Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Parisian Charm School Experience is coming to Paris!!!

Bonjour, Friends--
I am so excited to announce that I will be taking a group of lovely ladies to Paris this September 13-20, 2020!
During this very special mini-semester in Paris, my special "students" will have the opportunity to meet with the Parisian style experts featured in my latest book, Parisian Charm School--French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy and That Certain je ne sais quoi.

 And yes, this all happens in the one and only The City of Light--Paris!  To imagine all this, just think of it as the semester-abroad that you've always dreamed about, where you'll receive an advanced degree in beauty, grace and charm!

Everyone who joins me on this very special experience will learn how to embrace her joie de vivre and discover all those delicious Parisian beauty and style secrets.  You'll open your heart to a deeper understanding into the French life and philosophy and I will part the curtains to reveal the mysterious world of Parisian chic--a way of presenting oneself to the world that goes way beyond the tourist experience.

Oh, and everyone will have so much fun in the process!

Truly, this is a life-changing experience.  The ladies on this journey with me will come home truly transformed.  Yes, there will be that new chic Parisian ensemble from Bon Marché and the style advice from the chic Parisian re-imaging expert, a meeting with Madame Cadolle of Maison Cadolle (pretty lingerie!) visits to the famous Paris gardens, museums and iconic landmarks, as well as dinners at some of Paris's most elegant bistros.  Wine.  Baguettes.  Chocolat!  And so much more. 

The beauty of Paris will works its magic, transforming us from inside out so that we can reclaim our confidence and most importantly, our mystery.

As it turns out, while the Parisian Charm School is basically filled, I do have room in my School for two lovely, friendly, sweet, sincere ladies who might truly benefit from this very special experience.  If that sounds like you or someone you know and care about, please email me at for details.  And stay turned here for more delightful revelations on The One and Only Parisian Charm School Experience in Paris!

And in the meantime, dear ones, I wish you love and joie de vivre!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Perfect holiday gift: A La Belle Farm Tote Bag!

Bonjour, Friends--
I'm so excited to announce the brand new La Belle Farm tote bags!  Everyone needs an extra tote bag or two these days, especially one featuring a Cuckoo Maron Rooster from a farm in Upstate New York!
Truly, these totes are special!!! They're made of 100% organic sturdy cotton canvas and they have gussets at the bottom, so there's ample room to carry your groceries or heavy library books or even your picnic goodies--such as a baguette, some lovely cheese--oh, and a bottle of French bubbly!!  (We like to pack a bottle of La Belle Farm sparkling hard apple cider for our winter picnics.  As you can imagine, it's delicious.

These beautiful totes are individually made by an all-woman company in rural Vermont. The printing was done by a local Hudson Valley silkscreen artist, using my original painting of our La Belle Farm rooster. And they're so beautiful! Can you tell that I’m proud!? Each tote costs $29.95 plus $5.00 for shipping. 

 I wrap each and every tote bag myself, so if you have any special requests for a gift, just let me know.  I have lots of ribbon in a rainbow of different colors!
 You can purchase below with PayPal or email me for information on how to send a check (or just to say hello!)  As small farmers, Dr. Thompson and I appreciate your support and encouragement!

Oh, and if you're interested in the La Belle Farm tea towels, we just received new inventory, so yes, they're available!  And if you're local, they're available in Chatham, New York at Pook Style.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful holiday season!!!
Merci beaucoup, dear friends!

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!