Paris – Highlights

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This summer, I spent the month of July in Paris. It was so awesome to get so emerged into a completely different culture. If we are all being honest on here, I did not experience the Paris I expected to, but that could definitely just be due to the amount of attention and glory that City of Lights is branded by media and society.

The thing about Paris is that it is a place full of history. I mean only the greatest literary and art movements were either born or grow tremendously in that city, but the thing is, that was in the past. Going to Paris was not like in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, no matter how much you tried to imagine it was. But, this can also have to do with the fact that I, at least, have not really identified this generation’s “stamp” on the art and cultural sphere. Did the flappers and Jazz Age writers in the 1920s know that they were a part of one of the greatest literary and art movements in the 20th century? I don’t know the answer to that question. But, personally, I cannot put a finger on my generation’s “mark,” so Paris’ historical glow was sort of dampened for me.

That is not to say that Paris isn’t the place for writers, artists, and musicians to be. In fact, I felt that in Paris I could write much more easily. Maybe it was the *polluted* air, maybe it was the 2 AM espressos, probably the extreme changing weather conditions (thunderstorms at night and deathly hot sun rays during the day).

Nonetheless, I had a blast in Paris, and here are a few of the highlights of my trip (photos included)!


Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.01.27 AMScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.17.02 AMOkay. The architecture was fabulous.I mean look at the blue rooftops. The black iron railings. The cream and white plastered walls. And lets not forget the cobblestone streets. The architecture, 17th and 18th century Classical and Rococo, can be seen all throughout the city. These buildings were definitely the trademark and even though I was surrounded by them, heck I even lived in one for an entire month, my jaw would keep on dropping every time I took a moment to just look at the buildings. Together, they form unison, and the whole city just seems to match one tone, one fashionable scheme. As an admirer of buildings and structures of aesthetic sorts, I definitely had a great appreciation for the elegance of the city as far as how it looked.

Montmartre: Art Nouveau / Belle Epoque

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.31.03 AMI’m not going to lie. For a while I thought Art Nouveau and Art Deco were the same things, oops! Now less naive and older, I found so much of this beautiful period still not completely overshadowed by the Jazz Age in Paris. Specifically, we found the more Art Nouveau and Belle Epoque history in its traditional birthplace–Montmartre. Montmartre, whose citizens did not want toScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.33.30 AM associate themselves with the filthy Parisians. Cocky, much? Also, the home to many of the Impressionists like Toulouse-Latrec and Van Gogh, Montmartre definitely has a difference ambience, and you can feel it. This is where the phrase, “Life through rose-colored glasses” comes into play. I don’t know if it was just me, but everything seemed pink. I mean to say that not everything was literally pink, but I definitely had the “rose colored glasses” vibe going on (Inner Californian triScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.33.42 AMes to explain things but epically fails). Anyways, the Belle Epoque, also known as the “Beautiful Era” was named so because of the prosperity involved. If you look at any of the era’s painters, life was described colorfully, which is exactly what Montmartre exudes: color. This is the “Paris” that you see in the movies. You can still see the Belle Epoque in Montmartre with the street artists ceaselessly at work to try display their skills by drawing your caricatures.  Anyways, going up and down Montmartre was definitely a blast, I mean you couAbbesses_(Paris_Metro)_2010-07-31ld seriously say you walked the same path as Van Gogh (although not to idolize Van Gogh in any way *the man did cut off his own ear *). The Art Nouveau movement also originated in this region of Paris. Art Nouveau was different. It had organic shapes, flowing lines, completely undisciplined movements. My favorite example of Art Nouveau were the old Metro station stops, and especially one called Abbe
ss in south Montmartre.

 Jazz Age History

Okay, for those of you unfamiliar with the Jazz Age, the era was dubbed so because of the complete reversal in societal norms. After WWI, people sought an explanation for the travesties that occurred anScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.50.02 AMd turned to expressing literature in a completely new way. Some authors, like Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.49.32 AMHemingway, stripped their subject-matter to the bare minimum, leaving out all the details found in Victorian literature instead. This translated into art and culture, and the rise of the flapper age. The 1920s being one of my favorite eras, it was so exciting to see all the places where my favorite authors had had their first drinks together, or wrote the first draft of their best-selling novel, or moved out because the rent was too high for the Starving Artist.                    I think one of the coolest things was going through the Paris flea markets and looking through authentic vintage items. I even found a beautiful feather cap from the 20s and some great dancing flapper shoes! Now if only there was blue fire in my soul for some spirits at La Rotonde, where I could get the bees knees of a drink!

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Hemingway’s walk to his favorite cafe every morning.

