Monday, May 09, 2011
"Love in a Mist." One of the "locals", dressed to the nines for springtime. Thank you, Dirt Divas, for all the lovely flowers that are popping up in the garden!
bien fringué(e) (bee ehn frehn gay)
From "la fringue" (garment). Today's expression is used in informal speech! (Read: my daughter and her girlfriends use the phrase often!) Also: "Elle a de belles fringues!" = She has great clothes!
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Fashion and The Four Agreements
At a house-warming party, or crémaillère, I spoke to the best-dressed guest. I would soon learn that such an opinion was "my truth" and not necessarily her own, that what matters about our appearance is not what others assume or conclude, but that we do what our creative hearts and instincts inspire us to do!
Seated on jewel-toned cushions in our South African hostess's courtyard, I listened to the woman wearing the dos-nu dress as we sat huddled together, fast friends. Not knowing a single soul, I had gravitated to her enigmatic presence. Not knowing a single thing to say, I said the truth:
"J'aime votre robe!"
With that, an animated conversation began. I pointed to the whimsical ruffles along her sheer hemline... "C'est très joli!"
I looked down at my own get-up, which whispered "Play it safe! Wear black and beige!" In a rare moment of recklessness, I'd thrown on a sheer, calico scarf, tied it tightly around my neck, letting one of the long ends flow down my back. The decision felt dramatic and a little bit thrilling! setting into motion a series of unusual events: I dug out a pair of high heels... dusted off a bottle of perfume, and found a can of hairspray... As I dressed, I shut off the volume of the inner-critic, who heckled back rules about scarves and age, time and place. "Yes, there is a place! I shouted back, and if I don't dress up now, then when will I?" With that, I drew a red line around my lips, filling it in with several strokes of vibrant determination.
"Il faut oser...." You've got to dare...the woman in ruffles explained and, as she spoke, I took in her every detail. From the thick white bandeau tied over her closely-cropped, auburn hair... to her heeled ankle-strapped shoes. She told me that she chose the shoes from a tas de chaussures that her girlfriends had piled high, as they do each season, when they troc their clothes. (And what a great idea to clothes-swap!)
"I don't wear a lot of dresses... or heels," I admitted, pointing out the grapevines that surrounded us. Out here in wine country, it's not practical.
Il faut du provoc! came the response to every one of my wardrobe-wavering excuses.
Provocative! Oh no, not I! I don't want to mislead others... and risk being mistaken for une pouffe!
The woman in frills shook her head. "Mais ça, c'est LEUR HISTOIRE et non pas la tienne! But that is their experience and not your own! It's their assumption based on their experience and it isn't your reality." Ultimately it is their baggage, not our own. And we are free to unpack our own suitcase and dress up or down as we so fancy!
The woman huddled beside me threw her arms out as she spoke and her passion and her joy echoed in the delicate threads that enveloped her. "But all this fashion flair must come naturally to you?!" I said, sharing my doubts.
"Mais, non! I look back at photos of myself in my twenties and wonder, "Why didn't I dress up? Why was I so hard on myself. At 50, I'll try anything! So what if I make a wardrobe mistake one day? It doesn't matter... Il faut oser! You've got to dare!"
When I confided that I had a wedding to go to this fall, and that I would be wearing a little black dress, the woman in ruffles ran her coal-lined eye over me and suggested:
"Wear red instead!"
Red? Wow? RED! Her enthusiastic response was the best reminder to shake up those "rules" of fashion (especially the oft-cited "little black dress"). I may not end up wearing red; but I will try to remember to oser, and, especially, to forget about fashion's dos and don'ts! Ultimately, how we appear to others is out of our control - it has so much to do with their own experience. It is based on their story and not ours. So why not write our own book? I'm calling mine "La Femme en Rouge"!
Postnote: Please excuse the "her" and "woman" and "she" references. But I was not sure at which point in the story to name our stylish character, who goes by "Anita". Anita tells me that she is a coursière for L'Orchestre National de Montpellier. The nature of her job (as messenger) means that eccentricities in dress are impractical (a good pair of boots are "par for la coursière"...) so Anita makes up for it by dressing up at every chance. I would have needed several chapters to share Anita's generous and affectionate spirit with you. I hope you've caught a glimpse of it here...
