Fall is here, which means it's officially tights weather! At least for me it is. I don't care if it can still reach 80' outside. IT. IS. TIGHTS. WEATHER.
I'm enjoying this season so much this year (I know we're only like five days into autumn so far but bear with me.) Today I'm going apple-picking and this weekend I'm planning on pulling out my Halloween decorations. The itch to start watching spooky classic movies has already started (first up: Cat People) and I just bought a sweater that literally says "sweater weather." I'm a goner.
filed under: outfit posts
This dress was waiting for me when I got back from Rome in July, and it was such a nice "welcome home" gift to myself, haha! I've been doing pretty good with my spending, but when I saw this I physically could NOT resist buying it. I even bought it a size smaller than normal because my size was sold out and I needed to own it so badly I decided that it was better to have it hanging in my closet, unwearable, than to not own it at all. It actually ended up fitting pretty well (albeit the lining is a little snug around the hips) and I think my own size might have been too big! I love when things work out that way :)
Don't forget if you're playing along with posh frock friday, share the photo on IG with the hashtag #poshfrockfridays <3
Long time no see! I hate that I've turned into one of those bloggers who just randomly pops up every month or so and then disappears again. I honestly don't think enough of myself to believe anybody out there cares, but there are a few blogs that I personally love and I'm so bummed when I check back and week after week there still haven't been any new updates. I mean, I still owe Scathingly Brilliant a few posts about Rome. I have blogged about the most mind-numbing mundane stuff here but I couldn't bring myself to write a few lines about ROME? Geez, Kate.
Anyway. Life has been good. I took my Grandmom on a cruise to Alaska for her 80th birthday (we just got back Friday night) and that was pretty spectacular. I watched Stranger Things (completely, 100% understand the hype. If you're a fellow X-Files fan I think you should give it a try!) and I'm hopelessly addicted to watching Justified re-runs on Amazon. Also (god knows I really hate self promotion, but god also knows I kind of need money) I added a TON (like over 30) lapel pins to my shop this month so if that floats your boat you can check them out here.
filed under: outfit posts
My shop my closet sale is happening TODAY at 6PM EST over on my closet instagram, @scathinglybrilliantcloset. Don't forget to refresh my profile page starting at 6PM if you don't want to miss anything -- the posts might not show up organically in your feed because of the new instagram algorithm.
I'll be posting sale rules and details a little later today on my instagram. You can check out a preview of what I'll be selling in this post here.
filed under: shop my closet
Day three is when I realized I had fallen head over heels in love with Paris. Like, I was heartbroken that I had to leave to go to Rome. You know you're hooked on a place when you're about to go to ITALY and your heart is like "nope! I want to stay here forever." As soon as I got home I looked up the rates for renting an Airbnb next year for a whole month. I wish I could live there.
Every single place I went, I loved. I loved the little hole-in-the-wall stores, the parks, the people, the cats, the history, the SCENT (Sabrina wasn't kidding when she said Paris smells its sweetest after it rains.) At home I normally feel so uncomfortable talking to people, but in Paris the language barrier was almost a godsend. Rather than being awkward whenever I had to break my silence, I really tried my hardest to speak what little French I knew, or asked (in French) if someone spoke English when I reached my linguistic limits. A saleswoman at The Galeries Lafayette taught me how to say "I don't speak French" in French. The guy who worked at Cine Corner teased me about my crush on Alain Delon. I chatted with a shopkeeper about my tradition of going on carousels with my grandmom when I was buying a souvenir at a tiny handmade toy shop in the Latin Quarter. Somehow I felt more at ease talking with other humans, which was totally unexpected -- if you read my first trip post you'll remember that I literally holed myself up in my hotel room when I arrived because I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to communicate with anyone!
I keep throwing around the word love, but honestly, I just loved everything and everyone I met and I can't wait to go back and discover more.
Okay, so ... Day Three!
