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Printable Calendar: September | Septembre 2013


Fall is my favorite season for many reasons, but I have to admit the dwindling daylight doesn't excite me. It's the scar of an earlier life when I lived in a basement apartment and had to shut all the blinds at four in the afternoon once the sun fell away from sight. This interrupted any view of Fall's splendor. Makes me cringe thinking about it...

Today I overcompensate by soaking up every bit of autumnal color through the large windows of my light-filled home... I feel the need to make up for those days stuck in a basement. But don't get me wrong, I'm actually very grateful for that experience, for it gave me the greatest appreciation for the slightest sliver of light...

If you'd like a September calendar, simply click on the link below, print and cut on the dotted line (there are two on one page). I like to use plain card stock but any paper will work. Enjoy!

Lavender | Lavande


The sweet smell of lavender filled my living room these past few weeks -- until yesterday when my son accidentally knocked over their glass container, spilling the whole lot and filling the space with one last whiff. I took it as a sign to officially bid adieu to another summer.

Onward to Fall...

As Always, Julia...

As Always Julia - letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto
As Always Julia - letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto

Last week on August 15th, Julia Child would have turned 101 years old... hard to believe really.

In the book, "As Always, Julia," her voice comes through the pages in a way that is very clear, warm and exuberant. The book is a compilation of letters written during the 1950's by Julia and Avis DeVoto, who began writing serendipitously and over the course of their correspondence became beloved confidantes. Over about a decade, DeVoto helped guide and tirelessly advocate for Julia's encyclopedic two-volume masterpiece, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Despite all the obstacles and self-doubt and rejections Julia faced, ultimately the cookbook was a triumph. And you end up wanting to cheer for the two women by the end of the book.

Julia's letters reveal her thoughts and observations on human relationships, politics, cooking and of course her ever "so beautiful, so cozy, so lovable" Paris. Much of Julia's wisdom gets circulated online, so I thought I'd share some lesser known tidbits and quotes:

  • On relationships: I am extremely curious about how people adjust to life and each other. Before marriage I was wildly interested in sex, but since joining up with my old goat, it has taken its proper position in life.
  • On human evolution: One must continually struggle for understanding and experience and wisdom.
  • On wine: An old wine is like an old lady, and traveling can disturb her.
  • On smoking: We have decided to give up smoking,... so I am puffing away like mad... I think it is really the adult substitute for thumb-sucking.
  • On the creative avenue of hat-making: I even took a few lessons when we first came to Paris, and even wore three that I made. Never was any good at making clothes, though. Always looked as though I had made them. Awful, awful.
  • On the cookbook: It must communicate, and must be "the cook's best friend"... present complexity smoothed-out, logical, and cookable form, in a lovable and compelling way.
  • On her long distance friendship with Avis: I suppose one reason we can write so easily to each other is that, for one, we have established the rhythm, and for another, that our lives are not much involved with each other, actually. Perhaps if we lived next door, we would have developed curtains and veils and various tender heels. Anyway, it is lovely to be perfectly at ease, and to be able to discuss anything at all; and may it remain ever so!
  • On husbands [Paul is Julia's]: Paul doesn't come home for lunch, and I shall have almost the whole day to work in... Thank heaven! (Husbands take a lot of attention.)
  • On assumptions: I distrust categories and I am pleased that Paul does too. It is too pat and all-inclusive, and if I know anything at all it is that there are no final answers to anything, and the older I get the less I know and the less final the answers are... You can only approximate -- and if you can do that occasionally you're in luck.
  • On Paris: Paris is heavenly... gee whiz, what a city. Why live anywhere else is the eternal question. I just feel myself expanding in all directions, I am so happy to be here... I am half French, and that is all there is to it.

As Always, Julia offers a wealth of recipes and fascinating cooking tips as well, of course. They really were secondary though. And to be fair, the book also shows a side of Julia that is opinionated and overly biased, but that makes her all the more human. More than just a culinary pioneer, Julia really seemed to be a remarkably wise and charming lady.

I picked up As Always Julia by accident really. Headed to the checkout line at my local bookstore, I found it in the bargain bin... serendipity :)

Announcing The French Kiosk...

