Tuesday, October 29, 2019

La Belle Farm Tea Towels!

I'm so excited to tell you about our new enterprise here at La Belle Farm!
As many of you know, Dr. Thompson and I live on a farm in Upstate New York.  My husband raises chickens and turkeys, along with tending a large garden that was truly abundant this summer.  

To celebrate the arrival of a bountiful harvest and the beginning of a season of giving thanks--I've created La Belle Farm tea towels, inspired by our very own Cuckoo Maron roosters!

Adorable, no?!
I created the tea towels with the help of a local Upstate New York silkscreen artist using my original artwork.  The rooster image is printed on 100% cotton and certified fair trade.  They have lovely French stripes on the each side and measure 27" long by 18" wide.  

Each tea towel is priced at $19.95 each.  If you're interested in purchasing one of our tea towels, dear friends--please let me know.  I can take checks or PayPal.  And of course, I will need your mailing address so I can rush your package to you! 
This is a a photo from the International La Belle Farm Tea Towel Headquarters Packing and Shipping Department.  As you can see we're very high-tech here at La Belle Farm! 

Seriously, though, the tea towels are very special, really beautiful, and I'm very proud of them. 
This is a limited printing, so once they're gone..they're gone. Oh, and of course they make for really special holiday gifts!  

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.
Merci beaucoup!!!! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Remembering 9/11

 This photo was taken in Little Italy in 1998. I was visiting my friend, Robert Carioscia's artist's loft and he decided to get his camera and then he asked me to pose by the window facing the south with the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in the distance. On that beautiful sunny September day, one would never have imagined that in less than five years they buildings would be gone, and life as we knew it would also be forever gone, innocence lost and a painful hole left in its wake. 


Sometimes I think of my friend, Brigitte, from Vienna who stayed with me in my Greenwich Village apartment in the eighties and how she called the World Trade Center "the two fingers." She said she loved them. They were so very modern, so very American, so ostentatious, so sure of themselves. I worked in the World Trade Center for a while. 


I remember riding up the elevator to one of the top floors and my heart pounding as my ears popped. I remember celebrating my 26th birthday at the Windows on the World and I remember buying a faux black alligator briefcase in the bottom of the building where there were lots of elegant shops to tempt you before you descended further into subway. I was a temp secretary at Salomon Brothers and I actually met Michael Blumberg there, when he was rather young and brash. The Wall Street guys were all a bit brash, but they were fun, and so full of energy and drive. I was young and artsy and spent more time than I should have secretly writing poetry and stories when I should have been typing up letters and filing cost analysis reports. 


I still remember the Friday lunches with the other secretaries--all young women, like me, who were dreaming of a different sort of life--some wanted to be actresses, dancers, some were going for their MBA or MFA. And some wanted to be novelists. We always went out for Chinese, sat around a big table, shared plates of egg rolls and moo shoo gai pork. We drank fruity cocktails with little straws and paper umbrellas perched in a sliced orange and a maraschino cherry. Eventually somewhere close to 2 p.m. we teetered in our high heels and swayed out of the restaurant, making our way up the winding streets of lower Manhattan back up to the World Trade Center, up the elevator, tipsy and laughing, and happy, because it was Friday and everyone understood that that no real work was going to get done in the last few hours of the day and so we felt free and happy, looking forward to a weekend of fun. 


And now, here we are in 2019 and I think about those days and how it all went up in smoke and I feel for everyone who lost their innocence in 2001 and most of all for all the brave rescue workers and their familes who lost so much more. My prayers are with you, today and always.


Friday, September 6, 2019

Wedding at La Belle Farm

Love is in the air here at La Belle Farm!

Dr. Thompson and I  were so thrilled to host the wedding for his son (my stepson), Graham and his lovely bride, Driane.

We started the preparations with lots of flowers--specifically, Zinnias!
I love how they come in all these vibrant colors!  We have some in our own
cutting garden, but my dear friend Karen Martin offered us a big bouquet from her own garden so that I could decorate the entire house with Zinnias!
 We also hosted a rehearsal dinner on Friday night.  There were fifteen guests crowded around our dining room table (actually we added another table and hid the gap with two big white table cloths.)  Trés clever, non?  We also ran out of chairs, so used the wooden bench that my 95-year-old dad recently made for me.  It's on the right, painted green.  My dad is amazing!

