I’m sharing this post for the next time I head to London!
| From one of my favorite blogs…Mrs. Blandings…
I do not have a back yard swing, but rather one on my front porch. As the days are getting warmer, I find myself there creating the most relaxing rhythm with only the slight push of my toe. As a friend mentioned the other day, “The soothing contemplation done from a porch swing compares to nothing else in the world.” I’m finding this is true.
A reoccurring springtime rumination is where to find good skirts. I like skirts. In fact, I like skirts best. Perhaps the years of wearing uniform skirts, picked up from the floor of my bedroom and pulled on for the second or third day, left an impression of ease and reliability. One day in high school, walking down a long breezeway, a particularly sour sort of girl said from behind me, “I wish I had a swing like that in my backyard.” It had embarrassed me at the time, but now I think she would have been a lot more fun if she had.
Skirts then appeared by magic (otherwise known as “Mother”) and hung, briefly, three in a row on the low bar in my closet. Now I must find them myself. So many are either too expensive or two short. But today, this gem landed in my e:mailbox and a quick click turned up several attractive cousins as well. Ann Mashburn, no surprise. Here.
As I celebrate my 1000th Instagram picture, I thought it was about time I answered all those questions about snapping pictures on your phone! Not a day goes by without an eager commenter asking what I use to edit my Instagram pictures – wonder no more!
My Favourite Apps
None of this is groundbreaking stuff, but regardless, here are the apps I use on a regular basis to keep my Insta snaps looking bright! Even if you just find on new app out of this bunch, my job here will be done. I’d love it if you could share any amazing apps I’ve missed in the comments!
Duh, I know, you all use VSCO, but it’s the best, right? It’s the only app I use to edit my pictures at the moment. It just does everything I need it to do and has the best filters.
Afterlight is also bloomin’ amazing. It has a tonne of filters, but also lots of fun extras, like putting your picture in a circle, or adding a patterned background. It also has some great light leaks and vintage camera grain. Everything you need in one app!
Another one I know you’re all going to have already! An amazing app for putting little doodles and writing onto your images. The inspiring ladies over at A Beautiful Mess created this app, and continue to add really cool features!
Snapseed is a great all-rounder for sorting out the basics. The sliders for brightness, contrast etc give you far more control than VSCO. Perfect for people that want to do a little editing but maintain that #nofilter look.
Fuzel has to be the best collage app! It’s not often I want to collage together images, but if I needed to, this app would be my go-to.
Click, click, click
My process for Instagramming has to be pretty standard. I shoot around 10 snaps, testing different compositions, and then pick out the best. There is always one less blurry or more vibrant than the rest!
I always always use the back camera, even when shooting selfies. It might mean that I have to guess and hope for the best regarding where I’m pointing the camera, but it’s worth it for the better quality.
Don’t forget to tag!
Tag the brands that you’re wearing in your #ootd’s and there is a chance they’ll regram – this means more people finding your fabulous feed!
Things that go down really well on Instagram? Cake, cats, flowers, beautiful cities and…well..any food, really…
My Fave ‘Grammers
You’ve gotta share the love when it comes to Instagram! It’s such a wonderful community. These are the gals whose pictures I like again and again and again…
Lots of pinks and lots of flowers! My friend Briony lives in Cambridge, and upload the prettiest, sugar-coated snaps from her surroundings.
If you love coffee, muted tones and beautiful blonde hair, Chelsea is your gal. Her pictures always make me feel so cosy and at home, even if they are shot halfway across the world in Minneapolis.
Carin is super well known and needs no introduction. This Swedish photographer left her country to move to Paris, and documents the beautiful city and everywhere else she travels in her amazing pictures. A total inspiration!
Melina’s feed might be in Brazilian Portuguese, but that doesn’t mean I appreciate her fun snaps any less. This vlogger and I seem to have a lot in common, and I love the pictures she posts of her dog, Spock!
Chantal is another friend of mine, and her Instagram feed deserves serious love. It’s full of pastels, and a hell of a lot of pink – a total dream world.
Another top-notch Instagrammer! This Parisian shares photos of her city, alongside other beautifully curated images in the softest tones. One of my favourites!
I, for one, absolutely love being alone. Some of the best times I’ve had are ones where I’ve been in no one else’s company but my own. I always enjoy hanging out with myself at home, and I equally love going shopping alone. I find that I’m productive and relaxed… and I always make sure to remain just as silly as when I’m with others.
