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Sometimes ALS wins. Sometimes you just can’t fight it. Sometimes you let it win. However, there are no winners. Everyone loses.

My friend, Carol, lost her battle with ALS Friday morning. Actually, she let it win. She was ready to go. That’s the funny thing about this disease…you can fight and fight and fight, and you can try and try and try, and you can pray pray and pray…but at some point you reach a breaking point. Carol reached her breaking point and decided to end of her own life.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this and try to find some great moral to this story because there isn’t any. I am not going to sugarcoat this and tell you that she died peacefully in her sleep because she didn’t. I am heartbroken. I am sad, I am devastated, I am furious and I am scared and don’t be alarmed but I’m jealous of her. Her suffering is over. When I received the email informing me of her passing, I burst out crying and screamed out loud, “I’m so happy for Carol!” I meant that with all of my heart. I am so happy that she is where she wants to be… Out of her body. I’m going to tell you a little story that I was saving for my book but I think it’s appropriate to tell you now. The very first day that I was diagnosed with ALS, I was in my apartment in New York… By myself. I was sitting on the daybed in the living room. I think it’s important to note that it was a 17th century Russian daybed. :-) I was just sitting there looking out of my window at the trees and I could feel myself squirming. Squirming, squirming, squirming. I thought to myself, “Ellie, what are you doing?” The squirming continued for a few minutes until I finally realized what I was doing… I was trying to get out of my own body. My body was on the daybed but I wanted to be in the other corner of the apartment… Far away from that girl who has ALS. I was physically trying to escape myself. After about three minutes, I realized, “Ellie, no matter how much you try, no matter what you do, you are stuck, you are stuck in a body that is going to fail you and there is nothing you can do about it so you better just start dealing with it… Right this second.” So that’s what I did. I knew that the only way out of my body was death that’s why I’m jealous of Carol… She is out of her body, her body that betrayed her. This story gets uglier so you might want to stop reading if this sort of thing “affects you.”

Don’t get me wrong… Suicide is a very touchy subject for me. As you know, or maybe you don’t know, my brother killed himself two years ago. He reached his breaking point. Before my brother’s death, I would never consider suicide an option but after I saw my brother suffering so immensely… I understood his actions… I’m not sure if I condone what he did (he left four children and his awesome sister)… But I understand.

Carol is my first friend with ALS. I have never allowed myself to communicate before with anyone who had ALS. I went to one support group in Santa Barbara and left during the meeting and never went back. One of the members of the “ALS Club” as I called it, called me on the telephone. His name was Jake. He was young, handsome, a doctor with two children and a wife. He brought his dog to the ALS meeting. I would not take his call. I wasn’t ready to have a friend with ALS. My loss because he died a month later. I think he was in his 30s. I don’t know what made me correspond with Carol. I guess I was just ready to. Carol could never adjust to her life with ALS. Somehow, I have. When I first met Carol, I didn’t really like her. Her emails to me were very depressing and I had to fight to stay positive. I thought that she wasn’t trying very hard to enjoy her life. Carol had an apartment in Paris and I begged her to come here. She refused. She saw no joy in coming to Paris again. She saw no joy at all. I tried so hard to keep her spirits up, to show her by example that life could be okay with ALS. She wasn’t having it. And, after I got to know her, I understood her and I grew to love her. We had a very, very special bond. I decided to just cut the crap with my positive stupid attitude, and talk to her for real. It was fucking liberating. Only someone who has ALS understands exactly what this disease does to a person. It is not easy talking to people who don’t have ALS about our feelings. You know why? Because it’s too scary for the other person to handle. It’s too much! Whenever someone asks me how I am, I respond, “Good, thank you.” I only tell my very close friends the truth. The truth is that sometimes I want to give up, the truth is that sometimes I hate the world, the truth is that sometimes I just want to die already. You can’t just say this to regular people but Carol and I could say it to each other. Our conversations were excruciatingly sad, heart breaking sad, and very very raw. I kept thinking to myself, “I’m not equipped to have these conversations. I’m not mature enough.” I’ve never had these types of conversations with anyone else….Not my husband, not my family and not my very best friends.

