Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

8/28/17, Early Bird

Posted on September 4, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Say goodbye to August….and summer. We did it!! Hopefully we all got a little vacation time, relaxed a little, and had some playtime. All in all, I had a good summer, even a very good summer this year, although a very busy one, and got two separate vacation weeks with my children, which made it a great summer for me.

And while leaping into September, and welcoming the fall (I love the weather, and the exciting feeling of starting fresh with new energy—I’ve felt that way since my school days)—–I also do a leap frog jump every year, thinking of the months ahead. True confessions: as I’ve told you before, I am one of those incredibly irritating people who start Christmas shopping in August. I know, it’s awful, and it drives people crazy. But the fall and winter months are my busiest writing time of the year, so I try to use any free time I have before that. And by August, I am itching to get started on Christmas. I did that two weeks ago. It also avoids my standing in long lines in stores in December, and no longer finding anything I want in the right sizes. So I am an early bird Christmas shopper. Very, very early. I started dragging shopping bags home a few weeks ago. And I have other bad habits related to Christmas (which I love!!). I rarely have time to shop, and I love shopping. Most of the time, I am socked away in my office, writing. So it’s really fun for me to get out and look around in the stores and shop. And when I do, watch out!!! First, I start seeing cute things for my kids and close friends that I hope they’ll love, and then a little something for me will catch my eye….hmmm…wow that red purse is cute!! Or a book, or a pair of shoes, or something for the house—-for my house!!! Uh oh!! The joke in the family about my Christmas shopping is “one for them, and one for me….okay, two for them, and one for me….uh oh….three for me, and one for them.”….at five for me, and two for them, I’m in trouble!! I start seeing so many fun things to buy for myself, and have to call myself to order, and focus on who I’m shopping for.

So, to confess all, I am up to my usual tricks. On my first Christmas shopping day two weeks ago, I was positively saintly. I found two things for one son, two things for another son (really fun stuff I hope they’ll love), and two things for one daughter….But on the second day, I started slipping. I jumped straight to finding one Christmas gift for three of my kids, and half a dozen things I loved for me: a pair of dressy pants, a fun purse, and two pairs of shoes. I know, that’s cheating. I came home with several shopping bags for me, and a skimpy catch for the day for everyone else. And of course, I felt guilty when I got home. So now, I’m trying to be good, and only buying Christmas gifts for the people on my list, and restraining myself. But I can tell you it won’t last. Something bright and fun will catch my eye (I bought a little red Chihuahua statue for my Paris office, and a little heart dish. I couldn’t resist!!), and I’ll be off and running again soon with the “3 for them, and 7 for me” system. Christmas shopping is just toooooo much fun!!!

So the Early bird is at it again. Christmas is starting at my house. The end result is that I feel ridiculously virtuous by November, when everyone is starting their Christmas shopping, and I’ve finished. But then of course, there are always the people I’ve forgotten on my list, and rush out to buy something for….so it’s Christmas in August at my house. While the rest of the world is wrestling with September, getting past Labor Day, and car pooling their kids to school, I’m Christmas shopping….it’s just toooo much fun!!! And the five for them, two for me system, or the reverse is just too tempting. The flesh is weak…mine sure is when it comes to Christmas shopping. So have a great week, and I’ll wait a few weeks before I wish you Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays.

love, Danielle

1/25/17, “Magic”

Posted on January 25, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for being two days late. I have been plunged in my writing for about ten days, and have done nothing else, glued to my typewriter day and night, with no break and no days off. But it’s Haute Couture fashion week in Paris, and I have seen three great shows. Really interesting contrasts, the three shows I saw were totally different, and I waited until today to write to you so I could tell you about them (I saw the last one four hours ago as I write this).. I had a ball seeing them, and wanted to share them with you.

As you remember, ‘Haute Couture’ is different because you have to order the clothes, can’t just buy them off a rack, and EVERY single stitch in them is hand made. They are made to the client’s exact measurements, and you have two fittings, so they fit perfectly, whatever shape you are. Twice a year, in January and July, they show a fashion show of the samples for the next season, so people go to the fashion shows, and pick what they want to order. Very, very, very few women actually buy them, most people go to the shows for the glamour and excitement. The fashion industry is a BIG deal in Paris, and is kind of an art form. And there are few haute couture clients, and very, very few designers who still do haute couture, and have the trained staff and ability to make those clothes. Working in an haute couture workshop takes a 12 year apprenticeship, before you actually get to make the clothes—–as long as it takes to become a doctor. The main dress houses who still make haute couture are Chanel and Dior. Dior has a new designer, and Chanel is designed by Karl Lagerfeld, a truly brilliant designer.

