Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Spider!

I wish I was right here right now!

Hello all! I'm so sorry I haven't been posting or commenting very much in the past two days! I'm so embarrassed to say it but I saw a HUGE Black spider in my office & I won't go in there until my husband finds it. I am not exaggerating this thing is so BIG! I am deathly afraid of spiders! Just in time for Halloween! I know I sound crazy but I have always had this irrational fear. I can't help it, so hopefully today my husband, Keithen, will move all of the furniture & either catch that little sucker or declare the room spider free so I can get back on here & do what I love! Sorry I'm such a scaredy cat! I miss you!

Bisou Mon Amis!
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Legs! That's what Cyd Charisse was known for! Her real name was Tula Finklea & contrary to popular belief she was born in Texas! She is considered one of the greatest dancers of the Silver screen. Her father loved ballet & encouraged her to learn to dance. She was soon part of the Ballet Russe at the early age of 14! She came home to the States when her Father became ill and she ended up in Los Angeles. She soon married her dance instructor, Nico Charisse, in Paris in 1939 and she kept that name even after her short marriage ended.

Cyd started out in Hollywood doing very small roles and she felt that she found her true calling. She loved it & was determined to become a star. She became one of MGM's greatest box office draws! A star indeed :)

Cyd worked with some of the most glittering stars in show business, Judy Garland, Kirk Douglas, Esther Williams, Ricardo Montalban, Fred Astaire, & Gene Kelly. Once, when asked who she would prefer to dance with, Astaire or Kelly, she sheepishly replied "It's like comparing apples to oranges, they're both delicious"! She had an intense romance with the legendary Howard Hughes but ended up in a happy marriage to a singer named Tony Martin. Cyd wanted a family more than she wanted fame & gave up the lead role in "An American in Paris" (one of my faves) to have a child with Tony. An interesting side note...Cyd was working on "Something's Gotta Give" with Marilyn Monroe, however, the film was never completed because Marilyn was fired from production & shortly after passed away.
Cyd Charisse had longevity in Hollywood and continued to make films, do ads, and star on the small screen. She is know today for her glittering musicals and sparkling dance moves. Fred Astaire once described her as "beautiful dynamite". Her dancing is fascinating to watch & her films a delight.

Some of her films are:
Ziegfeld Follies
The Harvey Girls (with Judy Garland)
On an Island With You
Brigadoon (Gene Kelly)
The Band Wagon (Fred Astaire)
Easy to Love (Esther Williams & Van Johnson)
Singing in the Rain (with Gene Kelly among many other big stars)
East side, West side (Ava Gardner, Barbara Stanwyck)
Silk Stockings (Fred Astaire)
And many, many more!
Interesting tidbit!...Cyd was in Janet Jacksons "Alright" video.

Cyd and her husband Tony Martin were married for over 60 years until her death this year (2008). A rare thing in Hollywood! She had two sons. Another interesting tidbit...Cyd is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records (2001) for having the "Most Valuable Legs" from an insurance policy MGM reportedly took out on her legs for $5 million! WOW! Charisse was admitted to the hospital on June 16, 2008, after suffering an apparent heart attack. She died the following day, aged 86.

OK, I know she is not French but still dazzling & fun to learn about! I hope you enjoyed it, I think I'm going to go watch "Silk Stockings" now, I love the sets, they are so opulent & the fashion is fantastic!

Photos via LEGS a tribute to Cyd Charisse & The Cyd Charisse Appreciation Page

Fred Astaire once remarked "That Cyd! When you've danced with her you stay danced with."

Bisou Mon Amis!
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Bonjour friends! I wrote a post last week about the hair of the French court in the 18th century & it got me wondering about the make~up. I have heard stories of the lead used in the make~up causing deaths and various other horrid stories but, I ran across this one and thought it charming, enjoy! I believe it is about the Queen's make~up artist & the Kings sister. A cute site that makes these half dolls! Fun!
Fargeon had not forgotten his primary objective: to improve the sparkle of beauty with artistically prepared cosmetics and repair the wrongs of age or nature towards the sex whose sweetest pleasure is to please. Both as a husband who wanted to prove that his wife was just as important to him as his noble clients and a merchant wishing to familiarise Victoire with the products she would be required to sell, shortly after their marriage he asked her to submit to a grooming session in the manner of the Court. The young woman was only too happy to comply and, one morning, the perfumer thoroughly cleansed her skin
with beauty lotion followed by an astringent, then took a brush and began with an expert hand to cover his wife’s face with a very diluted white paste, explaining each gesture as he continued.

"We have to make sure that the light is unequal, otherwise, in a flat, uniform light, we would just be spreading a plaster. The white of the forehead should be brighter than everywhere else. And it should be darkened very slightly at the beginning of the temple, or one can even give it a touch of blue. Around the mouth, it must be alabaster white".

