Showing posts with label Favies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Favies. Show all posts

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pinterested in some crazy shiz?

In yet another blatantly conscious attempt to avoid real life, I've started pinning. In case you live under a rock, it's where you take images and plug them into a website.

It's like when unicorns touch their horns together and a beam of light erupts so bright that rainbow sparkles fall from the sky and the sun turns into a giant lollypop and pandas begin prancing around in a garden full of hibiscus flowers. Or meth*.

My favorite board is called "This is SO WRONG", and it really is.

I'm about to get my 100th pin -- any suggestions?

http://pinterest.com/jnsqblog/this-is-so-wrong/
*It should be noted that I'm deathly afraid of all drugs. All of them. Including aspirin. I'm just assuming that meth is like magical pandas dancing in rainbow glowing land of hibiscus. I apologize in advance to meth-doers who refutiate** this claim.

**Yes a-holes, I know this is not a real word.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Naturalist Neighbors (AKA: Pubes-R-Us)

© flickr by BeauB
I have some new neighbors in the hood. A young couple that have obviously never had a "vis-a-vis" (neighbors that can see into their windows). How do I know this you may ask? WELL. Let me explain.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I've seen them regularly making out on the bed, but that's not really the worst of it. I have seen my fair share of impetuous preliminaries on the streets of Paris. Who hasn't? It's practically a right of passage to see some tongue-baths in this town. Eventually, they get to more advanced techniques and draw the blinds. (Thank the lord.)

The worst part isn't the bedroom... it's their bathroom. (You see where I'm going with this.) In France the toilet is typically separate from the tub-area, and I cannot express how truly grateful I am for this custom. But the problem remains: I have a view of their tub-area.

Shockingly, this pair of unprudists have a curtain. What they don't have, is a fucking clue how to use it. It's strategically placed 1/2-way folded down. It's Pubes-R-Us over there.

Anon-nudists next door shower nightly, for which I'm very glad. Less stink on the metro is good for all. Unfortunately they spend an inordinate amount of time drying themselves in front of the window, where I have a front-row seat to the ass-crack show of a lifetime.

I could sell tickets to this, not kidding. The red-light district ain't got nothing on my neighbors. But that's the thing. You can't NOT look. It's like when someone says "Don't look!!". We all look, dammit.

There I was minding my bidness, and BAM. BUTT-IN-FACE time. That's not all. It's like I have this need to know whose butt I'm looking at. Guy? Girl? I can't tell half the time, they rock the bush, which just makes it intriguing because you don't want to turn away until you know just how much to be grossed out. It's sick right? It's sick. Blegh.

Next time they do this I might just start shouting at the open window, something like... "HEY NAKO, I CAN SEE YOUR CRACK!! YA WANNA DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?!". When they look out the window, I plan to innocently start looking at the other balconies and pretend it wasn't me. Shocked-face will be necessary, better start practicing that in the mirror.

I'm hoping they will eventually get the net, or I will eventually become so grossed out that I'll just stop looking. Neither has happened yet, I'll keep you posted.



Friday, February 11, 2011

Sales Last Chance Guide: A tour of Passy

The sales are winding down, so I thought I'd get this "last chance" post out before it's too late! The girl who didn't go to a sale in 5 yrs is about to take you on a trip. Oh yes, me, lady who knows SHIT, has done the unthinkable:

I went shopping for 3hrs in one giant stint to make up for all the past years I never went to the sales, and now, yes, now, finally, I'm going to share my hard-earned knowledge with you, store by store.

It should be noted that there are a SHIT TON of stores on Rue de Passy, in the 16th arrondissement. Naturally, I didn't do them all. (Pffffff). I just did the ones that I, and most people I know, are likely to frequent:

- San Marina
- Mango
- Promod
- Kookai
- Sephora
- Esprit
- Etam
- Zara
- GAP

If you're not proud of me right now, you never effing will be and can promptly go screw yourself.


1) Where the Ef is it?
Rue de Passy is in the 16th arrondissement in Paris, the northern part. Metro line 9, La Muette, or line 6 Passy. Or there's the bus 32, 22, 52 that'll take you right there.