The Chanel haute couture fashion show is a ‘scene’, as chock full of exciting things happening in the audience as on the stage. It is a major spectacle, a huge show, with about 70 outfits shown, worn by beautiful models. The show this time (for next summer—-all summer clothes) was very lady like, in pale pastel colors, kind of ice cream colors, with tailored belted suits in pale tweeds. The models wore high heeled silver shoes, they could barely walk in them, and each model wore a pearl anklet. (I loved them!! I want one!!!). Each model wore the same hairdo, with their hair smoothed back in a wide flat bun, and the evening dresses had a LOT of sparkle to them. And even when the clothes look simple, they’re not, with embroidery and tiny stiches, beading, and delicate details. The women in the audience wore amazing outfits, VERY extreme. Many of them wore Chanel from previous seasons. One woman wore a floor length white fur coat, huge fur hat, and gold boots. Others wore hats, veils, tons of accessories, it was almost an overload of fashion addicts going wild, and vying for attention, with techno music at the Grand Palais, an antique glass structure. The decor was all mirrored screens and shiny black mirrored floors, people with wild hair does, and men and woman all dressed up for the show. It was very traditional Chanel, nothing startling or unexpected, and the most beautiful dress in the collection was the Grand Finale, a an absolutely gorgeous pale pink wedding dress with huge balloon sleeves, a tiny waist, and an enormous ball gown skirt and train. A knockout for any bride and gorgeous in pink!!!

The second show I saw was DAZZLING!!! It was fashion as art at its finest, designed by an extremely talented designer, John Galliano. He previously designed for Dior, left the fashion scene for a while, and returned to work for Martin Margela. He was previously an haute couture designer, and this was his first couture show for Margela!! It was a MEGA WOW!!! Mr. Galliano is a supremely talented and innovative designer and no one knew what to expect for this first collection for this new house for him. It took my breath away, and in an artistic sense was everything a fashion show should be as an art form. Different, exciting, beautiful, special, creative, fashion forward. Not easy for everyone to wear, but the models were truly beautiful, their hair and makeup was all different and perfect for each outfit. The accessories were just right, the music was touching, the setting was gorgeous. The show was held at The Invalides, an old military fort, and Napoleon’s tomb, an important monument. The show was in a small narrow room, with an exquisitely painted ceiling, and I think that only about 100 people attended, fashion magazine editors, buyers, and international press. ALL of the people who showed up to see it were stylish, interestingly dressed, and wore fabulous shoes (enormous platforms, men in gold shoes, women in very trendy outfits. It was a show for the fashion experts, the select, and people in the know. It was REALLY exciting being there. It felt like history being made. I have rarely seen a show I loved so much.

And the last show was different in its own way too. Shown in a rented hall off the Champs Elysees, when we got there, five models were performing what looked like modern Dance. They came onstage wearing short floaty brown patterned dresses, with enormous brown paper coverings over them and brown paper hats, and they began by stripping the paper way. Eventually, they were only wearing the chiffon dresses, with the paper stripped on the floor. And then they began tearing the paper, and continued dancing. I had another engagement then and had to leave. But it was fun seeing it before I did.

It was a varied and exciting experience. Haute Couture is always special to me because it is such a statement to me about fashion, and such an incredible expression of beauty and art. I had a fantastic time, and now I’m back to writing again. Talk to you next week!!!! Have a great week!

much love, Danielle

6/6/16, Spring Cleaning

Posted on June 3, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you, and that things are going well. I have had a bussssyyyyyy month, jam packed with projects, things on my ‘to do’ list, and writing. I feel like I haven’t stopped.

