Friday, May 15, 2009

Books to Put You In the Mood - Paris

Before I jetted off to Paris a few months ago, I stopped into the Traveler's Bookcase, a lovely little travel bookstore on Third Street in Los Angeles, to pick up some guide books, maps, and a travel dictionary. As I've mentioned before, whenever I am traveling I like to try and pack books to read that are set in that location, and the Traveler's Bookcase has a great selection of fiction and non fiction reading materials for just about anywhere you want to go. When I asked the store's owner what she would recommend for Paris, she said "How about a mystery?" I'm a complete mystery junkie, so I promptly replied "Yes please." She handed me Cara Black's: Murder in the Bastille, and said if "You like this, there is a whole series to read."

I read the entire book on the plane, which is the reason I got no sleep, and finished it just as we were pulling into our gate at Charles de Gaulle. Needless to say, I was hooked.

The series features the adventures of the stylish private detective Aimee Leduc who is kind of like a French Carrie Bradshaw. Each book has a murder committed in a different area of Paris, and really highlights the neighborhood's ambiance. Oddly enough, it seems like the people getting murdered have nothing to do with any case she's working on, but the mysteries are compelling enough for a fun read.

While in Paris, I stopped by a great little English language book store in the Marais, called the Red Wheelbarrow. They carry Cara Black; as well, as many other fiction and non fiction books set in Paris. It's worth a stop to pick out something for the flight home. I bought Murder in Rue de Paradis and read it while eating a croissant on my train ride to London. The experience made me feel like I was lingering in Paris just a little while longer.

Traveler's Bookcase
8375 West Third Street
Los Angeles, Ca 90048
tel: 323.655.0575

The Red Wheelbarrow
22, Rue St Paul
75004 Paris
tel: 0148047508

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What to Pack - Matthew Williamson for H & M

(photo by Solve Sundsbo)

Matthew Williamson's summer line for H & M launched today and there are definitely some items I would like to pack in my suitcase for my summer trip to Hawaii. Number one on my list is the silk tunic pictured above. It is the ultimate glamour cover-up for lounging on the beach. It kind of reminds me of the sexy version of something Mrs. Roper would have worn on Threes Company, but flamboyantly perfect for a tropical local. At $50 I'm thinking it will probably fly off the shelves!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

London - Harvie & Hudson

While in London this spring, I was shocked to see so many sale signs in store windows. Obviously, the recession is hitting the U.K. equally hard and there are great shopping deals to be found. It looks like banker types in particular have tightened their belts because the best deals were on Jermyn Street. This is where all of the great British shirt makers have resided for decades, including Turnbull and Asser, Emma Willis, Thomas Pink, and Harvie & Hudson. Turnbull and Asser and Emma Willis are a bit out of my price range, so I decided to order my husband a few shirts from Harvie and Hudson. Their shirts are beautifully constructed from exquisite cottons with mother of pearl buttons and turn back cuffs. And, unlike many of the current companies on Jermyn Street, they still design and make all of their shirts on the premises. They also offer a slim fit line that is less blousy for a younger look that comes in several classic colors and patterns. Right now, they are offering three or more shirts for 33 pounds, with shipping and the exchange rate, that came to about $50 dollars a shirt. You can check them out online here: .

Harvie & Hudson
77 Jermyn Street
St James