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French la Vie
Provence, France
Recent Activity
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The latest video of baby Gabriel showed him doing something new. Devouring his father's nose. No hungry wasn't an issue. Maybe it was a sign of affection? Though he hasn't mastered gentleness he was chewing mostly. Nevertheless, I find him adorable ! Continue reading
Posted yesterday at French la Vie
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Dreams are said to be the language of God, symbolic messages. Dreaming is said to be a way our minds or inner being processes the day's events, thoughts and feelings. Dreams are a way of putting the puzzle of daily life in order. A way of capturing the unconscious. A path to understanding the nuances that escape us. Do you remember your dreams? Most of us do not remember our dreaming hours. Yet while we sleep our dreams speak regardless of our memory of them. The dreams that do come to the waking mind are vivid, begging it seems to be understood. I like to think of dreams as songs: Often a song is playing in the background, as it plays I might feel it without being aware of its words or message. Later without knowing why, I catch myself singing the verse over and over. There is a message if I take the time to listen. Once I listen I often stop singing the verse, as if the song has been heard and the message no longer needs to repeat itself. "The forgotten language of dreams, myths, and fairytales." Shakespeare writes in Macbeth... Dreams are the chief nourishers in life's feast. I believe dreams speak to us of feelings and or thoughts that we have during the day that goes unexpressed or unnoticed. Dreams are the language of the heart and soul. They are tools provided for us to explore our deeper reality. Those unexpressed feeling and thoughts, those small events that tug at our sleeve pleading for our attention, and even the conversations of words spoken but not heard, are transformed into dream language. Nouns, verbs, and adjectives become people, places, things, colors, and distorted facts such as flying or falling, and more. Everything in our dreams, each faucet, each person, or activity is used as a symbol, a symbol of our hidden self, to show us who we are. When we sleep our mind gathers the day like hand-picked fruit and provides a symbolic dream feast... Our dreams want to nourish us, they point to the table of our soul and say come sit down, feast on the richness of your life. Dreams are the language of our inner being longing to integrate into consciousness. What did you feast on last night? Books I have enjoyed: The Use of Enchantment and Fairytales. Memories, dreams and reflections. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at French la Vie
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The first page in a century-old book. A bronze drawer pull, 1700s. French antique textiles. A worn silver thimble. Delicate scissors for fine lace or needlework. Boxes with jewelry elements. Silver cup Card Holder Angel Wings Bedsheets Medals Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at French la Vie
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French antique love letters are hard to come by. Love letters aren't just between two lovers, the one above was written to someone's grandfather. The love letters that I found are on embossed paper (14 x 10 inches). Most have paper flowers and birds on them, often tied with a pastel ribbon. The words written are poetic, well chosen, tenderly scripted. The love letters were not from the same person, though from the same family. Letters to a husband, a mother, a grandfather, a daughter, a husband to be... A love story A family's story. Spoken. Held. Treasured. Marguerite. A child. A love letter. No age is too young, nor too old... Love. A love letter to start the year. 1898. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at French la Vie
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gathering stories in one big hug the sweet sad sour slippery luscious savory delightful carefree worrisome forgiven those moments that trickled by then splashed into a mighty wave tieing them together with a ribbon of intention contentment a nod to this age HAPPY Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at French la Vie
The differences between France and America are subtle. Take Mums and pumpkins for example. Mums are an Autumn flower that arrives in force in October. They spill out from the floral shops onto the streets creating a parade of magnificent color. Just as pumpkins shout out Autumn in America, mums are the flower that says Autumn in France. Pumpkins are food in France, were in the States pumpkins are more for decoration. A neighbor brought us three beautiful pumpkins I put them on the table for display, do you want to guess how many French friends asked me, "What are you doing with the pumpkins?" When invited to a dinner party it is a thoughtful gesture to bring something to the hostess. Candy, wine, or flowers is the typical avenue. (FLASHBACK 1988 - Why not bring a Mum plant I thought and bought one that seemed to be a perfect ball of gold. When I came home French Husband told me it was a plant that symbolized All Soul's Day. "It is the flower we take to the