8 Jan 2014

Hello 2014… I’d love to know

Parisian Door- Vicki Archer

Where to start?

What to say? It’s always hard to make the words flow after a holiday…

It’s a new year, with a bright future…

Where shall we take it? My answer is… Wherever we want…

Before we get down to business I thought it would be fun to learn a little more about each other… The small details, the little peccadillos that make us who we are… not defining qualities or important characteristics… just our idiosyncrasies… those quirks that make us unique…

I’ll go first…

Have curly hair and have tortured it straight ever since I can remember

 Love chocolate but don’t like cream

 Can’t stomach an egg but can’t resist the cheese

 Pretend to like exercise… I don’t… just accept it’s got to be done

 Always on time… even when I try to be late, I’m early

 Have a handbag fetish… when I think I’m done… I’m not… there are never too many… the same goes for shoes…

 Like tidy… Messy and I don’t get along for too long

 Could watch films back to back for days on end

 TV series watcher… best way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon

 Scared of the ocean… years ago I nearly drowned and I never got over it

Run over by a car and bitten by a dog … survived both

 I’m a perfectionist and a workaholic

 Can’t sleep without an eye-mask

 Re-read favourite books over and over

 Love the cold, despair in humidity… might be something to do with the curly hair…

 Travel junkie… never too far or too often

Wanted to be a singer…  have the worst voice in the world… think Cameron Diaz in “My Best Friend’s Wedding”

 Studied to be a psychologist… life intervened and now I write a blog

 First job… selling cosmetics

 Home’s not home without flowers

 Prefer a bath to a shower… Prefer a dinner to a party

Stay up late… sleeping in… pure luxury


Please tell me more…  as much or as little as you like… I’d really love to know… xv


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Francine gardner

Love your New year introduction!
Now, this is what we share…
Have frizzy hair and spends a fortune straightening it, thanks to the Brazilian products
Love milk chocolate
Hate to exercise but love skiing, trekking, swimming
always on time for business appointments,( but always late for everything else)
Love tidy
Movie junky, watch one to 2 every night (too tired to read at night)
Scared from the ocean, my husband saved me from drowning
Bitten a few places by a nasty dog, was petting him trying to calm him down…did not work
Well travel…. i am insatiable, the further, the most remote, the least visited and i am in heaven
Can’t sing for my life
Am a total workaholic
Wanted to be a shrink, but the none in my catholic school, banned me from studying sciences, hence i moved to the states to study
Always flowers in the house, a rose by my bed
I spend so many hours weekly in my bathtub that my husband installed a TV in my bathroom
Stap up late…but do not get to sleep in…sleep deprived

No wonder why I love reading you so much…. we have so much in common

Bonne Annee


I think we are twins, Francine… uncanny… That’s why I loved meeting you… :)


Oh Vicki it’s like you put in my answers! It must be us Aussie girls. I can’t stand the smell of eggs on crockery and cutlery. Can’t stomach cream, have dark chocolate everyday, cheese is a treat on weekends. Walk everyday around Central London so I can justify my glass of wine. Love the cold, boots, coats etc. Going back to Perth on Thursday for a few weeks and dreading the 44degrees that will greet me where we live on our property. Worse than curly hair is cabin hair. I always look like a drowned rat when we land. Handbags yes my poor daughters have the same gene. Have a very happy 2014 Vicki. Girls have handbags, husbands like mine always want the latest chain saw. So don’t feel bad.


My daughters do too!
I’m off to Sydney soon and feel exactly the same way… shall be loaded down with hair product!!
Enjoy Perth… what a beautiful city… I went there last year for the first time and loved it… :)


It’s just day 7 of a new year and we are already blogging ..Unavoidable? Never, I can speak only for myself…I like your post and I like to comment. I noted a lot of common attributes like
curly hair…always on time…like tidy…..reread…Travel junkie..
to be a perfectionist (but not a workaholic anymore). Add…I like
cozy homes in a casual style, silent, wine and good food, my kitchen bec. I love to cook and much much more. Let’s share our
likes and dislikes our dreams, tips and even disappointments together in 2014 again. We hope it will be a good year for all of us with health and happiness.
2014 again.


I hope that all my readers can feel that French Essence is a place to learn, to share and to chat… a destination… that’s my goal for 2014… xv


Wow…all wonderfully interesting things about you.

Here goes:

Love dogs so much I’d have 10 if I could…two will do for now.

I am a singer.

I could read back to back books and do almost nothing else. Same with watching films, like you.

I abhor ironing.

I love to eat and find it difficult staying at a good weight for me.

I walk about 30 miles per week ( must up it…see above).

Discovered Zumba a few months ago and love it!

I am letting my silver hair grow in….happy to have ditched the dye!

Studied to be a journalist and was one for a while. Then, strangely, became a flight attendant.

Am looking for a great business to run here in France Profonde!

If I won the lotto I would run a dog and donkey sanctuary ( and then become poor again very quickly!)

Love simple, classic clothes but can rarely afford them.

That’s enough, as I must get to French class…..I speak French like Cameron Diaz sings in My Best Friend’s Wedding.


At least you can sing!
France and eating go in hand in hand… in some ways France has been my best friend.,.. in others not so good!! Hard to resist… the only thing as you say is more walking… although there might not be enough hours in the day if I don’t show some restraint soon!!

Anita Rivera

WOW! I am loving this “Tell All!” Let me make myself at home here…..

1. I have not eaten junk for over 32 years.
2. I was an extra in two movies: Steven Spielberg’s 1941 and Rocky II.
3. I have Spanish and French nobility in my blood: Pelayo and Bourbon.
4. I can dance like Leslie Caron, but sing like Cameron Diaz in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
5. I cannot eat or even smell mayonnaise.
6. I learned to speak French when I was 34 and now am fluent.
7. I get up by 3:30am -4:00am to visit my blog friends……

There you have it, just a fraction of a fraction! How nice to hear more about you, beautiful Vicki! HAPPY 2014!


So you and I should never do karaoke, Anita… ;) ;)
You are incredible… but I already knew that… xv

Suzanne @ Le Farm

Been told I look like Natalie Wood my whole life…especially right after she drowned

Half French, half Sicilian (the French side is creative and stubborn and always wants to come out first)

Live in the south…the land of “big hair” that shows up on my head when it’s >90% humidity

I love dogs and cats tolerate me, sort of

I usually have dirt under my fingernails because I just love dirt

Love chocolate everything…dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate mouse, chocolate gelato, chocolate covered almonds, chocolate truffles, chocolate sauce, chocolate cake, chocolate kisses…this goes on for infinity…

An Aquarius woman that struggles to give up my independence and my middle child syndrome

Going to marry Tom Hanks after I knock off Rita Wilson, and my boyfriend knows this

Have 50 pairs of black shoes because I need them

I’m a dreamer but my tiptoes are on the ground

Organic farming is my passion…along with the chocolate


We have loads in common…. I am an Aquarius woman too… although Tom Hanks is yours… as much as he is fabulous… I think I will wait for Leo diCaprio… a thing for blondes… ;)
Black shoes are best in abundance… xv


Love this post Vicki. Happy New Year! I have your hair, have struggled about 20 years longer, and will never give in. I too am a bag and shoe addict, to which I add Hermes as a truly shameful addiction, mostly scarves which I can’t resist. Neat freak, voracious reader and movie watcher, but with a strong anglophilic bent. One precious daughter, a french speaker and follower of le style francais, three fab grandsons. Currently with my starter husband, 45 years and counting. We do travel, mostly England, France and Italy. A true technophobe, I have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into cyber space, to which I am the most reluctant traveler. I would never have ventured into the blogosphere were it not for a dear friend who told me, some time ago, that I MUST read your blog. So it was the first, and my favorite, and I do thank you so much for taking me along so many new paths.

Dee Dee

I love your blog! I wanted to wait to get to that part until later in the list but thought, why wait?! :)

I only learned to swim at 33, and only because I signed up for a triathlon and didn’t want to drown in the first section.

My cat, Britney, weighs 21 pounds. When people visit my place they ask if she is part raccoon. She’s not, she’s just fluffy in the middle.

I love, love, love France and everything about it. On the day my daughter says she’s settled in a career and a home, I will move to Paris and live there full-time, but keep my apartment in NYC just for fun.

I am obsessed with growing things on my terrace, probably because we lack space here!

I hate exercising, too, but also admit it is a necessity.

Being a psychologist and writing a blog definitely go hand in hand.

I studied business administration and now work in the non profit education arena, helping to build educational systems.

I write a blog, which I often refer to as my baby. I never say that in front of my actual ‘baby’.

Did I mentioned that I love your blog?


Thank you Dee Dee… I am coming to check out your blog… :) xv
PS… I can see ther is loads of great reading there for me… I am following the snowstorms in NY closely…. my daughter is flying there today for a job interview… She is in for a shock!!

Dee Dee

Oh please tell her to be extra warm! It’s so cold here – I’ve really never seen so many shivering people! And it’s an honor to have you take a peek over at Bubbles. Deux!

Dolores Veshka

Dear Vicki,
I wrote once or twice before to say we are definitely kindred spirits.
I am artistic, love anything French and of course your blog, have straight hair but miss it long as when I was young, always early, read favorite books over again too. I was a librarian by trade, taught professional teachers about visual literacy and instructional technology and would like to do a blog. Am retired and love following you online and others. I do Pinterest and hope you would have time to see my boards. Last in Paris October 2012. I could go on but better close. Thanks for all you do.
Fondly, Dolores


I just had a browse at your boards Dolores… fabulous… and I shall be following along… Pinterest is the best … I love it! xv

Dolores Veshka


It is just so great. You are a great idol of mine and I consider you my friend and mentor.


Pauline from Phillip Island

I so love your blog, Vicki. It is so real and personal and talking to you feels so natural. I think that you connect with your readers in a way that not many can achieve because you are not afraid to show who you are.
I am from Australia and I live on a beautiful island south of Melbourne. I love nature and the sea and living in a small town. I love to work and achieve and I built a multi million dollar business by the time I was 35. However, I could no longer continue when I developed fibromyalgia. Now I must pace myself very carefully to get through each day and I am very sad that my life as it was is gone. I am trying very hard to find a new purpose in life that will satisfy and fulfil me. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find any answers. Reading your blog, however, does inspire me and give me joy. I don’t think you will ever know how much you help those who read what you have to say. You are so wise. Do you have any words of wisdom for me?


Pauline, you are living a life of beauty… surrounding yourself with what you love and understanding your needs… This is surely a brilliant start to explore those new avenues that you are looking for. Your way with business must be very acute… i would start there… write down all your thoughts, things that interest you… things that you could do… you might be surprised at what comes out…
I don’t know that I am so wise… I observe a great deal and I’m practical… I believe in being positive at all turns and seeing the good (without being naive) and I also believe that life is for the doing… and to be embraced in whatever way we can…
I am sure 2014 will be your year… :) xv

Melanie LeFever Snyder

Pauline, I have to comment on your post. I was diagnosed 14 years ago with Fibromyalgia too. I started reading everything I could on it and just got depressed. My doctor had me on medication which for the first time in my life, outside of being pregnant, I gained 30 lbs. I still felt lousy. I threw the pills away and started taking walks every day. I eat healthy, no red meat, lots of fruit and vegetables, grains, like quinoa. my husband also bought me a horse! She has been such a blessing in my life because she keeps me moving. I did 4 years of dressage and now I’m doing Hunter/jumper. I still feel tired, but my muscles don’t hurt and I feel so much better. This is what worked for me when I took the time to listen to my body and my heart. I wish you well in every way.

