Quelqu'un m'a dit

J'adore... Quelqu'un m'a dit.

It is one of my favorites songs.
Here is the French Idol version of it. The contestant is Camelia Jordana.

Interestingly enough, the song was originally written and recorded by France's current First Lady, Carla Bruni. You may recognize the song from the movie 500 Days of Summer with Zooey Deschanel, or perhaps, Le Divorce with Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts, and Stockard Channing.

Although, I have to admit, on all of her albums, it is this tune that shines brightest.... Raphael. The lyrics are lovely, spot on. Who hasn't been this enamored with someone at some time in their life? Or, at least, I hope.

Bruni has made recent headlines for her past as a model. She is also slated to act in an upcoming Woody Allen movie.

It's a Secret

J'adore... a well kept secret.
And today, I would like to share two with you.

Le Book
First and foremost, I apologize for not letting you in on more details of the book sooner.

The working title is currently, There from Here. I have always wanted to write a travel memoir. However, I haven't been able to finance a lengthy trip to anywhere far away. Determined not to let a little thing like that stop me...

I decided to appreciate a far away place from where I already stand... and to write about it.

This means that I spend my free time searching for essences of France, the ones that have floated across the Atlantic and washed up here, along the rocky New England coastline. I have had several lucky finds so far. Finds come in many forms. A lingerie shop here, a cooking class there. Before you know it the Eiffel Tower doesn't feel an entire ocean away.

And yesterday's find brings me to secret number two.

Pain D'Avignon
This lovely little French Bakery is located in Cape Cod on a little side street. You would only know it was there if someone told you. So, of course, I am telling you. Some secrets are meant to be shared. It is most definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the vicinity. Bon Appetit!

Photo from Flickr.

Le No MakeUp

J'adore... the natural, "le no makeup" look.

Except, of course, for the fact that it actually involves makeup, something I have never had any luck with.

Fate smiled on me the other day when PolkaDotGlam mentioned the book "5 Minute Face" by Carmindy in a recent post.

Yes, Carmindy is a little like Simone, Anais, Marie and maybe even Mona Lisa (who hangs out in the Louvre),
a last name is just not needed!

I flipped through the pages of 5 Minute Face and found that it is exactly what I have always wanted but could not find. She outlines the basics. Nothing over the top. The instructions
and illustrations are even easy to follow.

More importantly, with a light, artful touch she takes the stance of enhancing your already existing features vs. always focusing on what you feel is a flaw.

"I believe we must retrain our brains. Instead of searching for what is wrong, we need to focus on what is right - what we already possess that is beautiful. Women are constantly asking me questions like, "Carmindy, how do I make my lips look larger?" Meanwhile, the woman asking has the most extraordinary brown eyes I have ever seen...

Here is my philosophy: When it comes to makeup, I believe in using the right products in the right place to highlight your best features, instead of piling on products to re-create your face or hide perceived flaws.

I don't believe women are flawed or that there is any set standard of beauty..."

After a little more research, I found that Carmindy has created a natural, paraben free (my favorite!) cosmetic line. It is affordable and available at CVS or Drugstore.com - a true nod to France as most French women shop for such things at their local and fully stocked pharmacie.

I am eying up the luminizing face primer already. Oh, I almost forgot, Carmndy has free video tutorials available on her site. Ooh la la, isn't enough. I think I owe this woman my first born child. I have waited a long time for someone to make makeup accessible to me for every day.

PS - She has a newer book that just came out this spring called Crazy Busy Beautiful.

PSS - For those who are more advanced in the art of cosmetic application you may enjoy skimming through Makeup Makeovers by Robert Jones. He is known for creating looks that are girl-next-door-glam.

An Artful Taxi

J'adore... the new Waverly ad campaign.

They have papered and painted everything with their designs from taxi cabs and mailboxes to a line of rowhouses. Stripes and florals are everywhere.

Imagine if the world really looked like this? Actually, come to think of it... why doesn't the world really look like this?! To see more pics in full color click here.

A note about the World of Waverly:

F. Schumacher & Co., a maker of exclusive European fabrics, launched Waverly in 1923 to bring home décor to the emerging market of American consumers who desired accessible style.

Plum Pretty Sugar

J'adore... the fact that I am literally sitting under an avalanche of books. All of them are about France by the way.

