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"A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future."-Coco Chanel

Fragrance. Perfume. Scent. Whatever you want to call it, I’m all in. To me, perfume is the icing on the cake. A little surprise. You know when you are decorating a room, everything is finished and then you put those two decorative pillows on the sofa and it makes the whole room come alive? That’s how I think perfume acts. A subtle brilliant gesture.

My most cherished, most beloved perfume is always Serge Lutens. First, if you are interested, read this little biography on M.Lutens HERE. To me, I like the whole back story of a perfume and M. Lutens definitely delivers a rich history. My favorite scent of his is Koublai Khan. A chypre scent, Koublai Khan has a description not for the fainthearted. “Valuable furs were spread for the Emperor of China to tread on, muddy boots and all. Ultra-animalic musks and all kinds of tanned hides make a sensational debut in this fragrance. Pay no attention to their aggressiveness: once on the skin, they retract their claws in favor of padded paws.” The notes consist of civet, castoreum, cistus labdanum, ambergris, Morrocan rose, cumin, ambrette seed (musk mallow), costus root and patchouli. This is definitely not your starter perfume. You need to be pretty bold to wear this. This is the scent I use when I need to be brave.
The only place that I buy this perfume is in the confidential shop in the Palais Royal. It is one of the most beautiful shops in all of Paris. Lavender, black, gold, demure, dark, brooding, slightly mysterious. If you are a diehard fan like myself, you will learn that these beautiful glass bottles can be personalized. For a little extra time and euros, the shop will customize the bottle for you with your monogram. Seriously, does it get better than that? I think not.

My second favorite perfume comes from Le Labo. I use the Rose 31 scent. It’s not a regular rose. It’s a dirty rose. A musky rose. I am definitely a fan of starting with a rose base and then muddling it up a bit. Le Labo uses the following description to define Rose 31... “The perfume’s aim is clear: to transform the famous Grasse Rose, a symbol of voluptuousness and unqualified femininity, into an assertively virile fragrance that can be worn by both men and women... The result is a model of its kind: alternating feminine/masculine with the disturbing ambiguity of the Centifolia rose, quickly picked up by a chorus of warm, spicy and woodsy notes such as cumin, olibanum, cedar and a touch of amber... In the background, the declared sensuality of Gaïac wood and cistus highlighted by a distinctly physical animal note, give this perfume a disconcerting sense of mystery. “

It is rare that I like nearly every scent from a particular perfume house but I do with Le Labo. You also know that I love that they put your name on the bottle! For the jet setter, they also have great travel perfume balm and I heard that they are coming out with solid perfume in November!

Every year for my daughter Grace’s birthday, I gift her with perfume. I started her with the basics. Chanel, course. I’m sure, as she has reminded me, that she would have preferred something else but she will thank me later. There is a fabulous video from Lonny Magazine on the charming French village of Grasse where Chanel perfume is born. You can watch it HERE
 My favorite Chanel perfume is definitely Cormandel. “A spirited oriental fragrance that reveals itself by interrupted its amber vibrato with dry notes and finally settles into a long, restrained, voluptuous accord. Could there be any more beautiful homage to the exquisite Chinese lacquer screens that lined Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartments and made her almost “faint with happiness?”

My other favorites are the following…

Here’s what I don’t like… Any celebrity perfume, anything citrusy or fruity, oceanic, overly floral, green, anything sweet that smells like dessert, and anything Jo Malone because it smells like room spray. When I die, as we all are, my plan is to come back as a landscape architect and a perfumer. Yes, I want to be known as “Eleanor O. Decret-The Nose.” For you mere mortals, there are two schools…ISIPCA (Institut superieur international du parfum, de la cosmetique et de l’aromatique alimentaire) and the Grasse Institute of Perfumery (G.I.P.).

A toute!

*Something you don’t know about me? My favorite poets are Pablo Neruda and Shel Silverstein.
Hug O' War
I will not play at tug o' war

I'd rather play at hug o' war,

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs

Where everyone giggles

And rolls on the rug,

Where everyone kisses

And everyone grins

And everyone cuddles
And everyone wins.

Wonder Woman

It’s that time of year again. Paris Fashion Week! For fashion spectators like myself, the best thing to do this week is to sit back, relax and enjoy the show…the show on the street that is. Normally, on any given day in Paris you see the most fashionable, most stylish, most chic people in the world. That’s just par for the course in Paris. But, during fashion week in Paris, the fashion barometer goes to a whole new level. My favorite thing to do during this crazy week is to sit at a café (Le Nemours or La Palette) or take a walk through the Tuileries garden and just watch the street fashion show. This is where the fashionistas are...The editors, the stylists, the fashion bloggers, the diehard fashion show attendees.

Every season, I am always impressed by one woman in particular. Giovanna Battaglia. Former model for Dolce & Gabbana, she made a successful transition to editor (L’Uomo Vogue), freelance stylist and contributing fashion editor to W magazine. She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. She is the epitome of style. What I love about her fashion story is that she always looks like a lady, she always looks unique, sophisticated and timeless. Take a look…

Isn’t she lovely?
Bon week-end!

*Something you don’t know about me? My wardrobe basically consists of the following… Jeans, cashmere sweaters, jackets, scarves, sneakers, flats and hats. Colors? Blue, black, grey, orange, camel, leopard. Nail polish? Beige, grey, ox blood red. Perfume? Don’t even get me started on perfumes (obsessed) but for day-to-day, I combine Le Labo Rose with L’ Artisan Parfumeur Patchouli. My look at home? Pajamas, monogrammed cashmere socks, Serge Lutens Koublai Khan perfume and jewelry. I can get away with this because I have ALS. Don’t be jealous. What’s your look?

