The Beginning or How Fashion Saved Me From a Deep and Ugly Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole Screenprint - perfectlaughter etsy

The beginning of this month was one of those weeks where everything falls into place. It was the beginning of fashion week in Paris and the first ever Fashion and Tech week too. However, it was also the beginning of me finally clinging to something that could drag me out of the dark hole I found myself.

The truth is I have lacked any ambition or inspiration in anything over the past 5 months since that moment. If I am honest with myself, it might even go back further than that. All I can say is I have not wanted to do anything. I worked very little because I did not have the desire to do it. One might think I would be exploring Paris all day if I wasn’t working, but this is not the case. I was content to sleep all morning after being up all night. I barely got anything done. I only left the house if I made myself to go run errands or walk along the Seine. Nothing was helping me get past what had happened. I was not myself in any sense, and something needed to change. The only thing is nothing was grasping my attention like I needed.

I think some people do get depressed, but I can say with all certainty that this is not what was going on with me. It might sound like it, but I know myself. I am usually too content and happy of a person to succumb to dark thoughts. I cannot imagine what it must feel like being in a hole where there is nothing but darkness. I wish I could understand it, but I doubt I ever will. I guess that might sound crazy, but I really wish I could understand even for a moment- just so I could understand why. Despite all this, I knew I was in a rough place. Shit happens, and I know everyone goes through really bad times. It just seemed like I was going through one bad thing after another. I had no direction, and I had no idea what to do with my life.

In reality, I still do not know, but last week finally gave me the shock I needed to come back to life. I was like a human zombie that was content doing nothing despite missing out on the experience of the world outside. I didn’t care, and why should I have to if I lived thousands of miles from any sort of regular lifestyle? Besides, I lost the one person I always counted on to give me the push or wake up call I needed. They decided to leave me, and who was I to say someone else couldn’t decide to leave me too?  I lost so many opportunities over the last six months, but I just did not have the motivation to change anything about my attitude or circumstances.

Down the rabbit hole

Fashion week finally came around, and I really did not care at all. I go to these things all the time, and they can be quite boring if not overly pretentious. My jaded self can think the fashion industry is quite stupid at times. Sometimes, I do not get the hype at all, and I think there are so many other worthwhile things in the world. Let me just say I will never think that again because when it comes down to it this crazy week saved me. It showed me that there is so much I was missing and that I have to fight for my right to want things like inspiration and ambition.

Fashion gave me the spark I needed to get back to life as a regular human being and not a zombie as corny as that sounds. I needed something otherwise I might have wasted away in the hole forever missing the countless days, chances, and moments that make life worth living no matter how insignificant they might be in the scheme of things.

The things that happened might not seem like a big deal, but it is exactly what I needed at a moment I needed it the most. I am now working towards things with a new mindset and a fresh perspective that is stronger than anything I have felt before. It might take time to actually go in the right direction, but I know I can do it. I finally have the desire and the want to do it. Above all, I need to do it otherwise I might find myself in the same hole all over again. Besides, a zombie is not something I want to be.

#MonaLisa Hmm, to pin on my Mona Lisa board or my I love Zombies board??

The Masked Ball of Versailles by Kamel Ouali

Alrighty, it has been over a year, and I have yet to blog about one of the coolest things I have ever done in France. Last summer, I put on a blue brocade dress embroidered with little flowers, powdered my hair, and waltzed to Versailles to attend a masked ball. Yes, that is right- a masked ball dressed in marquis period clothing! It was honestly like stepping back in time or onto a movie set. Everyone was dressed in these unbelievable costumes with elaborate wigs, masks, panniers and more. It was something I will never forget, and it was well worth the ticket price.

I went with a group of people who organized the event on Meetup. I had never used the site before, but people kept recommending it to me as a great way to meet people. I had just moved to Paris a couple months before, and I was eager to see what it was all about. So, I saw this event, and I knew it was going to be something I had to do. However, I did not buy a ticket until the week before, and I was lucky to find such a lovely costume. Most people get their’s months in advance, and a girl my size happened to not pick hers up when I went to go get it. I only spent 25 euro, but some people can easily spend hundreds on a really great costume. You can read all about my shopping here.

