Summertime Coup d’Coeur (et craquage pour les soldes)

I know what you might be thinking: when did this blog start to be so much about trees, art, and philosophy? Where’s the fashion, where’s New York City? Maybe you are not actually thinking that because you also know that being a blogger who touches on fashion is a fairly new penchant for me. So here is a little entry to satiate your (er, my?) fashion cravings before I head back to the woods of Maine and New Hampshire and the mountains and plains of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. At least blog wise, that is. I’m firmly rooted in Brooklyn for another month, thankfully, as I love the soft sadness and changing weather of late summer in the city.

Top: J Crew, Skirt: American Apparel, Shoes: Ellips

This summer I resisted participating that oh-so-French twice yearly tradition: les soldes. That’s when all the clothes from last season go on sale and you can watch that beautiful object that you’ve had your eye on get deliciously marked down until you can almost afford it. This was the case with Ellips, the chausseurs de createur from which I got a beautiful grey, black and red pair of heels from in the winter. How I wanted their multicolored summer sandals! How I could not afford them! Finally les soldes rolled around. I took a deep breath and grabbed my credit card. But no! The pair I really wanted, the lovely Alice, was out of stock in my size, which is one danger of waiting until the sales.

I hemmed and hawed and finally decided on a second choice, which was the sassy Anais, who I like to imagine was named for one of my favorite writers, Anais Nin. Something I love about ordering from Ellips is emailing Priscille, la creatrice herself, en francais (though I am sure she speaks English perfectly) to place my order. She is so nice and helpful and her shoes are beautiful, comfortable and high quality, in addition to being handmade in Spain with all natural leather. I could hardly contain my excitement when they arrived. I gave them a special bike transport home and then took them to work the next day (in my bag, no biking or riding on the subway in these beauties!). Apparently, they were the star of our weekly meeting. I already have my eye on a pair of boots (or two) from the new collection. The Bonnie or the Bluette? Either way, I better start saving!

Special shoe transport

Jouez vous au tennis? Non, pas de tout.

I hate to say it, but I’ve never liked tennis. My mother and grandmother are ardent tennis fans and tried to teach me how to play it when I was little. I got mad because I couldn’t just hit the ball as hard as I wanted. At that point I was too young to understand that many sports are about controlled strength. Sensing my disinterest in the sport my mother tried to appeal to logic. “It’s a good skill to have,” she explained weakly. I think what she meant was that it was a good way to network with the wives of rich business people you or your husband may be trying to impress. This made me even less interested and brought out my disgust of WASP culture in general. Even as a small child I knew I wanted nothing to do with the dominant, upper-middle class New England elite. Not for me. So needless to say, I have not picked up a racket since the age of 9. However, this year I got sucked in to the excitement and drama of the French Open, or le tournoi de Roland Garros pour les francais. Will I watch Wimbledon and the US Open? Maybe, but what also got me interested was all of les filles whose blogs I love and their Roland Garros inspired style. Stephanie, of the Byglam blog, put together some really nice ensembles inspired by the tournament, and like I have done before, I bit her style a little bit in coming up with this summery, sporty get up. Also, just in case, I found this list of tennis terms in French to study for next year.

Ready for the courts

Keep your eye on the ball

Shirt: Built by Wendy, Skirt found at Housing Works, Bensimon sneakers, Nola Springtime bag by Les Composantes
Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !

Red, Red, Red (and Grey)

Antoine et Lili sweater, BCBG skirt, Ellips shoes

Call it a “coup de couer,” but when I read about the fresh, young French shoe brand Ellips on Dee Dee’s blog my heart crumbled a little bit. I love shoes with chunky, functional heels and different colors that still manage to be chique. Add to that the fact that these ones are designed by a young designer and handmade in Spain. Lucky me, they were on sale. Noticing there was no way to order them in the US on the website I emailed the address listed, not sure I would get a response. Not a minute later the creatrice herself wrote me back and voila! soon the shoes were on their way to me in the US.

New shoes on old cobbles

From Paris studio to DUMBO cobbles

A detail of my lovely Ellips shoes!

To celebrate the latest addition to what is becoming a French shoe (and clothes) collection I matched them with other red French clothes and accessories (okay, actually it’s just a coincidence they are French, mostly it was the color!).

Antoine et Lili sweater, and Ubu ring (a gift from Paris!)

Thankfully, I took advantage of our “false spring” weather these past few days and created outfits that let me wear the shoes two days in a row!

Grey, black, red

Brooklyn Industries dress, Ellips shoes

Today I debuted a new dress I got on sale at Brooklyn Industries (yes, I wear many dresses from them, and yes, I buy them all on sale). Combined with my vintage silk neck tie I felt like I was rocking a “60’s air hostess turned arts advocate” look. It felt great to be freed from the burden of winter for just a few days and celebrate it by wearing a splash of color.

