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Luxury Tea Company Nelson & George | Interview, Part II

Happy Friday! As promised, we have part two of our interview with the incredible co-founders of Nelson & George, Olivia and Sheila Kahler. The spectacular mother-daughter duo and business partners of the luxury tea company has more to share about entrepreneurship, their advice to aspiring business owners, and, of course, tea. (In case you missed it, here’s Part I!) Have you poured yourself a cup of tea? We’re diving right back in.

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Another question for Sheila – can you tell us a bit about tea and what differentiates one type of tea from the next? Also, what is a “mother bush?”

To be called “tea”, the leaf used in brewing must technically come from the Camillia sinensis plant (considered a bush, though it is technical a tree if left to grow and can reach up to 17 meters or 55 feet high). There are three main cultivars: camellia sinensis sinensis, camellia sinensis assamica, and camellia sinensis cambodiensis. All other plant material not used from this main plant species should technically be considered a tisane or herbal tea.  It is in the processing of the camellia sinensis leaf as dictated by a tea master, that determines which type of tea will be produced. All types of tea, be it black, green, white, oolong or pu ehr, start off from the same species, one of the three listed above. Producing a superior type of tea – a superior black, etc. – reflects on the skill primarily of the tea master’s guidelines, though, of course, the growing conditions, including type of soil, and the care given it during the growing season, as well as plucking skill play varying roles. I know it may seem difficult to understand that those varieties of teas I mentioned all start out from the same leaf…maybe it helps to relate it to wine.  All wine is made from wine grapes, but where the wine is grown, and the processing and aging of the wine account for a widely different experience for the wine drinker.  The same goes for tea!

Until relatively recently, all tea was planted from seed and this took about 10 years before it became a viable tea plant. In the 1970’s however, “cloning” (or “vegetative propagation”) became popular.  In order to ensure a quality tea, to afford more control in general over the tea, growers would select strong branches from an established tea bush – a “mother bush” – cut it into short lengths of twig and single leaf, root it, and plant it.   By cloning, one could more readily control taste of the tea, disease resistance and increased hardiness, and, in some cases, increased yield. Control over quality and yield as well as for expediency, cloning from a mature “mother bush” became more the norm.

Olivia Kahler Nelson & George

Olivia, you’ve done an incredible job with the packaging and branding. Everything is so beautiful! How did you go about choosing this particular aesthetic?

Thank you!  The visual aspects of the company were very important to me, and I put a lot of thought and effort into creating a look that I felt conveyed what Nelson and George represents.  I am always tweaking – there is so much more I want to add!

While I put a lot of work into the visual aspects, I was lucky to have Rachelle at Saevil Row (http://saevilrow.co) came up with our logo, and initial branding colors and fonts.  She did a great job translating my initial ideas onto paper, and encapsulating our brand in our logo.  I especially love the ampersand horse. 🙂  I then expanding upon her foundation, creating my own mood boards, Pinterest boards, and paying a lot more attention to branding and packaging than I had in the past!

I want our aesthetic to convey a sense of a contemporary classic.  A sense of elegance that is updated, and elevated yet approachable, with an American influence.  I work every day to refine and get closer to conveying this aesthetic in all of our online visuals.

Nelson & George

What are your favorite teas and why?

Olivia: My favorite thing about tea, now that I have become familiar with the great variety there is available, is choosing a tea the matches my mood and the experience I want to have.  I feel like I can go on a taste adventure just by brewing a cup of tea.  While wine shares similar characteristics in terms of variety and depth and richness of flavors, one of the aspects that I so enjoy about tea is that you can drink it almost any time of day, hot or iced, and the effects are either energizing or calming.  My top five teas are:

  • The Maria –  (Tie Guan Yin) I love floral notes, and this tea has delicate yet prominent orchid notes with a refreshing finish.  It feels as though you are sipping the sent of a flower!  As this tea is one of my favorites, I named it after one of the most incredible opera singers of all time – Maria Callas.
  • The Balto – (Hoji Cha) This is my go-to tea for after dinner/being cozy.  I love the roasted taste, and it reminds me of Japan, where this is one of the most popular teas, and is served either after a meal, or to children due to its low caffeine content.  I would love to bring this tea camping for sipping around the fire.  While most Hoji Chas are made from Bancha leaves (as this is cheaper), ours is made from organically grown young green tea shoots.  I loved the story of Balto growing up, and even named one of our dogs after this brave sled dog.
  • The Tara – (White Bud Pu erh)  Before we started this tea company, I had never had a pu eh tea.  As this tea is both white, and yet a pu erh, it provides an interesting mix between light and refreshing yet with additional depth on the palate due to the pu erh processing.  I love sipping this while working, and it keeps me refreshed a focused the whole morning.  I named it after one of the rescue dogs who worked at the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 attacks.
  • The Portland – (Chai) I love having this tea when I am in the mood for a treat, or substitute it for dessert. I have always loved chai tea lattes, and I have to say that our chai is my favorite (or else I suppose I would have requested we keep searching….!)  While most chais are black tea based, ours has a green tea base.  In my opinion, this preserves all the yummy-ness of a chai tea latte, while making it less heavy.  The whole spices (such as cardamom pods) result in a tea bursting with a variety of flavors, that reminds me a bit of spiced cookies at the holidays.  Organic, whole, cow’s milk is delicious, chilled with coconut milk adds a tropical flair, or hemp milk is lighter.  I suggest adding some sugar to bring out the flavor of the spices.
  • The James – (Earl Grey)  I had been more of a black tea drinker, and Earl Grey was always one of my favorites.  While the characteristic Bergamot flavoring was originally added to cover up the taste of a lower quality black, our Earl Grey’s base is an organically grown, high quality black, and our Bergamot is a real essential oil, rather than artificially produced.  This makes all the difference, and our Earl Grey, names after James Maddison, takes the Earl Grey experience to a whole new level!  It amplifies the characteristic flavors of an Earl Grey and eliminates the sometimes-bitter aftertaste.  I love drinking this tea on a chilly winter morning, iced with lemon and honey, or as my afternoon pick me up.

Sheila: A tea that is of very high quality is my favorite tea! I know that I can not only drink our tea then enjoying the exquisite flavor and aroma, but do so with a clear conscience knowing that it is free of chemicals and generally has small tea garden/family provenance. Having spent most of my adult life living an “organic” lifestyle, studying and working clinically and socially in the holistic health field, I have developed a palate which can instantly detect “foul play” as I would term it, with that which I am at the moment ingesting. Most people could determine a truly organic food stuff given the choice: the flavor is usually outstanding and real. My eating/drinking pleasure then extends to a knowing that the natural world, the planet, is sustained, not negatively impacted through the production of this tea. Yet, if I must chose, then I feel most at home with a Dragonwell (like our “The Abigail“) or a high quality Sen Cha (green) (like our “The Sacagawea“), or Tie Guan Yin (like our “The Maria“) or Dancong Honey Orchid (like our “The Benjamin“) – both oolongs, and perhaps a Cream of Puerh (like our “The Harvey“), or our Arya Darjeeling, “The Mark” – black. But really, it is just too hard to chose: it often just depends on mood and weather, believe it or not!

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When do you most love to enjoy a cup of tea?

Sheila: There is a saying in the tea world – a phrase, if you will – by William Ewart Gladstone, which can sum up the answer to this question:

“If you cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you…

Is it in the end, the warmth of the tea beverage or actually the much studied and documented health benefits tea imparts that support the sentiment above? Perhaps both…”

Personally, I look forward to my morning cup of tea, most often a green, but not always, depending on my mood, and to an afternoon cup.

Olivia:  I love starting my morning with tea and a cup of fruit.  It has been such an adventure to become familiar with all of our teas, and I look forward to my morning ritual of sipping a cup of tea, while reading that tea’s story.  Several of our teas are suitable for multiple brewings, so I will often sip one tea until lunch.  I also love having iced tea in the fridge.  Before bed, I love drinking a cup of tea while reading, or these days, often finishing up some work on Nelson and George!

How do you see Nelson and George developing in the near future? What are your goals for your business?

