Wednesday, February 29, 2012


i find the cover of this novel mesmerizing...and the stories inside are equally as rivetting. each tale is bound to the others by a gossamer thread...that thread being a man who walks a tightrope between the world trade centre towers, one summer morning (before that fateful day in september 2001. the tightrope walking part is based on the story of phillipe petit who walked between the towers, in august,1974). the point of view for the stories shifts from one character to another, from female to male, from a tortmented irish monk to a grieving mother who communicates with her dead son through the refrigerator...colum mccann brilliantly shows how we are all connected... in ways we may not even know.

let the great world spin, colum mccann, harpercollins publishers ltd., 2009

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

might as well be spring

i just love the colour of this nail polish, and creamy lipstick, especially when paired with some of my turquoise bracelets. parisgirl is not much for colour, sartorially speaking (ie. i'm lazy and wear mostly black, grey and white...) but these little splashes of spring are exactly what i need.

revlon colorburst lipstick in  peach (075)
sally hansen complete salon manicure nail polish in kook-a-mango (560)

and for your listening pleasure, i found this quirky little clip of the song 'it might as well be spring' from the rogers and hammerstein musical (and movie) state fair. (i just love the gingham dress/ballet flats combo, it's so now! i would totally wear that...but i'd switch the flats for my studded platform sandals, trick that dress out with a black waist-cinching belt, and top it off with a metallic baseball jacket. voila! a new spring look!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

learning to see part deux - details

here are three blown-out shots that i took in vancouver (no touristy snaps of mountains, the  ocean, sailboats or cityscapes pour moi. i'm more of a details kinda chick. which is why i always look up, or down at my feet for an unusual shot... just saying), and i'm loving the reflections and see-through aspects contained in these pics. some of you have been kind enough to tell me how inspired you've been by my photos, and are venturing out into the world to record what interests you... bravo, i say. and above all else - have fun!!

photos above by parisgirl: taken with my canon eos 5D; digital faffery with camera+ and instagram for iPhone4.
top banners and wires
middle reflections, highrise (i love the random open windows...)
bottom ornamental haida art, inlaid metal on concrete

check out more shots at my instagram site parisgirl25 (look for for my eiffel tower profile pic and you'll know it's me...)

midnight in paris oscar

here's another academy award update for y'all. last evening, woody allen was given the best original screenplay oscar for midnight in paris. brilliant.
go see it...

it's only crazy if he answers...

an amazing year for mr. christopher plummer - he has won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, in addition to the golden globe and BAFTA awards  (HAT TRICK!!)  for his role in Beginners! he is also the eldest actor - at 82 - to receive an oscar in this category. how awesome is he?

**beginners won the 2011 gotham independent film awards prize for best feature film. huzzah!!**

one thing in particular i miss about no longer having dogs (mine have gone to doggie heaven, alas), are my conversations with them (is this weird, or do other people talk to their dogs? i mean soul-baring, cathartic talks - one-sided, mais oui, but a kind of canine meditation if you will, useful for clarification, or at least a sympathetic sigh or look. non?) well, apparently not, as not too long ago, i came across a german word for a dog-you-talk-to: sprechhund. i think it's an endearing term, and it has stuck in my mind, along with a lot of interesting but virtually useless trivia i have stored there. long story short -  useless trivia becomes subject of blogpost! after a serendipitous sighting of a movie poster entitled 'beginners', i decided to watch it, as i love Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent, the stars. and what should mcgregor's character confide in, but a spunky jack russell sprechhund!  this quirky, beautiful movie is about grief and sadness, loneliness, hope, bravery, love, acceptance, forgiveness, and never giving up. and the dog is pretty damned cute, this movie. i.l.o.v.e.i.t.

beginners, written and directed by mike mills, with ewan mcgregor, mélanie laurent, and christopher plummer. focus features, 2011
photo: motion capture from beginners

Saturday, February 25, 2012

switch it up

here's a great little DIY project to do this weekend. (when i get bored, i paint used to drive the ex-casanova mad). this is one of the switchplates in my place, which i generally find ugly, tricked out with a border of gold paint, which i find a whole lotta gorgeous. it's super-easy to do: i masked an area around the switchplate with tape, then used an acrylic gold artist's paint, straight from the tube. the paint costs less than 10 bucks, and will do every light switch in your place with some left over...if you haven't been to an art supply store in a while, go have a look - choose a colour that inspires you, then go home and get creative! sometimes, it's the little, simple details that make a house a home...

