"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Sunday, March 19, 2017

in the city...

"What strange phenomena we find in a great city,
all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open."
- Charles Baudelaire

The daughter of a dear sista-friend is getting married this summer. I was honored to join D on her quest to find the perfect place for her daughter's bridal shower - in the city...


"Lady D"

Everything about the bridal shower is secret, so I can't post photos of the places we visited, or the bridal gorgeousness we got to witness and partake in. After the grand event, I promise to. But I'll give you a hint: Paris is the theme, bien sur!   

At the last minute, I shoved my camera into my diva bag (my single New Year's Resolution is to bring a camera with me, wherever, whenever). I shoved my camera into my diva bag, and that's when the adventure began...

The traffic into the city was horrible, a bumper-to-bumper slow crawl. As we sat on the Dan Ryan Expressway, waiting to merge into traffic, I glanced to my right and saw a half dozen camp-tents beneath an underpass. A barren place, surrounded by brambles, dirt and snow. It was a homeless camp. The camp was organized, neat, clean and devastating. It assailed and overwhelmed me.

A camp for the homeless, beneath the Dan Ryan Expressway...

"One could not stand and watch very long without being philosophical,
without beginning to deal in symbols and similes..." 
- Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)

"I call architecture frozen music." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Dusk is just an illusion...day and night are linked in a way that few things are.
There cannot be one without the other, yet they cannot exist at the same time."
- Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook (1996)

I spent three hours in the city and in those scant moments: shape, color, depth, light, dark, sound, emotion - bursting! Inspiration literally and figuratively abounded. Yeah, Lady D and I are planning to return and spend an entire day strolling with our cameras, keeping our eyes open. And I can't wait. 

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

girl on fire...

"She's just a girl, and she's on fire." - Alicia Keys

This Christmas, Mr. Gorgeous gifted me with the amazing high powered camera I've been drooling over for months (thank you honey!). It's given me a much needed kick of inspiration, I take it with me wherever I go - and always having it in my purse is an inspiration in itself...

"Looks like a girl, but she's a flame." - Alicia Keys

Our daughter - Sage - plays USTA tennis (United States Tennis Association). Unlike shooting Football or Basketball, I am not allowed to stand on the sidelines and photograph the action, and tournament courts are almost always surrounded by a chain link fence or net (too small to fit a lens through). It's a pain, because the lighting is always excellent, the movement and emotion of the game is so utterly gorgeous! Every serve, ball strike, groan, and fist pump literally makes my trigger finger spam - oye! I decided enough of that, time to get creative. - shooting a tennis class, private coach lesson and even asking permission to shoot tournament match warm up. Don't get me wrong. Over the years I've shot Sage playing tennis. But logistical limitations made me stop.
Well Sage's amazing progress, my new camera and Muse say: enough of that! 

"Oh, she's got both feet on the ground. And she's burning it down..." - Alicia Keys

"Everybody stares as she goes by, 'cause they can see the flame that's in her eyes." Alicia Keys

Just got word: Sage is now ranked #168th in the Midwest and #19th in Illinois (our home state)! And this fall our girl will be a Freshman and will play on her high school tennis team as their #1 Varsity player - Woo Hoo! And I've gotten permission from the head coach to photograph the season.

"This girl is on fire!" - Alicia Keys

Ten years of lessons, coaches, trainers, thousands of miles driven, rackets, shoes, flirty skirts, injuries, sweat, tears and hard work - wins, losses, lows, highs. Well, it's finally all coming together. But the best part? Watching our daughter grow into a strong, intelligent, elegant, confident, gorgeous, independent young woman. Damn, there goes my trigger finger, itching...

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

amour rouge: nibble, sip, watch, snuggle, kiss...

"She serves champagne with pizza." - Kate Spade

Oui, Valentine's Day has established rules: flowers, donning your best suit, dress and heels, a romantic candlelit dinner, dancing, then... The romantic tried and true is always a good thing. But how about switching it up this year? How about doing something that is just as - possibly even more - romantic? Pizza, champagne and a romance-movie-marathon...

Flor Prosecco Rose NV ($20)

There are a few things that I strongly feel should accompany any and all romance: candles (and or firelight), flowers - strew candles and flowers everywhere, put out your best china, silver, stemware and linen - while your lover orders pizza from your favorite place (with all the fixings). And, bien sur, champagne! For this Valentines, I've chosen the truly delicious Flor Prosecco Rose NV (you know I love the Fleur di Lis on the bottle ;-} Below are a few other of my favorite bubbles - all four are perfect parings to pizza.

