Seasonal Delights

4:48 PM 7 Comments
Hello and Happy Halloween to everyone...

I do love this time of year- the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays really put me in a festive mood.

Here are a few seasonal delights I take pleasure in...

Comfy slippers for pottering around the house...

These are my Rococo slippers fashioned after Marie Antoinette's very own bedroom slippers. They are from a company called Goody Goody (www.goodygoodyshoes.com) who make whimsical house slippers for men, women and children. I bought mine at the museum shop at the Getty Center when visiting the Paris Life & Luxury exhibit. They add a certain panache and flair to my ordinary house clothes...

Steaming cups of tea in china cups...

As I am a hopeless romantic, this is my favorite china cup (mug?) commemorating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their marriage. This was a gift from my husband for my birthday (he knew I'd like this one!) and I drink out of it every day...

Cooking and baking seasonal treats...

I've always looked at the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and admired their quaint charm. This one is the Quick and Easy Christmas version with over 220 quick recipes that are perfect for the holiday season. Everything from breakfast casseroles, to comforting main courses to decadent holiday treats (like homemade fudge). I just received it and have been busy marking up the recipes I wish to try. I'll give you an update on how they turn out! I bought mine from Amazon.com

I'll be sharing many more of my favorite seasonal delights for the holidays in the weeks and months to come, including my very favorite holiday candle...

I would love to know... what are your seasonal delights this time of year?

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On Etiquette, Friends and Confrontation

4:58 PM 15 Comments

Do you remember my recent post on The Etiquette of Mobile Phones? Well in that post I mentioned an old friend of mine whom I took to tea- who would occasionally take phone calls during our tea. In the post I asked the question – how do you tell a good friend that something they are doing bothers you?

I am certainly not the person to answer that question as I am somewhat of a chicken when it comes to confrontation (OK not somewhat- I am a chicken). You see I am very afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, angering them or getting into an argument. So instead of confronting the issue I just don’t do or say anything at all.

Well I did not have to worry about confronting my tea room friend because she actually read my blog and confronted me! Thankfully she is a kind person with a sense of humor otherwise there might have been a fracas.

That afternoon we actually met for tea and caught up. She explained to me her side of the story (she has to accept calls for work and be on call at all times) and I explained to her mine (when I am with someone that frequently looks at their phone I feel as though they would rather be somewhere else). She said she understood my pet peeve and I apologized for not bringing it up to her immediately. In the end we had a lovely afternoon over steaming cups of tea and an awful lot of cake.

Later that night I began to think about the subject of friendship, etiquette and confrontation. While it was temporarily more comfortable and convenient to say nothing at all and complain about my friend’s behavior in my head, in the long run it would have been more sound if I had confronted the problem head on. After all, letting something so trivial get in the way of a friendship is ridiculous to say the least.

So my etiquette question this week is being turned to you. What do you do when you are bothered by an etiquette issue from someone close to you? Do you ignore it and hope that it goes away? Or do you confront it head on? What is your stance on etiquette, friends and confrontation?

The Vincennes and Sèvres porcelain objects pictured above date back to 1753. They can be found at the Getty Center in Los Angeles...

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The Search for my Signature Scent Ends (for now)

6:15 AM 13 Comments

I've really enjoyed doing this mini series on The Daily Connoisseur. Over the past few months I have sampled a lot of fragrances and learned a lot about my tastes, preferences and the various phases I go through depending on the season and what mood I am in.

And I am happy to report that I've made the decision on what my new signature scent will be. Drumroll please....

My new signature scent is Bvlgari Rose Essentielle

If you remember this perfume gave me a favorable impression from the very beginning and several of you readers actually recommended it to me. It is heady, aromatic and distinctly rosy (which is my favorite note) and brings me to exotic places every time I wear it. In short, it is simply delightful and for now I am loving it as my signature scent.

I say 'for now' because I have become so entranced with fragrance that I will forever be on the look out for new and sensational scents, and who knows what I may find down the road?

I also have to say that along with purchasing Bvlgari Rose Essentielle on my journey over the last few months I also picked up small vials of Jo Malone Red Roses (I couldn't help it) and Grapefruit. Two delightful scents for summer.

