Joyful Living

Joyful Living Mission Statement, Revisited

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." – Pablo Picasso Bonjour! I founded Joie de Vivre in 2019 to celebrate joyful living everyday. Joie de vivre is a a French phrase meaning “joy in living.” I write about ways to incorporate simplicity and pleasure… Continue reading Joyful Living Mission Statement, Revisited

Joyful Living

The Perfect Day

Bonjour! Today, I will not read or listen to the news. I will not look at my calendar, or my day planner. I will not worry about how much I weigh, or how I look. I will not check work email. I will not even think about laundry. I will not let my stomach/back/headache stop… Continue reading The Perfect Day

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Apple Fritter Cake with Maple Icing

Bonjour! The change of summer to autumn always has me looking forward to seeing the leaves change colors, decorating with pumpkins, and wearing flannel anything. Today’s post features a simple recipe for a tasty apple fritter cake with maple icing - just in time for fall! I love apple fritters and had fun tinkering this… Continue reading Recipe: Apple Fritter Cake with Maple Icing

Joyful Living

My Happy at Home Basket

Bonjour! I spend a lot of time at home by choice - I’m a natural-born homebody - and by necessity - the COVID-19 pandemic has me (mostly) sheltering in place with a newborn, a dachshund, and my reentry anxiety cranked up to eleven. I’ve always loved being at and making a home. When I was… Continue reading My Happy at Home Basket

Dachshund Love, Family

Happy National Dog Day!

Bonjour! It’s National Dog Day! I’m excited to spend some extra time cuddling with and doting on Le Chien, my michevious miniature dachshund. Belly rubs and new toys are in order. Maybe I’ll even bake some special dog treats! L’Husband and I got the hound almost five years ago, when he was eight weeks old.… Continue reading Happy National Dog Day!

Family, Parenting

Adventures in Babywearing

Bonjour! There are lots of fun things about motherhood and parenting that I expected, like newborn snuggles and tiny clothes and feeling like a whole new person while at the same time feeling exactly the same. And right now, at twelve weeks old, I love watching Le Bébé discover the joy of playing with his… Continue reading Adventures in Babywearing

Dachshund Love, Family

Having a New Baby Is Exhausting… for the Dog

Bonjour! The hound is exhausted. He’s knackered. He’s spent. Why, you ask? Dear reader, Le Chien has a new baby. And bébés are a lot of work. There’s the feeding (and inspecting used bottles for remnants of formula). There’s the diaper change (and wondering why the tiny human is so wiggly and stinky). There’s bath… Continue reading Having a New Baby Is Exhausting… for the Dog

Family, Parenting

How to Clean a Baby Bottle in 800 Simple Steps

Bonjour! As I recently explored in a post about how Le Chien adjusted to having a little brother, having a new bébé changes everything. It turns out tiny humans need a lot of stuff. Wait; allow me to rephrase. Tiny humans need A Lot of Stuff and It’s All Impossible to Put Together. Fewer things… Continue reading How to Clean a Baby Bottle in 800 Simple Steps

Dachshund Love, Family

A Dachshund and His Baby

Bonjour! Having a bébé changes everything, not least of all for a family pet that’s used to being center of l’attention. Not only do the parent or parents have to learn how to take care of le nouvel ajout, but any animals also have to adjust to new sights, sounds, smells, and routines. I stuck… Continue reading A Dachshund and His Baby

Family, Pregnancy, Wellness

Pregnancy Survival Kit

Bonjour! Spoiler alert: Being pregnant is gross. Naturellement, I was thrilled to actually be pregnant and experience the magic and mystery of having a healthy bébé growing inside of me. But I was also exhausted and generally uncomfortable, what with ongoing morning sickness and nosebleeds and charley horses and insomnia, to name but a few… Continue reading Pregnancy Survival Kit

Joyful Living, Wellness

How to Make Air Freshener with Essential Oil

Bonjour! Part of my commitment to joyful living and an organic and eco-friendly lifestyle includes using household products sans synthetic fragrances, such as laundry detergent or bath soap. Today’s post shares how make your very own air freshener with essential oils. Making your own room spray is eco-friendly and better for the air quality in… Continue reading How to Make Air Freshener with Essential Oil

Joyful Living, Wellness

Positive Daily Affirmations

Bonjour! During my pregnancy, I thought a lot about how to have a more positive mental attitude as part of my commitment to joyful living. I realized my bad habits of centering negative thoughts and vibes was not only dragging me down and holding me back from living my best life, but sending bad energy… Continue reading Positive Daily Affirmations

Family, Parenting, Pregnancy

Unexpected Postpartum Pleasures

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”Coco Chanel Bonjour! Now that the tiny human is here, I am in full recovery mode from pregnancy and childbirth. I expected many aspects of self-care in the fourth trimester, such as healing stitches, resetting hormones, and baby blues-slash-crying (oh, the crying). I also greatly… Continue reading Unexpected Postpartum Pleasures

Family, Parenting

Hot Mom Summer Has Begun!

