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Friday, December 30, 2016

Enjoy La Dolce Vita

I mentioned on the blog that I have been reading Kristi Belcamino's book La Bella Figura: How to live a chic, simple, and European- inspired life and it has been very inspiring so far.

I am still at the beginning but I have gotten to a section of the book where Kristi gave 12 Easy Things to Do to Enjoy La Dolce Vita and I wanted to share them.

1) Dine al fresco whenever you have the chance. Even if you live in an apartment in a big city, have a picnic at the park, eat at a sidewalk cafe or if you have a rooftop, you can have a picnic on a blanket with votive candles. If you have a small balcony, invest in a cafe table and chair and wait until dark to light some candles and eat, admiring the city lights. If you have a backyard, carve out a small area for a picnic or bistro table and set a table with real dishes and linens each night.

2) Turn off the T.V. Go for a walk, listen to music, take a bath, play cards, read a book, take pictures, polish your toenails, make art, write a letter make love, garden, write poetry eat ice cream, daydream.

3) Walk. If you can, walk as often as possible instead of driving. It is good exercise, but also puts you in touch with the world around you in a meaningful way.

4) Learn to prepare one fantastically delicious meal that makes you happy to make and to eat. 

5) Use cloth napkins and set a table every meal, even if you are dining alone.

6) Eat slowly and savor the taste of your food.

7) Don't schedule every minute of your life. Give yourself time to nap, read a book or stare at the clouds. 

8) Take a class in something you are interested in: stained glass, yoga, cooking, you name it.
    Read my blog post about our cooking class here.

9) Study a foreign language, even if you already are bilingual. 
    Read my blog post about a foreign language app that I use here.

10) Find your passions: be it French history, cooking, sculpture or roller-skating and devote meaningful time to it each week. 

11) Have people over for dinner. I learned living in a 300 -square-foot studio apartment in Oakland that it doesn't matter how big your place is or how good a cook you are, you can still host a dinner party where people enjoy themselves so much that you have to ask them to leave at 4 a.m. so you can go to bed. Invite people to dine with you, even if you are just having soup. Add some wine, fresh bread, break out the stories, guitar or playing cards and enjoy each other's company.

I enjoyed watching this video with Garance talking about entertaining the french way. 

12) Buy beautiful clothes, even- especially- if you can only afford to purchase one new outfit each year.

I hope you all enjoyed Kristi's tips and I hope to share more from this book as I continue to read it. Until then enjoy La Dolce Vita!

(photos via Pinterest)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Dream Dinner Guest List

I recently heard a favorite blogger of mine talk about her "dream dinner guest" list. Once I heard it I thought, "gosh it would be fun to have dinner and talk with some individuals that I would love to meet".

So I begin to ask myself, who would I love to meet, what would I serve, how would I decorate the room and table. That would be a lot of work! But since this is all pretend I guess I could pull it off.

My dream guests would include....

President Section:

George Washington
Michelle Obama

I think both Michelle and George are very intelligent. I love his quote:

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.

I believe in this whole heartily

And this is a great quote from Michelle that I love....

Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.

This is true. Our success does come from our own strength and fortitude. 


Martha Stewart
Ina Garten
Julia Child

I have been a Martha Stewart fan since my college years. I know, I know she went to prison but that does not bother me. I still think that she is a brilliant business woman. 

I just adore Ina. I love her home and her garden. She seems to have such a simple business and life. Her recipes are simple and easy, elegant and sophisticated. 

I read her book My Life in France and it was such a wonderful read. I wrote about it here. I would love to talk with her about her life there. 


Frank Sinatra
Ella Fitzgerald

Love, love, love their music! I have a permanent Frank Sinatra station and Ella Fitzgerald station on my Pandora radio. It would be delightful to meet them both. 

I remember when I got my first Sade c.d. I was a senior in high school. I have been wanting to see her in concert ever since. 

Actors and Actresses:

Carey Grant
Dorothy Dandridge
Sinbad- I have to have someone funny and his jokes are clean and good.

There is something so chic about this man. I love his movies and would love to speak with him about gentlemen during his time. 

I think she is so gorgeous and is such a talent but I also believe that she had so much sadness. I would love to speak with her about the strength it took to press forward during her time.

I think he is so funny! His jokes are clean and real. I loved his show "Sinbad Where U Been". My husband and I never stop laughing when we watch this! 

Great Spiritual Leaders to me:

Jesus Christ
Mother Teresa

There is so much to ask the Lord. Even though the bible provides all the answers to get things back in order, I know that I would also need some private time with him. Just having him there at the dinner would give me so much peace and joy. 

I wish I could just sit next to her and have her transfer her love for people to me because sometimes I tell you I STRUGGLE! I love this quote of hers....

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

First Black Principal Ballerina Misty Copeland

I adore Misty and her work. In 2015 she became the first black principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre and that spoke volumes to me! I read a little about her struggles with her body image and eating disorder. I am glad to see that she has risen to the top and continues to thrive. I follow all her social media outlets and would love to meet her! 

Aerin Lauder
Carolina Herrera

I read her book Beauty at Home and was so inspired by it. You can read my blog post here about her. I would love to speak with her about the family business and her inspiration on a regular basis.