graveside of those we love who have gone before us." Oh! scratch that flower off the list. Paperwhites, can I bring them instead? Do they have anything marked on them as unusual or special? Mums are not a flower to give to "the living" in France. Any flower will do, I like them all don't you? I wonder if I brought a pumpkin as a hostess gift if the French would find that insulting? Most likely just odd. Pumpkin on Penne Pasta Cut the pumpkin into cubes and steam until nearly cooked, firm but tender. Slice and saute (in olive oil) three or four cloves of garlic, add pine nuts and saute until lightly golden brown. Blend (do not puree) the sauteed garlic, pine nuts with Parmesan cheese and fresh cilantro. In the same pan that you sauteed the garlic, saute until tender the steam pumpkin (add olive oil if needed.) Turn the burner off, then add the garlic pine nut mixture to the pumpkin. Stir until well mixed. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve on al dente penne pasta. Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2019 at French la Vie
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A sweet postcard: A little boy wearing a long white apron with a straw hat tilted on his head, holding a bouquet of roses and mums that he has hidden behind his back as he leans at the doorway to see if the person he cares for is near. Sweet. Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2019 at French la Vie
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Brocante, I know and you know that I have the brocante bug bad. It is an illness I live with daily. Love it. Every aspect of it. It doesn't matter the side effects it brings: Big, small, tattered, worn, under cover, early mornings... it is worth it. It doesn't matter what the brocante brings, it fascinates my imagination, makes me giddy, jump out of the car before it even stops giddy! Or in other words it makes me nutty. Thankfully I live in France, where my brocante bug can have a daily fix if need be. 1900s Trivet Tray Puzzle cubes made with old engravings. French Antique pot de creme. Chocolate not included. French Brocante Religious Statues. My monastic days inspire what I am drawn too. 1800s French Tinted Map Engravings 1800s romantic engravings for yesteryear. Hand woven linen towels from the 1800s. Glass relic holder with angel design top. Large wooden base, iron stamp to use to print on fabric, to create a monogram. Antique pocket watch case with chain. Not gold, not precious... practical. 1800s French antique hand made fine lace. Made by loving hands, never used. Created for the pleasure of creating, not for a purpose. Pink covered box with folded pieces of paper that have chaton crystals (chaton crystals are used in jewelry making.) stored in them. Le Mode Journals from the 1920... Similar to American Home Journals. French antique baby pink silk covered jewel box. French letters from 1833 French 1850s prayer card. That is one long-held prayer. Passed down over and over in one prayer book after another. 1800s fine damask towel. Holy water bedside font. 1800 velvet covered prayer book with engravings inside, Do you think I like religious items? 1800s linen flour sacks. Tight weave helps prevent the flour from escaping. French antique clay marbles, handmade. 1900s. Before cat eyes. Oh Brocante Bug I love the infection or affection you have given me! Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2019 at French la Vie
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Guy and Bibi the owners of Pavillon de Galon have created an enchanting garden in Cucuron a small village close to Aix en Provence. I was fortunate to go there today while helping with the Red Shed Vintage Tour. Isn't it a sign of happiness when you leave a place and your mind still overflows with images and wonder? The scent alone was one of the most magical moments that I will remember for years to come. Every sense was caressed: Sight, Touch, Smell, Hearing, Tasting and the sixth sense of spiritual wonder beyond words as it should be. I posted plenty of photos and videos in my stories on Instagram. Pavillon de Galon Guy's guided tour of their labor of love their garden was a poetic masterpiece, he painted and planted words that literally bloomed before us. Enchanting! Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2019 at French la Vie
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The sun called out to enjoy the day. Perfect as today I am helping Red Shed Vintage Tours lead 10 women around Provence. Today started in Aix. Any meal in France, don't be intimidated by the linen tablecloths and napkins... that is just how it is in France. Eating is dining even at McDonald's. Rarely, do you see anyone walking around eating or carrying a cup, and when you do it most likely is a tourist, or Corey Amaro eating a pain au chocolat at the brocante. In France, you do not need a clock to tell the time. Just see what the French are eating or not eating. Then you will know the time. I would say never, but that would be too extreme, so I'll say: Rarely do the French eat in between meals... Quelle scandale!! Breakfast before 9 and breakfast is not hash browns and scrambled eggs. So don't bother looking for a breakfast menu unless you are in a hotel. Zero snacks No eating in between meals... until lunch. Lunch 