Wednesday, December 21, 2016

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house a sigh could be heard from this very tired spouse. 

The house is decorated, the shopping’s done and the wrapping will get done on Friday.  Time to sit down to a quiet breakfast and enjoy the blessed stillness of early morning. 

It’s also time to reflect on the ghosts of Christmas past and share with you a few of my favorite things. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Can a Birkin Beat the Stock Market?

The day following the election of Donald Trump all eyes were on the stock market, which was predicted to plunge to near Great Depression era levels by most of the same people who predicted that Hillary Clinton would win. 


In fact, as of this writing, the stock market has hit record highs, to the relief of those of us who realized that with interest rates kept artificially low over the last ten years or so, the stock market was really the best, if not the only, game in town. 


Friday, November 18, 2016

That’s Just the Way She Is

I have nothing against honesty.  All things being equal, it is usually the best policy. 

But when someone says, “May I be completely honest with you?” do both of you a favor and say politely, “No, thank you,” because what follows will probably be rudeness masquerading as honesty.  In fact, the mask of honesty is worn by a whole host of miscreants these days, the most insidious of whom are those who have deluded themselves into thinking they’re actually doing or saying this or that “for your own good.”  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It’s Finally Sweater Weather – Yeah!!

Tempers may still be hot following an incredibly contentious election season, but the weather has cooled down considerably.  It’s time to pull out those warm, woolly sweaters neatly folded away in your dresser drawer. 

Courtesy of Rocaille Blogspot

I did a quick inventory of mine and then headed for my local Talbots where they were having a terrific sale that I just could NOT pass up. 

Here are some of the little gems I came home with. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Special Guest Blogger for You Today

It’s been a busy few weeks.  All good.  In fact, great! 

Dinner at Gabriel's Restaurant off Columbus Circle in Manhattan
Cousin Hélène is on my left and her two children, Juliette and Augustin, are on my right.
Family visiting from France, dinners with friends, operas, exhibits, writing an article for a local magazine and, in general, lots of running hither, thither and yon.  I never quite know where you actually end up after running “hither, thither and yon” (I suspect back where you started), but my British Grandmum used to say it, and I always loved the sound of it.  And, as Mme Mère used to say, tout cela pour dire (all of which means) that I’m a bit tired, so I’ve handed my Blog over to a very special Guest Blogger today. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Toto, I Think We’re in Paris!

I have a special treat for you today – an interview with a young American in Paris. 

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

In an era in which most young American women don’t even own a dress or a pair of high heels, a Kansan transplant to Paris has given me some much-needed hope.  Let’s just say that the future of style and class is in very capable, tiny hands. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Curtain Up on a New Season – Part II

In Part I we were back in our seats in the Grand Tier as the curtain went up on our new season at the Metropolitan Opera.  The opera was Mozart’s Don Giovanni (for a synopsis of the story, see Part I). 

It was a good news/bad news sort of day.  The good news was that it was a good (not great) performance.  The bad news was that the well-dressed operagoer is fast becoming an endangered species.  The good news is that there are still a few shining examples of how to dress for the opera, even on a dismal, drizzly day in New York. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Curtain Up on a New Season – Part I

The curtain went up on our new season at the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoon.  It was a good news/bad news sort of day. 

It’s always good news to start the season with Mozart, particularly one of my favorite Mozart operas, Don Giovanni (a/k/a the notorious love ‘em and leave ‘em Don Juan). 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Calm before the Fashion Storm

You remember me telling you about my friend Sylvie, whom I met almost 30 years ago when she worked as an au pair in New Jersey?  Based in Paris, Sylvie flies all over the world for Air France.  Over the years, she has become a true parisienne d’esprit, although her heart will always be in her native Provence.  And, like a true parisienne, she can’t wait to get out of town from time to time. 

Fashion Week Spring (Fall/Winter) 2016 from Loewe Show - Marcus Tondo

If you’re not involved in the fashion industry, there’s no better time to get the heck out of Dodge than Fashion Week, which begins with Lucien Pellat Finet’s show this Tuesday, the 27th, and ends with Miu Miu on Wednesday, the 5th.  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Don’t Leave Summer White Behind

Thursday, September 22nd, is the official first day of fall, although Mother Nature may have other ideas that have nothing to do with what it says on the calendar.  While we no longer adhere to that old “No White after Labor Day” dictum our mothers lived by,

All Women's Dresses - White Cotton Dress

we do tend to pack away those little white cotton dresses for next spring, which is a shame, I think.  While fall means warm, vibrant colors, it’s a pity to leave cool, crisp white behind.  If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a white cotton dress as the temperature drops, there are great ways to take white with you into fall and winter, and this is one of my favorites. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

New Products for Fall – Who Do You Trust?

