she’s that girl

a4f796c2b375216e_chateau.preview

bonjour et bon weekend! i hope yours has already started on this summery friday night. i’m still decompressing from the trip to paris and going through the photos and digging deeper into the friends i made. i wanted to share what went down but must confess there are so many layers to everyone and everything that i burned out for awhile. but i’m chilling now and back in the saddle. so tonight i’d like to introduce another of the aforementioned friends, our co-hostess for EmbraceParis, norma thiessen who is also the founder of mybeautifulparis.com.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 11.32.16 PM

as you can see she’s high spirited as well as gorgeous and an absolutely fantastic photographer (check out her instagram). norma fell in love with paris on her first trip and began a website that’s loaded with advice and information where to go in the city as well as the surrounding countryside. it’s a wealth of information and i can see it growing every day with new inspiration! norma’s a girl in the know and also one to share stories and pass along knowledge. AND she’s a social media expert (check out her twitter). she believes in empowering women, celebrating them and not competing but rather, complementing each other. we were paired in a workshop together, (not sure if it’s because we were similar or opposites) from a strengths poll we did, (more on that later) but brainstorming and getting personal with her showed me what a sincere, open hearted lady she is. (you can contact her on FB here),  so if you’re heading to paris, let norma take care of the details for you, she’s a master planner and loves to handle those little touches that others (like me), just cannot do. she’s that girl you want to know before you go!

1907724_1523802504521577_7631640458501945991_n

the day we got acquainted was the second day on the town. she and co-host carina had arranged a trip to ChâteauVauxleVicomte, an enchanted world that’s just outside paris. it can easily get lost in the shadow of versailles. but instead of choosing that obvious gilded lily (just kidding, i love versailles!), the girls set up a private lunch and tour with 6th generation owner and curator of the estate, Alexandre who lives on the grounds with his family. i couldn’t help but feel it must be both a blessing and a curse to be the steward of such a place, with endless responsiblities to the grounds, the staff, the repairs, the maintainence, restoration, events and so much more…(they just redid the outer roof of the dome)! but he was obviously born to care for it and is doing so beautifully and graciously.

10556328_710263402344111_4648081006387192269_n

the day was pure magic and we could feel the love and care that was given to every inch of it. and they obviously enjoy it. take a look at one of the costume balls they held last season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYTqJnp7368&feature=youtu.be (apologies if you tube makes you watch a bad commerical first)

10565241_1530982323803595_8413966387850707958_n

norma picked up this book during the tour and really got me intrigued with the history of the place. apparently the owner was louis xvi’s finance minister. when he held the very first party, louis couldn’t believe that he could have built such a lavish place on his salary and threw him in jail for the rest of his life! then they looted everything and it all went to versailles. well, that’s the story i got from the bits and pieces i overheard. we’ll have to read the book to find out the truth!

photo by carina okula

anyway we all hopped into golf carts and took a spin around the grounds. this time i drove and what a joyride that was! our on site videographer, andrea shot this video for us of the tour.

IMG_6617 copy

the chateau is especially grand on saturday nights when they light 1000 candles and serve champagne at dusk. you can make a private booking, so check out this link for a really special evening:  book a VIP trip – vaux-le-vicomte.com

EARLY ENGRAVING OF CHATEAU VAUX LE VICOMTE PARIS

like everything in france, there’s so much history that it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole. if you want to go deeper, delve into their twitter page for gorgeous pics and lots of history:

chateau early postcard

i tend to go to the historical aspect of places like this first. i love to see the old engravings, and just try to comprehend how the entire undertaking was conceived. it’s mind boggling how someone could painstakingly etch the renderings, or even have the imagination to create such a masterpiece…right out of thin air. vive la france!

e28e0fb149173d2b_image.preview

that’s me, princess for a day, strolling the grounds and going back in time (thanks, andrea)

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 9.26.39 PM

an early plan for the grounds, still manicured and maintained in the same tradition today

IMG_6580 copy

looking out from the main hall

INTERIOR OF CHATEAU VAUX LE VICOMTE-PARIS

the main hall

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 9.25.23 PM

a watercolor from 1661

GARDENS at Chateau Vaux le Vicomte

the grounds today

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 9.26.57 PM

the gardeners who have tended to the precision of the topiaries, flowers and hedges for centuries to the delight of the guests. yet these hard workers are easily overlooked. but appreciated by the family no doubt!

