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!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Bonne Année!!!

Happy New Year, mes amis!
Here's wishing you a spectacular 2019
filled with fun, laughter, good health, creativity, adventures, prosperity,
and joie de vivre!
Love, Jamie

Monday, December 24, 2018

Wishing you Happy Holidays!!!

Joyeux Noël

 Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and much joie de vivre in the New Year! Thank you for your friendship and all of your support this year during my Parisian Charm School book tour and launch. I am forever grateful!
Love, Jamie
P.S.  One of the things I'm also very grateful for this year is being a part of the Columbia County Sketchbook Club which has inspired me to take up drawing again!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Our New Winner!

Announcing the final winner of The Writers Toolbox Flash Fiction contest. Congratulations to Mary Pauer!!! 
She will receive a gift copy of The Writers Toolbox


Here's her lovely story, below, based on the prompt:
"Farming, it's sexy business."

I ride a John Deere 6420 – one of the few women who do. The rear tire and fender are higher than I am tall.  
I grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey, known for big hair, thick eyeliner, and black mascara. Snapping your chewing gum was optional.
Now I ask myself why I am living on a farm. I love the immensity of the land, the feel of my feet sinking in soil, the aroma of rain. I love messing with the tractor’s gearshift and the power take-off, which urges the implements to do what they do.
            Augers, bush hogs, box graters, rakes. Now, roll the sounds of crowfoot packer in your mouth and look behind the tractor as I lap the land contouring a pattern as precise as a quilt.
Other people drive, we farmer-women ride.
And we wear cut-offs and cowboy boots and mow the fields while gulls chase down the furrows.
And we push back potato-chip rolled straw hats, and wear Oakley sunglasses and Carhart jackets.
When I need a part, I drive, (not ride) up the road a piece to the John Deere store, and talk to my mechanic, knowledge glowing from my lips. I mention the crowfoot packer because I love the poetry, and its dust prints looking as if I’d danced a conga line in my stiletto heels.
Farming - you work in a man’s field yet you are of the earth, planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping, riding your sexy John Deere green.   
--  Congratulations to Mary Pauer!!!!
 This is our last flash fiction contest for the year, but please know you can always buy a copy of The Writers Toolbox on line.  It makes for a great holiday gift for anyone who likes to write or tells stories or does improv!