Lifestyle

Wrapping Paper from A Thing Created + Ruby Stripe on Etsy

Pretty Wrapping Paper

I came across two Etsy shops during my search for Christmas wrapping paper: A Thing Created and its sister store Ruby Stripe. I spent an hour perusing the shops’ virtual aisles filled with notecards, notepads, gift tags, watercolor prints, and the most beautiful wrapping paper I’ve ever seen. The artist, Erisha Rubingh, has designed a few covers for local South Carolinian publications Pink and Paisley Magazines. Erisha’s brief bios that appear on the sites reveal that she only took one art class in high school and was mainly self-taught. What an inspiration! (Proof that monetizing one’s craft is possible with persistence.) These are nine of my favorite wrapping paper designs across both Etsy shops.

Works Sighted

1. Blue Fair Isle Sweaters // 2. Blue Pinstripe // 3. Christmas Ginger Jars

4. Paris Apartment // 5. Bright Bookshelf // 6. New Year’s

7. City Sidewalks // 8. Champagne // 9. Navy and Red

Further Reading

About the Artist – Erisha Rubingh (Pink Magazine)

About the Artist – Erisha Rubingh (Paisley Magazine)

Ruby Stripe (Instagram)

Paris: 20 In-Person Airbnb Experiences

Hugging a poster for Brassaï exhibition in a Paris metro station (2014)

I’ve been to Paris many times online, in books, and through movies but only once in person. While I believe in armchair traveling, I must stress that it isn’t a substitute for first-hand experiences. I’ve noticed that a few of the Airbnb hosts I met via Zoom in 2020 have dispensed with some or all of their virtual experiences and are back to conducting them in person. I was left with no choice but to book a trip to Paris. My anticipated arrival date is March 3, 2023. Surveying in-person experiences is a pivotal part of the planning process. Here’s my curated list of 20.

Work Sighted: Expressing my love for Brassaï (January 2014)

Books About French Fashion Houses

Coffee table books about French fashion houses

I’ve seen Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022) twice thus far, but I foresee that number increasing over the holiday season when I have time off from work. Ada Harris becomes familiar with the Christian Dior label quite literally when she sees it in the gown of one of her clients. (She cleans houses for a living.) When Ada travels to Paris to buy a Dior gown, the fashion house reveals itself to her in unexpected ways. “Dior, it’s not just a gown. It’s all the elegance…” she says during one of her fittings.

One should not shop at French fashion houses for clout. An engaged shopper understands the values, aesthetics, and history of historic maisons. For me, learning almost always starts with a book. Here are nine for the coffee table.

Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Hermès

Lanvin, Christian Dior, Givenchy

Chanel 2, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars

I’m not the type to purchase an advent calendar every year, but I decided I could use the extra cheer. I’ve narrowed my picks down to six.

Works Sighted

organic tea advent calendar (Kusmi Tea); 12-day candle advent calendar (Voluspa)

24 Nights of Wine (Vinebox); 2022 advent calendar (Dandelion Chocolate)

spice advent calendar (Williams Sonoma); chocolate confectioneries advent calendar (Fauchon via Bergdorf Goodman)

Scent Split

Diptyque’s Eau Duelle was first featured on this blog on November 16, 2020 in a collage called Shopping in Paris. I believe in investments, but at 115 USD for a 50 ml bottle, I kept delaying my purchase …that is until now.

I recently came across Scent Split, a company that decants luxury scents into 1, 2, 5, and 9 ml bottles. Unfamiliar with the name, I scoured the internet for proof of the company’s legitimacy. The logo, white, cursive text against a black background, was reminiscent of the one Tom Carnese created in 1973 for Saks Fifth Avenue. A semi-annoying pop-up in the lower left corner announced recent sales.

After watching a few vlogger reviews (all positive) on YouTube, I felt comfortable placing my first order. The checkout interface was so user-friendly that I gladly paid an extra 98 cents for shipping protection. The 9 ml bottle of Eau Duelle arrived encased generously in bubble wrap in a small padded mailer.

The glass bottle itself lends itself to travel and looks elegant when displayed on a tray.

Works Sighted

Eau Duelle by Diptyque (decanted by Scent Split)

Inktober

Every October, members of the global art community commit to drawing in ink for 31 days. The Inktober movement, started by artist Jake Parker, is meant to cultivate the habit of drawing. Instead of sharing my work on social media like many participants, I plan to showcase my drawings to a small group of artists from work. We’ve taken up the challenge together.

I often engaged in process-driven art as a child. But, when I enrolled in art classes in college, I began to focus more on the content rather than the process. My professor graded my finished product, not the process that led me to it. I’ve only recently rediscovered the joy of drawing without a plan.

I find it difficult to draw from memory and need a visual. Flipping through the September 2022 issue of Town & Country, I drew/traced a collage of a few products that caught my eye. I’m actually looking forward to picking up my notebook tomorrow and turning to a fresh page of neat, little dots.

Works Sighted

Moleskine notebook (large, soft cover, dotted pages)

Uni-ball Vision Elite rollerball pen (0.5mm)

Town & Country (September 2022 issue)

Larousse unabridged French/English dictionary