Being A Little Anti-Bride-ish

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!

I recently shared that I am just four months away from my wedding (eeeeeek!)!!  In fact, I just got the call that my wedding dress has been shipped and is ready for me to pick up.  And we all know what that means: that dreaded profane FOUR LETTER WORD…

diet.

However, I just read Continue reading

~ La Presénte ~ Treat Yo Self This Summer

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and got to enjoy some relaxing time with family and friends, near or far.  I stayed near home but certainly did enjoy some time to decompress.  The last week was an intense one at the 9-7 day job, so not having planned much was exactly what my body and mind needed this past weekend!

Summer has peaked its head out previously for us in Southern California, but this weekend definitely had more of the true summer feeling to it.  Friday night here in LA was a particularly clear evening, and I walked over to a friend’s house for a cocktail and some laughs to end the night (we actually DO walk in LA).  On my way, I was floored by the brightness of the full moon – at 8:30pm, the moon shone so bright that even the dark parts of the three block walk were still well lit.

memorial day weekend, full moon, unofficial start to summer, evening moon, moonlight, moonlit sky

even the bright happy moon celebrated the long weekend!

Having caught up on some house chores, I enjoyed a nice long walk with Mr. Bings through my neighborhood in the early evening on Saturday.  It was impossible to miss the incredibly bright purple blooming Jacaranda trees bursting on nearly every street in the area – I’m kinda proud that Forbes recognized my Miracle Mile neighborhood as being one of the best areas in LA to see the Jacaranda tree during its somewhat rare bi-YEARLY blooming season!!

Jacaranda tree, purple rain, los angeles trees, biyearly bloom, unofficial summer, memorial day weekend

the gorgeous Jacaranda trees are currently in season and bursting with color.

Finally, Joe’s Restaurant in Venice was the perfect setting for a bottomless mimosa Sunday brunch with a girlfriend, followed by some ‘treat yo self‘ time at the spa!!

treat yo self, treat yourself, parks and recreation, aziz ansari, donna, spa time, massage, burke williams, joe's restaurant, venice beach, sunday brunch, mimosas, bottomless mimosas, unofficial start to summer, memorial day weekend

this weekend I enjoyed a little Treat Yo Self! time

Hopefully the short week won’t feel so long after the extended weekend… but it was certainly the perfect unofficial start to my summer.  Next on the agenda: vacation planning!  And I’m looking for inspiration and ideas – I’m tossing around a 4-5 day vacation to Hawaii, a week-long stay in Martha’s Vineyard, a 4-day stay in Big Sur and Carmel, CA, or some other great place to get away and do lots of nothing and maybe a little (or a lot) of eating fabulous food and enjoying delicious wine.  Any ideas and suggestions?  I would love to hear them!!

Have a wonderful week, mes bons amis!!

♥ – LBH

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~ La Présente ~ Milestones.

Bonjour, mes bons amis!!

I hope you had a beautiful and restful weekend!  And for those dealing with the recent crazy and violent weather, I do hope you and your family remained safe and sound.

Today marks a milestone.  Five years ago today, I met a very special person: my best friend, my confidante, the person who makes me better myself, motivates and inspires me, and makes me look forward to the next day.

When we first met, we talked about our world travels, and our love of buffalo wings, beer etc (not necessarily together).  His quiet charm, humble intellect and downright silly side, not to mention his knowledge of 90s rap, wasn’t intriguing – it was downright amazing.  And perfect.  Perfect for me.

happy anniversary, life partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, love

here’s to many more of our milestones…

It is unbelievable to see how fast five years goes by.  But I can’t wait to whiz through another five years with him, and reach more new milestones together.

Have a wonderful week, mes beaux amis!

♥ – LBH

The One Festival That Cannes Inspire

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!

I have to admit that I have had a major girl-crush on Audrey Tautou for over twelve years – ever since seeing her charm the pants off everyone in Le Fabuleaux Destin d’Amélie Poulain. So you can imagine how excited I am that she is the maîtresse de cérémonie at the 2013 Festival de Cannes happening right now!

audrey tautou, cannes festival 2013, master of ceremony, interview, amelie, cannes, france, THERESE DESQUEYROUX, french cinema, film festival

one of mon prèfèrè actrice françes et ma muse, Mademoiselle Audrey Tautou!