12:30 until 2:00pm, Coffee at 2ish, Goutee (a snack) tea, Hot chocolate, a pastry something little and sweet from 4ish until 6pm, Aperitif 6ish until 8pm Dinner is served after 8pm. When I first lived in France, the best time to go shopping, to avoid the lines, was between noon and 3pm. Blurry iPhone photo! Those flowers were fake, I couldn't believe it. I asked the waiter, "Who is the florist?" He replied, "They are fake." "Wow! Fooled me! Okay, who is the florist?" I asked again. He looked at me like I was oddily...."FaaaaaaaaaaaaaaKe." I took a photo anyway. We had a reservation a must when the group is so large. We had a seat by the window. Lovely. In France, the formule is a pre-selected menu by the chef. Better priced. It is also called, "The Menu" or "Fixe Prix" If you are in France and go out for a meal look for it, often it is at the back of the menu. Tips are included in every restaurant. LA MADO Aix en Provence. By the open market. Open Market in Aix every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Must have: Creme Brulee! You know how in the States when you eat an Oreo cookie (as kids) you split it apart and scrap the white frosting out with your teeth? Well in France before you take... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2019 at French la Vie
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Have you ever had homemade gnocchi? Have you ever had homemade gnocchi made by an Italian? If not put it on your bucket list. Sacha has loved pasta since he was old enough to eat. He would cry for pasta and literally wanted it breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My mother in law was shocked that we would even think to make him pasta for breakfast. There was a children's book called Strega Nona, and one of the repetitive lines in the book, "Pasta, pasta, pasta pot make me some pasta nice and hot for it is time for us to sup, pasta, pasta, pasta pot." I read that book so often that I still can remember the lines. Last night Sacha's Italian Girfriend from Verona made her Nona's gnocchi recipe. they were light as air. Amazing. Sacha made a Roquefort and walnut sauce. I was happy to set the table! Sacha's Italian Girlfriend's Nona's Recipe One big dark-skinned potato peeled one potato per person Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender Mash the potatoes until they are smooth, creamy, luscious wonder Then put the creamy luscious wonder on a floured cloth and knead and knead, with more sifted flour and salt, and knead, and knead and knead until the dough bounces back. Nothing more than potatoes, flour, and salt and a ton of kneading. Take a handful of dough and roll it into a long snake on the floured cloth Cover the snake roll with a cloth and roll another until all the dough is rolled into snakes. Then cut the dough with a knife into bite-size pieces. With a fork roll forward and back to make soft ridges in the dough. Cover the bite-size gnocchi "pillows" with a floured cloth. Yes, you will have plenty of clothes to wash afterward. Then gently put some of the gnocchi in boiling salted water when they float to the top take them out with a slotted spoon and add more gnocchi to boil in the pan. Add sauce and devour. Died and gone to heaven is worth saying. Making pasta-loving pasta They found each other happily. Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2019 at French la Vie
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The saying, "Home is where the heart is", is certainly true especially when nearly everyone is under one roof. Sacha came home to see his Italian Girlfriend, Chelsea came home with Gabriel, and Martin was here last weekend. Yann is wearing a gift from his birthday (which was last month) a shower cap which is called a "Charlotte" in French. He says it is the best Charlotte ever. I wouldn't know as I prefer a bathtub over a shower. Sacha came home with a small printer that prints out photos from a cell phone making them look like Polaroids. Click here for more information. Baby Gabriel and Chelsea went back to Paris after a nearly week-long visit, my arms gained muscle carrying that Chunky Monkey around. A small miracle he slept 2.5 hours going home on the train which was his longest sleep since birth. Next month Chelsea, Baby Gabriel and I are going to Willows for a visit. Home is where the heart is and my heart has two homes. Where is your heart at home? Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2019 at French la Vie
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I know to whom these belong. Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2019 at French la Vie
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Gabriel three and a half months. A dumpling. I am surprised he hasn’t been gobbled up. No need to add sugar. Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2019 at French la Vie
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The morning started with Gabriel and I sneaking out with the strollers for croissants, pain au chocolates, apple turnovers, and a baguette. Not even the scent of freshly baked goods could wake up Gabriel so I walked around the village: Baby bundled up in a stroller, whiffs of buttery croissants, a blue Provencal sky, bumpy cobble stones that I never noticed before, falling leaves and one happy Vavie (my Grandmother name that was the same name as my Azorean Grandmothers and my Mom's grandmother name, and now mine too.) Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2019 at French la Vie
