Monday, October 29, 2012

Paris Recap

The final leg of my trip was a few days in Paris - a city that competes with New York for the #1 spot in my heart. I had a few days all to myself in the City of Light before a dear friend from London joined me in rounding out the holiday.

I couldn't have had a better time. Not my first trip, I had the luxury of skipping the usual suspects in favour of wandering through neighbourhoods with nary a purpose but to find some new shop to see or some nice thing to taste. 
Paying respects to legends at Pere Lachaise
Locking up my declaration of love on the Pont Des Arts
Strolling through Jardin du Luxembourg 
Morning walk through the 7th
RTT appears everywhere
A "little" souvenir
Coffee, croissants and company
Pretty buildings here...
...and here
Thanks to David Leibovitz and Chowhound, I ate really well, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Ispahans and macarons from Pierre Herme (6th)
  • More macarons from Laduree (multiple locations) and Hugo & Victor (6th) (though neither were as wonderful as those in PH)
  • Marshmallows from Pierre Marcolini (6th)
  • Chocolates from Patrick Roger (6th) and Jean Paul Hevin (1st)  
  • Berthillon ice cream (4th)
  • Gelato at Amorino (4th - multiple locations)
  • Top-notch espresso from Cafe Coutume (7th) and Terres De Cafe (3rd)
  • Chocolate chaud from Angelina (1st)
  • Croissants and baguettes from Poilane (6th), Maison Kayser (multiple locations) and Pain De Sucre (3rd)
  • Gourmet groceries at Le Grand Epicerie de Paris (7th) 
  • Cheese from Fromagerie Quartrehomme (down the street from Le Grand Epicerie) (7th)
  • Tea from Mariage Freres (4th)
  • L'as du Falafels for its namesakes (4th)
  • Chez L'ami Jean for an unforgettable lunch (the rice pudding! the charming chef!) (7th); and
  • Agape Substance for the best meal one can have in Paris (6th)
Did I mention I was there for less than a week? Eeep! 

Hurricanes and Tulle

Having lived in South East Asia and Oceania, prolonged thunderstorms and resulting floods were the extent of adverse weather conditions I was used to. 

In the couple of years I have lived in New York, we've had a mini earthquake, debilitating snow storms, and now the second hurricane in as many years. There must be some silly joke I am not in on. 
We spent Saturday running errands and stocking up on essentials - mostly perishables like vegetables, eggs, milk etc - which in hindsight is probably unwise should the electricity go off. Though at the rate we are eating through our supplies, there won't be much left if at all the power goes, oops!  
At this point the storm has yet to land here yet pre-emptive subway shutdowns mean both S and I are working from home today. Besides that, we are looking forward to finishing off Homeland (we got through nearly all of Season 1 yesterday!). House arrest = eating + good tv = bliss! 
Gap sweater, Zara tulle skirt (simsimsim), J Crew necklace, (sim) Target booties (LOVE THESE - also they are real, not faux, suede), Hermes and Cartier bangles
While the worst has yet to arrive, here's hoping the hurricane ends up as nothing but a storm in a teacup! Stay safe and dry, East Coasters!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Highlights

While I may not be a fan of the cool change that has all but arrived (if I had my druthers it would be summer all year round), life has been pretty fun lately. Here are a few highlights:  

#1: A couple of weeks ago, Thea and I attended the celebratory party for Tracy Reese and Timo Weiland's collaboration with Anthropologie. 
It was delightful to meet the brains behind the pretty frocks and Ms Reese is as lovely as they come. It was inspiring to hear her talk about how her relationship with Anthropologie began, her pattern-design process and the future plans she has for her brands. Thea wrote a great recap here.

Before I left, I tried on one of Timo Weiland's dresses from his new collection:

I DID NOT WANT TO TAKE IT OFF. The dress is very Downton Abbey and I have wishlisted it very hard. 

#2: The new Barclays Centre in Brooklyn opened ceremoniously with a series of concerts by Jay Z. We are HUGE fans of Mr. Carter, so we headed out to the new home of the Brooklyn Nets for a mid-week show.

While the performance itself wasn't as great as some of his other shows we've been to, it was pretty awesome to see a local Brooklyn boy making it big on home ground. The venue itself is pretty shiny - with vendors like Fatty Cue and Calexico (and hallelujah, bathrooms every 100m!). I am looking forward to many more concerts here (Gaga 2013 woot!) 

#3 - After a brief break, I renewed my subscription to the 2012-2013 season of the New York City Ballet. The most recent performance I went to was brilliant - under the theme of 21st Century, the repertory that day comprised of Two Hearts, Year of the Rabbit and Les Carillons

Out of all, I was most impressed by Two Hearts, choreographed by Benjamin Millepied (aka Mr Natalie Portman).  The routine was modern and very playful, yet it stuck true to what I consider to be classical ideas of ballet.  
This modern-traditional swing extended to the black and white, geometrically-patterned costumes designed by the Mulleavy sisters.  If the skirts were more opaque I would wear them out in a heartbeat! 

Outfit details: #1: Anthropologie Allnighter Dress, Roberto Cavalli belt, Padini Malaysia clutch; #2: Zara polka-dot top (sim), DL1961 denim

Monday, October 15, 2012

Biarritz Glitz

A short bus ride from San Sebastian across the French border is Biarritz. My flight into Paris was out of the airport there so my friend, HW and I decided to make a mini trip of it. 

We arrived in the glitzy beach town a little after noon on a sunny day - and hightailed to the beach which was a few minutes walk from our hotel.
Biarritz has beautiful beaches. This one was unfortunately one of those beaches where the sand felt like teeny tiny pebbles - not ideal - but as I was in cashmere earlier that morning I was not one to complain. The water was frigid though - I am in awe of the few who dared to jump in.
The town is really pretty but we skipped it in favour of catching the sunset off the Bay of Biscay:

As cliched as it sounds, HW and I gushed and hugged over this beautiful sight. We would continue to celebrate our decade-old friendship over lots of wine and galettes later that evening.  

