Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gift Guide............starting in Neutral

Adorable ceramic rubber poodle stamp from Anthropology. Can a gift get any cuter?

You know it and I know it...........every girl needs a beautiful bowl just for her.

Festooning Ribbon to add gorgeous texture to simple gift wrap materials such a pure white or ivory tissue paper.

A Quill & Scroll calligraphy set........everyone wants to try their hand at it.

Posh book gifting at it's most sublime.........just saying.

Posters online by the blogger superstar Garance Doré fab.
All the girls will want one.

Welcome to new Followers and dear loyal readers please let me know how you
like the new colourful blog header.
If you are an email subscriber I hope you will come and see the new look.
I still have some more work to do but I like the change.

One more thing........have you started your holiday shopping yet?

Photos via links have been photo-apped for this post by Sande Chase

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let's go to New Bergdorf Goodman

One of the Bergdorf Goodman ~ Follies of 2012 store windows.

The Follie girls almost ready for their unveiling.

I am crazy fascinated by the creativity behind artful window display these days. Just a few weeks ago I wanted to fly to Paris to see the Louis Vuitton and Dior windows and yesterday I casually hinted to my husband that a quick New York getaway to see the holiday windows would be an quick flight for us. Just window shopping honest ........Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Macy's, Bloomingdales, and that crazy Lanvin-wearing Minnie Mouse at the Electric Holiday window display at Barneys. If I actually do get on a flight to New York this month it would be due to the BG background story from The Coveteur. Once I saw the exclusive, gorgeous, behind-the-scenes photos of the Bergdorf Goodman Follies of 2012 taken by the coveteur team, well, I was entranced and motivated. If you are heading to New York for a nose-pressed-to-the-glass experience of your own, then make sure you read the inspiration behind Bergdorf Goodman's 2012 windows from designer/creator David Hoey, it just adds to the background story. Don't forget to have your Instagram app ready this year, seems Bergdorf Goodman loves this social media thing and is having a BG Windows ~ Instagram Contest and your clever instagram photo entry could win some cool prizes, real BG window props  (they mostly re-use and re-fashion props in case you were wondering) from the holiday displays or one of the final photos from the Coveteur photo shoot. Interactive window shopping..................I can do that. I'm in. 

thousands, thousands of white feathers

photos via The Coveteur

Saturday, November 24, 2012

the clever, clever gift sack.........and the annual video message from Santa

On one hand, you are going to love me for showing this unique and original gift wrapping idea that is coming out of the UK from London-based Harrow & Green. On the other hand you are going to want to strangle me because this very, very clever gift sack is Sold Out for the moment but................. but the owners are hoping to catch up and fit in more orders in mid-December so some website stalking is in order this year. Seems too many clever gift-wrapping elves just loved this personalized idea and you know how popularity can hold up a production line this time of year, even the ones way up north.

Being that the gift sack is soooo popular, you should consider ordering now for next year, yes............. Christmas 2013. The only reason I am so unfairly mentioning this sold-out item from London-based Harrow & Green is because this is one of those festive keeper items that everyone is eventually going to want to order, parents and grandparents are crazy for personalization and rightfully so. They last for years so it might be worthwhile to bookmark or pre-order and plan ahead. Just keep this great idea under your little red furry hat.

Made of top-quality hessian know as burlap in North America, the gift sacks come in a variety of styles to suit any age and individual names are added in red letterpress. Sort of a stylish replacement for Christmas stockings though there is nothing to say you can't fill both! Perfect too for large gifts, the rustic gift sacks come complete with grosgrain ribbon and gift tag.............and a whole lot of gift fun. How fabulous would these look under those great big Christmas trees? With my name on it?

