Fashion · Travel

Shopping in Paris

IMG_9440I’m not certain if I am an Anglophile or a Francophile but I am mesmerized by Paris and London.  There is nothing like the lights of Paris or exploring the City.  I can and have spent hours and lots of steps just walking and ducking in boutique after boutique at my leisure.  December and Christmas is a wonderful time to explore.  The red flocked Christmas trees, a glass of champagne at the Ritz, or sitting at a cafe for dinner it is a perfect way to spend a few days at this time of year.

There is something serendipitous about what you will find and where you find it.  On my most recent trip I stayed at this wonderful boutique hotel in the triangle d’or.  I arrived from Atlanta to Charles De Gaule at 6 in the morning and made my way to drop off my bags.  It was snowing which added something special to the morning.  I dropped off my bags and headed to the Museum of Decorative Arts for the Christian Dior exhibit.  The exhibit was mobbed but entirely worth it. After lusting over Dior collections I made my way to a lovely cafe for the quintessential lunch of onion soup and much needed caffeine and then returned to my hotel for a nap.  Once refreshed I headed out to explore the area around the hotel and an idea of dropping by the bar at the George the V.

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The area is full of wonderful boutiques in addition to the known designers.  On my previous trip I discovered Davidor, a wonderful jeweler originally from Florida and now in Paris and Hobbs, a store with the most beautiful cashmere and leather goods.  The sweater I’d purchased previously from Hobbs remains a favorite.  Snowing again, a wonderful shop with a display of scarves and sweaters caught my eye and in I went.

Crimson (8 Rue Marbeuf or https:// http://www.crimson-cashmere.com) is a wonderful store with the most beautiful items of cashmere and lambs wool made in Scotland. Scarves, gloves, ponchos and sweaters to die for available for both men and women.  After trying on and selecting a beautiful purple cashmere sweater with the perfect twist on the classic crewneck design, I encountered this wonderful voice that simply could not have been from Paris.  The owner, Linda, is a delightful lady originally from Texas exuding this amazing sense of style.  She is as fun as her designs which are amazing.  After a delightful interlude in the store, making new friends in Paris, purchasing the sweater and gloves, sharing a gold dustedchocolate covered marshmallow, and armed with her advice regarding pickpockets, I returned to my quest for a glass of champagne at George V.  Thwarted by a full house and no room at the bar by everyone else that had the same idea and wanted out of the snow, I retraced my steps to a lovely cafe I’d seen and enjoyed a dinner of steak frites in traditional Parisian cafe style.

My trips to Paris have included other such wonderful discoveries from Dehilleran, a cookware store on steroids, to Christmas markets, pharmacies, and paper stores. A treasured souvenir carted home from Paris is a sheet of hand made paper framed in glass that hangs on my wall.  The best part of Paris is simply finding something unexpected.

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Fashion · Food · Travel

The comfort restaurant, BG on 7

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Continuing with the theme of comfort food, do you have restaurants you return to time and time again?  I must be a creature of habit as I have favorites that I love and return to again and again.  One of those favorites is the restaurant on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman in New York.  The store is a regular stop for me on any visit to the City.  I love to visit Carmen at the Chanel make up counter for a refresh on my look, there is the amazing shoe salon, and the restaurant.  Note when you have a small and narrow foot, there is no better place to visit than the second floor of BG.  This is also a favorite place to meet a friend for lunch.  What better than a cozy restaurant where you can chat, laugh and generally catch up on everything happening.

 

The restaurant on the seventh floor is conveniently located with a wonderful view overlooking Central Park.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have lunch in the prized whisper chairs and been there when it was so busy I was just happy to eat at the bar.  The service and menu are excellent.  The croque monsieur is a perennial favorite.  Who doesn’t love a toasted ham sandwich covered in a cheese bechamel sauce?  The greens that accompany the sandwich are the perfect complement to the meal.  Other repeat favorites include the tomato bisque soup, the butternut squash soup, and the lobster mac-n-cheese.  I’m usually full before I get to desert  but have indulged in a serving of cookies.  The menu also has several figure friendly options if you prefer.  One thing that I love is that the portions are such that I don’t feel bad about opting for something like the lobster man-n-cheese.

The next time you are in the City, stop by and enjoy the restaurant on 7.

 

 

 

Business · Fashion · Organization · Travel

Packing for a business trip

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I have to present at a conference next week and I’m trying to decide what to pack.  This is a professional engagement and that means either suit or sheath dress and jacket.  I tend to be cold natured so I always travel with a sweater or a jacket to cover my arms.

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Business trips tend to be quick  so I always try to minimize what I’m taking.  I usually opt for either navy (is that a Southern thing?) or black.  By electing a color scheme I minimize shoes.  I also opt for having an extra outfit that I can pull out in emergencies.  That is a lesson I learned after being caught unaware on two separate occasions.  I’m leaning towards a wool, navy shift dress from Tory Burch and a navy pant suit, also Tory. I will accessorize with a scarf and my everyday jewelry of watch, earrings, necklace, rings and bracelet  By electing two Tory pieces, I can use the jacket with the dress and have the pants as my “just in case” feature.  It also saves on shoes.  I’m short so I always opt for heels.  For me that is a professional thing even in today’s climate of casual dress.  I am projecting an image of confidence and authority when I present so I try to consider presenting the complete package, thus the suit and heels.   I’m going with CL’s for the day.

