Money-matters during a time hard to think about money

I’ve had a few people inquire over the last several days about if my pricing will change a lot since there’s this event later this year or that next year that they’re hoping to still get to attend.  Since I just read something concerning that I knew was likely to happen, but now have confirmation, I’m going to address this here.  Money is never a comfortable topic, but even less so now that the world has been upended.
Many fabric manufacturers have stopped producing fabrics for the time being. I’m not sure who all retailers and wholesalers those manufacturers ship to, though I do know that Gap Inc (owner of Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy) is among them, and I’m not sure yet what that will mean for us here in the future. Right now, I do have a stash to fall back on (thank goodness–I was called obsessed and crazy and all kinds of things by old friends for my stash…well, good thing I didn’t listen), and will be trying to stock up on anything else I can that I anticipate needing to try to prevent having to increase pricing, and to lower some where I reasonably can, effectively a pay cut.
That’s the short answer.  Of course a short answer means there’s a longer, expanded answer as well.

Continue reading “Money-matters during a time hard to think about money”

Paris Opera Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty’s Prince

Women’s ensembles are usually the ones that get the attention, whether that’s a ballet tutu or an 18th century robe a la française.

Héloïse Bourdon and Christophe Duquenne as the princess and prince, photo mu Tal Gomita


But men’s ensembles can be just as intricate, sometimes even more so.  This costume, worn by Christophe Duquenne, is a great example of this.  The beautiful embroidery and crystals on beautiful jacquard, the gathers in the back…

Of course the bottoms are always plain.  The dancer’s legs shouldn’t have to compete with a bunch of detailing.  Standard men’s dance tights are worn that allow very free movement, and very free admiration of the hard work male dancers do in perfecting their bodies.  It’s one thing to be lean, but another to sculpt their bodies the way they do.  Sparkles and tons of textures would draw attention away from them getting to show off.  And let’s face it.  If you’re a male dancer, you want to show off what you’ve built just as much as you want to show off your skill.  Take it from me and every gym rat I know–it’s far easier to get lean than to build muscle mass to show off. Continue reading “Paris Opera Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty’s Prince”

Paris Opera Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty

The first time I went to Paris in 2018, I went to the Palais Garnier because of course I did.  While there, I stumbled upon a couple costumes that had been set up as part of a display that wasn’t yet finished.  Oops.  Turned out no one was supposed to go there yet….  Oh, well.  Too late.

Héloïse Bourdon and Christophe Duquenne as the princess and prince. Photo by Tal Gomita

In this post, I’ll share some photos of the princess’s costume.  Disney named her Aurora.  So the princess wasn’t originally called that.  She was just la belle au bois dormant, and she came to us from France.  However, she is just plain known as Aurora now, or Aurore-with-an-E in French. Continue reading “Paris Opera Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty”

A decision about COVID-19

Talk about COVID-19 is absolutely everywhere.  It’s literally not possible to have internet access and to not hear about it several times a day.  I’ve noticed comments around the internet from comment sections of blogs to YouTube videos from people desperate for some content to serve as a distraction from nonstop stress. Nonstop stress really isn’t going to help anyone, and in fact, can weaken the immune system.  As someone who lives with an autoimmune disorder and who has dealt with is every day of my life since 1993, I’m well-versed in how all of this works, the innate and adaptive immune systems, etc., and so on.  Stress actually makes you sick.  So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to put out stuff to help provide distraction.  This doesn’t mean I’m ignoring what’s happening in the world, but I think many of us would like for for a brief time as a mental break, and part of this will be not referencing the situation in every post or apologizing for trying to put out something happy.  Consider trying to find joy in the next two months, at LEAST, of house arrest/confinement/quarantine/isolation/you-choice-of-words, to be a part of necessary mental heath self-care, and self-care is important.

Important update, and why big companies can’t just pay people

Not my favorite kind of post to make, but I’d have a handful of people ask a question that I feel a need to address.

Will you be offering discounts like a lot of stores are?