IMG_6772 copy

it’s their work and dedication that keeps the place alive. their attention to detail and ability to never let you know they were there.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.31.22 PM

it’s just a dream…don’t look at the man behind the curtain, this happens by magic!

IMG_6596 copy

looking back from the gardens (that’s the new dome that they had a master builder repair in the french tradition).

10429341_1523799247855236_2808043880013385996_n

(norma’s shot)

once we went inside it was a whole other adventure. every interior inch is on design overdrive. alexandre grew up here before they moved into one of the other structures. it was such fun hearing about them playing as children, putting away personal objects and books before the tourists arrived…

IMG_6661 copy

the game room

take a look of some of the great photos carina shot on her pinterest page:

CARINA OKULA on PINTEREST

maybe i have my head in the clouds but i tend to look up at the beautiful and highly detailed ceilings.

IMG_6678 copy

some are in need of restoration and the ceiling in the main hall is next on the to-do list for alexandre.

IMG_6726 copy

this gorgeous ceiling was never officially finished and i love it just the way it is

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.29.57 PM

as you can see there’s a dedicated group who care for every nook and cranny.

Catherine Mouligné

working on old documents, manuscripts and keeping them preserved is a job in itself.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 9.25.45 PM

if you’re intrigued to go, i highly recommend spending the day, having lunch and enjoying the solitude. it’s a place you can really unwind, think deep and have some space. you feel like you have it all to yourself cause the crowds aren’t heavy and there are lots of places to find silence.

and so, a great big thanks to the chateau, norma and carina for putting an unforgettable day together.

Le Grand Salon- jardin de chocolat

if you’d like get in touch with the chateau through social media, they’re very active, friendly and receptive. they’re interested in making sure this new century includes both the old and new ways and the staff is open to all sorts of wonderful events. mostly they enjoy sharing the place with all those who appreciate the majesty of it. say hello to them if you get a chance! and now mes cheres, i bid adieu. have a bon nuit!

facebook.com/chateauvlv

instagram.com/chateauvlv

twitter.com/ChateauVLV/media

August 9, 2014. Tags: , , , . EmbraceParis, France, Paris. 19 comments.

it’s a true story

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 5.31.45 PM

bonjour mes amis, ça va? i’m back from paris and have unpacked and downloaded the photos but the the trip is not quite over, and in a way it’s just begining. the experience of #embraceparis was one i’ll hold close to my heart for as long as i live, not only for the magnificent hospitality of Le Meurice, but the truly unforgettable ladies who came together from around the world for 3 days to share their knowledge and passion regarding their businesses and social media. at the end of the trip we each discussed what we’d like to do regarding the recap and for me, it was to profile each gal and introduce them and what they’ve shared with me.  i can say that we just scratched the surface and doing this post alone was a real eye opener. so without further ado…please meet the first lovely lady i got to know very quickly when we shared a tiny car and we cruised the streets of paris, day one… the inimitable blogger, lynne knowlton.

IMG_3318-670x670

facebook.com/DesignTheLifeYouWantToLive

we were a small group of 10 and i’ve heard the story of how it all came together a couple of times but still am not exactly sure how it went down, but the adventure started something like this: some friends were getting together at what’s affectionaltely known as lynne’s ‘treehouse’.

DSC00487.jpg.0x545_q100_crop-scale

she was hosting some friends for a restorative retreat. one couldn’t make it and tweeted to their mutual friend that it would be fun to do something in paris, maybe even hold it at one of her favorite french hotels. well, the tweet became reality and voilà, #embraceparis was born. it showed the women the scope of social media and that became the focus of the event. the rest is history and a lesson that for me was really powerful.

