Archive | April, 2012

Day 120: lovemore monday :: i love paris.

30 Apr

I like Paris.
That’s most evident by now.

And, it became even more evident tonight when I passed this book on a shelf inside the tiny restaurant, Verjus, where we ate tonight:

J’AIME PARIS

Translated it means: I Like Paris. Or, I love Paris.

J’aime in English means: like, love, fancy, cherish, engage, care.

To me, it just looks like my name.
And, in this year of loving more and fearing less it seems to make perfect sense.

Lovemore. Fearless.
It was right there in my name all along.
Imagine that.
J’AIME.
And, that’s why on this Lovemore Monday…
I. LOVE. IT.

Day 120: wash your mouth out with soap

29 Apr

Spa day. Paris style.

I believe you can do anything.
I also believe in self-care.

Especially after giving up shopping for a year and investing in my head, heart, body and soul, instead.

It’s a never-ending commitment.
One that grows on you.

And, so far, on this trip in Paris, it has made all the difference.

Because, I was more excited to go to the spa than to shop in the streets for new clothes or shoes.
In PARIS.  A slight surprise to me.

So today, I visited a new kind of spa all together — a hamman.
We descended into the hamman, much like walking down into a magical cave.

Once inside we dressed down to nothing.
Except for a little triangle-shaped paper bikini bottom.

We had thongs on our feet and our bottoms.
And nothing else.

But after a few seconds of baring it all — we forgot about our thong-i-tude.

At first we were given instructions in French:
– To enter the steam room and stay as long as you can stand it.
– Use the cold water for splashing on your face, only.
– Dip in the cool pool in between steam room visits

Soon, the Hamman staff came over and took us one by one to the large marble tables for our scrub down.

But, right before the scrub…
The Hamman director showed us the bowl of black goop, and placed it under our noses to smell.  It smelled like olives to me and I smiled up at her because it was so lovely.

Then she grabbed my fingers and stuck two of them into the bowl of black goop.
So I did what anyone would do … immediately put my black gooped fingers in my mouth.

I thought she wanted me to taste it.
I don’t speak French. Translation error.

She was horrified and grabbed my fingers, pulling them out of my mouth.
I didn’t realize the black goop was SOAP.

And, guess what?
It tasted like soap.

After my mouth was washed out with soap, we proceeded to the next step which was a full body scrub on a large, heated marble slab.

I haven’t been scrubbed like that since I was a baby.  Under my arms, behind my ears and down my legs.  Even around my tummy and breasts.

It was like a facial for my body.
Scrubbing, soaping, scraping and massaging.
All over.

After the scrub down, we dipped into the cool pool, sipped down a lemon drink and retreated to the spa room in white robes to relax.

Shopping would have been adventurous and fun.
But this was better than shopping.

Way. Better. Than. Shopping.

This was self-care. 
And that makes even a little soap in the mouth taste good. 

Day 119: to market, to market

28 Apr

To market, to market…

Day Three in Paris with Women on Fire and it may have been the best food day of my life.

We went to cooking school — but before that — we went to market.

And our chefs, Bryan and Alex of Cook’N With Class, walked us all around the market and in and out of everything from cheese stores to the fishmongers to vegetable markets and fruit stands.

There’s nothing else to say than this — oh, my goodness.
As in mouth-watering-culinary-goodness.

Here I am (below) with a fruit I have never seen before.
Scroll down for a photo stream of our market to class to table experience.

And, the finale?
Voila!

(And, that doesn’t begin to touch the exceptional culinary delights we “monge-d” at Restaurant Helene Darroze tonight!)

So did I learn anything to help conquer my own kitchen nightmares?

Yes!
For instance:
How to…

  • hold a knife the proper way and how to cut in the correct direction
  • use eggs to thicken a sauce
  • choose a soft cheese
  • cook celery root
  • melt chocolate and whip up a chocolate soufflé

I’m not sure I could recreate any of this on my own.  But, on a day like this, full of amazing culinary adventures, I am reminded of something I believe:

“Food is the gateway to love.”

And, maybe that’s why food tastes so much better when it is prepared by someone else.

Day 118: f*ing friday :: funny fabulous france

27 Apr

TGIF.
F*ing Fridays are back!
And, they will continue to occur on Friday. I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5 in Year 1, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.