No, I won’t, and I really can’t.  Stores are offering deep discounts, often on brand new items that would normally be full price through May, to move inventory they have on hand and can’t return.  Big companies are scrambling to liquidate right now.  Things in the industry are very, very dire right now. The extremity of this can’t be overstated.  Right now, the Fall/Winter 2020 season is very likely to be cancelled altogether.  That is not just talk or an exaggeration.  The fashion shows are cancelled, designers can’t get things produced, and if they could, who is spending money on luxury goods?  And fast fashion won’t make it up when the stores are closed and not many people are buying clothing that has a very small profit margins per piece.

I get some industry publications, and have been following this for the last few weeks, and let’s just say it’s not a matter of of any companies will fold, but rather which ones and when.  Neiman Marcus is in chapter 11 bankruptcy talks.  Nordstrom just has a very wide retail layoff with much of corporate furloughed without pay and the entire board going without pay until September.  When retailers struggle, they can’t order products and return or cancel shipments.  Those supplies in turn have to cancel their own purchases or cancel then with manufacturers, who in turn have to cancel orders with suppliers of various materials, and those suppliers stop making supplies.  This disrupts the whole supply chain, resulting in retailers having to discount stuff to bring in cash.

This also means that getting materials is going to get substantially harder.  I can’t get fabric from my European suppliers right now.  Retailers and wholesalers in the US can only rely on the stock they have on hand, with no real idea of if they can get more anytime soon.  This means I have to rely on my stash, and let’s say it’s substantial.  I’ve had a lot of people tease me and call me crazy and say I’m OCD (I do legitimately have OCD-tendencies, but that’s not what they’re talking about) and obsessed and need mental help (this will be the topic of another post probably later this week) for my tendency to hoard fabrics and notions and various other supplies.  But I was a tech worker in Silicon Valley at the start of the last recession.  I went through a period of not being able to get supplies I needed (Aria Couture was concurrent with working in tech), and having to turn down desperately-needed commissions.  After that, I began to hoard, just in case, and right now, that’s coming in handy.  I can still make many, MANY things, but the catch is I can’t rely on getting more, and when I can, there’s no telling how much the prices will go up.  So what I have is what I have.  When it’s gone, there’s no telling when I’ll be able to get more.*

This leads in to a question I have personally received, but that I’ve seen asked all over the internet.

Why can’t that company just pay people?  They’re a couple hundred million.  They’ve got the money.

Because they can’t pay people in cartons of clothes.  What a company is worth has nothing to do with how much cash they have on hand.  Worth refers to the value of assets, and that includes cash, but also includes their inventory and other items, whether intellectual or physical.  The very name of a company carried value.  Their domain name carries value.  Their unsold inventory carries value (and that value decreases as time goes on).  A clothing company with a value of $100mil might have $10mil in cash, which really doesn’t go as far as it seems it will when you consider the cost of salaries and all the overhead from rent on locations to the electric bills on down to the supplies to clean the floors, with $90mil in clothing that they sell to make the money to continue paying people.  If the economy shuts down, like it is now, their ability to sell is diminished severely, and they can’t move those products.  No products moving means that that cash isn’t going to last long if they continue trying to pay everyone their full salaries, on top of having to continue paying rent on the retail and office locations, and then they’ll have stale inventory if they can even get back up and running.  And no, retailers can’t just open back up.  They need money to be able to pay salaries when they do, and they need that money before they start.  Spend all their cash on hand at the beginning of a recession, and there’ll be none to pay people if they can remain in a position to re-open.  It’s important that they re-open (yes, it’s important for people to have money now as well) so that they can recreate jobs because people need money they as well.

In other words, there’s a whole lot more to it than just writing out paychecks and calling it a day, especially when so much of the value is in something other than liquid cash.

If you see companies deeply discounting things, it’s because they’re trying to offload inventory while they can since some liquid cash is better than none, and they’ll likely use some to pay people a while, but also bank some in hopes of reopening later.  The unfortunate reality is that a lot of them won’t.

Where do I personally stand in all of this?

