on the road again: plans, packing and zero-sum shopping

Remember Mr. Creosote?
This is the immortal Fernand Point,
who started it all
so, we leave a week from today. Once again, Brussels (2 dinners), train, Paris (5 dinners, some lunches as well, including Spring, about time!), on the road, Mionnay (1 dinner), Lyon (2 dinners), on the road, Nice (2 dinners), Monte Carlo (1 dinner). Think that's it. Some more lunches while on the road, possibly. Um, naturally. October is game season, you never know what you'll find.

Hmm, just realized that Mr. Creosote and Fernand Point may have been separated at birth! How appropriate for trip planning!

Checking weather forecasts obsessively, and it seems that at this time of year, France is like New York, in that nowhere on this expedition south does it look like one day will have remotely the same climate as the next. I feel like I'm packing for a Girl Scout sleep-out - what if it's cold? rainy? pouring? warm? hot? humid? dry? Be prepared! - only with what I hope are cooler outfits. So far have decided to bring the famous Donna Karan cashmere wrap coat and a raincoat. Which raincoat is where indecision and neurosis have a party.  A short raincoat packs better, is better in cars; a long raincoat is heavier, but better on city streets, where there are splashes from thoughtless cars and busses, and nicer over a dress.

Restaurant dress: for hot weather, the blue silk print from last spring's trip plus that green lace vest. The vest works really well with the undertones in the blue print and that vee neck in real life needs a little cover. For cooler nights, have had an old dark red paisley wool challis dress updated; reset the shoulders - have decided I won't live long enough to welcome the return of pouffy shoulders and if I do I'll want new stuff anyway. Re-cut the neck - don't like turtlenecks in restos, now it's a high vee, good for necklaces. Or a little chain. Hemmed to mid-calf. I love it. Bought it a dark blue sparkly belt that picks up some of the blue bits in the paisley. I could hear it saying Merci!

On the road: jeans, tees, jacket as needed. City daywear: dark jeans or black slacks, silk shirts, blazer (ahem, a blazer is a jacket that has lapels, a collar, sleeves, and buttons and buttonholes). And my gorgeous Chie Mihara shoes, which - guess what? are comfortable!

the Chies I'm
thinking about
the Chies I have -
black, brown, taupe
Thinking of getting a second pair of Chie lace-ups (different colors, different pattern). I know they cost a bomb, but not having a pained expression on my face from aching feet will make me look years younger and more energetic, much more so than, say, a jacket whose partial lining gives rise to worry. My mom used to say that nothing makes your face look old like aching feet, and nothing makes you sound old like talking about how your feet hurt, so enough of the shoe/foot conversation.  Update: bought the Chies - they were marked down by 30% while I dithered - and am taking some other merch back to stores ! Zero-sum shopping?

A thought: at the end of October, Nice will be winding down for the winter but still warm, so I might finally get to wear my "flame" orange-red paisley skirt. And not a moment too soon! After thumping self on back in triumph for snagging this beauty before it sold out, there wasn't one occasion all summer for which it was suitable. OK, that skirt is coming along to earn its keep. Hah. Have made Some Progress. Now it is time for a rest. Oops, just realized I never finished the posts about the lovely meals we had in Seattle and San Francisco week before last. Bad blogger. Back to work.


  1. Is that the Thin Mint Guy from Monty Python?!

    I am so envious of your trip. Me too!

    Love your Chie's and they are totally worth the money. Your Mother is a very smart lady she is spot on.

    I love that green vest I'm glad you bought it!

  2. Hi, Dani, yes, that's the World's Greatest Glutton facing off with the Father of 20th Century French Cuisine. Amazing resemblance, no? Bet those Pythons saw it before I did, too, they were really smart.

    I am just back from a "return trip" and feeling sooo virtuous.

    I grabbed the vest on total promo, 2nd markdown plus some outrageous % off, and now I'm looking farthings to wear it with.

  3. Oops, that was "for things" - autocorrect strikes again!

  4. Southern Belle Ph.D.October 11, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    How exciting!!! Look forward to those posts along the way and hope you will find time to share posts from your trip to Seattle and San Fran. I am traveling vicariously through you.

