Friday, July 24, 2009

August 2nd San Francisco Winemaker Dinner

Romantic Rue Saint Jacques restaurant is on the Paris-like cusp of Russian and Nob Hills~~ and is the site of the August 2nd winemaker dinner to benefit SF Pets Unlimited. Since its inception, Pets Unlimited has saved over 250,000 dogs and exists binary options minimum trade on donations. Chef Lanvert, who has cooked at Rue Saint Jacques Paris, the Savoy in London, and was executive chef at Cote Sud in San Francisco also enjoys a 4-Star rating from Yelp Foodies! He has teamed up with award winning Tamayo Family Vineyards, which donated all the wines, to create a memorable evening. See the 5-course menu, paired wines, and details. HERE

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

San Ysidro Ranch~Montecito

San Ysidro Ranch is nestled in the jasmine, sage and lavender scented foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The 500-acre ocean view paradise is rated America's #1 hotel by Forbes Traveler.

Jack and Jackie Kennedy how to trade binary optionsthat tomorrow is another day spent part of their honeymoon in one of the resort’s luxurious bungalows. And when I lived in Montecito--long before security became tighter--I regularly jogged through The Ranch, which is a setting for scenes in my novel ‘French Heart.’

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day best trading platform singapore and I believe in miracles." —Audrey Hepburn

"French Heart" protagonist Alexa & her kind of style

Alexa & Rene's first day together~in Paris

My editor wrote that 'What struck me is the credibility of all your characters that come alive on the page...and that your consistent solid images and acute sense of detail engage all the senses and provide a truly felt experience.'

And about protagonist, Alexa, said, 'She is particularly charming--witty, modern, political, complex--her compassion and care for the people in her life and the world as a whole will resonate with readers... and she is a conversational whiz...I love the humorous dialogue.' But Alexa is no push-over. When called for she is plenty physical, crafty and brave.

The above images represent an afternoon-early evening in Paris that Alexa, spends with Green builder-architect, Rene, after her earlier public event with dignitaries in front to the Hotel de Ville, concludes. They meet up at the Brasserie de l'Isle St-Louis and conduct business over lunch, and later have a drink at Harry's strategize a daring move that gives the story another thrilling twist.

A Few of Alexa's Favorite Things~

The Paris Apartment~~Romantic Decor

Available on Click HERE.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Four Season George V~~Paris

The Hotel George V is located off the Champs Elysees on Avenue George V. Built by American Joel Hillman at a cost of $31 million, the 8-story, 245-room luxury hotel opened in 1928. Four Seasons Hotels became the management company in 2008. Several turning point scenes in my novel 'French Heart' take place in this gorgeous location that is near the Rue St. Dominique apartment of one of my characters, Gabrielle, and also adjacent to the Golden Triangle shops and foodie Rue Cler.

Île Saint-Honorat, Lake Como, Lake Annecy,Cannes

Each of these locations are settings for vivid, life -altering scenes for my characters in my novel, French Heart.

Rue Cler~7th Arrondissement

Here is where, Alexa, and her friend, Beau, jog thru on an important errand & share a few laughs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My character Gabrielle's Rue St. Dominique apartment

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Patron Saint of France~~Joan of Arc

Mark Twain researched Joan of Arc for ten years before penning his favorite among his own books, 'Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.' He considered her to be the greatest person that ever lived, and today she stands among the Top Ten Generals in history.

Mark Twain wrote,"The character of Joan of Arc is unique. It can be measured by the standards of all times without misgiving or apprehension as to the is still flawless, it is still ideally perfect; it still occupies the loftiest place possible to human attainment, a loftier one than has been reached by any other mere mortal.

"When we reflect that her century was the brutalest, the wickedest, the rottenest in history since the darkest ages, we are lost in wonder at the miracle of such a product from such a soil. The contrast between her and her century is the contrast between day and night. She was truthful when lying was the common speech of men; she was honest when honesty was become a lost virtue; she was a keeper of promises when the keeping of a promise was expected of no one; she gave her great mind to great thoughts and great purposes when other great minds wasted themselves upon pretty fancies or upon poor ambitions; she was modest, and fine, and delicate when to be loud and coarse might be said to be universal; she was full of pity when a merciless cruelty was the rule; she was steadfast when stability was unknown, and honorable in an age which had forgotten what honor was; she was a rock of convictions in a time when men believed in nothing and scoffed at all things; she was unfailingly true to an age that was false to the core; she maintained her personal dignity unimpaired in an age of fawnings and servilities; she was of a dauntless courage when hope and courage had perished in the hearts of her nation; she was spotlessly pure in mind and body when society in the highest places was foul in both--she was all these things in an age when crime was the common business of lords and princes, and when the highest personages in Christendom were able to astonish even that infamous era and make it stand aghast at the spectacle of their atrocious lives black with unimaginable treacheries, butcheries, and beastialities."