I knew that Carol was going to end her life in November. It was extremely difficult to keep this secret. I wanted to talk to somebody about it, but I couldn’t, because I promised Carol I would keep her secret until it was over. She didn’t want her family to know. She only told her five closest friends. She didn’t even tell her husband because apparently he was a douche bag. It was weighing very heavy on my heart. I felt like I was leading a double life for the last month. Cheerful Ellie and Sad Ellie. Carol and I kept in contact from the beginning of her journey out of this world. Carol decided to just stop eating and drinking. I suggested that she call Dignitas in Switzerland. Dignitas is an organization that helps you end your life with dignity… On your own terms. I am a member. Okay, okay, relax… Walk a day in my shoes and you would join Dignitas as well. Carol did not want to travel to Switzerland… She wanted to pass away in her own home in New York. Because our country is so fucked up, assisted suicide is illegal in America except for two states… So Carol had to suffer, suffer, suffer for two weeks until her body finally succumbed yesterday. She emailed me daily updates about the whole ordeal. Here’s the funny thing, the only liquid Carol allowed herself those two weeks was vodka and the only food Carol allowed herself those two weeks was dark chocolate. She emailed me funny things every day… I could tell she was getting loopy. I told her that if that’s the way she was going out… Then bravo!

Before you judge, first of all, fuck off, and then secondly… Just think about it for 10 minutes. Imagine what ALS does to you. Slowly but surely your body dies yet your mind is as sharp as ever to watch the whole show. You lose the use of your legs, you lose the use of your arms, you cannot swallow, you cannot breathe and you cannot help yourself. Your family has to see you suffer. Children lose parents. Husbands lose wives. You lose yourself. The old Ellie is a distant memory. She is gone. Gone without a funeral. This new Ellie is trying as best she can but, like Carol, sometimes you just have to give up and say, “Uncle.” I’m not quite there yet but believe me, I will get there. There is only so much suffering a person can take for so long. There is only so much suffering a family can take for so long. People with ALS have already lost all of their dignity so to be able to die on your own terms is liberating.

I have been crying since Friday. Yesterday, my husband decided to take me out to get some fresh air and tried to cheer me up. Not happening. I was a bitch the entire day. Normally I’m halfway nice but today it just hit me like a ton of bricks that I hate the world. My husband decided to take me to Gallerie Lafayette, the biggest most glorious department store on earth. I could not have been more miserable so I decided to take it out on everyone who was at Gallerie Lafayette enjoying their holiday shopping. It started when we got in the elevator and 500 billion people tried to pile in at once. Normally, I would have quietly freaked out and had a panic attack. Not today. I said, out loud,” Stop crowding the elevator! We’re not in fucking China!” Then I told two people that they should use the stairs because they were lucky enough to walk. Then, I sort of quietly (so my husband wouldn’t hear me) told the mother who was cramming her stupid baby’s stroller onto the elevator to fuck off. Then I’m pretty sure that I said I hate all Chinese tourists because they have no concept of personal space. I know, I know, totally rude and prejudice but I only meant it for about five seconds. Gallerie Lafayette was not the place for me today. I should have been in a church or at the very least a garden. I was just so mad today. I was so mad that Carol died, that she had to suffer. I am so mad that I have ALS, that my daughter has to suffer. I am so mad that I am so helpless and that this disease has ravaged my body no matter how hard I’ve tried to stop it. This is why I’m jealous of Carol. I’m jealous that Carol is in a better place today. Carol did not believe in God but I told her I would believe for her. So today, I believe that she is in heaven…free of ALS. I was laughing today thinking that when God took Carol yesterday, Carol had to look God in the eyes and say, “Well shit, Ellie was right, you are real.”

