Joyeuses Fêtes de Paris

IMG_0397IMG_0392 {Christmas at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte located in Maincy, outside of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne département of France}

Our reporters are off to Europe for the holidays and the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in Maincy, located in southeastern Paris was first on their list of sites. And, what better way to start celebrating than at this French baroque château decorated in a most distinctively Gallic style.

IMG_0399This residence marked the beginning of the Louis XIV influence by combining the architecture of Louis Le Vau, interior design of painter-decorator Charles Le Brun and landscape designs by Andre Le Notre to create an extremely royal estate. Can anyone say Hugo Drax from the James Bond’s thriller Moonraker…”Cute isn’t it”!!!!

image4 image5{Notre-Dame de Paris in the fourth arrondissement}

Next on their list of sites was the Boulevard Saint-Germain with a view of Notre Dame Cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité. A fine example of French Gothic design with the western facade illuminated by joyous decorations and lights.

Happy holidays!!!

Madison Square Park in Wonderland

“Rococo Hut” looks like Marie Antoinette’s farm estate “Petit Trianon” in Versailles.
“Cliff House” is one of three aluminum sculptures placed in Madison Square Park, and looks as if it belongs on the set of an opera!

While in New York last month I had an opportunity to partake in a quaint picnic lunch in Madison Square Park and the chance to see sculptor Rachel Feinstein’s first public exhibition entitled “Folly”, which ends September 7th. Upon entering the park you see the first of three surreal, extremely large structures that were architecturally popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These whimsical pieces have a white powdered coating that appear stark against the lush green backdrop of trees, and look as if they were taken from the set of “Pirates of the Caribbean” or one’s favorite “Fairy-Tale.

“Flying Ship” looks as if it were plucked from the Pirates of the Caribbean set!

These sculptures made of aluminum embrace many venues such as the theater, ballet, history, and yes the arts. Strategically placed so, one has the chance to peruse throughout the grounds feasting their eyes while enjoying lunch.

Note: Rachel Feinstein’s: Folly” runs through Sept. 7 at Madison Square Park, between Fifth and Madison Avenues and 23rd and 26th Streets.

Stay creative!!

Luxury Where You Least Expect It

Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday decorating in our neighborhood with lights of bright orange, fuchsia and underlying tones of deep purple glistening throughout the trees creating an air of wonderland. A spooky impression upon the houses start with creepy ornaments strewn across the lawns or front porches with bales of hay, cornstalks and carved jack-o-lanterns setting the scene for those ghouls and goblins who will trick or treat within the community in their carefully chosen outfits.

But, Halloween also marks the start of the holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas and on into New Years in one whirling swoop. Most of us will attend party after party or even throw a few. Family and friends will pop in throughout the season for a delightful cup of cheer and a definite bite to eat. There will be days when you may be out from sunrise to sunset, darting from one function to the next in the blistering cold and heavy traffic.

IMG_1967{Do not forget your accessories during the holidays and on those busy days when you are going from work to a party make sure your essentials are within reach}

In order to get through these festivities in one elegant piece it will become necessary to set time aside for yourself. Start by treating yourself to regular manicures and pedicures along with regular massages. Make sure you have booked with your hairstylist for those necessary touch-ups, and remember it is the holidays and everyone’s schedules will book quickly. Note: “if we don’t look good, we will not feel good”, it is all about the “joie de vivre”, the exuberant enjoyment of life and the details of beauty.

There are many ways in which you may treat yourself luxuriously without spending a fortune. Keep a variety of cheeses in your fridge so, that you may have an assortment with crackers on those nights you stay home with a glass of wine.

Upload books to your iPad from the Public Library. You can search the library’s catalog, download a variety of titles, manage your account all from an app, and the great thing is that you do not have to physically step into the library to return your books. They are removed from your inbox and re-shelved for the next patron.

Korean Pumpkins{Korean Pumpkins from the Asian Market}

Curl up with a seasonal movie. There are many to choose from starting with classic Sci-fi or Hitchcock for Halloween to those adorable animated Christmas shows we all enjoyed growing up. Whichever show you decide to watch, make sure you have your soft leopard throw, a bowl of popcorn and the beverage of your choice at your finger tips, and then the evening is yours.

Remember with careful planning each of your galas will come off effortlessly. Schedule time in your calendar for just you, and you will feel absolutely luxurious!

Enjoy the holiday season!!!