Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I've been reading a charming book by Debra Ollivier called Entre Nous (which means "between us" in French). The book chronicles her decade spent in France after she (a Californian) married a Frenchman and made the enviable trek to Paris. She writes casually but with authority and has managed to explain some of the things that have always intrigued me about French women: their style, their relationships, their ability to enjoy dessert without guilt...
When I think of French pastries I envision Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst lounging among tiered confections and fresh berries. She looks like a lovely dessert herself.
French desserts
I've seen a lot of french macaroons lately—I take them to be the new cupcakes as far as trendy baked goods are concerned. There's one French patisserie in particular that serves lovely macaroons (and is responsible for that glorious mint green cake above). Laduree offers a wide variety of flavors (like orange bloom, chocolate with lime and mango with jasmine) pictured in this darling illustration.
macaroons from laduree
These desserts are so elegant and understated from blogger Sooishi. Wouldn't you love to pour yourself a cup of coffee and bite into that crispy meringue? Or slice into that rhubarb pavlova? I was unfamiliar with pavlova but apparently the base is a meringue which is then topped with whipped cream and rhubarb resulting in a crisp outer shell and an interior similar to marshmallow. Sounds heavenly!
Of course it's not all whipped sugar and decadent cakes. The French often eat an elaborate cheese plate as the finale to a three-hour long evening meal or will end with a flaky tart topped with fruit fresh from the local market or maybe a puff pastry with creme and raspberries.
French Dessert
Whatever you're indulging in, be sure to compliment with a glass of le vin. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

J'Adore Dior

You can't really talk about modern women's fashion without mentioning the fabulous (and french) Christian Dior. His post World War II designs rocked the fashion industry and changed the standard for women's couture fashion. I won't go into his biography (because honestly this does a really great job and I'd rather show you pictures) but I will say that he led an incredibly influential life in the short time that he lived. He was only 52 when he died and had only been creating his own line for a decade. To the best of my knowledge, all of the following designs were created for the House of Dior before Christian's death. I do this simply to pay homage to the man himself and not just his label. This first set of pictures is from Life magazine and show him in his studio as well as some lovely ladies modeling his creations.
Dior from Life magazine
The following dresses were offered on various vintage retail sites. Can you imagine actually being able to afford an original Christian Dior dress?! A girl can dream right? Not only of the cash to purchase one of these gorgeous dresses but of the 18" waist it would've taken to squeeze into it. Regardless, these three dresses are definitely worth fantasizing about. The natural elegance of the early 1950's strapless dress is breathtaking, the draping on the sweetheart bodice of the 1952 gown is stunning, and I absolutely adore the whimsy of the fringed, tiered cocktail dress from the 1950's.
Dior dresses
These beauties are from a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Can you believe the beading on the ball gown on the right? It's absolutely amazing - I can only imagine how stunning it would've been on an elegant french model!
Dior from the Met
And although these two dresses are a little more casual, they are still incredibly elegant and beautiful.
Dior from the Met
Since I'm a graphic designer and a lover of paper, I couldn't leave this post without some gorgeous, hand-drawn advertisements for Dior. Aren't they completely charming?
Christian Dior Advertisements
A heartfelt "merci" to the lovely designer and his beautiful designs.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Paris Interiors

One thing I've always really admired about French interiors is their ability to successfully marry historic and modern. They live in their antiques, not just with them. They also have a great sense of whimsy and color. I particularly love how elegant and bohemian these apartments are.
Paris Interiors 2
Paris Interiors 1
And I adore the bold, bright colors in these two apartments.
Paris Interiors 3
Ines de la Fressange's Apartment
All of these pictures can be found in the Taschen book "New Paris Interiors"; except the lovely pink apartment which is from The Selby. C'est magnifique!