Carol and I made a pact. She promised me, promised me, that after she passed away she would give me a sign that she is okay… We decided that the sign would be La Vie en Rose, the song sung by Edith Piaf, Carol’s favorite song. I have been waiting all day for the sign… I know I’m going to be excited when I hear that song unexpectedly but I also know that is going to scare the shit out of me. :-) If you want to depress yourself in a good way, click here to listen to Edith Piaf sing La Vie en Rose. If you want to cheer yourself up and dance around the room, click here to listen to Grace Jones sing La Vie en Rose.

So let’s see, do I have any morals to this story. Not really… just be happy you don’t have ALS.

Thank you Marc and Tom for introducing me to Carol. I am a better person for knowing her.

That’s my story today. I hate everyone except Carol. The end. Love, Ellie.

An American Thanksgiving in Paris

Okay, it’s official… One would be a fool to spend Thanksgiving in Paris anywhere other than Ralph’s Restaurant at Ralph Lauren in St. Germain. There is simply no better ambience. If you don’t believe me, I will fight you. Just kidding, I won’t fight you but I will definitely question your morals, your American morals. Ralph Lauren makes me proud to be an American. Last night, I was beaming with pride and saying to myself as I looked around, “This is how it is DONE!”

Let’s back up, let’s back up a bit… How did I even get to Ralph’s Restaurant? I think my answer would have to be primarily “by the grace of God” and secondly, “by the grace of friends.” I want to thank all of you who made the effort to get your little Ellie to Ralph’s Restaurant for Thanksgiving. Thank you to everyone who made phone calls, sent emails and used all of your connections. A big Merci! I do however, have a very special person to thank… My friend Rex.

My friend Rex made a little phone call… To his goddaughter, Lauren. Lauren happens to be Lauren Bush, niece of former President George W Bush and granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush. Lauren also happens to be Lauren Bush Lauren, daughter-in-law of Ralph Lauren. Are you dying yet?

Let’s back up, let’s back up a bit… The year 1990. My first official job is at Ralph Lauren in Beverly Hills. I am 20 years old. I am the official Ralph Lauren… Gift wrapper. That was my job, I wrapped all the gifts. I loved it. Next, I was promoted to cashier. Very important job. Next, I was promoted to salesperson and next, I was being considered for assistant buyer. Ralph Lauren was my life. Here is something maybe you don’t know… When you work at Ralph Lauren you become part of an inner world, an inner society… And it never leaves you. Once a Ralph Lauren girl, always a Ralph Lauren girl. Honestly, you can tell if someone works at Ralph Lauren. There’s just something about them. I was lucky enough to be one of those people. I loved my job. Every morning, I woke up in my cute Beverly Hills apartment, put on my cute Ralph Lauren outfit, and walked the two blocks to Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, grabbed a coffee from Il Fornaio, and then walked a half a block more to the back entrance of Ralph Lauren. I always arrived early. There is something so peaceful about being in Ralph Lauren before the customers. I would walk up the winding staircase glancing at all of the paintings, upstairs to the home department, sit on a couch, sip my coffee and just look and look and look. I was letting it all soak in. In my eyes, it was heaven on earth.

So here we are, Thanksgiving in Paris 2014. My friend Rex makes a call to Lauren… And moments later I receive an email from Lauren Bush Lauren inviting me on behalf of her husband, David Lauren (Ralph Lauren’s son) and herself, to Thanksgiving dinner at Ralph Lauren. I literally had a little Ralph Lauren heart attack. Not only have I always admired anything Ralph Lauren related but I have also always admired Lauren. Why? Because she is the founder of the ubiquitous FEED bags!

