9.29.2011

Luxurious Bath Items and The Romance of Paris



This special Thursday post brings a fun announcement. An article I wrote for AnyTrip.com On the Romance of Paris is featured this week on their blog. AnyTrip is a travel booking website that allows you to book a cheap hotel in Paris with no booking fees. To read the article I wrote as part of their Romance Week, click here.

Also AnyTrip is giving away a trip for two to Paris (can you imagine?) to enter their contest, click here. Bonne chance!

And finally, this week's video shows you some of my favorite luxurious bath and shower products- all of which I purchased from either the drug store, the beauty supply store or specialty bath stores. If you are unable to see the above embedded video, you can click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

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9.26.2011

On the Etiquette of Taking the High Road



As part of an etiquette series on The Daily Connoisseur I would like to explore the various facets of etiquette and how it plays a part in our daily lives. This week’s post is on taking the ‘high road’.

Taking the high road means many things to me- it means to remain a class act at all times, to not allow yourself to get flustered or agitated, to keep your cool and to issue detached assertiveness (really the essence of maintaining an air of mystery- losing one’s cool is so not mysterious).

This isn’t always easy. Sometimes when met with a pushy or rude person it can be awfully tempting to appeal to your baser instincts and issue a low blow to defend yourself. But I find avoiding this at all costs really pays off in the end.

This past summer I watched The Real Housewives of New York reunion show (an American reality TV show that follows a group of women that are probably as far from real as it gets) and was absolutely appalled at the behavior exhibited on screen. These women are far from well behaved anyway (even though one of them actually wrote an etiquette book) but the show had been a guilty pleasure of mine for a few seasons. But the level of vulgar cattiness, rude retorts and complete lack of manners from any of them, with maybe the exception of Sonja Morgan, left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth. I turned it off before it was half way through and decided to stop watching the show all together- a pity because I used to get quite a kick out of it.

**Update** I just read that they have replaced several of the original cast members for next season so I might put it back on my guilty pleasure list and give it another shot- although my hopes are not high.

I think what disturbed me the most about the reunion episode was that no one took the high road. Attacks and accusations were flying everywhere and most of them, rather than remaining calm and ladylike adopted the language of a sailor and said something equally horrible back. Whatever happened to civility? If my character was ever attacked like that of course I would want to defend myself but I think it’s much more clever to deliver a witty and civilized retort than to resort to common vulgarities. (Although I must say that isn’t easy either. I always think of the perfect thing to say long after the incident occurs).

Sometimes in those situations saying nothing at all and smiling is the best defense. I am reminded of a story about an ancient Chinese monk who was accused of wrong doing by an entire town. When the accusations flew he simply said “Is that so?” In the end the truth prevailed (it always does) and he was found to be innocent. But good for him in the meantime for taking the high road.

So the next time you are met with an unsavory character who tries to take you down practice taking the high road- smile and say “Is that so?” or say nothing at all. After all, if you remain a class act you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone- your behavior will speak volumes for you.

I would love to know… what are your experiences with taking the high road?

The Chinese porcelain vases pictured above are from the Qianlong Reign and date back to 1740. They can be found at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

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9.19.2011

Old Hollywood Hair

We've arrived back in California and it feels great to be home. I am exhausted from the journey so am taking the week off of blogging... But I do have this week's video for you entitled: Old Hollywood Hair.



In the video I show you a modern take on an Old Hollywood hairstyle of the kind that you would see on Rita Hayworth and Veronica Lake. I love those starlets from the Golden Age of Hollywood- they looked presentable always and had so much style and panache! My version of Old Hollywood hair is a little more loose and casual- which keeps the look from becoming too 'costumey' and is appropriate for everyday wear.

If you are unable to see the embedded video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

And one last thing... As you know Chopin is my favorite composer- I especially love his nocturnes so I have set this video to Nocturne No. 21 in C Sharp Minor, Op. Posth performed by Aaron Dunn (although You Tube is promoting the iTunes version performed by François-René Duchâble). The music is from MusOpen who is a non-profit that provides copyright free classical music to the public.

I hope you have a wonderful week! Next week I will aim to return rested and restored...

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9.12.2011

On the Eccentric Chic of British Style and My Favorite Jeans

Before this week's post begins be sure to check out my latest video entitled My Favorite Jeans. In the video I show you my beloved J Brand Skinny jeans and the various ways in which I wear them. If you are not able to see the embedded video below click here, look in the sidebar of this blog or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur



And now for this week's post...

