September 13, 2012
On a rare afternoon off, I took a stroll in Paris and came upon 5 Octobre and Sophie, its adorable owner. She has wonderful gem of a boutique selling her handmade jewelry in the Marais. After hearing a little bit more about her unusual story, I’m so glad to share it with you here – Erica
How did decide to move from being a lawyer to making jewelry? Was the stop gradual or brutal?
It was a long process because I have been passionate about accessories since my childhood. I was already very creative, and the dream was ingrained very deeply – I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I wanted to make jewelry. When I was 10 years old, I was already collecting beads and stones and turning them into jewelry for my friends.
I was also always a bit of an intellectual, so law satisfied that aspect of my personality, but it wasn’t creative enough. I traveled a lot as a lawyer; the time spent in transit allowed me to spend time dreaming about a new career that would fulfill a larger part of myself. My family is involved in fashion; my mother is a creative buyer for several stores she owns, so that helped me to envision a project that was both creative and professional.
Were your friends and family supportive of the change?
Everyone supports me (my husband first, my parents as well), but I knew the change of social status might not be as easy. Being a lawyer is quite well considered and I didn’t know if I would succeed in this new venture. Continue Reading »
Posted in Shopping | 4 Comments »
August 9, 2012
Located by Parmentier bobo hipster central and one of my personal favorite up and coming Parisian neighborhoods, Chateaubriand is certainly no new kid on the block.
After following the ups and downs and mixed reviews of Chateabriand for years — the best, most creative food in Paris for some, too inventive for others, small portions, amazing service, rude service, not accommodating, very accommodating, noisy, quiet… the list is long — my curiosity finally got the better of me. Being of a somewhat pessimistic nature, my expectations were low. Continue Reading »
Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 9 Comments »
July 31, 2012
Coffee is still good. Coffee is still cheap.
The sun is still shining. The Italians are still smiling. My taxi driver was friendly. I got to the airport too early. My check in was easy. Continue Reading »
Posted in Travel | 10 Comments »
June 25, 2012
I’m still in Italy. The coffee is still fast and the Italians are still ever so sweet. I’m still in Italy, but not for long.
Bogliasco (above) & San Disiderio, Liguria, Italy
I will soon be leaving the country of sunshine, smiles and scooters where everything is possible and everything is doable.
I will leave behind, gelato, pesto, focaccia, 1€20 cappuccinos and laundry hanging to dry in the street. I will be welcomed by flaky butter croissants, crispy baguettes, stinky cheese and laundry hanging to dry in my apartment. I will leave the sea, sun and heat for cold, rain and smog. Paris, here I come! Continue Reading »
Posted in Travel | 11 Comments »
June 11, 2012
L’Office owner Charles Compagnon
Coming off a string of mediocre Paris meals, I was less then lukewarm about heading out to, yet another Paris neo-bistro. Anticipating haughty service and below average food at a high price in banal ambiance, I almost bowed out of my recent girl’s night out at L’Office.
Going into this meal with a bad attitude and a hungry tummy, disappointment seemed imminent.
What a pleasure it was to be proven wrong, and how so! l’Office may just be my new French ‘go to’ restaurant for tasty food, in a mellow setting with adorable service. Continue Reading »
Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »
September 9, 2011
Coffee and focaccia – Breakfast in Genoa
In Italy, coffee is delicious, quick, and to the point.
You arrive, you order, you drink, you go. Now, your day can start or your afternoon can continue.
Your barrista probably knows your name, the name of first born child, where you live and, most importantly, what kind of coffee you want and how you want it.
Small and quick, the morning coffee fix
Your coffee will be served velocemente…. you will stand at the bar, you will chat about the weather, your vacation, your work, your kids, your partner, your pet …. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Italy tips & suggestions | 13 Comments »
August 10, 2011
August. An ideal time to be in Paris, as long as you don’t expect endless days of sunny hot weather or being able to work on the perfect tan. Yes, as the current season has shown, Parisian summer weather can be unpredictable! Being in Paris in August is still fabulous (and my favorite month of the year by far), as long as you don’t need to:
• Receive medical attention of any kind…
• Get a haircut
• Order furniture
• Perform administrative tasks
• Renovate your apartment or fix a small leak
Picnicing at La Villette before a movie
As of July 1, the French are either on vacation, planning vacation or dreaming of vacation. When August 1 rolls around, they are pretty much all truly en vacances (if not physically, at least mentally). Nothing serious is possible in Paris before September and la rentrée. One must know this and plan accordingly.
You can forget about ordering the new couch you’ve been coveting anytime between July 1 and Sept 1. “Oh la la Madame… the factory where the couches are manufactured is closed until the end of August! Zut, alors the 6-8 week delay will bring you to at least mid- October before delivery can be made.”
