Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Renewing Your Own Paradise~

Cher les amis~I'll be posting on Mondays only through November 30th while re-writing my novel for the final time. Thank you for your support!

The French Riviera~

Villa Marie, the Mediterranean paradise above, is located outside St-Tropez and seems more like a Provence country estate from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, rather than a 42-room luxury hotel. (HERE). 

It reminds me of life in Santa Barbara on the California Riviera...when friends and I would linger on restaurant terraces above the glittering blue Pacific Ocean...laughing in belief that we had life on a string and time on our side...

Little could I have imagined the sea-changes on the horizon: 911 followed by a decade of wars, losing my brother and parents, my career gone with a very costly accident and lasting repercussions; then a welcome return to UCLA, and a move to Carmel-by-the-Sea. 

Today, I’m reading, “Distracted: The Erosion of Attention” by Maggie Jackson because I wonder...what’s the cure for a planet suffering from collective ADD? 

It makes me believe that perhaps an answer is in paying attention to the small moment-to-moment choices that add up over a day, a month, a year, to a very different quality of life...

Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.” 

The wonderful thing is…it doesn’t require riches, permission, or approval. Yet, if you finish this day accomplishing things that matter to you...and with thought and care, it feels like riches, peace, and approval when you place your head on the pillow at night.  

The thought that goes into the doing, and the satisfaction that it’s done, both add to the world. And also simplify and enrich our lives. 

DIY Lavender Linen Spray: (HERE). Heartwarming from, "Sleepless in Seattle": (HERE). Thank you for stopping by, see you Monday! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jackie's Equestrienne Style~

One bedroom rental on the Ile Saint-Louis. Tour: (HERE)

Even at four she relentlessly went after blue ribbons...
 while her cousins played, she practiced her riding
and spent hours grooming her horses...She took Danseuse
with her to boarding school. When I was given a foal
in the blood-lines of Northern Dancer I named her
Danseuse too...
A Camelot folly that Jackie painted as a thank you for
her landlord...
Kate's French Boots...
Endurance test near Mont St. Michel~ 

If not for Joan of Arc...we'd all be
speaking the Queen's English and wearing Big Pale Blue Hats ;)
Jackie was a prize-winning equestrienne from age 4, with a quiet sense of métier instilled by her adored paternal grandfather who emphasized accomplishment and her French roots. (HERE). Jackie riding and jumping at her Virginia property: (HERE).

If alive today, I imagine she’d follow the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games from August 23 to September 7. It’s a first trial for the 2016 Olympics--100 athletes from 72 nations will participate in show jumping, eventing, dressage, endurance, driving, and polo—with venues in Normandy. 

Normandy is the capital for Thoroughbred breeding and equestrian events in France. The Loire is where the French National Horse-Riding School perfects the riding elite. Chantilly outside of Paris is France’s capital of thoroughbred racing, and home to a world-famous living horse museum. And Paris is home to the École Militaire and the equestrian Republican Guard. 

The majority of Normandy venues are centered in or near the City of Caen, and also include the stunning Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, and Deauville as the stylish setting for the polo games. 

So now that you're all set to win the French equine questions on Trivial Pursuit, let's get you some boots. No need to thank me, Hon. Just put me in your Will. ;) 

The Equestrian’s Bootmaker~

Since 1927, French boot maker La Chameau has handcrafted highest quality rubber boots for equestrians. 

The founder, Claude Chamot, was an engineer married to a shoemaker’s daughter living in rainy Cherbourg where the citizens couldn’t keep their feet dry. Problem-Solution. He painstakingly crafted a durable timeless design that was comfortable, lasted for a lifetime, and with clean classic lines. 

By 1939 their success dictated a moved to Pont d’Ouilly near Caen, Normandy, where'd they be nearer horse country. They also have shop on Avenue de Ternes in the 7th in Paris that is a pilgrimage to a shrine for the beautiful, bootless masses. Where to stay? Gotcha covered, Kemosabe ;)

A Horsey Paris Trip~

The above apartment rental is on the Ile Saint Louis, the quiet island heart of Paris, with frequent musical events at the near-by Saint-Chapelle. Lit up at night the chapel is truly Heavenly... 

