Mt. Washington One Day Winter Ascent

In the old days when I was scared of doing something I would make up an excuse not to do it and convince myself that was the right thing to do. My first trip to Africa changed all that and me forever. Now I plunge ahead pretty much no matter what. Ok, granted the obstacles I am facing are not maybe all that serious in the scheme of things – but to me in my little world they are still very large.

So, I committed to summitting Mount Washington in February and I am going to do it in just a few days. Funny, but a week ago I wasn’t at all worried about the things one probably should be when doing this kind of thing – frostbite, being in shape… Then I attended that avalanche awareness seminar and now all I can think is (a) minefield (b) wave your arms a lot if you go down in one – someone told me to do that just in case and I am not at all sure it will matter – blunt force trauma and all – but hey something to concentrate on.

And usually I am a planner, but somehow not this time = why I am ordering things like snow goggles just a few days in advance and a hooded down jacket (I have so many outdoor jackets, but none the right weight and with a hood). I will look like a bumblebee or a Steelers fan (I am not), but I will be warm in my black bottoms and goldenish yellow (the company calls it “warm olive”) superfly jacket. (note pic below)

MT W jacket

Actually, I really don’t care what I look like as long as I have fun and am safe.

Oh, and p.s. Mt. Washington is known as the Home of the World’s Worst Weather, and still holds the world record for the highest windspeed ever witnessed by man – a mind-boggling 231 mph. During the winter months, the wind speed on the summit tops 70 mph at least once every three days, and it’s not uncommon for climbers to encounter temperatures of -30F and below. I will be above treeline for about half of the ascent, experiencing a true alpine environment. WOOHOO!

About five hours up and three down if all goes well.

I have summitted Katahdin (during late summer) and gone ice climbing near Mount Washington a few times and loved it so it isn’t like I am that worried. And this freshly received (as in while writing this post!!) information helped a LOT:

There are a few different routes up the mountain, the objectively safe Winter Lion’s Head Trail avoids avalanche terrain and is almost always a safe bet.

Ahh, sigh and now I am getting excited!!


(top pic courtesy of EMS, bottom pic courtesy of Cathedral Mountain Guides)

Get Lost: Prepping for Wyoming


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I will be climbing to the summit of Grand Teton this summer.

Here’s what my guide to be Brian Warren wrote back in September, 2014 about the same trek I will be doing:

During the four days of the Alpenglow Expeditions & Jackson Hole Mountain Guides “Big Mountain Skills” training program, the crew was able to practice and put to use many of the skills needed to climb not only the Grand Teton, but also to continue on to bigger peaks around the world. The trip began with Day 1 of the program and the group left Lupine Meadows and made their way to the Corbet High Camp that sits just below the East Face of the Grand Teton at 11,000 feet. This day mostly consisted of getting to camp and settling in as well as covering some basics with the climbing gear in the late afternoon.

There are three more full days, including the summit (that day starts at about 3:30 a.m. and goes into the late afternoon/early evening). In addition to hiking, I will be learning and practicing technical and rescue skills. Exciting stuff for a gal looking to climb a couple mountains in South America and Africa in coming years.

For this program I was provided a laundry list of items to bring – everything from the expected types of upper and bottom layers required to keep me warm (but not too warm) and dry (very important) to a sleeping bag liner, insulated mug, sunscreen, and dark sunglasses. It was recommended I get a backpack large enough to fit all my personal gear plus ten pounds of food and water (they provide breakfast and dinner I bring snacks and lunch). OK (a) figuring out the right backpack (THANK YOU EMS in Portland and North Conway for helping a gal out and tracking down the uber popular Osprey Aura AG 65 – the 2015 Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice) and (b) get in shape to do the trip with the backpack.

wild backpack

OK, the above pic is a mock up someone did about “Monster” the backpack Reese Witherspoon (aka Cheryl Strayed) carried lugged around in the film (book) Wild. I will not be carrying all the stuff she did (note the above pic is after a more knowledgeable hiker edited down what she had in “Monster” = no more what was it a saw). Still, if you have seen the film or read the book or at least done a fair around of semi-extreme day hiking you can understand why I feel the need to get into the best shape of my life.

