Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Amateur blogger pics & a second-hand purchase in France!

Sorry for the blurry pic - I need to train dear hubby on blog photog-ing! We went out for dinner last night, and, in spite of having this 70s shawl for seven or so years (I showed it to you a while back), I took said shawl out for its first public outing ever last night. The days are gloriously warm here but the evenings are deliciously cool ... perfect for shawls and scarves. I also took the vintage purse I bought at auction in the UK out for its first dinner date.

I snapped the remaining pics in my hallway to give hubby a break - so sorry, you get to see the 'ole blogger-with-camera-showing-in-the-mirror thing. But seriously, we have these great big long and well-lighted hallways in our place, and all these closets with sliding mirrored doors - they were just screaming "amateur blogging photoshoot" to me!!

I'm also showing you never-seen-before Grunge Queen content, namely, this MEXX dress I thrifted at Goodwill years ago in Canada for $6.99 if memory serves, which I've worn only twice! I love the high-waist, pleats and girly flounce - this dress would rock on so many body types.

I bought this brass and wood (?) necklace, whose era I can't quite place (1940s?) at a Toronto garage sale for $25 a few years ago. It was a lot of cash for a garage sale find, but I've worn it heaps, and I just love it. I can glam it up with a dress, or rock it out with jeans and a stylish top.

I look cross-eyed here - maybe I'm just mesmerized by my "new" sandals, which are second-hand and actually purchased in France, yay! I found another vintage shop in the Old Town, which also sells accessories and home items made by local artists. They weren't cheap (49 Euros), but then again, nothing's cheap in Annecy, and besides which, they're in mint condition: black suede Ugg cork wedgie sandals, super super comfy, with the added bonus of being stylish AND having enough coverage to protect my poor little mashed up toes on my right foot, which I keep dislocating and which now look like wee French sausages as they're perpetually swollen! 

Enough toe woes. I'm getting silly here, and wreaking the image of the glamourous fashion blogger that you must have of me! Time to get out there in the glorious sunshine and do some serious summer frolicking around the lake. Hope you all have a great day! Next time you see me, I will have hopefully learned how to do the auto-shoot on my hubby's camera!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Blue girl & watery daydreams

You've already seen this charity shop dress, but I haven't shown you this jacket for a long time - an Escada denim jacket with distressed puffs - that I picked up for TWO DOLLARS at the $2 Clothing Sale in Toronto. I just love wearing dresses with cropped denim jackets, and I've been seeing the look on some of your blogs. It's so easy-breezy simple. Nowhere is that easy-breeziness more applicable than where I live now in France, land of the clear, clean lake, mountains and blue blue skies. Which may explain why I am wearing a lot of blue these days. The marine look is all over Monoprix, the department store you see over my shoulder: white capris, striped tops and marine blue cable-knit sweaters.

This water is so inspirational. I'm used to the dingy, opaque canal in Ottawa, Canada. The canal here, which feeds into the lake, is wonderfully clear. They say Lac Annecy is the cleanest lake in all of Europe. No murky, mysterious depths to worry over!

I'm still trying to find out what I'm going to do here work-wise and to keep me busy, when I'm not exploring with hubby - but, with scenery such as this, I'm going to try not to worry about it. I haven't worked in 8 months, and I'm surprisingly not freaked out. Leaving the hustle bustle has been good for my soul, methinks.

Maybe I'll take up photography and produce semi-artsy shots like this one? I loved this boat along the canal - I thought it was very Grunge Queen, with the leaking water, old umbrella and tire, and semi-mangy flowers. It's the kind of boat I'd feel right at home in!

I've been dreaming about tip-toeing out in the wee hours and sliding into this calm, pool-like subsidiary of the canal. I love how it just seems to stop at the edge of the running waters of the canal, and how the trees drip over it and make it even more private. I found it on a quiet pathway along the canal, and I almost slipped into it with my dress on as there was no one around. Maybe I would have transformed into a water nymph and lived there forever!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What to buy in the Annecy Markets

I promised to show you the two markets that take place under our window every week - here's a view of the food market, which happens three times a week. Here we buy mostly local fruit and veg, cheese, sausage and so on - the local repas du jour is cheese, bread and sausage and it's a wonder people aren't grossly overweight with that kind of eating ... but in fact every one is lithe and fit. We fit right in, haha.

I snapped a pic of the market when it wasn't busy - by 11 a.m. or noon the streets are teeming with people and you can hardly move. I buy my fruit and veggies from a gent named Verdi and his two brothers. They usually throw in a few free peaches grown in the mountains - a nice perk. If you visit, you simply must buy the (cured, pork) sausage, or as the French say, les saucissons - I'm pluralizing as you can't just get one - they are too delish (and this coming from a gal who doesn't do a lot of meat). The more you buy, the cheaper the price gets (five Euros for one, 15 Euros for five) - and you can get every flavour. Our fave so far: the one with the mushrooms inside. You can also buy a large tub of seasoned olives of every kind (sweet or hot) for between 7-10 Euros, and it lasts for weeks.

