"Le Roupillon" (The Snooze) : the healing qualities of rest. Smokey, leaning a sore cheek on mamma's fur, so soft and sleek.

argile (ar-zheel) noun, feminine

    : clay

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Tous nous sommes faits d'une même argile, mais ce n'est pas le même moule. We are all made of the same clay, but not the same mould. --Mexican proverb

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse


It has been 4 weeks since the attack and our puppy's wounds are still open. After several visits to the vet, who assured us all is well, we are still concerned about our dog's recovery -- especially after the feedback of friends.

One reader wrote in to tell me that her dog, having survived three more months after an attack, eventually succumbed to its infected wounds.... Another reader warned that, due to the location of the plaies* (near to the brain), we must be persistent in clearing up this infection -- lest it get into the blood stream and cause brain damage

Needless to say, we are anxious for Smokey to heal, illico presto!* I will be taking him back to the vet. Meantime, Aunt Marie-Françoise, who helped us with yesterday's mise-en-bouteille,* has prepared a healing pack for our puppy: argile!*

Marie-Françoise related to us several first-hand temoignages* on the efficacy of argile. It began with her own dog, who was scheduled to have its leg amputated after an infection reached the bone and began ravaging it. As a last resort, my aunt applied a clay pack to the wound. The argile, she explained, pulled the infection right out! Each time she changed the clay, she could see the pus. The last few changes of the dried clay contained only a rose-colored liquid: the healing was complete. When she returned to the doctor to view the X-Rays, the latter was speechless: Ce n'est pas le même chien que vous m'amenez, Madame!* My aunt assured him it was. Her dog's bone had reconstituted itself as the infection cleared. The bone went from "cotton" to costaud!*

Marie-Françoise shared two more incidents in which argile treated a deep wound. In one case, a child walking along the beach stepped on a needly oursin.* One of the urchin's needles was driven in, beneath the skin,  impossible to remove. My aunt wrapped the child's foot in argile, which eventually dried, pulling out the needle from deep inside!

A similar case involved a foot injury, this time the foot belonging to a hunting dog who had followed its master deep into a thick patch of roseau.* The bamboo-like reeds were broken in bits along the ground and one of these bits got stuck, painfully, between the "fingers" of the dog's patte.* The long and thick splinter was lodged deep into the dog's foot... until Marie-Françoise made up an argile paste and wrapped the dog's wound. The splinter was sucked right out thanks to the "pulling" properties of clay!

Like that, our Smokey is covered in green argile on the left side of his face and just below his jaw. I will be taking him back to the vet soon, for a professional avis.* Meantime, please keep our pup in your prayers and mille mercis, mes amis,* for your letters, comments, and healing remedies. I have read each and every email and comment and regret not having the chance to get back to you at this time.



In books: Living Clay: Nature's Own Miracle Cure & products: French Green Powder Clay or Indian Healing Clay

Comments are most welcome. Mom and I agree that your words and stories are the best part of French Word-A-Day. We love learning what city you're are writing in from (this was my dad's excellent idea) and the local weather report, too!

Corrections are always appreciated -- and most often needed! Add them to the comments box, or send them to me directly.

French Vocabulary
illico presto = right away; la mise-en-bouteille (f) = bottling; l'argile (f) = clay; le témoignage (m) = testimony; Ce n'est pas le même chien que vous m'amenez, Madame! = This is not the same dog that you have brought me, Madame!; costaud(e) = strong; un oursin (m) = sea urchin; le roseau (m) = reed; la patte (f) = paw; un avis (m) = opinion; mille mercis, mes amis = a thousand thanks, friends; amicalement = warmly (kind regards)

Pizza herbes

Herbes de Provence (Special for Pizza) in Crock:
Herbes picked in Provence with a blend of Oregano, Thyme, Basil & Marjoram

Pre de Provence Lavender Soap. Imported from France: Pré de Provence, literally translated, means "Meadow of Provence." Transport yourself there with this triple milled savon.

Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes:
...a collection of 25 traditional nursery rhymes for children



Pictures from Yesterday's Bottling

That's my gorgeous husband (who recorded today's sound file. Did you listen to it?). If you could put a voice to this photo, that voice would be saying "Veuillez acheter mon vin?" Would you please buy my wine? (Here are some locations, places in the U.S.A. and Europe, in which to buy Domaine Rouge-Bleu!

And, below, Aunt Marie-Françoise (middle), and Babé (bah-bay) right.

It was cold (we bottled the wine outside, on board the rented bottling truck)! We all had our bonnets on! The black and green bonnet that I am wearing was a gift (for my son...) from a reader in New Zealand. Thanks, Sarah!

