#EmbraceParis is almost here

EmbraceParis, Sunset in Paris, Pont Alexandre III

You may remember late last year a post about a social media gathering coming up in Paris in 2014. Well the months have flown by and in less than two weeks #EmbraceParis will take place. Here is a snippet of what is about to happen and how you can follow along . We’ll be sharing glimpses along the way, doing our part to build a supportive world for others in social media,  highlighting some amazing places and businesses from in and around Paris.

Empower * Brainstorm * Collaborate * Engage * Social Media

Bringing creative international women together for an experience full of positive energy, there will be much collaborating, sharing and brainstorming on all things related to the wonderful and crazy world of social media. EMBRACE is about empowering each other through positive peer support. Whilst initially Embrace was to be hosted by the city’s most beautiful hotel (the Hotel Plaza Athénée), a small change has taken place and events have now been moved to their sister hotel, the exquisite Le Meurice, another of the charming properties in the Dorchester collection.
Generating a Paris inspired frisson throughout social media platforms such as : Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, along with individual websites, you can follow the hashtag #EmbraceParis to see what the ladies are up to, and where they’ll be.

Of course, none of it would be possible if it weren’t for the incredible support of some truly amazing companies. You can click on over and follow them online here:

The Dorchester Group:
Website: http://www.dorchestercollection.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DC.Luxuryhotels?ref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DC_LuxuryHotels
Instagram: http://instagram.com/dorchestercollection

Le Meurice
Website: http://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/paris/le-meurice
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotelLeMeurice
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeMeurice
Instagram: http://instagram.com/lemeuriceparis

Hotel Plaza Athénée
Website: http://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/paris/hotel-plaza-athenee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotelPlazaAthenee
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Plaza_Athenee

The House of Moynat
Website: http://moynat.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MOYNAT?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoynatParis
Instagram: http://instagram.com/moynat_paris

Marie-France Pochna of Paris Unlimited
Website: www.paris-unlimited.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PARISUnlimitedOfficial
Twitter: https://twitter.com/parisunlimited

Chateau Vaux le Vicomte:
Website: http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chateauvlv
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChateauVLV

The Dailey Method Paris:
Website: http://thedaileymethod.fr/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDaileyMethodParis
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DaileyParis
Instagram:  http://instagram.com/tdmparis

Website: http://twiztour.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twiztour
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Twiztour
Instagram: http://instagram.com/twiztour

Neal Brothers
Website: http://www.nealbrothersfoods.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NealBrothersFoods
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nealbrothers
Instagram: http://instagram.com/nealbrothers

and of course the fabulous ladies who will be Embracing Paris – you can read more about them on Norma’s post ‘Calling all social media ladies’

Norma Thiessen – co-host

Lisa Ferguson – Strengths Trainer

Lynne Knowlton

Jennifer Brouwer

Mary Kay Bosshart

Ann Garvin

Brooke Crowle

Andrea Claire

Claudia Strasser







And of course, I’ll be posting in my usual places too, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram .  Be sure to jump in and come to Paris with us across social media – we’d love to hear from you.


Posted in Paris

Nice la belle

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France, Nice Tourism, Cara Magazine, Aer Lingus

Back in May I zipped off to Nice for a few days to shoot an editorial for Cara, the Aer Lingus inflight magazine.  Leaving behind the grisaille that lingered low over northern France, the approach was all blue, blue, blue as far as one could see. Easy to see what the area is known as the Côte d’Azur.

I’ll write another post in the next couple of weeks with more images, some favourite places the lovely Caterina from Nice Tourisme put me onto and detailing my charming stay at the Hotel Rivoli, a gorgeous little boutique hotel within arms reach of the beach.

In the meantime you can read the article in Cara here and get Lucy White‘s insight in how to make the most of a girl’s weekend in Nice….be sure to pack your jumpsuits! :) You can also follow along as I post random images from beautiful Nice on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.