Bonjour! The tiny human is here! Le Bébé was born on a certain day weighing a certain number of pounds and ounces and measuring a certain number of inches! Sidebar: For now, I’m loathe to share online the personal identifying information of a minor child with no agency to manage their own privacy. For more… Continue reading Hot Mom Summer Has Begun!

Family, Pregnancy

What I Need My Partner to Say to Me During Labor & Delivery

Bonjour! One of the reasons I knew my spouse was The One was his sense of humor. L'Husband is funny and lighthearted, a classic class clown and jokey jokemaker, which suits his easygoing personality and balances my tendency to be a little Uptight. C’est vrai: At least fifty percent of our conversations are based on… Continue reading What I Need My Partner to Say to Me During Labor & Delivery

Family, Parenting, Pregnancy

The Quest for Gender-Neutral, Organic Baby Clothes

Bonjour! As part of nesting and preparing the home for le bébé, I’ve been shopping for maternity clothes and decorating a nursery. I've also readied my hospital bag and found a car seat and other baby gear (who knew tiny humans need so many accoutrements?). And I’ve been searching for some gender-neutral baby clothes to… Continue reading The Quest for Gender-Neutral, Organic Baby Clothes

Entertaining, Family, Food, Pregnancy

A Gender-Neutral Baby Shower

Bonjour! I recently had the pleasure and good fortune of seeing a small group of friends and family at my bébé shower. After two-plus years of COVID and feeling like I’ve been pregnant forever (okay, eight months), it was my first real party, and I was so excited and thankful to bring people together and… Continue reading A Gender-Neutral Baby Shower

Family, Pregnancy

Hospital Packing List for Due Day

Bonjour! As Due Day for le bébé approaches - just four short weeks from today - I've been thinking about packing my hospital bag for labor and delivery (and how L'Husband can support me). Today's post shares some resources and tips as well as my own hospital packing list. L'Husband has been encouraging me to… Continue reading Hospital Packing List for Due Day

Dachshund Love, Family, Pregnancy

The Dog Is Suspicious of My Baby Bump

Bonjour! It's dachshund takeover week at Joie de Vivre! This week's blog post is brought to you by Le Chien, miniature dachshund extraordinaire, who has noticed some, erm, "changes" around la maison during my pregnancy. Check out these tips for introducing your dachshund (or any other suspicious pet) to a new bébé! ~~~ Something is… Continue reading The Dog Is Suspicious of My Baby Bump

Dachshund Love, Family

A Trip to the Emergency Vet

Bonjour! This past January, I had the unenviable experience of taking Le Chien to the emergency vet. Things happened very quickly. The little fellow started looking a bit peaky mid-afternoon, just a little tired really, and then proceeded to slink behind the family room couch to vomit twice. And then twice more. After Round One,… Continue reading A Trip to the Emergency Vet

Family, Parenting, Pregnancy, Wellness

The Problem with Mommy Drinking Culture

Bonjour! When my friend, Ryan, was pregnant with her second child in 2018, I flew from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (my home at the time) to Birmingham, Alabama (the state where I grew up) to attend her baby sprinkle. It was lovely to visit one of my former home states, to see daffodils blooming in February, and… Continue reading The Problem with Mommy Drinking Culture

Dachshund Love, Family, Pregnancy

A Dachshund-Approved Car Seat (and More Baby Gear)

Bonjour! One of the pleasures of pregnancy has been le nesting (cleaning! organizing! shopping!) and preparing the nursery for le bébé. And wearing stretchy maternity pants. And napping. And eating snacks. But I digress. Once L'Husband and I knew we were good and pregnant after fertility treatment and the first trimester, we were comfortable investing… Continue reading A Dachshund-Approved Car Seat (and More Baby Gear)

Joyful Living

Joyful Living Mission Statement

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”– Pablo Picasso Bonjour! I founded Joie de Vivre in 2019 to celebrate joyful living everyday. Joie de vivre is a a French phrase meaning “joy in living.” I write about ways to incorporate simplicity and pleasure to… Continue reading Joyful Living Mission Statement

Food, Organic, Recipes, Wellness

Recipe: Ginger-Lemon-Honey Tea for Seasonal Allergies (Repost)

Bonjour! In honor of the first day of spring (yay!), today's post shares a simple homeopathic recipe for soothing seasonal allergies: organic ginger-lemon-honey tea. Since they're predicting the 2022 allergy season will be a doozy, we'll all need some extra self-care. I'm planning ahead so a sore throat and runny nose won't diminish my usual… Continue reading Recipe: Ginger-Lemon-Honey Tea for Seasonal Allergies (Repost)

