Billy and I took a trip to Charleston last week and we had such a great time! I had visited the city a few times as a child, but all I really remembered from those trips was that it was hoooooot. My grandmother, though, has always loved Charleston. It’s her spirit city. She used to tell me stories about how she and my grandfather would wander the streets and look at all the beautiful old homes. When my grandparents moved to Sanibel Island, they built a home inspired by the architecture of Charleston. My grandfather, an engineer, even traveled to Sullivan’s Island after Hurricane Hugo to investigate the homes that were still standing to see how they had been made; he infused those structural elements into the Sanibel house.
New Year. Real You.
At the beginning of every year there’s usually a lot of hype around trying to be the “new” you. While I totally understand the motivating power of New Year’s and support any path towards positive change, I have to be honest and admit that any attempt to chase after the “new” me has always left me feeling a little worse. It was around this time of year—deep in the trenches of February—when I would surrender to that invisible force working against me, pulling me under as I tried to swim in earnest towards the surface. Change, however clear or necessary, seemed impossible and I could never for the life of me understand why it was so difficult to manifest the results I so desperately craved. Everything—my happiness, my wholeness, my sense of self—was riding on my success, and so I would put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to deliver results. But after years of “New Year. New You!” disappointment, I arrived at a place where I could no longer endure the overwhelming feelings of shame that washed over me as I proved to myself (yet again) that I, Chrissy Carter, was a huge failure.
Billy and I drink tea and coffee in bed every morning. We started this ritual back in January when I was teaching the 200hr teacher training intensive and didn’t have a lot of time (or energy) to talk. After a long day of holding space for others, all I wanted to do when I got home was retreat inward and be quiet. Since the training had rearranged our daily routine, we decided to make time in the morning to be together.
Marigolds and Memory
I went to the flower district after class today and bought a huge bunch of marigolds. I felt drawn to them and thought their bright orange color captured the golden light of fall. I scooped them up into my arms and took a full inhale and suddenly memories of my mother’s garden came rushing in — she always planted marigolds. I felt the crisp air of Heathen Hill up in the Catskills and could hear Lisa King’s voice as she demonstrated how to soak calendula in coconut oil to make her Heal-All Salve. I saw the flash of magenta, teal, and emerald green silk saris worn by the women at the ashram who were plucking out the orange pedals, amassing what seemed like a thousand pounds of marigolds for their puja. There I was, standing in a wholesale flower shop on 28th and 6th, and it was as if I had been transported into a completely different time in my life.
Croissants and Yoga
One of the highlights of my week in Paris was the croissant class I took at Le Foodist. This was my second class at Fred and Amanda’s English-speaking cooking school. I was so excited to learn the art of making croissants, especially since I’m already an expert at the art of eating them.
At Home In Provence
A few days ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Rodolfe and Monique, family friends of Estelle’s and her parents. Rodolfe was the contractor who managed the redesign of Estelle’s flat, and Monique cleans and cares for the neighbors who live across the hall. A friendship sparked. Estelle told me that I simply had to meet them and that I would have a heart attack when I saw their house.
Keep It Simple
I’ve enjoyed some incredible meals on this vacation. There was the traditional bouillabaisse at Nounou, the beautiful dorado at Bistrot du Port, and the cod ravioli with ricotta and leeks at Le Comptoire de la Tourraque in Nice. But I have to say that the meals I enjoy the most are the ones we make at home.
Pretty In Pink
Today was such a good day. We decided to visit the Bonnard Museum in a little town in the hills above Cannes called Le Cannet. The museum was featuring the work of Henri Manguin, a French artist who painted alongside Matisse and Cezanne. They say that all the greats came to the South of France to paint because of the amazing pink light.