And speaking of the North Pole, it's time to pass along my annual holiday link to PNP, top secret code for Portable North Pole, that charming and magical free video message you can send to true Santa believers. Those little ones older ones too are downright mystified and enchanted when Santa actually says their name and seems to know some personal details like their dog's name or favorite car.........well, it is downright magical and very, very clever too. It is my favorite time of year.

photos from link sources

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Where Louis XVI ate his turkey..........Happy Thanksgiving

A day ahead of royal appetites, princely portions, and I imagine some gorgeous table settings with linen tablecloths, polished silver and sparkly crystal chandeliers all aglow. I know many of you are getting prepared to share your own castles with family and friends and hope you are enjoying the table and food preparations..........all the special touches that say welcome to our home. If your dining room walls are painted red or covered in red silk as they are at Chateau de Versailles, know that red stimulates the appetite and be prepared to dish out some second helpings of turkey and pumpkin pie. As we all know, Louis XVI was well known for his love of second helpings. 

Even though I was forced to snapping photos through protective glass of the dining chamber King's Private Apartments at Chateau de Versailles, I thought it worthwhile if only to remember how precise the napkins were folded back in the day. It is a housekeeping art and I do admire the skill that this must have required though a part of me even the Downton Abbey loving part thinks we should all be truly thankful that this level of precision isn't required of today's hostess, even royal goodness, fine linen folded into pleated layers in two directions and folded into the shape of a scaly fish? How do they do that?

Others would be impressed with the amount of silver service, not us, we were fascinated with the napkin folding techniques. This style looked like a huge blossoming flower. 

And the rich red walls and velvet chairs. All fit for a king and his queen. Imagine eating with a audience each and every meal. I would be way more comfortable being the one folding the napkins into intricate shapes..............and then heading out to yoga class to work off the pumpkin pie. Or so I say. 

Though it is a magnificent pleating technique isn't it? 
Something to try with soft tissue paper perhaps?

However you set your holiday table, whether it be stainless or silver, cotton or silk, pewter or silver, paper plates or china, have a most wonderful holiday with your family and friends. Spend time together. 

Happy Thanksgiving........xx

photos by Sande Chase

Monday, November 19, 2012

Versailles............slow walking this week

I am all over the place these days, I have a bee-in-my-bonnet as they say and trying to pull my thoughts together in too many directions. So let's slow walk this week through my favorite parts of Versailles, the calm parts where you can rest your eyes. When you think of Chateau Versailles as a whole, calm is not the descriptive word that comes to mind, you think extravagance and visual excess, and Versailles is all those things but there are parts where it all comes together in a beautifully serene manner even when all the components tell you that it shouldn't be possible. This is one of my favorite photos that I took the day we visited Versailles (even though I had to crop out the bottom due to unsightly repair barriers), I think it appeals to the designer in me, a reminder, a lesson in the value of symmetry. All that gilt, carving, moulding, subject matter, and yet it remains calming to the eye.............amazing.

photo by Sande Chase

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Louis Vuitton and Dior...........75009 holiday window dressing in Paris

I am sort of hoping that Santa might spring for an early Christmas present and put a quick December flight to Paris under the tree. Already? Yes, especially after reading who is working around the clock right now to "dress" several department store windows in Paris this holiday season. Honest, I could be there and back so fast it would make your head spin because this will be a magical sight to see.......... multiple windows of two famed department stores dressed by two fashion houses and in the same Parisian 75009 zip code, just a block apart. Who would have thought? Louis Vuitton at Galeries Lafayette and Christian Dior at Printemps........ahhh, Santa is being really good to the window watchers this year. Surprisingly, both Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior are using hand painted and animated marionettes but I have the feeling the similarity will only add to the enchantment for young and old alike. 

This is only a teaser but I love the behind-the-scenes peek. Wouldn't it have been  wonderful to see the level of detail and workmanship being executed  by the world's most famous  trunk maker over the past months? Louis Vuitton has used travel as it's theme in honour of the 100th anniversary of Galeries Lafayette and the windows will unveil this month, but no one is saying an actual date. Maybe it is today? Maybe the exact moment that every thing is absolutely perfect. 

Galeries Lafayette
40 boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris

Using many of their iconic Dior fashions from the famed 40's"Bar Suit" all the way to the red gown designed by current artistic director Raf Simon, the Dior windows are designed as an archival ode to the historic Dior couture salons on Avenue Montaigne. Even bigger news? A exclusive Christian Dior Pop Up store located in Printemps this holiday season, a merchandising first for both the designer and department store with more than 30 limited-edition creations such as snowglobes, scarves, bags, even shoes. Now we're talking some fun holiday gifting. I love snow globes.

