A Little Paris in NYC

A few days ago, after watching an episode of Sex and the City, I was inspired to take a (second) trip to Paris – The Paris Theater, that is.

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The Paris Theater – a little Paris in NYC

Opened in 1948, and located just west of Fifth Avenue across from the Plaza Hotel, The Paris Theater is Manhattan’s LAST single-screen theater.  Specializing in mostly foreign and independent films, it is a great place to go for a quiet evening on the town, followed by a glass of wine at the Plaza or a stroll in Central Park.

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view from the balcony

I made it just in time to see Eleanor Coppola’s film, Paris Can Wait, starring Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin, and Arnaud Viard (the movie closes next week).  It’s a cute, airy movie about a director’s wife who decides to drive from Cannes to Paris with her husband’s business associate, making tons of stops and detours along the way.  I walked out of the theater wanting to drink copious amounts of French wine and drive through the countryside.  I sat on the balcony (read, ‘upper level’) and was pleasantly surprised by the comfortable seats and freshness of the popcorn (how hard is it to find fresh popcorn at the movies these days?!).  But, perhaps what I loved the most, aside from the fact that there is only ONE theater, was the logo on the carpeting that I noticed on my way out.

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ahhh, Paris

I will definitely be going back there again, and you should too!

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T.R. Richmond’s What She Left

“Obsession is territory with which I’m well acquainted. Its coarse rub, its barbed spike, its musty spoiled sourness. The line between love and hate is paper-thin, and when you love someone and it turns to hate, there’s an inverse relationship between the two.”

 

Do we ever really know ourselves? Do we ever really know anyone? In the days where we live on social media, we are well aware that everything we put onto the internet is locked there forever. But just how much truth can actually be found? In T.R. Richmond’s debut psychological suspense novel, What She Left, we follow a professor as he tries to piece together the life and mysterious death of one of his former students.

Through letters, emails, blog posts, text messages and news articles, the story of Alice Salmon starts to unfold, a twenty-five year old woman whose career in journalism was starting to buzz, and whose love of university-day partying could not be completely outrun, no matter how hard she tried. Alice was a woman who was still figuring out her life and plan her future. But who was she, and what really happened to her? Anthropology professor Jeremy Cooke attempts to find out by contacting friends and family members, and researching her social-media-persona (aka stalking).

There’s a lot that can be said about this book. Take the character of Alice. Through multiple perspectives (including her own), she comes across as someone who is not in complete control of her actions, jumping to conclusions too quickly, giving into peer pressure, and a little needy. But would she have jumped into the river on a snowy February night and ended her life? With so many different points of view, who, if anyone can be trusted? Everyone is hiding secrets, even Professor Cooke, whose obsessive attachment to Alice and declaration of sticking to the truth tends to waiver at times.

If you are looking for a good thriller with a fresh, modern take, this is your book. It is formatted a bit differently than I was used to, but that actually adds to the tone and story. What She Left will grab your attention right away, leaving you guessing until the very end – and stay with you long after you’ve finished the novel.

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T.R. Richmond’s What She Left. Simon & Schuster January 2016.

Partying Like Jay Gatsby

As many of you already know, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels. So much so that I have devoted a few posts to it. I was first introduced to the novel in college and have read it several times since. I went to the theater on the opening night of the 2013 film adaption and fell in love all over again. What’s not to love about Gatsby? The roaring 20s, richly extravagant parties, passionate dreams. In all of Gatsby’s dreaming, there’s a naïveté to him that I find endearing. The man from the wrong side of the tracks chasing after the woman that he’s convinced is the love of his life, throwing parties that exist only in your dreams. I would have given anything to go to one of his parties. And now I have.

About a month ago, my friend and I bought tickets to The Great Gatsby Party at NYC’s Capitale. Outfit preparations went underway immediately after. When the day finally rolled around, I couldn’t have believed that it was here. And. The party was amazing.

When you first walked in, you were greeted by two women on stilts in gorgeous silver gowns standing in front of a champagne tower. The men were in tuxes, bowties and tails. The women in beautiful headpieces and pearls. As a champagne girl, naturally I gravitated towards the champagne bar, but after trying the Gatsby punch, I found myself quickly gravitating towards that. There was a big band that played a mixture of modern and 1920s style music, performers that gracefully hung from the ceiling, and professional dancers that made me want to learn some of their 20s steps.

