French Friday #17: Panier... a tisket a tasket

This Week's French Word
by Mademoiselle Love
Pronounced:   | pahn yay |
Translation: Basket

Mon mari and I decided to go for a little bike stroll through Greenpoint, and after brunch at the adorable Jimmy's, it was time for a little tasse de café, and that's how we ended up at Spina. If you ever think, "I want to grab a coffee, a donut and a cactus", this is the place for you. I really wanted to buy a cute cactus at this coffee shop inside of a flower shop, but then I thought ... If only I had a panier...

is simply the French word for basket, but, mon dieu, does it sound better in French, and the anglophone world has caught on. Do not be surprised if you ask for a bike basket at your local bike shop, and they respond, "You mean, a panier?" Man, that bike salesman is sounding very Simone, non

Simone is currently taking Amy Lynn on a tour of her homeland, and they are just in time to check out the Tour de France! Today it is passing through the city of Tours in the Loire Valley, and the girls are excited to get a peek at the riders.

Amy Lynn: Those bikers look very serious with their spandex and all that bike gear. They don't look as stylish as I thought they would look...

Simone: Amy Lynn, OMG, what part of bike race don't you understand?

Amy Lynn: Sorry... but I still feel like they could look a little cuter. If I were in the Tour de France, I would wear a super cute outfit, and my bike would definitely have a cool basket attached to it.

Simone: OMG... whatever! I don't know why I take you anywhere! And anyway, it's called a panier now, not a basket!

Don't forget to check out the Tour de France this year! It ends on July 22nd! And, by the way, the bikers are pretty hot - even without their paniers!
Merci Beaucoup,
Mademoiselle Love
jenée sais quoi here: 
                 Once again, I love Mademoiselle Love's lesson today because I have noticed panier sneaking up in fashion lately. It first came to my attention in the spring of 2012 when every fashion magazine from Paris to New York continued to highlight this Dolce & Gabbana handbag.
As a handbag designer we would refer to this kind of bag as a Basket bag or Basket Style bag, for obvious reasons - it's made of straw and structured like a basket. Though, a few times it crossed my path being called a Panier since in fashion we are more apt to adopting the French names of objects. 

Another fashionable obsession taking over the States is cycling in the city as a mode of transportation, not just for sport. A bike basket is essential in this case as one needs a place to put a handbag or other items you pick up along the way like a cactus. A person strolling along with a basket full of flowers and baguette is the epitome of chicIn this case as well, some bike sites I have visited offer a bike + panier. You can thank us later when you are in the know and do not need a translation at le bike store or the boutique. 

The Origin of "La Tasse de Café", French for "the cup of coffee"
is a morning radio show out of Ville Platte, Louisiana on KVPI-FM
My dad listens to it regularly to keep up with his Cajun French as he now doesn't have much opportunity to speak it in Louisiana where the language is disappearing. 
Since I'm from Cajun land in Louisiana, with a serious interest in fashion and Mademoiselle Love, a Louisiana girl too, who is head over heels in love with everything French and everything coffee, it was only fitting we pay tribute to our roots and our new found loves.
Tune in to KVPI every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 8:45AM (NY time) for your Cajun French lesson and come back to the blog every Friday for more French lessons from Mademoiselle Love. We will discuss useful French  words or expressions for the fashionable girl, but to make it even more enjoyable, we will do it over a very fashionable cup of coffee.

Summer Lovin - What to Love

The end of this week will be the Summer Solstice.  It does sorta make me want to worship the sun at this time of year (ok not in super hot Louisiana), but here in the North East, summer is divine. A new season brings new stylish trends and new hair up-dos, but it also brings new adventures. Though, the extra long days are reason enough to celebrate because it allows more time for all things to love about summer.... like.....

biking, queens, graffiti
Urban bike rides with friends in the city is one of the best summer activities. It's social, it's healthy and if you like biking, it's fun. In the city, it's quite an adventure. I love finally getting to bike with out bundling up in cold weather gear. (bike outfit ideas here)  This summer New Yorkers have a bike share program - it's one of the best ideas I've come across. It's also in London and Washington DC
It's also possible to find yourself biking next to Bill Cunningham


Picking fruit from trees and vines in summer time is a clear memory. Eating freshly picked fruit or making pies from fresh berries are part of life's most wonderful simple pleasures. Eat more fresh fruit! and be inspired

At this time of year, even the guys show more skin... The change of season brings out new styles and ideas even vogue could not predict.

glamour sunglasses, vintage bathing suit, head scarf
Beach days  - need i say more?!?!
OK, fine: Coconut cocktails, trashy books, Vintage bathing suits, Jumping in waves, Watermelon... Sun Tan!!!!

If there is a sound of summer, it's reggae. Break out your Bob Marley and chill out. 
These guys were rockin at the Jimmy Cliff, Celebrate Brooklyn Concert last summer.
Currently, this song makes us dance all over the house

Sailing Style
The beach is getting pretty close to one of natures most powerful forces - but steering a vessel in it puts life into perspective! Sailing is also another great excuse to play dress up. Wondering what to wear on a sailing excursion this summer? Ideas that are practical for the sport but SO STYLISH. Here and Here and Here

Train Trip, Summer Vacation
Getting there is half the fun, right? Well, I suppose it depends. But leaving New York via Grand Central Station is very exciting. The station is beautiful, everyone is excitedly rushing off to somewhere, and it's really sweet to meet you love at the clock in the center as you embark on another adventure. Here I was going for a hippie look as we headed up to Woodstock. 