Sheila:  I think that as the population – even speaking worldwide, not just in the U.S. -becomes more and aware of healthful eating and sustainability, which is well ingrained now, we can count on the tea marketplace continuing the healthy/sustainable trend, where the consumer makes his/her purchases very consciously.  One who, too, will ask for those teas, which are produced in a sustainable way. This awareness, this shall I say, “demand” will not go away in my opinion, but grow to be more commonplace rather than just a “niche market.”  We also tout ourselves to be “luxury”: this is niche at the moment that is ready to jump into full bore trend when people, the consumer really understands what “luxury” really means.  Luxury as we intend it is saying that “I will pause today, and take time away from the hectic pace, from perhaps the IT world and just be “, and/or “I will care about my buying choices and support my body, the planet, other people by choosing, say, organic first.”  We are attempting to bring awareness to the public at large that it is OK to choose “luxury” when coined in that fashion. It is simply a question of self-respect.  Our goal is to be a leader in this direction, to help create awareness on the two levels – health/sustainability and luxury, taking time -mentioned.  We need to pause more and just be, or reflect on life. Doing so over a warming cup of excellent tea is the perfect setting!

Olivia:  Our overall goal is to introduce Americans to the world of fine and rare teas, and as Mom said, to introduce moments of luxury into the busy lives of Americans.  Time is our biggest luxury, and setting some of that aside for ourselves or to share with friends is a luxury that certainly makes our lives richer.  We feel that taking the time to properly brew and enjoy a cup of tea creates an atmosphere and somewhat of a structure for these moments – and as a bonus tea is both healthy and suitable for all age groups and times of day.

While our tea is currently only sold online, we plan on experimenting with expanding into both retail boutiques and cafes, as well as restaurants and hotels that match with our aesthetic and values. (We are definitely open to suggestions!)  We also might open up a Nelson and George tearoom within the next five years.

Our current tea collection has largely been named after prominent Americans present at America’s birth.  As we add more teas, we plan on expanding chronologically into other areas of American history.  We also have plans to expand our selection of tisanes to include teas specifically designed to support expecting and new mothers, and young children.

We are also looking forward to collaborating with various artists to add to our accessories collection, and do capsule tea collections.

For me, one of the hardest aspects at the moment is remembering to take it a step at a time, as I have big plans for the future of Nelson and George!

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Can you leave us with some words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Olivia:  Keeping a clear focus by writing down your goals, and then working backwards to break them down into actionable steps I have found effective.  Action is so important.  Just start…even if it is just a small step.  As this world of business is new to me, I have been enjoying learning about all the different aspects involved in running a business.  Podcasts, reading articles online, and chatting with fellow entrepreneurs has been enormously helpful.  My favorite podcasts are: Smart Passive Income, Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield, Shopify Masters, The Jess Lively Show (for inspiration and work/life balance), and I love Marie Forleo!

Sheila:  Keep aspiring! Don’t give up too readily if things at first don’t go the way you intended, yet…be willing to take a new task, create new opportunities, if necessary! Above all, be happy and excited about your business. This ensures success.


Many thanks to Sheila and Olivia Kahler for this fantastic interview and insight into their business. You can order your Nelson & George teas online. Be sure to follow the N&G adventures via InstagramTwitter, and Facebook!

PatriciaParisienne xx

Images compliments of Nelson & George

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Presenting | Usha Bora of Jamini Design

What brand can combine the iconic Le Bon Marché and rhino poop paper? Read on, reader.

As many of you know, one of my favorite topics is entrepreneurship. Combine that with another favorite, France, and you’ve got a plethora of interesting people and subjects to delve into. I recently discovered the brand Jamini on Instagram and went completely gaga for the incredible patterns, designs, and textiles. Owner and founder of Jamini, Usha Bora, and I connected, and I found myself even more fascinated by this powerhouse of a woman and her growing Indian-French chic line.

In thinking of ways to describe Usha, I find myself drawn to the words peace, strength, and intensity. She radiates this through her ballerina-like grace and kind eyes, yet you know that there’s an explosion of power hidden just beneath them, ready to be released at any moment. When I walked into her beautiful 10e arrondissement boutique, Usha greeted me like an old friend, and I immediately felt at ease with her as she showed me around the stunning showroom.

There are so many beautiful things in Jamini that it was difficult to choose where to start. (This is not a bad problem to have.) I wanted to take everything home with me, and I’ve resolved that I will, little by little! The green Agni bag is now a staple in my wardrobe, as is a darling gingham headband that makes me feel a little bit like Rosie the Riveter, giving me extra pep in my step. Papeterie-obsessed, I added one of her specialty notebooks (read more below) to my collection. I flitted between cushions and scarves, ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and Usha laughed as I filled my arms with Jamini treasures. Believe me, this brand is one that you want to get to know.

Interviewing this woman was an honor.  Usha’s story unfolds delightfully, and I think you will enjoy learning about her journey from Assam, India, to Paris, France.

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1.  What was it like growing up in Assam, and how has Assam influenced Jamini?

Growing up in Assam was wonderful. I grew up with the fragrance of fresh tea from the tea gardens around the house, of jasmine flowers, lush greenery, watching deer, rare birds like hornbills from my verandah, and I spent a lot of time in the forest of Kaziranga. Kaziranga is the home to many endangered species of animals like the one-horned rhinoceros amongst others. I was chased (almost to death!!) by a wild elephant, went tiger tracking, and had so many adventures in this gorgeous part of India. Assam plays a big influence in my life and therefore is very present in Jamini’s DNA. Our logo comes from the hundreds of lotus flowers growing in swamps all around my home, the woven line of scarves and home items come from tribal influences in garments the women of the region wear, and our famous paper is made from rhino & elephant poo from the forests of Assam! The new candle I am working on will be based on the fragrance of the world famous Assam tea!

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2. You went from Assam to France; how was that transition?

I got an MBA from India’s top business school – Indian Institute of Management, in Ahmedabad (set up in in parternership with Harvard et designed by the famous architect Louis Kahn) and went to work in a big American firm in Hong Kong – Emerson Electric. In HK, I met and fell in love with a dashing Frenchman and came to Paris!  I felt at home here almost immediately – the wine, the food , the museums, the music – everything was like a dream! The only thing I had a hard time getting used to was the weather – coming from a tropical climate, I had never seen snow before, and never worn a coat, or gloves…that had to change! And it took me a while to get used to the famous European grey skies. (editor’s note: I can relate!)

3. When did you decide to move from management to design?

After I had my first child, Deeya, I did a lot of hard thinking. I was working at L’Oréal Paris at that time. It became clear to me that I was not going to stay in a big corporation for very long – I had too much energy and was not really cut out for a very top-down hierarchical way of functioning. It was clear that I had to be my own boss!! So I had to find a way of doing that and decided to take the risk if going down a completely creative path – something that I always dreamed of doing, but never really thought about very seriously. Having a child makes you think about very important, profound things in your life, and you ask yourself hard questions. This is the moment when things became crystal clear, and I knew that I was going to leave the corporate life and take a huge risk by following my heart. I had no experience in design – only a passion for textiles and an eye for detail, and that’s how it all started!

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4. What skills did you learn from your time at L’Oréal and other corporations that you have applied to your business?

I consider myself extremely lucky to have gone to the best schools and universities in India and Paris. I have a solid business background, great contacts, and enough confidence to recognize a good idea and make it happen. Understanding business risks and opportunities, analyzing financial requirements, professional methods of tracking results, marketing ideas, understanding the loopholes in production and quality control and addressing these issues – all these came from having worked with big corporations. I am so grateful to have had wonderful colleagues and bosses who trained the hell out of me and prepared me for the great big Jamini adventure!

5. How did your business start?

I worked as a product manager at L’Oréal, Paris for a few years, but I missed India terribly and had to create a work situation that would take me there often! So I started thinking about ideas and finally decided that I was going to start looking for beautiful things and try to use my wildly creative side to adapt them to suit French tastes. So voilà! I started scouting fabrics, embroideries and weaves for big brands like Agnès B, Dior kids, Bonton, and BA&SH. I did this for a few years, and it worked really well. In 2010, I decided that I wanted to launch my own line of accessories, so here I am! IMG_5338

6. Now let’s talk about the products. What can you tell us about the materials used in production?

All my products are handmade. I want to showcase the wonderful textile techniques from India and, above all, invite everyone to travel with me to different regions of India through my work! I have made collections using fabrics printed by wooden stamps from Rajasthan as well as products hand woven in Assam. I work with expert artisans with the hope that showcasing and promoting their work will allow them to pass on their skills to future generations. Jamini is also a family story. My father, after retirement, set up a small scale enterprise to make paper from Rhino and Elephant poo – this is the paper I use for our lovely notebooks. It is 100% natural and eco friendly and helps agains deforestation.

7. In a previous conversation, you mentioned the artisans who make the Jamini products. How did you find out about them, and what skills do they bring to the table?