I started out at Montmartre Cemetery again. Remember when I said that I had a five-minute staring contest with a cat in a cemetery? This is that cat. (If you're having trouble spotting him, he's between the two green plants.) This photo was taken right before we started staring.
I sat for a while on a bench in the cemetery writing in my trip journal (I did SO good at writing things down in Paris, but then didn't keep up with it in Rome. I still want to go back and jot some stuff down before I forget!) but then I noticed a tiny spider in my hair and realized that maybe a cemetery isn't the best place to hang out.
My next stop was The Galeries Lafayette, a giant elegant shopping mall with a (free!) rooftop terrace with an EPIC view of Paris & The Eiffel Tower. My mom tipped me off to this before I left on my trip, but I was still stunned when I walked out onto the terrace and took in this view. It was scorching out, so I got a mango sorbet and that just made everything even MORE perfect, just when I thought it had reached peak perfection already.
I also did a little shopping... it was mostly upscale retailers (like out-of-my-price-range retailers) but I did pick up a sweater on clearance and a little scalloped Ted Baker bag (this one.)
My next stop was the Café de la Paix for a giant bottle of water and light "lunch" (cough, dessert, cough) I was being a giant movie nerd here -- the main reason I went was because Anna Karina and Jean-Luc Godard had their first date here. Earlier this year I saw Anna Karina at The Film Forum & heard her tell the story in person, so it was just a really special movie geek thing for me.
Speaking of being a movie geek, the next thing that I did was to get a taxi to the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, where they were showing one of my favorite movies, Le Samourai. I think the ticket-taker was a little confused since I clearly didn't understand anything she was saying to me in French when I was about to watch a movie without English subtitles, lol!
I was hoping that I'd seen it enough WITH subtitles that I'd be able to follow along just fine without them, and I was right. It's not really a very dialogue-heavy movie to begin with (the first word isn't even spoken until about 20 or so minutes into the film) and it was genuinely fun to watch it without having to glance down at the bottom of the screen for a translation every few seconds. I could pay attention to the visuals, the actors' faces, even their voices were resonating more with me now that I was really listening, not just putting all of my energy into reading. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip!
After that I went to McDonald's again (bathroom break!) and people-watched for a little bit before getting a taxi back to the Notre Dame area. It was getting late, so I thought I'd try to walk to The Lourve from memory and then get a taxi back to the hotel from there. Once I got to the Lourve (I *did* remember how to get there! eep!) I saw a couple walk into the museum, even though I knew it was closed on Tuesdays. So I followed them, and discovered that the grounds are still open even when the inside is closed. It wasn't very busy (I guess most tourists are like me and assume the whole thing is shut down on Tuesday) the sun was just about to set, and it was BEAUTIFUL.
I honestly can't put into words how magical this night was for me. I had my headphones in, and I just aimlessly wandered the grounds of The Lourve listening to my favorite music, people-watching, sitting by the fountains, all with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I strolled into a park (I'm not entirely sure if it's part of the museum or just situated next door?) and found a little food stand where I bought a sugar crepe & mineral water and then sat by a lake.
DOES THIS SOUND IDYLLIC? BECAUSE IT WAS. I can't think of any other time in my whole life that I felt so overcome with beauty. It was so peaceful, lovely, in-explainable. I wish I could close my eyes and be back there.
As I left The Lourve, I walked through this little fairground area that just screamed "Kate, take pictures of me!" Then I got a taxi back to my hotel, and stood by my window eating a baguette, watching The Eiffel tower sparkling in the distance, putting off sleep as long as possible because I didn't want it to end.
I started my second day in Paris with the group bus tour, which took us all over the city in about three hours -- we saw the Eiffel Tower up close (photo here!) drove past the Arc de Triomphe and The Lourve, and along the Champs-Élysées and the Seine. Each tour or excursion had a different local guide, and the Paris guide was my favorite. She was so funny ("Why is Napoleon buried in five separate tombs? To keep his bones apart!" lol!) and informative and her tour route covered enough area that it helped me feel comfortable with direction when I was walking around on my own later.
