June 28, 2017

Bon Voyage: Copenhagen

Hallo from Amsterdam! We arrived yesterday evening, and before I let the city sweep me off my feet (just from our little bit of wandering I have a good feeling), I wanted to recap my first visit to Copenhagen!

Tony and I arrived in Copenhagen on Sunday and checked into our boat. That's right, we stayed on a boat! Everyone at CPH Living was incredibly nice, and our accommodations were just right. It was lovely to open the windows and feel a breeze on the water, and everything we wanted to explore was within walking distance. Not to mention, they provided a nice breakfast of fruit, yogurt, bread, cheeses, pastries, juice, coffee, and tea that was the perfect pick me up before we headed out for a day of exploring. 

City Vibes:
Welcoming, relaxed, laid back and cozy, cozy, cozy! I was expecting to feel the hygge here and Copenhagen did not disappoint. From candles on the tables at Copenhagen Street Food to blankets on almost every restaurant chair (I got cozy over dinner at mother), comfort and warmth surrounded us. The city was also incredibly clean with hardly any litter on the sidewalks and streets. Everywhere we went I felt very safe. 

(Cozy in Copenhagen at 55°F in late June)

Favorite Finds:
Tony found RIST Kaffebar where we started our full day of exploration. There, we grabbed a yogurt with muesli and two lattes. And how can I forget sweet treats at Lauras! The hindbærsnitte was a sophisticated Pop Tart that paired with my coffee wonderfully (second cup that morning...)! 

I also used the cityx60 Copenhagen book (link below) to learn a little bit about the city's treasures before we arrived. From that list, we shopped Scandinavian housewares at Hay House and had a beautiful experience at Cinnober Independent Bookshop where we picked up a notebook, a small rubber stamp for my bullet journal, and a guide to Amsterdam (more to come on this guide in my next post). Torvehallerne market was a fun stop for foods from around the world. We had tacos and gelato for lunch. 

I think my absolute favorite find of the day was one that wasn't on our list. This goes to show that wandering can be the best way to travel. We stumbled upon DORA after our morning coffees and couldn't get enough. Quite literally. We picked up two kitchen towels but already have a few more items that wouldn't fit in our backpacks in our online cart. We can't wait to add these new finds to our home for our own touch of hygge. I also have my eye on this necklace. You will instantly understand why! 

Style Watch:
Checking out the style in each city we visit is one of my favorite parts. On trend in Copenhagen: black tights and sneakers (usually black as well). Colors are generally muted (black, navy, gray, olive, tan) and jackets are a staple. Be it a classic trench, a black leather jacket, or a navy wool coat, even June can be brisk in Copenhagen and these layers shield from the wind with style. Scarves are ALWAYS a good idea. Women generally wear their hair pulled back in a pony tail or bun which has them bike or boat ready at a moment's notice. And the best accessory - a bike with a basket and bell. It was so fun to see how these were always an extension of the rider's overall style. 

(The Dune London shoes I picked up at Illum. I wanted something suitable for walking, yet also stylish. I'm always a sucker for bows. PS: This photo was taken at the botanical garden. Absolutely stunning! And free!)

Overall Impression: 
Love love loved it! We missed some of the more touristy things, but we decided before heading out on this journey that our goal was to get to know the city and its neighborhoods more than it was to check off the big attractions. Plus, I know we'll be back (we actually get a bonus afternoon the day before we fly home out of CPH). 

I hope you enjoyed a small window into our travels and maybe found some inspiration for your future travels! For more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram @fleurdestlouis. It's much easier for me to post there on the go. Tony is also posting wonderful photos @tonyclawsonstl. Until my next post, I'm off to explore Amsterdam! 

Warm wishes and bon voyage from me to you,

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June 23, 2017

Le Bric à Brac: Odds & Ends (n°2)

Coucou, readers! (Another, more casual way to greet en français.) I told you... I couldn't stay away ALL week. Maybe le bric à brac is becoming a vendredi tradition! This week's odds & ends have a lot of French flair, but you will also find some history, some yoga, and a little bit of travel. Speaking of travel, Tony and I are off for 3 weeks in Europe TOMORROW! It feels crazy that a long anticipated trip is finally here, and we could not be more excited. If you'd like to follow along, add me on Instagram @fleurdestlouis. I have a feeling most of my updates will be posted there. Enjoy, and bon weekend! 

⚜St. Louis's French History: Founder Pierre Laclède (interesting read!) 

7 More Signs You're Moving in the Right Direction - another inspiring post from the Simply Luxurious Life on pursuing your dreams.