Everyone met up at a couple’s house who lived within walking distance of the chateau. We ate strawberries, drank champagne and tied each other into out stays and corsets. Before long, it was time to go off to the chateau!

Before the ball, everyone was invited to watch a fireworks show in the garden. We arrived drinking the last bits of our champagne and ran into the garden. It was unreal, and I can’t even begin to describe the atmosphere. People mingled and admired the costumes of those who really went all out like these guys:

As you can see, it was an amazing first impression. After the fireworks, we all gathered and walked towards the Orangerie. I was a little disappointed the ball was not in the Hall of Mirrors as the advertisement was shot there. However, I quickly got over my disappointment when I saw the inside of the event. A topless mermaid and two nearly naked men greeted us in a fountain as we descended the stairs. There were tigers, acrobats, and performers everywhere to create this huge carnival arranged by a famous French choreographer, Kamel Ouali (honestly, I still don’t really know him, but he is on France’s DWTS). 

The rest of the night was a blur of dancing and crazy Vegas style performances. There were cabarets, aerial dancing, and more to keep us entertained all night long. The dance went until 5 a.m. when we were supposed to get breakfast. I was determined to stay to the end, but by that point all of the people I came with had left except one other girl. I talked her into staying even as we tried to fight sleeping like others in the maze of cushions and shrubberies at the entrance.

One girl used an Ikea lamp shade as her “gown.” I actually really loved it to be honest!

This guy easily had one of my favorite costumes, until I met his partner, the Sun King later that morning.

We wandered outside as the sun began to rise to take pictures. There was nobody around, and the entire garden seemed deserted except for the odd couple or so walking around. The lights in the ball room eventually turned off, and the music became softer as people were directed to another outside garden. My feet were killllinnng me, but I wanted to see what was going to happen. We get to a clearing and the music blaring as people queue up for coffee and croissants. I am sure it was lovely and lasted even longer, but by that point, this Cinderella needed to get home in her steel carriage.

There were many many men of the cloth. This was but a humble monk, but I saw many a pope and bishop among the parade.

Honestly, if you happen to be anywhere near France at the end of June, then book a ticket to this ball. It is honestly an event that cannot be missed. I went this year with one of my good friends, and we had quite the experience, but that is for another time ;) I leave you with one of my favorite pictures of the night, me and the Sun King!

That One Time I Got to See Behind the Scenes at Christian Dior

 

So, I am due for a more cultural post. No sadness it today’s blog! I have been way behind; in fact, I am going to be discussing an event I went to last year that was by far one of the coolest things I have done in Paris. It was funny too because it actually happened the same weekend as the Versailles ball from last year (which I still have not blogged about!).

Anyway, LVHM, or Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, held an open house last June where the public was invited to explore the factories, flagships, and headquarters of all their brands across the world. Of course, Paris had the most to offer and I chose Chaumet and Dior. The lines were excruciating long, but I think worth it to see everything up close and personal to see the so-called “Les Journées Particulières de LVHM.” This is a long post all about France and fashion, so get comfortable!

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We were not allowed to take pictures at Chaumet, a fine jeweler in Place Vendome. However, it was super cool seeing the artisans work up close and personal. We got to see their current projects and ask them questions about their jobs. I never realized the work that went into fine jewelry, but it was pretty incredible! Plus, we were given a tour of the building and we got to see some incredible tiaras.

This is the piece they were working on last year. It was still a drawing at the time so it is interesting to see it completed!

I chose Chaumet because the lines were not as long, and I wanted to get to Dior before they closed. I would have chosen LV itself obviously, but they only had factories open in other regions of Paris. So, I was satisfied with my choices needless to say.