My time in England is coming to a close and I will be back home by the end of the week! While here I have been paying very close attention to the vibe of everyday style. I love doing this. When I lived in Paris I noticed the paired down, minimalistic effortless chic clothing that comprised so many women’s daily wardrobes- A line skirts, colorful sweaters, neck scarves, low heeled sandals. In California it is a whole other matter- Casual luxe reigns there- designer jeans with a deliberate rip in the knee, James Perse t-shirts, sandals, pedicures and sunglasses.

British style is a whole other beast. I would best describe the style I’ve seen here as ‘eccentric chic’.

British street style is whimsical, eccentric and edgy. The women here are not afraid to take risks or go for trends. Having said that a lot of them march to the beat of their own drum and ignore trends all together.

Allow me to elaborate.

Edgy Fashionistas: When in London shopping on New Bond St. I noticed several women in what I would call 'extreme harem pants'- a slouchy pant with jutting angles at the hip. One woman paired her extreme harem pants with maroon suede ankle boots, a white tank top and grey vest. She had her hair in a messy top bun. She wore edgy eyeliner and sharp pink nails. She looked as though she had just been styled to walk down the runway- but I think she was just walking to work. Imagine wearing that to the office!

Free Spirited Eccentrics: I’ve noticed a lot of black opaque tights paired with bright ballet flats: this look is either worn with a dress or shorts. I’ve noticed a lot of tight leggings and high riding boots. Colorful bra straps peeking out of see through crochet tops. Messy up-dos. Feathers and bows pinned in the hair. Eyeliner and bright lipstick. Pretty floral dresses worn with something quirky like a chunky sweater or a leather vest.

Sophisticated Statement: The most conservative looks come from the women of a certain age that wear timeless, sophisticated clothing- cashmere sweater sets, Hermès bags, driving loafers and statement jewelry. These women are always well groomed and usually wear le no makeup look as well. It is this group of women that seem to take their fashion cues from Paris.

Around every corner there are surprises. There doesn’t seem to be a ‘uniform’ for British women- and based on my above descriptions you can see why I have labeled their look ‘eccentric chic’.

I admire many things about British style- the women here seem to have a lot of fun with fashion. They don’t appear to dress for sex appeal like they do in L.A. and I don't see the minimalistic elegance (from the younger generation anyway) that I saw in Paris. There is a mad, artistic vibe that prevails here- an originality that is very fun to observe.

Of course out of all these styles my favorite British style icon is one who I haven't mentioned yet- Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge who is inspiring the world with her ladylike and sophisticated sartorial choices. She is in a category all her own.

I would love to know… what are your thoughts on British style?

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9.05.2011

Richmond Upon Thames and the Puppet Theatre on the Barge

Before this week's post begins be sure to check out my latest video entitled Quick Bun and Le No Makeup Look. I shot this video back in April when we were still a bit sleep deprived with baby. The video shows you my version of 'looking presentable always' when dealing with limited time, limited sleep and a bad hair day :) To see the video click here look in the sidebar of this blog or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

And now for this week's post...


I'm slowly falling in love with Richmond upon Thames. It has all of the bustle and convenience of a big city but is not overcrowded or overwhelming. On top of that it has so many beautiful gardens and charming places to walk along the riverside. In fact, it is the quaint riverside that reminds me so much of the Wind in the Willows- a book I've had a lot on the mind recently.





One evening after dinner while walking by the river we happened upon a Barge that did puppet shows. So the following day my brother-in-law's girlfriend (the one that also wears Stella) and I took my daughter to the barge to see a performance of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. We walked on to the barge and down a narrow flight of steps in to the most charming space. The barge had been converted into a tiny theatre! There was a little ticket and concession stand serving tea and cakes. We had a cup and then made our way to our seats. The curtain came up and the most whimsical show unfolded before us- an hour long presentation complete with sophisticated and life like puppets, soothing narration and beautiful saxophone driven music (what is it with me and saxophones?)



The whole experience was so charming. I just love independent theatre performed in a small, unique setting. It was one of those magical afternoons that I will never forget. When I got home I looked up the Puppet Theatre Barge and learned that Brad Pitt and Angelina had taken their kids to see the puppets the week before… I can imagine that caused quite a stir on the river!

If you find yourself in England – whether you have children or not- you must go seek out the Puppet Theatre Barge- they have both children’s and adult shows. The experience is intimate, charming and quite whimsical.

For more information on the Puppet Theatre Barge click here or visit www.puppetbarge.com

I would love to know... what was your last theatrical experience?

The first three images are my photos of Richmond upon Thames and the last image is of the Brer Rabbit taken from the website www.puppetbarge.com

In late September an article I wrote on the romance of Paris will be featured at Anytrip.com. They are a great company and are currently giving away 4 free trips to Paris! Visit www.anytrip.com for more details or click here for the giveaway information. Bonne chance!


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