La Rentree

La Rentree

My least favorite word en francais…

La rentree.

The end of vacation.

The end of summer.

The return to school, the back to work.

Four other words I dislike?

Last day in Paris.

Le sigh.

And, while we’re chatting…

How, oh HOW am I fitting all of this into my suitcase?

Wait – just you wait – until you see all of A Perfect Event’s new goodies for every and all possible celebration.

Exuding French Essence

Exuding French Essence

Do you dream a little dream, of your French Life?

I do.

Daily.

Hourly perhaps.

Maybe that’s underestimating it.

One Christmas years ago, my mother gave me the most gorgeous book I have
ever laid eyes on.

My French Life, by Vicki Archer.

It is still, oh so many years later, my prized possession, at the top of
the stack on the coffee table, so I can glimpse it’s gorgeousness at every
pass.

Inside this glossy, enchanting tome the fabulous French fantasy, she shares
her life in France.

I love this book not only for the mouthwatering full bleed photographs
gracing every page – but also for the writing.

Vicki is such a prolific, elegant, intoxicating writer – and hits every
high note with beautiful prose.

Her lifelong dreams became a reality when her family bought a farmhouse in
one of my own personal favorite sunny villages, Saint Rémy de Provence.

She spent three years lovingly restoring the farmhouse, bringing the
abandoned fruit orchards back to life and planting an olive grove of more
than two thousand trees. Her story a very personal tale of taking risks,
facing challenges and falling in love with all things French. The
photographs are breathtaking, oversized and emotional – taken by her
supremely talented friend Carla Coulson – both lavish and exquisite in
every way.

To open the cover, is to be transported instantly inside the beauty of
French life, simply by flipping through the pretty pages.

My own personal time machine, right in my Chicago living room. (To be
honest is didn’t leave my bedside for a few years – but I panicked someone
would leave a water ring with a drinking glass – the book is as big as my
nightstand.)

*Vicki’s second book is **equally beyond beautiful, and* is a celebration
of life in Provence, one of the most charming regions of France. She
believes that ambience, and living life with ambience is the unique
ingredient that differentiates life in France.

Hear, hear.

How I so agree…and thus defines my deep seeded belief that I was
absolutely born in the wrong country.

To quote French Essence: "There is something about the French and the style
in which they live – their ability to blend all the senses – that makes for
a life filled with emotion and a life in which the senses are forever
stimulated." More beyond breathtaking photographs, by Carla Coulson, of
timeless interiors, of charming Provencal towns and villages, of private
gardens and breathtaking landscapes illustrate what Vicki likes to call,
‘French sense’.

Well imagine my excitement when over a few friendly emails, Vicki and I
planned a brocante morning meet up in Provence – at one of her favorites –
Villeneuve les Avignon.

We met at the shady Sycamore covered cafe cart. We chatted, we sipped,
sharing stories of small business, writing books, blogging, and favorite
everythings in Paris and Provence.

It was heaven.

And now – guess WHAT?

Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Vicki, my favorite esteemed author, is writing for our sweet little
eMagazine, A Perfect Event.

Double Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Her story this fall, Postcards from Provence, has left me quite speechless.

It is perfection.

Filled with her own mesmerizing photography, sharing snippets of Provence
in the fall, you won’t be able to take your eyes off of her.

What an issue we are loading up – non?

Just a few more days – this Saturday – September 1st – the premiere
September Issue, A Perfect Event, launches.

I know I am not getting any sleep in Paris wrapping up the perfect
entertaining magazine – and I know the team in Chicago is the same.

Bravo, bravo – just F.O.U.R. more days.

To buy your own coffee table collection of Vicki’s books, click here:
vickiarcher.com/books

To follow her daily musings, click here: vickiarcher.com

Photo: Vicki Archer, French Essence

*
*

Tongue in Cheek-ing en Provence

Tongue in Cheek-ing en Provence

I’ve spent the afternoon doing the incredible.

It was so fun – I simply cannot stop smiling.

Do you have a favorite blog?

A blog that you just love love love?

Do you just jump at the keyboard to open it up when it pops into your inbox?

Well I have one.

Truth be told – many a one…but I digress.

Imagine waking up each day, in Chicago, fresh from a perfectly pretty
French dream.

You bound out of bed – and there, ready and waiting, right on your laptop
screen is Tongue in Cheek, written by the enchanting and intoxicating Corey
Amaro.

My mother first got me hooked – I must give credit.

Corey’s daily tales are woven from her experiences of living and loving
France.

Her beautiful posts are insightful on so many levels – as a designer, a
hostess, a francophile, a blogger, a photographer, a writer, a mother, a
wife, a sister, a friend, a hunter and gatherer every brocante she can find
– and perhaps one of my favorites – a historian – sharing the meanings and
stories behind treasure troves of vintage collections.

Her tales of are of linens, of letters, of vintage scraps, and moments of
these worn true objects whispering in her ear.

She writes:

“…life is too short to say no…

I left a beautiful country on a yes for love…

love has lessons that nothing better can give.”

As we headed to France in July, my darling mother graciously, generously
sent Corey a copy of my book, “A Perfect Event”. She emailed her, said I
would be in Provence…so on, and so on.

I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be oh so amazing to meet her – to share
with her how her daily posts bring so much inspiration and love to my life
in Chicago, my mother’s in Connecticut, and so many women everywhere across
the globe.

