Ma Vie en Rose
Love List for March 30, 2012
Falling in love with France...
Traveling in style to Sarlat (czar-lah)
It was a sunny Sunday with dark rain clouds on the horizon.
We entered the village and mostly everything was closed. We practically had the town to ourselves, and it was perfect.
We were greeted by old beauty, (the town of was founded in the 8th century) and has cobblestone pedestrian walkways that snaked through downtown, where I stepped through time! France always surprises me, I can travel in any direction and 40 minutes later, I will see different terrain, from the ocean to the mountains, and each little village has its unique and beautiful style, just like Sarlat!
I recently went to a Creative Cooking workshop.
The workshop asked us ladies to bring either a vegtable, grain, or fruit. All of our food was placed together on a small island, and we were given instructions to make either an appetizer, a starter course, the main course, and finally desert.
Marisa, recent guest blogger and writer of the article,
The Importance of Penmenship, and I chose to do the main course.
We made chicken stir fry served with rice, easy and tasty dish that was simple enough, however the difficult part was WORKING TOGETHER!
I thought since Marisa and I are on the same wavelength, we finish each other sentences and know exactly what the other is talking about with a simple hand gesture, NO PROBLEM!
It was interesting to learn that our cooking differences - Marisa, a scientist, approached cooking like a science project - I, a writer, approached cooking like an editor, hacking and adding food like words - also cropped up in our marital relationships.
We both have the qualities of each other's husband! HA! That is the reason we seem to have the same argument for the past couple of years! I speak for only for myself, I think my husband is wait and see type of person, while I am a let's just go type of person! And it wasn't until earlier in the week that I figured this out.
Simple and easy, huh, like cooking with your husband!
We resolved our differences by communication! Again... simple and easy, huh! After we realized how each other approached cooking, we respected each others ways and harmonized like Mozart's The Magic Flute!
In the end, France and her food showed me that French food can lead to world peace, starting within my home.
Ma Vie en Rose
Love List for March 23, 2012
Today's love list I am dedicating to Cyrano de Bergerac himself.
If you haven't read the book, I cannot stress to you how much I love this small 200 or so page book, and how you MUST read it!
As I mentioned in a previous post, there are several different and significant meanings of the word panache!
Earlier this week, the lovely and talented guest blogger, Marisa, wrote about her son's penmenship and writing exercises that not only help develop motor skills, but also encourages the creative process of writing. I love this! When I first read her post, I thought to myself, "Why, How Wonderful!"
I then asked my sweet husband to relay his creative penmenship process, as he just refound a school notebook of his that had the most beautiful written words in it. He told me he did it when he was 5 or 6 years old.
It was stunning!
It looked like a calligraphy writing book. It was beyond beautiful!
That's when he said, "Everybody wrote like that, you had to, it is what we were asked to do," in a matter of fact tone of voice!
As a writer and Gemini, I adore etymology, I love language, I love calligraphy, I love books, I love the written word.
I also find it interesting that my love of all things written has interferred with my communication skills. In other words, I feel smart in my head, I just can't relay it! HA!
However, I think doctors have a name for that... it's called: NORMAL!
So Cyrano... help me be as eloquent and robust as you and above all, let me do it with PANACHE!
The Importance of Panache!
Around the time that Jen first approached me to be a guest blogger, a friend of mine in The States had updated her Facebook status to discuss how her child's school was no longer teaching penmanship. She was outraged.
True, nowadays most of us do just about everything on the computer anyway - from writing letters to mathematical calculations - but penmanship should still be important, she quipped. Penmenship helps kids develop fine motor skills, not to mention that, at some point in our lives, we all have to write something down on paper, like our phone number for a cute guy we meet at a bar (or a fake for Mr. Sketchy)!
And so, with my friend's rant reverberating in my brain, I become much more aware of the handwriting all around me. And I noticed something: all the handwriting looked incredibly similar. From the daily specials listed at our local brasserie to the sign hanging up outside my son's classroom informing me that there was an outbreak of lice in his classroom and to check his head regularly, the French seem to take pride in teaching each generation how to create (yes, create, not write) letters on the page.
And the French don't seem to be alone in this.
