Archive for 2017

2/13/16, “Happy Hearts!!”

Posted on February 13, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Ahhh…yes…today is the eve of one of those days that can go either way, thrill you or break your heart, or slip and slide from the sublime to the ridiculous: Valentine’s Day of course. I’ve had all kinds, and you probably have too. I had two marriage proposals on Valentine’s Day (I am a profoundly corny person, so I thought that was great!!) One of those proposals resulted in 18 mostly happy years of marriage, and 8 of my 9 children, and the other resulted in 8 years, and a second great love in my life. I am very lucky to have had two great loves, and both of them wonderful men. And our love for each other lasted longer than our marriages, and lasted until the end of their lives. I will confess, I miss them both. So that was the height of my Valentine’s Day experience. But there have been some very major lows too. (The French say “Never two without three”, which is an interesting thought…..so who knows maybe one day there will be another great love in my life. Anything is possible. I heard of a couple recently who married at last at 87, so that certainly gives us all something to hope for—-and plenty of time to plan!!!)

Valentine’s Day is a tough day because we all have such high hopes and expectations for it, from the time when we are children. I’ve told you before, that mine got off to a rough start when I was the only girl in 3rd grade who didn’t get a Valentine’s Day card!!! But there have been some grown up Valentine’s Days that fell short of expectations. There is always a frenzy of flowers and chocolates and romantic plans and dinners exchanged on that day, and if you don’t have a seat in the musical chairs of Valentine’s Day, it can leave you feeling very sorry for yourself!!! Or you can just treat it with humor and figure it will be better next year!!! The wonderful thing about life is that you really never know what is just around the corner, what wonderful person will come into your life, and how things can change radically in the space of a year, or even months!!! My greatest defeats were always followed by my greatest victories, my greatest disappointments followed by my great loves.

I actually got unceremoniously dumped (yes, it happens!!!) one summer, and 6 months later, on Valentine’s Day, my husband John proposed, and the happiest 18 years of my life ensued. I could never have predicted what was going to happen. It came right out of the blue, when John and his wife separated and divorced, and he stunned me by asking me out a few months later, and 18 years of marriage and 8 children happened after that. So you really never know what’s going to happen. And I’ve watched it happen to my children too. One of them was heartbroken over a failed marriage, and a year later is married to a wonderful man and expecting a baby. You just never know.

So if this year doesn’t look like it’s going to be a winner in the lottery of Valentine’s Day, wait and see, next year you may be on top of the world with the person of your dreams, having the best Valentine’s Day of your life. Tomorrow is just one year, one chapter in your life…..so my hope for you is a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and that all your dreams come true. And if it isn’t tomorrow, next year may be your lucky year. And if you are in the throes of a grand romance with romantic plans for tomorrow, good for you!!!

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day—–and be sure to eat all the chocolate you can!!!

All my love,

Danielle

2/6/17, Whirlwind and a Baby Shower

Posted on February 6, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope all of you are well and enjoying life.

Whirlwind time for me again, working on several books at once, in various stages, re-writes, edits, corrections, fact checking, outlines, first and final drafts, and a set of ‘text proofs’, which is the last stage before a book goes to press: they send the printed pages, and it’s my last chance to make changes and corrections. So that has been keeping me mega busy!!! Throw in the usual travel between the two cities where I live (six thousand miles apart), and New York halfway between to see my daughters there—-and I have been Busy!!!

I want to thank all of you for buying my new hardcover book The Mistress, it was on the bestseller list at #1 for two weeks in a row. That is ALWAYS a thrill!!! I never take it for granted, and I am always grateful for it, and the sign that you are enjoying my books!!! Thank you with all my heart!!!

I spent a weekend in New York, and gave a baby shower with two of my daughters, for another one of my daughters who is having a baby. It was really fun and very sweet, it’s her first baby and we’re all excited for her. It was a very sophisticated baby shower, without the usual games and decorations. She works in fashion, so the young women who came to the shower were very stylish, and my daughter looked beautiful in a white lace dress, and the two daughters who hosted it looked knock out too (one in a long pale blue pleated dress with a pale blue top, and the other in a gray and white wool check Vintage Chanel Couture coat dress, with black pants with it. It was fun talking to the guests, not much baby talk there, it was all about the business of fashion, and upcoming fashion week, which is always a madhouse of hard work for anyone in fashion. For two weeks before the shows, they work til 2 am every night, and are back at work at 7 or 8 am the next day. There were several well-known young male designers at the shower too, Alexander Wang (whom I’ve known since he was 14, he went to high school and design school with my girls) and Joseph Altuzarra, two of my daughters work with them. It was also fun seeing what they were all wearing, some great very stylish looks on the young women there. We held it in the afternoon, for a British style high tea, with little tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and assorted cookies and cakes—-which they all ate very sparingly, if at all. Some of the young women there already have children, and are facing the challenges of working Moms, which I still face today, even with grown children. My children live in 3 cities, thousands of miles apart, and when they need me for a fun event, like the shower, or a problem, I need to be able to instantly reorganize my life and schedule, get on a plane and go to them, in spite of deadlines or whatever I’m working on. Motherhood is a forever job, with all its responsibilities. Hopefully we can be present for our children forever. In any case, the baby shower was really fun, and a happy event. And I got back on a plane the next day to head for my desk and the work waiting for me there. I have my readers to keep happy too!!

