Paris, My Sweet

First off…a huge congrats to Amy who just published her first book, Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate). We celebrated with a launch party at Bosie Tea Parlor yesterday…endless champagne and a rainbow of macarons. Can’t go wrong with a combination like that.

The story starts in Manhattan, the East Village to be exact. Then it quickly transports us to the 2nd arrondissement of Paris when Amy lands a job writing ad copy for Louis Vuitton. Perfect life? Sounds like it! I read it all in one night…it’s one of those make-you-smile-inside books. The dreamy shatter of croissants, macarons, and chocolate chip cookies. Lady M, Ladurée, City Bakery, Pierre Hermé, it’s all here. And feels extra special if you’ve been (or are planning to visit!) both cities.

Thought these illustrations were so cute…NYC on the inside of the front cover, and Paris on the back. Organization by dessert, now this is what I call a proper map!

It’s also a useful guide to Amy’s favorite sweet spots in NYC and Paris ;) Jotting down notes for our next trip back, fingers crossed for Paris in the springtime.

Japanese Café Books

Lisa’s cousin mailed over some Japanese café and craft books. Just can’t get enough of these. Forget about spending hours browsing blogs, these books are where it’s at ;)

Colorful covers, thick, glossy pages.

This particular book is about Tokyo cafés, they show the variety of teas served at various cafés, photos of the dry tea leaves included…

…as well as business cards…

…and even shopping bags! Now if only I could read Japanese…

It’s All About the Dress

I’m a total sucker for cheeky, gossip-rich books, so you can bet I pre-ordered Vicky Tiel’s It’s All About the Dress way before it came out. The subtitle explains it all: “what I learned in forty years about men, women, sex, and fashion.”

She delivers, and though the name dropping gets tedious, I love the photos and dreams of extravagant lifestyles. I mean, how could you not?

What I didn’t expect to find however, was a chapter on Vicky’s relationship with Martha Stewart! Juicy tidbits of course. She delves into Martha’s home life and why her marriage fell apart. After a career as a model and stockbroker, Martha married a publisher and became a homemaker. A few years in, Vicky approached Martha with a coffee-table cookbook idea. Martha took on the book project, and at the same time, started catering parties and became completely consumed with this work/her passion.

“Martha worked and worked. Maybe she was too busy to notice what was happening to her marriage. Martha’s world collapsed when she found her husband cheating with her young assistant, Robyn. He left Martha, married Robyn, and a new creature emerged. The new Martha had a motivated heart to show Andy (the ex), and she did. I truly feel her drive was born of the need to let him know what she was capable of and make him sorry that he had left. … She learned to stand alone and find out what she was worth. America and Martha both benefited.” Read the book for more details ;)

Vicky also has a section on Martha Stewart’s Life Lessons (pictured above):
– Life can have two acts.
– You can develop any persona if you believe it yourself.
– Learn to speak correctly and beautifully, and you can become anyone you want.
– If you can get up at four thirty every morning, you will outwork the competition and achieve all your goals. When I visited Martha the Mogul in East Hampton, I got up at five and found Martha already out walking her dogs.
– Turn a failed marriage into a good thing.

Velvet Covers and Shiny Edging

Had to snap this photo at today’s meeting with Lisa. So many pastels at the table. Love the extra cheer it brought to a sunny day. We met at Physical GraffiTea this afternoon, a great meeting spot if you need a pot of tea and quiet place to chat/work.

We drank Florence, a chocolate and hazelnut black tea blend by Harney & Sons.

Lisa brought a surprise. Open the pink box. How many books come with a matching box? And on top of that…wrapped in pink tissue paper with a velvet cover. Hello, Ladurée: The Savory Recipes. You can count on Ladurée for such pretty frou frou.

I gave Lisa the sweet version of this same book when we went to Paris, and now we have a complete set! The sweet book comes with a pastel green velvet cover while the savory cookbook comes in a pastel purple cover. Shiny gold edging for the sweet book and silver (pictured) edging for the savory book. It’s all the little details that count.

A Time to Plant: Southern-Style Garden Living

Welcome. I love grand hotels, don’t you? There’s something so lovely and luxurious in their escape. So fantasy-like, a dream life. Especially the ones in New York City. And the best part is, you never need to make the bed.

At the Loews Regency Hotel this afternoon, James Farmer hosted a celebration for his new book, A Time to Plant: Southern-Style Garden Living. He owns a design company in Georgia which specializes in floral, interiors, and residential landscape designs. And it all comes together in this lifestyle book.

There were chats and nibbles and drinks. Think rosemary-spiced pecans and chervil-scented salmon croquettes with herb dips. Sage cornbread served on spoons with sausage and fennel, and pork tenderloin on rosemary skewers…

…a clean salad of mustard greens, turnip green, spinach, and sunflower sprouts with fried sage. Parsley dressing to tie it all together. A mouthful indeed! All the bright green colors made me so happy. We need to get on the track of eating more salads at home…or at least branch away from our current dumpling-heavy diet. At least it’s homemade!

I might have devoured more than my share of rosemary biscuits with sweet herb butter but they were excellent, and still warm.

It felt like an afternoon tea party, especially when accompanied with chilled glasses of his famous Farmer’s Tea. Slightly less sweet than a classic Southern Sweet Tea, this one is made from a combo of Earl Grey and Lipton (!) with simple syrup, fresh lemon and mint. It proved perfectly refreshing. I was going to write down the recipe for you, but it turns out James already has the recipe on his website.

James’ book isn’t a straight up cooking, planting, or design, but a bit of all with a strong Southern twist. While I won’t be cultivating gardens anytime soon (I can’t even keep basil alive), it’s gorgeous and useful for those who want to learn. Chapters are split between cooking and entertaining, with studies in hydrangeas, perennials. There’s even a chapter called “Herban” Gardening (herb cultivation), and another on color schemes.

I wouldn’t mind living in a suite in this hotel ;) And what do you know…they even offer in-residence extended stay. Park Avenue and 61st Street, sign me up!