Goodbye!

My humblest thanks to all of you for your continued readership and support. It’s been an awesome journey, but sad to say, as with all journeys and lives, they come to an end. My life changed 360 degrees this summer. I lost both my dearest dog and my dearest mom within just three weeks. Every single day, I wake up believing that it was merely a nightmare until I pick up my phone to FaceTime with my mom, because that’s what we used to do when I was too lazy to get out of the bed in the mornings, and realize that the last call was made a month ago. As you might have gleaned from reading this blog, they were so important to me that a life without them was completely unimaginable. Yet here I am…. so I guess you all understand why right now it feels so terribly meaningless and utterly absurd to have a blog, to carry on with the things I like, to be excited about anything, to be the child I used to be before cancer took my mom away from me and my family.

I never showed mommy this blog because I was so embarrassed but I think she knew about it. Parents, you know… A few days before her funeral, I looked through all the pictures on her computer and came across an extremely awkward outfit picture of me with an anonymous bunny face. That was kind of really mortifying in a good way.

I will still be on instagram (@bonjourtristesse) because that’s one of the few things that honestly keeps me sane these days… and maybe I’ll revive this blog in a few years since it seems like I’ve got some real issues with keeping my hands off the “create a new blog” button.

Goodbye <3

Notes for spring 2013

– Come fall I will partially move out and have flatmates and stuff like that, which merely means that I won’t afford maintaining my current lifestyle. Sucks big time! So I ought to either choose between saving money for prospective travels or spending them on beautiful clothes. And since I have a pretty expensive taste, beautiful clothes always come with a hefty price tag that would instantly trigger heart attacks in my parents. Fortunately, I’ve spent years building a wardrobe that works most of the time and I can be stylish and well-dressed for a few more years without any additional “frivolous investments”/shopping besides items that are much needed. Of course traveling trumps shopping any time as I find it a lot more fulfilling! Traveling also makes me a better and happier person, whereas buying beautiful clothes occasionally yields temporary materialistic happiness.

– I’ve been talking a lot about applying to medical school or becoming a nutrition researcher or even a pharmacist or biochemist so that I can develop drugs and acne treatments. After years of deliberation and wavering between so many different career options in the same field, I finally know what I want to do and study.

– I’m truly excited about going to university as of fall for pre-medical courses like cell biology, biochemistry and more chemistry and mathematics. Turns out my hatred for studying science isn’t hatred at all but quite the opposite. I was certainly an ignorant teenager, and naively thought I could write my way through life like nobody’s business. Be that as it may, I think it’s somewhat spectacular that someone who practically failed maths in middle and high school now wants and is eligible to study university-level mathematics. My high school math teacher told me to give up my dreams of having a career within medicine because I couldn’t do my math… well, he can suck on that now. Truth be told, he should never have become a teacher in the first place.

– Believe it or not, I have started to… wait for it.. work out – at least I’m TRYING – as I simply cannot afford a whole new wardrobe. If money wasn’t a problem, I would probably and seriously not care and keep on devouring unhealthy nosh… Turns out I have to do what other mortals normally do, which is to engage in physical activity. My sedentary lifestyle has taught me that my no-longer-existent completely out-of-this-world teenage metabolism is gone forever. And I thought I could get away with my self-imposed diet…. That’s a heads-up for you know who you are!

– Someone please help me understand why and how people can party hard, socialize and celebrate straight after their last exams. I need at least a week long post-exam rehab that consists of being in bed while eating junk and catching up on cable television. Or maybe it’s just me?

– I and two other ladies are working on a new blog project which I cannot wait to show you all. It’s something unexpected, I don’t think any of you could guess what it’s even going to be about. Well, hopefully not!

Raw denim journal: 13 months

myjeansafter13months
I know, it’s been a year since the first and last time I published this post on my blog, which was supposed to be the first of many about my raw denim journey. Unfortunately, I totally failed at documenting my jeans month by month. Anyway, this is how my A.P.C. petit standard jeans look like after 13 months and 2 soaks. I used to wear them at least five times a week for an entire year before I decided to start wearing the three pants I own in rotation so as to break out from the style rut. Judging from the fades, I obviously don’t do extreme sports or bike every day because those fades are the result of a very inactive lifestyle and sporadic travels, yet they are the fingerprint of my life lately. And nope, my jeans don’t smell funky or anything, but truth be told they don’t smell like roses either.