September is finally here and not a moment too soon for me.  Of course, despite the oppressive heat, it feels as if it’s been coming and coming and coming……..  Since the middle of summer my email In Box has been filled to overflowing with skin care and makeup ads announcing the next best, greatest breakthrough/must-have item that I positively cannot think of facing the fall without…yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Not to mention the de rigueur tips and tricks from celebrity makeup artists I’ve NEVER heard of touting the latest and greatest tips and tricks, most of which I HAVE heard of (I’m hardly a newbie at this game.), and their corner drugstore finds that will give you a cheap thrill. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

I Love/Hate Shopping!!

How hot is it?  It’s so hot I could cuddle up with a Popsicle.  "Come to Mama, you tall, cold, flavored drink of water!!"  That’s the bad news.  

Illustration by Claudi Kessels

The good news is that the cool breezes of fall will soon be wafting my way bringing with them everything I love about the season – the crisp air on my cheeks, the comforting warmth of a wool sweater and the heavenly smell of sausage and apples simmering on the stove. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Like a "Poisson" Out of Water

I spent many years teaching French to adults and teaching American executives awaiting transfer to France how to cope with the cultural differences they would face.  One question always popped up more than any other – “Do you think of yourself as more American or more French?” 

It’s a natural question to ask someone who is bilingual, bicultural and bi-national.  In fact, it’s a question Yvan Jayne gets asked a lot. 

In 1998, the 16-year-old Marseillais came to the United States to finish his studies and fulfill his dream of becoming a champion Rodeo bareback-rider.  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Brief History of the Humble Chemise

Lately, it seems as though I’m living in the heart of the Rain Forest.  Daily, heavy thunderstorms only add to the sauna-like humidity, while temperatures reach energy-sapping heights. 

Have the Pool Boy Bring my Cocktail in 10 Minutes When I’ve Finished my Nap.

When I was a kid and the thermometer on the back porch shot past 90˚F, my British grandmother would say, “It’s hot enough to make a girl want to sit around in her shimmy.”  Sitting around in one’s shimmy was not something a well-brought-up young lady did in my grandmother’s day, no matter how hot it got. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

You're Invited to my Perfect Picnic

The following post appeared three years ago, but bears reposting as I share some of my foolproof picnic tips.  Everything is included for that perfect déjeuner ou dîner sur l'herbe, except the naked models.  You'll have to supply those yourselves. 

Déjeuner sur l'Herbe by Edouard Manet
For the last few weeks, skies have been sunny and the humidity close to nil; in other words -- perfect picnic weather. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Stripe Up the Band This Summer

It’s time to Stripe Up the Band and add some sassy stripes to your summer wardrobe. 

A Cornhusker Marching Band Color Guard - Photo by Rose Johnson

There’s something so summery fun about stripes, and I’ve got some great picks I think you’ll like. 

Three Things to keep in mind when choosing your stripes.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Touch of Gingham for Summer

Do you remember your first blue and white gingham dress?  I do. 

Little Miss Maddie in a Dress Made by Her Mom
I remember the crisp feel, the faint rustle it made when I ran and the way it always reminded me of the blue and white checked tablecloth Mme Mère used for summer picnics.  Not too surprising, really, since she made both from the same bolt of fabric. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

What’s In a Name – Maybe Much Ado About Nothing

The month of May at The Mews was rainy, alternating between a steady drizzle and torrential downpours. 

But, it was hard to dampen my spirits when I looked around and saw how eagerly the flowers drank it all in.

Photo Credit - Maureen Heacock, my Very Talented Neighbor

The Mews is always beautiful in the spring, but this spring has been particularly splendid. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Story of Eileen’s Wedding Dress

Most little girls dream about their wedding day and the beautiful, princess gown they will wear, and as they pack it away after the big day, they dream about the day their daughter will walk down the aisle in that dress.  For Eileen Brell both dreams came true. 

This is Eileen’s vintage wedding gown on display at a May 20th fundraiser exhibit for District XI Pennsylvania Garden Clubs.  Now, let’s go back six decades to the beginning of the story of Eileen’s wedding dress. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How to Avoid "Flashback" on Your Big Day

Once upon a time, before mirrors were invented by Venetian glassblowers in the 18th Century, most people lived and died without ever knowing what they looked like.  I know, I know, there are mornings when that would be a blessing.  And then, in the 19th Century, Louis-Jacques Mandé Daguerre invented photography, and we ladies would never look upon ourselves in quite the same way again. 

Copyright by Mirella Patzer - History and Women

Getting your picture taken in those early days was a rare and wondrous event, for which you posed in your best clothes, jewelry and, above all else, your best hat. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

This Spring’s Must-Have Floral Day Dress

Remember my post on the versatility of a brightly-colored spring skirt (see “Spring Skirts and French Apologies”)? They are one of the spring/summer essentials that should be in every woman’s closet. 

Another spring/summer wardrobe essential is the floral day dress, and Uniglo, in collaboration with Liberty of London, known for its beautiful floral prints, has made the easy, breezy spring dress even easier and breezier by adding a built-in bra.  Wow!!  No more fretting over a bra strap slithering down your arm just when you are trying to look oh-so-chic and work your je ne sais quoi. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Little White Tee and Thee

It's time to revisit an oldie, but goody.  The Post My Little White Tee originally appeared two years ago, but, with spring in full flower and summer beginning to bud, it's the perfect time to take another look at one of the hardest working wardrobe basics in your closet.  