I made you a little map, wasn't that sweet?


2) When should I go?
As I said in my last blog, the shopping experience wasn't at ALL what I was expecting. I put on my mental padding to brave the line backers and bag-toters but turns out I didn't need them at all! If you can get to Passy on a Saturday around 11, there will be not a soul in sight and you can roam freely through the stocks without having to hip-check anyone. Lovely.

3) Where should I go?
I started my journey at metro la Muette, and wanted to begin with my feet. Generally, this is my biggest point of style weakness, so it seemed time to populate my closet with more than just tennis shoes and worn out black flats.

FOR SHOES
San Marina was the shop of choice, and I must say that even I got a little shiver when I saw the 70% off tickets shining in all their laminated glory.

It was well worth the trip:
- all different styles
- loads of colors
- tons of sizes, including the elusive 38
- and most were between 50-70% off!

The 2nd floor of the shop is organized by size and had some lovely finds.
Highly recommend as this shop has pretty good quality and the price is decent.


FOR SWEATERS, TOPS & JACKETS
Mango was the first one I hit since it was on the way, and is one of my favorite stores.To me, this place is like GAP with a little edge. Just a little. Enough for me anyway in all my fashion-phobic paranoia!

Great place to pick up a new jacket, they were between 25-35, and pants 20-30. Skirts were mostly around 20€. Much cheaper than Zara, who had similar products, but listed them at 3x the price.

You can also stock up on basic turtle necks and tops which are ridiculous at 7-15€, and sweaters running from 10-20€, all good deals and lots of sizes. Some beautiful little touches with beading and sequins that class up the classic.

Also had scarves, a bit dull but cheap at 7€.

Kookai was also another great stop. Seemed they were trying to get rid of skirts -- loads at around 20-30€, very cute too. Mixed bag between summer & winter clothes, of course, beautiful scarves.

They also had some pretty work-type-shirts that I really liked, especially that pink number, mmm, gorge and only 22€!

Seriously, I think it's worth checking out, good deals, good quality, if you like this shop then don't hesitate -- hit the road and grab up what's left!










Then there was Zara
... I am not a huge fan of this store because it seems to me that the quality isn't worth the price. I've bought countless sweaters & shirts only to trash them a month later after a couple of washes. (Hello! SHRINKAGE!) But if you like it, they did have some pretty floral shirts. The rest seemed to be either teeny-bopper t-shirts (yuck), or polka dot. :( Sorry Zara, just didn't do it for me this year!


FOR JEANS
GAP of course? GAP sales in the US are epic with deals of 3$ tops and 10$ jeans. Get over that now, because the French just don't believe in that sort of free-for-all  sale. But they did have some good deals 50-70% off everywhere I looked!

Also check out their maternity section and work-shirt section, some great deals there 7-10€!




Don't waste your time on...
Promod:
WTF? I generally like this store, or can at least find a cute scarf/necklace? Something has happened to the Passy one. Just bottom-shelf quality & prices to match, but I wouldn't spent 5€ to wipe my ass with those scratchy sweaters.

Etam: Crap, crap & more crap. Yuck. Movin' on...

Esprit: ugh, this shop just isn't a good example of ESPRIT. Seems like it's geared toward baby-boomers and not so much toward hipsters, not much selection, crappy prices, all around "bleh" award goes to this one.


Maybe check out...
Sephora: Though there was nothing, or practically nothing, to speak of in the way of sale items, it was a rather lovely experience I had in there. The sales people were uncharacteristically helpful. For ONCE, I didn't feel as though I were interrupting 2 salesgirls' gossip hour, and I got some actual HELP. (Magical.) The woman took time to explain options, try out foundation on me, help me select moisturizers and advise me on treatment for my incredibly dry skin.
Highly recommend Passy Sephora if you're not so worried about paying full price, but want someone to explain the stuff you're spending 35€ on.

There you have it! My trip to Passy is done until the next sales in 5 months or so!

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)

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, November 19, 2010

The Paris Proust Files: Forest Collins, Mixology Specialst, Cocktail Genius + GIVE AWAY!