I’m fortunate.  As of right now, I can skate by.  I don’t have revolving expenses, haven’t hired anyone, have a stash I can fall back upon.  But when this recession is over, how people spend money will inevitably change with a probably emphasis, at least for a while, on sustainable fashion and less on the frivolities I provide. I’m not planning to go anywhere for the foreseeable future. I’ll be staying put.  I acknowledge my privilege that I can do this, but I’m also working on something new that, due to the intellectual nature of it and not wanting a novel idea to be stolen by a larger company that does manage to stick around, I will not be able to get into it very much. I started on patterns for Sarah and Jareth, which will be put aside for the time being.  Hardly seems worthwhile when getting the fabrics for them is so iffy to nearly impossible.  But this new idea I have will, hopefully, actually lead to something that will create jobs for others while not competing with the typical Aria Couture fare.

For some fun, I’m also going to finally go through some of the many thousands of photos from one of my trips to the V&A and start on some analyses, as well as posting photos from the Marvel costume exhibit, and a few other things.  Just because the world is stressed like hell doesn’t mean we can’t try to find some things to enjoy and unwind. I’m also going to start posting more in-progress pics, just completely random shots, just for a little distraction from stress.  I need a bit of relief, and suspect many of you may need it as well.

If there are any questions or concerns or anything, please feel free to contact me.

*Also, I am in the very fortunate position of my husband being with a company that pays enough that his income is what pays our regular bills, and he is in a position that is now vital to the company (there are four people, with him in charge, who were providing support to 525 people, and now there are 475, and they’re now all remote–good luck hiring someone new and trining that person in the ins and outs of the company, remotely, then telling that person to now do the tech and other support without having support….and he’s the only one involved with some security stuff and a few other important projects…basically if he goes, it’s because the company’s folding, and they’re providing some vital server stuff to companies like Walmart, so they’re good).  So I’m in a better position than many.  There are seamstresses right now deeply discounting their services due to being the ones to support their families.  If I were to discount, I could easily compete and likely take away those commissions, and I don’t feel right doing that when I’m okay right now, and so many others aren’t.  A lot of them probably won’t be able to do this much longer, and I want to give them the space to do what they need to do to get by without me trying to fish in the same pond right now.  So I’d rather back up and give them space to try to meet their needs first.

Tariffs update

Just an update on this issue. In this past week, I’ve been contacted by many of my suppliers, both domestic distributors who do the importing, then disburse to clients, and my direct supplies, about new tariffs being imposed that will raise the prices of supplies. I’ve already had to cut some payments for tariffs, up to 25%. For companies buying a thousand yards of something, or three thousand of a particular item, their per-unit cost will be less than mine. These tariffs are going to disproportionately hurt small companies and small businesses, the ones that can’t reasonably buy in such massive quantities.
I’ll absorb as much of it as I can, but please be understanding if there end up being things I can’t do that for. A few things I already don’t charge even minimum wage on top of supplies for, and some things use so many yards that even a few dollars a yard will eat up any labor cost. I’m going to be relying heavily on my stash/stock, and am now more thankful to have had the opportunity to amass as much of as I have, since it’s not inexpensive by any means, and a good deal of it may never end up used. That’s the nature of having stash/stock.
Ironically, it’s already less expensive to fly to Paris to get some things in person and bring back on the plane as it is to have it shipped, and for some things, this will not make it more so. At this point, I’m not sure what to expect from anywhere. It’s not just Chinese imports being hit. That’s just the country getting the most press. The European Union is also being hit. This administration is mad at France for more than just wine. I’m not sure what to expect when Brexit happens. There’s just a lot of uncertainty right now. So please bear with me on this

COMPREHENSIVE Paris Accounting: The REAL costs of Paris for almost a MONTH for one, and a week for TWO

Update: When Cody arrived, I didn’t take the time to do proper accounting, but what I got through should still give you an idea. 🙂


I’ve mentioned before that Paris really isn’t an arm and a leg when you know a few tricks.  I’m going to share a more-or-less running tally of most things.  Fabric-sourcing isn’t a typical tourist expense, and so will be kept out.  Almost everything else will be included.  Skip to farther down below for daily expenses, and I’ll update this post daily until the last day.

