THE List

I'm going back to my blogging roots and answering a question regarding work wear, that I recently received from a reader. She writes...

Do you have a professional must-have list? After essentially 4 years of either maternity leave/maternity wear clothes, when I go back to work in September I have to buy essentially a new wardrobe. Other than some odds and ends I've picked up here and there, all tags on and everything in the closet. Anyways - do you???

So the wheels in my head started turning and I immediately starting thinking of all of the wonderful things that I would love to buy for my work wardrobe! Then I had to stop and remind myself that the reader is asking for must haves not wants. There was also no "magic number". I just listed off the items that, in my opinion, every professional woman should have in her wardrobe. So here it is, my professional must have (not want) list.

I tried to keep it concise with as much versatility as possible.
  1. Black blazer - Always an essential
  2. Coloured blazer - Any wardrobe brightening colour works as long as is not white, beige or brown
  3. Patterned blazer - Stripes and polka dots are always a safe bet, or if you're feeling adventurous go for some floral print
  4. Animal print cardigan - Great for un-blah-ing an outfit
  5. Black blouse - THE staple blouse
  6. White/beige blouse - Also staple and great for toning down a loud bottom
  7. Coloured/printed blouse - Or even better yet, why not both?
  8. Black skirt - Pencil, a-line, midi, pleated, whatever
  9. Printed skirt - Again, any type
  10. Dress - A neutral colour for the most versatility but patterns work as well
  11. Black trousers - Wide leg is a nice alternative to the skinny pant
  12. Printed pants - These make things interesting
  13. Beige pants - Simple yet versatile
  14. Black pumps - Must have shoes
  15. Ballerina flats - Comfortable and chic
  16. Coloured booties - Add a bit of funk to your shoe collection

You could easily make 2 weeks worth of outfits with these essentials. Here is how I would style a typical work week.

Some reasonably priced stores to find replica's of the above items include Jacob, Club Monaco, Zara, The Bay, Simon's, J Crew and Winners.


Left Banked

Paris is segregated into Arrondissements and Quarters (which can straddle multiple Arrondissements), but the most important division of the city is the left and right bank. The Seine curves up and down and it may be difficult to conceptualize if you are on the right or left bank. The trick is to look at which way the water is flowing and face downstream. If you are standing on the left side of the river, then you are on the left bank, if you are on the right side of the river, then you are on the right bank. If you are in the river, you should seriously consider calling for help. The other day we decided to stroll the left bank of the river, as we live on the left, and this is what we discovered.

Half pipes, which reminded me that a few years ago moving here seemed like a pipe dream.

Lots of lounging.

What's a French lunch break without a hammock.

Constant reminders of the metric system.

Also constant reminders that the French can turn anything into something that is visually appealing. Like the underneath of bridges.

or shipping containers...

or piles of logs...

Hopefully these kids are getting as lost as I do around this city.

Finally, a map I can understand, with arrows!

DJB was itching to show this wall his mad drawing skills.

As you can see he has the writing of a 3 year old (no offense to any toddlers reading this)

Although very liberal, French society can seem a little backwards. I hope that one day, extremely tall men and short women will be able to roam the streets of Paris together, free from oppression.

We ended our stroll at one of the "Lovers Bridge". This is where you symbolize your love for one another by locking the lock to the bridge and throwing the key in the river. If you ever do it, make sure you throw the right keys in the river.

I wish J and R the best.


The Seine-ic Route

Disclaimer: I will continue to have corny blog post titles about Paris until I'm blue in the face. :P. It's just way too hard not to! They're cute, non?

Shorts - Jacob; Tank - Wilfred (Aritzia); Booties - Expression (The Bay); Hat - le labo de l'Abbe (Parisian Boutique); Watch - Michael Kors; Cuff - Club Monaco
It was scorching hot this past week, so colourful short shorts and cute tanks were a must. I also decided to put on my "walking shoes" and 5 hours of walking along the beautiful Seine river resulted in just one blister, which is obviously a win! 

I also made my first official Parisian purchase this week at a cute little boutique. It was none other than what I think is a French-looking hat, although I have yet to see one other person wearing one like this. I guess it's my own version of a french inspired hat. Who wants to blend in with everyone else anyway? The selling point was the fact that it actually fit my head, as I suffer from small head syndrome! What do you think of my hat? Leave me a comment and let me know!