Photo cred: Melanie Vaz
Get ready, because the Snark Parade is about to trample through your interwebs. But before you read on, check out another fave blogger of mine, Kasia from Love in the City of Lights, who has also interviewed Forest in her article The Dream Life of Forest Collins! Read it for more info on her background, how she wound up in Paris and of course, Forest's lovely sense of humor shines through in that one too!

GIVEAWAY ENTRY DETAILS: WIN A FREE DRINK at the next meet up!
- Comment below - tell us your favorite Parisian bar & why
or
- RT this story on twitter with @ShaNeSaisQuoi


Though Paris may not be as big as other major international hot spots like New York, or London, they have one thing in common: TOO MANY DAMN BARS. Should I go here? There? NO, no wait. Someone said this place was better than that place. And then there's that new one that just opened up, it's getting rave reviews. But should I trust them? Do we have similar taste? Do they know what the hell they're talking about or is it all just buzz?

By the time I get done reading all the reviews on Yelp, Qype, Cityvox, LaFourchette, and all the opinions from friends & bloggers my head is spinning and pea soup is ready to hit the walls. How the HELL does one find a good place for cocktails in this town without trying them all yourself?

I'll tell you: 52martinis is how.

Not only does this lovely expat know her martinis, but she has impeccable taste in bars. I can personally guarantee you that if Forest likes it, it's gotta be good. The best part is that you can join her escapades! Every Wednesday she has a cocktail evening, and monthly a big meetup! Looking to meet expats or people who enjoy good places? Now you have no more excuses to stay home! Here's where you can get info on her meetups: http://www.meetup.com/52Martinis/


And now on to the Paris Proust Files 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.)

This is where I’m supposed to say something meaningful like “I don’t take myself too seriously. This allows me to learn, accept, analyze, synthesis and hopefully, from that process, come up with something new to offer in both writing and life - rather than just regurgitating what everyone else says. I believe true art is about creation rather than representation. Both have their pros, but I think – I hope – that by not taking myself too seriously, I (will eventually) have the ability to create something new, rather than just represent something that already exists.” But, it’s way more interesting just to tell you that I think I might be double-jointed, which makes me pretty flippin’ amazing!


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

Like a lot of writers, I hate to “kill the little darlings.” But they’re so cute, so funny, so me, so appropriate. I always have to tell myself “Shut up and get out the damn butcher knife!” And, even then I’m not as cut-throat as I should be.


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 _______.

I have no problem with people talking behind my back, but I don’t want to know what they say. If it’s bad, I’ll just feel like a jerk. If it’s good, I’ll just feel like I have to live up to it and that’s a lot of work. But, when people do talk behind my back, I hope it’s to say she’s so sincere. Because as much of a nutcase as I can be or as diplomatic as I might seem, I hope that I always can, one way or another, be true to myself and express what I really believe. If not that, let’s just hope they say “She’s full of shite, but she’s totally effin’ hot!”


Men: Is there anything about Parisian men that doesn't make you roll your eyes? What do they do that makes you think, "Oh yah. That one's def from Paname!"?


They lie about their height…although maybe that’s universal. But, my first very un-PC answer was going to be “they’re short.” Then I realized I can’t throw out a blanket statement like that without some serious research (i.e. looking on the Internet.) It seems the average height of a French man is 5’ 7.5” (1.75 meters.) No way are half the guys in Paris taller than me and I’m only 5’6” (1.71 meters)! Trust me; I compare our height in the reflection of the metro window when we’re all crammed in there standing up during the strikes. So, I revert to my initial answer: Parisian men are short. Perhaps the national average is balanced out by all 6 foot Frenchmen who live in the countryside or move to Scandinavia where all tall people live.


Women: What about the Parisian women? Quite the bag of 'tude eh? Or are we the ones who require re-wiring?

I find French woman quite endearing and would like to be friends with them. However, they seem to have it in for me because I talk a lot of crap about the size of their men! Seriously, I find French women fall into one of two camps with me. They’re either overly friendly and want to have a pet American copine or they are very stand-offish, eyeing me over their Perrier’s with a look that says “You will never be française…” That being said, I do have some really amazing French girlfriends, so I can’t really generalize.