I will be following the highlights everyday, and I’ll be sure keep you updated with highlights and great pics – mais bîen sur!

cannes film festival, festival de cannes 2013, opening ceremony, audrey tautou, film festival, cannes, france

Le Festival de Cannes 2013 Opening Ceremony

cannes film festival, festival de cannes 2013, opening ceremony, audrey tautou, film festival, cannes, france, great gatsby cast, red carpet, leonardo dicaprio, baz luhrmann, toby mcguire, carey mulligan

Baz Lurhmann and the cast of The Great Gatsby on the red carpet

cannes film festival, festival de cannes 2013, opening ceremony, audrey tautou, film festival, cannes, france, great gatsby cast, red carpet, leonardo dicaprio, baz luhrmann, toby mcguire, carey mulligan

looking just as gorgeous and dapper as possible – biên sur!!

christoph waltz, django unchained, cannes film festival, festival de cannes 2013, opening ceremony, audrey tautou, film festival, cannes, france, red carpet, german actor

the brilliant Christoph Waltz!

And of course, I couldn’t resist sharing this exclusive video with Audrey about her Master of Ceremonies honor – yes, this video is in French, but her charm and delight are understandable in any language!audrey tautou, cannes festival 2013, master of ceremony, interview, amelie, cannes, france, THERESE DESQUEYROUX, french cinema, film festival, exclusive interview, canal plusLooks like I will have lots of film watching to do soon!  Here’s the full list of Cannes entries – winners announced May 26th!

Have a wonderful Thursday, mes beaux amis!!
♥ – LBH
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Mother’s Little Helper

Bonjour, mes bons amis!!

Have you ever felt like your body, and consequently your mind and heart somewhat too, were a bit out of sorts?  Recently I had mentioned that my sleeping habits have been changing, and doing something I was absolutely professional at and thoroughly loved, is now so much more challenging.  I’ve purchased new pricey pillows ($100 for 2 pillows convinced me they had to be great, right?), I make sure to keep the temperature cool in my bedroom, I’ve taken relaxing baths at night – I’ve even stopped watching anything scary or suspenseful after dark.  And yet, just like Mick so famously sang, at times I find myself running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper…

valium, mothers little helper, medication, self-medication, anxiety, pills, pill popping, drug addiction, vintage prescription advertisement, valium ad

Mother’s little helper, helping for over 50 years… (img: stayfreemagazine)

Let’s not get dramatic now – I’m not popping pills or the such.  But I can tell you that I understand how some people desperate for some relief end up falling down that rabbit hole.  Some believe that contrary to the plethora of technology to make life easier and give back more personal time, we’re actually being DRAINED of time.

So what to do… I thought about this on my way into work this morning.  What is it that truly reinvigorates and resets the mind, body and soul?  Besides the obvious big-budget vacation ideas, what small things can we do to feel like we’ve found the shelter of mother’s little helper?  Here are a few of my best ideas:

  1. Don’t overbook yourself in one day, one week or one month.  This is somewhat an obvi tip, and yet everyone is guilty of ignoring it.  We pack our days as full as possible with meetings, conference calls, appointments, dinners, drinks, showers… the list never ends.  And of course, all of these things are wonderful and enjoyable in and of themselves.  But if you’re like me, too many scheduled events in one day, week or month is disastrous.
  2. Instead of over-extending yourself to others, make sure you book personal time.  For every 2-3 events for others, formally book a personal event, just to treat yourself – a mani/pedi, massage, facial, some shopping time, beach/pool/outdoors time, a hike.  And make the appointment in your calendar, just like you would a meeting or conference call.  And definitely keep the appointment.  You deserve it!

    mother's little helper, personal time, me time, vacation, pool, pool time, negril, jamaica, spa, relaxation, relaxing, getaway, weekend getaway, caribbean, tropical

    don’t flake on your Me-Time appointments!

  3. Cook your favorite meal or dish – for yourself.  I came home one evening this week and made myself breakfast because bacon, eggs and hashbrowns all sounded so good, even if it was 8pm.  It was my own little treat!
  4. Make yourself MORE tired – but in a great way with a nice long hike or walk, and preferably in sunlight if possible.  The vitamin D from the sunlight will naturally help lift your spirits, and the warmth from the light exercise will help relax tense muscles in the neck, shoulders and back.  And by the end, you will probably be a bit more tired than usual and ready to enjoy a nice long night of sleep afterward.

    abalone cove, rancho palos verdes, hiking, mothers little helper, stress relief, tide pools, southern california beaches, los angeles beaches, travel, cliffs

    Abalone Cove is one of SoCal’s greatest gems – perfect for a day hike to the tide pools!

  5. How many times have you thought to yourself how much you would love perusing the local museum, local garden or park in your city on a weekday when there are no crowds?  Why not take a day off from work, and spend the day doing one or two of those things you don’t get to do more often!  Check your local museums’ schedules – most offer discounted or even free admission on specific days/times, so take advantage! (LACMA is free after 3pm for LA residents; and you can visit the Huntington Botanical Gardens on their Free Days!)
    LACMA, los angeles museums, los angeles contemporary museum of art, urban light exhibit, mothers little helper, relaxing, staycation, vacation, los angeles, southern california getaways, discount admission, free admission

    LACMA’s Urban Light outdoor exhibit (img: LACMA)

    The Huntington, Huntington Botanical Gardens, rose garden, relaxation, staycation, vacation, southern california getaways, mothers little helper

    Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, CA are perfect for a relaxing day (img: The Huntington)

What little things do you do to help escape life’s little stresses and return to find your center once again?

