Monday, September 28, 2009

Trip to France (#5)

Today was a work day; and the first day since we've been here that I got out before 2pm. Jet lag is no joke. When I said I was over it, I was mistaken. LOL. My husband and I still both wake up in the middle of the night; just for less time now.

Last night, we strolled. Paris is that kind of place. The French have a word for a person who strolls: Le flâneur. That would be me. (Hopefully, I can stroll off a few pounds.)

Everything is pretty quiet on Sundays and Mondays. That's one thing I have always liked about it here. 4 day work weeks and long vacations; 6 weeks on the average. Yep. 6 weeks. Normally busy streets in Paris empty out in July and August, when most locals take their annual holiday. Shops and businesses are often deserted for a month, sometimes longer. Now you know where I get it from. LOL.

There is a Jewish synagogue in the same block I'm in and because it is Yom Kippur, there is a lot of activity. I grew up in a Jewish community in Los Angeles, so it's not unique to me. What IS unique, however, is that there are 5 policemen providing security. I asked my husband why and he said the French (generally speaking) do not like Jewish people. Who knew?
Speaking of Jewish people, when we were in New York, we walked through a big neighborhood that was made up entirely of Orthodox Jews. I found it fascinating that the women had shaved heads and wore wigs. Culture and religion never cease to amaze me.

Back to Paris.

So I think I mentioned I found a wholesale area by accident last week and that's where I went today. I didn't get tons of stuff because of the exchange rate, but I did manage to find some cute things I think you'll like. If not, I'll wear everything. LOL. I still have some really nice pieces coming in this Fall/Winter that I ordered from MAGIC last month; some of which have that same European edge. Plus, I don't have to worry about exchange rates, VATs, duty fees, etc. Sigh.

I hope everyone is well. =)

A bientôt!
Your local shop girl,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Trip to France (#4)

Not too much to report really.
I'm not the picture taking type, but my cousin Ivy asked me to take some pictures, so I did and I posted them on my Facebook page. (Now that I've started this blog, there are pictures here as well.)
Today is the first day that I really feel normal and rested. The jet lag is finally gone.
We walked around our neighborhood tonight and since it's Saturday night, lots of people were out and about. I saw a bunch of boutiques that remind me of my store and of course, I saw tons of cute stuff. While walking around, we happened upon a wholesale neighborhood that I knew nothing about; so I'll go back on Monday morning since it's within walking distance. I'm also going shopping at Galeries Lafayette on Monday (for myself) because they're closed on Sundays. It's a huge store complex with lots of wonderful stuff; I'm convinced you would love it! I had moules et frites (mussels & fries) for dinner. There's a French place in San Francisco that my husband and I go to and get the same thing; but, of course, this was WAY better. Last night, my husband cooked us dinner and burned his fingers in the process. He's okay though. I like eating in; particularly if I don't have to cook. LOL. I'm sure I'll have more to report after a full day on Monday.
Until then...
A bientôt!
Your local shop girl,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trip to France (#3)

I'm not really sure where to start. But I will start by saying that I found out why there was that stinky smell I referred to near our hotel in New York. My husband and I were killing time before our flight and decided to take the A train (isn't that song? LOL) to Williamsburg (the "new SOHO" in Brooklyn) for lunch and we passed The New York Department of Sanitation (hah!) about a block away from the hotel. Pee-yew!

The flight to Paris was actually pretty comfortable. IcelandAir is similar to JetBlue in that you get your very own personal video screen and more leg room. Even the seats went back a little further than normal. The flight attendants reminded me of flight attendants from back in the day with their really cute suits and hats and welcoming smiles. I've noticed that it's only when I fly internationally that I see this type of customer service and sharp outfits. I also learned how to says "Thanks" in Icelandic from my seatmate. It's "Takk." (Don't laugh; I like learning stuff.)

Ohhh...and this is interesting. There was a woman that mistakenly sat in my row. As she was moving, she told me that this was her first flight since she was in THAT PLANE that landed in the Hudson River. OMG. She was brave. Oh yeah, and she told me she had loads of Xanax, so she slept for the flight. LOL. Whatever works.

We were an hour or so early, so we walked around the airport in Iceland, which I might add, is really very sleek and modern looking (including the bathroom). Yes, I did get my husband a cap that says "Iceland" on it...LOL...and I saw an extremely unique wool dress kinda looking thing, but when I did the money conversion, it cost too much considering I hadn't even made it to France yet. I did see a cute warm up jacket that I might get on the way back though.