In case you live under a rock and are unfamiliar with FEED, here is a brief description from her website… “As a World Food Programme (WFP) Honorary Student Spokesperson, Lauren visited countries around the world in Asia, Latin America, and Africa where WFP is operating, and was inspired by the plight of the people she met on her travels. She took a special interest in WFP's School Feeding program, which feeds and educates hungry children. After witnessing the effects of hunger firsthand, Lauren Bush Lauren founded FEED in 2007 with the mission of "Creating Good Products That Help FEED the World. She first created the FEED 1 Bag, a reversible burlap and organic cotton bag reminiscent of the bags of food distributed by WFP, to help raise funds and awareness around these school feeding operations. It was stamped with "FEED the children of the world" and the number '1' to signify that each bag provides enough meals to feed one child in school for one year.”

One bag purchase feeds one child for one year! FEED has provided 85 million meals. And that, my friends, is Lauren Bush Lauren. If you are feeling charitable, which hopefully you are, this is the most worthy organization to support. Click here to donate to FEED. Click here to volunteer with FEED. Click here to shop FEED.

So, with my heart all aflutter… I gleefully accept the Lauren’s generous invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at Ralph Lauren.

Now I have to get ready! What should I wear, I think? I know… I will wear my Malo camel cashmere dress, black stockings, my Roger Vivier flats, my Yves Saint Laurent gold cuff bracelet, and my teeny tiny diamond pinky ring, and my beautiful scarf that David bought me last year in Paris. Here’s the funny part… Because I am paralyzed, I cannot get myself dressed. I have to rely on my husband and my caregivers to do this. Have you ever had to have someone put your stockings on for you? It’s not cute. It’s actually humiliating. I usually just pretend I am in the Bahamas while they are doing it. After about 45 minutes, my clothes are on and now someone has to do my makeup. Jesus. My two choices yesterday were either to have my husband do my makeup or my caregiver do my makeup. Not to be rude or ungrateful, but an orangutan could have done a better job. But finally, in the end, Humpty Dumpty is put together and ready to go to Ralph’s!

The thrill of driving to Ralph Lauren in Paris past a twinkling Eiffel Tower is not lost on me. I am beaming ear to ear. We arrive to the restaurant and as our reservation is for four people, we invited our closest Parisian friends, Christophe and Ann-Lise. Christophe is chic and demure and Ann-Lise is the epitome of Parisian cool and always, always makes me laugh. We adore them. We await our 6:30 PM reservation in the courtyard of Ralph Lauren. Even though it is Thanksgiving, Ralph Lauren is decorated for Christmas which somehow felt perfect. It was a very traditional American Ralph Lauren theme. Swags of garland with antiqued gold balls, antler horns, pheasant feathers. Big baskets filled with pine branches. French planters filled with fresh Christmas holly with red berries. Huge wreaths. The tables were set with hurricane lamps, the chairs were complete with plaid pillows and leopard pillows. And this was just the outside courtyard! Look look look…


The best part about the courtyard was that it was brimming with… Americans. Yes, chic, perfectly dressed Americans. I have never been so happy to hear an American accent in Paris as I was last night. Not to be rude, but I did not want to hear any French. This was Thanksgiving. This was American Thanksgiving. This was American Thanksgiving at Ralph Lauren. You could sense that everyone was so happy to be there.

6:30 PM… The doors open and we are invited inside. Honestly, I felt like Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory… Eyes wide open with awe. I have dined at Ralph’s many times before but Thanksgiving is special. We were greeted by a trio of jubilant Ralph Lauren hosts. “Bonsoir, Monsieur Decret! Bonsoir Madame Decret! Happy Thanksgiving. We are so happy to have you with us this evening.” We were led to our table… The best table in the house… Right in front of the soaring fireplace. Everything was perfect. Everything was so Ralph Lauren and so Thanksgiving-y. I will let the pictures speak…


Just as we were settling in, a waiter arrived with a silver standing bucket with a bottle of champagne and said, “Champagne with the compliments of David Lauren.” I had another little Ralph heart attack. Merci beaucoup David Lauren. The menu then arrived…

