Jules update + Which of these French words is new to you?: guet-apens, tuyau, épuisette, taule, couvre feu, comme si de rien n'était, arroser, pantoufle...
Un avion de chasse: after “canon” another French word for “hottie” or “babe” + French vocabulary: prendre sa revanche, taquin, rebonjour, phare, pantoufle

Following a hunch from Paris to Miami + know these useful French words?: débrouillard, fonceuse, farfelu, embaucher, boulot, bagnole

Baccarat bar
Today's lesson: Be a smart cookie and follow your dreams! Learn the French, below, and read about a fashion student who "sows" an unusual seed, and is hired to mix designer drinks.

Today's Word: un débrouillard, une débrouillarde 
    : resourceful, clever, self-starter
    : a smart cookie, self-reliant, street-smart

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following French
Sois débrouillarde. Suis ton rêve!
Be a smart cookie. Follow your dream!

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Following a hunch from Paris to Miami

You never know where a hunch will lead unless you follow it! Our daughter surprised me years ago when she mentioned bartender school. At the time we were in Paris, where Jackie was doing a 3-week internship with an haute couture designer. Her bartender remark seemed farfelu given she was studying fashion design, but she ended up following that hunch: she dropped out of design school and started working in la restauration, as a food runner.

At 18, she moved in with her boyfriend, who was sans bagnole so Jackie did the driving. On lonely nights in their shoebox apartment, she cooked, cleaned, and shared her dream of moving to the States. "You can come with me!" she enthused. But the two didn't share the same enthusiasm or motivation. “You’ll never do it,” he said (daring her? Or didn't he think she had it in her? "It" being drive? determination? Guts? The courage to leave the known for the unknown? Or zest? I like this last one, ZEST, and you'll soon find out why :-) Meantime, never underestimate a smart cookie! Il ne faut jamais sous-estimer une débrouillarde!)

Jean-Marc and I were not crazy about the situation but Jackie’s loyalty, both to her petit ami and her job, kept her stuck there...until one day her landlord phoned, saying he heard a commotion and shouting. Jackie denied this, but it was too late, Jean-Marc wasn’t taking any chances. He and Max showed up at the apartment and brought Jackie back home.

Our daughter no longer mentioned her dreams or the USA, but we kept encouraging her. “Aunt Heidi’s friend owns a Mexican restaurant…” Little by little Jackie’s dream revived and she got on the plane, September of 2018, headed to Denver. She lived that first month with Aunt Heidi, who helped with her resume so she could apply for a job at the Ritz in Vail.

Embauchée! Hired!
Jackie loved her job as a cocktail waitress at the elegant Ritz Carlton. She watched the bartenders who showed her how various drinks were made. In turn, she shared a few French apéritifs (two favorites from the south: le Mauresque (pastis with orgeat syrup) and le Monaco (panache beer with grenadine syrup). Around midnight, she walked home in the dark, slipping and sliding along the snowy highway. She often called home (it was 8 am in France) during the midnight trek, reassuring us all was well… even if she lacked cold-weather gear. “I need to get some après ski boots!”

She got those boots and more! Before tourist season in Vail ended, Jackie received an employee award--a 5-star recognition from her manager at the Ritz for outstanding service. 

Back in France for the summer, our Franco-American immediately found un boulot here in La Ciotat. We barely saw our daughter that summer, as she worked overtime or double shifts. When tourist season in France ended, Jackie debated her next move: school in France or go back to the States? After seeing an ad for a bartending school in Miami, she had an epiphany!

A True 'Zest' for Life
At 21 our would-be bartender was on her way to Florida, where she had no family or friends, not even a room to rent! The school placed her in a hostel, where she took a bottom bunk in a roomful of foreigners. Tucking her suitcase under the bed, Jackie organized herself in that little space, while going to bartender school. She celebrated her 22nd with strangers and began looking for permanent lodging. After 6 weeks living out of her suitcase, in two different hostels, she moved in with a French girl, and found work waitressing in a 5-star restaurant, at The W Hotel. 

Another season ended and this time Jackie received a tip from her roommate about a bartender job opening at Baccarat, the historic French crystal company. Did you know they have a boutique bar? This, from their website:

We invite you to live the unique experience of sipping a coffee, tea or cappuccino; enjoy a bubbling coupe of champagne, a glass of wine, or discover our signature cocktails and taste our delicious food.  All served in Baccarat, surrounded by Baccarat’s beautiful and colorful crystal.