More photos and a proper review to come in a year or two, hah.

No boredom

8049587882_ef9f9cd648_bOhemgee!!!

You know that kick you get from putting your hands on an inexplicable desire that you’ve been coveting for so many years, or something that you have been trying to unearth and track down for god knows how long like the most amazing coat ever that you simply cannot live without? Well, buying flight tickets apparently does the same trick. Oh yes! Two days ago I finally booked tickets for my West Coast trip and just received the confirmation today!! Man, I swear that words can hardly convey how frickin’ thrilled I am!! I’ve been dying to go for such a long time and started organizing this whole trip in my mind last spring. I guess that aforementioned kick is also a true indication of a successful investment or buy or whatever you’d like to call it.

The flight tickets were a lot more expensive than what I hoped for, but the prices kept skyrocketing. However, this means that I cannot afford any clothes or knickknacks – I still have plenty of Diptyque candles left to burn – until my summer vacation starts. I always save money for my travels so that I can splurge on food and whatnot. The only way I can afford to maintain my sometimes lifestyle is by being frugal for a while.

Luckily for me I don’t have anything on my wishlist that I need to get pronto. That Céline trio bag I was planning to purchase is out of the picture right now. I can postpone all potential purchases – most of them are merely wants rather than needs. Besides, nothing in particular has caught my attention this season – well, apart from a few A.P.C. pieces as usual. I don’t even have time to go shopping for things I need like a new ruler or socks. Today I went on Net-A-Porter for the first time in months and I was repelled by the sight of clothes, which reminded me of New York and my lack of desire to go shopping for clothes there at all. I haven’t been window-shopping online for a long time. Having too much on my plate seems to be the best buffer against consumerism, so a temporary shopping ban is no sweat as I’m unintentionally and constantly banned from shopping.

Sometimes I wonder if my current attitude towards shopping and clothes stems from the fact that my wardrobe is, by my standards, complete or is it perhaps because boredom (and procrastination) is almost nonexistent in my life nowadays? Hmm… or maybe this whole online window-shopping thing and lust for beautiful clothes has been replaced by hours of daydreaming about the West Coast and the quest for the best cheeseburger? The latter is certainly a way to kill boredom and any possibilities to become a short supermodel.

Jumping on the Céline bandwagon

celine3london12dag2vogue2In the last couple of months, I’ve been attracted to the idea of getting the Céline trio bag. I’m not going to go into details as to why I should get it other than the fact that I could really use a small purse which can fit only the essentials. I’m not that high maintenance so I’m fairly amazed by how much I tote around. Albeit I love my tote bags, they tend to accumulate a lot of random papers and stuff that belongs to the trashcan, and eventually I’d become a living dumpster.

When I started the quest for the perfect small purse, the Céline trio bag was the first and only one that immediately caught my eye. Funnily enough, it’s been completely off my radar for so many years. I just realized that it’s actually a very popular bag and omnipresent in the fashion blogosphere. I get it. It’s quite exquisite and photogenic. In terms of design, the purse decidedly caters to my taste and style, so why continue searching for something I’ve already found? Well… The catch? The price tag.

Truth be told, I haven’t put that much effort into finding a less expensive bag. Then I remembered the Steven Alan version for a fraction of the price and had a look at it in New York. Turned out I preferred the Céline version. It looked sturdier and felt way more luxurious and well made than the other one from Steven Alan. The decision was easy, far from time-consuming. I’ve settled for the Céline trio bag. I will put my hands on it when I go to Paris in a few months at the Galeries LaFayette, as tourists get 10% off a purchase and then I will get the VAT refund. All of a sudden the Céline bag became a bit less pricey and easier to digest. In the meantime, I have to figure out which color I want. Blah… it’s the agony of choice. Navy? Burgundy? Black? Gray? White? My bet would be navy as I always go for navy but I’m kind of hoping that I will opt for something a little more unpredictable. Looks like I’m jumping on the Céline bandwagon after all.

