Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Chihuahua Bites. . .

She's just smiling because she too wishes she could have a pedicure.
          You're probably thinking one of those tiny dogs with "big personalities" has joined our family or that I'm planning a trip to Mexico.

My Chihuahua Bites -- it's the name of this color.
           Mais pas de tout, I'm talking about my latest pedicure.  Last week the young woman who has been doing my pedicures for years talked me into getting a semi-permanent polish. She convinced me by pointing out the color dries in 30 seconds (it did), the finish will remain super shiny (it does) and the pedicure will last almost two months (we'll see).  Then she handed me the color swatches from O.P.I. and I chose "My Chihuahua Bites" which I consider one of my fashion nods to Pantone's fall/winter color chart.

OK, so there is a slight difference in My Chihuahua and Aurora Red, but when I put my foot next to this picture it was minute.
          I think the color is almost exactly Aurora Red, that sort of brick hue I find so pretty, but not necessarily next to my face. When I pop out of bed in the morning, my toes shine with this cheery color and my day begins on a happy note. (As I've mentioned on many occasions, I have a thing about my painted toenails. I'm not even sure it's normal.)

          Part of the fun of Essie and O.P.I. products is the silly names on the bottles that don't actually explain the colors.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Grown-up Conversation

Let's just call it wine shall we? From Chanel of course. The bag is nice don't you think? Oh look(!) even the gloves are wine. Options, options, options. . .

          Actually, I should say: A conversation for grown-ups. In other words, us.
         Frankly, entre nous, do we really care what the latest fashion color trends are? Beyond the fun that la mode can add to our lives, are the vast majority of us going to hit the stores specifically to find something in sangria/Burgundy/Beaujolais, that weird mustard yellow, or cypress (loden) beyond maybe an accessory just to prove we know the season's it colors?

Cypress or loden or fern or whatever. . .from Balmain.
         As I said, I may buy a scarf because I always buy a scarf or two every autumn and if one happens to incorporate the latest and the greatest colors, good for me. As for the shoes I purchased, I ordered them before I knew they were of the moment. Am I prescient or what?

         The only reason I would buy something new that happened to be in a season's "important" hue would be if I had one of those irresistible urges, that "oh, I know I will regret for-ev-er this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if I don't act on it right-this-minute."  You know what I mean.

         It's been a while since I've had that frisson, but hope springs eternal.

That gorgeous blue with some clunky boots from Chloe.
         When I was really participating in the fashion scene as a journalist and editor I admit I loved keeping up appearances, but for years now I just want to look polished and hopefully somewhat chic while at the same time feeling comfortable so I can forget about what I'm wearing.

Essie offers us a budget conscious way to wear "aluminium" -- Chanel and Dior have makeup and nail colors that cover the color spectrum for the season if you're interested.
          Basically, I have a sort of every day uniform. It mostly consists of flat front gabardine trousers in either black or navy, sometimes interrupted by grey flannel again and always flat front; a cashmere sweater which may be V, turtleneck or crew neck, usually a scarf and ballerinas. At times I'll wear a shirt under a sweater and a blazer if I'm going to town. Usually I wear creole earrings et voila, I feel like they "finish" the look, a little flourish.

          So, what do you think? How do you approach the new seasons? I admit I still have that back-to-school mentality and like to buy something (s) every year. For now I'm still investigating.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Weekend Among Friends

Pamela and Edward by Helen Tilston.
           The very best part of blogging is the friends we make, the loyalties that are formed and the kindnesses that are exchanged. And, more often than not, these friendships may never go beyond the strange and wonderful world of cyberspace. No matter.

          Two of my favorite bloggers, one an exquisite writer, the other a superb artist, have found one another through their passions.  Surely you already know Pamela and Helen.

          Back story: Pamela's gorgeous dog, Edward, was in the running to win an award and she asked us to vote for him. I then asked in this space that we all vote for him. Pamela has a touchingly beautiful picture of her and Edward on her blog which she used while urging us to support her best friend. I said at the time: "Someone should paint them."

         Helen did and offered the canvas to Pamela. Isn't it gorgeous?

         You see what I mean about the world of blogging?

         Perhaps one day we'll meet. I really, really hope it will come to pass.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall/Winter Color Trends . . .