Last week I dove into the word Fetch

Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the words:
Funny, fabulous, France.

As in, pure art. 

Today was fun and fabulous in Paris.
And, we met a woman who is out to prove it.

Her name is Susan Shup.
And her art is FABULOUS!

We entered her Parisian studio through a gigantic medieval looking gate, walked through a courtyard and then winded our way up spiral steps until we arrived inside her work space with paint splattered walls.

The paint was still fresh and the air smelled like it too.
Her paintings are also fresh, funny and fabulous.

Her mantras captured in graphic letters and whimisical strokes say it all.
Like this one:

And, on an F*ing Friday like today…
With Food…

French Flags…

French Fashion…

Behind the scenes of French Fashion…

And Fragile Parisian pieces…

Pure art is what I have on my mind.

It’s great to see that art doesn’t have to be serious or subdued to be powerful, intriguing and thought provoking.

It can be funny and fabulous.
Or fresh and fragile.

Because, really, aren’t we all…
And, isn’t that what makes us priceless?

Day 117: i left my heart in paris

26 Apr

I came back to Paris for my RE-DO for a reason.

Today, I lit a candle and said a prayer in Notre Dame.
To thank all those with gratitude and love who have gotten me here, and to remember who I am and what I came here to do.

A RE-DO!
And, a re-do it has already been.

As I walked through the halls of Notre Dame I fully realized that this visit is very different from my last one.

The last time I stood under the majestic arches and rose window that floats in the sky above, I felt an overwhelming presence — an almost oppressive one. Massive. Overwhelming. Suffocating.

Today, more than a decade later, I felt a very different stirring inside my heart.  It was uplifting and spiritually full. Inspiring. Touching.

I’d like to think the difference between these two visits, is that today, the cathedral was full of song and people from around the world slowly shuffling through with respect and reverence in each step.

But really, I know, the only difference is in me.

In my heart.
In my soul.

There is something so romantic and creative and utterly breathtaking about this city, you can’t help but feel swirled in love.

But, what I have learned on this second visit is more profound that the sugar covered crepes on the street corners and the magnificent architecture soaring to the sky —  it doesn’t matter how much love is swirling around you if you haven’t any leftover for yourself.

So, today we saw Paris.
From inside Notre Dame…

To the Eiffel Tower….

To a tour on Segway through winding streets and city squares…

But, today, even more magnifique, I saw the woman I have grown into, from inside the flame of a candle to the whisper of a prayer in my heart.

Because, while love is swirling all around me in the incredible City of Light, love is bubbling up inside me too.

Just like the bridges that are covered with locks as promises from lovers, I too have made a promise.

One that grew out of curiosity and has turned into love.
For my head, heart, body and soul — and something even bigger than that — bigger than me.

I don’t want to leave Paris. Alas, I will.
But, I certainly don’t want to leave my heart in Paris.
I want to carry it with me everywhere I go and with everything I do.

And if it takes a transcontinental flight, and a re-do redux, to remember the power of love…

It’s worth all the prayers and crêpes in the world. 

Day 116: for the love of frogs

25 Apr

Day One in Paris and what is the first thing I do?
Take a nap of course.

But, then I bought something.

As we were walking the streets of Paris, I passed the beautiful Opera and found myself soaked by the rain from the dark and stormy skies above.

So, I bought an umbrella.
But, later this afternoon, the sun came out over Sacré-Cœur Basilica.

And we walked under blue skies to dinner…

\

Where I tried new forms of sausage…

And I even ate frog legs!
(Well, one frog leg.)

It’s good to know that even in Paris, when it rains, the sun will follow.
And, it’s even better to know that I am brave enough to eat a frog’s leg.
At least once.

Bon appetit!  

Day 115: flying makes me hungry

24 Apr

There’s something about airport air.
It makes me hungry.

It also makes my phone battery hungry and gives it an empty stomach upon contact.

This may be the most coveted spot in the entire airport.


And, I have both my phone and computer plugged in which makes feel like some kind of gluttonous American traveler in the International concourse at Philadelphia’s airport.

So I’m going to make this one short and sweet.

It’s been so long since I flew to Paris that part of me hopes the food has been upgraded on the airplane.

Just in case, I have come prepared with a can of tuna and some hummus.
And if that doesn’t hit the spot, well there are worse things I could be than hungry at 30,000 feet on my way to Paris.

