to help minimise the appearance of fine lines."

        It is to be applied in the evening after a thorough cleansing onto damp skin on the face and neck, avoiding the eye area. You only need a tiny drop. Wait a minute or two and blot with a soft tissue. Go to bed.

       Wake-up surprised.
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