And somewhere in one of these heavy rectangles of reading euphoria there lives the prefect quote for this post. A line or two of text that I want to tell you about. It is absolutely brilliant. But I can't find it. I have searched for an hour. Page, upon page, upon page. Yes, it is one of those perfectly imperfect days.

Still, we will have to start somewhere. Eenie Meenie... ok, the book "All You Need to be Impossibly French" it is.

I like this one, a lot. It is not like the others. The author, Helena Frith Powell relocated from England to France. She is a straight shooter. She likes to tell it like it is. No sugar coating. You might want to brace yourself. For example, on page forty-nine...

Her dear friend James tells her that yet another difference between French and English or American women is that French women love to unwind in, here it comes, sexy underwear. As he puts it, on a Sunday morning, lounging around, an English or American girl would be in her tracksuit bottoms and hooded sweatshirt.

I think I would really hate him if he was not really right.

I'll admit it, I have been known to wear this stereotypical stateside uniform at least once or twice... okay, maybe even too many times to count.

In truth, I do not particularly take pleasure in putting on this ensemble. And one should feel good in what they wear. But what is a grown girl to do about it? I'll tell you what. Run. Do not walk. That is right, run directly to the Plum Pretty Sugar shop and blog. I promise you will love the idea of it.

I am not talking about Lingerie, this is even better, it is LOUNGERIE. Where comfort and beauty breathtakingly collide in a wonderful way that will have you wanting to wear it. Soft flowing robes, pretty tanks with matching pajama bottoms... practical and pretty.

The designer (who is incredibly delightful) says it best:

"Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie was borne from the idea of breezy happiness, cozy comfort and easy-living chic. Imagined in dreams, it features giftable, gorgeous silhouettes in whisper-soft fabric in enchanting garden of eden-inspired palettes."

I am over the moon for it all. But if I had to pick only one, I would most definitely give up my tracksuit bottoms and hooded sweatshirt for this... The Short Kimono in Darling Jardin Bleu. In fact, it might be hard to find a women on either side of the Atlantic who wouldn't.

Truth of Beauty

As you may know, today is Mother's Day.

Unfortunately, mine lives too many miles away. I miss her terribly, all of the time.

The beautiful bond between mother and daughter is like nothing else on this earth. I often wonder where does one end and the other begin?

I was searching for an image for this post. One that could capture the truth of today. An honest sentiment. Something real.

I was ecstatic to stumble across the blog "Style and the City".

If my rusty high school French and google translate are even a little accurate, than I can tell you Style and the City is something special. I am grateful to have permission to use the image above.

Style and the City is a blog by French photographer, Kamel Lahmadi, someone who grew tired of societies status quo and quit his fancy magazine job to pursue something perhaps much more meaningful. He spends his days capturing the true beauty of every day people on the streets of Paris. To me, this is romantic, in all the right ways.

And it is important. The world is overwhelmed with manipulated images. Fabrications. Farces. How many times have you flipped through a glossy magazine to snap it closed, feeling like you are somehow less? It brings about an emptiness doesn't it?

Too often we assume there must be something off with ourselves. There isn't.

That uneasiness might be easily explained. The images we see as we turn page after page... on some level, we know, they are not true.

The man and the woman embracing in the advertisement, we know they are not in love. Not at all. It is in their eyes. They have only just met. The woman walking her dog along the Seine, her scarf and hair blowing in the breeze. She is probably allergic to animals and there is most likely at least one wind machine photoshopped out of the way.

There must be a better way. Could you imagine a magazine full of images like the one above? Selling us what is most important in life...

In Full Bloom

J'adore... this vintage brooch bridal bouquet. It makes me want to wed all over again.

Although I love black and white, this bouquet is even prettier in color. Take a peek here.

The designer, Amanda of Fantasy Florals in sunny California creates these stunning bouquets.

Amanda just returned from Europe where she will be working on bouquets for five brides.

It comes as no surprise that her work has been featured in the news as a hot new trend. I personally love the idea of using an inherited piece in the bouquet. Or, dividing the bouquet up, giving your nearest and dearest a tangible piece of the lovely day to take away with them. Memories are what matters most. Always.

And shhhh.... she also recently worked on a celebrity wedding in Napa. No, I didn't ask. And no, she didn't tell. I have to say I kind of like that about both of us! A little discretion never hurt anyone.

One day, if I ever own a boutique, a bouquet like this will definitely be in the window display.

Loves Me, Loves Me Not

J'adore... that I have an aunt who carried a simple bouquet of daisies on her wedding day.