    At the risk of being considered dumb, I have to say I was glad to see your definition of a blazer. Someone asked about that on JCA recently and I was also curious. My definition was the same as yours yet a few years ago I purchased a cashmere "jacket" from Brooks Brothers and I could have sworn it should have been labeled as a blazer. They have it again now and sure enough, it is still a "jacket." I also read somewhere that blazers are only Navy?????

    I learned about Chies from reading XOXO's blog. I really like the look but I have never seen them here in the South. Sometimes things do take time to make their way south but I would have thought that was not so much the case with blogs, etc. Thanks for sharing about your choices!

    As always, I am so amazed by your skill at packing for long trips. I always take toooo much!

  5. Hi, SouthernBellePhD! ok, as to jacket/blazer thing: a blazer is a jacket but a jacket is not necessarily a blazer. A jacket can be a Nehru jacket (single-breasted, no collar or tiny stand-up collar), an Eisenhower jacket (collar, zip front, bloused at waistband), a "box Jacket" (Chanel jacket dumbed down for mass manufacturing), etc, etc. The top parts of uniforms are often called jackets, too.

    As to Chies: first noticed them in Anthro but our Anthro stores in NY did not have great shoe departments, so hard to find sizes. Then saw them in, oh, some department store or other. Wanted to know more, turned to google. Guess what? a decent selection is on Amazon! Some of the places that sell the shoes give you the designer's life story, too.

    and now out to dinner with very old, more accurately aged but still gallant, friends at Craft.

  6. Love your packing post. Bon apetit and bon voyage... can't wait for your travelog...

  7. It sounds like a wonderful itinerary, I am sure that you will enjoy it a lot.
    And we might cross somewhere over the Atlantic, as I am leaving in a week for Boston. Been checking the weather, but I am not bringing a lot of clothes as I have a bunch of orders patiently waiting for me at my cousin's. I just hope that they will fit!
    The Chie are worth every penny, they are so well made. I just got a pair from Amazon.uk, the Ramsita lace up in very dark green, taupe and black. It's funny how in searching on the web you'll find a color here and another one there, they make them in a huge variety but they are spread thin.

    I hope that you will find good weather!

  8. Oh, I am so envious now - Paris!!! Enough said! Also, can't believe you managed to score those Chie Mihara oxfords at 30% off. Every shoe store in Canada that carries them is still regular price.

  9. Hi, Cris, love Boston in autumn! Whenever I get too full of myself for being a New Yorker, I remind myself that when Julia & Paul Child returned to the US and could have chosen to live anywhere, they settled in Cambridge. Particularly notable because Paul had no academic credentials (at least none that a Bostonian would recognize).

    Here is a link to the Chies I ordered! I actually paid for shipping to be sure I can try them on (and send back if necessary) before the trip.

  10. Southern Belle Ph.D.October 12, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Thank you so very much for getting back to me with an excellent explanation of jacket vs. blazer. From now on I will refer to my cashmere jacket as a blazer as it is just that to me. You are the Best!

  11. Hi, Louise, just so you know that we're not complete gluttons, I've also gotten tickets for the Gertrude Stein exhibit at the Grand Palais. But not at lunchtime.

    You might want to glance at the link I added to the comment above (or below, can't figure out how Blogger organizes these things).

  12. Flashback!
    A wafffer theen mint?

  13. Oh being Scots, when we went to NIce in October it was like our summer, I LOVE Nice, it's so hustly bustly an so central for everywhere, the train to Monte Carlo was so pristine - it's a strange ugly zoo for the uber rich but still a good day trip.

  14. Hi, B&P! The first time I was in Monte Carlo, Himself was sleeping in and I went downstairs to check out hotel lobby, large boats &c. Was most impressed by the elegant ladies in sequins and furs wafting through the lobby, Wow, thought I, they even dress for breakfast here! No, I learned later, they were hookers having coffee before leaving.

    Overwrought tasting menus give me that "dinner mint" sensation...


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