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Living Like A Parisian

Don't leave your red lipstick at home! Channel Vanessa Paradis rouge attitude

Don’t leave your red lipstick at home! Channel Vanessa Paradis rouge attitude

I recently returned from a gloriously long vacation in Europe.  It was the kind of trip that continued so long, I lost track of time and dates.  Back in my university days, Paris failed to live up to the hype of its image.  But I rediscovered Paris, charmed by the grandeur of Haussman’s boulevards, twinkling lights shining brightly on the Champs Elysee and the surprising kindness and nouveau joie de vie that greeted me upon my return.  I knew I was demurely blending in as I was often stopped for directions (by the French, no less)!

Should you find yourself in need of an impromptu mini-break, Paris is always a good idea.

La Louvre is worth it – I spent 4 hours in The Louvre and I didn’t even see all of it. Go early to avoid the massive lineups.  While many of the galleries will be rammed with tourists (particularly the Italian and Renaissance), you can still take in the art in relative quiet in the lesser frequented rooms on the 2nd floor.  You can also have a dejeuner at Angelina; there is a great view of the central courtyard to people watch.

Only Beyoncé & Jay-Z can take a selfie this close to the Mona Lisa because in real life, your access to it is 12 Asian tourists deep holding up those stupid selfie rods behind a red velvet rope.  True story. Leonardo is turning in his grave.

Only Beyoncé & Jay-Z can take a selfie this close to the Mona Lisa because in real life, your access to it is 12 Asian tourists deep holding up those stupid selfie rods behind a red velvet rope. True story. Leonardo is turning in his grave.

Wear black head-to-toe – Understated cool and lots of leather.  A black wardrobe is a true French staple.  That and those Petit Bateau striped knit tops.  Parisian style is iconic – chic, cool, effortless.  You can also get a taste of that ‘je ne sais quoi’ at Sandro, Maje, Comptoir des Cotonniers or at their grands magasins (department stores) Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.

Red Lips Don’t Care – Bright red or crimson lips are also a MUST – check out my classic-LC beauty post for a tutorial on The Perfect Red Pout.  Obviously, the Parisian classic is of the Chanel variety – Try Rouge Allure Velvet in La Fascinante.  And for the Brigitte Bardot in you, black eyeliner and mascara is welcome too.

Bourjois is like the French equivalent of Maybelline.  A heavy dose of eyeliner and mascara does the trick!

Bourjois is like the French equivalent of Maybelline. A heavy dose of eyeliner and mascara does the trick!

Even though Sky Ferreira is a West Coast gal, there is something about her look that recalls French style. Here she wears American Apparel, all noir bien sur.

Even though Sky Ferreira is a West Coast gal, there is something about her look that recalls French style. Here she wears American Apparel, all noir bien sur.

Éclair is the New Macaron – Parisians are over the macaron.  I’m not over it but just to let you know, it’s so last season.  Novelty eclairs are the ‘it’ patisserie du jour.  I would have brought some home but undoubtedly they would have been squished in my suitcase seeing how I had to sit on said luggage to close it.  Even if you want an après-midi, sugar fix Laduree and Fauchon are not the only macaron games in town. You can hit up any corner boulangerie (bakery) and there will be macarons aplenty.  Just visit a busy one with lots of Frenchies and you know it’s good.  Trust.

Heads up, the trendiest spot in town to get your éclair on is in Le Marais at L'eclair de genie.

Heads up, the trendiest spot in town to get your éclair on is in Le Marais at L’eclair de genie.

Ines de la Fressange covers Paris Vogue this month. Forever stylish in her Roger Vivier flats (aka the Faberge of footwear).

Ines de la Fressange covers Paris Vogue this month. Forever stylish in her Roger Vivier flats (aka the Faberge of footwear).

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January 11, 2015   No Comments

Rompers And Jumpsuits: The Trend Continues

Night Moves: Cara sports a tuxedo inspired jumpsuit. This is a polished look for evening. Very Helmut Newton, non?

Night Moves: Cara sports a tuxedo inspired jumpsuit. This is a polished look for evening. Very Helmut Newton, non?

At work, my friend S had just come out of a fashion direction meeting (these do exist and it is someone’s job) and she told me I was on trend for Spring 15 because I was wearing a jumpsuit.  But my obsession with the romper and jumpsuit is nothing new.  I have been amassing rompers and jumpsuits for years.  These are some of my best loved brunch outfits, my after 9pm cocktails, my window-shopping go-to’s.  At brunch, my bestie C and me were chatting about the pitfalls of our romper obsession.  You basically have to completely undress before you can use the ladies room.  And if you’re unaccustomed to the fast change, then you might just pee on yourself.

The trend continues strong but here are some fresh takes on those that dare to wear:

Mara Hoffman romper combines a soft cotton with intricate embroidery details.

Mara Hoffman romper combines a soft cotton with intricate embroidery details.

Topshop deep V-neck jumpsuit in the most vibrant colours and tribal print. Love the geometric shapes which remind me of Morrocan zilij.