Linda Floyd

• Wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend
• Interior Designer who can never visualize not doing what I do
• Passionate about all things French
* Anita…still trying to learn more French!!
• Consistently move at 125 mph…then stop and don’t move for a day!
• Old movies are an addiction…along with some chocolate and a daily cup of tea!
• Life without animals is not an option
• Refuse to be left behind in our new digital lives…
• Love Pinterest…who doesn’t want to look at beautiful things?
• Love Blogs like this and would love to meet the wonderful people who take the time to inspire us


I’m not going to be left behind in this technological/digital age either Linda… no way… I don’t think many women will be… :) xv

D. A. Wolf

Linda – I love the remark about moving at 125mph consistently, and then not moving! (I get this… Some think it’s a dreadful way to be / live; for some of us, it’s the only way to be / live, an we didn’t choose it. Not really.)

And yes to Pinterest and yes to the amazing people we find through this medium who are perpetually inspiring!

(Thank you, Vicki, for this very thoughtful and uplifting post.)

Vicki Dreste

Curly hair Yes!
I’ve stopped fighting it.

Blonde but no more hair color. The grey is seeping in.
Not a fan if ageism. I’m totally fine with looking my age. (i’m 61)

I’m a mother and a grandmother. The joys of my life.

I’m a business owner, interior design. I love it!

For 2014– work part time with a full time income.

Vegetarian since 1977.

Chocolate yes!

tea over coffee

Summer yes
Winter no

Ready to travel more
France, Britain. Ireland

I love movies, flowers, toile anything, reading, writing and designing
Happy 2014!

Sami Pat

Oh, love this!

I am a direct descendant from Welsh royalty.

My twelve-inch pocket beagle, who has way too much energy, and I co-exist with a nineteen year old feline calico diva.

There is usually an icon for a weight loss site on my desktop.

Having been in two near-fatal auto accidents I have some remaining issues.

Twenty plus years ago I divorced the love of my life. We are best friends but it took some work.

My hairdresser envies my gray hair but keeps hers red.

I am a partner in a design business that does primarily renovations and senior moves. I live in a very transient tourist driven area.

I am a writer having contributed a well-received weekly op-ed column to a local newspaper for many years. I have also written a children’s book. The more I read of the work of others the less I think I will ever complete my novel.

My little downsize house has become too small for all I want to save. Chairs, stray animals, bird’s nests, little Victorian cups, white ironstone, glass candlesticks, cashmere sweaters and a particular small mercury glass Christmas ornament.

Oh, I see I have completed my first novel. Forgive me.

Thanks for asking.


Not quite a novel, Sami! I am sure there is much more you could share with us…
I know what you mean about writing… sometimes when I read that one brilliant sentence that conveys all the meaning and more… I do understand that to be a writer is possible but to be a great writer is rare…
I like to believe that there is room for all of us… keep on and never stop writing… :)

La Contessa

Well, here goes……..
TALL,dark hair with streaks of grey,MUST have my morning latte before I do anything!Animals, fill me with joy.At the moment we have four dogs,one adorable orange striped cat,four doves,seven chickens and a rooster and they are all siblings!Love the garden,love urns and garden statuary…….older the better.Have a passion for stuff…..silver,gold frames,wrought iron,chandeliers,portraits,and velvet.LOVE the IL DIVO group and any ITALIAN music.I only wear flat shoes………….usually wear too much jewelry!Have just started wearing RED lipstick and no other make~up!Quite content to stay home and just ponder.XXX


I’m a homebody too Elizabeth… and a red lipstick lover… it just makes everything feel more glamorous… :)


Between rural and urban, I choose rural.
Between red & white wine, I choose red wine.
Between quality and quantity, I choose quality.
Between giving a gift or accepting a gift, I choose giving a gift.
Between the beach and the mountains, I choose the beach.
Between black and white, I choose black.
Between shoes and bags…I choose both.


Love your blog. Rarely ever comment to any blog. This post and the responses have made me smile…and think. My sister just signed up for your blog and if she reads this, she will know that only I could have probably written this response.
Here goes:

Super straight hair which is a + living in FL, always looks flat-ironed and is NOT.
Not a chocolate fan but love French pastries
Hate to exercise so it’s on/off for me. Lucky to be naturally thin, which has nothing to do with my exercise routine and everything to do with my gene pool and the fact I like healthy foods.
Love wine….often….enough said.
Slightly OCD, so always on time and make lists that are far too ambitious.
Perfectionist who wishes I was not OCD about being on time, making lists and feeling the need to cram as much into a day as humanly possible.
Messy makes me crazy, fresh flowers make me happy.
Not on my starter husband, but think I would have been had he lived. 2nd marriage was a disappointment, but happily created a beautiful set of twins. Now with a wonderful husband and thinking for me 3rd time’s the charm. I am the only woman I know who married a Christian, a Muslim and now a Jew. I like to think I am an equal opportunity wife :)
Blended family of 7 children, fortunately 4 are grown. Caboose twins at home and 1 in Grad school keep us “young”. at least that’s what my mother tells me.
Not a TV or movie watcher.
Fear of snakes, no reason why.
Hate to shop, but love to rehab a house, so I’ll take a Home Depot over a Saks, which makes me really wonder about myself.
First real job: airline employee. Traveled the world, still do.
Can’t sleep in unless I am on a very different time zone.
Always grateful to see a New Year and my next birthday.
Life experience has taught me to appreciate every single day.
Here’s to today!


Teri , thank you for commenting… I love your responses… :) You made me smile and I still am…
I understand the snake thing… they aren’t good in any sense… and as for OCD… I think maybe I am a bit too… but it’s the only way i can manage to do and create what I want… I think I’m less of a perfectionist than I was… because I’d rather be working on French Essence… so that’s what I do… :)

lisa thomson

You’ve survived being run over by a car and near drowning?! Wow. I loved your Christmas post with the picture of you. It made me realize it would be nice to see more pic’s of you in your french fashions; a nice addition to your blog.

My turn;
If I don’t get my sleep, I’m very grumpy
Not a morning person
I love exercise and get grumpy without it
I love skirts…but mostly wear jeans
I can watch my favorite movies again and again, same with reading favorite books
Prefer old, used books over crisp, new ones
Color makes my soul sing, whether it’s on walls or canvases
I’m a little bit psychic :)


I am not so good in front of the camera… my daughter took the pic and she made me persevere… I wanted to stop after one click!
She loved that photograph… I of course thought otherwise… :)

Ivy Lane

Hi Vicki, Happy New Year! I found you via Cote de Texas..Love your blog! Here goes:

*poker straight hair wished for curly for my lifetime
*someday, i will be brave and let the gray grow in
*went to college to major in French (my Dad envisioned me as a foreign diplomat) came out a Fashion Merchandiser
*I am a Realtor but a Retailer at heart
*not a fan of dessert love savory meals
*turning the big 5 0 this September…still looking for my ultimate career passion
*love interior design…regret not minoring in that
*my husband is my best friend
*love yoga, cross country skiing and walks in the park
*travel to the Caribbean yearly… I love the different cultures and friendly island faces
*i miss my Dad every day
*inviting you to visit my blog sometime..wink wink…


I will be over pronto… :)
I found my career passion in my late 40’s (this) so watch out… you never know what’s ahead… :) If you told me I would be creating/managing an online site with wonderful readers from all over… I would never have believed it…
I am the luckiest because I adore what I do every hour of every day… :)

Nancy Belgue

Your posts brighten my days and I missed you over the holidays!

I love winter – probably because I also have curly hair and it’s straight in the winter.
I let my grey hair come in two years ago and I am loving it. I am going to grow it to my waist.
I love walking.
I want to live a year in Paris. I have a tower of Paris memoirs beside my bed and I read them over and over.
Want to be bilingual.
Reading is the thing I love most in this world.
I have written five books for children.
I am working on my first adult novel.
Love chocolate, cream AND cheese!
Love vegetables – passionately!
Love to look at pictures of French street fashion.
My dog is my personal trainer.
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.
Baking is how I relax.
Like boots way better than shoes.
Hate sleeveless clothes.

Enjoy French Essence!


I missed you all too!
Although I do think you need a break from me… ;)
I do love that time between Christmas and the New Year… it’s the only time that I feel the whole world takes a holiday… when the inbox stops exploding and life quietens down…

Gina Diamond

I am a true southern girl

I LOVE flowers

I can’t stand to have my nails filed. It makes my teeth hurt.

My sister lives in France.

I am surrounded by testosterone.

I use my gifts for the Glory of God.


I love to cook.

I do not like to exercise either but it is a necessity because of the next tidbit.

I love to eat!

I am obsessed with magazines on home decor, food, flowers, gardening. I have ONE fashion magazine I like.

I read only a FEW blogs each day. And I really enjoy yours!


With you about the nails… I can’t stand the filing either… so I have a love/hate with manicures… and as for pedicures a necessity not a pleasure…
Thank you for reading, Gina… I appreciate all my readers so much as I know how much time it takes and how little we have of it… :)


Well, this is fun!

– Wavy hair that I’m growing out. Desperately in love with my flatiron that keeps the waves under control.

– Into my 37th year with my starter husband (love that)

– Lived in Ecuador 21 years where I learned Spanish but French has always been my first love so I did a BA in French after returning to Canada, finished at age 54 (2 years ago).

– Love France. I tell my husband that any flights to Europe that I can find always go through Paris. I’m not sure he believes me.

– I’m a maker – always sewing, embroidering, gardening, or dreaming about the next project

– Voracious reader

– Live on the west coast of Canada, on Vancouver Island (which is different from the city of Vancouver on the mainland). We are NOT experiencing the severe cold in the rest of the continent and I’m thankful

– Dark chocolate. Every day.

– Tea, please.


I am a convert to green tea… and now we are best pals… As for making… i think I am better at ideas than putting them into action… Dreaming of projects… that is definitely me!
i was a coffee addict but managed to quit… truthfully, I still miss it everyday… :)


Love this post. Regarding the hair…I have naturally curly hair and had tortured my hair my whole life. About two years ago or whenever she was going off the air, I happened to see a segment of an Oprah show. Now the funny thing about that is I had never watched Oprah! However, what she said in that brief moment that I saw the show, changed my life! She said “embrace your hair the way it is, just embrace it”. The next day, I stopped fighting the curl and from that moment on, people come up to me, strangers, friends, whomever, and exclaim about how much they like my curly hair.
Ok, onto other things! I am also a TV series addict – just finished Nurse Jackie…to die for! I also read the same books, watch the same movies over and over. I love to travel – anytime, anyplace. Adore people that are on time – I am always on time. Was in a terrible bus accident in high school and have an indented scar on one calf and a skin graft scar on my hip that took years to embrace. I view them as badges of honor now. I survived. I am also a perfectionist and a workaholic. Love flowers, love them. Hate humidity, definitely because of the hair. I live in the Washington, D.C. area, humidity capital of the world most of the time! Take a bath every night, only shower in the morning. Love sleeping in, it is a huge luxury. Tea over coffee, actually can’t stand coffee!

This was a genius blog!


I haven’t watched Nurse Jackie… That sounds like a good one for me… I love a good series!

I am still trying to “embrace” the hair… but it’s not that pretty!!


