Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Bonjour my dear friends, before I head out today to run some New Year's Eve errands and then disappear into the White Mountains for a few days of fresh air, I want to take a moment to wish all of you a wonderful, healthy and happy New Year. May it be filled with joy, compassion and lots of creativity.

Instead of attempting to make all kinds of resolutions for the new year, why not simply focus on the greatest gift of all: self-love for 2013?

I'm sharing a thoughtful article written by Katherine Love Senn, as a way to begin the New Year on a loving and compassionate foot. 

Blessings and much love to you all, Isabelle

1. Loving yourself begins with your thoughts.

Bring your attention to your thoughts. Are they supportive or are they critical?
The kinder and more loving your thoughts, the higher your self esteem levels will be. The more negative and fearful your thoughts, the lower your self-esteem will be.
If you are like most people, self-love is not something that you were taught at school or something that you can just absorb from your culture.
It can be helpful to examine and release any negative cultural and social conditioning in your life.
As you do this, you will be creating space for new and more helpful thoughts to emerge.  You will leave behind the restriction of pain and instead step into the realm of possibility of courage, dreams and freedom.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is one of the biggest challenges to developing, practicing and embodying self-love. When you compare yourself to others, you overlook your own unique skills and attributes.
If you find yourself doing this in your own life, realize that you can change how you feel by changing your thinking.
Replace your comparison thoughts, with different ones. Instead of comparing yourself to others, embrace yourself, your strengths and your passions. Put your energy into becoming even better and doing more of what you truly enjoy!
Focus on who you are, as well as your unique skills, what you enjoy doing and what you already do well.
3. Show gratitude and appreciation to your challenges

Your challenges are asking you to pay attention in your life. They are demanding that you do something different, so be grateful to them. The faster you can appreciate your challenges, the faster you can move forward to living the life you really dream of.  
Instead of fighting your challenges, try embracing them with gratitude instead. Let them remind you to step deeper into self-love.
As C.S. Lewis eloquently says, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Your challenges actually bring a seed of opportunity to grow into who you are capable of becoming. Let your challenges be your doorway to self love. Remember that it is only when the wind blows that trees really begin to build up their strength.
Your challenges are what will catapult you to seeking a new way of being in life.

You can learn to love yourself.
Self-love is a stance that you must take for yourself. Usually transformation and change happen when you are sick of the suffering, discomfort and pain that come from ‘not loving’ yourself.
When you begin to deeply love yourself, then you give yourself permission to start creating and living your dream life right now.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays!!

Happy Holidays! I hope that you're enjoying this merry period, celebrating with family and friends. As I write this, I'm surrounded by a winter wonderland; it's snowing heavily today.

 So please excuse this short post, I'm off to enjoy every second of it!

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

-Edith Sitwell

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Friday!!

Happy Friday! I hope you enjoyed a fantastic week! I've completed most of my errands and my shopping so I can kick back, relax and breathe.  

With all of this whirlwind holiday activity, I forgot to share the greatest holiday gift of all, my new baby that will be published in May!

It is already available for pre-order on Amazon! Yay!!

Have a fantastic weekend!!

(Images via FGR)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Journey

Today I'm sharing this stirring poem by Mary Oliver. I think it's fitting at this time of year when we give so much of ourselves to others. Do take time for you; to nurture your precious life. You and your loved ones will be all the more happy and grateful for it!

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(Dream Work)

(Image via here)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Des Citations

“Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.”

“Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.”

(Image: Anne Price Photography)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Monday!!

Happy Monday!! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful weekend. Mine was filled with laughter, good friends and great conversations. Despite these very hectic and unsettling times, it's comforting to spend time in the company of friends.

For a taste of French Christmas glamour, I invite you to take a look at the gorgeous photos posted by my dear friend Haleigh on her blog Making Magique.

I leave you with this quote by William Ellery Channing. I've been reading it over and over lately. It's simply sublime.

Have a great week!

