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.
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.
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.
January 11, 2015 No Comments
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:
July 19, 2014 No Comments
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!
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.
July 2, 2014 No Comments
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.
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.
May 24, 2014 No Comments
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!
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
December 22, 2013 No Comments
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.
- 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??
- 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.
- 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.
November 13, 2011 No Comments