Next, I went to Dior, and I am not going to say how long the line was, but just know that I was able to finish a book while waiting. However, it was absolutely amazing once we got inside. We were given a tour of the whole head quarters, and we stopped at stations along the way from masters of embroidery to people making the bags!!! We got to touch everything, take a million pictures, and just wander at will.

I loved the handbag designers the most. We also saw Jennifer Laurence’s dress from the Oscars when she won her award and tripped.

2013 Oscars: Jennifer Lawrence's dress. Click through for more photos!

The Trip

 

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The dress in person!

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Almost inside!

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The line…

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The outside windows entertained me while I waited...

The outside windows entertained me while I waited…

 

At the end of the tour, we were given a Dior bag with a little book inside of everything we saw!! Now, anything that gives me presents is instantly a winner in my book. Unfortunately, there was no open house this year as I thought it was an annual event. I hope they have one next June because I want to see other brands that I was not able to visit!

 

A menswear tailor showed all the detailed business of a suit.

A menswear tailor showed all the detailed business of a suit.

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The stitching and number of layers is insane and much more complex than I expected.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

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I’m not really a shoe person, but this was cool nonetheless.

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Now, this was my favorite part of the tour- BAGS!!! I am such a hoarder when it comes to purses. We got to play with the pieces and feel them as they worked on the bag right in front of us.

 

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Hello pink crocodile!!

 

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Gorgeous!! I would have gladly taken the unfinished product…

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So in the picture below you can see dress forms above the man, We were told that those were the personalized forms of clients a.k.a. celebrities and really ridiculously wealthy people. Some needed lots of extra padding. One day, I want to be so successful that Dior has a dress form of me.

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The embroidery station. This people must have patience and squinty eyes like none other.

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The muslin copy with the finished product behind.

 

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The forms with the customized padding

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More muslin designs with the finished product.

More muslin designs with the finished product.

 

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This was the boning and structural part of the tour. It is not surprised to understand the high cost of designer clothes when you see the time and work put into them.

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I loved this part of the tour too. The “bead specialist” let us touch her work which was so detailed.

 

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This woman was working on the beading as seen for the dress below and on the right. Insanity!!

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How long did that take?!

How long did that take?!

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This was for the black and silver beaded dress. It was inspired by a dress from the 2012 haute couture collection. In short, haute couture is used to designate pieces made by hand. There are only a handful of design houses with this honor, and this is why haute couture fashion week is always smaller and more prestigious than regular fashion week.

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This was the baby section of Dior. They were working on christening gowns from Christian Dior, hahahaha.

This was the baby section of Dior. They were working on christian-ing gowns from Christian Dior, hahahaha, I am here until Thurseday.

 

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They showed us how they curled the lace or fabric. It was with a hot iron rod, and it looked liked something out of the 18th century. In fact, I would not be surprised if it was.

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Now, jewelry. I saw some of this earlier at Chaumet, and I was not as interested in it here. But, you can get an idea of what I saw.

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This beautiful thing has individual placed feathers. The process reminded me of false eye lashes for some reason.

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The inspiration for the watch was taken from the fall campaign that was based in Versailles.

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We saw them making this piece. GORGEOUS

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As you can see, this was such a cool day. After the jewelry, we got to see the perfumerie, but my camera died!! I also has some cool pictures of me, but alas I lost my phone.  I will have to take a picture of my book, but upon research I found that they gave out little flasks of J’adore Dior in 2011!!!

http://petitlien.fr/7dkm The 2011 gift- No fair, but I like my coffee table book too! Each gold wire is done by hand, and we got to see them do that which was not exciting, but nice to know I suppose haha.

So, phew. That was a long post, but I hope you enjoyed a look at Christian Dior at an amazing event put on by LVMH!

 

Life Lately

So, the past several months have been nothing but… interesting to say the least. I don’t want to say they have been the worst and OMG I WHY CANT THINGS JUST GO MY WAY because then I would be a complainer. I try not to be a complainer, but life really is not ideal at the moment.