Le Coin Commentaires
Corrections, comments, and stories of your own are welcome here in the comments box.
P.S. Based on the ideas that Anita shared, I wondered whether she had read the book The Four Agreements. Turns out she has, in French! (I have not read it, but have heard it praised by friends.)
Speaking of fashion, a few books to consider. Read the reviews and choose for yourself!
Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Inès de la Fressange and The Gospel According to Coco Chanel and
la crémaillère = housewarming
le dos-nu = low-backed dress
j'aime votre robe = I like your dress
c'est très joli = it's very pretty
il faut oser = you've got to dare
le tas de chaussures = pile of shoes
le troc = trade
une pouffe = a tart
La Femme en Rouge = The Lady in Red
Dear Mom, can't wait to see you on Wednesday when you land in Marseilles! Can't wait to show you the artichoke I grew from seed! (Pictures taken with this handy pocket camera.)
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WEAR RED TO THE MARRIAGE, CHERIE, and be sure it has a low back!!! (Or better, front.) Blonds can wear anytthing, and take all the black out of your closet, unless you can see straight through it.
Posted by: Suzanne Dunaway | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 11:16 AM
I love today's post! It reminds me of interesting research done by a Chicago company that asks the question..."why do women wear heels"...it turns out we wear them because they represent hope and the woman we want to be (think little girls dressing up in Mom's heels). To that note, I have a great pair of zebra striped with a red heel. Very much out of my "little black dress comfort zone" but I LOVE THEM...and so does every one else, especially mon mari of 13 years today!
Quel beau artichaut! I can almost taste it....I love them!
Kristin, I hope you had a wonderful fetes des Meres!
Posted by: Amber, Peoria IL | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Oui! Il faut oser! Love it, Kristin. And I just bought knee high red boots in Istanbul and am going to start parading Paris in them :)
Posted by: paris (im)perfect | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Suzanne, I had to read the last sentence twice in order to fully appreciate it. You are too funny! (Of course Jean-Marc would say "who's laughing? :-)
Amber: Happy Anniversary to you two sweeties!
Paris(im)perfect, with shorts, maybe? :-) You'd look gorgeous!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 01:36 PM
Great story Kristin and I love the photos! Thanks!
Posted by: Christine Dashper | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Oh and I meant to add, sometimes I think we must be alike in many ways, you often echo my thoughts. I also tend towards 'safety' in my dress, and wish I had more courage to try something a little 'out there'. Although I do love to wear red, you should definatley wear that to the wedding.
Posted by: Christine Dashper | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 02:02 PM
My Darling Kristi,
I am loving your post this morning - I'm wearing my RED FREDA KAHLO cape on the plane to France....IT matches my Panama hat and red high-top converse tennis shoes Heidi gave me years ago. I always wear this when I travel to France as it is like a free pass with all of the airline stewardess (sp?). I have even been bumped to first class because of my little red cape. If I had an extra nice grey wall, I would hang it completely open exposing the delicate the cut velvet of the painting. One day Kristi - she will be yours!!!
I have always been attracted to the dramatic when it comes to EVERYTHING. I think both of your photo's today were bold and beautiful and filled with drama and also mystery. You are starting to bloom!!!
YOU ARE STARTING TO BLOOM !!!!!
You might as well face it Honey, in the end you are going to end up the (spit'in)image of your MOM - but with the added grace that is your's alone.
I'll be back later...
Big Hug and Kiss to NEWFOREST for the flowers yesterday.
Plus ++++ I just love everyone's notes to you. What a lucky girl you are to have such wonderful friends.
Posted by: Jules Greer | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Kristin, I think it's funny that you've lived in France and talk about playing it safe fashion-wise. Traveling to France has definitely shaken up my staid Midwestern fashion sense. While in the States I can tell just by looking where women buy their clothes (and not just because it's planted across the chests of their ubiquitous t-shirts). They all look alike. In France, every woman looked different with her own style. The street markets were filled with colorful clothes in interesting cuts. At home, I would have walked right past lime skirts with asymmetrical cuts. In France I say "Why not?"