The application of the white foundation took such a long time that Victoire became impatient. She remarked that only a woman who had nothing more important to do could subject herself to this process every morning. Fargeon explained that the skin must have the aspect of lacquer in order to cover the damage caused by the sun or, alas, all too often, smallpox. He studied his array of little pots of rouge carefully.

From the 2006 movie

“The shade of rouge must always be chosen according to the circumstance and the character of the client. The carmine for outdoors, perfect for a walk in the forest, would be dreadful in candlelight. The demi-rouge is only used for night time. I’ll spare you the rouge of the Court, since it’s not proper for an honest woman. It is not pleasing to the eye to wear a shocking vermillion, for, after all, one doesn’t make an instrument more attractive by demolishing it. For you, I’ll use the softest rouge possible.”

When he had finished, he outlined Victoire’s eyes with a fine black line, and then he used a pomade to make her lips, her eyebrows, and her eyelashes glossy, once he had combed the latter with a tiny comb. When he handed her the mirror, Victoire was taken aback and involuntarily recoiled from the lovely
marquise her reflection showed her.

Excerpt from the Palace of Versailles website

I couldn't resist adding this one in

The photo of from the Marie Antoinette movie reminded me of a little tidbit of useless info I have retained...

I have all of my life heard that Peacock feathers in your home were very unlucky and so I always avoided them. However, on a trip to Versailles it came up that the wall coverings and fabric used in the Queen's room had a Peacock feather motif on it (easily seen in the photo). Well, apparently that led to the superstition of the feathers being bad luck because of the fate of the Queen.

Bisou Mon Amis!
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

WOW! I received my first Blog award from Kelli at A Rendez~Vous with Style

Thank you SO much Kelli, I am so touched and excited! If you haven't checked out Kelli's site, I really recommend it, it's oh so stylish! I just found my next shoe purchase from her blog!

Here are the rules for this award:
~ Mention the blog that gave you the award and comment on their blog to let them know that you have posted their award.
~ List 6 things you VALUE
~Lastly, pass the award onto 6 other friends!

Six Things I Value:
1.) My wonderful, beautiful, wouldn't trade them the world, Family~

2.) My always there for me, call anytime/any reason, laughing, crying, tell anything to, trustworthy, tried & true, friends~

This is a picture of my little Daisy, I couldn't find a picture of all of us or I would have put her in under family but she's a good friend too, the best!

3.) Nature & Simplicity in nature. I love that that the most beautiful things are free and out there for everybody to share, no matter your income, race, gender, beliefs, it's there, all we have to do is take the time out to appreciate the beauty in our lives.

4.) Travel~ I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to Travel to so many amazing and memorable places in this world. My Mom taught my brother & I from an early age to seize every opportunity, to enjoy life, and to pick up and go at a moments notice, passports in hand and airline or train tickets ready! She really gifted me with a love of travel, cultures, people, & trying new things! I love you Mom!

5.) Art~ I love & appreciate all forms of art. I'm not picky! I see the beauty of ones' self expression & envy their talent (I am in no way artistic)! I love that it documents a moment in time, history, a feeling, a state of mind. I love it & I feel it! From art on canvas, sculpture, decor, fashion, all of it mesmerizes me!
6.) Life~ I have a deep & profound respect & love of life! I guess I never really knew loss until I lost my mother (to cancer, she was very young). She was my best friend and such an incredible person. In my eyes she was perfection & I suppose I never really knew life until my son Justin was born. I get it now, how precious life is, what a miracle every single one of us is. Motherhood, it's an amazing process. From the first moment I saw his heart beating on the ultrasound, to the first time I felt him move, to the pure joy I felt when I first heard his little cry in the delivery room, to watching him sleep at night, and seeing him grow everyday! It's amazing! I treasure it.

That's my little man!

And, for the Six people I would like to pass this award on to because they are spectacular...
Flea Market Queen ~ I love her site & her shop!
Marie~Antoinettes Gossip Guide ~ I love the historical tidbits! So interesting & pretty too!
Marley & Lockyer ~ Her site is effortlessly glamorous & chic! Her designs in her Etsy shop even more glorious!
...and, I believe these next lovlies already received this award, however, they are my all time faves! These are three MUST destinations for one to visit!
French Essence ~ True beauty, style, & class. Vicki is an amazing woman with impeccable taste & decorum!
The Paris Apartment ~ It goes without saying that this is a spectacular place to dream for a while!
Fifi Flowers Design Decor ~ Just gorgeous! Fifi is having a sale on her incredible artwork! To own a work of art from her would be like owning a piece of heaven!
I'm going to cheat a bit & add one more!
Villa Anna ~ Because her site is irresistible! So wonderful!
Bisou Mon Amis!
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Could this be the most romantic spot in the world?

