Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Books.





So, the whole family is in town. Visiting royals from distant lands have converged on Nolandia. to celebrate, all Kindle Books are on Sale for $1.99. Yup, all of 'em. So, if you have an upcoming trip or a few spare moments you'd like to fill with love and adventure whilst drinking tea on the couch, I got you covered (with books).

From today until Friday snag any Alexandria V Nolan book for half price on Amazon. So, book lovers, rejoice. Cheap books are always worth celebrating.

Click this link to go to My Amazon Page and Order Away!

Did you know that I LOVE book clubs? If you have a book club that would like to feature my book I can get you special pricing on both Kindle and Paperback versions. See my contact page on this blog for information! 


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Malmaison







Now, I may be silly or ignorant. Or, heck, probably both, but I can't help but think of the latin root, MAL, whenever I think of Malmaison. Mal, meaning bad, essentially. As in, malnourished, malevolent, malicious, malcontent. It has negative connotations, surely. Does it mean, bad house? Bad mansion? I'm sure I could easily google it, but I kind of like that I have to wonder about it, instead of knowing.

In any case, as a complete Napoleon-o-phile, Mr. Nolandia was dying to make the trip out to Josephine's Malmaison just outside Paris. While it was no Chantilly in either grandeur or magnificence, there was something poignant and stirring about Malmaison.

 Perhaps it is because although Napoleon and Josephine seem larger than life in many ways, they are also very human. Their rise and run of luck and power and fame could happen to anyone. Or rather, the opportunity is there. It's a very American kind of dream, I think. Because the Bonaparte family was not born as royalty, they were not handed down power from generations that wielded it before them. Instead, both Napoleon and Josephine, through their own posturing and conniving and powerful personality carved out a new niche for themselves in the France they lived in. And though I am not as whole heartedly taken by Josephine as Mr. Nolandia is with Napoleon, she is a woman you can't help but respect. Just look at her beautiful house.

Anyway, the rooms were quiet, and sumptuously appointed, but the cacophony of the past echoes from the walls still. Napoleon's bed, his toilet (FOR REAL), Josephine's chambers both private and public give the humanity back to these historical figures.

In the end, isn't that why we look to the people of the past? To find a little of ourselves within them? To see how they really were, just as human and lost, and sad and joyous and triumphant as we are?

So, Malmaison. Not a bad house, but certainly a naughty kind of one, a retreat from the pressures of Paris and a world on its own. A place where one can picture garden parties and love, and heartbreak and life. Human life. If one can ever really believe Napoleon and his legendary Josephine were truly human.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chantilly Castle






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Chantilly brings to mine lace and thick whipped cream. But, the name comes from a gorgeous castle complex on the outskirts of Paris. A Beauty and the Beast kind of castle, with stables filled with thoroughbred horses, tiny little ponies and a myriad of sad looking donkeys. But, don’t worry, even amongst the luxury, splendor and rich history of a European castle—I still kept my eyes peeled for whipped cream.

The correct train from Paris to Chantilly was difficult to find. The instructions on TripAdvisor had made it seem like a direct route, as if the steps one should take through the terminal were outlined on the ground, or there were arrows from one platform to the next. But, no. Instead, there was a lot of hectic yelling and palms hitting foreheads at the ticket machine as we tried to ascertain the correct zone we needed tickets for. In the end, we bought the ticket that went to ALL the zones at a whopping 35 euros a piece. Which, in the end, of course, was also wrong. We needed a ticket for outside the zones. Which only cost 8 euros each. Obviously. 

Nevertheless, the train station at Chantilly is small, and no one excepting the two of us disembarked there, (after being soundly told off by the agent for our incorrect tickets.) The walk to the castle is quite a hike, but the vision of the castle looming on the horizon is enough to keep you stepping. Large stray cats dot the walkway and peer with an expression that is in itself very French and disdainful, yellow eyes glowing up at you, as if one isn’t even worth begging from. 

The first sight is the stables, which is also where tickets are purchased. We had apparently arrived too late for some type of of film about the castle, which we were not at all put out about, but right on time for the horses—who were not at all pleased to have visitors. After a cursory walk through, we approached the castle. 

