9 Aug 2016

Her Point Of View: Anita Rivera

Her Point Of View, Anita Rivera on vickiarcher.com
Let me introduce Anita.

Anita is a photographer, a poet and a woman with a beautiful aesthetic. She has been a long time reader and I look forward to our exchanges here each day. I learn so much from Anita; her glowing outlook on life makes me view the world in a different way.

Meet Anita,

Anita Rivera, Minnesota, JULY 2016

How would you describe yourself?

I’m ambitious and focused. I’m self-taught in music. At the age of 34, I taught myself French and went back to university during night classes. It took me 17 years to earn a B.A. in French, a M.A. in education and two public school teaching licenses. After working for about 14 years as a French teacher, I decided I also wanted to be a poet.

Self-taught and now belonging to a poetry group, I am working toward getting at least one poem published in a real poetry journal. My next ambition is to improve my photography and share it on a grander scale. I’m an extrovert, but I can easily revert to solitude in order to connect with my creative muse.

Tell us about your day-to-day life?

During the school year, I teach French in one of the best school districts in Minnesota. I literally run from my classes (in heels) at the high school to the adjacent middle school where I also teach. In the evenings, I relax with my husband while we either read or write poetry or I play my harp. During the summer months, I devote my time to photography and poetry writing in the quiet setting of our garden and home.

Her Point Of View, Anita Rivera on vickiarcher.com

Are you the woman you imagined you would become?

No. I’ve become more. I always said that I couldn’t be like my mother, i.e., uneducated, not trained to be in the work force, etc. I have done more than my mother ever dreamed of doing, but years later, I now look at myself and all I want to do is be like her: kind, wise, slow to speak but quick to listen, a beautiful spirit. Just coming to that realisation after achieving beyond my family’s expectations was an unexpected turn in my maturity.

What are the valuable life lessons you have all figured out?

Stay humble, keep learning and constantly observe life with wonder in order to find more below your surface and that of others. Treat others the way they should be treated and hold everything out lightly because the only thing we possess are the intangible rewards of a life well-loved.

What do you like most about yourself? What do you like the least?

I like that I seem to have aged slowly, that I’m energetic, positive and a good dancer! I love my skin, eyes and hair. What I like the least about myself is my inability to control my tears in certain circumstances. On my small frame, the largest thing about me are my hips which makes wearing certain articles of clothing difficult, however, that one “flaw” has helped me be creative in how I wear my clothing.

Her Point Of View, Anita Rivera on vickiarcher.com

What do you like most about getting older? What do you like the least?

I’m not getting old. I’m growing up.

If you are positive, you will see that wisdom in any measure is an opportunity for learning new things. What I don’t like is realising you don’t have much time to accomplish everything you’d like and that the world at large sees ageing as the end. I see it as the beginning of becoming the soul you were born to be.

What’s your favourite way to dress? Do you have a signature style?

My signature style at work is a combination of Chanel and Amélie all rolled into one!

Since I work during the fall and winter months, black tights, boots of various heights and sweaters with white blouses and pearls are what any of my students could verify is my style. During the summer vacation months, I love my crisp white shirts, boyfriend jeans and espadrilles. Shorts are reserved only for gardening or recreation! I also love to wear diamond studs; as I have aged, I keep my jewellery to a minimum.

Do you have a beauty secret to share?

Eat like the French, i.e., minimal to no snacking, eat plenty of unprocessed foods, lots of fruits, vegetables, lots of water, exercise, but most of all, be happy and give of yourself to others by being a good listener.

Wear make-up to enhance what you have, not to create what you don’t have.

Her Point Of View, Anita Rivera on vickiarcher.com

What’s on the bucket list?

See the Cotswolds and the Lake District, revisit France, publish a book of my memoirs, and one of my poetry and photography.

If you could change one thing in the past, what would you do differently?

I would have gone to college immediately after high school to study journalism.

What age do you feel right now?

Physically, I feel 20 years old. Spiritually, I feel like a child, mentally, I feel ageless.

Simply put, I am a learner with no restrictions on what I can accomplish with hard work.

Who would play you in a movie?

Any European queen in history, so I can wear a crown! Really!

Anita has the most beautiful Instagram account, follow here HERE.

images anita pelayo rivera

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Taste of France

Oh, I love Anita and Castles, Crowns and Cottages. She does the dreamiest photography, accompanied by the dreamiest poetry. She is positive without being saccharin. She celebrates beauty without being twee. That is so difficult, especially with poetry. She hits all the right marks.