The artisans with whom I work are experts in weaving and printing. I grew up in a region where weaving is economically very important for women. It allows them to have some degree of freedom (in villages where they would normally stay at home and not have any source of income) and also be less dependent on agriculture and the vagaries of the monsoon! These women have looms at home and work at their own pace. The skills they learn are passed down from one generation to another, and the designs and patterns are influenced by tribal practices and social conditions. They are a huge treasure trove in terms of anthropological information. I try to do my little bit to preserve their know how and adapt it to appeal to a modern and discerning market.

8. What were your first products when you opened in January 2013?

I made a range of scarves using a lovely hand woven quality of cotton (khadi), and it was a huge success in Japan!  That encouraged me to try new things and increase the product range.

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9. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur in France! Tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial journey. 

No, it isn’t! You are right. I have been extremely lucky to have met wonderful people who have supported and encouraged me. I think it’s very important to have a very positive attitude and not necessarily take things for granted. The French like to play by the rules, but when pushed, they are actually quite open to new ideas. For example, the store space that I wanted to rent was initially not worth my applying for. This space is owned by an offshoot of the Mairie de Paris (SEMAEST), whose objective is to change a certain number of Paris’s neighborhoods. In the 10th arrondissement, they specifically wanted to avoid textile companies (because this area of flooded with wholesalers of t-shirts, etc.). So when I sent my application in for Jamini, they said, “No!! No textiles!!” I persisted, sent them the story of the brand, a link to my website, development plans for the future, etc.! They came back [with] a BIG yes! Not only that, they help and encourage me every day and try to do their best to talk about me in the media. So my advice to all aspiring entrepreneurs is – DON’T take the first No for an answer. Push the limits and boundaries. The French are not necessarily used to that – it’s such an Anglo-Saxon thing! But they are not all that averse to it either. So with some persistence and a little bit of luck, one can do a lot of things here!

10. What are some of the challenges and benefits of being an entrepreneur?

The challenges are mostly financial – mainly taxes, hiring policies. France is really not an easy place for hiring people. The rules are really complicated and extremely disadvantageous for entrepreneurs. The benefits – so much creativity and inspiration all around! Ideas come easily, creative people are so easy to find, a million projects could be born every day! My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is having the freedom to try new ideas. Being able to trust my instincts and taking the plunge!
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11. Your boutique is located on 10 rue du Château d’Eau, 75010. What influenced you to find a storefront versus being an online business?

I was actually looking for an office/showroom space when I moved to the hood in 2013. I saw the space and applied for it (story above), and when they said yes, it was so exciting! I love the 10th. It’s full of energy and creative people from so many countries. It’s really like the East Village in New York. Creativity is spilling out on every street – bakeries, florists, trendy stores, you name it. I am delighted to be here – I’ve met the most amazing and incredible people in the one year of our existence! Its very important for me to be able to physically showcase my products. The details, the tiny imperfections are so important to be able to understand the precious nature of what I make. It would have been very very difficult to do this 100% online. My e-shop is starting to work very well because customers (like you) who have touched and felt my products are now talking about them and creating a big buzz on social media! But the first step had to be a physical presence for the range.

12. What I find absolutely fascinating is your rhino poop line! How did it come to be?

My grandfather was the conservator of forests in the state of Assam, where we grew up. When he died, my family wanted to do something meaningful to keep his memory alive. He was so passionate about the forest and spent every second of his life trying to protect it. So my dad came up with the wonderful idea (it has never been done before) of killing two birds with one stone! His idea was to tackle the HUGE poaching problem of rhinoceros and deforestation at the same time. By converting poo to paper, we save trees and employ women from the villages surrounding the forests. We educate them about poaching and provide them with a livelihood that in some way discourages them from looking for other (often illegal) forms of earning revenue. My family has also set up a foundation that awards two prizes every year to the brave forest guards to fight against the poachers. This year, one of the winners was a woman whose husband, a forest guard, lost his life trying to kill a poacher.

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13. Are there any new products coming in soon or collaborations in the works?

I am a desperate dreamer! Always pushing myself in terms of creativity and challenges. I am launching a line of jewelry with beads from India but assembled here by French artisans, a candle based on fragrances of tea and ginger in collaboration with a niche perfume manufacturer based in Paris…and hopefully opening a second store next year. (Editor’s note: It’s opening in September on rue du Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in the 9th arrondissement!)
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14. What are your personal favorites at the moment?

The handwoven cushions are my absolute favorite at the moment!

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15. Where do you see Jamini in 5 years?

I am looking for funding to open a second store in Paris next year (opening on rue de Notre-Dame de Lorette in the 9e arrondissement in September 2015!) and in 5 years will hopefully have a complete lifestyle brand based on French chic and Indian elegance that you will be able to find everywhere in the world! We are [now] at the Le Bon Marché starting this summer, and that will hopefully open the doors to the best stores worldwide as well. The adventure is just beginning!

jamini design showroom boutique chateau d'eau paris france 75010 patriciaparisienne design textiles rhino poop paper le bon marché

Jamini by Usha Bora

10 rue du Château d’Eau

75010

Paris

Follow Jamini on Facebook and Instagram!

Jamini has many points of sale all over the world; have a look and see if you can find Usha’s products near you.

~

PatriciaParisienne xx

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Sugar Daze at KENZO loves Printemps | Interview with Cat Beurnier, Founder of Sugar Daze Cupcake Shop

It’s one of my favorite places in the Paris that you’ll often see on my Instagram: Sugar Daze, run by the incredible Cat Beurnier, an American expat hailing from NYC. She’s lived in Paris for the last ten years and has the most successful cupcake shop in the city. It’s no surprise that mega brand Kenzo has chosen to partner with her in their Pop-Up store, Kenzo Loves Printemps, open now through October 18 at Printemps Mode Haussmann, level -1 (64, Boulevard Haussmann, 75009). While you’re there, be sure to check out the Kenzo app exclusively created for the pop-up store that is available for download here.

Cat Beurnier

The Sugar Daze SoPi bake shop (South Pigalle) is a fantastic mix of eras, colors, and prints. It’s a bright addition to the city with its crisp blue façade. I love popping by for a cupcake and a chat with Cat; she is one of the loveliest people you’ll meet in Paris.

You often see Kenzo cupcakes in the display case, as they often work together for their various events. When I found out that the LVMH-owned brand had chosen to partner with Sugar Daze for this amazing capsule collection pop-up store, I was thrilled for Cat. This collaboration with the fashion house is well-deserved, as her cakes are simply phenomenal.

The speciality cupcake created especially for Kenzo Loves Printemps is called the Blue Velvet, a blue red velvet cupcake inspired by David Lynch. The film director was the muse behind the latest collection, plus he also worked with their team to create the set and soundtrack.

This project was so fascinating; I couldn’t wait to hear more details! Cat was kind enough to give us the scoop on this Kenzo x Sugar Daze collaboration, the journey that led her to Paris, and the exciting things in store for Sugar Daze.

 I hope you enjoy the interview with the fascinating Cat Beurnier.

PatriciaParisienne xx

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Tell us about your story – from advertising in New York to a booming cupcake brand in Paris – how did you get here?

An age old story I’ve heard many times — I fell in love with a Frenchman! It’s true I worked in the advertising world for many years in NYC, but after having my first child, decided the hours, the travel, the stress of that work just wasn’t for me anymore. New York will always be my hometown and one of the greatest cities I’ve lived in, but it’s hard with kids. My husband and I felt we’d have a better quality of life in Paris and so moved here 11 years ago.

When we arrived, I would often bring cupcakes, brownies, cookies, etc. to playdates for my son, people loved what I was doing, word spread and that is how I got my start as a cupcake baker in Paris. I’m grateful that I have been able to turn one of my passions into a profitable business –  that all those hours I spent peeling potatoes and chopping carrots in the restaurant industry when I was younger were not for naught – and had so much fun and gotten to work with some amazing people along the way!

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Kenzo has long been a loyal Sugar Daze customer. How did this collaboration with the fashion brand start?

One of Kenzo’s Event Directors participated in a cupcake class/bachelorette’s party at Sugar Daze, and we met there.  She is adorable and has been very supportive of us.  It is largely due to her enthusiasm for Sugar Daze, that I have had the fantastic opportunity to work with Kenzo fairly regularly over this past year and a half, starting with their big July 4th bash in the Jardin d’Acclimatation, to frequent events happening in their shops.

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How did this pop-up project come to be?

Kenzo is the designer of honor for the rentree 2014 at Printemps Haussmann.  They wanted to do something fun and unexpected, and so decided to bring in a couple of food partners to complement the pop-up shop they have installed in the Printemps Atrium.

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What’s one of the things you love about the brand that inspired you to work on this project with them?

