08/18/2017

Before & After – Adding a Dining Room Pendant

A single wall construction home in Laguna Beach follows the charm of this surf culture town. Central air is an extravagance when you can simply open the doors for that canned coastal breeze.

A neutral yet modern double cylinder pendant seals the look of this small dining area.

Temperatures rarely venture into extreme highs or lows and if they do residents revel in having a quaint taste of another season. The climate translates to the home, where interiors follow the laid back “shoe optional” approach.  Lighting, however, fits a more basic need. Moving into my Laguna home and the previous dweller, one of those earthy types who kept wild animals as pets, did not have a dining room lamp among other necessities. While I am a follower of organic style and going braless at Coachella, I do find lighting necessary in terms of effectively seeing your food and adding an easy stylistic element.

Choosing a pendant was a combination of statement piece yet neutral since the dining area is part of the overall common room. This double cylinder pendant by Oilo Studio  works with its scale, simplicity, modernity and neutral color.

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08/11/2017

Ultimate Guide to Resort Town Shopping

The time has come in your vacation to investigate town, usually between beach and dinner. You navigate a sidewalk with other tourists who share a reddish tan that happens when you fall asleep to the ping ping of a Kadima ball in the bright sun. The town charms with a hotel that hosted famous Colonial folk. Cafes decorated with local art. Stores merchandised for the season. Some shopkeepers let you browse with a drippy ice cream cone, the window lists their other resort locations: Nantucket, Palm Beach, East Hampton…

Here, we cultivate highlights from resort establishments, hocking everything from cocktail attire, sustainable flip flops and shot glasses with the town’s zip code.

 

  1. Navy Canvas Tote 2. Watercolor Waves Bag 3. Beach Volleyball 4. Embroidered SkipJack Key Fob 5. Intergalactic Bath Bomb 6. Marine Blue Handwoven Throw 7. St. Barths Tunic in Sailing Stripes 8. Roses Quilt 9. Original Salt Water Taffy 10. Scotland Nation Airlie Sweatshirt 11. Trucker Hat 12. Beach Towel in Mega Joyride 13. Fallera Azure Women’s Mule 14. Backpacker Cologne 15. Deer Valley Mountain Legging 16. Laraju Elephant Printed Silk Scarf/Throw

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08/05/2017

Travel – Chatham, Cape Cod, MA

We reach the final leg of our trip in a Jeep weighed down with too many people, beach gear, unzipped bags and many towels since our rental does not provide them. The main road that takes us to our cottage is not cluttered with commercial behemoths. There are antique stores in historic homes, hardware stores hocking rain barrels, fishing outfitters and a nature center that hosts midnight walks along the seacoast. This could be the scene of a summer experience decades ago but it’s not. We are in the town of Chatham, plotted on the elbow of Cape Cod, Massachusett’s arm.

An antique store seen on route to our cottage.

A Cape experience and there is no preoccupation with such things as matching your pool float to your bathing suit and securing appointments for an onsite hair stylist to prep you for an exhausting roster of fabulous events. We omit any scheduling to follow the simple offerings the town provides. Ridgevale Beach is in walking distance. There are plenty of restaurants. The main supermarket and fish stores provide local ingredients for meals at home.

Typical day at the local beach.

In town they have the expected tourist destinations—art galleries selling aerial shots of the ocean, Cape merchandise, trendy clothes designed by entrepreneurs who gave up corporate life to follow their dream, cafes that freeze extra coffee into ice cubes, choice of ice cream and fudge shops and more than one knitting establishment. On a morning when half our household made their tee time, we explored the two block town. An excursion where Cape appropriate trinkets were bought. Ate more ice cream, cookies, Italian ice and candy where I thought tongues would permanently stain blue. We gave in to the impracticalities of resort living. By the end of the trip there is life reassessment and talk of starting a clam bake outfitter.

Walk away from the crowds for a vacant plot.

In the dramatic shift from August to September the town’s tourists return to routine life, leaving the Cape’s most spectacular month. Days have the perfect ratio of crisp to warm temperatures, cool evenings, no crowds–an ideal time to clear the mind and draft a business plan.

The view from Chatham Pier and Fish Market.

Places to eat/market:

400 East Restaurant & Bar: A bulky menu that serves everything from nachos grande to broiled scrod, tuna poke and ribs.

Candy Manor: An old-fashioned candy shop who homemade fudge and bins of candies.