So, as you know… I am kind of a foodie. My family operates around food. Not to sound like a food snob… But I know good food. I might even be an expert if I do say so myself. Let me tell you, the Thanksgiving dinner at Ralph’s restaurant was superb. The butternut squash soup tasted beautifully woodsy. The turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the root vegetables with maple syrup, the Brussels sprouts, the wild rice and the cranberry sauce… All pure perfection. And, here comes my grandest compliment… The gravy was the best I’ve ever had but don’t tell my mother. It was a tad bit perfectly sweet and a tad bit perfectly savory and served in a petite silver server. You are going to laugh but I actually had a dream about the gravy. The desserts were perfectly American because you know I hate French desserts… so the pumpkin pie, the pecan pie and the apple pie were a sight for sore eyes!

Now, I am not one to gawk because I have something called manners but I could barely focus on our dinner conversation because all I wanted to do was look at every little detail. The paintings, the Christmas decorations, the flowers, the greenery, the table settings, the candles, the other guests, the chic staff, the bar, the plaid pillows, the leather chairs with nail heads, the lighting, the chandeliers, the stone floors, and just the entire building in and of itself!

My Thanksgiving dinner in Paris could not have been better. Could not have been better! It almost made me want to move back to America! I kept thinking the entire night, “I wish I still worked here.” The magical world of Ralph Lauren never ceases to amaze me. Thank you Rex. Thank you Lauren Bush Lauren. Thank you David Lauren. Thank you to my David and to our friends, Christophe and Ann-Lise. And thank you to all of you who wanted this special evening for me as much as I did. I am a very lucky girl.

Gobble gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I am so thankful for so many things but primarily I am thankful for all of you. Thank you for your support, your generosity, your kindness, your advice, and your love. Yes, I can feel your love all the way over here in Paris. In the years past, I admit, I really didn’t consider being thankful all that much. I would usually just have Thanksgiving dinner, fight with my family, say a prayer and get ready to Christmas shop the next day. I still do that but now I stop to think that I am truly grateful and thankful for so many things. Do you want to know what I’m thankful for?

I am thankful that my daughter is strong. I am thankful that she is funny. I am thankful that she is tender, shy and doesn’t take 500 selfies of herself and post them on social media. I am thankful that she likes to cook. I am thankful that she is smart and witty and not a moron. I am thankful that she values family and loves traditions.

I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful that he wakes up five times during the night to move my legs. I am thankful that he still thinks I’m pretty. I am thankful that he only annoys me part of the time. I am thankful that we like to do everything together. I am thankful that he brings me surprises every day. I am thankful for his OCD that causes him to overly organize our apartment.

I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for all the craziness, the drama, the love, the laughter, the tears, the cigarettes and the wine.

I am thankful for my friends who act like my family… Jenny, Gage, Sabena, Yolanda, Dfoz, Gigi, Bella, Anwar, Susan, Sarah, Diandra, Hawk, Hudson, Imara, Taren, Allegra, Ursula and Madison, Debbie, Kelsey, Colton, Mer, Melinda, Yvonne, Christy, my sweet Susie and John Claude, Tom… All of you guys.

I am thankful for all of my nieces and nephews. I am especially thankful that my nephew Cody has become the most amazing adult.

I’m thankful for my cousins… Well, most of them.

I’m thankful for my sister even though she doesn’t like antiques.

I am thankful for my mother who has taught me everything even though she’s a tad bit psycho.

I am thankful that everyone loves Gracie and will raise her and take care of her if I am not here.

I am thankful for Gracie’s father, Dylan, because he is awesome. I am thankful for Gracie’s stepmothers, Augusta and Jessica, because they love Gracie. I am thankful for Gracie’s other father, John, because he adores her. I am grateful that Gracie’s grandparents think that she is the greatest gift on earth.

I’m especially thankful for Tom because he is a therapist and my friend and calls me every single day to make sure I laugh and am not suicidal. :-)

I am thankful for my new remarkably wonderful friend Rex because we have a shared sense of humor and because all of his emails are grammatically correct. I am thankful that he cares so much about me.

