Monday, November 23, 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pierre Herme: Best Macarons in the World

We ate lots of delicious macarons in Paris, but the clear winner was Pierre Herme. The filling was so intensely vibrant and varied, plus everything was so pretty.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Paris Shopping Sneak Peek

My most treasured Paris purchase coming up...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Europe with a Toddler Part I: Sightseeing

Just got back from a wonderful two week trip with little k, K and my parents. I loved traveling with a toddler, I think that 3 is the perfect age to travel and we had so much fun sightseeing and eating our way through Europe. It was so wonderful seeing Europe through her eyes and it was a trip we'll never forget. She slept well on the redeye flight out, had zero jetlag while we were there, ate like a champ and was overall in great spirits through the entire trip. A few key things that I think made the trip a success: 1) spending almost the entire first week in one place, 2) picking one big sightseeing activity a day and allowing time in the afternoon to nap / rest, 3) renting an apartment with a kitchen and enough space for everyone, 4) a mixture of casual dinners and more formal reservation required places, 5) hanging out with other kids of a similar age, 6) reading books about Paris / London with the major landmarks, such as Madeleine, Everybody Bonjours and This is Paris, 7) flying business class with lie flat seats really helped with the sleep on the redeye. Here's our itinerary, which I think worked out really well:

Day 1 in Paris: a morning visit to Jardin des Plantes. We really loved the menagerie inside Jardin Des Plantes, one of the oldest zoos in the world; you could really get close to the animals, and it was a really walkable, toddler friendly place. In the afternoon, we visited Notre Dame. We didn't have time to go inside because of an early dinner reservation, but had a lot of fun running around the outside. Notre Dame was one of the major landmarks little k was familiar with from her books that we read before the trip. We also wanted to do Saint Chapelle, but didn't feel like paying the admission fee so early in the day.
 Day 2 in Paris: a little shopping in St. Germain Des Pres (celine) and then walked to the Louvre. Note for future visit: the Louvre is closed on Tuesday, but that means that it was pretty empty out front, and the kids had so much fun running around the pyramids. Then we let them run around the Jardin Palais Royale and picnicked around the fountain with some sandwiches from a nearby restaurant on Rue Richelieu.
Day 3 in Paris: visited the Eiffel Tower, which was probably the place little k was most excited about visiting. Note for future visit: book tickets for the elevators to go up as early as possible. Tickets were all sold out for both levels when I checked a few days before. The lines were quite long and we didn't have the time to wait, so just had fun running around the grass in the parks surrounding the Eiffel Tower. Also enjoyed watching a bit of the French Open on a big screen right in front of the Eiffel Tower. In the afternoon, we went for a walk in the beautiful Jardin Luxembourg which was only a half a block from our apartment on Rue de L'Odeon.
Day 4 in Paris: visited the children's playground in Jardin Luxembourg. Definitely worth the admission price to the playground, little k had fun trying all the various structures and particularly enjoyed the climbing structures. Really great park filled with locals and tourists alike. In the afternoon, we planned to take one of the Seine boat tours, the Bateaux Mouches / Bateaux Parisien from Notre Dame, but the schedules didn't work out so we just took the Batobus, which is an on / off boat that goes around the Seine. For future visit I would definitely check boat schedules ahead of time. The Batobus took a little too long and didn't have a tour guide.
Day 5 in Paris: had a family wedding ceremony at the local municipal office in the morning and visited the Louvre in the afternoon. little K was very excited to see the Mona Lisa, which was in pretty much all of her Paris books. For the future I would definitely book advance tickets to avoid the long line, but we wanted to keep a fluid schedule without too many firm commitments.

