Monday, March 28, 2011

walking in paris

the french and their lingerie

A trip to Paris requires a visit to their lingerie store. I didn't even go anywhere special or high end, just a mid-range lingerie store called Princess Tam Tam (ignore the girly name) where the range was 35-50 euros, and I wanted every.single.piece. Think delicate laces, superb quality underwires, hardly any push-ups to be found. My cousin says the French are not really big on push-ups, so Victoria Secret is not really popular here. Every thing was sold in matching sets and the French also like to match regularly. While waiting in line I noticed the women in front of me, and most where almost scrubby; sweats, backpacks, jeans, etc. But the selections on their arm were scandalously beautiful (think tangerine orange lace, bright blue sheer bra). I will never underestimate a scrubby French woman again! For underneath those sweats could be an impeccable set of lace lingerie.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Paris = Laduree

macaron (French pronunciation: [makaˈʁɔ̃])[1][2] is a sweet confectionery made with egg whitesicing sugargranulated sugaralmond powder or ground almond, and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. Its name is derived from an Italian word "maccarone" or "maccherone". This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient.[3] It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.

The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference (referred to as the "foot"), flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth.[4]

In Paris, the French pâtisserie Laduree[7][13] is reputed for making quality macarons in traditional and new flavors. Other reputed French patisseries on Macarons includes Pierre Hermé andFauchon.[14] In France, McDonald's sold macarons.[15]

Ladurée is a luxury cakes and pastries brand based in ParisFrance. It is known as the inventor of the double-decker macaron, fifteen thousand of which are sold every day. They are still one of the best known makers of macarons in the world.

Ladurée made the pastries for the film Marie Antoinette, directed by Sofia Coppola; its famous macarons can be seen in a scene between Marie Antoinette and Ambassador Mercy.[4] They can also be seen in the CW'S hit teen drama Gossip Girl as Blair Waldorf's favorite pastries.

My cousin and I enjoying tea and sweets in their exotic tea room.

Marina: Ispahan; rose flavored soft macaroon biscuit, rose petals cream, fresh raspberries and lychee
Me: Coupe Exotique; Exotic sorbet (mango, passion fruit, ginger) coconut ice cream, mango sauce, Chantilly whipped cream

delicious fruit/rose/cinnamon flavored tea 

the tea room

i got two boxes. this one was colorful on purpose, but I probably won't eat any of them
the other one is more tanned colors (hazelnut, coffee, chocolate) which I like more
the boxes are really for me to eventually use to store my jewelry or make up

the eiffel

Saturday, March 26, 2011

like a dream

 Even when she's raining, Paris still manages to be magnifique!

another homage to the blessed view I am lucky enough to have

Little old time charms; the key to enter the room is very vintage

wish you all were here


first stop; dinner at chez casimir

One of the reasons I love it here is that the French eat late. Dinner should aways been served late at night, non? Our dinner came to us around 9PM, which is peak dining hours as all their tables were full. We only managed a table because we arrived a little before the rush around 8-ish. Dinner was in the Gare du Nord ("North Station") area of Paris, which is a bit more diverse, with a rowdier crowd. Chez Casimir offered traditional French/Breton (Brittany) dishes.  

This must be a French thing because most restaurants only do a prix fixe menu at a set price. Ours were 32 Euros each, which includes entree (starter), main course, cheese, and dessert. They have this written on boards and they bring the board directly to your table. That is your menu. No frilly booklet menus, just a big bulky board. 

Marina's nails in blue, and mines in red.

Our starters. Mines was a rabbit leg, and rabbit stuffed with foie gras. Hers was a parmesan soup with vegetables/asparagus.

My main course: French scallops with mash potatoes, which had more of a consistency like grit, and a tabule-like sauce. I am so bad, I should have noted the correct names, but this is my best re-invention.

After the main course, comes the cheese! The large tray of cheese in which we are free to pick whatever we want. I'm not big on cheese, but I could not stop eating the one on the bottom left; Delice de Borgogne. Note to self; stock up on some before I leave.

Dessert; a creamy pudding of pineapples and raspberry sauce with oranges and a flaky pastry. This was delicious!!

