Saturday, December 29, 2012

Joyeuses Fêtes!

Happy holidays! A few of my holiday musts:

Simple makeup with a red lip...

Fresh oysters...

Homemade Christmas yule log cake (bûche de Noel, my first!)...

See you all in 2013!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Office Lunch

My husbands office lunch was yesterday, so this is the outfit I put together for the occasion. In France, a special work lunch means drinks, 3 course meal and wine - all in the middle of the day! 

I wanted something that was put together, appropriate and fun. I've been a little obsessed with finding a maxi skirt this winter - perhaps I've been watching too much Dowton Abby, but I think they can look so chic if styled right. I also love deep reds and purples together, a very rich winter look.

I added a sparkly pin on my scarf,

 The beautiful Hermes bracelet I got for Christmas last year,

And, of course, some glitter to the ends of my nails. I can't tell you what the polishes are here, because I had a friend do this one, sorry!

I was so excited to find my maxi skirt, that I nearly cried when I went to pick it up from the tailor where I had it hemmed to find that she hemmed it too short. I really like the look of skirts that hit the floor, and as you can see here, even with flats, that is not the case. Grrr... I've been trying to convince myself that it looks okay and that it will be better in the long run with all of the rain we're getting this winter!

Scarf, unknown; Sweater, Banana Republic; Skirt, ASOS; Shoes, Coach; Bracelet, Hermes

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Recipe Book

A few years ago for Christmas, my mom gave me the most thoughtful gift. When she got married, her mom hand wrote a copy of all of her family recipes, and started a recipe box for her. My mom took these original cards and scanned them, and put them in this adorable binder she got from Williams Sonoma (no longer available, but you could do the same as a very easy DIY project).

The binder originally came with plastic sleeves for recipe cards, but I've found normal page protectors more useful. I simply print off recipes whenever I find them, or rip them out of magazines, and into the binder they go!

 The tabs on the binder are: appetizers, soups & salads, main dishes, seafoods, side dishes, desserts, holidays, breads, pastas, brunches, and journal.

I love opening my binder and seeing my grandmother's handwriting, with a perfect reminder of what cooking is supposed to be about!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Deck the Halls

Christmas is quickly approaching! I made all of our decorations this year, and I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out! When you enter our apartment, you are greeted by my handmade wreath, courtesy of our neighbors tree trimming project.

The living room windows are decked out in blue and gold. I made the paper snowflakes snowflakes and chain, in retrospect I should have painted the paper first. Live and learn!

Look up and you'll find my crepe paper mistletoe. In case you didn't know, both mistletoe and poinsettias are highly poisonous. So, if you have a curious cat or kid, other solutions are necessary!

Our Christmas tree and mantle, complete with stockings and sparkly shell ornaments that I made out of real seashells.

A present already under the tree!

My Martha Stewart paper poinsettias. I added some extra lights in the frosted vase to give the mantle a nice glow.

The Noel is simply cut out of cardboard and covered in glitter. The font is called "Babes in Toyland" which I thought was fitting, and can be found for free here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Mile in her Moccasins

When I want to feel cozy, I slip on my moccasins. These are the real deal- I found them in a trapper boutique in Quebec city, Canada. They are fully lined in the softest leather ever, and it's like wearing your slippers all day!

Top, Anthropologie; Jeans, Seven for All Mankind; Moccasins, from Quebec

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

December is here! Without the American holiday timeline/ unspoken rule of "no Christmas before Thanksgiving", decorations in France tend to start popping up a in late November. But I always make myself wait until December to start decorating for the holidays. Our decorations are up, but I thought I'd give a peek at all the DIY goodness I got into this year.

I'm so happy glitter is back in. I was never allowed to use glitter as I child, and I think I'm more than making up for lost time.

I also have a newfound obsession with making crêpe paper flowers. Perfect way to decorate with poinsettias if you have a curious cat like we do! You can find the tutorial and tons of others on Martha Stewart's website.