As I shared with you recently, I ‘attacked’ a big storage unit we had filled with years of old stuff, right down to my children’s art projects and baby clothes from years ago, one of my daughters saved every homework assignment from first grade through college. I kept all of that. But we also had A LOT of ‘stuff’, furniture of my mother’s that no one wanted, some REALLY ugly chairs of my grandmother’s, and some pretty things too, mostly furniture. For years anytime someone had something they didn’t know what to do with, the battle cry was ‘send it to storage’. They did, and for years I have wanted to weed it down, and get rid of what no one wanted, and never will again. I managed to reduce it to about half, and it was a HUGE job. I felt very virtuous for finally doing it. I set a date, and stuck to it, and did it. And I set a trend for the month: cleaning house and spring cleaning. I’ve been on a roll all month!!

Every year, I help one of my daughters get the family vacation home that they share, ready for summer. I don’t know how, but things just gather all year, and that turns into a huge cleanup project too before every summer, hosing things down, setting out cushions, repainting patio furniture. The place is very old, but has a lot of charm and they love it. They spent their childhood summers there, so they really love it. And having just cleared out a lot of the storage unit, I was much ‘tougher’ this year. If it was broken, we fixed it, if it couldn’t be fixed, we replaced it (at Ikea—–one of my favorite stores at very reasonable prices, and you can find everything for the home!!), if it was ugly, we finally faced that and dumped it, if no one wanted it and it was decent we sold it, and if it was less terrific, we donated it. We cleared the decks, and worked like dogs!!! With great results. They’re starting the summer free of cobwebs, and the junk that collected all year.

They also have a really small house they rent out, and that needed spring cleaning too for a new tenant, and we did the same thing there. I feel like I have spent the month moving furniture, cleaning everything, buying clean potholders, throwing out old ones. I have definitely done my spring cleaning for the year. Let me loose in your house right now, and I can strip it in an hour, dump all that stuff you don’t want, and convince you to go to Ikea to buy something (cheaper) and new!!! I’m a menace right now. After three major cleaning sessions—by the end of it, my battle cry was ‘get rid of it!! And we got some really cute stuff at Ikea, some new plates, pots and pans, some rugs, 2 benches. We had a ball!!! I love shopping there!!

So the illusion that I have a glamourous life is dispelled. I wore combat boots for most of the month, hauling a lot of broken old stuff to the trash. I love projects where you start out with a mess, and can see real results in a short time. It takes a long time to finish a book, and to solve most problems. Spring Cleaning has fast results, and you’re all proud of yourself when it’s done.

And after all that, I got to work on a new book. So it has been a busy month, now we can enjoy the summer—-and spend the rest of the year making a mess again!!! And as summer begins now, I hope you have some wonderful plans, to relax and take some time off (and read of course!!) Have a wonderful week!!

love, Danielle

5/23/16, Shoe Confessions

Posted on May 23, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I was packing for the summer, surrounded by tee shirts, bathing suits, light clothes, and mostly shoes, when I decided to make a confession to you. I’m not addicted to gambling, and have never been interested in it. Not addicted to any special past times, and never fooled around with booze or drugs…..but SHOES!!! I am confessing: I am totally addicted to shoes. Nothing makes me happy or cheers me up like a pair of pretty new shoes. I know this is not an area of great fascination to men, and their comment to any shoe purchase is usually, “but you already have a pair of black shoes”. Yeah, so??? That has never stopped me!!!! A girl can’t have too many shoes. Or I guess we can, but if it makes me happy, it’s not hurting anybody. I’m always finding some pair of shoes I love, and sometimes, some really crazy ones!!  My father always said that my first word was “shoe”, so apparently I started early!!

In the past, when the world was more formal and people dressed up more, I wore suits and dresses, but as the world got more informal, and we all live in jeans and people wear running shoes and flip flops even to work, I have settled into a sort of uniform: black pants and a black sweater (or black tee shirt in the summer), and I wear a lot of black loafers, or flats in the daytime. If I go out to dinner, I wear black pants and a nicer sweater. A coat, a bag, and a great pair of shoes I love. For me, shoes make the outfit. I love the black jeans at Zara, for about $20, I live in them almost daily, and reasonable black slacks that I find in Paris, but I go all out on shoes. I can’t resist!!!And I have much smaller feet than all 5 of my daughters, so my shoe wardrobe is safe!! I keep some shoes for years and years, and some of them still look great. I can wander through a store and not go crazy buying clothes….but the shoes snag me every time!!! I wear super high heels sometimes when I go out at night, am grateful for the little kitten heels that are in fashion right now, and most of the time I wear flats in the daytime, to run around in. And I am scared to death of platform shoes, terrified I will fall and break a leg or fall flat on my face. And there are still a lot of cobble stoned streets in Paris, even right outside my house, which don’t seem like a good mix with platforms!!