We had spectacular weather on the day of the wedding!  Clear blue skies and pretty clouds.  Oh, and the grass was so green!

Introducing the new bride and groom.
The bride and her little flower girl having fun on the farm.
Rather than the traditional wedding cake, the bride chose lots of varieties of home made pie.  This is the blueberry pie.  So old-fashioned and yummy!
This is pretty Carolina, the flower girl, in a quiet moment before the ceremony.  She was truly adorable.  A little angel.
And here is the groom with his brother, Alan, his best man and the official officiant.  They were fun guys!  And aren't they handsome?!
The heart-felt ceremony and all the love that was in the air truly blessed our home.  We still feel the sense of joy and romance in the air and know that this wonderful occasion will always be a part of La Belle Farm's story and history.  Sending the new bride and groom much joie de vivre throughout their lives!

Monday, August 12, 2019

What I did on my summer vacation

Dear friends--

The summer is going by fast, but I hope you're still having a wonderful time!

It's been very busy here in the Hudson River Valley--so much going on!
We have the Basquiat-Warhol exhibit at The School in Kinderhook.  The opening day party was just out of this world.  It was great show, followed by a champagne infused party, delicious food and a great band--and dancing!!  I brought my pretty fan from my trip to the Azores and flitted about the grounds and was delighted to meet up with so many art-loving friends!  It goes until September 7th, so if you're up this way, I highly recommend it. 

Speaking of art, Art Omi has a new sculpture exhibit on the grounds.  It's really fun to walk around the pond and discover whimsical art at every turn. 

I loved the new show at The Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham.  It's called "Scout: a More perfect Union," and it takes the work of street artists such as Basquiat, Kenny Scharf or Keith Haring one step (actually five steps) further and feels very, very modern, reflecting this moment in America. 

I also recommend a visit to the Spencertown Academy Arts Center.  They have fabulous juried shows all year long, and of course, during Labor Day Weekend there's the annual Festival of Books--highly recommended!  Oh, and Chatham is nearby, so you should catch a movie at The Crandell and shop for gifts at Pook Style (the owner managed the gift shop at MOMA, so you can imagine how beautifully she curates her shop!).  Be sure to visit Rewraps for beautiful consignment items, the sale of which benefit the dance space, P.S. 21!  So you can feel very good about recycling clothes and helping bring the art of dance to the community.  Speaking of dance...

P.S. 21 is in the middle of a great season with all these famous choreographers coming to our little town of nearby Chatham.

Oh, I'm so thrilled to be dancing these days!  I discovered NIA and have been taking classes with Richele Corbo.  I LOVE her classes!  And, of course, I love my Zumba Gold classes with the amazing Anne-Marie--right here in town--she has the best music!!!  And yes, I'm also tap dancing with Deborah Anthony.  She's adorable!  I'm learning to tap the shimmie sham shimmie!

And I'm working on a new novel that's all about a school in Paris that specializing in dance!  (So, you can see, I have been working hard behind the scenes.). Oh, and I'm illustrating my book too.  I joined Coco Sketchers last year and it's been life changing!  And I am so grateful to take art lessons from the wonderful Jacqueline Rogers.  She's the famous illustrator for Beverly Cleary's Ramona series and she has a new book out called "Goblin Moon."  Wow, is she talented--and accomplished.  I feel artistic just sitting in her studio!

Honestly, I drew a little bit as a teenager, but gave it up in favor of poetry and fiction way back in early 70's, so here I am back to drawing and painting...and still writing.

Here's one of the characters from my book, Madame Lutéce.  She's the school's director and a little bit strict.

I wonder if you have stories of re-discovery and return that are similar to mine.  I think one of the most delicious parts of being a certain age, is this idea of picking up things we may have left behind years ago when life was so very hectic.  I know that part of the reason why this is so appealing now is the realization that time is limited.  And also, what have I got to lose!?  And so what if someone laughs and says, you're tap dancing? Really?!  You're doing what--the shimmie sham shimmie!!!??  At this point, I feel a great sense of freedom and I can say YES!  I'm dancing the shimmie sham shimmie and you know what?  I love it!  

For those of you who are younger and do not have this sense of the ticking clock, I say, why wait until you're older to re-discover your true love.  Why not begin now?!

What do you truly love, my friends?  Whatever it is, I say, bravo! 

