Sunday, September 20, 2020

In search of Elegance ... cont.

I'm continuing my investigation into what elegance means for me. During July I read books that I thought would inspire me about french style in persuit of the key ingredients for elegance.  I'm coming up with a few insights that are meaningful. 

Emotional & delicate..... disciplined and yet free...

While Audrey Hepburn is not French, or Parisian, i was inspired to read about her style because she has always been associated with a French form of elegance in my mind. In 'Being like Audrey' by Victoria Loustalot, I found some bits of wisdom.
A willingness to be emotional and delicate can make it possible to achieve what we hope to be: true to ourselves. Audrey was true in her performances, and she was true in her life. She taught us to replace ruthless ambition with the more nuanced and interesting delicacy of emotional truth. When we do, we are likely to discover that we can go even further than we ever intended. (P142)
For me, emotional & delicate, are core characteristics of elegance.  I think its about being able to listen to yourself and others with delicacy... respectfully. And then to offer a response that is kind and compassionate, but also clear and, true to self.

In the book about Audrey, the author also noted discipline is balanced with a lighter side through Audreys life choices...  
Audrey’s hard work and discipline are well documented, but that doesn’t mean she was serious all the time. She didn’t shy away from joking around behind the camera with the rest of the cast and the crew. She knew that part of working hard means knowing how to collaborate and how to make it easier for the entire cast and crew to be successful. Making the work fun is part of the job.
I am reminded that i do like being arround my team at work. They're great people. We have some fun together.. even if we're all remote working this year, we have found ways to have fun together.

I was attracted to this next book because it is about the lighter side of life.. Flaneur, the art of wandering the streets of Paris... Frederico Castigliano. I also felt like there was something very elegant in the art of being a flaneur... 
I zigzag, because the greatest pleasure does not consist in experiencing new things, but in savoring the infinite variation of what I already know. This exercise reaches its peak, for me, in the tiny streets, passages and courtyards that lie along the southern boundary between the 9th and 10th arrondissements.
What distinguishes the flâneur, the element that elevates him above ordinary people, is indeed the particular relationship that he establishes with the space surrounding him.
So, abandon your maps and your GPS, leave your traditional guidebooks at home. The aim is to get lost. You must feel free to wander and roam............. When you walk in Paris you’re not obliged to go to a particular place, you don’t necessarily have to go shopping, you don’t have to take photographs. Feel yourselves free from commitments, feel yourselves under absolutely no obligation to see a famous monument or to visit a museum. 
What appeals to me in these quotes is the invitation to leave all conventional demands at the door, and to move into the world with an intentional abandon. To simple walk in the moment and discover your surrounds anew. 

This weeks reflection has drawn me to these words.....
Emotional & delicate..... disciplined and yet free... 

 Elegance is intentional and yet also a fragile balance... 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Je ne sais quoi

 I define je ne sais quoi as your source of feminine power. It’s the alluring, elegant, captivating, enchanting essence of who you are, demonstrated through how you live. The appealing nature of your mindset, presence, and wardrobe are physical manifestations of your je ne sais quoi.... Devoreux Walton. 

Walton further states.....On each day and for every decision you make, you have the beautiful opportunity to make a choice. You choose what you think, say, do, and wear, which creates your lifestyle.

During July, while hosting Paris in July,  I dedicated my little reading time to to the pursuit of understanding the sense of elegance so often ascribed to french women. Waltons quote above is probably closest to my way of thinking. Elegance is the choice we make to show our genuine self to others in an intentional way. Whether thats in wearing a subtle or even not so subtle flash of colour in an Italian silk scarf or speaking out on things that matter, i believe my elegance is about being intentional, and holding poise & confidence in doing so.

Its Spring here is Australia, and I am going to share quotes here at Thyme-for-tea from my readings and ponderings about elegance. Because spring calls me to action. Its the season that asks me to be intentional again. Its the awakening after winter, and time to step out of hybernation (for me thats hidding away from responsibility for self)... Spring calls for new life, energy and passion.... 

 “L’elégance is the manner in which one does a thing.” EJ Gore from French Lessons: the art of lliving and loving well.
This book was included in my Paris in July reading pile, and one i really enjoyed. Part fiction and part journey through lifes lessons, I joined these two ladies as they wandered through different Parisian parties, musees, parks and shops, as Susan absorbed the lessons Gabrielle shared.
 Allow yourself the time to pause and savor—a glass of wine, a conversation, your child’s smile—whatever is before you, in this moment. This is the ancient privilege of princes. G.
On a matter of self disclosure, I actually dont believe elengance is about standing out of the crowd because you have a tiny wasteline, or because you wear the most expensive suit, or the highest heels.... I  am not one to care for lipstick, heels, handbags or jewells.... elegance for me is about presence.. and as i read a few light hearted books on style and fashion, the quotes i captured were about the character of elegance. 

Intentionally, i hope to destill more wisdom about elegance and poise from Paris over the next few weeks. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Paris in July - 2020 - visiting Paris Virtually


2020 will forever be etched in our memories as the year we navigated life through a global pandemic. One of the things we learnt early during the pandemic was that we would be encouraged to stay home to stay safe.... and international travel went into lockdown... anyone who had plans to travel this year saw their plans changed. That's when I knew, 2020 Paris in July would be a must... we had to celebrate together everything we love of Paris. 

Paris in July is an international blogging event which was founded by my friend Karen and I in 2010. Karen hosted a blog devoted to book reviews and I was just getting into blogging, with a focus more on reflections and gardening.. Karen and I shared a love of literature, art, theatre, romance, food, wine and all things French and Parisian. Never did we envision that the blogging event would have lived for 10 years! Over the years our event changed shape, depending on who joined in and who co-hosted. I think one of my favourite years we had a couple of co-hosts, and some guests who were interviewed. Karen since retired her blog to focus on her business and family, but has always been an encouraging force behind Paris in July, and keeping me motivated. 