Anyway, as I packed this morning, I decided to share my shoe addiction with you, a lot of women seem to love shoes, and I thought you might get a good laugh out of some of my shoes!!!

The brands I seem to wear most are Chanel (some very classic, and their ‘ballerina flats’ are super comfortable!! And they do some very modern looking shoes too), Stubbs and Wootton (from Palm Beach and New York), and Charlotte Olympia (from England) are THE MOST comfortable. Their sizing is so consistent, you can buy them online and know they will always fit in your size. You can wear them for 18 hours of running around on the first day. Manolo Blahnik, are my most elegant, Gianvito Rossi the sexiest.

The Craziest:
-These are by Balenciaga, they are an architectural wonder. I bought them as a work of art, not to wear them. I can’t walk across the room in them, and have never worn them. But they are ‘cool’ to look at. I have another crazy pair too, in brown leather with wooden soles and orange laces, with antique buttons on them, they’re very exotic and strange, by Manolo Blahnik, they were a sample and were never produced. I couldn’t resist them at a sample sale. I wore them once, and felt like I should be riding a yak when I wore them. But I’ve kept them, because they’re unique!! (my children screamed at me when I bought them.)

Craziest

The Most Comfortable:
– Stubbs and Wootton: The “I love U” shoes one of my daughters gave me for Valentine’s Day, I wear them all the time.  The black velvet ones with my initials on them. I love them!!! Also incredibly comfortable. And their fancy ones for this past Christmas, with big rhinestones on them.

 

mostcomfortable mostcomfortable_2

 

The Cutest, ‘Fun’-est:
– Charlotte Olympia: They do a lot of very high platform shoes that I don’t wear, and some pretty evening shoes. But what I love are their “Kitty shoes” I have a lot of them, and I think they’re soooo cute. AND so comfy. Great running around fun shoes.

 

Funest:Ctest

 

The Silliest:
-These are by Celine, silly but fun!

Silliest

 

The Highest/Tallest:
– A pair of beautiful Chanel platforms, the only ones I own. REALLY tall!! I wear them at home.

Highest

The Sexiest:

– by Gianvito Rossi, classic shapes, high heels. Really pretty to wear in the evening or to go out to dinner.

Sexiest

The Newest (that I couldn’t resist):
– in the middle, a multi colored pair of Prada, on a low heel, that I’ve already worn a lot.
-The other four are all Chanel, my favorites are the pearl sandals. I can’t wait to wear them, and will wear them this summer in the evening, soooo cool!!

Newest

The Most Elegant:
-Manolo Blahnik are always my most elegant shoes, comfortable even in a high heel. They look so pretty. I wear some of their flats in the daytime, which are always very feminine looking, and their evening shoes are gorgeous.

Manolo

The Most Classic:
– Hermes: they make some ‘hot’ sexy shoes, but they also make wonderful loafers, and pretty flats and sandals, and some evening shoes. Beautiful quality. And I wear them forever, year after year. They never go out of style.

 

Classic

most_classic

 

 

My Oldest:
– Chanel sometimes makes beautiful classics. The little flat denim pumps, I have worn for about 25 years, and I just love them, and still wear them all the time with jeans. The combat boots are also Chanel. I wear them whenever I have some ‘mission’ that requires solid shoes. I wore them for 11 years on the streets when I worked on a homeless outreach team. So comfy, solid and sturdy. I’ve had them for about 25 years too and still wear them a lot. And the denim loafers are by a company I loved in Paris that is no longer in business, Harel. I’ve worn them with jeans for at least 20 years and still love them.

oldest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So now you know one of my worst vices and indulgences. Superficial and naughty, and sometimes expensive, but shoes just make me happy!!!

love, Danielle

Filed Under Fashion, Shopping | 7 Comments

12/7/15, “Lucky”

Posted on December 7, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Busy writing again!! You keep me busy!! But there’s nothing I like doing more, so I am enjoying it thoroughly. Funnily enough, when I’m writing, I get new ideas for future books. And when I’m taking it easy and not writing, everything in my head goes quiet. So working seems to inspire me!!! And definitely agree with me.