You can try to get to the dentist to repair the filling that inconsiderately fell out over dinner. Another chorus of “Oh la la Madame, ze dentist is on vacation and will be back September 1.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Events, Parisian Living | 7 Comments »
July 8, 2011
Eco House Tremeoc Brittany
Summer is here and the crowds are starting to flee Paris for the coast. As I tend to do things in reverse and will be staying in Paris this July to enjoy all of the amazing summer festivals and events, I hit Brittany for a two-week jaunt in May, just before the summer throngs descended upon its lovely shores.
Canal Nantes – Brest
After searching long and hard, mere days before our departure, for last minute lodging that would be not only earth-friendly and green, but appealing and available, I stumbled upon two different eco-homes in Brittany that were, amazingly, available for our dates. Note to self: Planning in advance can be helpful, but if you are willing to chance it, great places that are still available are often ready to discount in the spring. Plus the weather is fabulous and the beaches are empty!
Ground House – Mellionec, Brittany
Our first week was spent in the Ground House , located in the center of Brittany’s rolling green farmland in the town of Mellionnec, one hour from the ocean. This completely self-sustaining eco home, built into the earth on one side and full of huge windows overlooking the garden on the other, was just the thing we were looking for. Built by its English owners and featured on the famous UK show ‘Grand Designs‘, this passive solar house was built with salvaged materials and features an organic garden, a compost heap, dry/composting toilets, and solar heated rainwater for hot water.
Canal Nantes Brest / Farm Centre Bretagne
Not well known, the center of Brittany (Centre Bretagne) offers an abundance of hiking, walking and biking options. Additionally, we were pleased to discover that the area immediately surrounding the Ground House is a serious haven for bio (the French word for organic) fans, with an organic grocery store, a couple of organic restaurants, local artisans, organic shops, and markets where local farmers sell their produce, meat and dairy directly. Continue Reading »
Posted in Green, Homes, Travel | 7 Comments »
June 20, 2011
Dining in a restaurant in France is pretty much the same as in the US, or is it? Looks can be deceiving. In fact, eating out in France is quite different from the typical North American restaurant experience.
I often relive with humor a French family vacation filled with my family showing up for dinner at 7 pm famished (an ungodly late hour for a family used to eating at 5 pm) to find restaurants not yet open or the employees dining before their shift. I also remember often being the last to leave even though we were the first to arrive as we could not figure out how to get the check and pay (despite putting on coats, stacking plates and brandishing credit cards).
In France, as opposed to the US, you can’t just show up to a restaurant at any hour of the day or night expecting to be served. Meals occur at particular times; outside those given hours, you will be loathe to find anything except unappealing brasseries, shriveled sandwiches, and fast food. To spare you the hassle of some of my early experiences, here are a few tips on French restaurant etiquette:
Hours – French restaurants mostly follow the following schedule:
- Breakfast is not often eaten out in France (a quick coffee and croissant at the local café will do)
- Brunch is becoming more popular in Paris. Normal brunch hours are 11am-3pm.
- Lunch is 12-2pm with most Frenchies showing up at 1 (some restaurants serve till 3).
- Dinner is 8-10 pm. Some restaurants open at 7:30 and some serve until 11 pm or later. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 33 Comments »
May 2, 2011
When Sweet Pea Baking in Paris followed me on Twitter I was intrigued by the idea of an American baking for Frenchies in the city of light. Upon meeting Sweet Pea (aka Alisa Morov) I was seduced by her vivacious personality and her innovative new project Very Swell not to mention sated by her sinful 2-pepper chocolate cookies.
Themed dinners, afternoon teas, original artwork, and creative food are on the menu of this ‘retro but modern’ concept launch designed by Alisa and her partner Louise Brody of the Atelier 7 gallery.
This hip, and happening supper club/ art gallery/afternoon tea, gathering space will kick off its first event May 5th with a Mad Men themed dinner (appropriate dress obligatory and taken very seriously).
Alisa is a transplant from LA who has lived in Paris for 9 years and has two dessert cook books on cupcakes and meringues (a third on birthday cakes coming soon) under her belt. She will be cooking up a storm of Mad Men reminiscent food with a modern twist (no cool whip or processed mayonnaise). Louise, a UK native who has spent her formative years in the US and now calls Paris home, will style and host the event.
Signature champagne cocktails, straight bourbon whiskey, old-fashioneds, vodka gimlets, in theme music, dancing, Mad Men wall projections and original artwork will round out the much anticipated soirée. Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts, Design, Events | 2 Comments »