What do you love most about summer???

Bag of the Day: Bikers need Chrome

Bags & Biking are two of my biggest loves (well, not counting you know who).
Somehow I only recently discovered Chrome Bags.

They are the ultimate bag for anyone that does a lot of biking around the City and does not have a cute basket (like me:) to hold their stylish satchel handbag.

These bags come with a lifetime guarantee and are just cool (as well as incredibly functional).

Chrome Bike Bags
Chrome Bike Bags
At the New York Store, some of the bags are custom made right there!
Chrome Bike Bags
This is the cool chic that sews the bags together.
Chrome Bike Bags
Chrome Store: New York in Soho

Fashion Note: Bike like Armstrong, or at Least Look Good Doing it


Every top story this week is about Lance Armstrong.  I thought,” What do I have to say about Lance Armstrong??? “ While I don’t care to comment on: To Dope or Not to Dope OR Truths & Lies, I do care to comment on how cyclist fashion comes in many interesting categories.

The Cyclist Fashion Scale: Super Spandex to Super Cute

bike butt
Disclaimer - this is not me :(  You can flash your panties or just ride in them

lance armstrong bike
My Super Man. So Strong like ArmStrong  -- Biking in Holland
When I started biking with Ari around the city and startedto tell people I biked, I always made a point to mention that I’m not one of those “spandex” bikers.  Those guys are a whole different breed of bikers aka Lance Armstrong.  When I started biking in New York, I loved it because it was a great way to spend time with my very active boyfriend and opened up opportunities to add new articles to my wardrobe.

Other Couples who Bike in Style
wedding couple with bike
Bride & Groom borrowing our bikes in New Orleans French Quarter

pregnant girl on bike
Andrew and Emily (and Orion) in Amsterdam

spandex bike girl
Girls in Spandex Picture Gallery

 SPANDEX – I suppose it’s super aero dynamic if you’re in a super hurry.  If you’re not in ahurry but going on an extra long ride, I do recommend the bike shorts with the butt padding – sooo comfy

biking with legs in air

SHOW YOUR PANTIES – Sometimes you are wearing a skirt/dressand need to bike somewhere. I’m here to say, it’s ok to flash your panties. It’s actually pretty cute. In this case I suggest ones with ruffles on the bum. Thongs are not suggested as 1) they would not be comfortable and 2) you must have an impeccable derriere

bike with basket

PANNIERS – This is French for Basket. From this day on, the basket on your handlebars is not a basket, IT’S A PANNIER. This will hold your picnic or an extra pair of shoes – what ever the event orders.

biking in queens
Biking in Queens

Once you master New York City Biking, you may not be ready for the Tour De France, but you will be able to bike any city in the world. Getting to see a city by bike is the ultimate tour.  

kissing by bike
Biking in Amsterdam

jenee naquin and ari

Here we are biking in Amsterdam the day after getting engaged. This photo even made it to my favorite girl biking blog: Velojoy for their Valentines 2012 post on Bicycle Crushes

Happy Couples Bike Together
holding hands on bike by skate boarder boy
Biking/ Long Boarding in Bordeaux

So don your spandex or ruffle panties and see the world bybike.

If you are ever in Budapest, our friends run a fantastic bicycle rental. Bike Base

bike in french quarter
Biking in the New Orleans French Quarter

Fashion Note: Chic Bike Parts

Bike Part Earrings: Reclaimed Fashion

My friend Gyorgyi operates a bicycle shop with her partner Imre in Budapest, Hungary during the summer months. In winter they close up shop and travel. It's now tradition to see them every Thanksgiving in New York. It's almost like we are family now.

They are always very generous with gifts from Hungary giving us a little taste of the culture until we finally visit one day. This year I was the recipient of handmade jewelry from Gyorgyi. She makes earring from discarded bicycle parts!!! As an urban biking enthusiast I love having pieces of bike with me even when I'm not cruising around.

So not only can this chic construct and deconstruct a bicycle, but she can turn some of it's less attractive parts into fashion for your ear lobes. Since Gyorgyi never does anything half way she even made really cool packaging.

Thank You Gyorgyi !!!!


This morning was a lazy Monday morning until Bill Cunnningham rode his bike past me. I've never seen him in person. Yes, he was wearing his blue rain jacket in this heat. I'm perked up for sure now.

 I was sitting in my friends car as he rode his bike past us and locked it up nearby. I really wanted to talk to him. Surely he would have admired my Summer/Work style and taken a photo of my Poppy pink Jeans and nautical striped shirt if he had seen me. Hehe.

But I let him go about his morning apprehensive to approach him and possibly annoy him.
I just took a picture later with a relic of his: the infamous bike he uses to zip around the city and get all of his shots


Ari taught me long ago the joys of Urban Biking and I have not stopped since.
HEALTHY: Even if you can’t find time to fit in a yoga class that day, at least if you biked to work, you have your 30 minutes of exercise done for the day
CONVENIENT: In compact cities, where nothing is more than a few miles away, biking is the easiest transportation. It requires no street parking space and there is never “weekend construction” changing your route.
FASHIONABLE : This I always knew but now everyone knows. Biking is Chic. It’s another accessory to express your personal style.

Lady with GI Joe helmet and Head Lamp (couldn't find front bike lite)