Enjoy the rest of your week, mes beaux amis!!

♥ – LBH

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Celebrating Mom

Bonjour, mes bons amis et tout les belles mères!!!

Today happens once a calendar year but we should all celebrate our moms, including our figurative mother-figures as well, everyday – mais bien sur!

MomnBex_sepia

my Mom taught me more than I could ever know.

I certainly hope you enjoy your day today, with your moms, from afar, or in memory.  And as you do so, try to remember the best advice your mom ever gave you, or your mom’s best characteristic or talent.  My mom was blessed with the gift of being a fantastic cook, and she loved to entertain people at our house often.  Her warmth, joyful spirit and hospitality are all features that I strive to emulate in my life, surrounding myself everyday with family and friends, laughter and love as often as possible.

my Mom taught me that the simple things are the most important things.

my Mom taught me that the simple things are the most important things.

my Mom taught me warmth and friendship

my Mom taught me warmth and friendship

my Mom taught me joie de vivre.

my Mom taught me joie de vivre.

There is nothing like that tender and heart-warming feeling when seeing old pictures of your family, but especially your mom.  What are you doing today to celebrate your mom?  What are  your favorite memories of your mom?

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day today and everyday!

♥ – LBH

~ La Présente ~ For Mom

Bonjour, mes bons amis!!

My parents left a box of old photos so that I could eventually digitize all of the pictures. And as I sat at my laptop this evening to write a post with gift ideas for Mom, I remembered that box. Before I knew it, I had spent over two hours looking at hundreds of pictures, trying to remember events and dates, laughing at the memories I could recall, and holding back a tear or two. Or three.

Photographs are against some religions because of the superstition that cameras or photos steal a soul (or something like that). While I respect the belief, I also feel that this means truly missing one of the best ways to keep family and friends close to your heart, no matter their distance. My mom lives 2500 miles away, and yet in the last two hours of seeing her face through the years, the vacations, the family reunions… I was immediately reminded that my mom is always close.

I couldn’t help share a few of my favorites. There really is nothing like a mother’s love…

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms never stop caring for us, no matter our age.

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms show us what tenderness and love means.

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms are our SUPERWOMEN!

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms’ happiness is our own happiness.

  • It’s not too late to make some amazing DIY gifts for your mom!
  • Your gift doesn’t have to be crafty – whip up something delicious and easy in the kitchen!
  • Give your mom the gift of time: hire a local maid service while you take her out of the house for a few hours.
  • If your mom loves movies and TV shows, set up Mom with a 6-month or 1-year Netflix service.
  • If your mom loves to cook, sign up and take a cooking class with her and learn to cook a few new exotic or ethnic dishes. Check Yelp for some local cooking classes in hers or your area.
  • THE FAIL-SAFE: Treat your mom to a brunch at home with some fun recipes like a Bacon, Egg and Toast Cup, or any of these other great simple recipes. (And clean up after, too!)mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love, mothers day brunch recipes, martha stewart, brunch recipe, bacon egg toast

What are you doing for your Mom this Mother’s Day?

♥ – LBH

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~ La Présente ~ A Mother’s Love

Bonjour, mes bons amis!!

The month of May conjures many thoughts and images of spring, flowers, weddings and Mother’s Day. Today I was reminded that even though there is a holiday just to show moms EXTRA love and appreciation, they should be shown appreciation everyday for all they do and did for their children.

mother's day, duck and ducklings, duck, ducklings, wading in water, pond, feeding the ducks, a mother's love, new hatchlings

a delightful scene: mother caring for her new babies

 

Today’s reminder of a mother’s love came today at lunch watching this wonderful mama taking care of her sweet little babies.

My mom doesn’t live nearby, and I do miss her. But I will be sure to call her tonight and let her know that I appreciate her years of protecting, guiding and caring for me, both near and from afar.

Hope you are having a wonderful week, mes bons amis!!

♥ – LBH

My So-Called-Luddite Life

Bonjour, bons amis, Joyeu Lundi!

I have recently discovered in my mid-30s that I’m facing a new challenge that I would have NEVER guessed would be on my “in your 30s” list: I regularly have trouble sometimes falling asleep at night, or staying asleep through the night.

