Thursday
May302013

Babymoon or Bust: Paris To Do & See

 

Even the cats are well dressed here.


 

A rare Mr. MPCC sighting in the wild.


 photo L1090746_zpse3efaae5.jpg  

Obligatory shot of the pregnant woman stuffing her face with Pierre Herme macraons.


 

Our recent babymoon to Paris was our most relaxing visit to the city of lights ever. Maybe it was all the hormones? I didn't feel the need to over book our agenda, as is often the case. We slept in until 11:00 every day, an indulgence I NEVER do, being the quintessential morning person. 

My husband's only requirement? Stay on budget. With bebe on the way, and a nursery to furnish, there was no room for Michelin starred dining. Seriously, he said if there was a Michelin star involved he wasn't interested. 

Though, excellent food for a good price, is not hard to come by in Paris (stay tuned for a follow up post on where we dined;), and we indulged, indulged, indulged. Our relaxed itinerary included an afternoon gouter of macarons daily.

So what did we do? Took in the sites, walked around the city, and visited new neighborhoods and exhibits.

First up was the Musee de Cluny, right up the street from our hotel in the Latin Quarter.  It is devoted to the middle ages (medieval studies minors unite!). Probably most renowned for the lady and the unicorn tapestries, which were sadly on loan for an exhibition during a renovation of the space, though there was still plenty to see. Formerly the townhouse of the abbots of cluny, the site shares space with the remains of gallo-roman baths from the third century, along with impressive collections of sculpture, and artifacts from the time.

From there, we strolled across the seine, through the madness that is Notre Dame, and on to the Hotel de Ville, to the exhibit Paris Haute Couture (pictures below). Yes, even husband was impressed with haute couture fashion from Parisian houses past and present- Dior, Cardin, Balenciaga to name a few. All decadent, ornate, and a feast for the eyes. They often paired and juxtaposed pieces from the past with present day examples, showing how designers often draw inspiration from each other through the years.  What goes around truly does come around. Best of all, the exhibit was free...if you have the patience to wait in line! Tourists and locals alike are always eager to take in these exhibits so plan ahead with passes or be prepared to wait a bit.

The following day, husband and I changed things up with an outing to the Centre Pompidou, which neither of us had ever visited. For shame! A rare appearance by Mr. MPChouChou (above) in front of Calder's 'Horizontal' sculpture, which stands permanently outside the 'inside out' building. Love or hate the design, it has seen over 180 million visitors since its opening in 1977. Housing works from Picasso, and Kandinsky, to Warhol, and everything in between, it is a lot to take in with only one visit. Much like the Louvre, we will have to go back and make sure we take the rest of it in. Frankly, there is also only so much modern I can absorb in one dose. From there, we strolled through the Marais, surely the most bustling area on a Sunday (when many spots can be closed). For all our trips to France, we had never been to the neighborhood. Sadly, Merci was closed, yet another reason to justify a return visit.

On our final morning, we had just enough time to walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg, to Musee du Luxembourg for the Chagall exhibit: Between War and Peace. Chagall lived to be nearly 100, saw revolution, two wars, and a few exiles, documenting via his art all the while. Opening with the first wold war, the exhibition covers four key periods in Chagall's life- Russia in war, between the world wars, exile in the United States, and his return to France. Chagall's style is dreamy, full of allegory, but mainly pretty haunting when presented within the context of so much war. Shorter lines, followed by a reward post exhibit- a chocolat chaud at Angelina right outside the gallery, made for a delightful morning before hitting the airport. 

Everywhere in between, the glorious sites of the city....with picture perfect buildings and landmarks nestled in between and on every corner. My favourite past time is marking the street art. I find at least one offering from Mr. Chat with every visit (half French, half Swiss, goes by Thomas Vuille by day), along with new, beautiful, countless others. Most impressive was this abstract feline a top Julien in the Marais, done entirely with chalk. Imagine the time and effort....for something that could easily wash away in the rain? Some of the best exhibits, all around you and free. I searched in vain for work of an anonymous (below) artist, who goes to bourgeoisie neighborhoods, letting them now just how much a square meter costs there. 

Image: Goop

 

Have you seen any good exhibits lately?

Back to Boston, last weekend was free at the MFA, happy to report attendence records were broken! Husband and I are waiting to take in Samurai soon, heard fabulous things about it- anyone have a report for me?

 

Images: Mairie de paris Paris Haute Couture

Tuesday
May282013

Dressing the Bump: Week 25 in Splurgeworthy Suno

Above: Suno dress (similar Suno dress with fun cutouts for the non-pregnant) via Louis, Zara zebra sandal, Jerome Dreyuss Carlos tote, Karen Walker sunglasses, Forever 21 bracelets

 

I have survived the bulk of my pregnancy with bargain friendly maternity finds from Zara, GAP and Old Navy. And sometimes you still need to feel special, bargains be damned, so you splurge on an investment piece that *should* transition to regular wear post baby, like this gorgeous dress from Suno.  

I love this dress. I love that it makes me feel fabulous when I wear it. And need I state the obvious, that the trapeze cut is generous, flattering, and forgiving for bump, and rump (which seems to have grown to Kim K proportions- and I mean that in a good way, g*d love her and her curves).

A recent trip to the store in yoga pants heralded a series of catcalls from a whole new fan base....once my outrage in the Costco parking lot subsided, I had to admit, well, I guess it can't be in all that bad of a state at week 25, huh? My goal having been a 'fit' pregnancy, I am eager to get a good workout on, and frustrated that I have not an ounce of energy. One of those moments where you just need to kick back and enjoy a scone I guess.

Surrender to bebe.

White flag raised.

Friday
May242013

Lavender Simple Syrup

 

Baby shower is almost upon us! Eeeek! 

What is the modern baby shower? It is something your mother throws for you? Something your friends plan? I think those ideas are passe and probably unrealistic. Ours is going to be an affair that my husband and I host, one that will hopefully be not only a celebration of bebe mon petit chou chou, but a feast filled with laughter of close friends & family, fabulous food (to get IN my belly), and french country chic decor, of course. 

My good friend Emily of MStarr Event Styling & Design tossed a few ideas my way to get the creative juices flowing and I ran from there. Slightly out of control and too fast, but hit the ground running none the less. A rustic, minimalist, home grown shower fits with our space, a new fine dining spot that just opened in Milton, called Steel & Rye...and more importantly, fits with the budget, what the Mr. is concerned about. 

Picture dried floral arrangements in frosted sea glass vases and vintage bottles, lavender infused cocktails, wire baskets, tins, toys and baby food jars from yesteryear with some burlap runners and lace accents for good measure. Sounds lovely in theory. We'll see how it all comes together (if you want a closer look at my ideas, check out my baby shower pinboard or my instagram, where I have been posting some crafty projects).

Until go-time, I have been testing out some simple syrup recipes and new cocktails for the husband to taste. This lavender infused syrup is heaven- providing an undertone of lavender and honey notes that just make any cocktail posivtively sing!

Simple to make. Now hopefully everything goes this well with the rest of the shower planning.

 

Lavender Honey Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
  1. Bring water and lavender to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add sugar and honey and stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, allow to cool, strain and bottle.
  5. Refrigerate. It will keep for about 1 week.