Heros: If you could be any Frenchie who would you be, and why? (Good luck choosing. Between the painters alone you're totally screwed trying to pick one...*evil laugh*)

I’d sound completely pervie if I said Anaïs Nin. I’d sound completely up my own cul if I said Montaigne. So, I’ll go with Chanel. She seemed to have faith in her own judgment, crossed boundaries and created something new, which is still influential today. And, whether she is credited with creating it or just popularizing it, an LBD is a girl’s best friend!


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 Paris?

I’m one of the most emotional unemotional people I know. I’ll cry watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and then hear about the world’s greatest tragedies with more of a practical “let’s not cry about it, what can we do?” approach. So, simply the fact that I live in Paris gets me pretty spazzy sometimes. But, then again, the fact that I can drive a car sometimes blows my mind…so perhaps this question is best left to the experts.


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?


I really like my old hood, around Place de Clichy. I don’t want something too bobo or trendy. Place de Clichy is close enough to the gentrifying Batignolles and my current locale, the village-y Montmartre, but also close enough to a bit of grit to make it interesting.


Wishes: What typical French characteristic do you wish you possessed? (If you say ability to to eat mounds of Camembert and stay thin, I may smack you.)


Of course, that stylish scarf thing. I pretty much look like I’m off to strangle myself!


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


The same as my motto anywhere: Keep your head down, your eyes open and be nice to everyone until given a reason not to be. But, when given that reason, give ‘em all you’ve got.



Thanks Forest!

Don't forget to enter to win your free drink, & to check out Kasia's interview as well!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Girls Guide to Paris Guestage: 5 Reasons to Love & Loathe Paris

My baguette has come in, readers. I live, drumroll please, in PARIS! Yes, the Land of Lovers. The District of Divine. The Magnificent Metropolis. I call “Par-ee” home. If I had a nickel for every time someone said, ”OMG that must be amazing!!!” . . . I’d have enough nickels to fill the Louvre and a sore neck from all my ecstatic nodding.

I’m not going to play it down: living here is a dream come true, and I’m reminded of that a thousand times a day. But everyone has bad days now and again (like yesterday, when I stepped in actual human excrement), but no matter how awful it gets, I love to sit in the park or watch the passers-by from a café and say to myself, “At least you’re not having this day in Wisconsin.” (Works every time.)

And yet, as much as I am in love with the City of Light, its denizens find a way to wedge poo underneath my high heels when I least expect it.

Paris sometimes reminds me of a bad relationship. There are reasons to stay in these toxic situations, and as many reasons to leave them.
1. It’s Flippin’ Gorge

Paris is like that really beautiful man you just spotted at the end of the bar. Expertly ensembled, coiffed to perfection, sculpted as if he were the god of a Gucci campaign . . . he gleams. Just one little problem: you are as noticeable to him as the gum stuck under the bar stool.

Paris knows this. It’s the apex of urban life and makes my hometown look like the pimply-faced band geek I used to be. I suspect the rest of France secretly despises Paris, fully aware that the other cities represent the proverbial ugly sister.

It’s amazing to be surrounded by the elegance of a city that’s in bloom, and at times I want to throw my hands in the air and sing “La Vie en Rose.”

The downside to all this beauty is the standard it sets. You can’t bum around in your pj’s in Paris. If you dare take a stroll in your workout shoes, be ready for some odd looks. Looks that in no uncertain terms inform you that you’re below the bar. You’re not even level with the ground on which that bar is perched. Oh, no. You’re sunk deep in the layers beneath the Earth’s crust, swimming in a molten fashion hell, and you should probably be set aflame for your faux pas.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Translation Tips: "Tired" = "Total fucking shit" in French.

Typical weekly conversation:

Me: Hello! How are you?

Worthless French sack of impoliteness: Hi there! I'm fantastic! [insert reason why their life is unbefuckinglievably amazingly perfect here]. How are you

Me: Good, good. [insert typical I-Don't-know-you blah-blahing].

Tactless froggy douche-lord: Oh... Good. (Looks at me with disappointment complete with forehead crinkle.) Are you ok? (Starts studying my face like it just gave birth to twins.)

