A Lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber is an outspoken voice for local activism, local wine tourism, and more.

Last Evening in Paris

These photos were taken on my last day in Paris, in early October. I had become incredibly ill with a fever and a sinus infection just two days before, and was barely able to function. Still, I showed up with my head pounding, and throat on fire. Nothing was going to keep me away. Keeping my personal traditions alive (especially while in Paris) are incredibly important to me. My body put me through hell for braving the cold weather for this shoot, but je ne regrette rien.

Paris is beautiful in the fall. Watching the leaves throughout the city turn from green, to vibrant hues of yellow, red, orange, and eventually brown was something that I hadn't experienced in City of Light before. I was in town for Fashion Week, and I saw Paris in a whole new way. Models were everywhere: they were on the metro, often traveling in pairs, and often getting lost. They were in the cafes, and the Marais, and in bookshops. And, while I probably shouldn't post this for PR agencies and designers to see; I'll admit and be honest: I tapped out of Fashion Week about half way through. The beautiful and glamorous shows and parties were taking me away from what I loved the most: my city, mon coeur.

One evening, while taking a nighttime bike tour with a friend (I had to chose between the bike ride and a fashion show; the bike ride won), I passed by a bar that was buzzing with the PFW chic; Courtney of Always Judging was standing out front, and I smiled as I breezed by. We in that moment felt two worlds apart. And indeed we are - I personally have never spoken to her. But to cross paths with a familiar face (be it only familiar through social media), really brought to mind just how intertwined the blogging, fashion, and travel worlds now seem to be.

I love fashion. I always have. Last season when I serendipitously met a personal hero of mine backstage in New York at the Francesca Liberatore show, I honestly felt like my journey in fashion was beginning to come nearly full circle. Of course, I surely hope that it hasn't. There's still so much more that I want to achieve and explore when it comes to this journey of the digital age. So much has changed from when I first started. I'm excited to see where we will all be in the next several years. I guess you could say that I really, truly want it all.

My purple silk dress from Banana Republic was one of two items of color that I packed. Everything else was black, grey, or white. I wouldn't have had it any other way. To see this beautiful silk slip dress pop in constrast against the greyness of this day was a lovely moment. To see its weightless fabric fluter in the wind, and juxteposed against cobblestone streets, felt like a celebration of life's poetic subtlties.

On my last metro ride back home, the night before returning to California, I wrote this:

"For the past 10 days, Paris has been dotted with models, beautiful and striking. Some have been downright frightfully thin. I have made friends from all over the world; I have met sassy photographers (one ran for president here in France), British models who hid from their Parisan families while in town, and experienced every kind of weather imaginable: 80F days, rain, lightening, thunder, freezing cold, and intense winds.

These past 10 days I have watched the same dead, headless pigeon decompose on the sidewalk as I took my daily trip to the metro. I had a crazy woman lunge at me on the street. I had my "street style" photographed outside the Chloe show. I attended and participated in Mass at the Notre Dame. I forgot entirely about the Eiffel Tower. (I was only reminded of it when I friend pointed it out on a bike tour.) I rode my bike on the road of the Place de la Concorde. Reread that last sentence and let it settle in. Google a picture of it. Seriously.

I ran through Paris and broke a shoelace. I had a man randomly give me a walking and history tour of the Marais and local kosher delis. He told me to take pictures of bread. I watched Jane Fonda walk down the L'Oreal runway on the Champs Elysees. A French woman asked me for directions. I attended Paris Fashion Week, and watched models walk the runway in the Place Vendôme, and sipped champagne. I had drinks in a secret bar designed as an Indian rail car. I listened as new friends told me over sushi how they would sneak cigarettes when the head school mistress wasn't looking. They got caught. They always got caught. They tried to teach me Arabic. Did you know there are 14 different phrases for "moon"?

I watched a man shoot up heroin in the Saint-Georges stairwell. I got stuck on a malfunctioning train, twice. I watched the new Dior parfum commercial in the Galeries Lafayette, and spritzed it on my wrists. I walked an average of 20k steps a day, and climbed 6 flights of stairs every evening to go to bed. I cried alone in a garden on my last evening here, with my head pounding with a headache, and my throat sore due to being sick- because true to form, I am not ready to leave. I am never ready to leave.

Paris though imperfect, was perfect. And I couldn't have asked for more."

Photography: Rachel McCarthy

This post was sponsored by Banana Republic, in that they provided the dress for styling. All images, writing, and opinions are my own. Sponsored content puts food in this woman's belly! To learn more about my selective sponsorships, please see my FAQ page.
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A Mused Blog | A Northern California Sonoma County Blog