In all honesty, I was incredibly honored that Kenzo approached me to partner with them on this project.  They have been such amazing clients that I thought this would be a great way to demonstrate my appreciation and affinity for their work. I also happen to love their clothes and brand philosophy.  The collection they are showcasing at Printemps is filled with lots of black, neon colors and cool prints – it reminds me a lot of the fashion from the 1980’s when I was an adolescent saving up my babysitting money to go shopping at Fiorucci or Parachute in Manhattan!

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You know I’m a huge fan of your cupcakes and love all of the flavors.  Tell us about some of the flavors you’re featuring, including your new Blue Velvet.

Thank you! We are featuring several of the best-selling flavors from the shop like Rapture, our chocolate-salted caramel cupcake, and Le 4H Gouter, a Nutella stuffed cupcake.  Our Red Velvet cupcake, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, also happens to be a customer favorite.  As the look of the Kenzo pop-up universe is inspired by the creative mind of David Lynch, we thought it would be cool to turn our traditional Red Velvet blue — in a nod to the Lynch film, “Blue Velvet,” and top it with an edible decoration that utilizes one of Kenzo’s prints from the current collection called Broken Floor – an abstract chevron pattern.

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What do you love about Kenzo?

The more I work with them, the more I admire their work ethic and brand culture. They have an extremely creative eye, and I like that they have made high fashion more accessible to everyone. We’ve been having a lot of fun getting to know the dynamic and delightful Kenzo team currently installed at the Printemps pop-up – a team assembled from their many stores around Paris.

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We’d love to know about a few of your favorite places in Paris!

I have 2 kids so it’s no surprise that many of my favorite places are kid-friendly. We spend a lot of time enjoying the many public parcs like Parc Monceau, Parc Martin Luther King Jr, le Jardin de Luxembourg and Jardin d’Acclimatation.

I try to walk a lot – it’s one of the perks of living in the city, and love to explore the side streets of le Marais, Montmartre or near the Canal St Martin area.

For the most part, I just love the architecture of Paris and so discovering little hidden gems like a private garden, or an ancient coach house tucked away inside a building’s street facade are some of my favorite things about Paris.

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What sets Sugar Daze apart from the rest?

The look, taste and texture of our cupcakes make the difference. I spent years perfecting each of our recipes and you really can tell with the finished product. We don’t take shortcuts! Sugar Daze cupcakes feature traditional American recipes, use premium, natural ingredients, are served fresh and are decorated with beautiful, hand-made decorations. All these things add up to make a delicious, high quality cupcake!

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Any exciting projects for Sugar Daze in the future?

 

So much to do, so little time!! We’ve recently ramped up our cake side of the business – layer cakes for weddings, birthdays and corporate events. I like to think we offer a great quality-value proposition in this domain, and clients are responding extremely favorably.

We’ve also been doing a lot more selling to other restaurants and caterers which I find to be an interesting way to get our products served in more places. And this goes beyond cupcakes to our lesser-known bakery line which features things like brownies, cookies and whoopie pies. This is definitely an area we’ll be focusing on in the year to come!

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Your Cupcake Camps have been hugely successful. Can we expect another event in 2015?

 

Bryan Pirolli, the event co-organizer and I are definitely hoping to do at least one more installment of this annual fundraiser in the next 6-9 months. We’ve had so many requests from cupcake lovers to hold another one, and have had so much fun running them, that it would definitely be a shame to not return for round 5.

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Sugar Daze

20, rue Henry Monnier

75009

+33 9 83 04 41 77

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Kenzo Loves Printemps Pop Up Store + Sugar Daze

Printemps Haussmann (Mode), Level -1

64, Boulevard Haussmann

75009

10 Comments

PatriciaParisienne Presents: Maria Marigliano Caracciolo of Bags By M. | Book Clutches

The latest gem in Italian fashion is brought to you by Maria Marigliano Caracciolo. The Italian founder and young entrepreneur has created Bags By M., a line of stunning customized book clutches made with the finest leather and silk by traditional bookbinding methods.

ALICE IN A PINK LIMITED EDITION

I found Maria’s book clutches while perusing The London Chatter‘s (blogger Kelly Eastwood) Instagram account. I’ve been a bookworm my entire life, devouring books whenever I have a spare moment, and when I found that these classics can now be immortalized into gorgeous personalized clutches, I had to know more. It turns out I wasn’t the only admirer of the brands. The Delevingne sisters, Chloe, Poppy, and the infamous supermodel Cara, are also huge fans, along with many other celebrities and It-girls around the world. A few emails later, I got in contact with the effervescent Maria herself.

Out of Africa

Motivated, enthusiastic, and delightfully charming, Maria is an international powerhouse with a successful company under her belt – and she’s just getting started. In this interview, you will see not only her incredibly diverse background but also her dedication and passion for her work. What an inspiration! I so enjoyed discovering her answers to these questions and couldn’t be happier to share this with you. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Maria Marigliano Caracciolo of Bags By M.

BookClutches at a lacoste party in rome
Maria Marigliano Caracciolo (center, holding Oliver Twist)

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your story before becoming a designer? We’ve read that your inspiration came from a moment on the Via San Biagio dei Librai, the street of book sellers, in Naples. What was it exactly that sparked the idea to create By M.?

I was born in Naples into a culturally mixed family: a French grandmother, an English grandfather, and the rest of them are very much from the south of Italy! At the age of 6, we moved to Belgium, and I went to the French school where I had my baccalaureate [finished high school].  My father was a lawyer, and for some reason everybody expected me to attend law school…

Once I was back in Italy, I enrolled in law school. At that time in my life, as with most teenagers, I didn’t really know what to do with my life. Once my university years were over, I quickly understood that codes, cases, and legislation could not be my future.  I started new jobs and activities, including PR for Italian jewelry brands as well as personal shopping (I have always loved beautiful things!).  I also worked for a foundation helping deaf children; at this time I learnt Italian sign language. Still now I feel very close to the deaf community, and I organise fundraising events dedicated to helping improve the lives of deaf children.

Despite my international background, and my current life moving between Rome and London, I have always kept a very strong link with Naples – a town where my family has a historical connection going back more than 4 centuries.  All my life I wanted people from abroad to discover the culture and the beauty of my native town… Through my 100% ‘made in Naples’ creations, I am enticing the world with some of the the Neapolitan fantasy and savoir faire.  There is still a long way to go, but it is fun!

Luxury Two Color

It is a story that somehow has started a great number of years ago…In the heart of the old city, you can find my family’s home, called Palazzo Marigliano. The neighborhood is so old that if one digs deep down under our basement, it is possible to find Greek archeological objects (these are even pre-Roman, because Naples was part of the Greek Empire “Magna Grecia” before Rome became a significant city!). The street where the Palazzo is situated was the main commercial street of the ancient town. Everything in this area use to be dedicated to books. Books were the main commercial activity. The street was later named “Via san Biagio dei librai” translated the Street of Saint Blaise, protector of the booksellers.  Nowadays, with the economic crisis and the encroachment of modernity, most of the traditional little bookshops have unfortunately not survived, but the area is still full of old world charm.

Following the important donations of books and records by members of my family, given to the government, Palazzo Marigliano was turned into the Archives Department of the town (surintendence). Inside the palazzo there is the most ancient typography of southern Italy- where Pablo Neruda used to publish while he stayed in Italy.  Located in what used to be the stables, you can today find – still surviving – one of the best bookbinders in Italy. My love for books basically started before I was born! Naples has also a strong tradition of elegance and tailoring “sur mesure”:  I’ve combined our book binding tradition as well as our fashion tradition to create a bespoke book clutch, made only with ancient tools, imagination and centuries of passion!

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2. I adore the quality, the personalized aspect of the clutch, as well as the feminine detail like the bow on the bags. What do you love most about your book clutches?

What I like the most about my By M. book clutches is the history behind every single product we create: every book clutch requires between 6 to 8 hours of skilled craftsmanship. I personally know all the handcrafters who work in the bookbindery – I know their stories and how much of their life is invested in what they do.

I also like the personalization we offer to our clients. Every detail of the book clutches can be personalised according to preference, from the colour, material, decoration and of course, the title that you wish to carry with you. On the back cover, using the Latin “EX LIBRIS,” the reader’s name can be pressed in gold. This is possible because we do our book clutches one by one. Everything is made according to our customers’ wishes. I think our products are more than a fashion; the finished products represent a true expression of ourselves in an ironic, impudent and sophisticated way that conventional ‘fashion’ doesn’t often allow.

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3. It’s so impressive that the traditional bookbinding technique is used in the making of your clutches. Could you describe this method?

