Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jardin du Luxembourg in December

We spent a lot of time in the parks around Paris, as always, this past December. Jardin du Luxembourg is probably my favorite in the city. It’s quintessential Paris with children; generations of families have strolled, played, and picnicked in this storied park...

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Please subscribe to my new website!

I've been working on a new website over the past 4 or 5 weeks with a designer–it's finally finished! Please check it out: 

Be sure to subscribe on the new site as I will be using the website blog exclusively for new posts and updates.  I haven't found a way to transfer current subscribers, so don't forget! :) 

I'll post more about the experience of putting this website together in the coming weeks. I hired a designer, Simone Howard, on who lives in New South Wales, Australia––I think she did a brilliant job––very excited to have this up.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Photos from the Desert Botanical Garden

I took a photo workshop with Arizona Highways a few weekends ago at the Desert Botanical Gardens, in Phoenix, AZ. Here are some of my favorites from the pictures I took. I'm just using iphoto now because my photoshop is in limbo (lost disks), and I haven't had time to play with my Lightroom trial download.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stephanie Johnson Toiletry/Cosmetics Bags

I love these bags for travel and for everyday use. I've had several for about five years and they look as good as the day I bought them. There's a friends and family promotion November 8-12, 2012–Use the promo code 'sjfriends' for 50% off your purchase:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Paris With Children Update

Apologies for my five-month hiatus from small batch travel...

The last five to six months have been busy: a move (bought, remodeled and sold a home), my three wee ones paired with an intensely busy travel schedule for Matt was rough at times, and of course work on the book made it all but impossible to update this blog. I averaged a grossly inadequate 3-5 hours of sleep per night from August to mid-January, the most extraordinarily sleep-deprived period being between October and December.

A brief update on the book: the original release date was slated for mid-March. I realized quickly, by early September let's say, that the scope of the topic and my writing/work style would not produce a book by said deadline.

One image that sticks in my head, that typifies my writing experience this time around, is that of my one-year-old Charlotte, knocking on the set of French doors that function as a totally anemic separation between our family room and living room-cum-office. I wanted to ignore her, but I looked back and watched as she poked the glass furiously with an accusing finger. Charlotte heaved through puckered lips, 'I hate that. I hate mommy working.' I bowed my head and sunk deeper into my chair. The new home office was hopeless.

'The Pucker'
Photo: Brian Smyth (

As I progressed, Paris with Children seemed like it would be finished by the end of November, then mid-December. I couldn't cut the cord completely however, until year's end. One anticlimactic click of a button and off went my little manuscript into the hands of my editor.

The anticipated editing/printing timeline process looked something like this: editor reads manuscript (ms), I offer my response to any questions she might have then work on required edits. The ms would then go to the copy editor for fact checking and a read-through followed by one more read by me. Finally it would be sent to layout and design; printing would take an additional month. Random House, the distributor, requires that a book be in its warehouse two months prior to its release date which would have put us at mid-June for release.

Three weeks ago, my editor (who also owns/runs the publishing house) told me that the senior creative director and top buyer from a major retail brand (that I won't name:) requested a meeting with her. She said, in all sincerity, that it's tougher to get a meeting with them than it is with Obama. Briefly, the directors loved the mock-up of my book and wanted to put it in ALL of their stores. The catch–we'd need to delay its release until February 2013.

I love my editor. She's amazing–so I'm taking her word for it that to hold the book gives us a better shot at 'real success'– I assume that means relative commercial success. Still, it's bittersweet. I want to see it now of course, to hold my book in my hands–to find closure to what was such a consuming experience. I did think it made more sense to have a travel book released in February than mid-June, at which point most summer travelers have long since made their plans, so I was on board with the revised date.

That's it. I hope to post more often now that the book is sort-of finished...The editing timeline was thrown out the window with the new release date. Our edits and finish work will now progress at a more humane pace. I'm hanging tight at this point–attempting to get adequate sleep, exercise (recently began crossfit training-yikes!) and trying to be more present with the family (while still thinking about my next project)...

Here are a few images from the artists we are using for the book's cover (

Monday, October 3, 2011

Parisian Boutiques for Children

The section I'm writing on the Marais goes on and on and on and on....I've given myself two more days to finish it. I may just delete the addresses that don't fit into my self-imposed deadline. Those unlucky boutiques will never know the difference.

I've been admiring the wares from a shop called Petit Pan. I'm a sucker for Asian-inspired children's wear. This one features clothes and accessories that are especially cute and colorful!

Petit Pan, 39 and 76, rue François Miron, 75004,,

What happens when a Chinese kite designer meets a Belgian artist and they settle in Paris? Petit Pan. The concept was inspired by a newborn’s ensemble, handmade by Pan Gang's mother in China, for the birth of the couple’s first son. Artist Myriam de Loor recalls her first reaction, “I loved the richness of the print: small, sparkling, bold patterns and bright colors, just the way I like them. I was amazed by this comfortable and cozy outfit worn by children in faraway lands.”

I love the mobiles made with bamboo and hand-painted silk.

Friday, September 23, 2011 Paris

September 24th and it's 107 degrees in Phoenix. The girls ask every other day if we can go back to the park in Paris 'really fast' (whine more than ask). We've been home 2 months now and already we are wistful--remembering those daily trips to Luxembourg garden, the Tuileries and the Bon Marché park. A few pictures...