Friday, 30 April 2010

Inspiration: Irving Penn

Inspiration: Paris Walks 3

These last 2 Photos were a shop that I passed in Montmarte. Among the other bustling vendors there was something so tragic and at the same time beautiful about this burnt out building. The smell was overwhelming and the stillness was enveloping.

Inspiration: Paris Walks 2

Inspiration: Paris Walks 1

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Paris Shops: Mercy, Merci!

Prepare to feast you eyes on the beautiful Merci!

You can find this marvel of a shop in the 3rd Arr. @ number 111 on
just at the corner of Rue Du Pont Choux

So here's the story behind this fantastic place they call Merci as I heard it. Ah hem. So, basically the daughter of the family owned Bonpoint sold the business and with that money opened up this fabulous Boutique! In a desire to "give back" all of Merci's proceeds go to charity (except for what it takes to upkeep and run it I would assume). Which should help to ease the guilt you may experience due to to the inevitable damage you will do to your wallet here! This ain't your average charity shop. Merci carries top designers such as: Vanessa Bruno, Isabel Marant, YSL, and APC... to name a few. There are 3 floors of incredible (if not exactly fugal) shopping here including Women's, Men's and Children's apparel, a Home Store, a Flower Shop, a Parfumerie, Accessories, Shoes and Furniture. I know, I know it's kind of a wonderland!

My beautiful friend Lee (who was introducing me to this shop) arranged to meet me in the cafe on the first floor. Before we got down to business Lee had a cafe creme and I downed a mix of fresh fruit juice (yum!) to fuel up. Directly after we walked upstairs to scope things out. We immediately gravitated to the expansive women's clothing section (of course)!
Then I got distracted...Oh no, oh wait. What is this? It can't be. Don't let me do it! Don't let me touch it. If I touch it, I swear I may just go running out of here in a frantic fashion frenzy and not look back! Someone please, move me away from this rack!
Oh sheesh... I think we are going to have a problem here....
Jacket by Swilden (above)

I was also loving this line
and when I saw how they tagged their clothes
dress for dress, jacket for jacket, shirt for shirt. It just put me over the edge. Too sweet! I fell in love with this one!
among other things...

and then when I thought I couldn't possibly desire any more. Out of the corner of my eye I see this
I thought my super natural shopping powers were trying to tell me something. There's vintage in the gosh darn house people!

I wanted this
and this
again.... among other things....

The Home section is a dream
and we found these rolled up/rip off napkins and place mats to be so clever!

The children's section is packed with well, Bonpoint of course! A short little stroll through here had my empty womb calling out to me to go and get myself knocked up immediately! The clothes are just too adorable. Lee was asking if they had things in her size! I just started looking around for a potential baby daddy...

Every thing here is laid out and merchandised in such an appealing way. You really just want to wonder around, look and unfortunately for whomever is footing the bill, buy everything. Because there really isn't much you CAN'T buy at Merci! Including molded face masks?!
a selection from the parfumerie
gorgeously arranged little bundles from the flower shop
and some
Yeah sure, ok, why not? If you can wrap that up I'll take that too!

On the way out Lee spotted a little grill that you can attach to your car/terrace to BBQ outside (is that legal??) Hopefully we will give it a whirl and find out next week!
No matter what you're looking for stop by Merci! and Tell Them Taryn Sent You! Honk honk and Happy trails! Bisous.
~taryn xx

Dance à la Paris

My dancing feet getting ready to leave for class.

The other day I decided to take a dance class in Paris. In my former life I was a dancer. Now as a slightly clumsy adult I still love to take class for the pure joy of it. I hooked up with a girl I met through my friend and we headed over together. It was a wonderful day, we wandered around, stopped at a park, got lost and laughed through the whole debacle.

When we got to the studio I immediately loved the vibe. The sounds of different types of music from all over the world pouring out of every studio door. Peeking in to find people full of sweat dancing their little butts off. I just love the dance culture. It's not always this laid back and free but when it is it is electrifying! We initially were going to take an african dance class but by the time we arrived the only class that was available was a dance hall reggae class! I laughed and said "okay, why not I'll try it!" The class was starting right then so after I registered I just ripped off my skirt (I was wearing my leotard and tights underneath) and jumped in.