It is a very European phenomenon.
For example, here is a letter that my grandmother, who was born in Holland and educated in Belgium, wrote to me in 1996. She was 79 years old at the time and a bit shaky, but you can see how virtually every word is constructed by a single line that has been swished and swirled so elegantly yet so effortlessly after years of practice.
So, I started paying closer attention to my son's school work to see if I could dissect how penmanship is taught here. The French start planting the seeds as early as they possibly can: in the first year of school which, in France, is at the age of 3 years.
My son is goes to his école maternelle from 8:30-4:30 everyday. The kids still get a two-hour rest time and, like most preschools in America, play is encouraged. They have "recrée" (recess) twice a day and, in between, get to draw, do puzzles, or read books. But they also have a curriculum that is set by the National government. And, on the top on their agenda for this first year or "petite section" is to begin to fine-tune the motor skills necessary to achieve that precise, round, beautiful cursive that seemingly flows from the hand onto the page.
In my son's class, the kids are given worksheets during the day that work to fine tune the necessary skills while allowing them to be creative.
Here are a few recent examples:
And, as they say, practice makes perfect (though, in our house I have placed a moratorium on the word "perfect" but that's a different story) so the kids are encouraged to draw draw draw.
My son comes home with at least one drawing a day. And, as you can see, his fine motor skills, and penmanship, have greatly improved. As has his French. But for more on that you should read my blog.
Well, I will leave it at that. I hope I haven't bored you to tears. Though, as my husband points out, if you are reading this line than you must not have been too bored.
A+ (No, I'm not grading myself. This is the French abbreviation for "à plus" which is short for "à plus tard" which is French for "see you later.")
In French it was 5 significant meanings:
1. Panache = style, façon de faire or way of doing things!
2. Plume, usually a white ostrid feather that has a historical importance to some battle where the French King,Henry IV (13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610). placed a white plume in his coat or hat and went out to war stating, "Follow my white plume!" (French: "Ralliez-vous à mon panache blanc!").
3. Writing utinsel
4. Cyrano de Bergerac's last words on his dying lips was "my panache"
5. Beer and lemonade (sooo good!) mixed together is called a panache (pronoucned pan-nah-shay)
Love is not a Disney movie.
Happily Ever After is a Marketing Tool.
And Romance is a Lost Art.
But in France, the country of lovers and pleasure, indulgence and joie de vivre, Love, Happily Ever After and Romance is presented as a lifestyle, something normale, something comme ça.
My sweet husband is a strange bird.
When I first met him, I thought he was odd.
He smelled like garlic and epitomized the
Hence, we have been together for five years, married for four.
He tells me he loves me, however not as often as I would like, but earlier in the week,
he said something that made me feel, know, and acknowledge that
I am his "one."
We had friends visiting from Las Vegas and the conversation turned to sleep and jet lag.
My friend is a heavy sleeper/snorer, her traveling partner and lover, is a light sleeper.
He seems doubly tired, yet has a great attitude!
That is when the husband said that my snoring was -still is- comforting to him.
He said it like it was something normale, something comme ça.
At that moment, I felt that we would live Happily Ever After.
His statement was very Romantic.
And, I was Snow White, the fairest of them all!
Ma Vie en Rose
Love List for March 16, 2012
Bordeaux in the Springtime...
Today, I am full of feelings of happiness, joy and LOVE.
This week has flown by and now as I sit with Back to the Future 3 in French as background noise, I reflect on my past week and I must say...
I've been in the groove this week!
When I plan and am well organized, I feel productive and at my best self!
This week, I started a new job, which I love, I continue to teach dance and take dance lessons, I flirted with two very very (VERY) handsome Parisian men and Spring is in the air! It's all very magical.
In the morning, it is crisp and still smells like winter, then around 10:30 am, the sun is brillant and it smells like spring.
I love Bordeaux in the Springtime!
Meet the Witches...
This is my French extended immediate family, our partners and offspring!
