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Happy Halloween, Plus Spooky Cocktails


Happy Halloween!  What are your plans?  I will be handing out candy while my husband takes Isabella trick-or-treating.  The boys will have friends over so it will be crazy {in a fun way} at our house tonight.  I haven't dressed up for awhile but I'm thinking I may this year.  My favourite part of handing out candy is guessing what everyone is and listening to all of the jokes.  You can tell when the little ones have practiced that one joke all week!

I love this fashion editorial.. it's festive but still elegant, and I always love a carousel.

Elegant Circus Editorials

Spooky Halloween Spirits

Just for grown-up goblins: Serve up a little black magic -- in the form of cocktails made with vodka that's as dark as night.

Ghost in the Graveyard

Serves 1
2 ounces black vodka
2 ounces creme de cacao or coffee-flavored liqueur
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Pinch of finely grated nutmeg, for garnish
In a glass, combine vodka and creme de cacao, and set aside. Place a scoop of ice cream in a highball glass, and slowly pour vodka mixture over ice cream. Garnish with nutmeg; serve immediately
Screwed-Up Screwdriver

Serves 1
1/4 cup ice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1 1/2 ounces black vodka
1 black licorice twist, for serving
Place ice in a tall glass. Pour juice into glass. Pour vodka over the back of a cocktail spoon into glass so it sits on top of juice and creates a layer of black. Slice 1/4 inch off each end of licorice, and use as a straw. Serve immediately.

Berry Scary Martini

Serves 1
1 cup ice
1 ounce black vodka
2 ounces cherry juice
Fresh raspberries and blueberries, for garnish
Combine ice, vodka, and cherry juice in a cocktail shaker; shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass. Thread raspberries and blueberries onto a cocktail skewer, and place in drink. Serve immediately.

Wishing you a fun and safe Halloween!



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Photos via here, recipe via here

Favourite 5 in Paris: The Best Chocolate Chaud, Plus a Delicious Recipe


As temperatures drop, I begin seeking hot chocolate, Parisian style.  I can’t think of a better way to chase away the chills than with a warm, velvety chocolat chaud It's one of my favourite indulgences and one of the delights of Paris and is served in most cafés.  The question is, who serves the best?  The answer will change depending on who you speak with and has been debated as much as who makes the best macarons and the best baguette.  Below is a list of my favourites of favourites.

№ 01:  Café de Flore, located on Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6th arrondissementis the quintessential French café.  The chocolate served here is rich and smooth, but not too sweet, thick, or bitter, and is served steaming along with glasses filled with whipped sweet cream.  It draws quite the crowd and is a perfect spot for a break and watch the world go by.  I'm not sure I've ever seen this café not crowded, however, the chocolate chaud is heaven and worth the wait to get a seat.

Café de Flore

№ 02:  Angelina.  For me, nothing beats this rich, complex chaud served in this charming belle époque salon.  I am absolutely smitten with this place.  Yes, it is packed with tourists and the hot chocolate is close to €7.00, however, in my opinion, it's worth every penny.  I brought home a canister and a set of the little cups on my last trip to enjoy any time I like.


№ 03:  Known for its delectable ice cream, Berthillon, located at 31 rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile, always has a line wrapped around the corner.  During the winter months, Berthillon offers "chocolate affogato" ~ chocolate with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, frothy milk, hazelnut whipped cream and drizzled melted chocolate.


№ 04:  This salon de thé knows a thing or two about chocolate. Chocolat Ladurée, as the French call it, is rich, smooth, and luxuriously thick and will leave you with a memorable experience.  The chaud is served in a silver teapot with a side of chantilly cream... and best with dessert {wink, wink}.


№ 05:  Chocolate artisan extraordinaire, Jean-Paul Hévin, is dedicated to the art of chocolate making.  His luxurious and indulgent hot chocolate is a must for any chocolate lover.  Whether you order a custom flavoured chocolat chaud or a box of truffles, jean-Paul Hévin never fails to deliver anything short of extraordinary.

Jean-Paul Hévin chocolate bar on rue Saint Honoré

Honorable mention:  If you're in the US, Vosges drinking chocolate is intoxicating.. all of them but I especially love the Parisienne and the Bianca {pictured below}.  When visiting Chicago, I make it a point to visit the Lincoln Park boutique to stock up on our favourites and order a cup of hot chocolate before shopping the neighborhood.

Vosges' Bianca: Australian lemon myrtle + lavender flowers + vanilla + white chocolate

If you prefer to make your hot chocolate at home, Dorie Greenspan has generously shared her recipe with us.

Chocolat Chaud: Ladurée, Paris Sweets

3 cups whole milk (750g)
⅓ cup water (80g)
⅓ cup sugar (65g)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely ground (175g)

1. Bring the milk, water, and sugar just to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. The hot chocolate needs to be blended at this point. At Ladurée, this is done with a hand-held blender. If you have this tool, leave the hot chocolate in the saucepan and whip it with the hand-held blender for 1 minute. If you don’t have a hand-held blender, transfer the chocolate to a traditional blender and whip on high speed for 1 minute. The chocolate should be served immediately, while it is still very hot and frothy. Alternatively, you can pour the chocolate into a container to cool; the cooled chocolate can be reheated or served chilled. The chocolate can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator.