The manager liked Jackie’s French look and hired her on the spot. During the challenging months ahead (the beginning of a pandemic!), Jackie continued to work as some employees were let go, including the manager. In addition to tending the bar, she was now in charge of opening and closing the shop, and various managerial tasks. The pressure and stress built up, but Jackie hung in there!

All this to tell you that last week on her one-year anniversary at the Baccarat boutique, Jackie was surprised with a luxurious gift and a letter of recognition from the CEO! We are so proud of our daughter who followed a hunch and landed a job in America for an historic French company—and is working in a beautiful boutique while doing something that combines her love for design and bartending

From Fashion to another Passion
“I have never been happier,'' Jackie recently shared. Her gutsy decision to move to another country and a new city was timely. Had she stayed in France she would have been an out-of-work waitress (restaurants here are still closed) or a student stuck at home, following courses online. 

Speaking of which...Jackie is still unsure about college, though she’d like to take a class in taxes. 

Taxes? Another farfelu idea?

“Well,” Jackie explained. “I’m tired of paying someone else to do mine!”

Who knows where this latest hunch will take our Go-Getter? Meantime she’s bought the current no. 1 book on finance and is saving (most) every penny while looking for a good investment

I hope you enjoyed today's update on my daughter. Now remember, no matter your age: Be a smart cookie and follow your dream! Sois débrouillarde. Suis ton rêve.


Jackie behind bar
The crew from channel M6 filming Jackie for a special report. If you are in France look up the M6 schedule for March 28th (not sure of the name of the episode...look for Baccarat or Miami report!) 
Harmony goblets by Baccarat
Baccarat "Harmonie" Tumblers. This gift was serendipitous:"Harmonie" was the name of Jackie's first horse. Ever since, the word "harmonie" has always held a special significance. This was such a meaningful reward from Baccarat!

Jackie baccarat crystal boutique miami florida

If you are in the market for a fabulous French chandelier (or anything crystal! I love their papillons/butterflies...) contact Jackie at the Miami boutique. She will be happy to help you! Or stop by the bar for a refreshment....


farfelu = crazy, farfetched
la restauration = the restaurant industry
une bagnole = slang for car
un petit ami = boyfriend 
il ne faut jamais sous-estimer une débrouillarde = one must never underestimate a smark cookie!
embaucher = to hire
un apéritif = alcoholic beverage enjoyed before dinner
un boulot = slang for "a job"

an internship = un stage
food runner (busgirl) = aide-serveuse
a go-getter = un fonceur, une fonceuse 

Jackie at 17, in Paris: "Je suis assez capable de me gérer moi-même."
To Flip Somebody Off in French 

Jackie and coworker
Jackie and a colleague
Rum drink baccarat bar

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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This is a lovely post- congratulations to your daughter and to you both as her parents who must be very proud.

andrew Kleeger

A wonderful and even inspirational story, especially in these Covid days! I’m sure your daughter’s drive, pluck and perseverance were as important to her success as were her French accent and her maternally-inherited good looks! As in real estate, it’s all about timing and location, setting goals and sticking to them!

What is the un-identified drink in the last photo with the almost legible bottle of rum?


Hi Kristi,
Congrats to Jackie! What a great post today and love the photos! I love the word farfelu!


For me, it's your best post ever. My congratulations to Jackie for her achievements in what must have been trying times.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Mike! I am glad to see your note. It has been a while and I had been wondering how you are doing. Sending good wishes to you in South Africa.


Great story !!

Have enjoyed watching her grow up over the years through your books and posts.


Congratulations to Jackie and to you and Jean-Marc for encouraging her.

I, too, would like to know what the drink in the last photograph is. I am sure it's something I wouldn't enjoy since I hate hard liquor, but it certainly is very pretty.

Jeanne Engelkemeir

C'est formidable! I'm going to have my French high school students read this!! Merci! And bonne chance à Jackie!!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
To let a daughter go tugs at the heart. It is a measure rewarded to watch as she develops kindness, character and commitment to what she believes and does. The courage Jackie has shown should serve her well as she moves forward. May her life continue to brilliantly shine as crystal glistens in the sunlight...

Patricia Sands

Jackie! Chapeau! Félicitations à tous et toute la famille! Thanks for sharing the whole inspiring story! I'll share this with my many friends in the Miami area and suggest they all stop by to say hello!