Me: ...yes? Why? Is there something in my teeth? (A pimple winking at you? Is a rogue alien-blob-like booger throbbing in one of my nostrils, preparing a mucus invasion of your home on planet indiscretion?)

Palpably uncomfortable foreign penis-hat: No, no. (Sympathetically pats my shoulder, to console me before doling out a death sentence.)

It's just that... your eyes are... "exploded". (Yes. That's the REAL word they use. I guess "Puffy" was too warm and fuzzy. In the French language, my eyes "EXPLODE" out of my visage.)

(Awkward pause.) You look so.. Tired?!"

Please note that the word "tired" is said as if I just finished climbing a mountain and or fighting a war, or raising a two-year old or something else that will suck the life out of you.

Show me an expat that has not heard these words, and I'll show you a person who has:

A) never ever had swollen eyes due to fatigue, and is probably addicted to Botox,

Or

B) already scared the pants (and/or leggings) off their entourage after some other maniacally insensitive comment about their person.

Everyone. Has. Been. There.

And you're not out of the woods yet. The french have zero qualms about asking if you're preggo. (So a "you look like shit" with a side of "and you gained weight"... YAY!). I've been asked this numerous times. The jury will please note that I am not fat. They just ask. It's weird.

There is one other thing, but in my nearly 5yrs, I've only heard it once... once! "T'as bonne mine!" = "OMFG GTFO you look almost NORMAL!!". Yah. Once. (sigh)

I love that they can get away with this though. It completely astounds me. Imagine if an American came up to me (who was not a close friend or relative, because we're more forgiving of them, I think), and said "OMG. Wow you look REALLY TIRED."

Don't even try and tell me you wouldn't be all, "DUDE?! WTF?!!!". Cuz, I know you would. YOU know you would too. Let's get real here people. The French are funny about frankness and we forgive them a lot of it.

Suggestion: Next time someone says you look fatigued, tell them their ass looks unusually large. Ask if it might be swollen. Find out if they have hemorrhoids. Encourage them to see a doctor. You are, after all, only worried about their well being.

Edit: ps - I don't mind this coming from family or friends... it's the strangers who annoy the bajeezus out of me.

Friday, June 11, 2010

JNSQ FF - Ex's vs Tourists... Vacationists Invade Paris.


If you call yourself a true Parisian, you're going to have to deal with them sooner or later. Yes, you know who I'm talking about. The fanny-pack-clad, twenty-pound-camera-wearing, running-shoes-white-socks-and-shorts-sporting hordes that infiltrate Paris beginning... oh yeah, NOW.

Parisians -- consider yourself warned: they're back and they want YOU to tell them where they're going. They tend to have maps and guides enough to fill a Virgin Megastore, but some how I still get caught in the "where do we go" crossfire. (Friends reading this are probably laughing their asses off.) I'm the very last person on the planet you should ask for  directions; unless that is, you want to take a             (photo credit: http://www.theparisblog.com/)
detour to Asia. "Just keep going until you see Chinese people?" was my geographical genius at work when someone asked how to get to the 13th.

I've done my duty a few times when family or friends came to visit, gotta pay your dues. But you can only see the Eiffel Tower so many times before you turn to your travelers and dispassionately announce, "Yeah, yeah, it's big, it's there, enjoy." before you mosey on over to Shakespeare & Co and let them fight the army of globetrotters at the top of the mythical phallic pillar of French pride.

Now, to be fair, I was once one of them. I was seventeen and I wanted to do absofuckinglutely everything there was to do. Twice. I did allll the big stuff: Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame, Louvre, d'Orsay, Grand Palais, l'Opéra and the list goes on. By day three I had trigger finger, was partially blind and had a permanent cramp in my cheeks from smiling for the birdy. I even have a photo with a panhandler and his drugged pets. I thought they were so cute, "sleeping" under his blanket in a baby carriage, and I gave him a few coins for kibble. So naive, was I.

This past experience has really helped me to sympathize and I always stop if someone's giving me the "I'm lost and I'm about to WIG OUT!!" look. Besides, not all tourist are bad news, some can actually be really lovely and I am glad to get their appreciative smiles if, by some miracle, I've helped.