I wanted to share the story of one of my bracelets with you. I wear a lot of bracelets on each wrist, many of which were given to me by my children, and all of which are sentimental to me, and I never take them off. People ask if they bother me, and I don’t even feel them, I’m so used to them. I haven’t taken them off in more than 20 years (when I had my last baby, the hospital insisted!!). They stay on my arms at all times, night and day!! Among them, I wear an ebony wood bangle bracelet on my left arm that I particularly love. It has 4 oval gold plaques on it with a saying that means a lot to me. Each plaque has a few words on it that forms a sentence, all put together. It says “You have to believe in luck in order to be lucky”. It’s in French, and a limited number of the bracelets were made by a French jeweler, Van Cleef and Arpels in 1970. I’ve seen it a few times in vintage stores, and always admired it. I love what it says!!! The original ones are expensive and hard to find, and a few years ago one of my daughters who works for a magazine told me that Van Cleef was going to issue a few more, in ebony and dark wood. I rushed to the store in Paris, and ordered one each for each of my daughters, and an extra for a friend, who had been trying to have a baby unsuccessfully for several years. I was SO EXCITED when the bracelets came, and gave them to my girls for Christmas, and to the friend. I put mine on immediately, and I don’t like to be superstitious, but I wear it EVERY day and I just love it, and think of it as my ‘lucky bracelet’. I ALWAYS wear it, and have since I got it…..and the friend I gave it to got pregnant the day she got hers, and has THE MOST ADORABLE little girl you’ve ever seen, who just turned two. The story definitely has a happy ending. So believe yourself lucky, and believe in luck, and you will be!!!

I wish you good luck and lots of love, Danielle

1/19/15, Paris in January

Posted on January 19, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope the New Year is rolling along nicely in its first few weeks. The world seems a little bumpier than usual right now in these first days of the year. In my blog last week, I mentioned the tragedies in Paris, and am noticing the mood in Paris in the aftermath. I think when anything shocking happens, people retreat into their shell for a while to try and figure out what happened, and why, and how they feel about it.

January is a quiet month in most places. People have gotten through the holidays and are tired, the weather tends to be dreary everywhere, gray and cold, rainy or snowy, except if you live in a tropical place somewhere. Two years ago, I stayed home in January in bitter cold weather in Paris, and discovered the TV series Downton Abbey and fell in love with it, and became addicted to it. It’s also a good month to stay home and catch up on work. Nothing much seems to happen in January. And I usually do a lot of writing this month.

And this year, January has happened with a jolt, with the events in Paris. The reaction of French people has been one of strength. Only days after the events which riveted the attention of the world and turned all eyes toward Paris, they held a ‘solidarity rally’, in which 2 million people showed up in a public square in Paris, walked about ten blocks, many of them arm in arm, and holding signs—and quite amazingly was attended by almost every Head of State and Crowned Head in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East. They came together to show their support for the people of France after the sad events and attacks that had happened. I was in New York at the time, and cried as I watched the March on CNN. It was extremely moving, old people, young people, world leaders, Presidents, little children. It represented almost half the population of Paris and the surrounding suburbs, and was an extraordinary heartwarming and peaceful event.

A week after the intense drama began, with attacks, deaths, hostage situations, and suicide missions carried out, the mood of Paris is quiet and pensive. Much like the atmosphere in New York after 9/11, which was a far bigger event, in terms of loss of life, the city and its people seem silent and somewhat withdrawn, almost like someone who has been injured and needs to be in a quiet place for a while to think about it and heal from the shock. It is an odd combination of emotions, both sadness and strength, determination not to be terrorized or victimized, respect for those who died, and although quiet, the people seem very brave and strong. There are noticeably fewer people on the streets, and in restaurants and stores, fewer cars, less traffic. People seem very serious, and wisdom dictates staying out of big public places that could be vulnerable: the subway, department stores, big stadiums, some people are avoiding places of worship, so as not to draw attention to themselves. Like any time of mourning, it is a time to turn inward, rather than reach outward, and yet the march last weekend was an extraordinary reaching out in unity and show of strength. But it is also a harsh awakening to the risks and dangers of our troubled world, with the realization that people are vulnerable in every country around the world. Just as 9/11 was a tremendous wake up call in the US, I think these recent events in France were a similar sounding of the alarm in France that they can be at risk in a grocery store, at work or at home.

