Monday, April 21, 2008

Celebrate Earth Day! BYOB!

Celebrate Earth Day! BYOB!
(Bring Your Own Bag)

Paper or plastic? Just say neither...when you bring your own bag!

Tomorrow is Earth Day. Are you doing your part? Show you care and bring your own bag whenever you shop. It's hip and it's one of the easiest things you can do to help our environment.

Grocery stores have taken action. Now it's up to us! Just about every major grocery store sells reusable grocery bags for $1.00 or so. Most stores will even pay you 5 cents back for each reusable bag you use at check out.

Whole Foods Market has taken a huge stand and is eliminating disposable plastic bags all together starting on Earth Day 2008. According to their web site, the US population throws away about 100 billion plastic bags a year. (Yes, you read that right!) I found that figure shocking! Worse yet, it can take more than a thousand years for a plastic bag to break down in a landfill. I applaud Whole Foods Market!

Limited edition canvas tote bag by Anya Hindmarch

Did you know there are even "chic" designer grocery bags? (You know I just had to mention these!) I really wanted a "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" by British handbag Queen, Anya Hindmarch. I knew about these long before they hit mass hysteria in the UK and US.

All the posh celebs were toting these all over Europe last year. I was even on Anya's US lottery draw to purchase one. I was sure I was going to snag one. No such luck.

The original eco friendly bag only cost about $15.00. Prices eventually skyrocketed for them on Ebay fetching up to $400.00. To date, I have only seen one lady in person shopping with one at a Burberry store. Yes, I still wish I had one!

Then there are the French grocery bags. Leave it to the French to make bringing your own bag "tres chic". They have been doing this for years, toting their French woven market and mesh bags whenever they hit the streets. You can be sure when you see them in Paris, there is always a baguette sticking out!

Most women in Paris (and London) carry a sporty "Le Pliage" tote bag by Longchamp ( along with their designer handbag. These chic canvas bags with leather trim come in various sizes and a multitude of colors. Be European and carry one of these on your department store shopping sprees. Just say "no to plastic" bags there, too!

It's for sure we haven't seen the last of designer "go green" shopping bags. I just read that even Chanel is coming out with a polyester tote. (Ooh, la, la...what would CoCo say?)

Well, for now, it is my basic beige Raley's canvas bag that goes to the grocery store with me...and I use my shiny pink Fauchon tote from Paris for my flea market shopping.

What reusable bag are you carrying?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

l' exposition Marie-Antoinette

Marie-Antoinette 1755-1793
Queen of France

I miss Paris! Since I can't hop on a plane to Paris this year, I do my Paris exploring and shopping not on foot but on the Internet.

The other night I was looking at my favorite French patisserie site Laduree . I always like to see what flavors are new and what French delights I am missing out on. I believe, they make the best macaroons in Paris.

Oui, of course, there will a future post about Laduree!
Their web site is filled with beautiful photographs. Currently there is a photo of a green (trademark Laduree color) French coach filled with scrumptious macaroons and patisseries. The title says it is for the l'exposition Marie-Antoinette. (Laduree made all of the cakes and patisseries for the 2006 movie Marie-Antoinette by Sofia Coppola). Since the description was in French, I had to do some further research. Oui, Paris is paying tribute right now to Marie-Antoinette with an incredible exhibit.

The exhibit is at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. If you are lucky enough to be going to Paris soon, it runs thru June 30, 2008. The exhibit brings together 300 works of art, furnishings and documents from all over the world. (Sadly many of her possessions were scattered during the French revolution). This is a pretty big event. The last French tribute of this magnitude was the Marie-Antoinette exhibit at Versailles back in 1955.

The last time we were in Paris...we saw Marie-Antoinette all over town. Movie posters where everywhere promoting Sofia Coppola's 2006 movie Marie-Antoinette. Since there was such a buzz about Marie-Antoinette all over France, it was the perfect time to go explore Versailles and see how the French royals lived.

Entrance to the Chateau Versailles

I had heard mixed reviews about giving up a day in your Paris vacation to go to Versailles. I am so glad that we did. Being an Interior Designer, I loved seeing the opulence and the decor at Versailles. It was truly fit for Kings and Queens.

Marie-Antoinette a' la rose by Madame Vigee-Lebrun,
her favorite court painter.

It is her most famous portrait.

Marie-Antoinette was not born French. She was the Austrian born Queen of Louis XVI. In 1774 when her husband became King, he gave her the Petite Trianon from his grandfather's estate. It was a small chateau on the ground of Versailles. It was her private retreat away from court life.

Petite Trianon

She had exquisite personal taste. She was given free rein to renovate her Petite Trianon. She commissioned new English style gardens for the grounds. She commissioned beautiful furnishings and was known as a patron of the arts.

She was such a natural French style maker and trendsetter. She was known to be a very lavish spender. She had the nickname of "Madame Deficit". No wonder I love her decorating!

She is undoubtedly France's most notorious Queen. In 1793, sadly her life ends by guillotine at the height of the French Revolution. Her crime is treason. She undoubtedly lives on to due to our fascination with her and her fabulous good taste.

So if you can't get to Paris to see her exhibit, here is a glimpse into her world at Petite Trianon at Versailles:

Sitting Room

Gilded furniture in the neoclassical mode. I just love the Aubusson rug!

La Chambre

Queen Marie-Antoinette's bedroom. Trelliswork furniture by G. Jacob made for this room in 1787. Still upholstered with it's original embroidered cotton damask (the original bed has vanished).

La Boudoir

Her boudoir was called the room of moving mirrors. The mirrors where mobile and could be placed in front of the windows to shut out the light.

I just love her decorating style. French is, after all, my favorite furniture style of choice!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Victoria returns!

