Montmartre: Home of the Creative

Cobblestone roads, enormous hills, and a hidden beauty in every nook and cranny; this historical city is, without a doubt, the heart of Parisian life.

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Photos By: Charlotte bergen | Instagram: @charlottebergen

Montmartre is more than just the home of the Sarcé-Coeur Cathedral or near the infamous Moulin Rouge. It’s a city where tourists roam in the daytime and artists flock the streets by sundown. In the 18th Arrondissement of Paris, one can’t help, but get hooked on the food, the scenery, the daily effortless fashion and of course, the artsy neighborhood.

The history speaks for itself. Pablo Picasso, Gen Paul, Vincent Van Gogh, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec and literature royalty, Ernest Hemingway have all either resided in or found their inspiration in Montmartre.

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My Airbnb listing stated that my apartment was a studio, but not that it was an actual historical arts studio that catered to an array of French artists. Now, I admit that I am a young woman who knows more about what type of stitching Elie Saab uses in every garment each season than what it takes to capture La Seine on canvas. But I, like the lives of many of those I’ve met in this playful little town, lives for creativity. Painters, photographers, fashion designers, actors and actresses, sculptors; they have made and continue to make Montmartre what it is today.

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If you look in the right places, such as near rue Durantin, you’ll find the coolest hipster bars and cafés with the best Parisian food. Every bar has its own pizazz and homemade arts decor that make the atmosphere feel extremely welcoming.

Constantly distracted by the northern Parisian atmosphere, I didn’t realize that I was getting a daily workout on this mountain of a town. But it was all worth it.

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Thanks for stopping by! Tune in next week!

 

À la prochaine!

A.

A Week in Paris

Bonjour à tous!

I know I’m a day late in posting this week and I apologize. As my undergraduate college career slowly leads to graduation, the days get more complicated and time-consuming. Though, I’m still jet-lagged, spending a week in the city that I’m working to live in was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I had a blast.

I came back to New York feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.

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“And just like that, I’m back in my favorite city in the world.”

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My trip consisted of searching for possible future employment and apartment listings, but I got so much more than that. I usually get more than I bargain for (in a good way) every time I go to Paris. There’s so much to share about the French fashion and the sites that I’ve come across that one post cannot do it justice. Leading up to the summer, I can’t wait to share it all with you! Stay tuned!

À la prochaine!,

A.

À Paris!

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Bonjour à tous!

Okay, let’s be honest. Going on trips and experiencing new adventures is exciting, but packing…not so much fun. Have you ever packed for a trip, promised yourself that you wouldn’t pack a lot…then end up packing your entire closet?

This happens to be a bad habit which I possess, but sometimes, it’s also a good habit. The worst thing is coming across an unexpected event in another state, country, or anywhere that is not your hometown and having to go shopping for an outfit that you most likely already have hanging in your wardrobe back home.

To pack light or not to pack light? That is the question.

The answer is pack “smart.” 

Shoes: Steve Madden, Jeans: Fashion Nova, Top: MissGuided, Bralette: Forever 21

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Bodysuit: Lilac Shade

Here are a few packing tips that I’ve learned through traveling:

• Think of at least three events that you will likely attend on your trip and be realistic. Pack three specific outfits for those occasions. The rest of your suitcase should be clothing that you wear on a regular basis.

• Accessories, accessories, accessories!! I cannot stress this enough. If you wear a black dress on one day and you add a popping handbag and a matching scarf the next, you’ve just expanded your outfit choices.

Dress: H&M France, Sneakers: H&M, Scarf: Net-A-Porter

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Top: Nordstrom, Pants: Express, Shoes: Express

• At least 25 percent of the clothes in my suitcase are what I call “toss-worthy.” Toss-worthy clothes are anything that can be tossed if worst comes to worst and my suitcase is too heavy. Toss-worthy clothes are anything that costs ten dollars or less.

For example, one-dollar flip-flops, two-dollar tanks, or seven-dollar shorts are a few pieces that I consider to be toss-worthy.

I love clothing stores like Old Navy, Uniqlo and H&M where there are regular bargains and deals. If the option of making my suitcase lighter before traveling back home approaches, getting rid of a $1.90 top or a $5.50 pair of pants will not severely harm my wardrobe or my wallet.

