Monthly Archives: March 2016

Modern French Wardrobe for Spring and Summer

March 22, 2016

Modern French Wardrobe for Spring and Summer | modernfrenchblog.com

Wardrobes are a big deal these days.

From the Capsule Wardrobe, Project 333, and the minimalist approach to the 5-Piece French Wardrobe—which is not to be confused with the 10-Piece Wardrobe—and the Kon-Mari Method, there are a million different ways to strategically dress yourself and deal with the contents of your closet.

Allow me to introduce the Modern French Wardrobe, which is less about rules and restrictions and more about what I actually have hanging in my own closet.

These 42-odd pieces will take me through spring and summer. By mixing and matching, I can create outfits for all sorts of occasions. This is partly due to some level of creativity but also because I’ve resigned to looking the same wherever I go.

My style is modern yet timeless. I rely heavily on neutrals and quite obviously have a penchant for black. Since I often end up wearing pieces for years at a time, I opt for classic cuts and invest in high-quality garments whenever I can.

Without further ado, here’s the list! It doesn’t include sleepwear, swimwear, or work out gear, but everything else is hanging in my closet right at this moment (or will be soon…I’m looking at you, white jeans!).

11 Tops: Black drapey tank, black tee, white tee, striped tee, black silk button-up (with the sleeves rolled up!), black tank top, white tank top, creme colored blouse, and a chambray button-up.

3 Sweaters: Black sweater, camel sweater, and black cardigan.

3 Jackets: Dark denim jacket, cropped trench coat, and black leather motorcycle jacket.

5 Dresses: Black crepe dress, black dress with flared skirt, black romper, white dress with embroidery detail, and black tee dress.

7 Bottoms: Black a-line skirt, black skirt with flared hem, light denim shorts, dark denim shorts, dark denim jeans, black jeans, and white jeans.

8 Shoes: Black patent pumps, silver pumps, black high heels, gold high heels, black sandals, nude sandals, white sneakers, and black ballet flats.

7 Accessories: Cat-eye sunglasses, black aviators, black structured purse, black envelope clutch, black Panama hat, black tote bag, and straw tote bag. Plus, I have a small collection of jewelry and a few lightweight scarves that are not shown here.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated on September 13, 2016.

A Day in the Life

March 8, 2016

A Day in the Life | modernfrenchblog.com

7:00 am: My brother is the first person to wish me happy birthday and simultaneously wakes me up. All is forgiven since the text message also comes from my 11-month old niece. Shortly thereafter, my parents sing happy birthday in perfect harmony over the phone.

8:00 am: After I flip through the street style pics from Paris Fashion Week and listen to Toi mon toit by Elli Medeiros (an 80s French classic), I feel sufficiently energized to take on the first day of my 33rd year on this planet.

9:00 am: We’re off to Steelhead Coffee for the most perfect cappuccino ever and a scrumptious cheddar bacon scone. This neighborhood haunt delivers on deliciousness and the modern industrial design is just the icing on the cake.

10:00 am: I learn how to say, “Trente trois ans et toutes mes dents!” It rhymes nicely in French and hilariously translates to “33 years old and still have all my teeth!” We laugh at the corniness of it.

11:00 am: Just Eat It, a documentary about food waste, is showing so I drag Arnaud to see it. I instantly feel more informed but also slightly guilty for tossing the rest of an old salad the evening before.

1:00 pm: We pop in for a Vietnamese meal at Number Nine. I majorly heart this place for the uber-modern design and abundance of white as much as the pho made with free-range, grass-fed beef.

2:00 pm: For a while now, I’ve been dying to test-drive a Mini Cooper. Birthday girl gets what she wants so we take one for a spin at the local dealer. I tend to like the slightly older models, which makes trading my current car for a baby coops a real possibility!!!

4:00 pm: Arnaud gets the genius idea to make crepes for goûter aka French snack time. I eat mine with bananas and Nutella all the while pretending to be in Paris just like this video.

5:00 pm: Birthday wishes from friends and family swarm in. Each one puts a smile on my face. Meanwhile, I watch a Skillshare class titled Buy Smart, Taste More: Getting Started with Wine.

6:00 pm: Now that I know that much more about wine, I decide to put my new skills to use. We break open a new bottle and have a glass while Arnaud prepares a wood fire for a BBQ dinner.

