Monday, April 7, 2014

Slimming down your suitcase

photo by

As I have travelled extensively in my life, I have been asked to pass on some of my tips for making the trip as easy as possible.  

I have been to most of the fifty United States, most of the countries in Europe, many countries in Southeast Asia and South America. I have flown in excess of six million miles on American Airlines alone.  

One would think I have it down but really I don't.  I have to think about it every time I fly.  I do try and keep a shelf in my armoire ready with things I use on every trip. I do not use these things between trips.  They are packed in large zip lock bags ready to be thrown into my suitcase.

1.  small bottle of foundation, blush, mascara, concealer, eye shadow, lip and eye pencils.
2.  minimum amount of lingerie ( wash as you go)
3.  duplicates of vitamins and medication I use every day
4.  one round hairbrush and 2 hair clips
5.  travel size versions of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, cologne, moisturizer, contact lens solution and case.
6.  my passport and travel documents in a small bag

Now when you are ready to pack all you have to do is pull these 6 zip lock bags, put them in the bottom of your bag and add you clothes.

If you can get everything into one carry on bag, that's the best.  I usually cannot do this, I wish I could.  You will need an additional small carry on for your electronics. An additional problem for me is getting the heavy bag into the overhead bin so I usually have to rely on the nice young man behind me to do this.

Now for the bag.  Depending on where you are going, you should be able to get by with using a basic colour palette.  Black is always good, you can go almost anywhere wearing black pants, white shirt and black sweater or jacket. Black, tan, grey and a pop of colour is best.
Here is a picture of a great assortment of clothes if you are going to Europe this summer.

If you could pack by outfit it would make unpacking much easier and your outfit would be ready to wear once you arrive.

My favourite carry on bag is by Tumi.  Here is one version.

Tumi carry on bag

I hope this helps you and remember, if you are going to Africa or any country without reliable air conditioning, bring a mosquito net for your bed and a hook to hang it on.  Believe me, you will be glad you did.

Bon Voyage


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Travels


This post is about ten things I can't live without when traveling. Today I am going to take a little different twist on this subject as I travel a lot and I cannot choose only ten things.

Because I live between Dallas and France, I make that trip about seven times a year.  In addition I have traveled extensively in the Far East including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.  I have trekked in the mountains of Nepal and spent time in Kathmandu. I have been to almost every country in Europe and have been to Israel.  I have flown over six million miles on American Airlines alone.

Okay, so one would think I am great at packing, traveling light, knowing what to take and what not to take and all the little tricks that make traveling fun.  Not so fast, I tend to take too much luggage, and have never gotten the hang of two bottoms and four tops.  For me every bottom needs a top, shoes and a bag.  What is wrong with me?

Today I am writing from the Admirals Club in New York on my way to Paris.  With me is a very large duffle bag with a tag marked "HEAVY", a dog stroller for my sweet little Maltese Skye, a computer and IPad bag, a purse and a carry on as large as I can fit in the overhead bin and I have to ask the nice young man in the line behind me to put it in the overhead as I cannot get it above my head

Everyone gives me travelling tips on how to go away for two weeks with one carry on bag. I am going to pass these tips along to you,  I don't necessarily follow them.

I can give you ten things but it depends on where I am going.  Since I go between Dallas and France so often I will use that trip as my guide.

Mostly these come from friends as I cannot travel light.

1. Four outfits, all interchangeable.......  Not me.
2. Two pair of shoes, one for day and one for night......  How can they do that?
3. One round hairbrush instead of the two or three I take.
4. One scarf that will go with everything.......  I need one for every outfit.
5. Two bras and two panties..........  I won't even tell you how many I take.
6. One nightie
7. 3 oz jars and bottles of toiletries......  I need my cologne, contact lens solution, two toothbrushes, vitamins, meds etc.
8. One black outfit, pants, top, shoes and bag.  This will take you anywhere
9. Two pieces of jewelry
10. No food......  Please, don't ask what I have with me.  Have you seen the new whipped peanut butter?  I know they don't have that in France so I am arriving fully stocked. Sriracha, sugarless maple syrup, baked lentil chips, Skinny Cow candy bars, gummy bears in Easter coffee mugs for my friends, Avalon Biotin shampoo and conditioner, surely I have forgotten something. 

Anyway, I hope you have lots of fun traveling and do as I say, not as I do to make your trip as pleasant as possible.

Bon Voyage


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Green, turquoise and its variations

Did you know that green apples have fewer calories than red apples?  Green grapes have fewer calories than red grapes, green peppers have less calories than red peppers and on and on...........

photo by

What a gorgeous colour turquoise is.  I love it.

photo by

photo yourstylejourney

Oscar de la Renta


A bientôt


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The way to stay Creative

photo by

For twenty seven years I owned a table linen company which was a supplier to all the major department stores in the US and abroad.  I am passionate about linens.  To make my company a success I traveled extensively and always tried to learn more about how to bring beauty to my customers.  I went to so many gorgeous gardens, museums, and trade shows for inspiration.

I love to entertain and am always looking for interesting objects to put on my table to surprise my guests. Here I went to the garden, which fortunately was in bloom, and filled odd silver containers with an assortment of flowers.  I was simply inspired by my surroundings. I used antique linens which were for sale on my web site French Vintage Home.

