Home, But The Paris High Lingers On…

Paris Place Saint Sulpice

Yesterday Carla sent me the photos from our shoot, and I’m absolutely thrilled with how they turned out. I’ve been wanting to have some professional photos done for ages, and what a treat it was to be able to do this in Paris! There are quite a few, and I’ll share them bit by bit over the next few months.

Wearing: necklace | necklace | cardigan (similar style) | watch |
tank | jeans (similar) | bag | bracelet (similar) | shoes

The striped cardigan was one of my finds from les soldes. It’s a Comptoir des Cotonniers piece that was marked down to 28 Euros! The black and white stripe is seasonless, and the weight is perfect for a good portion of the year back here in Southern California.

I always get lulled into a sense of dietary complacency when we’re in Paris. Bread! Butter! Wine! Cheese! Dessert! And because we do so much walking, I usually come home having dropped a pound or two. But then I bring my vacation eating home with me, and before I know it, the pants are feeling a bit snug. So I’ve had to refocus, restock the fridge with lovely fruit and veggies, and blinker myself going through the bakery section and past the baguettes (they’re never as good here anyway). I don’t believe in deprivation though, so do allow myself a little piece of some of the fabulous chocolate we toted home with my coffee after dinner.

We had jeune homme back home for the weekend, and it went quite well. I don’t know if it’s his age or new living situation, but he’s mellowed out a little bit, and we were able to take him out to a Thai restaurant for dinner, something we haven’t done in years.

It’s hard to believe, but we’ll be traveling again in a few weeks. I’ll be going to New York for a few days in early September to attend a cousin’s wedding (and possibly engage in some Fashion Week shenanigans, we’ll see…). And then we’re off to Japan later in September!

Does it take you a while to adjust after you’ve returned home from a vacation?


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  1. Nice necklace layering!
    You’re going to enjoy that cardigan for a long time. CC has good quality.
    If it makes you feel better, I eat dessert only rarely and croissants are for Sunday mornings only, and I live in France. When you work, you don’t get to walk around as much as when you’re traveling. It’s that exercise that isn’t exercise that works off the extra food.

  2. It always takes me a while to establish a routine when I return from travel. I want to incorporate the best parts of my travel lifestyle into my home life. Purposeful walks, for example, because I feel so much healthier. Today’s photos are great and I can hardly wait to see your other Paris photos. I’m going to try the necklace layering today.

    1. Thanks Joanne! After one of our trips a few years ago, I began fixing some kind of fresh fruit with European style yogurt for breakfast most days.

  3. It does take me a long while to readjust after I’ve returned from a long trip. It’s especially hard this time because I’m just about to end my daily posts of my trip to the Cote d’Azur. Writing everyday brings back vivid accounts of what we did–and I want to be back there now!
    Presently, I’m writing a post about our return home..and within a few days will be writing my regular posts. It is tough—especially when you leave a place that has become so familiar!
    OTOH, I’m looking forward to the rest of the pro photos you had taken. I’m loving the one today. And I cannot believe that sweater was 28 euros. Wow!


    1. Catherine, thanks! I’m still going through all of our photos to put some posts together recapping our trip.

  4. I’m so happy that jh is doing better. I’ve seen several young adults with special needs develop in such situations with peers of their age, and all had loving and well-educated parents.

    Beautiful photo, and such a great deal on that cardigan that acts as a knit jacket.

    Walking is VERY important in daily health. I disagree with those that say that daily life exercise is not an important factor, that only calories count – obviously both do, and I have a horrible time at least not putting on weight in the wintertime when I can’t cycle and walking is difficult (ice and snow). At least this part of Montréal has an almost perfect walk score and cycling score.

    Most people I know in France and in Italy don’t eat dessert – other than fruit – every day, and croissants are mostly for weekends or when there are guests. They also eat a lot of market produce. But I want a bit more protein than the dose in southern European breakfasts, without the fat of the full English or its American derivatives.

    1. Hi Lagatta,

      I agree with what you say. A note about the breakfasts, I have traveled extensively throughout Europe and most countries offer at breakfast or at home an egg with breakfast. Only place that didn’t one time when I was traveling was a very cheap hotel I stayed at in center Rome and that was the only Southern European country that didn’t.
      Usually a soft or hard boiled is how they avoid the fatty American or English style breakfasts you mention.

      I would like to note that in Europe I always hear the comment how fattening American food is and how fat Americans are, I ask them have you lived there eating day in and day out, or was this your experience went on vacation or business travel? And I was right it is what they see in traveling.
      I said well in America it is like what people here do, do people here eat at home like they would on vacation or when traveling? The usual response is no, I said then don’t believe that Americans eat a full fry up daily, that is, for most people, special occasions or Sundays, and then after all that at breakfast most wouldn’t eat a lunch….

