"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Amour Rouge 2018: Sparkle On, Darling...

"Diamonds, shining, dancing, dining..." Sophisticated Lady, Duke Ellington (1933)

Postcard(s) to Paris (in all its forms) is my favorite recurring column, here on Pour l'Amour de Paris. But, my adolescent, annual Valentine's Day column (Amour Rouge) definitely takes second place honors - what's more Parisian then celebrating love? I'm proud and happy to say that my readers love this column too. A reader wrote me; asked why I wait to publish Amour Rouge at 12:01a.m. Valentine's Day (U.S.) instead of weeks, or even days, earlier, so people can prepare? My reply: that's the point.  You've got your wardrobe ready - and it's on fleek! Made your dinner reservations; got your dance club all lined up; flowers=check [though I suggest you forgo the ubiquitous store bought card and opt for a handwritten love letter instead (major romance points!)]. Amour Rouge is meant for after all that. Amour Rouge is about delicious last minute details; about the accouterments; that last bit of spice - that renders you unique, different, extra extra. This year's Amour Rouge last minute accoutrement, bit of spice, extra extra inspiration? Sparkles, darlings!

"I'm happy to sparkle like a glazed disco ball." - Paloma Elesser 

(LaDonna Adrian Gaines) 
31 December 1948 - 17 May 2012

Donna Summer ascended to Super Stardom in 1975. I was 6, so it wasn't until 1979 that I was old enough to appreciate and awe in her fantabulousity. Of course, the first thing that caught my adore was her deep beautifully melodic voice, but on the heels of that was my love of her fashion. Sistah-Gurl was glitter and flowers and I loved every single ounce of her (and always will). I searched and searched for Donna Summer sparkly goddess clothes for myself, to no avail. But when I found and began collaborating with Kristina (seamstress extraordinaire), I decided to design my very own Donna Summer dress (two pieces) - the result became the inspiration for Amour Rouge 2018.

Temple Tidbit: The fabric/sequin flower is in ode to ma mere divine - Dorothy: 
who, in my girlhood, pinned a fabric flower to her ensemble, 
every morning, before she left for work.

"So shine bright...we're beautiful, like Diamonds in the sky." - Rihanna

A sparkly top to pair with black leather or cloth pants or a tight pair of jeans: 
Boston Proper 'Multi-Color Sequin Poncho (left, $65)
Express Sparkle Top (right, $50)

Express Silver Sequin Mini Dress (left, $100)
Extra large sparkly cashmere lined wrap with delicate crystal detail
(My design, my eldest-Rory- chose the material(s), and fabulous Kristina made it, right)

"Any opportunity to adorn oneself is human and accessories are an easy way to do it." Marc Jacobs

Above: I'm loving me some Charming Charlie and their dizzying array of affordable accessory... everything!
At $5-$40 bucks a pop, these inexpensive, at your local strip mall, blingity bling purses scream Diva (Valentine's Day and every day)
Below: One of my favorite date night purses, a purchase-gift makeup bag from Victoria's Secret

"Life's enchanted cup sparkles near the brim." - Lord Byron

Costume Jewelry Bling:
Most of these inexpensive, fun pieces are from Charming Charlie and Bebe.
The rings (lower right corner) are gifts from La Dorothy's vault (her twenty gifts to me)
But my most precious piece is the heart ring Never (my youngest) bought me 
from a street vendor on Rue du Rivoli (he was 3 years old. Mamma's heart melts).

Hair Bobs, vintage bracelet and watch.
I searched in vain, for an 'a la Donna' sequins flower for twenty, so I made it myself! 

It's the heels HONEY! Yaaasss!!!!
"The higher the better." - Christian Louboutin

Both pair from Macy's (@$75 each)

"The details are not the details. They make the design." - Charles Eames

Left: Lancome Micro Pallettes "Hologramme" (Ebay)
Right: Killawatt Freestyle Highlight "Trophy Wife" Rihanna (Fenty $34)
There's something extra extra sexy about a softly glittered face, a sprinkle of fairy dust 
on bare shoulders, the small of the back; the nape of the neck, or glittering across manicured nails... 

