Bonne année !


Bonne année à tous et à toutes !

It’s hard to believe I last artsdevivre’d almost two months ago. Eep. Things happen. Like life. Since I made that lovely coq au vin, we’ve been busy in our little corner of the world … D re-did our kitchen while I was in Michigan visiting my niece, nephew, brother and sister-in law for Thaksgiving.

La nouvelle cuisine

It was so sweet and thoughtful of him to take on such an aggressive project, and actually finish it (well!) in only five days. It’s so fun having the open cabinets I’ve been admiring for months on Pinterest. And the chalkboard paint is a super-fun bonus, too! 

I took on a few projects of my own (not nearly as expansive as re-doing the kitchen). I gave our front door a makeover, transforming from typical grey ~

Grey door

 ~ opting for a cheerful green ~

Green paint

I felt pretty nervous at how bright it was, but was ecstatic with the result ~

Green door

I love the contrast of the green door and black shutters. It was even more festive with this simple DYI wreath I hot glue-gunned together ~

Wreath

It was a bit perkier the first week in December than it is now (pesky gravity), but I’ll supplement it with additional ornaments next year.

We of course did the usual holiday rigamorale, spending time with friends and family (in person and on face time), sending and receiving holidays cards and well-wishes. 

Cards

I’m pretty militant about online privacy, which is why this one is blurred out. You get the idea though 🙂

I tried out new recipes ~

Christmas roast

~ learning how to improve ones like this simple roast via my personal favorite, the Barefoot Contessa (you really should cut a roast this thick in half to optimize a medium-rare temperature). I was fine with the end pieces, but the middle was really too rare for my family’s liking. I shockingly succeeding at intricate ones like an authentic French Bearnaise sauce. The key is to continue stirring for quite some time. (I think Maman and I together put in about 35 minutes.)

We celebrated NYE Charm City style, and were so ecstatic to happen on a small-time ball drop in Hampden, ‘hun. So fun and festive, I couldn’t believe we haven’t been attending annually.

I’d lost my motivation for artsdevivre the past couple months. I’m an habitual comparer of myself to others and was feeling frustrated with my utter lack of knowledge of photography and graphic design. I can’t give the time to this blog that I’d like, what with my job that actually pays me. But I started to really miss this whole process, from brainstorming, to documenting, to writing and publishing. So me re-voilà les amis. I don’t promise perfectly taken photographs (I’ll still be sticking with my trusty iphone, instagram and diptic for now), or super funky layouts but I do promise (most importantly to  myself) to continue documenting all the little daydreams and real-life experiences that add up to create the artsdevivre in our lives. 

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Festive table setting


I love this table setting from my cousin’s wedding last weekend ~

I usually tend toward a more antique aesthetic, probably because I love nothing more than my Gramma Rose’s china I use every day ~

 

… so that when everything is all put together (and I actually have table linens, etc), I’m thinking of a setting like these …

Retro table setting

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fresh

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textures/colors

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Some of those are a bit springy, but it’s got me thinking about setting the perfect Thanksgiving table, which I’ll be handling this year. I’m on the lookout for more inspiration. What is your favorite kind of table? Simple, antique, elegant, rustic, eclectic?


I love pretty much everything David Lebovitz does, from his blog, to his book The Sweet Life in Paris, to his restaurant alma mater, Chez Panisse. (Well, that’s not entirely true. I really want to go to Chez Panisse. Embarrassingly, I have not yet spent any time in the Bay Area and therefore have not yet tried it. But I am dying to.)

So I was ecstatic to find this *pastry* app he developed. It fits the bill for most of my favorite things …

 

 … France, desserts and Paris! What more could a gal ask for? I can’t wait to try this out next summer, and experiment in previously unbeknownst-to-me sweets shops. Pierre Hermé’s macarons will never be replaced as my number one preferred, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try others 😉 

Post card memories


I like to keep this fairy tale looking post card tucked snug in a mirror ~

as a constant reminder of two dreamy weeks in Italy last summer. Those fishing villages in the Cinque Terre are just exactly what you would envision – the color pops of the houses all built one on top of the other, the impossibly narrow and steep streets, and just-so cafes were the perfect end to our two weeks of la Dolce Vita. We debated traveling to Nice for a day but decided against it in favor of more relaxation away from trains. I was disappointed at the time, but hopefully Nice will be crossed off the list with next summer’s pending travel plans. What trip do you dream of taking, or love remembering?

 

Gold accents


I fell in love with this pin today …

 

… and it got me thinking about gold in general around the home…

 

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I especially love those canisters top right. They are vintage and French! What more could I ask for?

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I also love these festive gold table settings. So fun for Christmas, especially, I think.

And, well, I know I’ll never have this gold headboard …

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… but I love it popping against the bright wall and crisp blue pillows!

What about you? Do you like gold or do you prefer silver accents?

Denmark calling


Today, I found out that one of my nearest and dearest copines I met in Paris is pregnant with her first baby!! So much has changed since the days we all lived in Paris. Geographically, we are rather far flung now, to say the least … My friend who is expecting now resides in her native Denmark, two remain in Paris, two of us are miraculously in the Baltimore area, and two more in my hometown of Richmond. I almost can’t believe as I type that I first moved to Paris eight (eight?!) years ago, just a couple months after I graduated from college.

I’m still so close with all those girls, all American (except for our Danish lady), but it’s slightly overwhelming to think about the many changes since those times … three weddings, (one imminent wedding!), four babies, home purchases, new jobs galore and travels near and far.

Finding out this lovely news has me thinking about one of my most favorite trips I’ve taken, actually to visit this friend, in Denmark. The quick flight from Paris to Copenhagen was something even I could afford as a 23 year old on an intern’s (ie nothing) budget. Right upon landing, I knew I liked it. I’ve traveled enough now that I have a severe disdain for airports, but actually, the Copenhagen airport is beautiful! Wooden floors, tons of natural lighting and even some art sprinkled throughout make it a painless place to pass through …

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During my visit to Copenhagen, we took a boat tour of the city …

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where we admired the exactlywhatyouwouldpictureharbor …

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… as well as more modern sites, like the opera house, above.

We also snapped pics with the royal guard …

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… road the oldest all-wooden still operating roller coaster in the world (! :/)

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… shopped (I love that simple and sleek Danish aesthetic) a bit …

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… visited the botanical gardens …

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… and of course, posed with the little mermaid of such fame …

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Sorry, Aerial, but I think she’s gotcha beat. That trip might have been seven years ago already, but it feels like yesterday. Here’s to reunions of friends, both near and far!

Recipe for fresh citron pressé


Happy labor day, friends! What better treat to close out summer than fresh-squeezed lemonade? 

Well, mine was more akin to the French citron pressé, which actually tastes like lemons instead of just sugar 😉 This recipe was super easy –

~heat 1 quart of water with 3/4 cup of sugar on medium heat

~when sugar is completely dissolved, add an additional quart of water and take off heat

~while the sugar water is cooling, avail yourself of the opportunity to squeeze the heck out of about 15 to 20 lemons

~add sugar water and stir

Serve with lots of ice and garnish with fresh mint or basil. Enjoy!