My travel outfit is inspired by a wonderful TSA agent at Laguardia.  She advised me to wear a warm up suit to make the TSA line easy.  Since I have far too much of my mother and grandmother in me to go with a warm up suit, I opt for pointe leggings and a long cashmere sweater. I’ll complete the outfit with flats and a scarf.

To round out my packing, I’ll take leggings and a long sleeve exercise top, a nightgown and unmentionables with an extra set thrown in for the just in case things that happen when you travel.  My toiletries, Bluetooth speaker, conference information, laptop, and notebook with my conference papers will go in my tote with room for my handbag.

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My goal is to avoid checking my bag and by opting for minimal packing and a uniform color scheme I may just make it.

 

Fashion · Travel

Packing for a long weekend

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I’m off for a long weekend in sunny California and trying to pack.  This weekend is for relaxation and nothing more.  I’m planning to read, sit by a pool, enjoy yoga, walking and good food so my packing philosophy is KIS or keep it simple!

I’m taking a swimsuit, cover up, yoga pants and top for lounging and tennis shoes for walking.  I’ve packed flats, jeans, and a tee-shirt for optional retail therapy or a walking tour. For evening, I’ve got a knit dress and a tank dress depending upon how formal or casual I want to be. I’m throwing in a navy cardigan that will match everything I’m taking for the just in case it is cold concern.

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I’ve got suede mules with two-inch heels  for dress.  The heels are just the perfect height for casual or to step it up a notch for evening.  In line with my KIS strategy, I’ve gone with a blue theme to permit me to mix and match and save on shoes, one pair of flats and the mules, both navy and both match everything I’m taking.

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I decided on a navy Evelyne bag which will slip into my carry-on tote for the plane.  I’m adding my Ipad, kindle, and pouch with charger and cords to the tote. Last thing into my tote is my cosmetic bag.

I’m off for my long weekend!

 

Fashion · Home · Skin care

Do you pamper yourself?

 

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Each week I look forward to Sunday and Sunday night, specifically.   I set aside Sunday nights to indulge and pamper and generally get ready to face the week.  It might be something as simple as watching Downton Abby – uninterrupted-  a bubble bath, a glass of wine and soft music, a long walk on a beautiful evening, a new book I’ve been dying to read, or curling up with the latest magazines.  You get the picture, something relaxing, something fun that I enjoy, something I’ve not had time to do all week.

Tonight I’m going to have a bowl of chicken chili with a glass of red wine.  I’m planning a long hot bath along with my usual Sunday night skin care routine and last, but not least, a couple of episodes of Madam Secretary.  I can’t get enough of the show.

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My Sunday night skin care routine is the definition of indulgent.  I pamper my skin. A few years shy of eighty, my Mother has the most beautiful skin.  She’s never worn a lot of make up but she always took care of her skin.  I’m attempting to follow in her footsteps.  My first “holy grail” of skin care is eye cream morning and night.  I alternate between La Prairie and M-61 power glow eye cream but for Sunday night I opt for Sisley’s eye contour mask.  The mask is a once a week thing for me and it is decadent.  It is also the night to exfoliate. For my face, I opt for Channel’s Gommage Microperle Eclat exfoliant and for the body, Jo Malone’s vitamin E body treatment scrub.  Last, but not least, is a conditioning mask for my hair.  I opt for Moroccainoil intense hydrating mask.  It makes my hair feel soft and healthy the entire week.  I end with either Kiehl’s creme de corps or Jo Malone’s pomegranate body cream.

Now I’m ready to face Monday!

Fashion · Travel

New York City in 48 Hours

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today, I want to be a part of it, New York, New York . . .  (Credit Frank Sinatra)

I’ve been in love with New York since my first visit with sorority sisters as a college freshman.  I’ve been fortunate to visit many cities and each has its own special je ne sais quoi but New York is definitely in its own class of city.  Museums, shopping, Central Park, Times Square, the theatre district, the architecture, eating, so much to enjoy and so little time.  So, what’s a girl to do, just how do you spend a weekend in the City?

The Met, as it is known by many, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is one of many museums available to frequent.  MOMA, The Frick, the Neue Galllery, and J.P. Morgan’s library are some of my favorites and a wonderful escape for when the weather is bad.

Madison Avenue, SOHO, and Fifth Avenue are home to designer and other boutiques.  If it can be bought, you would be hard pressed to not find it in the City.  Madison Avenue is my personal favorite.  I spent a wonderful birthday on the top floor of Tory Burch sipping Champagne  and purchasing new boots.  Claudia there is amazing.  Lexington Avenue also has a number of fun boutiques that are very New York.  Canine Styles is my favorite boutique for the quadraped and Gracious Homes is my go to store for linens.  I love their house brand sheets.