Day 6: rented a car from Gare du Nord to attend a family wedding at Chateau D'Aveny in Dampsmesnils, about an hour north of Paris
Day 7: Celebrated little k's third birthday in Giverny in Monet's garden, where she loved walking amongst the pathways lined with beautiful flowers as tall as she was, and also along the ponds with water lilies from some of my favorite Monet paintings. Also visited the impressionist museum nearby which was having a special Degas exhibition, featuring little k's favorite ballerinas.
Day 8: explored Amboise, which was our home base for our three days in the valley. Stayed in le Cardinale, an apartment in the heart of the little town. The chateau in Amboise had a large outdoor courtyard gardens on the top with views over the town and river. Plenty of space to run around in, and we also explored the indoor spaces including the chapel where Leonardo Da Vinci was buried and some of the living quarters. We also visited Clos Luce, Da Vinci's home and where he died. Little k enjoyed running around his gardens, but also looking at his various inventions inside his home.
Day 9: visited Chenonceau chateau, which is a stunning castle built on a bridge over the river. We enjoyed walking around the large beautifully manicured gardens outside with lovely views of the castle, as well as the interior of the castle as well. If I were to live in a castle, I would love for it to look like Chenonceau.
Day 10: travel day 2 London. Our longest and most exhausting travel day, with a three hour drive back to Gare du Nord in Paris, followed by the 2.5 hr Eurostar train ride to London. Note for future: definitely arrive at train station at least an hour ahead of the train as there is security and customs to clear before boarding the train. We literally made the train as it was pulling away from the station.
Day 11: explore London, visited Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Building, Buckingham Palace, Green Park in the morning. We didn't go inside anywhere as we had limited time in London but enjoyed seeing the major landmarks which were in our books. In the afternoon, visited the Princess Diana playground in Hyde Park, which is a wonderful park with a lots of different play areas, plus an old carousel right outside.
Day 12: visited the Natural History Museum. Little k really enjoyed the bug exhibit. The dinosaur exhibit was cool, but really packed and stuffy. Walked through the Victoria and Albert Museum and bought tickets for a later visit to the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty Exhibit.  We were lucky to be staying in a flat a block away from all the museums and it's so nice that all the museums were free admission so you could come and go as it suited. While little K was napping, my mom and I returned to view the Savage Beauty exhibit which was stunning. Alexander McQueen was such an incredible talent and there were so many exquisite and striking pieces. The exhibit was so well laid out and just a marvel to see.

Day 13: return home, tired but full of happy memories.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Childhood Relics: Birkenstocks & Fanny Packs

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I remember first wanting a pair of birkenstocks in the 90's. As a teenager, I could never afford a pair, but now, a few decades later, I finally have my first pair: the Arizona in mocha suede (narrow, with the soft footbed). I love them, it's just like walking on a very supportive yet cushy cloud. It will be hard to go back to flip flops. Another relic: the fanny pack. I'll admit, I have a Lululemon one that I use all the time when riding my bike, walking the dogs, going to Disneyland. This Clare Vivier for Other Stories one is just a dressed up version. Worn with my new but old (ss '13) Isabel Marant Aidan shorts from Yoox. I love Isabel Marant shorts / skorts, and this pretty white studded pair is perfect for summer. It's been in the 80's over here, crazy.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Son of a Gun

Isabel Marant Aidan shorts, Helmut Lang T, Arizona Birkenstocks, Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, Chanel necklace and Hermes watch
Had a really great meal at Son of a Gun on Friday. Other than sushi, seafood is usually not my first choice for a meal, but meat-free Fridays this time of year forces me out of my comfort zone, which I always end up appreciated. Highlights included the hamachi, linguini with clams and uni sauce, the uni burrata and grilled octopus salad. Such bold, fresh, tasty flavors. Getting really excited for our meal at Trois Mecs next week...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring Forward

Isabel Marant Etoile Vicky Blouse and Salome Shorts, Swedish Hasbeens x H&M clogs
It sure does feel like spring over here with temps in the 80's. I picked up this new season Isabel Marant Etoile blouse last week. It's gauzy soft and casual with lovely embroidery detail. Goes well with my shorts from a few seasons ago. Perfect for LA as well my upcoming European travel in a few months.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Shutters Staycation

Isabel Marant Samuel sweater, lululemon leggings
I've never believed in staycations before but I am a new convert after this week. I went with K on a work retreat, sans toddler, to Shutters on the Beach. First time staying at Shutters since getting married there many many years ago. It was a very relaxing couple days with lots of massages, beach time, bike rides along the sand, and good meals. Even had time to read two issues of the NY Times cover to cover as well as the entire March issue of Vogue, luxuries I never have time for at home. I highly recommend a staycation for a recharge of the batteries.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Resort at Home

