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an affair with geneva.

…yes, i’ve cheated on Paris with Geneva.  before i go on, my apologies for taking a hiatus from blogging (not that i’m an avid blogger to begin with, but you know).  i had to take a break for personal reasons, but it’s a new year, and hopefully i get back into the blogging mood.

anyhoo, onto geneva. for valentine’s day, my honey and i took a weekend trip to geneva, switzerland, a first for both of us.  we arrived quite late that friday night, thanks to easyjet’s delays, but once we checked in and got to our room, i was immediately comforted by the giant bed that awaited.  some of you might

LOVED this bed~!

LOVED this bed~!

find it weird, but i put a high premium on a great bed. i think it started when i was 12 years old, and hung out constantly in my room. my bed was my sanctuary- i did homework there, ate there, slept there, talked on the phone while i was in bed, read, etc. it was my homebase, and even to this day, i still do all those things in bed (except for homework, thank God i’m past that stage in life).  judging from our gorgeous room and heavenly bed, this mini-vacay was off to a good start.

on saturday we explored the city.  geneva’s a fairly small city so everything was walking distance and we basically ate our way through the city.  for lunch we had awesome chicken at this restaurant called chez ma cousine– a no-frills, only-chicken-on-the-menu kinda place-i highly recommend.  then after a few hours of wandering about, we stopped in at this cute little tea salon called, la théière qui rit, or en anglais, the laughing teapot.  super cute and cozy, a perfect pit stop in between walking jaunts.the laughing teapot i had the special of the day: thé d’amour (no doubt, in honor of valentine’s day), and it was one of the best teas i’ve ever had.  couple that with a hot scone, hand-whipped cream and apricot jam, and it was the perfect afternoon snack.

after walking around some more, we decided to head back to the hotel to unwind for a bit. for dinner, i picked this korean restaurant that had a nice write-up on www.spottedbylocals.com. when we finally get to the restaurant, it’s closed! so then we spontaneously decide to go to this authentic-looking italian restaurant down the block from it, which turned out to be the best decision ever. carlos and i order handmade foccacia as a starter, white wine and seafood risotto for two. when the foccacia ran out, we didn’t even have to ask, and a new basket appeared at our table. throughout our dinner, waiters were singing and dancing-literally, and shouting back and forth to each other in italian like one big happy family.  then after carlos ate every last morcel of risotto on his plate (and it was a giant serving!), our waitress comes by and asks him if he wants more..more! yes, ladies and gents, she actually offered to give him a second helping- totally on the house.  both carlos and i were surprised at this unusual gesture of generosity, and for the first time since i think, ever, carlos actually said no (i did mention the giant serving- it practically took up the entire plate).  needless to say, carlos said to me over and over again, “the best italian food i’ve ever had..incredible..incredible” and while i can’t wholly agree with him (i’ve had shrimp risotto in sorrento- and that was the best italian meal i’ve ever had), i whole-heartedly agree that it was an excellent meal indeed.

gastronomically, it was safe to say that geneva had won me over… hey, sometimes the best way to a woman‘s heart is through her stomach too!😛

l’Etat libre d’orange— that’s the name of the boutique in my building, just 5 floors below my apartment.  I don’t know why, but before today, I never ventured inside, though my interest was definitely piqued by the poster on the window advertising a perfume called Fat Electrician.  I knew right away that this was no ordinary parfumerie.

fat electrician

fat electrician by l'etat libre d'orange

Today i finally decided to check it out and see what the store had to offer besides semi-offensive stereotype scents (i was hoping Fat Electrician didn’t really smell like a, you know, fat electrician).  Once inside, I felt like I was in a modern seductress’ boudoir– black laquered bookshelves containing books of all sexual fantasies, replete with pictures of course, magenta pink ottomans and light jazzy samba music in the background with a suggestive, sweet scent in the air.  now i know that it was no accident the proprietors chose to house their wares at 69 rue des archives.😉

The lovely salesgirl explained to me that l’etat libre d’orange is made up of independent creators of perfumes who wanted to let their imaginations run wild.  They didn’t want to be harnessed by societal conventions and expectations, as evidenced simply by the names with which they’ve christened their perfumes.  In addition to Fat Electrician, there’s also Putain des Palaces

putain des palaces

putain des palaces- that keyhole looks suspiciously like something else...