The Dior ladies getting dressed up for their holiday preview at Parisian department store Printemps Haussmann.

" Christian Dior Limited Edition Snowball"

~ Dior Limited Edition Jádore Le Printemps ~

Who better than current Dior "face" Marion Cotillard to unveil the Dior windows at Printemps on December 9th? Get there early for the 5:30 pm open, I think it might be a busy street that night and all month long. Maybe get in line right now.

Printemps Haussman
64 boulevard Haussman
75009 Paris

All Dior images from Vogue ~ France
Louis Vuitton images from here

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

walk interrupted..........let's stop at Zara

Not that you are interested in every minute of my Paris trip but since I have you captive can we interrupt our walk together and take a peek in at Zara? A fun little shopping break from all that walking? As you know by now, I love Zara stores and they could hire me to be a one-woman advertisement, I find all my fun stuff there. But I will admit that If someone had told me ten years ago that I would be really, really excited about a pink sheer-and-beaded top that I bought for 39.00 Euro in Paris, the city of high fashion I would have dismissed them as crazy. I am equally as smitten with my very comfortable black patent shoes with the pretty satin shoelaces, a more feminine version of the black suede oxfords that I wrote about hereNow the question will be...... should I wear the shaggy ivory collar-wrap for lack of a better name that I found in the south of France with the pink top as I have shown above? I hope so, I really like the look of the two of them together. 

photos by Sande Chase

Monday, November 5, 2012

Looking in all directions.........on our Paris walk

Sometimes while walking in Paris, it is good to look behind you even though you are always inclined to moving forward to see more, more. Visually turn back to say goodbye and gain another perspective, yet another view (it helps for future orientation too). And sometimes if you pause for just a minute and look sideways too, you will be rewarded with something you hadn't expected to ever see.........bird walking as only the Parisians can do.

That gorgeous feathered lady in bright green is originally from Brazil and her lovely name is My Love. She is carried each day in a custom cage to this park directly across from the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel by her gentle and friendly owner and then secured to the park bench with a fine chain. She has a bit of lunch, a bit of fresh air, some sunshine, some company the one in gray feathers, chatty conversation with her owner, and some time to observe the world at large while she scoots back and forth along the park bench in a highly-inquisitive manner. From her temporary perch she can look to her right and see the Le Grand Louvre and Le Pyramide, left to see the Jardin des Tuilleries or almost straight ahead to see the rear facade of the Musée des Arts Decoratifs. As I communicated with her french-speaking owner with my limited comprehension (of the language and the avian world) I couldn't help but think..........I wonder what My Lady thinks of  her Parisian lifestyle?

photos by Sande Chase

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Peaceful Paris Walk...........

~ Square Georges Cain ~

Backing directly onto the Musée Carnavalet on Rue de Payenne is a peaceful square (park) in the 3rd arrondissement where Marais residents can remove themselves from the high energy of their busy streets. It is here where they go to collect their thoughts, enjoy a boxed lunch, or read a few chapters. The noise of the surrounding streets dims down, hovers above the trees and you find yourself talking in hushed tones so as not to disturb this peaceful oasis. Just minutes are needed, maybe only ten or fifteen to revive your tired feet and eyes but still you rise from the bench reluctantly.............

photos by Sande Chase

Friday, November 2, 2012

A nice, long Paris walk with me and you

There is a bit, more than a bit of background work to do to clean up my blog, give it a new, more fashionable look over the next few weeks. In the meantime I thought I would share some of my Paris photos, one or two a day for the next few weeks. From the streets, to the windows, through the Maison et Objet show and then on to the south of France...............I'm certainly not any photographer but there is some nice shots here to share and I will keep it nice and easy like we were out for a nice walk. I mean, how often do you see a pink truck with a musical mission and two presidential names? 

photos by Sande Chase


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