How is it to be an expat French mom in San Francisco? Did you encounter any challenges at the beginning? What do you miss the most about the French life?
Prior to San Francisco, we moved from France to the East Coast and lived almost 5 years in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte was very conservative compared to San Francisco. My culture shock happened in North Carolina, where everything was so different than I was used to. I had a hard time meeting and connecting with people because I was so different from everybody there. I still made some lifetime friends, but it took me a while to adjust to my new life there. Living is San Francisco is so similar to life in Europe, I had no problem adjusting to my new life here.
How do you balance (or try to balance) your life as a professional blogger, wife and mom?
Tough question. I can’t lie: in the first 3 years of my blogging journey, I would never stop, I was constantly connected to my computer or I-Phone. Then I realized it was an unhealthy habit and noticed my daughters were spending a lot of time online, probably mimicking my behavior. So we implemented tech-free weekends, where we put our devices down – or at least try to – for one day in the weekend and do family stuff. I still do it, unless I have a big project to finish.
I am also more ‘focused’ now in my priorities. While the blog is my work and passion, my family always comes first. If I have a sick child at home, the blog is silent, and my readers understand and respect that. I am very grateful to have an audience that respects my private life and priorities.
What’s your “me” time?
My me time is going out for a run – which I have had to pause lately because of back pain issues – and walking with Miss Daisy, the family Golden Retriever. We love to unplug and do long walks on the beach.
Do you have any beauty tips you could share with us?
I am very natural when it comes to make up. I don’t want to spend too much time on the morning putting stuff on my face. My secret is hydration. I protect my skin with good quality creams, with SPF to avoid sun damage. Other than that, it’s a bit of mascara and off I go! If I really want a ‘va-va-voum’ effect, I always go with a vibrant red lipstick – Chanel is my favorite. It instantly dresses-up your smile and gives you a big confidence boost!
What’s your motto as a mom (if you have one)? Or maybe 3 words to describe your education philosophy?
Respect yourself if you want others to respect you.
Your body is your temple.
Thou shall not take sh*t.
As the mom of teenage girls, I’m dealing with body issues, self-confidence talks and, of course “boys” talks. I try to teach my girls that being a modern woman is about respecting yourself, your bodiy and treat others the way you’d want to be treated – and vice versa: expect others to treat you the way they’d want to be treated.
What are you favorite things to do as a family?
We used to go on thrift shopping trips a lot on weekends in North Carolina. We would discover little towns, stop for lunch and hunt for vintage treasures. We haven’t had much chance to do it here in the SF bay area, but it’s in the plans. We also love to go to the beach as a family, and take Miss Daisy with us – the girl loves water!
Because a mom’s life can be challenging and because we all have bad days, what do you do when you loose it?
I put my running shoes on and go for a long run at the Golden Gate park. The ocean is also my happy place, very detoxifying to me.
How would you describe your style in terms of kids’ room décor? Do you have any favorite brands?
I used to create furniture for my daughters when they were younger. I bought myself a jigsaw and made a desk, a bookcase, a doll house. I loved creating unique pieces for my kids décor. There were full of flaws, but my kids did not care.
Now that I have teens, it’s all about ‘who’ they are at the time we redecorate. Inès, my oldest is in a hippie-bohemian mode. So we decorated her room with a collection of dream catchers and I am currently sewing some bench pillows with vintage African fabrics we found together at the flea market. Maya, on the contrary, is on a black and white minimalist mode - whereas pink was a big hit a year and a half ago. I just repainted her room white, with a striking jet black accent wall. I think decorating for a kid is all about embracing their style and the evolution of their taste, much like for us adults. It’s about showing them that you respect their style, and their room should reflect who they are.
Can you tell us a little anecdote about Miss Daisy?
Miss Daisy is our Golden Retriever, she is 6 ½ years old. We adopted her when we moved to North Carolina. It was a gift to our daughters, with the condition that they would speak to the puppy only in English [when we arrived in the US, none of my kids spoke English]. The problem is that the kids learned English with Daisy, but when they were in school, I would speak French to the dog. Now, Daisy is ‘Frenglish’ and understands some commands in French, others in English. Also, Daisy was raised with two Yorkshire terriers who passed away 2 years ago, so she has no idea that she’s huge. At 90+ lbs, she still want to sit on our lap when there are thunderstorms or fireworks, both of which terrify her. She loves bacon and chasing squirrels at the park.
What’s the last book you enjoyed reading?
I recently re-read Into the Wild, one of my favorite books. Sadly, I don’t have much time to read lately and after spending all day on the computer, my eyes are usually too tired to read before bed time.
What is your favorite French product that you can’t find in the US and that you always bring back in your luggage?
Biafine Cream! This is the best cream for sunburn in the whole wide world and I keep bringing some back with me or ask my mother to get some when she visits. I’ve never found anything that miraculous in the US, have you?