Chatham Pier & Fish Market: Buy the catch of the day with on site entertainment provided by frolicking seals.

JoMama’s NY Bagels: Servicing our morning needs with great coffee and bacon, egg and cheese bagels.

Kream ‘N Kone: Fried fish selections, Cole slaw and soft serve ice cream in a family friendly atmosphere. Take out or dine in booths from plastic trays.

Marion’s Pie Shop: The morning line moves fast for coffee and all kinds of pie, even clam.

Buffy’s Ice Cream: In town, jovial pink setting, with a menu of flavors and soft serve.

Schoolhouse Ice Cream: An assortment of homemade flavors and other ice cream shop favorites.

Sundae School: A chalkboard lists innovative flavors you can create into a sundae with hot caramel, pineapple and other toppings.

Places to shop:

Ducks in the Window: If you are in the market for a rubber duck, this is the destination. A collection of rubber toys, candy and trinkets where shoppers inspect wares like displays in a gallery.

Fat Face: BoHo, urban sweatshirts and cool clothing in a hip corner store. The helpful salesgirl gave us the store’s background about British designers with the ideal to sell t-shirts and naming the store after their favorite ski run, but we were too busy inspecting the merchandise to catch it all.

J. McLaughlin: In even preppy resort town you can count on a J. McLaughlin for stocking up on pretty printed dresses, swim trunks and accessories.

Jack Wills: Come here for classic styles like striped teas, kick please dresses and wardrobe basics with an updated take

White Marlie: Designed tees, suits, hats and hoodies that offer a more styled assortment than a touristy shop selling Cape Cod emblemed clothes.

If you have any questions regarding your Chatham trip, please email us at jdemontravel@ducksgoose.com.

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08/02/2017

Best Travel Apps for Grownups

If the most fun you’ve had this summer is cooling off in the kiddie pool it may be time to get away. A proper trip, where you discover a new place or eat something so delicious the taste will be imprinted to memory. Travel can do everything from restore well-being to giving kids a summer that involves more than making some really cool sand art.

Before you hit the road, load up with apps that will facilitate travel needs.

 

Though traveling can come with some challenges. There are endless car rides that turn a vehicle into a mobile prison. Or trying to get by in a foreign territory without having to pantomime a lunch order. We uncovered apps that will cut through the tests of travel and build on your vacation experience.

HipMunk – Hotels and Flights

HipMunk is your virtual travel agent that will find the best accommodations, transportation and tour packages at an affordable price. Whether you have a getaway in mind or want HipMunk to find one for you, be prepared to sift through plenty of alluring options.

TastySpots

While we have sampled our way through every food app, what makes Tasty Spots so palatable is that it is intended for the foodie with I-really-ate-there reviews, pictures and content. The app will find a restaurant, help you order the best meal, and you can set up your own profile.

Walk Jog Run GPS Running Routes

For the exercise enthusiast, avoid getting lost or following a hotel map when drafting your workout route. WalkJogRun uses a phone’s GPS with millions of worldwide running notes to establish a customized route.

Glympse

It’s one of those group travel challenges–someone wants to go shopping while the other rather hit every tourist attraction at record speed. A difference in itinerary does not mean you can’t meet up for a drink. Glympse reunites parties by safely sharing your location.

Postino

When sharing your vacation on social media becomes too impersonal, revisit the classic custom of sending postcards but with an updated twist. Positino allows you to send real, tangible cards. Simply take a photo, select a background, write your message and for $1.29 the high quality customized card is sent between 2-5 business days. Sure beats finding a post office and licking stamps.

Mobile Passport

Want to feel like a VIP when you enter that dreaded moment at the customs line? While you don’t have to know a senator or titled official, Mobile Passport will certainly make you feel like you do. Officially authorized by Officially authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the simple process involves filing your profile, submitting answers regarding your trip and scanning your travel docs. The app will allow you access through U.S. Customs and Border Protection in over 20 major destinations.

Google Translate

Speak in your host country’s native tongue without having to take a lesson. Google translate is your app translator, which is the best way to connect with foreigners and navigate countries through language. You can even use your camera for a nifty text translation.

Waze

Waze is a navigation app that is far more than punching in a destination for directions, it is your virtual traffic guru. While turning off the highway and hitting a string of country roads that may make a simple trip seem like an epic odyssey, Waze will get you there faster by using driver shared traffic info.