Edible New York: A shortlist

IMG_0599This weekend, I’m finally leaving for New York to eat my way through the Big Apple. Natch as a huge food lover/food nerd/closet fatso/food addict (depending on how you look at it), it’s no wonder that I’ve spent an excessive amount of time finding and drooling over potential eateries for a week of culinary debauchery in the city. I have 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 2 brunches, 7 dinners, and possibly a few more treats to look forward to. Here’s a not-so-short shortlist that I’ve compiled for prospective trips. It surely needs a lot of fine-tuning and a helping hand from those of you who know the city well. Anti-recommendations, recommendations, and so on are much appreciated and welcomed!

Besides, if you know where to get the best burger, best pho, best bánh mì, best salted caramel, best dim sum and whatnot, please let me know. I only trust recommendations from people who eat, though! Just sayin’…

Here’s hoping this list will come in handy for you at some point!

(Paranthesis = overrated? worth a visit? mehh?)

BROOKLYN

Williamsburg
- Maison Premiere (oysters, drinks) – 298 Bedford Ave (between 2nd St & 1st St)
- Egg restaurant – 135 N 5th St
- Marlow and Sons – 81 Broadway
- Dumont Burger – 314 Bedford Ave
- Diner – 85 Broadway
- The Bagel Store – 349 Bedford Ave
- Nhà Tôi (Vietnamese) – 160 Havemeyer St
- Juliette (French) – 135 N 5th St
- Bakeri – 150 Wythe Ave
- Dun-Well Doughnuts – 222 Montrose Ave

Greenpoint
- Five Leaves – 18 Bedford Ave

Bedford Stuyvesant
- Peaches Hothouse – 415 Tompkins Ave
- Saraghina – 435 Halsey St

Crown Heights
- Barboncino pizza – 781 Franklin Ave
- Chavela’s (Mexican) – 736 Franklin Ave

Bushwick
- Roberta’s pizza – 261 Moore St

Prospect Heights
- Ample Hills Creamery – 623 Vanderbilt Ave

MANHATTAN

SoHo and NoHo
(- Balthazar – 80 Spring St)
- The Mercer Kitchen – 99 Prince Street (between Greene St & Mercer St)
(- Jack’s Wife Freda – 224 Lafayette St (between Kenmare St & Cleveland Pl))
(- Ed’s Lobster Bar – 222 Lafayette St (between Kenmare St & Spring St))
- Lucky Strike – 59 Grand St
- Osteria Morini – 218 Lafayette St
- Il Buco Vineria – 53 Great Jones St
- Dominique Ansel Bakery – 189 Spring St
- La Esquina (Mexican) – 114 Kenmare St
- Lure Fishbar (Seafood) – 142 Mercer St

Nolita / Little Italy / China Town
- Café Gitane – 242 Mott St (between Houston St & Prince St)
(- Cafe Habana (Cuban) – 17 Prince St)
(- Nom Wah (dim sum) – 13 Doyers St)
- Eileen’s Special Cheesecake – 17 Cleveland Pl
- Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli – 369 Broome St
- Xe Lua (Vietnamese) – 86 Mulberry St
- Jing Fong (dim sum) – 20 Elizabeth St (between Canal St & Bayard St)

East Village
- Ippudo (Japanese Ramen) – 65 4th Ave
- Blue 9 Burger – 92 3rd Ave (between 12th St & 2nd Ave)
- Luke’s Lobster – 93 E 7th St
- Northern Spy Food Co. – 511 E 12th St
- Motorino pizza – 348 E 12th St
- Momofuku Noodle Bar (Japanese ramen) – 171 1st Ave
- Peels – 325 Bowery (between 2nd St & Bleecker St)
- Prima (seafood, drinks) – 58 E 1 St
- Boka (Korean) – 9 St Marks Pl
- Momofuku Milk Bar (bakery) – 251 E 13th St
- The Redhead (Southern) – 349 E 13th St
- Angelica Kitchen – 300 E 12th St
- Big Gay Ice Cream – 125 E 7th St

