Friday, October 31, 2014
My best childhood friend sent me this picture which was sent to her from a lovely mutual friend of ours. I don't know why, but maybe you'll agree, I found it lol funny.
When we first moved to France no one celebrated Halloween, now it's become quite "in" -- I wouldn't say it's become part of the culture, but it's definitely become part of commerce.
As far as I know there is no trick or treating door-to-door, but children do pass from boutique to boutique in the town near ours where they're given one or two very small bonbons.
A demain mes amis with a picture of the last roses from the garden.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
|Catherine Deneuve daring to bare (her arms) at the 2014 Cannes Festival.|
As we age our faces naturally lose the plushy plumpness of youth and constant dieting to remain bone thin tends to make us look older than our age. Yoyo dieting is the worst doctors have assured me. Being the queen of yoyo dieting you can imagine how disturbing that is for me. (It didn't come as a surprise to be apprised of that news, but it was still distressing.)
Thinking about the 10 for 10 equation, I decided to ask the women in my English conversation classes the question: On a scale from one to 10, how would you rate the importance of being thin in regard to your well-being? I posed the question to 12 women between the ages of 40-something to 70-something. All but one of the women are slender, two I would describe as bone-thin, but both claim it's their metabolism and that if they eat heartily, even when they have the desire to do so, they will be sick.
The sole woman in the group who is what the French would describe as "un peu ronde" said she has given up on watching everything that passes through her lips and has made peace with her size 44 body. She has a creative, boho-colorful way of dressing with lots of beads and scarves. She expresses her exuberant personality through her clothes and accessories.
|Catherine Deneuve with her daughter, Chiara Mastroianni.|
My best friend, a former model and mother of six, has been slim as long as I've known her which is approaching 30 years. A few years ago she decided to take on the extra 10 pounds, not for her lovely face, but simply because she was "really, really sick of the mini regimes I have done my entire life after dinner parties and holidays."
|Isabella Rossellini and her daughter, Elettra Wiedemann.|
Oh yes, I forgot to mention: Several nutritionists told me during interviews for my book, that with the onset of menopause, a woman must cut 250 calories out of her diet -- every day -- to maintain her weight. Lots of fun. . .
Where do you stand on the 10 for 10 conundrum?
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
|Helen Mirren. Did you recognise her? Neither did I. She looks like French actress Nathalie Baye in this photo.|
All are over 60, all are icons and each one is beautiful in a decidedly different way although Helen Mirren claims she is not "and never was gorgeous." I think some of us disagree, but that's not the subject for today.
We, women of certain age -- which I loosely define as 45-ish (and that's verrrry young) to whatever-ish (and that can be verrrrry old chronologically if not psychologically) -- apparently, despite our mental acuity and life experiences, are seduced by our aspirations. And, why shouldn't we be I say unashamedly?
However, here's the kicker: Advertisers know this and play on it and market products to theoretically appeal to our hopes and expectations. They're a clever lot those marketers and realize that we of a certain age would like to see our demographic represented in their publicity campaigns. After all, studies prove we have a significant amount of disposable income to spend on our aspirations.
|Jane Fonda for the latest L'Oreal campaign.|
|The "real" Jane Fonda after lots of work as she herself has now come to admit.|
Enter the icons to appeal to our common desires and concerns: Catherine Deneuve, 71; Jane Fonda, 77 in December; Helen Mirren, 69; and Charlotte Rampling, 68, to name a few. Mirren just signed a contract with L'Oreal where Fonda has been featured for several years now proving that anti-aging products really are better than plastic surgery. . . (If you believe that L'Oreal probably has some swamp land to sell you.)
|Helen Mirren all touched up, but recognizable.|
|The real Helen Mirren. I think she looks fantastic, gorgeous.|
Mirren's ads, for the moment at least, will be featured only in the United Kingdom and she told The Telegraph she asked the company not to retouch her images.
|Catherine Deneuve for Louis Vuitton.|
|The real Catherine Deneuve.|
From the images here you can see that marketers believe, and studies supposedly support their position, that we really, really do not want to see women with their wrinkles, waddles and droops. Granted, some have had work done, but still they want us to believe even we can look this good if properly Photoshopped.
|Charlotte Rampling for Nars cosmetics. Who is this woman?|
|The real Charlotte Rampling.|
I understand that we appreciate beauty and one would like to believe in all its forms -- slim, ronde, young, old, unusual. . . but when I see women of a certain age I would really like to be able to recognize them from the photographs in an ad that is supposed to appeal to my aspirations.
