Friday, October 16, 2009

The Proust Questionnaire

I am a huge admirer of Vanity Fair's monthly mixing of a celebrity and the Proust Questionnaire. In fact, this last page mainstay is always the first place I turn. I mean, who doesn't want to know what Martha Stewart's favorite names are, or what Martin Scorsese's idea of perfect happiness is? I am thrilled that a compilation of all the magazine's Proust Questionnaires is now available in book form. Now I can stop ripping the good ones out and then losing them in the paper mountains of all my other magazine "inspirations."

Dating all the way back to 19th Century Parisian Salons, this former parlor game, thought up by the divine (Disclaimer: I've never read anything he has written, but he's French and a writer, so by default....divine) author Marcel Proust, has stood the test of time and remains both relevant and intriguing. I have always wanted to take it myself, so what better time than the present?

Your favorite qualities in a man? Charm and an ability to not take himself too seriously.

Your favorite qualities in a woman? Independence first and foremost...

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A world with no illness and a well-designed old house full of art, books, photos and children.

What is your greatest fear? Losing those close to me and a perpetual fear of abandonment...

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Cowardice...I need to learn how to stand up for myself and speak my mind or as my mother would say, the gloves need to come off.

What is the trait you most deplore in other? I could go on and on but mainly: egotism and self-delusion, with the latter becoming almost epidemic.

Which living person do you most admire? I should say Obama or a selfless humanitarian but I'm going to be honest. Kate Winslet.

What is your greatest extravagance? Living relatively well in Los Angeles.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Honesty in all instances. Not always the best policy.

On what occasion do you lie? When I determine that honesty is indeed not the best policy.

What do you dislike most about your appearance? I have big feet and small eyes.

Which living person do you most despise? I have quite a few...Bin Laden, George W. Bush, the dumbass who wrote "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell," Paris Hilton, Sarah Palin...I know I'm missing somebody...

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? "F--k me!," "Bloody hell" and lately, "I die." Thank you Rachel Zoe.

When and where were you happiest? The first time I ever walked onto a working film or television set, which happened to be "Dawson's Creek" in Wilmington, NC in the fall of 2000. A total defining moment.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would change my attitude towards exercise.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I haven't come close to achieving it yet but thus far, my ability to pinpoint who it is I want to be. I can totally see it. Now I just have to get there.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would you be? A lovely French girl.

Where would you like to live? My ultimate dream is to divide my time between Los Angeles and Cincinnati. If you want really specific, I would like an old Victorian home in Cincinnati and a mid-century modern dwelling in LA....

What is your most treasured possession? Since people and animals aren't matchbook collection.

What is your favorite occupation? Art house movie theatre owner or Egyptologist...depends on my mood.

What do you most value in your friends? I value their ability to stick around.

Who are your favorite writers? F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anais Nin, Helen Fielding, Edith Wharton.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine of fiction? Isabel Archer from "Portrait of a Lady."

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Marie Antoinette.

What is your greatest regret? Not studying abroad when I was younger.

How would you like to die? In my sleep and not alone.

What are your favorite names? Eloise, Charlotte, Lilah, Ever, Kate...

What is your present state of mind? Cautious optimism.

What is your motto? "Keep calm and carry on."

To buy the book and read what some actual interesting people have to say, click here...

But I Don't Want To...

A worthy sentiment I'm sure, but I like my ghosts and wish to hold on to them for a bit longer, thank you very much....

From here.

Je t'aime pas...

So simple and pretty and yet, so incredibly mean to whoever it was intended it! Oh, and very Ed Ruscha-esque for those that like that type of word art, as I definitely do...
From here...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Paris Fashion Week= Très Jealous

I officially need to stop drooling at my TIVO. It's been nearly 12 hours since I first watched "The Rachel Zoe Project's" Paris Fashion Week episode, and every time I venture past my television, I fight the insatiable urge to stop everything I'm doing and watch it again. Chock full of what I refer to as "Paris Porn," it's just...I die. But not literally. Rachel loves to say she "literally" dies, her heart is "literally" going to beat out of her chest, etc. What I'm not literally dying of is Paris Fever. And let me tell you, I've got it bad.