Family, Pregnancy, Wellness

Self-Care Tips for Pregnancy

Bonjour! To put it mildly, the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It’s been a long two (plus) years during the pandemic. And it’s okay to feel drained (emotionally, physically, grammatically) and take a relaxation moment to rest and restore. Building off some 2021 musings on self-care, today's post shares some tips… Continue reading Self-Care Tips for Pregnancy

Decorating, Family, Pregnancy

Yes, Our Nursery Has a Snoopy Theme

Bonjour! Let me start by saying that I love Peanuts and Snoopy. Always have, always will. Snoopy is essential to adding joy to my life. Thus, it should not shock those of you who know this about me that the nursery for le bébé will have a Snoopy theme. And L’Husband gets it. He knows… Continue reading Yes, Our Nursery Has a Snoopy Theme

Family, Pregnancy

The Untold Glory of Maternity Pants

Bonjour! Let me tell you, dear reader, that pregnancy is a journey, full of surprises, challenges, and excitement. The learning curve for me was très steep; I’ve never been pregnant before and knew little about what it entailed except maybe “morning sickness” and some sort of rumor about “labor and delivery.” After years of thinking… Continue reading The Untold Glory of Maternity Pants

Joyful Living

What Is Joyful Living?

Bonjour! I started Joie de Vivre - a French phrase meaning “joy in living” - in 2019 so I could write about some of my favorite things, from food and travel to ways to incorporate simple pleasures to make everyday living more joyful. Over the years, my priorities and focus have evolved to include caring… Continue reading What Is Joyful Living?

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Berry-Yogurt Parfait

Bonjour! New year, new me, and I’m excited to try some new recipes! Today's post shares my recipe for a mixed berry and yogurt parfait, perfect for breakfast, snack, or le dessert (mmm). Check out more of my recipes here (including some that are even a little healthy, FODMAP-friendly for IBS, and organic!) Since pregnancy… Continue reading Recipe: Berry-Yogurt Parfait

Joyful Living, Organic, Wellness

2022 Goals: Sustainable, Organic, Mindful

Bonjour! It’s the beginning of a new year and I’m feeling (oddly) invigorated. Languishing in a fugue state during the last two years of the pandemic (le sigh) makes me crave a fresh start, eager to embrace life again. A few things precipitated this unexpected but exciting turn to new positive outlook: Settling in to… Continue reading 2022 Goals: Sustainable, Organic, Mindful

Joyful Living

2022 Plans for the Blog

Bonjour! Happy New Year! Bonne Année! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a refresh. It’s been a long two years of pandemic and political tragedies (a long, long two years; le sigh) and I need a new, more positive outlook (and some extra self-care). One way I’m getting to reset button it… Continue reading 2022 Plans for the Blog

Joyful Living

2021 Blog Year in Review

Bonjour! I'm sharing this a week later than intended, but I was making rather merry at home last week while on staycation with L'Husband and Le Chien. Better late than never, right? Le wink. Something about the end of the year makes me nostalgic, from that back-to-school feeling that starts in September (even though I’m… Continue reading 2021 Blog Year in Review

Dachshund Love, Decorating, Family, Joyful Living

Merry Christmas from Joie de Vivre

Bonjour! Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Joie de Vivre! I hope you and your loved ones have a fun, safe, and healthy holiday and new year. In this time of giving and gratitude, remember to give to and be grateful for yourself too. Le Chien lounging on Christmas morning. This year, L’Husband and I… Continue reading Merry Christmas from Joie de Vivre

Travel, U.S Travel

Christmas in Chicago

Bonjour! To celebrate many things - namely, being young and being alive - L’Husband and I recently spent the night in Chicago. In addition to the large, real concerns of the pandemic, political turmoil, and social strife (le sigh), it’s been a busy year for ma famille, from selling a home in Vermont to purchasing… Continue reading Christmas in Chicago

Entertaining, Food, Joyful Living

A Cozy Hygge Night

Bonjour! We're officially in the throes of the holiday season, which has me hankering to decorate, bake, make chili, and wrap gifts. The holidays are a festive time but also a portent of the gray, cold winter to come (at least in the Midwest of the United States), which has me planning ahead to make… Continue reading A Cozy Hygge Night

Entertaining, Food, Organic

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Honey Goat Cheese and Fancy Crackers

Bonjour! As the holidays approach, I get Very Excited about the coming season of gift-giving, decorating, and extra treats (edible and otherwise). And, as per usual, I am limiting les excursions out and about due to the persistence of the pandemic and my own (mild to moderate) reentry anxiety (vaccine booster notwithstanding). So entertaining à… Continue reading Easy Holiday Appetizer: Honey Goat Cheese and Fancy Crackers

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Halloween “Dirt Cup” Dessert

