Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Blind Side

I watched The Blind Side finally—blech, I found it to be so paternalistic. If you don’t know what that means, look up Albert Schweitzer, classic case of big powerful “warmhearted” (but actually violent, angry, and condescending) white person “saving” the blacks from their “plight.” I can’t believe Sandra Bullock was nominated for an Oscar.
However, there was one part of the movie I like: the end, only because of this song: Canned Heat’s “Going Up the Country.” Great driving song. But the more I think about it, the song was completely inappropriate and disjointed for the scene.
Yesterday, in the Etienne Marcel area of the 2e arrondisement, I found the most amazing sailor-striped dress, thanks in large part to the help of my cohort who actually found the dress. The store is called Allison and Sasha and it’s on Rue Etienne Marcel. We had also stopped in an amazing new- and vintage-designs concept store called Killawatch. I recommend everyone to stop in and check it out, but it’s a bit over-priced and overwhelming in it’s stylization. It does have boy’s clothing though, which is very difficult to find.
I also made another purchase that is very important to the cause: a raclette a crepe: a fancy word for a wooden tool to help make your crepes thinner. I am not very coordinated with it yet. That’s to come with time.
Below are pics of shredding the dance floor. Note Martin Vogts’ face in the majority of these. Also, note my dress. Also, note the French people.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Press Release for The Creperie

As released to Des Moines chapter of Alliance Francaise:

By-line: Can you imagine anything more delectbale than light French crepes filled with fresh Iowa produce? Well, get ready . . .

After six months of researching France's sumptious street fare, a young Des Moines woman will bring authentic French crepes to this summer's Farmers Market.

Since her December graduaton from the University of Iowa where she double-majored in English and French literature, Alexis Baker (TRHS grad '06) has been working a paid internship in a Paris search firm, moving executives around the fashion, cosmetics, and design industries. That's the official story, anyway.

Fortunately for us, she's also been capitalizing on the opportunity to sample classic French street fare with the idea of bringing crepes to the Farmers Market.
"Crepes are this perfect melange of high-class and low-brow, gourmet and comfort food," she said via Skype. "Crepes have this reputation in the States of being haute-cuisine, but in France, it's a food of the people, of the streets, of everyday life. And I want to bring this understated treat to my community of Des Moines."

An avowed foodie, Alexis cites not only the shift to fresher, locally grown ingredients for her commitment to the modest crepe, but also the trend of world-class restaurants bringing scaled down versions of their menus to the streets. "A la bonne franquette--it means in simple, good French style. I want this method of approachable French cuisine in Des Moines. It's a shame we've been left crepe-less this long," she adds with a smile.

While Alexis has developed what she believes is the perfect batter for producing paper-thin crepes (the recipe is a secret), the menu for fillings is still en train. To begin this year's market season, la carte of "The Creperie" will be kept simple and genuine with confiture, sugar, and Nutella for sweet options, and spinach, chevre, and egg for a savory option. As business and technique develop, she hopes to expand the menu.

"I didn't want to make crepes something that they're not. And really, part ot the enjoyment of crepes is where you eat them. With your friends, on a busy street, enjoying life. What more could you want?" Alexis asks rhetorically.

For the record, the Farmers Market runs Saturday mornings 7am to noon, May 1-October 30. If you have questions, suggestions or soothing words of support for The Creperie and this enterprising young Des Moines woman, send Alexis an email at


Friday, February 19, 2010

Male Barbie

I love men's clothing so much more than women's. It's mathematical, precise, and so dang sharp looking. Today, after completing my tasks chez stage, I read up on wiki articles about French Cuffs and bespoke suit maker/menswear designer Craig Robinson.

I think French Cuffs can look tacky on a colored shirt--the white cuffs and collars on pastel look a little more Cabbana than couture if you ask me. But white on white is so sharp, and I love the satin clasp.