...10,000 bottles waiting to be filled, three ladies overly chilled! It took all day to do the work.


One of our mascots, "Kiwi" (my cousin Audrey's dog. Buongiorno Cousin Audrey, over there in Italy. Thank you for your Facebook message!)

Uncle Jean-Claude, below (yikes, I forgot to ask permission to post Uncle's photos. I hope that's okay). He turned 70 recently. I wished him belated happy birthday, yesterday, to which he replied, 'I've gotten over a hurdle (in French: "J'ai passé un cap!" Notice he also has a cap on his head. Oh, the cold we suffered at yesterday's bottling!)


Rouge-Bleu Winery Visits: Readers tell their stories
Still up for some stories about life here at the grape farm? Read Larry Krakauer's report about his visit to our winery. He brought his lovely wife, Margie, along with him. See all of the photos at his site.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.

chambre à part

yellow bicycle wicker basket panier france french tire cord
One of my favorite things about going to the grocery store in Camaret-sur-Aigues is seeing the line-up of vélos out front. Question: do French bikes have more character than others? Are the bicycles in your area as authentic?  What makes them so?

*     *     *

Today we will need to pedal quickly, what with another mise en bouteille* here at Domaine Rouge-Bleu. For this reason we will visit the archives, in today's story column, for an anecdote written one year ago.  Enjoy! Meantime, wish 7 of us luck with this two-day eighteen thousand unit bottling!

*la mise en bouteille = wine bottling. Read several lively stories about our wine bottling enterprises.

chambre à part (shahm-bruh ah par) expression

    : "room separately"

faire chambre à part is to "coucher séparément" (to sleep separately when a marriage or relationship sours).



by Kristin Espinasse

My husband talks in his sleep and this, of all things, is what he says: "Chérie, tu ronfles." ("Darling, you are snoring.")

"Je suis désolée," I apologize, just to appease him--for everyone knows you can't reason with a sleeptalker.

To reassure my husband that peace will return, I roll over to my side as a snorer might.

If Jean-Marc's sleeptalking continues, with his indefatigable Chérie, tu ronfles, we may have resort to what the French call "chambre à part," that is, sleeping in separate rooms for I am worn out by his three-word repetitive phrase.

Meantime, as you can sympathize, it is an exercise in patience for me to sleep beside a man who babbles night after night after night: "Chérie, tu ronfles. Darling, you are snoring." Enough! The next time my husband mumbles "Chérie, tu ronfles," I've a mind to answer back, "Chéri, tu REVES!" Maybe IN HIS DREAMS he hears me snore. God knows *I* don't hear myself snore. Which gets me thinking...

They do say that ronfleurs cannot hear their own ronflements... I wonder whether I should go on faith with this one, you know: believe in something that I cannot perceive. Then again, I remember a scripture that my mom taught me:

"Ainsi la foi vient de ce qu'on entend." Faith comes by hearing.

So if I can't hear, then how am I supposed to have faith? If "la foi vient de ce qu'on entend" then how can I be sure that Jean-Marc is telling the truth about my snoring?

Enough! Let's not lose track of the facts: my husband talks in his sleep! (And who wouldn't snore after hearing the same ol story over and over?)

*     *     *

~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~
Je suis désolé(e) = I am sorry; Cheri, tu rêves! = Darling, you are dreaming!; le ronfleur (la ronfleuse) = snorer; le ronflement (m) = snoring, snore


Peugeot & Panier (c) Kristin Espinasse

Three Random Words:
la gerçure (f) = crack, chapping
jeûner = to fast, to go without food
le videur (lit: "the emptier") = bouncer (nightclub)

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
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♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

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Cabanon in town of Piolenc (c) Kristin Espinasse
Ever feel like this? Unhinged, patched together, or just plain in pieces? Let me tell you... we got to sleep late last night after our latest mise-en-bouteilles. Read about last night's bottling, in the story column, below. Photo © Jules Greer (thanks Mom!)

                                          Cinéma Vérité

Cinéma Vérité will go cinematic this weekend! Don't miss our first court-métrage* titled "Blond". The filmmaker (13-year-old Max) filmed his mom in this slice-of-life one-minute episode (hey, you gotta start somewhere!), which takes place here at our vineyard. Along with the clip you'll hear Max's narrative en français. For more information about Cinéma Vérité, click here. (court métrage = short (film), "one-reeler").

scotcher (skoh-tchay) verb

    : to tape something

French Idioms & Expressions:
rester scotché = to be flabbergasted, stunned, gobsmacked
scotcher sur son siège = to be glued to one's seat
scotcher devant la télé = to be glued to the t.v.

