Lifestyle

The World of Chronicle Books

It was my ongoing quest to read for pleasure that led me to the world of Chronicle Books. The publishing house has a wicked sense of wit, a quality evident in its unique titles. My first purchase: The Little Pleasures of Paris in 2018 as sustenance for my French soul. My second: Provence and the Cote d’Azur in 2020 for a friend on the brink of a solo trip to France. City Walks: London was a gift from former coworkers in 2013 to commemorate my move to London. These days, I’m savoring the remnants of summer with content that nourishes my artistic soul, and my recent visit to Chronicle Books’ online store presented new creative avenues. The company’s thought-provoking titles are ever-present in my perusal of museum shops, bookstores, and Amazon. They’re never out of sight, and consequently, never out of mind.

Works Sighted

Crêpes // Connect Every Day // Wine Tasting Notes

Wake Up Your Imagination // Hygge & West Home // 642 Things to Draw: London

France: Inspiration du jour // Forever Paris // Love Parisienne

Audible’s Premium Plus Membership

I recently reactivated my Audible membership after a very long hiatus. Even though I wasn’t a newcomer to the platform, I was able to take advantage of the 30-day free trial. I started with The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss and haven’t looked back. When my trial period came to an end at the beginning of July, I graduated to the most basic premium plus membership. Under this plan, I paid $14.95 for one audiobook credit per month. It became evident rather quickly that one wasn’t enough.

I’ve been listening to books on my walks, a pastime made even more appealing with my recently-purchased Apple watch. I decided to upgrade to the 24-credit premium plus membership, the highest tier. It’s $229.50 per year, which averages out to $9.56 per audiobook. Audible offers a selection of books in its plus catalog for free to members of every tier, but the books on my wish list don’t appear there. So far, I’ve read four more books after my initial one: The Magic of Thinking Big, Atomic Habits, Bella Figura, and How to Make $100,000 Per Year in Passive Income and Travel the World. Here are some audiobooks on my wish list.

Works Sighted

Flâneuse // L’art de la Simplicité // The Seine

Older, but Better, but Older // Mastering the Art of French Eating // Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life

Boss Up! // Home Sweet Maison // Lessons from Madame Chic

Beach Essentials

The number of items I deem necessary for a trip to the beach depends on the location and duration of my stay. If I’m going to Cape May for the day, I’ll need a chair. A towel will do if I’m planning to sit by the water for an hour or two. For a leisurely walk in the sand, I’ll forgo a bathing suit and opt for a sundress instead. If I find myself at a European beach club or seaside hotel, I’ll leave the serving of the food and drinks and the seating arrangements to someone else.

Works Sighted

hat // bathing suit // / sunscreen // chapstick // bag

umbrella // sunglasses // pen // notebook

towel // chair // cooler

Shopping at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

I’m a card-carrying member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art once again. The temperature-controlled building provides respite from the heat and a shopping destination. In addition to books, postcards, branded items, and products bearing images of famous works, the museum store also sells design-focused merchandise. The items in the selection I’ve curated spoke to my artistic soul. A PMA sketching trip is on the horizon.

Works Sighted

sketch book // writing paper // book

pencil set // pencil sharpener // writing paper

book // book // pencil case

How to Discover New Brands in 4 Steps

A brand’s products speak to its history and vision. Thus, reading a business’s about page is on par with making a wish list. Recently, I became aquatinted with the following brands: Poppy and Sage, Verve Culture, and Papillon Press. The process by which I became aware of them can be easily replicated. Here’s how to discover new brands in four steps:

Step 1: Make a Map // I started designing city guides to map past shopping experiences and ones on the horizon. Adding pins to the Philadelphia Guide compelled me to make an immediate plan to visit Moon + Arrow, a boutique that had been on my radar for years. Destination: 742 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147.

Step 2: Go Brick-and-Mortar // Having the opportunity to experience carefully-curated spaces with my senses is a privilege. When I opened the door to M + A, the scent of something pleasant wafted over me. I was transported to a sunny seaside place void of SEPTA buses. A basket tote by Poppy and Sage and a citrus press by Verve Culture further inspired my vision. As did sea-glass-tinted Moroccan glassware (also under the Verve Culture label).

Step 3: Talk to Shop Employees // My conversation with a lovely M + A employee led me to Walter Pine, an oasis and floral studio across the street (729 S 4th St). In a green sea of houseplants, I discovered Papillon Press, a letterpress company specializing in notebooks and greeting cards.

Step 4: Research Online // Upon returning home, I took to the internet to investigate all of the brands I’d been introduced to during my outings. Compiling a mental list of most-liked products provided an opportunity for reflection.

Founders Roll Call: Poppy and Sage: Robert and Carly Waters // Verve Culture: Jacquie Lewis, Jules Vertrees, and Sarah Laping Garland // Papillon Press: Madeleine and Vernon Wiering // Moon + Arrow: Chelsea Pearce // Walter Pine: David and Christina Cavagnaro

Works Sighted: Scenes from my visit to Moon + Arrow

Prepare a feast with French macaron: An Airbnb Online Experience

After realizing that a coffee table book wasn’t going to cure my wanderlust for Nice, I packed my virtual suitcase and booked “Prepare a feast with French macaron.” The Airbnb Online Experience started promptly at 1:30 PM Eastern Time (7:30 PM in Nice). My personable host Emma Lloret greeted me with a welcoming bonjour, and we conversed a bit in French before switching to English for the baking lesson. Teaching French is one of her many talents, and she was elated that I could parler un peu.

Emma guided me through every step of the macaron-making process from preheating the oven to cooling the shells. A history lesson was also included during the macaronageCatherine di Medici, wife of King Henri II, is accredited with the macaron’s migration from Italy to France. Back then, they didn’t look like the ones from Ladurée or Pierre Hermé. Emma’s finished product looked pristine, but some of my shells resembled snails. Squeezing the batter out of the ziploc bag onto the baking sheet was more challenging than I’d imagined. During the lesson, I rediscovered the intricacies of my overly-powerful oven. Americans would say practice makes perfect, but the French know personne n’est parfait.

Emma offers several other online cooking classes:

Don’t they look too good to pass up.