Friday, March 26, 2010

New picture album: South of France and Barcelona with Jackie's parents and younger brother.

For you viewing pleasure, we have posted pictures of our 10 days traveling from Barcelona to the Perpignan area, to Carcassonne, Montpellier et al and back to Barcelona. Say "Fromage!" or "Queso!".

Monday, March 22, 2010

Le Polaroid de la semaine: Seizième Semaine!

Barcelona, Spain
Sagrada Familia
An unfinished Cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi.  
 We are standing in front of the nativity facade in this picture.
A site to behold!

On the other side of the church is a much starker, darker facade of the Passion of Christ. It was executed by a different artist- who designed the Roman Soldiers to look like this:
The design for the soldiers is taken from another of Gaudi's work (chimneys on an apartment building) but I wonder if George Lucas was inspired by them as well for the design of stormtroopers.  A little google-ing will answer this question!

Le Polaroid de la semaine: Quinzième Semaine!

Ganges, France
La Grotto Demoiselles
The Hockett Family admiring stalactites in
the most amazing grotto I have ever seen!

Okay, so we tweaked that photo. The flash didn't capture the awesomeness of the ceiling.
Here is the original:

But the picture of the cave ceiling in the first photo IS legit and taken by Matthieu. 
Here is a shot of the jaw dropping "cathedral":
It did feel like being in a church!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stealing French Heritage (well, buying it)

Matthieu and I had so much fun this week hitting up sales and markets and an auction. I have always been in love with older things, estate sales, other people's things and history. I even had a subscription to "Times Remembered" while in high school. France has history!
 Our spoils:

Our week included a notions sale at Emmaus- a French Salvation Army of sorts- I picked a sack of fabulous colored buttons just waiting for a craft.  We also went to a post card sale here and added more to our collection started at Frank's in Rouen of early 1900's holiday and special meaning cards.  There are some real doozies that I may share at a later time if people are interested.   

We also had a fabulous meal with Papi and Mami, which led to conversation about postcards, which led to them pulling out three shoeboxes full and M and I getting to choose a bundle to take with us.  I love the old black and white pictures of French scenery.  They feel timeless.

There is a market, like only Europe knows how to do (although I hear DSM has a pretty sweet one) every Saturday in Rennes.  There are the most gorgeous veggies, tantalizing fruits, nuts, olives, sausages made of every animal you could think of,  fish that is so fresh, and the flowers.  OH the flowers.  It is almost overwhelming of the senses.  In addition to all of this is the great people watching- like this guy who did some pretty impressive moves with a ball and rode a unicycle.
Perhaps he went to clown school?

 In addition to the food market, there is a book market every Wednesday and Saturday in Rennes.  One thing I LOVE about France is that they know how to do comic books. And not just for kids- really there are only 4 main kid characters- but adults have endless choices.  
There are entire stores with just comics, graphic novels, manga and the works.

Another great thing about France is that there are a lot of antique and specialized sales in France.  On Sunday we went to a toy and advertising sale.  There were VERY cool metal adverts (like what you might see hanging in a bar) fans, matchbooks, tins (like what you might find biscuits in), toy cars, dolls, picture books and such.  They were also mostly very expensive.  An old Coca-Cola garbage can was 700 euros!  We found our Votre Beaute mags here for a very reasonable price. 

On Monday we attended a weekly auction at an auction house.  There was a statue of St. Anne, the patron saint of Brittany, that we had our eye on.  She was made in Quimper, a town in France known for their ceramics.  It was my first auction, and it was very exciting.  M and I had a very clear price in mind before we came in. I got very nervous when I saw how quickly the other Quimper products were going- my heart started racing and my stomach hurt.  Thank goodness Matthieu took care of the hand raising.  One other person was interested- but we won her! 
I think she will be a great addition to our future Breton Cafe...

How to be a Beautiful Woman- in 1930's France

Some of our buys this week were some old ladies health 
and beauty magazines Votre Beaute (Your Beauty).
There are fashion and health articles as well as fabulous adverts (most unsuitable for this web-page). There are also numerous tidbits of advice. Advice on how to stretch in the morning, what types of shoes are bad for your feet, how to climb a tree, what beauty supplies you should have in your "arsenal", how to pluck your eyebrows, which hairstyles are better for day than night, how to exercise on the beach....

I picked out a few important tips to share with you. 

 1.  The shape of your lip can be changed. 
  In fact, if your lips look more like a famous person's lips you  may be more attractive. This article includes a handy appendix of famous actresses lips- Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and the likes.  Personally, I have never been a fan of painting lips on your face where they are none- but I guess if you want the full pout of Madge Evans you might just do this. I do find this solution much more appealing than the lip-injecting that some of today's stars choose.

   I decided to give it a go and make my lips like Joan Crawford in her heyday.  How did I do? 

2. Tall socks on the beach are not stylish. 

I quite like this fashion spread on beach clothes from an article titled "Today we Have Learned to Undress on the Sand".  It contrasts the fashion on the early 1900's with the fashion of "today" (at the time of publication).
The one on the right has this caption "And here is a poor bather, who in 1913, for the first time had the extravagance to wear a skin-tight swimsuit without giving up on either black or her socks"  I actually find this black bathing suit to be practical, I am sure this girl can play sports and swim with no troubles.  I would actually like to own this swimsuit. 
The polka-dotted one on the left is a sunbathing ensemble...reversible cape included.  I guess women of the 1930's were liberated by wearing color to the beach, and no socks!

3. A black dress is still the way to go.
  This black satin evening gown is gorgeous.  The description says "The cut of this skirt makes for a graceful and youthful fullness".  From what I saw on clips from the Oscars, some of today's ladies should take note.  This stunning lady could actually walk upstairs unattended.  

4. Walking is great exercise.  Chris: this one is for you!

Matthieu getting his "walk" on with a copy of a 
1933 magazine with the Headline: 
Le premier des Sports: La Marche.  
This translates to The First Sport: Walking.

This entire issue is devoted to walking paths, how to walk, things you can do to push that walk into even more of a workout, and even how to correct your walk so it won't hurt your hips, back, and feet.

6. They detoxed in the 30's as well.
 Highlights from the article:
"To be beautiful
Detox youself"

-Do not eat too much
   -Breathe deeply
  - It is important to sweat- 
(A teaspoon of sweat is toxic enough to kill a human!) 
  -If you have trouble perspiring you should have a warm drink
 and have an 'electric light bath' (?)

   -Twice a month you should have a whole day diet or drink juice of 10 or 12 oranges or 5 or 6 grapefruits  
or one liter of milk or one liter of Vittel water.  
Do it on a Sunday so you won't feel feeble at work.  

-Go to the countryside and breathe fresh air, canoe, hunt or simply walk the other three Sundays of the month. 

It seems that lady mags have been giving the same realm of advice for years! 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Le Polaroid de la semaine: Quatorzième Semaine!

Rennes, France
At a book market in Saint Anne's Square
We had a fabulous week of markets, auction, and antiques.
(See next posting for more!)

What you can't hear is the amazing carousel music:
Austin Powers-esque