So I'm counting down the days until I get over there this summer to buy my wardrobe for next summer and fall. Ban black from your closet! And even if you spend most of the day digging in the dirt, find that fantastic sweater or colorful linen top you will throw on when you have errands in town. At the very least, keep a great scarf by the door so you can grab it and wrap in nonchalantly around your neck, whether it matches or not.
Clothing really is art, whether high fashion or not. Just do something with it to put a little pop in your day. That's what I've learned from my travels in France.
Posted by: Julie F in St. Louis, MO | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 02:33 PM
Such exquisite pictures - thank you! Regarding your Femme en Rouge, I recently wore a red dress to my niece's wedding. It was empowering to step out from behind my own safe gray shadow (if that's even physically possible) and I highly recommend it!
Posted by: AmyHK in DC | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Kristin, I'd simply say -> wear what you like, the type of clothes chosen according to circumstances, of course... not just to impress other people (don't worry about what other people may or may not think about you, or about the dress you'll wearing!)
If you look around and see the way other people dress, you might want to change your own look... if so, just try, why not? Buy something a bit different from what you would normally choose... It might suit other people, and it might suit you too (or it might not)... After all, a new style might "faire l'affaire" and be exciting! (the "new" you!!!) You will only know when/if you try the item in the shop.
Now, I seem to remember (was it a year ago?) your concern about a dress you wore for a wedding: a black dress, knee-length (you thought your legs might look rather white...) - no "grand décolleté" but a pretty square neckline. It was made of gauze and had a very interesting raspberry stitching along the neckline. Oh, there was also a delicate "noeud papillon" in the back, I think.
You might have surely looked "bien fringuée"!
Anyway, wear what YOU like and remember a lovely little black dress does not have to be boring
About "la crémaillère":
- "une crémaillère" is a sort of rack
- "une crémaillère (de cheminée)
= the chimney hook inside a fire place -> the hook from which big round pots (marmites) used to be hung over the fire
- pendre = to hang
--> pendre la crémaillère = to have a house-warming party
c'est LEUR HISTOIRE et non pas la tien
quick look at 'Possessive Pronouns':
- mine = le mien, la mienne les miens, les miennes
- yours-> le tien, la tienne. les tiens, les tiennes
so, it should be:
c'est LEUR HISTOIRE et non pas la tienNE
In a "vouvoiement" situation (using "vous" instead of "tu")
- yours = le vôtre, la vôtre, les vôtres, les vôtres
so, the lady would have said:
c'est LEUR HISTOIRE et non pas la vôtre.
I know you were talking about "une robe" (a dress) and I know "robe" is feminine, singular
but, it is:
"C'est joli" -- not, "C'est jolie"
I'll send you an e-mail.
Posted by: Newforest | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:04 PM
I loved reading your story today Kristin. Last year, at age 64, I lost 50 pounds, going from sizes 14-16 to sizes 4-6. This necessitated buying a whole new wardrobe. For the first time in years, I was buying clothes that fit and looked stylish rather than those that concealed the thickened waistline, the plump upper arms and thighs, and the broadened backside. New clothes means that everything is "in style" -- and many things seem "younger" than appropriate for a woman my age. But the reflection in the dressing room mirrors looks cute or pretty or sexy, and the seasons new colors are exciting. So I've thrown out the rules in favor of feeling good about how I look. I get dressed up several times a week for church events or lunch with my favorite daughter-in-law or dinner with my handsome hubby, and I enjoy my casual days, when a pretty printed sweater, silver necklace and earrings, and brightly colored flat shoes dress up a pair of slim jeans.
I agree with your new friend Anita. And, knowing your dear mom is coming for a visit, I encourage you to go shopping with her for a beautiful new dress for that wedding. Jules has a marvelous clothes sense and doesn't strike me as the type of lady who would let fashion rules get in her way. You have a great figure, Kristin. Dress it, enjoy it.
Posted by: Jeanne Robinson | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Yes, it is very good to "oser" and break out of our comfort zones, not just with clothes, but in other ways as well. I also read "the Four Agreements" and loved it!! There is so much wisdom in that little book. I am so happy to hear Jules is traveling to visit in France. From what I have read and seen from your pictures, Jules knows how to express herself with her fringues! Bon voyage Jules!!