There are certain activities, though, that I would never dream of doing alone. Sure, some things are just more fun with others by my side, but maybe sometimes I want those people to be there partly because the idea of them not being there… scares me. I fear I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself (wherever that “there” may be). I fear I’ll have a question and I’ll be forced to ask an unfamiliar face. I fear that others will see me and think, “What’s wrong with that girl? Why is she here by herself?”
But you know what? Please pardon my language, but those fears are complete and total bullshit. Truly. I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself? I’m a pretty smart girl. I’m sure I can figure it out. I’ll have a question and I have to ask an unfamiliar face? Great! Where’s the problem there? Meeting new people is healthy thing to do. People are just people, just as you and I are. People will think there’s something wrong with me? They’ll question why I’m alone? Well, I mean, maybe one or two will wonder why I’m alone, but I have a feeling the conclusion they come to will have nothing to do with there being something wrong with me. And if it does… why should I care? I’ll never even know! Am I really worried about a thought that a person I don’t know… MIGHT have? Silliness. Pure silliness. Madness, even.
Yet I’m sure I’m not alone in these worries. If you’re with me, let’s do something about it. Together… yet separately. I challenge you to go somewhere alone. Somewhere you’ve never before dreamt of going alone. Go. Just go. Even if it’s for four and a half minutes. Do it. You might just find out you like it better that way.
Go for a drive. Grab your film camera and take yourself for a scenic drive, with no destination in sight. Roll down the windows, blast that song again and again, and truly experience the freedom you’ve been given. Stop often, or not at all. If something you see sparks your interest, pull over. Maybe it’s a retro-looking diner up ahead, or a field of flowers you spot in the distance. Go there, be there, and take it all in.
Hang out at a cafe. You know that cafe, the one with an atmosphere so cozy you could just live in it. Go there, sans computer. Bring a book or some watercolors , bring your headphones… or not. Sip slowly, taking in not just the beautiful flavor and aroma, but also the warm, calming energy around you. Allow yourself to sink into that perfectly worn-in cushion, and stay all afternoon.
Relax at the library. Choose the oldest looking fiction book you can find, and open it midway. Sit on the floor, crossed-legged, between two bookcases. Maybe even take your shoes off. Start reading and don’t stop. Make up the first half of the book in your mind. Pretend you’re one of the characters. Feel her emotions. Experience her experiences. Cry if you need to. Allow yourself to get lost in the world that exists on those pages before your eyes
Wander through a museum. It could be an old favorite, or one you’ve never before experienced. In either case, go with a fresh perspective. Seek to learn something new and to be inspired to think, make, or do in a brand new way. Don’t feel the need to visit every room or stay for a certain amount of time. Go to experience it as it comes, and when you come to a point where you feel fulfilled, head on home.
Treat yourself to a fancy meal. Get dressed up for a date with no one but yourself. Feel confident, and go. Order something you can’t pronounce. Save room for dessert. Take every bite as if it were your first. Learn your waiter’s name. When you say “thank you,” mean it. Feel gratitude for all of those who partook in making this meal possible, from the person who planted that tomato seed that became part of your salad, all the way to the one who delivered the chair on which you sit. Marvel at the incredible skills possessed by each of those people, and then marvel at all of your own.
Go to a show. Music is a powerful thing. Choose a band that you know will make you feel something. Go alone and ready to dance. Close your eyes, let the beautiful vibrations move you, internally and externally. Make a new friend, just for the night. Leave feeling refreshed and full of positivity.
Take an art class. Be it painting, pottery, improv, or anything else, put yourself in a situation that teaches you to harness your creativity in new ways. Use your hands, your eyes, your brain, and your soul. Let creative energy flow through you, and express it in ways you never thought possible. Let it in, let it out, and never think twice about it.
See a movie. Get a huge bucket of popcorn (or sneak in your own). Get there early. Find the best seat. Watch every preview. Look around from time to time, at this room filled with strangers who are all sharing a similar experience at once. Feel comfort in this sense of community, as you all laugh and cry together. Realize that, while you may be by yourself, you’re certainly not alone.
What will you venture off to do on your own?
Wow, what a great testimony for strong faith…
I don’t like dance—I know, I know, I’m a cultural Philistine, but I’m unrepentant about it. The day my eldest chose to quit ballet in favor of horse riding I rejoiced knowing that I had escaped years of agonizing recitals. But I have two girls and my amnesty is jeopardized every time the youngest does a pirouette through the house. I’m sweating again.
