Monday, May 31, 2010

Roam Around The World!

My 50th birthday was yesterday, but I've been celebrating this birthday from the time I booked my trip to Paris, way back in March, and will continue to celebrate straight through September, when the trip will actually happen.

This was my birthday cake, which we had last week ...
And my friend in Australia sent me a whole mess of birthday gifts, one to open any time I feel I need a "lift" OR all at once.
And yesterday I went to see Sex and The City 2 with my friend Kate, who gave me the card with the quote on it "Roam abroad in the world, and take thy fill of its enjoyments," pictured above. Kate also gave me this cute little book ...
Its pages are filled with artwork and impassioned descriptions of the spirit of Paris to be found at many famous sites throughout the city.

I'm getting ready to roam and can't wait - until Paris!

Friday, May 28, 2010


The power of the internet.
Macarons. At the top of my Facebook page next to a personalized ad for coupons in my [insert name of city].

They know I like them! Well, I think they are pretty. 
I have yet to taste one...

"The Last Time I Saw Paris"

In preparation from my upcoming trip to Paris, and I watched "The Last Time I Saw Paris." 
Elizabeth is Taylor is beautiful in this flick! Halfway through the movie, she cuts her hair short and looks so gamine - like these famous gamine girls, one of whom is French ...
Here's a clip from the movie:
You can watch the movie - in full - online by clicking here.

"The Last Time I Saw Paris" is loosely based on the famous F. Scott Fitzgerald short story "Babylon Revisited" and stars Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson - along with a very young Roger Moore (who I never knew was so handsome, almost statue/Greek godlike). I enjoyed the snips of French spoken here and there in the movie. It tells the tale of Americans living in Paris, their dalliances and brush with fortune, as well as tragedy. At one point in the movie, Elizabeth Taylor's character, Helen - dressed in a yellow dress - is arrested for swimming in a public fountain and her husband has to go and get her. Later, they stop in a bar where an artist paints a picture of Helen emerging from the fountain in her yellow dress.

I wonder if the Paris bar where Helen is painted on the wall actually exists - does anyone know? Maybe I will have to go and look for it.

Until Paris ...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This Would Be Better To Post in février

The phrase "Embrasses moi" reminds me of this song ... do you remember it?

Kick off your shoes and sit right down
Loosen off that pretty French gown
Let me pour you a good long drink
Ooh baby don't you hesitate cause

Tonights the night
It's gonna be alright
Cause I love you girl
Ain't nobody gonna stop us now

- Rod Stewart, Tonight's The Night

At the end of this 70's song by the British rocker, his then girlfriend moans and mummers in French what sounds to me like ,"Embrasses moi."

Well, this was my French lesson for today. Until Paris ...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Did you get yours yet?

C'est la gift - with purchase. At makeup counters near you ... or check it out at What a cute tote with the Eiffel Tower on it! After all, it's all about the Eiffel. Leave it to Lancôme ...
Hmmm, might be good for my upcoming trip. The tiny makeup and skin treatment products are just the right size for flight! Birthday gift hint, hint ... : )

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Five Paintings We'll Miss In Paris ...

Here's a portion of one of them! And if you watch the video below, you can learn about the others ...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sex, The City and The Macarons

You see them, right?
How can you miss them?
They are the macarons ~ in the Sex and The City 2 movie, coming out next week. They play a starring role of sorts. Women fall for them. They are irresistible!

NPR reported about the trendiness of this French treat back in February, 2010 ... but look - they misspelled "Macaroon"! It's actually - as all of you Paris bloggers and blog readers know - "macaron." 

I have never tasted one and vow that I never will ...

ღ♥♥ღ´¯`•.¸¸. Until Paris! ღ♥♥ღ´¯`•.¸¸.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Monet Moment

So ... did I tell you? I'm not just going to Paris. As you can probably guess from the name of this post, I'm also going to Giverny ... to visit Monet's garden and home. It's part of our tour itinerary. We'll be travelling by train, along the banks of the Seine, to Vernon in the beautiful region of Normandy. 