7:00 pm: Neither of us is all that hungry so we forego the dinner. I sneak a few bites of the Olive Oil Roasted Leeks because it’s a Bon Appétit recipe that I tried for the first time. Two thumbs up!

8:00 pm: Welcome to the most ridiculous part of my day! One of the best moments of this past year was on a dance floor where I twirled around in a beautiful ball gown to some super poppy song while confetti rained down on me. We recreate this moment and film it for my co-workers.

9:00 pm: House of Cards just released a few days ago and I have somehow stopped myself from binging on the entire season. Tonight we cuddle up and watch the third episode together. I make a mental note to dress more chic like Claire Underwood.

10:00 pm: It’s bedtime for grandmas like me. I fall asleep in a haze of good times and good wine. It may only be the beginning of this year for me, but I can already tell it’s going be a good one.

The Best of Anthony Bourdain

March 1, 2016

The Best of Bourdain | modernfrenchblog.com

Admittedly, I hopped on the Bourdain Train a little late. By the time I had made my discovery, he had been around the world and he’d been player hated. Plus, he already had a few bestseller books and multiple television shows under his belt.

As the bad boy of the culinary world, Anthony Bourdain is known for telling it like it is and ripping a new one to anyone who deserves it. One quick Google search and you’ll find a long list of fights he’s picked: Guy Fieri, Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, Alice Waters, et al.

But beneath that prickly exterior and dagger tongue, this man is lover. He loves food (of course) but he also loves people. You can see it in the way he easily connects with strangers in far-off places or how he dotes on beloved chefs and restaurant staff in his books. Bourdain certainly hooked me with his bad-assery, but it’s these tender moments put me in his #1 fan club.

The list below may seem like a lot but I promise I left some stuff out. You’ll also notice I spend a lot of time on Parts Unknown; it was the show that got me hooked on Tony and makes me the most nostalgic.

Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw

Written ten years apart, Kitchen Confidential is the book that sparked Bourdain’s career as a writer slash TV personality while Medium Raw is the book that proves he’s still got it. Both are page-turners full of satisfying rants, raves, and food porn. One of my favorite chapters in Medium Raw is where he describes the immaculate and inspiring world of Justo, a man who guts fish for a living.

Parts Unknown

My two great passions in life are food and travel, and Bourdain happily marries the two in Parts Unknown. This show ain’t no Rick Steves; it explores the unknown, politically corrupt, and economically destitute.

Los Angeles (Koreatown) from Season 1 is one of my favorite episodes. References to the LA Riots hit an emotional chord for me but were balanced by fun food adventures with Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ food truck fame. I also now understand my family’s visits to Sizzler during childhood and my weird love for low riders.

From political and religious contention to the controversy of falafel and an all-girl Palestinian racing crew, the Jerusalem episode from Season 2 is eye-opening to say the least. One scene from the Gaza Strip is memorable: Elders gather to make a dish by stringing tiny, raw watermelons on a wire hanger and cooking them in hot coals. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Finally in Vietnam from Season 4, Bourdain pays tribute to his self-proclaimed “first love” and favorite place on earth. This episode could have easily been shot upon shot of mouth-watering Vietnamese food, but the sobering account of a country still scarred by war is what really gets you.

Friends, Parts Unknown is travel journalism at it’s finest.  Watch it soon and watch it all.

Eric Ripert

Every bad cop needs a good cop, and Bourdain’s best friend is the yin to his yang. Ripert not only runs a 3-star Michelin restaurant but also chairs a nonprofit that fights hunger. Did I mention he’s a practicing Buddhist who quotes Dalai Lama on Instagram? Yup, Bourdain may be the best, but Ripert is certainly his better half.

Mind of a Chef

Even though this TV series focuses on other chefs, it has Bourdain written all over it (he’s a producer and the main narrator). Prepare to be astonished by the first season where David Chang explores every nook and cranny of Japan in search of deliciousness, but also look forward to Sean Brock’s explosion of Southern food and Magnus Nilson’s gentle giant ways in his remote Swedish kitchen. A special nod goes to the designers for their creative interludes and themed graphics.

Roads and Kingdoms

Though not borne from Bourdain’s brain, this digital magazine didn’t really take off until it got his stamp of approval. Matt Golding, one of the creators, reportedly wrote a passionate email after a night of debauchery that helped cement the partnership.

The concept is to share smartly written pieces of parts of the world that are largely unknown. It is really well executed, and I can’t stop reading it. Look for Dispatched by Bourdain, a selection of series curated by the man himself.