I used to be able to sleep 8-10 hours undisturbed, no problem. Growing up, my family used to make fun of me because I would sleep so soundly, I wouldn’t even move or change positions in bed. But alas, time has brought about this new struggle, and I’m determined to fix this problem.

dog sleeping, dog snoring, sleeping problem, light sleeper, heavy sleeper, unwinding, unplugging, relaxing

I used to sleep as soundly as this guy…

My 9-5 9-6 9-7 gig requires being connected to a laptop, blackberry, cell phone, Twitter and lots and lots of email correspondence every day. So by the time I get home in the evenings, usually while I’m winding down and cooking/eating dinner, my brain is still racing, overwhelmed with data, emails, things to do, follow-up emails to send, etc.

The other half of this growing problem is self-induced. I am and have always been quite curious about lots of ‘things’ and ‘stuff,’ and I love to learn, even if the majority of this ‘stuff’ is only fit for the first round of Jeopardy at best. However, compound this curiosity with the work communications, and it takes far longer to turn my brain off for sleep at night. I have self-diagnosed this as a condition I call ‘Communication Fatigue.’

Symptoms include:

  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night for more than five hour increments, and to ‘quiet’ my mind
  • Forgetfulness of basic things: what I wore yesterday, what I ate for lunch yesterday, my coworker’s name (even though we’ve worked together for years…), the reason for walking into a room, etc.
  • Inability to finish any one task because of being distracted by an email, phone call, text message, cell phone notification, etc.
  • General disdain for making/receiving phone calls after 7pm from family and/or friends (sorry!!)
  • Inability to stop thinking about the day’s communications, world problems, career path, need to better one’s diet, need to exercise more, need to do everything more and better…

This recent issue may seem insurmountable, but I have found some very helpful methods of coping with this first-world problem, the most important being:

UNPLUG.

Remember the days when you were a kid and evening dinner time was sacred? My dad used to take the phone off the hook to keep anyone from disturbing our dinner. Looking back, I realize that I need to bring some of that slowed pace, sanctity and regard to my personal time, in order to be 100% ready for the very next day’s challenges.

This doesn’t mean that from 7pm until 7am the next morning, I refuse to check or answer an email, call to check on a family member or friend, or not look up silly YouTube videos or surf the net. Rather, it means that I adjust my priorities and set some limits.

I’ve found a number of tips on how to ‘unplug’ and hopefully overcome this new sleep challenge:

  1. Set a hard-stop in the evenings for email, both work and personal, cell phone and general online surfing. After that time, don’t look at your phone or check your email until the next morning. You can even set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” on the iPhone and “Silencify” on Android devices so that you aren’t disturbed throughout the evening with bells, beeps, and other annoying sounds.
  2. Use your commute to unwind. If you’re driving, listen to an audiobook, or create a playlist on your phone/iPod/etc with your favorite relaxing music. You’re in your car alone, so don’t be afraid to play your favorite Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel or Michael Bublé songs. If you take public transportation, keep a book, magazine or newspaper on you to do some light reading on your way home.
  3. If you have a TV in the bedroom, and it was made in the late 90s or later, you have this little thing called a “Sleep Timer” – use it!
  4. If you have a bathtub, buy some scented bath oils/salts/bubble bath (here are my faves), a bath caddy (this is a handy and sturdy one that fits a wine glass!) and bath pillow (like this no-slip pillow) – all essential for enjoying one night a week with a great book (even if it gets wet, it isn’t ruined forever, unlike a cell phone or tablet…), your favorite wine or cocktail (even the guys can enjoy a bath if gin & tonic are involved!) and soothing personal time.

    The Big Lebowski, Big Lebowski, The Dude, manly bubble bath, bathtub, bath, relaxing, unplugging, unwinding

    even The Dude himself would agree with tip #4… photo: Universal Pictures

  5. Turn off most lights in your home after a certain hour and burn a few pleasant candles. The dark ambience and mood will help your body naturally relax for sleep.

Of course, all of the above tips are subject to change, circumstances, exceptions, emergencies, children/family members cooperating, etc. But you get the idea. By incorporating a few into my daily routine, I hope to find that deep sound sleep I once knew so well.

Here are a few other resources I’ve found to help unwind, unplug and overcome my sleep challenge!!

Do you have any tips for unwinding in the evening and regaining some sanity from the everyday technology chaos?

Well, I’ll be home soon to start my official Luddite-evening. Until tomorrow, mes amis!!

♥ – LBH

~ La Présente ~ Spring Flowers and Bubbles

Bonjour, bons amis!

Even though the weekend is wrapping up, I certainly hope you enjoyed some time to recover and re-energize yourselves for the new week.  I always love the relaxed restful feeling of Sundays, with friends or family, or quietly by myself.  I feel that this quote is truly meant for Sundays:

“Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, and that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.” – Julia Child

tulips, champagne, spring, sundays, weekend, family, friends, entertaining, brunch, centerpiece, bubbles

this Sunday sponsored by: le printemps et le champagne!

Until next time, mes amis!

– LBH