Friday, January 31, 2014

Wishlist: Bringing Paris to San Francisco

I think about my time in Paris everyday. It feels like ages ago but I hold all my memories so dear to me. I wish desperately that I could go back but sadly I don't think that will happen for a while. For now, I'll just try to bring some of Paris to my home.

When I think of Paris, a few things come to mind but the easiest to have here are shoes, books, and accessories. Women in Paris wear a variety of shoes that are very different from the styles you'd see in the states. Oxfords, loafers, and ballet flats are particularly popular.

Oxfords by Fioni

Pumps by Franco Sarto

Loafers by Adam Tucker

Flats by Steve Madden

Without Netflix or Hulu in France, I got a ton of reading done. Here are some books that I would love to have that remind me of Paris:

French Phrasebook


Paris in the 1920s

Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life

The French Market Cookbook

I like to pretend that Paris never left the 1920s era because it's my favorite time period, so here are some pieces that remind me of that period.

Kingsley Cloche
Sheboygan Ribbon Cloche
Comete Cardigan
Amour Bobby Pin Set

Snow Bloom Bobby Pin
As you can see, I have a torrid love affair with Anthropologie. When I'm rich and famous, I will buy everything on their site.

On a slightly more serious note, I miss Paris like crazy. I made a Facebook status about it before I left, and I think it really expresses how I felt about leaving and how I feel now.

"People have been asking me how I feel about leaving Paris in four days, and I haven't really known exactly what to say until now. I am, of course, overjoyed that I will be returning home to my family and friends but what I've come to realize is that I will be sad to leave Paris not because I'll miss the city, but because I'll miss the home I have here. After four months of being here, I am no longer simply visiting Paris, I am living in it. I have a favorite cafe, and a grocery store I prefer to go to, and a favorite place to walk when I'm killing time. I know that I can always come back to Paris but what I will miss the most is the home that I have made here, at this moment, in exactly this spot, that I have been living in. With this in mind, I want to say "merci et à la prochaine" to a city and country that will always been my home away from home."

Bisous mes cheris***

Monday, January 27, 2014

DIY Embroidered Tote Bag

About a month ago I made a tote bag for my school materials. I decided that I needed more rose gold in my life so I made a bag! I sadly forgot to take progress photos but I'm going to do my best to describe to you how I made it.

Items You'll Need:
-about a yard of two different types of fabric; one for the outside and another for the lining
-embroidery floss; for my design I needed three 8 m packages
-an embroidery hoop that will fit your design

I started this design by deciding how large I wanted my tote bag to be. I decided to make it 13 in. by 14 in. so I cut two 14 in. by 15 in. rectangles from each type of fabric. I then decided I wanted it to be a 3D tote bag instead of 2D so I cut two 4 in. by 15 in. rectangles (for the sides) and one 4 in. by 14 in. rectangle (for the bottom) from each type of fabric. Then I sewed all of my "outside" pieces of fabric together including the bottom so it looked a little bit like a paper grocery bag (if you can imagine that). After, I sewed the pieces of the lining together EXCLUDING THE BOTTOM. Make sure you sew your "outside" pieces with the pattern facing out and your lining pieces with the pattern facing in.

For the straps, I cut two strips of fabric that were 8 in. by 27 in. of the "outside" fabric. I folded the strips in half vertically (hotdog style) and hand ironed it (hand ironing is pressing the heel of your palm onto the fold of the fabric and smoothing it out; it is a non-permanent way of creasing the fabric). Unfold it (you'll have a crease down the middle of your strip), and then fold it again by taking the edges and having them meet in the middle where your hand ironed crease is. Then fold it one last time down you original hand ironed crease. You should now have a strip that is 2 in. by 27 in.

For the pockets I cut two rectangles of the lining fabric that were 5 in. by 4 in. I sewed these into the the large lining rectangles. I never really know how to do pockets so I just sort of made up a way that works for me. I folded over what I intended to be the open end about a fourth of an inch and sewed it so it wouldn't fray. Then I folded in the other sided about a fourth of an inch and sewed them onto the lining. Pretty simple.

The embroidering is what took me the longest. I knew what pattern I wanted so I printed out a picture online and traced it onto the "outside" fabric and got to work. I outlined the moon with a backstitch and then filled it in with a satin stitch (Embroidery 101). It took me a while but I'm very happy with the results.

I finished the bag by sliding the lining rectangle (pattern facing in) into the "outside" square (pattern facing out) and matched up the openings (or the tops) of the bag. I also slipped the straps in between the lining and the "outside" so that they would be sewn as well. I sewed around the entire opening and then pulled the lining inside out and into the bag. I sewed around the opening one more time (with the lining on the inside of the bag) to re-enforce the straps and the lining a bit.

I finished by sewing the "bottom" lining rectangle onto the rest of the lining fabric. This process was similar to the pocket process where I made up something and it ended up working. I pinned the "bottom" rectangle to the sides of the lining by pinching the two pieces together where the cut or frayed ends are between your two pieces. Once you sew the pieces together, you will be able to see the seam as well as a small flap of fabric around the edges of the "bottom" rectangle."