Natural wavy, auburn colored hair that I’ve only began loving since I turned 50.
Love travelling to new places and revisiting destinations I love, such as Paris.
A square of dark chocolate every afternoon, or a hot cup of cocoa – it’s a must!
My morning cup of tea while reading French Essence, another must!
Flowers on the dining table, candles, soft music at dinner.
My journal at my bedside and a sprig of lavender tied with a pink ribbon.
Very tidy, not perfect, I don’t like perfect anything.
Love bags, shoes, boots, coats……..
I need a floaty when I’m in the water.
Yoga everyday has been transforming for me. I don’t think of it as exercise. I don’t like to exert myself too much, I don’t like to sweat…ever.
I always think I sing better than I actually sound…I sing anyway.
I love to turn on the music and dance around the house.
Cooking is my passion.
I work as a nurse and love to see patients healing and comfort those in need.
Love French everything!
Great idea! Always interesting and fun to read your blog and participate. Looking forward to a beautiful New Year!


I always want to write a journal… but then I think French essence is a kind of journal… it’s “our” journal… and I like it most when we all contribute…
I think this will be my goal here this year… lot’s more discussion and participation… :)
I need to become friends with yoga…


First, love your blog. You offer such inspiration and fun…it’s a joy to read. I don’t fight my curly hair anymore and am trying to embrace the gray…maybe a few more years of highlights?! Would love to live in the South of France but, living in Southern California wine country is not so bad! Mom to three beautiful children and a menagerie of animals. One husband who only gets better with age. Work part-time (real estate) and the rest of the time is spent fixing up our old hacienda and surrounding property. Love the ocean, chocolate, wine, books and hiking the hills and valleys. Happy 2014…it will be a great year!


I think 2014 will be the best… everyone os so positive and upbeat about it…
My “starter” gets better with age too… :)

Peggy Braswell

ok here i go:
i have curly hair(growing up in fla did not help)[so curly, must keep it cut short at all times]
i am an interior designer(love doing other peoples homes, hotels + mine)
i thought i looked like “Elizabeth Taylor” growing up(ha,ha makes me roar with laughter because i look nothing like her)
i hate chocolate + or any kind of candy(because as a child i was very skinny,parents gave me candy to fatten me up)-[need to get over this]
i love to read self help books,biographies,novels
i love to learn one new thing a day
i am a mother of 2(1boy, 1girl)[probably love them too much]
i would adore to be married again one day(starter husband did not stick around) + [love that term “starter husband”,see learned something new]
i am a blogger 4 years now(who knew?)
French Essence was my first blog(love it)
i won a va book(was so excited)
i love to travel(don’t do it often enough)
For 2014–love what vd said “work part time with a full time income” (yes, that is for me + make money while i am asleep)
i am positive about everything(adore louise hay)
i will end this knowing i am always at the right place doing the right thing,at the right time. love getting to know all ya’ll, what a great post, va.xxpeggybraswelldesign.com


Thanks Peggy… I always look forward to your cute “+” comments each time… and think of them as Peggy’s wisdom…
And what wisdom… if we believe that we are in the right place at the right time , then what could be more right?

D. A. Wolf

This is delightful.

I love your fourth line, and your fifth (was there any question that I would?) but hélas, your sixth line concerns me. I’m messy. I used to be neater when I had a larger space and a “regular” job, though the hours were long. Since being an independent and working where I live, mess is part of the landscape… and I’m grateful for an orderly mind. (Could you tolerate the “creative” mess?)

A few items about myself…

I am more private than people think. I’m less serious than they think.

I believe the mind is the sexiest organ there is, which is good news I think, as it’s easier to exercise the mind (and imagination) than the rest of the body at certain times.

I wear heels to bed (with my lover). No, not all the time. I also wear furry bear slippers that I adore, with no heels at all. (No, I don’t wear them to bed.)

I love to explore new ideas; I’m a firm believer in being open-minded (as long as no one gets hurt); consenting adults should be free to live as they wish (without harming others, especially children), yet in my own life, in many ways, I’m simplistic about relationships. One man to cherish, for me, is sublime.

I was once picked up by the paddy wagon in Paris, in Pigalle of all places. (Really. But not for the usual reason!)

I once dated André the Giant. (Really. Only once. Two and a half feet of height difference!)

I adore the quiet, but I must have CITY. Stick me in the country and I shall perish, emotionally and intellectually. Plop me in the grit and grime and hectic pace, even in a tiny spot, and I’m content.

I must write. Even in my head, I must write.

I am not yet the person I want to be.


Messy will definitely be forgiven… :)
I’m with you about the mind being sexy… some of the ugliest but brightest can be the sexiest…
We are very, very glad that you write… and I would love to know more about the Giant… two and a half feet height difference… the mind boggles… ;)

Donna Baker

We have very much in common, but I can tell you this. I got a wild hare/hair last week and cut off all my hair. Not all, but up past my shoulders, by myself. Would like a buzz cut, but I think you need to be model beautiful to pull that one off.


That’s too brave for me!
I need my hair… must be a comfort/security thing… :)

Kathy Andersen

Happy New year, Vicki!
You little ways made me smile – touched upon a few similar ones- love chocolate but not cream!?
Adore dogs, especially my Hermione (Sydney silkie)
Love nature & walking amidst it when i push myself to walk. My son recently made the comment that he thought his mother was adverse to exercise. I have done pilates/yoga; sadly a long time ago!?
2014 goal is to step up the exercise…
Enjoy food, especially in NZ with so much local fresh produce with flavour!
Worked for 8 years as a Flight Attendant before studying Interior Design in LA. Travel & Interior Design are one in the same for me; feeds the senses!?
Love travel; lived in many countries from Norway to India.
Love to read; every night before I sleep. Must have a blackout room.
Love nature fibres to live with & to wear ie Linen!
Loathe synthetics.
Fresh flowers, continually. Love hydrangeas, roses & freesias.
Speak Norwegian, English & a touch of French.
Love all things French….never tire of a visit to Paris!
I am a shoes & cushions gal!?
Love to read your blog!


I am with you on the blackout room, Kathy… :)
2014… yes let’s step up the exercise… I will too…


Struggled with my dead straight brunette hair my whole life! Always wanted waves or curls and used to have it spiral permed! I do appreciate it a bit more now I’m in my 40’s.
Can’t, can’t, CAN’T live without a cat!
Love chocolate but not ice cream (cream is ok). Couldn’t live without cheese.
Love fashion, ADORE shoes, I make handbags, clutches, etc….
Am a Wedding Florist.
My favourite country (apart from Australia, home) is Italy, although I do love Paris and look forward to an opportunity to explore more of France.
Always look forward to receiving your blog in my inbox!
Happy 2014 Vicki, and thank you for the inspiration and all the “ooooh, aaaahh” moments! X


A pleasure Lorraine… and thank you…
Maybe Italy should be on all our agendas this year… :)


You are lucky to live so close to Italy, a few days there is not out of the question! The flight, as you know, from Australia is such a haul. It’s that ‘cabin hair’ thing…. X


I straighten my hair, too. And color it. I keep checking it’s natural color but it’s too non descript.

I read French blogs.

I was born in France.

Finally saw France this past summer. Am mezmorized.

I like old movies – classic movies – 1950’s and before.

I like antiques.

I am learning piano.

I eat too many sweets.

I love fresh flowers in the house.

I putter in my garden, imagining it being stunning and beautiful.

I am writing a book.

I have an adorable boxer dog.

And great family I spend time with.


Sweets, or lollies as we call them in Australia… they are my weakness too…. but not this year!


Good for you – I like the word lollies. You’ll do it. I’d love to know how, are you replacing lollies with wholesome or just sheer wonderful will power?


Will power for starters… so far so good! I am determined that this year I will loose the unwanted pounds and get really fit… :)

lisa | renovating italy

Ohhh super cool Vicki x

Don’t laugh….I own two pair of shoes, one pair hiking boots and one pair black sandals.

I’ve always hoped some magazine would pick me for a make over (yet to happen)

I have secrets….who doesn’t

I often read the back of the book first,

I love stationary and book stores,

I think we’d get along really well even though my wardrobe is limited….lol x

I am celebrating my fiftieth this year in Paris….it will happen,

I’m writing the numbers because the lights are off and I can’t be bothered turning them on…

I hold my nose when going under water and had never put my face under the shower until this year….my eleven year old daughter is a gifted swimmer and I am not…

oh and only one handbag….am I beyond help lol xx

hugs xxx


Never… you haven’t been shopping with me yet, Lisa!!!
I know we would get along famously… :)

Cynthia Sambeat

Hi Vicki,
I, too, so enjoy your blog. Here are some things about me:
I am a watercolor artist & would spend the entire day painting if I could.
I am married (31 years) to a Spaniard & together we operated a couple of Italian restaurants.
I live in California & Spain but believe the lifestyle is better in Spain.
I majored in journalism & worked as an editor before marriage.
Love flowers & nature but have no gift at gardening.
My two girls & I have thick, straight naturally streaky blond hair – yes, we could do a “Breck” commercial – don’t hate us!
I love order but have collected too much during my lifetime.
I have “middle-child syndrome” & always try to be a peacemaker which also makes me non-confrontational – not always a good thing.
Love dogs but am allergic to cats.
I love reading & movies; classic & especially Doris Day movies – she reminds me of my mother & I love that time-period.
Travel is important to me & I combine it with painting, especially in Italy, France & Spain.
I decorated our home in Spain very modern, the antithesis of my home in California which is too full of antiques & collections.
Have decided Pinterest is the most wonderful tool in the world of creating.
Can never have enough black shoes or silk scarves.
Believe girl friends are important & help us through the tough moments in life.
Hope we all have a great 2014!


1. Love even numbers, I even buy groceries in even numbers for Pete’s sake.
2. Went to the hospital for all manner of strange things when I was little; age – 2 swallowed change and ate dog food, 3 ate lead shot, 4 stuck balled up paper in my ear, 5 stuck a bean up my nose – it swelled up from moisture.
3. Slid over the edge of the Grand Canyon when 11, my mom caught me and she still has nightmares.
4. Failed French class in the 9th grade, only class I have ever failed. I cried. Still trying to learn French.
5. Can trip over nothing when I walk.
6. Met my best friend at a yard sale. Her sale, not mine. 
7. Lottery dream- buy a castle and have a farm of rescued St. Bernard’s.


This did make me smile… your poor mother… what a childhood… :)
I think you must have a fabulously adventurous spirit… and a delightfully naughty side…
As for the Grand Canyon high jinks… I’m still shivering from the thought of that…

Mrs Jones

I am married to a Frenchmen, 13 years my junior

Love the sun and the sand at dawn & dusk “le here bleu”

Holding my breath to dine at Le Jules Verne, Le Pre Catelan, Le Doyene & Le Taillevent

Mitsuko by Guerlain, Le Must de Cartier

Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli for hot chocolate & pastries

Snowflakes and country roads

Tiny apartments & homes

small backyards with espalier and a space for alfresco dining

Upholstered headboards and French chairs

French doors

Linen for Madeira

Mirrored armoires

Cartier tank Louis

South sea, chocolate and champagne pearls

White roses, white Dutch tulips, Casablanca lilies

Big Sur, Carmel by the Sea (by place of birth), San Fransisco, Napali Kauai (my ultimate destiny)

Being tan

A big bath tub, apothecary jars, almond soap

fresh juice, fresh fruit, wild salmon, scallops and fresh pasta, capellini pomodoro basilico classico

Uchida Mitsuko playing Mozart

My house in Umbria, Who’s killing the great chef’s of Europe, The Great Gatsby (Mia Farrow & Robert Redford), Houseboat

Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren & Vivien Leigh

Cary Grant, Giancarlo Giametti, Van Heflin, Clark Gable, Simon Ward

Observing beautiful, graceful, poised people and learning from them….

A compliment from a stranger…..


The greatest compliment comes when it’s least expected… and from a stranger… that’s just the best…
Your list is exquisite… full of beauty… :)

Mrs. Sexton

Mrs Jones,
With a list like that, you should blog. You would be second in my queue, right after Ms. Archer’s.
You are both full of beauty!