I Love Paris in the Springtime

It's going to be really nice here this week so I think it's finely ok to get emotionally attached to Spring. The midwest is notorious for teasing us with warmth and then spitting snow on our prematurely flip-flopped feet; but it's practically Easter so I'm embracing the sun and turning my thoughts to Spring. What better way to celebrate than to visit Paris? Even in the dead of winter, Paris is somehow ethereal and lovely, which is why I'm starting with some fashion shots of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) when she moved to Paris for a brief period at the end of Sex and the City, Season 6. Carrie is always fabulous, but something about her fashion while in Paris really charmed me. You can see why from these fashion shots...
Carrie in Paris
And from these screen captures. I particularly love the shot of her in front of the patisserie and her gorgeous red umbrella outside of Dior. Oui, oui!
Carrie Bradshaw in Paris
Au revoir!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Ok, truth be told I don't own a single hat. I have a big head, no seriously - my head is huge. I've never been able to find a hat that looks good or that I'm comfortable wearing. But I dream of hats. Like these lovelies from hatter Leigh Magar. I was introduced to Leigh through Country Living Magazines Women Entrepreneurs Conference last year in Chicago. She is such a creative and inspiring woman based in South Carolina. Next time you're there, make an appointment and get yourself a hat.
Leigh Magar, Hatmaker!
Leigh (the dear hatmaker) is pictured in the top left (from her shoot with Country Living) and the rest of these photos are from her gallery. In separate news, isn't his green polkadot scarf fabulous? Cutie pie!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I Heart NPR

If the radio is on, it's tuned to National Public Radio. I love Morning Edition and the World Cafe and Science Friday, but what I really, really love is the weekend programming. Car Talk is fantastic on my way to work on Saturday morning - and if I'm getting a particularly late start I catch the first half of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. I usually miss This American Life but am an avid podcast listener to make up for it. I've never gotten into their website much, but on a recommendation from A Cup of Jo I ended up over there this morning.
You know I'm a sucker for nostalgia (see my census post a little over a week ago), so this gallery on the jobs of yesteryear was right up my alley. Head over there to read the whole thing. And take a look around why don't you?
Jobs of Yesteryear
(All images from Getty) From top left: typist in a typist pool (1955); typesetter (1947); (second row) lector (1909) and pinsetter (1910). The lector was very interesting to me and one I wasn't familiar with. Apparently cigar makers in New York and Miami would contribute money to pay someone to read to them while they worked—mostly left of center newspaper articles or political papers. This originated in Cuba where it still happens. Awesome, right? Awesome. You can also hear people talking about these jobs—some of which actually filled the positions. Again, awesome. Good weekend all!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I am, however, lovely

It's nearly time for the Farmer's Markets near me to start up again. Thankfully. This last cold spell has really annoyed me, but at least the sun is out and it stays out until past 7! Glorious! That said, it's time to think about how I'm going to trek all of my fresh produce and baked goods and flowers home from the market. How about one of these cotton bags from Anya Hindmarch? Yes, please. I particularly love the market bag.
Anya Hindmarch totes

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Amy Lind

Amy Lind graduated from my alma mater (the Savannah College of Art and Design) just a few years ago but she has already made quite a name for herself within the art community. Obviously. Her talent is undeniable. She captures light and emotion so beautifully. I'm amazed by talent of every type but I have a soft spot for oil painters. It's just so rich and yet so delicate and lovely.
Amy Lind
Amy Lind

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Join me, won't you?

Just a simple, lovely photo from Flickr user tompalumbo. Isn't it nice that she's looking down at a glass of wine and not a text message? Those were the days.
Tompalumbo's photo

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sick Day

I'm definitely a coffee drinker, but whenever I get the sniffles nothing soothes like a cup of tea. In honor of my runny nose I thought I'd share some lovely tea goodies.
Sick Day
The sweet heart sugar bowl is from Nina Campbell. The hilarious mustached mugs are also available in a rainbow of colors from Etsy seller, Uptown Avenue. The beautiful tea packaging is from Damn Fine Tea and Jean Jullien. The lovely screen printed poster offers a soothing reminder. And although I'm probably not going to risk this necklace strangling me while I nap, it is quite beautiful with it's cup and teapot charms and it's vintage patina. Stay healthy my friends!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Irina Graewe Interiors + Styling

I can't remember which of the beautiful blogs that I follow first introduced me to Irina, but it was a few months ago. And you should absolutely be familiar with her as well. Her background is in fashion tailoring, interiors and design and she works mainly in England and Germany. Her aesthetic is whimsical and charming and she's excellent at mixing modern and historic. She also has a great talent for texture.
Irina Graewe syling
Irina Graewe syling
Irina Graewe syling
Her styling is gorgeous! These fairytale inspired shoots are completely charming.
Irina Graewe syling
Irina Graewe syling
The red in this set is gorgeous!
Irina Graewe syling
Grab a cup of tea and take a look at the rest of her portfolio.
Irina Graewe syling

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Enjoy! Cupcakes!