I decided to do the because, if you read a lot of websites online, you’ll walk away disheartened.  The prices given are ABSURDLY high.  One woman spent $1,757.64 for one week in Paris, not counting getting there.  I’m perplexed by that.  To be frank, that kind of spending seems like she was trying to see how much she could blow.  Almost $90 a day for activities…how?  This site says $2,605 for a couple for five days.  Here you’re told to budget an average of 126€ in 2013 money, not including accommodations or anything else.  On the Rick Steves forum in 2017, people were saying to budget 70-100, in both dollars and euros, for food…PER DAY.  Here, we are told the average daily cost for one person is 162€, or 4,853€ for  a month, again, not including getting there.  In 2008, 150€ per day not counting getting there or accommodations, for a budget trip.  And another stating 770€ for a budget trip for one once you get there.  I’m not doing what I consider to be a budget trip, and I still can’t figure out these expenses.

Let me explain my timing here.  Leaving to France the 3rd of March, returning the 28th.  My husband is flying out to join me the 19th.  So 25 days for me, and a little over a week for him.  Stretching my time to a full month wouldn’t cost much more either, nor would having him here for he same time.

To start with the up-front costs: My ticket on AirFrance was pricy this year, $733.53 including extra baggage.  Sunday is a prime travel day, and so comes with a slight premium.  I used to tinker around and find some reasonable travel dates, then checked the recommend websites directly for lower costs.  My ticket would have cost less if I had chosen a different layover time.  The two-hour lay-over would have saved about $100.  I picked a layover of over eight hours so I could meander around the airport in Amsterdam.  Vancouver is referred to as “New Vansterdam.”  So Amsterdam is something of a pilgrimage.  Cody will be flying out later in the month, and he has the shorter layover.  He’s also not taking extra baggage.  He’s going to be going for $505.

We also checked all airports within three hours of us.  Last year, flying out of Seattle was so much less ($405 with extra baggage versus about $900 out of Portland) that Cody driving me there was worth the savings.  This time, Portland is less.  Flying into Charles De Gaulle (CDG) airport is almost always less than Orly.  If you’re near an airport Wow Air or Iceland Air regularly service, round-trip flights can easily be under $300.  I’m not even kidding.

The AirBNB for the month is $851.28.  Most places give pretty steep discounts for renting by the month, even if you end up having a few days early (like me!).  Weekly and monthly discounts add up to it often costing less to stay longer.  Sometimes just one or two more days will initiate a bigger discount.  Also, by renting an apartment, I’ll save a fortune on food costs by not having to eat out all the time.  French markets are cheap as heeellllll compared to what we pay in Vancouver, Washington.  Also, I’m staying in a small town right outside of Paris.  I don’t care if my place is two minutes from the Eiffel Tower.  It’s not hard getting there via transit.  If you don’t mind renting a room instead of a full apartment, the can drop easily to $600.

Speaking of getting there, you’ll often hear that the cheapest way to get around is to get a carnet of ten tickets for 14.90€, or the Paris Visite Pass.  You’ll blow through that in a couple days, easy, and that Visite Pass is a bunch of BS.  Spend 5€ to get a Navigo Découverte card, and top that up.  Locals get the Navigo, and the only difference is that they can get it replaced for 5€ if they lose it, whereas we non-residents just plain lose altogether and have to get a new one in full.  Otherwise, costs are the same.  Pay 22.80€ and you’ve got passage on every transit there is from 12:01am on Monday (technically 12am, but putting it as 12:01am makes it clearer which 12am) through Sunday at 11:59pm.  The train to Orly is excluded.  No matter when you pay, the window is the same.  You can also pay 75.20€, and it’ll be good for the whole month, 12:01am on the 1st to 11:59pm on the last day.  You can get passes that don’t go to Versailles or Disneyland, but the cost savings is negligible. I still have my card from last year, and so will pay 75.20€ once, and all my transit for the entire time is covered.  Cody will arrive the 20th.  I’ll have a card ready for him, topped up, and he’ll be covered through Sunday at 11:59pm for 22.80€, and another 22.80€ to cover him for the rest of his time here.