Book: Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Gourmet food: Sel Gris: Hand Harvested French Organic Sea Salt
Movie: Watch French classics: Jean De Florette / Manon of the Spring
Beauty: skin care => Caudalie French *grapevine* therapy

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

By 8:30 p.m. last night, many thanks to friends, we finished our latest mise-en-bouteilles in spite of the hiccups and the ad libs, and thanks to the sticky system invented along the way...

It all began with a missing truck: the rented camion d'embouteillage (a truck/machine-on-wheels that spits out bottles faster than a sergeant's drill). 

That is when I learned that just because you rent something in France doesn't mean it'll show up when and where you need it. Thank goodness for the flexibility of friends... Margaret and Peter arrived bright and early from the town of Cairanne... only to be sent home (no truck = no travail). They kindly offered to return in the afternoon and when they did we had to send them home again!

When the truck finally did appear, we realized it was missing much of the bottling gear! So, illico presto,* we began a series of slapped-together solutions including a system for taping the boxes shut.

Margaret (aka La Scotcheuse) was our system and it was her job to not get caught in all that sticky tape as she unfolded and constructed the boxes. Her husband, Peter, was at the end of the bottling line, sealing those boxes and sending them off after I filled them with wine.

Filling the boxes with wine was another matter entirely. It involved reaching up to the conveyer belt and plucking up the bottles. Imagine, for a minute, the activity of picking apples... only these were of the heavy, breakable, and fast-moving variety! It seemed ludicrous to have to reach up to grab the bottles, but given the missing equipment... this was the only way. 

As I twisted and reached to collect the full bottles, turning again to place them in their cases just behind me, I couldn't help but glare at the young man who came with the truck, one of the hired helpers. A cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, he puffed and puffed while putting the bottles into the boxes. The heavy trail of smoke wafted, en masse, into the lungs of the man at the end of the line: my friend Peter!

"Eh oh! Attention à la fumée!" I reminded him.  

And that is when I almost wished I'd scotched my own mouth shut.... For the young man narrowed his eyes, and abruptly left the production line... leaving me with one more "apple tree" to pick and its ever-moving, fast dropping fruit.

*     *     *

*French Vocabularyillico presto = right away

Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are always welcome and appreciated. Thank you for tchatching with us in the comments box!

PS: Our Domaine Rouge-Bleu Rosé, in spite of all the production line snares, was bottled with joy, laughter, and a great amount of care. Find out where to buy our wines.

PPS: If that's not enough to get you to buy a bottle... well, then, check out our dashing French wine maker, just below.

Dashing French Winemaker. (photo © Annabelle Storfer) 

Did you miss yesterday's word (crapaud)? See it here.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


photos © Kristin Espinasse. Outside the tasting room at Domaine du Mas de Martin. Looks like someone sampled a few too many... More winos at the end of today's story. Talk about today's photo in the comments section. What do you see? What is missing (what would you like to add)? What kind of chien do we have here?

un tuyau (twee-yoh) noun, masculine
    1. pipeline
    2. tip (insider information)

  un tuyau crevé = a bad tip
  avoir des tuyaux = to be in the know
  c'est un tuyau increvable = straight from the horse's mouth

Audio File: Uncle Jean-Claude was here today for some wine business and I managed to steal him for a few minutes--in time to get this recording! Listen to the French word "tuyau" and to the expressions, above. Download Tuyau . Download Tuyau

Last week, one of my favorite characters returned to help us with our 4th mise en bouteilles* here at Domaine Rouge Bleu. By the end of the day--and 9000 units later--I had learned even more about our unbeatable bottler, Babé (baah-bay).

When the sun came up over Mont Ventoux, pouring light across the field of vines and over a row of rosemary (and one of oliviers*) that flank our driveway, I saw her. She might have been a hunter walking up the dirt path, wearing the colors of combat: the green of the garrigue* and the black of the French forest at night. Hélas,* our heroine wouldn't harm so much as a miserable mouche,* but scold a slacker she would!

DSC_0244 Babé, a retired school teacher, spent many years channeling adolescent energy into creative output. In the process of handling so much hyperactivity, energy welled up within her, inevitably. To this day, Babe can't sit still!