Sit or Squat

Until apps can figure out a way to bypass rest stop visits, we must depend on public restrooms. Avoid that scary moment when opening the door of a pubic restroom—Sit or Squat is a handy app developed by the clever folks at Charmin with a listing of user generated reviews for over 100,000 bathrooms nationwide. Though it’s always a good idea to pack that handy roll of toilet paper.

whats app

If you go into shock when you receive a data usage email alerting the added cost from all your use of data, cut around that expense with What’s App, a free communications app.

Minube

For the traveler inspired by the beauty of a destination and insider info, Minube is an artistic compilation of user-generated photos and tips that allow you to sample a destination well before you hit the road. There are also recommendations based on your travel criteria and an ability to create a travel scrapbook.

 

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07/27/2017

How to Frame Art Online

While you may have graduated from taping posters to dorm walls, professionally framing your art and you may feel the pinch of your student loan days. There is a way to avoid pricey framers by taking the task into your own hands.

Framed art adds polish to a space.

Art is key to a personalized home. Beautifully framed portraits style a space. Even something like a diner receipt can look like a gallery piece when framed correctly.

Keep the look simple by connecting color, addressing scale, and avoiding clutter.

What to consider? Sizing and scale for impact. Color and how it relates to the room’s theme. Selecting the right art to frame, such as memorabilia, prints or your own art, which is the most personal expression a home could have.

Online resources can help you frame those artistic mementos easily and on a budget. Matboard and More, a custom online framing company, was especially helpful in processing our required needs via cyber communication.

10 Steps to framing gallery art on an artist’s budget:

1. Decide on the art and use a tape measure to size your desired frame and mat. For photography, there are many online photo sites where you can develop your film in a variety of sizes. The art work can be sent via email or direct to vendor.

2. Choose from a selection of frames.

3.  Keep your hands and work area clean.

4. Tape art into mat.

5. Slowly peel off protective sealer from plastic frame.

6. Insert plastic into frame, then add matted art.

7. Add foam board backing.

8. Before closing tabs, make sure the area is free of dust. The sealer attracts dirt easily.

9. Close tabs.

10. Hang frame.

 

Resources:

Online frame company: matboardandmore.com

Photography online lab: Nations Photo Lab

Love Story Never Ends art: Tuvalu Home

Window seat fabric: Robert Allen Design

Alassis over-sized candle: Chesapeake Bay Candle

Beach blanket used as throw: John Robshaw

Seahorse pillow: Chole and Olive

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07/13/2017

Preppy Style – Tina Barney’s Photography

The photographs of Tina Barney capture those banal moments when Mummy dressed daughters in loud matching dresses. Photography may shift, currently experiencing mainstream visibility thanks to social media, but Barney’s candids is an established stye that is all her own and always relevant.

Tina Barney’s “The Daughters” captures that before-the-event moment with family.

We accompany Barney as she captures the East Coast’s privileged in moments so ordinary they are the closest depiction to real without reading a diary. There are cranky teens, wives with cocktails, and decor with a penchant for brash patterns and a hoarder’s worth of oil paintings, books, keepsake boxes and needlepoint pillows.

“Jill and Polly in the Bathroom.”

Tina Barney by Peter Galassi is a curated tome of her 43 year career as a chronicler of elite American life. She writes a thoughtful introduction of her childhood in the 50s, which brought on her interest in photography when her grandfather “had at least two kinds of cameras hanging around his neck, and they bounced off his fat tummy when he laughed.” Decades come to an end but Barney’s images define each WASPy period.

Long before Ian and Shep introduced milllennials to Nantucket reds, there will always be sailing, duck boots and smuggling grandad’s gin in the basement to make Southsides. Here, shop the slightly updated prep look.

 

Tina Barney, Rizzoli New York

Capturing Prep Style

  1. Matthew Williamson dress 2. Bikini top 3. Scalamandre fabric 4. Jack Rogers sandal  5. RYE Resort bikini 6. Eberjey bikini bottom 7. Cosa Bella robe 8. Patchwork blanket 9. Rulon Reed dress 10. Printed cotton dress 11. Pillow 12. Skirt

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07/08/2017

Ultimate Beach Cottage – Our Laguna Home

The idea of experiencing summer year round wasn’t allowed. When raised on the East Coast this is your summons, to follow the calendar year of seasonal appropriate sports and dressing in heavy catalogue sweaters half your town wore.