Vicki-ABOUT THE HAIR!!! It’s funny that I have curly, wavy hair and long for sophisticated and straight–just like in your beautiful picture with straight hair and red lipstick! I was trying to PIN that pic for inspiration!!! So, the question is–how do you do it? My hair is about your length, and whenever it hits my collar or a scarf it takes a detour in a very wonky way. And don’t lets get started on HAT HAIR? Have you thought about embracing the curly??? Allegra


Never, Allegra! Except in the summer when I relax and leave it be… But it’s always pinned up… i don’t know why but I find the frizz annoying…. my curls aren’t Shirley Temple like… more frizzy and messy…
I have my hair blow dried regularly, it’s an indulgence… but I’d rather not eat than give that up… ;)


I have only been reading this blog for a month or two – I can’t get enough! I love the inspiration. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Here it goes:
• I have very straight hair. I suffered with perms and curlers to achieve a curly look that would last an hour or two. Now, I embrace the ironed hair look.
• Definitely a travel junkie. Wish it was my job!
• Definitely would love to work part time for full time income!
• Re-read Pride and Prejudice and watch every version of the movie and TV series at least once a year
• I agree on lots of black shoes – you can never have too many!
• My dog runs away when I sing.
• Dark chocolate every day.
• I love my roses from my garden


Roses… how could I not mention , roses! I adore all roses… and our French garden is full of them come springtime… In London, when I can, I buy a bunch for our bedroom at every chance…


Straight hair – want my whole life waves and curls.
The conclusion: There is something I like, there is something I hat und the rest is so so lala. Perhaps, thats was life taught to me.


Am I the only one that struggles with fine, flat English hair!

Tidy, hate mess of any kind. Struggling to look at a very wet garden demolished by a fallen tree but 2014 is another year.

Love France my favourite holiday destination.

Chocolate the darker the better.

Spring, I can’t wait for it too arrive, though don’t mind cosy winter evenings if inside.

Love books, especially historical.

Need to try Pinterest and catch up technically.

Retired and loving it. It’s amazing what you can do without! But another who could do with a new purpose in life.


Hello! This the first time I’ve ever left a comment on a blog before, but I’ll start 2014 with something new –

Long strawberry blonde hair, I wish it were either curly or straight, but it’s neither.

I love water, but I’m landlocked here in Denver, Colorado.

I love the outdoors and yoga, but exercise machines are torture.

I think finding the perfect handbag is so difficult (and it has to be perfect), but I can’t have enough dresses. Shoes are a close runner-up.

I live in Colorado, but I have no desire to ski/snowboard.

My favorite place in the world is Santa Fe, New Mexico.

About every six months I either lose my phone or drop it in water. I was getting a pedicure on Sunday and dropped my phone in the basin of water. The phone is done.

I love rubber stamps, especially handmade ones.

If happiness were the national currency, baking (cookies, pies, muffins and scones) would make me rich:-)

Vicki – I enjoy your blog so much. It gives me such relief to go on here in the middle of a very hectic day and dream about France and marvel at your beautiful photography.


Thank you… I do love taking photographs… more and more… and I am always looking for a new angle… I am not sure what this year will bring but I love the journey just as much as the outcome…
I haven’t been to Santa Fe… another one for my list… :)

Sandy Jones

Wavy long hair. Thinking of cutting it.

Always wanted to be an actress or a ballerina.

Was a trained lyric opera singer in college, but never made it big, only sing in church choirs and to my babies and in the car to the radio.

Still married to “my starter husband” for over 32 years.

Mother of three and waiting for grandchild number 1 in February – can’t wait!!!!

Made jewelry for 30 years and just opened a retail store at the ripe old age of 60! I must be crazy!!!!

Just got back to France after a 30 year absence – can’t wait to get back!

Used to be fluent in French – taught by Sacred Hear Nuns for 16 years. It started to come back just as I was leaving Paris! Quelle dommage!

Always have dirt under my manicured nails from my garden. Lucky to be able to garden for 10 months out of the year in Atlanta, but it is 5 degrees above zero now. BBBRRRR!!!!!

Loved all of the Hydrangias (Hortensias)in Normandy this summer. Have over 150 in my garden.

Chocoholic (nick named Chocolate Dame)!

Proud of and earned every wrinkle on my face from constantly smiling!

Absolutely love life!

My secret desire is to live in France in the summer. Love to read your blog. Keep up the good work.

Let’s celebrate the gracious aging of our generation!


Your French will come back and very quickly if you had all that early training… I wish I had studied more and mine would be better and it would have been easier… Start watching a few French movies from time to time and you will be surprised how that helps… :)

Mary Stump

Have short, silver hair-straight on the top, curly everywhere else. Love coffee and chocolate. Enjoy travel, but hate flying. Prefer baths with very warm water. Enjoy old black and white movies from the 40’s and the 50’s. Have 4 chickens and just bought 10 acres of farmland for a retirement home for my granddaughter’s horse. Strive to impress on women of d’un certain age that they are beautiful (regardless of the number they attach to themselves).


No number limitations ever… either side… I agree…
Flying is the downside to travel… but a necessary evil… :)

Janet Schanzenbach

First, I love your blog and learning more about you. Now about me..curly blond hair hair that would not straighten so it is short and now red, older and bolder is my philosophy!
I love old movies but I don’t get to watch them much because I have a 13 year old adopted son that keeps me very busy. I have never felt so old and so young at the same time. But I am tired of people asking if he is my grandson.
Love to travel, hope to go to France this year. That is one reason I love your blog.
Keep writing.


Children do keep you young… and tired… and make you feel old… I understand that… :)
A 13 year old… a few years to worry about yet…. but I am sure you would have it no other way… They are the best part of life…


Happy New Year, Vicki. What a fun idea!

About me.. I spend a small fortune having my brunette hair lightened to the perfect for me shade of blonde and mani/pedi’s.
Not a fan of exercise but find barre and pilates enjoyable, and never perspires (I don’t think this is a good thing?).
A health nut with a weakness for champagne, wine, cheese, and French patisseries.
My wonderful husband and our three children are my life.
I treat our French Bulldogs as if they’re my children.
Always planning and dreaming of my next trip to Paris.
I’m a girly girl at heart and I have a deep passion for French antiques, interior design, and fashion.
I love rose fragrances, Caron parfums are my favourite.
I’m a workaholic and a perfectionist, and I can’t change no matter how hard I try. At least I love what I do!
I’m not a morning person.
People often tell me I am the nicest and most patient person they have ever met.
I love to read but refuse to give up paper books.
Tidy and punctual to appointments, but struggle to be on time everywhere else.
I feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to do.
Will be a lifelong learner… the world is a big, beautiful place.
My closest friends are from high school and earlier.
My kids tease me because I use correct punctuation when I text =)


There are never enough hours in the day… that’s my problem too! And as for texting… I’m with you… :)

Sally Leonard


What a fun post! Not a blogger–just a fan.

Here’s a partial list…

Stay up late, love an afternoon nap

Love to read—everything. Read even while I watch tv.

Dark chocolate

Don’t exercise and it shows..

Hooked on Cokes—the real thing–not diet

My grandchildren are my favorite people in the world

Lucky enough to be with my sweet husband of 40 years.

Adore travel….especially England and California

Live in Texas–love the people–not the politics

Terrible hair–no body–trying to go grey–looks bad

Love 1940’s movies and Doc Martin, Downton Abbey, Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot

Love your blog!!!!


I’m still a bit away from having grandchildren… can’t imagine it yet… but I have a feeling I will love it… :)
PS Persevere with the grey…add a few highlights… to get through…


Am half French and half American. A by product of WWII

Love everything French

Love most everything American

Love to travel to Europe. Ok France

Am not athletic but love to hike, and fish and bird watch

Can enter a store and scan quickly and know if there is anything I want

Can create a beautiful eclectic home

Love fashion but forget I am a femme d’une certain age…..

Have way to many chemicals for my face, skin, and hair

Love to sing at the top of my lunges when I’m alone

Can throw together a wonderful meal but only when I feel like it

Love the standards but listen to pop music to stay current

Don’t look my age OR act it either

Is finally deciding I’m NOT a people person

Love good flea markets and brocantes in France.

Dislike flea markets in the US

Coffee before anything in the morning

Love Vicky Archer and French Essence….oh Lala

Oh yeah, pray that I can finish my life somewhere in France


There is plenty of fashion for us femmes d’un certain age… :) Nothing will ever stop my love for fashion…
We have many things in common, Linda… actually what I have found so fascinating about our conversation on this post is that we all have so many mutual characteristics… :)

Linda Hanselman

Kindred Spirits!

This is the reason I love reading your blog. You always inspire me with my choices in everything from fashion, make up, skin care, hair, decorating, travel etc. We tend to get into a little bit of a mediocre vacuum here in the mid-west, so your blog is invaluable to me for that inspiration!

Rock on Sister


I have truly enjoyed getting to know you through your blog! Your generous spirit is refreshing!
I have straight hair.
I am not a huge fan of chocolate but I love to bake andI do enjoy it occasionally!
I am an avid exerciser! I always have been and walk at least 3-4 miles per day and many days, 7-8 miles,
This past year, I learned SUP or stand up paddle boarding. A young woman where I live has a business teaching others. Meeting her, changed my life! I now own a board and my SUP friends are big hearted and fit and fun! I have taught my four daughters to paddle board! They are in their 20’s and 30’s.
I love tidy, and am neat, most of the time. :)
I love period films!
I was once a 7th grade Science teacher.
I love books.
I have six grandchildren.
I am a prayerful person and am grateful for the Lords blessings in my life.


Paddle boarding… that’s fabulous… and must be great for the strength… and posture too, I imagine…


What a great idea, here’s me in a few words

Escape to Paris whenever we can because we love it
Also love most everything French – champagne, bistro food, walking, small galleries, croissants, French style and people watching
But, living in Canada life is different, thus . . .
Love fresh air, can’t wait to get outside each day
Love exercise – the rush of my heart rate rising and the amazing feeling when I’m finished
Yoga, I can’t live without it
Music in all forms – opera, djembe drumming, classic guitar, indie groups, you name it
I’d like to journal more and wish I had the confidence to pursue more artistic ventures
Love to decorate and create vignettes
Love my hair messy because I think it makes me look younger
The same with clothing, a little bohemian but with restraint
Love short cowboy boots, really anything pointy
Bought Repettos in Paris, soft taupe, love them too
Love flowers in the garden, tell me how do you deal with the maintenance of cut flowers?
Love my husband (the second one but 35 years now)
Love my 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren, they keep me busy but I love every minute
Wish I could be on time more regularly
Oh, did I say I love eggs (couldn’t stick to the 5 and 2 diet without them)
AND , love you Vicki, I’ve bought your books, read your blog for years and even won a postcard
Thank you for another wonderful year


Thank you Maryanne…
Cut flowers are work… but there isn’t an easy way… they do take time but the rewards are there… I’ve tried adding bleach to the water but I haven’t found it makes much difference… I do recut their stems though for added life…


I found out from a florist that roses love cold water and she said to put a couple of ice cubes in the vase at night to keep them going. I did what she advised and the roses were around for a month and were beautiful. So her method worked!!