And lucky for us--for when the time comes to churn out 9000 bottles along a powerful production line... il faut avoir du peps!*

We've already talked about Babé's "peps" in a previous post*. For today, we'll learn some tips or "tuyaux" that Babé shared, in between bossing the bottlers around ("Allez, plus vite!* What are you waiting for? Organize yourselves!). Coincidentally, "tuyau" also means "pipe" (perhaps the medium through which Babé "channeled" all that energy?). Here now, are those tips:

5 Tips learned from Babé while bottling our wine

DSC_0248 1. Use a serrated knife--and not a toothless one--to cut tomatoes! (A toothless knife slips! I learned this lesson the hard way, while making lunch for the bottlers)

2. Less is more: start with one sandwich per worker. You can always make more if needed (learned while Babé took over the sandwich-making when I ran off in search of a pansement* for my thumb).

3. For a comfortable pair of pants, look no further than the fishing tackle department at your local sporting goods store (Babé's cost only 10 euros at Décathalon). Check them out in the photo.

4. "T'as raison Gaston"* : just a fun phrase that I heard Babé say. It also shows that, even though she may be bossy, she doesn't pretend to know it all.

5. For happy household plants, bring on the wine! (Add one glass per jug of water).

Read more about Babé, via the link below, and be sure to say hello to her, by leaving your message in the comments box.

And as for that furry feignant, or slacker, in today's photo, I know what Babé would say "Hup two!" or "En avant!"

More Babé stories, here & more photos at the end of this post:

And for those of you who might be interested in purchasing the wine that we have just bottled (!), thanks for check out "Where to Find our Wines" (including our Domaine Rouge-Blue Rose 2008 and 2007 Reds!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
la mise en bouteilles (f) = bottling; un olivier (m) = olive tree; la garrigue (f) = wild Mediterranean scrubland; hélas = alas; une mouche (f) = fly; avoir du peps = to be energetic; post = (see "More Babé stories", above); allez plus vite! = faster!; le pansement (m) = bandage; Tu as raison, Gaston = Darn right, Mike! (maybe you have better translation to add to the comments box? Update: "That's the fact, Jack!")

Cartes Postales: A Delightful Album for Postcards

In French Music: Putumayo Presents: Paris

La Perruche sugar cubes are made in France and have a rich and perfumed taste with hints of honey and vanilla.

With Uncle Jean-Claude:

The bottling machine on wheels!
Babé, not happy when she has to wait for those slow bottles to arrive! Allez, en avant!

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


The mobile-bottling machine and one man with a lot on his mind... and the day hasn't even begun yet. Read on, in today's story. 

chiffon (she-fown) noun, masculine
    : rag, duster, dust cloth

Check out the French Country Diary 2009 (desk diary & calendar)

Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's word and this expression "donner un coup de chiffon": Download chiffon.wav .Download chiffon.mp3

Terms & Expressions:

  vieux chiffons = old rags
  parler chiffons = to talk about fashion
  un chiffon de papier = a scrap of paper

... and this expression (and example, in today's story): donner un coup de chiffon = to give something a polish / touch up with a cloth

Yesterday, beneath a pouring Provencal sky, we bottled our 2007 Mistral*: all 10,300 examples of it (and just in time to clear the cellar for next week's incoming grapes!). If the bottling process took only seven hours, this was thanks to an international influx of helping hands. From the east and west
coasts of the States, and as far away as Australia, aid arrived, strong, smiling and a bit sopping wet...

Flanked by a row of flowering rosemary and a field of rapidly ripening rasins*--a thundering sky on the horizon--we worked the day away. Some of us were stationed inside the mobile bottling truck, where the bottles made their way down the conveyor belt and into the cartons--others were posted outside,
offering up empty cartons or "catching" the full ones as they slid down the chain-bottomed slide.

"Eh merde!" Jean-Marc complained, when the truck lost power after yet another celestial grumble from above. We stared at the bottles, now frozen in place, inside the machine. Well, at least it isn't raining!, I thought, at which point the sky responded with a cantankerous CLAP and, like that, down poured the pluie.*

Michelle When the lights returned, the bottles followed suit--spitting out from the truck's entrails in time for us to collect and pack them. I worked side-by-side with Michelle, who had flown in from Paris, via San Francisco. Erin, from Australia, was our supplier: it was her job to build the boxes, insert the
intercalaire,* and hand us the prepared boxes in time to fill them.

As the rain poured down, droplets began hitting the bottles on the conveyor belt, the rain having made its way into the truck with the help of the wind. I watched as Michelle flew into action: drying each and every bottle with the tail-end of her T-shirt! Taking her example, I cradled the newly-labeled bottles into my own T-shirt, in time to give them a good patting dry and, like that, after a quick coup de chiffon* the bottles were laid to bed in cozy, dry cartons... having been tended to like well-fed babies, caressed, and even blessed, by the baptismal pluie de Provence. Braise-bottling

Photos of our équipe*:  Charles (Florida) photo to the right, Ross (Washington State) ... whoops, can't find the photo of Ross..., Erin (Australia) above photo (on left), Michelle (California) above photo (on right).... More pictures as the grape harvest gets underway.... And, yep, that's Braise-the-Dog in the photo to the right... ever hard at work on her siesta, as the world whirls round her.