What that means is six days working out. Two one-hour swimming sessions for my breathing, mental toughness, increases muscle strength, gives my body a break from higher-impact activities, and is fun. Those sessions (about 1 1/2 miles each) wear me out. Yoga once or twice a week. The gym (weightlifting and 40 – 50 minutes on the stair master, elliptical and bike, or elevated treadmill) three times a week. Oh, and this – a full body high intensity workout for 50 minutes with my trainer – once a week.

What does the above mean? NUTRITION. Watching my caloric intake (as in more, the right ones). This is harder for me than the workouts. I have learned to drink chocolate milk after my pool workouts, am consuming more steamed vegetables, more protein, more whole meals (no more I am in a rush will just grab a Clif Bar), and fewer potato chips. I am more observant about treats (for me that’s Ginger Snaps and dark chocolate).  I already drink a lot of water daily so that’s easy, but interestingly I drink a lot more tea than coffee now.

More on my Wyoming prep and later actual adventure 🙂 Happy weekending folks. ox

Ray Lum and Oral Traditions in the American South


William Ferris is an American author and one of the most important historians of Southern culture, with an emphasis on African-American music and folklore. He co-founded the Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis, Tennessee, and served as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

In the early 1970s he began making documentary films in the Mississippi Delta. In 1972 he made this film about Ray Lum, the mule trader and two decades later published the book You Live and Learn. Then You Die and Forget It All, later retitled Ray Lum’s Tales of Horses, Mules and Men.

I saw the film last summer while taking an online course taught  by Mr. Ferris on the American South, and recently read the book.

I have long known of the importance of storytelling as part of the culture of the American South – from the way my father loved to tell stories and the way parties during childhood summers in Magnolia, Arkansas would dissolve into evenings where a handful of folks would tell stories late into the night. However, William Ferris best encapsulates the importance of this culture in the South: “Stories are our oldest way of communicating knowledge, of passing on traditions, and Southerners have a gift for that. And when you ask a Southerner to answer a question, they will tell a story,” he said.

Ray Lum was a mule trader, who according to Mr. Ferris, was a man born and bred to the practice of the country monologue. “A one-of-a-kind figure who seems to have stepped full-blooded from the pages of Mark Twain,” he wrote of Mr. Lum.

Ray Lum was born and lived within an hour’s drive from Mr. Ferris’s childhood home near Vicksburg, Mississippi. He traded mules and horses with three generations of Mr. Ferris’s family.

In the pre-industrial world of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s horses and mules were the primary mode of transportation for work and recreation – especially in the rural South. A heavy-set man who stood six feet tall and is described as having been gracious and articulate, Mr. Lum brought to life the worlds readers discover in the pages of William Faulkner’s novels. As anyone who has read those great books knows, that means a healthy dose of both beauty and darkness.

Ray Lum was born in a log cabin on June 25, 1891 in Rocky Springs, Mississippi. One of nine children, his grandparents served as foster parents. The town’s population numbered around seventy-five. Eighteen years prior to Lum’s birth, General Ulysses S. Grant and his Union troops passed through the community during their march toward Vicksburg. Today, little remains of the town.

As a child, Lum would hitch a horse to the family’s buggy and take his grandmother’s homemade butter to a nearby town – where it was sold for twelve and a half cents in trade. This and a few early horse trades naturally lead him to his path as one of the south’s greatest traders. By 1912, Lum owned five stables that housed hundreds of mules and horses.

His stories tell of gypsies, whiskey runners, mangy dogs, whores hanging about, outlaws like Frank James and Pretty Boy Floyd, racial violence, and the lives of families during the Great Depression.