Chantilly is certainly beautiful, with a bright white stone facade appearing to rise like a fairyland  amidst the glass of the lake surrounding it. The light blue roof and the sprouting wildflower-like turrets  make the sight both fairytale and formidable. A vision of unbelievable beauty and strength. Not only the brawn of stone, but the fortitude of centuries standing as an immovable glacier in the blue of the water. 

The interior of the castle is impressively gilded, with gorgeous furnishings and paintings which the docents did not seem amused by my jokes about stealing. (They really would have looked perfect in the living room!) Chantilly houses possibly the greatest artwork in France—excepting only the Louvre—including two works by Raphael and one by Botticelli. 

But after a time, I must admit that the grandeur of the castle pales with the needs of the stomach, and it was then that the castle restaurant called my name.

Would any trip to Chantilly be complete without the aforementioned Chantilly cream? Is there any more supreme experience—even when compared with paintings by the masters— than eating real, authentic, Chantilly cream? I didn’t think so either. 

An hour later, appetites sated by a bowl full of thick, fat-filled Chantilly’s finest and a bottle of wine, we waddled our stomachs back to the little train station. There, we bought the correct tickets to return to the City of Light, and tried not to think of how sick we both felt from too much cream. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Paris, in the winter sun













I wrote last week that Paris is most beautiful at night. But, perhaps, after looking through these photos again, I realize I am wrong. Paris is especially stunning in the light of morning. 
Maybe the truth is that there is no light that is unflattering to Paris.

(would that were true of my own complexion!)

The air was crisp, but, surprisingly, not too cold. The city was joyous and resplendent, filled with Christmas markets and hawkers with roasting chestnuts and hot mulled wine. The macaron shops were full of patrons, each taking much too long to select the flavors they wanted in their posh, Christmas edition, macaron gift boxes. Ostensibly being purchased for a party, or as a gift, but my cold American heart figured they were really being purchased to be eaten, one by one, hastily and without remorse by the purchaser, with nary a thought of sharing. 

Everywhere, were little dogs. Little dogs on leashes and little dogs in arms, being carried about like living mufflers for bejeweled aristocratic hands. Little dogs with sweaters and with bows, and once, a very large cat that thought perhaps she were a dog, or a tiny human, and very much acted like one. 

There was chocolate chaud, which Mr. Nolandia kept calling "hot chaud" which, translated, means "hot hot" and is not the chocolatey treat he was envisioning and made for many a raised eyebrow at the cafe. There were overly expensive dinners, and sommeliers explaining wine that we could care less about the year or the location, and simply wished they would shut up and slog it into our eager glasses. 

Oddly, there was macaroni and cheese. And perhaps the finest offering of which that I have ever had the pleasure of sinking into my stomach. Small tears escape even as I type these words, at the thought of how far away that carbohydrate and dairy filled delight is from my eager mouth. The city of love, indeed. I will admit I fell hopelessly so, and remain steadfast to that macaroni. 


It was a joyous holiday, a beautiful, shining Christmas that we will never forget. Paris is never too small, nor do we ever tire of the city. It is always with a feeling of "just one more day..." that we leave, knowing that no amount of days would be enough.

xx

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tradlands



I recently read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, like everyone else did. And after getting rid of gobs of garbage, I surveyed my now-airy closet and assessed for items that it lacked. I noted the need for a plain pair of black pumps, and also...the need for a crisp, white oxford to wear with dress pants or with shorts, or by itself with sunglasses as I slide across the wood floor, Tom-Cruise style.


So, this company, Tradlands, came up on my radar, and after reading the info on their website I was blown away. American-Made shirts brought to you by a husband and wife duo with a passion for detail, customer service and craftsmanship. These are menswear inspired shirts, heirloom quality, designed and created for women.

Which tickled the American pride in my heart, and also the tomboy that lives inside my skin.

So, I'm proud to partner with Tradlands and offer Nolandia readers 20% off until January 31st, with code: nolandia

So, check out their full line and support this dope-ass company that makes us all believe a little more in the 'Murican dream.

