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How to say "To invite oneself over" or "to overstay your welcome" or "to crash a party"

We spent several days in the Alps, last week, and crashed a dinner party the last night. Read on, in today's story.

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TODAY'S WORD: s'incruster

    to invite yourself
    to worm your way in
    to overstay your welcome
    to sneak in
    to crash a party

ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word: Download MP3

S'incruster: Lors de notre dernière nuit dans les Alpes, on s'est incrusté chez nos amis, Isabelle et Eric, où on a mangé un dîner très très simple, très convivial, à l'improviste.
To invite yourself: On our last night in the Alps, we wormed our way in to our friends', Isabelle and Eric's, where we ate a simple, convivial and improvised dinner.

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    by Kristi Espinasse

During our 4-day stay in the Alps we had the chance to catch up with so many of Jean-Marc's friends, most of whom he has known since lycée, or high school. On days one and two of our trip, we were invited to an outdoor méchoui. The amount of food at the barbecue ("assez pour un régiment" as my husband always says) meant that we didn't need dinner, each of those nights, but could return to our room to enjoy a warm and fragrant tisane de berger (an herbal mix of verbena, lime flower, citronella, peppermint and orange flower) before drifting off to sleep--our hotel windows cracked open for the cool night's breeze (...and the hourly gong of the clock tower, located 20 meters away).

On day three we joined friends in the quaint Alpine hameau of Plampinet, where we ate the plat du jour--just across the path from the community bread oven. Filling up on garlic-laced aioli and all the trimmings (hard-boiled egg, cabillaud fish, potatoes...) we were already planning on a warm mug of tisane for dinner when Jean-Marc received a call from his friend Bernard... "On joue au boules ce soir!" Come over tonight for a game of pétanque!

I was doubtful, wondering about the timing of it all. It was nearing 8pm, or dinner hour! Though Bernard's offer was kind, he was, in fact, inviting us over to the home of Isabelle and Eric--where Bernard himself was a guest! Were they aware of this plan?

Almost as soon as the flurry of worry began, I cut it short and gave no further attention to the familiar voice in my head--a practice made easier over these past months, when life has found a way of bringing ce qui compte or what's important to the surface. And friends are important! As for doubts, if you have them, voice them!

"Bonjour, Isabelle," I said, kissing our friend (and Bernard's host) on both cheeks. "On s'incruste!" I added, letting her know I was uneasy about showing up at the dinner hour.

"Mais, non!" Isabelle smiled. "We have plenty of leftovers from yesterday's barbecue." Next, our accidental hostess went over the inventory, "On a beaucoup de fromage... and there is some couscous ... and a bit of lamb...."

As the guys took turns tossing the steel ball across the dusty field, I threw out my arms and waved my hands. "Isabelle, let me help you set the table!"

Isabelle and I left the boules court to walk across the prairie where four chalets are sprinkled across the grass--all homes belonging to Eric's family. The couple's dog, a cairn terrier, Léa (along with Yoda, an Australian shepherd, all their dogs are named after Star Wars characters), trotted ahead of us. "Elle est rigolotte," she is a funny dog, Isabelle laughed, as we walked up the wooden stairs to her chalet.

That's when we discovered that all the cheese had been eaten, the couscous was rancid, and there were no more bits of meat. And 9 of us were about to sit down to dinner!

Completely undaunted, Isabelle took a second inventory. "Let's see... we still have a head of lettuce, some cantaloupe and (peering into the freezer) twelve sausages."

I watched Isabelle, remembering that here was a girl (now a woman) that Jean-Marc had a serious crush on all those years ago. And I could understand why. I too had a crush on this keeps-cool, down-to-earth natural beauty! And over the years I had so admired her style.

Isabelle grabbed a large wooden bowl, poured in olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and began whisking together a traditional vinagrette.  She handed me the lettuce and I searched for a salad spinner. But when the spinner I found was missing a handle, I paused.

"It broke off a long time ago," Isabelle said. "I didn't want to toss it out. Just use your finger to turn it!"

The lid of the spinner had enough traction so that I could place my index finger on the rotating surface and "draw" an O (each "O" producing a spin of the basket beneath). It was a little awkward, but it worked! And it saved the trash dump from one more broken spinner!

"I still have my broken salad spinner, too," I bragged, hoping to gain points with Isabelle and celebrate a quirk we had in common! Instead she pointed to the blackened parts of the salad. "Toss those ends out."  There was no use kissing up to Isabelle. Her friendship was uncomplicated and for keeps, and this was my chance to fit into an accidental production line including Isa's other guests.

Laure cut the melon, jazz musician Denis set the table, Alban barbecued the 12 merguez sausages, and Margot, Isa's daughter, searched for wine... locating some magnum's of Jean-Marc's rosé! I studied the whole friendly enterprise when it suddenly hit me: You could do this too! You don't have to panic each time people come for a meal! You could keep it simple, like Isabelle!

