~ La Présente ~

Bonjour, bons amies!!

I’ve been so motivated to revitalize my little nook in the world wide webs through this blog, that I decided to try adding at least one photo each day that embodies something beautiful, something delicious or something delightful.

This week helped remind me that the albeit too brief quiet moment in the morning, or the sound of a family member’s laugh on a quick call to say hi, or even the simple pleasure of walking your naughty dog through the neighborhood letting him smell every possible inch along the way but on a beautiful warm day… those moments are what make every day a small part of la belle vie.

I know I’m a flamboyant Francophile and Europhile for that matter. But I truly believe there’s something to be said for a culture that in the face of millennia of hardships, turmoil and reoccurring worst of times, they universally hold in high regard le joie de vie.

Donc, aux Français, je dis: merci beaucoup à vous pour inspirer ma joie de vie!

I hope you enjoy my daily (if not, at least very regular) visual inspirations, musings and small moments.

Here is my first of many, taken during a quiet moment this morning. I need these more often in my life.

20130427-173935.jpg

Passée un bon week-end, mes amies!

♥ – LBH

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Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

Bonjour, bons amis!!

You may remember the above title as a line in a little show called Sesame Street sung many times by different characters.

Today I must share a story with you because in light of the state of the world today, I feel that this story is much needed.  In the words of the ever-wise Forrest Gump, life really is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.  And yesterday truly proved that true, once again.

You see, yesterday morning, I had the displeasure initially turned to great pleasure ultimately of frantically searching for my dog who had run off through an open gate unbeknownst to me in a blink of an eye…

IMG_0699

the culprit, Mr. Bings’ mugshot…

Being the Boston Terror Terrier that he is, he also managed to find the tiniest of fence holes behind my property, burrowing to find that elusive squirrel, and ended up one block away in a matter of seconds.  However, I didn’t know this for nearly two and a half hours.

I couldn’t quite comprehend how an animal could merely vanish and not respond to my cries.  I could have cared less about work for those two and a half hours, and like a crackhead panicked to find her pusher, lines of smeared mascara streaming down my cheeks from the constant flow of tears, squeak-toy in hand and voice going hoarse from yelling “Bings-y, com’on!!!” over and over again, I walked up and down the streets of my lovely little neighborhood known as Wilshire Vista.  It’s a small quiet residential area with lots of young couples, new families, older families, professionals – the whole gamete.  My neighbors walk their dogs and push strollers throughout the day, leisurely visiting the nearby small businesses along Pico, taking advantage of the slight incline for some exercise, and enjoying the small pocket of Los Angeles that we call home.  This neighborhood took on a completely different form for me during those two and a half panicked hours.

the neighborhood looks so different walking through yards and streets on foot.

the neighborhood looks so different walking through yards and streets on foot…

I saw backyards and car porches I had never seen, and neatly manicured backyards that I was walking through like a utilities worker.  It was mostly very quiet as most people had left in the middle of my tearful search, so no one really cared that I was walking in and out of properties, looking for my dog.  But those strange faces that did see me in my state of panic as I tearfully asked them if they had seen the dog named Bings in the picture I showed on my iPhone no longer became just the unfamiliar faces I saw now and then in passing everyday.  They were no longer ‘just the guy who lives a block up and drives that grey car,’ or ‘the woman with the cute black chihuahua she walks off-leash on the corner,’ or the woman who chats on her cell phone while walking her dogs around the block.  Suddenly, they were there offering comfort, compassion and their help, to me – a stranger to them.

