I’ve been obsessed with all things French for a little while now. It first started when I took my son KC to Paris for Christmas in 2010. Everything was just so beautiful and rich with details and history. But mostly, the women were sophisticated-looking, and the high-end department stores were exquisite masterpieces.
I remember almost hyperventilating inside the Louis Vuitton flagship store. Seriously. KC kept saying, “Breathe, Mom. Mom, you have to breathe!” That’s once, of course, we actually made it inside the store. We had to wait in a single-file line behind a red velvet rope on a red carpet outside in the cold for about fifteen minutes! To get inside a store, for goodness sake. The experience never left my consciousness.
The obsession worsened when Al and I spent our honeymoon along the French Riviera eighteen months ago. Our stay at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes set the tone for our trip. It bills itself as the “legendary sanctuary with a distinguished guest list of royalty, dignitaries, and Hollywood stars … where old-world glamour meets modern luxury in the heart of the Côte d’Azur.” Oooh la-YES! St. Tropez and its harbors full of yachts the size of mansions made even my very-hard-to-impress husband gasp, and only added to my determination. I needed to up my sophistication game! I returned home more determined than ever to infuse that French sophistication into my everyday life.
I remember one of my cousins posting on my Facebook page eight years ago when I talked about my Paris experience, “Cousin, please tell me you’re not making a trip to Paris just about shopping.” The implication being that the French masterpiece that left me breathless (the Louis Vuitton store) was somehow less than, and therefore unacceptable as inspiration compared to other masterpieces found there: like the Mona Lisa, the renowned Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre-Dame, or the Jacquemart-André Museum.
Here’s what I’ve learned in life: you create the life you want. With intent. And purpose. And determination. If you want to be more sophisticated (and I did), define what that looks like for you from a source of motivation that is relevant to YOU. Cousins and their Facebook opinions be damned. For me, I decided to have a coiffed look – French rolls, chignons, below the knee dresses, purses that dangle from my wrist versus thrown over my shoulder. Taking fewer, slower steps when I walk instead of my normal elongated gait. Unapologetically embracing my long-term love affair with Louis Vuitton. All superficial? Maybe. But you can’t let other people dictate what inspires you. What takes you to your next level of best. The experiences I had on my French trips made me want to be a better version of myself. How is that ever not noteworthy?
And that’s my French lesson for you today, as we continue our strut into 2018. You be YOU. Find what motivates and inspires and ignites you. And take it from there. Oui? Oui!