      The next comment I get is, well then why are Americans so fat, they tell me it is because they supersize everything! Oh my blood starts to boil with this one. I said well if you lived in America you would understand. Many Americans have to work more than 40 hours a week, almost no vacation, drop the kids at before school care, pick them up at after school care, meaning their day begins at something like 6:30 am and ends at 6:30 pm or later, before they even get home. Then they gotta make a choice help kids with homework and get them ready for be and pay attention to the kid and try and make healthy meals….. So you tell me what would you choose? (I speak from experience here, and most of the people I know lived like this). Oh and lets not forget the hour commute to work and the hour back, I said oh yeah break time, most Americans work at their desk and since they didn’t have time to prepare and pack that healthy meal for lunch they order take out or skip lunch and scarf down food when then get home. (please understand I hear these types of comments a few times a month for over 11 years now, the minute they figure out I am from the US.)

      Sorry the subject of diet and how people eat makes me crazy, opens all kinds of feelings cause I hear so much negative about the American diet, but this is usually coming from people that have more than 4 weeks vacation a year have a work week of part time or no more than 40 hours, 30 minute or less commute to and from work, and Grandma and Grandpa are retired and help out with the kids. Day care is wonderfully subsidized no matter the income, then they extra money for having kids, and both mother and father are home at a decent hour to work together raising the family.

      I actually gained weight living in Europe, all those lovely market days people here discuss, well they are only open on the weekdays in my region and the few times I was able to get to it, the fruit while very fresh must be eaten with 3 days and the best pricing is for bulk purchase, kind of hard when you are eating it alone. (like I can eat a kilo of tomatoes in 3 days before half are rotten).
      Supermarket veg isn’t much variety and the berries my favorite are always so expensive even in season. Asparagus, look I live in a country that is famous for Asparagus, during the season that stuff is still over 2.49 for a small bundle, that is one serving for me, it adds up if a serving of veg costs that and a serving of fruit/berries costs 3 euro or more…..

      I miss all the healthy fresh fruits and veg choices easily at hand for a good price in the US. I kept a pretty healthy lifestyle in America because I quit working for others and worked for myself to regulate my lifestyle and alleviate stress/pressure from employers.

      I moved to Europe for a much better lifestyle, I do have a lot less stress and worry especially when I will get to my elderly years, but it doesn’t mean it is all perfect:).

      Sorry rant over, I just want to give some people a reality of the differences and the good and the bad to both countries.

      Healthy eating and lifestyle is/can be a lot of work and it is also about setting boundaries not so much on yourself but others around you. Hubby is a big meat eater has had to suddenly figure out how to live with a vegetarian after 6 years with me. I got sick of how I was feeling eating meat.
      He sticks a piece of meat on the grill most nights or adds meat after, to stuff I make it, works out perfect. I also don’t cook the meat anymore cause it makes me sick the smell (side effect of stopping meat)

      See boundaries, my time and energy will not be used in the kitchen doing a bunch of extras, I cook one lovely healthy meal every night and he can adjust what he wants to it.
      I switched my work week to 4 times 9 hours instead of 4 times 8, is a bit less hours a bit less money, but I get a whole extra day to myself, no one at home, just a day for me. Only one of those days so far did I spend on an 9 hour cleaning frenzy after traveling for work all week, dusting my laundry all his laundry piled up, you know when he cooked splatters everywhere, sticky fingers on cabinets…..

      I raised the roof on the hubby told him I didn’t adjust my schedule to clean up your messes. I clean tops 2 hours on my Friday to give us more quality time on the weekend, I will never spend my day off cleaning for 8 hours again….. Since then I haven’t had to either.

      By the way Susan the photo is lovely, I don’t think it is just the professional photo shoot, but you just seem to be so happy and relaxed in this photo, more than your usual if that is possible.

      1. Hi Melissa. I agree with much of what you have to say. In fact, over the past ten years of visiting France between once and twice a year, I’ve noticed that the portions of food served in restaurants are becoming larger. I’ve noticed that the young adults are eating more McDo and my French better half has even said he is shocked to see the sizes of some of the young French ladies. It is a global issue these days because I’ve seen fat Brits. I’ve seen fat Irish. I’ve seen beefy people from all walks of life and a larger frame isn’t exclusive to Americans.

        On the hand, we Americans have much better teeth than the rest of the world! That’s why we smile so much!

        1. My teeth aren’t as white and pretty as they used to be since I moved here. Yes Americans do have great teeth.
          It is a shame in NL I notice the changes to the population here also. Kids are less active, people wanting more bigger better….
          Along with it they are loosing quality of life, but they don’t see it, I do cause I came from a country deaply affected by that lifestyle.

