MY HOME, SWEET HOME~

 

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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

With all the nightmare news headlines coming from all sides today, you’d think America was an island the Brits used to lock up the insane!

But today, I want to reflect on what is GOOD about the country I love, the greatest country on Earth.

America is a beautiful country, from East Coast to West, and all in between.

Mountains, lakes, forests, prairies and magnificent oceans….we have it all here, if you look.

But more beautiful than that are its people…

Say what you want about the “Ugly American”, but we are the first to respond to disaster or humanitarian crisis, anywhere on the Globe.

We have sent more of our boys to die for other’s freedom than any country on Earth…

We even send money to countries that hate us.

Our military, often maligned, are made up of the best of America…brave men and women who protect not only us everyday, but also the inhabitants of foreign soils. We are often the country others look to for help in conflict.

I, for one, am so proud of our military….it’s the strongest on earth, but also with a compassion our adversary’s could never fathom or emulate.

We have the best hospitals and colleges on the planet…come to Boston some time and see the students from around the world getting educated, then go to the hospitals and see how many people from other countries are being saved here.

We have our flaws, for sure, but we also have the freedom to speak our mind, and to vote however we choose….

Women here are free, and equal to men, and each and every nationality that comes here does well, as long as they are willing to work hard.

Hard work is rewarded here, and it’s still the surest path to the “American Dream”.

We take care of our senior citizens, and are working now to finally start taking care of our Veterans.

We are the best of the best…doctors, scientists, engineers, researchers, philanthropists, farmers, educators, innovators… I salute them all.

So next time you turn on the news, on any channel, and hear the chaos, remember that people are passionate on both sides because there is so much at stake…

The soul of the greatest country on Earth….

She is still so worth fighting for.

God Bless America, and enjoy her birthday!~

MOTHERS AND OTHERS~A REPOST.

I thought this one deserved a second “go round…”

I hope you agree.

Whatever kind of mother you are, or for whatever kind mothering you do…have a blessed day!

 

Mother’s Day…So many images come to my mind when I think of the word “mother”.

There’s the obvious mom, yours, and there are the ones not so obvious.

There’s the aunt who was like a mom, always magically appearing when you needed her most and there’s the friend who came over and gave you a heating pad when you were having bad menstrual cramps (or in later years, had a level 3 hangover,) because your own mom was busy elsewhere..your friend just knew exactly what you needed and provided it.

There was the teacher in third grade who could see that you were hurting because you were new to the school and not making friends.  She let you sit with her during indoor recess, and included the “cool girls” at her desk as well. Discussions on the merits of “Beatles” vs. “Monkees” ensued, and  by the time recess was over, you were a cool girl, too.

There’s the sister who called you the day your first-born was leaving for college, because she’d been there, and knew you couldn’t breathe from sorrow.

That’s mothering..

There are all different kinds of moms…crack addict moms, and gluten-free, free range,organic only, natural birth with a doula moms.

There are the absentee moms that say “life is a bitch, and if you don’t toughen up, you will get eaten alive,” and there are the moms that would kick down the doors of Hell for you.

What kind of mom did you have?

and what kind of mom were you?

I find there is a correlation between the two.

If your mom was a “June Cleaver”, you probably tended to be a “Murphy Brown”.

If your mom was a “Roseanne”, you were more likely to be an  “Abilene,”(the housekeeper/nanny from the movie “The Help”..)

What little girl would not want to be on her lap, hearing her coo “you is smart, you is kind, you is important” ..?

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I had a hard-working, career pediatric nurse for a mom.  I was the only girl in my class who had a professional mom in the 60’s.  I was SO proud of her.  But I missed her, and often, while she was healing the sick children in the city. She wasn’t home for us much, even when she was.

I overcompensated by being the breastfeed til they were two, stay at home, homeschooling, Boy Scouting, school board and every-sport-known-to-man volunteer mom.

The one who would kick down those Hell doors….

After a lot of trial and error, I turned out OK…

and while they are still works in progress, so will my boys.

Somewhere between my mom and I, there exists the perfect mom. A mom who has the succinct balance of give and take, of attention and independence, of   “let them grow up” and “don’t ever let them go”…..

My mom and I are polar opposites, but one thing we have in common…we do the best we can, and really….that’s all you can do.

Happy Mothers day to all the moms, aunties,teachers, sisters,  friends and all others who mother us well, and make our lives worth living.

Your work is the most important on Earth…

But you knew that…~

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS…..

Je suis desole!  So very, very sorry.  I had to disappear for a while….

This blog was always intended to be a place of pleasure, and an outlet of creativity for me.

I’ve had such a busy year thus far, that getting the content together necessary to post a half way decent blog became another thing on my nagging “To Do” list.

I never want to feel like this blog was just another thing to check off the list of things to be done, so I shut it down.

I dearly apologize to those who have been checking in for a new post!  I value every second that someone spends here in my small little piece of the blogosphere, and I would never just throw something up that I didn’t think was worth you time.

I am back, and promise to do better…forgive me?

Lots to review, introduce and regale, so hang tight.

I won’t let you down.

More coming, but have you tried these…?

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If you are like me, you like a nice cocktail, but not the calories that come with it.  I promise you, you will love these mixers!  By a company called be Mixed, these mixes are free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, gluten free, and here’s the best part….ZERO CALORIES!!  How did they DO that??? With the help of Monk Fruit, citrus zests and stevia, these cocktail mixers are the freshest, most delicious thing you can get in a bottle!  I would (and do) drink them without the alcohol, they are that good.

My absolute favorite is the Ginger-lime, but the Margarita and Cucumber-Mint flavors are terrific as well!

Purchase here:
https://www.be-mixed.com/

And because it’s KENTUCKY DERBY DAY, (go Irish War Cry!!) I will be using the Cucumber-Mint in my Kentucky Derby Mint Julep…..