By M. book clutches are created according to a centuries-long tradition developed in the area using only the finest leather, silks, and gold leaf.  Every step of a book clutch’s construction is handcrafted – exactly as per the books of past centuries.

We do not use any electrical devices.

Even the gold decoration and writings are handmade. The artisans impress the letters, and the decorations on the leather by hand with the traditional Gold Leif technique. To decorate your book clutch, By M. offers a large selection of original puncheons and filigrees from the bookbindery, dating back two centuries. Every single detail of your book clutch is the result of a considered and informed choice.

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4. The silk and the leather that By M. uses are of the highest quality.  How do you choose your materials?

We only use the best leather available. It is very difficult to find good leathers being used in bookbindery nowadays. Funnily enough, for my Luxury Editions, in which I normally use bright colours, I need to travel to Paris to find them! For the inside pochette, I also choose fabrics that I buy during traveling such as some Indian silks that I brought back with me from Jaipur.

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5. There are two editions, traditional, which is monochrome, and luxury, which is made with Parisian leather. What are the differences between the two?

I think that the two editions reflects two different approach: There are the “purists” who would go for the traditional edition because of the closeness to the book itself: the colours and the quality of leather we use in this range are the ones used also in traditional bookbindery. Those clutches looks so dramatically like a book that people genuinely ask me why I’ve brought a book to a dinner party! And then the luxury bi color edition is definitely more “malicious” with colors that embrace the fashion world.

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6. Congratulations on your success! How did you feel when you first saw (and continue to see) celebrities photographed with your book clutches?

I don’t have a press department- as some journalists have recently asked for (this made me smile!). I do everything by myself. In fact, I have discovered celebrities on Instagram with my book clutches by complete chance! Of course I am thrilled! It is always unexpected, especially with Xenia Sobachak, a Russian “It Girl” with 510,000 followers on Instagram. I had no idea she was so popular when she ordered her book clutch from my website! The three Delevingne sisters have been very sweet too. I also have a French very well-known VIP who has recently asked for a personalized book clutch, but I can’t tell you the name as it is a gift for a special friend, and it is top secret!

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Chloe Delevingne and her Bags By M. book clutch photographed by the press
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A photo of Poppy Delevingne’s book clutch
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Supermodel Cara Delevingne’s own Bags by M. book clutch

7. What is your favorite book, and why?

Oh gosh! The million dollar question! Can I skip to the next one? The list is too long! Let’s say I personally like to wear il Gattopardo – an Italian classic.

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8. What should one think of when designing their own book clutch?

You should think about the good memories associated with reading a favourite book and try to express them with the choice of colors and adornments.

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9. Can you tell us a bit about the future collections?

For next summer, another By M. collection inspired by the South of Italy will be ready: there will be lots of erupting volcanos and clutches which look like fans – perfect for a hot hot summer!

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Actress Nathalie Rapti Gomez at the premier of the film Romeo and Juliet with her Bags by M. book clutch

10. You live between Rome and London, two amazing cities. Why have you chosen these two, and what are some of your favorite places in both capitals?

My family and my home is in Rome but London there is my love! In Rome I adore Via del Governo Vecchio and all its little boutiques and cafes. In London I love walking in parks, especially Richmond where it is easy to see deer and visit the Saatchi Gallery. When I miss Italy I go to a little restaurant called the Frantoio on the King’s Road!

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Thank you so much, Maria, for this brilliant introduction to Bags By M. Be sure to follow Maria on InstagramFacebookTwitterand Pinterest. Order your own personalized book clutch on her site: http://www.bagsbym.com/

Happy Shopping!

xx PatriciaParisienne

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Images compliments of Maria Marigliano Caracciolo

2 Comments

PatriciaParisienne Presents: Kerrie Hess, Illustrator & Author

Image compliments of Kerrie Hess Illustrations Facebook page taken by Carla Coulson Photography
Image compliments of Kerrie Hess Illustrations Facebook page ~ Carla Coulson Photography

Australian illustrator and author Kerrie Hess (Kerrie Hess Illustration) is a world-renowned talent. She has collaborated with distinguished brands such as Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, net-a-porter.com, Vogue, Peter Alexander, Sambag, Tatler, and Kate Spade, to name a few. Hess’s illustrations are stunning, encompassing the elegant and the feminine. In celebration of her upcoming Paris exhibition for the Dorchester Collection and Hotel Le Meurice, we spoke with Kerrie and learned more about the person behind the art.

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1. You’ve worked with some incredible brands; what are some of your most memorable projects? Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Colette Dinnigan, and billboards for Printemps Paris.

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2. What does your creative process include? Great music, dark chocolate, and a happy state of mind.
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3. What inspires you? Vintage Vogue covers, Paris, old sketches from Madame Gres.
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4. I loved your book Shoestring Chic! Thank you for the tips! Will we be seeing another book project from you in the future? Thank you! Yes, I would love to, it’s just a matter of time, but yes, stay tuned!
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5. I love that you have a trademark style, yet you put a unique spin on every project so the illustrations are never the same. How do you continue to design individual pieces for such a diverse range of brands? I think the thing for me is to always stay within my style, but bring something different to every project.  It’s a balance.  There is always room for something new.
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6. We can’t wait to see your upcoming exhibition at the Hotel Le Meurice. How would you describe this collection?   Yes, I am very excited about it!  It’s on from the 12th of January until the 26th.  The collection is 16 new pieces all created around and inspired by the luxurious and glamorous world of the Le Meurice, my personal favorite in Paris.
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7. You lived in Paris recently with your family. Would you say that this collection reflects your time in Paris? I would love my life to have been as glamorous!  I can’t say I took my son to school every day in Paris in ball gown unfortunately…  But yes, there were so memorable moments that I will treasure forever in the city.  And I love coming back, it’s such a nice feeling to know your way around in Paris and revisit all of my old haunts, old friends and just soak up the beauty.

Image compliments of Kerrie Hess Illustrations Facebook Page by Carla Coulson Photography
Image compliments of Kerrie Hess Illustrations Facebook Page by Carla Coulson Photography

8. What did you love about living in Paris?  I loved the markets, as well as catching up with friends at Laduree, Le Fumoir, Cafe De Flore, etc.  Just a stroll around the left bank is a great way to waste away an afternoon, or sifting through antiques.

Cafe de Flore
“Cafe de Flore”

9. What are some of your favorite places in the French capital? Lunch in the courtyard at Hotel Costes, Dinner at Le Dali (Le Meurice) or The Cristal Room.  Shopping on Rue St Honoré… 

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L’heure du Thé by Le Style
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10. What would you recommend to someone wanting to move to Paris and work in a creative field? Make a network of friends in your field who can hopefully point you in the right direction.
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11. Where can we look to next to see your work? What upcoming projects do you have?  I have a chocolate range collaboration in the works, more exhibitions, and books in the pipeline! And my side project of limited edition prints!  A new collection is to release shortly. (http://www.kerriehess.bigcartel.com.) A lot of exciting things for 2014.
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Un grand merci to Kerrie Hess for her time and her beautiful illustrations. Her collection at the Le Meurice in Paris runs from January 12 – 26, 2014.
Hotel Le Meurice
228 rue de Rivoli
75001
Paris
Looking forward to seeing you there!
xx PatriciaParisienne
9 Comments

PatriciaParisienne Presents: Melanie Stephens from the Gorgeous You Social Coaching Programme & Feed Your Awesome Machine

When I first met Melanie Stephens, I couldn’t help but notice that she was glowing. I mean enthusiasm pouring out, huge smile, porcelain skin, shining eyes, just glowing! The girl exudes happiness, and her energy is magnetic.

After getting to know her, I discovered that her passion for nutrition and healthy living is the source behind the glow. Her commitment to this lifestyle and the sharing of this knowledge has fueled the launch of her own business in Paris, Feed Your Awesome Machine. The Aussie nutrition, fitness, and health coach has now created the brand new Gorgeous You social coaching programme, which I am so excited to share with you!

I know how much you are going to love this program, so make sure to head to the Gorgeous You page ASAP to get on the Early Notification List, which gives you a 20% discount! Registration opens tomorrow, Saturday, August 24 at 10 a.m.

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1. Thank you so much for joining me, Melanie! Tell us a bit about yourself and your qualifications, particularly in regards to your programme.

My biggest qualification is perhaps my enthusiasm, passion and love for health, food and life. I think if you’re missing these things, it doesn’t matter how many certificates you have on your wall, you’re never going to be fully qualified to work with health.

But those little pieces of paper, and along with your experience are just as important, so let me walk you through the condensed version of my rather adventurous journey through the food and health industry.