I could have a computer that has run out of juice!
But, to that, I say my favorite new phrase…

C’est la vie!

Isn’t that phrase beautiful?
It makes everything better.

Such is Paris.
Such is life. 

Oh! My plane is boarding.
See you on the other side of the pond.

Day 114: lovemore monday :: packing

23 Apr

As you know, I entered this year determined to be fearless. But, I don’t want more fear or less in my life.  I want more love.  So I made up a new word, lovemore!   That’s why Lovemore Mondays are here.

Today’s Lovemore Monday is a love story about packing.

As in, I leave for Paris tomorrow.

And my two shadows know something is up.

Pup is pouting.
Brady is howling.

How do they know I’m leaving?
Maybe the overflowing suitcase gave it away.

I am 3/4th of the way packed up, and so very excited to board a plane to Paris tomorrow, where my biggest decision will be which book to read.

I wish my suitcase was big enough for everyone to come along with me! Including this canine duo.

But, unfortunately it is not.
So, I promise to share all the photos, video and travel escapades that I possibly can while in the City of Light on this blog.  So you feel like you are coming right along too!

Too bad for Pup and Brady that they can’t read or surf the web. C’est la vie.

But, I know, while the best of traveling is seeing new sights, tasting new foods, and gaining that indescribable perspective that only a vacation adventure can provide…

The best part of packing up and leaving my trio is coming back to two tails wagging while knocking me over at the door, and, a big hug from Justin too.

And, I will hold out for that.
Because…

Je l’adore.
I. Love. It. 

Day 113: shop lifting

22 Apr

I collected my consignment store sales yesterday.
I made a total of $18.50 and promptly spent $12.00 of it on a new top to travel to Paris with me.

“My mother is dying and my daughter is getting divorced so I am here shopping,” said the woman in line ahead of me.

“I know that feeling,” I said, not realizing I said it out loud until she turned and looked at me.

“How old were you?” she asked.

“Thirty-five.”

“Oh, good, you’re young,” she sighed with relief as if my age would save her daughter’s fate.

As I left the store with my new designer top snagged for a hefty twelve dollars — or earned with my consignment sales (however you want to look at it) — I realized that woman was shoplifting.

As in, shop LIFTING.

Lifting her spirits through the adventure of shopping.  The exhilaration of designing a new life. One where her mother was alive, well and spirited and her daughter was enjoying the marriage of her dreams.

Today, I watched Oprah’s interview with Ram Das on Super Soul Sunday (while folding clothes and packing my suitcase for Paris!). I was touched by his story, which I have to admit, was new to me.

I have heard of Ram Das, as in people singing his name and praises, but I never knew the story of the man or his impact.

Today, I learned his journey of being fired from Harvard, traveling to India, sharing his mission to spread love and having a stroke later in life that almost silenced him.

As I watched him on screen in his wheelchair profess the power of love, it occurred to me that we all LIFT ourselves in different ways.

Some travel to India, some dive into food and drink, and others end up at the consignment shop.

Still others show us the greater meaning of life by focusing on love.

See… there it is again, the greatest lift of all…
LOVE.

I do love my new top I brought home.

But, in a bigger, deeper, stronger way,  I love the brief conversation I was present for in line at that consignment shop. Because in a small way, I felt like we made a connection.

And what’s more loving than that?

Day 112: paris the second time around

21 Apr

I leave for Paris in 3 days.

I am thrilled, excited and exhilarated.
Because, it is officially my REDO.

You see, I was engaged in Paris many years ago, and that was the last time I set foot on the Champs-Élysées.

And, that marriage ended in a not so fairytale way.
It was more like a fairyhell.

I believe there is a part of me left there in Paris and I am determined to rendezvous and retrieve her.

I still have the engagement ring that was bought in a jewelry shop on a Paris street corner — and I may just take the ring back with me. Who knows what I will do with it, but it seems fitting that the ring return to the place where it began.

Return to the place where it began.
There is something so powerful about that.

Whether it is a home town, the halls of high school, or the open heart and curious mind of a child.

It seems so fitting in my year of lovemore fearless I would return to the City of Light and love!

Watch out Paris.
Redo return here I come.

And, I can’t wait to find out what’s waiting there.

%d bloggers like this: