Friday, January 28, 2011

JNSQ Friday Feature - David Lebovitz Paris Proust Files interview + give away!!

I'm going to do my best for you this week, to not gush. It's very difficult, to say the least. When the first man of blogging himself, accepted to be the next Paris Proust profile, I think I had a mini-stroke. Or maybe that was just my brain on DL-Crack?

David is one of those people who I think a lot of us expats find particularly inspiring. Following your dream and becoming a world-class dessert chef is impressive enough, but then he has to go and move to PARIS, of all places, to become this amazing recipe inventor, writer, blogger, tour-giver, I mean... where will it end? The man has more gifts than fucking Santa Clause.

When I read his book, The Sweet Life in Paris, I really felt like he had written it for me. I was nodding and laughing the whole time through his descriptions of typically French things, and personalities. I actually wished I'd read it years ago before moving here. It definitely would've saved my sanity, and probably several pairs of heels from street garnishes.

What I liked best about this book is what makes me want to live in Paris for the rest of my days: David writes all the ways the Parisians can drive someone to the utter BRINK of insanity, but, instead of hating them for that, he develops a kind of tender adoration for their quirks that I can really relate to.

I have a very romantic attachment to this burg, and I think David shares that feeling in his book. In fact, I think those that are on the verge of giving up on this town might want to pick it up as a sort of, disgust panacea. It'll cure what ails you and remind you that this place is made from pure magic... even if its inhabitants are black-wearing, frowny-faced, closet linebackers. (I still love them, it's okay, I used to wear sweatshirts and jeans to work -- nobody's perfect.)

And let's not forget, all the AMAZING recipes, some truly wonderful dishes and desserts in there that have made this book on my top ten favorite's list!

If you take away just 1 thing from this article I hope it's that:
This book is a real treasure, and you should pick it up immediately if not sooner and get to know this wonderfully funny, insightful, intelligent guy.

Can't wait to share this amazing book with our lucky give away winners!

I'll draw 2 random winners next Friday from those who:

RT this article on twitter, or Comment below to share your favorite french dessert!

If you just can't wait to win, pick up your copy on Amazon :) Thanks again to David for doing this interview!





Virtues: What do you like most about yourself or your writing that you
think you can say without sounding too conceited? What makes you so
flippin' amazing? (You know this is what people mean when they ask
'what are your strengths', don't look so shocked.)

DL: I’m become more flexible since moving abroad. Things things that used to bother me don’t anymore and I’ve become more relaxed about things going not as planned, because I’m now used to it.


Faults: What do you like LEAST about yourself or your writing that you
think you can say without sounding too pathetic?

DL: I wish I could master those darned French verbs. And I make a certain amount of typos on my blog, which irks me a little, but then I realize that the nature of blogging is that you’re not necessarily creating a masterpiece; it’s meant to be a more casual, temporal way of communicating and I, and readers, need to overlook various glitches and errors. That said, it still drives me bat-you-know-what when I find one..


Chief characteristic: Define yourself or your writing in 1 word that I
can repeat to other people when I talk about you behind your back, ie:
He/She is so _______.

DL: elusive.


Men: Is there anything about Parisian men that doesn't make you roll
your eyes?

DL: They walk right into you as if you’re not even there.


Women: What about the Parisian women?

DL: They walk right into you as if you’re not even there.


Emotions: What about Paris brings out the 16yr old drama-queen in you:
happy, sad, mad, excited, love, hate; what brings out these
emo-spaz-attacks? What do you love/hate most about Parisians?

DL: They walk right into you as if you’re not even there.


Places: In what Parisian hood would you love to live in? We all have
our favorites! Why is it yours, what makes it all that?

DL: I like the 10th. It’s a great intersection between lots of cultures, which as an American, I’m used to. I like the various nationalities that share that arrondissement and while there’s a lot of very French parts of it, the other qualities I find equally interesting.


Wishes: What typical French characteristic do you wish you possessed?

DL: The ability to stay up very late at a party. The French are such great socializers, but I konk out around 1am.


Motto: What's your motto when in France? How do you minimize the
hardships of life abroad?

DL: If you want to be comfortable, stay home.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

JNSQ Friday Feature: Paris Bloggers collaborate - how to do the Soldes

The long awaited blog is here! I apologize for the wait, but I'm sure you won't be disappointed when you read all the bloggers have to share with you! Thanks to everyone who chimed in, I knew our community would come through ;)

Also, big thanks to Badaude who shared her amazing art, recently featured in the Times (need a subscription to read the article), with JNSQ! This map is so freaking cool I think I stared at it for 20 min in awe. You are my blogger super-star of the week!!!
Check her site for more of these:
Paris Sales-cation - Part 1

Paris Sales-cation Part 2



Didn't get to share in time? Comment below!

I killed the categories -- too complicated & instead asked the crew:
1) What do you think about the blogs? Love'em or Hate'em?
2) What are your top spots to shop during the sales?


If you've read a few articles in this mish-mash of a blog, you'll have noticed a few trends:
- I don't suffer fools. I get intensely annoyed by them & blog about thier douchebaggery
- I love Paris
- Me + Fashion = disaster to the the thousandth power.

So, when I decided to do this blog, a part of me was thinking... Shannon, you've really out done yourself in the "this is SOOO not my dept. category".

In five years, I've managed to never once really do the sales in Paris. Everyone blabs about how crowded they are, and how you can never find your size, the sales people are in an even shitter mood than usual, etc etc. But, I decided that if I was going to have something to say then I'd better bite the bullet and hit the streets.

I am pleased to announce to you all that the sales are not as bad as everyone says. In fact, I found them even more pleasant than my usual shopping experiences in Paris! (So much so, that an entire new blog will be coming out of it next week -- a Guided Tour of Passy -- to share with you my finds and feats!


Photo credit Flickr: antwerpenR
I've got a blockage when it comes to spending money on clothes. Anything over 30€ and an internal small-town-girl alarm goes off in me that says "OMG that's fucking expensive. Screw that." Because of this, I tend to generally dress like a style-less townie, and make due with things that are passé. I can handle not being a fashionista as long as I can afford taking a trip or two to the states every year!

But thanks to the sales, I was able to get out & spend some cash without the inevitable, "just spent 35€ on a sweater" remorse -- and it was magical. Walking home, I felt like I was tramping down a rainbow paved street on the back of a pristine unicorn eating calorie-less cake. Triumph is the only word I can think to describe my mood properly.

I even came up with a few tips for you:


1. Early bird gets the worm and doesn't have to fight ten thousand teenagers for it.

I left around 11:30 this Saturday and as someone who doesn't really like shopping and HATES shopping in a gaggle of screaming teens I can confirm that this was a good idea.

While the teenies were dreaming of skinny jeans (WHY? Ugh, so ugly), jewel-toned potato-bag dresses (yuck), and my worst nightmare, *leggings*, I was happily breezing through Passy without a care, snatching up my heart's desire.

No one was up. I had the shops practically to myself & it was heavenly. Do. It. The annoying pre-pubescent hordes start polluting the streets around 2:30-3pm in my experience.

2. Go the 2nd week.Not only will there be fewer people and some stock left over, but there will be a "2nd Démarque", a second sale price on top of the first sale price.

All I can say is, it's worth the effing wait to see the difference between 1st & 2nd week sale prices that differ by 20€!

3. Read this blog & others.Scared to go out into the big bad world of shopping? Intimidated by the reputation of crazed shoppers and shitty selection? Then read up before you go out. Know what you want and in what kinds of neighborhoods you can find it. (ie: Don't go to Passy or La Defense to get the hottest trends, these areas are aimed at "older" populations from what the shopkeepers have told me.

Check out my last blog for a few, and bloggers, if I missed yours -- add it to the mix below in comments :)

So my final comment is this:
I loved the sales. I had fun shopping, got some GREAT deals and didn't pull my hair out doing it.

My fave shops on Rue de Passy were:
- Mango: like Gap with an edge for those of us who have not the spine to wear leggings and hot pink. I dug the little extras, sequins, patterns, etc that didn't provoke my style-challenged insecurities.
- San Marina: shoes that I can actually afford to buy were waiting for me like new friends, all lined up in a row. Lovely times had there & left with a pair of black boots at 79€ instead of 149!
- Kookai: There were some great finds & awesome deals on this typically expensive store, especially scarves. Skirts were cheap, but dresses were still avg. Good deals on coats too!