Cimetière Père-Lachaise

Leave it to the French to make beauty out of death....

We recently visited the Cimetière Père-Lachaise, which is the most visited cemetery in the world. The reason for this is pretty simple, there are a lot of famous dead people buried here. Unlike other Parisian cemeteries, you only had to live in Paris to be buried here; your nationality didn't matter.

Yours truly unsuccessfully trying to locate Frederic Chopin's grave.

It felt very odd to be in such a nice place, yet it was full of tombstones.

They assigned avenues to the pathways because the place is so big.

Random crypts.

Zombie Apocalypse?

Polish..I must be getting close to Chopin!

Finally, the most famous Polish person with a French last name.

By far the most visited grave is that of Jim Morrison, star of Wayne's World 2. They actually had to construct a barrier around his grave because people were sneaking in at night and doing all kinds of illicit activity in front of his tombstone.

Thank fully it was all PG when we arrived.

The most memorable grave site was that of Oscar Wilde. There is a glass wall mounted in front of his tombstone that girls (or men with lipstick on), pay homage by kissing it. While on his deathbed, he famously stated, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death - one of us has GOT to go".

I had light lipstick on that day so I passed. It looks like someone gave a little tongue.

Of course no outing in Paris is complete without getting lost and then stumbling onto a random view of the Eiffel tower.


These Wedges Were Made For Walking

Wedges - Kelsi Dagger; Shorts - BCBG; Tank - Club Monaco; Sunnies - RayBan; Earrings & Necklace - The Bay; Watch - Michael Kors; Necklace - J Crew
Before I came to Paris, I envisioned French women effortlessly walking around on cobblestone roads, all wearing 4 inch Louboutin heels (which is why I insisted on bringing a whole carry on suitcase full of various high heeled delights). Well let me tell you, that is far from reality. Although I have seen quite a few Parisian women in pumps, it seems like the shoes of choice for summer is the wedge. I wish I could take pictures to show you, but after my public scolding I think I will wait until I learn how to say "can I take your picture" en francais, before I attempt it. I really enjoy a good wedge heel. They can pretty much be worn with anything - skirts, skinny's, shorts and dresses, not to mention they are easier to strut your stuff in and a lot more comfortable! 


Welcome to the Neighborhood

While in the middle of taking pictures for this post I was yelled at on the street by a lady, first in French, then in English. Unfortunately, during my french classes, they did not teach me how to respond to someone accusing you of secretly taking pictures of them. I tried to assure her that I wasn't taking pictures of people, but she refused to believe me. Anyways, the point of this post is to showcase my new neighborhood!

We live in the 15th arrondissement ("The fighting 15th"). Paris is organized by districts called "arrondissements", and our place is about 15 minute from the Eiffel tower. It is a remarkably "untouristy" given it's proximity to the largest tourist trap in the world. A five minute stroll from our door yields some classic French sights. In France, there are separate shops for everything, if you want meat, you go to the butcher. If you want bread, then you go to the baker, etc, etc.

A short walk down this street is all you need to shop like a Parisian:

The vegetable and fruit shops only carry vegetables / fruits that are in season.

I have no idea what price this would translate to in pounds and Canadian dollars.

If you get tired from shopping on a hot summer day you can always stop for biere blanche at the numerous drinking establishments that you will pass. I must always be tired...

Paris was an early adopter of the bike sharing movement that has sprung up in places like NYC and Montreal (and very unsuccessfully Toronto).

It's never hard to find park around this city.

Metro (in english "metro") stops are everywhere.

Flowers are definitely a Parisians best friend. 

The butcher shop, which constantly smells like deliciousness. 

Butcher fare.

Of course, a cafe.

Probably the most important shop, the bakery.

Cliche picture of Macarons. 

This is a chain that sells all kinds of treats. No relation to Jeff Bridges.

Jeff bridges makes delicious waffle cones.

Our street is so named because it is right next to a church. Every day we hear the church bells ringing which is comforting but can be irritating when your head is already ringing from red wine.