"Every day is a great day to give love, spread joy and SPARKLE." - Sheri Fink

Yes, Valentine's is a day dedicated to love, to be celebrated with the ones we love. But it's also an opportunity to pamper, pay special attention to, yourself - especially important and needed in the crazy, busy, daily lives we lead, where we often forgo self-pampering (we've got jobs to work, bills to pay, children to raise). Every item pictured here is from my personal collection, curated especially for this post - I did so deliberately. Why? Of course you're grinding on the daily, but that doesn't mean you can't take a moment, when the opportunity presents itself, to get yourself a little something pretty, a little something sparkly, a little something that makes you feel beautiful, pampered, and is ready at a moment's notice - like on Valentine's Day. 

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!
Mr. G and me, sparkling
Photo: Two Birds Photography

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

midnight sun...

"...was it a moonlight veil? Or was it a nightingale?
Suddenly the sky turned pale, I could see the midnight sun."
- Lionel Hampton (1947)

This is my favorite time of the night. My babies: healthy, fed, safe, warm - snuggled in their beds.  My beloved husband and ma mere divine, sleeping in theirs. The house is quiet, still. No one needs me; no nurturing I need to do - except to/for myself. My inside and outside worlds in suspended animation - if only for a few scant hours. Leaving room for me to freely breathe. Precious room to create, with my canine partner - Coco - calmly bearing witness. For this, though I've earned and deserve it, I am humbly grateful.

Thank you, Mr. Gorgeous 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

kisses them so gently...

"Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality." - Andy Goldsworthy

Last night, my tiny slice of the world had a huge snowstorm. Earlier that day, in anticipation,  my village's schools (and most everything else) closed. Even Mr. G's office, he'd be working from home - snow day! We stocked up on the essentials (including a half case of Champange, bien sur); I planned a special 'Snow Day Menu' (post to come). I'm violently allergic to math and the cold but, late last night, in the thick of the snowstorm, I found myself watching the snow fall, entranced. It was so thick and pretty: crystals glinting in a moonless sky, illuminated by the lone streetlight outside my front window. I couldn't wait for morning to arrive; so I could go out and experience it, on the pond behind and in the fields that surround, my home. Of course I took my cameras with me...

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently?" 
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." William Blake

"And the sky is a hazy shade of winter." - the Bangles

The pond, fields, bridge, sky - all covered in a soft deep blanket of untouched snow - was so beautiful, bright, expansive, quiet. The cold, crisp air bracing and welcomed. It looked and felt like time had stopped, if only for a moment. Troubles and cares seemed so far away. Allergic to 'all that's cold-me,' gave way to the majesty of this otherworld moment. I couldn't help it, I didn't want to.

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

challenge, joyfully, proudly, accepted...

Me: 48
Mommy: 88

"To all my female friends of/in their 40s and beyond...
Most of us are going through the next stage of our lives. 
We are at that age where we see the wrinkles, gray hair, extra pounds. 
We see the pretty 25 year olds and sigh. 
But, we were once 25 too, just like they will one day be our age. 
What they bring to the table with their youth and zest for life, 
we bring with our wisdom, experience and good hearts. 
For all we've been through - earning our gray hair, raising kids, 
bills and ills - and whatever else life brought you/us...
We are survivors. 
We are warriors. 
We are women. 
 While our exterior may not be what it once was, 
it is traded for our spirit, our courage and our strength; 
[encouraging, empowering us] to enter this chapter of our lives 
with grace and pride for all we've been through and accomplished. 
Never feel bad about aging. It is a privilege denied to many. 
Ladies, I challenge you to repost; with your photo and age." 
- Shalonda Yvette

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

postcard to paris #3: there's no place like home...

"...close your eyes and tap your heels together three times
and think to yourself: there's no place like home."
- Glenda, the Good Witch of the North

In July, Mr. G and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows in our beloved Gold Coast, surrounded by our family, closest friends and Coco. Our dear friends, Matt and Neal surprised us with a very generous gift: a night of our choice at the stunning Langham Hotel Chicago. We decided to 'open' our gift on the gorgeous September night we attended another dear friend's wedding. Two days and one night, in one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world. Romance was the theme. Definitely a Postcard to Paris...
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