Joan of Arc is my favorite person in history and I gave her a role in my book, 'French Heart.'

A Good Year~

When I first saw Russell Crow/Ridley Scott's 'A Good Year' I gasped. The look of the parts in Provence were so like the Provence part of my novel 'French Heart' that I'd written a year earlier. I loved the music and entire ambience. Click HERE.

Canon Beach Where My Brother's Spirit Lives

My brother had a beautiful lakefront home, and loved the sea. His ashes were scattered near the Canon Beach rocks above where he and his two sons often explored. If he must be gone...a beautiful place to be. The images are at sunset, sunrise and in the light of the moon. Because he was an organ donor, two people who could not see now have the gift of sight. Here's a beautiful fitting song by Andrea Bocelli: Resta Qui. Click HERE.

All Things French & The Sea~~Magic

"Above all I am first a woman." ~~Jacqueline Kennedy

Jackie died in May 1994, but remains one of the 'ne plus ultra.' She had incredible self-discipline, determination, believed in hard work and self-reliance. She loved exercise, the beach , good food and wine, books, children, flowers, animals and France. Her favorite city was Paris where she attended a year at the Sorbonne. Ironically, the last book she edited at Doubleday before she died was on the Goddess Isis, for whom Paris was named. Isis is the Goddess of total femininity and magic. And Jackie was all of that.

My French Life

My son, Robbie, was born when I was 17. He went to HS for awhile in Aix-en-Provence following his father's death, and fell in love with France. He completed graduate school early in Paris in International Relations and also worked there for ABC News--and became a citizen. Aix-en-Provence is also the main setting of my novel, French Heart, and it is where my multi-lingual son, who has been in Amsterdam for the past two years for his work, would love to live again.

I dream of one day soon--sitting around a sparkling blue pool there surrounded by red flowers, with my son, my mother, Golden Retrievers, drinking wine, laughing, and expecting friends for dinner.

It's not a surprise that 'My French Life' by Vicki Archer is my favorite book....she did the same thing I aspire to. Only she relocated from Australia to nearby Saint Remy-de-Provence, also very lovely, and keeps ardent fans enthralled with her gorgeous French Essence blog.

Grand Hotel Nord Pinus~~Arles, France

Above are images from the historic Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus in Arles, France, centrally located on the Place du Forum. Peter Beard photographs line the walls of the bar, and Picasso, Hemingway, and Cocteau are among former famous guests. Arles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the juncture of two Rhône river branches that lead to the sea. The town dates back to the 7th century BC and contains many important remains of Roman times. Vincent Van Gough painted over 200 pictures here, including Cafe Terrace at Night.

Cheers to California Winemakers!

Although California is a relative newcomer to the 8,000-year old art of winemaking, the Golden State produces 90% of all U.S. wine, and is the 4th leading wine producer in the world. California Wine is the number one finished agricultural product in retail value in the U.S. generating $125.3 billion, 875,000 jobs, and attracting twenty million wine tourists each year. Those statistics are extra impressive considering that California wineries are predominately family owned boutiques. It’s a business that requires guts, hard work, imagination, and knowledge in both the art and science of viniculture.

Winemaking is civilizing, it's ancient, it's hip, it's cool, it changes culture and it heightens the spirit and the romance of life. And for that we owe all vintners everywhere a debt of thanks.

Market Day in Provence~~From Carolina Kitchen Blog

The above are from the wonderful Frenchie/Foodie blog 'My Carolina Kitchen' by Sam Hoffer. Lots of great recipes, photos of mostly Provence, and links to other food oriented blogs: HERE.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Designing a Life in Entrepreneurial, Exponential Times

Jeff Jarvis, author of 'What Would Google Do?' stated that we are all entrepreneurs today, and this must-see short video Exponential Times underscores how and why that is happening today.

Whether dancer, dentist, or designer like one of my favorites, Charlotte Moss--whose work is represented above--everyone is maximizing their brand, juggling multiple projects, marketing for the next, keeping their eye on time and the bottom line, and attempting to do work that will enrich their lives and others.

Oprah says, "Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow." But it also requires passion, focus, drive and a plan to work every day along with time, financial, administrative, technical and marketing skills. To power-up any of these areas check out entrepreneurial sites like Ladies Who Launch.