Monday, August 27, 2012

Chocolate factory

Credit: Mast Brothers

I have enjoyed some wonderful outdoor dinners with family and friends.  During one of our intimate late saturday, al fresco dinner, content with the delicious meal, a little tipsy from the Rose wine, I looked at the starry sky and thought...what if this was my last dinner with the people I love most?  I interrupted the general conversation and asked outloud: This is the end of the world... we are all together, what would be your last meal? Every one got going, from caviar, oysters to foie gras, my younger son, just returning from France, went into this elaborate 10 course dinner, his girlfriend into a frenzy of my mother's dishes... then came my turn, one word will suffice...CHOCOLATE...from the perfect truffle, to the traditional french chocolate filled with Armagnac, chocolate fondue, an orgy of chocolate slowly melting in my mouth.

The following Monday, work took Estera, Interieurs' project manager and I to Brooklyn to scout a steel manufacturer. We both love to explore neighborhoods and usually try to turn a simple trip away from the office into an opportunity for discovery. We turned on a street, totally gentrified and fell upon... a chocolate shop! But not just a shop - a chocolate manufactory. We were in heaven; I taste-tested various chocolates and did not want to leave. The space is fabulous, the concept really original and the end product... beyond delicious.

The size of a chocolate bean, held by Estera

Love the packaging!

Bakers at work

Mast Brothers Chocolate
111 North 3rd Street, New York, NY 11211

Mast brothers; image from


A Bientot,


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Looking for a designer?

My Portfolio on Dering Hall

They are quite few venues for a designer to showcase their work other than their own websites, advertising, showhouses, being published, self promoted via hosted sites such as Houzz.

I have done all the above and am constantly looking for opportunities to show my work. I have been on Dering Hall since the launch of the site and it never ceases to amaze me. The latest feature showcases its designers' members work and make their portfolios searchable by designers, style, type of room.
Visitors to the site will be able to access designers portfolios by simply searching for "traditional living rooms" or "master barthrooms"... As a designer and member of Dering hall, your portfolio can be found through this easy and visually attractive search mode.

Looking for a designer? check out Dering Hall
Want to re-design your living room ? go straight to Dering Hall

    Welcoming the fabulous David Scott to Dering Hall

    A bientot,


    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Time away

    "Great Beach" at low tide image Francine Gardner

    Living and working in America, specifically in New York is rewarding but extremely tasking. From my first days in business school in Boston, I have embraced the american entrepreneurial spirit where one creates their own expectations and thrives for an accomplished life. In France, one tends to take for granted the privileges of employment, long extended vacations and social services. I will admit that France offers an amazing quality of life. A while ago, the New York times listed the best countries for americans to retire, if they chose to live abroad. My home region of the South West of France made the top 5 list... I feel that I have always compromised between my french upbringing and my acute need for a faster, exiting, adventurous life. I became an entrepreneur of sorts, having started my design showroom and Interior design business Interieurs 15 years ago. I work hard, awake at 5Am, home around 9pm. My days are hectic, stressful and extremely challenging especially now in this deep recession. For too many years, I ignored my needs for a "time out", I had live-in nannies for my children, their summer vacations were spent in France, Spain and Newport at their grand parents' houses. I felt torn not to share these wonderful years with them, but there is one place, where I would leave everything behind to just "be" with my family and close friends, and that  is my husband's family retreat in Maine.

    My sons are now adults, 20 and 24 and we have a wonderful, open relationship. They are kind, generous, great fun to be around. We often talk of the choices I made, being a career oriented mother, and they always reassure me that they actually like the fact to have a working mom. Our time together is very precious, they became very independent, self entertained, curious and enriched from all the traveling experiences we have shared, and the summers spent with grand parents, which has taught them a strong family sense and security.

    I have been absent from the blogworld and am starting to catch up my reading and will reply to all the wonderful comments. Indeed, I was in Maine with my very dear italian college friend Ettore and his family, as well as a close friend and her son and a couple of their friends. The first time Ettore came to Maine with us, my husband and I had just been married, and we we were a wild fun loving group. 

    Sitting at our lobster dinner, I looked around the table, and felt as if I was in a time warp, as if the years were reversed and it was us, the rambunctious  group with our lives ahead of us. Instead, I was looking at the new generation of men and women laughing at the table, sharing their stunts of the day, planning their night walk and camping, all beautiful, full of life and dreams. I left the room for a moment, with teary eyes...I thought... well done... what better accomplishment in life than looking at our children, happy, joyful, loving their special time with their parents, their friendship perpetuated through the next generation.

    Then I stepped outside, took in the beloved scenery and thanked God.

    A Bientot,


    For more on the Maine Island, read my post from July 2010

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