My motivation for blogging has been challenged over the years ( and many would know this feeling) through career changes, family developments, personal commitments, study demands, but probably most by the changing nature of blogging as facebook became the preferred form of social media. (which I did not move to). 

This year of course, Paris in July, has celebrated 10 years! I am so grateful for long term participants, along with all others,  in this celebration of Paris.
  • Mel U - our resident serious book reviewer who brings us the history of the authors also
  • Mae - who has a diverse range of Paris and French posts - from recipes, tea salons of Paris, the Metro, Maps of Paris and so much more
  • Jeanie - brings Paris to us in her art, news of Notre Dame, her favourite views of Paris, and book reviews too. 
  • Brona - book reviews from Maigret to Katherine Mansfield, Cakes in lockdown, and other good books.
  • Lisbeth - who shares some great book reviews - from the works of Paulita Kincer, murder mystery's, works by Fred Vargas, and french movies, including Coco Channel.
  • Marg - shared a post on best sellers around the world, movies and food, bookstores in Paris, and famous meals - Cassoulet.  
  • vvb32 - posted quite a lot of great book reviews of books based in Paris and France. 
  • Karen posted some book reviews on classic french themes - Collette and Irene Nemirovsky
  • Deb posted some fun posts too - amazingly, she read 50 books during Paris in July set in Paris or with a French theme and watched 13 films. 
  • Kwarkito always share photos and memories from living in Paris.
So lockdown or not, we've had a ball sharing our love of Paris. Thank you all for being a part of it. Now here's one of my favourite Paris scenes ever.... Enjoy! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Les Jardins au France

Theres something very appealing about the different gardens in France.  I would even call them romantic.. there's lots of different forms of gardens that fit the description for me....
  • The village garden set amongst the old stone fences and chicken runs with lavender and other herbs and bicycles against the walls... 

  • Formal gardens with strong hedging borders and feature fountains and ducks behind wraught iron gates .

  • Or window ledges filled with geraniums in full bloom and lamp posts with hanging baskets. 

French gardeners appear intentional and their gardens are purposeful. 

You could say the same for some Australian gardens, but it appears that in places I've travelled in France the gardens are more abundant and therefore more a part of daily life. I also reflect that many Australian vegi patches are out the back behind their fences while I recall seeing more vegi patches in the villages of France open to the street. 

During July, i came across a BBC series by Monty Don on Gardens in France. I enjoyed it so much i wanted to share it here for you too. This one is focused and the question "is tge gardener an artist?" 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Paris Encore - another week of Paris in July - pourquoi pas!

French Gin - my celebration for Paris Encore!
Pierre Brevin - La Plancheliere
Loire Valley, France

Following a joyous month of blogging about Paris, with my friends who've joined me in Paris in July, I'm throwing myself in for one final week -- Paris Encore! There's a few of us who would like to post one or two more Paris in July stories, and I'd certainly like to pay my respects to all contributors with a wrap up post - next week! So, here's one last Mr Linky for those who'd like to join me....

I've got a gardens of France Post, a book review, and some thoughts on Elegance to finish off. It's going to be a big week for be but I'm keen.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Paris in July - end of the month but not the end of Paris....

Mais Je T'aime - oui, Paris, je t'aime. This is my end of Paris in July music clip... I quite like both the melody and the lyrics. 

C'est périlleux, je t'aime encoreAlors c'est vrai ça me perforeJe t'aime pesant, je t'aime bancale - I love you heavy, i Love you wobbly....Évidemment ça me dévoreJe sais tellement que je t'aime, mal

July has come to an end, and I'm in denial. It just happened so fast, all of my hopes and aspirations for Paris in July seem to have gone unfulfilled. Mais.... thank you all for your weekly contributions, your dedication to the celebration of all things Paris.... I have have really enjoyed visiting your posts and learning so much more about the Paris I love. 
Just this past week (week 5) we've caught up on
  • News of the rebuilding of Notre Dame (thanks Jeannie) 
  • tea shops and Paris's love of tea (I do love tea stories, thanks Mae)
  • films in Paris (on netflix)
  • young adult books set in Paris
  • more great books set in Paris
  • plans for parties in Paris with some very well known characters (interesting post at ReaderBuzz)
  • foodie thoughts and memories from Paris
  • ideas for dinner parties in Paris
  • crime fiction novels set in Paris
  • a really interesting review and authors history of Chava Rosenfarb by Mel U. 
Given that I am really in denial, I plan to post a Paris Encore post Sunday evening as (week 6) to allow some of us to get our last few thoughts about Paris in July up. So, come back for Paris Encore! 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Week 5 - Paris in July

In the past 4 weeks I have truly had a virtual tour of Paris through the many books reviews, a few movie reviews, reviews on Maps, music from Paris, memories of trips to Paris, recipes of French food, and just being treated to the passion of the Paris in July participants. And here it is, our final week, and there's still so much more of Parisian and French culture to celebrate.
I know I had a few other big post ideas for Paris in July, but I think I will need to post them as Paris in July Encore! maybe in August.

During the 'lockdown' globally, many of us turned to 'virtual' experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed a classical guitar concept from my back deck one sunday afternoon. I joined online market events to support my local artists, and I went to virtual events help by the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

So this week I dont have a music clip to share, but I do want to encourage you to visit this post, Solo Sophie has compiled what I was intending to do, and that is a collection of virtual tours you can do in Paris. I've done the Musee D'Osay just this morning before breakfast - what a treat!

So here's the last week of Paris in July 2020 - and I do promise to post a celebratory wrap up at the end because this has, indeed, been a year to celebrate our online community. Thank you for participating, and I cant wait to see what this week has in store!