The tour ended around noon at Notre Dame, and our tour director helped everyone plan out their individual itineraries and gave us instructions for how to get back to our hotel via the Metro. At this point I made a bee-line for The Musée national du Moyen Âge, or The Museum of the Middle Ages.
The Middle Ages are my favorite historical time period, and, of course, being from America there isn't really much in the way of Medieval structures in my neck of the woods (with the exception of The Cloisters in New York which is comprised of elements of Medieval structures that were brought over from Europe. It's one of my favorite places to visit on the East Coast.) So I was beyond excited to visit this museum! It's a 14th century monastery built on top of a Roman Bath that dates back to around the first century. It was turned into a museum in the 19th century, and it has some of the most beautiful artwork and relics from the Middle Ages.
In many of the rooms they had literature you could read about the artwork, available in multiple languages (including English.) There was also an audio tour available at the front desk, but I chose to just wander at my own pace. According to one of the flyers, the sculptures pictured behind me in the photo above were originally part of Notre Dame. They were discovered in 1977 and donated the museum -- apparently they had been used in the 1700's to shore up the foundation of a rich man's mansion @_@
I'm really glad that I didn't bring my DSLR with me -- I felt like I was already lugging around enough photo equipment and I only had my point-and-shoot and instax with me -- but in this moment I really wished I had a wide-angle lens to capture how massive the Roman Baths were. This space was cavernous... it might be the first time that I've ever felt the scale of ancient structures. The oldest European structures in America tend to be of Colonial design, when doors and ceilings were impossibly short. When I think of the "grandest" buildings I've been in in America -- Grauman's theater, Radio City, the US Capitol Building -- even then nothing compares to this. I felt so small, physically but also historically.
Okay, don't make fun of me. I went to McDonald's. In Paris.
I had to go to the bathroom (ironically though I actually forgot to go while I was there) so I ducked into the first McDonald's that I saw. They had computer screens for ordering, where you could select your language. I got pommes frites (!) and a coke and then noticed that they had a second floor seating area. I popped in my headphones, took out my notebook, and sketched for about 45 minutes while overlooking the street. I think I paid something like 3 euros for this view. While obviously I wouldn't recommend eating American fast food while you're overseas, this was undeniably an awesome and super affordable experience for me, and I would definitely recommend it. On Day 3 I grabbed a coke at a different McDonalds' location with an equally pretty view (I don't have photos from that one, but someone was moving into a fifth story apartment across the street, and having their furniture delivered through the window. It was a fun people-watching moment!)
My next stop was CineCorner, a little DVD shop in the Latin Quarter. It can be very difficult to find foreign films in America unless they're released by Criterion, so I was REALLY looking forward to visiting this shop!
Just a tip: If you're a film fan and decide to stop here while you're in France, make sure you have a region-free DVD player at home. French DVDs will not play in a regular American player. I got my region-free player on Amazon here. Honestly if you're a fan of foreign films, you should get one regardless of whether or not you'll be traveling abroad. There are tons of foreign films available online in Region 2, and more often than not they usually have English subtitles. (In French look for "sous-titres: Anglais" on the DVD box)
Anyway. This was definitely the highlight of my day! I stocked up on films, and when I was about to check out I noticed a giant Alain Delon (my favorite actor) coffee table book on the shelf behind the register. I just about squealed!
My last stop of the day was at a little cafe situated right across the river from Notre Dame. The owner was incredibly sweet -- his sweetness only rivaled by the INCREDIBLE chocolate mousse that I ordered there. It was the best chocolate mousse I've ever had in my life. This was also the first time that I attempted to speak French (outside of "Bonjour!" and "Merci!") I apologized for my poor French and then said "C'est formidable!" (It's terrific!) and he understood what I meant! It was one of those moments you hope for when you're going to be traveling to Paris for the first time -- something very unique and special and, well, French!