What do you think?
Monday, October 27, 2014
|In this golden bottle of champagne, "Ace of Spades," one finds the perfect cocktail of luxury, promotion and ultimately celebration when its cork is popped.|
In reponse to the question: "Over the next 12 months, do you expect the economic situation in your country to improve, remain the same, or worsen?" only 17 percent of the French expected improvement, 35 percent predicted status quo and a rather shocking 48 percent are waiting for things to worsen. (The Japanese, though resigned to the present stagnant situation in their economy, showed more hope for the future, only 29 percent thought it would be worse.)
|Jay-Z and Beyoncé drink Ace of Spades champagne. (To read more about it and other bubblies, please click here.)|
Realizing the demoralizing effect of these constant reports, an interesting television program tried to boost our mood with stories about what the French are doing well and why they should begin to think positively about their future.
|The Marquise de Pompadour, known for her beauty and intelligence, ordered not only expensive porcelain and jewels, but also champagne from Möet & Chandon.|
Möet & Chandon, now owned by Louis Vuitton, has precious sales books in its archives that show an order the king's mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, placed in 1743.
|With the royal seal of approval, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge christen something-or-other with a bottle of Bollinger champagne, the first choice of beverages for James Bond. Difficult to trump that sort of publicity, non?|
Also mentioned was the site Vente-Privee, proof that where there's commerce, there's hope.
I've been known to pour a coupe de champagne when things are not going well. Somehow the bubbles boost my spirits. For a moment during the program I thought maybe the French were exporting too much of their champagne and not drinking enough domestically, but that's not the case. The French still drink it more than any other country. At least that's what the reportage said.
* The other countries in the studies: United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Israel, South Korea, Germany, Greece and Italy.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
|Some have the deep blue-y center, others are lighter with just a dot of yellow in the middle like those below.|
We ordered 70 plants and they're all in place. For me this seasonal ritual is a sort of right of passage into winter that guarantees happiness every time I look out, walk in or walk out of one of the doors.
Always, we choose a blue-y mauve hue. Neither of us likes a melange of different colors. That goes for my bouquet preferences as well. I like shaded nuances, but not bouquets that are a riot of different colors.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
|Fresh mint from our potager makes a delicious after dinner tea and read below for something I just learned today.|
Today our lovely housekeeper arrived, saw me preparing the salad, ran outside and plucked a handful of fresh mint from the garden. She then proceeded to cut it up into tiny bits and sprinkled them over the beets.
It changed everything. She is a brilliant cook and has the most creative ways of making the most mundane ingredients come alive with unexpected zing. She has taught me how to make some delicious meals.
If you like beet salads, I highly recommend you try adding fresh mint. It's absolutely delicious and raises the bar from every day to gourmet.
Friday, October 24, 2014
|Ella's first real "do" -- two tiny pigtails -- as well as her first experience on a slide. As you can see, she likes slides.|
What I mean by that is, I shall wrap up our hair conversation today. I forgot a couple other cuts and styles I like and think flatter the women who have chosen them. These are totally random, no theme except for the most important detail, each woman has found her look (or at least one of them).
Yes, I know some of the pictures have had a lot of "work" but I hate to choose photos that do not flatter women. I like to think part of our mission in life is to be kind to one another.
|Unfortunately I do not know this woman, but I think she is absolutely gorgeous. Every detail of her stylish look is perfection.|