Wow, what a summer this has been! Hauling around and entertaining four young adults, preparing two of them for college-one for the dorm and one in his first apartment, preparing another for her debut in high school and my baby for eighth grade, building a lake house and organizing my new store which was supposed to open in May and still hasn't(can't imagine why not); all of this on top of planning a Graduation Party, a Family Reunion at our home and a trip to France! I was actually supposed to sell at Marburger this month but had to cancel because, believe it or not, I couldn't do anymore!!!
I am missing Marburger already as it opens next week and I will not be there selling my heart out. Oh, well, we can only do what we can do and at least I will be traveling to RoundTop with my dear friend Jill and we will most definitely be browsing the aisles of Marburger. It will probably be more of run as that is what it takes if you intend to find the good stuff before anyone else...I love that place!!!
Last weekend I was privileged to have attended the first ever Where Women Create Event. It was magical! 400 plus enormously creative and successful women all under one roof! You would have to be there to appreciate and even believe the energy that stirred the event. I was so impressed with the organization of the event. Jo Packham and Nancy Soriano did a knock out job! Seriously, the entire event was top notch from the delicious meals to the incredible talent upon each panel discussion to the amazingly talented artists who held the craft workshops. Oh, and how could I forget the enormous talent within the Handmade Market, OMG! It was fantastic! Then there was the Autograph party...WOW, it was like being in Hollywood! So many talented women all in one room...Debbie Dusenberry of Curious Sofa, the beautiful Amy Butler of Amy Butler Design, Leigh Standley of Curly Girl Designs, Laurie Lenfestey of Bittersweet Designs, Wendy Addison of Wendy Addison Studio, Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman! And there were so many more wonderfully successful women, I could go on and on. They signed autographs for hours while we all sipped gorgeous cocktails made especially for us and our very special evening. It was dreamy and dinner was divine! Those of you who enjoy being creative and being around those who live and breath creative success, this conference is for you! Next year, same time. Check out their website to stay in tune with the event. www.wherewomencreate.com You'll love the event and the site, pick up their magazine too! It's so very inspiring!
And then...two weeks in France. What can I say...really, there are few words to describe the beauty, the simplicity and casual elegance of France. My husband and I traveled from Nice, the Cote' d' Azur and better known to Americans as The French Riviera, to Arles, Vivier, Avignon, Macon, Lyon and a few more quaint little towns before we so delightfully ended our stay in Paris, the city of lights. The trip on the Rhone River via the MS Chardonnay was picturesque. Warm, sunny days spent inland in cozy, quaint little towns and cool nights relaxing on the upper deck watching the stars. The staff of the MS Chardonnay were the best and made us feel like royalty. The ship was stunningly beautiful and so very charming in it's small size with only twenty four cabins. The chef and his staff prepared the most delicious meals and we ate our weight in glorious french cuisine. Our last day on the ship came too soon and it was hard to say goodbye. Wonderful friendships were made and we will never forget the Rhone River.
France is truly as beautiful as the pictures I have seen all my life. I felt as if I were walking within a storybook. Each window adorned with window boxes, flowers overflowing. Freshly laundered clothing hanging ever so casually in the sun catching the warm breeze. Truly, picturesque.
Boulongeries and Patisseries on every corner...the smell of freshly baked bread filled the air and pastries sparkled in the many windows along the charming streets. And then there was the fish market...this smell too filled the air although I wasn't quite as fond of it. I couldn't get past the flies that swarmed the fish, but then, I am accustomed to a very different environment when I am buying fish. Then there were the olives, yum and the spices and ohhhh the lavender, my favorite. I think the scent of lavender will always be France to me. I know I must have purchased one of everything I stumbled across that smelled of lavender.
Paris...where to begin. I know why they save this part of the trip for last. It is the best, it is the cherry on top! The history before your eyes is unlike anything you have ever seen before. It is breathtaking. So many times I stood in awe of this most beautiful place and tears would fall down my cheeks.
One such place was Giverny. The home place of Claude Monet. If you haven't seen it, you wouldn't believe the beauty. I kept thinking how much my dear Grandmother, Modena Cary Ross, would have loved this place. To behold such beauty is a true gift and she would have been so honored by the beauty. The ponds, the gardens, the house, all created by Claude Monet's hands. I stood in awe of his work, his house, his world. The tears came without warning, the beauty was overwhelming.
Another such place was the Louvre. We spent five hours there and could have spent more if our legs would have carried us. Room after room of artwork by the Masters. Leonardo Divinci, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh...to be inches away from such masterpieces like The Mona Lisa, really? Are we lucky enough to be that close to something so precious, so rare? I think it must have been a dream because moments like this are what dreams are made of. It was hard to leave the Louvre. It was hard to leave France. I felt so honored to have been there, so blessed to have been given the opportunity to walk on the streets and into buildings the Romans have built, to walk where Napoleon walked and reigned, to share space with great works of art by the Masters and to stroll in the Parks where Parisians stroll everyday surrounded by beauty the rest of the world can only imagine. I am looking forward to returning someday soon.
All in all, it's been a great summer and early fall. I find myself in a new place, one of honor and grandeur; of inspiration and creativity and an old familiar place of love and nurturing. I am peaceful and so very blessed.
Pictures of France will come later, time for bed. Night all.