And then you're all done! Hope my explanation was understandable without many pictures. I'll remember to take pictures next time!

Bisous mes cheris***

Friday, January 24, 2014

8 Paris Survival Tips (Paige Edition)

It's been a little over a month since I returned from Paris and I thought it was about time I made a list like this.

I promise you this is a very important piece of advice; that's why it's number 1. You're going to want to look at all the scenery and I encourage that, but pay attention to where you are walking!  Parisians don't like to pick up their dogs poop so if you aren't paying attention YOU WILL STEP IN IT.
2. Make sure you say "bonjour" when you walk into a store. Also make sure to let the other person say "bonjour" back before you start talking.
Even if there's no one there really to say "bonjour" to, it's really important that you do this. The French are really attached to their culture and traditions, and tend to be set in their ways. Since a lot of store were often below the homes of the owners, it was like you were entering someones home and it was important to say "bonjour" to the owner of the store and the house; this custom is still important today. Another really odd important thing to know is when you need help or you start talking to someone inside a store, start by saying "bonjour" and wait until they say "bonjour" back before you continue talking. The French find American's very superficial, so when you don't wait for them to respond to you, they see it as you don't actually care about them you're just saying hello because you feel like you have to. They want to feel as if you are acknowledging them as a person before them as a means to a service.

3. If you need your waiter, get up and get them; they aren't coming to you.
Everyone knows the stereotype that French waiters are rude and snobbish, and I can say that some are and some aren't, and there's a reason for this. French people in general aren't as outgoing as Americans; they don't really want to have to talk to you any longer than completely necessary. That's why when you order food, your receipt comes with your food. You don't need to leave, you can stay for five hours if you want to, they just don't want to have to talk to you again. So if you need something from your waiter, you need to stand up and start looking for them because they won't be back.

4. When in Rome, do as the Romans (or in this case the French) do.
As a student living in Paris, I tried to pick up most of the social ques by watching what other Parisians did. I never waited for crosswalk lights and I never apologized when I bumped into people on the streets or in the metro. I wasn't trying to be rude, I was just mimicking what I saw because the last thing you want to do in the Paris underground is stand out as a foreigner. Try to watch for these ques and follow suit, it will help you a lot.

5. Take advantage of your resources!
This tip is a bit like number 4 but I thought it deserved it's own tip. Another very "French" thing to do is really utilize their different food resources. A French person will go to the grocery store at least once a day and will often go to specialty shops instead of buying everything at Monoprix. I say, if you can, try as many of these specialty shops as you can! There are stores for meats, breads, cheese, and pastries, and they're all amazing. Take advantage if you have the opportunities because it's going to be near impossible to find anything like this in the States.

6. Embrace the social norms.
Mostly the idea that you will be touching a lot of people in the metro. They might be stinky and they might be dirty but every Parisian has to do it so get ready. Do whatever you have to do mentally to prepare youself.

7. Adjust your volume.
If you're like me and you talk a grand volume naturally, try to be more conscious of it. Like I said before, you don't want to stick out as a foreigner in Paris. The city isn't dangerous by nature but it can be if you aren't careful. You don't want to give others the chance to take advantage of you. Speaking loudly and speaking loudly in English will make you stand out immensely. Try your best to speak French and speak at an inside volume.

8. Be a river not a wall.
We all have these preconceived notions about the French that you will care with you when you travel. If you can, I recommend reading a cross-cultural book or taking a class before you decide to travel. It will really help you integrate yourself into the city because you will be able to understand the reasons behind the actions. You will be confronted with a lot of issues you might not know how to deal with right away. Give yourself time to adjust and try to be as flexible as you can. Being stubborn will get you nowhere so my most important piece of advice to give is to be a river. Let the culture flow through you and try to take in what you can instead of refusing to understand another culture. It will be different from yours and this might be difficult but you will enjoy yourself much more if you try accepting what is the new norm instead of fighting it. 

My metro stop

On the steps where they shot Midnight in Paris
 Bisous mes cheris***

Monday, January 20, 2014

Embroidering on Knitwear

I did a guest blog post for my good friend Brittany! Go check out her blog and my post on a present I made for my roommate!

EDIT: Here's a picture of my roommate in Paris wearing the sweater I made!

Bisous mes cheris***

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Top Urban Decay Picks

We all have those brands that we will support until the end. For me, one of those brands is Urban Decay. I started using their products a few years ago and now I go to them whenever possible. Not only do they have some awesome crazy eyeshadow colors, they also carry wonderful more practical shades.

I own two UD palettes I don't have displayed: the Naked palette and the Oz Theodora palette. I don't use eyeshadow very much because I'm not very good at it, but the quality is amazing. I often use the crazy colors as "eyeliner" to mix things up a bit.