          As promised, I'm making up for the non-existent editing in this space. Well, the editing exists, but unfortunately I'm the writer and the editor therefore details, large and small, sometimes slip by unnoticed. Case in point: Wednesday's fall/winter Pantone 2013 color chart instead of the one for 2014/15.

         It is nice to know I was covered color-wise last year even though I didn't realize it at the time. Life is after all, always all about timing.

          Once again, I applied my seasonal shopping principle to these colors. In other words, I went to my closet to see what I already own.  This is what I discovered: I am currently in possession of  Equipment silk shirts in Cognac, bright cobalt, aluminium, misted yellow and mauve mist. As you can surmise by this admission, there was a period when I was obsessed with Equipment shirts. (I also have one in navy, ecru, pale pink, camel, red plaid and black -- it's embarrassing. For several years they were MRFLIF's go-to gift idea, sanctioned and chosen by me.)

The other birthday present I gave Andrea this year.
        I have always called cypress, loden although perhaps cypress is a slightly deeper tone, but I don't think anyone is going to quibble over nuances of green. As for loden I have that covered as well with a pantsuit and a terrific jacket with velvet collar and cuffs. Sangria I would tend to call Bordeaux or last year's Beaujolais. In that case, no shopping necessary. I'll just call what I own "sangria." As I mentioned on Wednesday, whatever any of the experts wish to refer to as bright cobalt I like to think of it as French blue, which is one of my favorite colors.  Oh yes, I wouldn't dream of calling mustard "misted yellow."

        Aluminium is a nice moniker for grey and aurora red for brick(?)

An "aurora red" (brick?) cashmere scarf at Gilt.
        Now, the question remains: What do I need? The answer: Nothing. Will this stop me from shopping? Probably not.  I'm thinking I'll start out slowly with a scarf. I'll keep you au courant.

       Next week I'll do a little series on what we might like to consider adding to our closets in the shades suggested by the experts.
Another pair of wine ballerinas, again from Gilt (click below).
       You asked me where I found my Bordeaux/Beaujolais/(now)sangria ballerinas. They were on markdown on one of my favorite sites, Gilt. They are French Sole and are unbelievably comfortable. In fact, you'll find many of the season's hot colors at reduced prices there. The only problem may be finding your size.    

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dressing Well Speaks Volumes

There you go, words to live by.  The way we dress also tells the rest of the world what we think of ourselves.
          Clinton Kelly of the many books and the popular television programs, "What Not to Wear" and "The Chew" -- the man cooks, decorates, entertains and is a sartorial guru for men and women of all ages -- asked me if I would be interested in doing an interview for his website. (Actually he asked me through the executive editor of his site, Ayn-Monique Klahre.)

          He recently visited France and saw that the precepts he has been preaching are actually on the streets of Paris, which is to say: French women care and take care of how they look.  No matter her age she considers her appearance a matter of self respect and no one goes public looking like she she doesn't at least slightly polish the image she presents to the world. It's good manners to look good. Simple as that.

          Of course I was thrilled by the request. You can read the interview here:

         Clearly Clinton Kelly knows what he's talking about when it comes to l'art de vivre from dining to dressing.  Above are his two latest books, click here for all of them.

P.S.:  Tomorrow I shall rectify my embarrassing oversight yesterday. As I mentioned in the comments, I had all sorts of pictures selected to illustrate fall/winter 2014 Pantone colors and mistakenly selected 2013 because I liked the symmetry of the circle arrangement. Oh, to have an editor checking back on me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Charting Autumn's Color Collection

Here you go. Which colors, no matter what their names in other seasons, do you already own?
           If you're one of those ahead of the seasons shoppers who starts scoping out spring in the winter, and fall in the summer, then you're ahead of the game.

          But, if you like to wait until it's back-to-school time (how can any of us, no matter what our age, forget those heady days of new clothes and nifty supplies) when the leaves start to blush in crimson and fiery oranges, then this post is for you -- us, actually.

          I normally shop for a new season by examining what I already own. For example, according to the experts Beaujolais is among the of the moment hues. OK, I was certain I had something in my possession in that shade. Sure enough I have a silk Equipment blouse, and a gorgeous silk crepe suit -- pencil skirt, one-button shawl collar jacket that I wore with a navy silk crepe camisole, all by the New York designer, Kasper (you can do the math on my age now although I was a mere child when I bought it. . .) that I wore on the evening My-Reason-For-Living-In-France first told me he loved me. The suit no longer fits unfortunately, but hoarder that I am my closet holds many, many memory markers that I just cannot toss.