The big event in January in Paris usually is the sales. The government demands that all stores hold sales in January and July, with terrific bargains of great goods, marked down up to 70%. Stores don’t get to just do sales randomly whenever they want, and they are expected to put their past season’s merchandise on sale during those two months. It usually creates a festive atmosphere, draws shoppers to Paris from all over France, and even from other countries. People come for bargains and pretty things, the streets and stores are crowded, and traffic gets very congested. This month though, the city is almost eerily quiet, with few people in the stores, and no sign of traffic or the usual excitement about sales. Maybe it will pick up before the month is over, as people recover from the trauma to the city and the nation, but suddenly buying a sweater on sale, or a pair of shoes, seems insignificant compared to the bigger issues. I have a feeling that the sales won’t do as well this month as they normally do.

And even farther along the spectrum, in the last days of January is fashion’s Haute Couture week, with really beautiful fashion shows held by important designers of Couture clothes: clothes that have to be ordered, take several months to make and are entirely handmade (every stitch!!). They are extremely beautiful, and works of art, and also extremely expensive given the man-hours it takes to create them. France has always made a big fuss about Couture week, and about its fashion industry, ready to wear as well. Weeks after a national tragedy, it’s hard to imagine people coming from many different countries to view the fashions on the runways. But it’s an industry as well as an art, and people are resilient. And I’m sure that in a few weeks, people will be ready to see the shows, and ready to return to life. Chanel and Dior are the two most important houses that produce the clothes, and there are a number of others. And maybe after a few weeks of silent mourning, people will be ready to face the world again, and think of fashion. For now, it is quiet in Paris, and the mood is somber and strong. And in some ways, maybe it will be a relief to think of something more frivolous, and turn back the clock to an easier, simpler time. France has survived Revolution, Occupation, and two wars. The French are strong people, and they will come through this as well…..and for now, their serious quiet mood seems appropriate. It is the right reaction for the time, and perhaps good for all of us, wherever we are, to think of what’s important to us, what freedoms are essential to us, and what national values, or even what personal values we believe in. A little serious thinking never hurts. And the outpouring of support from other countries has been amazing.

We live in challenging times. I hope that your life is peaceful and all is well with you. And I’ll be writing to you about the fashion shows in a few weeks, when I go to see one by Chanel. Take care.

love, Danielle

11/24/14, Countdown

Posted on November 24, 2014

Hi Everyone,

As of today, the countdown has begun. We are entering the ‘zone’ now, with Thanksgiving in a few days, and as of today Christmas is exactly a month away. And if you have people on your list you’re going to shop for, it’s time to get serious.

I’m one of those annoying people who start Christmas shopping in August. When I see something that looks like the right gift for someone on my list, from August on, I buy it. And in September, I actually start shopping. But the net result is that I now have gifts for employees, friends, people I do business with, have ordered chocolates for the nurses at my pediatrician, dentist, and vet, and even for my dry cleaner in Paris, but the MOST important people on my list, my children, have yet to tell me what they want. So I’m still going to have to go shopping. And I have to beg to find out what they want. I start shopping early so I won’t get caught in the crush in stores at Christmas, and so they don’t run out of sizes, and by October I have it pretty well nailed…..EXCEPT for my kids. So I’m still as stumped as you are, and will be dashing to some store on the 23rd of December.