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Oh and Chelsea, Martin, Sacha, and his Italian girlfriend too. Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2019 at French la Vie
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Summer is a royal feast for the senses. The color of the season surprises me over and over again, it never grows old, nor ordinary or expected. The season's gift is appreciated. Oh, that Provencal blue sky against the golden wheat. Gasp. It is the first time, isn't it? Do I smell baked bread? I know I do. The earth soaks in Provence: thyme, lavender, rosemary, fennel and certainly the Mistral stirs it then with ease, passes through the air, tangles with the rain soaks within the rocky clay soil to the roots soaring to the vines... and the wine flows with the scent of it all. Abundantly. Abundant life. Pleasure under my feet and above my head. French countryside wealth. I will miss this summer it was one of the best. Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2019 at French la Vie
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When each bite is delicious, when you do not have to search for the flavor, then a little is enough. I once read somewhere, that when you take a bite of something without much flavor our appetite keeps searching, possibly eating more to find the depth of flavor. But when we taste something truly divine then we sit back and savor the moment. Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2019 at French la Vie
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Wear the crown. The one that rests upon your heart. The one that has been with you since you were born. Hold it, feel it, admire it, treasure it. Some might say it is a crown, but we know better than that. It is a halo, a sacred gift, life-giving love. Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2019 at French la Vie
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Months have gone by where I have been asking myself why do I have a writer's block? Not that I am a writer per se, but someone who has a little blog that floats aimlessly. Not that floating is bad, or aimlessly isn't a direction. In these last several months I have been toying with myself, possibly not really listening, avoiding, maybe even standing still. Sure I have plenty going on, and happy is in the equation, cause I am, nevertheless, a writer's block, a wall with cracks is before me. Time is needed to write, writing involves reflection, reflection brings up pieces of the heart, mind, and soul, and dirt, chaos and a chunk of "what is this"? Time helps sort it out, floating aimlessly is an art of letting go and eventually letting it be. Maybe it is not a writer's block but more of a stirring pot... where things come up and go back down. Maybe, I am asking myself, "Where do I want to go, be, do... instead of floating contently. " Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2019 at French la Vie
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A month ago I listed the 2020 French la Vie Journeys and am grateful how fast most of them have filled up. There are a few spots left so I am listing them here in case you are interested or know of a friend who might be. On the French la Vie Journeys we will focus on the brocante though there is so much more that we will experience. The French la Vie starts in April until October. I have two more groups this season and then a pause until April 2020. During that pause, I will restart my Brocante Online. I had to put the Brocante Online on the side as I could not manage to lead the groups, helping my friends with their home in Cassis, buying for my clients who have shops and cuddling a baby. I thought I had more energy, stamina, and time than I actually did. Somewhere in that vast plan, I forgot that I needed to have a life and sleep. A friend mentioned early on, "That is a packed year ahead ..." I should have listened. My parents often said to me, "You cannot keep burning the candle at both ends." They were right. Loving what I do is the reason. I simply cannot get enough of the brocante, of living in France, of experiencing the lifestyle it offers, of embracing the beauty that is literally everywhere. Living full throttle but wanting to push the pedal, even more, is a paradox for an introvert. I know how to be an extravert but love to be alone and gather my energy in those times. That is another thing I forgot to do was give myself time to breathe and be alone. Maybe that is why today I took a two-hour nap at ten this morning. The dates for the French la Vie 2020 Please join me on: April 7th - 14th over Easter 2020 ... Three places remain April 28th - May 5th 2020... SOLD OUT May 12th - 19th ... One Place Remains September 8th to the 15th... One Place Remains September 29th to October 6th... Four places remain If these dates do not correspond with you I am open to adding another week to create a private tour for you and two to three more friends of yours. Hopefully, we can see each other next year, Corey Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2019 at French la Vie