Topshop deep V-neck jumpsuit in the most vibrant colours and tribal print. Love the geometric shapes which remind me of Morrocan zilij.

How cool does this girl look? Joe's Denim Romper.  I love how this one is a bit baggy like a boyfriend fit.

How cool does this girl look? Joe’s Denim Romper. I love how this one is a bit baggy like a boyfriend fit.

Is it a wrap dress? Is it a romper? OMG it's both. Just can't get enough of this DVF Wrap Dress Romper on the runway and sported by Gwyneth

Is it a wrap dress? Is it a romper? OMG it’s both. Just can’t get enough of this DVF Wrap Dress Romper on the runway and sported by Gwyneth

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July 19, 2014   No Comments

A Weekend Made INN Vermont

Burlington is the largest city in the state of Vermont. Downtown city kids, just so you know it takes an hour to get a taxi.

Burlington is the largest city in the state of Vermont. Downtown city kids, just so you know it takes an hour to get a taxi.

My cool blonde friend C who reminds me of Mad Men’s Betty Draper recently got hitched in her hometown of Burlington, Vermont.  A bevy of East Coast It Girls descended on this truly postcard picturesque college town.  There we found a cobblestone pedestrian street, heritage buildings, boutique shopping and a plethora of restaurants serving delicious farm to table food.  The city hosts a weekend Farmer’s Market which is not to be missed.  I arrived a day early and I was busted by friends retail therapy in session.  Try the boutique Stella Mae (96 Church St.) for young contemporary brands like Ark & Co, Mink Pink, Chaser and funky shoes from Jeffrey Campbell and Dolce Vita.  To indulge your love of vintage, check out Old Gold (180 Main St.) which houses costumes, kitschy accessories, vintage dresses, denim cutoffs and trendy fast-fashion.  I bought so much there, they thanked me.  Bahahaha.  Noooo, thank you!

Cool like a cucumber: My friend C channels Betty Draper. And sidenote, I'm catching up on Mad Men. Don Draper is reallyx3 screwed up.

Cool like a cucumber: My friend C channels Betty Draper. And sidenote, I’m catching up on Mad Men. Don Draper is reallyx3 screwed up.

Loving to research travel, I insisted that we stay at Tripadvisor’s #1 Rated B&B Made Inn Vermont (204 S. Willard).  Designed in a Victorian Gothic Paris Vogue meets Rockstar, there were quirky details aplenty to feast your curiosity.  Like if Keith Richards opened up a B&B, this would be it.  Rooms are adorned in a cozy whimsical style with electric guitars and drums (instruments can be played until 10pm) and chalkboards for guests to leave their love notes or drawings.  The owner Linda insisted on making us her famous Sangria so we could chillax pre-cocktail party in the tiki backyard HT (hottt tub, oh yes this was the cincher).  When we told our friends, they said, “we got lemonade at our B&B??!!” I just advised that next time they should talk to me.  Such a fun mini-vacay! Highly recommended.

Peekaboo! A grand entrance

Peekaboo! A grand entrance

The sitting room where you could cozy up and read a book

The sitting room where you could cozy up and read a book

Coffee Table Books and a giant Hand (just because)

Coffee Table Books and a giant Hand (just because)

This is my dream: floor to ceiling shelves of books. Say no to Kobo!

This is my dream: floor to ceiling shelves of books. Say no to Kobo!

Moody art and a reading nook

Moody art and a reading nook

Breakfast is served. Nothing makes my life like fresh juice and fruit. General rule: I break detox for croissants.

Breakfast is served. Nothing makes my life like fresh juice and fruit. General rule: I break detox for croissants.

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July 2, 2014   No Comments

I Shop on Queen West West, Therefore, I Am

If you’re going to eat your feelings, go with Gelato! via Vogue Italia

My day started off kind of crappy.  So to rid myself of the blues, I put on my most flowy floral, maxi skirt printed with flowers and tigers, an opulent gilded, pair of braided gladiators and my sunglasses.  Then I got into my car (Habeeba), opened my sunroof and hit Queen West West for some retail therapy.

High ROC (return on compliment): Maeve Banda Skirt from Anthropologie

High ROC (return on compliment): Maeve Banda Skirt from Anthropologie

Though I live downtown, I haven’t been on a proper stroll to pop into the cute boutiques — there are so many new ones which is fun, exciting and most of all, dangereuse (dangerous in French).

Here were some of my faves:

Zumel & Co (863 Queen St. West) – Filled with racks of colourful blouses, dresses and feminine separates, I think this would be a good place to find a lovely outfit for a daytime cocktail or a unique piece for your work wardrobe.

Cabaret (672 Queen St. West) – This is an oldie but a goodie.  A family owned vintage shop specializing in 1920-1970’s clothing.  Nothing cheers me up like going into the basement of a vintage store, trying on random retro outfits and digging for hidden treasure.  Nothing.  I got my besties’ bday present there – an elaborate, Art Deco black beaded headdress which they died over.  Plus, the shopgirls were sooo nice and loved my gypsy jetset outfit. PS. I love you.