Posted by: Julie Schorr | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Your article is strictly for the ladies. But, as a mere male, may I offer the following?
"ran her coal-lined eye". Shouldn't it be 'kohl-lined'? Or perhaps the lady had just come from working down a coal mine!
Posted by: Nick | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Your artichoke is so tempting!!! Hmmmm
and I love the adorable "coccinelle!... "une vraie" ladybird! as opposed to the ever growing number of "harlequin" ones invading the gardens in the South of England.
Posted by: Newforest | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Thank you, Nick. I'm in the middle of editing this story now. I guess it should be the other way around, but such is the nature of blogging :-) And thanks, Newforest, for "la tienne" and "c'est joli" and the interesting history of the word "la crémaillère"!
Mom, I told Anita all about you. And did you see my postnote (I know how you don't like people to be referred to as "she" "her" or "woman"!
Jeanne, congratulations on your weightloss and it sounds like you are enjoying your new wardrobe. Good for you.
Amy and Christine, thanks for the recommendation. I'll be shopping for a red dress when Mom gets here.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Kristin, I see you have a link to this book: Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Inès de la Fressange
Have you read it yet? I just got it.
It is terrifc.
Posted by: Candy | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:48 PM
A big hug from me to Jules. Lucky you to be going to Provence in May.
As for clothes, I have never felt comfortable with my clothes, and always feel I am either under or over dressed. I dare in many aspects of my life, but not in my "public persona". I would like to be like Jean-Marc, comfortable with my orange T shirt, but I haven't got there yet.
Wear what feels good, add a little excitement, follow Jackie and Jules, remember you are beautiful.
Posted by: Peggy | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Good morning! What a glorious morning with sun shining and birds singing and FWAD on my computer! Merci! My first thought while reading this was of my sweet mom who, at the age of 88 (on Saturday), still wears her lovely red lipstick toujours! She taught me, by example, that one should always look their best. If for no other reason than that it makes me feel special. And I love JULES' example that she gets bumped up to first class. I'll bet it has more to do with her beautiful attitude and smile, but it doesn't hurt that she looks marvelous as well! And don't be so quick to get rid of your LBD! CoCo is never wrong! :) Kristin, I hope you and JULES have a most wonderful visit in your lovely corner of France. I send hugs to both of you!
Posted by: Candy in SW KS | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 03:55 PM
My garden envy is growing by leaps and bounds. We are not even certain that we are free of frost here in Hood River. The legend says that when the snow leaves Mt. Defiance (about 2500 feet) it is OK to set out your tomato plants and basil plants. Mine are still in the greenhouse and you have RIPE ARTICHOKES from seed! I will be in France in three weeks when my yearly bout of garden envy will begin in earnest. The only known cure it to work like a beast on my landscape when I return and hope for a surprise by the American brance of the Garden Angels.
Posted by: Frank Levin | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Chere Kristi, the woman in the dos nu dress speaks wise words. I'll never fully understand women but I believe they prefer men who have strength of body and mind controlled by discipline in the presence of powerful provocative sexual stimuli -- perhaps except when the stimuli emanate from the "love of his life" (hopefully his wife or wife-to-be.
Would greatly enjoy Jean-Marc's comment(s) re the relative words from "the woman in the dos nu dress". Love and best wish to all!
Posted by: Fred Caswell | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Loved your writings and photos today.
I always have a few pieces in red for my wardrobe. People always remark on it and I can feel that they react to me differently - maybe they think me more interesting!?
Loved your artichoke photo, especially the red ladybug.
Posted by: anne | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Ooooo! I love this subject!!! How to dress for yourself and not others. After trying to stay under the radar for many years, I finally opened up a new chapter in my life. The sole influence was marriage and my husband telling me that he thought I should wear what I wanted and not what other people thought I should wear. I have spent many years doing just that and have been in the front of the scarf craze (they make great statements and are easy to pack on trips, not to mention less weight than jewelry), pockets on the side of pants (cargo pants), and wearing the color red to any place I want. I wore red to my uncles memorial service because he once told me he liked me in a dress that color.