Inspiring Color Quotes

 

I have had some fun times since April, but it is just not the same. I know people take their own time to grieve and that it never really leaves you because you have to learn how to carry it. I am just so ready to be done with it. I am tired of ugly crying and being mad all the time. It does not help that certain people have been less than helpful when so many other have. I am thankful for at least for those that have been there for me and S. I am so incredibly grateful that words will never be able to express that gratitude.  

Travel Quote of the Week: On Paris | Fodor's

France has not been that nice to me upon my return either. I was so excited to go back and ready to be in my tiny shoe box once again. Of course, the day I arrived I was looking through my mail and I saw that a certified letter had come. I went to the post office to retrieve the letter, and I saw it was from the prefecture. In so many words, my visa was rejected. It took an entire year for them to tell me this. It was just another slap in the face after the worst month of my life. 

Long story short, I have talked to lawyers and experts in foreigner law, and I am fighting it. The lawyers tole me I was given the wrong visa to begin with and that I should have been told that at the prefecture the last time around. Things are never straight forward in this country, and I can only hope that it is reversed. I will know in the next couple of months if I can stay or not. If I cannot, then I will have to go home and reapply for a visa. I wanted to get a masters anyway, and this is just probably how it will need to be done. 

If things do not work out, then I suppose I will move back to the U,S. I could do the travel thing or move to Australia or Italy or England or any other country really. I just know that I am getting to a point where I want a career and set down roots. I have not traveled in so long, and I miss it. I just do not think I can leave the country for the time being…

Your ONE life

I am sure  I have posted this before, but I love it, Its so colorful, and I am in need of some serious inspiration at the moment. So, here is my current Pinterest obsessions: 

Breakfast at Yurman's

 

This Sucks, But Not As Much as You Would Think and Pink, Pink, Pink

It is so weird dealing with this concept. I really am done talking about it, but I never really lost anyone who was close to me before. So, let me put expand on my last post without delving too much: my mood sucks at time, but I am moving on with my life. I have moments where I can’t think or breath, but they are getting less severe. I suppose I will always have them, but it is something I will just have to accept. Moving on.

This weekend culminated in the wedding of my dear friend from high school and her lovely husband. There was drama and lots of pink, but I think it turned out perfectly. She has been engaged for 2345643 years due to medical school, and she finally got to walk down the aisle. It was hard not to cry and all the other bridesmaids would give me eyeballs if I started, but I made it through without ruining my makeup. I love this couple. They are family for sure, and I know they have many, many happy years ahead of them.

These are just pictures I took with my phone. I will post the others once they are released!

This is my hair for the wedding. M did it, she is so talented.

This is my hair for the wedding. M did it, she is so talented.

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me and my bff!!!!

me and my bff!!!!

pink decor was so cute at bridal luncheon

pink decor was so cute at bridal luncheon

the bride gave the bridal party matching monogrammed shirts to wear as we get ready

the bride gave the bridal party matching monogrammed shirts to wear as we get ready

pink shoes!

pink shoes!

This was the selection of mini quiches at the bridal lunch, uhmazing.

This was the selection of mini quiches at the bridal lunch, uhmazing.

My life for the past two months has been so focused on this one day just to keep my mind off of things. It really helped, and it is now done. I cannot believe how quickly it was over! I can only imagine how the bride felt! That said, I realize weddings are like super stressful and I pretty much want to elope. With like 50 family and friends. to Capri. When the time comes, duh. Not that I am in a relationship now or anything, but the time will come one day I suppose. SO CALL ME CRAZY PINTEREST GIRL, but can you blame me for creating an inspiration board when it comes to pictures like these?

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I am due to go back to Paris after dealing with all the crap of the past two months and the wedding. It is time, and I am ready to go back to the land I love.

Tu Me Manque

tu

I wish I could erase the bottom line on that picture, but it just says how I feel so much more than I can ever describe. Someone is missing from me, and I am not sure how to function without them. I mean, how does one begin a blog like this? I am not sure it is something I even want to discuss. I was thinking of blog ideas to post when I heard the worst news of my life. In fact, I had even started to ramble ideas off my head and write freely about life in Paris and coming home to see my family. Needless to say, I have not written in a while.

Its been exactly one month since my life changed forever. Melodramatic or not, I feel lost at the loss of my mother. Losing a parent is something I never expected to experience at 26. Words cannot even begin to describe my sadness or grief over the matter. I am a fairly private person, but I also like writing to express my opinion and current state of mind. As of right now, I am not even sure where to go or what to do. So many many people have been incredibly helpful through out this process. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I will always be grateful.

If anything, the past month has taught me that everything is so… I am not even sure how to articulate anything because I do not think I have learned anything save to appreciate the life I have. Anyone can live the life they think they cannot have if they just try. Paris is not easy, but I have done it regardless. I really think if you want something the whole universe will conspire to help you get it. I am not sure what my end goal is because I am still looking. I hope I find it soon, but for the moment I am content to stay where I am for the next few months as I figure this new life out.

scott

I would call my mother constantly about stupid things. She would send me silly pictures from Pinterest and funny cards in the mail. I won’t have that anymore. No one will ever love me like she did. Of course, it is the big things too that hurt the most. She will not be at my Italian wedding, meet my children or be there when I need her most. I relied on her humor and perspective to get me through rough times. Now, I have to essentially stand alone and figure things out by myself.

However, I know I am not alone. Thanks to my brother, extended family, and M., I know I will continue to live a full life of memories and laughter. I want to live the life that my mother could not for whatever reason. I want to jump off cliffs. explore more countries, and roam the world. Eventually, I will want to settle down with a family and a successful career. But, my time as a wanderer is not yet over.

I am still grieving, and I am not sure if I will ever get over this. I will always miss her, but I cannot let that stop me from moving forward towards a brighter future. I can only hope it will come soon, and until that point, I will have to take one day at a time. My brother reminded me of something she would always say: you can cry for ten minutes, but then you have to move on. I am not sure if I can recover from this is ten minutes let alone a month, but eventually I will have to move on.

If I was ever just having a crisis. she would tell me to just take a second and breathe. I have been doing plenty of sighing and ugly crying lately that that little piece of advice is hard to remember at times. However. I think there is wisdom in it. If you take a moment to just breath and collect your thoughts, then you can rationalize and realize life is not that bad. You are, in fact, still breathing. You are alive, and you can keep living unlike those dear to us who have passed.

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I could go on and on about how much I loved my mother and that I can barely comprehend a life without her. Unfortunately, it is something that I am not able to change. I do not like writing about religion, but I think at a moment like this it is hard to ignore God. Therefore, I often repeat the Serenity prayer. I first heard it when I went to camp in North Carolina. My mom had gone as a child, and I followed in her footsteps. It just reminds me that I have to have faith that things happen for whatever reason and that sometimes things cannot be undone. We only have one life, and it should not be wasted to any degree.

I am not sure how to end this post other than saying that life is hard and unfair, but it is also beautiful and pretty darn fun. My mother always had a smile on her face, she was an important help to her community, and she was immensely loved by those around her. I can only hope to have half the legacy she does when it is my own time to leave this world.

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The Year of the Horse and PFW S/S 2014 Part Deux

Oh dears, I have all but neglected my little blog.  Life has just gotten in the way, and I am so behind its not even funny. Christmas, New Year, my birthday, PFW, and so much more has come and gone since last November. There are even things from last February I never wrote about. I will get to them eventually as I do want to record them, but I really have no idea where to start!

I guess I am starting over on a new years of sorts as the Chinese NY was this weekend. Its also the year of the horse, my favorite animal. I never know what I am as I was born in January. I always thought I was a dragon until I realized the Chinese NY might have fallen after my birthday that year making me a hare. I think I would rather be a dragon.