And this episode certainly did not help. I mean, did they have to stay at the George V? In a suite, with walk-in closets nonetheless? Did they have to go to Didier Ludot, a mythical store which I tried valiantly but failed to locate when I was in Paris for that ever so brief a moment? I was just waiting for them to head to Colette, another store I went looking for, only to end up standing in front of a construction zone trying to translate a sign in French that said Closed for Remodeling. Thankfully, they spared me on that one. Oh, and Coco Chanel's apartment? Seriously. I was actually making little noises as Rachel got to try on Coco's glasses. Too much...

And Rachel and Brad are right, there is nothing like the sun warming you in Paris, and nothing like the way the light illuminates those spectacularly gorgeous buildings and monuments. The energy there is just overwhelming. You can see it on their faces, even though Rachel claims to have been there a thousand times before. Paris is magic. It absolutely is the most enchanting city in the world.

I must, must, must go back, and soon.

Somewhere between the 800 Euro vintage Dior trench coats, Hermes bracelets and general Chanel fabulosity Brad briefly talked with the designer Erin Fetherston, which happened to make me think of a spread the sorely missed Domino did a few years back of her Parisian flat that was so lovely, I ended up saving the pictures in my "Inspirations" book. Even though it has been a few years, I thought I would post some pictures of her charming, quintessentially French pied-à-terre...

A chaise fit for both Marie Antoinette and an insanely chic modern French girl....

Another brilliant use of the color green.

Adore the rather bohemian edge of having a hanging scarf soften the lines of a large iron chandelier.

At some point in my life, I will have a home with lovely french windows like these.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mad for Marc

I'm loving this little black dress from Marc by Marc Jacobs' new line. Yes, I know, how many LBD's does one girl need, but seriously, it's functional with a touch of flair to it. The back is très adorable as well, with it's scalloped edges and lace trim...

Friday, October 2, 2009

When In London...The 40 Winks Hotel

I think I'm having a green moment.

And while green is definitely not reviled like blue is in my mind, it certainly isn't my go-to color, by any stretch. I blame the unfortunate hunter green and burgundy decorating onslaught that ruled in the middle of the last decade. Green just seems very...done. And dated. It was years before I could even use red again, one of my favorite colors, and when I did end up painting a wall red, I stood anxiously at the paint counter, barking adjectives like, "red bricks just after a rainstorm, MAC lipstick's Russian Red, 1920's Chinoiserie and you know, the exact color in Ozzy Osbourne's house." The paint guy just gave me a bit of a side eye and shook his head. "Just please don't make it burgundy," I sighed.

After I got it up on the wall, I stood, head cocked to the side, and asked my husband, "Does it look burgundy to you?" He, only half listening as usual, glanced up and shrugged. I asked again, this time with my voice shaking and squeaking like someone about to have a panic attack. "DOES it look...BURGUNDY... to you?" He finally got it, head snapping up, alarmed, and said, "NO, NO." Thank god, right?

So here are a few pictures of the David Carter designed 40 Winks Hotel in London. Since I was not crazy about our hotel the last time we were there, this is definitely on my shortlist of options when I venture back there.

I love how the green on the walls is so dark it appears almost black from certain angles. But it definitely has the depth of a color that is not black.

Nope, definitely not green, but a few black and white stripes on a Friday afternoon has never hurt anyone.

All images come from

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Misadventures in Necromania...

So I did indeed venture to Necromance on Melrose to find "authentic" gothic decor for my "Murder at Marie Antoinette's Court" Soiree.

Authentic is one way of putting it.

I don't know what I was expecting, really. I mean, a store name that is obviously derived from the word Necromania, which means, in simpleton speak, a weird sexual attraction to death and dead people, should really speak for itself. I suppose I was expecting the slightly sanitized Disneyland version. That is most certainly not what I got.

Let me paint this picture for you. I actually awaken Tuesday morning in an uncommonly colorful mood. This is rare. I like black. A lot. So anyway, I'm feeling vibrant and cheerful, also somewhat of a rarity, especially in the morning. Without thinking, I throw on my trendy, frayed and cropped boyfriend jeans, a light grey (I know, I steps) sweater that falls slightly off shoulder and my favorite lace-up hot purple (like hot pink but purple) gladiator sandals. I'm even rocking a bright red scarf.