This book - "Monet" by Christoph Heinrich (published in 2000), is one I bought - probably on sale in the bargain bin at my local bookstore - years ago. I remember reading it, and as I look back at its pages, I find it exciting to think that in less than five months, I'll be there in PERSON.
This is my mouse pad ~ yep, that's "a Monet." I don't know the name of this painting, and I should. It's been under my hand now for - oh, I dunno - over five years, I'd say. 
Using a simple palette, Monet created dreamy worlds with his magnificent strokes. "According to James Heard in his book Paint Like Monet, analysis of Monet's paintings show Monet used these nine colors:
(Note: Yes, that's one color - "ivory black" - in the list above, not ivory and black. Ivory Black is actually Pigment Black 9, made from charred bones.)

The back of my Monet book shows a black and white photo of the painter in his garden. He looks like a gnome with his hat and long beard, standing amidst the lush leaves and trees all around him.

Too bad I am not going to see Monet's gardens in the spring. That's the best time to see everything in bloom, full of color and life. I'll be there at the end of September. The flowers may not be all in bloom, but at least there will be leaves . And maybe Monet's fantôme!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not French Vogue but ...

(From Lucky magazine, May 2010)
Click to enlarge and read "A Chanel lipstick is kind of the ultimate, no?" I agree - it is kind of the ultimate thing to pamper your lips! I remember my first tube ... it smelled like ROSES
When I was young, everything I knew about Paris I learned from magazines.
I started reading McCall's and Seventeen magazine, then went onto Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Vogue (not French Vogue, I didn't know back then that they even had such a thing). And from there, it just sky-rocketed and I become a magazine junkie, preferring a good magazine over a good book any day.

Back to the subject of what to pack ...

The tour guide for my upcoming escorted group trip recently sent us a letter. I quote, "Helpful packing tips! ... Comfortable shoes are a must! Nice but casual slacks, sweaters/sweater sets/jackets, dressy casual tee shirts will be very appropriate for the itinerary. September is usually a pleasant month and can be comfortable in the day but cool at night, so bring a jacket and/or sweater. You will have lots of opportunities to buy a scarf at markets or shops .... No tennis shoes or black athletic shoes are allowed on the boat. Please do not plan to wear athletic-type jackets or fleece pullovers for the cruise." (We're going on an evening dinner cruise along the Seine.)

Well, to all of that I reply, "But of course!" I'm the kind of person who dresses up to go to a movie or to go out to lunch with a friend.
I like dressing up as much as reading magazines and looking at all of the different ways that I can dress up. Don't you?

Until Paris ... 132 days.

Monday, May 10, 2010

La Faute à Fidel

Going against the grain of my tour guide who suggested books to read, I've been on a French film kick, with four movies under my belt in oh, what, two weeks. One is awaiting me on my DVD. My trick of late is to search for films to record from cable using the keyword function working with the DVD. I plug in "Paris" or "French" and see what comes up. (Ah, I just realized I haven't searched using the word "France." Must do that.)
Anyway, I just finished watching this film - La Faute à Fidel (Blame It On Fidel) - featuring an enchanting performance by Nina Kervel, who plays young Anna. In this movie, you can see how little Anna's Spanish-born lawyer father and French journalist-turned-writer mother decide to say goodbye to their bourgeois life and work in the name of human rights. The little boy who plays Anna's brother is adorable, too. Has anyone seen this one?

P.S. I also caught a movie called "Before Sunset" playing on cable, which is a film that one of you recommended I should see, and I taped it on my DVD - that's next in the line-up of French films to watch. : )

Until Paris ...

Friday, May 7, 2010

What Kind of Girl Am I? Très Femme!