I may be culturally deficient, but I’m not altogether ignorant. I do know who Scott Hamilton is. And yes, I know that he’s not a dancer. He’s a skater. But my animus against flowing forms means that the disciplines get lumped together. And I used ‘lumped’ purposefully, unrepentant Philistine that I am.
But as I was saying, I know who Scott Hamilton is, and on the occasions I have seen him on TV I have found him quite likeable. He seems like the kind of guy I…
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This sums up why I haven’t blogged in a while, and probably won’t for some time….
Looks like this will be a winner, especially with the Nordstrom collaboration!
Why the New Dover Street Market Is a Wake-up Call for the Retail Industry
Is this the end of shopping as we know it? That thought kept insinuating itself in my head in December as I navigated the busiest spending time of the year. The revolution has been brewing for a while, of course, but this was the holiday season when I reached a personal tipping point in terms of favoring e-commerce over bricks-and-mortar. The physical act of visiting a store has finally become too depressing: You have to deal with the crowds, there’s rarely a sense of intimacy or discovery, there’s never anything in the size you want, the shop assistants in even supposedly upscale stores manage to be pushy and ill-informed at the same time (why is the line “Can I help you?” always delivered with a vague sense of threat?), and just try finding a taxi afterward. Better to stay home and log on. Ironically, one of the reasons the best online retailers win out is that they deliver a level of good old-fashioned service that their real-world counterparts have lost: Delivery to your front door (just hours after you’ve ordered if you live in New York), the ability to try things on in the comfort and privacy of home, and the option to return what you don’t like, no questions asked. Hell, if I’m logged in, one of my favorite e-tailers will even change the logo at the top of their site to Mr. Standen. It’s the little things in life.
No, I decided I was done with shopping the traditional way. And then along came Dover Street Market. I went to the press opening of the new multi-retailer space owned and curated by Rei Kawakubo and her Comme des Garçons team on the Friday before Christmas. Then I went back again a week later just to make sure my original opinion hadn’t been skewed by the energy of opening night. On both occasions, I came away with the same impression: Dover Street Market has made shopping enjoyable, even enlightening again. How? I think there are a few key lessons that other retailers could study.
1. Shopping should be a social experience first, a transactional one second.
The decision to put Rose Bakery on the ground floor immediately to the right as you enter was probably dictated by the contingencies of the physical space, but it’s a fortuitous placement. There’s nothing new about having a café in a store, of course, but what’s key here is that it doesn’t feel like a separate entity but a seamless part of the experience. The array of baked goods and the communal dining tables spilling into the shopping area immediately create a sense of well-being and bonhomie. That continues throughout the market with its seven floors and Aladdin’s Cave-like warren of individual boutiques. You feel like you are having a good day out even before you think about buying anything. That sentiment is probably helped by the slightly out-of-the-way Murray Hill location.
2. Shop assistants are the new rock stars.
First of all, they look the part here. But even if they’re dressed cooler than you, they don’t have that cooler-than-thou attitude. They won’t force themselves on a customer, but if you ask for assistance, you’ll find they are not only helpful but passionate and knowledgeable about the stock. None of this happened by accident. The assistants at Dover Street Market were cherry-picked from other independent shops around New York, then put through a rigorous set of interviews. I used to give other retailers the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was simply impossible to find great store assistants. DSM has proved it can be done.
3. It’s all in the mix.
Dover Street Market has the best variety of merchandise that I’ve seen in a long time. It adheres to the same formula that Kawakubo and Co. use in their other outlets in London and Tokyo, but perhaps because of the conservatism of most New York stores, it stands out in greater contrast here. DSM stocks a rigorously edited selection from—to name just a few—high-end designers like Prada and Saint Laurent, street/sportswear labels like Supreme and Nike, and up-and-comers like Shaun Samson and Gosha Rubchinskiy, not to mention a handful of items from an old-school French naval outfitter. Instead of feeling like you’re seeing the same things you’ve been looking at for months online or in glossy ads, there’s a sense of surprise here. Other retailers might argue that this approach wouldn’t be commercial enough for them. All I can reply is that nearly the entire stock of Supreme had turned over in the few days between my first and second visits. And it raises a larger point. Perhaps as traditional retailers do more and more of their business via their digital platforms, physical stores should become showcases for their more experimental ranges and most exciting goods, places where you enchant and engage your potential customers while the hard selling gets done online.
4. And finally…
Judging by DSM’s concrete facade, the shopwindow as we know it is dead.