Could this possibly be one of the world's most romantic spots? I think it may be! I dream of going back to Paris it's almost an ache that fills my dreams. I was watching the Henri de Toulouse~Lautrec movie (from the 60's, it made me cry) and a scene had this magnificent bridge in it. I couldn't help but to close my eyes and picture the last time I stood on that very bridge. It was a very cold day and I knew I was coming home to the States in less than a week so I tried to get a glimpse of as much as could.I tried to savor the memory, the taste, the feel, the sounds, & the smell of these incredible places and people I had been so lucky to be in the presence of for the last 3 years. Basically, I remember saying goodbye to Paris on this bridge :(
Paris is such a remarkable city with so much of it's emphasis on the river Seine. The river defines much of the city. It divides the city in half, the Right bank & the Left bank, distances are measured from it, street numbers determined by it, the quays are lined with striking apartments, monuments, & museums. The city relies heavily on this river. Of all of its' great uses, however, my personal favorite aspect would have to be the bridges. Asking me to pick my favorite bridge would be like asking a mother to pick her favorite child! I love them all! They all lead to someplace more magnificent & magical than the last, they all have some sort of story, they all serve a great purpose and many have been here for centuries.

I do, however, have a personal love affair with the Pont Alexandre III. I know, I know it's so Paris cliche, but I can't help it! It's magic! Absolutely breathtaking. It takes on different personalities throughout the day and with the change in seasons & weather. It is passionate, torrid, romantic, sexy, beautiful, sad, hopeful, luxurious, & all of the other emotions that its' pedestrians feel on it.
A bit of history on this romantical structure...
It is Art Nouveau in it's decoration of nymphs, cherubs, winged horsed, bountiful flowers, and torches. It was built between 1896 ~ 1900 just in time for the famed Universal Exhibition. It was built to celebrate the ratification of the Russian~French alliance and named after Tsar Alexandre III. His son lay the foundation cornerstone.
The bridge connects the Champs~Elysees quarter to Les Invalides quarter. The statues on the two support pillars on the Right bank symbolize medieval France & modern France while the statues on the Left bank represent Renaissance France & the country in the time of the Sun King. There are also symbols representing Russia, the Seine, & Neva.

Like I mentioned above, I saw this bridge in the Toulouse~Lautrec movie & I was thinking "What other movies have I seen this bridge in"? I think I have also seen it in Anastasia, & a Gene Kelly movie that I can't place right now could it have been An American in Paris? I'm not sure. What movies have you seen it in? I would love to hear! If you get a chance, visit this amazing bridge for me & share a kiss with your sweetie on it!
Goodbye all! & ...

Bisou Mon Amis!

All images from Flickr
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Higher the hair the closer to God!

Bonjour Friends! I had so much fun looking over these romantically high coiffures! I can't believe the intricacy and artistry put into these styles. I wonder how long it took to finish getting dressed in the morning?

Lucille Ball in Du Barry was a Lady

Leonard was the most celebrated hairdresser in the court of Louis XVI. He invented elaborate ways to wear ones hair & his popularity lasted for more than 10 years! Some styles to his credit are the coiffure a la Dauphine, the coiffure a la monte au ciel, the loge d'opera which made the wearer 72 inches from chin to top of hair! Mon Dieu! Also, the coiffure a la queasco, which is one of my favorites, it is the one where the hair is piled high and 3 plumes a added to the back, he is also responsible for the pouf & the sentimental pouf which one would add adornments that reflected a loved one or something near to ones heart. I love it!

In her memoirs Madame de Campan states that "the Queen had hitherto displayed great simplicity in her toilette, but her tastes became more expensive after her husband's accession, and as she was copied by the ladies of the Court many of them exceeded their means so much that their husbands began to complain. The King disapproved this excessive luxury of dress, but he did nothing to check it. It may be said that the most insignificant events during his reign were seized upon as pretexts for bringing in some new fashions which, whenever they were patronized by the Queen, obtained universal vogue. She was very fond of plumes, and the mania for them was carried to such a point that their price increased ten-fold, and the choicest had been known to fetch as much as fifty louis".

Source unknown

Soularie states in his Historical Memoirs of the Reign of Louis XVI, "When the Queen passed along the gallery at Versailles, you could see nothing but a forest of feathers, rising a foot-and-a-half above the head, and nodding to and fro. The Princesses, aunts of Louis XVI., who could not make up their minds to adopt these new fashions and copy the Queen every day, called these feathers a horse-trapping." Nobody had so high a head-dress as the Queen!