Below is a suit made by Craig Robinson. He specializes in bespoke menswear, meaning that an apparel item is made exactly to fit for the customer--no previous pattern or standard sizing is used. Ugh, boys are so lucky! Note the satin lapel and perfect sleeve length.

Here is the trick to achieving the perfect sleeve lenght (this is very important to know when both buying a jacket or having one tailored--and this applies to women too!): With arms at your side, raise the back of your hand so that it is perpendicular to your arm (and so that you look like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins when he imitates a penguin). The end of your jacket sleeve should just barely graze the back of your hand when it is in this penguin-pose. This will allow for the perfect amount of your shirt sleeve to poke through, making for a complimented, balanced suit look.

You can thank me later,


Thursday, February 18, 2010


image courtesy of

Google has a new social site, Buzz. I have one friend who is quite anti-Buzz, but myself and the SugarSleuth and others have found it simple, straightforward, and a darn good distraction from what it is that we should be doing. Hey, even my dad has gotten into it! Stop resisting, join the fun already. And start following me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Read about this little guy in today's editorial of the online edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Seriously, this is why I only swim in pools.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Max Mara

Achille Maramotti, head of ready-to-wear powerhouse MaxMara once said

Fashion is never in crisis because clothes are always necessary., i'm rejecting material excess, thank you. But not a bad idea.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the graduate (school)

Yesterday, at approximately 6:05pm Paris time, I discovered that I was accepted to the Northwestern Graduate School in Communications. Is it premature to join the facebook network?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

wine wine wine!!! and a couple crepes too

Saturday was a great day. I woke up at twelve thirty, which is a rarity in my world. I met martin at his apartment and we met Thomas to buy tickets to yeasayer in march at fnac. Then we went to Martin and Thomas' two favorite wine stores where they bought this pinot gris, as well as the nouveau, and I purchased a wine from Macon, the hometown of my host parents in Lyon. We also found me a crepe pan, Tefal brand and made in France. It is amazing how amazing the crepes are that come off of that pan. Best 25 euro I have ever spent. Period.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Le Chandeleur

Le Chandeleur:
Yesterday was the religious holiday known in France as Le Chandeleur, also, Crepe Day, aka Candelmas in the States. Food is offered to the Virgin Mary, and crepes were traditionally made to use up rich foods like eggs and milk that would otherwise go bad with the upcoming Lent fast. Also on this day, it (who is this It?) is said that while holding a penny in one hand, toss a crepe in the other. If it lands successfully in the pan, you will have good luck for a year. I guess I’ll be having bad luck for a year because I did not do this. I didn’t even try. That’s my Protestant work ethic for ya (I’m sure my grandmother, Polish Roman Catholic four foot nine behemoth, is rolling over in her grave at that Capital P Protestant statement).
I have further modified my crepe recipe. This one was again unfortunately too thick. Here was today’s recipe (which yields in total 5-6 crepes if they are the proper thickness…or rather, thinness):

1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, 1 egg, ½ cup water. Salt, sugar, and vanilla (to taste and depending on if you’re aiming for sweet or savory crepes) should also be added, but I didn’t have any last night. I would recommend adding ¼ to ½ cup more liquid. I suppose milk would be the most flavorful, but I don’t know if this would mess up the chemistry of the crepe. Back to the frying pan I guess…

Below are pictures. Please note the very very yummy savory crepe I made with creamed spinach and egg, plus the folding technique of a sweet crepe. This is how they are served when you buy them on the street. Also note how icky gross and thick the crepe in the last picture is. This was the first crepe of the night and it was definitely the worst, proving the old French saying very true.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Print is Not Dead--Vive La Magazine!

Today, while at work (I wonder how many of these posts start like this), I came across a wonderful, whimsical, ethereal magazine published in the UK called LULA. It reminds me of a space-aged Secret Garden. Very cool--everyone should check it out. If you are interested in buying one copy, guess what, you can! Via l'internet (isn't it amazing?). Click here for prices. Sunny, snowy, grey, now sunny again here in Paris. metéo...

photo courtesy of