Sunday, July 21, 2019

France - Part 2 ....Paris

It still blows my mind that just 7 weeks ago we were in France and it seems like we just returned. What a busy summer we are having. Part 1 of the France trip is here.

With the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Seine being just a short stroll away from our hotel, you can imagine  how I felt when we arrived in the City of Light. So many have travelled to Paris, yet so many have not. I am asked daily about our trip to France, and it is my pleasure to share information about our travels. My husband has an eye for photographic moments and was able to photograph me on the stairs minutes after arriving in Paris via the TGV (pronounced tay-zhay-vay) which is the name of the French high-speed train. Reservations are obligatory for travel on TGV.

We had wonderful accomodations at Sofitel Paris le Faubourg in the heart of Paris, between the Faubourg Saint-Honore and the Champs-Elysees. We were 150 feet from Place de la Concorde, and the hotel is set in two private mansions dating from the 18th and 19th century. Security and safety was at 100% (we were next door to the embassy). 

My very first adventure was to the Eiffel Tower, and it only got better over the next few days. Each evening, we watched the light show from the bridge near our hotel. 
We had some free time, so Joe and I walked to Notre Dame Cathedral from our hotel which was 1.6 miles. We stopped for a photo on the River Seine where visitors have attached "love locks" with sentimental messages to a bridge. Most of the locks have been removed, but there are still people selling locks on the bridge. 

Who doesn't love Angelina's, the legendary 1903 tea room offering refined pastries & hot chocolate in a belle epoque–style setting. I had the Mont-Blanc pastry ...meringue, Chantilly, creme de marrons (chestnut).
and the Croque Monsieur which was like a gourmet toasted cheese sandwich with an egg on top.
My delish Croque Monsieur.
For our tasting pleasure, we were given a list of French specialities that we would encounter in France. Our tour director hosted a friendly challenge amongst the 30+ travelers in our group, and Joe and I won. We were awarded gold and a tin of lovely macarons from Pierre Hermè.
I'm sure you can guess where these photos were taken. Yes, the Louvre Museum.
Our first kiss with a view of the Eiffel Tower. 
We had a cocktail party and dinner with this amazing view. You never know what to pack when you travel to Paris in early June, so I had to be creative with the wardrobe I brought. We were melting, it was 90 degrees and the air conditioning had not yet been turned on for the season. The temperatures were a surprise to everyone!

Photo op at the Opera House in Paris. This woman and I really hit it off on the trip. 
Arc de Triomphe on Champs Elysses.
Like many trips we go on, it is fun making memories that will last a lifetime. We were invited by another couple to join them for "the best seafood in Paris" on one of our free evenings. Boy were they right! The reviews are outstanding which we didn't know until we got home and checked. Joe loves oysters, so he ordered an assortment for the table. As I type this, I would love to return to Paris just for the food. I have so many more photos, but will stop here. Such an ejoyable trip, with memories to last a lifetime. Our next big trip will be for Joe's 60th birthday in January 2021. 


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Check Me Out

This year for the MacKenzie-Childs barn sale, they have a four day celebration of dressing to express love for the brand with #BarnSaleStyle. I'll do my best to dress in checks the first day of the Barn Sale, Thursday, July 18. For those of you who know me well, I am  a friendly competitor and enjoy a fun challenge.  We won the "Skip the Line" challenge on Instagram. I'll be posting photos frequently on Instagram. It's the fastest way to share the fun stuff from the barn sale. You can follow Mountain Breaths on Instagram here.  Mountain Breaths 
This is the photo I submitted for the category "MC on the Go". 
 Twenty five years ago, my co-workers happened upon MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, NY (Finger Lakes region of New York). I had never heard of it. Enthusiastically, they would tell us about their purchases, most of which were seconds at reduced prices that they bought from Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs. 

As you probably know, my favorite pattern is the "black and white checks". Courtly Check got its start more than 30 years ago and in 1995 it was featured on the enamelware in the Camp MacKenzie-Childs collection, which was designed for casual outdoor use and glamping. The enamelware was called Roasted Marshmallow because mixed in with the overall black and white check were subtle hints of additional colors that resembled the caramelized sugar on marshmallows toasted over an open fire. A few years later, the pattern was renamed Courtly Check after an editor referred to MacKenzie-Childs as “the court jester of tabletop.”

Can't wait to show you my purchases! You probably think by now I have everything. LOL
Photos from the Barn Sale 2018. This year will be even hotter! 


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Summer Blooms #2.....The Queens

The Queens of the garden this week are Betty Corning, Lauren's Grace Poppy, two lone peonies and Oxalis Triangularis. 

Thank you for following along. I can't imagine my garden will be any nicer than it is right now ;-)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

National Pina Colada Day

Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or in your backyard, Pina Coladas are a staple cocktail for any summer soiree. 

We enjoyed a festive cocktail featuring Sparkling Ice’s NEW Mystery Flavor (I think it is peach) – a tropical inspired, limited edition flavor that has all of the same fizzy, zero-calorie features that we know and love. Cheers! 

Sparkling Pina Colada


2 Bananas

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 cup Coconut Rum

1/3 cup White Rum

1 Bottle Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor

1 cup Almond Milk (I used low fat organic regular milk)


Place bananas, vanilla extract, and rums in a blender then blend for 30 seconds. Stop the blender and add Mystery Flavor Sparkling Ice, Almond Milk, and 3 cups of ice. Puree until smooth. Serve and garnish with a pineapple leaf or a sprig of mint. 

I think we should all try to win some prizes! Go for it, I say the mystery flavor is peach :-) If you win, let me know! I have entered every day. 

We recently took our New York City family on a fun llama trek through the woods and to an afternoon tea at a local B & B. I found the cutest llama edible wafer paper at Fancy Flours for our llama outing. More on the trek and tea in the next post.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Cake in your hand...toes in the sand....summer blooms #1

My gardens are finally showing some color! I happily accepted some leftover "ladybug" cake from my grandniece Lily’s 1st birthday party. None of the skinny minnies wanted it so I froze it to use for this small strawberry trifle.  My vision was to use the new gadget I ordered from Fancyflowers for Patti @ Pandora's Box and me to experiement with, and it is plastic and holds the water for the flowers. It's six inches, and I have enjoyed the look of flowers and roses on a cake but didn't want the flowers to actually touch the cake. 
I hope my American friends had a relaxing Independence Day. I'm going do a separate blog post on the lodge we are staying at (60 acres of pure bliss).

In the photo above, that is a Patriotic Mow! One family in Ballston Spa decided to mow the American flag into the grass on his front lawn in honor of Independence Day
Credit: Zac Williams via Albany Times Union
Garlic scapes rise just before summer solstice here in Zone 5. We'll be ready for garlic harvest in a month. In the meantime, we are enjoying garlic pesto and tonight we had it on pizza. Outstanding.

My soccer buddy Xavier....growing up so quickly.

I found these lovely striped cosmos this year. 

 This rose is called New Dawn - beautiful disease resistant and fragrant, New Dawn is a near perfect rose. It was inducted into the World Federation of Rose Society Hall of Fame in 1997. 

I love fresh chamomile tea in the summer. Hope you are having a wonderful July. 


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