Shop Tradlands and don't forget code: nolandia for 20% off your purchase!

xx

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Paris by Night













They told us not to go. They told us that it was dangerous. They said it was reckless to go on with our plans and, "hadn't we better switch to something else? Somewhere outside Paris? Somewhere outside France? We hadn't bought our tickets already, surely?"

But, we didn't listen. We didn't even think about listening. And not because we are noble or brave, but because we love Paris. And we our heart set on spending Christmas there. No terrorist attack was going to change the City of Light for us. 

And so, to Paris we went. And yes, there were quite a few more soldiers armed to the teeth roaming the streets, but other than that, it was Paris as usual. Shopping, art, savories and sweets, the imbibing of wines from the Loire and Burgundy and Bordeaux. It was "Bonjour" and "Bonsoir mon ami" and "Merci beaucoup!" and "Deux macarons s'il vous plaît!"

And Paris by night was its most lovely and romantic. We walked along the Seine, glove in glove, and watched the lights of the brightest spot in the planet shine on the ripples of the water. 

They told us not to go. As if they could stop us. 

xx

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Starlight Symphonies on the Fussy Librarian




Tell your mother, tell your father, yell it on through the town:
 Starlight Symphonies of Oak & Glass is being featured today on the Fussy Librarian. 
To celebrate, snag the Kindle Version for only 99¢!


Click on over to the The Fussy Librarian website to browse the feature or to be matched with books according to your interests, or just order MY book right from Amazon. 

Happy Almost New Years, buttheads! Paris posts coming your way soon!
xx

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Joyeux Noël



A very Merry Christmas from Nolandia, live from Paris. 

As a gift, please find the Kindle versions of:

on sale for only $1.99 a piece. 

Snuggle up next to the fire with a good book and have yourself a merry little holiday season.

xx

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Paris Christmas



Christmas in Paris. It sounds like a dream, like a fantasy. When I was a little girl, I used to believe Paris was a fairytale kind of place, like Camelot or Narnia. A place too beautiful and fanciful and full of light to be a real place in geography.

As an adult, in the several times I have been there I have seen that it is in fact real, and due to recent events, it is all too obvious to the world that it is a place prey to terrorism and evil.  But it is also still vibrant bright light and magic. It is a place that transcends the imagination, becoming even more of a delight to walk about it, peruse in, sip in, kiss in.... than it is in one's imagination.

And so, we return. To sip pots of chocolat chaud, and munch macarons and throwback starry-light champagne and to fall in love again with each other, and life, and Paris and Christmas.

xx

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Moonlight Melodies + Starlight Symphonies



The holidays are here, like it or lump it. (How does one 'lump it', by the by?) Anyway, they're here, and if you are traveling, flying, sitting with relatives, crying at home by yourself, you probably need a good book. Or two.

Well, you're in luck. The Kindle sale on Starlight Symphonies & Moonlight Melodies has been extended. Why? Because it's almost ChristKwanzannukah. And also, because I am lazy and I haven't changed the price yet. But more because it's the holidays and I'd like more people to find my books, hopefully like them, and then become lifelong fans and/or friends/adorers of my work.

Anyway, two novels, parts 1 & 2 in the series (book 3 scheduled for late 2016) at a reduced price just in time for all of your holidays needs. You're welcome. And also, thank you. Yes, you. You're the best.

Order Starlight Symphonies of Oak & Glass by clicking: HERE
Order Moonlight Melodies of Copper & Pine by clicking: HERE


xx
See you back next week 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Michigan Travels









Michigan is home. Nolandia traveled the miles from Houston to Michigan over Thanksgiving weekend, and we were rewarded with fresh powder soft snow, which then melted into the most glorious russet orange-leaf carpeted woods. 

If you have never been, Northern Michigan is a special place. A place abundant with wineries (hallelujah!) and cherries and table stately pines. Even the Texas born and raised Mr. Nolandia would sell his fingers to live there year round (but only if he could wear several coats at a time). 