I’m also going to London for a couple days, and that’s $112 for airfare, including priority seating and an extra bag.  I plan on bringing back books.  Lots of books.  And $90 for the AirBNB for a couple days.  And I’m paying $70 to get a membership to the V&A so I can get into a sold-out exhibit.  Otherwise, the V&A would be free.

Regarding food, compared to pricing at my local grocery stores, French stores are cheap.  1.50€ for a kilo of organic apples?  YES.  That’s under $2 for 2.2lbs.  Amazing meats for 6€ per kilo.  At that per pound, it would still be less than here.  Yet that’s for over twice as much.  4oz of fresh mozzarella cheese for under 1€.  I pay $8 per pound here.  It’s about $5 converted for a pound there.  Stuff we have here, like Nutella and Bonne Maman preserves are so cheap that it makes me cry inside.  The big Nutella jars are about 3€ as opposed to over $8 here, and those preserves that I pay $5 for on sale are all under 2€, with some being under 1€.  Same brands.  So, straight up, the cost of food is less than where I live in the US.  Since we have to eat regardless, we’re saving money on food by going to Paris.  Something to favor in, that no one ever does, is that you have to eat even when not in Paris.  Subtract what you would spend at home from what you spend in Paris to get an idea of how much it really costs you to eat in Paris.  If you spend $10 a day on food at home, and 15€ in Paris, you aren’t really spending 15€ for being in Paris.  You’re spending the difference between that and the $10.  This doesn’t work for accommodations since you’re paying for your home and for accommodations in Paris.  You’re just transferring your food money, not paying for it on both sides.

Touristy stuff?  First, Notre Dame and a lot of things are free.  If you want to go to the top of Notre Dame, you’ll pay a small fee.  But the cool stuff doesn’t require that.  Second, find the free stuff no one thinks about.  Go walk through Victor Hugo’s apartment.  That’s free.  Go stand in Marie Curie’s lab.  That’s free.  Go to Trocadero Plaza, and see this view for free…

Skip the tourist stuff for the most part.  A lot of it is overrated.  Cool, yes, but overrated.  Go live in Paris like a Parisian.  Get the real experience instead of a curated tourist experience.  It won’t cost you to do that.  Walk on the Seine at night on weekend nights when the weather is what most people consider to be nice, and you’ll discover the parties that go on there .

If you want to do the tourist stuff, get the Paris Museum Pass.  Specifically that pass.  There is a Paris Pass and a Paris City Pass, but the small extras aren’t worth the big price increase.  The 6-day Museum Pass, which is 74€, covers entry to almost everything from the Louvre to Versailles, and even if you don’t go to enough things for the cost of the pass to cover the cost of the tickets, getting to go in the short line is more than worth it.  I got to the Louvre a couple hours early, and felt such despair at the length of the line.  I decided WTH, may as well get the 4-day pass for 62€, and didn’t have to get in that long line.  I meandered around until a few minutes before opening, got in the short line, and was inside in under ten minutes.  Same thing at Versailles.

That small goes to the left at the opening of this video is my line (caution: I swear at the end).  That little group.  That long line is just ONE of the general entry lines.  The Museum Pass is worth skipping that line.  Every other site I have ever come by says to add up the costs of what you want to do, and if it’s less than the cost of the pass, to skip the pass.  Well, NO.  Get the pass anyway.  Take my word on this.  By the time Versailles opened, that long line there looked very short compared to what it was at opening time.  Your time has value.  Do you want to wait in that line for four hours, or get in and get to do stuff?