Posted in Textures, tastes & tones of France

All you need is Paris….. springtime romance in the City of Love

This time last year, we were about to be covered in inches of snow. But something crazy is in the air. The birds have returned early from their migration south, the blossoms are popping weeks ahead of schedule and ….love is well and truly in the air! The beautiful March days are making the city sparkle!

Perfect timing for CARA , the Aer Lingus inflight magazine, who asked me to shoot images to accompany an article in their February/March issue . Subject…. a romantic springtime getaway to Paris.

Paris, romance, spring, Paris in spring, paris prints

Paris, romance, spring, Paris in spring, paris prints

Paris, romance, spring, Paris in spring, paris prints

Paris, romance, spring, Paris in spring, paris prints

If you’re flying with Aer Lingus before the end of March, pull a copy out of the seat pocket and take a look. If not, you can read the full article online, and catch up on previous copies of CARA on Issuu: http://issuu.com/caraaugust/docs/cara_febmar14/1




Posted in Paris Tagged , , , |

Paris photo giveaway no.10

Paris photo giveaway, Paris cafe chairs

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted around here, let alone had a photo giveaway. Here’s to a great year ahead and kickstarting my late start into 2014 with a new image, this time one of quintessential Parisian bistrot chairs.

I captured this shot back in the autumn when leaves were falling to the ground in abundance across Paris. I loved the contrast to normality –  for a change leaves on the ground were green, not brown, yet the seats set the tone for autumn. They matched perfectly.

As in previous giveaways, leave a comment below before March 14th and I’ll email everyone a copy for personal, non-commercial use. Print it, use it as a screen saver,  frame a copy for a loved one and feel free to tell your friends.

And stay tuned – there will be more images throughout the year to add to your collection of Paris prints. To be certain not to miss them, sign up for email notifications by subscribing to the mailing list.


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Ready, set… let’s Embrace Paris

Empower * Brainstorm * Collaborate * Engage * Social Media

For the past few months, the cyber space waves between Paris and Toronto have been quietly yet actively working into the early hours of the morning, bouncing back and forth at each other over the Atlantic. During that time, as pieces came together, much excitement went to and fro and, as promised, today there is news to tell.

As a result of the unprecedented generosity of the opulent  Hôtel Plaza Athénée and the Dorchester Collection, Norma Thiessen of My Beautiful Paris, and I are thrilled to be able to tell you about ‘Embrace – Paris 2014’ and how you could be a part of it.

 Embrace Paris, Social media , Plaza Athénée Hotel

Bringing creative international women together for an experience full of positive energy, there will be much collaborating, sharing and brainstorming on all things related to the wonderful and crazy world of social media. EMBRACE is about empowering each other through positive peer support and will be hosted by the city’s most beautiful hotel in July 2014.

We’ll be generating a Paris inspired frisson throughout social media platforms such as : Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, along with our individual websites.

Embrace Paris, social media in Paris, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Embrace Paris, Social media in Paris, Plaza Athénée Hotel

Taking place over three days and nights in ultimate Parisian luxury, this is a once in a lifetime experience, and there are two spots waiting to be filled. Would you love to be a part of an event that includes:

  • Your own luxurious room for three nights at the world-renowned Hôtel Plaza Athénée;
  • Creative breakfast, lunch and dinner sessions;
  • Discovering and aiming your strengths with Gallup trained coach Lisa Ferguson;
  • A VIP visit of Marie-Antoinette’s private apartments in Versailles;
  • An early morning stretch session with The Dailey Method Paris in the elegant Hotel Plaza Athénée;
  • A sweet indulgence  with the Hôtel Plaza Athénée pastry chef;
  • An adrenaline rush while driving the streets of Paris in your own electric Twiztour  car;
  • Dreamy and tasty welcome gifts from our many fabulous sponsors such as Moynat, and Neal Brothers, only to name a few;
  • … and so, so much more.

Embrace Paris, Social media , Plaza Athénée HotelEmbrace Paris, Social media in Paris, Plaza Athénée Hotel

To make the most of the event, it’s important you have an online profile that includes some of the following:

  • a website that has been active for at least six months;
  • a Twitter account;
  • a Facebook page, whether personal or public;
  • an Instagram account.
  • a Google + or Pinterest page.