I emailed her.

Trying not to sound too big a super-fan.

She of course, being the caring soul that she is, emailed right back, and
we setup a date to meet.

I warned her I was traveling with two small children.

Who can be quite loud, young Americans that they are.

Ever so brave, Corey invited us in, welcomed us with opened arms into her
home in Provence, up in the mountains above Cassis.

Even though on a strict diet, she walked to the Boulongerie, bought the
loveliest pastel cakes you have ever seen…chilled French Champagne…set
antique trays with porcelain, silver, crystal, moroccan tea cups for the
children.

(Ahem – could you imagine how I squealed when I saw those??)

Walking through her gorgeous home, lounging outside in her magazine spread
of a jardin, we chatted and chatted and chatted some more – for many hours.

As you can see – the kids loved every minute of it, just as much as I did.

She spun tale after tale of life in the south…raising her children,
writing, brocante-ing, enterpreneur-ing…each more mesmerizing than the
last.
She’s a Northern California girl, who fell in love in San Francisco.

WIth a frenchman.

Their eyes first locked at the club I-BEAM.

I love that.

H spoke a few words in English and she spoke three words in French.

1. moi
2. beaucoup-buckets
3. oh-la-la

L’amour followed, bien sur, and lucky ducky Corey moved to south of France.

When she first arrived, her new French husband had a tiny apartment.

Without any “feather-fluff!”

And so her flea market passion began, by transforming their tiny apartment
into a love nest.

And now – guess what?

You won’t believe this DREAM come TRUE.

You can read about her daily adventures at the brocante and elsewhere, by
following her as one of our tastemakers in our new eMagazine, “A Perfect
Event” – launching next weekend.

In our first premiere September Issue, out (online!) next Saturday, we
feature her fully feathered and coifed love nest, in the south of France.

I am at a loss for mere words to describe…

AND – we are opening a brocante together in the eMagazine.

(insert all of Corey’s original three comments en francais here.)

And of course you can also follow the darling Corey Amaro daily here:
Tongue in Cheek: http://www.willows95988.typepad.com

A bientot!

Cassis Chic

Cassis Chic

Ahhh….Cassis.

Such a favorite – and one of the prettiest, sparkling little towns in
Provence, hugging the cliffs of the Medierranean.

Just driving down into Cassis is breathtaking.

Winding, narrow, twisted mountainside roads, along sun kissed vineyard
after vineyard, descend down into the village, like an old fashioned roller
coaster ride…especially with my "I can drive just like a European"
husband at the wheel.

At heart, a pastel painted fishing village, Cassis is famous for so much.

Fishing the jewel like harbor, coral work, olive oil, wine-making, and the
Stone of Cassis.

You see the quarries of Cassis are most amazing – and put the town on the
map.

Masonry in France is a huge industry – and local Cassis stone including
cement and limestone make up all of the large Mediterranean ports in the
south – not to mention french sinks, swimming pools and more.

And – did you know – Cassis gave a most special gift to NYC?

It is the Stone of Cassis that makes up the base of our fair lady, the
Statue of Liberty.

Add to this charming colorful pastel buildings along the port, old village
streets from the 16th century, splashing fountains along the harbor and
squares, open air artist markets as sailboats bob in the sea…it is pure
Mediterranean magic.

Visiting with les enfants? Well, let me mention, that right smack dab in
the middle of town is a lovely petite beach – perfect in every way for
children.

And of course, ahem, we are in France, there is a lovely cafe that sits
right on the beach – serving up seaside staples and frites, bien sur.

But in my family, Cassis is most famous for our first en famille wine
tasting.

We came for a summer visit many years ago, and were oh so enchanted with
every winery that we drove by.

We pulled up into one, unloaded the kids, then 2 and 4 years old, and
marched into the picturesque stone farmhouse.

En francais – "would we like to taste?"

Oui – yes – svp – merci beaucoup.

The winemaker walked us to an old vintage barrel turned tasting table, and
plopped down 4 glasses.

One for each of us.

Bien sur.

Why wouldn’t the children sip right along with us?

This is France, after all.

Join us to fete Fall this week at BHLDN

Join us to fete Fall this week at BHLDN

Oh my.

You do not want to miss this.

Join us, on Thursday, from 5-8 at the loveliest little spot in the entire
city, BHLDN.

(pronounced "beholden", if you haven’t already been, fallen in love, and
are now seriously obsessed like we are).

We are setting a petite table trend that is just heaven sent: a Sweets for
the Sweethearts table for two.

Mixing our favorite new and vintage pieces from A Perfect Event, with our
tiny, tasty treats from The CB, a candy bar (now open inside A Perfect
Event!), with the adorable accoutrements from – you guessed it – BHLDN’s
newest fall collection.

Stay tuned for sneak peeks, behind the scenes, and watch our autumnal
inpsiration…come to life.

Adorable Avignon

Adorable Avignon

Is it just me, or is Provence as pretty as a postcard, at each and every turn?

Take this tiny hole in the wall grocer – the first one around the corner from our charming little house on rue Franche.

I was just running to the market for fruit and milk, I didn’t even bring my camera.

And as I stepped inside, and rounded the corner from produce to dairy – voila!

Gorgeous turn of the century carved moldings, arches, aged washed walls giving this crammed corner the ultimate french touch of elegance.

Unbelievable, non?

Lesson learned. Always bring the camera.

A bientot…

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