          1. That is true. There has been an increase in electric bicycles and scooters in the Netherlands – a good thing for some disabled and frail elderly people, but it means less “lfestyle” exercise there. There is not much difference in the Dutch and British diets (or weather) so if the Dutch stop walking and cycling so much – at all ages – well…

      2. Growing up we never ate those big “American” breakfasts, and I know very few people who did, unless they grew up on a farm. I think we have systemic lifestyle challenges here as you’ve outlined that often get mis-categorized as “individual” bad choices. It’s a very complex issue, that’s for sure!

        And thank you!

    2. Some years ago we were in Florence learning Italian at a language school there. We stayed in an apartment organised by Institute. It was comfortable and affordable but not a tourist apartment. It was about ten minutes walk from the school and about another ten from the Duomo but in an area where locals lived. No tourists. We discovered what many young Italian women have for breakfast on their way to work (walking – nearly everyone walks in Florence – except for those on motor scooters) or university: a coffee and a cigarette – and maybe a cornetto (Italian croissant). Our observations didn’t lead us astray – we heard that from the Italian teachers too. The very slim Italian girls seemed to live on cigarettes and coffee – and maybe mamma’s pasta when they get home in the evening. Best wishes, Pamela

  5. wow you are really peripatetic this year!! I’d love to go to Japan. Looking forward to your future posts! Thanks for all that you do <3

  6. You look wonderful. The photos are amazing! Really captures the unique, beautiful you and in PARIS. How great is that ?!!?
    Thank you Suz in Vancouver

    1. Suz, thank you very much! I had such fun doing the photos, and look forward to sharing more of them.

  7. What a wonderful photo of you! The cardigan is wonderful and I am going to check out their store in NY, although it wouldn’t be so cheap. I am a vegetarian and always end up eating too much cheese when i travel plus the bread that goes with it. I never lose weight even though I walk all the time. I admire you eating only one piece of the chocolate you brought home. I end up eating all of it in the first few days to get it out of my system and then I can get back to more disciplined eating.

    I traveled to Japan nearly a year ago and I am looking forward to seeing your wardrobe choices. I think everything you tend to bring will work over there. The challenge is the shoes because you will be taking them off a lot. I’m too big to wear Japanese clothes but they might fit you. I had a great time buying make up and skin care though. I am so excited for you!

    1. Thanks so much, Lesley! I’m glad to hear that my usual travel wardrobe should be workable for Japan. I’m SO looking forward to this trip!

  8. Great outfit!
    We returned from a 10 day beach vacation on Sunday and are leaving for 3 weeks in Sydney on Wednesay. Talk about quick turn-around. Monday I was barely conscious but had a million things to do. Complete weather change to pack for plus gifts and outfits for dressy occasions I don’t usually have. This requires checking a bag (big no-no for us) plus carry on. No time to adjust to West Coast time which is just as well since we’ll have major readjustment Down Under. Your 12 Piece Travel Wardrobe is a constant inspiration = carry on bag!!

    1. I’ll be posting on that soon. The short answer is, not much that’s different than what you’d see in cities here.

  9. I love both the photos you show here–you look fabulous and fit so well into your setting.
    Very pleased to hear that your son has adjusted so happily. That will certainly make it easier for daily life and also give you greater peace of mind through the traveling you’ll be doing — exciting trips ahead! (remembering our long-ago meeting with your JH, I chuckle thinking how well Thai will meet his preference for spicy food!)

    1. Thanks so much, Frances! Yes, the staff at the group home have learned that they can get JH to eat just about anything if they just sprinkle a little Cholula sauce on it… 😉

      1. For me, that was the most important aspect of this whole post, as I have a younger cousin with similar problems – his parents were even older than mine when he was born, and my mum was 42 – he is doing far better in a group home, and helping out at a firehall. I agree about the Cholula sauce!

  10. You look radiant and fantastic! Paris agrees with you. You always make me want to book my tickets. 🙂

  11. You on that place where I always stay when in Paris…. in Hotel Sulpice. Depends where I come from …
    sometimes I adapt quite quickly …sometimes I still dreaming and be still in holiday mood.

  12. Susan, you look beautiful! Obviously Paris agrees with you, and I’m so glad you were able to get your long-awaited photo shoot in during your trip. What a treat! To answer your question; yes, it always takes me some time to “readjust” when I return from a trip. Many years ago we spent several weeks in Tuscany on my first trip to Europe. I was enthralled; the scenery, people, history, and the food! When we returned home I couldn’t let go of the “tastes” of Italy, so I prepared Italian meals for an entire month. I just couldn’t let go.