I am thankful that my caregivers haven’t killed me.

I am thankful for my three friends who have ALS as well. Thank you for understanding the devastation, the frustration, the sadness, the embarrassment, the helplessness and the sheer terror of all of this.

I am thankful for my cat, Frances, even though she ignores me 90% of the day.

I am thankful that I have a pretty apartment. I am thankful that I am lucky enough to live in Paris.

I am thankful that my doctor prescribes plenty of crazy pills for me.

I am thankful for American grocery stores in Paris.

I am thankful that I have American iTunes so I can watch The Real Housewives.

I am thankful for Picard.

I am thankful for all of my doctors…all 25 of them.

I am thankful for my gorgeous male nurse, Pierre. I am thankful for my gorgeous kinesiologist, Paul. Thank you for not being ugly.

I am thankful for my new caregivers, Ayra and Victor. Thank you for not being stupid.

I am thankful that I have woken up every day for the past four years with a smile on my face even though I know the challenges that I face every day. Even though my heart is broken, I am thankful that I have had 44 glorious years of my life with my friends, family, Gracie and David. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

C'est fini! The Christmas book!

It’s finally finished! The Christmas book is finally finished!

The book is titled, A Very Chic Christmas. I thought the subtitle should be “How Not to Have a Tacky Christmas” but I thought that would be a little rude…but just so you know, that’s what I mean. Christmas decorating can go so wrong…so fast. You know what I’m talking about…those crazy Christmas people. Those crazy Christmas people who think that elves are a proper Christmas theme. Those crazy Christmas people who wear Santa hats. Those crazy Christmas people who think containers of cheddar cheese popcorn is a good idea for a Christmas gift under the tree. Those crazy Christmas people who think it’s okay to put an inflatable Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer on the roof. Those crazy Christmas people who serve Lil’ Smokies at a Christmas cocktail party. This book is not for them…they are too far gone and set in their ways. This is a book for people who already “get it.” This is a book for people who will not be offended when I tell them not to use faux garland. This is also a book for borderline tacky people who want to make the leap to the chic side. God, that sounds so rude of me but I mean it in a welcoming way. :-)

This book is twice as long as the last one. It is chock-full of my Christmas stories, some gentle/not so gentle rules and reminders of Christmas, my favorite Christmas sources, tree trimming guidelines and the best part… Recipes! So many recipes! I have broken the recipes down into six menus…Christmas Cocktail Party, Christmas Eve Casual Dinner, Christmas Eve Fancy Dinner, Christmas Morning Breakfast/Brunch, Christmas Dinner and New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party! These are the menus and recipes that my family has been using for generations with a few modern kicks. Some of the recipes are quick and easy and some are a bit more complicated but they are all worth it! I have also added our favorite Christmas cocktails…hot and cold.

Like the last book, I have also included my mother’s email address in case you have questions. She is an expert on all things Christmas…decorating the house, trimming the tree and all things cooking! She loves loves loves helping people with decorating and cooking. Don’t be offended if she answers your questions “with a tone.” She does this to all of us because she expects people to be born knowing how to make a Beef Wellington. So don’t be too sensitive and just follow her advice and everything will look gorgeous and tastes fantastic!

So, voilà, A Very Chic Christmas! As always, a portion of the proceeds will go to ALS research.

To purchase A Very Chic Christmas in a softback version and have it delivered to your door click HERE.

To purchase A Very Chic Christmas in an e-book version and have it delivered instantly to your iPad, click HERE.

Normandy State of Mind

It’s definitely apple weather here in Paris and all I want to do is go to my château in Normandy, pick apples and make apple butter. The only problem is that I do not have a château in Normandy. The other problem is that I would have to teach my caregivers how to pick apples and how to make apple butter but considering my caregiver told me today that she “did not know how to use an oven” I’m pretty sure that apple butter is not in my future.