French Chic: Decoding the Secrets of Paris Fashion via HiP Paris Blog (Loved this post!)

⚜Dreaming of Sézane... will definitely pay a visit to L'Appartement Sézane in Paris.

Learn French through Yoga (Thanks Carrie Anne for sharing this link!)

⚜I'm taking the Busy Language Learner Course with Shannon from Eurolinguiste. I LOVED this piece of advice:
"The thing is, a lot of language learning involves memorizing and internalizing information, so short and focused study sessions are actually far more effective. Five minutes with flash cards, ten minutes reading about a specific grammar rule, or a fifteen minute podcast are time extremely well spent."  

⚜Currently packing for Europe with my Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 and these handy eBags packing cubes! 

As always, warmest of wishes from me to you,

June 21, 2017

Il est temps de ralentir. (It's time to slow down.)

(Follow @simplifiedplanner on Instagram.)

...and right now this is what I need. I have been very energized lately, ideas and inspiration coming to me at an incredible rate. I've even looked at Tony and asked, "What is happening!?" because it's all so exciting. When I decided to open the doors and invite life's many wonderful opportunities in, they sure started coming (more proof that starting is worth it)! 

That said, I know myself. I know that in order to do things well, I need to allow myself time to step back and breathe. With our European adventure in just THREE days, there truly is no time like the present. I want to focus on preparing and organizing, enjoying the process leading up to our travels without feeling completely overwhelmed. After all, there is so much excitement in anticipation. A trip like this doesn't come around often, and the last thing I want to do is overextend before we even begin.

I have a good feeling you'll hear from me again this week as I'm always itching to write and work on the blog, but in case you don't, know it's because I'm honoring this need. I do plan to post on our trip, but I'm not holding myself to any strict expectations. My number one priority is to enjoy our travels and be there fully, taking everything in. 

If you aren't already, be sure to follow me on Instagram @fleurdestlouis. I will be posting most of my updates there! 

Though Fleur de St. Louis may be slowing down for a few weeks, here are some of the things you can look forward to in July:

⚜Posts recapping my travels :)
⚜The July Fleur de St. Louis giveaway!
⚜A Fleur de St. Louis meet up
...and more! 

I am excited and I hope you are too! 

Warmest of wishes from me to you,

June 19, 2017

Lire en Français

Frederic Bibard of Talk in French is adamant that in order to truly learn another language, language studies must become a habit. He says that "learning for 15 or 20 minutes per day is better than 2 hours once a week." I attend a 2 hour French class at the Alliance Française de St. Louis each week, but I have made an effort to include French studies into my every day. Often I will break up mes devoirs into smaller assignments to complete throughout the week rather than doing it all in one sitting. I've become better about listening en français with Coffee Break French. Recently, I was reminded of another way to incorporate French into my every day. While I've been aware of this study habit, I'll admit I haven't done a great job of following through. I now want to make more of a point to lire en français, read in French. 

I follow @fluentforevertips on Instagram, a feed with language learning facts and tips. Yesterday, they posted the following:
"Reading in a foreign language often evokes some ugly associations: hours spent trudging through some excruciatingly long masterpieces of literature, painstakingly looking up every other word in a dictionary. But we don't need to torture ourselves. We possess an extraordinary ability to learn words from context alone, without the aid of a dictionary -- this is how we learned most of our English words, after all." 
Who has ever thought this way about reading in another language? (Guiltily raising my hand...) I have read Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry en français. This is one of my favorite books, and it really helped that I have also read it in English. It made figuring out the French in context much easier. Other than that, I have a stack of French reads I have yet to get to - mostly children's books collected from thrifting, but also a book of short stories and a sweet little poetry book I just picked up at a local bookstore. This reminder I received while scrolling through my Instagram feed was just the encouragement I needed to get that stack out and start working my way through as another way to améliorer mon français. 

This morning I got my toes wet and read Chanson de la plus haute tour, a poem by Arthur Rimbaud, with my morning coffee. 

Qu'il vienne, qu'il vienne
Le temps dont on s'éprenne.

May it come, may it come
The time when love astounds us.

Just this verse alone is a beautiful example of the use of dont, a French pronom relatif meaning from which, from whom, of which, of whom, etc. I also learned a new verb: s'éprendre (to be smitten, to fall in love). 

If you are studying French or any other language, try taking a few minutes to read in that language today. Even those few minutes, done every day over time, will make a big difference in improving your language skills. 