Love the false spring

Soaking in the false spring in beautiful Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

Falling in Love with Paris from the Seventh Floor

While the news is going nuts with the fact that currently Paris is covered in snow, I traveled there recently for a week that was much to short and very cold, with only a little bit of snow, but filled with wonderful friends and sights. One of my favorite parts of my trip was looking at the city’s fabled slate rooftops and red chimmenies from my friend L.’s 7th floor apartment. Yes, seven floors up and no elevator. It was how I evened out all the croissants I ate. For more view of the buildings, sky, and other pleasures of Paris in November view my set on Flickr.

Afternoon from the Apartment

Parisian Afternoon Sky and Rooftops

Bains Douches

More rooftops




The Good Life in Paris in November (and pas cher!)

Paris as seen from the Centre Pompidou

In case I haven’t talked your ear off about it lately, I am taking a trip to Paris (and Gent, Belgium) over Thanksgiving to visit my sister and friends and soak up some European ambiance. I haven’t been to France in over two years and it feels like an eternity (though I did go to lots of other awesome near and far places, so I’m not so sad).  In anticipation of my trip I made the ultimate google map of restaurants, boutiques and quirky museums that I want to check out while I am there. Some of them I’ll be sure not to miss and some are just so I know they are there in case I am in the neighborhood. Some of the boutiques might be pricey (though not by Paris or NYC standards) and many are just for looking. And for buying holiday gifts for friends and family.  Many of these suggestions are poached from the excellent sources of Cachemire et Soie, David Leibovitz, the New York Times Travel Section, and Pia Jane Bjkerk’s book Paris Made by Hand, as well as some of my own obsessions (like Monoprix, okay, guilty).

Enjoy and please let me know if there’s anywhere I should add! This is very heavy on north eastern Paris because that’s where I’ll be staying and those are the neighborhoods I love. But one of the best things about Paris is its walkability and the metro, so I can go anywhere!

View The Good Life in Paris in November in a larger map

Learn French with Sandrine de Paris

If you are trying to learn or perfect your French, like I am, there are always more resources to be had. I just stumbled upon the blog of Sandrine de Paris, a French teacher and friend of a friend who I was lucky enough to have dinner with one night in New York. Her blog is full of great ideas and activities for learning French, including songs and lyrics, fill in the missing word, and clarification on important (and tricky for English speakers) grammar points. She’s also part of Queer Food for Love, which is a great Bay Area (and beyond) eating get together that aims to bring queer and feminist issues to the kitchen.

Rendez-Vous with the Real French Navy

Sometimes living in New York is just surreal. My friend who works for the French consulate invited me to a cocktail reception aboard the helicopter carrier Jeanne D’Arc, a French Navy training ship that was doing its last worldwide tour of duty before being retired.

I wore a pinstriped blazer, black heels (despite being warned in an email not to, because one had to climb many ladders to get to the deck where the reception was, but I knew these would be French people, which meant the women would all be in heels), and carried a handbag I bought at Monoprix for 20 euro, figuring I’d look the part in my own American way. And yes, I hummed the Camera Obscura song all day.

My grandfathers served in the American navy and I had to laugh at myself, me who hates war, living it up aboard a ship (albeit, not an American one). It was pretty great to climb down ladders and through hatches, to drink a coke and avoid that weird, electric blue, menthalated syrup drink that the French love as the sun cast evening rays over Manhattan.

Even if the event was way too crowded and there was no where near enough food or drinks, I wouldn’t trade being served hors d’oeuvres by a French sailor for anything. And I still need to procure one of those stripey shirts that they wear…

Hippie According to Le Petit Robert

Looking for a word in Le Nouveau Petit Robert I stumbled across the definition of Hippie: Adepte (generalment jeune) d’un mouvement des anees 1970, fonde sur le refus de la societe de consommation et des valeurs sociales et morals traditionnelles. baba, beatnik
(Follower (generally young) of a movement from the 1970’s, founded by those who refused traditional values, morals and a society based on consumption).
I don’t know why this struck me as so funny. (They don’t mention anything about hemp, dreadlocks or patchouli, strange).

A summer week in provence

Roussillon Arch
Originally uploaded by killerfemme

We met my family in Avignon and spent a week exploring Provence. I knew this area has been totally hyped, but I completely understood why. It is stunning- limestone hills, scraggly bushes, vineyards and olive trees everywhere you look. We ate local goat cheese and the famed melons de cavaillion, which were perfectly juicy and sweet. When I saw the quality of the light and the sunsets, as well as the perfect, sunbaked old stones, I could see why plein aire painters went ga ga for this region. My mom and I want to go back and plan a bike trip on back road to lunch in small towns. It’s seriously the good life. You can see way more pictures on my flickr stream.