* To make frozen hot chocolate: Chill the hot chocolate until very cold, stir in ¾ cup cold milk, ice, and whip for 1-2 minutes in a blender.



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Photos ~ 1, 23, 4, 5, and 8

Real Estate: Breakfast at Tiffany's Townhouse For Sale


As the iconic 1961 Audrey Hepburn film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's", celebrates it's 50th anniversary and only two years after the townhouse where Holly lived sold for $5.97 million, it is back on the market for almost double the price.  If I had an extra $10 million, this place would be mine.  The first thing I would do is rearrange the furniture in the living room below, it's driving me nuts.

The town house featured in the 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

This room needs some work too, but that's not the point.  The problem with being a designer is that bad design literally drives me insane.  Insane.

I would trade the windows below for Parisian casement windows.. and how perfect is that fireplace?  I would place my desk where the one in the photo is and light a fire, sip cocoa, champagne, wine.. and work for hours.  Who can see that TV down there?  Moving on...

The 3,800-square-foot, four story Manhattan brownstone located at 169 East 71st S is currently divided into two duplexes but can be converted into a four-bedroom, five-bathroom single family home.  The 15-foot-wide Upper East Side townhouse, only served as the backdrop for the exterior shots, while most of the interior shots of Miss Golightly's soirées while living next to the handsome and aspiring writer, Paul Varjak, played by George Peppard, were filmed in a Hollywood studio.  Although, it is said that the party scene where Audrey is wearing a dress fashioned from a bed sheet to her cocktail party were filmed inside the living room of the townhouse. 

The home no longer features the green and white striped window awnings that are spotted in the movie, however, many of the other landmarks remain in place.  I would definitely replace the awnings {barely seen below}.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Breakfast at Tiffany's 6

The upper duplex features two bedrooms with en-suite baths and three fireplaces, while the lower duplex features two bedrooms, two fireplaces, a solarium, and an abundant backyard.

Wouldn't you love this solarium?  I have so many ideas of the ways I would design it, inside and the courtyard...

I will sleep tonight dreaming of this townhouse and purchase lottery tickets first thing in the morning.  If I win and buy this townhouse, I will throw a soirée that would make Holly Golightly proud and you're all invited.



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A Beautiful Collaboration ~ Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton

Christian Louboutin has collaborated with Louis Vuitton for the Celebrating Monogram campaign.

 Louis Vuitton emblem story

Louis Vuitton asked 5 image-makers, Christian Louboutin, Frank Gehry {another favourite}, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Newson, and Cindy Sherman  to contribute to the Celebrating Monogram project.  Through mediums of photography and moving image, each of the collaborators offered their vision of the iconic Monogram design.  

Canadian film maker and photographer Gordon Von Steiner created this short film featuring Christian Louboutin and Saskia de Braux, and his connection with his native city, Paris, for the 160 years of the House, the trolley.

His inspirations: "For me, the bag had to be a combination of two DNAs: my own and Louis Vuitton’s. Then I really began to think about what would be a marriage between the two…"  Louboutin explains there is inspiration of Les Nabis in The Monogram design.  It was greatly influenced by the French artists at the turn of the twentieth century, who, in turn, were influenced and inspired by Japanese art.

The monogram Shopping Bags.  I'm smitten with both...


Shopping Trolley ~ Louboutin's glamorous take on the market tote.  Louboutin said he pondered about something that would be unmistakably Parisian for him, and this is when the idea of the caddy came about. He said the bag is totally attached to the sight of somebody shopping in the markets of Paris –" I once tried to count the numbers of caddies I met in two hours at a Parisian market: 109!"

What are your thoughts on the collection?



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Bon Weekend, Plus Couture Cocktails


bonjour paris

I hope you had a wonderful week!  My week was quite hectic and with homework on top of it, it was a bit demanding to say the least.  I'm looking forward to catching my breath and enjoying a autumn weekend full of celebrations and fun!

Couture Cocktails
This is a perfect cocktail for chilly nights by the outdoor fire, cuddling under a faux fur blanket... my plans exactly.

Ginger Bourbon Cider

Ginger Bourbon Cider |

1 ounce bourbon
1 ounce Calvados
2-3 ounces apple cider
a few shakes of orange, or classic, bitters
ginger beer
pinch of ground cinnamon
Fill a cocktail glass with ice (I like crushed, but cubes work just fine). Combine the bourbon, Calvados, apple cider, and bitters. Top the drink with ginger beer–more or less depending on how strong of a drink you’d like–stir and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.
Wishing you a beautiful weekend!  I hope it's beautiful where you are...
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Recipe via here

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