I had passed one of these neighbors a block away earlier in my search, yelling Bings’ name with a cracking voice, and about ten minutes later she caught up to me as I made my fifth round on my own street.  She could tell I had lost my dog, and she immediately offered her help.  She asked me to send her those couple pictures I showed her of my dog because she was going to send those to our neighborhood councilwoman (I didn’t even know who that was!) so that she could put out a bulletin to the neighborhood via email.  Her immediate action and kindness touched me so much that it brought me to more tears of gratitude, and I now feel like I have made a new neighbor friend.  And my other new neighbor friend who actually found and kept my dog safe for those couple hours, Carl, was just the nicest man ever.  He tolerated and entertained my crazy dog (who picked a fight with Carl’s own dog – ugh… so embarrassing!!!), and Carl still fed Bings a handful of food during his brief unsolicited visit.  But Carl’s good humor and kindness, along with Robin’s, the lovely girl with the black Chihuahua on the corner, the nice dentist walking from his house to his office at the corner, the local Eco Dog Wash grooming place and the MiracleMileLA twitter account that were both kind enough to send out a social network blast about Bings, and every other face I came across during my dog-hunt were so humbling and heartwarming.  I’ve never felt so happy to be a part of my neighborhood, and I’ve never felt like these strangers who I pass in and out everyday weren’t so strange to me anymore.  They were just like me – dog-owners who’ve lost a pet before, Wilshire Vista residents living their lives but caring enough to take care of their neighbors, especially in times of need.  And I can’t thank them enough.

Yesterday was an extremely small and yet extremely big experience for me.  It made me realize that even in this big city of 13 million + people, I need to be kind to my neighbors near me and vigilant for them, because, clearly, they are kind to me and vigilant for me.

I will leave you today with this experience, and I hope it warms your heart the way it has mine.  I ♥ Wilshire Vista!

– ♥ LBH

the original ad for the Wilshire Vista neighborhood development (image courtesy of my neighbor’s blog, EllenBloom.blogspot.com)

This Old Dog Is Learning New Tricks!

Bonjour, bons amies!!

If you had asked me just three months ago how much that above French greeting would mean to me today… I would have never guessed that I would be practicing conjugating les verbes Francais, practicing les liaisons et mon accent, and be so determined to learn a new language in my mid-30s. But alas, I am!!

French language class old dog can learn new tricks Francais bilingual trilingual foreign life is short

actual notes from my French class!

French language class old dog can learn new tricks Francais bilingual trilingual foreign life is short

more notes from my class de la Francais!

Since high school, I have kicked myself for taking a somewhat easy path with the foreign-language requirement by taking Spanish, my true first language. I justified taking the easy-A-out by saying I would learn the grammatical rules and proper form. The truth of the matter though was that I inadvertently held myself back from potentially becoming trilingual by the age of 17. Fast forward many many years, and as my Francophilia grew, so did my regret.

After experiencing Paris for the first time last fall, I returned home absolute and determined to learning French, even if I would only use it during my (soon to become regular) voyages à Paris.

Eiffel Tower La Tour Eiffel Paris France travel landmark seven wonders of the world language Francais Parisian tourist attraction site

tres belle, no? oui!! La Tour Eiffel, in all her splendor!

Here in the LA area, I found a number of French classes, both private and public. I researched the Extension classes offered at local colleges, considered the very upscale Alliance Frances in Beverly Hills, and finally I found “French In Mind,” a small private school in the nearby Culver City area close to my home taught by a former native Parisian teaching classes no larger than four students total. Finding FIM and Omar, my tres fabuleaux teacher and now great personal friend, has absolutely changed my life. I look forward to my Tuesday evening classes all week, and even though I can nearly literally physically feel my brain stretching and working, not only am I on my way towards trilingualism, but the mental challenge is refreshing and invigorating. There’s nothing like learning something completely and yet partially foreign to make you feel young, but without the classroom interruptions and hormones!

I recently caught up with a close friend of mine who was at a crossroads about taking a risk with a big step in her life and finally doing something in her 30s that she has talked about doing for many years. I told her about my recent nouveau challenge and about how I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. So for all of you thinking about doing that one thing you’ve wanted to do for a long time and just haven’t yet done it, I say…

just do it take the risk jump right in nike travel dive in french class foreign language jamaica negril caribbean tropical cliff jumping ocean vacation

like a certain tagline says: JUST DO IT!

DO IT NOW!

Life waits for nothing and no one. Your certain something may not be what you imagine, or turn out the way you thought it would, but it could also be one of the best, most meaningful and fulfilling decisions of your life. But if you never go through with it – you will certainly never know how it could be.