Enjoy the bloggers comments below, chocked full of advice, and general blogger lovin'.
See you next week for the guided tour blog!
xx S


"There's nobody there..."
- Badaude

Love Les Soldes this year: there's nobody there. I wandered round Le Bon Marche on the first day last week and it was positively empty - though I returned later with a friend after work to find things were hotting up a little.

A shop I love: Les Prairies de Paris in the rue Debelleyme. It's the epitome of French disdain for selling and doesn't even look like a shop. From the ground floor all you can see is a kind of art installation. Where are the opening hours? They're written on a tiny card lying in a far corner of the window that I didn't spot until the sales girl showed me. You push the handle-less door. It doesn't give. You try the other side. They don't even want you to come in. The clothes are all on display in the basement but as there's no sign you wouldn't know where to find them unless you're reading this.

And are the reductions marked on the tickets? No. In fact there are no signs that say 'sale' at all. I asked the girl if their sale opened later than the rest of Paris: she looked at me like I was insane and said, 'No, everything is 40% off'. So why do I keep on shopping at Les Prairies? I looove their clothes - understated but never simple cuts you'll never see anywhere else - and especially their shoes n' bags.


"What is the opposite of fashionista? I'm that." - Karin B.
http://analienparisienne.wordpress.com/
Les Soldes. Le sigh. Honest? I am not a huge shopper, period, and pretty much the only sales I participate in are the ones at Target when I have a chance to go back to the States or from OldNavy.com -- I order the stuff online, send it to the future MIL and she mails it here. They are starting international shipping to France soon, though! Yippie! What is the opposite of a fashionista? I'm that. So the sales pretty much just pass me by.

This year, however, I found myself at least paying attention to some of the sale prices in stores, and I have to say that it looks like there are some terrific bargains out there. Maybe one of these days when I am rolling in more moolah, I shall brave the crowds to try Les Soldes out. It looks there are some great deals on winter coats and boots, various housewares and household items, not to mention clothing.

One thing: I need to replace my Converse Chuck Taylor high tops. If anyone knows of a store where these are on sale in Paris, I would be grateful! I'm looking for them in purple...

Happy shopping to all you shoppers out there! :)



"My favorite shops sell cheese..." -Meg Zimbeck
http://megzimbeck.com/
Hate is perhaps too strong a word, but I've never been a huge fan of Les Soldes. Elbowing through a crowd to score a measly 30% off? Please. Call me back, sales, when you can rival the discount orgies of my American youth.

My favorite shops in Paris sell cheese and these, sadly, never host any sales.


"Sales can be very rewarding..." - Audrey Fournier
1/ I love sales, as long as it does not turn into a crazy odyssey to find the best bargains. If you can accept frustration and limit your shopping time to half a day (preferably the first morning), sales can be very rewarding. 

2/ I usually stick to department stores, especially le Printemps, for it offers all in one place : shoes, lingerie, high end as well as more affordable designers, house linen, beauty products... Plus, sharing a cup of coffee at the café under the "coupole" with your shopping partner (aka my mum) makes a very nice break. 
And if you're still in the mood for more, you can quickly sneak into the Mango store nearby for -50 % sweaters and Zara for -30 % belts. But don't stay too long, the crowd and the clutter make it a painful experience.
I also like wandering through the Kooples stores in the Marais. They're not crowded and everything is - 50 %.


"I’m down with them...'" - Forest C.
http://52martinis.blogspot.com/

I love the sales! I used to be kind of blazé about them, but since the past few years, I'm down with them. So down with them that I've already hit them this year on my travels in Norway (cute plaid pants), my current visit to Belgium (sexy dress), the starting day in Paris on Wed (three pairs of shoes) and I'm going to London later this week to check out theirs, too.  Yeah, I'm not a one-city-sales kind of girls....I'm a sales whore!