30 Reasons to get excited for 2014
- 1/1 | The Affordable Care Act goes into effect. Guaranteed maternity coverage for all!
- 1/5 | Downton Abbey Season 4 premieres on PBS. Lady Edith, we really think 1922 is going to be your year.
1/13 | The buzz of the 2014 North American International Auto Show will be driverless vehicles, or cars that take over steering in tricky, congested situations.
- 2/7 | The Winter Olympics kicks off in Sochi, Russia. Did you know that a 150-pound male figure skater can land a jump with the force of a 1,000-pound baby elephant?
- 2/14 | The return of House of Cards on Netflix. Women everywhere wonder if they can pull off the Robin Wright pixie cut.
- Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton. Marc Jacobs is out, and the former Balenciaga designer is in. We’ve got our eye on him for Paris Fashion Week.
- 3/2 | Ellen DeGeneres hosts the Oscars. Seth MacFarlane watches
- The sleek, low ponytail: Your 2014
- Kate Moss’s Topshop collaboration hits stores. Fingers crossed it channels the ’90s blasé-grunge aesthetic (not the ’90s butterfly-clip aesthetic).
- 4/22 | Neil Patrick Harris returns to Broadway to star in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. We always knew he was born to wear glitter eyeliner and a wig.
- 5/6 | Food writer Ruth Reichl’s first novel, Delicious!, hits shelves. We’re hungry just thinking about it.
- Four words: herb-infused ice cubes. (Think strawberry-basil and hibiscus-mint.)
- All hail the boxy shift blouse. From Cynthia Rowley to Calvin Klein, this style was all over the spring ’14 runway. Pair with high-waisted pants to avoid showing the world your belly button.
- 6/6 | Best-selling YA book The Fault in Our Stars gets the cinematic treatment. See it with your teenaged niece and sob the entire time.
- 6/12 | Brazil hosts the World Cup. Americans claim to like soccer for 3.6 days.
- The dessert of summer is the high-end ice cream sandwich. Coconut macaron with mango sorbet filling? Yes, please.
- Our sources tell us that Adele’s new album–a.k.a. the sound track to everybody’s next breakup–is coming in July.
- Get ready for Coin, a razor-thin, swipe-able piece of plastic that stores all of your credit cards in one place.
- Gochujang (Korean fermented dipping sauce) is the new summer grill marinade.
- High-Intensity Interval Training is the new CrossFit (which was the new Zumba).
- Everyone who’s anyone will be vacationing in Macedonia.
- The USDA’s “Smart Snacks in School” law goes into effect, banning energy drinks and candy from public-school vending machines.
- 9/25 | Girls fans line up to snag Lena Dunham’s essay collection, Not That Kind of Girl. Will it be worth the $3.7 million advance?
- Hooray for bucket bags!
More swingy in nature, this trendy purse is smaller than your average tote and offers the strap of a cross-body.
- 10/3 | OMG, Gone Girl is a movie. And OMG, it stars Ben Affleck.
- Tina Fey returns to television–well, writing for television at least–with a new comedy about a woman who escapes from a doomsday cult. We’re already working on our night cheese.
- We’re betting that Apple’s mysterious iWatch will be released before the holidays. Think Google Glass meets Fitbit meets your old-school Casio.
11/4 | The midterm elections are here! Is a House/Senate changeover indicative of 2016? And which Fox News anchor will have an on-camera meltdown?
Fewer men will suffer from cold heads this winter. Why? The FDA’s pending approval of a new cure for baldness.
- 12/25 | It’s a hard-knock life once again, thanks to the long-awaited Annie remake starring Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and the unpronounceably named child actress, Quvenzhané Wallis.
What are you looking forward to in 2014?
From the wonderful Hip Paris blog…
November 19, 2013
Paris’ 18th arrondissement, to the north of the city, is a vast and varied area, encompassing some of the most affluent enclaves (right up at the top of the hill) and some of the shadiest (La Goutte d’Or), as well as one of the city’s most frequented tourist spots — Le Sacre Coeur and the surrounding streets and squares in Montmartre.
But slightly off the beaten track is the more unassuming part of this neighborhood: the residential area in the foothills of Montmartre, extending from the arrondissement’s town hall – where I happen to have lived for the best part of a decade – which is well worth the detour to discover the lesser known shops, restaurants and more that the guide-book clutching hoards are yet to discover.