Last year I was in a department store and admired some clothes that were spirited and feminine. The sales clerk suggested that I might like another line better so I went and looked. I was mortified when I saw the ultra conservative outfits and briefly wondered why she thought this 62 year old woman would want to look like that! Then I remembered that she is the one who thinks I should look like that and not me! I love colorful, loosely flowing, feminine lines and colors. I like looking cheerful and not like my life is one funeral after another. So I bought two outfits from the original line one of which is a lovely black and white number I will wear to the next funeral I have to attend. Maybe! I just might wear pale yellow instead! Or red! I do have this lovely green....
Posted by: Sharon | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 04:12 PM
This post touched me this morning too, as I always struggle with wardrobe ... often as my subconscious chants the "age appropriate" mantra. As much as I love to keep the black classic & to a minimum in my own closet, sadly, every return to Italy (especially in winter) calls for more black. It seems in Florence especially it's all they wear until practically May! I've found it actually depressing the uniform of black, puffy coats, boots and dour faces (oh no, don't smile at other women, the glares become sharper) - none of this is me (OK - boots. Boots ARE me!) I've practically worn out everything black when in Italy - always reaching for it just to 'blend' as much as possible (so much for a life outside the box after wearing a uniform for 25 years, yes?) You are right - and I loved ALL your commenters' words - it's often not 'what' you wear, it's 'how' you wear it. What other people think is their stuff, not yours. Brave, ladies!
Posted by: Valerie | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Kristin, A stylish French friend of mine advised me that I could wear the pretty little black dress BUT....add some high-heeled strappy RED sandals and a clutch that had some style to it (beads? jewels? straw, and even red).
Just a thought!
Posted by: Candy | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Great post, as always, Kristin.
But where are your photos of this marvelous woman's costume?? I was dying to see them. Ordinarily, if I read vivid description such as yours in, say, a novel, I enjoy filling in the picture with my own mind. But you've spoiled us rotten with your wonderful photos!
Posted by: Teresa | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Now THAT is when you should have pulled out the Fairy Dust I sent you! A little sparkle, a little veil of magic . . . a little touch of that extra "je ne sais quoi"! Spray, spray here and a little spray there. And you'll be the bell of the ball. And don't forget to share it with Jules. I just KNOW she will love the fairy dust too. Or maybe Jackie has spirited it away????? xxx Robin
Posted by: Robin | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Et voila, sur l'artichaut,-un petite femme en rouge!
Posted by: Zann | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 05:54 PM
What a delightful post today!!! It reminds me that there are many ways to become comfortable with oneself. Everyone else is irrelevant! Have fun choosing your ensemble for the wedding- and I hope we get to hear about it. Many thanks for your stories.
Posted by: Nijole Ladd | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 06:01 PM
BON VOYAGE, JULES!
Landing in France will be SO exciting!
Have a great trip and a wonderful time in La Provence!
I sent you something about "C'est + Adj", attached to an e-mail.
Now, just one little point I thought someone else would have mentioned. I can't see any correction (I might have missed some comments ?)
I guessed Anita is working for 'The National Orchestra in Montpellier'
= "un orchestre" (not Ochèstre)
-> As "orchestre" is masculine
the adj is "national" (not nationale)
~~~L'Orchestre National de Montpellier~~~
Posted by: Newforest | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 06:30 PM
What a lovely story this morning...
I find that I have been trying to step out of the comfort zone for awhile myself. I tried to buy something different to wear, and got home to find that I already had something very similar in my closet...hahahaha but, I my case it was a little brown dress...hahaha :)
Once again, I loved reading what your mom wrote to you. It made me smile very big, because she is totally right...we ended up a little bit "colorful" like our mothers. :)
Happy Mother's Day!! Hugs!!
Posted by: Lisa A., CA | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 07:19 PM
A dress perhaps the color of the lady bug with a scarf of black with red dots! Or take that black dress and add a red hat, and scarf red with bold black dots....you would look stunning with your blonde hair!
Posted by: joie | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Kristi my Dear, You should listen to Suzanne and your mom...and auntie Missy :)
I L-O-V-E-D your post today, I loved 'Anita's' look on life, and share it!
