16 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . .

Jul 31, 2019

On the second morning of this month of July, I checked in on someone. That someone was Notre Dame (seen above).

As I shared here, the fire that toppled the spire of the cathedral in the heart of Paris was breath-taking in the most surrealist of ways. To no longer see the spire that the French and the millions of tourists who visit each year have become accustomed to for almost two centuries is certainly odd, but rest-assured, she, the medieval cathedral, still stands.

I happened upon Square René Viviani, the small, quiet park seen in the above image, and had no idea it was just across the river’s canal from Notre Dame. I had just popped into La Maison d’Isabelle for a croissant (the boulangerie which won for the best croissant in Paris in 2018), and was en route to pass by Shakespeare & Co. which is situated adjacent to the square. Upon looking up, I saw her, and the morning sun spotlighted Notre Dame all the more.

To say I smiled at the sight of her would be a profound understatement. I stood there, grin stretched from ear to ear and nodded in appreciation and reverence (the croissant nibbling was delayed for good reason indeed). Perhaps that sounds odd, but it was just three months ago I had watched as many of you did the flames bursting from the rafters from more than 4000 miles away. And in that moment there was a calm, a reassurance, and a reminder that all is well. All will be well. And while the edifice superficially may be deeply bruised, it will heal. The injury was frightening, but it awoken what needed to be appreciated and strengthened. And so I sat down at a bench that enabled me to gaze upon this sight while I enjoyed my breakfast, and continued to be humbled by all that surrounded me and the opportunity to be where I was.

So in many ways this is a list of 17 Things That Made Me Smile, instead of 16, as I have already described one, but without question, July has been a joy and pleasure-filled month, unexpectedly so in many ways of which I will allude to below and elaborate more upon in coming weeks and months.

I hope your month as well has offered unexpectedly awesome moments, large or small, but nonetheless significant and powerful for you. As I described above, many a breath was taken away in April for quite an unwanted event, but life too has a funny way of taking our breath away in the most awesome of ways as well. We only need to remain present, slow down and savor. Now to the list of moments and experiences that made me smile this month . . .

1.Visiting and shopping at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris’ 18th arrondissement. Look for a detailed post about my visit during TSLL’s upcoming French Week here on the blog (August 11th-19th). Update! Here is the post – 11 Helpful Tips for Visiting and Shopping Marché aux Puces

~one of the many hundreds of boutique shops inside the flea market~

~oodles of Gien vintage plates, platters and dishes~

2. Finding two hotels in Paris that offered wonderful service, and one with a classic Parisian balcony to relax upon and watch the city go about its day. (stop by during French Week – August 11-19 – to learn more about each of these hotels and why I chose them – Update! Read 9 Places in Paris  I Recommend for Dining, Sleeping, Exploring and Finding the Perfect Croissant)

~Hotel Monge~

~Hotel Adèle & Jules~

3. Watching a mama duck and her three ducklings safely cross a neighborhood road, all drivers yielding thoughtfully and patiently.

4. Watching the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team win the World Cup in Lyon, France, while I was traveling in France.

5. Cooking in Susan Hermann Loomis kitchen in Louviers, Normandy, with the instruction of Susan Hermann Loomis! (read a detailed post of my 3-day cooking class experience here)

6. An early arrival of these linen striped pajamas and finding they fit and feel perfectly! Tickled beyond does not fully describe my delight. Last night, sleep was very sweet.

7. Eating French cheese in France! (every day after the main course, bien sûr!)

8. Returning to a handful of the most memorable spots in Paris that I first saw 19 years ago and reflecting (in one instance, while nibbling on a croissant).

~Jardins des Plantes~

9. Returning home to Bend and being greeted by my boys and a welcoming home.

10. Morning walks with the dogs to soak up the sunshine, delight with all of the bird activity, take in the beauty of the variety of flowers in bloom and sometimes hop on the paddle board with Norman.

11. Stepping back in front of the camera to share some of my favorite recipes in preparation for the second season of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen. Half of the episodes are taped with the rest being tended to now. Look for the first episode to air Saturday September 7th. Thank you to podcast listeners for understanding the month-long break on the podcast so that I have time to produce the cooking Vodcast. The next new episode of The Simple Sophisticate will be Monday August 12th.

12. Finding many sets of knife rests at the Parisian flea markets and bringing one full set home safely without breaking it (yep, last year, I wasn’t as successful – I applied the lesson successfully thank goodness!).

13. Receiving a copy of of Sharon Santoni’s latest issue of her My French Country Home magazine – The Provence Living special. What a lovely read and escape to the beautiful south of France.

14. Enjoying touring homes in Bend’s annual Tour of Homes event as I do nearly every year, and finding something rather special. Stay tuned … or just click here ?.

15. Watching the Tour de France travel about the country and conclude biking through the Louvre main courtyard directly past the Louvre pyramids before they made the final eight laps to the finish line on the Champs Elysees. This was the first time this route has been part of the race, according to the commentators.

16.  Hearing from listeners of the podcast as they helped me solidify which categories to choose as Apple podcasts has expanded the options and eliminated the original category the podcast was listed. After looking at your feedback, the three categories I have chosen are a broadening of #2 to Society & Culture; keeping #1 – Education: Self-Improvement; and selecting Leisure: Home & Garden for #3 rather than “Art” as Society and Culture seems to cover those topics for the podcast. Thank you to everyone who DMed me Monday on IG. I appreciate immensely your feedback.

And with two more days of July left, who knows what wonderful moments are still waiting to be enjoyed. Wishing your final days in the month of July delight and draw a smile or two to your day.


~10 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . .  (June 2019)

~10 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (May 2019)

~11 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (April 2019)

~13 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (March 2019)

~10 Things That Made Smile This Month, So Far . . . (February 2019)

~12 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, (January 2019)

~13 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . , (December 2018)

~10 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . ., (October 2018)

~10 Things That Made Me Smile This Week, (September 2018)

~20 Things That Made Me Smile This Week, (August 2018)

Image: TSLL capturing of Notre Dame on July 2, 2019 in Paris

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