While many of his stories are fascinating, most are sad truths of the times – in particular the animal abuse. I mentioned one story to my friend and horseback riding instructor C and she said that kind of abuse still happens, but at least less so now because people are aware it is not correct. In my humble opinion, Mr. Lum was a truly great storyteller and trader, but quite the lousiest of trainers. For all my admiration for Mr. Ferris I am still struggling a little with why he did not admonish him in the littlest bit, but then he said himself that as a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s he found beauty and darkness in Mr. Lum’s southern culture.

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was born in Kansas and died in New York City. In between he spent a lot of time in the American South. His best known images from the segregated South are from an assignment he had for Life magazine in 1956 to document the everyday lives of an extended African American family living in rural Alabama under Jim Crow segregation. The article “The Restraints Open and Hidden” ran with text by Robert Wallace.

I was fortunate enough to see some of Mr. Parks telling images at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts just about this time last year in the exhibition “Gordon Parks, Back to Fort Scott.”  Fort Scott, Kansas was the town that he had left more than 20 years earlier, when after his mother died, he found himself—a teenager and the youngest of 15 children—suddenly having to make his own way in the world. His pictures bring the places he photographed to life. He is one of my favorite photographers. As we celebrate African American History Month I encourage you to learn about Mr. Parks and look at his images.

*An American South post about the Southern storyteller and horse and mule trader Ray Lum is coming next week. ox

Gordon Parks. “At Segregated Drinking Fountain, Mobile, Alabama,” 1956.

Off to the Side

In his brilliant memoir Off to the Side, author Jim Harrison writes with the diversion of television people aspire to the speed of the passing images on screen and develop impatience and boredom with anything less. He also writes “man has an inexhaustible ability to beshit his environment, with politicians well in the lead.” (note Flint, Michigan)

A friend recently called upon me to go to the mall with her to purchase a television. That digressed (progressed) to just looking at them and in the end we went not at all. I am not an advocate for television considering the emphasis on reality television and commercialism. There is a flimsy barrier between news and entertainment if one at all. I would rather read, write, exercise, hang out with friends, and watch the birds and animals on my land. **Note, I own a television for football season otherwise it is disconnected.

As a result of television and the Internet and all our electronic gadgets we are quite an unreasonable people. The dramatic way in which we embrace the times we live in – the incessant need for more for me for I. The indecent marketing of our values, the tearing down of moral behavior, the selling out of our culture and the dehumanization of society. I am coming to loathe social media – the too much too quick take. The me me me of it.

In an attempt to escape “real life” some of us escape to a rural life. Four years into my stay in rural(ish) Maine I am confronted with threats of pollution and feel an increasing sense of claustrophobia.

Pickup trucks speed down the two-lane road with such force it seems they are flying from a Nascar pit station onto the straightaway. Entitled persons throw their empty fast food containers on the front of lawns and I feel certain try to edge other drivers off the road. Who are these wretched people and where did they come from – who raised them – who didn’t.

I was in a supermarket checkout line last night behind a woman who – no judging …but – was overweight with bad skin wearing too large sweatpants – listening to her tell the bag girl how she wanted to kill herself or her kid because the kid was with her all the time and this by the way was because she pulled her out of kindergarten because she didn’t think she was getting anything out of it. *Note, her storytelling was interrupted briefly by her running after her screaming child at the front of the store. Her grocery items included several bottles of alcohol – rung up separately than the other items, which may or may not have been paid with food stamps. Once gone there was a collective relief felt between myself, the checkout man, and the bagger – the latter of whom stated her child (note, this is a young mother) is doing well in the same program and stated matter of factly the woman who had just left (she knew her somewhat) just didn’t want to take her kid to school. I asked how this is legal. No answer. I also worried and still am about the child abuse in that household.

Here’s the thing – the woman with the poor health and questionable parenting approach – she represents a too large part of society than we are willing most of us middle or upper middle class individuals to admit. She exists because she can, because there are cracks a mile or more wide in systems set up to try and prevent just this – whatever this is – and here’s the thing – she may or may not even watch television. No diversion needed. She is part of a society so far removed from one I understand or am grasping with all its changes to understand – that she may as well be a member of some indigenous tribe I read about in all those stacks of books on my shelves and tables.