P.S.  I'm on Cape Cod next week--speaking about Parisian Charm School at The Mashpee Women's Club.  Here's where you can buy tickets for my Tuesday, August 20th talk at the New Seabury Country Club!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Writers Toolbox: Perfect Graduation Gift!

Happy Graduation Season!
And congratulations to all the new graduates and their families!
I want to particularly make a shout out to all of my friends who have graduated from one of our many writing programs throughout the country, and to all the  literature, film, play writing, directing, acting and screenwriting majors and to everyone anyone who loves writing and storytelling!
Please do consider giving your new graduate with the perfect gift (if I do say so myself), The Writers Toolbox (from Chronicle Books).
Here's a peak inside my little creation.  It's a fun, tactile treasure chest filled with sentence sticks, imagery cards, inciting incidents, dials for protagonists, goals, obstacles and actions, a little egg timer and an instruction book.

I plan to host some writing contests over the summer, so please stay tuned and in the meantime, thank you for your support!

Happy spring!  Happy Graduation!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre Dame

When I heard the news yesterday--that Notre Dame--our lady--was in flames, I had no words. I've heard from so many of my French friends and my American Francophile friends. We are devastated by the news. 

And yet, there is hope, because here we are in the light of day, the next morning and we've discovered that indeed our prayers have been answered and much of Notre Dame has been saved. Yes, there is terrible damage and a long road ahead, but her "bones" are good and strong and she will return, she will have her rebirth, her resurrection. 

When I went through my photos from my recent visit to Paris in October, I realized that I had not taken one really good photo of Our Lady. In fact, I do believe I took her for granted. While walking across the Pont Neuf I pointed my camera in the direction of the newer, perhaps more glamorous--Eiffel Tower. When I was en route to the Marais, I was busy thinking about buying pretty dresses for my grand daughters, and I hardly looked up at the grand cathedral on the island, let alone stop to say a silent prayer of thanks, or even to take a photo of the lovely lady with the flying buttresses. Rather, I was busy with fashion week and chasing down the stylish young ladies who had crowded into Paris for the big week. 

But yesterday, when Notre Dame was engulfed in flames and seemingly on the verge of complete ruin and loss, I regretted my taking her for granted. I regretted that I did not truly see her in October. 

And so, I have made a vow that when I am next in Paris, I will stop to pay homage to her. I will pay homage to all those structures and places that have made Paris, Paris. I will do this--yes, partly because I have been reminded of how fleeting life and love and beauty truly is, but also because I do not want to live with regret. 

And so, my message to you, today, mes amis, is to look at what's in front of you--your loved ones, your family, your friends, that iconic house down the road, your local library, or the forest, or the mountains, or even that little quirky cafe that you frequent and stop and look at--really look at this person or persons or beautiful thing that has given you so much pleasure--and open your heart and share your love, because you never know. You never know. I send you my love and thanks and great appreciation, today and everyday!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Introducing Paris S'il Vous Plait!

Dear Readers--
I'm so thrilled to introduce you to my Parisian friend, Patricia!
She runs a wonderful concierge service, Paris S'il Vous Plait.
Patricia makes magic happen!
 I've known Patricia for a long time now, and in fact, she's quoted in my book Ooh La La! French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful EverydayI always love to meet with Patricia whenever I visit Paris.  Not too long ago, when I was researching Parisian Charm School, she created a special Paris experience for me, including a visit to L'ecole School of Jewelry Arts, sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels, an afternoon at the iconic parfumerie Candora Perfume Creation Workshop, and a fabulous dinner at the Hotel du Louvre.  

Patricia also arranged for a fabulous soiree for me and my Parisian friends at Hotel Banville.  J'adore Patricia!

Oh, and yes, I enjoyed my re-styling session at wonderful boutique, Theveste.  Truthfully, I didn't buy that coat, but I think about it all the time and I wish I did buy it!  Oh well, c'est la vie!

Maybe you can still find that coat--or another one just like it.  And Patricia at Paris S'il Vous Plait can help you!  I highly recommend Patricia if you'd like to create a unique Parisian experience for you and friends.  And did I mention, she speaks English and Spanish, as well as French!  Very international!

And she's a lot of fun!

Oh, almost all of these photographs by the fabulous Parisian photographer, Michel Planson!

Please let me know if you'd like more information, mes amis!  Au revoir for now!