Anyway. I have a feeling this will be a good year. It has started off fairly decently as I just booked a job writing reviews of restaurants in Paris! This is exactly the sort of thing I want to be doing. I would for this to turn into a full time thing in addition to travel writing and fashion blogging for other people.

If I have not explained it before, I am a freelance copywriter. Everything I write is for other companies that need content for their advertisements, websites, blogs etc.  I won’t lie- it can be difficult to do living in Paris. Work is not consistent, especially during the holidays and early part of the year. However, its beginning to pick up. It is also one of the only things I can do that lets me live abroad. I often wonder what I would do if I went back to America as I have never had a real full time job based in an office. I think I do miss out on the community aspect of working in a real job, but freelancing lets me live abroad even if I am poor as a church mouse at the moment.

However, the great thing about Paris is that there are so many free things to do in this city! You could honestly go for days exploring the museums, parks, or monuments. I guess the poor bohemians and artistes of the 1920′s knew what they were doing by living here. So, why not me too?!

"We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright"

This is supposed to be about Paris. I’ve never read it as I am not the biggest Hemingway fan, and I want to wait until I no longer live here to read it. I think that is when I will need it the most. But, one of my favorite quote’s about living in this city come from the book:Paris 1920s           
                                                                                 “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
                                                                             Actually, looking at the quotes in this book, I am going to have to read it now. Expect a book report soon.

YvonImage Title:    Eiffel Tower - ParisYear:    c. 1920s

I think Paris of the 1920′s is waayy over romanticized i.e. Midnight in Paris. Yeah, it was prob, really amazing and fun like 1960′s London. However, I kind of like the age we are in. It has its problems, but what generation didn’t?

Anyway, were to begin? Perhaps last year is the best place to start. Many of my pictures are on my external which is at home…. I was not smart leaving it. Um, so perhaps I will start back with last fall’s fashion week. Here is some street art to separate from this part of the post:

I think this is the cutest pillow in the whole world. But, I would probably ruin it + its like 234567643 USD.

OK so PFW part Deux:

The next show I went to….was something I cannot be bothered to look up. I am sorry, but I deleted old emails and the invitation was in there. But, the event was cool and the clothes were futuristic/ alien looking which I am seeing more and more on the runway. Again, following are the best pictures in the world taken by the most talented photographer in the city!!!

They had cool braid things on their heads that looked like horns. Once again, I was stuck in the second row- which is till better than plebeians standing!!!!

My last show of the season was Collette Dinigan, and Australian designer. I think it must be to  this day my favorite show I have ever seen in person. Each piece was incredible and gorgeous, and I wanted to take them all home with me. I arrived on time only to be scared half to this peeking out at me as I entered the passage:

I think it was the back entrance to the wax museum- eee! Anyway, Janice Dickenson was there filming her reality show and she barged in front of everyone. SO, the show was held in this beautiful mirrored, gilded room. Before the show, there was a breakfast by Bernard. I got like maybe 5 cappuccinos before the show actually started and I was seated in second row again.

and guess who I sat behind!!! She was very loud. I wish my pictures did the clothes justice, but I am afraid they do not!

Everything was just so girly and feminine with glitter, bows, and ruffles. I loved it all incredibly much. Of course, if you squint, perhaps you can tell the details.

OMG looking at these pictures for the first time in a long time, I realize I am even worse than I thought:

It is almost comical if it weren’t really sad.

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I wore a LBD with a long hippie crochet vest thing and my vintage box purse, nothing too extravagant. I was just sad my pictures…. turned out so beautifully.

My brother gave me the box purse for my 25th birthday. Its one of my favorite things. We has been in an antique store and I pointed to it off offhandedly saying I liked it. Then, I happened to open it up on my b-day!

Ok, I lied. One more thing before I finish this monster post. I went to a “fashion show party” at the Standard right near my house. They showed a collection, but it was more like “models” wandering around the bar. I use the term models very loosely. Anyway, it was fun to see and dress up for the night!

All right, enough is enough. I am finally done with S/S PFW just in time for the next one.