The living room of our former beach cottage, inspired by the nearby beach with a mix of local and vintage finds.

After too many brutal winters where I found my DNA dangerously traipsing into a curmudgeon, I accepted a job in California on a whim. This would only be temporary, I explained to the condo association as I signed a six-month lease.

One of the cottages that lead to the best surf inlet in town.

Eight years and a child later, California became my home. Here is the brief back story: on a reconnaissance trip to Orange County, where I landed the new job, I assumed I would find one of those full service rentals close to the office with fitness room, pool and built in friends who lived in the same unit–a modern day Melrose with all the amenities and less drama.

Beach art.

My new supervisor chose a restaurant in Laguna Beach for dinner as a way to expose me to another side of Orange County. The town bewitched me. It wasn’t anything like the blonde starlets who gripe and manufacture their lives on reality television. This was an authentic gem sandwiched between towns with mega mansions on tiny coastal plots. Yes, Laguna has its share of I-am-rich new constructions with white Escalades bulging the tiny, and sought after, driveways. It also has an abundance of classic beach bungalows, vestiges to its surf town roots.

There are art galleries showcasing blotchy beach paintings, a Tommy Bahama,Yogaworks across from the studded Montage resort where I learned to appreciate a robust vinyasa (lost on me in the tightly wound New York City studios) and The Stand, a vegan food shack that weathered every recession and was my only source of healthful foods during my pregnancy from their homemade soups and seasonal smoothies.

Considered one of the California Riviera’s most sparkling gems, Laguna is more unassuming than its tony Newport neighbor or less built up than the inland towns of Aliso Viejo or Laguna Niguel. As with all special resorts, it holds onto its classic charm with a vital protectiveness.

After school surfing.

We are accustomed to year round temperate weather, just subtle changes to alert a new season. As a Laguna resident I never used an umbrella or wore a pair of gloves.

Preparations for a typical Laguna day.

Our home followed a simplistic approach that adopted the town’s beat. We furnished with standard beach furnishings punched up with vintage finds and local textiles from Kerry Cassill. An outdoor shower that somehow had more pressure than our indoor plumbing and lots of opened windows. I also never used air conditioning. In fact, I am unaware if we had it.

There wasn’t as much of an urgency to update or stay on top of today’s dizzying trends. Part of this is from the difference in mentality, you are appreciative of what you have, with more of an interest in being than changing.

A bed dressed with Indian Block print linens from Kerry Cassill.

Five Essentials to the Beach Cottage Look:

  1. Light: Bring in natural light through large windows, mirrors and lighting fixtures.
  2. White walls: Keep the walls clean and allow the accents to create the look.
  3. Local flavor: Decorate with art, textiles and wares from local artisans, who understand the style of your region with a creative edge.
  4. Cool kitsch: Embrace the tacky by adding vintage art or expected resort accessories,
  5. Washable wares: Slipcovers, pillowcases, throw rugs and blankets that can easily be cleaned are both functional and add to the design.

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07/03/2017

Ultimate Guide to Paris with Kids

L’essential est invisible pour les yeux. On ne voit bien qu’ avec le couer.” Translation: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

– The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A present day Parisian chocolate shop, selling every imaginable confection.

It seems appropriate, albeit a bit deliberate, that I read The Little Prince to my seven-year-old son and his cousins during his first visit to Paris. It is the story of a lonely young prince who explores the galaxy and inevitably lands on earth. Along the way he connects with a diverse cast of characters who mainly lead him to the realization that grownups see the world in measured experiences rather than live with their heart.

My guess is he is not calorie counting.

Morning chocolat chaud that goes perfectly with bakery croissants.

Paris is for the nostalgic, romantic, and those who are whole-heartedly connected to the bewilderment and untainted vision seen through a child’s lens. They do not jabber on endlessly about work, will eat an ice cream before lunch and look better than us all, and manage to take in a moment rather than check in with their thrice connected devices on an appropriate time to relax.

It has always been known that Paris is a city for new lovers who linger in cafes over strong coffee. Though, after this trip, I’d have to counter this assumption. The city fosters daydreaming, a sophisticated escape from the everyday, and who better to experience such mental travel than with kids. Seal your young explorers global citizenship by introducing them to a city punctuated with puppet shows in the park, street jugglers, and bakeries on every corner.

Luc taking in the street music at Sacré-Cœur.