The class was too much fun. It was wild, at one point the teacher turned off all the lights and had a colored disco ball- like contraption going which made everyone feel like they were at a dance party! Hahaha It was so funny. I could not stop smiling the whole time if not openly laughing at myself in my little leotard and tights hitting these hard dance hall beats, not always exactly correctly I might add.

As I was leaving I thanked the teacher for a great class with a simple "Merçi Beaucoup!". He pulled me aside and began to speak to me in his perfect, fast and unfortunately indecipherable to me French. I excused myself and said in my not so perfect, slow and probably equally indecipherable French "Désolé, Je ne parle pas Français..." He looked at me with utter surprise and said in English "WHAT?? You don't speak French? How did you know what I was saying? How did you take corrections when I told you?" I again whipped out my sad and unfortunate French and said "Je ne parle pas Français Monsieur, mais Je parle Danse!" He laughed and gave me a wink and said "please come back again". I blushed and told him "Bien sûr"!

And that is the beauty of dance. I didn't really need to know what everyone was saying... I let my instincts take over and just kind of moved collectively with the music and the other dancers. It was a freeing and wonderful feeling and I can't wait to go back! and I will! Just as soon as my legs heal from their INSANE soreness.....

"Live, Love, Laugh and DANCE!!

Gros Bisous!
~taryn xx

Friday, 23 April 2010

Paris Packing: It's an Art Form

I find that when you travel it really makes you aware of the items in your wardrobe you value the most. Of course the clothing you pack depends on many variables including the weather in the destination you are traveling to, the feel of the place and what you will be doing there. But packing also reveals which garments you truly love. It asks the question "what can I NOT leave home with out" Your MUST haves for a trip. I feel like have gotten to a point where I know my wardrobe really well. My clothes and I, we're pretty tight. I definitely have a deeper connection with them than I have had with many of my ex boyfriends and in some ways more love and respect. Haha (sadly, I'm only slightly joking.) But I digress.....

I have definitely developed a uniform of sorts. In a way I think we all do. I spent years being bowled over by the newest trend and passing fad trying to wear them all until I realized that somethings simply don't suit me. I know that I am not much of a girly girl. A ruffle or a light pink makes me feel like a silly oaf and I hate anything with a kitten heel so much it makes my teeth hurt. Oh ugh even their name, terrible. I have widdled my jean collection down to about 5 pairs that love and I re buy them as they wear out. If I really love a cut I may buy 2 pairs at the same time. This is a trick I picked up from an old friend of mine who is definitely not one for pinching pennies and I admit that at first I thought it was superfluous and wasteful. Although if you know you really love something and have the means, it's a great idea especially with brands constantly changing cuts. JBrand jeans are definitely my all time favorites. And the essential little black dress? I've got about 6 with different cuts, lengths and fabrics. I've almost gotten to the point where I absolutely adore everything hanging in my closet.

So Paris! In the Spring! What does one pack?? My necessary objects were:
Joie Tank Tops
These have really become staples for me. They are the best material, the best cut for me and they go with everything. I had a similar shirt to them for years which was a vintage find. When it finally went caput, Joie started making these tanks (thank you oh gods of fashion). The Joie tanks are almost identical to my old trusty top and they now make them in a plethora of different colors and patterns. Many brands have since re made it ie: Club Monaco, Theory, Old Navy, Banana Republic and so on but I find Joie to be far superior. They are not exactly inexpensive starting at $108 and then moving upward in price depending on the pattern and length but these circulate in my wardrobe so often that I really feel they are worth it.
I brought 4 pairs of jeans for the month. Black skinnies, Grey skinnies with a zipper leg, Distressed Blue Baggie Boyfriend jeans and my dark Blue Straight/Wide legs. This gives me enough color/wash and shape variation to cover any outfit option.

