Happy New Year 2013!

Happy New Year 2013!

May 2013 bring your heart’s desire.

Champagne in my glass & chillled bottle in my kitchen
Champagne in my glass & chillled bottle in my kitchen

It’s a few hours before midnight, Dec 31, 2012, and I’m home in Los Angeles.  For the first time in 18 years, I’m not in Paris.   Do I wish I was there?  Absolutely!  My soul sighs contentedly the moment I reach the top of the RER B – Saint Michel exit.  I inhale the scents, my ears welcome the sound of French and I. AM. HOME.

Oddly enough, I am calm.  I chose to cancel my annual trip for several reasons and they feel right.  Paris waits for me and I can re-start my tradition in Dec 2013.

No crazy new year resolutions for me.  Why?  I don’t keep them and come February/March I feel like a failure.   If I make none, no guilt.  Instead I’m focusing on 2 “houses” — financial and health.   Without health and some level of wealth, midlife (and beyond) will have little pleasure and joy.

My wish for you in 2013

May you have love that never ends, lots of money, and lots of friends.  Health be yours, whatever you do, and may God send many blessings to you! – Irish Blessing

Do you have resolutions for 2013? 

Wine Wednesday – French

Oh la la!

Just when I think my palate has gone off wine (how the hell is that possible?), I go rogue.  Opening 4 bottles in a night –

1 Chilean Cabernet, 1 California Cabernet, 2 French left bank Bordeaux

I’ve long suspected I’m a Francophile — after all I’ve gone to Paris for new year’s for almost 20 years! — and my wine tasting proves it!

** 2006 Domus Aurea Maipo Valley Cabernet Sauvignon — As much as I love Chile, I didn’t love this wine.  But it was first in my tasting and my taste buds may not have been ‘on alert.’

2006 Domus Aurea Maipo Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

** 2006 Wattle Creek Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon — liked this.  Things were starting to look up!  Finally, an inexpensive wine I liked.

2006 Wattle Creek Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

It was the 3rd bottle that grabbed me for a big sloppy kiss! A French Bordeaux, bien sur!

Chateau Beaumont Haut – Medoc Bordeaux

Now that I know my palate is being a picky “biatch,” I’ll continue to drink on!

NOTE: No bottles of wine were poured down the drain in the writing of this blog.  Discarded bottles are given to a co-worker, Jacob. He drinks most anything happily.  Team Jacob!

 

Chanel Handbag #6 – Purple Lambskin

Large Purple Flap in Lambskin with Matte Silver Hardware

One of my great loves – Chanel handbag in purple lambskin!   I love this jumbo flap and for the longest, I swore the inside smelled like grape gum.

I carry this one in fall/winter.

Don’t you think the silver hardware pairs beautifully with the shade of purple?

A Tale of Two Brands

This is a sad post and my heart’s breaking as I write it.  Today, after 10 years, it’s official — my devotion and love of  Chanel handbags is over.  All this time, I’ve been faithful and devoted even as the quality of workmanship dropped significantly and the prices skyrocketed.  I’ve long suspected mistruths and secrets but didn’t want to dig too deeply.   The tags say “Made in France” or “Made in Italy” yet the quality says possibly made in China then assembled in France or Italy.

But yesterday, I was confronted with blatant differences in treatment while out shopping that I compel me to act.

My first stop was Ralph Lauren.  A brand I long poopooed, assuming there was nothing for me there.  We walked through a plant filled foyer into a store designed more like a east coast home than a store on Rodeo Drive.  Two employees were chatting as we entered but stopped to say hello as we walked past.  My friend found a salesperson to help us and we ushered into a comfortable setting area and offered a beverage.  The irony was I told my friend as we walked in that the YSL in NYC is my favorite place because they offer champagne while you shop and I didn’t think another brand would compare.

I was wrong.

The employees of the Ralph Lauren store in Beverly Hills were friendly, hospitable, gracious.  As if I was a guest in their home.  I apologized to the sales associate for my mistaken impression of Ralph Lauren and said I’d be back.

2nd stop — Chanel  Beverly Hills.  If Ralph Lauren was a welcoming oasis in shopping world, Chanel was the Arctic in January.  We were let in by a stony-faced security guy (so I assume because of the wire going into his ear). The store had less than 10 customers browsing and approximately 7-8 sales associates.    As far as I could tell, only 2 were assisting customers and 1 was on the phone.    No one spoke to us as we walked in and past them to the back of the store — matter-of-fact, no one looked at us.  Finally, after standing for a minute or two, I turned to another stony-faced man (security?) and asked if repair was open.   All he said was “someone will help you.”  Really?  and who might that someone be because from my vantage point no one seemed interested in helping.   I walked over to an associate who was intently packing clutches back into their boxes and asked her if repair was open.  She didn’t look up as she said, “we have to call them down.”   I need to ask you to call them?  Ok, I can do that.

Should I point out that I’m carrying a HUGE vintage Chanel bag on my shoulder?  And I am familiar with Chanel repair.  One might conclude I am a returning customer… if one cared.

My repair (as an aside, let me say I dropped it off in Sept 2011 and to this day, no one from Chanel called to say it was ready) was brought down and I paid $265.00.  The associate who came down with my bag didn’t say hello, just directed me to a register, told me the amount due and asked for my license with my credit card.  Wow.  Just WOW.   Done.

I walked out, never to return.

You see, I love myself more than I love a brand.  it took the Ralph Lauren experience to clarify for me how a customer should be treated at high-end stores.  I don’t need to frequent a company whose employees act as if they are doing me a favor, especially a company who wants its customers to pay $3,000-6,000 per bag!

To the shop clerks at Chanel – Beverly Hills:  you work in a store, selling fabric and animal hide.  You are not researching a cure for anything or bringing about world peace.   Your salary is dependent on taking people’s money for those pieces of fabrics and animal hide.  You arrogantly take my money without so many as a smile or thank you.

I got your message loud and clear — I’m not a valued customer.  I’m not a celebrity or supermodel (although they probably get their bags for free.) nor am I young or trendy.

Rather, I’m 50, financially secure with disposable income AND a history of buying your animal hide.  I hope someone got a good look of my ‘hide’ as I exited the store.

If you look for it in the future, it’ll be seated at Ralph Lauren up the street, enjoying amazing service and a nice glass of wine.