Friday, February 24, 2012

DIY organic face oil

this is my DIY face oil, made with all organic ingredients, of course. the base oil is a mixture of cold-pressed grapeseed oil and sweet almond oil, in a 3:1 ratio. i then added some essential oils for sensitive, dry skin: frankinscense, sandalwood, lavender, and a few drops of tea tree oil. grapeseed oil is packed with antioxidants, and sweet almond oil is high in linoleic acids, has vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D and E, and is great for moisture retention. i smooth this wonder elixir (i call it olio d'oro*) on my skin in the morning, and after removing my makeup in the evening; then i spritz on a rosewater-glycerine-evian water combo to pull moisture into the skin. the cool thing about this oil is that it readily absorbs into my skin, and the essential oils i chose help fight inflammation, improve skin tone, stimulate cell growth, are anti-aging, and vegan to boot. plus, to store my olio d'oro, i reused this lovely amber glass bottle (with glass stopper so my fingers never contaminate the oil in the container: a dermatologist once advised me to do this, so yeah...) how awesome is that?

* olio d'oro  means 'golden oil' in italian. it's a sly reference to my real name...and has a lovely pale golden shimmer. i'm working on a wicked cool design for the label...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

the pen is mightier...

parisgirl is a snooty bitch when it comes to pens. i think ballpoints should be outlawed, and rollerballs are rollerblah. for me, the only way is fountain pen. yes, my fingers get all inky, but that is the charm, non? and the nib wears according to how i hold the pen, making it a very personal writing implement. (i never lend my fountain pen, so don't ask...) this is the newest addition to my collection: it's from online, a pen company from germany. great design, not too heavy, it fits perfectly in my hand - and the nib is guaranteed for 5 years. i use waterman ink cartridges from paris: my favourite colour is south sea blue (the dot, above). and yes, that's my writing...

for more info go to

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

not an it bag

here's a great bag i purchased at the gap several years ago...roomy, stylish, and more beautiful as it ages. parisgirl likes to customize her shit, so i hammered some letters onto the outside pocket...not an it bag. says it all, non?

now, let me tell you about what i did to get these photos looking like this and posted to quelquechose. these are the steps...

1. take photo with Canon EOS
2. download to laptop
3. tweak on photoshop and size correctly
4. email to parisgirl.quelquechose (blog me)
5. forward to real me @ gmail so my iPhone picks it up
6. save image to camera roll (on phone)
7. open camera+ app on iPhone
8 .import photo from camera roll
9. edit. use: fashion special effect filter, and instant border (polaroidstyles)
10. save and send to real me @ gmail and parisgirl.quelquechose
11. also save to camera roll (just in case the image goes rogue...)
12. view photo in gmail: download to correct folder in picture library on laptop
13. go to quelquechose/blogger
14. click on new post: think of witty title for blogpost
15.upload image from picture library
16. add to blogpost
17. size and position artistically
18. write silly shit about my non it bag
19. publish
20. have a glass of wine

 and finally, here's a detail of the lettering...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

learning to see

here are some shots i took over the weekend...of stuff in my neighbourhood. that i walk by every day, but have never REALLY looked at. i love things that are faded, falling apart, peeling, neglected, and derelict. those qualities are way more interesting to me than the uber new, modern and expensive structures that are springing up around me...
all photos: parisgirl, using hipstamatic, camera +, and instagram apps for iPhone. you can see more shots on my instagram site parisgirl25

Monday, February 20, 2012

serious releaf

those of you who follow me on twitter know that i'm on a chicken and steamed veggie diet prior to attending an oscar party next sunday. however, i forgot that it's a long weekend in parisgirl's part of the that means a trip to my favourite booze can to scout out the organic vino on offer. here's my latest find, from south africa. i love the name, and the design of the label (reminiscent of those handprints we all gave to our mamans for mother's day, non?) it's a cab/merlot/shiraz blend, avec flavours of blackberry, cassis and vanilla (yum).  with sustainable agricultural methods, hand harvested organic grapes, recycled bottles, and a label that is printed with sustainable inks on recycled paper, i think releaf is pretty damned awesome. so, tonight i had a glass (or 2) of this baby with my chicken/broccoli dîner. can definitely taste the cassis, which i adore bytheway. c'est bon, ça!
and because i am OBSESSED by the pics i've been taking on my iPhone, here is a hipster version of the above (a canon eos 5d shot ...), taken with the camera+ app. and 'magic hour' filter...

et voila! in the background, is the foto from friday's post, handsomely matted and framed, residing on my kitchen counter. some days i just love being me, ya know?

