On Exercise

3:20 PM 12 Comments

Today I went hiking up Runyon Canyon with two of my good friends. I consider myself to be pretty physically fit, but for some reason, today's hike was incredibly difficult.

Had the hills gotten steeper since the last time I went? Or maybe it was the headwind?

No, I believe it is because I had taken a few days off from my usual exercise routine for the Thanksgiving holiday. That, coupled with the fact that I consumed copious amounts of food I don't normally eat, along with various glasses of wine and coffee (although not all at the same time... thankfully).

What a difference a few days can make!

I think everyone hits that plateau when they are exercising, when they think they simply cannot go on. Where they would rather be any place, doing anything else than what they are currently doing. This happened today while hiking up the unusually steep hill (it has been raining here, maybe it was just a tad steeper). I honestly considered asking my friends to turn around so we could all get breakfast. But then I remembered the title of one of my favorite books by Jon Kabat-Zinn, that says: "Wherever You Go, There You Are".

And there I was. Out of breath, sweating profusely, arduously climbing the hill. I just accepted it in that moment and was able to push through. Not so bad after all...

Now if only I can remember this bit of wisdom in my early Monday morning yoga class...

I would love to know what you do to keep physically fit...


Happy Thanksgiving: A Tribute to my Favorite Blogs

7:07 PM 11 Comments

As Thanksgiving approaches I tend to pause and appreciate the people and things in life that I am grateful for. Really I should do this all year long (and I do to an extent- although my gratitude journal is not as full as it could be- oops!)

I am incredibly grateful for so many things; one of the main being all of the wonderful blogs I follow. Ladies, you raise the bar when it comes to writing, discussion, art, point of view and living. You elevate my happiness and really broaden my mind. So as a tribute to my favorite blogs, a little word on each:

Jenavira at Scent of Abricots: the lovely images, music and perfume reviews are as soothing as a cup of tea. I always look forward to seeing what the SOTD is…

Rose at A Rose Beyond the Thames: I love that this blog covers so many topics from a fabulously British point of view.

Scentscelf at Notes From the Ledge: Some of the most intricate and colorful perfume reviews I’ve ever read! I never fail to smile and ponder at the same time…

Divina at Fragrance Bouquet: I love Divina’s blog because of her beautiful prose and the joie de vivre that runs through the pulse of her words…

Helg at Perfume Shrine: Helg’s in-depth reviews are fabulous. I love her point of view and writing style… she’s a true perfumista.

Vicki at French Essence: Vicki’s thought-provoking posts are a joy to read. I love to live vicariously though her French adventures…

Here, There, Elsewhere… and More
: This is a beautiful blog that always provides stunning images and a lot to ponder. I love that it is bilingual as it keeps me up on my French.

So there you have it. Thank you for your constant inspiration... for me, you make this world a wonderland. I look forward to keeping the discussions going!

And to my American readers, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving...

P.S.- I'm not sure what David Stoupakis' haunting painting, "Balance", has to do with Thanksgiving, or gratitude or any of my favorite blogs but it has been on my mind recently and therefore, it is up :)

"Balance" courtesy of: www.davidstoupakis.com


Crepes, Theatre and the Fabulous Beryl Cook

7:08 PM 10 Comments

So far this week has been quite social for me. Monday night was spent dining at The Creperie in Beverly Hills with three of my best friends. We spent the night eating crepes, laughing and reminiscing... who could ask for a better evening?

Tuesday night I went to the lovely Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown to see the Tony Award winning musical, Spring Awakening. This show was fabulous, but a word to the wise- do not see this with your parents! Who knew so much nudity, cussing and racy actions could be packed into a musical that takes place in turn of the century Germany?! I should have known, with a name like Spring Awakening what I was getting myself into. Luckily I saw this with friends so the embarrassment factor was non-existent. Once I got past the shock factor, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

And finally, while searching for images to post on tonight's blog, I came across the fabulous Beryl Cook's work (see Ladies Who Lunch, above). Cook died in May of this year and what a tragic loss. Her paintings, while not necessarily deep, sure did make me smile. I also love Dining in Paris, below.

Trust me, if Gatsby was allowed in restaurants, this is what "date night" would look like for my husband and me... escargot anyone?

For more information the Creperie, please visit: www.creperiebyjacknjills.com

For information on Spring Awakening, please visit: www.centertheatregroup.org

Ladies Who Lunch courtesy of: www.leadingartevents.co.uk

Dining in Paris courtesy of: www.studio18.co.uk


On Happiness

8:28 PM 19 Comments

Lately I have noticed a lot of articles written on the subject of happiness: what it is, how to get it and why so many people don’t have it. Yes, happiness seems to be the Holy Grail of emotions for many people right now, so in honor of that certain esprit or joie de vivre that we would all like to have more of, I have decided to list a few things that keep me happy on a daily basis.

- My dog, Gatsby (pictured, as a puppy, above). He is the ultimate companion and best friend. It doesn’t matter if I’ve left the house for two hours or ten minutes, when I step through the front door he is completely overjoyed to see me. His excitement and happiness is palpable and contagious. Any trace of a bad mood is instantly erased when I see that wagging tail.

- Exercise. I’m really enjoying the current combination of yoga, walking and qi gong. I’ve never been much of a gym person and these exercises just seem to boost my mood and keep me happy.