Warm wishes and happy Monday from me to you,

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June 17, 2017

50 things I've done & discovered since starting Fleur de St. Louis

Bonjour readers! Nous sommes arrivés. We have arrived. Post #50 (cinquantième)!

The last few months since I decided to take the leap and commence have been an incredible journey. To celebrate, I've decided to make a list of 50 things I've done & discovered since starting Fleur de St. Louis. This is my spin on the "20 ideas method" I read about in Fiona Ferris's Thirty Chic Days. The first 25 came to me very quickly. The second 25 took some soul searching just as Fiona shared they might - "The last few could feel like trying to get blood out of a stone, but don't stop because those ideas may be the most fruitful." Here they are (in no particular order), and you will notice that many of them involve YOU! The Fleur de St. Louis community is what has made this journey so special. Merci! 


1. Figured out Blogger (for the most part) 
2. Began experimenting with photography
3. Went to Chicago for Lindsey Tramuta's New Paris book tour
4. Discovered Petit Vour
5. Disocvered Blissoma Holistic Skincare + Apothecary
6. Gained the courage to speak French at every opportunity
7. Attended the What Should I Read Next? with Anne Bogel live podcast in STL
8. Made two art museum visits (here and here)
9. Take weekly farmers market trips for fresh produce
10. Picked up drawing/painting/card making again (see some of my sketches here)
11. Have a plan to sell some of my work locally (stay tuned!) 
12. Researched and reached out to programs to continue my studies in French/French education
13. Made my first GIF (with help from Tony)
14. Joined the Twittersphere
15. Joined Les Amis
16. Visited Ste. Genevieve, MO for the French Heritage Festival
17. Discovered and frequent Comme à la Maison (Bonjour Clemence!)
18. Had a KC to STL book club with a friend
19. Made time to write daily 
20. Connected with favorite authors and bloggers
21. Started my fleur de lis "scavenger hunt" everywhere I go
22. Launched a Fleur de St. Louis giveaway to further connect with my readers 
23. Wake up early eager for each new day :)
24. Continued my French classes at Alliance Française de St. Louis 
25. Brought an amazing woman and friend to yoga
26. Made an effort to comment/interact more on my favorite blogs 
27. Take more time to ask the people I meet to tell me their stories 
28. Made a public Instagram account 
29. Reconnected with old friends
30. Made new friends
31. Went with a friend to hear author Jen Sincero speak 
32. Shared my love of the bullet journal and inspired some new journalers 
33. Connected with readers in St. Louis, Kansas, the Twin Cities, Australia and beyond
34. Shared my love of the French language, encouraging other learners 
35. Read and recommended favorite books (mostly francophile reads...) 
36. Got my first share via Fiona's blog How to be Chic (Merci beaucoup Fiona!)
37. Have a Fleur de St. Louis meet up in the works for this summer (stay tuned!)
38. More observant of all the beauty in my every day life
39. Started using Canva (amazing!)
40. Spreading the love for my city, St. Louis!!! 
41. Finished planning a European adventure with Tony (we leave in 6 days!)
42. I'm never bored now - so many ideas, and they keep coming! 
43. People are incredibly supportive and willing to help if you simply ask.
44. So many people have found success by taking a chance on their dreams.
45. What may seem overwhelming or "scary" at first might end up being the best thing you've ever done.
46. We all have a unique voice worth sharing. 
47. I have lots of room to grow, and that excites me. 
48. I feel more like myself.
49. I feel on my way. 
50. We get one "wild and precious life". We must live it fully. :) 


Warm wishes and SO glad you're here for the journey,

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(Hearing Lindsey speak was so inspiring!)

(Rae Dunn definitely got me back to my art.)

(Fiona is always an inspiration.)

June 16, 2017

Le Bric à Brac: Odds & Ends (n°1)

Bonjour readers, and happy vendredi! I often stumble across odds & ends that I want to share with you, so I decided to start a little series called le bric à brac (odds & ends en français). These will be short posts with discoveries and links I think you might enjoy. Stay tuned for tomorrow, I've got a very special post coming your way. :) 


⚜I ordered Rae Dunn's new book after listening to her interview on the Simple Sophisticate Podcast. It's a beautiful book that gave me the nudge I needed to get back to my sketches.

⚜I recently heard about French Quarter Magazine, a magazine "...seeking to grow an appreciation for, and to celebrate, the rich and colourful history and heritage of France combined with a vibrant mix of modernity and technology. We want to help expand knowledge of history, culture and all the arts through articles on gastronomy, fashion, upcoming exhibitions, interviews of important personalities... Our Franco-American initiative to preserve cultural treasures in both countries is crucial." Thinking of trying out an issue! 