This isn't to say, of course, that I don't still love my beloved Stella. I shall return to her as well every now and then.

So there you have it. Thank you for joining me on this journey and thank you to all of you for your wonderful recommendations through the process...

I would love to know, what is your current signature scent? Let me know in the comment section or if you feel inspired do a video response to my above video and show me your signature scent!

If you are unable to see my video above where I show you Bvlgari Rose Essentielle click here, look in the sidebar of this blog or visit my channel www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

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Strange Invisible Perfumes

5:00 PM 5 Comments
This Thursday I will be announcing the perfume I have chosen as my new signature scent. Before that, however, I wanted to introduce you to the botanical niche perfume company Strange Invisible Perfumes, who I had the pleasure of visiting in their flagship Venice Beach boutique. While there I got to sample several of their all natural, organic botanical fragrances. Keith, the sales associate was extremely knowledgeable and gave me a run down of some of their most prized fragrances.

Strange Invisible Perfumes have no synthetics in them. I am not very familiar with botanical perfumes and it takes a while to get used to these very organic smells but you quickly fall in love with them. Some of the perfumes smell more mainstream like Prima Ballerina and Tahitian Honey. (My favorites of the bunch were Tahitian Honey, L’invisible and Magazine Street) and some are highly unusual like Black Rosette and Essence of IX.

The perfumes are the creation of perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis- truly a master artisan. The Venice boutique is the only one in the world although their fragrances are sold online on their website www.siperfumes.com as well as in certain high end department stores. As a side note, because these perfumes are so unusual I would highly recommend sampling them in person before purchasing online...

If you are a perfume connoisseur into synthetic free organic niche fragrances- this is the place for you!

The bottles are very minimalistic and the fluid of the perfumes are a golden amber color and would look lovely on any vanity. (Apologies I don't have better pictures of the bottles themselves... my camera went amiss that day. Visit their website for vivid pictures and more in depth descriptions)

Here is a very bare bones rundown of the different scents.

Moon Garden- Tuberose and jasmine

Fair Verona- a classic fragrance: citrus, cardamom, Egyptian jasmine and bergamot

Magazine Street- patchouli, magnolia, vanilla, vetiver

L’Invisible- oak moss, ylang ylang, hibiscus, vanilla, red rose

Tribute (limited edition)- a tribute to Coco Chanel: ylang ylang, amber, rose patchouli

Prima Ballerina- Egyptian and Turkish roses, Greek sage, lime botanical musk

Aquarian Roses- wild roses, marjoram, sandalwood

Essense of IX- the scent of a winery- rose, black currant, California lavender

Tahitian Honey (limited edition and my favorite)- temple mandarin and wild honey

Black Rosette- African roses, black tea, spearamint- meant to capture the essence of leather (this one is very unusual- not my cup of tea but could be heavenly for the right person).

Depending on whether you get a EDP or a Pure Perfume vial, or limited edition fragrance, price ranges from $135 to $350

For more information visit their website www.siperfumes.com

And stay tuned for this Thursday's post where I announce the perfume I have (finally) chosen as the search for my signature scent ends!

The image of the Venice boutique featured above is courtesy of futurenatural.com

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On Shapewear Pantyhose

8:35 AM 12 Comments

Thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge and her ladylike influence over fashion, pantyhose is now in vogue again! I recently bought two pairs of Spanx Super Shaper Sheers because I wanted to try out the pantyhose as shapewear trend and see if there was anything to it.

I really like the idea of shapewear built into a pantyhose. There is less you need to wear as the shapewear also acts as your underwear (for lack of a better term)...

I also like the feeling of wearing shapewear. I've worn Spanx for years- I like how they flatter the figure and keep things looking smooth...

I also like that the Spanx pantyhose come in 10 different colors, which makes it easy to match your skintone.

The downside is these tights are very delicate and can snag easily so be very careful when handling them.

Spanx Super Shaper Sheers sell for $26. I got mine at Nordstrom.

To see a more comprehensive review watch my video On Shapewear Pantyhose above...

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

I would love to know... what are your thoughts on pantyhose? Do you wear them? Or not?