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Here are some tasty recipes for the julep, but try one with the be Mixed cucumber mint someday…it takes this classic drink to a whole new level, and you waistline will thank you!
Kentucky Derby: The Most Delicious & Mouth-Watering Mint Julep Recipes

So whether you are watching on TV, there, or having a bash, enjoy the tradition, and Wear Your Crowns… (or a VERY big hat!)

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Have a lovely weekend ~

ANOTHER AULD LANG SYNE~

 


Goodbye 2016!!!

What an INCREDIBLE year!

Good or bad, it was an epic year for most people I know…not a lot of gray area in 2016!

We had the election season from Hell that tore the country apart and exposed today’s politics for what it is…a blood sport, at best.

Whether  your candidate won or lost, remember that we are all a Free People, that not everyone can get a trophy in the real world, and that we will survive, because America has 240 years invested in her thus far, and she’s immune to the victories and shortcomings of her leaders.

We will be just fine.

The entertainment industry was hit hard this year, with the deaths of Prince, Bowie, George Michael, Sir George Martin, Maurice White, Glen Fry, Leonard Cohen and on.

Personally , we lost an iconic uncle, a much too young high school bestie, and the dear dad of my sister in law…stunning and sad, evidence that you need to savor each moment for those who no longer can❤️

This weeks deaths of the fabulous Carrie Fisher and Debby Reynolds highlights what an insane year it was. Dying literally a day apart, can’t you just hear Carrie saying “Seriously mom??? You couldn’t have waited a month? You had to hijack my funeral, too????”

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Strong, gutsy, flawed …totally Crown Worthy ladies, I shall miss them both❤️

So tonight, I will roast a tenderloin, steam some mussels, pop a few Veuve corks and give thanks for every minute of 2016, the good and the bad, the ugly and the brilliant.

Because it all adds up to the sacred gift of life, a gift for which I am eternally grateful🙏

Onward to 2017!

Be good, do good and Wear Those  Crowns high👑! I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a wild ride!!!!!

Have a fabulous fantastic New Year❤️

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The Book~

For the past 25 years, I have suggested, cajoled, pleaded and threatened my guests and family to record what they are grateful for in my leather bond Thanksgiving book.

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This week,  I wrote my 25th entry….

You may not “get” all this,…but blessed I am…

“What a YEAR!!! 2016 was kind to the Richards. We transitioned from the home affectionately known as “Bedlam on the Burrell” to “Maison des Oak” with the speed and efficiency only a World Class Real Estate Agent could facilitate.😉

We had a lovely 4Th of July send off party, complete with fireworks and one last family baseball game..

Waaaay back, back, back in the field of dreams yard  knicknamed “Chex Mix Park.”⚾️

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Then we made peace with Old Lady Potter, (who would never throw back the baseballs hit into her yard), gave the Adams family  neighbors a new fence, gave neighbor Ainsley my beloved geranium pots, and off we went!

I wish I could say that I treasured our time there, but as I get older, I prefer to always look forward and not back.  Too many good things ahead to exist in the past.

And what a year Eddie Mike had! A Salem State University degree finally under his belt, a huge accomplishment!  And then to meet the Lovely Nina, and start a job that he loves..It’s ALL good!

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Kevin is content and loving his home, “Higher Ground,” and all its inhabitants..finding the peace he craves and deserves, exploring his spirituality, now that he’s free.

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Camera shy Dan has risen to the call of adulthood by showing up, doing his job, slaying the dragons  and not losing his sense of humor along the way.  Big things ahead for Dan, he just doesn’t know it yet…

Also thankful for the A-mazing job my mom is doing taking care of my dad.  It’s grueling and exhausting, but she is showing me what it means when you say “in sickness and in health, for better or for worse”. I have such respect for the example she is modeling for me..Ed will be in good hands as the years go by, because of what I am learning from her…

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and how thankful I am to still be sitting at a table with the Greatest Man Alive, Herb Delaney….

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My first love, the bar was set high with him as my dad.  Kindness, compassion, selflessness and unconditional love from him, taught me to expect that of myself, and to accept nothing less from my partner.

Which brings me to my husband, the 2nd Greatest Man I’ve ever known, and the love of my life..what I ever did to deserve a person as good as him, I’ll never know. Thank you for the love, the laughs, and the Bruno Mars tickets! May we bloom and grow in the years ahead!

This year, we gained the lovely Nina, and lost an Icon, Uncle Norman.I love them both and am grateful for them.

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Uncle Norm was so handsome, my blog could not find a worthy pic…a truly great man who’s kindness and generosity will be missed by all.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am grateful for my little muse, Jesse  Pinkman Richard, for loving me like a son loves a mother….It never gets old…even if you have four very dirty paws!

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Finally, I want to thank God…the one I believe in….who has never, ever dropped me.  I’m not worthy, but I try!

The binding on “The Book” is cracking, after 25 years of blessings…so it’s time to start a new one..

How lucky am I?

Enjoy your blessings and give thanks everyday..for the good AND the bad…it’s the individual days that make up the total life…

How are you living yours?? ~

Have a lovely weekend, and shop less, love more, but if you HAVE to shop, shop locally today in support of all the great small businesses around you❤️👍

What can YOU do…?~

Good Morning!

Have we all settled down since Tuesday?

I hope so.

I know for a fact that the sun still shines and the earth is still spinning, so it’s all good!

Last night, in honor of Veteran Day, we went to see “Hacksaw Ridge”, and I am so glad I did.

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It’s exactly what the world needs right now, but alas, the people who need it most will never see it.

Based on the true story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor in WWII despite refusing to bear arms, it’s a story of two things sorely lacking in our country today.

The courage of conviction, and love of god and Country.

Desmond was a Seventh-day Adventist, a religion that forbids killing or the bearing of arms.  Yet Desmond also loved his country.

As boy after boy enlisted in WWII, he struggled with how to reconcile the two.  He couldn’t turn his back on his religion, and wouldn’t turn his back on his country.