The return of an old friend...Victoria Magazine!

Victoria magazine was/is my favorite magazine. It's premier issue was it's Spring/Summer 1987 edition. Victoria's first cover said it all " Return to Loveliness...Beautiful, Enchanting Ways to Enrich Your Life". It truly did enrich my life for nearly 16 years.

Victoria magazine was an authority on romantic living, home and garden, fashion, beauty, collectibles and travel. It's pages were filled with everything I am passionate about.

Victoria arrived in the mail once a month. She was like a wonderful friend coming over for tea each month. She would inspire me. She shared special places with me. She had the best ideas and recipes for me. She was filled with the most beautiful photography I had ever seen in a magazine. I treasured Victoria so much that I kept every single issue.

Back in the early 1990's, one month my trusted friend Victoria did not arrive. I was frantic. Where could she be? I telephoned Hearst Magazines to ask where she was. I was told there was a flood where the magazines where stored. I was also told there were no more issues available for circulation that month. I desperately wanted that issue!

Then one lucky day, I was on a house call as an interior designer. That is where I found my missing issue. My client Linda loved Victoria, too. I noticed her Victoria magazines out on display. I told her my saga. Linda being the wonderfully kind woman she is, generously gave up her copy to me. Thanks to Victoria collection was complete once again!

Victoria magazine truly inspired my life and dreams in so many ways. It introduced me to travel ideas to England and France. (I finally started travelling to both in 2001.) It celebrated taking time for tea. (I have lovely tea parties now.) It's monthly feature "favorite things" quickly became my favorite things, too!

Back then Victoria and I were good pals. I was so excited each month when she would arrive. I had a ritual with my friend matter what I was doing, the moment she arrived, I would drop everything and sit down with her.

Then one day, without warning, my good friend Victoria quit visiting me. That was back in 2003, when Hearst magazines ceased it's production. Like so many devoted readers, I grieved. I treasured this magazine. I tried to find another like Victoria but there was no substitute.

Then one day, out of the blue, Victoria returns! Last fall, I received a post card that Victoria was returning. I was elated. I subscribed immediately. I could not wait for my old friend Victoria to come for a visit. This time she would only come to visit six times a year instead of twelve. Victoria was back. Her message the same. Celebrate the grace and elegance of a life, well lived.

My ritual is still the same with the new Victoria. Whenever she shows up....I drop everything and escape to the world that Victoria takes me to.

To learn more about my favorite magazine, visit

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Je m'applle Lisette

Je m'applle Lisette(My name is Lisette)

Since some of you may not know me...please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lisette. I am an American woman who inherited my paternal Great Grandmother's name Lisette. (The photo at left is of her as a young girl).

When my parents were expecting me, my mother wanted to give me a unique name. She had chosen Celeste. Thank goodness before I was born my father told her his Grandmother's name was Lisette and voila...that was it! I am so happy I am Lisette and not Celeste!

My name fits me. I love it! I have never been bothered having a unique name that many people have never heard before. In fact, I love and appreciate my name even more now that I am older and such a Francophile!

Some fun facts about the name Lisette:

Origin: France
Gender: Female, a from of Lisa.
Pronounciation: lis-SET, liz-zet, lee-SET, or lee-ZET.
French meaning: devoted to God.
The French pronounication is lee-ZET.

In France, along with the name Lison, Lisette was a common name from the beginning of the Eighteenth Century on. It is a name that often appears in comedies. Lison, is the joyful and helpful woman from the countryside, whereas Lisette is the woman from Paris. Hmm...sounds perfect to me!

The name Lisette does not rank in the current USA top 1,000 baby names. I don't really recall ever meeting anyone else in person with my name.

Prestigious companies seem to like the name. Here are just a few of the products with my name:

Waterford & Royal Doulton both have formal china patterns "Lisette".
Barbie Limited Edition "Lisette" Fashion Model Doll and Hallmark Ornament.
Drexel Heritage "Lisette" French dining room chairs.
Thomasville Furniture "Lisette" French settee/bench.
J. Crew "Lisette" ballet flats.

Looks like I am in pretty good company!

My most favorite find of all is Lisette, the vintage French magazine for girls. One year while my husband and I were browsing the book stalls along the Seine in Paris, we stumbled up the darling French magazine Lisette. My name was as large as could be on the cover. I immediately fell in love with these magazines. My name may not be that popular in America but now I know how popular and loved it is in France!

One thing you should know, is that I am not particular how you pronounce my name. Believe me, it has been pronounced so many different ways. Since I love Paris so much, I love how the French say it... lee-ZET. To my Dad...I am always just Lizzie!
Thanks Mom and Dad...I love my name Lisette!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Bienvenue to my blog Tete-a-Tete.

Welcome to my blog!

I have had a fascination with blogs for awhile now. I spend a lot of time on the computer searching for ideas, recipes, Paris articles and lately, knitting ideas. Unexpectedly, I have stumbled upon some really neat blogs. I have been so impressed not only with their content but with their gorgeous photography.

Last night I was at my knitting group getting to know fellow knitter Jane better. I mentioned to her how I love her blog. She has such interesting things to say and what a platform to do it on. So, I asked her about blogging. She filled me in. She told me I should do it. So here I am.

What to write about? I asked my husband the other night if he had ever thought about writing a book? He is an avid reader, book collector and was a Lit major in college. He said "not really." He did tell me though..."that one should write about what one knows."

So, I shall be writing about what I know best: shopping, food, tea, Paris, London, interior design, antiques, knitting and "joie de vivre" which translates to "joy of living"! I love so many things and stumble upon so many neat shops and ideas.

I hope you enjoy the things I love. I can't wait to share them with you.