And there it is or part of it. I read, always have. I choose books over radio (well, Spotify now or podcasts except in the car) and often over television (just not during the football season). Maybe she wasn’t read to as a child maybe she has never read a book maybe she cannot read. Seriously, real problems.

We need to leave the me, myself, and I era behind us. We have a heck of a lot of work to do to improve our communities and our planet. We need to believe a better experience is possible for all of us.

As for me, when I look out my window I see a large family of wild turkeys enjoying the worms and bugs brought up from the rain and that’s far more entertaining than anything that is likely on television right now.



What better time to share a few TV series and movies I think worth watching than on a rainy February day?

Programme Name: River - TX: n/a - Episode: River - First Look (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: John River (STELLAN SKARSGARD) - (C) Kudos - Photographer: Nick Briggs

River – the BBC detective drama on Netflix starring Stellan Skarsgard. WATCH IT!!!!!

actually, that’s it for TV right now.



Straight Outta Compton – in fact watch this INSTEAD OF the Oscars.

and Sicario, The End of the Tour, and definitely (!!!) Spotlight – sooo good.


Angels of Ascent

Next time I do a book list I’ll tuck Angels of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of African American Poetry in there, but the book deserves it’s own post.

It is edited by Charles Henry Rowell, the founder and editor of the literary quarterly Callaloo.

The 600 plus page book is divided into four parts, organized around the ‘waves’ of black writing since the demise of the Black Arts Movement (Northern urban phenomenon built around idea “work of and for black people”) in the late 1970s. Eighty-six poets are included; arranged in chronological order of the trajectory of African American poetry. Poets who built a tradition which disregards geography, race, culture, class and those other boundaries which do violence to human beings in the west.

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. She did this in 1950. And I would have included her poem “Boy Breaking Glass” except that I fell in love with Robert Hayden’s “Elegies for Paradise Valley”. Hayden was a Poet Laureate of the US from 1976 to 1978. He grew up in the black section of Detroit called Paradise Valley, taught at Fisk University and then the University of Michigan, and passed in 1969. Here is a link to an interview he did on NPR.


A portion of the poem “Elegies for Paradise Valley”….

I shared bedroom’s window
opened on alley stench.
A junkie died in maggots there.
I saw his body shoved into a van.
I saw the hatred for our kind
glistening like tears
in the policeman’s eyes.

No place for Pestalozzi’s
fiorelli. No time of starched
and ironed innocence. Godfearing
elders, even godless grifters, tried
as best they could to shelter
us. Rats fighting in their walls.

Waxwork Uncle Henry
(murdered Uncle Crip)
lay among floral pieces
in the front room where
the Christmas tree had stood.
Master Hong of the

Chinese Lantern (there
Auntie as waitress queened it
nights) brought feesias, wept
beside the coffin.

Beautiful, our neighbors
murmured: he would be proud.
Is it mahogany?
Mohogany – I’d heard
the victrola voice of

dead Bert Williams
talk-sing that word as macabre
music played, chilling
me. Uncle Crip
had laughed and laughed.

Great horned owl

Another favorite – Clarence Major’s “The Great Horned Owl” (Major was born in 1936, he was the first editor of American Book Review and taught at UC Davis from 1989 – 2007.)

He glides, descending
to the forest floor –

his round face
like an African

mask, carved out
of soft wood.

He sails down smoothly
(his face as wide

as his shoulders
with big ears

jutting straight up
like horns) – descending

to the forest floor
where a mouse

scurries along.
And the wingspan

of the great night bird
spreads, showing

his white plumage
in this, his pale phase,

as he snatches it

he sings and dances
in the half-light,

scattering dry leaves,
spreading again

those great wings.
On the takeoff

he fans his fluffy
black-and-white tail.