My mother brought us up in a household of freshly cooked meals, minimal processed food, and I remember checking food labels for MSG perhaps from the age of 7. I wasn’t a perfectly healthy eater by any stretch of the imagination but I was conscious about healthy eating at least from a very young age, and as a dancer, I was always extremely active.

I started out in the professional world at 16 when I studied to be a chef. After qualifying and working in a few hot and sweaty kitchens, I decided that being a chef, at least in the traditional sense, wasn’t going to satisfy my soul in the way I had anticipated.

So shortly after, I made the only logical transition there was- to go and study nutrition. It was there, beneath endless mountains of textbooks that I found my true passion. I finished top of my class, won a couple of awards and walked away with a Bachelor of Health Science.

After working as a nutritional consultant in pharmacies, and running my own clinic for a few years, I got an offer to teach nutrition for a college in Ireland. It seemed that word about my passion for nutrition had spread a lot farther than I had even dreamed.

Although I was terrified of the challenge it presented, I took the job and moved to Dublin. After a few months lecturing and through my relentless commitment to constant research and study, I found my feet. I realised that lecturing and teaching was something I not only loved to do, but something I excelled at. I soon took on the role of Head of the Nutrition Department, which made me entirely responsible for the academic and clinical development of hundreds of nutrition students in the 5 schools I managed in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

I felt completely alive during those years, constantly challenged, constantly learning, constantly improving, and I loved every second of it. But after the 4th year, as my learning curve started flattening out, I began to feel a little bored. I was ready for some new adventures.

I dropped back to part-time teaching, and took a job in a Corporate Health promotion startup company, where I researched and developed all the nutritional coaching presentations, workshops and other educational materials that would be used by the company.

Then something happened: I met a boy! I guess that must be the story of a fair number of expats now living in Paris, so perhaps their stories now begin to converge with mine! We decided it was time to leave Dublin, move to beautiful Paris, and start a new life together.

So, since coming to Paris 3 years ago, I have been developing Feed Your Awesome Machine, a company that provides health coaching and nutrition in Paris and around the world, helping people get the leanest, healthiest and most energetic they’ve ever been.

melanie stephens feed your awesome machine gorgeously you paris social programme coaching meet up group healthy expats paris france patriciaparisienne nutrition


2. What brought you to Paris?

To sum up, there were three things:  love, my deep desire to start my own business (Feed Your Awesome Machine), and my constant craving to grow and take on new challenges.

3. What inspired this programme? 

Earlier in the year, I started interviewing women all over Paris to find out how they felt about their body, their health, and how they felt Paris had influenced these things. Although each woman’s story is unique, there are a few common threads that keep popping up.

Firstly, many women commented on how it was so much easier to stay healthy back in their home country, simply because they had a strong network of people around them that shared their healthy-living values. By coming here, it was as if they lost this subtle support and with the ‘pressure’ of croissants on every street corner, added to all the linguistic, administrative and social challenges we expats face when moving to a place like Paris, their health got moved to the back burner, and somehow ended up staying there.

Secondly, I also heard story after story of how women want to have more energy, lose fat, feel healthier in general, and all for some very good reasons. Some are single, and want to feel more confident in their body while dating.  Others want to set a good example for their kids. Others still are entrepreneurs and business professionals who are finding that their mental and physical fatigue holding them back from making the real progress that they so deeply desire. There are so many compelling reasons, but the thing they all have in common is that they want to live healthier, feel healthier, look healthier, but don’t quite know where, after all this time, they should start from.

They just feel a bit lost.

So that’s why I wanted to create a series of programmes that help women gently make health a priority in their life again, without the pointless stress and pain of dieting or deprivation. I also want to help them reconnect with a network of positive people who also want to make healthy living a priority making it easier for them to achieve long-term success.

4. What are you excited to bring or share with the Paris expat/anglophone/English-speaking community?

Overall, there are a few messages and skills I’d like to share:

  • Message 1: That you can be a food lover, even a complete foodie, and still maintain a healthy, slim body. French food and health are NOT mutually exclusive.
  • Message 2: Diet’s never work in the long term and only set us up to fail. Luckily, there is a much easier, and more enjoyable approach that will ensure you succeed, and maintain the great results for the rest of your life, with minimal effort.
  • Skill 1: My strategies and techniques that make healthy eating a breeze, as well as how to hack into the power of habit and social networks to make living healthily as automatic as brushing your teeth.
  • Skill 2: My love, passion and skill for cooking great tasting healthy food.
  • And sooooo much more, really!!

gorgeous you social programme coaching melanie stephens feed your awesome machine anna khuade coaching nutrition weight loss healthy eating paris expats nutrition patriciaparisienne

5. Can you tell us a bit about the programme?

The Gorgeous You Social Coaching Programme is a 4-week nutrition and fitness coaching programme that will run in September. It’s jam packed with life-changing content and social events, and there are some rather impressive prizes and bonuses in the mix too.

Registrations for the programme open on Saturday. There are very limited spots available, and we expect to fill them fast.

My suggestion is to:

  1. Go to the Gorgeous You page and watch the short video that explains the entire programme.
  2. if you’d like to be a part of the Gorgeous You group, sign up for the Early Notification List. Being on this list allows you to register early, on Saturday 27th (yes that’s this Saturday) for a 20% discount. If there are any spots still available come Sunday (although unlikely), you can register, but you will lose access to the early-bird discount.

Check out the fantastic promo video on Vimeo here : Gorgeous You Social Coaching Programme Promo Video from Melanie on Vimeo.

6. What are some of its highlights?

There are many! In addition to the weekly nutrition webinars, and the group fitness sessions with Anna Khuade we have a whole line-up of bonuses, prizes and special appearances. Just to name two, we have Carin Olsson from Paris In Four Months offering a private photo shoot to one lucky member, Olivia from Cleopatra’s Bling is giving away a pair of stunning gold, gemstone hand-crafted earrings, and Bob’s Juice Bar offering a 20% members discount an all fresh juices during the entire programme.

7. What aspect(s) of the programme are you most excited about?

I’m a bit biased really, because I just LOVE nutrition coaching. I am most looking forward to getting everyone together, sharing the skills, strategies and foundations of healthy eating, answering their questions, participating in discussions, and helping each woman in the group devise a way to make healthy eating fit in with her personal lifestyle.

But I have to say, I’m also pretty excited about the market tour & brunch social we have planned, after all, talking about food and cooking while walking around a French market, followed by a delicious healthy and social lunch is my kind of morning!. I also can’t wait for the Kale Cocktail Evening which will be co-hosted with Kristen from The Kale Project.

For me, the entire month just sounds like it will be so much fun!

melanie stephens feed your awesome machine gorgeously you paris social programme coaching meet up group healthy expats paris france patriciaparisienne nutrition

8. What advice would you give to women who want to live a healthiest lifestyle? What changes should they implement? 

In a few short words?

  • Stop dieting, counting calories and fat, and eating less- and start falling in love with whole, fresh real food- then eat more of it 😉
  • Stop using food deprivation as a punishment, stop feeling guilty when you enjoy something a little naughty, and instead start loving your body and respecting it for the beautiful, perfectly imperfect thing that it is.
  • Stop forcing yourself to do another boring workout, and instead make it fun, mix things up, and move regularly because it makes you feel wonderful, strong and feminine.
  • Stop neglecting yourself as you take care of everyone else. To be a woman who can give so freely and love so openly, you need to first take care of yourself- and never feel guilty about it.

Overall, it’s time to start developing a healthy, loving relationship with food, exercise, your body and your mind. That really is the place where all health must come from.

9. What other services/individual services do you offer?

In addition to the group coaching programmes, I provide private health coaching on nutrition in Paris and around the world via Skype. I have a lot of great things in store over the next few months too, but my lips are sealed for now!

10. How can we get in touch with you?

Feel free to contact me through my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also run the Gorgeously Healthy in Paris Meetup group, and I’d really love to meet you in person at one of our events. Either way, I hope you’ll reach out and say hi!

melanie stephens feed your awesome machine gorgeously you paris social programme coaching meet up group healthy expats paris france patriciaparisienne nutrition

Doesn’t this programme sound amazing? Make sure you head to the Gorgeous You page to get on the Early Notification List and register tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Thank you, Melanie, for sharing your passion and commitment to improving the lives of others through nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes and for creating this fantastic new programme.

Have a wonderful weekend, loves!

xx PatriciaParisienne

4 Comments

[GIVEAWAY] Sweet Tayloula | English Sweets & The 21 Year Old Entrepreneur

“I want candy!”

That’s all you can think when you walk into Sweet Tayloula, the sweet new addition to Royal Leamington Spa.