The downtown of Traverse City is small, and the main drag, Front Street is full of cute little shops, cafes and restaurants. Just a quick hike from the city lies the forest, so vast and quiet that you forget Lake Michigan and the city is just around the corner. At the edge of the forest and park lies the former Traverse City State Hospital, an asylum I used as the spooky setting for my novella, Shears of Fate

Anyway, I guess what I am saying is, if you think that all there is to Michigan is Detroit, then you're wrong. There's wilderness and beauty beyond your imagination, just a few hours north. Go, visit, travel, see the home I love so dearly. 

And buy Shears of Fate. It's cheap, and it's good. (My mother said so herself.) 

xx



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Paris


The tragedies in Paris and all over the world have pulled on our heartstrings here in Nolandia. Tears shed, grief still pouring, questions lingering. Why, why, why. But, it is Paris that we are talking about. Resilient, elegant, shining Paris. The city we have planned all year to spend our Christmas in. 

So, we will not be ruled by fear or cowed by terror. Instead, we embrace Paris and hold it close, remembering all of the beauty and strength and grace that it has ever shown us. 

I give you, my favorite Paris quotes:

"I've seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, 
whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. 
You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”
-Ernest Hemingway

"You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights. I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe. "                       -Owen Wilson Midnight in Paris
"America is my country and Paris is my hometown." -Gertrude Stein

And finally,
Paris is always a good idea.-Audrey Hepburn

xx travelbugs and armchair explorers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Adventure Continues...



Writing a book is like going home. For me, anyway. Because my books are all set in Michigan, it is a cathartic way to walk the trails and see the sights of my youth. The Michigan that made me. But also the Michigan I could only dream about. I loved my state history class in high school, and was enraptured by the tales of Native American legends. Stories that tried to give meaning to landmarks and places that I visited and wondered about myself. 

Moonlight Melodies of Copper & Pine is the second installment of my Starlight Symphonies trilogy. It tells the story of people living on Mackinac Island in 19th century Michigan. The backdrop is Michigan statehood, Native American disenfranchisement and prejudice, and the magic of an island that seems to exist somehow...a little separately from the rest of the world. If you have ever visited Mackinac, you know that it's true. And if you haven't visited, get on it. Seriously, what are you doing with your life?

The Kindle version is available on Pre-order RIGHT NOW and the paperback version will drop on the 14th. (The same day as the Kindle version will sync right to your device if you pre-order) 

I wil leave you with my favorite paragraph from the book, and hopefully it will tickle your imagination so much that you will pre-order. (here's hoping!)

There is a barrier that exists between the living and the dead. A hard line that cannot be stepped over. What is a ghost, but a collection of memories wrapped in smoke and dressed in shade? What is death but a window into another room, a balcony that overlooks the happenings of a present and future that is closed to the dead? 
(excerpted from Moonlight Melodies of Copper & Pine, Alexandria Nolan, copyright protected)

Pre-Order by clicking this link: Moonlight Melodies PRE-ORDER

xx 
See you next week for updates + fashion related posts

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Everyone Come See How Good I Look


Ok, so I recently found this company--Brass Clothing-- and I think it's safe to say I'm obsessed. I have purchased 4 of their basic dresses (for not so basic bitches) and every one of them has been a smash hit. And not only with me, but with Mr. Nolandia. 

As I've discussed before, I need high-quality, packable, coordinate-able, easy to wear and care for clothing. And this is it. The jackpot. 

I would easily say that the best part is that they pay for your tailoring to ensure that your dress fits perfectly. And their customer service is a dream. Even answering questions like, "Will this dress look good on me?" And taking it seriously. 

Anyway, if you sign up with your e-mail on their website they'll shoot you  a $10 coupon. This post isn't sponsored or anything, I just really, really, dig these dresses and thought you ladies might as well. 

In conclusion: 
  • Dresses fit like a dream--and if they don't, you can have them tailored on Brass' dime
  • Perfect for suitcase folding and travel ready
  • I look amazing in the above photo
  • They have an interesting business model  that you can read about on their website
  • Did you notice how good I look?
  • The dresses are that perfect mix of sexy/classy/I no longer shop in the junior section
  • Me + Brass Dresses= Hot.


Anyway, just paying the good style forward. Check it out: BrassClothing.com

xx