Still Standing


During February we all have an “extra” opportunity to learn about the history of African Americans. Those of us who are white can lean into the uncomfortable stories and I suppose move forward more educated more sincere in our appreciation of what individuals like John Lewis and Alice Walker went through – the mountains moved to liberate African Americans not just from whites only water fountains but to undo the cultural shackles of the “Mississippi cotton-field dialect” attributed to black people in films and books.

In celebration of African American History Month I want to share two posts with you – this one and the one going up right after on Angels of Ascent.

Last Friday night I attended the event “Still Standing” celebrating stories of Maine’s past, present, and future African American leaders who through steadfast resilience and determination overcame, and are still standing today. The evening was a partnership between The Abyssinian Meeting House and MECA Public Engagement. Standouts included musician and writer Samuel James, City Councilman Spencer Thibodeau, and Linda Ashe Ford.

James recalled encounters with racism at eight and nine years old. He spoke beautifully about his father. A rare kind of man – extraordinarily strong in character and build (6’2, 200 pounds) with a significant number of physical scars (from war?) – including a knife wound the length of his abdomen, and two bullet holes in his back – only one of which he remembers. At eight he and his father (an African American) and mother (a small white woman) were walking down the town sidewalk when a white man came out of a shop and called him a “ni…r” and his father responded not with violence but this – he said “I don’t know who taught you that word, but it’s rude.” I loved his father in that moment. I loved him more when he went to Samuel’s school to complain about the bullies throwing rocks at his son and calling him a “” and the receptionist says to him “Oh, are you here about the janitor position?” (As if – in case it’s not clear – the only reason a black man would walk into a school admin office is for a janitorial position.) He took the job, held it till Samuel graduated, then put down the broom and walked out. WOW.

Spencer Thibodeau’s story was sad – not because what happened (he was adopted by a white couple after his African American mother in Kentucky gave him up in her teens), but because he is still figuring out who he is. He said, “My greatest failure is understanding who I am.”

Linda Ashe Ford is nothing short of a treasure. A great African American treasure who should have her own live storytelling night day. I could have listened to her for hours. It wasn’t just the stories she told, it was the way she told them. One of those rare figures whose stories of her grandparents, her memories of the street she grew up on, the ups and downs of life are told with common-sense lessons and humor. “It’s not what people call you, it’s what you answer to,” she was told by her mother and sadly had to tell her son. I relished the story of her grandfather buying a home in a white neighborhood and sending his wife out to wash the windows. Inevitably, someone would come up and ask his wife who she worked for – she didn’t work for anyone – her husband bought the house. And with that they would get offers by whites to buy them out and they would move with their profit to another neighborhood and do it all over again and with that clever maneuvering paid for Mrs. Ford’s college education.

The Abyssinian Meeting House is among Maine’s most significant cultural landmarks. It was built in 1832, and is the third-oldest black meeting house in America. It was a hub for the Underground Railroad used by slaves to escape the South in the 1800s.
It was almost demolished in the 1970s, and is the focus of an ongoing effort to preserve and restore it.

Thanks for the invite JM!!!

American South


Far too frequently I am reminded of the negative stereotypes people have about the American South. That everyone is ignorant, inbred, racist, overweight, and a right-wing conservative (note while we can sadly claim Rush Limbaugh who embodies most of the above mentioned stereotypes, Dick Cheney is from Nebraska and let’s not forget Sarah Palin’s base is Alaska). People I know, educated well-traveled individuals, have told me they are scared of traveling in the south – this is the American South folks not Honduras. They have not been below the Mason-Dixon line and can no more understand why I am proud of my Arkansan heritage than why I travel through the south every few years.  Look, I won’t lie even I have gotten the heebie jeebies driving through Mississippi on my own – there is just too much history in the air there sometimes and well the last time it didn’t help I was chasing to get to a hotel before some unfriendly (is there any other kind) line of tornadoes blitzed through (I made it to a gas station a couple hours from my hotel).

