Friday, July 31, 2009

Paris Giveaway!

Here is the fabulously lovely thing I am offering to all of you, a treasure brought from the most wonderful and elegant city of Paris. It's a set of ten sample size perfumes from Fragonard, the luxury French parfumeur founded in 1926 that owns the tiny and exquisite Musée du Parfum in Paris. These scents are some of the company's most famous. Fragrances like rose, patchouli, bergamot, freesia, amber, and lily of the valley, among many others, give each perfume a luxurious and timeless smell.

All you need to do to have a chance to win this utterly fantastic set is to leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite perfume and why you love it. Entries will be valid until August 12th at noon Eastern Standard Time. Later that day I will put all your names into a random generator and choose a winner (your comments are just for my entertainment, they won't actually factor into your chances of winning, but please leave a good one anyway!). Only one entry per person, please, and U.S. residents only.

Bonne chance to you all! And seriously, I am so jealous.

P.S. I am in serious need of some blog layout help that involves changing the size and format of my header. If anyone thinks they can provide assistance, please let me know!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Je Suis Revenu!

In other words, I have returned! Bonjour, mes cheries! I have missed you all so much. As magical as Paris was, there is something so wonderfully cozy and familiar about sitting down to read all your blogs in my favorite armchair in my living room. And I can finally blog again! I missed it horribly. So, without further ado, the highlights of my month (in no sort of chronological order, sorry):

Just some pretty things I shot around town.

Yes, I climbed the forty zillion stairs up la butte Montmartre. It was hellish but so worth it. Did you know that Montmartre means "mountain of the martyr" and was named so because the patron saint of France was decapitated there? Crazy stuff.

Hah. Me and Jess in front of the Pantheon, where we explored the amazing underground crypts. Zola, Braille, Voltaire, Dumas, Hugo, and Marie Curie are buried there! I love tombs. The second photo is Notre-Dame.

Oooh, the food. Glorious beyond words. There was a gelato shop literally right around the block from school, and I probably went there almost every day. Yikes. And, of course, the French staples: café au lait and a croissant with jam.

Some slightly less French (but no less delicious) things: falafel and Moroccan pastries. The first I got in le Marais, the old Jewish quarter of the city. It's such a cozy, fashionable neighborhood and hands down my favorite part of Paris. I want to live there! My friend Emma turned seventeen during our trip and a few of us went out for Moroccan food to celebrate, and this was our massive dessert tray.

My first venture into the wonderful world of macarons was at Pierre Hermé. I got grapefruit and milk chocolate with passion fruit, and Jess got chocolate. They were pretty good, but not stunning.

Have to say, I did prefer Ladurée. The macarons are light and crispy, and the rose petal flavor is absolutely exquisite. Angelina was as decadent as I remembered it. The hot chocolate is just perfection.
Of course, I didn't spend all month waltzing through luxury dessert shops...

Behold, the juice aisle at Monoprix. Give me a moment to rhapsodize about the mecca that is Monoprix. It's like Target on steroids, plus a massive and totally classy grocery store. Thanks to Monoprix, we had many a delightful picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens.

One of my favorite events of the summer was attending the ballet at the Opéra Garnier. It's one of the most stunning places I've ever seen, and is the opera house upon which The Phantom of the Opera is based. We were sitting in very high seats.

As expected, I went to more museums than I can count. One of my favorites was Musée Rodin. I had been before, but I liked it much more the second time. The gardens are just beautiful, and the sculptures are really excellently arranged.

Another favorite, and possibly the favorite: Musée d'Orsay. Yes, I was a goober and wore my souvenir shirt there.

Two much smaller museums that I adored as well were the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Fragonard Perfume Museum. Arts Décoratifs had the most stunning exhibition of Madeleine Vionnet clothes and a gift shop library beyond belief. The perfume museum mostly just smelled delicious.

Another little museum that blew me away was the Musée Gustave Moreau. It used to be his house, and all the rooms downstairs are still preserved.
I set foot in my first mosque. It was incredibly beautiful and serene. I visited with my creative writing class, and we went to the attached restaurant afterward and drank really delicious mint tea.
I also visited Père Lachaise with my class, which I kind of expected to feel more significant. Oscar Wilde's grave is possibly the ugliest thing I have ever seen, which makes me so upset. I kissed it anyway, though. On the left is Jim Morrison's grave.

Also significantly depressing? The Moulin Rouge.

One of our fun outings was the Fête des Tuileries, a temporary carnival set up in the Jardins des Tuileries. We got really delicious churros and then sat by the big pond in the middle of the garden, it was lovely.

Quite a few of my favorite excursions were, sadly, not captured on film. Like the Bal des Pompiers (though perhaps that was better off remaining out of any pictures). On the night before Bastille Day, the firehouse in each arrondissement is basically turned into a giant outdoor party, and everyone in our program went to the one in our arrondissement. I expected it to be distinctly unfun, but it was such a blast; basically just a huge dance party. With firemen. Ahem.
Also, our last night was possibly one of the most excellent nights of my life. The program rented out a nightclub for all of us, so everyone got dressed up in posh things (or not so posh, I wore my notorious pink backless dress) and we pretty much partied all night long. It was amazing.
I could honestly go on and on all night about what a fantastic month I had, but I'll stop here because I'm exhausted and unshowered and definitely on the verge of a cold. As soon as the nasty weather stops here, I promise to do an outfit post! Because, erh, obviously I had to do a bit of shopping while I was there...
And of course I did a little shopping for you too... well, one of you. I'll be revealing a delightful giveaway in my next post that I honestly wish I could keep for myself, it's so fabulous.

Speak to you all soon, my lovelies. Je vous adore, and it's glorious to be back.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hello Again! Briefly!

It is a quiet Sunday morning here in the dorms, and with four computers for one hundred and eighty students I usually only get a few minutes on the computer. But with almost everybody still asleep (it would be just after ten here) I have found a moment to say hello!
I miss blogging so much, guys. This is quite an old post that I meant to put up before I left, but I will do it now because I need an excuse to send you all hugs and kisses and hope that you'll hang tight for a little while longer while I'm having the time of my life in Paris.
Obviously, I promise to tell you everything about my trip when I come back for real. Until then, I love you all!
And now, some more resort collections I adored (I know, I know, a whole crop of shows has been harvested since I left, but these deserve my attention too):

One part tailored black and white party elegance and one part gloriously embellished slouchiness has me in tears of joy over Stella McCartney. That oversized dark grey sweater dress with the silver patterns is possibly my favorite piece from any resort collection yet (I am officially calling that Rumi will own it within three months, doesn't it totally seem like her kind of piece?), and the blue and white striped dress is so perfectly Parisian.

Lace, casual elegance, a muted palette with just the right dose of shine - all the pieces from 3.1 Phillip Lim are so versatile for this time of year. I love the simplicity of the white lace shift dress, and how the contrasting grey sweatshirt and metallic trousers are pulled together in their easy silhouettes.

I saved my favorite collection for last. Yigal Azrouël somehow managed to include every element of my ideal summer wardrobe in one collection: casually draped jersey dresses, a subtly colored palette dressed up with punchy accessories (cyan and purple turbans! razzle dazzle trim and necklaces!), and pieces that are sensual and sleek in unusual ways (like the perfectly unclingy jumpsuit and that wonderful, wonderful white one-shouldered dress). My favorite outfit is definitely the cargo shorts with the sweet sequined vest. Azrouël has to be my favorite collection this season.
P.S. I have come up with a delicious idea for a sweet little something to bring back as a blog giveaway. Something to look forward to when I return...