Step into my office and your gaze will surely fall on two cork boards that I painted gold and decorated with all sorts of magazine clippings, cards, drawings, and so forth. They are a testament to my love of fashion and "girly-girl" things.
Well, my fiftieth birthday is coming up on Memorial Day weekend (May 30th). As you recall, that's the whole impetus for my upcoming trip to Paris, turning fifty. And if you look on one of my cork boards, you'll see a card that mon pare made me one year. It says, "Love you Cindy" and has a picture of a little girl holding an American flag.
The photo of the little girl sitting on a bench with the sun in her eyes, wearing a heavy jacket, is me as a child.
Of course, my little Bichon Frise is represented with some doggie related bits and pieces.

An idea - perhaps I should take all of the things off the board and put up new things, and make these my Paris inspiration boards? On second thought, that is what this blog is all about. A better idea - when I return from my upcoming trip to Paris, I will put up souvenirs that I bring back with me, so I can remember my trip for years to come. So here are the before shots of my office cork boards - and in less than five months from now, I will have the after shots to share with you, one bit at a time.

Have a lovely weekend ~ here in the States, we will celebrate Mother's Day on May 9th. But in France, Mother's Day is Fête des Mères and often celebrated on June 7th (a French tradition that was inaugurated by Napoleon and made official in 1950). This year it's on a different day - according to a comment by Karin - May 30th, my birthday! Read Karin's comment to this post to learn why ...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Paris Planning Activities of Late

Here's what I've been up to:

1) This morning: Walk the dog listening to a fifteen-minute Coffee Break French iPod podcast that I downloaded from iTunes for free. I listened to Lesson 3 a few times now. Today was the last day, and I am ready now for Lesson 4. The instructor suggested that I go online and do the worksheets offered there to reinforce what I am learning, but I am lazy. I love listening to the two who give the lessons - Mark and Anna - they speak English with Scottish accents and their French is, from what I can tell, quite good! Mark sounds like Gerard Butler. This morning, I wondered what they looked like. I just looked at their photos on the Coffee Break French web site ... now I know! : ) Since I have their web site bookmarked now, I guess I'll be less lazy and try to follow up my podcast lessons with online activities.

2) Last night:  Watched a great movie ... "Paris, Je t'aime" (2006). Here's the trailer, from YouTube.

Gosh, this was PERFECT for getting in the mood to visit Paris! Someone wrote a comment on my blog about not worrying about being prepare if it rains in Paris, but be prepared to fall in love. In this movie, one woman is a middle-aged letter carrier from the States who visits Paris by herself and falls in love with ... well, don't want to spoil the movie for you, even though it's just one of the many love stories in this quirky, sentimental and joyous movie that's like a book of short stories - some funny, some very poignant. Who's seen it??? Which was your favorite segment? Hard to pick just one ... they're so well put together, "the sum is great than the parts," as they say.

P.S. Yes, I already saw the movie Amilee, which someone recently said I should see, when it first came out; that was wonderful, too.

Until Paris ... only 141 days!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Silly Games

Here's my Sorority Life doll - Gaby Doll - dressed in a pink Coco Chanel suit.
Sorority Life is a game on Facebook where you can create a character who organizes events, earn Bonus Points to use for buying cool "glam" like pretty dresses, shoes, and much more. Girls and women - even men - play this game from all over the world. One thing you can do with the game is give your character "lines" to say when she has a showdown with a rival. What should she say when she wins the fight? Or when she loses? Of course, my character now speaks French - in honor of my upcoming trip. She says "Merci!" when she wins, "Au revoir!" when she loses, and her main greeting is the standard "Bon jour." So elementary. I need to work up something wittier...don't you think?

And in the game, you can pick a boyfriend - and of all the boyfriends you can pick, this one looks like a French teen idol!

P.S. Thanks for all of your book suggestions! I am headed to the bookstore and library this week to get started...

From the BBC series on Paris, Blood and Chocolate (Part 2 of 3). Enjoy!

Streets of Paris - I shot this the day I left Paris, on a rainy September morning.

Small group Paris tours for women