Talk about today's word or story or share a vignette of your own, here:

le mistral (m) = a) violent northern wind b) Mistral 2007 = one of our Domaine Rouge-Bleu wines--find them here.
le raisin (m) = grape; la pluie (f) = rain; un intercalaire (m) = divider; le chiffon = une équipe (f) = team

In French music: Accoustic France:
Experience the romance and charm of Paris and the French countryside with Acoustic France, a CD collection featuring contemporary chanson and acoustic pop by established stars and up-and-coming artists from today's thriving French music scene.

(Art Poster) L'Art de la Mode: Chic French Frocks in Satin Cloth and Chiffon Taffeta


Travel accessories: Adaptor Plug Kit - Handy kit helps you plug U.S. electrical appliances into most foreign outlets. 4 coded adaptor plugs with easy reference chart correspond to most countries worldwide: Europe, U.K., Australia, N.& S. America.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


Babé and Jean-Marc preparing for the first bottles to arrive...

Cheryl_jamison_2 I wrote* about Cheryl and Bill Jamison's visit to our place a few years back... I hear they've written about it too! Join me in the rush to buy a copy of their latest book "Around the World in 80 Dinners: The Ultimate Culinary Adventure"

Today's word:
mise (meez) noun, feminine
  the putting (of something in a place) ; placing

la mise en bouteilles = wine bottling
(more expressions at the end of this post...)

Si vous voulez faire de la mise en scène,* n'achetez pas d'auto. Prenez le métro, l'autobus, ou allez à pied. Observez de près les gens qui vous entourent. If you want to do a little change of scenery, then don't buy a car. Take the metro, the bus, or go by foot. Observe, close up, the people that surround you. --Fritz Lang
*la mise en scene also describes the atmosphere of a film, play, or other performance.

Listen to my son, Max, pronouce the French word "mise" and read today's quote:
Download mise.mp3

Download mise.wav


It took eight of us to cork, cap, and "carton" 7,200 bottles of Rouge-Bleu* wine yesterday. The rented bottling-contraption-on-wheels was delivered to our vineyard and hooked up to a cement tank in the wine cellar. We had only to step up to the platform and into the truck bed to begin work.

IMG_4084 I enjoy repetitive tasks and so was happy to win the post of packager. I shared this job with Babé* (baah-bay) a former school principal and "Rebel Retiree". If there's one thing Babé hates, it's slow-motion. To really annoy her, just slow the conveyor belt or stop feeding it altogether in time to "refuel". I loved watching Babé puff out her breath and râle* each time the bottles quit flying.

Babé and I caught those bottles as they careened forth from the engine's entrails, which hissed, grumbled, and spat like an ornery old cat. When the bottles weren't delivered fast enough, Babé crawled across the snaking conveyor belt to retrieve them. For this, she was scolded by Uncle Jean-Claude, who warned her that machines were without mercy, best not to get caught in them!

Unlike Babé, panic is my initial response to everything. Catching fast-moving, fragile merchandise is no exception. "They're going to crash!" I shrieked, when the first bottles sped toward us. Looking out of the truck, to where the bottles were headed, I imagined a pile of wet, broken glass.

"T'inquiète!"* Babé said. I watched her hands, all twelve of them, spin, swooping up bottles and packaging them, as she saved herself from idleness and sin.

Rouge-Bleu = ; Babé = term of endearment for Elizabeth; râle (râler) = to grumble or complain; t'inquiète! = don't worry! (idiomatic command used in colloquial French)
More French idiomatic commands in the book Colloquial French Grammar

Featured Francophile Must-Have: charm up any bathroom with this so-French soap holder

French Vintage style utensils pot
Paris Themed Decorative Gift Tags
Eiffel Tower Coir Doormat, for a France-friendly welcome
In French music: Quelqu'un M'a Dit by French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

~~~~~~Terms, Expressions... French Idioms~~~~~~
être de mise = to be acceptable
bien mis(e) = nicely turned out
soigner sa mise = to take pride in one's appearance
remporter la mise = to carry the day
la mise à l'eau = launching of ship
la mise en jeu
= the bringing into play of something
la mise en pratique
= the practical application of something
la mise en liberté = the releasing, release
find more definitions in this dictionaries:
Robert and Collins Senior: Dictionnaire francais-anglais, anglais-francais (pricey, but there may be used copies available)

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.