Central Park, so long as it is not freezing cold, is a must visit.  The boat pond, the Zoo, the Carousel , the Alice and Wonderland statute, John Lennon’s Imagine and, just simply, the existence of an oasis in the middle of the City means that it is not to be missed. Just take a walk, grab a sandwich, and simply enjoy the amazing green spaces in the middle of the metropolis.

So how do I spend 48 hours in the City?  First stop is a museum, usually the Met.  I pick one area of the Met to visit in a day.  You could spend days there and, as much as I love it, I find a couple of hours in one or two exhibits usually has me on sensory overload.  Next, I head to lunch.  The Met has several wonderful restaurants,  but Neil’s Coffee Shop on Lexington Avenue is an absolute favorite.  Forget the calories!  I go for a grilled cheese and fries and  enjoy.  If not Neil’s, then BG Restaurant  on the 7th floor is another favorite.  Their mac-n-cheese is another lunch favorite.  A bit of shopping has to be part of the visit.  I usually pick one of Madison Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Soho, or Fifth Avenue for a bit of retail therapy. The end of the day is perfect for dinner at any one of the City’s amazing restaurants. Cafe Carlyle, Bemelmans’ Bar, Cognac, Un Deux Trois, Deux Amis (yes, I have a thing for French restaurants), The Smiths, or Fig and Olive.  Finally, a Broadway play, or a concert, or simply an after dinner drink at the Peninsula Hotel or the St. Regis is an excellent way to end the day.

Day two usually begins with sleeping in a bit and then a Sunday brunch.  Balthazar’s on Spring Street, Esse-a-bagel, or Neil’s are all favorites.  The Botanical  Gardens are amazing and the Orchid show in February is always a treat.  Grand Central  is a fun stop and Sunday afternoons are great for the park or one of the museums.  Then, back to reality and time to return home so I head out to LaGuardia  or Penn Station for the trip back and a reunion with the pup.

So how did you spend your weekend?

 

Fashion · Travel

Leaving on a Jet Plane . . . What’s in my Carry-On Bag?

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I love to travel be it across an ocean or within the U.S.A. There is something exciting about discovering something new or seeing the familiar in a new light.

Where I’m going and how I’m getting there is  always my first consideration when it comes to packing.  Plane, train, or automobile, is key. When I travel by plane, I use my rollerboard luggage to make it easy to move through the airport. Then, to check or not to check, is the question. What size plane am I flying? If it is a small regional plane where you have to check anything larger than a lunchbox, then I pack to check. Domestic or international is my next question. Carry-on restrictions for some international carriers are smaller than on domestic carriers. I also have to be able to lift my bag over my head into the overhead bin. When you are vertically challenged, like I am, this is key.

My current trip is oversees. That means I will have a carry-on bag full of things I want to make certain arrive with me, things I will need while traveling, and items  that would be difficult to replace, especially in a foreign country.  This list is usually longer and more comprehensive than when I travel domestically. So, what’s in my international carry-on?

 

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This trip, I’m using my T. Anthony duffel. If I need to, I can check this bag for the trip home.  It is durable and I don’t need to be worried about it traveling under the plane. Added bonus for the fact that it is roomy, has multiple compartments, is light, durable, and has a shoulder strap for carrying.

First into my bag is an LV cosmetic case with medicine. Since I’m traveling internationally, I carry a few extras here. The usual of contacts, contact solution, eye drops, Advil, vitamins, and my inhaler go in accompanied by a ridiculously large selection of bandaids, and Emergen-C.  I also add a few extra disposable tooth cleaners.  They are indispensable on a overnight flight.

Next in is a clear zip case with power cords, earbuds, and extra battery packs. I’m flying for close to twenty hours this time and I want something to entertain me. I also make certain I’ve got iPad, iPod, and Kindle – all fully charged. This case also has my converter and adapter.  The clear case let’s me see everything at a glance so I can quickly grab what I’m looking for.  A large ziplock bag serves the same purpose.

My camera bag with camera, extra SD cards, extra batteries -all fully charged, and charger is next.  On my first trip oversees I learned my lesson as my camera battery died on the funicular on Anacapri. The first thing I did upon returning home was purchase extra battery packs.

Snacks go in next. On the menu this time are Godiva Milk Chocolate Pearls, breakfast bars, and Pringles.  These go in a ziplock bag so they don’t roll around the bottom of my bag.  The ziplock saves you if the packaging fails.  You don’t want melted chocolate pearls everywhere.

Makeup kit that meets TSA requirements goes on top so it is easy to get out and put back after I clear security.

Travel guide, itinerary in a circa binder with all the details of my trip printed out, passport, and foreign money go in on the top.

A cashmere poncho, bed socks, and boudoir pillow are stuffed in the side pocket where I can get to them if  needed.  There is nothing worse than being cold on a long flight. Anything that helps make things comfortable is a plus, thus the pillow and the socks.

 

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