And with Thanksgiving this week, the holidays have begun in earnest. I particularly like the symbolism of Thanksgiving, a day for giving thanks (and eating way too much!!!). It is a day for excess, a ton of food (I like the stuffing best, and cranberry jelly), and although whipped cream always upsets my stomach, particularly after a huge meal, but I can never resist it. So I will heap it on the pumpkin and apple pie for dessert, and will roll away from the table after!!! But beyond the food we eat on that day, there is the reminder to give thanks for our blessings and for the people at our table. Or it’s a day when we have an opportunity to give back to those less fortunate. Many of my friends work in shelters serving or preparing food that day, and when I was working on the streets on homeless outreach, we always went out to reach out to as many people as we could the night before Thanksgiving. And as we sit down at our table that day, all of us, it’s good to remember those who are alone, or lonely, or may not have a meal to eat. If we can reach out to even one person that day, it makes the holiday even more important. It’s an issue too for many people about who they spend it with, or if they have anyone at all. Gathering friends who have nowhere else to go is an important part of Thanksgiving. And sometimes it’s easier to be with friends than family on that day, depending on how well family members get along.

And once we get through Thanksgiving, the days will just fly by. A few weeks to shop, make plans, invite friends, decide where to go or who to invite, and the next thing you know, we will be nose to nose with Christmas, and our plans or lack of them then. And then there will be New Year’s to get through, and after that we can all heave a sigh of relief and relax. But for now it’s just beginning.

I hope you have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving, that it unfolds just the way you want it to and that you can be with those you love. But if not, remember those who will be so grateful for your company or a helping hand. I will think of you on Thanksgiving, and please know that you are top of the list of things and people that I am grateful for. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday.

love, Danielle

9/15/14, Busy Fall

Posted on September 15, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Things are revving up and speeding up, as they do after the summer. As the days get cooler, our lives seem to get busier.

I just finished a book, and am editing two others that are due out in the coming year. I’ve been traveling, visiting with my kids. We have 2 September birthdays in our family, so we’ve made plans for that. And I went to the big antique show this week that happens in Paris every two years, The Biennale. Beautiful museum quality antiques in some booths, paintings, and every important jeweler in the world has a stand at the show. It’s exciting to see it all, and a little dizzying!!! But really lovely stuff. The show is kicked off with a black tie event and dinner, which I go to whenever the show is in Paris every two years. It’s the summit of all antique shows, and really a glamourous event. Lots of women in evening gowns attend, wearing some very spectacular jewels. And they come from all over the world to see the show and attend the opening. You hear every imaginable language, and some very big ticket items are sold. It is truly an impressive event.
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8/25/14, Las Vegas

Posted on August 25, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I just took a vacation with friends from France, and their kids (my Godchild and her siblings again), to a place where I haven’t been in 14 years: Las Vegas. I’d been there 3 times in the past, just for a day or so, and found it a bit dazzling and overwhelming, but it’s definitely a place one should see at least once. And on my friends’ American Tour with their kids this summer, it was their next to last stop and I agreed to join them. And Wow!! What an adventure that was!! I never thought of it as a place for kids before, but we didn’t stop for 3 action packed days.  We saw the fabulous Cirque du Soleil’s O show, which is as beautiful as I remembered, combining acrobatics with swimming, a pool which appears and disappears, and then disappears partially, while one part of the cast is dancing on a solid floor, and the others are diving acrobatically (or from high trapezes) into the water. It is a breathtaking experience for all ages, and the children I was with were as dazzled as the adults were. On our last night we saw David Copperfield’s magic show, which is less poetic than O, but totally amazing and fascinated us too. And in between we went to roller coasters inside 2 hotels, Circus Circus and New York New York, we watched the volcano erupt outside the Mirage Hotel, and the water show of fountains outside the Bellagio. We walked for miles along the Strip, peeking at enormous, impressive hotels, each with a special flavor of its own. Some of our group went to the Venetian Hotel, but I missed that, we walked through the lobby of the Bellagio, and walked for many blocks along Fremont Street, which was a little less my cup of tea, with half naked people in costumes posing for photographs, and a lot of souvenirs and tattoo parlors. I wasn’t as crazy about that, it felt like the old days in Times Square in New York, a little on the seamy side. But the rest of what we saw in Vegas wasn’t seamy at all, but mostly fun and exciting.     » read more »

