oh la la la LA -- Helene Dujardin!
I can say that because I speak French and because I am French (okay Belgian, whatever--) And, because I am also an American prone to wild generalizations who has spent a fair amount of time in France, I can also 'fess up that I have a tendency to expect French people to be quite reserved when you first meet them (dare I say chill like a glass of chablis?)
but Helene Dujardin?-- oh la la la LA!
The very first time I met Helene I was completely swept off my feet by her warmth, her open heart, her radiance and her fabulous sense of humor. She has to be one of the loveliest people I have ever met. Truly. What's especially fun for me is that she has all the exquisite grace you see in her photos, but she is also quite mischievous in her quick wit and ready smile. She's the whole package and we are all genuinely honored and delighted that she is bringing her gifts to three of our retreats this year: June, September and by the sea.
I always wonder how people, (especially a sophisticated city dweller such as Helene who has made a career styling for Elle Magazine, Martha Stewart online, Fine Cooking, ABC News, CNN and so many more) is going to react to shingle-style cottages in the woods of New Hampshire. Again, I have my expectations proven so very wrong. It was a huge relief to read Helene's post where she shared her squam experience.
"Squam is truly a magical place. . . the experience changed me deeply. I understood I needed to be nicer to myself. My inner child resurfaced. The one everyone in my family talks about. I found her again. It made me progress and gave me what I called a work inspired. A direction. I am not letting go of that feeling, no matter how hard it is to express."
All I know is I want to take BOTH of her classes at by the sea-- the panna cotta because having just returned from Italy I am longing for another taste of the real deal (and to learn how to make it myself) and the sweet elixirs -- well, let's just say, that could make hanging at the dock with Jen on Friday nights extra pretty.
Of course, speaking of pretty-- it's a little too bad that when I google her name and click on images that all the gorgeous shots of her I'd love to post here are interdit, seeing as they are all from top name magazines-- but go take a gander yourself if you want to be immersed in such beauty.
I am so looking forward to seeing her again in just a few weeks-- but for now we can enjoy getting to know her a bit better in the interview below. (Ah! note that she calls herself a country mouse and not a city mouse-- well then, I am starting to better understand how she would be willing to venture into the woods with us . .)
Where were you born?
On paper, I was born in Le Chesnay, outside of Versailles, France but my parents never lived there which is why I instinctively always say I was born in Provence where we resided.
Describe yourself in 5 words...
Kind, passionate, confident, evolving, doing
What is your most ideal vacation?
My family’s vacation chalet in the Alpes de Provence – mountains, lakes, greenery, hikes, lots of markets and small villages.
What is something you would like to learn to do?
From a hands-on perspective: screen printing. From a spiritual perspective: how to smile on the outside the way I am smiling on the inside. My dad is a General in the French Air Force, we learned to keep our emotions in. Now, I slowly free myself of that habit. It’s a process.
Country mouse or City Mouse?
Country mouse for sure!
When you were younger, what was your favorite candy/snack at the movie theater?
Never had any. Need to give context here: France, when I was growing up, did not have concession stands. There was a tiny vending machine while queuing for tickets and no one would buy anything from it. It was not part of our culture so to speak. Now, with the influence of movies and TV shows, the bigger theatres in France have concession stands but I have no idea if they are successful with anyone other than teenagers.
What was the best part of your day?
Sitting at the breakfast table with my husband for a little while. Our schedules are really all over the place right now and it was nice to sit quietly and have coffee together.
What sounds calm you?
The sound of the wind in between the trees.
What are your some of your favorite spices/herbs?
Lemon thyme, lemon verbena, rosemary, cumin, lavender, lemongrass
What colors are carried throughout your home?
natural colors, light and dark wood, off whites and creams, blues
What song reminds you of you of your childhood?
The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel. My father had a “Best Of” tape of them that we would play in loop while driving to and from vacation spot. I’d repeat English without knowing a word of it…!
merci mille fois! a tres bientot--
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