(hotel slut), Je suis un homme (i’m a man), and probably the most suggestive of them all, Secretions Magnifiques (magnificent secretions…yes, you read right.)  Obviously, this is not exactly the type of perfume you would get your grandma, unless of course, she’s the cool, hip grandma-type.  The type that wouldn’t take offense to a perfume called Don’t get me wrong baby, I don’t swallow, for example.  Personally, I think my favorite is Putain des Palaces.  It’s a feminine scent with hints of rose, violet, amber, ginger, and rice powder, among other things.

So the next time someone tells me that I smell good and asks me what I’m wearing, I’m pretty sure they’ll never expect to hear, “Hotel Slut, actually” as my reply.  And I’ll just simply smile and walk away, leaving them in a state of olefactory confusion.:)

If you want to read more about it, check out their website (sorry anglophones, it’s in french): http://www.etatlibredorange.com

christmas is in the air~!

As promised, here are some pictures i took of the christmas windows at galeries lafayette and au printemps.  there were some seriously adorable displays, but in my opinion, the best window display definitely goes to maje this year. let me know if you agree!

galeries lafayette

the lights are aglow at galeries lafayette, paris' version of saks fifth avenue.

marc jacobs

marc jacobs~ bunnies frolicking in champagne- alright, marc.

zadig et voltaire

zadig et voltiare~ not exactly the most exciting, but cute nonetheless.

and the best window display goes to… maje!

maje

maje- bears cooking, baking, celebrating a feast- so cute and intricate, well done, maje!

balancing

be careful with my wedding cake!😛

gingerbread man

the gingerbread man bakes his own, uh, snickerdoodle!😛

and onto au printemps…whereas galeries was fun and playful, au printemps’ window displays go for a more cultured feel.

dior

winter wonderland of dior.

and he even used asian dolls!

dior

dior- asian dolls? eat your heart out, barbie!😛

chanel

chanel goes the russian babushka nesting doll route.

i’m feelin’ the pink and purple snowflakes of au printemps. yay, christmas!

au printemps

ahhh, christmas time.

christmas windows

the christmas windows draw a crowd every year. can't wait to see how new york measures up!

scenes from parisian life.

geez i’m really terrible at blogging. i started this with the intention of writing at the very least, once/week, and i can’t even do that! merde!  mais non, i’m dancing to the beat of my own drum, and there is no official blog schedule, is there? not like this is a newspaper or magazine…but i digress.  for this post i’ve decided to put up a few pictures i’ve randomly taken around paris.

la sorbonne

during one beautiful autumn night, a crowd gathers in front of place de la sorbonne.

the next one is of a couple checking out one of my favorite views of paris.

la belle paris

ooh la la, que bonita paris!

i was walking around my neighborhood and decided to sit and just chill out at place vosges, a quaint little park in the marais.  the next bench over, this guy was so engrossed in his book he didn’t even notice me taking pictures of him with my giant camera😛

stolen moments

stolen moments of solitude

next is my neighbor from across the street. i was looking out the window one day and noticed his cute little car and just had to take a picture.

vroom vroom

i wonder how old this car is...so cute!

anyhoo, last night carlos and i went to go see the christmas windows at galeries lafayette and au printemps–sooo adorable! i took tons of pix, so will be posting them soon..promise!  til then, bisous!

merci.

So there’s this fad in Paris called a ‘Concept’ store, which I think is pretty cool. It’s basically a store that sells a smorgasbord of goodies~ from clothing, to furniture, housewares, books, etc. from a mix of different brands that cater to specific sets of clientele. It’s like a one-stop shop for the modern, savvy, life-of-lux customer, a Wal-Mart of sorts for the rich and avantgarde.

merci, a charitable concept store

merci, a charitable concept store

Anyhoo, I finally went to check out one such place called Merci, conveniently located in my arrondissement.  The proprietors of Merci are also the ones behind the high-end children’s clothing brand, Bonpoint, except with Merci, they’ve decided to go charity instead of monetary.  All the brands represented at Merci have ceded their profit margin, and a good percentage of the sales go towards various charities.