Paris is a place where children can easily break from their pixel world into a real, enchanted one with walks across bridges and engaging with children of all nationalities at a park. It has an enchanted feel with a menu of options that will delight children. They experience culture without realizing it’s good for them, like blending kale in a yogurt smoothie.

Outside the Louvre, which is plotted within the Tuillieries Gardens, a constant rotation of prime character observation, carousel and a trampoline park.

We found our rental home in the Marais district from Commendable Rentals. It was a very Parisian, cave like dwelling rich with tapestries, heavy linens and a laundry that took nine hours per small load. Even with our party of eight we managed quite nicely. The en suite bathrooms are a plus as well as the adjoining private garden.

The typically French garden on the grounds of where we stayed in Marais.

Our method in travel is to experience cities as locals, not tourists. There are no maps, guides, and the constant punch into the phone in lieu of a compass. It begins without the rattle of an alarm. We wake at our leisure, have a breakfast of jam, croissants and hot chocolate, while composing a semblance of a plan. Once we pinpoint our geographical placement within the city, I pack the trusted book Paris with Children and dress Luc and I in good walking shoes with a hint of stye. This is Paris.

Day 1: Eiffel Tower/Notre Dame/Sainte-Chapelle

The only tickets we purchased prior to the trip were for the Eiffel Tower, €17 for for adults and €14.5 for children, which is recommended since they do sell fast and helps to avoid lines.

Even cars take a photo opp outside the Eiffel Tower.

What is as fun as exploring the interior of the tower are the grounds below, consisting of parks, carousel and fountains, which on this particular day was especially inviting since the temperatures climbed into the 90s. Children stripped down and splashed about. (This may not be allowed but not enforced.)

Notre Dame on the left bank is closer to our apartment in Marais. We wandered the perimeter, sat in the back garden but avoided the line. A few blocks away we took in our dose of stain glass and spiritual beauty at Sainte-Chapelle in Palais de la Cité, which is less of a destination, thus manageable lines, and has its own sparkle as a supreme vision of gothic architecture.

Day 2: Shopping/L’Arc de triomphe

Window shopping in Marais.

We are in what has become designated spots around the farmhouse table. Adeline, the younger of my nieces, looks like something from a children’s story about Colonial girls with a streak of tomboy. I ask her how she slept. Always in a giggle, she says it was very hot but fine, more giggles. I love this about Addie. Even inconveniences amuse her.

Addie in a successful shopping moment.

Luc is more interested in spending time with his cousins than seeing another mansard roof. The girls are at the age where no emoji can convey how cool it is to shop in Paris. Their mission is to return to the states with some new clothes worthy of inquisitions from their friends on where they scored such pieces. Paris.

Working our way through the cobbled, medieval streets of Marais, where fashionable boutiques hold reign.

While I am more of an online shopper, I work in deadlines, wandering the curvy roads of the Marais district is reminiscent of Manhattan’s Soho. The children look in the windows with the awe of a Christmas display. They are beautifully styled and always with a robust injection of color. We work around the narrow roads, remnants of medieval times, where wearing a harlequin mask would not seem out of place.

They found many stylish workhorse pieces to add to their wardrobe at Karl Marc John, from the fashion powerhouse triumvirate of Lagerfeld, Jacobs and Galliano. Though the Marais shop would not call in needed sizes from another location, our day’s travels extended to the Saint Germain store. The French do know how to create a chase.

An edited selection of colorful pieces at Karl Marc John that has both girl’s and women’s clothes.

We had lunch at a cafe, where our two youngest diners found their hamburger sliders to be inedible due to a smearing of hollandaise sauce. Their order was returned to the waiter, then given back to our table with an explanation that there was no hollandaise sauce. (The grownups sampled, it tasted of hollandaise sauce, which is a subtle reminder that we are not in America and to ask about any added sauces). The day ended at the Arc de Triomphe with the kids making trendy poses that apparently signify something.

Day 3: Musée D’Orsay/Tuileries Gardens/Trampoline Park

A fauvre painting or armless statue does not hold the interest of the Musée D’Orsay to a child, having the distinction of being housed in a former train station. The museum features primarily French works of art from 1848 to 1914.

The children start their tour of the Musée D’Orsay in the main hall.

Young art enthusiasts can view important masterpieces by Renoir, Manet, Tissot and Van Gogh. It also helps to keep them enlightened with a headset guide.