So he became a medic and enlisted in he army as a conscientious objector, one of the nations first.

He was ostracized at best, beaten and almost court marshaled at worse, but BECAUSE he was a man with the courage of his convictions, and a religious man who valued life, he went on to single handedly save over 75 soldiers in the battle of Okinawa without firing a single shot!

Such a powerful story on two fronts.

He stayed true to who he was, because he answered only to the god he served, and he had a tremendous sense of patriotism with a desire to do the right thing.

When I look around today, I see protests that go nowhere and achieve nothing, and a large portion of our population  who want to take from our country, but never give back.

And it breaks my heart.

There was one powerful scene that caused me to weep..(thank you, Mel Gibson for ALWAYS making me cry at the movies you produce..”Passion of the Christ” and “Braveheart” come to mind.)

The scene is desperate one, as the bullets are flying and Desmond’s fellow soldiers are being slaughtered all around him. He is at a loss as to what to do, as he serves a God who does not want him to pick up a gun….he looks around at the carnage piling up and cries, “I don’t understand..What is it you want me to do??”

How many of us, who worship a god, have been there in our lives…Sometimes the challenges  we are faced with are so hard, we are ill equipped to know the way…and we look up and say “WHAT ON EARTH IS IT YOU WANT FROM ME??”

I have found many times that the answer may not come instantly, but it does come if you wait.

Desmond’s answer to his question was that he was called to use his courage and resourcefulness to rescue  the wounded but not dead soldiers left on the battle field, still under attack.

Most of those men, who would have been left for dead if not for Desmond, went on to get married, have families and live full lives.

THAT, my friends, is a great story.

Whether or not you are religious in any way, if you are a citizen of the Unites States, especially today, you need to see this film and ask yourself the question John Kennedy asked you several decades ago…

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”

The answer to everything that ails our country today lies in that question, if you have the courage to answer it.

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In honor of Veterans Day, just for today, can you give that some thought?  And maybe find a small way to give back  to the Greatest Generation for all their sacrifice, and to the Greatest Country on Earth, for all our blessings?? Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with the country, let’s reflect on what’s right, and act accordingly!

God Bless America, thank you , and have an amazing weekend ~

IF I HAD A DAUGHTER…~

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We are going to veer a bit off topic today….but when you reach a certain age, you get to say whatever the heck you want…and this, today , is what I want to say….

In the current political climate, we are inundated with stories of men behaving badly.

Stories that start with “he grabbed me,” “he made me feel uncomfortable”, and “he said things that hurt me,” etc., have flooded the media.

(By the way, let me know when we can start discussing the major issues facing the country…, but I digress..)

Today’s narrative, when it comes to being a woman, seems to be that of “victim”, and this woman, for one, is tired of it.

I was raised surrounded by brothers, cousins, and lots of male friends.

I met and married a man who was the youngest of four boys, and I went on to have three sons of my own.

I’ve  lived in a house full of males, including the dogs, for over 30 years.

In the fields I work in, I’m surrounded by men..

and here’s what I would tell my daughter, if I had one….

You won’t be disrespected if you command respect.

That’s right.  They can’t disrespect you if you don’t let them…It’s that simple.

Now I’m not talking about rape here…that’s a crime that, by the way, can happen to anyone.

I’m talking about big things…

Like lewd jokes, being touched inappropriately, being harassed, etc. and the smaller things, like being talked down to because you have breasts, not being taken seriously because you’re a woman, being  disrespected because you are the non-male in the household, or being taken advantage of at work.

I’ve dealt with most of it in my life, and here’s what I did.

When I was in high school, and a boy yelled something very offensive about me when I was walking down the hall, I called my boyfriend.  The next day, the entire football team of  my boyfriends school came to my school to meet the offending boy…..  The day after that, he was opening the doors for me in the hall. Problem solved….

When the older man in the hospital I worked in put his hand on my butt, I looked him straight in the eye, in the middle of the office and said, (in my Irish  Whisper),  “if you touch me like that ever again, not only will I get you fired, I will rain fresh hell down on you like you’ve never seen.”  I was 22 at the time, and new to my job. He never touched me again.

I’ve work many years with men who tell lewd jokes…I laugh at their stupidity, and feel bad for their wives…I would never go home to a man like that.

I raised my boys with the understanding that they didn’t have to like me, but they were most certainly going to respect me…even if I was the only hormonal one in the house.

And they did.

I raised them to respect women and treat them like equals. I would tell them “if  your girlfriend is not deserving of respect, why are you with her in the first place??”

And they did and do.

I was raised by a woman who was a hard-working medical professional, and not your classic mom by any stretch..

But she had a husband who adored her. Even in the 60’s when it was almost unheard of, he picked up her slack and did most of the heavy lifting, raising their five kids.

More important, he loved me so dearly, and made me feel so valued, that commanding respect for myself as I grew just came naturally.  If I was a special as my dad thought I was, no man would ever make me feel less than that…

and no one ever did.

But I would also tell my daughter that respect is a two-way street.   If you want to be respected by men, you have to earn it by being the best version of yourself you can be.

If you grow up to be a woman of courage, empathy, kindness and compassion, with a lot of class and dignity, the good men will respect you in spades…

The others will too…they will just never show it.

and THAT, ladies, is what it means to be truly CROWN WORTHY!

 

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Have the most amazing weekend, love your beautiful selves, and wear those crowns high! ~ and a special shout out this week to one of the the most amazing “Glam mamas”  you could ever know..the Gold Standard of Hot Mammas, married to an amazing man, Colleen Delaney…YOU are the Gold Standard!

 

Beauty, the Books and Blood Orange Bliss~

New England in Autumn is a little slice of Heaven.

The foliage, the Indian Summer weather (warm sunny days, crisp, cool nights,) and OH, the food.  I’m a sucker for anything pumpkin. You could sprinkle pumpkin spice on a pile of dirt, and I swear I’d eat it!