I myself nearly fell for the “add up what you want to do,” and what changed that was the day last year when I got to the Louvre over 2 hours before opening, and went down to the “secret” entrance where the line is shorter than the main entrance, thinking I’d be somewhere between maybe and 50th and 100th in line, and instead…OMG, the line was so, so long that I thought it wouldn’t end and started to feel dismayed.  I kept walking, and walking, and walking, and gave up on the idea of getting in at all, and decided to just find the end and see how long it was.  I finally found it after several minutes of walking.  By some freaky coincidence, it ended near a little shop selling the Paris Museum Pass.  I gladly plunked down the 62€ for a 4-day pass, and decided to salvage my day (heh…having to salvage a day in Paris…but I was very sad at that point) by seeing how long it would take me to get in.  I killed some time in this little underground mall, then went to the special pass line nearer to opening, and holy schnikes, folks.  I was in literally within ten minutes.  That line gets the priority.  They let that line in, then start on the regular line at the main door.  If more people get in the pass line, they go to those people, get them through security, then go back to the regular line.  The other line I found didn’t have a pass line near it, but they were still going to take forever.  I went to the Louvre and Versailles, which was 33€, and I can’t remember what third thing I did on that pass, but it didn’t total 62€ in admission.  But damn, was it ever worth my time.  Even if it had only been those two things, it was worth not having to deal with being in line half the day.  As far as Versailles, I was in fast enough that I got to the Hall of Mirrors in time to get a photo with only the docent in it.

Cody and I will get the 6-day passes when he’s in Paris.  148€ will cover pretty much all of our entertainment for six days, and fast-track us on the things he wants to do.  (I say “he wants to do” because I told him to give me a list of the things he most wants to see–as I figure it, I’ll be here 2 weeks more this time, and was here 2 months last year, and have had my time, and so his eight days here should be centered around what he wants to see.)

Now what about phones?  That’s trickier to answer.  Our cell plan is $10 per 24-hour period for everything unlimited.  For 25 days, this would mean $250 for my phone.  But last year I had my phone unlocked for $110.  So this year, I’m starting off with 34,90€ for a new SIM and 12GB of data from SFR.  Instead of using cellular for calls, I use WhatsApp, and that’s free.  Have everyone you want to talk to sign up.  Literally it’s free.  I’ll use that through data or WiFi.  My better value.  But my husband’s phone isn’t currently unlocked.  The 8 days he’ll be here will be $80 through out cell company IF he uses his own phone everyday, or $110 just to unlock his phone.  Even if he used his phone everyday, that would mean he’d come out ahead using his phone like normal.  But since he’ll use my phone with any remaining data, he won’t need to use his phone everyday, and getting 12GB would be 34€.  So it’s not a cut-and-dry answer. Longer than 14 or so days, and it’s definitely cheaper to have a phone unlocked and get an SFR.  Shorter than that, and it depends on your carrier.

Now! Onto…

So let’s see what is spent overall to give an accurate, real-time accounting of what Paris costs, and where expenses can be shaved.

Pre-leaving expenses paid, in currency used:
Flights to Paris and home, extra baggage: $733.53 for me
Flights to Paris and home: $505 for Cody
AirBNB: $851.28 for the ENTIRE TIME
Flight to London and back to Paris, extra baggage an seating upgrade: $112
AirBNB London: $90
V&A membership: 70€
$2291.81 and 70€
ALL of the HUGE expenses for the month were paid before I left.

TBP means To Be Paid.  These may change, but likely won’t.

Tuesday, March 5th:
Navigo Découverte (now called Île-de-France Moblité) charge for the month: 75,20€
Île-de-France Moblité card for Cody, not charged: 5€
SFR SIM and 12GB date for my phone: 34,90€
Marks & Spencer groceries (this’ll last 4-5 days): 64,90€
Produce at overpriced market (I didn’t feel like up to the grocery proper): 10,64€
Crépe Grand Marnier: 4€
Huge chocolate meringue: 2€
Coin purse: 3€
3 scarves: 15€
Most of the “big” expenses to be paid while on this this are out of the way now. 210.64€
Running total: $2291.81 and 284,64€

Wednesday, March 6th:
Palais Garnier: 12€ (website said 14€, but was 12€ since I like to go without tour guides)
Souvenirs: 41,50€
Croissants: 2,60€ for 2 (expensive for Paris…usually under 1€ each)
Grocery snacks things: 27,65€
Running total: $2291.81 and 368,39€

