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Happy 100 Julia Child: Our Lady of Butter

Julia Child will forever be the queen of cuisine. Her joie de vivre, charm, personality, voice, quick wit and confidence make for an excellent role model for all ages. August 15th marked the centenary of her birth. There are many ways to celebrate Julia Child because she left such an incredible legacy and truly savored all of her ninety-two years of life. Simply remembering her will make you smile. Here are a few ways to celebrate Julia's 100th birthday.

Read: Two new book releases about Julia Child, Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child and Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child. Both books coincide with Julia's 100th birthday celebrating her life and capturing her larger than life spirit.

Reading Jessie Hartland's charming new children's book, Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child you will see the illustrations and little scribble notes are child-like and joyful. I'm so excited to be able to introduce Julia to my children through a bedtime story. It's sure to inspire children to try new foods and find their own talent. 
Another new Julia book is Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. This book captures Julia's joie de vivre. Reading it we see what a fearless, funny and confident woman she was.

These two new books are a wonderful birthday present to Julia on the centennial commemoration of her birth.

Two more absolute must reads are As Always, Julia and My Life in France.

Sip: Julia's favorite drink, Angosoda:

6 oz Perrier Sparkling Water
dash Angostura Bitters
lime slice

Pour Perrier into an icy glass and top with a dash of Angostura Bitters. Garnish with a slice of lime and say cheers to Julia!
Eat: Everyone should make Julia's boeuf bourguingnon every now and then. It makes your home smell like a Parisian cafe and fills the people that you love with contentment and comfort. On Julia's birthday, I made her boeuf bourguingnon. It's the middle of August and hotter than Hatties but after watching her make it on the PBS reruns of The French Chef, I simply had to make it! 

See: Julia's Cambridge, Massachusetts kitchen that was relocated to the first floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D. C.  If you can't see it in person, you can still view it here through the Smithsonian's virtual museum.

Watch and Listen: You know those movies you pull out when you need to relax? These are my go tos for feel good entertainment. I gave my mom Julia's The French Chef collection for Christmas one year and it has brought many happy memories back. Julie and Julia is a wonderful book and movie but the soundtrack is equally as delicious. Try cooking while listening to Margaret Whiting sing Time after Time and you will feel like Julia is cooking with you. 

Flash back to hilarious clips of Dan Aykroyd As Julia Child, watch her appearance on David Letterman, and PBS celebrates her birthday with a remix.

Buy: Julia has an app! You can download Julia Child on your ipad or nook be able to download 32 selected recipes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It is such a joy to hear Judith Jones (Julia Child's editor) tell stories about her friend. You can also see clips from The Way We Cook, videos, photographs, quotes and grocery lists.

Quote: Words of Wisdom from Julia:

Remember, No one's more important than people! In other words, friendship is the most important thing--not career or housework, or one's fatigue--and it needs to be tended and nurtured.

Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.

This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer: Part Trois

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.  ~Sam Keen

Ride: A perfect summer must include taking leisurely bike rides with the family. I love my little Dutch bike that my husband gave me for my birthday. It's perfect for a stroll around the neighborhood with the children. I like to fill my basket with a mini picnic for the park. This bike makes me wish I lived near a bakery just so I could place a loaf of French bread in my basket.

Read: Read this dreamy book, Dreaming in French by Alice Kaplan and float away to Paris in the summer. Three American women: Jacqueline Bouvier, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis spent a year in Paris in their 20's. Kaplan writes about these women, “If you reduce them to identity labels, you have “a Catholic debutante, a Jewish intellectual, an African-American revolutionary.”

Sip: Chai tea is a staple in our house in every season but in the summertime, it must be iced. Try this delicious chai tea recipe and sip into Indian summer.

See: Ukrainian pastel painter, Katya Gridneva. She reminds me of Degas the way she works with pastels and likes to draw ballerinas and equestrian subjects. Many of her ballet models are from Russia's famous Kirov. Pastels are like a summer white wine...soft and light.
Taste:  Have you ever tried "Quince Paste?" I was intrigued because my son's name is Quincy and he likes fig jam. Quince is similar to fig jam. It's popular in Spain. Try it with cheese and as an accompaniment with dessert. Buy it or make your own.

Use: Two of my favorite summer products conjure up French Polynesia in a bottle.  I imagine the women that Paul Gauguin painted in Tahiti used something like Nars Body Glow. The smell of tiare flower and coconut oil screams summer and makes your body glow like shimmering chocolate. Another favorite is the Fresh's Sugar Face Polish. The combination of brown sugar and wild strawberries is heavenly. This is my favorite face mask because it smells so delicious and it exfoliates gently.

If you missed my summer obsessions from June and July...voila!

Farewell, My Queen (Les Adieux a la Reine)

Wouldn't you have loved to be a fly on the wall in Versailles during the chaos of the four days in July in 1789 as the French Revolution turned the monarchy upside down? Director Benoît Jacquot (who had the privilege of shooting at Versailles) allows us to be that fly...more like a mosquito buzzing through Chantal Thomas’ period-perfect 2003 novel. The story opens on July 14, 1789 when the anti-monarchist stormed the Bastille.
We see Versailles through the eyes of Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux), who is one of Marie Antoinette's loyal ladies-in-waiting. It is Sidonie's job to entertain Marie Antoinette with readings from novels, plays, poetry, even fashion magazines.
Sidonie Laborde keeps her head (literally) as chaos unfolds at Versailles. She takes us through the back corridors where the servants gossip and the rats surrey. Traveling through these dark, cramped corridors is where real life happens at Versailles. Behind Sidonie's embroidering and reading we see panic, adultery, stealing and rumors circulating. The audience gets a real sense of what it must have felt like to live inside the palace.
A list is being passed around Versailles that 286 heads must fall. Marie Antoinette's head is at the top of that list. Being a foreign woman, she was the first to blame for France's problems and the one they hated the most.
We see the Queen as emotional and passionate about her friend Gabrielle de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen). Marie Antoinette was known to have the most incredible love for her children, husband, and her closest friends. The movie focuses mostly on her friendship with Gabrielle.
Sidonie Laborde adores the Queen and will do anything for her, even agreeing to risk her life by exchanging identities with the Queen's best friend Gabrielle de Polignac. It is Sidonie who is has true loyal love for her Queen.
Gabrielle de Polignac was loathed by anti-monarchist because of her close friendship as the Queen's favorite. Gabrielle was known to have great self-confidence and beauty. She brought the Polignac family into French nobility. She was a social climber and the last of the royal favorites. Her head was on the list too.
Marie Antoinette was a romantic. She was loving and naturally flirtatious. The French did not like her...they never accepted her because she was not French by birth. She was homesick for her family in Austria and developed close relationships with friends she thought of more as sisters. It seems the French went to extremes to give Marie Antoinette a wicked reputation accusing her of having affairs with her friends.
Diane Kruger makes a stunning and very believable Marie Antoinette. Kruger (like Marie Antoinette) was not born French, their native tongue being German. Kruger also performed this role at the same age (thirty-four) that Marie Antoinette was when the Bastille fell. This detail brings a more authentic realness to the movie. 
Jacquot's Farewell, My Queen is powerful and you can't help but feel the panic and fear that the three main characters (Marie Antoinette, Gabrielle de Polignac and Sidonie Laborde) are feeling. It leaves you wishing you didn't know the history of the French Revolution.
Marie Antoinette remains one of the most fascinating people in history. Here's hoping for many more books and movies on the infamous, unfortunate Queen of France...the Austrian woman.