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Haute Revelations: A Parisian Style Evolution

When I was reluctantly packing my bags for Paris, I was worried my suitcase of vintage dresses would not cut it. Having obsessed over Paris’ notoriously chic female species since I picked up my first fashion glossy, how would my frumpy Midwestern duds ever stand up to the Capital of haute couture? My anti-fashion upbringing has left me with an inherent interest in clothing. Growing up on peanuts, I was begrudgingly outfitted in my older brother’s hand-me-down superhero t-shirts. Or better yet, my mother dragged us along to the thrift store long before it made its comeback. But as I thumbed through the rows of color-coordinated sartorial rejects, all I really wanted was to dress in Limited Too and Gap Kids like everyone else at school. And have blond hair and finally learn how to do a cartwheel. But as I grew up, I started studying fashion magazines. A quarter vintage, a quarter suburban fashion mall, and a half my own scary sewing projects, I curated a very colorful look of my own. Long before I picked up a paintbrush, fashion was my daily dose of self-expression.

When I got off the plane at Charles de Gaulle, I was boldly armed in my favorite ruffled, red Chiquita banana dress. And I quickly learned what I had become: a big, fat foreigner. I crossed some impeccably chic French women on the street with their ritualistic blowouts, invisible makeup, and enviable silhouettes. Continue Reading »

Posted in Fashion | 9 Comments »

Locavore Paris: Fall Market Shopping & The Perfect September Tart

I am a real foodie now. I have committed to buying locally and seasonally. So long sweet pineapples; see you sporadically. Most expats have their sentimental reasons that keep them in France. A perfect café crème, a favorite terrace, or unpasteurized cheese can easily outweigh all the persistence, courage, and patience it takes to build a life in Paris. Continue Reading »

Posted in HiP Recipes, Parisian Living | 10 Comments »

The Definitive Guide To Surviving La Rentrée in Paris

Collective grumbles and groans fill the Metro and all public places. Reacquainted with their suits and heels, there are no smiles behind those suntans. Kids arm themselves with freshly sharpened pencils and tall tales of les vacances. Vive la rentrée! Since Paris clears out in July and August, losing its habitants to warmer climates, the first week of September kicks off back to school and back to the grind. Knits, boots, and frowns automatically replace the brief bare-leg season in anticipation of Paris’ notorious grey months ahead. But before booking a one-way ticket back to the Côte d’Azur, rest assured : Paris comes out of hibernation and is reborn this time of year. And uncovering the joys of Paris in September can ease the pain of la rentrée.

Picnicking: Since summer hit Paris bizarrely late this year, I am optimistic that a few weeks of picnicking can be milked out of September. And the best part about a picnic in September? Since everyone is back in town, FRIENDS! Whether perched high on a hill overlooking Paris at the parc Buttes Chaumont or in a clearing deep in the woods at the Bois de Vincennes, the adventure begins with the guest list and the contents of the picnic basket.

Reuniting: September is also a time of rediscovery. Going back to my neighborhood green market and getting reacquainted with my favorite vendors is a pleasant reunion. And there is so much to catch up on: the weather, the cheese monger’s vacation in Corsica, the economics of figs, and finding inspiration in the lineup of fall produce.

Bread: Similarly, the boulangeries have reopened their doors! The doughy Monoprix supermarket imposter baguettes that subsidized our tomato salads this summer (affectionately dubbed crétin bread by my picky French other half) can be banished until next August. Instead of the summertime half-hour search for a baguette, now I all I need to do is choose from one of the three bakeries on my block. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 9 Comments »