Bonjour! As I posted recently, I love to decorate my house, especially for the holidays. Just in time for Halloween, today's post shares a simple and tasty dessert inspired by the spookiest season. Hold on to your hats, because this dessert is easy, it's sweet, and it's fun! Les Ingrédients 1 box chocolate pudding mix1… Continue reading Recipe: Halloween “Dirt Cup” Dessert

Decorating, Joyful Living

Halloween Decorating to the Max

Bonjour! Fall is officially here - though it's 85 and sunny in the middle of October here in central Illinois (le yikes!). Regardless, I am in hardcore decorating mode (see, e.g., a recent birthday party for a naughty dachshund), elevating my paltry, generic fall decorations (a few leaves here, a miniature pumpkin or apple-cider candle… Continue reading Halloween Decorating to the Max

Dachshund Love, Decorating, Entertaining, Family, Food, Joyful Living

Oktoberfest Birthday for a Dachshund

Guten Tag! We're continuing the German takeover of Joie de Vivre to celebrate my love of all things deutsch, from Brotzeit to breakfast to Orangina. (And you can even find some German treats at Wal-Mart, le score!) Oktoberfest season is upon us, and what better way to usher in fall than with a German Oktoberfest-themed… Continue reading Oktoberfest Birthday for a Dachshund

Food

German Breakfast Box

Guten Tag! It’s time for another German takeover (the good kind… too soon?) here at Joie de Vivre. Thanks to a long-standing friendship with one of meine Lieblingsfreundin, Christiane, I love German food and culture, including a Brotzeit spread for dinner and making my own Orangina. And since I'm not travelling much (i.e., at all… Continue reading German Breakfast Box

Food, Travel, U.S Travel

Pancakes by Clinton Lake

Bonjour! As summer winds down and I settle in to my new home and work routine, I'm trying to take quiet moments for simple pleasures where I can find them. I love being outside in nature, especially by the water (how I miss Lake Champlain in Vermont!), so when my aunt invited L'Husband et moi… Continue reading Pancakes by Clinton Lake

Joyful Living

Late Summer Garden

Bonjour! As we approach the end of August, yards are starting to look a little crispy and gardens a little shaggy. But many flowers are still blooming and the trees still have leaves, so I try to enjoy what splendor of the summer season remains. I come from a long matrilineal line of green thumbs… Continue reading Late Summer Garden

Dachshund Love, Family, Joyful Living

A Dachshund Explores a New House

Bonjour! I’m finally getting back into a writing groove after a busy month settling into a new home in a new state after a whirlwind of house hunting. (Check out our road trip from Vermont to Illinois here and here! I even flew on an actual airplane!) And I’m going to level with you, dear… Continue reading A Dachshund Explores a New House

Joyful Living

Camping Out in a New House

Bonjour! Y'all, it has just been forever since I wrote anything for Joie de Vivre! In the last month, L'Husband started a new job, we drove halfway across the country with Le Chien, and we moved into our new home in Illinois. It's been a lot of unpacking, organizing, cleaning, decorating, and yard work .… Continue reading Camping Out in a New House

Food

International Food Finds at Walmart

Bonjour! I love to travel in Europe and look forward to doing so one day … in the far and distant future (though I did fly recently, le yikes!). Travel opens the mind, changes the routine, and introduces new ideas and ways of doing things. And the food! In the meantime, I enjoy incorporating what… Continue reading International Food Finds at Walmart

Dachshund Love, Family, Joyful Living

To Bathe a Dachshund

Bonjour! Once summertime rolls around, L'Husband and I take on the task of bathing Le Chien ourselves. It's lovely to get outside and splash around in the sunshine, and the whole process takes less than fifteen minutes. Le Chien is not a huge fan of water (le shock) but a few extra treats go a… Continue reading To Bathe a Dachshund

Joyful Living

Discoveries While House Hunting

Bonjour! A year of quarantine gave me lots of time to think about what I want in my life and how I want to spend my time. I learned, together with L’Husband, that our family’s life truly starts at home. We like to bake and cook, garden and take walks, watch movies and YouTube videos… Continue reading Discoveries While House Hunting

Travel, U.S Travel

Y’all, I Flew on an Airplane and Did Not Freak Out

Bonjour! Y’all, I just flew on an actual airplane. Tellement, I mentally prepared for the weeks, if not two months, preceding this eventuality. After doing nothing and going nowhere during the pandemic (does the grocery store and carrying out food count?), L’Husband and I trekked from Vermont to Illinois via car - sans Le Chien… Continue reading Y’all, I Flew on an Airplane and Did Not Freak Out

Dachshund Love, Family, Travel

Dachshund Staycation with Nana and Papa

Guten Tag! Welcome to the official Dachshund Takeover of Joie de Vivre! Because my puppy parents abandoned me for Two Weeks to gallivant from Vermont to Illinois, I am taking over today’s post. I won’t be ignored. I am the center of attention. And why, you may ask, did my dog mom abandon me so… Continue reading Dachshund Staycation with Nana and Papa