outfit details: dress - asos | shoes - blowfish | bag - vintage
I don't think anyone is anxious for my next travel post, but just in case -- it is coming this week, I've just been so busy playing catch-up since I got back! I'm going to write about the rest of my vacation this week though, promise! If anything, I want to document it just so I can come back and revisit it myself years from now :)
But on to the subject of THIS post -- a shop my closet sale! I have a new (and more massive than ever, I think) sale coming up this Friday (August 19th) on my instagram @scathinglybrilliantcloset. I'm not sure of the exact time yet, but I'll definitely let you know beforehand. Keep in mind that if you want to make sure you catch the sale this time you should refresh my instagram profile, and not your feed, since instagram's new algorithm might prevent my posts from showing up at the top of your feed.
Here's a little preview of some of the items that I'll be selling, including the Emily & Fin Too Much Fun dress pictured above!
filed under: shop my closet
I arrived in Paris in the early afternoon, and then, as I said earlier, I spent about three hours in my hotel room. I took a short nap and watched an episode of Orphan Black on Netflix (sidenote: in Paris, Netflix doesn't stream The Office, 30 Rock, OR The X-Files! Luckily I had two of my Office DVDs with me so CRISIS AVERTED.) I also spent a pretty good amount of time staring out my window, because THIS was my view:
I think this actually helped ease me out of the room, though, because seeing such a beautiful city waiting just outside your door makes it all the more difficult to stay cooped up inside. Now the next thing I did might seem kind of weird if you don't know me that well, but my very first stop in Paris was the Montmartre Cemetery.
It had been on my list of things I wanted to see in Paris before I knew where I'd be staying, but once I received my hotel assignment and realized I'd be one street away from the cemetery, I knew I *had* to stop there. It's the resting place of my favorite director, Francois Truffaut, so I visited his grave to pay my respects and then strolled through the grounds for a little while. It seems like a park, a lot of people meander through or sit on the benches situated along the cobblestone walkways under a beautiful canopy of trees.
It was such a peaceful, gorgeous place that I actually returned there on my last morning in Paris and sat down for a little while to write in my trip journal. There are cats that wander the grounds there (I legitimately had a 5 minute staring contest with one of them, it may have been the highlight of my whole trip.) so it helped calm my "I miss my cat!" feelings.
My mom brought me up to be okay with cemeteries. She likes to read the names on old headstones aloud, so that names that might have remained unspoken for centuries are still remembered. I'm so glad that I was raised this way -- to have a reverence and respect for cemeteries, to appreciate their beauty and be okay keeping company with the dead -- rather than to think of them as spooky, eerie or unsettling. If you're of the same mind as me, I'd highly recommend visiting this cemetery if you're ever in Paris. It was so beautiful, and even though they built a road above it it's still remarkably quiet and peaceful.
I kind of wandered aimlessly after that, and found a little bakery where I bought a baguette to munch on for the rest of the afternoon. Around 6pm I met up with the rest of my group for a planned dinner in Montmartre (it was pretty good, but definitely not my favorite meal of the trip) after which our guide led us on a walk around town to get acquainted with the area we were staying in. I regret that I didn't actually hang around in Montmartre after this -- I spent the majority of my free time in the Latin Quarter -- and I definitely want to rectify that when I go back. It seemed like such a beautiful, quaint part of the city and the views from Sacre Coeur were BREATHTAKING.
I feel ignorant admitting this, but I had no idea that it stayed light so late in Paris (and Rome.) When we got out of dinner it was around 9pm but it still looked like it was the afternoon! It didn't even begin to start looking like dusk until around 10pm. Whoever coined the term "magic hour" for sunset clearly must have been in Paris when they did so, because I've never seen a more magical sight in my life. Everything glows, and then it's tinged with the most beautiful blue. I don't even know if it's describable. On my last night in Paris I experienced this time of day at The Lourve and it was, hands down, my favorite part of the trip. I feel so dramatic saying this but I honestly could have wept at how beautiful it was.
outfit details: dress - modcloth (old) | shoes - blowfish | bag - vintage