Cheryl in STL

I loved reading every word of this post! Hats off to Jackie for following her dreams and to you and Jean-Marc for encouraging her and helping her find her way! It makes a mom's heart proud when we see our kids learn how to spread their wings and flourish! Our older son decided at age 27 to completely change his career...from economics to physical therapy. He moved from the Midwest to Seattle (where he knew no one) to get a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. It not only led him to the career that he loves and is good at, but to the best DIL a mom could hope for! Congrats to Jackie (and to you two!)! And what a lovely gift from Baccarat!

K. J. Laramie

Excited to hear this, Kristi!
Next time I drive down from Windermere to visit my friend on Alton Road, I will definitely stop in and experience this ... your tres elegant daughter and equally as elegant boutique! Such loveliness!

Merle P Minda

She's gorgeous! Like her mum!!


I love this story about a hunch (or a feeling) that inspired Jackie into her interesting career that began in Vail, CO and moved her on to Miami and beyond. It’s rather magical!
Tell her there is a online tax program called “Turbo Tax” which makes filing taxes quite easy with step by step help. It’s about $45 which is reasonable.

Gwyn Ganjeau

I love everything about this story! Those 'pivots' in life sometimes puzzle others, but they usually come from paying attention to something very deep and true. Brava to Jackie for listening to those instincts, and to you and J-M for encouraging, supporting and trusting her and watching the magic.


Lovely post Kristin. Jacquie rocks!!!!!


Congratulations to Jackie! Thanks for this wonderful story of Jackie's determined spirit, hard work, and open heart to see opportunities and pursue them. Love the photos too! You must be proud parents watching this successful, lovely daughter you raised.


She followed her dreams - just like you did when you left America!
I keep telling myself it's never too late to begin anew - and to remain ageless.
She is beautiful and elegant - much like Audrey Hepburn, and her Mom!

Angie Quantrell

Yay for Jacquie! Lovely post. And the anniversary gift is gorgeous!


Awww!! I love this! It’s been fun watching the kids grow up over the years💜


Wonderful post! Merci! There used to be a winery in VA called Farfelu! I still have one of their glasses from a tasting! Bon week-end!

Karen Cafarella

Congratulations to Jackie, I know you both are so proud.

Gail Larson

There is no medicine better suited to a mother's heart than knowing her children are thriving. Congratulations.


Our dear Kristi,
Bravo Jackie!
And bravo Kristi and Jean Marc!
To her for her guts and following her heart,and to to you for helping her find wings to fly!
A beautiful,loving,and devoted family!
Please know we are sharing your joy!
Arms around you all
Blessings always
Natalia. Xo


Well done Jackie! You have more than excelled! I actually own 4 Baccarat crystal wine glasses. One is broken. :-(. I had a guest who was careless with it and it's very upsetting.

Stacy Lund

I’m so proud of Jackie - and grateful for an update! She reminds me of her mother who also followed her dreams!


Jackie is lovely and smart. She will be very successful because she knows to do what she loves and puts it into practice. Bravo!

Janine Cortell

Jackie is definitely "une fonceuse". Congratulations to her on an adventurous living life.
And to you and Jean-Marc for always encouraging her to follow her dreams. This has to be my favorite post.


This dream she ride! she's the BEST !


Bonjour Kristi,
Comment Jackie soit la fille de ses parents! L’achèvement de ton rêve quand on est si jeune mènera, sans doute, au un autre succès et puis un autre. Félicitations à toute la famille pour leur soutien de Jackie!

Tim Averill

I loved this entry so much! Thanks for sharing. I often say, "Je me débrouille en francais," but I did not know that I could be un débrouillard! Congrats to Jackie and I hope to see you in September.


Bravo. What a lovely and inspiring post.
So happy to hear of Jackie's success, following her heart and intuition. Such joy it must bring to you and Jean Mark as you support her in spreading her wings and following her dreams.


Amazing!! What an elegant young lady! Fierement the composite of both parents
She followed her dreams and her instincts....Bravo!!
I also sense that she shares genes from mother, father ,and grandmother.

Joanne Fischer

It has been such a treat watching Jackie grow up on the pages of your blog! Must be an amazing place to work.

Catherine Berry

Yes to following your dreams. It has not all been easy and that makes it even more special. Congrats to Jacki and to you guys.

Marianne Rankin

I've been following the family since 2006, when Jackie turned eight. It has been wonderful watching her progress. Jean-Marc and Kristin, you have been great role models for her, as you are both hardworking people who are ready to try new things. Jackie deserves congratulations for being brave enough to do all she has done, including in a foreign country, with probably occasional language challenges. I'm really impressed. The pictures are good (though Jackie looks a little thin, so I hope she's eating enough), and she deserves the accolades awarded to her. I wish her continued success. I don't live anywhere near Miami, but if I did, I'd stop in at Baccarat and say hello.

