Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff

I just finished reading the book entitled "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff" by Richard Carlson, PH.D. Within the first 10 minutes of the book I had many "ah-ha" moments. This book is now my latest obsession of putting good habits into practice.

As I read the book over a period of 3 weeks I began talking about it constantly. I was astonished to learn that many of my friends had already read the book years ago. To my surprise, I had never heard anyone talk about the book in conversation. Until one day, I called a friend asking her for advice on purchasing a few books as gifts. She immediately suggested this book to me and also suggested that I purchase a copy for myself. I took her suggestion and have not stopped talking about the book since. I find this book so useful that I feel I obliged to pass on it's logical value.

There are multiple chapters in the book that proved to have practical guidance. It would be difficult and too long to list all the chapters that I found helpful, so I will name two to tempt you:

Chapter 89 "If Someone Throws You the Ball, You Don't Have to Catch It".
This is particularly difficult for me because I am someone who really enjoys helping others. I have friends and family who rely on me to help them in various ways and I like to feel needed. However, I am a firm believer that if you take a task or problem on, you do not have the right to complain about it.

This chapter really hit home with practical advice. To quote directly from the book it says "Remembering that you don't have to catch the ball is a very effective way to reduce the stress in your life. Even something terribly simple like answering your phone when you're really too busy to talk is a form of catching the ball. By answering the phone, you are willingly taking part in an interaction that you may not have the time, energy or mind-set for at the present time. By simply not answering the phone, you are taking responsibility for your own peace of mind. The same idea applies to being insulted or criticized. When someone throws an idea or comment in your direction, you can catch it and feel hurt, or you can drop it and go on with your day".

Powerful stuff, right? I can think back on numerous occasions when I really should not have answered my phone but felt obligated to for a variety of reasons. Well, what may have followed after that was requests or demands of my time. It is far more logical to be humble and know your limits. As this book teaches, "life is not an emergency".

Chapter 90 "One More Passing Show".
"Every experience you have ever had is over. Every thought you've ever had, started and finished. Every emotion and mood you've experienced has been replaced by another. You've been happy, sad, jealous, depressed, angry, in love, shamed, proud, and every other conceivable human feeling. Where did they all go? The answer is, no one really knows. All we know is that, eventually, everything disappears into nothingness. Welcoming this truth into your life is the beginning of a liberating adventure."

I especially liked this chapter because it is very easy to focus on emotions when you are a person with feelings of empathy and are sensitive to the feelings of others around you. Yet, everything has a beginning and and end. It is the same thought of "This too shall pass". Once you realize that you aren't destined to suffer from the blues forever, you might be able to sit back and relax when they come. And when you are feeling blissful and carefree, enjoy the moment to the fullest. For it will surely be followed by disappointment or sadness. As the book reminds us, it is just life happening. The quicker you accept all the emotions life has to offer--accomplishments and disappointments--the easier the bad experiences will pass and the good ones will be appreciated.

I also appreciated that this book is made up of 100 short chapters of about 2 pages each. This is great quick reading meaning that you can enjoy the book in small doses. You don't have to read it cover to cover in one week. Take your time, enjoy and let the information sink in. After all, rushing to finish the book would be a contradiction to the title of the book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff". Enjoy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Paris Apartment in Los Angeles - Bathroom

One of my favorite styles of decor is Shabby Chic. I am drawn to how it ties together old country with a bit of French elegance and the use of "distressed" items. The soft tones of pastels that are used in Shabby Chic rooms remind me of the days of Versailles when Marie Antoinette herself redecorated her apartments with pastel blues and pinks.

The bathroom is painted "Windwood Spring" (by Behr Premium Plus Paint) with "Shortbread" (from Dunn Edwards) for the trim. I forgot to take "before" pictures of the bathroom, so you will just have to take my word that it is quite an improvement.


