Wednesday Postcard: La Route de la Lavande

Postmarked in 1978

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale was sent from Barrême, a commune located in southeast France. The postcard features views of « La route de la lavande » or the lavender roads in the Alpes de Haute Provence department.

In addition to Barrême, the other towns in this area located north of the Verdon River where you can see lavender fields are Castellane, Digne, Forcalquier, Grasse, Gréoux, Manosque, Moustiers Ste-Marie, Riez, Rougon, St-André des Alpes, Sentez, and Valensole.

I love the scent of lavender! Here are a few of my lavender-related posts:

From Salesforce Park (rooftop park in San Francisco)

From Visiting Seattle: Ferry to Bainbridge Island (2019)

From Lavender Days in Fairfield, California (2018)

Over the years, I have accumulated about two hundred postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from my local antique shops or received from thoughtful jet-setting family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams! And if you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there – I’d love to hear from you.

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, be safe and stay healthy!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I want to share a few of my favorite things that I discovered this year (2019). These things are not the most expensive, most popular, most beautiful. These things are simple. But they bring joy to all my senses and that’s what matters! Check ’em out – they might just make you happy, too!

For fun, I wrote this list set to the melody of the Rodgers & Hammerstein song, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

Come sing along with me:

🎶 Gratitude bracelet and pecan tea cookies

Tiramisù kit and ‘Big Island’ shortbread

Two ‘Frozen 2’ songs that I love to sing

These are a few of my favorite things…

 

Lavender chamomile probiotic tea

‘Typo’ metal pens with monogram ‘D’

Organic deodorant that will not sting

These are a few of my favorite things…

 

Croissants from ‘Tartine’ and ‘Topdrawer’ postcards

“Dreaming Time Again” and “Reasons I Drink” –

Feelings of nostalgia these new songs bring

These are a few of my favorite things… 🎶

Gratitude bracelet from Energy Muse:

from Energy Muse

Image: Energy Muse

Pecan Tea Cookies from Specialty’s:

Tiramisù kit by Forno Bonomi:

From World Market

Image: World Market

Assorted Shortbread from Big Island Candies:

From Big Island Candies

Image: Big Island Candies

Initial Ballpoint Pen by Typo/Cotton On:

From Cotton On

Image: Typo/Cotton On

Organic deodorant by EO:

From EO Products

Image: EO Products

Croissants from Tartine Bakery:

 

Postcards from Topdrawer:

Music:

What are a few of your favorite things? Tell me in the comments below!

Note: this post is not sponsored and the links provided are for informational purposes only

Meaningful Photos: a Mindfulness Practice

Photo collage made with MOLDIV

Meaningful Photos is one of many science-based practices for a meaningful life curated by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

For this mindfulness exercise, the how-to states:

“[Take] 15 minutes per day for one week to take the photos.”

Instead I did the following:

From my phone’s camera roll, I selected nine favorite photos that were taken over the past year or so. I figure I hadn’t deleted them for a reason – the photos are meaningful to me!

So here are my nine photos and my nine answers to the question:

“What does this photo represent, and why is it meaningful?”

Top Row:

Left: This is a picture of the sky over Paris, taken from the Meudon Observatory and Park. It is meaningful because it reminds me that my attitude can make or break my day. People will sometimes say, “It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky” as if clouds were bad/ugly things that mar an otherwise good day. I was feeling pretty good and positive being in Paris, so no amount of cloud cover could get me down!

Center: This is a picture of my Navigo Découverte transit pass. It is meaningful because it represents freedom. I could tap on and off on various modes of public transportation in Paris. It made me feel like a local and less of a tourist. Plus the lady who sold it to me said the pass was good for 10 years. She told me, “That’s good because you will be back within 10 years!” Did she know something I didn’t? I certainly hope to return to Paris!

Right: This is a picture of a sunset over Toulouse. It is meaningful because it reminds me that beauty and art are everywhere if you only pay attention. When I snapped this picture, my friend, Rachael, jokingly asked me, “Aren’t there sunsets in California?” Well, of course, but I hadn’t seen a pink sunset from the Pink City of Toulouse, which, for me, doesn’t happen every day!

Middle Row:

Left: This is a picture of homemade beef empanadas I made. It is meaningful because it reminds me that the younger me who dreamed of being a pastry chef is alive and well in me!

Center: This is a picture of me with lavender. It is meaningful because it reminds me to be original. They say, “stop and smell the roses.” Why not say “linger with the lavender?” (Read the health benefits of lavender here.)

Right: This is a picture of a margarita. It is meaningful because it represents life and fun with family and friends because they give me one for my birthday each year.

Bottom Row:

Left: This is a picture of the Louvre WiFi login screen. It is meaningful because it serves as a reminder of how dependent I’ve become on my phone and other electronic gadgets. I was in the world famous museum for goodness’ sake! Yet, there I was — sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor — charging my phone because it didn’t have enough juice for me to take and share pictures of my visit to the Louvre! Had I brought a battery-operated digital camera, I would have had more time to enjoy the museum. In our so-called wireless world, why do we constantly find ourselves tethered to power outlets?

Center: This is a picture of home from a plane. It is meaningful because it reminds me not to take anything for granted (OMG, oh my gratitude, I am able to travel and on a plane!?!) Also, no matter how wonderful your travels have been, there’s nothing better than your own place with your own bed and stuff at home!