American Idol

Let’s start today with something big… Big for me. Something you don’t know about me? I am absolutely, unconditionally, with all my heart, the most loyal number one fan of the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Just after working as a nuclear policy analyst for the White House, Mme. Garten opened a gourmet food shop in the Hamptons and since then has been a cookbook author (nine books), television host, contributor to House Beautiful and her own personal interior designer. I have every single one of her cookbooks and I think I’ve watched every single one of her shows.

 So, knowing how much I adore Ina Garten, imagine my surprise today when I opened up my email and saw a letter from her! I literally felt my jaw crack open and my eyes widened. I almost couldn’t believe it. I have my friend Rex to thank for introducing my blog to her (thank you, Rex). Mme. Garten thanked me for including her roasted chicken recipe in my blog a few weeks ago and wished me well with my blog. To me, as I told Rex, this was better than getting a letter from the President of the United States thanking me for my humanitarianism. (That didn’t happen.) Equally as good as seeing Princess Caroline of Monaco a few weeks ago. (That did happen.)

I was so excited I could barely get the words out to tell my husband. My husband has watched every single episode of her cooking show that I have through osmosis because I am the boss of the house and if Ellie wants to watch a Barefoot Contessa marathon all day, we will. Here is what I love about Mme. Garten, the Barefoot Contessa…

She’s not afraid to use butter. She worships her husband, Jeffrey, and he worships her. Her cooking is straightforward, her ingredients are fresh, and she clearly loves to cook and to share her recipes. She loves Paris and the open-air markets. She loves flowers. She is a great decorator. She’s not a b*tch. She eats bread. She is self-made, intelligent, and lives her life with enthusiasm and finds happiness in the small things like vinaigrette. And, she’s jolly. Not fake jolly, real jolly.

My favorite recipe of hers is her beef bourguignon. Did you know the recipe calls for an entire bottle of wine! I think this recipe saved my relationship with my husband once. David was super mad at me, as usual, and this time I secretly knew I was at fault but would not admit it. So what did I do? I slaved all day(an hour and a half) making the most perfect Barefoot Contessa beef bourguignon for him. He loved it and loved me again. Thank you, Ina.


All of her cookbooks are absolutely brilliant. My favorite is her very first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. The coconut cupcakes are to die for. My other favorite book of hers is obviously, Barefoot in Paris. There are great French recipes and great recommendations for your trip to Paris. Good news, she has a new cookbook coming out in October! This one is titled, Make It Ahead. You can preorder an autographed copy through her website HERE.


You can find the entire Barefoot Contessa cookbook collection HERE.       
I encourage all of you to check out her website. Whether you are an experienced cook or a beginner, there is a lot of useful information on her website. My favorite are her tips and her “good ingredients.” This is where she shares her sources for her favorite microplane rasp, French bread baskets, olive oil, cooking twine, platters, baking flour, baking chocolate… everything! Everything you need for your pantry.


I can’t even tell you how much I love her East Hampton house. I have a hard time concentrating on watching her recipes on her TV show because I am busy looking at the background of her kitchen.
You can find more pictures of Mme. Gartner’s East Hampton house HERE.
It gets better… She has an apartment in Paris. She even managed to haul a La Cornue stove up five flights of a windy Parisian staircase. She should receive an award for that alone. There is a great article in Town and Country about her apartment and life in Paris HERE.

As you know, I get wicked panic attacks where I think I’m going to die within the next eight seconds. All my husband has to do is turn on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa and as soon as that theme song comes on I start to relax. By the end of the show, I am good to go again. The Barefoot Contessa is like my own little Xanax. :-)

So thank you, Mme. Gartner, for all of your cookbooks, all of your TV shows and all of the joy that you give to my life and thank you for the email. Merci beaucoup!

*Something else you don’t know about me? When my husband does something to totally annoy me, I secretly give his cashmere sweaters to my daughter. One sweater per annoyance.

A toute! 



jux·ta·po·si·tion : the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

Do you know what these Parisians that I live amongst have mastered? Juxtaposition. They have the concept of juxtaposition down to an art form. When you have an apartment that dates back to the 1700s or 1800s, I think the stylish thing to do is to let the bones of the apartment speak for themselves and let the furnishings and accessories have their own spotlight. Chic Parisians agree. It’s all about the mix. Mixing styles, mixing eras, mixing designs, mixing elements etc. But not too much! It has to be juuuuuuust the right amount. And by the way, I’m talking about mixing 18th-century boiserie with Jacques Adnet, not mixing 18th-century boiserie with Ethan Allen, for God’s sake. Let’s have some self-respect, shall we?” Okay, let’s take a look at some dropdead gorgeous juxtaposed spaces…

How fine! How wonderful! How refreshing! How unique! How très chic! Don’t you just want to throw away everything in your house and start over? I do. There are more examples on my Have Some Decorum Juxtaposition Pinterest Board HERE. Yesterday, I saw, with my very own eyes one of the best examples of this juxtaposition. I almost had a design heart attack. I was invited over for petit déjeuner to one of the chicest family’s apartment in Paris. As soon as the front doors were opened, I was all in. They had me at the entry. The uniqueness of their apartment matched their warm hospitality. Style, grace, elegance, humor and joie de vivre. I am going to ask permission today (because I have manners) to do a blog posting tomorrow on “My Morning with the Chicest Family in Paris.” Stay tuned.

*Something you don’t know about me? I like to take the side streets. It’s where all the magic happens. This is where you find the quirky, the unusual, the low-key, the jewels, the charming, the not so perfect, the marvelous, the special and the magnificent part of life. Take the side streets!