Etsy, photography, The French Kiosk, vintage French books, grand opening, launch, Paris photography, France photography
Etsy, photography, The French Kiosk, vintage French books, grand opening, launch, Paris photography, France photography

You know all that advice and wisdom about taking a leap of faith and doing what you love and starting where you are - well I made that jump and am excited to announce the opening of my very own Etsy shop, The French Kiosk.

After years of freelancing from home while taking care of my younger boy, this September he'll be entering school full time and leaving me with a bit of time on my hands. What I should do with this time became increasingly clear to me over the past several months...

As a mom of two growing boys, I know there's so little time for wishing and waiting, and I felt I should start the business I'd always thought about. Also, opening up an online shop is an ideal way for me to further contribute to my family both financially and creatively. It illustrates to my boys what I've always believed (but lacked the courage to do) - and that is to have faith in yourself and pursue the thing that stirs within you, the thing you feel compelled to do. That persuaded me to create this blog in the first place… but now it's time to take the next step and to keep growing, learning and sharing with you.

At the moment, The French Kiosk sells my photographs from France and favorite florals, as well as other lovely French inspired finds, like vintage French books and postcards. It's a work in progress as I continue to add inventory and create handmade pieces to add to the mix.

It would be my great pleasure to have you stop by. And to celebrate the shop's grand opening, you get a special coupon only made for readers and followers: 50% off your order to use anytime this month using code: "LMVBLOG50." I hope you enjoy The French Kiosk. I'd love to get your comments & suggestions!

Au Revoir Summer...via Instagram


It feels a bit odd declaring summer's end in mid-August... but many signs around here point to its departure. Yesterday, for the first time all summer (and much of the very hot Spring before that), I opened the balcony doors to the most lovely crisp morning air. I also noticed leaves in the park had already lost their summer-y green color. Stores are depleted of school supplies, and many of you dear friends have children who've already started school!

Has the season shifted where you are?

P52: Community

An invitation to coffee

The other day I passed a sign with a message that made me smile:

When strangers begin treating you like neighbors, communities are formed


The Mojave Desert & Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Joshua Trees in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert
Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well...” 
 ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince

I travelled to the West Coast so my boys and I could visit the Mojave Desert and revisit family I hadn't seen for years - some in over a generation. We arrived to find my once teen cousins now parents to a new set of teenagers. It was heartening to spend time together, share tender stories from our past and smile through tales of happiness but also hardship and heartbreak.

And so the dynamic and drama of old and new, past and present lay bare and open, as expansive and complicated as the vast and wild desert.

I always find it remarkable how easily some family can make it seem like only a season passed since we last spoke. Conversations flow effortlessly like sand stones smoothed by gentle winds. And inevitably there are few others who remain cold, the small space shared between us barren and desolate. But I know those hold injuries that can be overcome one day. Family is exquisitely delicate terrain.

So driving back from our visit, I looked out pensively along the landscape of the Desert's Red Rock Canyon, its mountainous rock formations and mesas beautifully etched and painted from years and years of natural erosion. I marveled at the vegetation and flora that thrived and stood strong and vibrant despite extremely harsh weather conditions. Warnings instructed us not to disturb the plant life. Out in the open and vulnerable, it could take decades to regrow...

The desert reminded me how relationships need a great degree of resilience to thrive, that it can take many years to repair even the slightest damage and that pressures can produce the most extraordinary beauty.

Printable Calendar: August | Août 2013


August oh August, you sleeping giant of a month... I'm back home from travel and wishing the roar at the end of this month wasn't so clearly audible.

Come September both my boys will be heading to school, the little one released into the world for the first time without me by his side. I remember this feeling from the first time around - a knotted discomfort, a fearful and heavy hearted goodbye. Part of me wants to reach back and up towards the sky, to stave off the quickening of time...

For the August calendar(s), I used two different but similar summer Instagram images, reminders that summer is in fact still here for at least another 30ish days. Download by simply clicking on the link below, print and cut on the dotted line. I like to use plain card stock but any paper will work. Enjoy :)

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