The shops question is a bit trickier for me.  There are cool designers who I cant afford all the time like Vanessa Bruno or Isabelle Marant. But, often I use the sales to get good quality basics at better prices from shops like 1, 2, 3. I just scored a sweet grey wool coat from ESPRIT (200 Euros down to 60!)  I also use the opportunity to pop into Sephora to pick up eye shadows and odds and ends when they knock them down to a buck or two.  And, I'll be cruising through the APC Surplus (18 rue Andre de Sarte, 75018) because prices are already less than the normal boutiques and I noticed they have a couple of cute handbags on sale right now.  I also usually make a stop into one of the Chaise Longue and pick up cute things that I can have on hand as spare or hostess gifts - although I checked them out beforehand online this year and they don't have as many cute sale items as usual. Oh, and I just remembered a totally cute dress I got for nothing at Monoprix! Yes, for a not very serious shopper, I get a little overly excited at sales time.


"I just don't have the stamina..." - Amy Reverdy
http://www.cest-la-me.blogspot.com/
In theory I love the sales, in practice I hate them. "Hate" may be a strong word; I just don’t have the stamina or patience to compete with the ruder-than-usual Parisian shoppers or stand in long lines for the fitting room. If time is money, then the sales generally are not worth the time.

However, I do recommend them for certain items: bags, scarves, jewelry (i.e., items that don’t require getting naked to try them on). Thus, one of my favorite shops in Paris is the accessories boutique “Pour” located at 23 rue Berthollet in the 5th arrondissement. It’s small, off the beaten track and carries unique pieces that make perfect gifts for you or your friends.
 

"If I ever buy anything in the sales it's totally by accident" - Lauren Elkin
www.LaurenElkin.com / @LaurenElkin
I'm not a fan of the semi-annual sales-- too many people! I need my shopping experience to be as calm and stress-free as possible, and I find that the quality of what's on sale is never high enough to merit the annoyance incurred by the crowds, lines, etc. If I ever buy anything in the sales it's totally by accident, because I happened to wander into a store I like at an off-peak time.



"Do you believe in Maje-ic?" - Rebecca Leffler
http://lafleurdeparis.blogspot.com

Hate 'em. Well, I love 'em...before they start. I'll admit that I am a soldes-snob. I go to the press sales a month before, so by the time the regular sales roll around, I am not happy about the millions of people flocking to my neighborhood to crowd the streets and block my sidewalk pathways.

Yes, I live in a "dangerous" neighborhood, namely St Germain des Près, filled with every shop under the sun (or, in the case of the January winter sales, under rain, snow and cloudy skies).

My favorite store: Maje. All of them. Do you believe in Maje-ic? I do. And want to outfit myself in all of their clothing for the rest of my life. Pretty, fun and affordable...and très très French.


"I did have some real success..." - Doni Belau
http://www.girlsguidetoparis.com
Its not like I really needed anything, after a fairly present heavy Christmas but like a moth to a flame, I felt drawn to the Soldes in the hope of a "deal". It takes a more disciplined person then I to resist the urge to score a bargain.

In fact I did have some real success on the first day of les Soldes last Wednesday. Scouring the 15th and the rue de Commerce, I discovered a luxurious faux shearing coat in a hunter green from Gerard Darel for 200 euros down from 335. A lovely grey knit dress with silver buttons also from Darel for 129 euros (nearly 50% less than last months price).

I even went through the humiliation of trying on lingerie and found some fairly sexy bras at Passionata that were marked down 40%. I also picked up a black v-neck cardigan in a light wool knit at Maje that will become a real basic go-to piece.

I found a pair of dark grey-brown oxford shoes at the discount shoe store Andre that appear to be fairly well made and more importantly are comfortable! and were only 75 euros. I'm happy to go along with this trend, even though it will probably be out of style by next year. There is no question that the sales encourage me discard what small reservoir of reason and rationale I have, but it is the hunter-gatherer in me I guess just itching to come out, amassing food/shelter and "vetements" for the final winter months.



"There's so much temptation out there..." - Karen Fawcett
www.bonjourparis.com
I always feel drawn to the soldes. But this year, I made a promise to buy nothing and spend money traveling. I've confined my shopping forays to after the stores close. If you see someone standing  in front of a  window drooling in the dead of night, it might be I  (me sounds better, but it's not correct English). My closets are overflowing and I've promised until I sort and chuck, I will buy nothing. In the process of opening one closet, I discovered some perfectly wonderful items I'd forgotten. Plus, how many black sweaters can a  one person own?

My mother used to return home with bags from designer stores reporting how much money she'd saved. She omitted to state how much she'd spent. Perhaps it's a sad admission, but I've reached a certain age (and done more than my share of buying quality clothes) that's it time to de-acquisition.