I guess I now know why I have been fascinated by you since the day I brought home ” My French Life”
I too have been bitten by a dog and I was also hit by a car 26 years ago I survived
I love to cook and enjoy nothing more than to sit (with my husband and four children around our long kitchen table ) for hours
Our Children are about the same age I think
Love dark chocolate but a butter cookie and cup of coffee are my all-time favorite thing
Handbags make me happy
Love snowy cold winter days
A new lipstick makes me giddy
Candles burning every night
I live outside Chicago and do not travel far that is why I love your blog
thank you
and I wish you the happiest new year


Candles burning every night… Me too! And during the day if the winter is gloomy… I had them burning everywhere over the holidays… even nearly set fire to a mirror… they were a little close to some dried hydrangeas I used for decoration!
So true about the lipstick… Why is that?

lisa thomson

You’ve survived being run over by a car and near drowning?! Wow. I loved your Christmas post with the picture of you. It made me realize it would be nice to see more pic’s of you in your french fashions; a nice addition to your blog.

My turn;
If I don’t get my sleep, I’m very grumpy
Not a morning person
I love exercise and get grumpy without it
I love skirts…but mostly wear jeans
I can watch my favorite movies again and again, same with reading favorite books
Prefer old, used books over crisp, new ones
Color makes my soul sing, whether it’s on walls or canvases
I’m a little bit psychic :)


Sleep is the greatest elixir there is… and the greatest beauty secret!
I know what you mean about jeans… just too easy to throw on and wear anywhere…
Should 2014 be the year of the skirt… :)


Hi Vicki!!!!

Thru Blogs, I have found that I’m not so unusual,
I have found strength from women and what they
have achieved,
I had courage to leave an abusive husband(after he
left me deaf in the left ear)with a 5 wk old baby,
Moved to a new city and started a new life,
Hate eating and preparing meals(happened when I
became a type 1 diabetic in ’71),
Love working with wood,
Love having a piece of furniture and redoing it,
Have been to Disneyland 6 times,
Love California and Montreal(birthplace),
Love animals and work with a group of ladies who
rescue them from high kill situations,
Love watching the hummingbirds fed at my feeder,
Love the ocean,
Hate the smell of fish(I’m allergic),
Collect vintage hats, purses, compacts, lipsticks,
gloves and anything else to do with ladies apparel,
Too chicken to fully start my Blog,
Have 3 cats, 2 birds and 1 dog and getting a pup
in April:),
Love Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr books and
reread them and own at least 2-3 copies of each
Wanted to be a make-up artist,
Was on the set of the Hardy Boys in 1978,
Would love to have a hobby farm,
Love holding new born babies,
Two words sum up my teens was ROLLER SKATING!!!!,
No roller rinks in Canada close to me. Have to go
down to the States(I live in Vancouver, BC),
Miss having a job(not healthy enough),
Have had 18 surgeries,
My favorite place to be on a hot sunny day is
Ambleside Beach,
Love reading Blogs and getting ideas from them,
I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor of a sexual attack
in 2001,
I’m very understand and love helping people.

I hope you enjoy me sharing myself with you and hope that 2014 is going to be a great year for you!!!



Thank you for sharing your story Pam… and you are an inspiration to other women… Being strong, facing adversity and surviving through hardship is to be admired and revered… xv


Wife (45 years in 2014), mother, grandmother – adore little grand-daughters, probably happiest spending time with them; friend.

Husband,intellectual and hobby painter. I’m neither but love art, architecture, design, music, opera, ballet.

“I want to be ballet dancer when I grow up or I might change my mind and be a clown” (my reply as little girl to usual question)
Instead was: secondary teacher, librarian, EFL teacher, public servant, then diplomat for 20 years.

Now retired: from paid work but not from life.
Volunteer in Op Shop (Charity shop)

Passionate about gardens (trees, roses, gardenias, sweet peas, daphne, perennials, hydrangeas, camellias, star jasmine, lavender, citrus in pots, herbs, vegetables, almost any plant).

Passionate about travel – particularly France and Italy, also love travel in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Japan, Turkey.

Cooking, particularly French and Italian – Julia Child devotee.

Passionate about books and movies – always. Fave writers: Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Mitfords, Evelyn Waugh, Paddy Leigh Fermor, Halldor Laxness, Mahfouz, Charmian Clift, Rohinton Mistry, Sartre, Clive James etc – a weird mix of comic and serious
Did I mention a sense of humour?
Am also a frizzy – blow drying straight since blow driers invented. Humidity my enemy. Never coloured or permed. When young, natural blonde, turned strawberry with blond streaks, now red is faded with some remaining fair streaks, hasn’t yet turned grey. Grand-daughters have persuaded me to grow it! Green eyes (husband too).
Passionate about style/fashions. Collect handbags, scarves, costume jewellery – can’t be too many!
Some great travel experiences: walking on Great Wall of China (in more isolated region than general tourist spots), attending joint Kirov/NY Met performance of “War and Peace” in Mariinski Theatre, Bolshoi ballet at the Bolshoi, opera at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo (where part of Godfather 3 filmed), “La Traviata” at Staatsoper Vienna, travelling up Grand Canal in v. early morning in water taxi, reception at Elysee Palace hosted by President Mitterrand, pilgrimage to Gallipoli and many more.
Sadly, exercise mind more than body and enjoy good food little too much!
Have never been conservative, last week someone asked if I was getting more conservative with age, answer: No,less! Free spirit and love to laugh.
Enjoy your blog and love travel tips. Looking forward to staying at LPB. Also love candles and good perfumes (Chanel 5 and 18, Caleche, etc) Pamela xx


I live at the top of the Blue Mountains in Australia because I love cold weather but dislike hot humid days – love the sea but only to visit.
I have two daughters and a husband, all of which make my reason for living
I love to travel but dislike the time it takes getting anywhere from here
I love to cook but hate grocery shopping
Love all forms of chocolate, wine and tea but do not drink coffee
Love my garden, not keen on weeding but my house is always full of flowers
I am a teacher by profession but would have loved to have been a florist.
A home can never have enough books
Family, friends, fun, a frustrated florist – that’s me !!


Never, ever enough books…as our exploding bookshelves prove!
One of my best ever jobs was as a part time florist’s assistant ( during my university days)… I loved it and learnt so much… I think it is why I adore flowers as much as I do.. and the fact that my father was a very keen gardener…


Hello Vicki,

What a lovely community – it really inspired me to share as well.

I grew up in Tasmania, but have lived in London for many years and love both equally.

I used to be a lawyer, but am now at home with three school aged boys. I live in a very male household: husband, sons (even the dog is male) and can’t wait for my boys to be old enough to bring girls home!

I have just finished renovating my dream home and am wondering what will happen next – I’m ready for the next chapter. I’m 48 in Feb (another Aquarian!)

I love fashion ( I thought I would grow out of it, but I still find each new season exciting and always buy Vogue every month). That being said I’m rarely out of my uniform of skinny jeans and boots. I’m finally embracing my hair – it’s very dark for my pale skin, but it looks terrible when I try to lighten it. Jacqui O (early 70s, not 60s) is my fashion icon) – also Francois Hardy.
I adore coffee and start looking forward to my first one the night before. Radio 3 is a constant in my life and always books -especially 20th century American writers.
I’m a terrible swimmer ( although I love being in the sea). I prefer to run – the first 20 minutes always feel dire, but I know it makes me happy so I keep going.

I also love going to and giving dinner parties, taking photos, paperweights, lace, quilts, indoor bulbs, sewing books from the 70s, cire trudon candles, anything from hermes, road trips, kitchen gardens (planning one now), slim aarons photography, other peoples’ wedding photos, raisin scones, hydrangeas, my gorgeous boys and husband and reading blogs (especially yours – I find it a lovely mix of glamour and comfort). Margaret xx


Wow, this raised a giggle on a cold wet English evening.

LOVE chocolate – from the fancy Belgian ones to the cheap supermarket baking chocolate.

Hate cakes, trifles, gateaux – just too sickly

I can sing – but badly, it could make ears bleed!

Forever a living room ballerina and disco diva . . . arms a-go- go and I strut my stuff.

Never without my fabric samples and paint charts – ever!!

Half Canadian half French (pops from Quebec, mum from Paris).

Always got my head in a book or 3 . . .

A sucker for a beautiful candle.

Still a chatterbox

Once stalked Ines de la Fressange in Paris for 10 mins or so, till the voice in my head kicked and said ‘stop’ . . . but she was so elegant and smelt divine.

Im the length of Ines de la Fressange’s legs :-(

Never say no a glass of wine

Only ever drink coffee in Paris

Got caught in the shower at Wimbledon by a very famous tennis player!! (he was charming – I was mortified)

Love to swim but not in the ocean as I lost a fight with a starfish – can still remember the agony

Watch Nancy Myers films over and over – just to lust after the interiors

Loathe nail biters, bossiness, and ‘grand-standing’

My hubby still rocks my world

Want to move into Vicki Archers French home


Last summer I saw I de la F every weekend at the flea markets and then I saw her outside Le Petit Bijou… I decided she was stalking me not the other way around!!!
For the record … she is absolutely beautiful , natural and totally gorgeous…

Piaf vintage french

This post and the comments were so much fun! What a brilliant idea :) you all seem like a lovely, quirky bunch. My quirks?

I listen to Motown on mornings I want to feel pumped.
I sing to myself when I’m feeling scared.
I listen to music on vinyl because I believe it sounds richer.
I was obsessed with Audrey Hepburn and Clark Gable as a teenager.
I believe that helping others is the best way out of depression.
The feeling of floating is my favourite sensation.
I still believe in miracles and magic.

Suzana Rose Borlovan

Waht a fabulous idea Vicki,
Here goes:
I am a workaholic
I work as a nurse in the emergency department and intensive care
I am a giver not a taker
I am a mother and a wife and owned by Lucy the Labrador and Honey the cat
I live for my 2 beautiful grown up girls
I am a neat freak (my girls words)
I was born in Croatia, live in Australia, will always be Croatian
Love to travel to Europe
Always reading books on renovating stone houses in Europe, which I get teased for constantly
Love the colours white and red, infact that is my homes interior
Hate exercise but love to walk
Love dinner parties in our home
I use my crystal glasses everyday, life is short
Love the water and I swim any chance I get
Love the heat, suffer the winter
Always have fresh flowers in the house


One of my best friends is Croatian so I have visited some parts of Croatia and absolutely loved it…
Workaholic, I understand that concept… ;)

The Enchanted Home

What a fun idea! OK here it goes….

am a blonde naturally (but get highlights)
am severely claustrophobic
love chocolate more than it likes me
love potato chips and could eat an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips without flinching
am a dreamer
believe anything is possible
am really impulsive and like to “just go for it”
am generous and kind sometimes to a fault
love to imagine
am known for always coming up with new ideas for things (hence why I am a dreamer)
would love to write a screenplay
own my own farm to table on a restaurant
on a farm (MY farm)
would love to have a vineyard one day in Napa
and spend a month in Provence and Tuscany (one month each)!
love to read but have less and less time
love spaghetti and pretty much any pasta for that matter
could live on sushi
used to own my own horse and would love to ride again
love fashion
plan to lose 20 pounds in 2014
think Vicki is amazing and so stylish
happy I found French Essence!!!!!!!


Thank you Tina… and I feel the same about The Enchanted Home… I am always so in awe of your energy and enthusiasm… Like you, I am more of a “go for it’ rather than a planner… Somehow it always works out… :)


What a wonderful post! Happy New Year to you! I don’t know what to tell :) I long to be all of the places that you are and that you have been. I would be a traveller if I could – one day! I love beautiful, feminine things and I am always searching for them. Lace, pearls, silk blouses, ginger tea, shopping with the girls, drawing, cheesecake, good books, music – Birdy and Ellie Goulding are my favourites at the moment, singing, dancing when no one is looking, etc. etc. etc. Thankyou for sharing yourself with us! Your blog is a joy!
Jennelise xo


Thank you so much Jennelise… The blog is a sum of all it’s part… and the majority is about you all… :)

Sue M.