It was an evening of opulence and grandeur, of sparkles and black-tie. It was everything that you would expect from a Gatsby party to be. We laughed, danced, drank and left feathers in our wake. Shouldn’t we all party like Jay Gatsby?

 

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The Great Gatsby Party 2015 @ Capitale, NYC

Who Says a Little Color Can’t Change Your Mood?

About a month and a half ago, I treated myself to a mani/pedi for my birthday weekend. For my fingers I went with my fallback, a pale pink gel, but for my toes I wanted a bit more color. Combing the polish selections can be daunting at times, especially if you’re not sure on the shade that you want. I had an idea, sort of. I knew that I wanted to stay in the pink family, and that I wanted it to be darker and brighter than what I had selected for my manicure. So, with that in mind, I resorted to my second favorite way to pick out a color: by the name. Some of my favorite colors I never would have tried if not for the name. Essie’s Little Brown Dress. Marc Jacob’s Gatsby. I picked up a few bottles and put them back, and then I spotted it, a beautiful plummy pink: Essie’s No Boundaries.

I left the salon completely satisfied with my decision, so much so that I ended up letting the color stay on my toes for far longer than it should have, then set out to purchase it. This past weekend, after laying out in the sun and getting a bit of color, I decided to give No Boundaries a try on my fingers and I’m so glad that I did. It has easily become my favorite pink polish of all time. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile. What’s your favorite polish of all time?

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Spa-lightenment

Last month, as a birthday gift, my aunt and I went to Massage Envy Spa for facials. We arrived early, and after we finished with the paperwork, were asked about what we wanted to get out of our visit. We were both kind of stumped for a minute because we hadn’t really thought of facials in terms of anything other than something that was fun and relaxing, but we both eventually thought of goals. Mine was to lighten freckles that I have on my face due to sun damage. The facials were amazing (we both came out with soft, shiny skin), and I ended up learning a few things. The first being that the Vitamin C Radiance Capsules that I have from the Body Shop are great because they hydrate your skin and brighten it. The Body shop, you win again!

The second thing that I learned was about a product that will actually lighten and correct the sun damage from my face. Ok, if I have to be honest, the freckles are not dark and barely noticeable until I am out in the summer sun, and I always wanted to have them as a kid…but as an adult it’s another story. I can see the lightest freckle and I despise all of them. With the summer on its way, and some beach weekends already planned, I want to get a head start on getting rid of them and repairing my skin. Murad’s Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Serum does just that. It contains glycolic acid which removes dead skin cells, and hydroquinone which lightens sunspots and freckles. But, while these ingredients may be exactly what I am looking for, they can make your skin sensitive to the sun. It’s recommended that if using this product (or others like it), that you apply it at night and follow up in the morning with a moisturizer that contains spf. I love my Dior Hydro Life Sorbet Crème, but I use it at night so I don’t get the one with spf in it. I’ve done some research, and clearly, I am returning to the Body Shop and picking up their Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer with spf 30. I will report back with my findings.

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Go Country For a Day

Ever wonder why country boots are so popular down south? It’s because they are not only durable, but comfy as well. I may not be a fan of denim shirts, country music or southern fried chicken, but cute and comfy I can do.

I realize that cowboy boots are on their way out of style in the fashion world, but I don’t always follow all the rules. My boots aren’t exactly cowboy, but they are western. I found them last year on a random trip to dsw and was convinced to purchase them. I almost didn’t get them, but a year later, I’m glad that I did because I’ve gotten a lot of use out of them.

There’s something carefree and charming about these boots, especially when paired with a dress. They give a little something more than flats, heels or sandals, and keep your feet comfy while you wear them. When the weather is a bit warmer, I do this thing where I put together no two outfits alike: prim and proper, casually suburban, summer beach-y. But I have to say that carefree country may be my favorite because I can be girly yet comfortable. Anything goes!

Every so often my bff and I have country days, and we’re having one this weekend. They are always a blast. So, next time there is a cool day (aka below 80 degrees) like there is today, dust off your boots, put on a floral dress and go.

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Summer is Unofficially Here

This past weekend is one that we look forward to all winter – especially with the one we just had, the temperatures hitting record lows, and a blanket of snow that never seemed to leave – the unofficial start to summer, and what a weekend it was.

Though it started off with some showers, most of the weekend was hot (temperatures reached the mid-80s) and, more importantly, full of sun. During the rainy periods I watched movies with a friend, cooked and ran errands, and during the better half of the weekend I was out soaking up the sun, iced latte in hand and doused in spf.