Right: This is a picture of “This too shall pass” on a crosswalk button. It is meaningful because it reminds me to live in the moment. Don’t worry about the bad moments because they won’t always be bad! Also enjoy the good moments because they won’t last forever either!

Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to do this Meaningful Photos exercise! If you do, I hope you’ll share your thoughts and reflections!

Whether or not you snap a photo today, I wish you a good, happy, and meaningful day!

Oui Oui! Macaron

la vie en rose (et verte): rose macaron sprinkled with matcha green tea

The nursery rhyme, “This Little Piggy” came to mind when I saw this macaron shop! Housed in a powder blue shipping container in the Emeryville Public Market, Oui Oui! Macaron is a good place to pick up a small dessert after having lunch or dinner from one of the food stalls.

“This little piggy went to Public Market…

This little piggy took some Oui Oui! Macaron all the way home!”

I took home a box of six:

Top row: strawberry balsamic, coffee

Bottom row: churro, lavender vanilla, vanilla, matcha rose

I was excited to try the churro macaron, which tasted and smelled like the cinnamon sugar fried donut, but I found it to be a bit chewy!

Once again, the vanilla macaron was a winner for me! The shells were crispy, but not too chewy. The filling was light like a whipped cream, but tasted like rich buttercream!

Overall, I say, yes to Oui Oui! Macaron!

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in my other posts about macarons:

Taking a Load Off at Laundré in San Francisco

When I spotted Laundré in the Mission District in San Francisco, I was intrigued by the accent aigu (é) in its name.

A closer look at the large blue building located on the corner of 20th and Mission Streets revealed that Laundré is a portmanteau, or a made-up word using the combination of the words, “laundromat” and “café” to name the hybrid establishment.

However, it’s not the first to combine laundry and food and/or drink in the world, not even the first in San Francisco. A few years ago, BrainWash in San Francisco closed after having been open since 1989. In addition, there have been laundrobars in cities, like Asheville, North Carolina; New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and in Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Hamburg, Berlin, Antwerp, and Ghent.

minimalist menu

I had neither a caffeine craving nor a load of laundry to wash on the day I stumbled upon Laundré, but I decided to visit and take a load off. I admired the featured wall art created by a local artist and I ordered a cappuccino made with a third wave coffee by Sightglass Coffee. I also took a sip of my daughter’s lavender spritzer, which she thought tasted like soap. I figured it was in keeping with the laundromat theme! We later decided it was an acquired taste.

cappuccino and lavender spritzer

Overall, I like the concept: coffee shop on one side and a laundromat down the hall. Laundré’s founder reportedly set out to create a welcoming space for people to gather and to make laundry less of a chore.

However, I didn’t see people on the laundry side sipping a drink from the café while their clothes tumbled in the washers and dryers.

Conversely, the people sitting in the café didn’t appear to be waiting for any laundry. With their faces aglow with light from their MacBook screens, they seemed to be engrossed in their individual worlds.

As a Francophile, I was delighted to see a new business that seemed French-inspired. But it’s in the Mission District, a community of small businesses owned and operated by mostly immigrant families from Spanish-speaking or Asian countries, so something about it didn’t feel right to me.

In the 80s, I remember this area was filled mainly with various fruit stands, Mexican taquerías, Salvadoran pupuserías, shops selling formal wear, like quinceañera gowns; Chinese wholesale outlets, and stores providing money remittance services or Filipino balikbayan boxes.

They’re mostly still there, but it would’ve been nice to see Laundré acknowledge the community they’re in. For starters, they could have a small multilingual sign on the front doors. Wouldn’t that be a welcome change?

Lavender Days

It’s September and everyone is back at school, the wind is starting to blow, and pumpkin spice everything is popping up everywhere! While autumn is my favorite season, I’m still hanging on to those dog days of summer – like the time the family and I went to Lavender Days!

The 3rd Annual Lavender Days event was held on the weekend of June 23-24, 2018 at Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company in Fairfield, California (about 47 miles/ 76 km northeast of San Francisco).

The scent reminded me of France (photo credit: Jennifer)

We attended two brief presentations. The first was by a local lavender farmer who described her years-long process of building a lavender labyrinth.

The second presenter brought three types of lavender. She described each of their distinctive traits: English (good for cooking and making wreaths), Spanish (looks like a pineapple with bunny ears), and French lavender, which is what most people think of when they see swaying purple fields in Provence!

Family-friendly activities: potting your own lavender plant and making sachets

In between presentations, another local lavender farmer treated us to a lavender oil-making demonstration using the copper distiller he brought. (Hint: it takes lots of lavender and many hours to get about one gallon.)

That’s the copper distiller in front of the white canopy

It was triple-digit weather that June afternoon, and unlike hardy lavender that thrives in the heat, we needed some refreshment to cool down. Fortunately, they were selling gelato! They had raspberry and stracciatella, along with two special flavors. In honor of Lavender Days at the olive oil company, they also offered honey lavender gelato and vanilla gelato with lemon-infused olive oil and sea salt!

raspberry, stracciatella, honey lavender, and vanilla with olive oil and sea salt

(Photo credit: Jennifer)

For more information: