Tag Archives: France

When I was growing up in the States, rosé had a reputation for being a second rate wine.  I don’t know why that is.

However, in St. Martin (the half French, half Dutch island) I noticed it everywhere, restaurants (including upscale ones), beach bars, house parties, etc.

Once my parents moved back to the island, my siblings and I started to spend more time there.   My sister, Daniella, LOVES rosé and would insist on stopping by a wine shop to stock up for our stay.

Now, thanks to Daniella, I am a big fan of getting my rosé on the minute the warm weather arrives.

Certain words and images come to mind when I drink rosé: summer, family, friends, good food, beaches, the Caribbean, outdoor seating in my favorite piazza, France, Sicily, parties, pink.

Some rosés at the fantastic wine shop, Comptoir France, in Rome,

Some rosés at a fantastic wine shop, Comptoir France, in Rome.

Here’s a write up about rosé from The Kitchn.

Buon weekend a tutti!

In December, I attended the AWAR holiday cocktail party at Palazzo Farnese.  The construction of the Palazzo started in 1515 and it has been the home of the French Embassy since 1874.

I’ve been inside the building before to vote (I have dual citizenship, American and French) and went to an exhibit they held a few years ago.  However, this time there was a tour from the Ambassador himself.

I had a blast that night with my friend Gillian.  AWAR raised money for charity, we saw amazing art and architecture, and we had a chance to drink Champagne.

One of the highlights for me was walking into various rooms by myself to study the interiors. I’m still shocked they let us take pictures (a big no-no at the American Embassy.  You have to turn in your cellphones and cameras at security).

“The Mix” is important.  It’s also difficult to do well.  A room with furnishings from a mix of eras gives off a different energy than a room where every single piece of furniture, all the vignettes, art, etc. etc. are from the exact same time period and/or store.  When the mix is on point, it’s so exciting.

Conference Room Palazzo Farnese.

Conference Room Palazzo Farnese.

I was surprised when I stepped into this room and saw the modern iron table and chairs.

I think a traditional table from that period with very ornate detailing and decked out with ivory would’ve been too much.

Instead this table compliments the room.  You really notice the drop dead gorgeous proportions, the floors, the walls, everything.   Most conference rooms are zzzzzzzz.  This one is a stunner.

Buon weekend and cin cin to mixing it up.


Summers in France

Summers In France is a fabulous read.

Along with photos of gorgeous interiors, there are recipes, tips on how to be a gracious hostess and guest, and information about the amazing markets near Ms. Ireland’s summer home in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of Southwestern France.

I really appreciated the before and after photos.   Ms. Ireland has taken a rundown farm house and turned it into a wonderful home.

If you’ve seen Ms. Ireland on the show “Million Dollar Decorators”, you know she has a very vivacious personality.  This comes through in the book.  It’s clear she loves to entertain and to make her guests feel at home.

The house is beautifully decorated but there is nothing stuffy about it.  It’s not easy to pull off the combo of comfortable yet chic.  I’ve flagged quite a few pages in this book.

Sigh,  I cannot wait until I can have my own home in the countryside.

I’ve written about Wonderfool the spa and concept store before.   One thing I really like about Wonderfool is how they highlight Iocal artisans.

A few weeks ago there was an aperitivi at the store and several of the designers were there.

I had a chance to speak with the très chic Daria Reina the Creative Director of Chez Dédé, a French-Italian label.  She and her partner Andrea Ferolla started the company a few years ago.  Inspiration struck the luxury goods communications consultant and the art director while they were on the island of St. Barths.

At Wonderfool they sell only their bags, but Chez Dédé also makes scarves and bracelets.  Their scarves for men, Les New Yorkaises, would be perfect for my boyfriend, if I had one.   The colors are striking and I hope they start to design some for us ladies as well.

Each bag is name for an island or a beach they have visited.  One of the newest editions is their Grand Tour bag.  It’s sporty and sophisticated. I LOVE it.  It’s a perfect bag for a longer trip.  You can fill it with mementos of your journey.

Another addition to the collection is the Taormina bag.  Made with a stunning Sicilian red, this bag inspires me to book a trip to Sicily pronto.

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The craftsmanship is remarkable. Not only are these bags gorgeous, they are well made.  Daria said it was important to her and her partner to make the bags in Italy.  I’m sure Chez Dédé would make a lot more money producing the bags elsewhere. I appreciate their commitment to pay artisans well.

I’m not completely anti-fast fashion, but I’m doing my best to avoid it. I’d rather own a few things of excellent quality than buy a bunch of things from Zara/H&M/Top Shop that fall apart after two washings.  Also, I have the worst figure for fast fashion.  What looks cool on my thin and/or tall friends looks, well, cheap on me.

I adore these bags and not just because I’m an Island Girl myself. They are very “Stylish Simplicity”.

I was telling one of my friends that I couldn’t decide which one to get.  One of the bigger totes (Ciao Portofino!  Bonjour Cap Ferrat!) or the cute smaller Salina one?  I will decide after my birthday next month.

Chez Dédé

My first trip to southern France was incredible.  My friend’s boss invited me to join them on his yacht. At first I wasn’t sure about going since I didn’t have a film at the festival and I had nothing to wear.

I like to have a plan. What exactly would I do in Cannes? My friend told me to get a grip as the trip was completely paid for.  She had a point.

I’m very glad I said yes.  Our host was lovely.  Being a good host (and a good guest) is not something everyone knows how to do.  I’m not sure why this is as there are a billion magazine articles and books on etiquette.

The attention to detail was impressive.  The crew went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable. The chef was OUTSTANDING.  I ate well and drank some great wines.

On the first day, the water was extremely choppy. It calmed down by the evening and I had no problems sleeping.  it was so quiet (unlike my darn neighborhood).   The décor of my en suite cabin (and the yacht in general) was fantastic, very classic and understated.  It felt like a home.

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It was nice, and surreal, to catch up with some Hollywood friends. There were multiple celebrity sightings.  I did slip into a little funk after one exec said something bitchy to me.  My friend and her husband cheered me up and reminded me why I left L.A. in the first place.  Also, a good friend back in Rome told me to remember where I was staying and to forget about that miserable snobby person.  Which is what I did as I drank some rosé.

On Friday we drove to St. Tropez.  The traffic was bananas but it was worth it.  We had a delicious lunch at Le Club 55.   It was great people watching.  Later, I read that during July and August the whole beach becomes quite the scene.  When we were there the restaurant was packed with local families looking like the wealthy French version of J. Crew.

The sun came out during lunch and we drove back with the top down.  It wasn’t a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.

The village of St. Tropez is charming.  I would love to go back and spend more time there.

There were many highlights during my short trip (French bread, excellent bath products, jogging through Cannes early in the morning) but the best thing about it was spending time with my friends.

I went to Cannes last week for the film festival as a guest of my friend’s boss.   I cannot get this song out of my head.  It plays during the trailer of the new Wes Anderson movie, “Moonrise Kingdom”, which was the opening film of the festival.

The first time I saw the trailer I was worried the movie would be too “twee”.  There’s a reason Anderson is one of the most polarizing film directors working in Hollywood today.  I bumped into a film critic last week who told me the movie really moved him (after the first half hour) and I’ve heard the performances are great.

My parents had several Hardy records when I was growing up, but I was trying to fit into suburban America and wasn’t checking for a singer from France.   Now, like many other things my Caribbean parents liked, I get it.

Here’s the “Moonrise Kingdom” trailer.


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