Lower East Side
(- The Bowery Diner – 241 Bowery)
- Schiller’s – 131 Rivington St
- Katz’s Delicatessen (corned beef sandwich) – 205 E Houston St
- Odessa (biner) – 119 Avenue A
- Clinton Steet Baking Company – 4 Clinton St
- Russ and Daugthers (bagels) – 179 E Houston St
- Pala (pizza) – 198 Allen St (between 1st Ave & Stanton St)
- Cocoron (soba) – 61 Delancey St (between Allen St & Eldridge St)

West Village
(- Pastis – 9 9th Ave)
- Buvette – 42 Grove St
- Little Owl – 90 Bedford St
- Sundae and Cones – 95 E 10th St
- Minetta Tavern – 113 MacDougal St
- Café Gitane – 113 Jane St (between Washington St & West St)
- Keste Pizza & Vino – 271 Bleecker St
- Pearl Oyster Bar – 18 Cornelia St (between 4th St & Bleecker St)
- Taim falafel and smoothie bar – 222 Waverly Pl
- Five guys burgers and fries – 296 Bleecker St
- Hakata Tonton (Japanese) – 61 Grove St
- Num Pang (Cambodian banh mi) – 21 E 12th St

Chelsea
- Cook Shop – 156 10th Ave
- Murray’s Bagels – 242 8th Ave (between 22nd St & 23rd St)

Upper East Side
- J.G. Melon (burgers) – 1291 3rd Ave
- Shake Shack – 154 East 86th Street

Midtown
- The Breslin – 16 W 29th St
- Sake Bar Hagi (Japanese) – 152 W 49th St
- Kun Jip (Korean) – 9 W 32nd St
- Sakagura (Japanese) – 211 E 43rd St
- Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien – 119 W 56th St
- DB Bistro Moderne (burger) – 55 W 44th St

Union Square
- ABC Kitchen – 35 E 18th St

Food trucks
- Sweetery (ice cream)
- Cool Haus (ice cream)
- Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Top 5 of 2012

I know, I’m really late to the party but I haven’t gotten around to making this post that has been on my mind for some time. So here comes a belated and incomplete list of some of the top 5 things that 2012 had to offer. I could probably go on and on because 2012 was such a terrific year but so far this took me 4 hours to put together and I have to study now…. what a life. Anyway, I’ll update it now and then so that I won’t ever forget the things I loved in 2012!

Top 5 wardrobe investments

top5inv
1. A.P.C. ‘Petit Standard’ raw denim jeans (this is how they looked like after 6 months of wear and tear)
2. Church’s ‘Burwood’ glossy leather brogues
3. A.P.C. gray lambswool sweater (similar here)
4. A.P.C. leather and cork sandals
5. Acne ‘Canada’ scarf

Top 5 most listened to albums 

top5albums
1. John Talabot – ƒin
2. Kendrick Lamar – Good kid, M.A.A.D. city
3. Kindness – World you need a change of mind
4. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
5. Beach House – Bloom

Top 5 unpredictable yet successful purchases 

top5unpredictablebuys
1. A.P.C. denim jumpsuit
2. A.P.C. liberty jumpsuit
3. Nike x A.P.C. navy air max shoes
4. Vanessa Bruno Athé jumpsuit
5. A.P.C. shirt found on eBay

Top 5 concerts I attended

top5concerts
1. Nicolas Jaar @ Sonar in Barcelona
2. Beach House in Oslo
3. Azari & III @ Sonar in Barcelona
4. Kendrick Lamar @ Hove at Tromøya
5. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs @ Hove at Tromøya

Top 5 best tracks chosen randomly
1. Luke Abbott – Modern Driveway
2. John Talabot – When the past was present
3. Todd Terje – Inspector Norse
4. Jessie Ware – 110%
5. Dino Lenny vs Hardrive – A DJ deep inside (Shadow Child vocal)
(6. Kendrick Lamar – Now or Never feat. Mary J. Blige)

Top 5 burgers

top5burgers1. Honest Burgers in London (hand burger)
2. The Bird in Berlin (hand burger)
3. Fil a la Une in Toulouse (foie gras burger)
4. Halifax in Copenhagen
5. Cafe Gavlen in Copenhagen