Patti Raffy


Ellen A.

Smart, stunning, and "sympa" - your daughter Jackie draws from the best of you and Jean-Marc. Wishing her continued success and many happy adventures in the U.S. May she make the most of both of her countries!


Beautiful!! Jackie shares your courage, fearlessness to seek what she wants in life!! She has wonderful examples in you and Jean Marc. Such a beautiful family you have.

Leslie NYC

Jackie is the picture of thriving
and bien dans sa peau.
I love that Jean Marc and Max went together to retrieve her from the petit ami who, most egregiously, didn't believe in her. That is a certain, toxic offense!
She will certainly excel with perseverance and great style.

Sharon Marchisello

Congratulations to Jackie. If she's interested in personal finance, I'd love to give her a copy of my book, Live Well, Grow Wealth. It's perfect for young adults just starting out.

Debbi Schwarz

What a wonderful post! Such an inspiring story about a go-getter living her dream! Thank you for your blog!

Suzanne Dennis

Congratulations to Jackie! What lovely tumblers. It must be rewarding to know your children are following their dreams!

Marti Hinman

Dear Kristi,
Congratulations to your beautiful daughter.
She made very smart choices. To come to
Colorado and then Florida! smart, beautiful and très chic, perfect match with the elegant Baccarat. Bravo Jacki 👏🎉🥂👏🎉

In Florida we had challenging times during the pandemic, thanks to our capable Governor, we did better than in other parts of the country. So the state’s economy thrived.

Congratulations to you and your husband, you let her fly to fulfill her dream.
Love Jacki's story!


C'est farfelu! That will be another expression to share with my grandchildren because it is so much fun for the mouth to say! Thanks for sharing what must have been difficult to watch with your daughter and her petit ami, and seeing the beautiful butterfly emerge in her solo drive to make her new life. Something reminds me of her mother.....


What a wonderful story! Jackie is fabulous and so are you and Jean-Marc to have encouraged and supported her dream. Cheers to you all!

Brenda Prowse

Oh Jackie so very proud of you!! Thank you for this lovely post, Kristi. And the photos to compliment. It is so wonderful to know that Jackie has met challenges and persevered and is thriving! Bisous

Mary-Jo Johnston

It is never easy raising a family. You must be very proud of Jackie and her accomplisments thus far. Your continued encouragement and support will see her go far as she has talent, drive and good risk taking skills. Congratulations to all!

Carmen Clarke

Thank you, Kristi, for sharing Jackie’s amazing update! Nothing can stop this debrouillarde!
You and Jean-Marc deserve to be very proud!! Felicitations!

Marlene Maginski

Merci Kristi, for sending me this post. All I can do is add my congratulations on such a monumental time in all of your lives. Very happy for Jackie. And you and Jean Marc did such a great job of raising Jackie and Max. Good luck to Jackie in her future at Baccarat.Will be interested in reading about her next year at Baccarat.

Diane Covington-Carter

Yes, so inspiring to suivez les rêves! I loved the part where the landlord called and Jean-Marc and Max showed up and brought her home. So touching.

She is beautiful and smart. You can be very proud.

Best wishes from covid free New Zealand, run by a brilliant young woman.
Diane Covington-Carter


Congratulations to Jackie! It looks and sounds like she has so many exciting things to look forward to while she continues to enjoy her life and dream big.

Meiling Newman

So happy for Jackie. Such an adventure for her!

An Scott

What a wonderful story! Congratulations to Jackie! We haven't been over to Miami in a while (unfortunately, that area has had the highest Covid cases in our state of FL), but once my husband and I get our Covid vaccine shots and the spring breakers leave Miami, we hope to get over there. South Beach has always been a favorite place for us to getaway for a weekend here and there. Didn't know about the Baccarat Boutique but we'll be sure to stop in and have a cocktail and say hello to Jackie! In these otherwise depressing times for many, it's so nice to hear a happy story for a chance.

Mary Lynn Redmond

What a wonderful post! Congratulations to Jackie! Her hard work, dedication, and commitment are paying off well as she gains experience and expertise at each step of her life journey. Thank you for sharing.

Morgan Rutherford

Loved reading this! Can you send the recipes for the Lady B? Any other favorites Jackie has in her back pocket would be great as well!


Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Morgan! I tried wrestling the recipe out of Jackie but she says it is top secret at Baccarat! Hopefully she will share other recipes with us in the future. She appreciates your interest. Merci!

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