Cold weather clothes are terrific as well .  It’s almost as if they KNEW we would be eating too much, and made oversized knit sweaters, bulky jackets and belly hiding sweater scarfs the fashionable thing.

On to beauty….

I make a point to walk every day in the woods near my home. I just don’t want to miss a minute of the glory!

Check this out from my walk yesterday…

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It’s a breathtaking  time of year, and hard to feel anything but invigorated and alive when I’m out in nature, and that’s why I will always be a New England girl!

This week, lots of great reads were released.

So many books, so little time!

This first one I am enjoying is “Capture Your Style” by Aimee Song.

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Because the political season is in full on ugly mode, I am trying to stay away from social media sites that just bring me down… I’ve traded more Instagram for less Facebook and Twitter in the precious little time I have in my day to browse.

I find Instagram uplifting and love seeing everyone’s day through pics. This book, written by a woman with one of the largest Instagram accounts on the planet, gives some great advice about photo shooting, editing, text, content, how to capture your own style, and tell your own story in an appealing way.  She’s made a five figure income off of her Instagram account, and travels the world snapping pics, so she knows her stuff. Her advice about editing apps alone is worth the cost of the book, if you care about the quality of your photos.

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The second book, “The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier..by Cathi Hanauer is a FABULOUS read for we “femme d’un certain age.”  Chronicling some of the best women writers in their forties, fifties and sixties, these “bitches”, all bestselling authors and some of my favorites, offer unique views of modern womanhood today, but from an older and wiser perspective. Topics ranging from marriage and/or divorce, cancer, dealing with elderly parents or adult children, workplace age and sexism, highlight that we older women have a lot on our plates. Here, it’s examined with guts and gusto, and I yell  “Brava!” after each essay read.

We older women are AWESOME, aren’t we?? I want to send a Virtual  Crown to each of the contributors….it’s a terrific read.

Finally, last night in Boston, I had the best martini I’ve ever had.  And people who know me know that I make a mean martini.  It was a blood orange martini, but like no other.  One sip, and I was transported to Sicily, to the sun drenched blood orange groves.  HEAVEN!

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I have made blood orange martinis before, but nothing tasted this good.  I asked the bartender, who kindly told me the secret.  They make it with a few tablespoons of this blood orange purée, imported from Napa Valley.

You can buy it online here. https://www.perfectpuree.com/product/blood-orange-concentrate/

along  with several other flavors like Meyer Lemon and Caramelized Pineapple, (have MERCY!) which I am eager to try next.

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Whatever you view, read, savor or drink, do something nice for a stranger, and have a lovely week ahead~

POLITICS AND PUMPKINS, POLISH AND POUTS ~

Are you ready to toss your TV out the window?

Rip your phone off wall and throw it out? (If you’re ancient, and still HAVE a landline…)

If you answered “yup,” chances are it’s election season, and never has their been one as polarizing and difficult as this one!

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People who know me know I am passionate about politics.  I do not discuss politics on this site, however, as it’s suppose to be a fun and uplifting place to come.  Politics, at least today’s version, has become a blood sport, pitting family members against each other, as well as friends and co-workers.

So, with help from fellow blogger Shannon Abels, I’ve devised what I think are some solid guidelines to get you through the next few months without losing your mind..

1. Seek out the truth

Often the important issues can’t be summarized in a tweet or news clip.  It takes time and patience and more than just skimming the headlines for you to learn the truth.  Especially with today’s media being, shall we say, agenda’d on both sides.  Be sure you are seeking out reputable sources, and just shut off CNN and FOX New altogether.

2. Converse to gain understanding.

The other day, I had a long political conversation with a Starbucks manager, in her mid-forties.  She was Black, Gay and adopted.  Listening to her, I was able to ascertain why she is voting the way she is, and, even though she and I are not in agreement about a lot of things, I now understand at least where her fears lie, and why she is voting the way she is.  We each have or own things that are really important to us, and no one candidate solves them all. Having civil conversation allows us to at least gain a better understanding of each other.

3. Determine if you have a willing audience for discussion

Nothing appalls me more, from either side, than a  person ASSUMING that everyone thinks like they do. They are the ones who will say at a dinner party “can you imagine the idiots voting for —- and how stupid can you be?” Facebook is different, because you know your audience and can control the privacy settings. But out in public, well, you’ve heard the saying “never assume…It makes an ASS out of U and ME!”  And just because a person lives in a heavily red or heavily blue state, does not mean they don’t think for themselves and follow the majority.

4. Seek depth, not soundbites

Soundbites lack context, but time is valuable: therefore, that is often all we hear or see. Please  be aware that there is always more to the story.

5. Watch or listen to debates

Sometimes, even the greatest pundits can’t cover up the lack of knowledge of a subject, or the extreme ideas or opinions of a candidate.  Truth speaks as candidates debate.

6. Seek out quality information, but less of it.

Read a paper or two, and limit yourself to about 15 minutes a night of political news from as unbiased a source as you can find…hard, I know.  After that, take a deep breath, and shift your focus.

It’s going to be a loooooong season.  Pace yourself, become an EDUCATED voter, then do your civic duty and VOTE!

Pumpkin is up next!

I found what looks to be a delightful recipe for pumpkin brioche in this months edition of  one of my favorite magazines, Victoria..

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This will be a perfect accompaniment to my Bouef Carbonadde recipe ….

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Beef-Beer-Stew

It appears to take most of the day to make, but since I am having  guests tonite, I will attempt to make the effort and report back next time!  You can see the above photo, and my “finished product” side by side, and decide for yourself!  The recipe can be found on Victoriamagazine.com

Polish time!  You ladies know about my obsession with nail polish by now, and particularly about Smith and Cult nail polish.  Great wear, easy application with a super flat brush, and THE.BEST.COLORS…

These are the three I love this season…The first is called  “1976” (because it reminded the color chemist of her moms rose gold lame dress from the disco days…I was there in ’76, and Yup! They got it right! )

My other two seasonal favorites are called “Darjeeling Darling”, a gorgeous Autumn green, and “Dark Like Me,” and lovely burgundy.