One caveat: The sales aren't over until February 15th. So I can't be sanctimonious. I won't break my vow. There's so much temptation out there beckoning each and every shopper or wanna-be.


"Les soldes in Paris just don't have the same value."- Amy
http://www.godiloveparis.blogspot.com/

Love 'em in theory, hate 'em in reality. I love the big build-up (like la rentrée! or les feries!) and get so excited to go bananas. But then one of two things inevitably happens:

1) After having been so certain that a certain store - say, ba&sh, had tons of stuff that I wanted but was too cheap to buy - I'll go in, ready to walk out with a new wardrobe and find... nothing. I don't know why but this happens every season.
Or 2) I'll get seduced by a markdown and buy something, only to get it home and realize that I still spent a boatload of money and, even with the 30 or 50% reduction, it was way overpriced, leaving me feel gipped. It's hard, too, coming from NYC where everything is drastically reduced all year long. Les soldes in Paris just don't have the same value.

Because hope does spring eternal, when I go soldes shopping, my top stores are  AB33, Merci, Isabelle Marant and ba&sh.


"I don't have a favorite shop but enjoy eyeing all the major French brands..."- Kasia Dietz
blog:  www.loveinthecityoflights.com

As per my recent post on shopping, I love the sales but often tend to hide for the first few weeks, feeling overwhelmed by both the amount of shoppers and the amount of merchandise. These regulated sales seem to me the only time that shopping is (almost) affordable in Paris, considering I was used to NYC where it seems that everything is on sale ALL of the time.

What I have learned however, as I become a professional 'soldes' shopper in Paris, is that perhaps it's better to brave the masses of fashion obsessed Parisians in the first few days, in order to find that special something before it's all gone, which can happen quickly! Usually when I wait until the end I tend to find that 'something I didn't know I was looking for but couldn't resist' rather than what I in fact needed.

Fortunately (or not, depending on the mood) I live in the heart of the Marais, surrounded by boutiques. I don't have one favorite shop but enjoy eyeing all the major French brands, which is impossible not to do (on a daily basis).

As a designer I tend to seek out other independent designers. Recently on a random walk in the 8th I stumbled upon the showroom of one such new designer, Klaya, who I am now a big fan of. Not to mention that I bought a few unique and very affordable pieces!

Personally speaking, the key is not to represent any one particular brand (and end up looking like a store mannequin) but to create your own style by mixing well known with lesser known designers and often adding a touch of vintage.


"I do love finding a good bargain..." - Beth Arnold
www.betharnold.com
I don't like to "shop."  I like to find the ever-so-perfect gifts or items for myself when I'm out, and I spot them, knowing they're just what I want or want to give to someone.  I especially like being in the BHV and finding some delightful piece of hardware that I didn't know existed but fits what I need exactly.

So I won't hit the sales so I can "shop" and be smashed in with a bunch of aggressive women going sales crazy.

Having said that, I do love finding a good bargain, which I'm happy to find any time of year.  And if I've been mooning over a particular something I wouldn't allow myself to have because of the sticker shock, I might see if it's on sale and what that price is.  Then there are a few stores I love a lot, and I might check out what they've got on sale.  One of those is Simrane.

I have bought one item on sale this year--a Bodum French press.  My husband's birthday is coming up, and he loves his coffee.  But shhh, don't tell him.


"I envision mass-hysteria..."
- Andi
http://www.misadventureswithandi.com

Despite going to Paris every month for three years while I was living in France and going there at least once a year for the last four, I have yet to hit Les Soldes.  I envision mass-hysteria and it makes me nervous, but I am also so deeply curious about experiencing it!  One of my favorite stores is 1-2-3 and I fantasize about having the store on Rue de Rivoli all to myself for hours during a sale!  What I can say is that one of my most prize possessions is a beautiful light grey cashmere long scarf that I bought during Les Soldes in Switzerland while I was working there.  I found it at the bottom of a bin of ugly scarves and it was like discovering gold, I was so triumphant!  If I lose that scarf I swear I will have a memorial for it...