Outfit: Anthropologie Draped Pocket Tee, Theodora & Callum scarf (sim), Marni sunglasses (sim)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

San Sebastian Sights

(This is a continuation of my Fall European holiday recap. You can read previous posts here and here)

After the wedding, I spent a couple more days hanging around San Sebastian. One of the first things we did was to hit the beach. The weather was cool, and alas not warm enough for me to hit the water unlike the locals!

These are the beaches of La Concha and Ondarreta - a family-friendly strip, known not for its surf waves (For that, you have to hit Gros):

We kept walking along the beach line until we arrived at the foot of Monte Igueldo, where you ride the funicular to this view:

Such a pity that Montaña Suiza, a roller-coaster built in 1928 was not open that day. This is what we would have seen:
via - click here for a cool video from the front seat of the ride

As we forgot to see the famous Combs of the Wind that day, sight-seeing continued the next morning - a day much drearier than the last.

The Combs are sculptures are by San Sebastian-born artist, Eduardo Chillida - which he had anchored to the rock right by the ocean. For reference, each sculpture is about 2 metres tall and weigh 13 tonnes!

Next to the Combs are works by another artist, Luis Pena Ganchegui:

Ganchegui designed these breather holes to spray out salt water when there is a swell. Pity the tide was low on our visit. Oh and the island just beyond the cobblestones is the same turtle-shaped one that you can see from the vantage picture 7 images up. On a day like this, the water is so shallow that one can actually "walk" over to the island (hopefully making it back before the tide rose)!
Outfit details:
Day 1 - Anthropologie Frosted Boucle Pullover (sim) and necklace (sim), Gap tank, DL1961 denim, My Ferragamo ballet flats, DKNY crossbody (sim), Marni sunglasses (sim)

Day 2 (aka brrrrrrr) - Anthropologie leather jacket (sim and sim), Theodora & Callum scarf (sim), J Crew striped cashmere

Up next: Biarritz and Paris!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Favourite

I wasn't planning on posting a Friday Favourite today since I have found it very detrimental to the shopping hiatus I am on. 

Case in point: after extolling the virtues of the items on last week's Friday Favourite, I convinced myself and prompty purchased the Minnie's and BOTH Target boots. The only reason I didn't order the Zara jacket is because it is yet to come back in stock online *facepalm*. At least I can't say I don't believe in what I write

Anyhoo I wore this outfit today and I was surprised at how well-liked it was at work: 

J Crew sweater (sim and sim), Ann Taylor skirtJ Crew Valentina pumps (simsim and sim), Hermes Kelly Double Tour Bracelet
I bought mine a couple of months back so I poked around the Ann Taylor site on behalf of eager co-workers to check if it had popped back in stock. Lo and behold - ALL SIZES AVAILABLE. Not wanting to keep this find to myself, plus it would do me some good to only shop vicariously, I bring you this: 
Ann Taylor Flounce Skirt
I love love love how flattering it is. Don't be mortified at the how short it looks on the product page (Sidenote: do you read this? HILARIOUS). The slight stretch allows me to wear mine on my hips to be at an acceptable length for work; and don it on my waist for a weekend look (and still not be a candidate for that aforementioned website). The sturdy, solid cotton is a big win in my books too as I like things that look heaps more expensive that they actually are. 

For $50 (this weekend only), I say YES to the flounce and YES to another Friday Favourite!

Happy Columbus Day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Basque Wedding

I hope you enjoyed my previous post on Akelaŕe as it was a delight to recap my extravagant and wonderful meal. Now the main reason I was in San Sebastian was to celebrate the wedding of a very dear friend, TTL to her lovely man, X.

The wedding started at noon on a sunny Saturday with a beautiful exchanging of vows, entirely in Spanish. I didn't need to understand the words to know how much love was being conveyed. Oh and it is tradition for the bride to ascend a flight of stairs to meet her groom. This is TTL (in Vera Wang) making her way up the first of many steps:  
After the ceremony, we congratulated the beautiful couple over glasses of champagne and jamon. We were in Spain after all.
  We were also serenaded by a string quartet. 
We then moved on to the reception venue, right by the Bay of Biscay, where there were hors d'oeuvres and more champagne (and beer) in the sunshine.

It was at this point that I decided to take obligatory outfit photos: 

It is also basque tradition to wear cocktail-length dresses with a headpiece at weddings. Naturally I obliged. 
Anthropologie dress and jeweled belt, BHLDN headband, Miu Miu sandals (sim), Alexis Bittar earrings, Padini Malaysia clutch

I also noted how attractive Donostians are:

Apart from these dapper gentlemen, not photographed are the lovely boys of San Sebastian, who were all similarly decked in slim white shirts beneath their dark suits (very nice!)

We then moved on indoors to a 7(!!)-course lunch. 

I didn't wear a watch so I can only assume we finished eating at around 3. Which is when the party began. We danced and danced till way past midnight - which by my estimate is almost 9 hours of non-stop dancing. As most weddings go, the partying continued after we left the wedding venue at the after-party.

Pretty white lace ballerina flats the girls changed into to relieve sore feet!

I have many many photos of the evening as it progressed though there are too few that are fit to be published on a public blog ;)

It was truly a wonderful celebration in a beautiful setting and I wish TTL and X so much love and happiness together! 

I will leave with you the following song which became the anthem of the trip. I first danced to this at the wedding but then kept hearing it throughout, even in Paris! Enjoy!