These coiffures got so out of hand that women were banned from the theatre if their was too high as to obstruct the view of other patrons and many hairstyles were so high that a lady would have to kneel in her coach or sudan in order to fit! I am a fan of these over the top, ornate, and ostentatious coiffures! Who would not love to adorn their hair with pearls, diamonds, fruit, branches, flowers, cupids, initials, butterflies, birds, ships, vegetables, nests, cages, ribbons, ells of silks & fabric, powder, false curls, lace, & my favorite feathers? should I do my hair tomorrow? This sure beats my "Mom hair"!

An interesting note: when I last went to Versailles we took a special tour that allowed us in to see Marie Antoinettes powder room, which in actuality was a powder room in the true sense of the word! she would go there to actually get her hair powdered and this was the only use for this room...genius! We also saw Louis' wig room where all of his wigs used to be housed. Fascinating!

C'était une coiffure dans laquelle on introduisait les personnes ou les choses q'on préférait. Ainsi les portraits des ses enfants, de ses amis, l'image de son chien, de son serin, tout cela garni des cheveux de son père ou d'un amant de cœur.
Mme de Oberkirch about the French 1770s hairstyle "pouf à sentiment"

~It was a hairstyle into which one introduced persons or things one liked, such as portraits of one's children or friends, the picture of one's dog, of one's bird, all framed with one's father's or lover's hair.~

Bisou Mon Amis!

PS I ran across an article that described the invention of a color called cheveux de la Reine...does anybody know what that color might look like?
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Language of the Fan

Hello my friends! I just purchased a beautiful little fan (from the twenty's) at the Orange circle in Orange county. I was looking at it and thinking of the tales I have heard about the language of the fan. So, I looked into it, this is what I found...
In the past most woman used their fans not just to cool themselves off but more as an instrument with which to flirt with & send messages! How scandalous!
~ If a woman rested her fan upon her lips she meant to say: I don't trust you

~If she fanned herself slowly she implied she wasn't interested

~However, if she fanned herself quickly she meant to imply: I love you feverishly!

~If she ran her hand through the ribs of the fan she wanted to tell you something

~If she carried her fan closed on her left arm she was saying she was taken or engaged

~Hanging from the right & closed meant she wanted to be engaged!

~Quickly closing the fan meant: I’m jealous

~Dropping the fan: I belong to you

~Moving her hair away from her forehead was a way of saying don’t forget me

~Passing the fan from hand to hand: "I see that you are looking at another woman"

~Hitting her hand’s palm was to tell her object of affection: Love me

~Resting the fan on her heart was code for: My love for you is breaking my heart

~Half-opening the fan over her face meant: We are being watched over

~Hitting any object meant: I’m impatient

Oh bother! No wonder we don't use those codes anymore! It's hard enough to get a man to understand what your saying without all of those codes! I can tell my husband to take out the garbage in four languages, put a large sign on it, & announce it from the mountaintops but he still can't manage to take it out! Could you imagine trying to catch a proposal out of a man with this method! So entertaining! I'm going to do some more research. Enjoy!

All images from the met

For all of you out there who love the costume of the 18th century I came upon this site & I loved the images, just beautiful, Chenilles at Papillons

Bisou Mon Amis!
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Galerie Vivienne

Bonjour my friends! I was looking through my travel journal today. I do that when I get nostalgic for Europe especially for my beloved Paris. Well, I was looking through my last voyage to Paris and read through an excerpt of mine raving about the Galerie Vivienne. Unfortunately, time only allotted me this passage and no others to see but my what a site to behold! What a lucky girl I am to have seen such splendor.
The Arcades or passageways were devised as a means to get both customers and wares off of dirty streets and bridges and into a cleaner more protected environment. In the first half of the 19th century these covered marketplaces began to spring up everywhere. I believe there may be 30~40 of them still in existence today. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit one of the most celebrated and beautiful ones, the Galerie Vivienne. The opening of large department stores or "Grand Magasins" (I wonder if my faves Printemps & Lafayette are culprits?) saw the decline of these sheltered shopping havens that had begun to fall out of fashion.
Recently, a resurgence in interest has prompted renovations and face~lifts to many of these arcades and fortunately for us we can still wander through these delightful havens and glorious shops.
Photo from

I could spend months in this bookstore! My, this must be what heaven looks like! This is definitely a far cry from my corner bookstore! The treasures I could get my hands on here.

Photo from

How Divine is this staircase? Could you just picture yourself descending these stairs after a day of shopping in this marvelous slice of divinity?

I can distinctly remember the light in here. It was unlike any other light in Paris and made it feel as though we were walking in a different realm altogether. I don't know if it was the glass roof of the passageway or what but the sights & sounds in here were memorable. The shops were fantastic too! A little bit of everything to whet your appetite!

I'm sorry but even in the nicest mall or shopping center near my home, we have nothing to compare to the beauty of this! Oh, if I could only go back! Soon, I hope, soon!
The above photos are from the

Bisou Mon Amis!

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