Travel, U.S Travel

Road Trip, Day 2: Pennsylvania to Illinois

Bonjour! After more than a year holed up at home, L’Husband and I venturing forth and driving from Vermont to Illinois. A recent post recapped some of the highlights of Day One of the drive from Vermont to Pennsylvania. Today's post continues the fun and covers Day Two of the drive from Pennsylvania to our destination of… Continue reading Road Trip, Day 2: Pennsylvania to Illinois

Travel, U.S Travel

Road Trip, Day 1: Vermont to Pennsylvania

Bonjour! After more than a year at home, L'Husband and I are on the move. Our first trip since moving to Vermont in Fall 2019 turned out to be a road trip back to central Illinois. Sadly, Le Chien did not join us, and we drove out over two days with an overnight stop in… Continue reading Road Trip, Day 1: Vermont to Pennsylvania

Joyful Living

How to be Eco-Friendly at Home

Bonjour! One of the mantras of my childhood - in addition to the D.A.R.E. message “Say no to drugs” - was reduce, reuse, recycle. (Hey, it was the Nineties!) In honor of Earth Day, today’s post shares tips for easy, eco-friendly updates for your daily routine at home or at work. These new habits are… Continue reading How to be Eco-Friendly at Home

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Semi-Homemade Almond Danish

Bonjour! I love to bake from scratch (sometimes), but I also like to take the semi-homemade route (most of the time). Today’s post shares a recipe for almond Danish using pre-made almond paste and puff pastry... because making paste and pastry from scratch is a lot of work (le sigh) and perfectly tasty ingredients already… Continue reading Recipe: Semi-Homemade Almond Danish

Food, Travel, U.S Travel

Campfire Picnic on Lake Champlain

Bonjour! It’s starting to feel like spring in Vermont, and I’m eagerly anticipating warmer weather, more sunshine, and a visit to le lac (and my COVID-19 vaccine). Today's post shares some pictures from a campfire picnic on the shores of Lake Champlain in South Hero, Vermont, a fun way to get outside with family and… Continue reading Campfire Picnic on Lake Champlain

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Irish Soda Quick Bread

Bonjour! It's been awhile since I baked, and I'm ready to get back in the kitchen and have some fun. As St. Patrick's Day approaches, I'm feeling inspired to try my hand at Irish soda bread. I tried this traditional in Ireland when I visited in 2017 (and met Winnie!). The bread should pair nicely… Continue reading Recipe: Irish Soda Quick Bread

Wellness

Yoga Tips for the (Home) Office

Bonjour! As we come up on one year of quarantine and staying at home, I'm thinking about ways to incorporate yoga tips into my work routine. I tend to sit rigid at my desk, hunched a the computer, without taking enough breaks to stand up, shake it off, and make time for self-care. Today's post… Continue reading Yoga Tips for the (Home) Office

Wellness

Daily Mindfulness

Bonjour! “Mindfulness” is a popular word to throw around but a difficult one to understand, let alone put into practice in daily life. It is the notion of being present, and therein lies the challenge: what does “being” present even mean? The Buddha teaches us not to dwell on the past, not to worry about the future,… Continue reading Daily Mindfulness

Wellness

4 Ways to Relax Today

“Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do is relax.” – Mark Black Bonjour! If you’re like me, you value feeling “productive” – start one more project, fold one more load of laundry, send one more email. As fulfilling as being productive seems, it has some disturbing side effects: racing thoughts, feelings of inadequacy, and… Continue reading 4 Ways to Relax Today

Wellness

4 Restorative Yoga Poses

Bonjour! Today is World Yoga Day! The goals for most yoga practices are to undo tension, rest, breathe, and release chronic muscular holding. As I loved to remind my yoga students, softness is not weakness! Rather, the point of yoga is to open a channel of energy, find release, and allow positive change to manifest.… Continue reading 4 Restorative Yoga Poses

Wellness

5 Easy Meditations for Relaxation

Bonjour! This year, I am trying to focus more on self-care and not let winter get me (too) down. Part of my journey to yoga practice and yoga teaching was meditation. I never really got into meditation because it requires a level of patience and persistence my hyper-nervous monkey brain lacks (le sigh). That is,… Continue reading 5 Easy Meditations for Relaxation

Wellness

Self-Care in the New Year

Bonjour! If I learned anything in 2020, it was to let myself slow down and rest without feeling guilty for not being "productive." Shaking off the shackles of the "law school" mentality, which equates success with how much money you make and how many hours you work (le sigh), has been a years-long struggle. As… Continue reading Self-Care in the New Year

