Some French It Girls (and other weekend reads)

This week has been full of beginnings! I joined a new library, got back on track with eating healthy and making time to work out, and worked on my french in the evenings. My desire to improve my language skills comes in bursts. It sounds absolutely terrible, but there are days (weeks, months, years) when I cannot be bothered. This week, however, I’ve had le français on the brain—from watching French films in the evenings without English subtitles to seeking out some of the cool gals in this edition of Weekend Links. I also took dear Catsby to the vet for a check up and get spayed. No rogue kittens on my watch! While I would love 4-5 little Catsbys, I know myself well enough to know I wouldn’t want to part with them, and I can’t afford a bigger apartment. If I could, I would! While I was worried about tackling veterinary terms in French, my vet turned out to be the lone New Zealander in the office. His gentle manner soothed my fears and hopefully calmed Catsby down as well. But enough of all that! From Salinger to avocados, here’s some weekend food for thought:

Salinger’s Worst Nightmare

The Paris Review is always good for a yarn. Their account of the down on his luck child actor who trekked across America to stalk down Salinger was engrossing from the very title. Bill Mahan attempted and failed to pick up the film rights for Salinger’s runaway hit The Catcher in the Rye, but he got closer than Hollywood bigwigs Samuel Goldwin and David O. Selznick ever did. Despite Salinger’s telegram urging him in no uncertain terms to back down, Mahan didn’t take no for an answer. He described their encounter in meticulous detail, depicting one of America’s favorite reclusive writers as “someone on the brink of a seizure” when faced with yet another fan at his doorstep.

Jeanne Damas

jeanne damas and catAre you sick of Jeanne Damas yet?! No?! Her video guide to French Pharmacies for Vogue U.K. is a tantalizing look at la vie de Jeanne, starting with the products she puts on her face. The internet is a bit obsessed with French pharmacy products, and I hate to admit that I’ve yet to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities just outside my front door. I’m just not a skin care junkie (yet), but I’m learning. I wrote a little about her Instagram this week, but this video is fun and informative. Plus, it features her cat Charlie! I’m a sucker for a gal and her cat.

Getting Comfortable with “No”

When your deadlines are self-imposed, they’re so much easier to ignore…Melissa Febos’ article for Catapult asks the question, “Do you want to be known for your emails or your writing?” Without hesitation, I know my answer. So why are my priorities so skewed? It’s high time to put writing number one and EVERYTHING ELSE second. “Second” includes (sadly?) Netflix binging, lengthy texting, repeatedly refreshing social media, and friends. Yes, I said it: friends. I know I was complaining but a few weeks ago about realizing many of my close friends have left Paris, but I’m starting to see this as a blessing in disguise. Even Patron Saint Joan advocated stepping back—”Do not whine…do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.” And around these parts, In Joan We Trust.

Cocktail Menus Decoded

I immediately bookmarked GQ’s field guide to decoding cocktail lists. Cocktail prices in Paris verge on the ridiculous, and if I’m handing over my first born child, I’d prefer to be delighted with my drink. If you like cocktails, and want to brush up on some bartender basics before your next night out, read on!

YSL Fashion Muses: Loulou de la Falaise

Muses tend to get a bad rep. Designer Yves Saint Laurent had a fair few, though no one as influential as nonconformist Loulou de la Falaise. In interviews, it became clear that she was displeased by the label: “For me, a muse is someone who looks glamorous but is quite passive, whereas I was very hard-working. I worked from 9 am to sometimes 9 pm, or even 2 am. I certainly wasn’t passive.” Swathed in bright colors and decked out with chunky jewelry, she made a glamorous entrance wherever she went, and certainly made a major impact on YSL. She designed accessories for him for 20 years, before eventually opening her own line after his retirement in 2002. I find her flair for creative living inspiring—though who wouldn’t?! The gal was baptized with perfume! Elsa Schiaparelli’s Shocking, to be exact.

 French Connection

Guys, I’m obsessed with Lou Doillon. I went on a French It Girl bender a couple years ago and googled them all to death, but there’s been a sudden resurgence, so bear with me. I’ve had her tunes on repeat this week while writing. I love her low, sultry voice and personal lyrics. I particularly enjoyed her commentary on her relationship with languages in Interview Magazine and her attachment to English as a highly personal language. Since I began learning French and exploring language learning, I noticed a difference in personality between languages. For me, this is mainly due to my inability to play with words in French the way I might in English, but I still feel there’s a difference in the overall aura of a language. Some things just can’t be translated. Sometimes there’s something missing. I’m still figuring out who I am in French, mais elle n’est pas le même.

Avocado FAQs

The New Yorker‘s hilarious guide to the avocado is required reading for avo-addicts.

Bon week-end, mes amis!

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