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Shorts: H&M, Flats: H&M, Choker: Forever 21, Bodysuit: Forever 21

• The same goes for toiletries. Travel bottles are great for weekend and week-long trips, but they should never be a burden. They are very cheap and they can afford to be tossed out if needed. For long trips, if possible, it’s best to buy most of your toiletries in the place that you are visiting. It may save you a lot of space and hassle.

Wherever you go, just remember that you may want to bring a few things home from your trip, so make sure you have space in your travel bags to do so!

Thanks for tuning in!

I will not be posting next week. It’s Final Exam Preparation week. Stick around for the week after!

À la prochaine,

A.

Street Fashion in Brooklyn

Brooklyn! Manhattan is amazing, but when it comes to art, the best international food, and unusual scenery, I’ll take Brooklyn any day. Especially in D.U.M.B.O. where I worked with Brooklyn photographer, Dina Raketa to shoot some streetwear. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the cold weather. When will le printemps (the Spring) season get here?

It’s Mid-March, so I decided to bring a taste of the nice weather.

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Outfit Details: Top (MissGuided), Pants (Fashion Nova)

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Outfit Details: Bracelet (Tiffany & Co.), Sunglasses (Dior), Shoes (Steve Madden)

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Outfit Details: Handbag (Coach)

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Merci for tuning in this week!

À la prochaine,

A.

Weekend Getaway To St. Tropez

 

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Pick a weekend, book a flight, and go nuts! | FTLF

Bonjour à tous! Finishing college is kicking my rear! And the New York weather isn’t helping.

There’s a huge snow storm hitting the city tomorrow, which had me thinking all day about all the snowless places that I wish I could be right now. And of course France came to mind first; specifically, Saint Tropez. I usually escape to this beautiful paradise any chance that I get, like two weekends ago.

When people think “France,” they think about Paris or the La Côte D’azur (French Riviera). Along with Nice and Antibes, there is also the gorgeous Saint Tropez. This little coastal town in southeastern France is the perfect place to get away from it all, especially on the weekends when all you want is to enjoy some amazing eats, indulge in the immense variety of shopping boutiques, or just relax.

It’s not as difficult as it may seem to travel there. As a frequent traveler, I have my ways of traveling cheap. One way is finding cheap airfare apps such as SkyScanner and Fareness that not only finds cheap plane tickets but suggests the cheapest places to travel to at a given time. I also refrain from paying for expensive hotels every single time I travel. Airbnb has become my best friend in my pocket. In London, Belgium, Florence, or literally anywhere I travel, the first thing I do is pick and book an Airbnb apartment that I desire. St. Tropez has some of the most beautiful Airbnb apartments near the Mediterranean Sea.

Honestly, words cannot explain the beauty of the simple, little posh town, so take a look for yourself:

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That view is breathtaking

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Famous St. Tropez Clock Tower

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St. Tropez Bay Front

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Spent my Saturday afternoon having lunch on this beauty

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Vacationing near the coast means endless lobster!

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This Chanel Boutique is literally a mansion

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Chanel en St. Tropez

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C’est belle!

 

Take my word for it or don’t, but if you visit St. Tropez, you’ll never want to leave!

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Learn from me. Don’t be lazy and refuse to rub in your sunscreen then fall asleep on the beach | FTLF

À la prochaine,

A.

New Year = New Posts Every Wednesday!

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As the new year began, so did new hopes, dreams, and adventures. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for more traveling, lifestyle tips, and of course, more fashion.

What are your goals and resolutions for the new year?

Here are some to consider (the obvious clichés):

♦Live More

♦Laugh More

♦Love More

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No matter where you go or what you do, applying these resolutions in your everyday life will keep you happy and make every experience worthwhile. Life is too short to be unhappy and unfulfilled. Seize every moment head on this year without regrets.

Don’t forget to check out FTLF every Wednesday for the latest fashion trends, style tips, and so much more!

Also! Spring isn’t that far away. Do you have any spring getaways in mind? If not, stay tuned for the best and most affordable spring destinations as the warm weather draws near.

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Les Jardins de Versailles, France |FTLF

Merci à vous!

À la prochaine,

A.

Respecting The Woman: From America to France

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Photo Credit | Stop Telling Women To Smile

“Respect” for women varies between cultures, countries, and social classes. In the United States, many define respect as ‘the treatment or admiration of something or someone.’ All human beings are vulnerable, but possess many strengths. Respect for another person means being aware of and acknowledging their vulnerability as well as their strengths, yet supporting them, without condescension.