Co-founders, as well as mother and daughter, Louise & Tayla had been making sweet bouquets and cake pops from home that were selling so well, they were overtaking their house. One day while on a walk through Leamington Spa, they spotted the space that was for rent and thought, why not open our own shop? And that was that. Two months later, their all-woman team spent a week gutting the store, distressing the wooden shelves, and had everything ready for their very successful May 25, 2013 Grand Opening.

Owner, director, and entrepreneur, 21 year old Tayla is gorgeous and absolutely lovely to chat to. Determined and intelligent, she is a fantastic businesswoman, having recently graduated with a degree in marketing. It’s no wonder the store is doing so well. Sweet Tayloula is her brain child, and its name (pronounced Sweet Tay-loo-lah, for those of you that were wondering) is a combination of the names Tayla, Louise, and Lola, her niece.

The sweet shop specializes in selling the best English sweets, chocolate, and traditional candies, as well as a wide variety of milkshakes. For those of you that are lactose-intolerant – good news! Sweet Tayloula offers soy milkshakes, made with dairy-free ice cream, so you too can enjoy a delicious shake. Look to them for your next event, as they also offer cake pops, sweet bouquets for birthdays and the holidays, Easter baskets, and candy buffets for weddings.

Next time you’re in the Midlands, you must stop by Sweet Tayloula for a bag of your favorite bon bons, chocolate, and fudge and a nice creamy milkshake.

SWEET TAYLOULA & PATRICIAPARISIENNE TEAM UP FOR AN INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!

To win a delicious box of English sweets from Sweet Tayloula, enter our giveaway in 3 easy steps:

1. Like Sweet Tayloula on Facebook.

2. Like PatriciaParisienne on Facebook.

3. Tell us you’ve done both in the comments section below!

Winner will be announced on the blog, Facebook page, and Instagram on August 21, 2013.

xx PatriciaParisienne

Sweet Tayloula
124 Regent Street
Leamington Spa
CV32 4NR

This contest is now closed. Congratulations to the winner of the giveaway, Jenny Lewis!

21 Comments

PatriciaParisienne Presents: Clotilde Dusoulier of ChocolateandZucchini.com

It is such an honor to have the French queen of the kitchen ChocolateAndZucchini.com food blogger Clotilde Dusoulier on PatriciaParisienne!

Having started a career as a software engineer in California, Clotilde returned to Paris in 2003 and began her blog about her passion for food as a creative outlet. Her recipes result in divine meals and desserts, and her genuine way of writing and sharing her knowledge makes you feel like she has written the post just for you. One thing led to another, and today the new mother living in Montmartre is an international success. She has written some amazing cookbooks, such as Chocolate & ZucchiniClotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, and was an editor of I Know How to Cook,  just a few of her many accomplishments and accolades.

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90 recipes, 75 gorgeous photographs, and 3 years of hard work later, Dusoulier’s latest cookbook  The French Market Cookbook is about “the love affair between French cuisine and vegetables.” Though Clotilde is not a vegetarian, she has modified her diet to include many of the fresh fruits and vegetables one can find at a French market. A must-have book in your kitchen, The French Market Cookbook is available now! Read on to hear what the incredible Clotilde has to say about her new book, her favorite recipe, and juggling life as a new mom with her worldwide success.

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PatriciaParisienne (PP): Although I am not very good in the kitchen (yet!), I absolutely love kitchen supplies! What are your favorite kitchen items?

Clotide Dusoulier (CD): I couldn’t live without my two trusty knives – a paring knife and a chef knife – and I particularly enjoy using my dough whisk. I also have a soft spot for my bright red KitchenAid.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2008/07/danish_dough_whisk.php
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2006/04/laide_de_cuisine.php

PP: Paris is the center of great French cuisine, and being invited to dinner at a French person’s home is an honor! There are so many wonderful gastronomical traditions here, and what one serves is very important. What is your go-to dish to make when people come over for dinner?

CD: I really like to serve a Poor Man’s Bouillabaisse (the recipe is in my most recent book) : it’s a particularly fragrant preparation that is served in two installments – first, the broth with toasts of spicy garlic mayonnaise, then the vegetables with a silky slow-poached egg. It’s all make-ahead and has two courses built in, so it’s perfect for guests.

PP: Your blog has one of my favorite words in it – chocolate. Given that there are so many amazing chocolate places in this city, which do you think may be your favorite chocolate?

CD: I really like the bean-to-bar chocolate that Nicolas Berger makes at the new chocolate factory he co-created with Alain Ducasse, especially the pralinés and the chocolat non conché.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2013/02/alain_ducasse_bean-to-bar_chocolate_paris.php

PP: Having created so many recipes at this point, it may be difficult to choose just one, but which recipe are you most proud of?

CD: I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the yogurt cake, and it remains one of the most popular on the site to this day!

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2005/10/yogurt_cake.php

PP: Going from being a software engineer to having a very successful career in the world of gastronomy is incredible! What advice can you give to those hoping to make a career out of their blog?

CD: I think focusing on creating great content and bringing value to your readers are key. And patience and persistence are the two most important qualities to develop.

PP: Could you run us through a day in the life of Clotilde Dusoulier?

CD: What I love about my job is that every day is different. Some are spent at the computer writing, others in the kitchen recipe testing, others yet out and about in the city exploring new shops and trying new restaurants, or interviewing food professionals, or taking clients on private tours, etc. It keeps things fun, and I find much satisfaction in the variety.

7. When and why did you decide to embark on this vegetarian cookbook project?

CD: I have been eating a more and more plant-based diet for the past few years, and I realized that I had developed quite a repertoire of vegetarian dishes – some personal creations, some inspired by regional French cuisines, some by restaurant meals in Paris or beyond. And it seemed to me that people seldom thought to turn to French cuisine when they sought out meatless recipes, so I wanted to provide a fresh source of inspiration for them.

PP: What was the best part about working on this book?

CD: The best part was that the recipes really reflect the way we eat on a daily basis, so I never had to worry about what to do with the dishes I made while recipe testing: dinner was taken care of!

PP: Many people talk about experiencing a difference in energy levels when they cut meat out of their diets. Did you feel any different?

CD: Not really, but I have never been a very big meat eater.

PP: I read that you now have a son, Milan. Congratulations! How do you handle being a mother as well as a chef, international personality, and, well, doing everything you do? Has having a child influenced the way you look at food?

CD: Like all new parents, I wonder now what I used to do with all the free time I had pre-child! It’s a bit of a juggling act, but it’s mostly about learning to be really efficient with the work time I do have, so I can be fully available when I am with him. Foodwise, the only thing that’s changed is that I am now thinking about how to adapt the dishes I cook for us grownups so they can easily be shared with a one-year-old.

PP: What is your next project?

CD: I have two new book projects stewing – we’ll see how they go!

Thank you, Clotilde, for sharing a bit about yourself with us! Her latest book is now available, and you can get your copy from Amazon here. Make sure to read out her blog Chocolate and Zucchini for some fabulous recipes.

xx PatriciaParisienne
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PatriciaParisienne Presents: Jennifer Fox Geraghty from “L’Amour (Or Less…)”

After seeing Kasia Dietz’s post about Jennifer Fox Geraghty’s project, “L’Amour (Or Less…),” I was incredibly intrigued by the title. What does that mean, love (or less…)?

L’Amour (Or Less…) is a web series in the making that shows a variety of answers to the question, “What happens when people from two different cultures try to form a romantic connection?” Jennifer, an American expat screenwriter and actress in Paris, and her talented team reenact true-life dating stories between an expatriate and a Frenchman or woman. Aren’t you curious to see what it’s really like to date a French person?

the kiss picture paris robert doisneau the kiss Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall)

Here is the description of the first episode as seen on the website: “The pilot episode tells the story of Jane (an expat) and Pierre (a Frenchman) who meet in a champagne bar and… well, perhaps they find love, perhaps they find disaster, perhaps the truth is somewhere in between. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rM5Vixt4bM]

I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer for coffee to discuss her web series. She is smart, articulate, and hilarious! On top of that, you can see her passion, talent, and dedication to her project, which is currently on Kickstarter fundraising for the pilot episode. I’ll give you the link to donate now because I am absolutely certain that you will want to support this artistic endeavor.

My interview with Jennifer was so much fun. Hope you enjoy getting to know this fabulous artist and her incredible project as much as I did!

jennifer fox geraghty l'amour (or less...) kickstarter project web series paris

Why did you come to Paris?

I was on my way to Prague to look for a location for a script I had written. That fell through, so instead I came to Paris for a week. There was something about it that felt like home, like I was supposed to be here. I found myself writing all the time. I thought, anywhere where I can write this easily, I should be.