Wildfox Couture Pop-Up Shop (711 Queen St. West) – Vintage inspired casual wear for dreamers.  Based out of LA, this brand is all about distressed terry cloths, soft slub t-shirts, relaxed sweaters and Malibu-inspired beachwear.  A fave brand of celebs this pop-up will be here at least until the end of Summer.  I could not resist the cute quotient of a Koala pullover because obviously, koala is my power animal.

Taylor Swift in her Love Potion No. 9 Wildfox pullover

Taylor Swift in her Love Potion No. 9 Wildfox pullover

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May 24, 2014   No Comments

The Love Collage & Trend Trunk Gift Card Giveaway

Hello dearies, Are you having a very merry holiday thus far?  Are you snuggling by the fire roasting marshmallows while it’s snowing and freezing rain?  Are you dancing around your living room in your fluffy slippers and legwarmers to indie covers of Christmas classics?  Just moi!

Vintage Cherry Dress: I bought this at I Miss You Vintage but I never wore it. Could be yours!

Vintage Cherry Dress: I bought this at I Miss You Vintage but I never wore it. Could be yours!

To thank you for your continued love and support, click on the link below to get a free giftcard from The Love Collage and Trend Trunk.  You can also peruse my closet for goodies by clicking on the Trend Trunk badge on the left under “SHOP MY CLOSET.”  Click here: https://www.trendtrunk.com/mystery/the-love-collage xo Vanessa

Michael Kors boots with 100% proceeds going to The Corsage Project.

Michael Kors boots with 100% proceeds going to The Corsage Project

 

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December 22, 2013   No Comments

Living Like A Los Angeleno

Fun factoid: The iconic Hollywood sign was once an advertisement for "Hollywoodland," a real estate development

As a whirlwind living, globe-trotting fashionistah, my passport gets its fair share of stamp abuse from Customs Officers. 

Dramatic re-enactment:  Officer “Do you have anything to declare?” Me “I had fun.” Not True Story. Don’t try this at the airport. 

The sunshine state has its fair share of shoreline beauty but the glam factor is much like a Hollywood backdrop: airbrushed, re-touched and made for television.  For those who have high expectations of LA because of an unhealthy diet of non-reality programming, you my friend, may be a smidge disappointed.  When it comes to truly enjoying a trip, my friends often seek my advice and I theirs.  Here’s the real deal on California dreaming…

  • Baby Do You Like My Ride?  Conquer your fear of the freeway and perhaps rent a behemoth SUV (Cadillac Escalade anyone?).  Los Angeles wasn’t made for passengers, pedestrians or taxicabs.  You will see most of the city by renting a vehicle and driving through the many boroughs.  It will be just like that time Di got on the Freeway in Clueless.  The most important thing to remember is that Downtown LA is sketch but neighbourhoods get progressively tony as you move westward – Hollywood, West Hollywood, to Beverly Hills and the coastal towns of Santa Monica and Malibu.

"But this is an Alaia??!!" If you drive, stay alive...and don't wreck your dress. Make sure you don't stop in shady neighbourhoods at night.

  • Rush, Rush – That’s the sound of my heart bursting out of my chest as I hiked up the Hollywood Hills…or the name of a Paula Abdul song and video starring Keanu Reeves.  Park your car at the foothills of Griffith Park and walk your way to the top.  You might catch a glimpse of an off-duty starlet working on her fitness but you will certainly be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the Los Angeles skyline.  You can also take a break by visiting Grifith Park Observatory, unleashing your inner astronomy nerd.  Who doesn’t love a good Planetarium??

Griffith Park Observatory also has a water fountain in case you're parched from your hike.

  • Shop ‘Til You Drop – Any true fashionistah knows you never pay retail.  “Bahh!”  Adjacent to the Beverly Center is Nordstrom Rack (perhaps one of the best I have EVER been to).  My friend J’s hair got progressively wild as she desceded into her shopping shame spiral.  The greatest scores are for designer jeans and contemporary LA-based labels.  For those stalking the Zoe (as in Rachel Zoe) or you’ve got cash-money to burn, you can try the designer vintage emporium Decades on Melrose.

West Coast Style: Channel Lauren Conrad or Whitney Port. California girls like a mix of boho and casual dressy.

  • Eat Then Exercise – While it sounds as though, you may want to go easy on the carbs, the culinary delights in LA abound.  Try the Farmer’s Market at 3rd & Fairfax, a maze of local and gourmet food stands adjacent to the outdoor shopping complex The Grove.  To cool down in the heat, stop for a self-serve fro-yo and top it off with delicious toppings (cheesecake bits, fresh fruit, candies galore) at Yogurtland.  Nosh on brunch and rub shoulders with LA hipsters and undercover A-listers in West Hollywood at Taste, Toast or Joan’s.

Meet me at 3rd & Fairfaix: Get your savoury & sweet on at The French Crepe Company.

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November 13, 2011   No Comments