I do a lot of writing in winter, it always seems like a good time to stay home in the bad weather, and it was freezing cold, rainy and even snowy at every stop on my travels.

I hope you’ve been busy doing fun things, and interesting projects, or just keeping up with the things we all have to do, which can be overwhelming at times. Sometimes it’s hard to get everything done!!! We’re celebrating my youngest son’s birthday this week so that will be fun too!!!

My new puppy Lili is settling down a little, though not too much yet. She took her first long trip with me, with my other two Chihuahuas, Minnie and Blue, and she did pretty well. She’s full of fun and mischief, and still driving the other two crazy wanting to play all the time. My youngest son got a puppy at the same time I did in October, and so did my oldest daughter. My son sent me a photo last week—-his puppy, a Boston Bull Terrier with an adorable face, named Francis, ate his couch while he was at work. He wasn’t too thrilled!!! Mine isn’t eating couches, but she wants to play ALL the time (much to her new sisters’ dismay, who get tired of wrestling with her!!! And having her steal their toys!!)

Take care and have a great week and I hope you’re enjoying whatever you’re doing. I work so hard, and have always been a ‘duty’ person—I always do my ‘homework’ before I play, and have all my life, and take care of others before I take care of myself, and by the time I get it all done, there’s rarely time to indulge myself. And I am discovering as time goes by, that it’s important to do things for yourself too. I put a sign in my office last year that says “Do More of what makes you happy”. It’s actually good advice…..I’ll try to keep it in mind!! You too!! Have a great week (and do something nice for yourself!!)

much love,

Danielle

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1/30/17, Heimlich

Posted on January 30, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope January rolled out nicely for you, and you got some things done, and managed to stay warm. It was freezing cold everywhere I went, or pouring rain, or both, or snowing. Definitely a rugged winter in the places where I go!!!

