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Photo Essay: La Révolution... Mexicaine


On a drizzly November 20th morning in the southern peninsula of Mexico, along the Riviera Maya, on the streets of Playa del Carmen - Quintano Roo, a stirring steady drumbeat announced the start of Mexico's Revolution Day celebration (Día de la Revolución), a day that commemorates the beginning of a rebellion against tyranny and oppression, and a call to arms. At last week's event, parades of very young revolutionaries and joyful niños and niñas showcased Mexico's colorful history, heritage and pride.

One could say the Mexican Revolution is not unlike the French Revolution... Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Here is part of the Plan that sparked the revolutionary movement (translated into English) written by then exiled presidential candidate, writer and reformer Francisco Ignacio Madero: "Peoples, in their constant efforts for the triumph of the ideal of liberty and justice, are forced, at precise historical moments, to make their greatest sacrifices."

Gathering | à Table


à Table! is the French expression for calling family or guests to the table. It means the meal is ready to be served, and it's when the hungriest among us come running.

Whether it's an intimate meal for one or a feast for a tribe of many, today and on Thanksgiving day, may the gathering around your table be filled with simple joys and great tenderness...

I'll be back after the holiday... à bientôt!

La Maison: French Market Baskets | Paniers


French markets often come adorned with the ubiquitous straw panier, sold by local artisans and carried around by shoppers young and old. Around forever ago, my husband recalls having gypsies sell skillfully crafted baskets door-to-door in his neighborhood when he was a young boy. Baskets were also the only vessel to hold and carry household supplies in his grandmother's farmhouse: sturdier ribbed baskets for firewood and dishes, woven wickerwork baskets for bread and produce. Back then, they weren't fashionable accessories, but a French way of life.

Over the years, the variety of paniers has expanded and evolved to include stunning color combinations and a bewildering array of shapes, sizes, trims - many with fancy braided handles and creative enclosures. On a recent buying trip I was so overwhelmed by the number of choices that I called for help from my French shopping partner, Florence. Like a seasoned professional, she first asked me how I would be using the basket and what, if any, was my color preference. She showed me, for example, why some baskets were impractical for markets (i.e. too bulky, too stiff, improper handles for conveniently putting over your shoulder) and which were ideal (double length handles with metal reinforcements). I ended up picking up a sturdy colorful striped basket with a cloth drawstring that protects its contents (to hold my newspapers and magazines) and another, my all-time favorite - the classic slightly tapered natural-colored weave with short leather handles (as a catch-all in my entryway)...

Today French market baskets are widely available online and at stateside chain stores as well as local markets. Practical, durable and all natural they make the perfect home accessory. I use several around the house and find they add a natural easy elegance to interiors, are timeless in their design, and best of all they remain beautiful brand new or magnificently worn...

Introducing Igor Marceau

Le Golf de Valbonne
Kon Tiki a Pampelonne
La Place des Arcades
Peche a la poutine au cros de Cagnes

Vibrant colors; bold, dramatic brushstrokes; impasto style and swirling skies ... remind you of anyone?  Yes, Van Gogh!... Well friends, these paintings are actually the work of Igor Marceau (pictured above), a living Frenchman who serendipitously fell into painting in 1994 after being bedridden from a skiing accident, as an outlet for his frustration and boredom. One day a well known contemporary artist "discovered" Igor's paintings hanging in a restaurant and insisted he continue to paint and share his talent.

Though many have remarked on the similarities to Van Gogh, Igor has admitted (based on his website's biography) that he is not influenced by any particular artist or style. The inspiration for his paintings come from his own being and his style is innately his own, combining colors that may not naturally go well together and creating in his paintings a light that comes from within...

It's been said we're all born with a creative bone or two, when and how it surfaces is unknown to us.

When I passed Igor's little atelier in the Provençal village of Valbonne, France last summer, I made an abrupt stop and am so happy I did...

Atelier Igor Marceau
7 rue Grande
06560 Valbonne, FR

Fall | l'Automne - Part II


Right around the peak of Fall, I like to walk past the rows of maples, hickories and golden poplars in my neighborhood and wait for a gust of wind to spill the leaves into the sky above me. Then watch them drift and dance, dip then drift again. It's a show I look forward to every year, one that never ever gets old...

These photos were taken from the past couple of weeks, before leaves on the ground began to outnumber foliage left on many trees, when Fall colors were at their most brilliant, when I took that walk by the trees in earnest.

Now that mornings carry the chill of the impending winter, I must confess I'm more content watching the show from inside. You see, I'm bias toward the 50 degree and over Fall. So even when my heart yearns to go out, the rest of my body refuses ... alas, I'm hoping for some days with higher temperatures in the next several weeks left of Fall...

How is your Fall going?

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