Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sponsor Spotlight & $1000 Giveaway from Gemvara

One of the other occupations I toy with trying is jewelry designer.  Since I don't have the time or energy to take jewelry making classes, I get to indulge my fantasy on Gemvara. Each piece of Gemvara jewelry is customizable in over 20 different natural gemstones and nine different precious metals. Once you've designed your piece, it's handcrafted by one of their artisans in New York City and delivered in less than two weeks with free shipping.  You can even return an engraved piece with their 101 day return policy. 

I've been seeing rose gold everywhere in magazines and in jewelry stores so I chose the Gemvara Puzzle Ring in rose gold.  It actually looked a little like a ring I saw in a store window in Paris. The Puzzle Ring can be worn fitted together or even apart for a different look.  They even sent it to me in Paris with no trouble.  It's a fun memento to remember my trip too. 

The best part is that Gemvara is offering one lucky HC reader a $1000 credit to their site to create your own unique piece. Just click on this special Gemvara link, sign up your email address and then leave a comment here with your name and the url of your favorite piece of Gemvara jewelry. One entry per person will be accepted until 11:59pm on Wednesday, July 31, 2014. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated so they might not post right away.  Do not leave multiple comments or email me directly to enter. 

As an added bonus, Gemvara is also offering HC readers 15% off their order in the next 72 hours by clicking this special Gemvara link.  The discount will automatically be applied to your order.  No promo code is needed. 

Here's a few of the fun pieces I customized on the Gemvara site while playing jewelry designer. I warn you that creating pieces by mixing the gemstones and metals can be addictive! Above is the Gemstones by the Yard Necklace in 14K Yellow Gold with Aquamarines.

One of the only things I thought they didn't offer was a grey pearl but they have those too! Flowering Pearl Ring with Tahitian Cultured Pearl and Diamonds in Rose Gold

You can also custom design your own engagement ring so you make sure you like it!  I love this Adele Ring with Diamonds in 14K White Gold

This post was sponsored by Gemvara but all opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lower Light

Paris is known as the City of Light but the light everywhere starts to change once we move closer to autumn.  It becomes lower and warmer which is part of the reason I want to wear more neutrals and warmer colors. They just go together. I was cleaning out a Paris Vogue from May and noticed a fashion spread called Un Week-End, that epitomizes this feeling. It looks like a very chic French version of Thelma and Louise but you get the idea.  

Someone commented that I was rushing the seasons with my Shifting into Neutral post.   Other than a few really hot days, it hasn't been that warm in Paris.  Most of the mornings are rather cool and grey before the clouds burn off and the afternoon becomes bright and sunny.  The temperate weather means that I could wear many of the pre-fall clothes starting to trickle into the stores.  Not the coats obviously but that hasn't stopped me from looking  Everyone knows you have to buy a coat before you actually need it or they'll all be gone.  Don't hate the player, hate the game. 

Photos by Mickael Jansson

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Paris Apartment

Someone just emailed me asking if I had any secrets for finding a rental apartment in Paris.  The ones they saw were either not very chic or terribly expensive.  This was the case for me as well so I consider myself very lucky to have found a great place through people I know here. A store owner asked me where I was living and I said with friends but I needed to find a place for June 1st.  Turns out they had an apartment they rent out to friends.  It wasn't open until June 15th so I ended up staying with my friend Eleanor and her family for a month but it was worth the wait. 

The apartment is on rue de Babylone, just down the street from where Yves Saint Laurent used to live and a stone's throw away from Le Bon Marché. The Grande Epicerie is my neighborhood grocery story. I sit on the border of the 6th and 7th arronsissements so I have the best of both worlds. 

It's a large studio that sits on the top floor of an elevator building so there is a lot of light. The white walls make it a perfect blank slate. I had already bought a few books at the bouquinistes along the Seine and I displayed them along the shelf to add some color and art. I ordered the chair from Ikea because I thought it was strange there was no where to sit and read or look out the window in that corner. The storage baskets are from Monoprix

The mirror behind the bed adds more light too.  As Tommy Smythe pointed out, the Eiffel Tower lamps mean I'll never wake up and forget where I am living.  I thought about buying new ones but I already spent enough money on other necessities so I just left them. C'est la vie. 

One thing I had to get used to here in Paris are the low beds.  There were some nice linens in the apartment but I was very excited when Stephanie Betts of Josephine Home offered to send me a set of her luxury bedding to try out.  She supplies some of the world's top hotels and I can understand why after sleeping on them.  I love that sateen stays cool since there is no air conditioning anywhere in Paris. I picked out the Classic Silver Egyptian Bed Linens with Grosgrain Trim to match what was in the apartment.  I'm going to have to get another set when I get home since the European sizes won't fit my American bed. 

Everyone asks me how I'm getting everything home and that's a good question.  I think I'm going to have to mail a box or two or buy another suitcase.  I will also leave things I will need when I return to Paris to continue work on my book with my friend Eleanor. 

I found the rose picture at the brocante de la rue de Bretagne the weekend I arrived for 10 euros. The gold object holds matches.  I spent more than I should have on it but I just loved the shape. The bracelets were bought at Lanvin on a trip to Paris in 2009. 

All my favorite objects sit next to the bed including the dish from the Royal-Monceu I found at the brocante and a necklace I bought at Delphine Pariente in the Marais, scented matches from Buly 1803,   a book from a bouquiniste, and my Cartier travel clock. 

The mirror, painting, and lidded jar were all found at the brocante de la rue de Bretagne in May. 

The work/dining table was originally by the wall in between the windows.  It left so much open floor space that it looked like a dance studio so I moved it out into the middle of the room. 

I had to buy a garment rack for my friend's apartment at the BHV so I made sure it looked chic.  The entire right wall of the apartment is storage but mostly shelves.  There is one small side with room for hanging clothes but I it also holds the vacuum and my large suitcase so I decided to set up the garment rack by the windows.  

The apartment reminds me a little of mine in New York since it also has two large windows facing the street and sits on the top floor. While it's weird not to have any of my things here, it's also quite liberating.  I am appreciating the less is more situation and can't wait to get home and clean out my apartment in New York. 

I will leave my chairs from the brocante with my friend so I will have them for my return trip. I will then have Camard pack them up and ship them to New York. 

The tree was left by the last tenant. 

When you have less, there is less chance for things to get cluttered which I am enjoying. 

I love French windows but the lack of screens means you have to be prepared for unwelcome visitors on occasion, especially since I over look a park with lots of trees. 

There is a little kitchenette built into the wall of storage.  You can close it off with a door if you want to hide it.  The box on the wall is a little weird.  It hides the electrical box and the phone to let someone into the building.  I decided to use it as an inspiration board. 

Every time I visit a museum or place of interest, I buy a post card and add it to the box. 

The color inside the kitchen and cabinets matches the color I have in mine in New York which makes me feel at home. 

The kitchen doesn't have an oven but just like New York, Paris has a million places to eat.  Unfortunately, they don't deliver which is only a bummer when it's cold and rainy. 

I bought the little painting from an artist outside Giverny and the Sal de Ibiza from Le Grand Epicerie because it matched the kitchen. 

There are so many shelves, I haven't even used them all.  I won't show you the ones with all my clothes because they aren't as neat and tidy as they could be. 

The bathroom is a little weird and modern but not completely terrible.  If I owned the place, I would paint the orange and red cabinets white but since I don't, I decided to work with them.  The chrome soap dispenser doesn't work so I bought soap from Hotel Costes.  It smells so great that it was worth it. 

All in all, it's not a bad place to call home while I live in Paris. 

Photos by moi. 

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