Top 5 blogs discovered in 2012
1. Empty Emptor
2. Joanna Karenina
3. The Second Renaissance
4. The Log (essai)
5. I Love Fika

Stick to what works

via selectism.com

What is it about A.P.C. that other brands don’t possess? Why do I have such a soft spot for anything that Jean Touitou designs? After I stopped relying on Isabel Marant, who used to be my go-to designer until her design became too loud for my taste and the prices skyrocketed disproportionally to the quality, I instead started putting my money into more clothes from A.P.C. In terms of designers, this has resulted in a very homogenous selection of clothes in my wardrobe. However, whether you like it or not, it’s a fact that most of our choices, especially the insignificant and habitual ones, are based on brands. And yes, we stick to certain brands if they work otherwise we would have to face a myriad of different brands for each and every product that we need and want – and too many options are driving people crazy, not to mention time-consuming . Fortunately, I didn’t had to go through a hassle of hunting in the jungle of designers to find the ones that cater to my personal taste and style.

Whenever I need something feminine, beautiful, effortless yet luxurious, I shop at Vanessa Bruno. Church’s is my go-to brand for well-made quality leather shoes. I depend on REN and Aesop when it comes to skincare and hair products. I only use Moleskine planners because they always work. And I always go to A.P.C. whenever I need or want something new, whether it’s a pair of sandals or just a warm cashmere sweater for winter. Anything else would be too labor-intensive.

So why do I always choose and rely on A.P.C.? Obviously, it’s by all means because the clothes are incomparably simple, understated, and timeless. Even though it’s just a plain sweater that comes at a hefty price for a poor student like me, I could never find anything remotely similar at Zara, COS, or Isabel Marant for that matter – trust me, I’ve tried looking so many times to little avail. There is something about the classic cut that is hard to unearth, but unlike many other designer labels out there, A.P.C. continuously offers their customer classic pieces slightly and subtly altered every season. The quality isn’t bad either, especially if you take good care of the clothes. Besides, the garments from A.P.C. fit me just right, the sleeves hit at the right place, and so on. A.P.C. covers everything that I look for when I shop – design, cut, fit, and quality, all of which are mandatory.

However, a few weeks ago, I finally grasped why I keep going back to A.P.C. and why I’m obsessed with this designer brand. Jane and I visited the little A.P.C. shop in Toulouse. I was trying on a bunch of clothes, among them several dresses and skirts, and since there was no mirror in the dressing room I had to use the big mirror in the shop where everybody could see me. I hate doing that but I’m glad I had to, because otherwise I wouldn’t have figured out why I love A.P.C. so much. The seller told my friend, who told me that I have the A.P.C. body. Then I realized that he’s actually right. It makes a lot more sense to me now as to why everything I try on from this brand looks like clothes made to measure – which has never been the case before when it comes to other designers that I wear. A.P.C. clothes are designed for my body!

In October, I wrote this little post about the uncomfortableness of wearing dresses. But as mentioned earlier, I tried on several dresses and skirts at A.P.C. – which I wish I had done sooner. They all looked perfect on me and completely changed my body image as I finally found dresses that were made for my figure. Thanks to A.P.C. I no longer feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in a frock.

On a different note, I don’t know anything about A.P.C. and the company’s compliance with ethical standards and labor laws. I know that some of the products are made in third world countries and others are made in France and Italy – but the destination for manufacturing doesn’t indicate anything as to the labor conditions. As much as I try to be a conscious shopper, there is a box that still remains unchecked. But then again, the brand meets all of my other requirements. Nonetheless, to be honest, I think I’m just as cynical as the industry is. Would I boycott A.P.C. if it turns out that they do not comply with fundamental ethical principles? How about all the other things we buy and eat? Who has the responsibility – the consumers or the companies? But would boycotting actually improve the working conditions at factories or would the demand for products drop and eventually lead to unemployment?

