It’s a New Year.

It’s a New Year and that means it’s time for me to try, yet again, to keep up with my blog– I have too many other new year’s resolutions to make this one of them, so instead I am just going to try– rather than setting unrealistic goals for myself– I’m going to be honest with myself and admit I will just TRY. And also I do not resolve to doing this every single day (although I will try) I do resolve to not obsessing over making it perfect, if the photos are not exactly where I want them to be because I don’t really know how to use wordpress I will post anyway, because my new year’s resolution is to JUST START.

Not only is it a new year but it’s a brand new moment in my life. I am embarking on what I can already tell will be a long journey of setting up shop in Paris, and by setting up shop I mean living here! I came, for the same reason so many Americans do, because I fell in love. Yes, I fell in love with the streets, the cafes, the croissants, the women, and the cheese shop lined streets– but what, or I should say who, I really fell in love with was a man. And so as I’m slowly building a life here– I am still very much in love with this same man but far less with the rest🙂

Sitting at the moment in a stumbled upon coffee shop run by Australians and patroned by other expats I could not feel more at home. Looking around from the tiled floors, to the tin ceiling, to the wood tables, and listening to the sound of cappuccinos and lattes being made I am back on my corner of Bowery and Houston and back in my cafe on Prince Street or somewhere in Williamsberg and it feels fantastic. I never imagined I’d want so many familiar things in Paris I thought I’d be satisfied with a pain aux chocolat every morning for the rest of my life– but I’m not! Next door is another favorite “feels like home” spot; Bob’s Juice Bar– opened and run by a classic New Yorker. Bob’s juice bar does not have all the options of the LES Juice Press, or even Greenpoint’s Lunch Box but it does have my all time favorite fresh green juice that gives me the lift I’m often craving after a month of eating nothing but pain, cheese, and meat. Bob’s juice bar is one of those tiny places where you order at the counter and all sit side by side at a long picnic style table. The staff is mainly expats and it’s one of the few moments where I get to be the one who actually knows what’s going on and watch all the French customers scratch their heads in confusion but this incredibly confusing system. I know how American I must make myself sound, but I have nothing to apologize for. Living in Paris has it’s challenges especially when you’re from New York and you are used to having a juice bar on every corner and a coffee shop with more than just cafe (e with an accent) on the menu, where people actually sit and work for hours without being regarded as “weird”. So there you have it two of my new favorite spots in Paris and they’re NEXT DOOR! Tuck Shop, 13 Rue Lucien Sampaix, Paris 10th. & Bob’s Juice Bar: 15 Lucien Sampaix, Paris 10th. truck shop

Above: Visit and Queen Elizabeth will give you a wave!

Below: My favorite juice: green apple, kale, cucumber, and ginger (there might be some celery in there too!)

 

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Check out my upcoming posts for more favorite spots for shopping, eating, walking, sitting, sleeping in Paris and other places all over the world!

Caine’s Arcade

I was so inspired by this video, not only is Caine an adorable 9 year old with creative powers beyond my imagination, but the video really got me thinking about what kids are doing with their free time today. Caine is a testament to the fact that kids can still use their imagination to create something incredible. We could all learn something from him.