I have been addicted to apple butter since I was young. In the 1970s, my mother and grandmother would take my sister, brother and me to Amish country and we would buy our apple butter from the Amish off of the back of their horse-drawn carts because they are the experts. Don’t let my Parisian lifestyle fool you, I am pure hillbilly at heart. I used to eat apple butter out of a Mason jar with a spoon. I didn’t even bother putting it on toast. Then, because my family is the original know it all, do it yourself, crafty homemakers ala Martha Stewart… We started making our own apple butter. Look look look…

That is my fancy, pearl wearing, country club going, snobby grandmother…making apple butter…outside! My family is such a dichotomy. We will cut down our own Christmas trees but we’ve never taken out the trash on our own. We will build and paint our own gazebo but we don’t do our own manicures. We will lay brick around the pool but we’ve never cleaned the pool on our own. We will gut a turkey but we’ve never washed our own cars. We are all about getting down and dirty…but in a certain context. Do you hate me?
In homage to the autumnal weather, apple season, fall leaves and my imaginary Normandy château, 
let’s cook up some delicious apple recipes! I have curated a little selection of sweet and savory apple recipes that will get us through the crisp weather and keep us cozy. To see the recipes, click on the title.




A toute!

N° 21


What’s a girl got to do around here to get to an auction? Jeez! All I wanted to do was go to the sale of the century. Sunday morning, outside of Paris in the little town of Fountainbleu, at the prestigious auction house,Osenat, was none other than the auction of the personable items of Napoleon freaking Bonaparte! Now, let it be said that my husband always does what I want. We like to do the same things… Flea markets, farmers markets, antique stores, restaurants, movies… Etc. We always say the reason why we like each other so much is because we like to do the same things. He is always up for all of my adventures and I assumed that he would be 100% on board with the Napoleon auction. Apparently, I was wrong. He did not want to go. He adamantly did not want to go. I adamantly wanted to go. If I was not paralyzed, I would have breezed right past him and gone to the auction by myself. But, since I need him, his car, and his money (and I happen to like his company)…I had to get clever. First things first, I started to pout and ignore him. He hates when I ignore him. I do this very well but this time it wasn’t working so I decided that I should probably start shouting at him. This didn’t work either. Then I told him I was never going to eat or drink again if he didn’t take me to the Napoleon auction. This worked! He (reluctantly) agreed to go to the auction! Feel free to use my method.

7:30 AM Sunday morning my caregiver arrives to get me ready. By 8:30 AM we are out the door, in the car and on our way to Fountainbleu. Yes, I made David stop for a Starbucks chai because he just loves to do that. :-) After about an hour we arrived to the little town and it was all abuzz! This was a very important auction. The collection of Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1000 or so personal belongings have been in the possession of the Grimaldi family of Monaco. Yes, Princess Grace’s family. They have maintained a museum of these collectibles since 1970. The Grimaldi family decided to have the auction to make room for a new museum dedicated to Princess Grace. Obviously, I felt it was my obligation to attend the auction in honor of Princess Grace… Or at least this is what I told my husband.

We had two hours to preview the lot. It was a madhouse in there. Museum curators, antique dealers, collectors. I was the only Lookie Loo. Totally claustrophobic and I almost fainted but I persevered because that’s the kind of girl I am. The star of the auction was Napoleon’s hat. His famous characteristic bicorne hat. There are only 20 left in the world. The hat was originally intended to be worn with the two points facing forward but because Napoleon was so fashion forward he wore it sideways. Just kidding, he wore his hat sideways so his men would be able to distinguish him on the battlefield. Surrounding the hat at the auction were gaggles of people trying to catch a glimpse. Because I am in a wheelchair, people feel obligated to get out of my way so fortunately I was allowed to have a moment alone with the hat and a photo! Thank you ALS!