Anyway, back to where I started. A.P.C. turns out to be the only clothing brand that works for me all the time and I’m happy with it. I believe everything is perfectly designed for my style, taste, and body. It’s no doubt that the brand commendably possesses a strong, consistent style identity that’s never outdated in the slightest. Just take a look at A.P.C.’s looks from 1987 and 2013 – you can’t really tell the difference, am I right? It’s the same silhouettes, the same style… And for someone like me who loathes shopping, knowing that A.P.C. covers everything that I need and little extra truly facilitates the entire shopping process. I don’t have to go through excessively many options and I always find something that satisfies in every sense.

How about you guys? Do you have any go-to brands?

Hello 2013

How I wish every morning could be more like this. We had a big brunch at Jane’s parents’ apartment in Toulouse before hitting the road to Spain. It was the day before the last day of 2012, the only day I should have been as fit as a fiddle. Instead, unpredictably, I rang in the New Year with food poisoning in Barcelona – a city close to my heart. It was truly painful, yet a relief at the same time. Painful both in the sense of having no control whatsoever over my body and also because I missed out on the party of the year with my friends and Maceo Plex in my favorite city. A relief because albeit the previous New Year’s eve was a major disaster, 2012 turned out to be second to none in every imaginable way. Hence I believe 2013 is going to be just as supreme. Bad start, bad year doesn’t apply to me (knock on wood). Nevertheless, going back to the daily grind makes me appreciate those few and far between daybreaks a lot more – with great food, great people, tranquility, harmony, and other clichés that are completely neglected in day-to-day life. I spent almost the entire holidays in the South of Europe that only feels untrue in retrospect. A 10-day dream, you know. Everything is an oxymoron in the transition from work to play and from play to work. My body and mind have yet to readapt to an even more hectic schedule and 7 exams to ace before I get my life back. Fortunately, I have a few amazing events before me; New York in 30 days, finally applying to university for the first time in my life which is scary in a way, a short trip to Copenhagen with the rat pack… and in-between all the studying I will somehow find a bit of spare time – even if it’s just my daily thirty minutes break between classes – to organize my West Coast trip in July. To be honest, what keeps me going is the privilege to travel. With the perfect balance, nothing is too overpowering.

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you so much for your continued readership! Here’s to an awesome 2013.

PS: The perfect dress… more about it later.

The art of giving

The past few months have literally been all about acing exams. Yesterday, I finished my last exam of the year, so it’s finally high time to give some love to the dearest people in my life, who haven’t been anything but extremely supportive and good to me all the way long. And with Christmas just around the corner, the timing couldn’t have been better! Needless to say, I am, just like any other year, far behind when it comes to buying gifts as I’ve been involuntarily locked up in my room for months now. Anyhow, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been pondering over what to give this year. As for what I want for Christmas? Well, I am the kind of person who loves to give more than to receive, so I don’t have a Christmas wishlist as usual – unless you count world peace, willpower and other abstract things….

For those who are in the same boat as me, here are some last-minute nondisposable Christmas gifts ideas. If you are my friend, please don’t read!

For the music lover: AiAiAi “Capital” headphones. Top-notch sound quality, bass, not to mention the design. They’re also a good alternative to earmuffs.

For the tech geek: A pair Etre FIVEPOINT gloves with special “contactwoven” fingertips that make touchscreens easier to handle during winter months.

For the writer or the poet: Notebook from Leuchtturm1917. A book that’s small enough to carry anywhere with plenty of blank pages to fill with words.

For the reader: Books are generally hard to gift unless you know the person very well. However, you can’t go wrong with classics or popular science. Some of the books I’m gifting this year are “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, and “Les Enfants Terribles” by Jean Cocteau. Additionally, “Stuff White People Like” and “Whiter Shades of Pale” by Christian Lander are witty reads that inevitably hit close to home, perfect for the not too touchy souls out there.

For the tea drinker: Teapot from Marimekko.

For the twosome: Cute and timeless porcelain Moomin mugs. I don’t know with you guys, but everyone loves them here in Scandinavia. And most people collect these mugs too, so the limited editions or the seasonal ones are good options.

For the tomboy: Breton sweater or a cable-knit sweater from A.P.C.

For the food lover: The Rose Bakery book “Breakfast, Lunch, Tea”. It’s my favorite!

PS: A gift to dad is a biannual struggle. Any ideas?