While autumn is my favorite season of the year for many reasons, no matter how much I end up complaining about it, summer is my second, but not for what you may think. Of course, I love the long daylight hours, trips to the beach, and the sun, but the real reason that I love summer is for the sundresses. And yesterday, as I was switching out my sweaters for my summer clothes, I was reminded of that. No matter how hot or humid it is, or what kind of day I’ve having, dunning a light, airy frock always puts a smile on my face. Maybe I’m just a girly girl – I did wear dresses every single day of kindergarten – but sundresses make everything better.

So, while summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, sundress season has begun. I have already added two new ones to my collection and you can bet that there will be more. What is my ideal summer day? Sitting outside in a sundress with a good book and a glass of champagne or prosecco. What’s yours?

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Discover Laidback London

A few years ago when my office changed locations, I discovered a cute little boutique with a pink awning called Pookie & Sebastian, but it was only recently that I chose to venture in and aside from an amazing dress and bracelet that I purchased, I found something else there that is far more valuable, beautiful sandals by a company called Laidback London. They were a little pricey, but you could tell that they were of a high quality and worth the cost. Me, being the type of person who needs to know everything, immediately set about to find out information on the company and was amazed at what I found.

Laidback London was founded in 2002, spawning from the idea of making quality, fair trade sandals that are uniquely beautiful and timeless. The products are created in Africa, the leather is from a local tannery and everything about these sandals is handmade. The leather is dyed and cut by hand. The beads are hand sewn into the leather and the shoes are stitched together by hand. I have only worn my pair a few times, but I have received many compliments. Not only are they beautiful and comfortable, they can be dressed down or up. Really, the perfect sandals for summer. Check them out at laidbacklondon.com.

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The Met, an Old Friend

There are some places that, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve visited, or no matter who you had gone with, always envelope you into their doors and surround you with familiarity and warmness. This is the Met to me. Every time I go there I lose myself both in the beauty that it houses and in the literal sense. I always get lost. Normally, that is the type of thing that would frustrate me, but not there. I always look in wonder at my new surroundings and enjoy every minute of it.

Whenever I venture to the museum I have to visit the Egyptian temple, Monet and Degas (I love Degas), but the place that I spend the most time in is a result of one of my happy accidents. A few years ago, I stumbled upon a staircase, a beautiful hand carved staircase that sits on the first floor between European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and the American Wing, from Cassiobury House in Hertfordshire, dating back to the late 1600s. It’s breathtaking, and although that is by far my favorite piece, it is not my favorite section. It is from there, however, that I discovered the period rooms in the American Wing and truly fell in love. You walk through rooms from the late 1600s to early 1900s and see beautiful furnishings, amazing chandeliers….It brings you back to a different time where great care was taken into the production of rooms and houses and possessions. Even the floors in this section are old, hardwood and creak under your feet. Aside from the beautiful interiors, I love the period rooms because they’re quiet, never crowded and truly feel like home. No matter what mood I’m in, they give me an inner peace that I rarely find elsewhere. It’s the most special place in the Met to me. In it, time stands still. Where are your special places?

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Meeting Diane Keaton

Last week, I attended the book launch for Diane Keaton’s new memoir, Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, published by Random House, along with my friend Mei. The event was held at Barnes & Noble’s Union Square location and free with the purchase of her book (as most events held at B&N are), and there was a significant turnout.

There are few celebrities that I would get excited to meet (Julia Roberts, the original cast of 90210), and even fewer that I would purchase a memoir from (same answer), then there’s Diane Keaton. Having grown up watching many of her movies (okay, I must admit that I have yet to see The Godfather), and being of the opinion that she is an amazing actress, one of the greats, because, well, she is, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to not only see her in person, but actually meet her. And, it was awesome.

Before she even got to the stage and was announced, I saw her walking towards us. My friend and I had seats that were pretty close to the stage, but were asked to move last minute to make room for others and had chairs brought up to us on the side lines. This kind of obstructed our view a bit, but turned out to be the best move because when they started forming lines based on rows for Diane to sign her book, I ended up being the first one up there.

Diane Keaton was funny, smart and most of all, really sweet. And, while I hadn’t originally planned on doing anything with her book other than getting it signed, I might crack it open after all. Oh, and she had a black and white plaid mani of which I complimented her on.

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