         Another hot hue is Mykonos blue which I sort of have with my French or Klein blue items in all their myriad forms from shoes and shirts to sweaters and my favorite YSL pea coat. So, covered there. What a relief.

         As I was saying,  colors. I always like to go to the Pantone seasonal color charts to see what the experts predict will inspire designers and entice us to buy. If you haven't seen the official fall/winter selections, I thought you might like to see them.

         In the next few days I thought it would be fun to discuss how we might, in small or larger doses and depending upon what we already own and how much we like or detest certain colors, incorporate the new with the new and the new with the old.

Difficult to see perhaps, but they're Beaujolais or Bordeaux. Whatever.
         Oh, yes, I also ordered a pair of Bordeaux, or I guess I'll call them Beaujolais this season, patent ballerinas. Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of the color although it does look quite spiffy with all my navy blue clothes. Might need a rethink.

         A few notes on the color "inspirations":

         Lichen is a fungus or a fungus/algue, who cares really, but it does exist in a variety of nuances which, never having thought of it before, hadn't occurred to me. I mention this because we do not want to buy one of the lighter shades. We want deep lichen. I'm here to protect us against egregious fashion missteps.

        Acai are berries from some sort of palm tree. They're full of antioxidants btw. You might want to throw this into a conversation, or not.

        Koi, as you probably know, are those huge "decorative" fish. Bottom line, in this instance we're talking about orange carp.

        Linden, very attractive trees. We have a couple in the garden.

        Mykanos, think Greece and all those gorgeous blues.

        Emerald, OK, not too complicated.

        Turbulence, I'm trying to think of clouds and storms instead of planes if you know what I mean. I guess "grey" is just too banal.

        Samba? Vivacious? waaaay too subliminal for me.

        Carafe makes no sense at all so I suggest you pour your Beaujolais into a carafe and drink it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Favorite Beauty Secret (It's a Twofer!)

Made for babies, but women love this ultra delicate body lotion. It's my current favorite, but I'm not  loyal to my lotions. This is one area where I mix it up.
         Don't we all love twofers, those time saving two-in-one beauty tricks? I also think three-fers are great, but in my experience they are harder to invent.

          One of my favorites I discovered while writing my book. The advice came from Aurore, the daughter of my best French friend.  Aurore has four young children which, as you can imagine, makes for an extremely busy life. Thus she takes time for herself when she can find it and when she can find a twofer she is happy.  

          She told me she uses a lip moisturiser with a slight trace of color first thing in the morning. "It puts me in the mood to get up and get moving," she said. But that's not my favorite twofer from her.
You see how efficacious a pair of gloves can be? You can cover twice (or maybe more) territory in less time.
          This is: "When I get out of my shower, I squirt my body lotion on a pair of sloughing gloves and exfoliate my legs, arms and wherever else I can reach.  It takes no time at all and my skin is instantly smooth.  I do this every day," she said.

          Now so do I, but a word of caution: No vigorous scrubbing. It's not necessary. Gently does it with a little pressure where more attention might be needed like feet and elbows for example. As an aesthetician told me, "The skin only understands when we speak gently."

A longtime favorite as are so many Avène products. 
          I have a few favorite lotions and tend not to be too loyal. They're all from the pharmacy and either only slightly scented or not at all.

Not glamorous, but great. Any product that says "derma" in its name seems serious, and this one is.
          At the moment I'm using Mixa bébé Lait de Toilette Très Doux with a lovely underwhelming fragrance. I bought it for Ella when she and Andrea were here in May. Lucky for me they forgot it. All the baby products in this line are delicious.

Recently finished my Topicrem.  Like the others, I highly recommend it.
         In the past I've used Topicrem Ultra-Hydratant Corps, supposedly a favorite of Catherine Deneuve; Avène Cold Cream Emulsion Corporelle, Christine, my pharmacist, is a fan; and A-Derma Exomega Baume Emollient Visage et Corps (I've never used it on my face), this one is among the favorites recommended by my dermatologist.       
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