At last we placed a mishmash of chairs all around the deck and enjoyed the colorful feast on the table--green salad, orange melon, grilled merguez and lots of good French bread. I hurried to grab the seat next to Isabelle. It went against the rules of politesse (in which we offer the best seat to others), but if I have learned one more thing over these past months of uncertainty it is this: stay as close as possible to people who inspire you.

Jean-Marc, me, Isabelle and Eric. Another picture, from years past, and the end of this post.

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Photo of me and Isabelle taken ten years ago, in 2006.

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Geraldine Venturs

I have also learned to entertain with as little work as possible! A simple meal can be as delicious as a great production which in the past I thought was necessary. The important thing is always those with whom we share the meal! Very nice picture of two lovely ladies!

Marika Ujvari

It's 4:30 AM in Colorado. I love to wake up to your stories, Kristi! Your descriptions of places and situations lets me be right there with you, and I enjoy these travels! Thank you for all that!!
Sending big hugs!


You're such a good read! I feel I'm there. I'm new to you and enjoying it all. Many thanks and best wishes.

Jules Greer


It's 6:15 A.M. here in the jungle of Puerto Vallata, the breeze from the Pacific is wandering in from my terrace. Thanks to Marika's prompting in her comment above I would
also like to comment that I love to wake up to your stories. I love you Honey. Keep
up all the great work that you do for us early risers across the world.


Kristin Espinasse

MOM, YOURE BACK! To join all these lovely comments just above. Youve made my day. Thanks. 💛💛💛

This was truly my favorite writing of yours! I could visualize it all taking place, thank you! Your comment about just being relaxed when preparing a meal for friends made me giggle, I too feel the need to make it all just perfect! Good lesson! Can you tell me what the herbal mixture was that smelled so wonderful was when you went to sleep? It sounds so heavenly!
Thank you for your writings, I look forward to them every week!
Danelle Hansen

faye lafleur

Simple food with friends make for an elegant meal and good memories! Good post and lovely pictures. P.S. Glad he picked you!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Danelle. This was a blend of lime blossom, verbena, mint, orange blossom and lemongrass. You can find a similar blend,  here (see the Après-repas tisane :


Nice entry. Although, according to my understanding, the word 'college' translates best to middle school (not high school).

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Alex. I think I meant lycée. :-)

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

Lovely story to read with morning coffee.☕️ Yes,true, life has enough complications; we need to stop sweating the small stuff ... and look how enjoyable things turn out❣️


Love this story Kristi! I still stress about entertaining and admire people that can just throw things together with ease! Hi Jules! Nice to see you back and Please know that I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers! 😊


Kristi, it amazes me that you keep plugging Amazon!!
They treat their workers like slaves. Terrible conditions and lousy pay.
They don't pay taxes in the country they earn their millions in.
They exploit everyone all over the world.
It just doesn't fit my picture of you!!!


I, too, am inspired by people who always seem to have a breezy attitude about them while smiling, chatting easily, and getting things done in the process. It seems to me it's an exotic form of art that must come naturally to some. I observe such people closely, hoping to learn the nuances and apply them in my home the next time I host guests. Your visit to the Alps sounds wonderful, and I thank you for sharing your tour with us by guiding us with your words.

Kristin Espinasse

Maureen, This is the third comment you have left me about Amazon. I have answered you here,  before,  and mentioned that as an Amazon associate I am able to earn a small commission on sales that result from purchases made via this blog or newsletter. This helps to pay for my blogging and newsletter expenses. Even more,  I count on Amazon to sell my books and ebooks,  which are not available in bookstores,  and which permit me to earn a living from writing and to offer this free language journal. You have mentioned the bad points about Amazon, please consider the good points.

Joan L.

It all looks beautiful and relaxing. Thanks for sharing it; I feel as if "je me suis aussi incrustee"

Kathleen from Connecticut

I always want to have the perfect meal, but as I found out, you can do with less and your company will still enjoy it.

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Kristi, I certainly agree with most of these comments. The day or days following a memorable dinner party what do you remember, the quality of the meal or the warm friendship and chatter around the table? Maybe both, but if I have to choose one over the other I'd go for my friends' conversation and laughter. S'incruster is a great verb -- let's do more of that!

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

P.S. Excellent response to Maureen!


Que vous êtes si belles. Vous pourriez des soeurs!

Cynthia Lewis

Thank you, Kristi, for writing about and sharing your "magical" visit with Jean-Marc's high school friends in the alps! It made me think of the girl scout song:
Make new friends but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold.

Also, so glad to read Jules' comment! I send you both my best wishes, Cynthia

Frederick Caswell

Joyful, educational, and so personal -- no wonder so many love you so much. Comme toujours!