Compilation of shops & designers mentioned in alphabetical order:

- 1-2-3 (several locations, see site)
- AB33
33, rue Charlot 75003 Paris
M° Temple ou Filles du Calvaire
- APC Surplus
18 rue Andre de Sarte, 75018
- André (several locations, see site)
- ba&sh (several locations, see site)
- Chaise Longue (several locations, see site)
- ESPRIT (several locations, see site)
- Gerard Darel (several locations, see site)
- Isabel Marant (several locations, see site)
- Kasia Dietz (check site or order online, list of retailers coming soon)
- Klaya (several retailers, check site or order online)
- Le Bon Marche
24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007
M°Sevres-Babylone

- Les Prairies de Paris
rue Debelleyme 23 rue Debelleyme 75003
M°Filles du Calvaire
- Kookai (several locations, see site)
- Kooples
191, rue Saint-honoré or 38 rue Saint-honoré 75001
- Maje (several locations, see site)
- Mango (several locations, see site)
- Merci
111 blv Beaumarchais 750016 Paris
Métro Saint Sébastien-Froissart
- Passionata (several locations, see site)
- Pour
23 rue Berthollet 75005
M°Les Goblins
- Printemps (several locations, see site)
- San Marina (several locations, see site)
- Sephora (several locations, see site)
- Vanessa Bruno (several locations, see site)
- Zara (several locations, see site)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday Tweep Round Up : Sale Blogs (btw, mine still coming!)

Photo credit evymoon on flickr
Yo. Spoke w/ a few peeps & axed the categories, just too damn complicated for this lot.

Good news is that now the responses are pouring in & I should have a lovely Soldes blog for you this weekend!

If you want to share, comment below or send me an email at Shannon@JNSQ-Blog.com:

1) What do you think about the sales, love'em or hate'em?

2) What's your fave shop in Paris? (Name/address) Why is it great?



In the mean time, here are 5 sales blogs I think you should check out:

Girls Guide to Paris - Les Soldes 2011 by Milla Msa
HIP Paris - Ten Never-Ending Trends of Parisian Shoppers by Tory Hoen
I Heart Paris - Winter Sales 2011
Love in the City of Lights - Art of the Sale
Bonjour Paris - Soldes, Glorious Soldes! by Karen Fawcette

Did I miss one you liked? Let me know, I'll throw it up here.
xx S

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sales Blog -- need more time!

Despite the amazing page-view response for the last article, I know you guys want the info, I regretfully am going to have to postpone the post!!

I just didn't have time to get my shite together this week, been totally busy w/ work. Le sigh. I know, I suck. Sorry bout that.

But I do plan to do a little leg-work this weekend and check some things out (other blogs, will try to do a best-of here, as well as a few shops & my top picks), as well as share with you the community's insights :)

xx S

Monday, January 10, 2011

Call for Collab'bloggers! ** SOLDES **

Photo credit evymoon on flickr
Calling all bloggers, that time again, another collaboration blog hosted by JNSQ!

Remember our lovely Rainy Day solutions blog? And our Rants, Reforms & Rationalizations blog? They were pretty damn cool, and proves a theory of mine: The Paris tweeps/bleeps community is one of the BEST out there.

I know we can come up with some awesome spots, and so I propose, the first annual Virtual Paris Soldes Awards.

The idea:
JNSQ will collect YOUR top stores or streets for the Paris sales that begin officially next week, and I'll post them and link back to your site. Top number of votes will win "best" category for the VSPA's.

What's your favorite place to shop for shoes/shirts/skirts/scarves/etc etc? Let's put the best of paris on the map. Know THE spot to check out? Post it!


Here are the nominee categories:

- Best New Shop
- Best Vintage
- Best Luxury
- Best Penny Pincher
- Best Quirky
- Best Preppy
- Best Avant Garde
- Best Accessories
- Best Shoes
- Best Private Sale
- Best All-Around


Send your nominees in to Shannon@JNSQ-Blog.com, post them in comments below or tweet them to ShaNeSaisQuoi by this Friday!

Be sure to include:
- Name
- Address
- Category

ie:
MyFaveShop, Rue du Best 75001, Best All-Around

Shops with the most votes in a category will win!

Will publish the results over the weekend, can't wait to see who the "best" category winners will be :)


xx S

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sat Six Mention on Adventures with Andi!