I love Carolina's style and poise. She is such a wonderful designer and business woman. I still can not believe that she started this business in her 40's! It is truly extraordinary and encouraging. I love watching this interview of her and I would love to have her at my dinner. 

And of course my husband, I think he is pretty smart and would have to have him there enjoying this moment with me.

Now, since the guest list is complete I think I would serve chicken and fish.

And these roasted sweet potatoes, they look so good....

Some light roasted vegetables and a salad would be nice....

Light refreshments and...

this crepe cake for dessert! I have always wanted to try one of these!

I would keep the decor simple and chic....

This would be a night for me that I would cherish..... to dream........

(photos via Pinterest)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Dress for Success ~ Volunteering as a Personal Shopper

This past week was my orientation to volunteer to be a personal shopper for Dress for Success. Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that empowers women to get employment and keep it.

The program provides women with interview attire and other pieces of casual clothing for their work environment. There is also a career development services program that promotes employment retention and career advancement.

After our meeting we got a tour of the boutique and I was impressed....

This is inside the office. There is a piano that has hand craved artwork on it. The office manager said that sometimes women come and "ticker" on it. I know I will end up doing that.

This is artwork done by one of our local artist. It was presented during one of their fashion shows. 

This is inside the boutique. The clients will get everything. They get jewelry, hosiery, new bras, shoes and a bag!

I loved seeing this! This was done by California Closets. I look forward to serving women in my community as their personal shopper and I look forward to putting together some great looks!

I believe serving is elegant....

(photos via Mrs. Shockley)

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Friend's Winter Wedding

Earlier this month some good friends of ours shared their beautiful wedding with us. It was at the Community Life Center here in our city and it was gorgeous! I was so glad that we got to share this wonderful event with them and see this beautiful venue.

There were beautiful chandeliers everywhere....

During cocktail hour my husband and I had wine, a few snacks and just looked around.

There were about 3 or 4 of these gorgeous chandeliers. I could not stop staring and kept taking pictures of them!

There was a very pretty fountain in the center of the venue....

After drinks, dinner and dancing my husband and I were getting ready to head out when we were told about this gorgeous chandelier on the 3rd floor...

It was truly amazing. I could have stayed there all night looking at it. We really enjoyed ourselves and our friends. It was a great way to begin the holiday season.

(all photos via Mrs. Shockley)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Nutcracker Ballet ~ Our Second Visit

My daughter and I are trying to make going to the ballet to see the Nutcracker a yearly tradition. Last year was our first year and we really enjoyed it (read about it here).

This year the show was in a different location. It was at the Murat Theater which was much bigger than the Scottish Rite Cathedral last year.

This was a great location! They sold snacks which is wonderful when you have an 11 year old. So we grabbed some drinks and our popcorn and went to our seats.

All the halls were long and huge!

This is how close we were to the stage. If the ballet is here next year then I am going to get us balcony seats! My daughter really wanted to see the orchestra.

While were in line my daughter and I started talking to some of the other guest and we ended up meeting a french woman! I was really excited! After the show was over we hunted her down because we both wanted to talk with her. 

We ended up finding her and I asked her questions about french living and where to visit in France. She told me everything. How it was wonderful to live in France and which parts to stay away from. She also told me about a program here in our city for high school students.

Apparently, there is a program that let's high school students stay in France with a host family for 6 weeks! I will definitely be looking into that program for my daughter. 

I also checked the schedule and Swan Lake will be there in June. I will be getting tickets to that! I really enjoy the ballet and want to continue to go to shows with my daughter. 

Seek the arts........

(photos via Mrs. Shockley)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rituals ~ Do you have any?

I was inspired to write this post after reading Shannon Ables blog post called Why Not...Establish Weekend Rituals?   

Are you routine? Do you have rituals? I know I do and I get easily frustrated when someone tries to break it. I am learning that things happen and that sometimes you can't control everything. It is during those moments that you learn to "go with the flow".

I have some rituals that I do everyday or every weekend and I make sure that I enjoy my weekly rituals.

1) During the week I stop by my favorite restaurant called Panera and pick up their pumpkin muffie for breakfast.

And oh my goodness is it soft and delicious!

2) I always make sure that the current books that I am reading are packed in my bags. 

Read my blog post here about this book.

I recently heard about this book from another author. 
So far it has been wonderful! I downloaded it to my Kindle. 

3) I have a cup of hot water, lemon and honey along with my fruit fusion water every morning. See my blog post here about that.

My cup and china at home.

4) I cook our favorite meal which is roasted chicken about twice a week. We do love it!

Our meal at home.

5) I love to watch certain Youtube channels every morning while exercising. One channel I love to watch and follow is Sharon Santoni. I love this recent video she posted about the French cheese board. It was absolutely wonderful and if you watch it below pay attention to the beautiful decor of the home. The french live so beautifully to me....

6) Last and certainly not least is my daily devotionals. Yes, I am a christian. Sorry I know that is not popular but I should be free to say that. I love to read my bible and other devotionals. My faith is very important and it keeps me in order. Trust me, I would not be searching so diligently for the "elegance" that I love so much without God. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and share some of your rituals. It is always interesting to see how other women live. 

(photos via Google and Mrs. Shockley)