Joyful Living

Oh Bernie, My Bernie

Bonjour! Happy Inauguration Day! It was a bright day in America, a wonderful day to focus on hope and unity and to welcome the future. After four years of discord and division, of hatred and hauteur (le sigh), we can truly start to heal and enact meaningful change for racial justice, the pandemic and economy,… Continue reading Oh Bernie, My Bernie

Decorating, Joyful Living

A Cozy Vermont Winter

Bonjour! As January trundles on, and we sit in the United States watching and waiting to see how representative democracy will respond to the president inciting an insurrection, I’m doing one thing I can to stay sane: Decorating. While I have put the Christmas decorations away, the tree remains. With its charming twinkle lights and… Continue reading A Cozy Vermont Winter

Joyful Living

2020 to 2021: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Bonjour! Happy New Year from Joie de Vivre! I can’t believe 2020 is over and we have a fresh start, a blank slate in front of us. I haven’t felt the turnover of the year this keenly since the 1999-2000 calendar flip, another unique moment in my lifetime. Only now, the stakes feel much higher:… Continue reading 2020 to 2021: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Christmas Chili

Bonjour! Happy Festivus! The holidays season is upon us. My family celebrates Christmas, and every year we kick off the celebration the day after Thanksgiving by making a big batch of chili and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. ("Don't throw me down, Clark!") Today's post shares my secret family recipe for chili, a dish I… Continue reading Recipe: Christmas Chili

Decorating, Joyful Living

Holiday Decorating Extravaganza, Part Deux

Bonjour! It's the most wonderful time of the year! As we struggle toward the end of a very long and very scary year, I am trying to stay positive and spread some holiday cheer. Yes, I am eagerly anticipating the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and the transfer of power in the White House. Being… Continue reading Holiday Decorating Extravaganza, Part Deux

Decorating, Joyful Living

Holiday Decorating Extravaganza

Bonjour! I don't know about you, but I've been planning my holiday decorating for over a month, or at least since Halloween. Since we are not exactly going in and out of each other's homes right now (le sigh), today's post is a guided virtual tour of how we're getting festive. But before you do… Continue reading Holiday Decorating Extravaganza

Joyful Living

Post-Election Blues

Bonjour! As excited as I am about the result of the 2020 presidential election, I admit to feeling some post-election blues. I was so nervous about the showdown between president-elect Biden and Trump that I ran high on adrenaline and anxiety in the weeks running up to election day. Now that day (okay, fine, election… Continue reading Post-Election Blues

Joyful Living

Election 2020: We Got This!

Bonjour! As I write this, the United States waits with bated breath for the results of the presidential election. The world is watching. Stress, tension, anxiety . . . These feelings have taken on a new dimension and meaning for me, and for many others as well. And if I hear the words “unprecedented” and… Continue reading Election 2020: We Got This!

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Halloween Candy Bark

Bonjour! As summer slides into fall, leaves change color, and Halloween approaches, I start to anticipate all the fun planning, decorating, baking, and gift wrapping I get to do in the coming months. Not only is Halloween the official kickoff of the holiday saison, it's a great excuse to eat lots of candy corn and… Continue reading Recipe: Halloween Candy Bark

Food

A Day Without Gluten

Bonjour! One way I try to manage inflammation in my gut, due to IBS, and skin, due to rosacea, is through a low-gluten or gluten-free diet. Based on the results of a blood test, I do not have celiac disease, so I can eat some gluten. But because I frequently experience stomach upset or hot… Continue reading A Day Without Gluten

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Gluten-Free Brownie Muffins

Bonjour! Sometimes, one just feels like baking and eating an entire try of brownies, perhaps when it's gray and chilly and blustery. Perhaps when the United States is mere weeks away from a contentious presidential election. Perhaps when the coronavirus pandemic, voter suppression, census shenanigans, and Supreme Court tomfoolery crush our souls (le sigh). I… Continue reading Recipe: Gluten-Free Brownie Muffins

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Greek Green Beans

Bonjour! As the weather turns chilly, gray, and rainy, the scarves and wool socks come out. Le Chien resists wearing his coat and attempts to flee when he sees it (le sigh). And I start I to crave comfort food, which for me tends toward warm or carby delights like biscuits. Or meatloaf. Or chili.… Continue reading Recipe: Greek Green Beans

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Slow Cooker Applesauce with Secret Ingredient

Bonjour! Happy October! Fall has officially arrived in Vermont, which means it's time to make an annual batch of applesauce, mmm. Today's post shares how I simplify what can be a laborious (peeling, coring, chopping so many apples. So. Many. Apples.) and time-consuming (simmering the sauce for hours on the stove) process. My secret weapons?… Continue reading Recipe: Slow Cooker Applesauce with Secret Ingredient