Shopping for a cause~ what a lovely idea!

i want this couch!

if i could only make one purchase at merci, it would be this oh-so-comfortable couch. Love the color too!

painter's corner

don't know if i would wear floral landscape jeans, but props to the artist for a cool concept.

There was an ‘artists’ corner’ where the landscape on the canvas was also painted onto some jeans, and a really neat-looking chandelier.

chic chandelier

chic chandelier

All in all, merci was a fun concept store, i’m definitely diggin’ the idea.  for a list of concept stores around the world,  check out this blog: http://slowretailen.wordpress.com/concept-stores/

’til next time!

Life continued.

AAAAAgggrrhhhhh~~~!  Is October really almost over?!  Jeez!  I’ve been such a bad blogger this month, neglecting to update or write- so sorry!  I have no excuses other than that I started French classes with the Sorbonne a few weeks ago, which has been a welcome addition to my day.  Re-living the student life isn’t so bad at all😛

Anyhoo, I guess I should do a bit of a recap of this month.  The first Saturday of October was La Nuit Blanche, literally translated as “Sleepless Night”.  It was a concept dreamed up and first executed in 2002, as a way to celebrate art and ‘bringing it within everyone’s reach’.  From 7 pm-dawn, Parisians swarm the streets in an all-out, all-nighter celebration.  Everything from museums to art galleries and shops are open later, and most events and exhibitions are free.

An awesome capture of some of the gang. Carlos looks so sinister! In the background, Hotel de Ville.

An awesome capture of some of the gang. Carlos looks so sinister! In the background, Hotel de Ville.

It sounds really cool, doesn’t it, art for everyone?  Well, cool in concept, not cool when it takes you an hour to walk what usually takes 20 min. because the sidewalks are so crowded you can barely move.  Way not cool when you see passed-out, drunken teenagers sprawled across the pavement, with their faces inches away from their own vomit, or empty beer cans/bottles still in hand.  And where were their friends, you ask? Off to continue celebrating, or staring dumbly down at them unable to react or move.  **Sigh**

Anyhoo, we decided to see the main exhibit this year, which was the giant, suspended-from-a-crane disco ball in the middle of Luxembourg Gardens.  It was supposedly the largest (suspended) ball in the world, so we thought, why not go see it?  We like big balls, don’t we?😛

crowded

And the cost of seeing this giant disco ball up-close and personal?  More than an hour of waiting in line.  Non, merci.  So instead, I attempted to take a picture of the big ball with my camera aloft, suspended over people’s heads.  I managed a decent, but not great shot..owell.

there wasn't even music~!

there wasn't even music~!

To sum up, La Nuit Blanche means over a million people out in the streets like it’s New Year’s Eve, except the big ball doesn’t include a countdown, or a new year.

What can I say, the French have their own way of doing things sometimes…

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally took the time to take some pictures around Paris.  Not too many right now, but here are a few of my faves:

beautiful hotel de ville at night, perhaps my favorite architectural beauty in paris.

beautiful hotel de ville at night...perhaps my favorite architectural beauty in paris.

crossing from ile st. louis to the right bank, the view is simply GORGEOUS.

we were crossing from ile st. louis to the right bank, and the sight~ simply GORGEOUS.

as night falls, this is the view from our bedroom window. notice the top of notre dame in the center :)

as night falls, this is the view from our bedroom window. notice the top of notre dame in the center:)

and finally, i’ve been wanting to take a picture of this ‘sign’ for quite some time, but it seemingly disappeared. last night, i decided to take my camera along when we went to the ‘video club’ (like a small-time blockbuster) in case I found interesting things to take pictures of along the way. What do you know, the sign I’ve been looking for, for the past few weeks were literally all along the way-serendipity at work:)

IMG_0155ny<3me2IMG_0160

I love the genius of it: that they inversed the now-all-too-commercial I❤ NY shirt that’s become the uniform of every tourist in the world, and then decided to stamp it all over Paris as a kind of self-assuring proclamation.  Because dammit, NY really does love me.

And perhaps the icing on the cake:

IMG_0161

As Hugh Grant would say, “Love actually is all around.”  :)

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