The island can be jammed at times in summer as it’s tiny with a few narrow streets and with masses from Paris proper converging on the famous Berthillon ice cream shop. The grandfather-founder died this month at age 90, but the family generations are in the biz and won't run out of Peach Melba anytime soon. The ice cream is hand-batched on site, with minimal sugar, no preservatives, or additives. 

With the La Chameau shop in the 7th…you could also swing by La Grande Epicerie at Bon Marche--it's a bit like Whole Foods only better and older. Their original location first opened in 1844.

Consider a day trip to elegant Chantilly an hour outside the city to the picturesque castle set in a forest that dates from the Gallo-Roman age. The magnificent stables are like a dream from a film. All reachable by train.

The Musée Vivant du Cheval  (Living Museum of the Horse) includes 30-horses in their luxurious accommodations. The museum has 31 rooms dedicated to paintings, sculptures, and ceramics focusing on everything equine. Plus daily dressage demonstrations. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. French Music from "Something's Gotta Give" (HERE).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pebble Beach "Best In Show" And Internet Crashes~

The 2014 "Best in Show" Pebble Beach Cours d' Elegance
winner was discovered boxed in pieces in Paris, France....!
Jay Leno is here each year...
I live a few blocks from the Carmel Gate into Pebble Beach and can walk
over to the classic old Lodge that Bing Crosby and Bob Hope
made famous...
So many arrived with all their electronics that they crashed
entire neighborhood
 electronic networks overnight...
including where I live...

The Lodge at Pebble Beach single deluxe room...looks
over Stillwater Cove to Carmel and Point Lobos~

The Tap Room during events is a quiet. The walls are covered with
photos of golf celebs going back to Pebble Beach's founding...
This post is late because our area Internet crashed so badly even birdies in the trees stopped Tweeting. Just as I was humming along in the chilly pre-dawn researching something you’ll love to know about for fall—all the electronics went KABLOOEY and stayed that way till late AM today...So scrapped that post until Tuesday as needs added research...

Turns out—that there are so many visitors here in Carmel-by-the-Sea and next door in Pebble Beach for the 2014 Cours d’Elegance—all armed to their earbuds with iPads, iPhones, and Macs Blue-Toothed together that cell towers had a nervous break-up.

In fairness, planning engineers couldn't have envisioned this future when everyone from great grandmama to two-year olds, even drivers of passing SUVs, are hunched over devices keying into them as if making millions in nanosecond derivatives trading, while also preserving cat videos for posterity. 

And CEOs on the greens in baseball caps with $250 event ticket stubs in their pockets sipping $7. cappuccinos from Le Gobelet en Carton in one hand, and their other thumb texting like it's an Olympic Sport, explode like Krakatoa when their device crashes. Then there's Hell to pay, Little Missy...

Kerfuffles aside, "The Best of Show Concours 2014"—went to Jon Shirley who discovered his 1954 Ferrari Scaglietti Coupe torn-down, boxed-up, and stowed-away in Paris, France for 25 years! No doubt, to create storage space for cartons of 1989 investment hits from Fine Young Cannibals.

Now Jon Shirley from Medina, Washington is King Pin of Pebble Beach...and worthy of ten-thousand Tweets…

Tomorrow…the #1 go-anywhere affordable smart fall boot from France, fit for a Princess... 

Randy Newman and Susanna Hoffs enchanting performance of "A Fool In Love" (HERE). Thanks for stopping by...cha-cha-cha...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Life And Art Of Madeline's Creator~

If Hemingway’s life was a Moveable Feast. Ludwig Bemelmans was a Traveling Café des Artistes as conveyed in: Bemelmans~The Life and Art of Madeline’s Creator.

Professionally untrained as a writer or artist, Bemelmans became a regular contributor to Vogue, Town and Country, The New Yorker, Fortune, Harper’s and Holiday. And brought freshness to magazine cover illustrations, Madison Avenue ads, Hollywood sets, and Broadway backdrops. Even Garbo wanted to be his friend.

For six-months from 1961, he and First Lady Jackie Kennedy corresponded about a Madeline book project that seemed forever lost when he died in October 1962.

“Madeline at The White House” was finally published decades later by his grandson who learned to draw and paint like his grandfather to keep the popular series alive...