Women in American society face disrespect, sexism, and misogyny from men almost daily; where their vulnerability is being acknowledged, but their strengths are being overlooked.

In New York City, which has a population of over 8 million people as of 2015, in this day and age, public disrespect amongst individuals has become a norm, especially to women.

From time to time, female public harassment stories are printed in New York media sources, but media coverage does not grasp the severity of female public harassment in the city. New York residents have named this form of gender-based harassment as “catcalling.”

According to the 2015 Oxford Dictionary of English, ‘catcalling’ is defined as “a loud whistle or a comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman.” Catcalling has often gone farther than just whistling or harmless comments. Women have been called distasteful words and, at times, have been inappropriately touched or physically manhandled by strange men on the streets.

The New York Post journalist Doree Lewak called catcalling “flattering” in her August 2014 article “Hey Ladies! – Catcalls Are Flattering! Deal with it.” Lewak’s article received a lot of backlash due to her reasoning to why catcalling shouldn’t be taken seriously. In the article she says, “[Men] need something to look at while they’re on their lunch break. I can be that objectified sex thing for them! What’s so wrong about a ‘You are sexy!’ comment from any observant man?” Women who have read the article have called Lewak “disgusting” or “ridiculous” and have accused her of “encouraging low self-esteem in women.”

Many female New York Post readers felt offended by Lewak’s article stating that she “failed” to realize that catcalling is degrading, disrespectful, and can lead to physical violence. According to authorities, catcalling is a form of sexual harassment. In response to Doree Lewak’s article, blogger Michael Hollan wrote, “What Catcalling Really Means.” “The idea that women should appreciate catcalling is weird, because it’s implying that catcalling is done with respect,” says Hollan. “The guys doing it don’t care [that] it’s disrespectful. [They] are just hoping that the girl’s self-esteem is low enough that she’ll just be happy that somebody has noticed her.”

In France, there is a vast difference in how women are treated by men compared to New York. From random men pulling out a woman’s chair before she sits down to men giving their seats up to women on public transportation, men in France show more courtesy, decorum and chivalry to women than men do in New York. Gender-based street harassment happens in France as well, but the percentage to how often it happens is low compared to the United States.

Paris has a population of 2.2 million people while Nice (South France) has a population of over 343,000 people. There are many differences in each city when it comes to the behavior of individuals in public, but the courtesy and respect for people are the same.

On many occasions on the Paris Metro, men often offer their seats to ladies, regardless of if she was young, pregnant, or elderly. Other acts of chivalry include pulling out a chair or opening a door for women.

Catcalling or other forms of social disrespect for women rarely exist in France. Catcalling makes women feel disgusted, insecure, and many times, victimized, especially if strangers use derogatory language, talk about a woman’s body assets, or physically harm them. Most French men think of themselves as equal to women rather than superior to them. Unlike American men, French men do not have the egotistical hunger for male dominance and masculinity. French men do not obsess about the perfect body or being more dominant than women.

Body language is another thing that differs between French and American men. While the majority of American men seem to have a tough exterior, French men are very relaxed and serene. They are very comfortable in their own skin and comfortable with their sexuality; they do not feel like they need to show their masculinity to be confident or manly.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is an artist from Brooklyn who has spent years trying to raise awareness on street harassment against women through art. Because many women are afraid to speak up to their harassers, Fazlalizadeh draws portrait sketches of women who have experienced such harassment daily and puts a quote under each sketch on posters to give these women a voice. She then hangs these posters in various parts of New York City streets to get their messages out.

Culture plays a large part in the difference in behaviors and actions of individuals in France and the United States. America is a large boiling pot of different cultures, religions, beliefs and lifestyles, so respect for women varies from state to state and from community to community. The French do not separate themselves by community or state. They consider themselves to be more unified than Americans as a whole nation, so social behavior and respect between the north and south of France do not differ.

Though disrespect towards women happens worldwide, French men tend to respect women more than New York men respect their women.

In a nutshell, men in France seem to respect and value their women more than American men value theirs. A woman is not a man’s possession. She is a human being with free will, talent, opportunities, and choices. Acknowledging all of this defines “respect.”