Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ode to Phillips

As those who are reading this from Paris know, the last few weeks have consisted of some pretty serious gray weather. Even if the sun shows itself, it's generally after 9am. In addition, our bedroom has very little natural light (tho in these weeks this doesn't exist anyways), therefore, if you love to sleep, as I do, it has been very hard waking up in the morning. I found myself slapping off my alarm and rolling over in pure denial. Late mornings were becoming the norm and this is not a good habit to form--even if you work from home and don't have a boss yelling at you for tardiness. In anycase, it is more of psychological thing and so last weekend we headed to FNAC and purchased the Phillips Wake-up light, an ingenious lamp which slowly lights up in the morning to mimic natural sunlight. (Leave it to those nifty Dutch to think of it).

That first night I went to bed feeling like the next day was Christmas morning...couldn't wait to see these magical results. We set the alarm with birds chirping to give it full effect. Around 755 I saw the light beginning to light up (it starts 30 minutes before your alarm goes off to give a smooth transition). I smiled and closed my eyes when soon after I heard the chirping sounds, a bit disorienting when there are no birds in Paris this time of year but pigeons, but indeed, this was a nice wake-up call. Light and birds. I started to close my eyes and pretend I was in the country, but clearly that fantasy soon ended.

I highly recommend the Phillips for those of you deprived of morning sunlight. We switched off the birds for FIP radio, but that morning glow really helps get you up and at'em. yay phillips.

Monday, December 15, 2008

If you are in Berlin...

If you are in Berlin this holiday season, go see the exhibition by Sarah Crowner and Paulina Oloskowa titled "Ceramics and Other Things," at the DAAD Galerie. This collaborative project is an investigation into the medium of ceramics. Each artist explores their own approach to the idea of ceramics, both working predominately with one of its basic forms, the tile. (press release). Much of this work on view is informed by a residency the pair did together in Greece this fall. The two artists work well together and share an artistic sensiblity, but they both also convey an individual artistic practice each has developed over the last several years.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Goumanyat & son royaume is a specialty store featuring teas, spices, essential oils, some cookbooks and cooking products and utensils. The business started in 1809 as a father and son venture, which I believe has continued throughout the generations up to the present. They have expanded to include special cooking classes and of course modernized kitchen utensils, but many of the spices and oils retain the artisanal tradition. Saffron was an early import for this company and there are still many saffron based items. The best thing about this lovely shop is they are friendly, helpful and not ridiculously expensive, like Mariage Freres, which has amazing teas, yes, but insanely overpriced. 3, rue Charles-Francois Dupuis, 3rd arr.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jeanette Winterson

I had the great pleasure to see the author Jeanette Winterson read from her early novel, The Passion, on Saturday, at Shakespeare + Co. It was truly one of the best readings I have ever been to and feel lucky to have attended. Winterson is an author who is always on my list of "to read," but somehow, I never bought a book and did so. I now realize my error. Fortunately, I can now start to benefit fully from her gift, and perhaps it will be even better after glimpsing her personality and incredible reading performance. Her website is pretty fun as well.

Sorry for the bad photo.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday afternoon

Seeing a slice of sunshine peek out late in the afternoon yesterday, I ventured down to the Carrousel de Louvre to check out the Salon des Creaturs, (design/craft fair), thinking it might be a good opportunity to buy a birthday present for a friend's party on Friday and Christmas gifts as well...well, was I wrong.. wow. it was really horrible. I knew it from the moment I walked in and saw large frosted glass things, and then proceed to do about a 7 minute tour of the whole thing with mouth open at where they even found these people and who selected them to participate? I was so disappointed and now had two-hours to kill before meeting up with friends in the neighborhood. So, I decided to head to the Musee d'Art decoratifs, where they had an exhibition about the history of Sonia Rykiel, who is celebrating her 40 years in the business this year. I am a fan of her work, which seems to only get better with age. The show was a little lacking, the clothes didn't even look that great, condition wise, and they keep it so dark in there you can't really see the posters and magazine tear sheets very well. The best part was a collaboration she did with Andy Warhol TV, where he talks about being in Aspen skiing and all the beautiful people he saw.

After wandering aimlessly for a bit longer, I headed to the quaint wine bar on rue, Richilieu, Juvenilles, where the author Robert Camuto was signing copies of his new book "Corkscrewed." A bit tongue-in-cheek, but the book is a fun read about French terroir and the rise of small wine producers who avoid chemicals/additives/etc. to their wine, sticking to the pure methods of production. The bar had some amazing wines, from some of the producers he met on his journeys in the French wine region.
Books onsale at the lovely Red Wheelbarrow bookstore.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Here comes the sun...

I am calling it: (reference to the election night terminology).. Paris has sunshine. 12:00 noon on Tuesday, Decmber 2. Hooray: As I went to sleep last night I composed severa haiku poems about grayness, which I was prepared to share today. But let's not sour the mood. Likely tomorrow will provide the occassion.