Anita Rivera

WOW. Vicki and “Taste of France”, thank you both. Your comments here mean so much to me. As a burgeoning poet, it is a high compliment that one’s work is not overly sentimental but that the words hit the mark to the heart and mind. As a reader and participant in the daily conversation here with Vicki, I am honored beyond writing my joy into words. The layout is outstanding, Vicki! My photos look wonderful! LOL! Your gracious, daily invitation to conversation is a brilliant way to making blogging as three dimensional as possible. You handle the topics of fashion, beauty, health and lifestyle in a way that makes us reconsider our own choices or embrace them more fully, feeling even better about who we are in our own skin.

Merci mille fois chère amie! Anita

P.S. I will be back many, many times!

Mimi Gregor

Anita, I love your description of your clothing style: a combination of Chanel and Amelie. That could very well describe my tastes as well. I’d love to rummage through your closet!

Mary Sullivan

What an amazing, beautiful lady! I have always enjoyed her comments here on your blog.
Her outlook on life is so positive, her photography glorious, and I wish her well in having
her poetry published (even her quotes are awesome), and in fulfilling all her dreams.. . . . . somehow I feel she definitely will!

Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners

Such a pleasure to read this interview with my friend, Anita. She is such a unique individual with her lively conversations and lyrical laughter. Her talents are limitless and I love that she shares her views of the world with us.
Thanks so much, Vicki. Your site is fantastic and I’m going to enjoy roaming around!


Anita is simply LOVELY. I had the wonderful fortune of meeting her in Minneapolis last year. She is beautifull…she is TALENTED beyond words…but most important she has the kindest soul of any woman I have ever met! I do hope Vicki that you and Anita meet some day…oh what fun you will have together! Thank you for sharing Anita with the world…and thank you for writing such a heartfelt blog everyday…❤️


This is a lovely interview. I have read Anita’s thoughtful comments on your blog and it is so nice to know more about her. I will check out her blog.
Vicki, your posts are always informative and inspirational. Love that you cover lifestyle, fashion, skincare, travel and so much more. Keep it up!

Sarah in Michigan, USA

Angela Muller

I loved, loved, loved this post and your introduction to Anita. Castles, Crowns and Cottages is absolutely delightful, and it was wonderful to better discover her many talents through your great interview. This was a joyous read!


How lovely to read about Anita! I always look forward to reading her thoughtful, sensitive and beautifully written posts. And she’s beautiful, too!


What a beautiful insight into Anita. I have read her blogposts for many years, and like you, feel like we are friends. Lately I haven’t has as much time as I had before to read her writing and interact, but Anita is a woman I am so drawn to, she is so interested in the world and others, with a rich inner world, I too feel like we could be great friends. Thank you Vicki, for giving us a glimpse into other women, it is always amazing to me how more alike than different we all are. Xo

Linda B

How delightful to read all about Anita! I have often so enjoyed her comments to your writing, Vicki. I feel a kinship with her as a lifelong learner, a teacher, an artist. And–I adore Minneapolis, having lived there for 10 years when I was just out of college. (I am lucky to get back there every few years, as my husband still has family there.) Thank you, Anita, for sharing your wit and wisdom with us!

Linda C. In Seattle

Anita’s poetry speaks volumes.
It evokes all the memories stashed amongst the scattered pages of time.
She brings love and friendship to all who know her work, weather
it is her written word or photography.


So beautiful! Sometimes, when you least expect it, you are blessed when you get to meet the most beautiful and wise people like you and Anita. I have met some incredible people via social media!


Vicki, This is a BEAUTIFUL post, and so fun to read…. about my dear friend Anita.
We ‘met’ through blogging many years ago and she became an instant friend, as she has to many!
Don’t you adore Anita’s outlook on LIFE and her enthusiasm for living it to the fullest?!? Her kindness and interest in others is unrivaled. Thank you for sharing her beauty here!
~ Violet

Lisa Thomson

Fantastic interview, Vicki. Hi Anita! I feel as though I know you already from your consistent comments here at French Essence. I like how you’ve highlighted Anita’s answers and collaborated them with her images. Beautiful!

david terry

Oh…..so this is the lady who does (is there a single verb for the matter?) “Castles, Crowns, and Cottages”? I subscribed to that a while back and enjoy it greatly.

In any case, what a lovely (I mean that) interview…particularly Ms. Rivera’s comments about her mother. When I initially started reading those, I thought “Uh-Oh…what if your mother reads blogs and comes across this?….and then Anita pulled-out that full-stop save at the end of her comments (so to speak). I expect Anita’s comments about her own mother would make any mother cry (happily).