Shoes I brought 6 pairs. Ok this may be a bit over indulgent to some, but a shoe and a jacket can really spice anything up so I like to have options. Here's what I packed:

Classic Chuck Taylors in white which I wear with mostly skirts and dresses to make them feel more casual and fun. High Heeled Lace ups Boots that I bought at Century 21 last year. I wear them on the plane as they would take up a lot of space were I to pack them and they slip on and off like a breeze so they are perfect for the inevitable "debooting" at security. Steve Madden Men's Inspired Woven Flats. I love them because they are completely comfortable and have a air of casual but can look quite put together. Brown Wedge Buckle Sandals from 9 west. My friend John John has a pretty graphic phrase to describe these little numbers. Let's just say, the boys definitely take notice when I am wearing 'em. High Heeled Black Booties again 9 west. They are sexy but practical and pretty basic. Lastly Simple Black Ballet Flats. Urban Outfitters has a great selection of perfectly shaped ballet flats. I love the ones which the material is similar to grosgrain ribbon and they come in basic black and cream as well as a bunch of beautiful jewel tones.

Then there are my Jackets and boy do I love a jacket.
My Paris Flea Market find

This is the hardest decision for me when packing. This trip I opted for: A
Vintage Yves Saint Laurent Black Blazer, my Vintage Army Green Short Sleeved Coat with a really cool cut that I bought at the flea market here in Paris during my last trip, a Nicole Farhi Black Swing Coat that I thrifted at the Portobello Market in London and a lined and Hooded Black Leather Jacket for the chillier nights.

As for my skivies and undergarments well you just mind your manners! But nothing took up too much room. I was all set for a month in Paris with one medium sized suitcase and a carry on. I find this to be a great feat. The best part is I knew I had all my essentials.

Oh and did I mention I packed an extra duffle bag to bring home some Paris pick'ens?

Gros Bisous! ~taryn xx

Thursday, 22 April 2010

À Paris!

I have the wonderful privilege of spending a month in Paris! I adore this city. I think of it as a quaint NY without subtitles. My french is shotty at best but somehow I manage to get by. I smile a lot and say many "Pardons" and "S'il Vous Plaîts".

Things I love about Paris:

The Cafe's: There's one on every block and not only can you, but it is absolutely acceptable to sit in one, all day if you so choose, whether you have a 5 course meal, or only order a coffee.

The Drinking Policy: No one even so much as gives you a second look if you have a glass of wine (or 2!) in the afternoon. This custom is not exclusive to tourists or people on vacation. The French often have wine with lunch and then head back to work. My kind of city.

The Women: French women are just sexy. I am not only talking about the young lolita types ie: Ludivine Sagnier (meow) but women well into their 60's and 70's are hot. They dress with such style, carry themselves with poise and have this overall air of beauty and confidence. Of course this is not indicative of all french women but I tell you, even the saucy street women have some of that "Je ne sais quoi".

The Food: The first time I ever came to Paris I remember being so tickled that people really do buy their bread fresh everyday and walk home nibbling their baguettes. Even the crepes from street vendors taste divine. Most important, things spoil! With out all the indecipherable chemicals and preservatives most things are quite fresh. You go to your local Fromagerie and Boucherie to buy things to be eaten that day or soon thereafter.

The Lay of the Land: I am staying in the 6th Arrondissement and parts of the Church on Saint Germain Boulevard have been there since the 6th Century. There is a true respect for historic architecture and culture here. Being from the United States where every time I return home something has been knocked down and rebuilt into something unrecognizable this is a welcoming rarity. Most buildings have amazing balconies spilling over with ivy and potted plants and every corner you turn there is a well cared for public garden/park. The colors here are beautiful as well. I often find myself walking around and becoming transfixed on the shade of blue on an apartment door or the subtle muted red of a random sign.

The People: Now I know I will get some crinkled noses at this one but, I simply adore the French! They're tough in a way I find understandable and even charming. It's true, they do make you work for their affections. In any shop/restaurant or tabac you must convey politeness and respect. With out it you get the cold shoulder but with a little genuine kindness and an attempt at the language (for me at this point it really is still just an attempt) they warm up like fondue. Being from NY I am used to this sort of attitude and you can call me a glutton for punishment but I love it!

The Language: Admit it every thing sounds better in French, it just does.

I have been here a little over a week and I find myself enjoying the most mundane things. Going to the grocery, buying the paper, sitting and having coffee. I feel like I am in a wonderfully romantic film. Granted I may be over romanticizing it a bit, but darn it I just can't help it, and it feels as though the city it self is encouraging me to do so.

I LOVE my NY. I miss it dearly and will be so happy to return home when it is time, but in the interim I am going to relish in this marvelous affair!

Sorry I've been away so long!

~taryn xx