What have you done, small or large, that ended up being one of the best things you’ve ever done in your life?

French Paris France Eiffel Tower La Tour Eiffel magic hour travel foreign language dusk sundown

one of my favorite photos from Paris – gives a whole new meaning to ‘magic hour’…

Finally, I apologize for being so absent on the blog – but I have missed you all so much! And I look forward to sharing much more with you much more regularly again. Until then, bons amies, take that risk and do that thing you’ve always wanted to do – and bonne chance à vous!!

♥ – LBH

PS: I’m pretty sure if Omar my French teacher reads my blog, he’s going to correct my French and even my incorrect title “La Belle Hibou!!” 😉

I’m Back, Bon Amie!!

Bonjour, bon amie!!  I have missed you!!

eiffel tower, tour eiffel, paris, france, seine river, riverboat, europe, travel, vacation

I know it has been AGES since I’ve updated my blog, and for that I apologize.  Work always finds a way to get in the way, but after spending an amazing two weeks in Europe, as happens after every overseas vacation, I realized that I have been neglecting some things and haven’t made the time to do things I enjoy like sharing experiences and stories.

Sooooo this little bloggy-blog of mine is about to heat up again – get ready!  And just to prove it to you, here are a few pictures from my recent trip through Paris and London.  I can’t wait to share the special stories, hilarious and delightful moments, and the inspiration I feel with you!


You can see more pictures from ‘Paris et Londres’ here: Paris, je t’aime… 2012, a set on Flickr.

See you very soon!! Bonjour, bon amie!!

♥ LBH

A Not-So-Hot Weekend of Music!

Bonjour, bon ami!!!

It feels like FOREVER since I’ve updated my little space of the world wide web here, because it has been a LONG time!!  I just thought I would pop in with a small update and give you a preview of what will be coming after this weekend!!

coachella indio california music festival logo 2012 polo field

If you’re an independent/house/rock/hip-hop/folk music fan, then you are probably aware that this year’s music festival season kicked off a few weeks ago with SXSW in Austin.  This weekend is the first of two Coachella Music Festival weekends, and like every previous year that I’ve been fortunate enough to attend, I’m packing up my bags and preparing for a fun-with-a-lot-less-sun-filled weekend of music, weirdos and all around craziness!!!!

mexican hat coachella tent desert indio polo field 2011 bathing suit beer party air conditioned

{typical Coachella weirdo}

Fortunately (or UNfortunately) the weather forecast  is extremely undesert-like (hence my more thoughtful packing job).

weather forecast coachella 2012 indio california desert rainy rain cool heatwave

{not-so-hot desert!}

Here’s a quick visual preview of the plethora of musical madness featured this year at the normally quiet Indio, CA polo field:

radiohead live concert coachella music festival 2012 stage show indio california tour

{RADIOHEAD}

One of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE bands, Radiohead… if I could express the excitement through the screen right now, it would look something like this:

excited doggie french bulldog vanity fair bruce weber cute dog smiling laughing

{vanity fair}

WOOHOO!!!

Other bands I’m super-duper-excited to see and hear:

dr dre snoop dogg eminem warren g coachella music festival indio california 2012 hip hop concert tour live show legends on stage

{hip-hop legends Dr. Dre ~ Eminem ~ Warren G ~ Snoop Dogg}

Yes, the legends all on one stage – it’s going to be memorable, needless to say!

And then we round it all out with some good ol’ grimy rock.

the black keys coachella music festival indio california 2012 rock concert tour live stage show

{the underrated Black Keys}

So get ready, bon ami!!!  My Coachella recap promises photos, stories and possibly a few amazing videos of food, fashion and the FABULOUSNESS that IS COACHELLA!!!

And just because we all love it, here is the most classic-to-date Coachella video everYou’re welcome… for the second year in a row.  See you in the desert!!!!

LBH

For Every Door That Closes…

Bonjour, bon ami!!!

head heels standards high quotes words of wisdom girl power
{my personal mantra}

We all know the ol’ adage, “For every door that closes, a new one opens.”  I can’t say how true these words are as of recent in my own personal life.  The universe works in mysterious ways, and after watching a door close, immediately a floodgate opened.

music concert rock & roll festival balloons crowd live band act
{weheartit.com}

I work in marketing and advertising in my 9-5 life, and I now have the pleasure of working for an amazing agency handling the funnest account I’ve ever had the opportunity to work on: MUSIC.