An Excerpt from My Forthcoming Book

5:00 PM 14 Comments
Greetings everyone! Today I have a treat... a tiny excerpt from my forthcoming book Lessons from Madame Chic: The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris. The book is finished and is currently being designed. It will take a few weeks to get the proofs signed off but in the meantime I thought I'd share with you a sample from the first chapter, entitled Snacking is So Not Chic... Enjoy!

Chapter 1 – Snacking Is So Not Chic

When living with a different family (in a foreign country, no less) there are many things that can initially give one cause for anxiety. One of them, for me, was food in general, and snacking in particular. Back home in California I was used to grazing all day long, cow-like, in and out of the kitchen between meals. A handful of crackers here, an orange there, some cookies here, a yogurt there. Would I feel comfortable going into Famille Chic’s kitchen and foraging as if I were in my own home?

My first evening with Famille Chic, a few hours after dinner, my stomach experienced some hunger pains. I had had a delicious dinner, but being slightly nervous around my new host family, and mainly feeling anxiety about conducting an entire conversation based on three semesters of college French, I hadn’t eaten as much as I would have liked. So I thought I’d tiptoe (in my pajamas) to the kitchen, which I had, up until then, yet to visit.

Famille Chic’s kitchen was not easily accessible. Their apartment was not of the ‘open plan’ variety where the kitchen is a part of everyday life. Their kitchen was at the back of the apartment, down a long, dark hallway and was not attached to any room. I thought I’d sneak down the hall and have a peek. Perhaps there was a bowl of fruit with something for me to nibble on.

Of course the door to my room (being as ancient and fabulous as it was) let out a grandiloquent squeak as I was about to undertake my stealth mission and after a few moments, Madame Chic was down the hallway in her dressing gown, asking if I was OK. I assured her I was and that I was simply going to get a glass of water. She said she’d get one for me. And apart from her strange glance at my pajamas, (which I will address in another chapter) everything seemed to be OK. Except it wasn’t. I wanted my midnight snack!

I went to bed that night, slightly hungry- a sensation I was not accustomed to. The feeling wasn’t that bad... in fact, it intrigued me! I had never allowed myself to get to a place of hunger before. In my old life in California I would instantly snack at the first sign of hunger pains, completely eliminating the feeling as soon as possible- so much so that I never actually experienced what true hunger was. That night I relished in my hunger and had fantasies about what would be for breakfast the next day...

If you like what you've read I do hope you'll stay tuned for my book that will be out later this fall...

In the meantime I would love to know... what are your snacking habits?

*Update* - Lessons from Madame Chic will be published by Simon & Schuster and re-released in the fall of 2012!

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Sibu Beauty All Natural Skincare

5:00 PM 8 Comments

This week I have an exciting skincare review for you. Sibu Beauty sent me three items from their all natural skincare line to review on The Daily Connoisseur. I received the items a few months ago and have since had a chance to fully experience their benefits.

Sibu Beauty skincare is all natural and uses the ancient Sea Buckthorn Berry as its star ingredient. I’d never heard of this berry before but then I googled it and read several articles on its miraculous healing and anti-aging properties. Naturally, I became intrigued.

After using the Sea Buckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser, Hydrating Serum and Replenishing Night Cream (pictured above) the first evening, I awoke the next day to find my skin was almost a completely different texture. It felt smooth, tight and hydrated. This is the first time I’ve ever used skincare products and seen such drastic results after only one day- I was even more intrigued! I then used the cleanser, serum and night cream trio every night for the next month and a half all the way through my England trip and was so pleased with the results I’m going to call this a Holy Grail beauty find! I love that it is all natural, smells divine and performs really well with my skin.

Unfortunately Sibu is only shipping to the United States and Canada at the moment. For customers in the UK they are available at Victoria Health. For all others that are unable to get the products, I would recommend contacting Sibu Beauty directly and requesting they ship to your country or to stockists in your area. Perhaps if the demand is there they will supply!

The Sea Buckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser
sells for $17.95

The Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Serum sells for $39.95

The Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Night Cream sells for $34.95

They sell all three in their Luxe Kit for $89.95

For more information and an even more comprehensive review, please watch my video below. If you are unable to see the embedded video, please click here, look in the sidebar of this blog or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

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