Posing for Degas.

Across the river to the Right Bank is the Tuileries Gardens, which is between the Louvre, Place de Carrousel and Place de la Concorde. We have lunch within the grounds at La Terrasee de Pomone, a creperie and ice cream bistro with a varied menu.

The carousel near the trampolines–if asking for directions, this is not to be mistaken with the Carrousel du Louvre, a private shopping mall beneath the Louvre.

Lunch at La Terrase du Pmone.

The children get out their kicks, or more specifically jumps, at the trampolines (€2.50 for five minutes). This ends a day composed of a formidable blend of culture and amusement.

Day 4: Monmartre/Sacré-Cœur

This was the morning when Luc discovered a wiggly tooth and that the French do not have a tooth fairy but La Petit Sourie (the little mouse). He rationalizes that it is natural for a food obsessed city to have a mouse collect baby teeth the way they would delicious crumbs.

Considering art for sale at Monmartre.

Our day’s plan is to to venture up to Monmartre and Sacré-Cœur for a very French, heavily touristed destination. While we have either walked or taken the bus so we can see the city, for this attraction we ride the metro due to the distance and efficiency. At our stop we wander up, essentially going up will take you there, until the cobble stones narrow and become more colorful with street artists and vendors. We begin with lunch, negotiate with artists, buy some souvenirs and have a glacé (ice cream) before taking the Funiculaire tram for the same cost as a metro ticket. What feels and looks like a large ski gondola, the Funiculaier tugs up and down the steep section of the hill to save tired legs from buckling.

Day 5: Batobus/Basque Festival

Today we go with the whimsy of the river Batobus, purchasing the day passes (€8 for child/ €17 for an adult), which circles around Paris and allows you to pop on and off stops at your leisure. While the boat moves at a site seeing pace, it is a good option for day five when we are in a slower mode.

A view of Notre Dame from the Batobus.

My sister spotted posters for a “Basque Festival” that evening, which we enjoyed from experiencing a local event. The children competed in games of tug and war, admired wares of handmade jewelry and souvenirs peddled by Basque vendors, before we ventured out for more glacé.

Day 6: Centre Pompidou/The Latin Quarter

Today is our catch all day, the plan is to have no plans. After walking past the Centre Pompidou each day, Luc would like to ride up its escalators with the intrigue of exploring the inside of a machine. A late start and desire for lunch prevents us from going in the museum, where I find myself promising a return trip to Paris so he can view the modern art and activities for kids.

The colorful trademark pipes on the exterior of Centre Pompidou.

Along the Seine in the Latin Quarter are many cafes. We choose one a few blocks from the bustle and sample everyone’s meals of croque monsieur, frites, sausage, salads and cheese plates.

We walk, ogle at the shops, and the ones with a sweet scent prod us inside.

Getting inspiration from a boulangerie window.

It always ends with glacé.

Mango sorbet goes over well.

Day 7: Le Jardin du Luxembourg

On our last day we choose Le Jardin du Luxembourg for its combination of history, local amusement and classic childhood experience.

Luc stepping into another era at Le Garden du Luxembourg.

The gardens were designed for Marie de Medici in 1612, who was Queen of France through her marriage to King Henry IV. Less inclined to live in the Louvre, she created a more Italianate version of royal life with Le Jardin du Luxembourg. Ah, the life of a French royal.

Cheering on Team U.S.

The gardens fill a day with the charms of childhood from vintage boating and private playgrounds accessible with a small entry fee.

French and Parisian children mix together in the universal language of play.

Sweet options are always close by.

Zipline at the park.

Children play freely, while grownups view from the side as the park requires a small entrance fee.

Exploring the grounds.

A girl with Parisian style.

Luc lost his tooth while playing on the zip line. (The likely reason why he fell as you cannot tug a tooth and clinch onto a line simultaneously). On his last night he will be paid a visit from La Petit Sourie for a surprise of French candy and euros.

On Luc’s last morning he finds candy and coins left by La Petit Sourie in exchange for his tooth.

We are now back to the customs of our American life. Days spent driving to lessons, beaches and cookouts with platters of catered food eaten from disposable plates and plastic forks made to look like silver. I asked Luc what his favorite memory was in Paris. Walks, art, carousels… Without hesitation he said the ice cream they made to look like a flower. Grownups. We have a tendency to over complicate things but Paris is the remedy for reacquainting to the wonderment of youth. “All grown-ups were once children . . . but only few of them remember it.” – The Little Prince.