- Reading. As most of you know, I LOVE to read. (Which I why I am always so grateful when I get fab book recommendations from you). I usually read about one to two books a week- its just such a fantastic way to escape and to broaden the mind. What’s on my nightstand right now? Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat Zinn.

- And lastly, finding humor in everyday life. You can imagine my reaction when I came across this carrot at the grocery store the other day... Sometimes spontaneous laughter is an instant portal to happiness.

I would love to know… what makes you happy?


Paris Tango by Carla Coulson

11:27 AM 15 Comments

Yesterday I received a signed copy of the amazing book Paris Tango as a gift from Vicki over at French Essence, one of my favorite new blogs. Vicki’s posting on “Which Parisian Are You?” instantly drew me in as it recalled the time when I lived in Paris as a student- one of the most memorable and fabulous times of my life. So you can imagine the joy and sheer glee when I came home from lunch yesterday to find this gorgeous book on my doorstep.

Paris Tango is a book of staggering beauty with photography and writings by Carla Coulson, an Australian in Paris. It is the sort of book that draws you in instantly- Coulson divides the book into ten chapters: Photography, The Marais, Moulin Rouge, Artists, Gardens, Perfume, Haute Couture, Dogs, The Parisians and Dance. Each chapter is filled with her artistic photography and well written anecdotes about life in Paris.

I spent hours yesterday, perusing through the images and reading about her experience. As I did so, one word kept reverberating in my mind, passion. Yes, that is, perhaps, the reason why so many of us love Paris and why those of us who have been lucky enough to live there or visit are so enthralled by all things French. There is a passion that vibrates through this city. It moves through your pulse and is on the tip of your tongue. It is on your mind and in what you eat. Passion. Carla Coulson’s book is so brilliant because she managed to capture this feeling and put it to the page.

Merci beaucoup Vicki for this wonderful present- I am forever grateful.

For more information on the author, please visit: www.carlacoulson.com


Kiss My Face Moisture Soap in Almond

8:33 PM 7 Comments

To continue my review of fantastic products that still bring luxury to your life without breaking your bank, I bring to you Kiss My Face moisture soap in Almond.

I love high quality soap. Let's face it; we wash our hands so often throughout the day, it is important to use a soap that not only provides moisture, but smells of sheer luxury too.

I also love taking a moment to indulge in small pleasures, so whenever I wash my hands with this lovely soap, I pause and inhale the heady, sweet, aromatic fragrance of almonds- one of my favorite scents.

Kiss My Face products are self-described as "obsessively natural", so you can really rest assured that you are not using a product with artificial fragrance or parabens. It proudly contains Olive oil (for moisture), aloe vera, vitamins A & E, herbs, flowers and natural almond essence. This soap feels and smells expensive but retails at about $4.99- fantastic!

Inexpensive enough to use everyday, yet chic enough to have in your powder room, Kiss My Face moisture soap in Almond has been, for me, a luxurious find.

Kiss My Face products can be purchased at Whole Foods or online at www.kissmyface.com



Happy Voting

5:14 PM 5 Comments

What an exciting time in American Politics...

It is Monday night and it feels as though we are all collectively holding our breath...

I wish everyone a happy Tuesday and leave with the thought that I am very grateful to be able to vote tomorrow and exercise my right as a citizen- the right to voice my opinion and hopefully make a difference...

Happy voting...

Image from the women's suffrage movement courtesy of: www.albany.edu


Ode to the Orchid

3:07 PM 6 Comments
In these pressing economic times, many people are getting creative about still living a good life- but with frugality. In my home, I love to be surrounded by plants and flowers. I believe adding plants to your décor is not only good for feng shui, but it’s a fantastic way to breathe life into your environment. Having fresh flowers all the time, however, is quite a luxury. I am not lucky enough to have my own garden (just a humble balcony with geraniums in pots) so growing my own flowers is out of the question. Instead, I turn to the orchid- that fantastic, exotic flower that adds a touch of mystery and luxe to any room.

The amazing thing about orchids is not only are they strikingly beautiful, but, if cared for properly, their blooms can last for months on end- allowing you to be surrounded by beautiful flowers, but not breaking your budget. I’ve even had some blooms last as long as four months! This orchid in our guest bedroom, pictured below, has provided these beautiful blooms for about three months now…

Depending on where you go, orchids can really range in prices. Orchids tend to be quite pricey at a florists shop… If you can find an orchid wholesaler in your area, they tend to be much more affordable. I go to Pac8 Orchids in Los Angeles. It is orchid heaven- an entire warehouse filled to the brim with gorgeous blooms at wholesale prices.

Last week I bought this purple phalaenopsis orchid at Trader Joe’s (pictured on my dining room table, above) for only $12.99...

My secret to keeping them alive and beautiful for months on end? I water my orchids once a week and let them sit in the sink for about a half hour until the water has completely drained through the plant. This way, the water does not become stagnant and the roots stay moist and healthy. Also, I keep them out of direct sunlight and give them plenty of love with monthly “feedings”. Most orchid enthusiasts have their own secret to keeping their plants gorgeous… what’s yours?

Pac 8 orchids is located at 3532 Overland Ave., Los Angeles, CA

For information on Trader Joe’s, please visit: www.traderjoes.com