A short list of some of Bemelmans other titles included: My War with the United States, Hotel Bemelmans, The Best of Times, Sunshine: A Story about the City of New York, How to Travel Incognito, The Happy Place, To the One I Love the Best, My Life in Art, La Bonne Table, and Tell Them It Was Wonderful.

The Shot That Gave Bemelmans A Shot In America~

Ludwig Bemelmans was born in Austria to a Belgian father who owned a hotel and also painted, and a German mother. He greatly loved his young French governess from infancy. His first language was French, his second German.

In 1904, when he was 6, his father ran off with another woman, leaving his governess pregnant. She committed suicide and his mother fled back to her native Germany with Ludwig and his brother. 

Ludwig was devastated by the move and losses, and detested the strictly regimented school discipline in a new life that he rejected. He apprenticed in his uncle’s hotel and shot a waiter in a fight, and was relocated to NYC to avoid reform school.

In NYC he worked for The Ritz until he enlisted in the U.S. Army and then became an American citizen. His brother died in the war. Once he was back at the hotel he was driven to spend his free time writing and painting to create a life.

He married Madeleine, they had a daughter, Barbara. He named his world famous character for his wife, changing the spelling. His governess had instilled in him Gallic traits that he gave to Madeline--who always decides. She's as relevant today as in 1940.

Her creator died in NYC at aged 64 in 1962 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The boy who refused to be anything other than what he decided, made a remarkable life in a new country, and said, "Tell them it was wonderful." Thank you so much for stopping by. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paris Rental And How Jackie-O Influenced Madeline Book~

Janelle McCulloch's beautifully photographed guide
to treasures of art, style, cuisine and design...
An actual Paris house is the model for the Madeline
series first published in 1939...

Paris Perfect's apartment for rent in the 7th for 6+ months.
Includes balcony--see photos directly above and below...

If you’ve dreamed of living in The City of Lights…the Paris Perfect apartment above is available for a 6-month+ stay: (HERE).

Located in the chic 7th with its smart cafes, street markets, shops, and the River Seine--the sunny abode is elegantly furnished. The French doors open from the living room and two bedrooms to the walk-out balcony with a millionaire's view and where you can dine to the Eiffel Tower light show. 

Your kitchen is efficient with a Nespresso maker, Miele washer-dryer, dishwasher, and Leifheit refrigerator. Apartment windows are state-of-the-art double-glazed to ensure quiet, restful sleep. Rent is €3,945 a month plus utilities: (HERE).

“A Paris Apartment” by Michelle Gable (cover above)~ 

In Gable's novel her protagonist, April Vogt, is a Sotheby furniture specialist  who welcomes the escape when she's sent winging-off to Paris to catalogue the contents of a Paris apartment that was shuttered since WWII...

Once inside the cobwebby dark space she discovers a haunting portrait by a Belle Époque master. She soon uncovers letters and journals written by the apartment owner, subject of the painting, which reveal her to be much more than a renowned courtesan. As April digs further into the intriguing stranger’s life--she gains a greater sense of her own...
A Jackie Secret Related To Madeline Books~  

The first in the Madeline series about the young Parisian schoolgirl was published in 1939 when the writer-illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans was 41. He set the original story along Rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th arrondissement...

Later, while living at the ritzy Carlyle Hotel in NYC, he paid his rent by creating whimsical wall murals that exist to this day in Bemelmans' Bar. I've made my pilgrimages to the watering-hole for the Upper Eastside set...where Bemelmans' spirit remains. It was Jackie's haunt, too, when she lived nearby at 1050 Fifth Avenue following JFK's death...

In 1961, then First Lady Jackie Kennedy invited Bemelmans to the White House. He was ill and declined. They corresponded concerning Jackie's proposed, "Madeline at The White House" book until Bemelmans 1962 demise.

Decades later, Bemelmans' grandson became a writer-illustrator in his grandfather's mode to continue the beloved franchise. Story elements came from the letters between Jackie and his artistic kin that allowed him to publish what Jackie craved--decades after her 1994 death...

As my 9th grade art teacher, Sister Cabrini, would say. "A dream delayed is not denied."

Sidney Bechet's "Si Tu Vois Ma Mère" (HERE). A peek at Bemelmans' murals at the Carlyle behind Wood Allen's jazz session: (HERE). Thank you so much for stopping by...Happy Le Weekend!