Friday, February 17, 2012

who says i have to play by the rules?

so, here's an abbreviated post (without so much yadda yadda) of the one that i lost whilst trying to edit on my iPhone (not the phone's fault - i need more practice. scroll down to previous post for details...) i digress. above is a shot i took on my iPhone (using the hipstamatic app which replicates the features of a lomo camera)) of my beloved, original hipster camera - the diana, 'meg' edition (designed by meg white of the white stripes). originally a cheap, plastic camera made in russia, these babies now sell for a couple of big ones on ebay. however, the quality of the photo is dodgy - light leaks in to faff things up - but, i love that. there are some purists out there, who believe that a camera image should not be fiddled with, in the darkroom, and in photoshop fie! i say - i am all about fiddling, which is why i rarely leave an image alone (and i'm not talking digital faffery wherein i superimpose people or objects into a shot, or shave five inches off someone's hips or elongate their legs to unbelievable lengths...that's plain dishonest). i love desaturating, or saturating colours, adding filters, or special fx - and often, i will physically cut an image into pieces and re-arrange...and maybe take a photo of that image, and further faff around. sometimes on a negative, i will scratch the surface or add pen and ink scribbles and such. who says i have to play by the rules?

here, i have rotated the image, because i like this orientation better; then i added a slight tint with the iphone camera app hipstamatic...
here, i have imported the shot into my instagram site, and added the lux feature...i love this image so much that i have printed it onto some uber-expensive fine art paper by hahnemuhle. it is now framed, sitting on my kitchen counter, all cool and inspiring-like...
you can view more of my images (which may or may not apear on quelquechose) at the instagram site...look for parisgirl25.

a cautionary tale...



Thursday, February 16, 2012

one of the boys: burberry for me

at this time of year, i often find myself longing for a fresher fragrance than the heavier winter ones i wear. this is a man's scent, but i reckon it'll do me just fine in the interim, before i launch my spring signature perfume. burberry weekend is comprised of: lemon, grapefruit and sweet tangerine for top notes; mid-notes are oak moss, ivy leaves and sandalwood; base notes are honey, amber, and musk. perfect for the tomboy in me...

for more scents, drool-worthy clothes and accessories go to

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

recipe: parisgirl's organic spinach soup, thaistyles

this is a yummy soup, southeast asian style: quick to make, with relatively few ingredients, all of which can  be sourced these days at your local market. if you can't find fresh lemon grass, then used 2 T. dried, re-constituted in some warm water for an hour or so. you can make make this as hot as you like - i used half a jar of thai green curry paste - chacun a son goût!

parisgirl's organic spinach soup, thaistyles (updated for vegan tastes)

the usual suspects, organic when you can...takes about 30 minutes, more or less
1 pkg. frozen spinach
1 c. fresh spinach
4 large leaves of swiss chard, de-stemmed and roughly sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic
2-4 T. thai green curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 piece of lemon grass, roughly chopped (i tie mine in a piece of cheesecloth for easy retrieval)
1 T. unsalted butter (eliminate if vegan)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil900 ml. veggie (or chicken) broth (450 ml = thick soup; 900 ml = thin soup...)
juice of 1/2 lime, plus more for squeezing on individual portions
large handful of fresh cilantro chopped
sambal oolek for garnish (this is an indonesian hot sauce...use or not, as you so desire.)

how to do it: over medium heat, in a large pot or wok,heat oil (or melt butter with oil). add garlic and onion and saute until soft. bung in the fresh spinach and chard; cook until wilted. next add lemon grass, curry paste, lime juice, broth and frozen spinach. stir mightily. cook until spinach has thawed and everything is hot and fragrant with the lemongrass. carefully remove the lemon grass bundle and set aside. ladle 1/2 of the spinach-broth mixture into a blender jar. zap until blended nicely. pour back into pot/wok and stir until mixed. add coconut milk and heat through. serve in large soup bowls, garnished with cilantro and a healthy dollop of sambal oolek. SO. GOOD.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

no comment required...

happy valentine's day!

 collage, photo and photoshop faffery: parisgirl

Monday, February 13, 2012

ironic trees

so i spent HUGE amounts of time faffing about this weekend taking photos of trees and such with my new iPhone and its funky/artsy-fartsy camera apps. despite the fact that i have a myriad of cameras from cheap and hip - like the lomographic diana - to my uber cool canon eos 5D (this is the camera i use for blog/travel shots), i have fallen in love with the 'hipstamatic' app (that name makes me laugh). so anyway, i donned my skinny jeans, hipster boots and my pea jacket, and suitably and ironically attired, i meandered through my hood on sunday taking hip pics whilst quoting kerouac (i jest about the kerouac bit). here are a few of the results, which i have entitled ironic trees...

all ironic fotos by parisgirl using a hipsterstyles app for iPhones. cool.