  13. Wow! What a huge difference bright red lipstick makes! And the sultry eye makeup too. You look so French… I assume due to the efforts of the French makeup artist. I hope you will share the makeup techniques she used with us in a future post, as well as many more pictures.

    Of course I’ve always admired the way you look, but there is a big difference between looking American and looking French. I’m curious to know whether you’re going to adopt the French look on a daily basis.

    1. I was gonna mention the lipstick…. it is different isn’t it? She just has a whole other vibe going somehow. Just a little different tweek here and there. I usually am not so enthusiastic about these drape type coats or sweaters, but the way this one drapes and the way the collar fits is so casual elegant. Very french…. Yes Cathy I have to agree.

    2. Hi Cathy, thank you! Actually she used very little makeup on my eyes. I’ve already shifted my makeup to mimic much of what she did.

  14. Fabulous look! I really like the black & white cardigan; you got a great deal. The two necklaces look great with the outfit. You look amazing!

    I also purchased several black & white pieces while on vacation and look forward to wearing them for years to come.

    Unfortunately, I ended up gaining some weight while on vacation despite lots and lots of walking. But I pretty much knew that walking wouldn’t offset all of my indulgences… But I’m actually enjoying the salads and fruits (for the most part)… 🙂

  15. Holy mackerel – I love that first photo. Not just for how you look but for the overall feeling of it. And I hope you have a soft landing back in the US. Settling back into the routine now will make that next vacation all the more sweet when it rolls around. You are going to Japan? I think you’ll love it!
    I’m glad you had a great time out with your son.

    1. Melanie, thanks so much! I love being in Paris, and was having such fun during the photo shoot. Beginning to really look forward to Japan!

  16. Madame, I am in love with that cardigan! Scheming now to figure out a way to make one of my own…

    Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

  17. That outfit is splendid. So well styled. Those necklaces are so good. They are still on my wishlist. One day, I am going to hit the “buy” button.
    And that cardigan for only €28, unbelievable. What a lucky find. Love this photo of you in Paris. I find it ncredible that you drop weight on vacation. Even though you walk a lot. I am trying to lose weight as well, but we keep on going out to dinner, having lunch with friends etc. Ahh the good life. And so nice that you could take jeune homme to a restaurant. It seems indeed that he likes his new living.

  18. Regarding not being able to find good bread in the states. I have found C’est Si Bon bakery in Newport Beach (149 Riverside Drive, just off Pacific Coast Highway) to have excellent baguettes. They are baked all day long, so you can walk out with a warm one most of the time. If I recall correctly, you are not too far away and may be able to check them out some time if you happen to be in the area (shopping at Fashion Island, perhaps?). I haven’t yet been to France, so I can’t give you a comparison, but they are by far the best of the ones I’ve had.

    Also, Pascal’s Epicerie (https://pascalepicerie.netwaiter.com/newport-beach/) is another place to find some quality French food around here. It’s not too far from John Wayne Airport, off of the Corona del Mar/73 Freeway. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t have told you about these as you might be too tempted…


  19. Greedy me wants to see all your photos at once, but I console myself with the knowledge that I have much to look forward to!

  20. You mention traveling for a wedding. . .I’ve got a crowdsourcing question for you and other petite readers. I am searching for a “mother of the bride” type dress for my cousin’s wedding. I’m 4’10” 110 lbs 32B and I usually wear a 0P (which may be a tight fit in the waist at times). I’m having the hardest time finding dresses in my size on line, either the department store websites or other shops. Where would you recommend that I look? I’ve already searched Macy’s, Nordstrom (and Rack), Lord and Taylor, JCP, unique-vintage, ModCloth, LindyBopUS, Pinupgirl.

    I like “fit and flare” or vintage looking swing dresses, but they can swallow me up, so I have also ordered some ruched sheath dresses.

    Thanks for your help!

  21. Susan, I love your posts!! I am off to Paris in September for the second time and cannot wait. I do have a question though. I have an incredibly hard time finding shoes for extreme walking and was wondering if it is ok to wear my comfy knee high black leather Born boots in September? I know the weather could still be very warm, but these boots do not fail me in the comfort department. It’s that and my ballet flats! I need stylish comfort. Merci!

    1. Hi Lori, yes it can still be warm in September but if the boots are your most comfortable option, then go with those. My experience with ballet flats is that most don’t have enough support/padding for all-day walking, but if yours do, by all means take them. I just tried these flats on because they’re very cute, and was amazed at the support they had: http://rstyle.me/n/bwnja6rdpn

      1. Thank you! I was just hoping I wouldn’t look too out of place with my knee high boots. Plus I just sprained my ankle last week and am thinking I might need wrap it so I don’t reinjure it