Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Off to Edinburgh!

I'm leaving for Edinburgh tomorrow for a week! I have never been to this magical city before but I've only heard wonderful things about it. I really cannot wait to be there. Also, it'll be 20 degrees or less! YES PLEASE. I can't stand the heat anymore. I don't care if it rains everyday as long as it's not HOT.

I might not be posting for a while because after Edinburgh I'll take a train to London and then Oxford for the whole month of August. I'm doing a 4-week filmmaking course there. Should be lots of fun as well as very instructive. Wish me luck!

Here's a little taste of Scotland from the Alexander McQueen Fall 06 collection.

To create your own tartan go to:
(no I can't do links because I have a Mac and use Safari, blogger.com only offers me spell-check and "add a picture" yes, I know, tragic. I can't even change the font!)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

An Ad, a Glass, and a Camera

The other day while waiting for my Moroccan meal at "Le Riad" in Cannes, I experimented a little with my camera. The results make me want to take a photography course really badly!

I got this ad at a bar and I really liked the photograph in it. Then, I decided to place the handblown glass on top of the images and capture the effects with the macro lens of my digital camera.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Little Fashion Prayer

I made up this little prayer a few years back. Hope you enjoy it.

Dear Father Oscar de la Renta,
Please hear our fashion prayers.
May pink never cease to be in style,
the mighty stiletto reign supreme,
and deliver us from the evil of fake
designer bags.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Swiss Laduree

Favorite of favorites Ladurée has opened a boutique in Geneva. I don't often go to the swiss city, but still, it's somehow comforting to know that their sublime delicacies will be available outside of Paris. I know that they have also opened a store in Harrod's, London. That is definitely good news since I plan to move there in the coming months. When I lived in Paris for a year, back in 1998, I developed an obsession for their rose macarons and of course the ambiance and deliciously decadent décor (unintended alliteration overload). The years have passed and Ladurée still takes up valuable space in my memory.

An hour spent there is an otherworldly experience, a welcome respite from the contagious "Paris Blues" or should I call them "the mean reds" à la Holly Golightlly? I don't think anyone is immune to this maladie in the city of lights. No matter how much you love Paris, if you live there for an extended period of time you slowly morph into a nostalgic, frequently ill-humored but ultimately überchic Parisian. I could always rely on Ladurée to cheer me up on one of those grisaille laden days. So, thank you, merci beaucoup Ladurée, I won't forget you.
My interest has been further reawakened with Sofia Coppola's "Marie-Antoinette," since they were exclusive pastry consultants and their creations feature prominently in the film. Ladurée fits in perfectly with the themes of decadence, excess, and pleasure which so characterize Marie-Antoinette's legacy.

Vive Ladurée!
7 Cours de Rive-1204 Genève

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Artists I admire: Ryan McGuinness

If I had an unlimited budget to create a fabulous contemporary art collection, Ryan McGuinness would surely make the list. I came accross several of his striking prints at MOMA in April and it was love at first sight. I had no idea that he was such an art star. I admit I am a little abashed since I majored in art history, but when it comes to contemporary art I definitely have a lot to learn! I think that all you need in order to learn about art is a little curiosity coupled with an open-mind, and of course a tolerance for museum visits. I think it may end up being a gene, "the museum gene," I know some people who are absolutely allergic to museums and will just break out in hives at the mere mention of them. I try to avoid these people at all costs. No, but seriously, you don't need to be a pompous tweed-wearing preppy or a cooler-than-thou Williamsburg hipster to discuss art.

After four years of overanalyzing and researching paintings to death I'm trying to return to my initial intuitive, or emotional connection to art.
So, forgive me if I don't wax intellectual about art here. I just wanted to share the work of artists which I, for some reason or other, forged a special bond with.

Ryan McGuinness is visually refreshing and exciting, at least to me. I used to be very conservative in my artistic tastes but that is changing rapidly. I love the flatness and the swirling, psychedelic feel of his work. I understand that he has done commercial work such as designing skateboards, clothing, and posters. I don't think commercializing his work will damage his career, it only shows the range of his multifaceted talents. However, when commercialization gets a little out of hand, i.e. Munch's "The Scream", or Van Gogh's "Starry Night," the originals loose some of their soul. But I believe Mr. McGuinness knows his limits.

