Sunday, June 28, 2015

Making Jam with Wild Black Raspberries

Bonjour from La Belle Farm!
(Also known as the Callan & Thompson Farm.)

 Look how green it is--now that summer is upon us!

The wild black raspberries are in bloom.  Dr. Thompson and I spent the day--which happened to be our tenth wedding anniversary--picking blackberries!  It was a perfect way to celebrate ten glorious years together.  Oh, and you can read about how we met  here.    
I love Dr. Thompson, now a Gentleman Farmer!

We collected our fresh berries in a pretty basket.  There were so many!

Back in the kitchen, we mashed the berries and then boiled them in a large pot.  Once the raspberries  reached a full rolling boil, we then let them boil for two more minutes.  Next, we added an equal amount of sugar.  Four cups of mashed black raspberries requires four cups of sugar.  That makes twelve half pints of black raspberry jam!  

 See how pretty the jam came out.  Oh, and I should say black raspberry jam has a deeper color than just regular red raspberry jam.  It's incredibly delicious, bright and fresh!

We jarred a dozen half pints.  That's just for now, because we have lots more to go pick!
 I'd love to hear about your gardens, mes amies!
What are you growing this summer?
Are you canning any fruits or vegetables?  Are you making jam?
I hope you enjoy every moment!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wild Strawberries on the Farm

We made a discovery this past weekend on the farm.  Walking through one of our fields, we found wild strawberries!

They are much smaller than the strawberries you find at the supermarket, and not quite as sweet, but they are still delicious!

This is Dr. Thompson, picking strawberries.  We wore hats, because it was very sunny!

Look how tiny the strawberries are!

We ate them with blueberries and yogurt.  So good!  Later that night, Dr. Thompson made homemade strawberry shortcake, but we were too excited to take photographs.  Just trust me, it was delicious!

J'adore wild strawberries!

Do you have a garden, mes amies?  I'd love to hear what you're growing this summer! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

La Belle Farm

As you may have heard, Dr. Thompson and I bought a farm this past winter.
We actually moved from Cape du Cod to the Hudson Valley on January 31st, in between blizzards.
There were a lot of blizzards this past winter!

Now, it's springtime and everything is green!

During May, when I was in Paris leading the Ooh La La! Paris Tour, Dr. Thompson put in the garden.
Trés beau!

I'm back on the farm and diving into my novel, Paris Changes Everything.
But, since the weather is so nice, I'm fixing the little barn that will become my Writers Studio.
I promised myself to "visit" the studio everyday and just sit there, even if I don't feel inspired to write there.  So, the first order of business was to drag my little pink chair across the fields and place it in the barn.

I couldn't resist taking an artsy photo of the little pink chair inside the red barn:

Finally, I sat in the little pink chair inside the red barn: 
Now all I need is an old piece of barn wood and two sawhorses!

To be continued.....

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hotel Ekta! Trés chic!

While in Paris, I had the pleasure of meeting with Mademoiselle Delphine and Monsieur Chedi at Hotel Ekta near the Champs-Elysées.

The name, Ekta, is an homage to the camera film, Ektachrome, which was very popular among the fashion photographers during the 1960's.

I had a wonderful tour of Hotel Ekta and learned that it was designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel and Natasha Stojkovic.  These amazing designers believe in constructing an entire cinematic universe filled with a sense of story, character, drama and mystery!  Ooh La La!

The entire Hotel Ekta channels the fabulous and futuristic designs from Courréges.
(J'adore Courreges!) 

He was  best known for his "space age collection." 
Just look at Audrey Hepburn in her Courreges!

And this is the lovely Delphine, the manager of the Hotel Ekta.  
Isn't she adorable?!  Very Courréges.  Very French!

Delphine explained to me that the hotel's designer chose Courréges and  Pop Art as the theme throughout the lobby and all the rooms.

J'adore the black and white and pops of yellow!  Trés chic!

The Hotel Ekta is filled with stylish retro photographs from the photographer, Benjamin Deroche.  
Don't you love them?!

Oh, and we both agreed, we dream of owning an orange telephone.  Doesn't every girl?

Hello?  Hello?  Oh, bonjour, monsieur!  C'est moi a la Hotel Ekta!

Courréges is credited with inventing the mini skirt, but some people say it was really the British designer, Mary Quant.  At any rate, great minds, think alike!

When I was around twelve years old, I absolutely lusted for these Courréges Go-Go Boots!

The Hotel Ekta is so stylish!  I was there to research the possibility of hosting an Ooh La La! Paris Tour there.  The rooms were so beautiful and I loved how the mirrors on the stairs to the lobby replicated the ones that Coco Chanel had installed in her famous Atelier on Rue Cambon.  Remember the scene in Avant Chanel?  
Trés jolie! 

