traveling in style


bonjour everybody, ça va?

it’s been a few days of completely unplugging and i’m back to recapping the eventful days from the trip to paris. hard to fathom that i actually thought the editing, social media and blogging could be done in real time. even now with all the time in the world, there’s so much information on the web to add to the history of the places we went, that it’s hard to edit it down. but i tried!


sometimes i marvel at the paris we take for granted. busy roads, traffic lights, monuments, le metro. it’s hard to believe it was ever any different.  but paris has so many layers and they all started with dirt roads, horses and no electricity or heat. but the pioneering french also had vision for creating an elegant lifestyle out of virtually thin air despite the sometimes abonimable conditions of the 1800s. and that’s the paris that facinates me endlessly!


you’d be hard pressed to research an old french company and not get a remarkable story and today’s is one of those epic tales. thanks to the ladies of EmbraceParis i learned something new each day and this particular one was my introduction the legendary house of Moynat.


before Louis Vuitton or Goyard ever existed, there was a grand dame with a vision and her name was Pauline Moynat.



her vision for a luxurious life when traveling or even celebrating the smallest events such a picnicing or packing toiletries has since elevated her to visionary status. and her chicness is still emulated today.


copycats still use her exact same designs in everything from the shadowed monograms, checkered pattern and trendsetting stripes designed specifically with and for each customer.





Wikipedia says: Moynat is the oldest French trunk-maker. Their first atelier was opened in Paris in 1849 by Octavie and François Coulembier.


They joined forces with Pauline Moynat, a specialist in travel goods, to open the first store on avenue de l’Opera. Moynat was one of the very first leather goods houses of its day.


Known for its traditional know-how and skills base in handcrafting made to order luggage and travel goods, the house became famous for its designs for automobiles, as well as for its technical innovations such as making its trunks lighter and waterproof, and for its notable participation in the various World’s Fairs.



apparently they also outfitted your horse and buggy if you didn’t have your automobile yet!


Video by Andrea Claire (more on her in a minute)

so we hustled off to see what was in store for us at a higly anticipated behind the scenes tour of the showroom, atelier and workshop. we knew we were in for something special and followed norma and her moynat bag in anticipation!


they’re using their phones for photos and tweets, it was a social media tour after all!


the store, like the bags and trunks, was sleek and superb.


maison Moynat 1929 Ad

pieces were displayed as works of art. turns out they are. each is lovingly handmade and held to the same high standard they’ve had from day one. the handles, leathers, level of detail and precision are unmistakably the company’s brand.




i thought this might be a good time to introduce you to the inimitable andrea claire, one of the girls on the trip. andrea is a brilliant makeup artist who works internationally. her instagramtwitter and you tube channel are full of gorgeous photos, videos and tips. but maquillage is only one of her many talents! among other things, i’ll remember andrea for being our group’s videographer. she handled imovie like a pro. and talk about working in real time! watching her was like observing a master. i could only hope to learn her techniques whenever i was lucky enough to pick her brain and catch a minute of her editing. this was a video she shot during our tour:

Andrea-Claire-Moynat viedo 

it was andrea who changed my photographic life on that trip and for that i’ll be forever grateful. she took the time to help me with my new camera (we had almost the same model) by taking a look at why i wasn’t getting the color, shots or settings i right. in 10 minutes she gave me the tools to know where to look, a lesson on the dials and buttons and basically gave me a new machine to work with. i was ready to chuck it after the visit to the chateau the day before!




after the showroom we were invited into the upper atelier where so much of the magic happens.

14. moynat parisian promenade nowness

it felt very calm and relaxed and organized. in a beautiful setting there are just a few people working along with as they have been for years, surrounded by inspiration pieces as well as moynat’s collection of vintage trunks.






it was right around here in the trunks that andrea’s tips sunk in.





we all could have moved right in to that little atelier!


the third leg of the tour took us out of the shop and around the corner to the workroom. a small crew, maybe 6 people are creating the bags, doing the hand stitching, cutting the patterns and doing the exacting edging. they made us little tags…there’s mine!






in the end every piece is a truly something special to behold.Moynat_beauty_trunk_512x512

and still continue to create unusual peices that thrill and delight those who enjoy master craftsmanship, the art of travel and the love of entertaining.


malle à cuisine

all in all the trip not only introduced monumental company, but reminded me that it’s not the size of a business, it’s the quality of it. it’s not how much you produce, it’s what’s behind it. the brand is one i now look to in regard to the perfection that can occur when you’re focused, unwavering and detail oriented. i do have a piece i have my eye on this one for myself!


a girl can dream!


last but not least i was googling around and came across their classic bike accessory. we’d been on bikes earlier so i was intrigued cause it would make getting around town pretty special if you really had this on the front!

photo by Andrea Claire


3. moynat parisian promenade nowness

if you have room for a little more take a look a this fabulous video:



now if you REALLY  relished the day like i did, i have something for you. we had some free time after our morning visit and i was drawn back to the place. i went in and got one of the special edition books.


it’s filled with original shots of the store, history of the company and early advertisements. and i’m giving it away. on the next post i’ll announce the winner. in order to enter, just go to one of andrea’s links and follow her on one of her social media outlets. come back here and let us know which you chose in the comments. this was a social media event so let’s connect and work our web together!



Find Moynat here:



well i hope you enjoyed your tour.  à la prochaine!

August 13, 2014. Tags: , , . Embrace Paris Trip, EmbraceParis, France, Friends, Paris, Paris Trip, Shopping. 15 comments.

it’s a true story

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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.


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’.


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 genuine_treehouse_retreat

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

Treehouse bathroom via

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!


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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.

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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:



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


ok i took this one…my room!


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


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.


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…

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. 12 comments.

living in real itme


bonjour tout le monde et bon weekend as they say en paree!


it’s been a few days since we left le meurice and the hustle and bustle of the days with the wonderful #EmbraceParis group.

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my dear friend keni valenti has arrived

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and we have since moved into a sweet apartment house on the left bank thanks to madelyn at paris perfect luxury rentals and are working on honing our social media skills.


i wanted to touch base and let you know which channels are working best to get photos and info out to the universe.


although it’s difficult to post in real time, a stop at the apple store or a starbucks can get us hooked up on the WIFI here and there.

so before heading out this morning to vanves flea market, here’s a quick snapshot of what we’ve been up to.

blue doors in paris

lastly, i had to post this from you tube, it’s a video from funny face that keni has us singing thru the streets all day everyday! he’s been my muse and is so much fun! have a great weekend, more soon!

July 26, 2014. Friends, Marché aux Puces, Vanves Flea Market. 13 comments.

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