I especially like this last one entitled "Bronzino Crunch", 1999. Bronzino, a Mannerist portraitist, is one of my most beloved artists, and his "portrait of a young man" pictured here, is a particular favorite. I even developed a crush on him while gazing into his lulling eyes at the Met for half an hour. I love the odd juxtapositions and overlapping effects he achieves. Truly out of the ordinary.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Natural's not in it

I forgot to mention that I did watch Marie-Antoinette again, this time in the French dubbed version. I actually enjoyed it more than the first time at the premiere. Perhaps it's because I had my own expectations to deal with the first time and now I was free to watch at ease. The dubbing was very well done. Obviously French fit in "à la perfection" in Versailles. I thoroughly relished the beauty of the images while trying not to get my mind to ask too many questions. It is not plot-driven, nor does it try to make any political statements. The movie says "love me as I am" and "don't turn me into something i'm not." I still can't get enough of it. The sountrack is supposed to come out in October in France and probably in the rest of Europe. However, I have been listening to a few of the songs from the movie such as "Age of Consent" by New Order, "I Want Candy" By Bow Wow Wow, and "Natural's not in it" by Gang of Four.

"Natural's not in it" is used for the opening credits and having read the lyrics it is absolutely perfect. Bravo Sofia!

Natural's Not In It

The problem of leisure
What to do for pleasure
Ideal love a new purchase
A market of the senses
Dream of the perfect life
Economic circumstances
The body is good business
Sell out, maintain the interest
Remember Lot's wife
Renounce all sin and vice
Dream of the perfect life
This heaven gives me migraine
The problem of leisure
What to do for pleasure

Coercion of the senses
We are not so gullible
Our great expectations
A future for the good
Fornication makes you happy
No escape from society
Natural is not in it
Your relations are of power
We all have good intentions
But all with strings attached

Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest

The problem of leisure
What to do for pleasure
Ideal love a new purchase
A market of the senses
Dream of the perfect life
Economic circumstances
The body is good business
Sell outs [? out ?] maintain the interest
Remember Lot's wife
Renounce all sin and vice
Dream of the perfect life
This heaven gives me migraine
This heaven gives me migraine
This heaven gives me migraine
* * *

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Leche-Vitrines A St. Tropez

Last week we decided to drive down to St. Tropez. We probably chose the worst day as it started to pour as we arrived, it even hailed! We parked in the indoor parking of the Place des Lices but it was full of people taking shelter, waiting for the storm to abate. After waiting like chickens, we mustered up the courage to brave the weather. Fortunately, once we got to the Vieux Port it stopped raining and the sun made a welcome entrance.

I took this picture of the colorful Vieux Port buildings reflected on the wet pavement. I hope these images will dispel the notorious party-animal image of St. Tropez. It's not all about fancy cars, models, and yachts, though admittedly they do play a big part during the summer months. I thought I'd show you the sweeter side of St. Trop, this being "la dolcissima vita mia."

Here I am enjoying a capuccino ice-cream in the sunshine. Barbarac is the best place for ice-cream in St. Tropez, I believe. It is situated in the port really close to Häagen-Dazs, and is a much better alternative.
These were their "nouveauté" I didn't try them but they look so beautiful, don't you think?

Later on we walked down Rue Sibilli to do some shopping, but unfortunately I came home empty-handed. That's why I've called this post "lèche-vitrines" which means "window-shopping" in French. I passed by the new Diane Von Furstenberg shop in St. Tropez. She was the quintessential "it girl" of the 70's here, well apart from Brigitte Bardot of course who has become St. Tropez' s patron saint practically. Brigitte's style is seen everywhere, from the fashions in the shop windows to the thin and impossibly tan teenagers swarming around town in cute vespas sporting their micro shorts, cowboy boots, and messy long hair. Yes, they are chic, but it's really not my style, so I opted not to give into temptation. I think we should all find what works for us and try not to veer away from it too much. It's not that I'm against experimenting, it's fun and creative but I think we all know that when your closet is in the throes of an identity crisis, your personal style will suffer.

As I wandered about the enchanting streets, I was suddenly aware of every detail, a lovely door-knocker, a beautiful color on a door, a cat peeking out the window. All of these everyday images were suddenly full of new meaning in the surge of appreciation.


I just fell in love with this door-knocker...