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Little Things

You know the saying that little things are what matters? Well. They are. In Paris at least, it was those little things that made Paris seem like the “Paris” we all see on the movie screen. For me, the little things were as simple as watching the Seine river with a little picnic basket while hanging my legs over the ledge oScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.43.55 AMr going biking through small side streets in the rain, playing the dainty piano at Shakespeare and Co, or waking up to a magical view. These things added up and one by one made the trip more and more magical.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 1.09.02 AM The Attitude

When people tell you there is a certain attitude the Parisian people carry day to day, they are absolutely correct. Maybe its the droves of tourists that pour in every season, but we can never know for sure. The attitude I am referring to is the distinct Parisian “I am too good for all your basic stuff, so I’m going to be intelligent, richer, more famous than you just to prove my point.” I think its similar to the ItaliScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 1.08.04 AMan “sprezzatura,” or effortless nonchalance. Except the nonchalance in the Parisian case is not effortless at all. In fact, it seems to me to be very forced. I mean, can you really be reading Sufi poetry at a vociferous cafe at 1 AM meanwhile maintaining your sunglasses on, those 6 inch stiletto heels, an uncomfortable outfit, and the rest of the package? Well, chances are it may look like a superficial effortlessness from the outside, but I definitely wouldn’t want to live my life abiding to those expectations. That beingScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 1.07.29 AM said, I do in a way admire this attitude. Maybe its the person’s position in the chair, maybe its pseudo “elegance” of those long Audrey Hepburn cigarettes, but the thing is you can’t just put your finger on it. I think it invokes confidence and encourages the artistic atmosphere. It’s almost like a game, and so much fun to play if you are with friends. Try it the next time you are in Paris: Where can I spot the Parisian?

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Museums, always museums

My favorite part of all was going through Paris’ museums. L’Orangerie, Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, etc, etc. I think I am most at myself in musScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 1.19.00 AMeums. I probably has to do with the fact that I am infatuated by beautiful things and beautiful people and being near them give me a sort of energy. If I could choose to do as many careers as I wanted, I would definitely have art historian on the top of the list. Museums are where history, culture, and art collide into one grand showcase of the lives of people in the past. I tScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 1.19.11 AMhink its so amazing, that every individual piece allows us viewers to look into the actual mind of the artist himself. Plus, art museums, or at least those in Paris, are absolutely beautiful (here goes the architect-Anashe again). I think my favorite was the Orsay, not only because it held the Impressionists (my favorite art period), but it is an old train station. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but I was instantly transported to the world of Hugo Cabret.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Any feed back or things you are interested and have questions about, please leave a comment or contact me xx

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Book Review: The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

SeaHouse_FINAL_scrOkay, so I know its been a while. Months actually, but I’ve been getting back into the routine of things! I’ll make separate post about my adventures throughout Europe this summer, but first I want to talk about a great book I just finished!

The Sea House traces a young girl’s confrontation with the past through the history of her new home. Moving into an abandoned house on the coast of the Scottish Isles, Ruth and her husband begin remodeling when they find a corpse inside a container under the floorboards. This corpse is none other than a “mermaid”. So, Ruth sets out on a journey to discover the past of the people from the Scottish isles, tracing back to the records of a priest on the island in the mid 19th century. The story then flashes back between the reverend’s records of the mythical Selkies, his love affair with the lord’s daughter, and his relationship with young Moira.

Ultimately, this book encompasses a lot of historical references to actual events and legends of the region for my fellow history-lovers! A mystery, quasi-love story, this book takes you on a journey to reconcile with the past.

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Christian Bale’s ‘The Promise’ to Launch Kirk Kerkorian’s Company (EXCLUSIVE)

Originally posted on Variety:

Tracinda Corp., the holding company founded by the late Kirk Kerkorian, has unveiled production company Survival Pictures with the Christian Bale-Oscar Isaac drama “The Promise” as its first project, Variety has learned exclusively.

Survival is described as telling stories of “perseverance, endurance and the inextinguishable fire of the human spirit” to reflect Kerkorian’s values. Kerkorian, who bought and sold MGM and United Artists three times, died on June 16 at the age of 98.

“The Promise” will be produced and financed by Survival Pictures managers Eric Esrailian and Anthony Mandekic, with “Hotel Rwanda” director Terry George helming from a script he wrote with Robin Swicord.

The story is set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, which was dissolved in 1922, with shooting in Portugal and the Canary Islands scheduled for the fall. Mike Medavoy (“Black Swan”) is producing for his Phoenix Pictures banner with Esrailian, Ralph Winter (“X-Men”) and William Horberg (“Milk”).


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How are you all doing?

Coming soon will be a couple book reviews, summer cleaning techniques, etc.

Can’t wait to get back in the swing of things!

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Ashley + Patrick | St. Louis Wedding Photography


What a lovely wedding & what lovely photos!

Originally posted on smbPhotography:

I knew from the very first moment we met Ashley and Patrick that their wedding day was not going to have a shortage of fun.  These two are so full of love and laughter and you really can’t help but smile when you’re around them!  As I looked back through these photos of their day I couldn’t help but smile.  Ashley just radiates joy!  The two of them were both so excited to get married and it really showed throughout the entire day.  I hope that these photos put a smile on your face like they did mine!

Congrats Ashley and Patrick! We couldn’t be more excited for you guys!