Manufacture Parisienne (Kim Laidlaw)
Here is a selection of my favorite new and newish places that look set to make this part of the 18th a destination on any discerning visitor or local’s itinerary. Food in the area ranges from a quick bite and coffee right up to fine French dining.
The recent arrival of Café Lomi (3 ter Rue Marcadet, 75018 Paris), a serious coffee joint that roasts its own beans and hosts tasting sessions, brought much joy to local laptop-wielding freelancers who now regularly set up shop at one of the wooden tables in the cosy yet spacious café to enjoy superlative coffee, delicious scones and a selection of light lunch and brunch options (such as quiche and salad) whilst taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi access and laidback welcome.
Another relaxed – and cheap – place to grab a bite in the area is Bululu (20 Rue de la Fontaine du But, 75018), serving freshly made arepas, a Venezuelan sandwich made from gluten-free flatbread and filled with yummy delights such as avocado, beans and cheese, served with ice cold beer and banana chips.
Table d Eugene (Kim Laidlaw)
On the other end of the scale is Table d’Eugène (18 Rue Eugène Sue, 75018), the freshly revamped gastronomic restaurant where you can eat a three-course fixed-price menu of French haute cuisine for the incredibly reasonable price of just €52.
Manufacture Parisienne (Kim Laidlaw)
Chef Geoffroy Maillard, formerly of Le Bristol, creates inspired seasonal dishes such as lobster with vanilla, chestnuts and mushrooms, matched with carefully sourced, independently-produced wines, all savored in this intimate restaurant tastefully decorated in soothing tones of chocolate and white.
From the same team comes the recently opened wine and tapas bar La Rallonge (16 Rue Eugène Sue, 75018), just a few doors up from Table d’Eugène, serving the same excellent wines as well as a selection of small plates to share, all anchored around the high quality of individual ingredients, including Serrano ham croquettes with onions and béchamel, or truffle risotto, as well as cheese and charcuterie platters showcasing delicacies such as bellota, coppa and manchego.
This part of town is also a real gold mine for independent boutiques, including the charming Manufacture Parisienne (93 rue Marcadet, 75018) that seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale.
Manufacture Parisienne (Kim Laidlaw)
The almost entirely white space sells an array of artisan-made wares and gifts for children, adults and the home, sourced from family-run businesses and companies clinging to their savoir-faire, and often produced in limited editions especially for the shop. Every six weeks there is a new theme (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween…) and the stock and the décor change, and a new little box of goodies (including, for example, stationary, a book, sweets) in keeping with the theme goes on sale.
Manufacture Parisienne (Kim Laidlaw)
Another new boutique is Maison Nordik (159 Rue Marcadet, 75018), set up by a young French-Danish couple, selling vintage mid-century modern Scandinavian furniture in excellent condition sourced directly from Denmark in a spacious 100m2 two-level shop. Just up the hill, eccentric French brand Atypyk (17 rue Lambert, 75018) sells quirky and humorous knick knacks ranging from a cheese-shaped dish sponge to an “R.Mutt” sticker to turn your loo into a Duchamp-inspired work of art.
Maison Nordik & Manufacture Parisienne (above) / Maison Nordik (Kim Laidlaw)
Les Mauvaises Graines (25 Rue Custine, 75018) is an incredibly stylish plant shop – or indeed “urban gardening concept store”, as it calls itself – selling framed butterflies, vases and candles alongside ready made potted gardens to take away, and beautiful plants grown in the Paris region without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Another recent addition to this side of Montmartre is the completely renovated 1920s building that is the Louxor cinema (170 Boulevard de Magenta, 75010), complete with its impressive mosaicked neo-Egyptian architecture, which reopened in April 2013 after 20 years of closure. The vast movie theatre houses three screens, one of which has a ceiling painted with a night-sky mural in the style of an Egyptian tomb, and specializes in art house films.
These new and/or revamped delights, together with an authentic, neighborhood charm and so many other wonderful fixtures that I don’t have the space to mention, make this part of the 18th arrondissement a worthwhile, up-and-coming (and yet to be overrun) destination in Paris for shoppers, foodies, coffee addicts and culture lovers alike. I look forward to bumping in to you there, sometime.
Maison Nordik (Kim Laidlaw)
- Ylenia takes us on a stroll around Montmartre, which just happens to be one of her favorite neighborhoods
- Want to see more of the cozy Café Lomi? Paris Select has also payed a visit to the coffee gem
- Don’t miss Thomas article for the HiP Paris blog about Centre Commercial, another great shopping spot in Paris