It’s not a glamourous subject, but I wanted to share with you an experience I had over the holidays, which was a bit of a wake up call for me, and led to some useful thoughts. I managed to catch a nasty cold (people talk about a “bad” cold—-is there a good cold? Definitely not!!), travelling from Paris to New York, and home to San Francisco for the holidays with my kids. Between plane travel and freezing cold weather along the way, and being busy, my cold was bad by the time I got home, and I was taking lots of Vitamin C. I was rushing around, all my kids and their partners were home, many of them brought their dogs, meals took a lot of planning, every outing and meal involved a large group, and I was really busy. I was getting ready to go out for dinner with them one night, and thought, oh I’ll pop another vitamin C for good measure, tossed it in my mouth, took a small sip of water while doing 10 other things and rushed out of my bathroom, AND OMG, the damn vitamin got stuck in my throat. I mean REALLY stuck. Not the kind of coughing and spluttering where you choke for a minute and tell everyone that it went down the wrong way, it lodged right in my windpipe and not a wisp of air could get in or out. That has never happened to me before. It was like being strangled, and I knew instantly that I was in BIG trouble. NO AIR AT ALL. Zero. Apparently, the normal reaction of many choking victims is to run away, like leave a restaurant table and rush to the bathroom—-because it’s embarrassing—-where often choking victims die alone with no one to help them. Fortunately, I didn’t do that, and had the opposite reaction. I knew I needed help and fast, before I passed out from lack of air, and might have died in my bathroom. I rushed out of the room and ran to where most of my kids were congregating in the hall with husbands and boyfriends, and some employees, about a dozen people or so. I pointed to my throat, and they could see my distress immediately. It took a few seconds to register, and then literally everyone started to scream, really scream, “OhmyGod, she’s choking!! What do we do?!!” A few people screamed call 911, which they did, but mostly they panicked and so did I. I was still getting absolutely no air at all, and one of my daughters grabbed me, and started squeezing me. She had heard that’s what you do for a choking victim, didn’t know how to do it but tried (you’re supposed to stand behind them, put your arms around them and press hard, forcing air upwards to dislodge what is stuck). She’s strong and squeezed hard and I tried to push her away, and not knowing what else to do, she started lifting me off the ground, and banging me back down on my feet. I tried to get out of her grip and couldn’t, and suddenly the nasty little vitamin flew out of my mouth onto the floor, and I could breathe again (it had the effect of a cork in a bottle, and sealed out all air). Although she didn’t know how to do the Heimlich maneuver for choking victims, and did it in a very rudimentary style (squeezing me, which pushed air up from my lungs to where the pill was stuck), and banging me up and down on my feet on the floor, she created enough momentum to dislodge it and save my life. The experience scared the hell out of me!!! And all of them. I could easily have died, by the time the paramedics would have come, I would have choked to death, which happens to many, many people every year, with food. It was a real wake up call to all of us. I’ve taken many, many first aid classes when my kids were younger, I know how to do the Heimlich for a choking victim, but have never had to use it. Of my 9 adult children, only One has taken a first aid class, and she was out at the time. Of the employees standing by, NONE knew how to do the Heimlich, and only one of my kids figured she’d better do something, anything before I died, and it worked. After it happened and we stood around, we all talked about what you’re supposed to do, but no one knew. Another of my employees used to be a nurse, but she was out too. Everyone resolved that night to go to a first aid class, it’s a really smart thing to do, you might save a friend, a stranger, a child, one of your parents, or someone in a restaurant, (or yourself with the methods they teach you to use when you’re alone, which I didn’t think of in my panic) with just minimal knowledge and a class you’ve taken. If my daughter hadn’t squeezed me and banged me around, desperate to help, I would have died, from something so dumb as a vitamin C. It can happen to anyone, I was rushing, not paying attention, and swallowed wrong. VERY wrong.

It REALLY scared me. For about 2 weeks after, I didn’t take a vitamin or even a Tylenol when I felt lousy from my cold. After that, I would only take a vitamin with someone present, and would say loudly “I am taking a vitamin now” in case I choked. A month later, I’m still too scared to take a vitamin alone. What if no one was in the house??? I would have died. I bought signs to put in our kitchen in San Francisco and Paris, usually used in restaurants, to show what to do for a choking victim. And everyone who saw it happen has decided to take a basic first aid class, it’s a really smart thing to do.
I mention it only because it was a wake up call to us. Would YOU know what to do if someone were choking in front of you? Can you do the Heimlich maneuver? It’s easy to do if you know how. Anyway, I thought I would share this experience. You could save a life sometime, or someone could save yours. I will never forget the screams of panic that night, the look of terror on my kids’ faces, and my own terror when I could NOT breathe. So maybe a good idea is a first aid course this year (The Red Cross has them, and other places). It might serve you well. And I am going to be sooooo careful taking vitamins or any pill from now on. Scaaaarrrryyyy!!! And I am soooo grateful to be alive, and grateful to my daughter, for saving my life!!!

Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

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1/25/17, “Magic”

Posted on January 25, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for being two days late. I have been plunged in my writing for about ten days, and have done nothing else, glued to my typewriter day and night, with no break and no days off. But it’s Haute Couture fashion week in Paris, and I have seen three great shows. Really interesting contrasts, the three shows I saw were totally different, and I waited until today to write to you so I could tell you about them (I saw the last one four hours ago as I write this).. I had a ball seeing them, and wanted to share them with you.

As you remember, ‘Haute Couture’ is different because you have to order the clothes, can’t just buy them off a rack, and EVERY single stitch in them is hand made. They are made to the client’s exact measurements, and you have two fittings, so they fit perfectly, whatever shape you are. Twice a year, in January and July, they show a fashion show of the samples for the next season, so people go to the fashion shows, and pick what they want to order. Very, very, very few women actually buy them, most people go to the shows for the glamour and excitement. The fashion industry is a BIG deal in Paris, and is kind of an art form. And there are few haute couture clients, and very, very few designers who still do haute couture, and have the trained staff and ability to make those clothes. Working in an haute couture workshop takes a 12 year apprenticeship, before you actually get to make the clothes—–as long as it takes to become a doctor. The main dress houses who still make haute couture are Chanel and Dior. Dior has a new designer, and Chanel is designed by Karl Lagerfeld, a truly brilliant designer.

