Earlier this summer I was allowed an advanced look at Karen Karbo‘s book Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life with the premise of pick a chapter, read it, do it and post about it as part of the Live Like Julia Project. The book is about life lessons for daily living. No cooking required. Remember Julia was the woman who very early on adapted the WTF attitude when as an American woman with a boisterous personality she attended the famous male dominated Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and decided to teach French Cooking to Americans. On her TV show she dropped a turkey on the floor, (I did this once with a pork roast at Christmas dinner) and flubbed an potato pancake and showed us life goes on.
No crying over spilt food allowed.
Fast forward to about 2:39 for the start of the fun.
The point being in this age of over dramatizing any minute segment of one’s life or having disproportionate melt downs over things so inconsequential, we would be better served to take a lesson from Julia, just chill out. Be amused at life rather than go into a heap. Is it really worth fretting over? Life will go on.
Remember, stress creates wrinkles and can cause your immune system to weaken. Being amused keeps you healthy!
I decided what could be better than to live like Julia Child while on my trip to Paris? We speak zero French and had never been to Paris before, the perfect opportunity to let go. Here is a snapshot of some moments where I chose to be amused.
FLIGHT DELAYED – NOT FLYING INTO JFK
I just kept smiling and spoke calmly to the gate agent. My husband was not amused, he was shaking his head. But it all worked out in the end. Thanks to some quick rebooking we flew to Atlanta and then onto Paris on Delta. We were in Paris only three hours later than our original plans. No worries…
SOMETHING IS MISSING
Everyone else’s luggage rolled out neatly on the conveyer belt, but ours. Can’t read French, no indication of where to go or who to talk to in this pristine baggage claim area at Charles de Gaulle airport. Well, there has to be someone to ask. No point in typical American bitching, they aren’t going to understand anyway. Be amused.
Not speaking any French was not the best way to travel, everyone had assured me not to worry. Right.
I smiled and began impromtu sign language, tried to write neat (not my normal amalgamation of printing and cursive) on slips of paper to translate english into something the French Air France/Delta baggage agent could decipher and pointing to pictures of what our luggage looked like to file a lost luggage claim.
Lovely, we get a toothbrush and a t-shirt to tide us over until they locate our luggage and bring it to our hotel in Paris (likely riffled through and items missing – banish those thoughts – be amused). Right, I’m going to walk through Paris in a t-shirt. Smile, be amused, I’ll make it stylish.
Fortunately the agent found the luggage and it appeared at the gate and we were off, a bit later but no worries…
THE HOTEL – Trust Your Gut
The last two times I booked a hotel based on pictures on the internet found us staying elsewhere. With a bad back I also worry will the bed suck and leave me rolling around sleepless and in pain. Then there is the whole color thing. Will the room color be horrific? We can’t get comfortable in the wrong color. Yes, I’ve changed rooms due to overuse of ugly.
So there was a little trepidation, everything I had read looked good but… Nobody I knew had stayed there, something in my gut said it would be okay. Be amused.
I let go of all the what-ifs and just sat with my tired eyes taking in every vision as our driver wove through the streets of Paris until we arrived at our room. We were pleasantly amused.
Ah, silk drapery, fabric I know, good design, well appointed and a livable color. I didn’t include a picture but our superior room also had our own private terrace full with ample seating and lush greenery which almost doubled the square footage of our room. Awesome!
Very amused - this went down well later… on the terrace.Snacks!!! Another worry is always will the food be good, and will we like it. No worries, a new pastry chef had just arrived at Le Burgundy. I’ll post more on this fabulous hotel at a later date, we have to get back to being amused.
Normally I plan every day on a vacation, down to the hour – not this time. I had read all the guidebooks, made copious notes, copied maps and then decided to just let go, be amused and let the days rule. We are early risers and normally live by the clock, even on vacation, not in Paris.
A couple of days were were planned due to train travel, but it worked out splendid and we saw everything we wanted and more. Read about the design lessons I learned on day one from the Napoleon III apartments at the Louvre.
Imagine my excitement when I wet out the door in the morning only to learn Vogue Fashion Night Out would only be steps from our door! Complete awesomeness even in the rain.
In the gastronomic capital of the world, Julia’s stomping grounds, how could I worry about food? Easy. Not speaking French, we couldn’t read the menus. Ms. Picky and Mr. Meat & Potatoes were slightly terrified with the thought of eating parts we do not normally eat. Be amused. We allowed ourselves to be very amused at truffle ice cream. The hubby looked at me cross-eye when I tried it but I figured why not. Quite possibly one of the most delightful desserts we’ve ever tasted. The perfect marriage of savory and sweet. No picture, forgot camera in the room. No worries, I don’t need a picture of everything. At another meal we had the most spectacular melon and Jambon Sec (prosciutto) salad ever. Had no idea what Jambon Sec was until it arrived at the table, we were pleasantly amused and satisfied.
I did not make one dinner reservation in advance either, but it worked just fine. Reading the menus was an issue, though we never had a bad meal. Trying new things, letting go a bit served us well. Our senses were amused.
ALWAYS A TRENDSETTER
On our last night in Paris I completely let go when it came to ordering a cocktail, ignored the price and the ingredients. In the elegant bar of Le Bristol Hotel, I figured what the hell, the first cocktail on the menu was the 365 Champagne Cocktail made with a few ingredients I didn’t bother trying to translate, sounds like their signature drink – I’ll go for it.
Whoa was I amused. I only had one so I was not doing the amusing. As you can see the presentation was beautiful, however what you miss is the flavor. This very special limited edition cocktail created for the 1st anniversary of Le Bar du Bristol was a combination of a limited production Grand cru champagne, a rare 1975 cognac, something else – a bitters and honey from the bee hives on the roof of the hotel. Whoa baby, not too sweet, not too bold, but layers of decadent flavors – complete amusement in a glass!
And to top it all off, my no-fear ordering crowned me as the very first to order the new cocktail. They took my name, the date and made a big deal.
LESSONS LEARNEDBy allowing a simple shift of one’s mindset it is quite easy and healthy to “live like Julia” and by the rules. It is certainly much less stressful to be amused rather than irritated when things don’t go one’s way. Letting go also provided the gift of seeing more of life and enjoying what I might not have attempted.
To enjoy more and take the opportunity to enjoy your daily life pick up a copy Karen’s book Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life. If you want to read other posts which are part of the Live Like Julia Project follow the hastag #LiveLikeJulia.