Monday, September 30, 2013

Secrets of good health...

I just returned from France, visiting my mom who was undertaking yet another surgery. I spent a week with her in the hospital in Agen,we chatted into the night and it was so wonderful to be present and share with her these grueling days of pain. I have to admit, I was in a sad shape myself when I boarded the plane to Paris. I was still dealing with Lyme disease and a nasty case of whooping cough! whooping cough... that is supposed to be for the kiddies.... well, be aware, especially my fellow texan friends, there is an epidemic of this nasty disease in Texas... 

On a bright note, the weather was gorgeous, I love France in the last days of summer. The french take extremely good care of their nutrition and their health and I will share with you France's 12 secrets of health to leave a long life..

.1. Adopt the hunter-gatherer menu (as demonstrated by my friend Pat in our Maine farm)

My friend Pat gathering lunch ingredients

Morning: green tea rich in antioxidants, fresh fruits,  one boiled egg every other day, 1 slice of multi grain bread with a spoon of raw honey,or a goat milk yogurt

getting ready to milk the cow

Lunch:start every meal with 2 large glasses of water
meat only 2 to 3 times a week, preferably lean meats, turkey, duck, chicken
fish twice a week, seasonal fresh vegetables, preferably steamed, avoid salt and use coriande, fennel, garlic powder, pepper. for desert, fresh fruits in season.

Fresh milk..

Mid afternoon snacks: fresh fruits,dry fruits, apricots, prunes,almonds, walnuts

Dinner:Don't forget your 2 glasses of water, eat light, cabbage consome is a great protector of our cells, salad with its B9 vitamin and fiber with walnut oil.If you are not the type to exercise, a slice of cheese and bread and baked fruits. 
If you are the active type, you can add white chicken meat,egg,or fish and fresh fruits with rice, excellent as a protector against breast cancer.

Not only the ingredients are important, but also the manner in which they are prepared. Avoid saturated fats, eat natural products if the are available to you. It is critical that you take time to eat, eat slowly, it will help with fighting weight gain.

.2.Don't eat until you are full.
 One of france's famous nutritionist advises "intermittent fasting" one day a week, in lieu of 3 meals, only eat once on that day and drink a lot of water throughout the day. you will feel less tired and more energized. Restricting your food intake stresses your organism which in return will increase its defense mechanism and will protect against aging.

.3.Take in your vitamin D 

Hard at work in Thailand, taking in my Vitamin D

Vitamin D is critical against loss off calcium, reinforces our anti-bodies, helps against flues and auto immune disorders , slows down our brain cells aging process. My favorite way to take vitamin D: straight from the sun! fatty fish,eggs,will alsp provide Vitamin D

.4. Vive la Sieste! Let's have a nap

The ultimate french summer activity...a little nap.

A well deserved nap following our ascent to Kilimanjaro

Sleeping is the key to good health, it allows the organism to regenerate itself, and we should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.Lack of sleep (my case, i have the worst sleeping habits) will lead to irritability,stress,chronic fatigue, insomnia which will induce over eating. A nap (less than 30minutes) has a positive effect against cardio vascular accidents. Exercising and sun exposure are a critical regulator of our biologic clock.

-5- What about sex?


Ah L'Amour!! We french are so romantic, l'amour being the essence of life. Let's look at the medical side of love. According to british psychologist, David Weeks, one should have sex 3 times a week.This will retard the signs of I know why my dearest girlfriend whose name I will not mention looks like teeny bopper!! A healthy sex life will reduce drastically cardio vascular deceases, it will also protect against cancer.

-6- Zen

Quietly reflecting on nature, in the midst of Cambodian forest

It is a well known fact that severe emotional trauma can trigger cellular changes that lead to cancer. I have  very sadly seen the effect in my close family. To face the daily demands and stress, one should stay Zen. We should find our own way to, meditation,breathing. Meditation has proved to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure.
My meditation is nature, I quietly observe nature, breath, becomes one with my environment.

-7- Don't overdo it!

Stress is the worst accelerator of the aging process. The highest, the level of stress, the more the brain cells will be damaged. The worst case scenario is when negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, sadness last a while and one falls into a negative repeat pattern. We must absolutely try not to rehash negative thoughts, since the higher the level of strew, the worst it will affect our brain cells and our thinking process.

-8- Detox
We need to detox our environment as we constantly use chemical products in our daily life. A few things will help for a more toxic free life. In the kitchen, choose packaging and utensils in glass, stainless,ceramic. Avoid plastic bottles and packaging.Choose pans without teflon. Use natural cleaning products. When having clothes dry cleaned, aerate the clothes for a few hours, the best choice is to go to an organic dry cleaner...beware they are quite expensive. Go for natural cosmetics.

-9- Exercise your brain
As we age, we loose neurones.The logic is to exercise our brain to stay alert, avoiding loss of memory.We need to read, think, stay informed, learn something new: a musical instrument, computer program, this will strengthen the brain. Habits and repetition act as a poison to the brain. As we age, we must take risks. Changes is beneficial to the functioning and alertness of our brain. the better trained our brain is, the more we will be able to postpone neuro degenerative illnesses.

-10-Social Contacts

Our time in Maine is truly special, thanks to our family and friends

Enjoy the company of your friends. Having firneds, enjoying a social life,have a preventive role against illness. Studies have shown that isolation leads to a shorter life. In a word, to slowdown the age factor, you should enjoy 3 types of social interaction: family and close friends- our support, our source of joy, our shoulder to lean on, then our acquaintances, neighbors...we exchange ideas, have a good laugh, enjoy spending a little time together.Lastly, we should meet new people along the way, of different ages, different cultures, different social level. This new exchanges will boost our brain
Work is beneficial, as we meet new people, deal with new situations, must keep alert.The worst possible situation is to stop all activities upon retirement day. we should view retirement as a time to experience life.