Entertaining, Food

Le French Picnic Chez Moi

Bonjour! My love for French language and culture often inspires me to create a taste of France chez moi. I was lucky about to visit Paris in 2006, after I graduated from the University of Alabama, and still dream of visiting again one day (le sigh). In the meantime, I find ways to recreate elements… Continue reading Le French Picnic Chez Moi

Joyful Living

Closet Organization

Bonjour! As summer rolls into fall, I’ve spent some time switching my closet over to my fall and winter wardrobe (which is not as fancy as it sounds). This changeover also gave me the opportunity to reorganize and clean out some closets, one thing that brings me great pleasure. This post shares some of my… Continue reading Closet Organization

Joyful Living

Spa Day at Home

Bonjour! I've spent a lot of time at home over the last six months and had the pleasure of spending extra time with L'Husband and Le Chien. We are adjusting to our new home in Vermont and working from home. And despite the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic, we are trying to stay positive… Continue reading Spa Day at Home

Travel, U.S Travel

Vermont Staycation Hike

Bonjour! This week, Mon Chéri and I are on vacation. Though we are not leaving Vermont and barely leaving the house, our staycation has been très quiet and relaxing. We're baking, taking Le Chien for extra walks, and waiting for Borgen to finally come on Netflix. On Vacation While Staying Home “There is nothing like… Continue reading Vermont Staycation Hike

Dachshund Love, Family, Joyful Living

Happy National Dog Day

Bonjour! In honor of National Dog Day, today’s post celebrates Le Chien with some recent pictures. Oh, dachshund shenanigans! A Dachshund a Day “Being the owner of dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor.” - E.B. White Adolf Eberle, The Proud Dachshund, ca. 1843-1914 / Wikimedia Commons I loved… Continue reading Happy National Dog Day

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Easy Summer Mocktail

Bonjour! This is an easy, breezy post on what will hopefully be an easy, breezy summer Thursday. It’s been a long summer in the middle of a very long year, and we all need a little break. What better to accompany a break from work or chores or news or pandemic worries (le sigh) than… Continue reading Recipe: Easy Summer Mocktail

Joyful Living

Quarantine Scenes: Gardening

Bonjour! Sometimes, on a Thursday morning, you just need some flowers. I've spent a lot of time at home over the last almost six months. Mon Chéri, Le Chien, and I are adjusting to our new home in Vermont and working from home in our home office spaces. We are also trying to stay positive… Continue reading Quarantine Scenes: Gardening

Wellness

Quarantine Scenes: Yoga

Bonjour! As I wrote recently, I'm spending a lot of time at home and enjoying extra family time with L'Husband and Le Chien. We are adjusting to our new home in Vermont and working from home. And despite the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic, we are trying to stay positive and also trying new… Continue reading Quarantine Scenes: Yoga

Joyful Living

Quarantine Scenes: Outdoor Folk Art (Update)

Bonjour! Please forgive the re-post, but some of content shared in my original post is no longer available (see Author Update below). As I have been sharing, I've spent a lot of time at home over the last five months and had the pleasure of spending extra time with L'Husband and Le Chien. We are… Continue reading Quarantine Scenes: Outdoor Folk Art (Update)

Joyful Living

Quarantine Scenes: Outdoor Folk Art

Bonjour! As I have been sharing, I've spent a lot of time at home over the last five months and had the pleasure of spending extra time with L'Husband and Le Chien. We are adjusting to our new home in Vermont and working from home in our home office spaces. Despite the uncertainty and stress… Continue reading Quarantine Scenes: Outdoor Folk Art

Entertaining, Food, Travel, Travel Abroad

Breakfast in Paris

Bonjour! On a recent Saturday, L'Husband and I pulled together an easy, simple petit déjeuner français. One of the most overwhelming things about the pandemic and quarantine for me is not knowing when and if life as we know if will ever go back to normal. Being stuck at home, feeling like I cannot go… Continue reading Breakfast in Paris

Joyful Living, Travel, Travel Abroad

The Pleasure Principle (and Paris)

Bonjour! A weekend morning is the perfect time to relax over a lingering breakfast (and bake!). As part of my commitment to joyful living and simple pleasures, I am trying to incorporate moments of quietude and pleasure instead of just rushing to do work and chores when I wake up. Being ever eager to accomplish… Continue reading The Pleasure Principle (and Paris)

Food, Recipes

Recipe: Gluten-Free Quick Bread

Bonjour! This past Saturday morning, I woke up with the urge to bake. No, quarantine is not getting to me - I am a lifelong baker and have been helping L'Husband learn to bake. Maybe it was the drizzly, gray morning, surely invigorated by the tantalizing vanilla scent of fresh baked goods. Maybe it was… Continue reading Recipe: Gluten-Free Quick Bread