The Chanel haute couture fashion show is a ‘scene’, as chock full of exciting things happening in the audience as on the stage. It is a major spectacle, a huge show, with about 70 outfits shown, worn by beautiful models. The show this time (for next summer—-all summer clothes) was very lady like, in pale pastel colors, kind of ice cream colors, with tailored belted suits in pale tweeds. The models wore high heeled silver shoes, they could barely walk in them, and each model wore a pearl anklet. (I loved them!! I want one!!!). Each model wore the same hairdo, with their hair smoothed back in a wide flat bun, and the evening dresses had a LOT of sparkle to them. And even when the clothes look simple, they’re not, with embroidery and tiny stiches, beading, and delicate details. The women in the audience wore amazing outfits, VERY extreme. Many of them wore Chanel from previous seasons. One woman wore a floor length white fur coat, huge fur hat, and gold boots. Others wore hats, veils, tons of accessories, it was almost an overload of fashion addicts going wild, and vying for attention, with techno music at the Grand Palais, an antique glass structure. The decor was all mirrored screens and shiny black mirrored floors, people with wild hair does, and men and woman all dressed up for the show. It was very traditional Chanel, nothing startling or unexpected, and the most beautiful dress in the collection was the Grand Finale, a an absolutely gorgeous pale pink wedding dress with huge balloon sleeves, a tiny waist, and an enormous ball gown skirt and train. A knockout for any bride and gorgeous in pink!!!

The second show I saw was DAZZLING!!! It was fashion as art at its finest, designed by an extremely talented designer, John Galliano. He previously designed for Dior, left the fashion scene for a while, and returned to work for Martin Margela. He was previously an haute couture designer, and this was his first couture show for Margela!! It was a MEGA WOW!!! Mr. Galliano is a supremely talented and innovative designer and no one knew what to expect for this first collection for this new house for him. It took my breath away, and in an artistic sense was everything a fashion show should be as an art form. Different, exciting, beautiful, special, creative, fashion forward. Not easy for everyone to wear, but the models were truly beautiful, their hair and makeup was all different and perfect for each outfit. The accessories were just right, the music was touching, the setting was gorgeous. The show was held at The Invalides, an old military fort, and Napoleon’s tomb, an important monument. The show was in a small narrow room, with an exquisitely painted ceiling, and I think that only about 100 people attended, fashion magazine editors, buyers, and international press. ALL of the people who showed up to see it were stylish, interestingly dressed, and wore fabulous shoes (enormous platforms, men in gold shoes, women in very trendy outfits. It was a show for the fashion experts, the select, and people in the know. It was REALLY exciting being there. It felt like history being made. I have rarely seen a show I loved so much.

And the last show was different in its own way too. Shown in a rented hall off the Champs Elysees, when we got there, five models were performing what looked like modern Dance. They came onstage wearing short floaty brown patterned dresses, with enormous brown paper coverings over them and brown paper hats, and they began by stripping the paper way. Eventually, they were only wearing the chiffon dresses, with the paper stripped on the floor. And then they began tearing the paper, and continued dancing. I had another engagement then and had to leave. But it was fun seeing it before I did.

It was a varied and exciting experience. Haute Couture is always special to me because it is such a statement to me about fashion, and such an incredible expression of beauty and art. I had a fantastic time, and now I’m back to writing again. Talk to you next week!!!! Have a great week!

much love, Danielle

1/16/17, Writing

Posted on January 16, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I’m busy writing, trying to avoid the cold weather outside, and cozy at my desk, with my typewriter and notes all over the place, things to munch and a cup of tea, working on a new book. I’ll get back to the blog next week!! Stay warm and have a great week!!!

love, Danielle

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1/2/17, Happy New Year!

Posted on January 2, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Congratulations!!! You made it through the holidays. I had a really nice one with my kids. The best holiday of all is one with my children. I ignored New Year’s Eve, was working on a new book, which I really enjoy doing. It’s the perfect way for me to end the old year and start the new one.

There seems to be a lot of grumbling that 2016 was a dicey year. Life is a mixed bag….blessings, heart aches, problems, disappointments, happy times, and joys and great surprises. If this is multiple choice, I pick happy!!! But it’s not always (or ever?) up to us.

So today, as we begin the year, before the year is old enough to complain about—–I want to start with a clean slate and wish YOU THE HAPPIEST, BEST, FUN-EST, HEALTHIEST, RICHEST, MOST ABUNDANT, WONDERFUL-EST year EVER!!!!

I hope it will be a GREAT one with some wonderful times, and fabulous surprises in store!!!

all my love, Danielle