And just for the public record? I lent “My French Country Home” to a new-ish friend hereabouts. A few days later, we had the WEIRDEST conversation about your first book. She liked it, of course, but I eventually realized (this took a while) that she thought the entire thing was a fictionalized, sorta-franch-fantasy, faux-memoir. I’m not sure if she was disappointed or pleased to hear that, no…..”My French Country Life” IS, en verite, Vicki Archer’s life…..and Vicki Archer is a real-life, eating/drinking/writing woman who actually lives in that house and whom I’ve actually visited. Quite frankly, I think she was mildly disappointed to learn the truth.

In the same vein?…years ago, I taught at a fancy boarding school with, among other faculty, a man who drove off on midnight jaunts at least twice per week (trust me….bored students are watching every single movement faculty members make). The students whispered to me about his nocturnal ramblings and conjectured about his rampant&lurid sexual doings, etcetera. Eventually, I got around to simply asking him where he went, and I mentioned that the students all thought he was a real Casanova, hound-dog. Turns out that his brother (whom he’d never mentioned) owned a local funeral home. Since state-law forbade transporting bodies on the interstate during daylight hours, he’d been spending two nights per week riding along with his brother and at least one corpse, keeping them company……which wasn’t at all the lurid fantasy my students had concocted.

In any case, I’ll look forward to more of your real-life interviews. This one with Anita was really joyful.

Thanks as ever,
David Terry

Brenda Boynton

Love her style and her unbounding spirit. I’m a follower now! Any way to find out where to get those floral slipper/scuffs?

Anita Rivera

Brenda, thank you! Those slippers were a rare find at a great antique store here in town. They are new, as many of the products in that store were accompanied by French antiques. They are luxurious! Anita


My undergraduate major was French. I did the study abroad in Aix-en-Provence. My masters degree is in education, also. Small world. I love France like a second home!

Anita Rivera

It’s so lovely to see many friends here who I know and people’s names I run across in Blogland. Thank you everyone! Anita


I enjoyed your interview with Anita very much and smiled at Anita’s answers. Anita’s loss of her Mother 29 years ago (or about) has truly guided her into understanding her adulthood. Through a friendship built on emails and phone conversations I value, respect, love and enjoy her wanderlust and desire for greatness in each and every passing day. Vicki I hope you plan a series of interviews, for I truly will look forward to them.


I am Vera… I am really enjoying putting them together and introducing you to some of my favourite people.. :)

david terry

Please do write more of these interviews, Vicki….this one was lovely (and, yes, I’venoticed that a lot of folks have had the same reaction to it).


David Terry

Anita Rivera

Hello Vera! Yes, you are correct. Losing both my parents when I was very young has forced me to embrace life as much as possible. Vicki, I can’t wait to meet everyone you feature!


A creative and wise woman. Love her notion “’I’m not getting old. I’m growing up.”


I have tears steaming as I read this beautiful interview with Anita and all the comments that follow. What an inspiring woman! Thank you Vicki for sharing Anita with us.

Anita Rivera

Hello Sally-Ann! Thank you for your beautiful comment here. It’s been a fun conversation with everyone today!

Wendy Wainwright

Hi Vicki! As soon as I saw that photo, I knew you were talking about Anita! What a gorgeous article about her. I have followed her for many years with her Castles, Crowns and Cottages blog and now on Instagram. Her images and words are truly inspirational and what a lovely soul she is. Thank you for sharing her story. I have loved reading all about this beautiful woman!

Our French Oasis

A thought provoking, wise and highly inspritational “point of view”. I simply adore Anita’s photography on IG and I have loved learning a little more about her here. A truly beautiful person inside and out.


LOVED THE INTERVIEW………..LOVED THE PHOTOS of YOU DANCING in the BALLROOM!YOU are a SPECIAL human being.There should be MORE people like YOU in OUR WORLD.I want YOU to add CARDS to your REPERTOIRE with your sayings………WE MUST FIND A GOOD PRINTER.Your photos as well………….
This was a DELIGHT VICKIE I look forward to MORE.

Carolyn Menadue

All of the above! I don’t think I can do justice to the wonderful sentiments expressed about Anita. What a beautiful soul she is!

Catherine 'CC' Cosenza

I thoroughly enjoyed catching up on Anita Rivera❤️ And loved reading the interview! Anita, we MUST catch up dear friend….its been WAY too long. I love hearing you are continuing to chase after your dreams! ? As always…everything you touch with your creative flair, I love! ~CC

Debra Sams

I truly enjoy reading the interview of Anita Rivera. What a lovely lady! Such simple pleasure that made a grand statement. Much food for thought. Thank you so much for sharing.


