Happy French Friday!
I hope you have had a great week and are ready for a peaceful weekend. Our week has been peppered with some big changes going on at Bliss House…BIG changes. More will be revealed in the future. One change I can share is that yesterday I re-arranged the living room furniture. I like it! My husband is very reluctant to furniture change so I don’t do it very often. The momentary joy I might experience is usually eclipsed by watching the man slowly. melt. down. But this time he agreed it was a welcomed fresh change for the room. Finally.
Due to the changes we are making around here, I have thought a lot about the “joie de vivre”. One thing that has always piqued my interest about the French way of living is how they have captured this concept so completely. They are committed to taking pleasure in every day things. And no book I have read has defined this as well as Robert Arbor’s aptly titled “Joie De Vivre–Simple French Style For Everyday Living”.
Robert Arbor is a Frenchman who owns a chain of restaurants in New York called “Le Gamin”.
I love this quote from his book, “A big part of comprehending joie de vivre is understanding that enjoyment in day-to-day life is the true key to happiness. Finding happiness in small things means that ordinary days are filled with pleasures rather than obligations. Joyful anticipation of life’s everyday events is part of bringing, joie de vivre into your home in a lasting way.”
Instead of dreading the mundane (like cooking, for example), I try to change my attitude about it. Sometimes I think about how the art of cooking has been around forever. I think about how, by cooking, we get to eat healthy, yummy foods. I focus on the money I am saving by eating at home. I view the “chore” of it as my contribution to the overall joy of my household. Is it my favorite thing to do? NON! But by thinking about it positively, I have acquired an appreciation for it. And every once in a while, I actually have moments of complete joy–like when I realized I can now make my own hummus. A small thing…a no-brainer thing for the culinary gifted, maybe. But for me it was a major accomplishment. And in my mind I can see Julia Child smiling approvingly.
Robert Arbor’s book beautifully, through texts and photos, takes you through an “ordinary” day in the life. He makes you smell the french pressed coffee and feel the crunch of a perfectly baked piece of bread. He makes gardening and grocery shopping sound like therapy treatments. The book also contains simple recipes that you can try–which are French and scrumptious.
What also makes the book interesting is the comparisons he often makes between American and French living. He does so diplomatically and honestly–after all, he is a French person living in the United States. He has gained great perspective and I love how he shares it in this book.
Not long ago I found great joy in a simple little thing. I have owned a very pretty tea-pot for a several years–maybe 15? I ordered it from a, now closed (of course), Victorian Tea House to match the china set I got from Grandma. It didn’t match exactly but it was close. The teapot doesn’t have the name of the pattern on it–just who made it and where (England). I was so surprised when I found a lone teacup and saucer at an antique store that matched it–exactly. On the bottom it is marked “Sadler–Wellington”. Now I have a matched set to use when I make my tea every afternoon. Simple yet beautiful.
Joie de vivre!
Please take some time to visit Mme. Rebekah of “Cupcake Caramel”. And quite possibly you may find more French joy over at Mme. Jennifer’s “A Well Styled Life”. She keeps promising to link up with us! I hope she will.
A bientot, mes amies!