We purchased the shower curtain from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Interestingly, Bed, Bath and Beyond has a few choices should you decide to decorate your bathroom with a French theme. I like the shower curtain because it reminds me of something that I would find at my favorite store Anthropologie. At Anthropologie you can find all sorts of cute items to decorate with--that is, if you are not shopping for clothes of course. I further enhanced my bathroom by creating my own French themed ribbon for decorating boxes and hanging pictures.


I was very fortunate when I made a trip to Ross and found the most beautiful Shabby Chic Chandelier wall art. It matches perfect with the bathroom and brought the whole concept together. What are the odds that I would find these pictures with the exact colors that I was looking for? I struck gold!

I am enjoying my new bathroom. It feels very tranquil and fresh. It is soft, pleasant and welcoming. Enjoying my Paris Apartment (sigh, in Los Angeles) is just another day in my European Style Life.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Paris Apartment in Los Angeles - Kitchen






When we went to Europe earlier this year we spent 3 weeks in the South of France. I had visited the south before, but this time we experienced something truly different. We stayed with friends in Bordeaux and were able to experience the daily life of the people. The friends we stayed with lived in houses and apartments that were gorgeous. Not expensive or over done, but simply lovely.

We fell in love with the decor and culture of the south and so it was easy to decide to bring a little of it into our home here in Los Angeles. Again, we used Dunn Edwards paint. The kitchen is painted "Apricot Glow" with "Whisper" for the cabinets and trim.

I am thrilled that while the Eiffel Tower is not outside my window, I can see the Eiffel Tower each time I am washing the dishes. How is that for fantastic?

From our previous trips to Europe we brought back table linens that work well with our new South of France decor. I love mixing the yellow with the different shades of blue and red. We even found a few wall accents that say "Bordeaux"!

Our dishes -a wedding present- match our new decor. In addition, our Eiffel Tower wine glasses -a 1o year anniversary present- bring our French dream to life.

Being surrounded by hues of yellow, blue and red is just another day in my European Style Life.


My Paris Apartment in Los Angeles - Living Room



I may not have an apartment in Paris, but that certainly will not stop me from having a Paris Apartment. Having a Paris apartment is a state of mind in my opinion. And I can tell you that I am definitely in a European frame of mind. I recently redecorated my living room, kitchen and bathroom. Now, my little home reflects my European day dreams.

I love the look of my "new" apartment. My "apartment" actually is not an apartment but more of a back house. I took inspiration from a few of my favorite decorating styles and some helpful hints from my sister's apartment. Selecting colors for paint is nearly half the battle. My brother-in-law helped me pick out some colors via telephone and email. Viola! We were ready to get started.

We used paint by Dunn Edwards. The living room is painted "Teracotta Sand" with "Shortbread" for the trim.
It took 2 days with the help of my mother to paint the living room and kitchen. And then I painted the bathroom on my own on another day. It was an exhausting experience. With a few trips to Home Depot, Target, Marshall's, Ross and Bed, Bath and Beyond I am happy I painted and even happier that it is over!

I simply adore my extra large art work of not only the Eiffel Tower, but of the city of Paris. In this picture you can see the Seine and it's beautiful bridges. I can't tell you how many times I am watching TV and end up drifting off and gazing at my beautiful picture of Paris. Maybe this view of Paris is not right outside my window, but it will have to do for now.

We even added 2 clocks to our wall for a total of 3. We keep track of the time in Paris, Los Angeles and Tokyo. At any given moment we are aware of the time of day for the Parisians.

Gazing into the distance at the lights of Paris is just another day in my European Style Life. In Los Angeles that is.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Parlene Loves Paris

"I love Paris, why, oh why, do I love Pairs?" These are part of the lyrics to the song "I Love Paris" que nous savons bien. As I take time to reflect on my recent trip to Europe back in April of this year, I realize that it was only 6 months ago that I was in my favorite city in the world, Paris.

Many things around me have changed since then and I realized that it was time to bring a little more Frenchiness back into my life. My husband agreed with me and so we picked up this little dream to add to our French decorated home. I may not be able to go to Paris tomorrow, but I can bring Paris to me tonight. We fell in love with this framed photo we found at Ikea. This motif was photographed by Jean-Marc Charles.

