Monday miscellany: travel plans & more

Well…it’s looking like the trip we’ve been planning for Italy, France, and the UK in October may have to be scuttled. We’ll hopefully have some clarity around new EU covid travel restrictions later today. Even though we’re fully vaxxed, my inclination is to err on the side of caution. At least everything we’ve booked so far is changeable or can be cancelled.

If Italy isn’t workable, we may travel regionally instead, and we’ve already started looking at a few options. If nothing else, the past 18 months have taught us to keep our travel plans (and other plans) flexible.

Unboxing un peu de Saint-Tropez

My French Country Home box for August has a San Tropez theme.

But still, I’ve been missing France terribly. So it was such a welcome event to see the new My French Country Home Box (c/o) on my doorstep. And even more of a treat to open it and discover the gifts inside!

The theme of the August box is Saint-Tropez, and Sharon has hand selected uniquely French gifts from that region and the south of France.

On the left: hand lotion, liquid soap and a scented bar from Rose et Marius. All of my products are the Maquis Corse (Corsican Landscape) scent. I absolutely LOVE the myrtle and juniper notes in this fragrance, which are fresh without being sharp or overpowering.

On the right: a canvas tote by Tampico Bags from the Dordogne region (which is on our short list of places to visit in France). And a cotton “fouta” (or beach throw) in a pretty raspberry pink.

Goodies from My French Country Home box for August: a silk scarf, a nougat bar, and charming Michel Charrier watercolor print.

There’s also a gorgeous silk scarf from Petrusse, a nougat bar from Sénéquier, another charming watercolor print by Michel Charrier, and a sunglasses chain.

My French Country Home subscription gift boxes are issued four times a year in February, May, August, and November. These boxes make exceptional gifts, especially for the holidays. But if you’re missing France as much as I am, why not treat yourself? 🇫🇷 ✨

Getting a jump on la rentrée

Yes, I know it’s not quite fall yet, but with September just around the corner, it’s a great time to ease into new routines and habits.

There’s a new round of Faster Way to Fat Loss starting TODAY, and it’s not too late to get on board! My friend Karen has a couple of spaces left in her New Client Round, and will help you get acquainted with, and get the most out of this program.

I’m right there with you! I started Faster Way to Fat Loss one year and one month ago, and have done really well with this program. As we age, we tend lose muscle and bone mass. My initial goal was not only to build and retain lean body mass to help prevent osteoporosis, but to maintain enough strength to be able to shlep and lift luggage when we can travel again. I’ve gained muscle, lost fat, and increased my strength and energy. My clothes fit better too!

Despite the name, this is NOT a “quick weight loss” program. It’s not about deprivation or weigh-ins. Below, Karen explains why the program utilizes Macro tracking instead of calorie counting for optimum nutrition.

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  1. Nooooo,
    I hope you can come to Italy and visit Tuscany, we don’t have big restrictions for vaccinated people and I hope we won’t put new ones in place yet.
    I live near Florence and if it was in your plans it would be nice to meet up.
    I keep up to date on the blog
    best regards

  2. I am so with you in terms of missing travel. Our Italy trip from last spring is replanned for the coming spring. Fingers crossed. Thanks for all the photos of trips that you post from time to time; they feed the soul. France is also a favorite for us.
    In fact, thanks for your blog!

    1. The border did open on August 9 for vaccinated Americans to enter Canada. But a covid test is required prior to travel.

      1. Covid is ramping up in ON & QC and public health predictions are that more restrictions coming for the fall ie masking, numbers allowed in indoor spaces etc. It all changes so rapidly! Now if we stop in Québec to eat on our way back to ON from our summer place in the Maritimes we need to show proof of double vax or the SR code if vaxxed in QC as they are using the ‘vax passport’ no proof, no service! Frankly, I would not plan to travel outside our borders until 2022. Have family in the USA we would love to see but they are in a ‘risky’ area so Skype will have to suffice:( We’ll know more about the virus by next year and if a booster is is needed…It can all change on a dime. Stay safe!

  3. Hi Susan,
    My girls just arrived from Rome where they’ve lived for the past 10 years. They haven’t been back in the States since December 2019. Restaurants are open in Rome, however, a verification of vaccination is needed for indoor restaurant dining, entry into museums and any other indoor event. Masks are also more frequently worn by everyone regardless of vaccination status. Italy seems to be doing better than we are at the moment. We plan on visiting in October because who knows when we can visit again or if we can. Haven’t bought tickets or made any B and B reservations because, like you, who knows? I really feel, like all people our age, as if I’ve lost a year of my life. This “back nine” time in our lives is so precious. Until Covid I never felt so much urgency to travel or eek out as much enjoyment from each day as I possibly can. Meeting with friends and traveling ANYWHERE at all is my goal. I’m a former RN and am also going to volunteer to administer booster shots this fall. I just cannot sit in the house alone daily for another year waiting for things to “Get Better.” At least I’ll feel like I’ve contributed to the effort.

    1. Lisa B, I feel exactly the same, we’ve basically lost TWO years of our limited travel time. Obligatory mention of gratitude for still being healthy and not suffering financially…and I truly am fortunate, I know. But. We are in our mid sixties & still in good health, but who knows how long that will last? And there are so many places I still haven’t seen, not to mention all the places I haven’t been to yet! We had a European river cruise planned for Oct. 2020. Rescheduled it for August 2021, thinking surely everything will be fine by then. Nope. Rescheduled again for August 2022, fingers crossed.