From Left to Right... Dianne (otherwise known as The Big D) next to her and holding the baby is Concetta (who I call Concetti Spaghetti or Conchedders) The baby is Olivia (aka The Petite Didi) Then in the purple sweater is my partner, Nico (otherwise known as The Chouch). Standing next to The Chouch, in the blue and pink stripped shirt is Manu, the partner of The Big D. Sitting down with the baby in his lap is Sean, the baby is Zach (who I call Uncle Fester) The woman striking the Goddess pose is Marisa, Sean and the two boys are her family. And last but never least is Owen! He is as sweet as he looks!
Yes, I know it is a lot to take in, but there it is. The Family.
As you may have noticed, I have mentioned them in several past posts.
In the next several weeks, the witches will be brewing up some blog!
After asking nicely, Dianne, Marisa and Concetta are going to be so kind as to give you their version of Being Frenchified... and the lessons learned from living in this crazy country!
That way, you will get to know a little bit more about them, and get a new point of view of France from their prespective!
These women, their partners and kiddos have become my family since living in France. I am so grateful that they are all in my life.
Thank you for reading!
- Jenny xxoxo
Bonjour mes amis!
The past couple of weeks, I have focused on taking care of yourself, finding inspiration, keeping your New Years Resolutions, how to behave at a dinner party and French fashion and style tips that I have picked up from the locals, on the streets of Bordeaux.
Today, I want to share with you some of my growing pains of learning this language and the importance of family.
When I was in the States, I took a semester of French at the local community college for fun and to challenge myself. Never did I realize that 10 years later, I would be living in the South of France.
It was an easy and difficult decision to reach, however don't think for one minute that it has all been butterflies and tulips, au contraire, mon frère!
Being a foreigner in a foreign country has its peaks and valleys, mais C'est la Vie, non!
There are so many things that have changed in this past year of living here, and I have accepted the fact that I am what you call "The International" group. I am an ex-pat (I didn't invent the word) living in another country. I will always be different, no matter how perfect my French mannerisms may be, I will never be one of them.
I am a tolerated outsider -- That is how the French treat and perceive me. Sometimes I am ok with it, and other times, I want to stab people in the face with a fork, but again, C'est La Vie, non!
Today, I am going to share with you (the) French, according to me, according to the French! (How confusing is that!!?!)
I describe it to being a Queen or King.
You have to hold yourself with your head up high, yet be humble.
You have to be polite and respectful, yet don't be taken advantage of.
You have to be smarter, kinder, sweeter, wittier, in fact every word you can think of
with an ER suffix, would suffice.
ALWAYS SAY BONJOUR, S'IL VOUS PLAÎT, MERCI.
You have to be a scholar of the world, yet be open to ebb and flow of the times, be updated on current events from across the world, enjoy and indulge in life's pleasures, but not be opulent.
It's a fine line, but a welcome one!
That is why I am so grateful to have met other ex-pats, who are now my family that I can share and vent my frustrations with and vice versa.
This week, I will introduce you to my extended immediate French family, who I lovingly call THE WITCHES - because when we get together magic happens!
Love -- Jenny! xxoxx
French Women have taught me a thing or two about style and fashion.
And, to fill you in on a style secret
Don't imitate, just be the best you!
Today, I will discuss some fashion and style tips that will have your looking your best from New York to Tokyo!
In a previous post, I mentioned that you have to Take Care of Yourself.
So what does that mean to you?
I look forward to your comments!
I feel that phrase means a lot of different things to me.
In my opinion, the phrase Taking Care of Myself, means being good to myself.
I always say it is better to look pretty than professional, and it seems the French agree with me. If you are planning a visit to France or want to dress up your wardrobe, I have outlined a OUI et NON list of some of the French style tips that I have picked up on while in town! So without further ado...
Please see the examples at the bottom of the Oui/Non list.
Please let me know what you think of this article.
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
Thank you for stopping by for a spell!
I am a 40-something year old American woman. Born in Texas, raised in Las Vegas!
Frenchified for Life
is a fabulous little lifestyle blog about truly embracing French life!
My intent is to simply inspire you to create something unique and beautiful in your everyday life. The French have this wonderful and annoying habit of seeing the world through rose colored glasses, might as well learn something from them!
That said, I lift my glass to you!
By the way, I mention the name Cachou (or The Cash) a lot, I'm referring to her...