With this simple addition to our home we found ourselves staring longingly at the photo on our wall. We remembered when the view was real and within our grasp. In the spring, on our last night in Paris my husband promised to bring me back to France. We cuddled up on a bench and admired the Eiffel Tower from afar and heard the sounds of Paris. We lingered for about an hour and then walked the long way back to our hotel. A perfect night and a perfect end to our 5 weeks in Europe.

Back at home, after my husband hung the photo on the wall I lit a candle and put on a compilation CD of my favorite French songs which I created myself. Sitting in my living room, staring at the Eiffel Tower on my wall is just another day in my European Style Life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Not So Boring Basic Skirt


For several months I have been searching for a grey skirt. I am not sure if it is only because the season has changed, but this year I have been drawn to grey more than usual. And it seems to be that towards the end of summer into autumn and heading into winter I have been wearing a lot of navy blue and grey together. It is a great color pairing. Maybe it is a bit classic, but I like the two colors together.

I had been searching for quite some time for a basic grey skirt. One that can be thrown on at a moments notice with any cardigan and one that could be dressed up with a nice blazer or turtle neck as well. To my delight I found this great skirt at an affordable price of $19.99 on sale at JcPenney. It comes in three colors: black, grey and chocolate herrin.

The skirt has a flattering fit with a surprise pleat-back detailing at the middle bottom in the back. I immediately thought about how cute this would look with boots when I saw the pleating!

I decided to get the skirt in black and grey (if only there was charcoal grey too). And I am considering going back or ordering online the chocolate one too. Adding basic pieces to my wardrobe is just another day in my European Style Life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Parlene On Etsy


"What is that girl up to now?" This is a question that I hear many of my friends ask. As one friend put it "She goes from idea to execution in 0.3 seconds". So what is Parlene up to now? Stay tuned for my new shop that I will be opening on Etsy. Where else would it be?

Oh yes, you may be wondering, "What type of shop will it be?" Well for that my dear, you will have to stay tuned. Don't forget to sign up to follow my blog so you can be notified about my new shop updates and be eligible for my free shop give-a-way when my new shop opens.

Parlene On Etsy

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shabby Chic Pillows on Etsy


For those of you who are familiar with my Etsy shop and who enjoy reading my blog you know that I have a fondness for things with European flavor and all things French. This love led me to Sa-Sea Boutique where you can find cute French themed pillows for your home. I am a fan of the decor Shabby Chic. It has a very soft feel to it and favors European style.

These Chandelier and Paris Hotel pillows are my favorite in the collection. These would look great in a Shabby Chic room and can add much to your theme for a Paris bedroom. FYI, Sa Sea Boutique is offering a buy 2 get one free sale! Shopping handmade items on Etsy is just another day in my European Style Life.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Week on Etsy...Italia Craft

It's official, I am a victim of the bad economy. I was laid-off from my job 4 weeks ago. It is still taking me a while to get used to the idea of not working, but I realize I have time to put some ideas into action.

One thing that I have wanted to do for some time is feature Etsy shops that I adore on my blog. And now here we are with my first pick. Of course, it had to be something European. I have selected Italia Craft. What I personally find interesting about Italia Craft is the style and prints of wallets, lap top cases and more. I am sure you will appreciate the unique style as I do.

Italia Craft has been open since December, 2006 and appears to have quite a following. All items are handmade in Italy. If that is not impressive I am not sure what is. Finding good buys is just another day in my European Style Life.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winner of the European Style Fashion Contest

It is my pleasure to announce that the winner of the 2009 European Style Fashion Contest is Audrey Young of San Diego, California!

Thank you all for participating in the contest. Above is the fashion collage that Audrey submitted as her take on European fashion. Please check back periodically for further contests.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rainy Days with Pride and Prejudice


Yesterday was the first rain of the season here in Southern California. I had been looking forward to this event for several weeks. I was temporarily satisfied last week when I took a one week trip to the east coast and experienced rain.

