When you lose someone, the grief is painful you want to just crawl tight into a ball and not move. You feel stunned every time you stop and think about what has happened. My answer to grief has always been a simple one: allow yourself to feel it, don’t try to pretend like it isn’t happening or try to distract yourself from it. But – also fill your day with as much JOY as possible. Big things, little things, silly things – anything that will make you happy. Even if you can’t smile about it yet, maybe your heart will a little bit, and soon that smile will spread to your face. When Nick passed away on July 5th, I was so overcome with sadness and the feeling of isolation at being so far from my family and unable to get back without quarantining, I decided July had to be about joy. I had to go live my life as best as I could and try to do things to life my spirit. So I went to museums, and markets, and jumped into the sea, and bought myself flowers, and tried every day to do something to make myself smile. So here’s a recap:
Where I Traveled: Provence
Seven years ago I was visiting France when there was a sudden greve. Striking is part of the French culture – and sometimes it leaves you trapped in France! What luck! I got to spend an extra few days on that trip, and I did it in Provence. The first week of July, we lost Nick. It happened so suddenly and I found myself on another continent, in a busy big city, alone. I needed the quiet, I needed nature, I needed sunshine. So I left for Avignon, and took a bit of an impromptu road trip around Provence. I’ll share more about my exact trip details in a post later next month, but for now here are some photos I took that I love.
What I’m Reading: 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go
As I continue to explore France, I’m re-reading an old favorite of mine: 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go. Marcia DeSanctis might be a soul sister of mine, floating out there in the universe. As I started reading this four years ago, so many of the places and things she recommended, I had already visited, eaten, or loved. So I knew I could trust the ones I hadn’t heard of yet! I’m on a personal mission to do all one hundred.
What I’m Wearing: Summer Sundresses
My go-to look in the summer is a chic sundress, Bensimon sneakers, straw bag, and oversized sunglasses. Easy, natural, and ready for day or night – or days that turn into nights! Here are 3 of my favorites this month. You can click on each image to shop it! And there are always all of my shoppable outfits linked here!
How I’m Keeping in Shape: Walking
If you watch my stories, you know I average about 20,000 steps a day in Paris! I know it may seem crazy, but the city of lights is so beautiful and transport still feels unsafe to me, so I love to just lace my tennis shoes and walk – everywhere! Gyms are open, but seem a little unsafe to me, so I am enjoying simply walking around Paris for my exercise these days.
Where I’m Eating: The Marché
Going to the market has always been one of my favorite things to do in France. Yes, you get amazing food – but it’s first and foremost a cultural experience. You learn about food about the market – and food is the center of life in France. Well, food and kissing.
I go a few times a week so that I can always get what is most fresh – and to try to get to know the vendors. I long for these kind of relationships and familiarity here. I want an egg lady, a green bean man, and a cheese woman. I always share the market and what I bought there in my stories. This week I made up an impromptu pasta with some of the enormous heirlooms I bought, some cheese, olive oil from Provence, and lardos (little chunks of bacon). Here’s a BASIC recipe you can try to replicate at home.
Made-up Marché Pasta (for one!)
-fry some lardons up in a pan on the stove top
-diced up an heirloom tomato and add it to the cooked lardons
-cut up little chunks of fresh mozerella (or buratta)
-boil 1 cup of whatever pasta you want
-combine it all together and drizzle it with the fanciest olive oil you can find
-add a sprinkle of sea salt and dash of pepper
Self-Care Ritual: Plants
This month, I became a mom to three little french boys: Claude (the cactus), Pierre (the ficus), and Henri (the ivy). I met a new friend in Paris who happens to own Paris’ oldest and most dreamy flower shop, and she convinced me that I could care for plants. I’ve always avoided buying them for fear of committing planticide and the guilt that would inevitably ensue! But she brought me Claude over to me one day as a little surprise, and I loved him so much that I instantly wanted more. I popped into l’arrosoir the other day on my way home and left with Pierre and Henri. I’ll be sharing her tips on caring for them and how they are growing each week!
Beauty Secret: Sobel Skincare
I’ve been asked a lot lately about my skincare regime, and this is the secret. These products changed my skin – I’ve been using them since December of last year. I have a full article here on how I use them all, when, etc. I’ll also share again in case you missed it last month- that my Beauty Bio at-home Microderm tool has possibly eliminated my need to ever get a facial again. I do it every night, just a few minutes all over my skin and it is taking away dark spots and fine lines.
What I Discovered: The Louvre
I have wanted to go back to the Louvre forever, but the hoards of crowds always stopped me from even trying. It opened to the public on July 6th after being closed since March. I came to The Louvre this day for therapy, and it delivered. You must book online, and they only allow a certain amount of people in at one time. It was incredible to walk around galleries alone, have one-on-one moments with some of these masterworks of art! I felt incredibly lucky to be able to be there and it really brought some light to my heart that day. I’m going to share a longer article with a lot of photos later in August.
That’s a wrap for July. August is the traditional month of exodus in France – all the Parisians leave and escape to their summer vacations. I’ll be doing a little trip or two of my own – so get your passport ready.