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Movie Quote of the Day

Estoy avergonzado de mi propia ceguera. Verdadero destino del hombre es la libertad. El deseo de ser libre es como un impulso natural. Es un impulso que viene desde el intestino. Es como … Es como respiración. ¿Quién puede parar la lluvia? ¿Quién puede detener el viento? ¿Quién puede detener la tierra cuando tiembla? Quien? Ninguno. En consecuencia, nadie puede detener a la gente que han despertado su hambre por la libertad. Los españoles llegaron al país para llamar su propio. Tomaron nuestra tierra y nuestro pueblo esclavizado. Hemos sido humillados siglo tras siglo, y pisábamos sobre por pesadas botas. Los españoles han querido hacer el deseo de la libertad desaparecer de este país, pero han fracasado. Han fracasado porque el deseo de libertad es una semilla que duerme en el suelo a la espera de las lluvias que germinará ella. Hay que traer una lluvia torrencial que lava la arrogancia, la pretensión, la especulación, la indolencia y la indiferencia de los que nos han oprimido por tantos años. Este continente está esperando una inundación. Una inundación que finalmente se inunda con la libertad. Y vamos a ser la inundación. La inundación comienza hoy. La inundación comienza hoy.

– Simón Bolivar (El Liberator 2013)

I’m ashamed of my own blindness. Man’s true destiny is freedom. The wish to be free is like a natural impulse. It’s an impulse that comes from the gut. It’s like…It’s like breathing. Who can stop the rain? Who can stop the wind? Who can stop the earth when it trembles? Who? No one. Consequently, no one can stop people who have awakened their hunger for freedom. The Spaniards came to the country to call it their own. They took our land and enslaved our people. We’ve been humiliated century after century, and trod upon by heavy boots. The Spanish have wanted to make the desire of freedom vanish from this country, but they have failed. They have failed because the desire for freedom is a seed that sleeps in the soil waiting for rainfall that  will germinate it. We must bring a torrential rain that washes away the arrogance, the pretension, the profiteering, the indolence, and the indifference of those who have oppressed us for so many years. This continent is waiting for a flood. A flood that finally inundates it with liberty. And we are going to be that flood. The flood starts today. The flood starts today.
Simón Bolivar liberated South America from Spanish colonial rule. A one point, he had 5 countries under his control. He was a revolutionary and a true hero for those who desired freedom in South America. I absolutely love this passage from the screenplay.

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Planification d'un voyage à Paris a été tellement amusant!
S'il vous plaît, dites-moi des idées .
Je suis ouvert à tout !

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A Renowned Art Collection

Originally posted on The Genealogy of Style:

Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo shared living quarters on the Left Bank of Paris at 27 rue de Fleurus from 1903 until 1914, when they dissolved their common household. Their residence, located near the Luxembourg Gardens, was a two-story building with adjacent studio. It was here they accumulated the works of art into a collection that would become renowned for its prescience and historical importance.

The joint collection of Gertrude and Leo Stein began in late 1904 when Michael Stein announced that their trust account had accumulated a balance of 8,000 francs. They spent this at Vollard’s Gallery, buying Paul Gauguin‘s Sunflowers and Three Tahitians, Paul Cézanne‘s Bathers, and two Renoirs.

Leo Stein cultivated important art world connections, enabling the Stein holdings to grow over time. Bernard Berenson hosted Gertrude and Leo in his English country house in 1902, facilitating their introduction to Paul Cézanne…

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Drawing Circus: Matisse ** 20 Apr 2015 ** The Old Market, Hove

Originally posted on Sussex ArtBeat:

  •   The Drawing Circus returns with an explosion of colour inspired by Henri Matisse.
Matisse was a revolutionary and one of the most influential artists of the early 20th Century, best known for his expressive use of colour. Join us as we venture into his inviting world where models recline amongst reams of patterned material and bright abstract ‘cut-outs’ make playful sets.

Matisse declared that he wanted art to be one of “balance, purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter” and that is exactly how it will be!

There will be coloured paper and scissors (or BYO if you have some) on the night for you to work cut-outs into your own work.
Monday 20 April 2015 at 19:00–23:00
All Ability, Untutored
Price: £5

Each month The Drawing Circus brings sociable drawing extravaganzas to the TOM Bar. These friendly and informal themed life drawing session…

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Matisse in the Stedelijk

Originally posted on Peter Sansom:

The Dutch museum goer has had to be patient over the last decade. So many of the big museums have been closed or offering greatly reduced collections during rebuilds and renovation. But that period seems to be passed now and the Stedelijk and Rijksmuseums in Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis in The Hague are open and better than ever. The last months have also seen some major exhibitions of painting at these museums. We have the Frick Collection in the Mauritshuis, Rembrandt in the Rijksmuseum and Matisse at the Stedelijk, all currently open, not to mention the major Rothko exhibition that has just finished at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.

The Matisse show at the Stedelijk is an interesting exhibition, very different to the large retrospective that was seen in Paris a couple of years ago. The Paris show was an extensive retrospective charting many areas of Matisse’s work. In a…

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