The Explosion and Preservation of the Ballet Flat

Paris did and continues to do it right when it comes to the ballet flat. It was at the Paris Opera Ballet in the mid 18th century that Marie Camargo wore a heeless ballet flat on stage, quickly setting the stage for the elimination of heeled ballet slippers all together. Yes, while we may hate to admit it, we have yet another thing to be grateful to the French for. As ballet flats were taken from the stage and onto the streets Paris has always kept it simple and true to its original form. Conforming maybe to color trends by adding some metallic and snake skin options but they would never rid themselves of the buttery soft leather and delicate bow, which makes this flat so iconic. In fact Parisians, as with most new things, would probably find the Tory Burch interpretation of the ballet flat that has taken the world by arms, quite ghastly. Not only do Parisians continue to embrace the same ballet flat shape that has in essence existed since at least the 16th century, in which men wore a similar shoe (times have changed!) or more recognizably since they made they’re big coming out in Funny Face when Audrey Hepburn made them as fashionable as they are today, Paris has also maintained the shoe’s comfort. As anyone close to me will tell you I have been cursed with the most problematic feet when it comes to finding flats that won’t butcher my feet—to the point where I can honestly say heels are often more comfortable than flats. The main problem is that most flats in the U.S. are made with terribly stiff backs (the part that goes around your heel) and continually dig into my skin with every step. If that isn’t the problem then surely there will be one around my toes. As with the Tory Burch flat, I mentioned before there has been a wave of flats to hit the market that have the stretch back: Vera Wang’s lavender label, Tory Burch, Banana Republic, and although I hate to include a French label in this category the infamous Lanvin, who most likely coined the style—these are NOT comfortable. Of the four mentioned above I will say that both Lanvin and Banana made an incredibly cushioned flat that I tried, I really tried to break in—I was left blister free but due to an unattended ingrown toe nail the pinching irritated me so that I was left in excruciating pain after an hour in these.  All of this searching left me craving a ballet flat I could wear, and I mean really wear, wear all day even–Paris delivered.  The classic Parisian flat which can be found for as little as 35 euros is made from abuttery soft leather that never blisters your feet and gives so there is no pinching around the toes—they are quite literally slippers. Beyond the comfort of this flat, what I love is that Parisian stores, brands and designers are tres loyal to this style, no matter what the competition presents brands like Repetto and Bolch among other long standing French shoe brands continue to make the same shape season after season. of course they add unique styles to this class shape (such as star cut outs, metallic prints and sequins. And it’s not just the brands that remain loyal to this classic shape it’s also the Parisian women themselves of all ages. I could scoop up a pair in every color and quite literally sleep in them—I applaud Paris for rejecting change when it came to the Ballet Flat—this time Paris was right to think “We’ve done it the best”!

London: Fish and Chips

I have always experienced the same sensation upon arriving in London. There’s a feeling when you walk up the stairs and out of the tube, a similar feeling to when you walk up into Fenway Park—the energy consumes you and it doesn’t matter how many times you do it, you feel as if it was your first every time. After many visits staying in Sloan Square, with my close friends from growing up having moved to Hong Kong I was lucky enough to stay with a close friend of my mom’s in Russel Square—a totally new part of London for me. What I find fascinating about London and different than New York is that while each neighborhood truly has it’s own flavor they all retain the same old world Sherlock Holmes feel and I would argue that with this comes the perfect combination of the urban chaos exuded by a city like Palermo or Istanbul and the quaint calmness of Amsterdam and Boston. And most of all London is probably the only city on earth that can measure up to New York’s diversity in cultures, jobs, and things to do!

What I ate today: After having some of the most horrific pad thai of my life–reminder when eating ethnic food to stick to restaurants where people from that ethnicity are actually working inside—I was on the hunt at dinner time for the perfect fish and chips to go. I wondered around the streets of Russel Square, passing pub after pub, bad Italian food and fallafal and kebab galour to finally stumble across a little restaurant that looked like it hadn’t been changed in half a century with a menu stocked with fresh fish options. Attached to the restaurant was a to go part of the restaurant, with similar menu choices, only a cheaper and greaser. The fried cod were enormous and the thought of eating an entire one, well the thought of eating an entire one was actually impossible. Observing fellow customers who were clearly locals they all continued ordering the massive fried cod with French fries doused in salt and vinegar…yummm, So needless to say I found my perfect FISH AND CHIPS and the best part was I got to enjoy them alone eating among both friendly and grumpy old and young English men watching their nightly football match. Finally despite the fact that I feel quite ill at the moment (as the brits would say) it was the perfect English evening. Cheers!

A little bit of London flavor….