-11- Don't drink and smoke
No need to add anything to that topic. Except that the great news is  (as least for me who loves my good Bordeaux wines...) Life expectancy will increase by drinking 2 glasses of wine each day. Wine being rich in antioxidant, reduces cerebral and cardiac accidents.

-12- Sport
Trekking in Africa

Exercising is the best way to delay the aging effect. It is suggested to exercise at least 30minutes per day, 5days per week. In terms of energy spent on a particular sport MET/HOUR (amount of energy spent per hour)

walking: 3.3

I love outdoor exercise. In the summer I swim every day, walk, bike . In the fall, I usually go on an annual trekking trip, winter skiing and cross country skiing and walking. I cannot stand to exercise in a gym, I tried with a trainer, by myself, but just cannot find the motivation. So, in lieu of going to a gym during the week, I walk when I can and  take the stairs instead of the escalator.

THAT'S IT! the 12 points to a good health. Thank you for "Le Point" in depth article.

Bonne Sante,


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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Outdoor Lighting by Tekna...

To day is one of these glorious days that makes you want to hold on to summer, clear light, slight breeze, sunny, the scents, the sounds of the cicadas, all are tribute to the "perfect day"
My week end morning ritual is to enjoy breakfast in the courtyard and walk in the garden to asses the day's tasks. 

When we first move into out home, the courtyard  was an asphalt driveway and parking. There were no gardens to frame the house. The house was in urgent dire need of restoration, but landscaping became  my priority as it takes years for the landscape and garden to reach its full beauty. 

I love the way the courtyard was transformed with the mix of white, ochre and grey tiny round pebbles and the lush plantings. But one thing has been bothering me for years...there is a dead outlet above the entry door and no fixture. It is one of these things that we kept on postponing. Our electrician left to move back to Poland, and i just did not have the time to look for someone else to bring electrical wiring and power to where used to be a carriage light a century ago.(as seen on the picture above)

This brings me to the subject of outdoor lighting. In my work as a designer, I have always been searching for outdoor lighting with character that would age beautifully. It was a constant disappointment until a few years ago,when I fell upon Tekna lighting at the Paris shows. It was love at first sight...loved their fixtures and the owners are absolutely wonderful. Tekna is our leader in lighting sales in my showroom Interieurs, we also represent the collection throughout the US.
I will share my favorites from the Nautic collection.

Indoor version as shown in my Showroom

Go to to view the entire Tekna collection

A Bientôt,


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

By Invitation only...Patina..

Sky Lanterns 

On the spur of the moment, I called my close friends, my sons and their best friends, to celebrate. They asked: What is the occasion? I had to think; do we need a reason to celebrate? then it occurred to me: my friends, my family are my life... let's call the party a Celebration to Friendship! 

Almost simultaneously, I received an email from my dear friend (whom I have yet to meet in person) Marsha of Splenderosa reminding us of our September post whose theme is Patina. How perfect, let's celebrate the patina of life! Patina: "The word "patina" comes from the Latin for "shallow dish". Figuratively,can refer to any fading, darkening or other signs of age, which are felt to be natural or unavoidable (or both)." Patina or "Patine" in french, validates the imperfections developed over time. My face no longer has the purity and tightness of skin. As I look at it morning and night, I bemoan on a new tiny wrinkle, a slight brown spot. I accept that this face is a reflection of who I am, of my life. Years of skiing, swimming, trekking, of sun tanning, of worries, working, being a mother, a wife have left their marks. None of the expensive face creams in the world, or even botox, will eliminate the signs of a well-lived life. Would I want to have a perfect skin, skinny tight body...hell yes! Do I dwell on the reality of time gone by?.. not anymore. I have learned acceptance. I am thankful for a life so full, so rich, where love, friendship and passion have always been my priority. I threw myself in the myriad of preparations for this celebration. I wanted to honor my children, their friends, my friends and thank them for being part of my life. I wished for everyone, 40 of us, to feel beautiful, no matter the wrinkles on their faces. I poured my heart out to create a festive, yet dimmed environment in a house  whose beauty is due to the patina of time, to the imperfections of the stone walls, to its previous function as a horse stable and carriage house. In my design business, I celebrate the old, the rough and the perfect imperfections, the character of the furniture I upcycle or create. I look at the lines on a painter's face, and through his work, I can feel the meaning of his life. As I was emptying my living room to set up the dinner tables, I fell upon a photograph of my husband, young man of 18 at the time, sitting next to Juan Miro who was closing the chapter of his life. The contrast in this photograph struck me, here is this young man, starting his life, sitting in Juan Miro's living room. What a testimony to a creative brilliant life, were the wrinkles on that old man's face! 

The party was wonderful, everyone laughed, ate, drank, enjoying each other's company. The celebration ended in a very symbolic way. As a family, we have   spent a great deal of time in Thailand. That country has brought so much beauty, joy, and a quiet wisdom to our lives and I felt it would be a perfect ending to say goodnight to our friends late into the night by lighting traditional Sky Lanterns and watching them float off into the night sky.

All mixed arrangements with flowers from my cut flower garden

The Menu: Tapas prepared by my friends Tom and Cheryl

Paella: one of my favorite dishes... prepared by "me" and my first time cooking in years...


A Bientot,

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