At some point in the day, I decide that Necromance is my next stop. Still totally unaware of myself (how completely LA of me), I roll up in my big, shiny yupster SUV to a spot right in front of the store. This, my fellow Angelenos will agree, is a feat of nature not unlike outrunning a tornado on foot. It just doesn't happen. So here I am, on this strangely deserted stretch of Melrose, talking on my cell, nodding my head to Miley Cyrus' "Party In the USA" (HATE Miley....LOVE that song), my hair in a jaunty ponytail with Chanel sunglasses pushed up on top to keep my "bangs" out of my face. Yep, I am pretty much a walking cliche at this point. I could totally pass for a blond version of a Kardashian sister. It's pretty pathetic.

So I get out, cell phone still in hand, texting away, and try and find the entrance. The only sign is a hand-painted skull perched above a rather crypt-keeper looking door. I try it. Doesn't budge. Meanwhile, my first clue that something might be awry is when I notice a vintage babydoll skewered horror movie style on a meat hook in the window. Now, I don't remember that from the Haunted Mansion ride...

Anyway, so I knock, ever so gently, and after what seems like an eternity and a half, a woman pushes open the door, looks me up and down, mutters something about cell phones and the devil, and walks away. Ok, I think, no worries. If I can venture into Chanel on Rodeo Drive the morning after the Oscars clad only in pumpkin sleep pants and a t-shirt that reads "I See Dumb People," I can do this. ( a long story from my celeb assistant days...I don't normally leave the house looking like that).

I enter, and two thoughts jump into my head simultaneously. The first is, I am pretty sure I'm not finding a damn thing for my party in here. The second is, it smells like death. And patchouli. Or maybe patchouli trying to cover up the smell of death. Whatever it may be, It's not pleasant. Despite this, deserted boutique etiquette states that you must at least browse before making a hasty exit, so I am stuck. And desperately wishing I had worn my typical uniform of black on black on black with maybe a touch of black and white. The red scarf is making me feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz in reverse as I keep tying and untying the ends as some kind of nervous tick. I'll avoid the trite "there's no place like home" cliche, but you know I was thinking it.

So I start from the front and work my way back, and am introduced to everything from Victorian Era Mourning Photography (really old photographs of dead people in various states of repose) to dried, stuffed animal parts including armadillo feet, bird heads, bat wings, bugs, teeth of unspecified origin and a dead mouse in a trap that I stare at for a good thirty seconds before I get a "Yes. It's real." yell from the back of the store. There are actual skeletons, including a rather large collection of skeleton heads with their age tacked on to each one. One of them said 33 days, and I am still trying to decipher if it was a 33 day old person that died or if the skull has been separated from it's owner for 33 days. I'd actually rather not think about it...

A little farther back, in a gorgeous antique curio cabinet I wouldn't mind at all having in my house, are actual x-rays of human bones. The ones with very obvious breaks in them are more expensive. I mean, obviously, right? The bone saws are more than a little disturbing, as are the old-school dental extraction tools and glass eyeballs. Now my eyes hurt. As do my teeth. Seriously, people really get off on this crap? I turn warily toward the back to see how much further I have to go. Then, like a light shining down from heaven above, I see a rack of somewhat normal looking postcards near the cashier and make a beeline for them, eliciting a little sneer and a knowing roll of the eyes from the saleswoman, who I don't even need to describe because she looks just like you're imaging.

Twelve dollars, 10 postcards and a pack of absinthe gum later, and I spill back out into the 97 degree California sunshine, never in my life so glad to have a lungful of extremely warm, smog-laden "fresh" air.

Next stop: Anywhere but here. As it turns out, I am officially NOT a necromaniac, and am quite thankful for that fact. I'll also probably never be a hard core goth chick, which I pretty much suspected all along. As for the party, I'm back to square one.

P.S. See, people, this is what happens when I go and wear COLOR. That damn scarf is all but dead to me now...
P.P.S. I apologize for the novel. Short posts for the next few days, I promise.