Thursday, March 7th: Notre Dame
Bra-shopping: 20.15€
Souvenir-ish shopping (rain started, got some rain stuff): 27€
Running total: $2291.81 and 416,08€

Friday, March 8th:
Lindt chocolate: 9.24€
Marks & Spencer: 41.85€
Running total: $2291.81 and 467,17€

Saturday March 9th:
Crépe Grand Marnier: 4.50€
Marks & Spencer: 35,18€
Robert-François Damiens letter: 100€
Running total: $2291.81 and 606,35€

Sunday, March 10th:
none–stayed in for the day

Monday, March 11th:
Train to London: 23.50£
Coat check: 4£
Shopping for books, etc: 141£
Uber to AirBnB: 6.71£
Bus fare: 3.50£
Shopping for pens, notebooks, toiletries: 59.50£
KFC: 3.99£
Running total: $2291.81, 606.35€, and 242.20£

Tuesday, March 12th:
Stuff, lots of little stuff that I didn’t keep track of individually, but about 200£ (I used cash, have a bit left)
Running total: $2291.81, 606.35€, and 442.20£

Wednesday, March 13th:
Souvenir-gift thing for Charlotte: 11£
Bus ticket to Luton: 18£
Uber to apartment: 27,60€
Running total: $2291.81, 633.95€, and 471.20£

Thursday, March 14th:
Crepe Grand Marnier: 4€
Crepe Grand Marnier: 4,50€ (different place)
Hair brush since mine disappeared from my checked bag…weird…and micellar water: 10.98€
Running total: $2291.81, 633.95€, and 471.20£

Friday, March 15th:
6-day Paris museum passes: 148€ for both
Disneyland Mini x 2: 126€
Charging Cody’s Navigo: 22,80€
Groceries: 34,58€
Running total: $2291.81, 965,34€, and 471.20£

Saturday, March 16th:

Sunday, March 17th:

Monday, March 18th:

Tuesday, Match 19th:

Wednesday, March 20th:

Thursday, March 21st:

Friday, March 22nd:

Saturday, March 23rd:

Sunday, March 24th:
TBP: Weekly charge for Cody’s transit: 22,80€

Monday, March 25th:

Tuesday, Match 26th:

Wednesday, March 27th:

Thursday, March 28th:


When did the US start using the imperial system (inches, feet, yards, gallons, etc.), and why?

Some trivia for you:

Q: When did the US start using the imperial system (inches, feet, yards, gallons, etc.), and why?

A: Prior to 1965, even the UK was on the…imperial system. The metric system wasn’t even official in the UK until just 54 years ago. The US didn’t change on this. The rest of the world did.

When global trade started becoming more common, there came a desire for a worldwide standard. France proposed the first metric system in 1790, which was met with considerable resistance. Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg were the first to require its used in 1820, and France followed the mandate in 1837. The alternative was the imperial system, which was too closely associated with Britain to be palatable.

In 1875, most industrialized nations, excluding Britain but including the US, signed the Treaty of the Metre. The definition of a metre has changed over time, though, and a lot more recently than most people realized.

Initially, the definition was one-ten-millionth of the distance between the equator and the north pole. You might see the problem with this. The earth isn’t entirely spherical. So which ten-millionth? For which starting point? Thanks, France.

In 1983, the definition moved away from geographical distance to using lightwaves. As far as we know, light travels at the same speed, or some such nonsense that will be debunked a few centuries from now, as everything seems to be.

It had been changed in the meantime between 1791, when the first meter was officially set, and 1983, when it was set at its current length, the most recent prior it 1983 being 1960. The 17th Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures now defines a meter as:

The weight of the kilogram has also changed over time, including in the past few months, but I don’t work in weight, making this really irrelevant, though still interesting. Here is a starting point for your own research on this, and how there are three keys kept in separate locations that all must be brought together to access the official kilogram, which is a physical object kept under a series of bell jars, Whoville-style.