By the way, the French term for daisy is le marguerite. Yes, it's masculine.

The je ne sais quoi that makes a word either feminine or masculine in French completely escapes me. I am more than a little awful at learning new languages.

While we are on the subject of daisies though...

When you were a little girl, growing up stateside, like me, did you play he loves me, he loves me not? You know, the game with the pretty little flower petals.

There was a time when it seemed like such a sweet and idyllic thing to do.

Or, at least, I thought so. Now I see that it is actually a little destructive. It isn't just a beautiful bloom that we are pulling apart piece by piece...

To be so impressionable in age while contemplating ones worth in an all or nothing way on a flower of fate. It is dangerous. Our hearts are at risk. After all, there are only two options. He either loves us and we are worthy. Or he doesn't and.... hmmm, well, that hurts.

I recently read in the book What French Women Know that in France, little girls play this game too, but with a twist. They have more options. As they pull petals they say Il m'aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnement, a la folie, pas du tout.

He loves me a little. A lot. Passionately. Madly. Not at all.

The odds are so much better the French way. Stacked in our favor even. It is doubtful that any man will pull the pas du tout, rendering us completely unworthy of love. Imagine that?

Backwards in High Heels

J'adore... an intelligent, enlightening and even witty read.

I can currently be found on the couch devouring the book Backwards in High Heels. Here is a review.

I have mentioned here on my blog that I am taking an enormous leap of faith by endeavoring to write a book. A book of my very own. A little of it revolves around a rather romantic notion of France, but mostly it is about what it means to be a modern day woman, here, in America.

It is about the way we embrace the expectations of others, struggle with our own authenticity, relish our sisterhood, live the realities of love...

The thing is, writing is lonely work. I am an introvert, so I usually don't mind. However, every once in awhile every writer looks up and wonders if they have lost touch with what is happening around them. When this happens your stomach turns topsy turvy, you swallow hard and have to ask yourself the ultimate question. Will anyone out there relate to this?

By this I, of course, mean the thousands upon thousands of words I have dedicated hours upon hours of my life to. Yeah, it is only a little terrifying to think about... now that you mention it!

Well, anyway, that was my morning.

Needing to get out of the apartment I immediately found myself immersed in the most comforting place I know... the local bookstore. Such a creature of habit. In truth, I have been there so many times that I strongly believe, on some level, I have an internal map of the place. I could work there. Looking for Edith Wharton? Not a problem. According to my invisible catalog you can find her on the far right wall, second shelf from the bottom. As you might imagine, I get terribly upset when they rearrange things.

While I was aimlessly wandering about, I realized that today I went to the bookstore for an ounce of reassurance. I needed to know that the ideas I have been putting to the page will one day find a place in this world. I needed a sign. That is where the book Backwards in Heels: The Impossible Art of Being Female comes in. It practically fell off of the shelf and into my hands. And thank goodness it did. It is an international seller. Imagine that?! And it circles around some of the same thoughts and themes that my own writing has been dedicated to. And it does so with an effervescent, straightforward approach that is so very refreshing and uniquely it's own.

What a relief to know that I might not be that off the mark after all. Women out there are, in fact, concerned about these aspects of their lives. Honestly, I could care less about there being an actual market for my work. I am more concerned with there being a real, live, living, breathing need. A need for sharing ourselves, our lives, our common circumstances of time.

Photo: Flickr

Yours Always, Anthropologie

J'adore... Anthropologie always and forever.

Ok. It is an American company.
But in my defense, it does end in "ie"... and I could browse their store for hours. The colors, the patterns, the artistic displays, and of course, those lovely on location catalogs.

No-one can match them when it comes to getting the creative juices flowing. Rain, Snow, Sun... inspiration abounds every time I turn to them.

I found this scoop in an article by Kelly O'Reilly on the fashion forward ThreadNY blog. Thought you might like it too!

"Anthropologie has tapped French artist Nathalie Lété to create a limited-edition line of four cotton dresses and one skirt, which she'll debut in June with a live painting demonstration in the window of the Fifth Avenue.

Lété has already worked with Anthropologie on an in-store exhibition and housewares, but will mark her entree to garments with the handful of frocks for spring. True to the artist's signature youthful energy, the sundresses come splashed with ebullient floral, butterfly and octopus motifs, with cheeky accents sprinkled throughout like a ladybug lounging near a strap and more... "

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