IMG_1790-670x670

tripadvisor.com-A genuine_treehouse_retreat

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 5.41.31 PM

what was just a playful idea became reality and for the next year carina and norma put it all together.

Treehouse bathroom via www.lynneknowlton.com

they gathered together a small group, each with a website, blog, FB, twitter and instagram. what was really striking is how much we learned from one another, with lynn, we talked about connecting, creating passive income, linking with affiliates, monetizing our websites and businesses with apps and podcasts. she details lots of this on her blog and is all about empowering others to do the same so if you get a chance, take a visit!

treehouse-lynn-knowlton

lynneknowlton.com/pool

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 6.46.13 PM

lynne’s home is such an inspiration and i can only imagine the good time they all had at that first retreat.

Lynn Knowlton - Treehouse

and what was a dream became reality and before long we were all checking into the hotel, oohing and ahhing at the beauty of the oldest palace in paris.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 5.42.39 PM

all the photos in this post were taken by lynne who is a fabulous photographer and even wrote a great e-book on editing pics:

lynneknowlton-photo-app-ebook-of-awesomeness

441665_244_z

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 5.43.28 PM

we were warmly welcomed with flowers and champagne, a memory stick, a candle, postcards and chocolates!

IMG_6503

ok i took this one…my room!

P1350973

photo via outandaboutinparis- whizzing-around-paris-in-twiztour

lynne and i got to know each other pretty darn quick in the twiztour car we shared as soon as we met. we couldn’t stop talking and still have lots to catch up on in the days to come.

video by andrea claire

instagram-lynn-knowlton

instagram.com/lynneknowlton

you can get to know lynn through some of her social media but there is a lot of information on her life and design projects throughout the web and on her site.

pinterest-lynn-knowlton

pinterest.com/lynneknowlton

if you get a chance, take some time to follow lynn, subscribe to her blog and get to know this wonderful lady, mother, wife, and playmate. she’s the funny friend who made you laugh in the back of the class…

twitter.com/lynneknowlton

lastly, take a look at the real lynn and don’t hesitate to contact her, you’ll be glad you did and so will she!

August 4, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , . Friends, Le Meurice, Paris, Paris Trip. 11 comments.

that’s where the fun is

pink-books-theparisapartment

allo et bonjour mes cheres amis!

pup-paris-flea-market-theparisapartment

checking in from paris where it’s 3:30 am and most sensible people are asleep.

photo (2)

at home i seem to need a solid 8 hours but here i’m getting by on 4 or 5.

photo (1)

guess it’s an obsession; a bit of not wanting to miss anything and being determined not to let these days slip through the cracks unaccounted for. so it’s editing, cropping, downloading and uploading photos after long days of walking for hours.

marie-antoinette-chairs-theparisapartment

that said, i wanted to just say hello and post a few shots of the day at the market and around town. i’m still on my social media kick and it’s been a lot of fun tweeting and hashtagging and posting and learning what works as i go along. what i’m really enjoying is having no agenda for a minute and just taking my time and not feeling rushed.

Blue curtains-theparisapartment

i have a travel companion who is patient and understanding. and i think that may be the key to the whole social media and tech revolution. when i was fervently trying to text and tweet and multi-task in real time, it was impossible to focus and not one thing got uploaded (correctly anyway)! it’s only when i can sit quietly and go through images and edit, tag, interact and think that it works for me. otherwise it’s a burden and i can’t stand any of it! and that’s my tip for the day and note to self. stop rushing and be mindful with the content we’re creating. best of all, now that i’m not just hoarding pix and actually dispersing them of various channels, i’m actually having fun again and seeing my world of photos take shape and i like it. well, have a great night and enjoy the rest of the weekend. it’s official, i’m off to bed!

 

July 28, 2014. Paris, Paris Apartments. 27 comments.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,517 other followers