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Everyone seems to have a gift guide, so it got me thinking about what I would recommend. I thought about things that I had particularly appreciated this year, either in my travels or my day-to-day life. Some are quite expensive, others are more in the stocking stuffer category. power usage estimator All of them are little luxuries that are an upgrade, or un surclassement (uhn sir-class- mehn) on things I use regularly.

Breakfast-in-bed tray My husband brings me breakfast in bed every single day (except if he’s traveling, but then the cat lets me down). He was using a small tray, but I saw a nice one with folding legs and ordered it “for him.” It makes my favorite morning ritual even better. I noticed a similar one at Barnes and Noble last week. You could be just as popular at your home, or maybe someone will serve you.

Membership to The Trustees of Reservations – This spring, I visited Fruitlands, a former Transcendentalist community in Massachusetts. I learned that this is just one of many properties maintained and protected by The Trustees. I bought a membership for the year that allowed my husband and I to enjoy so many of their properties. gas efficient cars 2012 If you’re not in or near Massachusetts, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have a similar organisation that you can support with a membership.

The first was actually an audio book, French Exit, by Patrick deWitt. Slap the word “French” on a book and you’ve got my attention. I use my library’s OverDrive system for oodles of free audiobooks and I requested that the library acquire this one. I felt honor bound to listen to the whole drivelly thing. electricity synonyms The (thin) plot is that a formerly rich widow and her co-dependent adult son move to Paris where they live in a friend’s apartment with a cat that apparently houses the soul of her dead husband. Not a single character has the tiniest redeeming value. Skip this one, please, even if you did ask someone to buy it for you.

The second book was another one that I asked for when my husband was looking for a gift idea: Une Femme française : The Seductive Power of French Women, by French fashion designer Catherine Malandrino. Malandrino, who splits her time between Paris and New York seemed like a reliable source. The book didn’t propose any particularly novel ideas about how to develop a healthy dose of je ne sais quoi, but it did reveal Maladrino’s interest in S&M clubs. Not really my kind of source after all.

I’m always looking for ways to practice French between visits to Paris. I found a Netflix series, originally broadcast in France, called Dix pour cent, referred to as Call My Agent! in English. gas explosion The story revolves around a Parisian talent agency that is trying to stay afloat after the sudden death of the senior agent. The title refers to the fact that agents typically receive ten per cent of their clients’ earnings.

There is a returning cast of characters with the same type of personal and professional issues that we all can relate to, plus a cluster of more unusual problems that make for an entertaining show. In addition, each episode features at least one French star playing him or herself and appearing as clients of the agency. Some of the big names who appear include Cécile de France, Nathalie Baye, and Juliette Binoche. They look like they’re having fun.

There are subtitles in several languages, if you want a backup to the audio. gas laws worksheet French shows don’t shy away from exploring topics that might be considered too naughty for North American TV, so if that would offend you, consider selecting another show. So far, there are two seasons, but a third is about to be released on French TV. Hopefully, it won’t be long until it is available on Netflix.

Vigée Le Brun: This beautiful book was published to accompany an exhibit in Paris, New York and Ottawa about one of my favorite artists, one of the first professional female portraitists. I saw the show in New York, but some of the paintings from Le Brun’s years in Russia were not included due to diplomatic concerns. This book dedicated a full page to a color reproduction of each painting, including the missing Russian ones, as well as information about the subject and the circumstances surrounding it.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.: When my husband read this book when it was first released, he kept reading me snippets. This drives me nuts. gas house gorillas I promised to read it myself to get him to stop. Admittedly, it took me several years to keep my promise. While I read it, I returned the favor, reading him snippets of the incredible story of Huguette Clark, born in Paris, raised in luxury, who willingly spent the last twenty years of her long life in a dreary hospital room. Fortunately, my husband is more patient with snippet sharing than I am. It’s quite a story.

Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell : This is a scholarly, yet fascinating read, that featured a number of the same people represented in the Vigée Le Brun book. The thesis is that, contrary to the received wusdom that Marie-Antoinette’s excesses led to the French Revolution, it was actually her decision to embrace simplicity that hastened the end of the Bourbon monarchy.