Now that autumn has officially started and we are experiencing the season, there is something to be said for sitting in the comfort of your own living room, listening to the rainfall outside and enjoying a cup of tea. I increased my rainy day experience by watching the 2005 version of "Pride and Prejudice". I find it difficult to believe that the movie opened four years ago!

While watching the movie I engaged in other activities such as laundry and checking email. That is really half the fun of watching a movie you know so well. You can get up and do other things and listen to the movie around the house and then scurry back for your favorite scenes.

I like the part where Lydia Bennet has returned home after her patched up marriage to Wickham. I enjoy watching her behave in such a ridiculous fashion. Her sister, Elizabeth Bennet looks at her and her new husband with contempt. As Lydia throws her dishonorable marriage in the face of her unmarried sisters you can not help but be delighted that you know soon Jane and Elizabeth Bennet will marry for love. And it just happens to be that their future husbands Mr. Bingley and Mr.
Darcy are filthy rich. It is amusing to watch Lydia make a fool of herself.

One of my favorite things to
do while watching Jane Austin movies is to match the characters with people I know. It is a fun game to play as you realize that decades may pass, but people and personalities stay the same. Everyone has a Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins in their life. If you are fortunate, you end up with Mr. Darcy. And hopefully you can avoid conversations in the middle of the night with Lady Catherine de Bourg. If not, remember Elizabeth Bennet who respectfully threw her out of her house (another one of my favorite scenes). I admire her when she says: "You have insulted me in every possible way, and can now have nothing further to say. I must ask you to leave immediately." Only a woman with true grace can tell someone off in such style.

It seems that I can watch Jane Austin movies all day when it is raining outside. I believe I will watch "Emma" next. Watching a Jane Austin movie on a cold rainy day is just another day in my European Style Life.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Temple City Fall Festival Street Faire 2009



This year's Fall Festival in Temple City is promising to be the best ever! As in years past, Branché Boutique has used the Fall Festival to launch new products and this year will be no different.
After much success with the French Market Sale in August, Branché Boutique has been working hard to unveil the winter collection for the Fall Festival.

Please see the location below. For questions or details, please post a comment and I will respond. We hope to see you there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Return of the Parisians, "Le rentree"

King Louis XVI once declared "Is it a revolt"? No! It is "Le rentree"! Everyone knows that Europeans and specifically Parisians go on holiday for several weeks if not the entire summer. When the Parisians return from their holiday in September there is a new bustle in the air. With the enthusiasm of children returning to school and the reopening of open air markets, the gusto of Parisian life fills the air.

The return or “Le rentree” adds much to the general excitement of the life in Paris. It is an opportunity to have a fresh start and enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas of everyday life as the Parisians know it . Click on the link and indulge your senses as you take pleasure in the sounds of Paris during “Le rentree”. The article is hosted by Eleanor Beardsley and entitled “France Marks Return From Vacation In 'Rentree'”. Vous êtes juilletistes ou aoûtien?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

European Style Fashion Contest

It is here! The first ever Living Euro Style Fashion Contest. It’s just like paper dolls except that you can dress yourself, your friends and share your sense of European style. In your favorite fashion magazine there are always great pages filled with dresses, skirts, belts, bags, shoes, etc. and they all look so beautiful put together like a work of art. Now you can create your own! The website for creating the montage is Polyvore.com. It is incredibly addicting as you search for the perfect skirt to go with the perfect hat and ultra trendy bag! Oh yes, don't forget the scarf! Have fun and be creative.

Creating a montage takes from 15-20 minutes. Please see the rules below and start shopping and pasting! The deadline for submission is October 15, 2009. Please send an email with any questions. You may view my fashion montage on my homepage under “How To Dress Like A European Woman”. Americans learning to dress like Europeans is just another day in my European Style Life.