I got the profiterole, and should have learned my lesson when I ordered it from Falai, but I did not like it. I don't think profiteroles are my thing.

catching up

I know it's Saturday. I've been in Paris for 2 and half days, and have been overly indulgent, exploring and sleeping a lot (jet-lag). So let me try to catch you up. I few here on Scandinavian Airlines and had a layover at Copenhagen. Didn't sleep at all because of the naive little traveler behind me that insisted on talking to his neighbor. Traveling is a love/hate thing for me. For one, if you end up sitting next to me you will be so lucky. I don't talk at all, I just sleep, and I take up very little space. But rarely ever do I run into good passengers. They're usually loud, snore, fat (this happens most), leave their overhead lights on and read the WHOLE time, or talk on their phone for the duration of the trip. I have the worse luck with traveling. 

During my layover at Copenhagen, I got to take a little stroll around, and thought my eyes have deceived me when I saw Hermes, Burberry, Gucci, and Mulberry. Did not dare tempt myself to enter because the dollar exchange rate is crap right now, so it's much smarter to buy luxury items in the United States than overseas.

My dear cousin Marina picked me up from the airport with a warm welcome. We managed to carry my heavy luggages all the way back to her apartment in the 5th arrondissement ("neighborhood"), which is one of the wealthier areas in Paris. Our apartment is on the top floor or a beautiful building on St. Michel. Just down the street is Laduree, the infamous macaroons shop, which I will save for another post.

This Saturday afternoon, she is a bit rainy, but we made the most of today while the sun was out.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This is the view from our window sill on Boulevard St. Michael (I think that's correct).

Right beneath our building is a little square. You can see people lounging on the grass.

As soon as I arrived, we beelined it to the grocers (mache?) and bought coffee, eggs, salami, proscuitto, pate, and wine. Since everything is in Euros, its' all pretty expensive, except for the wine! Wine is soo cheap here; around 2-4 Euros, meaning ~$4-10 USD!

Time for a nap because I am so jet-lagged and got no rest during my flight. Tonight, we are having dinner, my cousin and I. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our Home, Wherever that May Be

Last Friday, after finishing dinner in St. Marks, we stumbled into a random bar and found ourselves in the middle of a bunch of feathered girls in sparkly pasties dancing to exotic drum beats. I danced for a bit and burnt a few calories. Then we strolled some more, and was attracted by a jazzy female voice, floating into the streets in front of us. It was at a small unknown bar called Any Way Cafe, and as I walked by, I was greeted with a "Hello, red coat," obviously for my crimson coat that evening and not for any affiliation with the British army.

I ordered a glass of chianti and listened happily to La Vie En Rose, as she sang the song I requested. It was a great way to toast New York goodbye and to get a glimpse into the next few days. Around 2AM, when the rain started to drizzle, I was happy to call it a night. New York did me proud that night.

Tonight is officially my last night in New York. I'm not sad about it yet, maybe after I'm gone I'll regret it. New York, you were lovely, thank you for being such a great host. Maybe I don't feel sad because my heart isn't here any more. Is it silly of me, but I really miss him? And wherever I feel at home is wherever he is. Right now he's in Shanghai, so I'm counting down the days until then. In the mean time, off to Paris. Will try to update and send a lucky reader a postcard. PS. Postcard survey is now closed. Thank you all those you participated.

For now, farewell New York. You were a beautiful love affair, but like all love affairs, they are only best when brief.

Friday, March 18, 2011

For You: Books

I am delighted to know that there are so many passionate lonely readers out there who appreciate the magic of words as I do.

You may have noticed an increase in my posts lately. It really has everything to do with postcard survey. The response has been overwhelming, inspirational, thoughtful, and so lovely. Not to sound snooty, but I think my readers are some of the most eclectic, insightful, and uniquely passionate people. And am I so humbled to know that many of you have been reading this blog since it started in 2008. It really is just a place for a silly little girl to purge all her leftover thoughts. But it has touched me deeply to know that... Okay, that's enough gushing. I'm just not that type of girl.