I'm also big on using found materials for decorating. One of our neighbors trimmed his tree, and I profited to make a simple wreath!

To finish any long winter day, a bowl of creamy homemade butternut soup - yum!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Red Tights

I always find that cold weather clothes are fun for about a month, and then I get bored with my selection of sweaters, scarves, pants and warm skirts. I love the idea of a flash of color to spice things up that isn't always visible in an outfit, be it gloves, a scarf or, as I tried out yesterday, red tights!

I paired a wool plaid skirt with basic black boots and sweater, staples of my winter wardrobe...

Sweater, Banana Republic; Skirt, Zara; Tights, Forever21; Boots, Nine West; Belt, vintage; Scarf, gift from Vietnam 
with my new tights!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Shiny and Bright

I've been playing a lot with my nails this week, couldn't decide which I liked best so I'll share them all!

I did a half moon manicure by painting the lighter base coat (Essie's "Eternal Optimist" ) waiting for it to dry completely, then using hole reinforcers as guides and painting the darker color (Essie's "Merino Cool"). I've found it works best to remove the stickers when the polish is still tacky to avoid pulling. I topped the whole thing off with what, in my humble opinion is the best thing invented in the nail polish world, Essie's quick dry top coat, "Good to Go". Seriously dries in about 30 seconds, and allows someone impatient like me to benefit from a ding-free DIY manicure.

I love the flash nail trend! I found some cheap glitter in tons of colors at, of all places, the supermarket, mixed in with the Christmas decorations. I've found it works best to do one coat of color, pile on the glitter, tap off excess, wait a few minutes for the polish under to set (a bit longer than normal, because you've just put all that glitter on it!) and then to top with, again, Essie's "Good to Go".  You could also use glitter polish but for me it's a) more expensive and b) I find it's harder to get the full coverage.

Essie "Eternal Optimist" again 

And a bit more of a subtle glitter nail look, that I thought was also fun,
Essie "Ballet Slippers"

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Parties

It's official, the holidays are here! We had our first holiday party invite of the year tonight.

Dress, Martin & Osa; Belt, vintage; Bag, Mulberry for Target; Boots, from a boutique in Italy
I found this sweater dress in the states, and I love the basic-ness of it mixed with the fun glitter thread. The boots were a long term quest a few years ago in Italy; I drove my family crazy trying to find the perfect pair of knee high black boots. My family was ready to kill me, but mission accomplished.

I made the necklace from a cheapie I got at Forever21. I simply took off the ugly fake chain and replaced it with a grosgrain ribbon that ties in the back.

Let the festivities begin!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Le Chat

Grigris came into my life when I had just arrived in France, living alone in a tiny apartment (less than 60 square feet, on two levels. My neighbor once saw me leaving and was quite surprised that I lived there, as he had always thought that my apartment was the utility closet), and was quite lonely. 

How can you not smile at a face like that waking you up each morning?

I'm quite proud of the name I gave Grigris; in French, "gris" is of course the word for gray (and he's a gray tabby) and the word "grigri" means a good luck charm. 

When I first adopted Grigris, he was the tiniest runt of the litter. Somehow though, we went from this...

to this...

Regardless, he'll always be my baby kitten!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Patching it up

The perfect v-neck cozy sweater can be hard to find. Many years ago, I stumbled on one that was thin enough yet provided adequate warmth, long enough to wear with leggings or yoga pants without being shapeless, and tailored enough to dress up for a cold evening out or to work. So, you can imagine my chagrin when my husband announced to me one evening, "you've got a hole in the elbow of that sweater."

I was buying supplies for Christmas decorations when I stumbled on these:

Elbow patches in a cute pattern! And iron on, so no sewing required!

I measured the distance from the end of the sleeve, so the two would be even,

Carefully ironed (no steam!) for the alloted 30 seconds...

and voilà! New life to my favorite sweater! You could probably do the same thing with any bit of cotton fabric and fusible tape/fabric.