Contest Rules:
1. Winner will be chosen at the discretion of the author of this website on the merits of the most unique, stylish and European inspired.
2. Participant agrees to have fashion montage posted on my website and to be used any way deemed appropriate.
3. Entries will be received from September 9, 2009 to October 15, 2009. Entry submissions must be submitted by email to parleneparis@sbcglobal.net and must include full name, mailing address and email address.
4. Entries should include at least one listing from my personal website, Branché Boutique by Parlene. It need not be a wearable item. This may require uploading photos. (Click on the link for instructions.) If you have a difficult time uploading photos, you may submit an entry without using an item from my Etsy site. It's all in good fun!
5. Entries must be created using Polyvore format.
6. One Starbucks gift card valued at $20 will be awarded to the winner within 2 weeks of the announced winner. The winner will be notified by email. The prize will be mailed via USPS. Participant may not request a monetary value of the prize. The monetary value of the prize is less than one cent.

The Bank Dance and 500 Days of Summer

Still can't get enough of 500 Days of Summer and those swanky frocks? Well, neither can I! I am as hooked on this movie and soundtrack as I was when I saw Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. Ah, but I bet you didn't know there was a "Bank Dance". Well, only us who are down with 80's music and skinny ties know about this one...Enjoy. Simply click the play button. video

The Bank Dance from "500 Days of Summer"


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Retro Chic and The Perfect Dress

It happens every once in a long while, you buy a dress that you absolutely fall in love with. This is no everyday occurrence. In fact, it probably is not an annual occurrence either. It usually happens on an unexpected shopping day. It might be a bright sunny day or a perfectly dowdy day.

In my case, it was neither. It was a smokey day in Los Angeles due to all the fires. I decided to pop my head into my favorite shop, Anthropologie and “just look around”. With one deep breath I walked into my happy place. A shop filled with beautiful clothes and who always burns the same scented candle which I have at home.

There it was hanging in all its glory, a beautiful silk dress in my favorite classic color, navy blue. I quickly searched to see if they had carried it in my size. Voila! They had my size. I was promptly asked if I would like a dressing room to be started. Mais bien sur! (Click on the photos to find out where to buy these clothes.)

What attracted me to this dress was that it reminded me of a dress that I once owned when I was 19 years old. It was a silk navy blue dress with little cream flowers that had a little belt around the waist (just as this one does). My new dress is not truly similar in style, but it took me back to the time that I wore my little navy blue dress on my first date with the man who I am married to.

I remember so clearly as if it were last week. I got ready for our first date one night in February 1996 and slipped into my navy silk dress which I had bought on sale at Banana Republic. We went to listen to big band music at a restaurant in Long Beach, California. I am not even sure if the restaurant is still there. As I tried on this pictured dress in the dressing room it took me back to that lovely night; how I felt, how he smelled, and the thrill of holding hands for the first time. And even then, just as he does now, he wore a Pollo shirt with Docker pants. I remember feeling so feminine as he led me to the dance floor in my vintage styled navy dress that I paired with black Mary Janes. What a great night it was.



Trying on the new dress, I stayed in the dressing room for 30 minutes admiring the dress that was soon to be mine. And I thought of the comment my hubby made to me recently after watching the movie “500 Days of Summer”. My hubby told me that her style reminds him of my style and that the clothes she wears in the movie he can picture me wearing. Retro Chic is the name of this fashion style that I adore. It is not easy to find this type of clothing, but when I do, it is one of those days where shopping meets bliss. Finding a dress that is worthy of love is just another day in my European Style Life.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reaching the Front Page of Etsy

More great news regarding Etsy, I was featured on the Front Page of Etsy on Monday, July 27th! This is a great accomplishment! I am very excited about this triumph as it is nearly impossible to reach the Front Page of Etsy. I’ve heard about it, I’ve dreamed about it and now I can talk about it. Please join my celebration of making it to the Front Page and post links to your favorite Etsy items in the comments field. Thanks and have a GrEtsy day! To view my item on the Front Page please click here. This link will take you to the home page of Etsy where you will see my item for the entire day. To view items from my boutique click here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

1st Annual French Market Accessory Sale South Pasadena, Los Angeles Area


1st Annual Branché Open House SALE!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
8:00am-4:00pm
185 Hampden Terrace Alhambra, CA 91801