The thing that I like best about you all, yes you, is that almost every single one of you who follow this blog, do not really read blogs. Numerous of you have responded saying that blogs are not your thing, and you only follow 1 or 2, so let me say I am honored to be among them. And maybe that's why your responses have also surprised me a bit. I hardly knew so many people read this blog since responses/comments are pretty rare here. But it's never been about that, I don't write for comments. I almost never respond to them, and I hate trading links or commenting back on other's blogs. It's never been about that.

On to the point of this entry. Books. I recommend a lot of books, and so I share with you my amazon wish list, which has many books that I have yet to read, in which I try to add to, but not often enough. Maybe you'll get to them before I do and tell me how you liked them?



I recently attended a lecture given by Elizabeth Gilbert as part of my freelance publicist duties, and it was pretty fascinating due to the fact that she talked a lot about herself as a writer, and I am, well, I write in my sleep. She is extremely articulate and charming, so much so that all the skepticism you may have had after reading Eat, Pray, Love about her amazingly blessed good luck is put to rest. This is a woman who gets everything that she asks for. And it's not by force or aggression, but by pure faith in herself, optimism and an aura of kindness, understanding and openness. She's very open and candid. 

I got my girlfriend Stephanie a signed copy of her new book as she was the one who first told me about Eat, Pray, Love. I can't personally endorse the book as I haven't read it yet, and I probably won't. Nothing against Ms. Gilbert, but I probably would just end up feeling envious of her journey. Plus, I have my own journey to attend to.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tout de Sweet

A macaroon/pastry shop has finally opened in Bethesda, Maryland. I was back home this past weekend and the lover placed a call to them all the way from Shanghai to order me a box. The store is called Tout de Sweet, which is a play on the French phrase tout de suite meaning at once/immediately. They just opened about three weeks ago, and is nestled in the heart of Bethesda on Woodmont Avenue. The macaroons were delicious. I highly recommend the chocolate and coffee flavors.

Tout de Sweet
7831 Woodmont Avenue Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: 301-951-0474

Hours of operation:
             Monday: Closed
             Tue-Fri: 8am - 7pm
             Saturday: 9am - 7pm
             Sunday: 10 am - 5pm

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Target's Designer Revival

I love that Target revived some of their best dresses from their Go! International collaborations. The above dress is one of my favorites, which I had to purchase from Ebay back then it first came out and subsequently sold out immediately after. But it looks like the dress is sold out online again! So if you missed it the first time, and are itching to get your hands on it, try your luck if you live by a Target store. Unfortunately for me, the only Target on the island of Manhattan is in Spanish Harlem (wayyyyyyyy uptown). The location alone is not worth the gander. That's the one thing I miss about living in Maryland, I could go to my happy place any time I wanted because there was a Target 2 minutes from my house.

La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare

I tried this La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare (how's that for a name?) a while back and was really underwhelmed by the product's performance. So I gave the rest to my mother and a girlfriend. A few days after both were raving to me at how fantastic their skin was, how much brighter and more youthful their faces looked--to which I was absolutely flabbergasted. Really? So I decided to gave it another go. My girlfriend advised me to only use a little bit on my face (the first time I tried it, I put it on like a lotion, and used about the size of a dime) and only at night before bed.

My second trial of this product yielded amazing results. By following my girlfriend's instructions and only using a small amount on my face each night, within a few days, my skin has become brighter, dark spots left over from acne (hate that word) are finally beginning to fade. I don't like giving in to hype because I've tried Creme de la Mere before (the light cream and the heavy one, and even one of its hydrating toners) only to be hugely disappointed. So hefty price tags have never been a factor when considering skin care. But now I have to rave about La Prairie. A small jar of this can cost you around $400USD, so I would highly advise against getting this unless you are really desperate for results. While this product does as it promises and got my own mother and girl friend gushing non-stop about it, I don't know if it's a habit worth forming, since I don't know how to justify the price tag. I'm sure with less expensive products you can get the same results but perhaps at a slower rate.

But for those who have no problem shelling out $1,000 for a 1.7 oz jar, I highly recommend this product along with Sisley's Supremya La Nuit, which costs $250 less than La Prairie.