Other Bubbly recommendations:
J Cuvee (@$32)
Laurent Perrier ($37) 
Perrier Jout ($40)

"You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it." - Rick Blaine

My favorite romantic movies
in no particular order...

absolutely watch with subtitles

I'd love to hear about your favorite romantic movies - I'm always looking to add to my favorites list ;-}

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Paris Playlist #24: Are You Down D D Down?

"Everywhere I look are peoples' hands. Thrown up in the air to help them dance.
Come on baby, catch me if you can. I know you don't have any other plans.
Are you down d d down. d d down. d d down down down?" 
- Marian Hill

In the midst of a cold grey seemingly never ending winter, Mother Nature gifted a reprieve to my tiny slice of the world. A bright blue sky, brilliant sun, balmy breeze, 58 degreed, late January day! You know what my first impulse was - yep, top down baby! On another related note, I've been working on two special Paris Playlists (for Twenty, stay tuned) - digging into my music vault but also always on the hunt for new music. That's how I came upon my latest addition to this Paris Playlist: "Down" by Marian Hill (you may know it as the theme song for Apple's latest ad)...


Gorgeous dancing + an intriguing pounding beat = bien sur! This awesome ad easily caught my music/dancer's love attention. But the true test? "Down" pounding from my convertible's speakers,  sweet warm wind ruffling my Nappity Nap, serenading me while driving down country roads, beneath a bright blue sky. "Down" proved to be the perfect soundtrack for this January gift, easily earning a spot on Paris Playlist.

There's no official "Down" video but I found this beautiful dance-version...

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

First convertible day of 2017 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

clean slate

Bonne annĂ©e mes amis! 

While every dawn brings with it the opportunity to begin anew, there's something especially special about New Year's Eve. The night one year ends and a new year begins represents a clean slate. A definitive, though arbitrary, mandate to start fresh. A canvas upon which to write your life's next chapter - where anything is possible and imagination is limitless. I figure this blog is the perfect place to start...

* I haven't changed the design of this blog since it's inception (yikes). It's definitely overdue. You'll notice a lot of temporary changes to this page (most of them funky, til I settle on the right look and configuration). So please be patient and pardon my dust ;-}

* I'll be posting full Postcards to Paris from here on out (no more teasers!) I'm working on three now and I can't wait to share them with you.
- I'm also going to revise and post my favorite Postcards, originally published in Belle Inspiration.

* I'm steadily at work on my series: 'Traveling SistahDiva Style (2017 edition). Part 1 is already live. Stay tuned for Part 2: Suitcase, Carry-on, Cross Body bag.

* This August marks my and Mr. Gorgeous' 20th wedding anniversary. We're planning to celebrate in the only way we know how: Romantique Parisian. Pour l'Amour's event of the year!

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Ahh 2017, here I come! 

Vivre! Rire! Aimer! 
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Daadi, in memoriam...

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die." 
- Thomas Campbell

The world has lost so many wonderful talented people in 2016: from Muhammad Ali, Glenn Frye and Natalie Cole to David Bowie, Prince, George Michael - and yesterday, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia). We are saddened, by the passing of these amazing people - and look back on their truly outstanding contributions to the world - and it is fitting that we do so. But tonight, as I was sharing my grief with my fellow friends on social media, a post popped up - a nine year memoriam to a dear friend's Daadi. And it affected me like none of the others have...

Across the street, eight doors down, lives a three-generation-South East Asian-American family. For more than a decade, the family's matriarch-Daadi (grandmother) would take a twilight  constitutional stroll - always wearing a simple but so lovely Sari. She'd sit and rest on the large rock, directly across the street from my house. And every twilight, for ten+ years, we'd smile and wave at each other before she got up and turned for home. To this day I can't explain why but seeing Daadi, every twilight, smiling and waving was my personal sign that all was right with the world.

One Twilight, the summer after our daughter was born, Daadi walked all the way around our cul du sac to our driveway - she had never done that before - bent down, laid her hands on my daughter's tiny head, blessed my baby, then went abut her way. Two years of twilights later, on the day of our son's memorial, Daadi found me sitting on 'her' rock crying. She hugged me, placed her hands on my head and prayed over me. I had no idea what she was saying but her gentle touch and voice brought me calm and such peace. From the first time I witnessed her twilight stroll to her last, I know that this lovely woman impacted her tiny slice of the world, and all those around her, as grandly as any famous person ever could. Thus, as this year comes to an end, I offer an in memoriam for Daadi Katwala.

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

O Christmas Tree...

"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it kisses them so gently." - Lewis Carroll

Yesterday was our first snowfall of the season. Huge, wet snowflakes painted the trees, fields and roads; in a steady slow motion fall. A Winter Wonderland and it was just gorgeous. 

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