Grab a girlfriend and pop in for accessory shopping! Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets, Cocktail Hats, Fascinators, Headbands, French themed items and MORE! Prices starting at $5.00.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sound of Music Train Station Dance in Belgium


This video was made in Antwerp, Belgium Central Train Station on March 23 2009. With no warning to the people passing through the station at 8:00 am a recording of Julie Andrews singing 'Do, Re, Mi' begins to play on the public address system. As amused passengers watch in amazement, some 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and from station entrances. The result is an amazing performance pulled together after just two rehearsals!

"It was a publicity stunt for a reality show, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone, they just like it for what it is: a really cool, well shot video, that lets average people express their joy and talent and make those around them happy for a brief period. The producers chose the exact right song: one that harkens back to our childhoods."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Los Angeles Etsyians on Etsy


I was fortunate enough to make it into an Etsy treasury! Actually, this is my second time. It is a little exciting considering that I have an Open House Sale (click to get the details) coming up on August 1, 2009. I hope that this new treasury will turn people on to my shop. Oui, you can French shop online. I am working hard to keep my shop so Ooh La La. If you have any items that you'd like to see more of, please post a comment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

YMI Jeans, Cocktail Hats, Fascinators and Everything French



Recently my handmade hair accessories were featured on YMIJeans.com. I am thrilled to have my creations showcased on a trendy site. Thanks YMI! To read the story click here. To check out my Branché Boutique click here.

Don't forget about the 1st Annual Branché French Market Open House SALE!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
8:00am-4:00pm
185 Hampden Terrace
Alhambra, CA 91801

Thursday, June 18, 2009

French Market Open House Accessory Sale Los Angeles, Pasadena Area


"I may not live in France yet, but that will not stop me from having a French Market."

1st Annual Branché French Market Open House SALE!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
8:00am-4:00pm
185 Hampden Terrace
Alhambra, CA 91801

  • Grab a girlfriend and pop in for accessory and French themed shopping!
  • Prices starting at $5.00.
  • Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets, Cocktail Hats, Fascinators, Headbands, Home Decor and MORE!
 
 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Le Supermarché

Spending five weeks in Europe gave me ample opportunity to go grocery shopping. I was able to live my dream of walking to the grocery store in Europe and of walking home carrying glorious cheeses and yogurts among other novelty items.

Once I purchased my reusable sacs I was ready to hit the stores. I carried my reusable sacs with me in my purse so that I was ready at any moment. I successfully carried out an everyday European task and shopped with the locals at open air markets, Carrefour and Auchan. I was even able to resolve a discrepancy at the grocery store when I was charged for an item I did not purchase. I promptly received a reimbursement and an apology. Not bad for a foreigner eh?

Going to the grocery in France is more of a pleasure than a chore. To start, in France the grocery store is called “Le Supermarché”. It already sounds like you are going some place fabulous just by saying it with your best French accent.

When you enter le supermarché you are surrounded by sights and scents that are brilliant yet unfamiliar. You stroll down aisle after aisle of wonderful foods. It is difficult to resist touching and picking up everything that catches your eye. It is like a carnival for your senses.

I was especially smitten when I arrived at the tea aisle. There were teas from different parts of Europe and flavors that you can not purchase in the United States. It was confusing to know just how many boxes would fit into my suitcase. So, I did what any other girl would do. I loaded up my cart and worried about how to fit it into my suitcase later.

Actually living my dream of going to le supermarché in France is just another day in my European Style Life.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Shopping In Paris

Today the weather was great! It was a brisk 50 degrees and sunny in Paris. All the Parisians were out to play and enjoy the warm sun. We enjoyed walking on the Boulevard Haussman. We have been to Paris 3 times before but have never visited the Gallerie LaFayette. It is a shopping paradise.

Les Gallerie LaFayette has everything your heart could desire, but with prices that will give you a heart attack. Fortunately for us, we happened to be here during their annual 3 day sale. Most sales or "solde" do not happen until the summer time in Paris. But as we were here during their "3J" we were able to indulge in an otherwise "tres cher" shopping area.