Brenda Prowse

Kristi, Il love this post. It made me cry. Sometimes I miss my friends in the US so much that it hurts. It takes a long time to develop new friends in Paris but slowly it is happening. I am so glad that you and Jean-Marc could be with dear friends in the Alps and celebrate the summer warmth. Bisous to you.

Mary Arceneaux

This blog was an inspiration to me -- if only I could be a relaxed, stress-free hostess like your amie Isabelle! I promise myself to work on it. After all, we are all retired, friends are older and don't like any fuss; what's important is enjoying our time together! Thank you for the happy story...........

Kathy Colvin

Thanks for a thoughtful post that makes us remember to keep growing and counting our blessings even during challenging times. (Have been having to remember to do that here, too, the past few months.) xoxo


Our dear Kristi,
Such beautiful pictures!(You and Isabelle truly haven't changed!Precious friends,both of you totally lovely from inside out and outside in!)
And! So wonderful to hear from dear Jules!
Kristi,this gifted post today once again fills u with your joy and inspiration.
There is a favorite quote by Lewis Carroll:"....Today isn't any other day,you know."
Your words and story give such meaning to that quote!


Thank you Kristi for reminding so openly how anxious we often are, for absolutely no reason! Our friends love to be with us without us having to impress on them every time!

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

Kristi, you are so lovely, inspiring and dear! Perhaps this is the reason I've stayed so close at heart to you all these years! xoxo

Diane Young

You always make thrown together meals sound so good. I think this is a virtue of the French which we Americans tend to lack. Where in the Alps were you? I assume it must be in Italy but am curious as I spent a lot of time in Swiss alps but know there are ranges that cover a lot of Europe's southern countries.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

This is a fun story. Isn't it nice to get away, be with old friends and enjoy the moment...and the food!

So glad and so encouraged to hear from Jules, whose enthusiasm is absolutely contagious!

Karen Cafarella

I love to wake up to your stories as well, but my time is a bit later. I sleep to the last possible second before I want to get up for yoga.

As much as a minimalist I am, I do struggle with feeding people on the spur of the moment. I just loved this story and how everyone just enjoyed the moment. Because isn't that what life is about moments.

Big Hugs!

Kimberly Arnold

Dear Kristi,

Being from the South, I always thought every dinner party needed to look like something out of "Veranda" or A.D. It was a type of cultural bondage.

After my oldest daughter's massive brain stem stroke at the age of 26, I moved to California to help care for her 6-month old baby. A traumatic life-event like that puts everything into a different perspective.

We learned how to entertain by the loaves-and-fishes method.

No matter how many showed up at supper time at the hospital, or later, at in-patient rehab or a house or apartment, there always ended up being ENOUGH. Even though it might be served on paper plates.

That mentality has transferred back to my life in Georgia.

The male cat who was my husband's primary companion during my lengthy absences managed to pretty much destroy my house. (Many thousands of dollars worth of damage to upholstery, wallpaper, draperies, etc.)

My once magazine-ready home now looks like "Grey Gardens."

But here is the amazing thing: NO ONE CARES. If anything, it brings freedom to others by the slaying of the Perfectionism Dragon.

For the past several years, I have opened up my home to women in need. No one has ever been deterred by the fact that the cat has torn the arm off the designer sofa. (Or that I won't take the time to drive to Atlanta to search for fabric to recover.)

Hopefully, that will happen one day. In the meantime, I am ready and willing to serve delivered pizza on great-grandmother's fine French china, and get on with the job of trying to live joyfully and freely.

God help us all to let go of expectations, and be open to whatever comes our way!

Kristin Espinasse

We were near the Italian border, in Serre Chevalier. The closest French town is Briançon.

Kristin Espinasse

Love your story,  Kimberly. Thanks for sharing. I hope your daughter is completely recovered.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Stacy 💛💛💛

Kimberly Arnold

She is not.

But we have great joy, nevertheless, in the fact that we still have her here on earth.

I'd love to send you her book as an encouragement for anyone in your life who needs a little hope.

I will contact you by email.

Much love,

Rick Spring

Isn't it amazing how we figure out more and more ways to make life a little easier as we mature? The hardest part, though, seems to be internalizing them so the voices in our heads are quieted and they become natural to us. Those who learn these lessons at a younger age (maybe they are born with that knowledge?) are fortunate!

Suzanne Dunaway

Boy, are you brave, meeting ex-crush girl friends and keeping up your spirits. I would do the same but still...not as easy as it appears. I'm sure Isabel is very nice, but you run circles around ...uh. I shouldn't do this.
Still, rancid couscous? Oh, boy.


Your picture from 10 years ago could have been taken when we met in Paris a year ago! You haven't aged a day - still beautiful. Beautiful inside as well! Your retelling of you Alps sojourn sounds absolutely like the best time! That almost 'impromptu' meet-up was just the best. I'm so happy for you that your 'flurry of worry' fell by the wayside and you enjoyed yourself so much!! I would have loved to have been there, too! Sounds just so wonderful to me!

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