Buy them at Newman Marcus or here ….http://www.smithandcult.com/nailed-lacquer.html

 

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Pouts!!…Have you seen the new seasonal trend in lip color?  Dark as the night, matted and in your face…(or at least on your lips!)

The new shades are gorgeous…deep plums, blues, violets..colors we’ve never seen on lips..

The problem is, they look AMAZING on young girls, but not so much on “we of the older and wiser generation”..

So I did a little research and found just the one.  By Urban Decay, this line blew me away with color…

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But putting them on my lips was waaaay tooo Bella Lugosi-esque!  Barnabus Collins would dig it, but my family would have been horrified.

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So I settled for one from the Urban Decay line called “Seismic”, that had all the pigment and color of the deep, lovely violet, but with none of the matte, and it was delightfully moisterizer  to boot!

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So now you can talk politics without getting tarred and feathered, bake a delicious pumpkin brioche, have beautifully colored nails AND wear the dark lip trend without being embalmed first!

And you thought you were just reading some little blog post…

 

Have a fantastic Columbus Day Weekend, and Wear Your Crowns! ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes (Turn and face the strange..) ~

Heloo, October!  I can’t BELIEVE how fast September went.

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As some of you know, I went through a big life event last week. I closed up my big ol’ 9 room country club colonial, sold it to a lovely, starry-eyed couple (good luck, kids!) and moved into a 1300 square foot elegantly appointed apartment.  With about 1,000 neighbors and dogs!

I was really nervous at first, as I have never, in almost 58 years, lived in anything but a house.  Small as they were,  I always had my own space and my own land.

I entered into the next phase, however, with more excitement than trepidation.

You see, the best times of my life, in retrospect , have been the times of biggest change.  The bigger the change, the bigger my growth as a person, and the bigger the lessons learned.

I had been STAGNANT for so many years.  Something about being chained to taking care of a big house while working two jobs, and having so many empty rooms as most of my boys are gone, just left me feeling old.  The house had become a museum to the past, and I am all about the future.

I handed over the keys, thanked God for the memories, bad and good, and onward we went.

To date, I have meet such a melting pot of fine people in my new complex!  I’ve met hard-working, polite 20 somethings, Indian high tech professionals, a large Asian population with the MOST gorgeous babies and toddlers.  (Interesting about that culture…mom and dad bring the grandparents with them, wherever they reside, and have built-in baby sitters.  In the day, you see the grandparents in the playground or pool with the little ones, and at night, as they rest, the parents appear.  It’s a testament to that culture that family is everything.)

And then I met “Giselle”…..

Not her real name, but a dead ringer for the real Giselle, I noticed this lovely young Brazilian mom by the pool everyday with her  beautiful, blond, curly haired toddler.While everyone else poolside was gawking at her “Girl from Ipanema” beauty, I noticed something else….how utterly attentive and captivated she was by her little boy.  Unlike a lot of moms today, she did not have her face in a phone constantly.  In fact, she didn’t even carry one.  She was SO enchanted by her little guy.  I could tell she was a great mother. She looked however, a bit lonely.  I think, because she was so gorgeous, the other residents were a bit intimidated to even stand next to her bikini clad body, much less talk to her.

Luckily for both of us, I don’t intimidate easily, and I approached her to tell her what an awesome job I thought she was doing as a mom.  She broke down in tears and thanked me heartily.  We started talking, and she confessed that her baby boy, Franco, is the love of her life, but she misses her mom in Brazil tremendously.  She said there are days when she can’t take the loneliness, as her husband works long hours and her mom can’t Skype.  The more we talked, the more it became clear that the Divine Spirit had a plan for us….

I have been waiting for a young lady to come into my life for a long time.  With a husband, and three sons who have  no “serious” girlfriends yet, it’s a lonely existence for a woman in my house!  Even my dog, Jesse, is a boy!

The more I talked with “Giselle”, the more we bonded.  I told her she could call me anytime, night or day, and I would be there for her.  I will be babysitting for her so she can get back to her sport of running,and I can get my fix of baby love, and have a surrogate daughter for the time we both reside there and maybe onward.

The day we met, as we were parting, she asked me my name…when I said “Kathy” she burst into tears and hugged me….her mom in Brazil is named “Kathy.”

Coincidence or Divine Interveniton?  You decide.

If I hadn’t broken waaaaay out of my comfort zone to try new things, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am as of this writing.

Now, unemcumbered by that house, my husband and I have the time to embrace new things instead of raking lawns and fixing leaks.

We have lots of adventures awaiting, and I’m so ready for what’s ahead…

I may even try the Indian food truck that comes to the complex next Friday….; )  or maybe not…

Here’s a pic of my tiny tiny balcony…decorated within an inch of it’s life for Fall….Can you tell I’m a downsizer?

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Have a glorious October, embrace the changing of the seasons of your life, and wear your crowns! ~

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CLEAR THE WEEKEND….~

I’VE BEEN A VORACIOUS READER SINCE THE “NANCY DREW” DAYS.  I’M HAPPIEST  WHEN I’M LOST IN A BOOK.

I ENJOY BIOGRAPHIES MOST BECAUSE  I’M ENDLESSLY FASCINATED BY HOW PEOPLE NAVIGATE THE JOURNEYS OF LIFE.

IN MY FIFTY PLUS YEARS OF READING, HOWEVER,  IVE NEVER READ ANYTHING LIKE THIS….

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JUST PUBLISHED, “LOVE WARRIOR”, BY GLENNON DOYLE MELTON WILL BLOW THE LID OFF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MODERN DAY WIFE, MOTHER AND WOMAN.  IF “EAT PRAY LOVE” SPOKE TO YOU, “LOVE WARRIOR” WILL HAUNT YOUR DREAMS….