I enjoyed trying on (not purchasing) a beautiful hat that was priced at 300 euro. C'est tres jolie, mais tres cher. But I had fun trying it on anyway. Even the shoes at a reduced price were 100-355 euro on sale! I've never seen such beautiful things! It made for great "window shopping".

Enjoying a sunny day window shopping in Paris is just another day in my European style life.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just Another Day In Paris

Today, I had the opportunity to do something that I'd always dreamed about: walking to the marché in Paris to buy fresh bread and wine. Oui, after a long day around the city I walked to the marché wearing a dress, coat, scarf and hat. Just like the Parisians. The bread was fresh and hot to my delightful surprise. The thought did occur to me to take a picture in the marché with the baguette, but that would have totally given me away as an american. So, I do not have a photo of this momentous event. I have only these written words and my memory of an everyday event in Paris that is not so everyday in my life. Walking to the marché in Paris is just another day in my European style life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Our First Day In Paris

After a long 11 hour flight, all one can hope to do is try to get over jet lag. So far so good. I actually felt less than beaten up by the flight this time. Perhaps it was because there were so many great movies on our flight that I did not even miss our DVD player that we mistakenly forgot at home. That is not to say that I did not miss watching French Kiss and Ratatouille on board as I had planned. C'est la vie. With Air France's selection of American and French films, the time pretty much "flew" by.

I think I might have slept on the plane for two hours. When I woke up we only had 2 1/2 hours before landing in my favorite city in the world, Paris. Upon arrival we checked into our hotel where we promtly went to sleep for a solid four hours. Next, we exited the hotel and walked around looking for a place to have a much anticipated sandwich. Mmmmmm, French bread. You could have put cardboard in the middle of the sandwich and I would not have noticed. It's been so long since I've had true French bread. Delicious! Simple, mais delicieux!

Alors, now I am ready to head back to my beautiful hotel room, watch some French TV (French spoken at the rate of le TGV) and have the sweetest dreams that one can only have in Paris. Bon nuit!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Europe Travel Essentials

Traveling to Europe makes any girl happy. But recently, I was able to find a bit more happiness when I was given a Kate Spade Cosmetic Case as a departing gift. Whimsical navy blue polka dots decorate my new favorite traveling accessory. Kate Spade possesses the savoir-faire and gives bountiful pockets that are beautifully lined with contrasting stripes in navy blue. Far too cute to be hidden away in my carry-on, I am conspiring a way to make my traveling cosmetic case a part of my on-flight outfit.

Generously included with my cosmetic case were some Europe essentials. One of the items is a traveling favorite of mine, Leg Lifts by Origins has saved my tired legs and feet many times. Now, whenever I travel to Europe I take along the undoubtedly needed Leg Lifts. After returning to my hotel after a long day of sight seeing and museum strolling, Leg Lifts does the trick. This amazing product includes invigorating Menthol, Cypress, Peppermint and Cedar wood. Ah, feel the cool tingle!

All of these lovely gifts are assisting me in getting one step closer to boarding my Air France flight. Kate Spade bag? Check! Leg Lifts? Check! Passport? Check!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Air France, Non-stop Los Angeles to Paris

In just 12 days from now when I take my Air France non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Paris it will be exactly 2 years to the day from my last trip to Europe. It feels like an eternity. I long to see the Eiffel Tower from above as the plane begins to make the descent. I yearn to hear the flight attendant say “Welcome to Paris”. I ache to be greeted with “Bonjour Madame” and to say “Merci” at every opportunity. But alas, I must suffer through an 11 hour flight first.

It’s a small price to pay if it get’s me France. I do, however, enjoy flying on Air France for a few different reasons. The first reason is that as soon as you get to the airport, no matter what city you live in, you start your European experience. From the moment you enter the Air France terminal you are surrounded by Europeans. You can quickly begin to speak French as soon you reach the ticket counter and continue using French with the flight attendants on the plane. Not to mention the ever so fashionable female flight attendants that leave you wondering, “where can I pick up one of those darling little navy blue suits with an accenting scarf”?