I’m catching up on reading my favorite blog…French Essence (while sitting in hospital for husband; he’s okay, a basic procedure) and with free time I can’t believe I read every comment from your followers Vicki.They are some of the most interesting women and more important I’m more impressed you read every one and commented back personally. That shows a lot to me at what a special person you are besides a talented blogger. Okay, as for me…well,

Wife of 34 years – still love my man, mother of two (31 and 28), grandmother of four (7 to 7 months), still work full time as an admin assistant, ex retailer, love keeping up on fashion, watching period pieces, reading (lately bloggs more than novels), sewing, knitting for my grandkids, entertaining a lot with dear friends, always on the look out for “just the right gifts” for family and friends…also use a lot of product to keep my fine curly hair tamed…everyday it looks different; my hair over the years as long as it is has a mind of its own! Still use hot rollers to keep the frizz in control (way better than the soup cans I started using at 13. Love my weekends to catch up and see how others live since I love to travel but husband doesn’t this satisfies me. Thank you all for sharing! :-)


I believe that if my readers are going to take time with me then I want to know them as well as I can… Everyone is super busy with life, family and work commitments… I appreciate this very much… That you all make time for me is a gift…

Marie Lavender

What a nice thing to do, asking about your readers! Well, you asked, so here you go…

I love everything French. I fell in love with the fleur de lis when I was about eight years old and have collected them forever.

I took three years of French in high school and still know most of it. I try to speak a little every day so I don’t forget.

My husband took me on a surprise trip to Paris for our honeymoon and I was in such shock that I don’t even remember the first day we were there!

My home is cottage style (j’habite au Caroline du Nord) and I decorate with lots of the French decor that I have collected over the years.

I’m a crazy cat lady. Love cats! I have three of them as well as two dogs. Would have many more if I lived on a farm. And all kinds of other animals too!

Since I’ll probably never get to go back to France, I have chosen New Orleans and Montreal as close substitutes. I love both cities.

I love to cook, garden, and all things domestic.

My favorite sport is football. I know more about it than my husband. I watch it all the time – college, NFL, CFL, any place, anytime! Of course, my favorite team is the New Orleans Saints.

I have straight fine hair and have always wanted curly hair. But if I had curly hair, I’d probably want straight hair. Us ladies are so fickle!

I just got my first sewing machine for Christmas and am so excited to take a sewing class.

I am the manager of an Asthma and Allergy medical practice. It’s not my dream job, but it pays the bills!

Bread with butter and cheese are my weaknesses. I’d rather have bread than dessert. Croissants and yeast rolls are my favorite.

I love to shop in thrift stores, flea markets, tag sales. Always on the hunt for a bargain and know immediately when I walk in a store if I’m interested in anything they have. It’s a gift.

I love to sing out loud and everyone wishes I wouldn’t. Can’t help it -I love all kinds of music!

I’m a grammar nazi and everyone wishes I wasn’t. I can’t stand misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, or poor grammar. I would be an EVIL English teacher.

I have had Type I diabetes for 26 years, but I still love to sneak a little chocolate and a sip or two of Coca-Cola.

I have an irrational fear of snakes. Can’t even listen to someone talk about them. Would have a stroke if I encountered one in the garden.

Love your blog and have just started one of my own about DIY home decor and thrifting.

Thanks Vicki, and I look forward to everything you will have to offer us in 2014!! XOXO


Now I’m nervous about all my grammar mistakes… I know they are their form time to tyme… pleze dont bi to mad.. ;) ;)

I know what you mean about the snakes… xv


It has been so much fun reading about everyone and seeing in what ways we are kindred spirits and how we are different.

So, since you asked …

Only child, of a certain age. Straight, straight dark hair that I have to perm in order to have some body. Always curl my hair.

Handbags give me palpitations. Can never have enough. Love shoes too but not to the same degree.

Also love: candles, sunshine, fresh air, kittens, chocolate, cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes. Enjoy my morning coffee, tea in the afternoon and I don’t drink soda. Getting my daily water quota is not difficult, especially with some lemon.

Love to read; would do this 24/7 if it were possible. Love the classics but Elizabeth Goudge is my favorite and I reread often. Also love Mary Stewart and Helen McInnes and anything that’s grown up Nancy Drew. Was always jealous of Nancy’s convertible “roadster” and always wanted one. Have settled for a sunroof instead.

Can’t sing, can’t dance (even though my mom was grace personified and loved it) but I do enjoy taking photographs.

I’m an independent spirit and love to travel. Have ridden an elephant and a camel but not at the same time. One of my favorite places is Zion National Park. It’s very serene and I feel the nearness of God’s presence there.

So much more but I don’t want to hog all the space.

Wishing you all a great 2014 and an abundance of your favorite things.

Garden, Home and Party

Your blog is a must read for me…sorry, I don’t often comment.
I’m a redhead, I hear they are expected to be extinct sometime in the future. Love all cats and dogs, but have 2 dogs only. Been married to the same sweet man for 41 years this coming February…and yes, I was a child bride. Love to cook and garden. Love to host smallish (6-8) dinner parties. Love England and have only been to Paris once.
2014 is going to be a good year, I’m an optimist and am certain of it. :)


Hi Hi Vicki ~how so very fun ~
dream daily of coming to and more so living in France….near you…..
adore hats…..a lot…….have fewer handbags yet can’t resist Shoes
love crispy sheets linen or a nice fabric, snuggly down comforters……
I am on time if not early motto type…..
love art, music, colors, obscessed with design and never get tired of looking
and thinking of interiors
adore fabrics…..sweet birds, watching bird baths……colors on trees….ocean of Emeralds
I have here where I live wiht shuga white sand

would love for you, Vicki to come visit in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida…….Pleeeeeeze do Vicki ~
(will send you some webistes to intice you……spring and summer are on their way, please come!!!!
laughing……hugs from others…….giving as I feel others…….
adore linen, ballerina shoes, wonderful wholesome food,
and the most favorite I hope one day will come I shall have my own friends to call family…..
I so wish for my tribe…..
brocante, Oh la la ……….Gardens, cutting fresh herbs I have grown, painting old terracotta pots
LOVE…….I hope to find LOVE again……old family pictures….


How I would love to make a ‘French Essence’ tour of the States… There are so many places that I am longing to visit.. One day…. :)


A beautiful inspiring post, as always.

I love…

Gardénias and Iceberg roses
Coco Chanel and Ralph Lauren
Collecting cookie cutters and making lists
The first sip of coffee in the morning
Sunset in Noosa and catching a Sydney ferry
Carolyn Quartermaine and Florence Broadhurst
Champagne and Candles
Swimming laps and early morning Pilates
Cocker Spaniels
Watching French movies
Chanel No.5 and Paris
Learning French
Flicking through cookbooks
Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn
Setting the table
Brie de Meaux and good bread
Reading a good book
French grey with black and white
…And hair mousse for curly hair…


This is a bit scary …

Highly educated but unemployed.
I have a crooked tooth that has bothered me my entire life but I leave it be.
Wanted 7 children but settled on 4.
Love, love, love coffee.
I believe in reincarnation.
I love to read and must have 3 books by my bedside at all times.
Wanted to be a teacher but changed my mind in college.
Love to travel.
Hate gossip.
I have always been an introvert but force myself to be social.
I love to cook and could spend the entire day in the kitchen.
Discovered that I’m a cat person after having dogs most my life.
Terrified of cruise ships but love yachts and sailboats.
Sometimes hide from people I know because I don’t feel like saying hello.
Favorite color is green, favorite time of day is midnight (seems magical for some reason), favorite season is fall.
I love the rain, the way it smells, and the way it drips onto my face.


Mimi… I’m with you on the gossip… I’m not that fond of it either… although… “girl chat” is something else… :)
I love the rain but looking out at it mostly… ;)

Marnie S.

Hi Vicki,
I’m closer to 50 than 40, and am finally letting my grey hair grow out, I gained courage from your posts and pic.

My first career was as a graphic designer. Later, I went back to uni and studied Latin, ancient Roman history & archaeology, then went on to study italian. I’m almost fluent now… but sadly have never really done anything with the degree, except fill the house with too many books!

I’m a Sydney girl but met and married my ‘starter’ husband in London… we’ve lived in Sydney 23 years now… and now I yearn for a life in Italy… but have to wait till our son finishes school/is settled into a uni. I follow your blog because you give me courage. And I love your aesthetic. If you’re coming to Sydney I’d love to meet you for coffee or make you lunch – or both!

take care, Marnie x


Marnie… how lovely of you to say that this blog gives you courage… There is no greater compliment I could receive… :)


Bonjour~it’s me…

Long time reader, newish commenter.

Owner of long curly, wild hair, that i try to control-it wins.

Wanted to be a ballet dancer-had the body-not the talent
Lover of culture- the arts, fashion & music- not in any order.

Daily must-reading, walking in nature with my dogs.

Swimmer-9 months of the year.

Long life desire to be a world traveler.

Goal of living in a foreign country for 3 months each year.

Most afternoons will find me in my yard, on my lounge chair, surrounded by my dogs, reading a book & sipping a mocha made by my starter husband /life partner of 41 years-we met young.

Lover of book stores, chocolate, ice cream and all things french.

Have to live by the ocean.

Sometimes buy shoes for a life I do not have.

When we are friends, we are friends for life.

…Thanks for asking.


Don’t you just love the way we buy shoes for that “other” life… this did make me chuckle… I am still doing that… but I figure it’s an innocent pleasure… if a little costly at times… ;)

Lesley Hughes

I am Australian. A proud Western Australian so live in a Mediterrean climate.
Born a redhead but when I retired 4 years ago gave up the colour and am really happy with my hair. Still as much maintenance.
My style in furniture and clothes in white but with shots of colour.
My current interests are interior decorating (always tweaking), cooking a variety of cuisines but never heavy and stodgy. Would say I am a cookbook junkie. A keen gardener but like a formal garden with roses etc and hedges. Like to ride by bike and walk.
Love the water but not that keen on the ocean – fair skin and sunburn although have sailed, scuba dived and paddled a ski. A few too many sharks our way lately.
A Francophile who loves the how to live a French life books.
Could go on but best to keep it short.
Keep up the good work with your blogs. Gives a French fix when we can’t be there.
God Bless


Cookbooks are an addiction… that’s for sure… I try not to look when I’m hungry… ;)


New day to greet
Hot coffee to sip
A clean cloth to wipe
Dog to walk
Babies to swaddle
Daily Routine to provide structure
Humble provisions to create daily pleasures
Fresh towels to dry
Clean water to wash
Fresh water to drink
Bread to butter
A toothbrush to brush
List to do
Candle to light
Logs gathered to build a fire
Skis waxed to ski
Pencils sharpened to write and draw
Micron pens at the ready
White clean crisp paper to start
Brushes cleaned to paint, painting frees my soul
Hot Iron to press things out, Ironing soothes my wrinkles
Gifts artfully wrapped to give
Satin Bows to tie
Hand painted, Hand written thank-you notes to send
Coins to roll
Money to save
Checks to deposit
Checks to write
Silver to polish
Cars to wash
Homework to do
A hand to give help
An ear to listen
An eye to look into
A needle to thread
Cashmere sweaters to slip into
Denim to don, dark or white
Linen aprons to tie
Meals to prepare and to savor
Fresh ingredients to create mysteries
Things in threes to keep things simple
Fresh sea salt to sprinkle
Pepper to grind
Books to read
Plans to plan for
Reservations to make
Friends to gather
Cheeks to kiss
Hands to hold
People to remember
Hellos to Goodbyes
Passports to travel
Socks to slip into
Boots to buckle
Bows to tie
Piles to inspire
Papers to file
Mail to open
Life to live
Death to mourn
Lost to find
Found to cherish
Time to waste
Time to wait
Deadline to finish
Blog post to publish
Want to need
Need to want
Dawn to Dusk
Life to Live
Air to Breathe
Beginning to End


Thank you Patricia for your poetry… you write as artfully as you draw… You are one very talented girl… :)


THese are the best… laughter and tears… there is nothing better than a good cry and a belly laugh… xv


corks to pop
bubbles to blow
places to see
things to learn
degrees to earn
kindness to all


many corks, much bubbles and loads of kindness… degrees… Now that would make a busy life even crazier… but the best!