EVEN BEFORE OPRAH SWOOPED DOWN AND MADE IT HER BOOKCLUB PICK OF THE SEASON, I HAD READ THE BUZZ FROM AUTHORS I ADMIRE LIKE BRENE BROWN, ELIZABETH GILBERT, CHRIS NOTHRUP AND MARIANNE WILLIAMSON. THEY RAVED, AND THEY WERE RIGHT.

YOU WILL BE HARD PRESSED TO READ A MORE HONEST BOOK.  I COULD EASILY HAVE READ IT IN A SITTING, BUT SEVERAL TIMES I HAD TO PUT IT DOWN TO ABSORB THE WORDS.   I’VE SAID THOSE WORDS. I’VE HAD THOSE THOUGHTS…WE ALL HAVE IF WE ARE HONEST.  FINALLY, A WOMAN IS SPEAKING THE TRUTH ABOUT HOW HARD IT CAN BE TO WEAR ALL THE HATS, HOW FULFILLING AND DESPERATE, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

READ THIS BOOK IN PIECES, AS SHE MOVES THROUGH THE STAGES OF HER LIFE. BEGINNING WITH HER BULIMIC CHILDHOOD, THROUGH THE DRUG FUELED COLLEGE YEARS, TO MARRIAGE, MOTHERHOOD , SEPARATION, SINGLE PARENTING, RECONCILIATION AND FORGIVENESS, SHE BARES IS ALL WITH SUCH INSIGHT AND HONESTY, NOTHING IS SPARED.  ULTIMATELY, JUST AS THE BOOK WAS GOING TO PRINT, SHE ANNOUNCED SHE AND HER HUSBAND ARE DIVORCING. YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SAY THEY DIDNT TRY.

HER WRITING IS LIKE NO OTHER, AND HER TRUTH IS HUMBLING. THIS ONE WILL DO FOR OUR GENERATION WHAT BETTY FRIEDAN’S “THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE” DID FOR OUR MOTHERS..IT WILL BE TALKED ABOUT AT BOOK CLUBS FOR YEARS TO COME, AND IT MAY CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT OUR LIVES.

PROFOUND.

AND ON A LIGHTER NOT….

AND HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

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BY A COMPANY CALLED “BELLA BEAT”, FINALLY A “FITBIT” WITH A LITTLE STYLE.  THIS TRACKER, ENCASED IN A LEAF SHAPED PIECE, CAN BE WORN AS A PIN, NECKLACE OR BRACELET, IN SILVER OR ROSE GOLD.  AND IT DOESNT JUST TRACK YOUR SWEATY STEPS, BUT YOUR STRESS LEVEL, MEDITATION AND SLEEP CYCLES, YOUR FERTILITY AND MORE.

BEAUTIFUL PIECES ON THEIR OWN, GET ONE NOW AS THEY ARE BACK ORDERED FOR MONTHS…

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I KNOW WHAT SANTA CAN BRING ME THIS YEAR IF HE CAN GET IT IN TIME!!

FIND OUT ALL ABOUT THEM HERE….

https://webshop.bellabeat.com/collections/all?sort_by=best-selling

 

ADJUST YOUR CROWNS, OWN AND CELEBRATE YOUR OWN STORY, AND HAVE AN AMAZING WEEKEND, OR WHAT WILL BE LEFT OF IT IF YOU OPEN THIS BOOK!~

THINGS I’M LOVING, SUMMER 2016❤️~

imageWith Memorial Day upon us, I want to share some Crown~Worthy  things that, in my humble opinion, will enhance the all too brief summer experience. Remember, I’m from Boston…our summers last about ten weeks, our winters five months. Summers are sacred in New England.

SO! Having said that, here’s my SUMMER 2016 Hall of Fame Crown~Worthy list!

I love my champagne, but I love it even more, sitting on a beach, watching the sunset.

Veuve Clicquot Rose is the perfect drink for a special sandy sunset. It’s light, like the Rose we enjoy all summer, but with a magical taste of bubbly goodness, and SO pretty🍾 . It’s hard not to smile when enjoying a glass. Treat yourself at least once this summer. You owe it to yourself!

Summer tends to play havoc with my hair, newly silver. Between the UVA rays, salt water and dry heat, delicate gray shades don’t stand a chance. White becomes yellow in no time, and not in a good way.

After a year-long search, I finally found the perfect shampoo for white, silver and platinum.

Aveda Blue Malva is a joy to use. Smells like I think Heaven would smell (if I ever get there😉), and when your hair dries, it’s bright, silver and luminescent. Not a trace of dull yellow, and it feels like silk. Highly rated online, highly recommended by me. A Crown~Worthy  find a year in the making, but not cheap. It runs about $38 per bottle, but it’s 33 ounces, so you’ll use it awhile.

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I can see a difference in my hair since using it, even in photos….

 

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Next on the list…

I searched far and wide for a summer nail color I wouldn’t get tired of. One that was neutral enough to go with everything, but not boring like most neutrals. (I will never be accused of being boring!)

I saw this on a model in a magazine and eureka! That was it, and the search was on…

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I finally found it, but it was sold out everywhere, forcing me to buy it direct from the company and pay shipping, which I was not happy about. But it’s mine, it’s on my feet and toes, and it makes me smile every time I look at it, so it’s all good!

It’s by a company called Smith and Cult, and while the names are insane, the colors are gorgeous. This green is called “Bitter Buddhist” of all things, but it’s a subtle, grayish green that reminds me of a Monet. The wear is great and, if you are into that kind of aesthetic, the bottle is gorgeous.

You can find it at Neiman Marcus, if you’re lucky, and other places online if not sold out. But I bought it direct from the company because when I finally found it, I had to have it.