A cone of gelato from Amarino. (Not shown: the macaron on top that was swiftly eaten).

Resources:

Chocolatier: http://www.lecomptoirdemathilde.com/fr/

Berthillon Ice Cream: http://www.berthillon.fr

Gelato: http://www.amorino.com/fr/boutique/paris-l-ile-saint-louis.1.html

Paris with Children: littlebookroom.com

Violet candy: https://www.saveurdujour.com/old-fashion-candy-violet-p-2801.html

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06/23/2017

Ultimate Guide to Leisure Activities

Leisure activities are not just the sport of Victorian ladies who could paint tea cups while keeping their crepe dresses spotless. Leisure is a fancy word for unplugged. That novel concept of turning off your devices and returning to the activities that padded your childhood, a childhood you survived despite the inability to engage in a cyber world that offers you everything from slaying an Ender Dragon to reading about Kate Middleton’s breakfast.

Once you hit the pedal, cycling revs the spirit.

Weave classic play into your lifestyle and you may find such benefits as crisper thoughts, improved health and overall calmer existence. Create a “Leisure Activity Day” in the same spirit as donuts at the office on Casual Fridays. Secure a weekend where electronics are outlawed. (Yes, that includes anything with a plug). Then revisit customs that may require some physical or mental activity.

Weather is a natural consideration. If the day is worthy of the season, fill the bicycle’s tires with air, liberate the garden tools from the shed or take your dog for an epic walk so she will reconnect to her true canine spirit. Allow the kids to fight off the bramble, dressed in long socks and coated in bug spray (ticks are the new Gollum) for a quest that acquaints them with enchanted play.

On rainy days there are options besides undergoing the hypnosis of screen viewing. Play board games, cards, crafts and puzzles—there’s a reason why these activities are still thriving in rec rooms at camps—it’s fundamentally enjoyable.

We provide a list of those activities that are worth your leisure efforts.

Leisure Activities Refresher 101:

Baking
Bike riding
Bird watching/nature expeditions
Cards
Chess/Checkers/Backgammon
Coloring
Collecting
Crafts
Croquet
Crosswords
Creative writing
Dog walking
Flower arranging
Journal writing
Kiting
Gardening
Needlepoint/sewing
Music/instruments
Park exploration
Photography
Pottery
Puzzles
Reading
Recreational sports
Scrapbooking
Sketching
Woodworking

Resources:

Frederick & Mae playing cards: http://www.papress.com/html/product.details.dna?isbn=9781616893590&ipA25
Board games: https://www.hasbro.com/en-us/brands/monopoly
Chess set: https://www.burkedecor.com/collections/wild-wolf/products/chess-design-by-wild-wolf
Townie Electra bike: http://www.electrabike.com/Bikes/townie
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06/17/2017

Entertain like a Parisian

After days of taking in mansard roofs and sculptures with missing arms, a repose from the bustle of Paris happened within a sort of private museum. The home of my cousin is a mix of personalized art collections mixed with family life, an apt representation of a people who can pull off skinny suits and dresses with avant garden cuts like no other. This innate style translates to home and entertaining.

A lavish table spread relates to the grandeur of the dining room.

The Setting:

We marvel at the French’s ability to execute simple sophistication–personified in this setting via bundles of flowers set in stubby silver urns, three tiered candelabras, a layering of heavy tablecloths and mix of tableware.

The table is a centerpiece within a dining room that displays collections in every possible nook. Museum-worthy drawings, paintings and important collections take you to a time where guests dressed in wigs and shoe buckles (one of my cousins collections). The walls are painted in regal mint green trimmed with gilded moldings. Above a Juliet balcony leads to a private room. Even the omission of industrial, air conditioned blasts confirm our presence in a Parisian space.

The Meal:

Forget dietary constraints of finicky guests or meals delivered in aluminum trays, there was a selection of foods that encouraged sampling. The variety of small plats relates to the early June season with prosciutto, trays of cheese, cold ham, breads, tapenade and large bowls of cherries, apricots and potato chips–a favorite with the younger guests. A tray of gazpacho and pureed pea served in orange juice glasses was well received. Champagne was the main drink of the evening.

Such an intimate setting united guests and gave insight into the customs of gracious hosts. Gathering over food and drink is always a good idea.

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