A big thanks to Andi who mentioned JNSQ in her Saturday Six this week, a great round up of blog posts from travelers, experts, expats and loads of other cool people.... what was she thinking adding me?

I met Andi at a tweet up back before old man winter decided to slap us all in the face. She is pint-sized, but what she lacks in height, she makes up for in spunk. She's quite the travel bug and her posts are always a good read. Anyway, if you gotta sec, check it out:

http://www.misadventureswithandi.com/2011/01/saturday-six-48.html


Thanks Andi :)
xx S

Friday, January 7, 2011

Who's next for the Paris Proust Files Series? Hint: rhymes with.. ef it. It's David. + Give away!

I'm blogging from my hotel room in London where I've had my first hot shower in 5 days. I feel like I just slathered myself in liquid heaven.

I've taken the miracle of heat for granted, and I shan't soon forget that it is the 2nd most wonderful gift bestowed upon planet Earth.

The first? Probably one of my fave books, "The Sweet Life In Paris" by David Lebovitz! I'm really excited that this blog-legend-god-chef-man is the next awesome writer to join the ranks of the Paris Proust Files on JNSQ!

Will be posting soon, so stay tuned to win your copy of his book, which I'll be reviewing to boot!
Happy Friday

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WTF Wed: French are the Prophets of Doom 2011 & what it means

NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THE FRENCH ARE NOT OPTIMISTS!!!!!!

Did your head explode yet? No? Didn't think so.

And the survey says: out of 53 countries, France has the most prophets of doom when it comes to 2011.

Seriously? We needed a poll to unearth this shocking tid bit? People were actually paid money to conclude that when you ask a French person how they feel about the future, the consensus will be something like, "I might try to shoot myself in the face if I can work up the motivation to leave the couch". Oy.

It has definitely joined the ranks of Cap'n Obvious' Best hits list. 

Of course, someone had to take 1st prize in the Grumpy pageant, and, OF COURSE, it's our beloved Frenchies. I mean, come on, they're against resolutions?! Might as well be against joy, double-rainbows, unicorn snuggles, and purring, calico kittens.

What's interesting to me is not that we needed someone to tell us the French are a bunch of "glass-isn't-half-empty-it's-fucking-dryer-than-a-bone" types.

It's that now we have a benchmark according to which we may compare just how cynical this nation is compared to other nations that are FAR worse off.

What does this say about the French? What does it say about the other countries?

Could it be that France feels like it's peaked, and can only go down hill from here? Has Sarko infringed so on the birth rights of French citizens that they feel 2011 is just another stepping stone to a molten hell on earth? Are the other countries in such a bad place, that things can only get better? Context plays a role, no doubt.

If you want the hard truth... I think it means we're spoiled. Rotten. Yes, we are a bunch of coddled two-year-olds, with chocolate cake crumbs on our cheeks, having a melt down in the parking lot because we got a puppy when we really wanted a pony.

Puppies are great people. Puppies effing ROCK. We have an amazing health care system, loads of functional social services, our streets are clean, our education isn't half bad, and "La Crise", didn't hit us as hard as a lot of other countries.

My hope is that this poll will influence the French. Maybe they'll finally get weirded out about being viewed as "the goth" in the world-class-room? Maybe they'll get tired of being a slew of frowny skeptics? Polls can have that effect.


If you ask me, and you didn't, I think the French could do with a good ole Thanksgiving holiday. They need to reflect on what they have, all they've achieved, and how far they've come.

Let's not forget that they used to chop off man-parts. This point alone should be enough to lift the moral of half the population, no?

Monday, January 3, 2011

5 reasons to get a resolution & stop shitting all over mine.

Ok, so I admit that this may be PMS, or the fact that I'm tweaking from not smoking or perhaps a good ole mix of BOTH... but I'm annoyed, and by George, I cannot help myself from posting this after reading all the anti-resolution posts out there.

WHAT is UP with all the JUDGEY-McJUDGERSONS out there?? Huh??!!

Cheese & fucking crackers, STOP rolling your g-damn eyes at me. I own my naivety. It's not always a good thing, and often times very bad in fact, but in this case I think it's fab to hope for the best against all odds.

Yes, I have a resolution, YES, I've kept it for a whole 2 days and intend on keeping it a lot longer. Why must you scoff? Where does all this blind pessimism come from?