But for my friends who've been here longer, the good-Samaritan-high has lost its appeal. They're tired of being bothered and just want to go about their business without someone saying, "Aahhh Eh-scu-zay-mwah, par-lay Ahn-glay?" and I can kind of understand their point of view.

Here are a few hints to identify the annoying visitors and avoid becoming a tour guide to the slow and infamous:

1) Maps, cameras and casual dress... Oh my!
I mentioned this one above. People poring over guides, or giant maps of Paris will obviously not be locals. Taking photos of the curb? Probably not from around here. Dress is also a key indicator. Look for socks + sandals. Look for running shoes. Look for backpacks. These are the traits of the wayfarer crowds.

2) Take it one, painfully-slow step at a time...

They're going to walk too slow, staring at your local Monoprix like it's a work of architectural genius. They may even stop in the middle of your path to snap pictures of some random block they'll probably delete later from the "buildings" phase of their journey. This specimen will have their heads craned to the sky, so try not to run into them when they're haphazardly walking directly at you on a collision course.


3)
Isn't the entire WORLD on holiday?
They're on vacation, you see, so everyone else in their path must be as well. They don't realize when they stop you in the metro on your way to work, or in the street when you're off to meet friends that YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE TO BE. This vacationer will be watching everyone who walks by, looking for a local to chat with. Avoid eye contact at all costs; Parisians know you never look someone in the eyes.

4) I have a cousin who...

If you do accidentally get caught in the tractor-beam-eyes and are nice enough to stop, beware, you might be in the conversational claws of a sight-seeing chatterbox. If they don't want to hear your entire life story and how you deal with the French, they probably want to tell you all about their long-lost cousin or auntie who moved to some other country and was totally miserable. If you hear the key phrase "My so-and-so moved to..." you need to bolt. Your house is on fire, your friend was hit by a run-away subway car... say whatever you can, but get a move-on before the story eats up an hour of your precious time.

5) I love it here, I hate it here...
Sometimes chatting with tourists can be a very enjoyable experience. They'll tell you how much they love the city, how much they wish they lived here, blah blah blah. You'll smile and nod and be on your merry way after a few minutes. Then... there's the other kind. You wonder why they ever left their suburban paradise. They complain so much you expect their exhausted tongues to be sagging out of their frowning mouths. I hope you don't meet this vaca-variety. They're often found with the "I have a cousin who" and are usually looking irritated like Paris is poking them between the butt-cheeks.

Everyone has their own take, so I asked my expat buddies to chime in for this week's Friday Feature question: What do YOU think about tourists? Enjoy their answers & check out their blogs



"I love them..." - Badaude
"I love them, especially when they ask me directions. I'm ever-grateful to any tourist of any nationality who thinks I look/sound like a Parsian."

"I wish they would walk a bit quicker."- I Heart Paris
http://unlockparis.blogspot.com/

I wish they would walk a bit quicker, and not in front of me. "


"Car full of screaming Danish Teenagers, 'nuff said!..." - Ashleigh T.
I just took the metro home from work in a car full of screaming Danish teenagers, 'nuff said! But, I love all tourists, particularly those who are here to visit me :)

"They should invent a 'tourist lane'." - Rebecca Leffler
http://lafleurdeparis.blogspot.com

They should invent a "tourist lane" on the streets. parisians (and fast walking tourists) on the left and on the right tourists and tortoises.

"Not so long ago that was me..." - Doni Belau
http://www.girlsguidetoparis.com
Well, I do enjoy feeling superior to tourists. I congratulate myself for how much I know about Paris, having had an apt. there for 6 years and because I write and breathe Paris via my website www.girlsguidetoparis.com 24/7 - but....then I catch myself. Hey not that long ago that was me, ok maybe 20 years ago but still. Yeah they may be embarrassing in their shorts, baseball caps and fanny packs and poorly executed French but I probably look just as stupid when I travel to Japan or Costa Rica with my 8th grade Spanish and generally clueless behavior. Yes I try to be a traveler and adventurer and not a tourist, but I kinda think that my feeling of superiority over the tourists is a bit like the Mexican family who immigrated to Arizona 10 years ago and now supports the new Arizona immigration law and looks down on all newcomers. Am I wrong? So when my heart is open, I try to look at the new onslaught of tourists - particularly from the US and quietly thank them for stepping out of their comfort zone. There is much to be learned from traveling. Didn't mean to take this lighthearted discussion into serious territory. "Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise" G Whitman, founder Shakespeare & Co.