7/14/14, Paris Fashion

Posted on July 14, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Unlike (ready to wear) fashion week, which is a wild 10 day relay race, as store buyers, press, movie stars, celebrities, and anyone associated with fashion professionally, dash from one venue to the next to see as many as 7 or 8 major fashion shows a day, in 4 cities (New York, Paris, London, Milan), repeating the wild week again and again, until everyone is exhausted and has seen the wares of every ready to wear designer. Unlike ready to wear, Haute Couture fashion shows happen only in Paris, and whereas once upon a time, a dozen or so years ago, and for many years before that, the Haute Couture shows were the Big event, now Ready to Wear is where everyone wants to go and be seen. I guess I’m dating myself when I say that the Haute Couture shows used to be absolutely knock out, and attracted the most elegant women in the world. The front row at the fashion show was every socialite you’d ever heard of, important dignitaries and movie stars, and presidents’ wives, along with well known royals, and the women who attended the shows actually wore haute couture in their daily lives. The shows were beautiful, dignified, the clothes were spectacular and it was a rarefied scene and atmosphere that took your breath away if you loved beautiful clothes. But like it or not, the world has changed. My daughters and I were reminiscing about those shows a few days ago, since I started taking my 5 daughters to them when they were very young, like 7 or 8 years old. And the shows were dazzling then, for them, and for me. I’ve always loved fashion, and the haute couture shows were every woman and young girl’s dream.  All of Paris buzzed with the excitement, and the women who attended them (by invitation only) were stunningly elegant. But that world no longer exists.

For those who haven’t read about my talking about Haute Couture, what defines haute couture from ready to wear, is that every single stitch is hand made. There is not one machine made stitch on an haute couture garment. The seamstresses who worked on them had to be apprentices in the workrooms for twelve years before they were allowed to touch the clothes. The way it works is that there are two haute couture shows a year by the designer, in January (to show summer clothes) and in July (to show winter wear). The designer would put together about 70 designs, complete outfits, a sample of each one is made by hand, and usually famous models wear the samples down the runway in a beautiful show, so everyone can admire the clothes. Appointments are made afterwards for clients to try on the samples, and if they like them, the client will order a dress or outfit, and it will be handmade to her precise measurements. She will then have three fittings, sometimes more (the first one in a sample of the garment made in muslin, not the actual fabric), and about three months after the process began, the haute couture outfit or dress she ordered is delivered to the client. That process is still true today, and hasn’t changed. Haute Couture clothes were always expensive, but not the way they are now. A dress or outfit cost around $10,000 not that long ago, a spectacular evening gown $20,000. A wedding gown 50 or $100,000.  Today those same clothes can easily be 75 or $100,000 for a wool dress, $150,000 for a suit, up to $300,000 for an evening gown, and $700,000 for an elaborate wedding dress. At those prices, there are only a handful of women in the world who can afford them. And not only have the Haute Couture clients changed, but so has the world. I went to two of those shows in the last two days, as I do twice a year, and have for most of my life, as an admirer of fashion (I went to Parsons School of Design and studied fashion design, and three of my daughters work in fashion, so it’s a family passion), and there were no Presidents’ wives at the shows I attended, only one major movie star, no royals, and the famously well dressed women are only a memory now. I occasionally see well known movie stars at those shows (Jennifer Lawrence at Dior yesterday), and have seen Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Kirsten Dunst, and Rihanna in recent years, but on the whole people go now for the spectacle, and many to be seen, and very, very, very few are going to buy haute couture. The haute couture client of today is a very different breed. And the world we live in a very different place. Money is tight, jobs are scarce and the economy strained in many countries, the entire world wears jeans and sneakers, some even to work, exercise clothes are considered okay in every public place. Luxury is often frowned on (though secretly envied), men rarely wear ties now, it’s considered fashionable not to shave, and most people have nowhere to wear the fabulous creations of Haute Couture. And all but 3 of the once numerous haute couture designers still produce haute couture collections, which are labor intensive to make and out in the stratosphere in price. Many of the clothes one sees on the runway are then put in the designer’s museum, and never made for any clients. Sadly, haute couture has become an exquisite beautiful, absolutely spectacular dinosaur from another age. A few people still buy it, but most people’s everyday lives, even those with money, just don’t lend themselves to those fabulous creations anymore. And there are sometimes simpler clothes in the collections too, but always at an astronomical price, due to the fabric, or embroidery, or the remarkable labor and expertise that goes into them. I go to look, and am in awe of the workmanship and the creativity every time. » read more »