Heres a cute article from the Huffington Post about the company and the crazy names of the colors..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/17/smith-and-cult-nail-polish-line_n_5990128.html

 

Next up, a water bottle that A. Looks sleek B. Keeps your water cold FOR TWELVE HOURS IN A HOT CAR….it’s true, I tested it, and may I introduce my new favorite thing…

 

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Produced by the company S’well, these bottles are it for me!

Ranging around $35. per bottle, I’ve seen them in Starbucks and Barnes and Noble Cafes. Target sells the cheaper, smaller version of their bottle, but when it comes to water, go big or go home!
How pretty is this limited edition rose gold one….?
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Oh, and did I neglect to point out that it keeps the above referenced champagne, or any other wine, ice-cold for an outdoor picnic?  And yes, it’s keeps your hot coffee steaming all day in the cold weather, but we aren’t going THERE today.🌞

Here we have a make your own ice cream sandwich kit from Williams Sonoma. SO cute, and you can customize all day long to make the perfect sandwich. I’m famous for my ice cream sandwhich cookies for the beach parties our extended family gathers at. This makes it so much easier. Why spend your precious time on anything but being creative?

My favorite is combo is salted caramel gelato, the sandwich dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with crushed cashews. The options are endless and we’ve been known to use anything from pop rocks to crystallized ginger! The kit is super easy to use, and  at a $19.95 price point for three, it pays for itself in no time!

You can purchase this at Williams Sonoma in store or online.

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At last but not least, while I am a HUGE proponent of shutting off the TV and being outside as much as possible in the precious summer, here’s one hilarious show I found recently to binge watch if you have a rainy day.

Silicon Valley, an HBO comedy centered around the high-tech industry, is uproariously funny, or as one of my male friends said “freakin brilliant!”

It’s the story of a team of nerdy but brilliant computer guys naively navigating the cut throat Hi Tech industry of Silicon Valley. Having two computer engineers in the family, (how do you think I set UP this crazy blog?!), I can tell you from my sideline observation that the show is dead on, and funnier than it has a right to be! Now in its third season on HBO, it’s available for streaming. Enjoy!

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Wherever your summer takes you, whatever you eat, drink, shampoo with or watch, have a GLORIOUS SUMMER and savor each and every day, and have a Crown~Worthy Memorial Day Weekend❤️👸🏼~

MOTHERS AND OTHERS~

Mother’s Day…So many images come to my mind when I think of the word “mother”.

There’s the obvious mom, yours, and there are the ones not so obvious.

There’s the aunt who was like a mom, always magically appearing when you needed her most and there’s the friend who came over and gave you a heating pad when you were having bad menstrual cramps (or in later years, had a level 3 hangover,) because your own mom was busy elsewhere..your friend just knew exactly what you needed and provided it.

There was the teacher in third grade who could see that you were hurting because you were new to the school and not making friends.  She let you sit with her during indoor recess, and included the “cool girls” at her desk as well. Discussions on the merits of “Beatles” vs. “Monkees” ensued, and  by the time recess was over, you were a cool girl, too.

There’s the sister who called you the day your first-born was leaving for college, because she’d been there, and knew you couldn’t breathe from sorrow.

That’s mothering..

There are all different kinds of moms…crack addict moms, and gluten-free, free range,organic only, natural birth with a doula moms.

There are the absentee moms that say “life is a bitch, and if you don’t toughen up, you will get eaten alive,” and there are the moms that would kick down the doors of Hell for you.

What kind of mom did you have?

and what kind of mom were you?

I find there is a correlation between the two.

If your mom was a “June Cleaver”, you probably tended to be a “Murphy Brown”.

If your mom was a “Roseanne”, you were more likely to be an  “Abilene,”(the housekeeper/nanny from the movie “The Help”..)

What little girl would not want to be on her lap, hearing her coo “you is smart, you is kind, you is important.”

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I had a hard-working, career pediatric nurse for a mom.  I was the only girl in my class who had a professional mom in the 60’s.  I was SO proud of her.  But I missed her, and often, while she was healing the sick children in the city. She wasn’t home for us much, even when she was.

I overcompensated by being the breastfeed til they were two, stay at home, homeschooling, Boy Scout, school board and every-sport-known-to-man volunteer mom.

the one who would kick down those Hell doors….

After a lot of trial and error, I turned out OK…

and while they are still works in progress, so will my boys.

Somewhere between my mom and me, there exists the perfect mom. A mom who has the perfect balance of give and take, of attention and independence, of   “let them grow up” and “don’t ever let them go”…..

My mom and I are polar opposites, but one thing we have in common…we do the best we can, and really….that’s all you can do.

Happy Mothers day to all the moms, aunties,teachers, sisters,  friends and all others who mother us well, and make our lives worth living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#52SATURDAYS, AND RECOVERY REMEDY

Last week, I spent the better part in bed with Attack Of The Killer Bronchitis. 2016 hasn’t been kind in the health department! I’m soldiering on, however, and I’ve even lost 13 pounds on my supposedly health inducing diet. I’ll take it, but I don’t do well being sidelined with illness.
My Saturday photo day gave me a good excuse to get out of bed,go visit my salon, and my favorite “color whisperer”, the lovely Bridgette. I always feel better after, and got my Saturday shot to boot!

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Spending so much time in bed has some benefit. I caught up on my reading, and finished “Boys in trees”, the veeeery interesting autobiography by Carly Simon. She and Sean Connery, who knew?

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Turns out, Carly is a really good writer, and the bio is chock full of antidotes from the Seventies. From Sweet Baby James, to Warren, Paul and Linda, Mick, et al, it is an enjoyable read. Made me want to dig out my fringe vest and guitar….if I had a guitar!
See you Saturday. Who knows what I’ll capture then??

52 Saturdays#2

This challenge is tougher than I thought it would be!
52Saturdays, where I take one interesting picture that reflects my Saturday for the entire years.