 

madonna throwback like a virgin early years jacket icon music 80s prayer
{yes, Madge…}
madonna super bowl 2012 halftime show icon jean paul gaultier queen of pop give me all your lovin{THE Madonna}

During my first day in the office, I sat in a meeting with Madonna’s staff.  Not too shabby so far…

crystal cruises ship travel sailing luxury vacation international penthouse premium best line{crystal cruises}
crystal cruises ship travel sailing luxury vacation international penthouse premium best line{crystal cruises}

And just to appease my love for all things glamorous, I also have the the great pleasure of adding to my roster of clientele the best cruise line in the world, as deemed by Travel + Leisure for the last 16 years: Crystal Cruises!!

It has been only one week, and I am just so very excited for the incredible experiences and stories to come.  I can’t wait to share them with you.

victory oscar de la renta new york fashion week 2012 glamorous glamour fashion couture runway show black gown success
{fromme-toyou}

 

Je gagne!!!

I do hope you are having a wonderful weekend!  Unfortunately all this recent running around and change has brought me a cold that I’m trying to shake off this weekend, but I know by Monday I’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed once again.

Until then, here’s to la belle vie, bon ami!!

LBH

A Mother’s Love

Bonjour!!

{kroketta)

If there is one important lesson I have learned in life, it is that family and friends are your biggest and most valuable treasures.  As precious as life is, you should appreciate them, for better or for worse, with their virtues and faults.  Today I was reminded of this again after I found out my mother was admitted to the hospital.  She assured me she was feeling much better and that she would be released by Saturday.

So today’s blog post is dedicated to my mother, who I love so very much and to whom I owe more than I even know.

{ there’s nothing like a mother’s love }

Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts and prayers.  Be sure to tell your family and friends how much you love them this weekend.

LBH

Duly Noted…

Bonjour!!

In the blink of an eye, another week has passed faster than most of us can keep up.  But it has been a great week for me, and I’m ready for a great weekend to boot.

A little (okay, a LOT) of self-realization and lists this week:

country picni river bank shabby chic elegant dinner party

{loveliegreenie}

1.  as much as I love a big fast paced city, I always yearn for some country

houseplant house plants plant decor style

{plush palate}

2.  just like Plush Palate, I also think the best way to bring life and vim to any space is through plants and flowers!

frame mementos picture decor home idea

{everything fab}

3.  I could always decorate my walls with some wonderful mementos as opposed to pictures – new weekend project for me!!

chocolate lavender pie recipe dessert

{sunday suppers}

4.  I MUST make this chocolate lavender pie STAT…

bedroom makeover paint dark walls decor remodel color

{design*sponge}

5.  my bedroom needs a major facelift, like this one – another weekend project on the list!!

corner chair reading sitting decor design shabby chic

{weareohsopretty}

6.  speaking of bedroom, I MUST find a new sitting/reading chair for the corner.

beadboard wallpaper installation bathroom DIY decor design

{Centsational Girl}

7.  where can I find some beadboard wallpaper?

yoga pose stretch exercise calm relax flexible

{crushculdesac}

8.  I need to get back into a regular yoga routine.

eiffel tower paris travel europe vintage

{kroketta}

9.  thanks in part to my better half and my dear friend at The Scarborough Faire, I really do love the French.

romance intimate couple hands love loving embrace arms soulmate

{ignitelight}

10.  I can be a pain in the ass – for putting up with me, my better half deserves lots of my thanks and love.  I would be lost without him and his love.

This weekend will be a busy one: a surprise dinner for my better half because he deserves it ~ I’m continuing my 2012 Project Harmony ~ enjoying a “Thanksgiving in January” dinner party ~ hosting a small dinner party where I’ll be cooking my very first rib roast… Every day that I open the freezer and see it sitting their patiently, I start salivating like my dog!!!!