I myself can be quite the nay-sayer, but I think when someone says "I'm going to try to be a better person", it's not something to put down. We should lift the resolutioners up. Support them in their endeavors to stop effing-up instead of telling them "Meh, you'll never make it, no one keeps New Year's resolutions."

And thus began my rant, here are my 5 reasons why you should get a resolution & stop shitting all over mine:

1) Just one more reason to do what you should.
Just because you resolve to do something on 1/1/11, it doesn't mean that you did jack-shit for all of 2010. It doesn't mean that you sat on your ass, thinking, "no point in do this or that until the new year". It's a boost in the right direction; just ONE MORE reason to do the right thing without delay. What have you got against it? I honestly don't understand.

2) Acknowledge your past by changing your future.
Resolutions don't erase your past, just in case the irony of my last post wasn't clear. On the contrary, I think resolutions acknowledge that you have room for improvement. It's looking life in the face & saying, I can do this differently, if not better. Which is always good, right?

3) Go with the flow.
If you're against resolutions, then please let me know another time of year when so many people are so motivated to change lives for the better. Seriously, it's easy to be a joiner when so many people are doing it, and why not get a group together and choose one you can all share?

4) Unselfish resolutions exist too.
Resolutions do not always have to do with ourselves. They can be changes to give more to your community, give more to your entourage, or simply stop being such a pessimistic sour-puss in the judgerson's cases.

5) Today is better than never.
It's all about initiative. It's about making a life decision, one that will be good for you. Anyone who's against this, just baffles me! It's like saying you're against goodness today because you should've done it yesterday, and the day before that, etc. Why the F not today? Why not make it a new habit?

Ok I've ranted enough. Back to happy-go-lucky-land, hoping your resolutions are being made, abandoned, re-made, re-abandoned, whatever. Just be thinking about changes in your life and other people's, that's enough.

And for the non-resolutioners.... stop judging the resolutionites for the love of pete. If we want to give it a shot, then let us, jeeze.

xx S

PS - Got an opinion on this? Share it. I'm interested to know what the peeps think out there. Am I the only one who gives a crap?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stop raining on my resolution parade.

It's that time again. Time to break out the giant year-sized-sponge and wipe the chalk board of life errors soo clean you can see your hopeful, naive face gleaming in it. Time for a new beginning, time for a change of heart, time to do the one thing you've been putting off all year long and believe that this time you'll actually accomplish it, for no other reason than the fact that it is January 1st.

It's a contagious notion in January, and generally, a good topic of conversation for those dry-patches in your workplace banter. Most people's resolutions are positive improvements, like "get fit", "drink less alcohol", or "stop farting in the elevator". (Note to readers: please take up that last one. PleaseOhPleaseOhPleaseOhPleeeeeeease.) I wish more women in Paris would resolve to wear pants, but I'm realistic enough to know that's just crazy talk.

I was amazed by how many runners I saw outside today. It was as if the whole of Paris woke up this morning and said, "Here we go, getting 2011 off to a good start with a nice run now that I'm over that HORRID HANGOVER!". I wish someone would start a website to track it. "Resolution Run 2011" or something, so we can see how many of them put on their running shoes, just to take them off again a week later. Anonymous results, bien sur.

But where's the harm, really? I hear so many people saying what a load of crap it is, and how they don't believe in NY resolutions. I've heard many-a-frenchie tell me how ridiculous it seems to them. In their opinions, important decisions should be made because it's the right time, not because it's the beginning of a new year.

But... do they make those decisions the other 364 days? I'm not so sure looking at the number of non-joggers, drinkers, and pantless-elevator-polluters in my entourage.

Personally, I don't see what's so bad about scheduling a little optimism into our year. Seems to me the Parisians are doubly hard on us resolutioners. I myself have resolved to quit smoking. It's going good so far.

Day 2, acting like a total be-yotch, and my husband is avoiding me like the plague, but smoke-free at least! And I joined the ranks of joggers last weekend, so I can't really count it, but I'm resolving to keep it up for a little while longer.

I think resolutions have gotten a bad rep. It's an opportunity. Make a decision, start things off right. What's so bad about that? Do you think it's a waste of time? It's never too late to stop letting silent bombs in enclosed spaces, is my motto.

Happy New Year everyone, go get'em.
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