Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to open your Limoges Box

How to Open Your Limoges Box
Before attempting to open your Limoges box, please carefully read these instructions:
  1. Make sure clasp on front of metal band is facing you.
  2. Place thumbnails in between the two halves of the metal bands.
  3. Gently pull thumbnails in opposite directions until box opens. The clasp is decorative only and does not cause the box to snap open or closed.
  4. NEVER pull on the porcelain to open the box. NEVER pull on the clasp. NEVER try to force the box open. NEVER use a knife blade or sharp object to open the box - it may scratch the rim or puncture your hand!
  5. Once opened, never pressure the hinge to go backwards if there is resistance... that is designed into the box. NEVER slam the box closed, as this may cause the porcelain to crack or break.
  6. Invariably, your friends will want to open your boxes, and that's generally asking for trouble. It's best if you open the box for your friend, and hand it to him or her open.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Many Glorious Shoes of Paris

This is the Holy Land, the city that shoe lovers all over the world dream about.  Paris is a great shopping mecca, with more stores per square mile than any other city in the world. But for shoe fanatics, it’s paradise. High fashion shoes for women prevail and the high heels match the high prices. Whet your appetite in the swanky shopping districts along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Avenue Montaigne, Louvre-Tuileries, and Place Vendôme. Don’t forget the funky independent designers in Abbesses, the Marais, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

The essential destination for any fashionista in Paris is Christian Louboutin's flagship store. There's always something magical about visiting the first/original flagship.

This cozy store displays one-of-a-kind shoes in an intimate, exhibit-like environment.
 Not only are the red-soled heels beautifully crafted and flattering, somehow the designer’s creations manage to be comfortable, too. With shoes lovingly presented on illuminated shelves, Louboutin’s Left Bank boutique looks more like an art installation than a shop.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

The Café Terrace At Night

Vincent van Gogh's The Cafe Terrace is one of the painter's most remarkable and famous works as well as the first in a trilogy of starlit skies.  More than one hundred years after Vincent painted it, the Cafe Terrace is still in Arles, now called the Cafe Van Gogh.

When you see the café today, the outside walls are bright yellow, which is what it looks like in the painting. But in Van Gogh’s time, they weren’t in fact yellow, but a dull sandy color like a neighboring building. The yellow in the painting is Van Gogh’s interpretation of the light cast by a big gas lamp. This was the painting he did with the candles stuck to his felt hat so that he could see his canvas.

The original The Café Terrace at Night is currently on display at the Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fromage - Reblochon

 Cheese monger Steve Jenkins, author of  The Cheese Primer, describes Reblochon as “a triumph of cheesemaking—its rind is like the velvet on a deer’s antler, its flavor like filet mignon.”  Reblochon (ruh-bloe-SHAW), which comes in 1”-high, 5 ½”-wide wheels, is a raw cow’s milk cheese from France that is aged about 50 days—ten days shy of the FDA's minimum requirement for legal sale in the U.S.

Reblochon comes only from the eastern slopes of the Haute-Savoie – plus one small adjacent valley in Savoie near the swiss border, high in the Alps. The cheese is made by mixing the milks of three different breeds of cow : abondance, tarine, and montbéliarde.

 The birth of this fascinating cheese is due to the ingenuity of the Savoie herdsmen. In the 13th century, the farmers were completely dependent on landowners who insisted that all the herd's milk was their property. At milking time, the herdsmen did not quite complete the milking. After the controllers had left, the herdsmen finished the milking.  From this the cheese was made with the creamy milk of a second milking. Reblochon derives from the word 'reblocher' which when literally translated means 'to pinch a cow's udder again'.