Friday, February 10, 2012


this is the best body-wash EVER y'all. eco-friendly, with certified organic botanicals, argan oil and grapeseed oil (my latest super-good-for-you obsession - more on this next week). does NOT contain: petroleum; sulfates; parabens; phosphates or DEAs. it's also vegan, for those who swing that way. and it smells SOOOOOO divine! simply awesome.
for more info go to

Thursday, February 9, 2012

recipe: vietnamese organic chicken salad

this is my riff on a delicious organic coleslaw, vietnamesestyles. with crinkly savoy cabbage, hot red pepper, shredded carrots, onion, garlic, shallots and chicken, this is a fantastic, pretty salad that tastes even better the next day. there is a bit of faffing about slicing and shredding the veg (you can do this whilst the dressing is infusing flavours), but it shouldn't take longer than 30 minutes to prep. it's quite relaxing actually, to slice one's veggies oh so thinly... enjoy!

vietnamese organic chicken salad
 serves 4 (or 2 with leftovers for lunch)
the not-so-usual salad suspects, organic when you can
1 small head of savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
2 large cooked chicken breasts, cooled and shredded (you can buy already cooked from the deli, or prep your own the evening before)
1 large bunch of mint, stemmed and roughly chopped
for the dressing:
1 red hot chili pepper (not the musicians...) seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large shallot (ditto above)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 T. sugar
1 and 1/2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. nuoc nam (fish sauce)
2 T. olive or grapeseed oil
juice of 1 lime (i like my dressings tart: if you're less inclined reduce to 1/2 lime)
black pepper and fleur de sel
how to do it: combine all ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. leave to marinate for 30 minutes. meanwhile put all remaining vegies and the chicken in a larger bowl (you'll need lots of room to toss this baby). after half an hour, pour dressing over greens etc. and toss evenly until everything has a nice gloss. check for seasonings and if needed, add salt and more pepper. serve in bowls, or communally if you're brave, picking up scrumptious bits with your chopsticks...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

green tangerine

continuing with my vietnamese theme this week, i wanted to give a shout out to green tangerine, a fantastic restaurant i had the pleasure of visiting in the old quarter of ha noi. located just northeast of hoan kiem lake, this restaurant is an intriguing mélange of french colonial and oriental design, and le patio is sublime. the food is superb, featuring an innovative fusion of french nouveau and european cuisines, with a vietnamese twist. go when you're not in a hurry, and can linger, frenchstyles, over excellent food and wine, and indulge in people-watching...
for more info, visit the green tangerine website it's in english, french and thieng viet. (there is a great shot of the patio, where the ex-casanova and i had a fabulous, boozy meal after tearing around hanoi on a scooter. i really ought to write a book...)
green tangerine business card photographed atop two gorgeous red and black lacquered photo albums i purchased in ha noi. i love how the card appears to be floating...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

rendez-vous in ha noi

a friend, who knows of my love affair with viet nam, gave this novel to me for christmas. i always love reading books (or watching movies) set in places where i have visited, so it was with a great sense of anticipation and excitement, that i had a rendez-vous in ha noi, albeit one of my imagination. a lot of the action in this book occurs in the old quarter of ha noi, on ma may street, which is where i happened to stay on my real visit. i loved it there, each avenue selling a different ware - spices, baskets, lacquered trays and boxes - and with masses of motor scooters  and cyclos surging through the streets. there are no stoplights - at least none that anyone pays any attention to - so in order to cross a street, you just step out with determination into the traffic, and cross to the other side, while the motor scooters zoom around you like water around a log, caught midstream. not for the faint of heart. i digress. this is a heart-warming story about an elderly pho seller on the streets of this northern city, and his flashbacks to a time after emancipation from french colonial rule, and then during the 'american war' to stop the incursion of ho chi minh and communism into the south. politics aside, this is a beautiful story, interwoven between past and present, between those who never left and those who return, a testament of sacrifice, loss, redemption, reconciliation, progress, family, roots, and the deep-seated, enduring beauty of humanity. l.o.v.e.

the beauty of humanity movement, camilla gibb, 2010, doubleday (a division of random house canada)
if you are interested in literature in viet nam amidst communist rule, camilla gibb suggests reading, understanding vietnam by neil l. jamieson, university of california press, 1993. i know i'm going to...

Monday, February 6, 2012

the eyes have it...

parisgirl loves a smoky eye, but recently i have been rocking the nude look (not to be confused with the 'no make-up' look, which to me, equals a 'whole-lotta-faffing-about-for-a-boring-as-shit' look). above, is a lovely little palette of eyeshadows by revlon - i love the cable pattern imprinted on the surface - very 'burberry' but without the hefty price-tag. these have just the right amount of shimmer to give definition and interest to my eyes: teamed with a chocolate brown eyeliner and a swoop of black mascara, it's a wonderfully fresh yet glam look for spring. l.o.v.e.

revlon custom eyes in naturally glamorous
ps i photographed against some beautiful papers i have kicking around in the studio...