What great plans do you have for the weekend??  Be sure to do something positive for your community on Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  After all, we have much for which to thank him, and still much work to be done.

Have a wonderful weekend, bon ami!!

LBH

A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock & Roll

Bonjour, lovelies!!

This evening as a few office friends and I left our 9-5 gigs, I mentioned running to pick up a few things after work, like mason jars to begin making preserves.  It is Meyer Lemon season, after all!!

And just as the words came out of my mouth, the thought crossed my mind that if it weren’t for the concrete jungle in which I live, one might never know I was much of a city girl, let alone a bit of a country girl too.

country picni river bank shabby chic elegant dinner party
{loveliegreenie}

One work friend asked where I am originally from, and my answer, “San Diego,” was met with a bit of a chuckle, since San Diego certainly isn’t thought to be very ‘country.’ However, if you ask anyone who was born (in the 70s or earlier) and raised in San Diego, they would actually tell you a different story.  I grew up in a small town of less than 40,000 people in a northern suburb of America’s finest city, where there was a lot of open farmland, even a fully functional (and quite pungent) dairy, avocado and citrus groves – a little bit of country surrounding the small growing metropolis.

I know that it is because I grew up with things like fresh local eggs, produce and open land that deep down inside, during those evenings of never-ending brake lights, stop-and-go traffic, and blaring sirens as background music… I yearn for the country, even though I always thought of myself as more of a big city girl.

little bit country little bit rock & roll city life traffic jam countryside peace quiet
{dontcallmebetty; wsj.com}

So while my life is currently rooted in one of the world’s most exciting cities, I try to bring that little bit of country into my concrete & steel world.  I can’t wait to start canning the Meyer Lemons for baking and cooking!  And in getting in touch with my country side, I have found a number of great links with instructions, recipes and tips:

~ Introduction to home canning and preserving

~ 85 Recipes for home canning fruits & veggies from A-Z

~ The Kitchn’s roundup of 5 great canning websites

If you aren’t into the whole sterilization/hot water canning/pickling procedure, here are some gorgeous and novel (and relatively easy!) ideas for mason jars outside of home canning:

mason jars herb garden idea unique decor DIY indoor
{Camille Styles’ adorable and practical mason jar herb garden}
wedding ideas mason jars unique shabby chic lighting candles parties decor homemade DIY
{shabby chic and elegant mason jars for weddings & parties}
mason jar jars lighting ideas unique DIY party wedding decor shabby chic
{beautiful & easy DIY mason jar lighting ideas}

What do you do to bring a little bit of country into your fast-paced city life?  Any suggestions for this country-turned-city girl?

Keep living your best belle vie, bon ami!!

♥ LBH

1 Down, 51 To Go

Bonjour!!

Can you believe one week has already passed in the new year?  I can’t… the week was a bit short at the 9-5 since we didn’t return to the office until Tuesday, but still – I awoke this morning thinking it was Thursday, and then smiled in delight when I realized it’s Friday!

I’m still in the process of PH (“Project Harmony”) and will have LOTS to update you over the weekend and next week.  In the meantime, 2012 has started off ‘magnifique!’ thus far and so I thought I would share some of my Fri-Delight and inspirations from week one visually.

snow provence france french essence

eiffel tower paris french essence{french essence}

the glamourai chicken rescued dog

{the glamourai’s amazing story of Chicken}

never too late quotes words of wisdom wise
{dream and dress}
little girl holding baby chick precious fragile cute kids animals

{a well traveled woman}

picnic for two landscape romantic kiss kissing couple

{kroketta}

black cat spooky cute kitten miles sneeky

{kroketta}

dramatic lighting design interior decor lamp light fixture

{this is glamorous}

table setting romantic dinner party

{the sweet light}

couple in bathtub romantic love bath bathe

{wit and delight}

funny cat in create ready to go travel kitten kitty in box

{kroketta}

kitten in arms anxious film

{daniella marie}

handwritten letters vintage love postage mail

{tumblerose}

What do you have planned for this wonderful weekend?

Happy Friday, lovelies!!

LBH