I had spent the previous evening perusing the auction catalog online. There were some truly remarkable pieces… The baby cradle given by Napoleon I to his adoptive daughter, Stéphanie de Beauharnais, personal letters, a tomb shaped medallion that contains a lock of Napoleon’s hair, a blue red and white scarf with Napoleon’s initials in gold embroidery, a bronze replica of the column of the Place Vendôme, a pair of Napoleon’s silk stockings, a sword encrusted in diamonds, paintings, statues… Souvenirs galore!


 But, there was one little thing that caught my eye. Number 21. Lot number 21. Number 21: “Fragment of a light green wallpaper, decorated with an ivy branch and a fragment of brick. Souvenirs of Napoleon Bonaparte’s from Louis XVI’s bedroom in the prison “Temple.” This is what I wanted from the auction. Number 21. It was the size of a postage stamp and I wanted it. David of course rolled his eyes and said, “Should we buy this minuscule piece of wallpaper or pay your caregivers?” My response: “Do I need to answer that question? Now, go register and place my bid, please.” By this time, after seeing all of the treasures in person, David was beginning to realize the importance of the auction, the intrigue and the historical story. In other words, he saw the error of his ways and realized that I was right about wanting to attend this auction. He would never say that out loud but his actions spoke louder because my sweet David placed the bid for me.


In the meantime, while the auction was underway, we decided to visit the Château de Fountainbleu. We had registered with the auctioneer to conduct a phone bid with us on David's cell phone when our lot number came up. A remarkable Château yet all I could think about was the auction. While we were in Anne of Austria’s bedroom, I said “Did the auctioneer call?” When we were in Napoleon’s bedroom I said,” Did the auctioneer call?” When we were in Marie Antoinette’s bedroom I said, “Did the auctioneer call?” Finally finally finally when we were standing at the entry of The Gallery of Diana… We got the call. (“The Diana Gallery, formerly the Queen's Gallery, 200 feet long, built under Henri IV, with decoration recounting the story of the goddess Diana. The gallery was restored under Napoleon I and Louis XVIII, and converted into a library under Napoleon III. The Globe at the entry was made for Napoleon I. “). As I was staring up at the ceiling at the beautiful paintings of angels, I decided that this would be a good time to start praying to them. “Dear Angels, please please please let me win this piece of wallpaper. Please please please.” I kept hearing David say on the phone to the auctioneer, “Oui.” And then there was a pause and then another, “Oui.” And again and again and again. “Oui, oui,oui.” The whole time I remained steadfast in my prayers to the ceiling angels. After about two minutes, it was over. David hung up the phone and looked at me and said, “It’s yours.” Oh my God! It’s mine. Number 21 is mine! David redeemed himself for every single thing he has ever done to make me angry including that restraining order (I threw a lamp at him once. A much-deserved lamp throwing). My David is my hero. He knew how much this meant to me and he made it happen. We probably won’t be able to pay my caregivers or the rent but I now have Louis XVI’s wallpaper! I said a thank you prayer to the angels and decided that this was my lucky room. I decided to ask the angels for one more favor which I’m sure you can guess what that was.


The entire ride home I was grinning ear to ear as we listened to the live auction for the rest of the lots. Guess what? The hat. The hat sold for $2.4 million dollars! Can you believe that? Awesome. But who cares about that hat because I have the wallpaper! To check out an exciting video regarding the auction click HERE. To check out the Napoleon Bonaparte auction lots click HERE. Definitely an exciting day and to top it off I finished my evening with an episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Dichotomy much?

A toute! 
*Something you don’t know about me? I would rather buy a painting than a pair of shoes. I would rather buy a gilt mirror than a handbag. I would rather buy a Jacques Adnet desk than a piece of jewelry. What are your shopping guilty pleasures? If each of you were given $10,000, what would you buy? And don’t say that you would donate it to charity because we all know that’s a lie. What would you buy for yourself? What would make you happy? Furniture makes me happy.