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Partial Disclosure

Lucian Freud, circa 1946

Disclosure: due to the fact that I have been having crazy panic attacks lately, I have opted to start taking “crazy pills.” Actually, to be honest, my family insisted that I take the crazy pills. I didn’t really have a choice. I am one episode short of a straitjacket. The panic attacks started at the hairdresser one day. I think I looked at myself in the mirror for too long. I hardly ever look at myself in the mirror, but I was forced to at the hairdresser’s and I just freaked out. I freaked out because I could see that I am sick. It was like looking at a different person. I did not know where Ellie went. She is gone. This is not a cute realization when you are in public. So, like any good girl would do, I had a polite little panic attack. It started in the back of my neck. Heat. Then comes the dizziness, followed by a delightful overwhelming sense of doom. I kid you not, I escaped the hairdressers with a half wet, half frizzy, half blonde head of hair onto the posh streets of Paris. I didn’t even care because I just wanted to get out of there. The panic attacks have not stopped since then. Anything can trigger it. I even have a panic attack about taking the panic attack pills. There’s no explaining it. So, anything that I do, write or say that may be deemed inappropriate, is not my fault. Blame the pills. Anything that I do, write or say that may be deemed brilliant, is not my fault, either. Blame the pills.

This week I have been obsessed with lemons. It’s probably due to the heat in Paris and to me, lemons symbolize refreshment. In my garden in Santa Barbara, I had two lemon trees that always seemed to be bearing fruit. We had so many lemons that I had to come up with different ways to utilize them all year around. Whether it be in recipes, flower arrangements, or just bowls of lemons on the coffee table, lemons always made an appearance at my house. I thought I would share some inspiring lemon recipes with you this week.…
Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake- Recipe here
Georges Braque, circa 1929

Lemon Focaccia-Recipe here

Euan Uglow Cadmium
Rosemary Lemon Drop martini-Recipe here

Chaim Soutine, circa 1916

Ricotta with Lemon, Basil, and Honey Bruschetta-Recipe here
Vincent van Gogh, circa 1889
Lemon Roasted Fingerling Potatoes-Recipe here

Julian Merrow Smith
Fish Burger with Matchstick Fries and Lemon Garlic Aioli-Recipe here
 Quong Ho
Lemon Chicken Stew-Recipe here

Henri Matisse, circa 1943

Corn on the Cob with Lemon Basil Pesto-Recipe here
Henryk Gotlib, circa 20th century 
Meyer Lemon Roasted Chicken-Recipe here
Oliver Akers Douglas
 Lemon Salmon Kebabs-Recipe here
Julian Merrow Smith
Meyer Lemon Donut-Recipe here
Claude Monet, circa 1883

One of my most favorite cookbooks incorporating lemons is Lemons: A Country Garden Cookbook. I bought it in 1993, and it is still totally relevant today. You can purchase it Here.

A Tout!  

I mean, c’mon.

Two words:
F*cking awesome

Bon Week-end!

Much Loved

Do y’all need a hug, or what? It has come to my attention lately via text, Twitter, phone, Facebook, email, and Entertainment Tonight that a lot of my friends are having a tough time right now. Whether it be health, finances, teenagers, marriage, family, neighbors or work, it seems that everyone has a full plate and a heavy heart. My friend, Blair, sent me this very insightful article titled, Eight Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong that I thought I would share.

While we are getting a little life advice, let’s look at pictures from a charming book titled, Much Loved. The author, Mark Nixon, takes us down memory lane to the ones that gave us comfort, peace and solace from the very beginning, our stuffed animals. You can purchase the book HERE. Maybe all of my friends, and myself included, need to put aside our cell phones, computers, toxic friendships, cronuts, gossip magazines, Botox needles, remote controls, credit cards, “vacays,” and cucumber martinis and pick up a simple stuffed animal to pour our troubles into. A little “snuggle therapy,” dare I say?

Eight Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong…

#1. Pain is part of growing.

 Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward. And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to. When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually. Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.
#2. Everything in life is temporary.

 Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you get hurt, you heal. After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning, but still you often forget, and instead choose to believe that the night will last forever. It won’t. Nothing lasts forever. So if things are good right now, enjoy it. It won’t last forever. If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either. Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh. Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile. Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending. You get a second chance, every second. You just have to take it and make the best of it.

#3. Worrying and complaining changes nothing.