  4. Oh how exciting to recieve a little piece of France in the mail. I am thinking I just might have to subscribe to a couple services to get some cheer in the mail. Travel has been put on hold for us now twice and am not booking anything further until next year just to be sure. Thanks for showing us that gorgeous collection of goodies and stay positive, you will get there.

  5. Just returned last night from a week in Tuscany, rendezvousing with family who live in Barcelona. Weather was fabulous and hardly any US tourists where we were staying in fabulous villa rental in Lucca. Most of the tourists were Italian! We found the Italians to be very COVID compliant (unlike here in US where we live). We didn’t need to were masks outdoors unless we wanted, but we always donned them when going indoors. We were asked to show vaccine certifications numerous times at restaurants (sometimes dining indoors, outdoors as often as possible!) and we were happy to do that. The flights were also comfortable with everyone required to wear surgical masks, not cloth. I know the EU is considering changes. Wait and see…we had planned to return to Spain in October.

  6. Sorry to learn your trip plans are on hold, Susan. Very disappointing.
    We just received the green light ✅ to visit the UK from Canada today, after much angst watching the stop light system stay on Amber for Canada during August. We had to cancel last September unfortunately, so I can certainly relate. In a few weeks we will be in London for a 4 days ( Covid test done on day 2 there) ,and then happily off in a car exploring the English SouthWest … Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, staying in Airbnb cottages. First foray into Airbnb, but found really interesting cottages in wonderful locations.
    We are fully vaccinated but will still be very cautious…masks, wipes, and distancing , but as we can make a lot of our own meals, it should be just fine. Obviously, a few local pubs are a necessity!
    Must let you know… you weren’t kidding about tips for a closet edit! I have been working on mine these past few days, and am feeling very inspired and organized. With my best colours in mind, I admit to some on-line Nordstrom and Chico’s purchases arriving after seeing some great ideas on your blog. Some old out, some new in!
    After viewing a couple of your videos, with Annie and Manina,I have a Red Leopard appointment set up for late April when I am in London again at the end of a solo adventure. Very excited about that indulgence!
    Hope you have some of your own adventures staying in North America.
    I enjoyed reading about Carmel. I was there in the ‘80’s twice , and am inspired to return.I see a road trip from here on Vancouver Island using the coastal route south.

  7. It sure seems like everyone has that bug to travel and has to set it on a wait and see. We had planned to go to Rome, Sicily and Paris.
    My husband has always gone where I wanted, he finally said I have always wanted to go to Sicily, guess we will have to wait or see.
    Let us all hope and pray things are better in the future weeks ahead.

  8. I am supposed to fly to France on Sunday for a tou,r but I am fearing a last-minute cancellation. Cross your fingers.

  9. The Dordogne region is incredible; we had many summers there when l was a child camping and swimming in the river. My parents then lived just Cahors for fifteen years and assimilated into rural life very fast with the locals in a 14th century house with no central heating. Incredible cold in the winter with it’s one giant fireplace but bliss in the summer. Cannot wait to travel but won’t be going anywhere now until next year.

  10. I arrived in Venice a week ago. Masks are required indoors as well as proof of vaccination or full recovery when you fly, when you register at the hotel, and for all the museums we have visited. We did hear that Italy may add restrictions though. From here I am going to Sicily on a small group tour, followed by Sorrento and then home to the USA. It has been exciting here as preparations were underway for the Dolce and Gabbana runway event. We visited the Palace of the Doge the day before the show and got to see some of the beautiful decor for the show. That evening as we wandered around we got to see some really beautiful and colorful high end designs worn by women who were in the city to attend the show. Pretty amazing!

  11. I hope you’ll be able to go to France! I just booked an Edinburgh/London trip for the end of March, 2022, and suspect that what the EU may do is something similar to what is in place now in the UK – if you’re vaccinated, you must test before and then again 2 days after arrival. Who knows what it will look like next year – it will be easier, I hope, but I expect to have at least one booster by then.

    I like the MFCH boxes very much, and I have purchased two, but I find I’d rather spend the $250 on French products of my choosing. However, Sharon does have exquisite taste, doesn’t she, and I am glad that you enjoy what she’s sent!

  12. We are scheduled on a trip to Greece and Italy at the end of September. This trip was originally scheduled for April 2020 and has been rescheduled four times. I’m a bit conflicted about it, not sure I can take another cancellation/postponement but also don’t want my activities during travel to be too restricted or find museums closed.

  13. Susan, would you please remind me when the next session starts as I can not do this time. Have lots company coming. Thanks much!
    On another note I really like the box idea from France, but have a house with eight bedrooms and four bathrooms full of stuff. Have been weeding things out put still have a long way to go…

  14. We’re supposed to go to Rome the first week in October. Fear it might not happen. We had plans to go to Paris a couple of years ago & sweet man in my life had to have quadruple by-pass!!! Then there’s been Covid (both had that)! Sounds like many of “your people” have travel plans- hope it all works out!!!

  15. I’ve been traveling for almost a month. In Germany now and flying home tomorrow if my Covid test is negative. Started in Bucharest, went to the Black Sea, all over Transylvania, on to a Danube River Cruise for 10 days ending in Budapest and we were tested every day! Then on to Vienna and then Munich both by train. I’m in a beautiful little town called Rothenburg ob du Tauber. The journey has been interesting and yes, things are a bit different in that there are more rules, forms, showing of vaccination cards and testing to come home. Things are not as easy breezy unless you are going with your own bubble to an Italian villa and generally staying there. BUT. if you can look beyond the inconveniences and the masking, it will be just fine. The Europeans are more structured and there is no feeling of anger here. I’ve traveled in Europe since 1966 and have seen the changes….this is a big one but just learn to “pivot” and take lots of masks! Hope this helps.