Friday, February 3, 2012

recipe: nouveau huevos rancheros, organicstyles

as a bookend to the avocado soup recipe posted on monday, here's another recipe starring this unctuous vegetable. this is parisgirl's riff on huevos rancheros, focusing on organic and healthy ingredients. this is super-easy and quick to make, and it's excellent for when i'm feeling's pretty versatile too, and can be served for brunch or a light supper. if you're a purist, you could add some organic black beans to the mix...

nouveau huevos rancheros

the usual suspects (all organic, when you can...)
tjhis recipe feeds 2. takes 30 minutes, more or less

1 large avocado, sliced
1 large tomato-on-the-vine, cut into chunks
1/2 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 large handfuls of baby spinach
2-3 green onions, sliced
cilantro, roughly chopped
4 eggs, beaten (if you swing to vegan, you could swap out the eggs for an egg substitute)
pinch each of ground cumin and corinader
extra virgin olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper
greek or soy yogourt for garnish
4 small corn tortillas (or spelt if you prefer )
optional: fresh lime juice; organic black beans; hot sauce of your choice (i love chipotle tabasco...)

how to do it: wrap tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and set in a 250 degree oven to warm. over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in a swig of olice oil. cook, stirring until soft and fragrant. now throw in spinach, tomatoes, spices, salt and peper and stir until softened, and the tomato has melted a bit. remove from heat, scrape into a bowl and keep warm. return pan to heat, lower to medium-low and add butter. when melted, pour in eggs. let set for 30 seconds, then begin to stir gently. stir until eggs are set. to serve, place a warmed tortilla on each plate; cover surface with avocado slices, a sprinkling of salt and pepper if you're inclined (if using black beans, this is where you add them);  then top with a hearty spoonful of eggs, the veggie mixture, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice if you're game. spoon on a dollop of yogourt, and strew with cilantro. for the pièce de résistance douse liberally with hot sauce. eat. smile. repeat.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

beauty: spring at my fingertips

all that talk of spring butterflies yesterday, gave me a hankering for some new, fresh colours for my fingernails. so i meandered over to my local pharmacy and had a lookey-loo at the nail polishes - and came home with these 2 pretty pastels by revlon. on the left is jaded; on the right, cloud. i think i'll wear them together, on alternate fingers, because i can. and the tiny rainbows you see on the countertop are from a beautiful crystal that hangs in my kitchen window. on sunny days, the entire room is filled with sparkling mini rainbows...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

found objects: butterfly, postcard

decorating is not a trivial pursuit...
mary schoeser

i love butterflies. i found this gorgeous specimen lying on the ground in my back garden last autumn, a trifle bedraggled, and, alas, as dead* as a doornail. i carefully carried it into my house and placed it delicately atop this snowglobe on the mantlepiece. the wings are a deep chocolate brown colour, with tricked out points of vivid blue (like they were painted with the tiniest of brushes), and edged in yellow. i have no idea what kind it is, nor its latin name**, but i think it is exquisite. layered behind, in the background, is a vintage postcard of piazza san marco i found in a junk shop, and behind that a photo i took at exactly the same perspective ( i took the photo first and happened upon the postcard a year or so later. awesome, non?) my point? you don't have to spend a fortune on home-decorating. look around you... sometimes, it's the small, simple things - a postcard, a butterfly - that prove extraordinary.

here's the mantlepiece, from a different perspective. it's mia buona ricordi della venezia...*** corner.

*parisgirl does NOT endorse the harvesting of living things for decorative purposes. don't stick pins in live specimens. it's not nice.
** i did a little investigating via the internets, and apparently, this is a 'mourning cloak' butterfly, aka 'camberwell beauty': its latin name is nymphalis antiopa. and here's something else i learned (the sort of fascinating random sh*te i love) - in order to fly, a butterfly must warm up its wings first, which is why you will often see one with wings outstretched, basking in the sun. mourning cloak butterflies are one of the first to emerge in the spring: their dark colouring helps to absorb the weaker rays of the sun found at that time of year. solar heating for butterflies - who knew?
*** 'my good memories of venice'...

here's a fabulous book for design ideas, filled with eclectic interiors and exuberant colours. avoid if you're in a relationship with taupe...

more is more an antidote to minimalism, mary schoeser, conran octopus publishing, london