Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Paris Always Sizzles

I might be a self proclaimed authority on Paris, but in reality my insight on Paris is very well researched. While I am no Samantha Brown, I have a unique insight into this chic city. I've been there 3 times (working on 4). I am constantly in search of new things to do, and yet, there are things on my "Must See" list, even though I've done them before. Here is my list of "Must See". This is no list of typical stops highlighted on a map, rather a list of what my daily life would include, should I live there un jour. My favorite places would be too difficult to number in order of importance so pay no attention to the place they hold on my list. They are all places deemed worthy by the locals.

Café Angelina
226, rue de Rivoli 1st Arrondissement
75001 Paris

This cafe has been in place since the 1900's. The decor says it all. Immediately when you enter you feel transformed into the days of yesterday. This salon de thé (tea) is actually known for their chocolat chaud (hot chocolate). The best way to describe it is a melted bar of chocolate, but richer and thicker. It comes in a small pitcher. One can never hope to finish it, it's very rich and decadent. But oh so delicious! Stop in for chocolat chaud and a pastry. HINT: They also have wonderful macaroons. Prices range from 5-15 euro.

Grevi Firenze
1, Place Alphonse Deville
75006 Paris

No trip to Paris could ever be complete without a trip to this hat store. I simply adore hats and wear them all the time. By chance I happened across this store. Just like a dream, I bought a beautiful hat in Paris. Not to burst my own bubble, but these hats are made in Italy. There are only two stores in the world. One in Florence, Italy and one in Paris, France. That is what makes this store so unique. Imagine only two stores in the world and I stumbled across one of them! With so many hats to choose from, one could go broke in this store. Hats for all occasions, chic and casual Grevi will make any girl crazy for hats if they aren't already. Even if you don't buy one, it's fun to go in and look and try them on. I actually can not think of a better souvenir. This store excels in customer service and pretty packaging. In the US, it's very difficult to find great hats. This store really is a treat! Did I mention I have two Grevi hats? Prices range from 50-150 euro. It's worth every euro cent!

Au Pied de Cochon
6, Rue Coquillière75001

Paris, France
+33 1 40 13 03 81

Au Pied de Cochon (meaning the foot of the pig). I can't take any credit for this find. This restaurant was recommended to me by my friends who used to live in Paris. I have to say, this is the place where I truly had the best meal that I've ever eaten in my life. I can't imagine anything that could surpass it. I ordered the braised lamb and finished off with Crème brûlée. One great thing about this bistro is that you can make a reservation right from your home online. Prices range from 15-40 euro. They do have a set menu for 19 euro which includes three courses. You will not be disappointed.

Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg is a public park. Parisians gather here on Sundays to relax and enjoy life amidst a busy city. Do not, however, underestimate what happens at this jardin. It is a live fashion show. Even the Parisian children are dressed to the nines. Women strut in their high heels and big sunglasses and men are equally dressed. I admire the way the French use every occasion to parade their wardrobe. 

This park is perfect for taking in the sights and sounds of old Paris, both intentional and unintentional. Great for relaxation, photographs and people-watching. If the French dress like this when they go to the park, what do they wear when they go out to a nice dinner?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Style To The Nines

Style and fashion are a trademark of femininity. A certain thought process happens on any given morning when we pick out our clothes and how we want to present ourselves to the world. For instance, maybe you are going on an interview and you head straight for your two piece suit. Going on a first date? Instinctively you head for your little black dress. Meeting your future in-laws? The cardigan sweater with the a pearl necklace is fail safe.  
But maybe you are having one of those days where you wake up in the morning feeling just blah? Possibly for no good reason. And you just know it's going to take everything out of you to get through the day. Well, that was me today.

I was already running late for work so I went to my default wrap dress which doesn't need to be ironed. It always looks great and it's comfortable. I was going to opt out of my usual make-up routine. Instead, here I was, knowing that the day ahead would be long and hard. And I decided to fake it until I could make it. What this means is I had to put on a full face of make-up.

Despite feeling horrible and wanting to crawl back into bed even though I had already hit the snooze button 3 times. I knew that I would have to look fabulous just to pull through the day even if I didn't feel fabulous.

I hope the next three steps can aid you in getting through your next "Blah Day".

1. Go Glamorous. It's okay to go to work with the "smokey eye" look. I used Sketch eye shadow by Mac along with Goldmine (for contrast) and Orb under my brow for highlighting, all products of Mac.

2. Don't leave the house without lip gloss. I decided to go with Ornamental also by Mac.

3. Wear your pretty dress. Yeah, the pretty dress that you hang ever so carefully in the back of your closet.  Pull it out and wear it like it's Saturday night. Even if it is only Tuesday.

Remember the scene from Breakfast At Tiffany's where Audrey Hepburn is forced to rush out of the house at a moments notice? She goes from pj's to positively glamorous in about 5 minutes. She is looking for her shoes underneath the bed and throws on a black dress, a fabulous black hat and big sunglasses. Not to underestimate the fact that she is after all, well, Audrey Hepburn, but you get the idea.

So the next time you wake up feeling "blah" think glamorous and go for it!!!

Branché Jewelry

In Europe I observed a dramatic difference in style and fashion. On various trips to France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary I noticed a change in style from one country to the next. 

I developed a fondness for each country's individual sense of fashion and wanted to share it at home in the states. Using semi-precious stones mined in Italy, Africa, Russia, Canada, Brazil etc., I capture the essence of Branche.  99% of my jewelry is one-of-a-kind. 

My aim is to incorporate my personal style with European fashion and couture.Creating fashion forward jewelry is my passion. Inspired by European fashion I create pieces that will rock-out any wardrobe. You can visit my website at

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Having A Paris Day

It is all too often that I have days where I yearn for Paris. Today is one of them. It started off this morning when I woke up and the air was filled with fog. Much like a day in Paris, it was overcast. I immediately felt the presence of Paris. I put on one of my favorite self-made French cds and I was gone. It's the song called "Le Festin" by Camille. It doesn't get more French than that with "Le Festin". I suggest you sample listen to this song on itunes.

When I arrived at work I immediately checked the Air France website to see if the tickets RT to CDG were on sale. If you are a Paris lover comme moi, you'd know that CDG is the main airport in Paris called Charles De Gualle.

I adore the way Gwyneth Paltrow looks wearing a yellow coat with red lipstick in Paris. I liked it so much, I had to go out and buy a yellow coat for myself. In the movie, "View From The Top", Gwyneth goes to Paris and is sitting on a bench on the Seine wearing a black beret with a yellow coat and red lipstick. It doesn't get much better than that.

Paris will have to wait for now, I was there only 7 months ago! I am interested in hearing about your Paris/Europe days. What are they like? How do you satisfy your urge for Europe?