This lovely Pâtisserie had the typical "Tarte Tropézienne" in their window. This is a St. Tropez specialty created by Alexandra Micka, a Polish immigrant who set up a bakery in St. Tropez in the 50's. When Brigitte Bardot and Roger Vadim were filming "And God Created Woman" in nearby Ramatuelle. Micka was asked to cater for the whole film crew. This creamy cake was an instant hit among the crew and it soon came to be known as "la tarte tropezienne." I didn't get to go to the original bakery, next time I hope! C'est délicieux.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Englishman in Monaco

Monday night was the Sting concert at the Sporting Club in Monaco. Every year they have a music festival and invite famous singers and bands to this most stylish setting. After getting completely stuck in a huge traffic jam for an hour on the A8 autoroute on our way to Montecarlo, we thought we'd never arrive on time. As a last resort, we all began chanting the magic affirmation "the traffic is flowing, the traffic is flowing" like maniacs. Well, guess what? It worked! After about 5-10 minutes of that impromptu surge of positivity the roads cleared up and we made it in record time!

We sat at a long table with a group of friends, there were 20 of us in total. The Sporting room is shaped like a half-moon and the huge windows overlook the glittering Montecarlo bay. As soon as we sat down, I eyed the menu being a bit of a gourmande myself.
Here it is:





Monday 3rd July 2006

Lobster salad with cepe mushrooms and rocket salad,
exotic fruit tartare, vodka and lime granita,
strong citrus fruit juice

Beef tournedos on foie gras crouton,
asparagus meunière-style
and Maxime potato with truffle

Raspberries dacquoise,
champagne sorbet, red fruit coulis

Sporting Montecarlo delicacies and chocolates

I have to admit that the menu sounds better in French than in English, if you don't believe me here's a little comparison:
"Lobster salad with cepe mushrooms and rocket salad" as opposed to "Salade de homard aux cèpes bouchons et riquette"
OR, "maxime potato with truffle" vs. "pomme maxime à la truffe"... et voilà! Am I right or am I right?

Just as the coffee was being served, the lights went out and all 900 guests grew quiet as Sting appeared propelled by a sliding stage sailing forwards until it reached the very center of the room. IT WAS BEYOND!

He was rather close to where we were sitting. I have to say that he looks unbelievably fit for his age (55), must be all that yoga he and his wife Trudie Styler, do. I keep meaning to make yoga a regular practice but for some reason or other it never sticks, I go through periods where I do yoga everyday and then I won't do it at all. It's strange because I'm usually not an extremist in any sense of the word, maybe it's just yoga-specific.

Anyway, back to the concert. Sting played a lot of songs from The Police. "Every breath you take", "Englishman in New York", "Spirits in the Material World" and of course "Roxanne" were on the repertoire.

Only in Monaco would you see someone with a french manicure, cartier watch and diamond ring in the "mosh pit".

Oh, and speaking of electric Sting the day after the concert I went swimming in the sea and got STUNG by a JELLYFISH! It was super painful but now it's all gone, thank Sting!

Here's a pic of the Casino de Montecarlo taken on our way back home to Cannes.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Vive la France!

On a gagné, on a gagné!! Wednesday night we got together with a few pals at L'abreuvoir, a little bar in the small town of Mougins, (close to Cannes) to watch France play against Portugal.
L'abreuvoir, as its name indicates, used to be a watering place esp. for horses and still retains its cave-like appearance inside.
After a few bottles of rosé and many a "Zizou, Zizou!" and of course, the obligatory "Allez les Bleus" the French team had beat Portugal 1-0 thanks to a penalty shot by Zidane....
We decided to head to Cannes and celebrate the victory. It was so much fun honking at cars, cruising with big French flags out the window. We walked around the croisette dancing and yelling and then did a bit of bar hopping. Finally we got home around 4 am, which really wasn't that late if you think about it. I'm really looking forward to the final on Sunday! Party time! ( I hope).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Back to La Douce France

On Saturday we drove back to Cannes but we still listened to both football matches on the radio. First England vs. Portugal and then Brazil vs. France. As we crossed the Spanish border into France we could tell that everyone was off the roads and eagerly awaiting the match at home or at a lively bar.
We stopped by the Chateau de Salses and took some pictures but it was closed and the town was practically empty. We then stopped at Fitou, where there are many wineries. We bought some wine in a bit of a hurry as the match was about to begin and they were already closing the little establishment.

A few hours later, France had beat Brazil and by the time we got to Cannes, everyone was on the streets waving the French flag and going out of their minds! Vive la France!! Allez les Bleus!

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