Okay, so we're here in Paris and I'm telling you, I feel right at home. I'm a bonified Francophile; always have been, always will be. And boy oh should see this apartment. I must've done something good.

(Above) View from our 8th floor penthouse apartment in Le Marais

First of all, the gentleman that owns it is some big time (former) actor and (current) director in both Belgium and France. Since we rented his apartment from an agency, we didn't think we would meet the owner, but he was here when we arrived. Interesting guy. The apartment is big (by French standards) although the elevator only holds 3 people. 3 small people. (I was instantly claustraphobic.) I won't go in to any detail about the apartment (I'll just take pictures and bring them back), but there is a terrace and....we're in a penthouse apartment that overlooks the city. This is like some stuff from the movies. I'm telling you; I must've done something good.

Of course, we woke up in the middle of the night (jet lag) bright eyed and bushy tailed as everyone else in the City slept. So what else could we do except drink champagne (me) and red wine (James) and eat Camembert cheese and baguette and smile a lot. I'm still smiling.

We couldn't get a WiFi connection at first, but today when we woke up (5pm local time), James hooked us up to a phone line and - voila! - here I am typing to you. =)

I checked my email...and just like the last time I was away (in Vegas)...I got an email from Oprah's Angel Network telling me they published another story I wrote about being bullied (and name calling). Do you believe it??!?!? It's actually the preface to a book I'm writing called Talking White: 14 Ways to Cope with Thoughtless Remarks for kids that need a way to cope with being bullied for "talking White." I don't know what to say. Looks like you have to be close to 50 years old for your dreams to start coming true. (Check out Oprah's Angel Network (registration required) and type - OneBrownGirl - in the search box to see my stories.)

Back to Paris.

So James is currently out wandering the streets of Paris while I sit here in this fun apartment returning emails and pretending I'm actually French. LOL. Oh yeah, and I'm sipping champagne with Cassis (I expect a hot flash at any minute)...and the Cassis is less than $5 here and more than $20 in the US.

In the hour or so we were waiting to get in to this apartment, we roamed the neighborhood (we're in the Marais for those of you that have been here) and I see stores that look like mine (okay, my store looks like theirs) and one of the stores I went in had 3 items that I have sold in my store. Because it is so expensive for Americans to shop here, European buyers go to the States to shop. And since there are European designers in the States, it's cheaper for everyone. Crazy, isn't it?

I could go on and on...but I should save something for later...n'est-ce pas?

A bientôt!
Your local shop girl,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trip to France (#2)

My luggage weighed 53.4 pounds, so I took out a pair of boots (2.4 pounds!) and my toiletries and threw them in my husband's suitcase. Problem solved. Those 3.4 pounds would have cost me $50 otherwise. Sheesh.
I've always liked flying JetBlue. More legroom & your own personal tv. TV makes the flight go faster.
Turbulence is no fun.
I don't know what the smell is, but it's stinky outside (I'm at a hotel near JFK).
Because of cutbacks, there is no room service. You have to call down your order and then go downstairs, get your order, and then bring it up on a tray if you want to eat in your room.

My husband left our entire travel folder at home. Good thing everything is on the computer.
We're flying to Iceland and then to Paris on Iceland Air. I want a baseball cap (we get one for my husband everytime we go somewhere) that says Iceland on it.
Thank you for your emails (you know who you are). There are some really nice people in this world. =)
I miss Miles already (my cat).
A bientôt!
Your local shop girl,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trip to France (#1)

My husband and I are on our way to the airport in a few hours and I got this brilliant/silly idea (you can decide) to stay in touch with my customers (who I will miss) while we're away. (Awwww.)
Here are a few random facts:
We're staying overnight in NYC because I hate long flights.
I have packed one suitcase for almost 4 weeks and it is still under 50 pounds (I think).
My cat seems to sense that we're going to be gone. I wish he could morph into a person and go with us. I bet he would be really handsome.
We're staying in an apartment in Paris and not a hotel.
I'm taking my laptop. Can't leave home without it.
The exchange rate is freaking me out and I wonder how much I'll actually be able to buy for the store that has good value. Paris is always painfully expensive.
I'm looking forward to seeing my husband's family again. They don't speak English and when there's a French word I don't know, I just pantomime.
BONUS: I will be in Paris during Fashion Week and I didn't know that when I booked the trip.
It's nice to have someone (Courtney) to take care of everything while I'm away. (It only took 2 years.)
I won't take it personally if you unsubscribe from this list. =)
A bientôt!
Your local shop girl,