I wear my little red flats with most everything and have found the hat that is "me", to me.
Dress for who you are inside and she will happily emerge :)
Posted by: Missy | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Newforest was so fast. I saw some of your "fautes d'orthographe" and was going to tell you, but she took care of them all :-) I also learn a lot from you, Newforest. Merci.
J'étais la "femme en rouge" au jour de mariage de mon fils. Some people had commented that c'est bien que j'ai osé.
Kristin, your today's story is honest and written with humour. I felt like you were talking about...me, like "Not knowing a single soul, I had gravitated to her enigmatic presence. Not knowing a single thing to say, I said the truth: "J'aime votre robe!" LOL I've found myself in such situations.
Your gardening paid off, so lovely flowers and that artichaut is just wow and wow. Could I paint it? Merci d'avance et bonne soirée. Dis bonjour à ta belle mère quand elle arrive.
Posted by: Millie | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 07:54 PM
OK so I don't really have a comment about today's story, but an invitation. I introduced myself before bur became timid. I live part time in Vaison la Romaine, born in South Carolina and live otherwise now in Florida. I would love to meet you this summer. We are here in May, July and August. We are a married couple without children; love France; wine; people and dogs and children too. I have followed your stories for years and hope we get to meet; perhaps become friends. I am, respectfully requesting an invitation for coffee/tea/wine, out and about, in our terroire,.....
Virginie( Virginia eaux Etats Unis)
Posted by: Virginia | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Virginia, I would love to meet up! I'll email you soon... if you don't hear back, email me again. If anyone else is in the area... we should think about a local meetup, as we had in PHX a few months ago. I never think to organize anything, but it might be fun to hike les Dentelles, for example...
Zann, loved your "petite femme en rouge"
Frank, I can't remember when I planted that seed. I know that I scattered various seeds everywhere... just to see if anything would grow -- and where!
Millie, bien sûr you may paint it! Thanks for asking.
Enjoying every comment - mille mercis!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 09:34 PM
What a fun story! Don't you love it when you go to a party and meet someone like Anita? Someone who makes you think in different ways? I hope Jules enjoys the artichokes. I brought some to Portia for Mother's Day and she LOVED them. They were especially tender and delicious this year and yours look like they will be too. BTW Portia kissed me three times to thank me for the iPad.
Posted by: Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ | Monday, May 09, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Kristin, your post today was the first since arriving back in the U.S. I love the fact that I have a photo of that very same artichoke on MY OWN camera! But, I'm still stewing about what I wore to your home, because that, too, is on "my own camera!" After reading about Anita's delightful attire, I'm more convinced than ever that even at "une certaine age" one should dare to be different. (different than, say, one was yesterday)
Thank you for letting us visit you. It was a highlight because we learned that you are as lovely as your writing leads one to believe. Just wish we could have met Jules. Enjoy every minute together.
P.S. to Jean-Marc: We looked like two of the Three Stooges, packing our Rouge-Bleu
wine in already-stuffed luggage. When it was finally accomplished, said luggage was overweight. We paid enough for an extra checked bag that we could have had a few cases imported! But we are delighted to have it here.
Posted by: Susie | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 12:27 AM
The 4 agreements will let you be just who you are. It is a must read....don't things personally...
Love the story today. I am only in Paris 2 more days ( so sad) but will return soon with the scarfs for the effect.
Posted by: Jackie Miller | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 12:59 AM
Opps - should be don't take things personally.
Posted by: Jackie Miller | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 01:02 AM
I always seem to be in my yoga attire. Otherwise I am in jeans. Decided last week it was time to brighten up the wardrobe and off I
went. I found pinks, greens and blues galore, then got rid of the blacks, brown and tans. Okay I did save one black top (in case)
Next it is time to work on the shoes, although I do have a glittery pair of flip-flops which is my "shoe" for the next five months here in Arizona.
Jules have a safe and wonderful trip. Can't wait to see pictures!!
Posted by: Karen from Phoenix, AZ | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 01:17 AM
Enjoyed your story and l'artichaut - congratulations!
My new mantra - il faut oser!!!