This is one of the most feel-good and inspiring posts. Anita’s attitude to life, learning and being passionate and focused is simply inspiring. This is how we all need to lead our lives, being humble, being warm, being compassionate and being Passionate about life.

Penny White

So nice to meet you, Vicky. I truly enjoyed your interview with Anita.. We connected years ago through our blogs, and was blessed to meet her and her dear husband in person. We met for lunch in Orange County on one of her visits to California.. We had such a great time. That is a memory that will be cherished forever.. Anita is truly one-of-a kind.. I love her childlike heart, her kindness, creativity and imagination. I am blessed to call her my friend.
Thank you for this enjoyable interview with Anita.


I am a big fan and longtime reader of Anita’s blog so I am really enjoying a behnd-the-scenes peek at who she is beyond the camera, the exquisite photos, the poetic words. Beautifully composed interview, Vicki, and Anita — you continue to amaze me all the more!


I have gotten to know the sweet and incredible Anita through blogland. This interview describes her so well and I enjoyed getting to know her even more. Anita is a creative soul with so much more to do and share in this world. Anita’s creative joy is always intoxicating. Love love her beautiful and creative soul. Hugs dear friend.


Anita has such a wonderful spirit. Her gift for inspiring others is truly remarkable. I am so grateful that she gently held my hand a few years ago as I ‘tiptoed’ into the wonderful world of blogging! Anita’s beautiful words and images will certainly make her dreams a reality! ?


Thanks Anita, thanks Vicki. I love so much your positivity Anita! I need this especially right now so I am just soaking it in!


Dear Vicki, this is a glorious, magnificent portrait of a true artist, and the kindest woman I know.
I was incredibly blessed the day Anita Rivera came into my life. Thank you for featuring and honoring Anita, who is a treasured friend and inspiration to so many people! BRAVA!!!

Anita Rivera

WOW. With much gratitude I read these lovely words by long-time friends and women I am glad to meet for the first time. Vicki, again, your generosity is an example of what people can do to uplift others, to build a better world. Many hugs to you and this is going to be a REALLY FUN series to follow as we meet other readers and friends! Merci mille fois, toutes mes amies!

Tristan Robin Blakeman

I have followed Anita for several years now – I find her photography, words – prose or poetry – and unerring eye for the beauty in details and quality to be in inspiring and enriching. I enjoyed this interview with her so much! Thanks so much for asking questions which illuminated sides of her I hadn’t seen before.

Southern DayDreams

Love this interview with my dear friend Anita. She is such a beautiful soul with an inspiring character. I enjoyed reading her answers and finding new things I did not know about my friend. We email and chat within blogland but this interview was special. Anita shares a grace that many try to find in their lives. Beautifully written!

Sandra Sallin

This woman is fabulous. I desperately need her cards and sayings. Please. Everything about Anita is poetry. I love learning more about her. Todays post is a real treat for the soul. Thank you.
I must not leave without saying I adore her eye for beauty and her words that move me.


Most beautiful feature about a most beautiful friend.
Keep soaring, Anita fairest!

Nancy Reinke

Anita is a treasure! So happy to see her featured here. (Hi Anita! Love you, pretty lady!)


I just adore Anita, she is truly a wonderful lady and a great artist. I have enjoyed reading more about her today and learning that we have so much in common…especially that we share the same fashion style, especially in the winter! Thank you for sharing!

Anne Woodyard

I eagerly follow Anita’s igram account, and I’m sure you must have “introduced ” me to her, Vicki – merci beaucoup! What a pleasure to learn more about this lovely woman!

Mary Levy

Hello Vicki,
My name is Mary Levy. I am a French teacher in Portland, Oregon and fell in love with your blog a couple of years ago. I’ve also always been intrigued by your friend Anita Rivera’s comments, so was pleasantly surprised to see your entry for the 9th was about her. Anita, you are amazing. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in your classroom. I bet your energy is inspiring.

Anita Rivera

Bonjour, Mary Levy! Pleased to meet you here! It’s been an inspiring week being a part of Vicki’s world here, and I’m glad to meet even more lovely women through her site. School is starting soon for me, and I assume for you too! Bonne année scolaire! Anita


How perfectly lovely to learn more about Anita, she is an incredibly kind, gifted lady. I love that she sees the perfect gift as giving someone her undivided attention – that is such a good answer and sums up exactly why Anita is so special.


Dearest Vicki!
I express gratitude for your feature of Anita. She is a woman who inspires me to grow in life and love every day.
This “Her Point of View” series of yours in brilliant!

Nancy Comer

Thank you for featuring Anita. What a unique, fascinating, delightful and lovely lady. Her work is absolutely mesmerizing and always thought-provoking! What an outstanding interview!


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