Did you have any second thoughts when you were back in New York after this trip?

No hesitation. I leap before I look. I went back home, knowing for sure that I wanted to move, and I looked into how to do that.

[A full explanation of how to apply for visas and her experiences with the application process can be found in detail on her blog, Jennyphoria.]

When did “L’Amour (Or Less…)” come about?

I spent the first year here writing. I wrote two feature-length screenplays. I was feeling very proud and accomplished because it’s a lot of work. The problem is that after you’ve written a screenplay, you’re like, “OMG, I finished it!” And your friends are like, “Greaaaat! Can I see it?” The problem is if I show you my screenplay, it’s not interesting, unless you’re used to reading screenplays. It’s a weird format; it’s strictly visual. You never write about what anyone is thinking. It’s all dialogue and pictures.  I would describe what we’re saying, wearing, what our gestures are. But it’s strictly visual. What you’re thinking right now, I wouldn’t write. I’d say “She’s watching her intently.” It’s not fluid. It’s not like reading a novel where you see the pictures in your head, and you’re in another world. It’s a bit more disjointed. The purpose of writing a screenplay is not for you to read it but to see it. So there’s a disconnect there where I’ve written these things but I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to show it to you.

It was a combination of the fact that I really wanted to show somebody something right away. I wanted to have something tangible that I had done. I wanted to show that I’d been doing something with this visa that I’d just been given, coupled with the fact that dating here is ridiculous, and I have all of these stories and my friends have all of these stories. I thought, in my personal life, I’ve been dating and figuring everything out, and my friends are, too. And I thought, why not put these two things together? So that’s how it happened.

l'amour (or less...) jennifer fox geraghty paris france web series intercultural dating

So all of these are true stories?

The stories are mine and my friends’. They’re all true. There are twelve in the season, some are expat women and French men, expat men and French woman, and some homosexual stories.

I am fascinated by the cultural differences between us. I didn’t realize how American I was until I went on a date with a Frenchman. I had my assumptions and he had his and they were not the same.

What assumptions in particular?

All sorts of things. Tiny little things that you don’t think about, that you don’t realize.

I just started talking to my friends about it, and I would hear about their dates. Some of the stories were really awful and funny, and some of them were super romantic and lovely. Once I decided that I was going to do this series, I started asking my friends, “Tell me about a date that you’ve had. Tell me about one that was really terrible or one that was really romantic or one that was just really weird.” People love to talk about this stuff, so I got some great stories.

What are some of your favorites or little details that were standouts from the series?

Well, I’d rather not give too much away but what I really like is that they’re almost all unpredictable. At the end of every episode, we are going to say what actually happened in real life after the date.

"L'Amour (Or Less...)" jennifer fox geraghty paris france web series intercultural dating stories true life stories
Bicyclist and Mime from the pilot episode of “L’Amour (Or Less…)”

People are really going to love that. We need closure!

Right. Exactly. What I like about it is that people will see this really lovely wonderful romantic date, and then at the end we’ll see they never saw each other again. Or you’ll see this really horrible terrible tragic date, and they’ve been married for eight years. And I like that. Or sometimes you’ll think one thing is happening, and it’s really something completely different. But that’s exactly what the person who was in that experience experienced. So that’s what I like. I like that it’s shocking and confusing and bizarre – just like it really is.

That’s great because you’re actually living it with them then!

People have so many stereotypes about the French. People are fascinated by the French, Parisians in particular, and romance and what it means. They think that they’re either super romantic like the first guy (in the promo video) or total jerks like the second guy. And I’ve had people come up to me and ask me, “So what’s the truth? What do you really think? What’s the answer?” And there’s no answer. Everybody is different. That’s why it’s fascinating. Because there are some cultural things that are maybe true across the board but everybody is different and every story is different and they’re all interesting in their own way. That’s why it’s fascinating to me.

I like that I can’t show you an entire relationship in five minutes. I get to show you one experience, and then you know what happens because that’s how real life goes.

Will you ever have a part one or part two or interconnected stories, like in Love Actually?

Each story is one episode. No, because they’re true. I don’t want to orchestrate it. Sometimes people tell me, “Oh what if this happened? Or wouldn’t it be cool if that happened?” Unless it really happens, I don’t want it to be in there. I don’t want to manipulate anything. I take the true story, and I dramatize them. I ask the person, “What did you really say? What really happened?” If they have that information, I’ll use it. I’ll dramatize it a little bit and make up the dialogue but it’s what happened. I don’t want to make anything up; I don’t want to contrive anything. If you met at this restaurant, but we can’t film there, we’ll film at another restaurant. I’m okay with changing that. But I am not going to change anything significant. It’s important to the story that it be real; I think that’s what interesting about it. So no, there’d be no way to do the Love Actually bit, although I love that movie.

Are most of the stories in the series intercultural?

They’re all intercultural. It’s always an expatriate and a French person, and the expatriate can be from anywhere. That makes it more French. We are exploring dating the French.

In terms of the actors, where are they from? Would you specifically choose an actor to play a certain expat, say if one of the two people was Italian?

Right now, all of the expats are Anglophones. The people that we have are American, British, Canadian, and Australian. I don’t think I’d stick true to the original culture because I wouldn’t want to give away your story. It would be more about the actor’s talent than where they came from.

Another thing, characters always have the same names. Every expat woman is named Jane, and every Frenchman is named Pierre. Every expat man is named John, and every Frenchwoman is named Marie. There’s a level of anonymity. If you’re going to give me your story, you need to know that I am not going to exploit you. And also, him! If you’re telling me your story about your crappy date, I don’t want to make this guy feel bad because he was on the crappy date.

Your team is amazing! Where did you find them?

It just happened. I had met Alexis briefly before. Out of the blue, I sent her a message “Hey, can we talk? It’s nothing bad!” She said she would come onboard, and she knew someone who introduced us to the director of photography, and he brought some other members of the team and crew in. Alexis knew Marinelly, the actress who plays the Frenchwoman in the promo, and she knew the other two main actors. I knew a bunch of people. When you’re in that world, you tend to meet people who are in that world.

Honestly, it just happened. We’d say, “Oh god, we really need an editor!” And someone would go, “I know an editor!” And they’d be like, “Oh! Your project is amazing! Yes, I’ll do it for free!” Everyone worked for free, which is amazing because they’re all professional.

helen alexis yonov director writer producer l'amour (or less...) jennifer fox gareghty paris france
Director/Writer/Producer – Helen Alexis Yonov
Director of Photography -Gregory Turbellier jennifer fox geraghty l'amour (or less...) kickstarter project web series paris france
Director of Photography – Gregory Turbellier
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Unit Production Manager – Renata Pepper

That just shows how amazing your project is and how inspired people are by it.

I think it was a combination of them liking the idea and them liking our passion for the project.

I think so, too!

That’s why we need the money now. They agreed to do the pilot for free in the hopes that it would get picked up and they’d get paid to do it later.

How does Kickstarter work?

The funding will go to you but you pay 5% to Kickstarter and 5% to Amazon, and you have to pay for all the incentives. $5,500 is what we are trying to raise for this kickstarter fundraiser, which is to cover the costs for the pilot. Only a little under $1,000 more to go!

I wish I had $5,000 so I could tell my sister’s story of meeting her husband here in Paris!

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A few of your favorite places in Paris:

What is your favorite quartier?

I really like to go to different places all the time, but I love the 19th. I love Buttes Chaumont. I love the canal. I love that it feels authentic French and not touristy. I love picnicking along the canal.

What’s in your picnic basket?

(Laughs) Wine. And sometimes some food. (Laughs)

Those are the best kinds of picnics!

Wine, cheese, charcuterie, bread, the usual.

What was the location of your most romantic date in Paris?

It was everywhere. We just walked and talked and went to museums.

A question about your adorable dog Moxie: What’s it like moving a dog across the world and having her in Paris?

Moving her was tough because she had to go in the cargo hold. Having her here is great. She loves it! You know, they say that Parisians are so rude.  If you want a Parisian to be nice to you, get a dog. (PatriciaParisienne laughs.) They come up to you, they play with her, they just love her. She loves that! She gets to come with me to more places, like a restaurant, a picnic, a friend’s house. It seems much more dog-friendly here. She can come with me on the train. By law, she’s allowed in every apartment and every hotel. And she loves baguettes!

Thank you so much for your time!

Once again, here’s the link to the Kickstarter fundraising page and the official L’Amour (Or Less…) page. With six days left of the campaign and just under $1000 to go, every penny helps!

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