White House Black Market

Among the hardest working pieces in a woman’s wardrobe, along with the perfect pair of jeans and the perfect LBD, is the perfect LWT – Little White Tee – especially in summer, when it becomes her favorite go-to piece. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Art of the Scam

Donald Trump may know a thing or two about The Art of the Deal, but the art of the scam has been around since man first realized he could get rid of something he didn’t want or that was worthless by tricking another man into taking it. 

The Beautiful Rachel
In the Book of Genesis (first book of the Hebrew Bible/Christian Old Testament), Laban tricks young Jacob into marrying the wrong sister.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Skirts and French Apologies

I’ve been on a little spring break since Easter.  Not the kind of spring break where you get drunk on cheap wine and run around naked on the beach with people you wouldn’t be caught dead with fully dressed and sober.  That’s for students who have many more springs ahead of them that they can afford to waste. 

No, at my age, each sip of spring is precious, and I can’t afford to waste a drop.  Wait…..did I just say “at my age?”  OMG, I swore I would never say that, and I’ve been saying it more and more lately.  Yikes!

O.K., this is NOT where I was headed with this.  I wanted to talk about spring skirts – I’ll get to that.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter Weekend in New York – a Wedding and a Parade

There’s something special about Easter weekend in New York, and this one will be extra special.  On Saturday, we will be attending the wedding of a lovely couple. 

It will be an intimate affair – just the bride and groom and about 4,000 of their closest friends. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

What Is Je ne Sais Quoi?

In my previous post, I linked to an interview I did for my hometown newspaper entitled Finding Your Je ne Sais Quoi.  The interviewer, Anne Neborak, an award-winning photojournalist, is also a former high school classmate of mine, so we had fun working together and catching up on the intervening years. 

In Finding Your Je ne Sais Quoi, I talked about what I see as the difference between fashion and style and how I learned from Mme Mère the importance of the little detail that adds a certain je ne sais quoi to a classic outfit

I’m happy to say that the interview generated a lot of positive feedback and some interesting questions from my readers.  Here are three of my favorites: 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Finding Your Je Ne Sais Quoi

At the risk of tooting my own horn, here goes -- Toot! Toot!

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed for my hometown newspaper, The Delaware County News, by a former high school classmate, Anne Neborak.  Anne has gone on to a wonderful career as an award-winning photojournalist.  

After catching up with our lives 46 years after graduation (YIKES!!) and marveling at the differences between then and now, which are, to borrow one of Donald Trump’s favorite words – “HUGE” – we got down to business. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

March Madness à la Française

In Paris “March Madness” has everything to do with fashion and nothing to do with sports, as in America.  With only a day or two left to go of La Semaine de la Mode (March 1 to 9), the fashion shows in Paris have turned from experimental to downright weird and wacky. 

Japanese Designer Junya Wantanabe - Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

I can’t wait to wear this little number to lunch with the girls at the Country Club!  It’s the perfect hat to wear if you want to drink your lunch through a very long straw.  

Is it just me or does it remind you of one of those turbine ventilators on factory rooftops? 

I’m just sayin’…..


Monday, February 15, 2016

Frozen Falls and Steaming Anvils

O.K., so how cold was it in New York this weekend?  Does this answer your question?

Niagara Falls Frozen REUTERS Lindsay DeDario

This is Niagara Falls NOT falling, but frozen stiff like a Good Humor popsicle. 

Of course, good humor is a hallmark of the intrepid tourist. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Birthday Chronicles

Well, Dear Readers, I had every intention of catching you up on what’s been happening over the last few weeks (the Blizzard, the Great Baguette Battle in New York, etc.), which I promise to do soon, but, on Friday, a brief encounter with a young woman turned a very good day into something special.  So, I just had to share.  But first, a little background.

Saturday was my birthday, and since February is the shortest month (Please, no jokes about my 5’1” height, s’il vous plaît.), I like to celebrate the entire month.  I think it’s only fair, don’t you? 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Late, Great Florence King – Fasten Your Seat Belts !!

Inspiration:  Something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create.  (Merriam-Webster definition)

New ideas get me excited, and I don’t even have to do or create anything with them.  Just the thought of thinking about old, familiar things in new, unfamiliar ways makes my brain positively giddy.   Sources of inspiration are all around us, if we know where to look, but for me, the well-turned, finely honed phrase from a gifted writer can make my day for many days and years to come. 

The late Florence King, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 80, was an enduring source of inspiration in my life. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Something Old, Something New and Something Essential

Well, ready or not……….here it is!   With a nod to the past and a wink to the future, I’m ready to take on 2016.   


But first, a toast to you, my dear Readers.  May 2016 be a year of fulfillment and inspiration for all of you, as indeed your comments and e-mails continue to be for me, for which I am truly grateful.