Joyful Living

Quarantine Scenes: Bunnies in the Backyard

Bonjour! As I wrote recently, I've spent a lot of time at home over the last four months and had the pleasure of spending extra time with L'Husband and Le Chien. We are adjusting to our new home in Vermont and working from home in our home office spaces. Despite the uncertainty and stress of… Continue reading Quarantine Scenes: Bunnies in the Backyard

Decorating, Joyful Living

Happy Independence Day from Joie de Vivre

Bonjour! During this Fourth of July holiday weekend, I’m ruminating on what it means to be independent and free, values deeply rooted in American history and culture. To me, independence is the ability to live unfettered by external control or influence. Freedom is the ability to live free from oppression or restraint. Both understandings make… Continue reading Happy Independence Day from Joie de Vivre

Joyful Living

Personalized Stationery Wardrobe

Bonjour! As part of my commitment to joyful living, I love writing letters and sending mail. It is chic and charmant, and also creates an authentic connection with the recipient. Writing notes is a great way to help during the pandemic by keeping in touch with friends and family. Making Correspondence Personal "Letter writing allows… Continue reading Personalized Stationery Wardrobe

Food, Joyful Living

Quarantine Scenes: Baking

Bonjour! I've spent a lot of time at home over the last four months and had the pleasure of spending extra time with L'Husband and Le Chien. We are adjusting to our new home in Vermont and working from home in our home office spaces. Despite the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic, we are… Continue reading Quarantine Scenes: Baking

Joyful Living

How Do I Help? Update

Bonjour! I wrote my first post on helping during the pandemic a couple of months ago. Things were still new, scary, and overwhelming, and I thought it was important to focus on positive ways to help in the community: stay home, donate, support local businesses, and find reliable information. This post re-shares what we can… Continue reading How Do I Help? Update

Food, Organic, Recipes, Wellness

Recipe: Ginger-Lemon-Honey Tea for Seasonal Allergies

Bonjour! Though it's the middle of June, spring has barely arrived in Vermont, and pollen is everywhere. My nose is dripping, my throat is scratchy and sore, and my eyes are bloodshot and itchy, zut alors. I used to just pop a Claritin or Sudafed and drag myself through the rest of my day in… Continue reading Recipe: Ginger-Lemon-Honey Tea for Seasonal Allergies

Joyful Living

How to Be an Ally and Advocate

Bonjour! I've been thinking a lot lately about racism, sexism, and homophobia in American society. The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery once again throw into sharp relief the racial divide in the United States and the undeniable fact that our toxic culture places less value on certain lives than others,… Continue reading How to Be an Ally and Advocate

Joyful Living

Happy First Anniversary, Joie de Vivre!

Bonjour! This post celebrates Joie de Vivre’s first anniversary. I started this blog one year ago this week, just shy of my 35th birthday. To celebrate, Joie de Vivre has a fresh look. I updated some style, design, and layout elements and created dedicated pages for food, travel, joyful living, and work. I'm also experimenting… Continue reading Happy First Anniversary, Joie de Vivre!

How I Work Project

How I Work #9: Christiane in Germany

Welcome to another installment of How I Work! How I Work #9  introduces Christiane Scheller, 36, the Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Scherzinger Pumpen in Furtwangen, Germany. Chris writes, “I was responsible for all marketing activities including the organisation of trade shows and events, print media, online marketing, and corporate communication strategies.” She… Continue reading How I Work #9: Christiane in Germany

Entertaining, Food

German Brotzeit for Dinner

Guten Tag! It’s German week here on Joie de Vivre! Today’s post shares the delights of Brotzeit, a simple picnic meal that’s easy to prepare and enjoy at home. Later this week, How I Work will feature my dear German friend, Christiane, who introduced me to Brotzeit and Orangina. What Is Brotzeit? A German dachshund… Continue reading German Brotzeit for Dinner

How I Work Project

How I Work #8: Ryan in Alabama

Welcome to another installment of How I Work! How I Work #8 introduces Ryan Green, 36, a Field Curriculum Consultant for Medtronic based in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a member of product launch core teams and leads global training and education. For fun, Ryan loves to run and read, and also tipple the odd gin… Continue reading How I Work #8: Ryan in Alabama

Joyful Living

Happy Memorial Day from Joie de Vivre

Bonjour! This is a short post to say happy Memorial Day! I hope you had a nice holiday weekend and were able to relax and enjoy. I also want to thank you for following Joie de Vivre and supporting my writing. I appreciate you! This morning, I considered this quotation from William Henry Channing, a… Continue reading Happy Memorial Day from Joie de Vivre

Food, Recipes

Recipe: How to Make Orangina at Home

Bonjour! One thing I do to increase joy in my daily life is try to elevate everyday items and activities. I use fun napkins at mealtimes; I bring daffodils (a happy surprise at the new house) from the garden into the home; I light a candle on my desk and use a pretty teacup when… Continue reading Recipe: How to Make Orangina at Home