Hello to Jules!
Posted by: Valérie | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 01:40 AM
Anita reminds me of the character in the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" - a fading Englishwoman (Lindsay Duncan) who lives the Fellini life in the local town and gives Frances pep talks on how to break free from her timidity.
Did you ever see the movie? It's great! Wear red!
I love the photo of the flower. What is it called?
Have fun with Jules! Looking forward to some photos of your fun adventures!
Posted by: Eileen deCamp | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 04:39 AM
I always love your writing and stories, your humility and humor, your courage to tell your own truth, even when that truth is just you finding your way, in all kinds of human and relationship situations. Who you are and what you do is beautiful Kristin, and a gift to us all.
Your mom is terrific. I hate to disagree with her, cause obviously she's pretty amazing, but hellz bellz, I don't know why Jules is saying you're Starting to Bloom, when it's so clear, you've been in the process of blooming for a long time, right before everyone's eyes. The blooming isn't starting; it's continuing.
and thank you for this great creative generous work you do.
Posted by: Gayle Markow | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 04:53 AM
Anita told the secret of her daring look - she's over 50! There is something about that half-century mark that makes a woman say, "I don't care what people think any more! Since there's not a lot of time left, I'm going to dress as I please!" It is what causes women to wear big, chunky jewelry. Such jewelry also takes the attention away from wrinkles and age spots as does that dress cut low in the back.
My dear mother always said that every woman should own at least one classic black dress. Alas! When I wear black, I look like the corpse at the funeral! But when I wear bright orange, people I don't know (of both genders) stop me to tell me I look great! Think back to what color you were wearing when people that you did not know told you that you look great. That will tell you what your best color is!
Posted by: mhwebb | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 04:55 AM
I cannot wear red to save myself! I have tried a few times only to bury the items deep in the back of my 'robe! I LOVE washed-out-shadow colours in lights and darks that give a mysterious hint of colour and layering different TEXTURES together :-)
It is also great that we are all different!
( I do LOVE Lady Beetle's gorgeous red-with-black-polka-dot raincoat though....very retro!)
Posted by: Gretel | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 09:57 AM
You do dare, my dear friend, each and every day! And with such style ~ as this smart and relatable story shows! I loved hearing about the interesting and playful new friend and ideas you created by venturing out that evening. Thank you for sharing with us.
I have so enjoyed all the comments as well. I do agree to dress for yourself, what you feel most beautiful and comfortable in, and what allows your heart to sing your song. I just purchased a new pair of gorgeous heels I fell in love with. I haven’t worn heels for so many years now. These days I run barefoot or in boots. I think I will dare to wear those heels out this week for a friend’s birthday dinner. Now, I just hope I can walk in them. :)
Joy to you and each and every reader here! Do enjoy your time with Jules.
Posted by: Stacy, Applegate, Oregon | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Go for the red dress - you can carry it off - but hopefully you won't upstage the bride.
I often buy clothes when i am in France. The fashions are just so much more dramatic: uneven hems, ties, toggles and asymmetrical designs, although I find that the colors are rather muted. Once in a while I find something with a really saturated dynamic color. Sometimes you just want the style of the clothing to stand alone without a dramatic color.
Love the flower - what is it? And the ladybug - how sweet and I'm sure that you have thousands more to take care of the grape vines.