⚜Planning a trip to Paris (or just dreaming of Paris as I so often do)? Check out these wonderful Paris City Guides:

The Simply Luxurious Life
Every Day Parisian
Lost in Cheeseland

⚜Tony and I are going to be in Paris on a Sunday. I've heard the city gets quiet on Sundays, so I did some research on ways to spend a Sunday in Paris on this amazing blog!
How to Spend a Sunday in Paris Part I
How to Spend a Sunday in Paris Part II
How to Spend a Sunday in Paris Part III

⚜Fun Twitter account: @Les_Machins for French words, expressions and daily quiz questions to practice!

My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz is $2.99 on Kindle! 

Beautiful bracelet I've got my eye on, from a company here in St. Louis! 

French Weekend, a weekly newsletter by Carrie Anne James of French is Beautiful is a wonderful way to bring a little more French into your life each week. 

If you have any fun odds and ends you've discovered, be sure to share them in the comments! I would love to hear from you.

Warm wishes and bon weekend from me to you,

June 14, 2017

Wellness Wednesday (n°6): La Bonne Beauté with Blissoma Holistic Skincare

*This post is written based on my opinions and desire to follow a clean beauty routine that will keep my skin radiant and my body healthy. I was not paid to endorse any of these products and share these opinions purely out of love. 

Nestled on LaSalle Street in the heart of St. Louis's Florist Row, there is so much beauty blooming at Blissoma Holistic Skincare + Apothecary.  Beautiful products. Beautiful space. Beautiful people. I met Julie (Blissoma founder and herbal chemist) and Laurie (Blissoma makeup artist) at the Grand Market a few weekends back. As I had already taken an interest in healthy beauty, this meeting felt rather fortuitous. I was searching for a nighttime moisturizer and picked up a bottle of Peace Evening Calming Crème. I loved it. I have been using this in combination with some other healthy products including this cleanser, this toner, and this sunscreen. After just a few weeks my skin feels healthier, and I don't feel the need to wash my face as soon as I get home each evening because it feels oily and irritated. My skin can breathe. :) 

(Me with a big smile on my face after a consultation at Blissoma!)

Last Friday morning I made my way to Blissoma's storefront to check out their entire line, as well as the healthy cosmetic brands that they carry. If you've been following along, you know I've been trying to wade through the enormous beauty market to find honest, healthy products. Blissoma makes their lines entirely in house and they are 100% natural, certified organic, vegan, and cruelty free. Laurie even took me on a tour of their workspace so I could see exactly where the products are made with love. I breathed a sigh of relief at the opportunity to talk to the women behind these products from development to sale. It doesn't get more honest than that. 

Laurie gave me quality time and personal attention. She walked me through nearly every product in the store, asked me about my specific skin needs and daily makeup routine, and sat down with me to try out all of the products I was interested in on my skin. She taught me application techniques and answered my many questions (beauty routines fascinate me, but I'm just now finding what works for me so I have a lot of questions!). 

In addition to going with the oily/acneic skincare line (this trial size is perfect for my carry on), I'm changing over to Alima Pure's mineral foundation. With many shades, you are sure to find one that matches your skin beautifully, and it feels so weightless & fresh. Laurie explained that this particular mineral foundation will not set in and enter the bloodstream like other products on the market can.

One brand Blissoma carries that I am especially excited about is Couleur Caramel, and what do you know? Their products are manufactured in France (and Italy) and Qualité France compliant (click this link for a chance to lire en français). This means that they are safe & transparent products and companies. I'm trying their Creamy and Shiny Lipstick in Glossy True Red so that I have a truly Parisian red lip for my travels! I'm also defining my eyes with their Long Eyelashes Mascara in brown. I feel confident knowing that when I shop at Blissoma, I am investing in high quality products that will work and last. I am also investing in my community. That is an incredible feeling! 

If you are a fellow St. Louisan interested in healthy beauty, subscribe to the Blissoma newsletter by clicking "sign up now" at the bottom of their page. You won't want to miss out on all that this blooming company has to offer. Stop by their store on LaSalle Street Thursday through Saturday and meet Julie, Laurie and their sweet bunny Blossom. I think you will adore your experience! If you are not from St. Louis, you can check out Blissoma online. They also do consultations via e-mail! As always, merci for stopping by. I hope this post has given you ideas to increase your wellness and confidence so that you can let your true self radiate. It is in this way that we feel empowered to say yes to pursuing our passions and living our best lives. 

Warmest of wishes from me to you,

(Blossom the bunny)
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