we heart nola

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Last month we made a last minute decision to tag along with my husband on a business trip to one of my favorite U.S. cities, and I’m so glad we did. I fell in love with New Orleans during a series of visits in my mid-twenties, and have been anxious to get back ever since. I was taken aback when a few people reacted negatively when I told them we were taking the kids, because apparently the only NOLA they know is the inebriated, late-night party version. While that can be fun (I recommend experiencing Mardi Gras once when you’re young, like I did), it is only a small piece of the picture. There is so much to love about the historic city: the people, the food, the music…distinctly American but often French-infused. In fact, I feel it’s the closest to France you can get in the states. New Orleans is celebrating it’s tricentennial (wow) this year, and has conveniently been named the #1 place to visit by The New York Times. I’m sharing our whirlwind 72 hour trip in it’s entirety – my favorite family-friendly spots, itinerary ideas, and tips…plan a visit, and bring the kids!

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bon weekend

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Well hello 2018! My apologies for the silence – December was a doozy of a month for us. I promise this post won’t be a pity party, but in case you missed this: my mother was hospitalized for almost half the month with more than one scary illness. After we got her home, I landed in the hospital myself with what seemed like the same infection. While I’m feeling much better now (whew), last month was challenging for our whole family, and threw off the holidays in a big way. Of course (to quote the Grinch), Christmas came…and it came just the same. The spirit of the season was clearer than ever this year. It was quite refreshing to only have time for family – so much so, that it made me question my social media agenda. This blog is and always will be a place for me to document my passions…but social media has felt like a chore at times lately. I’ve been feeling uninspired, restless, and unsure of my next steps…until a friend shared this video (on Facebook). Oh, the irony…and a strong reminder of why I create, share, and do what I do. What will be your space jam?

BON WEEKEND et BONNE ANNÉE

living in the moment

a poem for the new year

the only way to keep your resolutions

the end of the social era can’t come soon enough

worth a second mention: a pep talk about a pep talk

francophile gift guide

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My passion for all things French is well known – it was the inspiration for starting this blog, and fueled my most recent venture, @thefrancophiles. I always seek out French brands and French-inspired products as gifts, and enjoy curating Francophile-focused gift guides each holiday season. I either own these items or covet them myself (ahem Santa), so you can feel confident about any and all of them. It’s difficult for me to narrow the selection, but you can always peek at my personal Pinterest, as well as the Francophiles Pinterest boards, for more inspiration. Happy shopping mes amis!

 

1.   you simply can’t go wrong with this stunning mini candle collection by Diptyque.

2.   inspired by French body care + handcrafted in Seattle, French Girl Organics Lumière body oil is a luxe treat.

3.   while there are numerous books I could include, this one about the history + brand of Veuve Clicquot is a beauty.

4.   for la petite Parisienne…this chic tea set by Moulin Roty is sure to delight.

5.   this Obvious State mug is perfect for the intellectual Francophile (or coffee lover), “mostly because it’s in French”.

6.   one of Oprah’s favorite things this year, the holiday trio cookie box by Maman is a perfect hostess gift!

7.   whomever is at the receiving end of this French-scripted tassel tote will be thanking you a million times over.

8.   this chic + comfy sweatshirt by Clare V. is a take on the French national motto and benefits Every Mother Counts.

9.   a fun gift for any aspiring Francophone, this French Words Boutique notebook is a personal favorite.

10. for the little Francophiles or Paris-obsessed friend, this wooden Eiffel music box will surely be treasured.

on gratitude

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The holiday season brings with it a range of emotions – but this year, more than ever, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. There is nothing in the world more important than our family: the two little humans holding my hands, and my husband (having a rare turn behind the camera). While we have so much to be thankful for, there has been a dark cloud over us for quite a few years – some of which I’ve shared here, and some that I’ve kept private. At times it has felt hopeless, like everything was an uphill battle. You might be surprised by this since most (not all) of what I share publicly are our happiest, and most memorable, moments. For those of us who share pretty content on the internet, we often walk a fine line between sharing too much and not sharing enough. Please know that while part of me would like to share it all, some things need to be kept safely guarded. Maybe someday I’ll be able to elaborate, but for now it’s still too fresh.

For the first time in years, I feel like we can (cliché alert) finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve learned the hard way that the only way out is through, so to speak. We were dealt a serious dose of humility, and have a different (and healthier) perspective on life. If you’re currently fighting a battle of your own (aren’t we all), please know this: it will get better. The memory of it will stay with you of course, but the darkness should not. I have a bold proposition for you this Thanksgiving…try to be thankful for the battle. That may sound easy for me to say, now that we’re on the other side, but it’s still challenging for us as well. However, with every struggle, there is a hard-earned lesson, and sometimes a beautiful gift, even though it can take some time for it to be realized. When you look for the silver lining, look for the meaning…you might be surprised what you discover. Wishing you a holiday season filled with hope, love, and gratitude.

dia:beacon with kids

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The Dia:Beacon was one destination that was set in stone during our Hudson Valley itinerary. It’s an uber cool gallery housed in an old Nabisco box-printing factory. An extension of the original Dia in Chelsea founded in 1974, the Beacon was opened in 2003 and houses many large scale installations. I had been wanting to see Richard Serra’s work in particular, and figured the kids would appreciate the scale of the art at the very least. Admittedly, I hadn’t read much about the artist or his inspiration before our visit – which was actually a benefit, in my opinion. I was able to experience the art without any bias and come to my own conclusions. One thing was for sure: it was extremely photogenic.

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