“Are you feeling a bit shaken, maybe stirred, maybe fearful and doubtful and completely, utterly, wildly terrified? Good. Keep going.”
I have a new mantra for 2017. I read an article last week written by a man who can’t move anything but his face. He shares seven incredible life lessons, and the one that stood out to me most is: fear = fuel. Take what scares you most and turn it into positive energy, motivation. I’ll be honest – there is a lot scaring me, both at home, and in a broader sense, like the (broken) state of our country. Personally, I’m facing finding a more suitable home for my family, recovering financially after my husband was unemployed for five months last year, dealing with a recent diagnosis of adenomyosis (first time I’m disclosing those two facts publicly), deciding on an educational path for the kids, and strengthening my marriage after four years of survival mode with twins. These fears and concerns didn’t disappear at the stroke of midnight.
I’m not suggesting that I live in constant fear, but these issues have been a bit paralyzing recently. Instead of letting these fears continue to fester and frighten me, I’m facing them head on in 2017. Fear is incredibly powerful – I’m going to harness the energy and channel it, letting it propel me forward. My actions and decisions will be motivated by, but not made in, fear. I’m going to light a match (or two, or three) and set my fears on fire. So let the internal inferno begin, and hopefully the flames will light the way to a brighter future. I can already feel a difference – just changing my mindset has boosted my courage and lit a fire. Burn, baby, burn. Do you have fears you’d like to set ablaze, or a new mantra to share?
Well, we finally did it – matching family pajamas! I wish you could see mine a bit more, but this is what you get from a timed photo, ha. Next year we’ll invest in a family photo shoot, as it’s been too long since we had a professional capture us as a family. We had a lovely, lazy Christmas, which is honestly still happening because we all got sick with colds the next day. But back to the big day – it all started with discovering Santa had enjoyed the scotch + pfeffernüsse we had left for him (see this post for more about that family tradition). The first presents they found were in their stocking – adorable, handmade teddy bears that give back. Nothing sponsored – I’m sharing the link because I love gifts that give back.
We might have to call 2016 the “year of the train” for us – we’re on a roll! This was our first experience at the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster – I think it’s going to be a new holiday tradition. One of their most popular events is the Santa Express Train, which has been happening since 1959! I couldn’t wait to give the kids the experience, and I was pretty excited myself, having never been on a vintage steam train. We had the pleasure of being pulled by the #90 locomotive, circa 1924, and rode in the passenger car #58, circa 1911. After geeking out over all the equipment (I have my Dad to thank for the interest), we boarded the train and anxiously awaited the arrival of Santa. See more on my Steller story!
If you’re reading this blog post, you most likely have many Francophile friends to shop for – this gift guide is for you! My passion for all things French is well known (and was the inspiration for starting this blog, after all) and I stand behind each one of these selections. I either own them or covet them myself (ahem Santa), so you can feel confident about any and all of them! Also, if you’re not already, be sure to follow @thefrancophiles for the best French-inspired moments, places, and people. I may be a bit biased, but I might also be right (wink). Happy shopping mes amis!
1. explore the city of light through the eyes of bibliophiles with these literary Paris postcards by Obvious State.
2. nobody does mustard better than Maille, and this “mustards on tap” gift set is perfect for the holidays.
3. for the glam girl in your life, this maxi palette by French icon Sonia Rykiel for Lancôme should do the trick!
4. what could be more perfect than a handmade, France-shaped cutting board?! hashtag hostess gift.
5. inspired by French body care + handcrafted in Seattle, anything from French Girl Organics is a treat.
6. coloring books are both fun and relaxing – the Paris Street Style is a great choice.
7. exhale and escape with the Secret Paris coloring book – even better when paired with pencils!
8. this festive candle from Diptyque is filled with the incredible scent of a lush, pine-laden forest.
9. pour les enfants or the sweet littles in your life…look no further than this all-natural croissant shaped teether!
10. no holiday cheese board is complete without a Laguiole cheese knives – get the party started!
11. for the older tots, the Paris pop-out set by Petit Collage is what little Francophiles dreams are made of.