Have I mentioned that I’ll be photographing a small wedding in Paris next month? So excited! While I’m thinking about Paris I realized I haven’t posted any of these photos from last year.
We found the sweetest little cafe around the corner from our hotel. If you have young kids you must, must stop at Le Poussette . They have books and children’s cd’s in french, adorable toys and a nice little cafe with space for the kids to run around as you sip your cafe au lait. If you’re staying in Paris for awhile they have classes including french lessons for English kids and English lessons for french kids.
While I was there I picked up this cute little backpack for OG.
I checked out Merci on recommendation from Stephmodo — see her guide to Paris for some other great ideas. Definitely one of my favorite stores in Paris now. It’s expensive but fun to browse. Great clothes, housewares, books etc, and downstairs is a super delicious, organic cafe. Think amazing carrot soup and a light spinach quiche.
Sweaters, hot cider, changing leaves and of course my birthday — autumn is my favorite time of year. This year has been hectic and busy and we’ve all been hunkering down getting used to new routines. When I need a little mental escape I think back to last year when I was here:
spending time with these truly lovely women. I miss all of them.
J and I just signed up for surf camp. So excited to learn!
Just a few travel tips:
* You’ll want to rent a car. Sicily is big and public transportation isn’t as good as the mainland.
* Make sure to stop in Syracusa. It’s a gorgeous old seaside town with crumbling but beautiful baroque buildings and countless little alleyways to explore. If you like fish you must, must eat at:
Apollonion Osteria da Carlo. This is the type of restaurant you always think you’ll find when you travel but usually don’t. It’s down a quiet alley, away from the tourist zone. There’s no set menu but 35 Euros you’ll get 6 delicious and innovative courses plus a bottle of wine. Go, eat, there! Hotel Algila in Syracuse is set in an old renovated mansion. Canopy beds, wrought iron balconies. sigh. Get a sea facing room. The service is fantastic.
* Don’t miss the resort town of Taoromina (pictures 9-12). Yes, it’s a bit touristy but there’s a reason for that! This is where Dolce and Gabbana vacation. Most of the tourists are Italians from the mainland. It’s seriously gorgeous. If you want a lounge chair at one of the little beach clubs make sure to reserve at least a day in advance. Italians don’t like to come to the beach early so they reserve spots the night before. At twilight take the cable car up to the village on top of the cliff. Lots of great restaurants and fun people watching. Hotel Panoramic has a rooftop pool and great views over the ocean.
* In Palermo don’t miss the Capuchin crypts. Creepy but fascinating.
* Try to pack what you need in carry-on. My luggage was lost and it took days to retrieve it. I had to hit the Italian version of Walmart for a few quick, cheap but not very stylish basics. Ironically the last time my luggage was lost (and never found) was on a trip through Italy. If I ever have to board an Alitalia flight again I will find a way to wear 15 outfits at once…just in case.
We had spent hours in the car and I wanted to catch the sunset. We got there just in time but it was overcast. Big storm clouds that were about to dump a foot of snow the next day were rolling in. It was cold, and blustery. Everyone else left, we waited awhile. Just before the sun set below the horizon it peaked out from a cloud, and lit up this tree. I like this picture better even than if I had seen the typical canyon sunset. Besides how often to you have the grand canyon all to yourselves?
Aran has a really wonderful style of teaching. She gives as much help or as little as we wanted. It was fun for me, to progress from photographing what she styled, to starting with some of her ideas and making it my own with choice of props and location, to finally creating my own ideas like the risotto photos below. I wanted to show how easy and few ingredients you need for risotto and thought this was a good way to do that.
Wednesday was also market day in Sarlat. Yum!
Back at the Manoir we photographed our market finds.
Of course another cheese plate with our lunch.
For dinner we were invited to Stephanie’s gorgeous maisonette, a stone cottage that shares a wall with the castle in Sarlat. We walked down the candlelit stone pathway to and greeted with drinks in the garden.
For dinner we had an amazing dish of chicken with morels. I’ve never tried morels before but they’re now one of my favorite foods! I was too busy eating and having fun during dinner to take any more than just a couple photos but you can read all about their rennovation of the maisonette here.
See photos from Day 1, Day 2,
It’s my birthday today and unfortunately it’s raining buckets and I have lots of work to catch up on, but I’ll celebrate with a cup of my favorite tea and these sunny memories from last week of the marvelous Manoir de la Malatrie. Every room in the manoir is unique and charming and Ouafa and her husband Daniel took wonderful care of us. And the breakfast, I’m still missing the breakfasts!
The view from my bathroom on a foggy day.
and on a sunny day..
The adorable Olivia above reminds me of a young Sophia Coppola, beautiful and creative with her own lovely take on the world.
Oufa made us an incredible Moroccan dinner one night. We ate, and talked, and laughed, under the stars.
more photos from our third day of the workshop coming Monday.
See photos from day 1, day 2
Day 2 of our food styling and photography workshop with we started preparing some sandwiches and a quiche for our afternoon picnic.
I took this scrumptious cheese plate outside to a mossy step.
Olivia with a cheese plate she styled.
After all this hard work we sat down to a fabulous lunch.
In the afternoon we went to a walnut grove for a picnic.
Every day Nadia (on right) pulled out the most beautiful accessories including this scarf and bag. How I’d love to come play dress up in her closet.
My french canadian grandfather died 7 years ago today and I think he would have liked reading about this week in France. He liked music and literature and he loved to cook for his family. I still remember him packing our lunches with pâté sandwiches. He didn’t realize most 7 year old American kids don’t eat pâté. Grandpa Ray, I do now. J, OG, and I danced to this song for you this morning.
more coming tomorrow…
See photos from day 1
“But still the clever north wind was not satisfied. It spoke to Vianne of towns yet to be visited, friends in need yet to be discovered, battles yet to be fought… ” - From the movie Chocolat
I feel like a lucky wind had blown me into this beautiful little village in Dordogne, France where the movie Chocolat was filmed. A place of castles and walnut groves, a lazy river and cobblestone streets every bit as magical as it looks in the movie.
I came here for a food styling and photography workshop with Aran Goyoaga of Canelle et Vanille. I love photographing people, I have a harder time photographing inanimate objects. But the way Aran styles, photographs and writes about food, it comes alive. Reading her blog you get such a sense of love, and family and culture in her cooking. In person she’s every bit as lovely as I imagined she’d be: beautiful, warm, and a natural teacher.
For our first day we made chestnut squash and celery root soup with radishes for garnish.
Dessert? Mais, oui!
I just love that when you buy yogurt at the grocery store in France, it comes in these beautiful little glass (photo on the right) or clay (photo on the left) pots instead of plastic.
I came away from this workshop with my head and heart so full. It felt wonderful to push myself at something I don’t normally consider myself very good at. I couldn’t have shared this experience with a more lovely group of women: Kim, Sanda, Romina, my roomate Lorna, and my fabulous getting lost for hours on dark and twisty roads partner Olivia . I learned so much from all of them. A special thanks to the workshop organizers Aran, the ever chic Stephanie, and dreamy Nadia who made everything so perfect for us.
More photos of our adventures coming soon!
It’s been raining buckets for days here in Washington. I thought this would be a good time to bring you a little virtual sunshine, with our photos from a trip to Seville a few months ago. Orange trees in the streets, lush gardens, flamenco, outdoor tapas, cafes open even in winter, thinking of Seville just warms me right up!