To help educate those folks I love dearly and all the strangers out there with the same misconceptions, I have created the following list of people/places/things I think of when it comes to the American South. The good, bad, ugly, delicious, beautiful, fun…. And yes there will be a few more American South posts in the near future. ox


Sweet iced tea, cornbread, fried chicken, collard greens, pecan pie, Atticus Finch, Friday Night Lights, community, Mardi Gras, churches, gun shows, college football, Coca Cola, Huck Finn, hobo camps, Angola State Prison, Eudora Welty, Walker Percy, tobacco barns, Southern belles, Buck Owens, Rosa Parks, Arkansas, Texas, honky tonks, Lexington KY horse country, preserved antebellum plantation mansions = museums/wedding venues, spiral bound Junior League cookbooks, Y’all, Deliverance, blues and rock and country, Edna Lewis, The Help, confederate war memorials and civil rights museums, South Carolina, Georgia, kindness, discrimination, elegant Victorians and Greek Revivals, John Grisham, horse racing, Driving Miss Daisy, Robert Penn Warren, Virginia, Outer Banks, Nat Turner, Fannie Flagg, biscuits, shrimp and grits, antiquing, Elvis Presley, William Faulkner, graveyards, abolitionists, baptists, Andy Griffith, gardens, farms, slavery, Selma, cotton-growing and manufacturing, moonshine, Blue Ridge Parkway, Democrats and Republicans, Hot Springs National Park, Cajun and Creole cuisine, Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, Southern Poverty Law Center, justice, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Paul William “Bear” Bryant, Moses Grandy, Zelda Fitzgerald, Monticello, High Museum of Art, Georgia peaches, porches and patios, Savannah and Charleston, University of Virginia, Duke, soul, rocking chairs, Sookie Steakhouse, cozy B&Bs and luxury hotels, NASCAR, Johnson Space Center, quilts of Gee’s Bend, Florida, French Quarter NOLA, Southern Foodways Alliance, respect, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (loyal to my Arkansan roots), Bryant-Denny Stadium, Rick Bragg, Morgan Freeman, Muscle Shoals, Grand Old Opry, stitching, master distillers, The Blind Side, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Jackie Robinson, Medgar Evers, Congressman John Lewis, Gone With the Wind, shotgun houses, Boeing and Lockheed and Delta, patriotism, craftsmen, tradition, and Pulled Pork BBQ.



Parisian Style and Decluttering


Before we get to how to accomplish Parisian style.  Let’s talk about expectations/stereotypes and decluttering. These will be important in achieving some level of Frenchness without losing your cool or too much money.

Dame Vivienne Westwood once said “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” Smart advice.

Here’s my take on clothes/accessory shopping…. There are real people and the people in magazines. There is real life and the lives of the elite (for the purposes of this post let’s say the top echelon of fashion editors, celebrities, people with a whole lotta cash). People in magazines can do without things real people need. People in magazines can wear Gucci, Balmain, Isabel Marant… *There are also credit cards, which in my humble opinion are never a good idea unless you have 1) the money in the bank 2) someone who is willing to pay those bills for you who has money in the bank.

Decluttering – There is that book all my friends have talked about at some point or another during the past few months – the one on using Feng Shui to clear your clutter – Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. I semi-agree with her regarding this quote “Holding onto old books doesn’t allow you to create space for new ideas and ways of thinking to come into your life.” Just try and take away my wall of cookbooks (many of which I don’t cook from anymore, but just love the same).  On the other hand, this morning, I lugged a big bag of books I am donating to the public library. Even with the room I just don’t care about those books.

Klingman’s idea is by decluttering you will simplify and thus open up your life and allow those dreams stocked away in a box behind the cookware you don’t use to become reality and allow newness in your life. Space Clearing is what she calls it.

Well, anyone who has been to my home knows I don’t have much clutter. Something about a childhood filled with it = no thanks. Friends describe my home as being curated. It is, but believe me it’s also quite livable. The one part of my home friends don’t often see is where I keep my clothes and accessories. It’s a bit of a disaster really. Tops and bottoms jammed into dressers and hung haphazardly in a too small closet. I end up wearing the same stuff over and over, because I am too lazy/busy to dig. If I don’t see something how can I be excited about it.