Posted by: Kathleen | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 04:27 AM
Hi Kristin. Go girl! - Get those glad rags on at every opportunity. Of course we wear what is practical for daily work but it is also necessary to have a sense of occasion and dress accordingly to honour our guests. I wore my favourite celestial blue, star-spattered, pointy-hemmed kaftan by Zandra Rhodes recently as my alter ego of 'Lady Midnight' at the first public reading from my book 'Angel-Kat' at a school recently. I dressed to intrigue and a little girl piped up "I like your dress" as she waited for the fun to start. I didn't wear the electric blue wig that goes with the dress for fear of scaring the kids or embarrasing my grandchildren who are in the class - my daughter had told the teacher I was an 'eccentric' and to expect anything so wish I had the courage of my conviction now and worn it! I read them 'Chapter 9' called 'Indigo'( you can see the illustration and read it for yourself on my website www.angel-kat.com - click on chapter 9 at bottom). It's about hippies/flower children in San Francisco in the 'Summer of Lov' and a cat who loves to paint and also loves Van Gogh and music - the Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix (ask Jules to tell you all about 1967 and the 'Happenings'). The kids looked surprised when I burst into song with "If you're going to San Francisco .." and "Love, love, love .." I think I got away with it! And I had such FUN!! Yes I am proud to be an artist (author/illustrator) AND an eccentric (do the French have a word for this particularly British phenomenon?) - you will know them by their garb. By the way, give my love to Jules and I hope you have lots of magic moments creating memories together. Now there's a gal with a sense of style - loved the picture you posted of her in her Frieda Kahlo coat. Hope you dress 'up to the nines' to meet and greet her - she would love to see your creativity expressed in your dress too I'm sure on this special occasion. Viva les Divas! xx Robyn (xx for Jules)
PS Will put the promised signed copy of 'Angel-Kat' in post for you today when lay hands on your address xx
PPS I love 'Love in the Mist' - my mother grew it in her garden alongside aquilegia (columbine), peonies and 'Babies Breath' - I'm sure there is a great affinity between artists and all things natural/floral - their beauty speaks to the soul xx
Posted by: Robyn Daniels | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 11:23 AM
Yes - do daringly dress up and then show us the photos! I got very similar advice about dressing from a dear friend a couple of years ago, and I took it to heart. Now I dress to feel good, to feel pretty, to feel confident. Finding my style has been fun!
Posted by: Amy Kortuem | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Coming in late and at the end of a looong line of posts, I have not had time to read each one, but I suspect what I am about to say will have already been said.
Perhaps instead of buying a little red dress, invest in a pair of knock out, drop-dead gorgeous red heels. These can be worn not only with that black dress, but many other things as well.
Two years ago when I got braces (at age 62!), it occurred occured to me that I needed a high-octane feminine boost and decided that red heels was IT. I looked and looked only to finally have to order them on-line, but well worth it. They are 3" red suede beauties, Cole Haans, and I adore them and wear them year round. (Suede works year round for me...I reject the winter-only rule!) These red lovlies also work well, (really, really well) with jeans and a black turtleneck... or a little black dress...very flexible. When I am wearing these heels, I feel sooo "Lady-in-red" (as in the song/movie of the same name-great one, btw, w/Gene Wilder) sexy beyond any reality of same, but nonetheless they are a boost.
The last outrageous (and it was, $-wise!) fashion thingie I did was to purchase, gulp!, a Hermes scarf. It just brings me to my kness by its beauty and luxuriousness...I wear it and feel like a million $ and cherish it. I will also be naming its beneficiary in my will!!!!
I am not a "clothes-horse," per se and fail to dresss up as I should. Often I'm out in public in exercise togs. (I too don't have a lot of occasions to "dress up.") I usually buy discount or sales, with the few exceptions mentioned (oh, and once there was the string of pearls that I had looked at and thought about for 2 years...)
There is a confidence and deep sense of self that comes when one dresses with heart and daring. However that shows up for you, I encourage you to go for it!
So appreciate your story today. Would love to meet Anita - or maybe some day see snapshots of her! Her comment: "Mais ça, c'est LEUR HISTOIRE et non pas la tienne!" is true. Be brave, strike out with scarves, high heels, BOAS! whatever your heart desires!
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Oh, one more thing. Nevah, evah give up black! A black turtleneck is a major must-have. I love black! Honestly, the black turtle, jeans and high hell red suedes are hot, hot! (Jeez, simmer down, Missy!) xox
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Ohmigosh, I am reading these entries now and am suddently remembering my chere grandmere Mollie. After I was grown and had moved away, on a return visit she excitedly showed off her new purchase: a pair of red leather boots! I thought it was just out, way out there for her to do that. Years later, and believe me, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, Mollie Grandmere bought a pair of red leather pants! Imagine! Red (no surprise) was her favourite color -even in her 80's she was not afraid to "do her thing"! She lived to be 91 years...I still miss her - she was also my Garden Muse. Sigh...
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12:44 AM