Hi Vicki and all your lovely contributors
I am a long time reader but a first time commenter.
I live in Perth and have been married to my starter husband for 46 years.
I have curly chestnut hair…well I did have…mother nature needs a lot of help these days.
Love the garden, although it is a challenge at this time of year.
Love to exercise, walking and Pilates.
Also bitten by a dog while walking…wonder if he smelled my gorgeous, spoiled cat on me?
Not a confident swimmer, despite being Australian.
Love to read…work in a library. Bonus!!
Tidy and always on time.
Love your blog, Vicki…Happy New Year to you and all your readers.
Despite all our differences…we are still much the same.


Very much the same… I do think we drew the short straw when it comes to the swimming, Fran… We are Aussies and meant to be good at that! I was always a poor swimmer… still am, even though I practice every summer… :)


Hi Vicki,
You are my early morning mantra. Thank you for all you share.
Sleepless nights no longer a problem. I just roll with it. Down by 10p, up by 2a, reach out for e-toys, out again in two.
It’s definitely coffee in the morning, and a slow, lingering one to start my day.
My two shihtzus, Coco and Marcel, are my exercise pals. And a lady named Amy.
Wannabe French. French no wannabe me. But persevering.
Always with my phone or pad. Always.
Thrilled to be a “Lola” next month (“grandma”, in case you’re wondering)
My middle name is Manhattan. It used to be Manila. Came to this country 35 years ago.
Yearly jaunts to France, but first, I check your archives for to-do’s and to-buys!
Born with black straight Asian hair. Dying to have long tight curls.
Grey is a problem. Colour is a friend. Have gone bronze copper red.
My nails are red. A signature.
My lips go red too.
Crazy for high heels. Used to be. Knees and cold weather don’t go together.
Love to wear cloche in winter. Nothing in the summer…ooops!
I cook. I bake. I eat. Am a food fan.
Started my bread biz last year, Bread and Passion. Re-energizing it this year – from bread dough to bread site. Would love to blog too. Please visit.
Again, thank you.


I am 60 going on 15.
Went grey so I could go blue, green or hot pink, depending on mood.
Shop and eat seasonally at the local twice weekly farmer’s market.
Love the bleak beauty of the Picardy coast in winter, especially the storms.
The view from my bedroom is that of the highest chalk cliffs of continental Europe.
In fact, other than a 5 year stint in Paris, have lived in Picardy for the past 22 years.
Cannot write with a ballpoint pen.
Need to be near the sea and the forest.
Got my doctorate in archaeology at the Sorbonne.
Very lazy about keeping up a blog.
Love to read but hate to write.
Was born in Cuba, where I can trace my ancestry to the 16th century.
Can only eat dark chocolate.
Speak fluent French, English and Spanish.
Have three shih-tzus.


oh Vicki I love this. Great minds think alike. I wrote a blog post last night similar – 14 things about me. I have it set to publish on Saturday morning if you want to take a look. Looking forward to following your lovely blog in 2014 and seeing you achieve all your dreams :O) Michelle


ah….Let’s see….
I used to have curly hair, but going gray, even with dye, it is thinning out(used to be very thick) and going straight…
I eat dark chocolate almost every day…
love cheese, but have been cutting back and eating only goat or sheep’s milk cheese…
I love to quilt, and have been doing lots of it lately (I am working on one right now which is on my blog)
I am a librarian, without a library, always striving to find the perfect book…
exercise if that includes walking the dogs
dream of going to France, returning to England, Scotland, Ireland
love to cook and experiment with new recipes (but recipes are more of a guideline don’t you think?)
have two wonderful grown daughters, one is married and look forward to a future with grandchildren
I love gardening and going out to pick fresh veggies or herbs from right outside the door is thrilling
I love to read and explore your blog and others
Pinterest is to blame for many things I have created
I love to entertain, putting into use all those things I have collected
I love neat and tidy, but it never stays that way for long….but I strive to have a place for everything
I am always early even when I try to be a little late
I love a good nap, and my dog has learned to wake me in 20 mins, Really!
I couldn’t survive without a cup(or two) of coffee in the morning, but can’t drink it past noon…


Hi, Vicki,

Coming a little late to this party since I have been to your homeland for Christmas-NewYear’s and it was oh so wonderful!! First time for the family and we LOVED it! Sydney, Melbourne, Port Douglas and more. Was there with my beloved husband of 33 yrs plus two of our three kids–all in their 20’s. The oldest couldn’t take the time off work and he is getting married this year so an exciting new phase for all of us! I love your blog for so many reasons but one important one is the acknowledgment of this special time in our lives and the opportunities that become available for reinvention. So exciting!

Uncanny how similar your readers are to you and to each other–I too have read all of the comments with interest!

Here is my list–
+curly/frizzy hair that is getting more manageable as I age
+lost 30 lbs 1 1/2 yrs ago and best thing I could have done for myself-now I share my J Crew pieces with my 20 yr old! this year will be working on being more fit not just trim. LOVE food and wine so it has been an education and an effort to get here
+loved school/still love learning
+adore traveling!!!
+optimistic and enthusiastic
+treasure family and friends
+grew up in LA, now live in Washington,DC (even tho humidity is not my friend)
+favorite past time–working in the garden while listening to an audio book
+dark chocolate
+tea not coffee
+always on time
+list maker

Thank you for your wonderful blog and for asking us to share!

Cara (Twinthusiast)

Love your list, Vicki.
Just a few from me: Am a dinosaur of my generation and am still holding out against the smart phone craze.
Just did a total re-haul of my wardrobe now that I’ve hit my 30s and feel much more like a put together woman.
Must have 3 good books in queue on my nightstand.
Love the impact of big statement earrings.
Finding a balance between working from home and corralling two young children!
Read your blog for smiles and inspiration.

Heather in Arles

Oh. My. Goodnessgracious! Whew. Yep, even though I have been away for a couple of weeks and haven’t even attended to my own blog, I honestly could not tear myself away from this until I read every single response. It took forever and I feel slightly dizzy by it all. I do. In a good way. :) This says mucho about the trust that you inspire in your readers, Madame.

Alrightly, time to roll up my sleeves and give it a whirl:

I am a hopeless romantic but if you are so foolish as to try and harm my dogs in any way I will become Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull.
If you need the shirt on my back, you can have it.
Don’t bother trying to talk to me before I have had my first cup of coffee.
I don’t really like talking on the phone.
My Mom is my best Girlfriend.
I keep cutting my hair even though you told me (correctly) to stop and let it grow back out.
Speaking of hair, as a redhead I am firmly convinced that we are not cut of the same cloth as other humans.
One of the houses I lived in while growing up was haunted. So yes, I have seen a ghost and the thought of “him” still puts shivers up and down my spine. Seriously.
I will always take the cheese course rather than dessert.
If it weren’t for my dogs and money were no option, I would spend my life travelling and sharing what I discovered.
I used to be able to know who was calling when the phone would ring but that freaked me out so I don’t anymore.
I also used to be (I don’t thiiink I still am) a phenomenal bargain hunter. An example? A backless velvet Ralph Lauren purple label cocktail dress (still have it) marked down from $595 to $19.99.
When I was a wild young ‘un, I was Gothic and wore a black veil from time to time!
I find unkindness shocking.
Given the choice between old and new, I will most certainly prefer old, unless we are talking about food.
I can become embarrassingly shy in group situations. As in blushing bright red.
I am seemingly less and less interested in eating meat but might have a burger twice a year.
I can eat my weight in sushi and have drank Russian men under the table with vodka.
Candlelight is almost as good as sunshine for me.
The gloaming is my favorite time of day and the only time I see sunrise is when I have a plane to catch.
Aaaand, one just to be different: I agree with Tom Ford in that there is something exceptionally chic about a woman that doesn’t carry a handbag.

Tadah! Oh, that was fun. :) Now, I really, really need to leave French Essence and get busy (ps to add to the list: no, I am definitely not a workaholic)!
Gros Bisous,

Linda Merrill

Hi Vicki and Happy New Year! What a fun post! Hmmm, a few things about me:
– Like you, I can’t sleep without an eye mask
– I torture my wavy hair straight
– I play the flute and studied professionally, now I teach private lessons one day a week. Love teaching the kids, still love the instrument
– I’m not afraid of heights, but have a huge fear of falling.
– I’ve been to Paris many times, but never Washington DC. And given a choice, I’d always pick Paris!


What a delicious read. Loved reading everyone’s comments. Love roses, pearls, champagne, oysters, Paris, my vegie garden in the country, travel, the beach, classical music, Italy (especially Venice), open fires, Angel perfume, Italian food, walking (but not exercising), retirement (after a 35-year career as a court reporter, which I also loved), baths, Pinterest, family (two grown up kids and a starter husband of 50 years) and I know he and I are going to love celebrating that milestone when we come to Le Petit Bijou in June! Can’t wait.


Happy New Year Vicki!
Nice to hear more about you.

A little about me:

Curly/flyaway hair is the bane of my life – a pain in boarding school years
Always been a Francophile – love brocantes and flea markets
Studied to be a School Dental Nurse – dreamt of a florist shop in Paris
Café culture – meeting a friend for a latte and to chew the fat (goss)
Love my garden – think Sissinghurst – in my dreams!
Queen of the list makers – DD has caught the bug.
5’10 so I wear ballet flats and boots. Haven’t worn heels for years!
Window seats, shutters, silver, china, flowers, linen, chintz, candles
Bellinis rock
Restoring an old classic launch with my love
“You can’t fatten thoroughbreds” still rings in my ears
Now it’s Dukan, Atkins, South Beach, Mediterrean
Often race upstairs and forget why…?
Happy at home – life is beautiful
I dot the i’s and cross the t’s – not always perfectly!
Annual trips to France to have cuddles with my three granddaughters
Love textiles, cashmere, linen, tweed, velvet, lawn
Can’t sleep without ear plugs!
Finally at 70 I’m happy in my own skin
I’ve thrown caution to the wind and let the greys take over.

Loved your post on grey hair Vicki – confirmed it for me!