Another reason is the food on Air France. We know all too well that airplane food is nothing to write home about, but on Air France you definitely are served a better meal. Usually, you are served French yogurt, bread and cheese along with other French food items. And of course, on international flights the wine is offered at no cost. Voila! Free French wine. What a great way to start your vacation.

I can’t hide my enthusiasm when we are dropped off at the airport by friends or family when they ask “Which terminal are you flying out of”? I ardently respond with a contented smile and respond “Air France, please”. Air France, non-stop Los Angeles to Paris will be departing shortly.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Packing for Europe - Wardrobe Hysteria

Packing for Europe is not to be taken lightly. I leave for Europe in 18 days. I can visualize myself sitting in a café sipping coffee and eating a croissant wearing a beret. But, how many berets should a girl pack is the question.

Packing has always been a challenge for me. Especially since I am naturally an organizer, I like to be prepared for every possible situation. This state of wardrobe hysteria has led me to over pack on my last 3 trips to Europe. I absolutely refuse to allow this to happen again. I have limited myself to a rolling duffle bag and a maximum weight of 30 pounds.

The last time we traveled we were slammed with fees because our luggage weighed too much. Our luggage of course was filled with wine bottles, perfume bottles and other things that we had acquired while traveling around in Europe. But this time, I am determined to get the upper hand on the new airline weight restrictions.

I have told my friends that before I pay another luggage fee, I will wear all my clothes on the plane and tie my shoes around my neck as a scarf. I am reminded of Joey from “Friends” who wanted to get even with Chandler so he wore all of Chandler’s clothes. As Joey so nicely stated "Could I be wearing any more clothes"? Joey was not wearing clothing to avoid a luggage weight fee (though that does seem like something Joey would do) it's a great idea all the same.

Using my strength of being prepared and organized, I created a spreadsheet of clothing and made sure that the items I am taking allow me several uses. I have my items narrowed down to

3 dresses
3 skirts
2 pairs of pants
7 sweaters and blouses, how else can I “mix and match”?
3 pairs of shoes
3 berets

Packing for a nearly 5 week trip is no easy task. I’d like to hear your ideas on how you pack for extended trips.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Walking to the Grocery Store

Yesterday I did something that I have never done before in California…I walked to the grocery store. As part of my effort to reach 10,000 steps per day, I decided to get two things done at once. After being at work all day and making my efforts to get in my 10,000, I needed just a couple more thousand to reach my goal. So, I headed off to the grocery store on foot. The photo doesn't really convey my trip to the grocery store. But in my idealistic life in Europe, I'd wear this type of outfit to the marché as I walk my dog named "Fifi".

This outing had to be one of those little trips to the grocery store where I would not need to pick up many heavy items. It all worked out. As I used by “Visez Vert” reusable canvas bag that has the Eiffel Tower on it, I felt like a true European as I carried home fresh bread and veggies.

After I arrived at home, I made dinner, cleaned up and started making hats. I may not live in Europe yet, but walking to the grocery store and making hats after dinner is just another day in my European Style Life.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Daily Excercise

In this day and age every person I know is on a non-stop routine that leaves little time for anything but necessities. So I decided to put exercising near the top of my list and make it a priority. I have finally begun an exercise program that seems to be feasible for me.

As I enter week 3 of my new routine, I wonder why it took me so long to make this commitment to myself. I now exercise 4 times a week for 3o minutes. In addition, my daily goal is to take 10,000 steps. This totals up to 3.5 miles per day. This is no easy task since I work in an office and stare at a computer all day long.

I am now more aware of getting up and moving around. I use every opportunity as a way to help me reach my 10,000 step daily goal. I purchased a pedometer for $9.99 which helps me track steps taken, calories burned and miles walked. It's fascinating.

Getting a daily dose of exercise is just another day in my European Style Life.