I had big plans of going into Boston to get a great shot of the Public Gardens or Old Faneuil Hall, but I woke up to a dreary day, and wanted to continue my Downton Abbey binge more than anything else. So, like a crazy women, I ran around the house shooting anything and everything til I got what I needed.

I was looking to do something interesting with a shadow, and lo and behold, here it was.
Levitating peppers!
Due to the white ledge they were placed on, the shadow below and the shape of the pepper, this shot somehow managed to make them look as if they were floating in air!

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Pleased was I!

Then, because I didn’t get “out there” like intended, I decided to take a pic of My Muse, Jesse, for the bonus points. (He’s using his “please put down the camera, get off your ass, and walk me!” face).

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Have a fantastic week ahead! ~

52 SATURDAYS~1

As mentioned previously, in 2016 I decided to challenge myself to take better pictures by joining the “52 Saturdays” Group.

The idea being that you set out consciously to get a great shot somewhere. Unlike “Picture Of The Day”, it can’t be a spontaneous shot, but a mindful excercise.

Full disclosure…the day before, I started a cleansing diet of no caffeine, sugar, alcohol or dairy.

I guess I underestimated how badly the caffeine withdrawal would be.

I started my day feeling a bit lousy at 6 AM, but needed to walk, so I thought I’d capture something in the overcast cemetery.

This little angel was quietly waiting for her close up on the chilly, snow capped morning….

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As the walk dragged on, it became very clear to me that I was withdrawing from caffeine in a BIG way.

The walk was cut short, and crushing headache, nausea, etc. ensued.

I ended up in bed for the next 24 hours, binge watching Downton Abbey.
(Where have you BEEN all my life?)…..

So if my 1st of 52 Saturdays is to be honestly reflected, it’s this image….(the only one I could show without scaring you!)

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Hopefully, that’s my quota for winter ills.
The good news is I’m down five pounds, but would take those pounds over how I felt yesterday, any day!

And a big THANK YOU, to my wing man, husband extraordinaire, for the care yesterday.

In sickness and in health, you’re the greatest❤️

Have a healthy week!~

BON ANNIVERSAIRE~

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One year! It’s flown by!
Thank you so much for all the emails and kind words.
2016 is going to be gangbusters!
I promise interesting content, fabulousity, and lots of fun. ❤️
Thanks for stopping by, and see you in a few~

IF NOT NOW…..

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My magical City of Light, my broken heart.

I had hoped to return to Paris soon. I had more to see, more to experience. I wanted more of the flowerpots in every black wrought iron windowsill. I wanted the smells of sugar and roasting meat. I wanted the perfume in the air, and to gaze at the brilliant scarves, flowing from women rushing to work.

I wanted the energy, the passion, the red lips, the incredible wine.

I hadn’t finished touring the museums and gilded halls. I needed to see the seasons change through the Chanel and St.Laurent windows.

I needed to drink again the best coffee in the world, and eat the croissants that only Paris can claim.

I’d hoped to someday take a cooking class there, and really understand the seriousness that goes into producing the meal…the technique, the ingredients…so serious it becomes effortless…

I wanted one more infusion of the je ne sais quoi that can truly only be found in the magical City of Light…

I can’t return now, any time soon. The march of ISIS, and it’s religion of death, has destroyed Paris for me. It has contaminated my precious city, the place I go to in my head to dream and escape when days get tough.

Now I see images of bloodied bodies outside the last cafe I sat in.
I see images of people running in fear. I see 9/11, the sequel.

No matter what political ideology you ascribe to, no matter what party you vote for…..peace can no longer be obtained through “understanding one another” anymore than you could train your dog to stop barking by giving him a treat.
They want to kill us, and they will…unless the ENTIRE WORLD bans together to say “Enough!”
We must hunt down and destroy radical Islam, by any means necessary.

Peace through force….their lives or yours.
Dieu benit et garde ma ville de lumiere….💔

FRENCH WOMEN HAVE GREAT PR PEOPLE…

OK, ENOUGH already about how superior French women are to every other feminine being on the planet!

Recently, I’ve noticed a glut of books on the market about how French women are perfect in every way.

Being a pseudo French woman by nationality, ( French Canadian, which means I’m REALLY imperfect by Parisian standards,) and an American by birth, I feel it’s time to knock our perfect French sisters down a few pegs….

First, the books……

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Because no other woman could ever be quite so enlightened!!

And because no one can cook quite like THEM…..They cook like this EVERYDAY!!!

imageAnd when you’re rushing out the door to get your child to school, make the board room meeting, or hit the gym (which French women also NEVER do…they are magically thin) don’t forget to be CHIC and ELEGANT! This book will help….

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And because it’s IMPOSSIBLE! to be as CHIC! and ELEGANT!  as a French women…we have a book to tell you how IMPOSSIBLE it IS!!!!!….Buy the book anyway….we need to keep French Women in expensive perfume to hide the cigarette smell…..(yes, that was catty….but true, and felt really good!)

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They have secrets to feeling beautiful EVERYDAY!!! Ooh La LA!!!!!! That’s a lotta days, sister, non?image

And of course, there are things French women NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER do….

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(Sure they do…)

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Also not true…..I’ve seen the French women on the Metro. This book says they eat cheese, steak, chocolate, drink red wine, and never gain weight, which leads me to wonder what the eating disorder stats are in Gay Paree!

and my personal FAVORITE….

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So French women don’t sleep alone, eh???? Ever??? I’m guessing then, that there has to be a LOT of cat hair between those 5000,000 thread count Parisian sheets!!

Spare me!

It must be very difficult to be so perfect.

But I’m guessing that, at the end of the day, French women are very similar to Italian women, American women, all women.

And I’m guessing that maybe they are getting as sick of the hype as we are. It’s brutal to be perfect!

One thing I know, for sure, about my American sisters….

We never say never!!!

Have a perfectly imperfect weekend ~

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