(Images via Inspired Design, Crush Cul de sac)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Spotlight: Sophia Webster

I came across this piece in the New York Times about shoe designer Sophia Webster and I must say that I really love her style! Her shoes are highly original and drool worthy...I'm still recovering from looking at her collection on Net-A-Porter.  Here's the interview.

SOPHIA WEBSTER, the British shoe and handbag designer. Her collection is sold at Kirna ZabĂȘte and Net-a-Porter.

WHAT I’M WEARING NOW The jeans and shirt are from Topshop. The jumper is ASOS. They do loads of cute jumpers. The shoes are from my spring collection. They have so much going on but seem to go with everything. The backpack is polka-dot pony and pink patent. I’m going to keep doing the backpacks. They’re more fun than the average handbag.

STYLE CREDO Normally I wear something with a cute element. I love pearls and pink. I usually wear my hair with a big bow in it to the side. But at the same time I don’t want to be too super-girly, so I mix it up.

ON MY CHRISTMAS LIST I’m desperate for one of the colorful Tom Binns splatter necklaces. A House of Holland bejeweled beanie hat and Grace Coddington’s memoir.

ON MY ENGAGEMENT RING I make the shoes in Brazil. During a break between factory visits, my boyfriend met me in Rio and proposed. He did so well with the ring. It’s rose gold with a pink stone. He obviously knows me. If it wasn’t pink, I would have said no.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Things I love this season!

 Tiny trees in jute.

Red or hot pink tights.

Warm wooly hats in bright pastel colors ( I have quite a collection!)

Anything with a bit of sparkle. (I found a sweet sequin cardigan for a steal at Forever 21...)

Candles in our fireplace.

Warm festive hugs!

Decorative tea and coffee mugs.  Although I've given up drinking coffee ( ahem, temporarily anyway...), I love sipping my morning tea in a fun and colorful cup these days.

I picked up a few of these tiny trees at the local supermarket today, perfect size and look!

What are your favorites this season?

 (Images via Classy in the City)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Weekend!!

Happy weekend! Sorry for the sporadic posts this week, I've been slow off the mark. It's been a bit hectic as I've been catching up with lots of administrative matters, attending a few holiday parties and our extended family welcomed the arrival of a sweet baby girl.

Wishing you a fantastic weekend, with coziness, great reading, hot cocoa and warm hugs.


(Images Crush Cul de Sac)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Treats

I'm not much of a baker but I do recognize a delicious treat when I see one!  These peppermint macarons are so pretty and look delicious!

You can follow the recipe on this lovely blog here.

I also came across this sweet garland and I'm loving its fun simplicity. This great idea comes from Better Homes and Gardens.

Happy Decorating!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lessons from Madame Chic

I first came across Jennifer L. Scott’s book, Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Secrets I learned While Living in Paris after reading a great review in The New York Times. Given my love of everything French and chic, I quickly tried ordering the book, but it was taken off the shelves for a re-release by Simon & Schuster this fall.

A native of southern California, Jennifer wrote this book after spending a semester studying art abroad in Paris. Her observations are personable, sweet and sometimes quite funny!

The book itself is quite lovely, with watercolor illustrations by talented illustrator Virginia Johnson.  But I must say that the helpful tips are what truly enchanted me, with simple, and practical tips for everyone and for every age.

Some of the sections I found particularly interesting and that spoke to me:

  • Liberate yourself with the ten item wardrobe
  • Clutter is so not chic
  • Cultivate an air of mystery
  • Value quality above all

 Given my desire to purge a lot of excess & useless stuff and focus on buying only quality items, these sections really spoke to me. It also reminded me that eating on the run ( while driving or walking) is a major non non, something I do occasionally when in a major rush.

This would make the perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer for the Francophile, the chic lady or friend in your life!

Speaking of looking chic, I thought I would share this glorious editorial from Marie Claire Australia. 

The colors, the accessories and the chic ensembles made me smile.
 I've been wearing jeans a lot lately and these gorgeous dresses made my day.  As a matter of fact, this editorial has convinced me to slip on a dress for a lunch meeting I have today.

And lastly, an important message from the queen of chic herself!