"What Doni Said..." - Karin B.
http://analienparisienne.wordpress.com/
Pretty much my response to this question is, "What Doni said."

In my more forgiving moments, I am right there with her in spirit.

Mostly, the tourists make me laugh! They are so funny to watch. Yes, Métros get more annoyingly crowded and with people who don't know the unwritten rules of riding. Yes, they can be loud and obnoxious. Sure, they walk slowly in front of me (for some reason, I notice this the most with Italian tourists). But they can be a refreshing alternative to Parisians, whom I often feel have sticks up their bums and are no fun -- what with their trying to be like everyone else around them in that weird French thing with conformity. When I saw a careful of teen Germans the other day, piercings everywhere and loudly chattering with one another, I kind of breathed a sigh of relief and reminded myself there is diversity in the world, and I am grateful for it.

"Your English is SO good!..." - Forest Collins
http://52martinis.blogspot.com/
it always makes me giggle when they ask me for directions in either hesitant English or broken French & when I answer them in English, they get really impressed and tell me "Your English is SO good!" i would hope so. I'm totally going to start answering them in English but with a heavy fake french accent!

Ah, tourists...if we're lucky we're all one at one time or another!

"My assimilated side totally loathes tourists..." - Katia
http://katiaandkyliemac.com/

My assimilated side totally loathes tourists and wishes they would just get out of my bloody way don't they know that I have things to DO???... until I shake myself out of it and have to smile at their enthusiasm, their excitement, and remember that that's what I'm like when *I* go on holiday ;) 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paris by Mouth and David Lebovitz are conspiring to make me a Vegan Lesbian LUSH...

I never had any desire to be a vegan lesbian before last night. Come to think of it, I probably would have been right at home back in Madison, Wisconsin - that city was lousy with them. Somehow, for what must be cosmic reasons, that ship sailed without me.

But when David Lebovitz, chef extraordinaire, suggested that Blair and I, fellow Davidites, join the ranks of the San Fransisco V-L's, I almost wished I did play for the other team just to see his winning smile broaden.

Alas, I am otherwise spoken for and, if we're being honest, Blair intimated that she wanted to wear the pants in our would-be vegan sapphic paradise, but I'm not sure she's ready for this jelly.

So instead of beginning my new life with Blair and a bouquet of asparagus, I settled for disappointing a culinary legend and drinking obscene amounts of wine.

The Paris by Mouth launch was a fantastic success, to say the least. I ogled swarms of respected bloggers, chefs, writers and foodies and thought... Bravo. If the support of the crowd is any indicator, I'm sure this website, already my favorite after only a single day, will delight the eyes and bellies of many a reader.

Favorite part of that night, other than rallying around this launch, was meeting in person so many people I know virtually, including Meg herself who turned out to be as nice as I expected :) She seemed a bit giddy, a bit nervous, though I can't imagine why. Meg - your site rocks my socks, you can exhale now. Then there's Forest... ahh my little Fotest (that's what happens when you try to write someone's name in your iphone after six glasses of sparkling Vouvray!). Mosey on over to http://52martinis.blogspot.com/ if you're wondering where to drink tonight.

If I have one regret from the evening, it's that I didn't get to try the food. Braving the daunting crowd around the eats was like trying to swim against a current of flailing hands and chomping mouths. Maybe there's a pecking order to get to the foodbar; if the table providing the delectable treats was heaven, my place was lodged somewhere between the depths of hell, and river Styx. There was competition to put it mildly, so I stuck with Beth, Rebecca, My future wife, Kim and "Fotest" and our liquid diet.

This morning I had a hangover that would make Lilo look like an amateur, but it was def worth this outing. Thanks Meg, contributors of the site & the crew from Spring. Thanks David for your advice about my love life - I'll be sure to send you an invite to the VL premier event of the season if the occasion should arise.
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