I don't really think you can learn to be creative.  You either are or you aren't but what you can learn is to keep you eyes open and see what is going on around you. Open your eyes and observe your surroundings, don't go too fast so that you don't really see anything. 

After selling the company I started to spend more time at my home in France and learned to appreciate the beauty of linens that had lived a previous life.  That is what made me start my company French Vintage Home.  Though we have many other things, linens are my specialty.

Gardens are a great inspiration for me and help me be creative. Homage to Claude Monet at Giverney by Bill Filson.

This is what makes me stay creative.......

 For more creativity by very creative people click here

A Bientôt  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cake Decorating

I don't know how much fun you had today but I had tons of it.  I took a cake decorating class and loved every minute of it.

Okay, it's Dallas not Paris but nonetheless it was fabulous.  Of course being Dallas, you don't ever have to park your own car or carry anything out to your car.  I love it here.

There were about 30 of us and we each started out the same but when we left each cake was our own creation.  We started with a cake that had been frozen as it is easier to frost.  I did not know that.

We put on a crumb icing and then a glaze.

Then we used our imagination and our skill to decorate the cake. I learned to make a shell border, never having done it before.

Here is the finished cake.  After a couple of tries I could not make very pretty flowers so it is a pretty simple cake. I need to take another class.

If you are interested in cake baking and decorating I chose a few books you might be interested in.

I thought these paper napkins would look great next to one of these gorgeous cakes.

Simply the best cake baking book ever.

A beautiful cake stand to put your creation on.

Enjoy and Bon Appetit

A Bientôt


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Skin care tips

Dr. Hauschka Products......Dr.Hauschka is a holistic skin care brand with a focus on natural ingredients.

Julia Roberts is the person to thank for the fact that a small natural cosmetics producer, Wala from Bad Boll at the foot of the Swabian Alb, has become a Hollywood society tip. The actress, plagued like many of her colleagues by stressed skin due to having to constantly apply and remove make-up, discovered Dr. Hauschkas Rose Cream in her make-up artist’s cosmetics case.

Dr. Hauschka Rose Cream Day

She swears by the cream because it stimulates the skin’s own resources and does not cause allergies. The special thing: Most of the medicinal plants used are not only grown under strict organic conditions in the company’s own garden, they are also processed according to an 80-year-old recipe which respects nature’s rhythm: light and dark, movement and rest, heat and cold.

The resulting essences and oils keep without preservatives being added. When Julia Roberts was asked, yet again, at a press conference what was behind her radiant complexion, she whispered into the microphone: ”Dr. Huschka.” And soon Cate Blanchett was bathing in Dr. Hauschka’s lavender bath oil, Madonna underwent a two-hour Dr. Hauschka treatment in the chic New York Sanctuary Spa, and the whole world wanted the rose cream. In Sephora, New York’s elegant perfume shop, it is to be found right next to Kiehl products.

( copyright: frankfurter Societats-druckerei GmbH

Dr. Hauschka Lavender Bath

Dr. Hauschka has been in existence since 1967 and has gained an impressive celebrity following, including Julia Roberts, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz , Jack Nicholson, and me. 

Awakening Beauty Book the Dr. Hauschka Way

This should get you started, I have been a fan for years, especially the eye balm and the lemon body oil.  I am always trying new Dr. Hauschka products and am never disappointed.

Happy and Healthy Living

A Bientôt

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Challenges    (a very pretty picture)

This month we are talking about challenges.  I had to think long and hard about this one as I try hard to rid myself of any challenges as quickly as possible.

My challenges are small and easy to deal with.  Should I walk or should I drive, should I have dessert or be a good girl and skip it, should I stay home and work or go to a movie?  Even I think these challenges are silly so I am thinking what is, or was,  a serious challenge in my life and I guess it is life itself.  Trying to do all I can to live as long as I can as healthy as I can.

I am fussy about what I eat, preferring vegetarian cuisine to anything else.  I go to all my doctors at least once a year, maybe twice a year.  I have all the usual tests and then every five years the more difficult tests.  I am challenged to exercise more so this is definitely a goal this year.  

I love Nigel Slater and here is a link to his cookbook.  You will love it.

Nigel Slater

Living in France half the year limits the time I see my children and grandchildren.  I vow to change that as those times together are the best ever.  I was challenged to raise four children, many years as a single parent. I can proudly say, I did a good job.

I was challenged to trek in the Himalayas for a month but I did it and will live with the glory of having accomplished an amazing feat for a non athlete like me.

I am sitting in a luxury hotel in Paris and thinking "challenges".  I faced those years ago when I decided to get divorced and build a business which would take care of me for the rest of my life. 

Leadership means facing challenges head on.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes regarding challenges:

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” 
― Molière 

“Happiness is not the absence of problems; it's the ability to deal with them.” 
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“When you do what you love, the seemingly impossible becomes simply challenging, the laborious becomes purposeful resistance, the difficult loses its edge and is trampled by your progress.” 
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Never confuse someone else's inability to do something with its inability to be done.  This has been my mantra and has pushed me to succeed many times.

And now I shall end with this quote. 

The biggest challenge after success is shutting up about it.” 
― Criss Jami

A Bientôt