I am far from the only one – according to this WSJ article – Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, says Ginny Snook Scott, chief design officer of California Closets, the designer of customized closets and storage spaces.

OK – Parisian style.

After reading My Paris Dream by Karen Betts (NYT review here) I began missing Paris. Maybe it’s all the gray here or that I don’t have an out of state trip lined up till summer, or out of the country till 2017, but I was really missing it and then – and this also might have been all the coffee I was drinking while finishing said book (which was done within 24 hours of opening it), but I began thinking about my wardrobe. How to dress like a Parisian.  The book wasn’t even that great, but it was all about fashion – except towards the end where she finally bared her soul (and that part was well-written).

How do French women achieve their beautiful looks effortless style? Based on my time in Paris and having read several books on Parisian chic I would say in no particular order it’s because 1) they know who they are = they own what looks great on them and they carry themselves confidently (and what is sexier than confidence?!)  2) they live in Paris where the best stores are thus access to the best classic and trendiest pieces 3) they eat real food and don’t snack and walk everywhere and don’t overdo it = great figures and when you have a great figure generally speaking the clothes look better. *On this last remark I am not advocating for skinny, but rather healthy.


What’s in their closet?
Jeans – highwaisted, black, skinny, standard straight-leg, white
Black blazer!
Ballet flats – if you can afford Repetto great, if not then whatever is made well and comfortable.
Scarves – try secondhand shops, buy them when you travel (what better souvenir). You do not need a Hermes scarf!! If you can afford one great, they sure are beautiful! Thick scarves too – made with big yummy wool yarn. My godmother gave me a black and white and gray wrap from H&M. I don’t shop there, but I wear it so much. Did I mention she is French!?! The other morning I wore it to a meeting and felt so chic.
White shirt
Long trench – tan
Oversized sweater – maybe it slips off your shoulder, maybe it is black or maybe a mossy green
Navy v-neck sweater
Striped longsleeve t-shirt
Nice t-shirts (I live in James Perse). Nice ones range from $ Uniqlo and J Crew to $$$ Anthony Thomas Melillo and Alexander Wang! White, gray
Tanktops (see brands above) – white, gray, black, navy
Leather jacket – black (I have a tan one too I wear as much as the black ones) – **to me this is an item you take time to purchase. Save for and when you buy it is something you truly treasure. If you are going to spend money do it on the leather jacket and ballet flats.
Open-toed sandals
Boots (magazines would say “riding boots” I would say what makes sense w/ your life – for me it’s big old green waterproof warm Mudruckers)
Black heels (another investment item – or cheap ones and a heck of a lot of bandaids)
Converse sneakers – I have a pink pair I never wear, and I think therein lies the problem. I should have invested in a gray pair. White seems totally impractical to me, but if you live in a magazine go ahead.
Black mini skirt – I wore one throughout my 20s. My incredibly chic friend C has a gorgeous one. I suppose it’s worth giving this item another thought.
Black clothes!

Accessories – have fun, have some gold, diamond studs, costume jewelry, pieces you picked up on a trip – but under NO circumstances when it comes to what you carry should it be fake. Fake is WRONG and everyone will know it’s fake – believe me.

And lingerie and fun socks (when only you will see them) and black tights.

Books on the subject of French style (I **starred my favorites):

**Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Olivier

**How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Caroline de Maigret, Audrey Diwan, Ann Berest and Sophie Mas

Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

Paris Street Style by Isabelle Thomas & Frederique Veysset

Preston Davis on Why Less is More – article/blog post link here

And use Pinterest – my fashion icon is Emmanuelle Alt. She is the essence of French chic to me. Maybe it’s because she always wears jeans and I live in mine. ox

about this blog

About Me Sharon Kitchens and Delicious Musings. Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. I write about all the things I enjoy - Culture, Food, Photography &Travel. Read more on my about page.


Instagram Slider

No images found!
Try some other hashtag or username