The antique market, meanwhile, is the last Saturday of every month. It goes on from around 8 a.m. to 5 or 6p.m., so there's plenty of time to rummage. There's a little bit of everything, though I'd say the vintage clothing, accessories and jewellery pickings are sparse - perhaps a good thing for a lover of beautiful things like moi.

What jewellery there was, wasn't really my style - a bit old-fashioned.

But my eagle-eye landed upon this substantial 1970s gold-tone and faux turquoise necklace - for only eight Euros! A screaming deal for Annecy, my friends. And it just so happens to go with my blue-green dress that I bought in the old town (pictured below).

Plenty of cowbells here, folks (at least I think that's what they are). There's an annual festival in town in October that's called Retour des Alpages - part of an old tradition marking the return of the the cows (whose milk is used for cheese) from the mountains, where they've been grazing all summer. Apparently they parade the cows through the streets of the old town before they put them in their fall and winter digs inside, and there's a whole day's festivities associated with big event. Love it.

We're surrounded by the French Alps, so there's no shortage of skis, sleds and other rustic wooden implements and furniture. Another great local find are lakeside or mountain paintings, like the ones you see propped against the canal railing. I spied some beautiful tiny paintings of the lake, but some were as pricy as 150 Euro. I would love to have a work of art depicting local scenery in our place, but will hold out spending that kind of cash until we see one we both love and can't live without.

Another thing I saw a lot of: ornate tin boxes, most of them larger and more rustic looking than the one pictured above. I really loved this one (but didn't buy it as it was 40 Euros!) as it was so folky looking. Maybe next time.

This was the least rustic Alpine booth of all so I thought I'd show it to you: I call it the Mod corner.

We need a chair in our apartment - and wouldn't you know, I found this one right under my window! You know my penchant for green velvet upholstered furniture. (I left a chair and a loveseat on the sidewalk in Toronto when I moved, as I couldn't get any charity to pick them up, wah). This one was comfy, slightly worn (my preference, always), with a strong wooden frame. Price: 135 Euros, but we could have talked the guy down, I bet. Mon mari wasn't convinced that it would show beautifully in our lovely pad, but I know I'm right: let me work on him for three weeks until the next market. If it's still there, we wouldn't have to try too hard to get it into our apartment!

We did come home with this beaut of a rug, old, worn and featuring an almost Peacock blue that is rare in rugs of this kind. What started off as 50 Euros went down to 30 Euros the longer we stood there and hemmed and hawed (thought of course I knew it would work, and ultimately darling hubby deferred to my decor authority). And it does indeed look grand in our huge living room, and actually complements the one old Persian rug I did bring with me.

All in all, in spite of a few freaky-scary dolls, it was a fun day . The next market is July 28, and I'll be there!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Annecy the beautiful, and a marche under my window

Hello my friends, I hope you're all well and happy and wearing lovely thrifty outfits. I've been MIA as we've been settling into our new home, having now been in the lovely Annecy for two weeks. This is the view from a cafe in the old town around the corner from where we live, overlooking the canal that leads to the lake. So gorg!

This is me our first night in Annecy, on my B-day, wearing my "Wonderful Wife" pin and sucking back the vino along with a huge pot of hot cheese and a loaf of bread bigger than my head - the meal du jour for tourists is cheese fondue, btw.

If you ever visit Annecy be forewarned: things aren't cheap here, especially in the old town where we live, which is a tourist haven. A bottle of coke will run you almost 5 Euro in the cafes - only slightly less than a beer or verre du vin - so it's almost better to drink booze! The Haute Savoie region is known for its white wines because of the climate (which is similar to Canada, come to think of it, just not as cold in the winter).

And Lac Annecy? Well what can I say? With the mountains behind it, it's glorious - and the water is clear and clean. On hot days such as this, people are swimming, boating, water skiiing and paddling on the lake. Every one here is slim and fit and tanned and healthy looking - hopefully we'll soon be looking like the locals instead of like tourists!

It's been so hot here - and I wanted to tan my fish-belly white legs - so I bought a short sundress that matched the colour of the lake in the sun - for only 15 Euro, a steal for the old town! I know you're dying to hear of the shopping - only one second-hand store that I've found, but more on that at another time as I have to tell you about the markets! The bag is a fake Fossil found at a charity shop, as are the leather Clarks sandals.

Not only do we have a fresh produce market outside our window three times a week where we buy local cheeses, fruit and veggies, and sausage (the fondue was a one-off as we're eating so healthily we're losing weight) ... but we also have a marche au brocante (basically a second-hand market) once a month in the same place! This is the view from our window. I have so many pics to show you that I will dedicate the next post to the market ... and what we bought! Bye for now. xo