Seriously.  It is.  The real one rarely sees the light of day because Science, but this is a replica.  Now off you get to do your own research.

Consider this your  moment.

Nutcracker and the Four Realms

(Highlight the text in brackets to see potential spoilers.)

Although this movie did very badly (and deservingly so for changing the story beyond all recognition…if they’d just called it The Four Realms and use different names, I think they’d have done better), the costumes are gorgeous, and the sets are stunning. You have no idea how annoyed I am that such amazing designs were basically wasted on a movie that isn’t good. When I saw the promotional photos and the dolls and the other pretty stuff, I hoped so hard that they wouldn’t mess it up.  Just look at these.  Wow.  No joke on that part.  Almost any single still shot looks like an individual piece of art.

But when it turned out that the only things this movie has in common with the VERY-well-know version of the story we absolutely all know practically from birth is that a girl gets a gift {one gets a Nutcracker, the other an egg}) on Christmas Eve, and ends up in a magical world {(one really through a dream/”The prince takes her”, and the other through a wardrobe…like Narnia}, and the names, I knew it wasn’t going to end well.  And it hasn’t.  And those are all it has in common.  Period.  The Nutcracker stand-in is a {human} from the get-go, the gift came from a different person{(a gift from her dead mother)}, a relative in the story we know is {dead (her mother)} and there’s another relation who has no point {(she has an older sister)}…

I’ve read summary after summary, from several different reviewers, and the summaries are pretty consistent, and sounds like it could have made a semi-interesting story if it had been treated as its own original story to begin with.  Don’t offer someone warm chocolate brownies, and then give them an icicle and tell them it’s your version of brownies.  The icicle may be good, but after anticipating that brownie, it’s a let-down.

I’m still trying to decide if I want to spend $16.50 to see this movie when it would be just for the costumes.  If I went, the worst is I’d be out $16.50, which is less than Disney’s $110-mil loss so far (plus promotional expenses) (it’s made about $20mil worldwide on a budget of $130mil).  There’s no rush to decide.

But I do want to recreate some of the gowns.  So far, I haven’t seen any fan-names.   I also haven’t seen many people consider themselves to be fans of the movie.  So blue dress, queen dress {(she finds out she’s a queen…yes, a queen)}?  And Sugarplum’s costume name is obvious. She has one. And she’s Sugarplum.

So I will be attempting something of a costume study on them. Regardless of the story, I suspect there will be people wanting to cosplay, or who are just plain interested in more.

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.5, Miscellaneous

Today’s post is fairly simple, just a look at the McFarlane Jareth figurine (link goes to Amazon’s listing).  I ordered this figuring, not expecting a lot, but was stunned to see how beautiful it is.  I like to buy figurines like this to compare them to the original things, and just because they’re fun to collect.

All photos are from McFarlane, except the one at the table by a Cornish game hen.  That’s mine.

This figurine looks so much better in person, and the photos are pretty sweet.

Right away the real difference that is apparent is that there is gold on the coat, and the it’s a lighter shade of blue.  But just look at that face, that face, that dangerous face…

I mustn’t be unwise…those lips, that nose, those eyes…could lead to my demise…. (Bonus points to those who can name the reference.)

Yes, he looks this realistic in person.

As you can see above, the black lace is blue on this figure.

His mask is amazing.  The bones on the hand at the end!!

And here is the big difference I don’t care so much for.  The three drips of lace and beading in the back or one dip.  The swirls of gold make me think of an 80’s denim jacked.  But the face…

I really don’t mean to turn this into a review, just a good view of the figurine.  I find that looking at similarities and differences between the real deal and figurines can make me notice detail in the real thing that I might otherwise miss.  (Edit to add:  In my home, Jareth held a place of honor on Christmas, and we gave thanks to our god, David Bowie 😀 )

Also, I’ve found that a new figure is coming out in June of 2019!  Dance Magic!  You bet this is pre-ordered.

Anyway, I will continue to be on the look-out for figurines, and lament the lack of anything Sarah.