My favorite products are the ones shown above: Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Greed, Glide-On Eye Pencil in Crash, Skyscraper Mascara that I believe in discontinued because I can't find it on their site, Lip Primer Potion, and Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Naked, Lovechild, F-Bomb, and Apocalypse. The primer works well with the eyeshadows and on it's own. You only need a tiny amount so the bottle lasts forever; it looks amazingly glittery but not over done. I love purple makeup so purple eyeliner for me was a logical step. This one has little silver flecks in it which make it a bit more interesting that other eyeliners. This mascara claims it thickens and volumizes and I'm not sure if it does that because I don't pay much attention but it definitely goes on evenly and makes your eyelashes pop! I never put on lipstick without this primer. I can go a full meal wearing any of these lip colors with the primer and it'll look almost as good as when I first applied it. It doesn't work as well with non-UD lipsticks but it's still better than nothing.

I recommend UD to all of my friends when they're looking into makeup. It's moderately priced and a really dependable brand. And when you're looking for the crazy colors, UD has got your back.

Have a fun and safe Saturday everyone!

Bisous mes cheris***

Photo credits to me! I finally have a nice new camera! I will try to use it as much as possible.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Playlist: A Day to Remember

I don't know about you guys, but Thursday to me is one of the hardest days of the week to get through. It's almost the weekend but when you have an 8 am class, it can just drag and drag and drag. My current "pick me up" band is A Day to Remember. This Florida based band started in 2003 and currently has five albums and two EPs. Their most resent album, Common Courtesy, came out three years after the previous album, What Separates Me From You, and definitely did not disappoint. It's probably my favorite album from them. Here are some of their more popular songs.

 And here are some of my favorite songs.

It honestly look a lot of my strength not to just post every song off of every album. Honestly check them out they're amazing.

Hope y'all are having a great Thursday.

Bisous mes cheris***

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: The Night Circus

I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern in about March. 

This book was amazing. I kind of don’t know how to describe it. I’ve tried to a couple times to my friends but it never seems to come out right. I guess I’ll just try my best.

This book follows two magicians through their lives. It starts with them as children and they are told they are going to be a part of this big competition. They don’t know when, they don’t know the rules, and they don’t know what the competition is (they don’t know each other yet). The book develops as the characters do; meaning the reader doesn’t know any more than the characters do and I really enjoyed that.

I don’t want to give any more away about the story because I think that takes away from it. I only knew about that much going into it and that was more than enough. The language used in this novel is extremely romantic and details. Erin clearly didn’t miss a thing as she was writing this. She covers every point with language that drips with elegance and color.

Overall score: A++ for the incredible imagery and unpredictable ending.

Bisous mes cheris***

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wishlist: A Splash of Color

I don't know about you guys but I find that I wear a ton of black and white. Maybe it's my Paris nostalgia or my secret dream to be a ninja, but whatever the reason I'm enjoying it. I do, however, like to break up drab colors with brighter ones to make a statement. Sometimes this means I wear a headband or colorful shoes, but right now that means lipstick (I've been on a bit of a hype right now). 

Russian Red
Moon Sweatshirt
The White Rose T-Shirt
Fade Out Skinny Jeans
Franco Sarto "Leera" Pump
Steve Madden "Zenn" Wedge

Chuck Taylor Classic
Chuck Taylor Classic

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Reminising about Ireland and Scotland

I traveled quite a bit while I was in Europe but my favorite places were Ireland and Scotland. Not only were the sites incredible, the people were so friendly and helpful (it was a nice change of pace from Paris). I didn't get to see enough of either of them but I promised myself I would go back some time no matter what.
Temple Bar in Dublin
View from the Guinness Store House
Malahide castle
Malahide marina
View from Edinburgh castle
Vegetarian haggis

Edinburgh castle
Bridge in Edinburgh

I highly recommend going to both countries if you get the chance. It was really fun to compare the UK and the rest of Europe.

Bisous mes cheris***

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Current Obsession: Rose Gold

Lately I've been noticing a pattern in the choices I've been making: rose gold. I want everything I buy to be this color! It's a really elegant color that play up your outfit very easily. Here are a few of my favorite rose gold pieces right now.

Constellation Small Zip Pouch

Riley Multifunction Stainless Steel Watch

Glass Pendant Necklace
My obsession with Fossil isn't exactly a secret at this point. I own the watch and the bag shown above but I really feel like I can't have enough rose gold!

Crystal Glimmer Clutch - Gray
Crystal Glimmer Clutch
Flash Back Shorts
Betsey Johnson Burnt Rose Dress
Jeffrey Campbell Daisy Studded Flat
Shoe Cult Luxe Pump
Nasty Gal has a really fun collection of products in this color. I can't decide which color clutch I like better!  I'm also pretty crazy about those shorts. They are definitely on my "Next To Buy" list.

Bisous mes cheris***

PS. I'm in the process of making something with this color. I'll make a post about it when it's finished.