Leota Mayr

Long straight hair, mostly gray, I highlight it to meld whatever blond I have left with the new gray.
I retired this summer and am still on a learning curve with my new life. The transition is taking form as I devote more time to all the things that I skimmed while I was busy with work and family.
I am a physical and very active person, and have always been that way, I love yoga and a few years ago I began strength training – which I really like but I have to work to put myself in a frame of mind and focus to be able to meet the challenge. I started doing it because it is good for me and I continue because I have grown to need it and love it and I have a fantastic trainer.
I have 2 shelter dogs of a varied but noble lineage, ages 11 and 5. Currently, their favorite pass time is lying in front of the wood stove. I live in the Northeast in the US, in a rural area. I love to garden, I primarily grow herbs and flowers, flowering bushes, and trees to attract the birds. I am studying herbalism and use what I grow in teas, tinctures and oils. This year I will grow some berries; raspberries, blueberries and elderberries. I love the look of bittersweet.
I love my home and am a rooted person, although I enjoy reading about different places I have not traveled much. That may change, it isn’t that I did not want to travel but the opportunities were not there.
I read this blog because it reminds me how beautiful life can be, I see it in the incredible photos that Vicki posts (thank you, Vicki!) in the stories and responses from other readers. I make time to appreciate the beauty and the time I have to take part in it.
I am remembering how good it feels to take time for myself.
And I like gold hoop earrings


This year I am living my life as I would my dream life! Instead of wanting to be here or there, this or that, working at a better place, wanting to be in another city, wishing my children were this or that, instead of all that: seeing right now this is what I have, and embrace it fully, love it, don’t fight it. make it beautiful.
I am not saying deny my dreams! but that in focusing on dreams disproportionately it can cause one to de-value the blessings and little beauties of the life at your fingertips.
Make the one (the life) you have become your dream by loving it fully…
Remember the episode from “Paris je t’aime” about the older couple and his terminally ill wife he was ABOUT to leave….?
Yeah, that’s what I mean…


Hi Vicky,

I found you via your books which I cherish. I am a beauty/style writer for a small newspaper but my real “voice” is on my blog.

I have stick straight hair and envy curly. Haven’t had a suntan since 1980. Have one precious daughter that I raised all by myself to wholeness.

Something I wrote was read by Oprah and I ended up on her show one day. Have an identical twin.

Love the ’60’s and ’70’s and dream about them alot. Especially the clothes and the things I wore to school.

Believe that personal style can help one overcome life’s tragedies and sadness. Grew up in Boston and loved it. Live in a small fishing village in New England now, right next to the sea.

Can still hear my grandmother’s voice in my head.

Donna at alovelyinconsequence.blogspot

helen tilston

I loved reading about you and your followers.
I admire your skills and discipline.

I have long straight, thick hair.
I love to learn daily
From childhood I was creating, furze bushes decorated as Christmas trees for our cowshed. I learned to knit at age 4 yrs old and each Sunday from age 7 through 14, I wore a different knitted hat to church, on Monday the hat would be unravelled and a new one knitted.One of my creations became famous in our area and I received commissions.Later designed knitwear.
I am obsessive and spend 6 days a weeks painting.
I love to run/walk and do so each day by the ocean
I love dogs and all animals
I have no love for chocolate
I love fashion and good design. Quality over quantity
One of a kind over mass produced
Love seafood and fresh organic vegetables
I rarely watch TV
I love radio
I love Charlie Rose and his interviews
I love architecture
I love reading and am selective in my choices.
My biggest joy is travelling to a new place where I have never been.
I have owned a cappucino machine since living in Australia, a long time ago and where I acquired a taste for good coffee.

Looking forward to your future posts, Vicki
Thanks for this subject


Wow, so many amazing and lovely comments. I too have curly hair, I had a braid down my back until I was around 16 and my mother cried when I cut it. I still regret that:) I live near NYC and love it, love the opera, went to my first one last year and am hooked on Lincoln Center, it’s amazing. I do love to travel have been to Europe but sadly never to France, but I will get there one day. I have 3 teenagers, 2 girls and one boy, they are the joy of my life. Love French perfume, French accents, French pastries, basically everything French. Love gardening and adore your photos Vicki of your outrageous garden, it’s divine. Thank you for this blog, it has been an inspiration to me. I too can still hear my grandmother’s voice; am grateful for my sisters and for my childhood friends. Live for my morning coffee, but love my tea in the afternoon and love my last cup at night. Love the moon and the sea, and winter and snow and long for a fireplace. I love museums. Enjoy Pinterest, baking and cooking special dinners for my family I love reading, we lived around the corner from the library when I was a kid and we would go sometimes twice a day.I like making things, crocheting, knitting and embroidery. My dog is a cockapoo named Oreo and of course he’s black and white my two favorites colors:) Looking forward to an inspiring 2014!


Hi Vicky……
WHAT A WONDERFUL IDEA TO WELCOME A NEW YEAR…..sharing who we are and appreciating the beauty in each other!! I love reading your blog. You are a discerning observer, appreciating the lovely in life…places, people, and things…..while never being condescending to those who might never see the advantages you have had. Your postings often give needed respite to the days of others. That is a gift.
So, here is my contribution to the celebration of the many parts that make this whole world spin:

I was born in June over six decades ago….fitting, since I adore that golden, bee-buzzing, “What is so rare as…” month!
The ocean makes my heart sing…..I feel completely at home beside it!
Love collecting shells, watching sunsets, listening to the squeals of children rushing the waves.
Swoon over Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, and, be-still-my-heart, George Clooney.
Love old movies……can watch blissfully, for hours, on a cold or rainy day, snuggled under a soft throw.
Nothing in the world sweeter to me than the sound of a little child’s laughter (except the laughter of my grown children).
Love dark chocolate, roasted asparagus, and shrimp in any recipe! And my mother’s southern pound cake (now mine to bake and share, as she did hundreds of times)!
Have tried, over the last decade, to become more aware and diligent about eating healthier and at least walking to get more exercise. Still love my Starbucks Chai Tea Latte (nonfat:) and real Coke (weekends only).
And, always, tea at home in the morning!
Taught elementary students for over 2 decades before No Child Left Behind left ALL children behind.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Gilead, Home, The Book Thief……favorite books of all time! Christmas Gift by Ferrol Sams up there, also!
Love reading……as necessary as water to my daily life!
The better part of me is the result of much love and inspiring influence from dear ones before me.
Peonies, roses, hydrangeas, daffodils, and amaryllis! Candles and old silver and my Haviland china.
Lover of blue and white transferware, porches, book fairs, antique browsing, walks on the beach.
Favorite places….Charleston, Washington, D.C., Anna Maria Island, Highlands, N.C., St. Simons Island, Southern California …..because our children are there!
Best place to be……anywhere with family and friends!
Have a still-to-be-fulfilled desire to go down the Mississippi on a steamboat.
I am not a stereotypical “Scarlet,” but I am definitely a Southern woman with humidity, Spanish moss, magnolias, four seasons, covered casseroles, etc. in my soul.
Love furniture pieces with family history, watercolors, framed photos, and shelves filled with books and pretties with stories.
Started a love affair with all things French when in my late 40s and see no sign of that love affair dying.
May never see Paris, but will continue the dream….and, meanwhile, view it vicariously through folks like Vicky.
Love music, love to sing (and whistle), and the old hymns are often what is being sung.
Alison Krauss, Andrea Boccelli, Johnny Cash, The Band Perry, Harry Connick, Jr., the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel (dates me, I know), classical music, on and on and on……the background to life is music.
I love Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Easter Sunrise…….the Joy and the Hope!
Bubble lights on my Christmas tree….vintage decorations and new……exquisite and child-made, all cherished. Favorite Christmas movie: The Bishop’s Wife.
God is my greatest faithfulness, and prayer fills each of my days.
The greatest honor of my life is in being a mother. A daughter who is beautiful on the outside and in all the ways that truly matter; a son who is the best definition of a man, who has, also, given us a dear daughter-in-law! ( I have to cover my mouth from blurting all sorts of longings for grandchildren now! ) These children, though far away, are our nearest and dearest joys.
I am, lastly, a night owl….being one now, so I will stop…….except to say that I wish all these lovely responders happiness in this coming year! The same to you, Vicky, along with another thank you for urging folks to reflect for a bit on our uniqueness and our similarities.


Hello Reeve
You write so beautifully – a rare gift – from your soul and all that you say resonates with me!
I wish you had a blog – I would be following you now!

I know that longing for grandchildren – I have three little granddaughters living in France. Hearing their voices and seeing their beautiful little faces is my greatest joy!

May all your dreams be fulfilled in 2014!


Thank you so much for your kind words! (Carolyn, too!) They moved me deeply. I do love to write, and you are right…..the words do seem to flow from my soul…..from the heart, out through the fingertips! Something I could have mentioned in the above list about myself is one of the dearest gifts I have ever received. Ever! My precious, previously-mentioned children gave me a small “published,” bound book of my writings a couple of years ago for my birthday. I had been working on a book for myself (and them) about my childhood summers with my remarkable grandparents in a small, mountaintop town in Alabama. Little did I know, as I was writing and shooting off my musings to my kids, that they would organize and bind them for me! Happy tears upon opening that gift! Maybe Vicki’s encouragement for reflection about ourselves can inspire us all to continue to persevere with things we love to do.
Thank you, again, for your kind and encouraging words! I hope you have a joy-filled new year!

Gina Roberts

Vicki…I just started blogging in the past year and came across your blog while reading Ooh La! Posted a link for your site on my blog for my tribe; your blog is beautifully inspiring and fits what I’m trying to do myself…you can check it out if you like…beginningbrooke.com…

Like many of your readers, I don’t typically post on blogs…so much to do already with writing my own blog, but I figured I’d jump in the conversation…it’s hard to get readers to do that…so I thought why not….

Here goes…

Hair somewhere between straight and body…but never one or the other…think constant cowlicks…all over my head!!!!

Love chocolate, the darker the better…cream in dishes but never in my coffee…purist…the blacker the better…same goes for the tea.

Don’t pretend to like exercise…as a matter of fact…am quite staunch in my dislike for it…though I like being active…walking, hiking, working in the yard…touring my beautiful city…Charleston, SC…hitting the beach…but unlike most sun worshipers here…sous le couvercle (under cover)…fair sensitive skin that has super pigmentation…Irish, Polish, a bit of Welsh, French and German (I’m a walking contradiction!)

Compulsion…being early or at the very least extremely prompt…disappoint myself when I’m late and do not look kindly on those that are tardy…it’s a respect thing!

Bags…shoes…bags…shoes…shoes…shoes…when nothing else feels right, the perfect accessories can make you feel like Princess Di!

Everything has it’s place…and it better be there…or else!!!!

Movies and books are where I nourish my “secret garden”! Being and introvert thrown into a world of extroverts, it is where I can go inward and replenish my creative spirit and soul! It is such a happy blissful little world in my head!

Love the ocean as long as my head is above water and I can see my feet…got caught up in a current without my glasses on and couldn’t see…total panic attack…above water works for me.

Mother’s car hit from behind when I was a child, flew from back got radio knob stuck in temple (no seatbelt laws)…rolled car (totaled) in late 20s, bit by dog…shredded upper lip, more concussions’ than I can count (no helmet laws) …stitches…accident prone…I’m still walking. (All there…maybe not! LOL)

Perfectionist and workaholic…what’s the point in doing something if you don’t go for it with gusto!

I love sleep…the kind with the dreams that make you want to stay asleep…but getting there is hard…the brain seldom wants to shut off…

Can’t re-read…unless it has been years since the last read…too many books out there to explore…

Humidity is my friend…and I love the comfort in the summer and the strange bitterness in the winter…besides…it works miracles on your skin!!!!

Want to travel…do a little…but need to do more…funding…funding…funding!!!

My son thought I was a wonderful singer when he was five…now that he’s 25…we know the truth! Won’t make cats yowl or dogs howl…but certainly not Celine!

Took psychology classes, considered Art Therapy…but then realized that I didn’t want to get into other peoples heads that much… mine is enough to deal with! Designing clothes just seemed more fun!

First job…waitress..loved it…great way to meet people and still be an introvert…it’s all from a distance!

Home’s not home without flowers and dogs!

Prefer shower over bath…but love a soak every now and then…especially with oils and pretty smells…

Dinner over party any day…parties are just too much…introvert, perfectionist…OCD…dinner over party absolutely!

Stay up late…sleeping in…pure luxury…my favorite thing…reading until you can’t keep your eyes open any more!!!!


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