The Perfectly Imperfect Paris Apartment

Any true Francophile will inevitably dream of having a pied-à-terre in Paris--- a place to put your feet up after long strolls along the Seine, a place to transform your latest market fresh produce into dinner for friends, a place to stash all of those "petits trucs" you've discovered at the Marché aux Puces St-Ouen. 
As much as we may long for our own little piece of dear Paris, often our daily lives and budgets may keep us away from this real estate fantasy.  Until that glorious day when a Paris apartment might be mine, I've resigned to making my own apartment as Parisian as possible. 


Ode to Autumn

The Autumn
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them --
The summer flowers depart --
Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

Spooky Spectacular

Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday.  I am not sure whether it's the fantasy of pretending to be someone else for a night or the delight of wearing fancy, frilly clothes or the delicious joy of buckets of free candy.  The sights and sounds and smells of Halloween trigger such nostalgia for me. 


Slumber Sanctuary

I covet bedtime.  I delight in burrowing into my sheets and settling down for the evening.  Whether switching on my bedside lamp and reading a magazine for a bit or immediately dozing off, my bed is a sanctuary.  
Often we neglect our bedroom spaces because none of our guests visit those private rooms.  Bedrooms lack the "show-off" factor.  But your bedroom should truly be the most restorative, restful, beautiful place in your home, even if you are the only regular visitor.


The Art of the Trench

Let's face it ladies (and perhaps some of you gents), we all have a fashion wish-list: those shoes or bags or watches that we covet, look at longingly in catalogs and store windows, then pragmatically remember that those goodies cost more than a mortgage payment.  


By Candlelight

One of my favorite little rituals each evening is scurrying around the apartment and lighting nearly every candle in the place.  No matter the time of year, weeknight or weekend, I light my candles and watch the day wind down.  

Whether coupled with Sunday Night Football or Debussy and a glass of Pinot Noir, the candles are nearly always flickering in our kitchen and living room.
That soft, warm candlelight just soothes me.  With the lights down low and the candles lit, I cannot help but feel a change in my mood.  


Words to Live by

Picasso and friends on the beach
Jacqueline with Flowers, 1954


Dinner Time (sort of)

It is is a truth universally acknowledged (forgive me Jane Austen) that bacon can cure any woes, even the most extreme case of the Mondays.  
Scrambled eggs with salsa, buttermilk-banana hotcakes & maple bacon

Autumnal Eye Candy

For weeks now, I've resisted the urge to put bowls of candy corn on my coffee table and mums on my front doorstep.  Even though it's still warm outside, I've exercised self-control and kept my sweaters and suede boots at the back of the closet for a few weeks more.  

But, just because I'm keeping my fallaphilia at bay until late September doesn't mean I can't swoon over a few yummy orange rooms:


Dreaming of La Dolce Vita

Maybe I've just watched Under the Tuscan Sun a few too many times or perhaps it's the fact that I've been teaching about the Italian Renaissance for weeks now, but lately I've been dreaming of moving to Italy.
I've fantasized about what it might be like to bid arrivederci to California and settle down in Firenze or Lucca or Arezzo for an extended stay.  What is it about those rolling green hillsides and crumbling buildings that makes Tuscany so intoxicating, so romantic? 


Feeling Chili?

As the temperatures start to drop (who am I kidding, I live in SoCal?), you will find yourself in want of belly-warming, slow-cooking foods.  

What is more perfect for football-filled Saturdays than a big bowl of chili with all the fixins?


Flowers for Friday

Oh, flower section at Trader Joe's, you got me again.  Rather than leaving with one little measley bunch of flowers, today I walked out with dahlias, freesia, celosia and calla lillies.  
 With all of these flowers in a gorgeous deep fuchsia shade, I couldn't resist getting all four petite bunches.  When I got home, I made them into one big effervescent pink bouquet.

Dress like a Lady

Last night, I spent a couple of luscious hours fawning over 726 pages of the September Vogue.  In past years, I found myself questioning the selections of Anna Wintour and her team.  How many American women would really wear sequined harem pants or 6 inch purple platforms heels?  

But this year, I was delighted to discover the abundance of classy, elegant, lady-like looks à la Grace Kelly or Jackie O or Audrey Hepburn.  

Gone are the grungy military and unstructured bohemian fashions.  Fall this year, at long last, requires dressing like a lady and flaunting feminine curves. We can thank Michelle O(bama) and the gals of Mad Men for this return to refined, polished styles.


Words to Live by

Today, break your routine.  Do something out of the ordinary.  Pave yourself a new road (and if you have a fabulous pink car to drive on your new road, may I be the first to borrow it?).

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