Malia Mills tunic top and swimwear
It's so nice to not have to even leave the house to bust out resort wear. It feels like vacation today; with temps in the 80's, we had a little picnic lunch in the front yard. Perfect timing as I have just rehauled my resort / swimwear wardrobe. After having a kid, my old swimsuits just don't seem to fit the same, nor do they feel appropriate for running around after a toddler. Earlier in the week, I happened to be at the Brentwood Country Mart to mail a package (and to stop for a scoop of Sweet Rose Creamery ice cream), when I noticed the "sale" sign on the Malia Mills store. Encouraged by the warm weather, I decided to check it out. Definitely stepped out of my normal swimsuit comfort zone and experimented with some new styles, including high waisted bottoms and a slightly retro tankini, but also picked up some conventional pieces, so will be able to mix and match depending on my mood (and how much I've eaten for lunch). Paid full price for one of the tops, but everything else was significantly discounted. One tip about swimwear shopping is that you have to try the pieces on. I tried on pretty much all the styles in the store before deciding on the four pieces that I picked out; the others simple didn't fit / were not flattering at all, no matter how they looked on the hanger.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Isabel Marant Boots Obsession Continues

I am obsessed with Isabel Marant shoes in general, but in particular her boots. I have a pair for every occasion: Dickers (2), Prescotts, Dewars, fringe boots and now my latest, the Nowles snow boots. I just love her boots, they can be dressed up or down, they are of a flattering yet comfortable height and pretty much all that I wear all winter long. The Nowles snow boots may be a bit overkill for Southern California (as it was in the 70's today) but I still wore my new Nowles, to the beach no less. My justification for the purchase was that we have an upcoming Mammoth trip, but I'm secretly just excited to wear them around LA. They are so fuzzy warm and comfortable, somewhat ugly cute, and I of course love the hidden wedge for that extra boost. Perfection with leggings or skinny jeans.  I got them for an amazing deal, for more than 80% off, even thought they are still full price at most retailers, so well worth it I think...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year, New Clothes, New Hair

Isabel Marant Samuel Sweater and cords, Isabel Marant x H&M boots, Alexander Wang x H&M backpack and sunglasses
It's not saying much considering my recent splurges on Hermes, Chanel etc, but this Isabel Marant Samuel knit is the only piece of clothing that I've bought this winter (since Alexander Wang x H&M). Usually I buy several pieces of Isabel Marant mainline / Etoile every season but fortunately this winter, there wasn't really anything on my must have list. I'm definitely more into her spring / summer clothes, given that I live in LA, and I still love and wear a ton the knits from a few seasons ago as well as the H&M collection. I do love this oversized Samuel sweater, it's one of her signature looks from the runway and I find the cream and bold wave graphic to be a refreshing pop amidst the usual dreary winter hues. Especially on second markdown from Barneys, it was a great score. Worn with a pair of her patchwork cords from several seasons ago, the fringe boots from the H&M collaboration, as well as some Alexander Wang x H&M: the leather backpack (that is actually K's christmas gift) and sunglasses.
Chopped off all my hair before Christmas. Every few years I get sick of the long hair and chop it off. Got a Sephora curling iron for Christmas which I've been using regularly along with some texture powder and / or dry shampoo for some waves, choppiness and texture for the longer front locks to keep it from looking too prim and proper.

Alexander Wang x H&M leather backpack
I have to admit that I overpaid on eBay for this Alexander Wang x H&M leather backpack before Christmas. Kicking myself because I could have bought it on launch day but didn't. In the end though, even with overpaying on eBay, it's still cheaper than any leather backpack out there this season. I've used it about as much as K has, it's really handy for all the toddler stuff I have to lug around without being overly heavy, plus both K and I can carry it (as opposed to my usual purses). The little rain cover has even come in handy as we were caught in an unexpected downpour over the weekend.


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