 Those who complain the most, accomplish the least. It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed. It’s not over if you’ve lost; it’s over when you do nothing but complain about it. If you believe in something, keep trying. Don’t let the shadows of the past darken the doorstep of your future. Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any brighter. Take action instead. Let what you’ve learned improve how you live. Make a change and never look back. And regardless of what happens in the long run, remember that true happiness begins to arrive only when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.

#4. Your scars are symbols of your strength.

 Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed. It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward. A scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of. Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them. You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain. Rumi once said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most powerful characters in this great world are seared with scars. See your scars as a sign of “YES! I MADE IT! I survived and I have my scars to prove it! And now I have a chance to grow even stronger.”

#5. Every little struggle is a step forward.

In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it. So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way. Otherwise, there’s no point in starting. This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills. It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar. It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers. It could mean lots of time alone in solitude. Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible. It gives you the space you need. Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it. And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds. And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine. You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path. And it’s worth it. So if you’re going to try, go all the way. There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE.

#6. Other people’s negativity is not your problem.

 Be positive when negativity surrounds you. Smile when others try to bring you down. It’s an easy way to maintain your enthusiasm and focus. When other people treat you poorly, keep being you. Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are. You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you. They do things because of them. Above all, don’t ever change just to impress someone who says you’re not good enough. Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future. People are going to talk regardless of what you do or how well you do it. So worry about yourself before you worry about what others think. If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it. Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible. All jokes aside, your life only comes around once. This is IT. So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, often.

#7. What’s meant to be will eventually, BE.

 True strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead. There are blessings hidden in every struggle you face, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them. You can’t force things to happen. You can only drive yourself crazy trying. At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE. In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience. It’s a long-term journey. You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way. Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds. You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be.

#8. The best thing you can do is to keep going.

 Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t. When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best. Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher. Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too. Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going. Keep growing.

And don’t forget, as Bob Marley says: Everything’s gonna be all right. Everything’s gonna be all right. Everything’s gonna be all right.

Spread My Ashes At Chenonceau.

OMG. OMG. OMG. Oui! Oui! Oui! That’s what I kept saying the entire day yesterday when we went to visit Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. You’re going to hate me a little bit, but I have a little secret. I was telling my friend Kerri, that when I go to these castles I pretend that the tour guide is my real estate agent. Yesterday was no different. The second I laid eyes on the front façade, I said, “I’ll take it.” When we entered the front door, I wondered what all these people were doing in my house. I just wanted all of them to leave so I could start planning my first soirée for all of my friends. I live in a delusional world, and it seems to work for me.

My house, I mean Château de Chenonceau, has quite a history. Most extraordinarily is that the Château was loved, run, and protected by exceptional women. Yes, women. Château des Dames. Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de’ Medici, Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont, Gabrielle d’Estrées, Françoise de Lorraine, Louise  Dupin, Marguerite Pelouze. Words that come to my mind in regards to the Château are “refined, elegant, sophisticated, feminine, livable and ladylike.”
Everything was perfect. The perfect length of the tree allée, the labyrinth, the gardens, the river Cler, the views, the architecture, the setting, the manageable size, the floors, the vaulted ceilings, the fireplaces, the tapestries, the fabrics, the little rowboats, etc. Nothing sucked.



My absolute favorite part of the chateau was the potager. A potager, by definition, is a formally laid out kitchen garden that incorporates flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruit. Strolling through the fully functioning potager just made the chateau so current, so real, so alive, so “move-in ready.”


My only regret is not being able to see the kitchen. It was on the ground floor only accessible by tight winding steep stone steps. Apparently, I was told, it is my dream kitchen.


After the tour, we had a lovely lunch in the gourmet restaurant, L’Orangerie. From our table, we had a view of the Château, the gardens, two magnificent statues/busts and a beautiful fragrant magnolia tree. Honestly, not to be a snob, but the whole place reminded me of my grandmother’s house. Maybe it was the balustrades, the grounds, the magnolia trees, and something about the interiors. More on that later. I felt very at home and had a strange sense that I had been here before.


I only got into one little scuffle at the Château. Some idiot held his toddler over the balcony. I started screaming, “Not a good idea! Not a good idea!” He ignored me and did it anyway. After he was finished nearly killing his toddler Michael Jackson style, I said it to the little boy, “Hooray, you didn’t die!” I knew the father just wanted to punch me, but he couldn’t because I’m in a wheelchair.  I should’ve had the sense to have my staff escort them out of my house.

This is a definite must-see on your France list.
 Mi casa es su casa.
A tout!