I love cupcakes! I love vintage trailers! I'm positive that I would love cupcakes in a trailer. Especially in the sunshine of a magical place called Santa Ynez Valley, California. Enjoy Cupcakes is a family-owned bakery that has a lovely little shop as well as this charming catering trailer. The menu sounds amazing: chocolate salted caramel, banana lemon cream, plum black mangoe, cranberry orange clove to name a few. Check out this sweet video and be inspired.
Cupcake Trailer!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Products, Well-Designed

Now. I don't claim to be a chef but I do claim to be a designer and I'm definitely a sucker for good package design. And Jamie Oliver (or as I like to think of him: the Naked Chef) has himself some well-designed food products. I haven't seen them state-side, but if you've got some pounds lying around you'd be hard pressed to find something more lovely to spend them on.
Jamie Oliver food
If you want to see more of Jamie and his products, click here. Also, be sure to tune into his new show on ABC where he's going to attempt to turn around the poor eating habits of "the unhealthiest city in America" (Huntington, West Virginia). To see a little video where he quizzes children on fresh food identification, click here. "Egg salad" is hilarious and awful (although to be fair, eggplant isn't exactly recognizable once it's been cooked). I think the show will be worth the hour spent.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In the Studio with Connie

You'd be surprised by how many Connie Francis songs you know: "Stupid Cupid", "Who's Sorry Now", "Lipstick on your Collar"... oh and, of course, "Where the Boys Are". Surprised? Well, maybe not, but you'd recognize it if you heard it. Her voice is soft and smooth and full of that atomic sensuality we all love. Think leopard print bikini (with an incredibly high bikini bottom) and a brunette bob and you've got Ms. Francis. One of the best things about her is that she had paper dolls fashioned after her! How fabulous do you have to be to have paper dolls created in your honor? Pretty darn fabulous. And the lovely lady has one amazing wardrobe!
Connie Francis Paperdolls
Connie Clothes
There are even a few more pages of clothes you wish you had. Visit here to see them. Fingers crossed that I'll one day be a big enough deal that I'll get paper dolls made in my likeness. Or if not, that I'll at the very least be able to find that belted red dress in my size!

Lovely, Eh?

Julie Morstad's illustrations are surreal and often a little creepy, but always full of subdued fantasy. She obviously uses her imagination and forces you to use yours, which is basically all I need to be wooed by an artist. Her website has a delightful mix of pencil drawings, paintings and collage work and you should definitely check it out. She's also illustrated a handful of books.
Julie Morstad 2

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Be Counted!

I got my census in the mail yesterday! I hope you're as excited as I am to fulfill your patriotic duty! Let's be honest with each other, I don't exactly know what the census is used for, but I do know I'm excited to be counted. This opportunity only comes around once every ten years you know! And as the envelope states, it's actually illegal not to fill it out. So you better do it! I stumbled across these lovely snapshots of the 1940 Census in Indiana. I'm a sucker for nostalgia.
March 1940 Census - Indiana
Photos from Life magazine

Magic Bean(s)

I don't get as many catalogs as I used to. Which is a horribly sad thing because I adore them. I love the smooth pages and the fake situations and the possibility that I might actually have enough money one of these days to make a purchase. That said, whenever I do see a hint of glossy goodness sticking out from under the pile of bills I get very excited. Yesterday I got something that surprised me. Not because of what it was (LL Bean) but because of what it had inside of it. LL Bean has launched something they're calling their "signature collection" and it's really quite nice. I don't mean to put down the Bean, but the name conjures up lime green polo shirts and yellow khaki skirts with flower appliques and this is so not that. See...
New Signature Collection from LL Bean
Quite nice right? And prices aren't awful. I won't be buying that darling belted twill jacket (in "deepest navy") anytime soon, but I do realize that it's a steal at only $99. And if I ever needed to stand in a parking lot, near an "ice" machine looking a little pissed but still lovely, I wouldn't mind spending $213 ($49 shirt, $65 skirt, $99 heel). The designer/creative director is a gentleman named Alex Carleton who's designed for Abercrombie and Polo Ralph Lauren and is quite handsome (tattooed, bearded, work booted...). I'm really looking forward to the next issue!
*Fun Fact* L.L. Bean is short for Leon Leonwood Bean. Now that's a name!