The Hotel Ekta is definitely worth a visit, mes amies.  So convenient to shopping on the Champs-Elysées.
Merci beaucoup, Delphine!  Au revior!

Monday, May 11, 2015

How to Dress Like a Parisian

The Ooh La La! Paris Tour ladies and I had the great joy of meeting with the fabulous blogger, Alois, from Dress Like a Parisian.  If you don't know her blog, well then, you must take a look.  She's young, she's brilliant and she gives amazing advice!
 Aloise said as Americans (and one Canadian) we should avoid matching too much and add "a bit more accident to the style."  Sometimes, she said people visiting Paris look like they're going on a hike.  (But not, the Ooh La La! Ladies!)

As French women get older, they don't think oh, I'm out of the sexy game.  Rather then move it--perhaps rather than showing off their legs, they might show off a beautiful, well defined back.

If you're a bit curvy, it's a good idea to wear shoes that are the same color as your pants and create a fluid line.

However, Alois doesn't need to worry about that.  She is quite slender.  Here are her adorable shoes.  Look how they match her top.  It's very subtle, but very eye-catching.

 The key to dressing like a Parisian is figuring out what are your best assets and then accenting them.  And of course, it's important to hide any flaws.

She told us how her grandmother has beautiful hands and that for her birthday, they treated her to a manicure.  Her grandmother was hesitate at first, but she tried blue nail lacquer and you know what--she got lots of compliments.

Quality is very important, as well as creating a clean lines.  Oh, and it's a good idea to avoid supperfulous details.  If a tee shirt says "Glamorous" on it, Alois says then it is not glamorous!  

Aloise gave us a list of places to shop in the Marais.

 And so the Ooh La La! Paris Tour ladies were off and running!
 I took a group to the famous BHV.  It stands for Bazaar Hotel de Ville.
 And look what we found:  a vintage pop up store.  (J'adore vintage!)
 Pretty vintage dresses from the 70's and 80's.  Adorable!
 I bought this polka dot skirt.  I love polka dots!
Au revoir, Alois!  Merci beaucoup for helping us to dress like a Parisian!!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Paris Red

Who says Parisiennes only wear black!  I've seen lots of pops of red throughout the City this week.  Here's a femme I saw in front of the Jardin du Luxembourg.  I like the tan leather jacket combined with the red.  Trés jolie.

Further into the park, a young woman was quietly eating her lunch and feeding the pigeons little bits of bread.  She had created her own Secret Garden.  Don't you love the red stockings?

If you want to just experiment with adding a pop of red, you could just get a bag or "un sac" like this woman on Boulevard St. Germain.

Or, you could find yourself a pair of bright red stockings!
This French woman is actually quite elderly, but she was not giving up on style and originality.

Same here.  We saw this femme d'un certain age on Place Vendome.  Oh, and take a look at her leopard bag.  She has joie de vivre!

This fashonable gal was looking for books in the intellectual Latin Quarter.  J'adore the red leather with the green. 

And if you're very bold--you don't have to restrain yourself to just a pop of red.  You could go with all red and accent it with a pair of white sneaker/shoes, and walk with a purposeful stride along the Seine, like this woman.  Ooh La La!

Do you enjoy just a bit of red?  I'd love to hear about it, mes amies!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Paris Shoes

Here in Paris, the spring shoes are taking to the streets.  There are so many pretty colors and combinations.  J'adore these black and white shoes with tiny polka dots and white trim.  Oh, and the bows!  I could go on.  These shoes belong to Rosanne, one of my Ooh La La! Paris Tour Ladies.  She wore her ensemble with a tiny polka dotted slim-fit pants, an adorable vintage inspired jacket and a black and white polka scarf with a splash of red.  Trés adorable!

I stopped a young woman on St. Germain and asked her about her shoes.  She told me that metallic is all the rage now in Paris and then she let me photograph her gold boots.  Do not believe the myth that the the Parisiennes are not friendly!  They are sooooo friendly!  
 I met two friends visiting Paris from China.  They like to coordinate their colors when the visit Paris.  
 And these shoes belong to a sales woman at BHV.  When I complimented this very French woman on her choice of stockings and shoes, she said, "yes, they're very feminine."  I love that the French embrace the idea of the feminine!
 Here are more shoes from BHV.  These are the famous ballet slippers, Repetto.  You can get them in lots of colors!  Somehow, when I see them displayed like this, I can't help but think of candy in a candy store and I want one of each!
I think the French understand the correlation between shoes and sweets, because look at this display!  Ooh La La!

Do you love shoes?  I'd love to hear all about it!  Au revoir for now!