Embrace Paris, Social media in Paris, Plaza Athénée Hotel

If you’re interested in being a part of this remarkable occasion, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email to info@embracesome.com  and let us know how you would contribute to, and benefit from, this special experience. Remember to include a link to your website. Emails need to be received prior to January 15, 2014 and soon after you could be joining us in Paris.

Embrace Paris, social media in Paris, Plaza Athénée Hotel

The Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris

Dates: July 20 – 23, 2014

Cost per person for each of the two places (includes hotel/visits/meals) : 350 Euros*. Unfortunately, whilst we’d like to open this up to unlimited numbers, for 2014 at least, no additional places will be available.

Transportation to and from Paris is not included in the price.*

Additional sponsors include:

Moynat Paris

Paris Unlimited

Twiz Tour

The Dailey Method

Neal Brothers Food


For more images of the Plaza Athénée, take a look at “Sweet until the end“.

Posted in Paris, Parisian ambiance Tagged , , |

Paris photo giveaway no.9

I apologise. B-I-G time.  I am so,  so late with the monthly giveaway no.9!! I was tempted to include no.10 together in this post as it’s already decided and ready to go, but on reflection, the next one needs to be on it’s own. And these two have a task at hand, to finish the empty frames for this set.

Paris photo, paris print, Paris image, paris black and white Paris photo, paris print, Paris image, paris black and white Paris photo, paris print, Paris image, paris black and white

Given my tardiness, and in order to play catch-up, I’m only going to leave this one open for comments for one week. By the end of November, the next one will be up…kinda like early Christmas presents landing ahead of the 25th December! :)

When I first started the monthly image, I was asked by a truly lovely and talented photographer if I wasn’t concerned about losing the rights on images by giving some away. The thought did cross my mind as occassionally some of my work, and often that of many other photographers and artists makes its way through cyber space, linking and crediting others, never a mention of the person who took the image, or created the art, or designed the poster etc.

Putting anything on line these days that someone can mimic, copy, use without asking, is a risk. Yet it shouldn’t be. The pleasure of sharing should come without concerns that there will be misappropriation of work, no matter what area or field it is in. We need to share the message, those of us who put things online, along with those of us who appreciate the beautiful things we see, to put out an energy, and set examples, that encourage correct behaviour. The same morals that stop people from walking into a shop,  leaving with merchandise and not paying, need to apply to what we see online.  In building relationships of trust, respect, and generosity, perhaps those who currently don’t want to understand that creatives need to pay bills too, will come to understand to ask, and will give value to a persons work and time. Perhaps I’m naive? But I have to hope that goodness feeds goodness.

And, at the end of the day, I have so, so, so many images. Tens of thousands of Gigabytes worth that go back to 2001.  Some of them I have destined for other things brewing deep in my mind and they may, or may never, see the light of day.  Many others will be destined for the trash can on my desktop as not every shot is worth keeping.

For me, the images I post are part of  an ongoing adventure to explore a new technique, try harder to please my own eye, fill my heart with  happiness by finding that one shot in eight hours that will leave me breathless. And thus, I share because they give me that happiness, because they are part of a journey with a couple of camera straps strung over my shoulders. They are an evolving discovery of a place I’m truly immersed in, and through thick and thin, I proudly call home.

I also understand that not everyone has the extra dollars to fill a wall with prints, or a chance to come to Paris and take images for themselves. The monthly images are my way of sending Paris to others. Everyone, each one of you who shares, comments and supports my posts, keep me encouraged. The images are my way of giving something back. A goodness feeding goodness.

As was the case with the previous monthly photos, they’re yours to print, frame, give to a loved one. They are for personal use. Commercial use, profit, and resale is not part of the giveaway. That’s it. No other strings attached. :)

Now that you’ve made it through my lengthy ramble, feel free to leave comments so that I have your email address to send through the JPEG file next week, and in the meantime, here are some other places to visit around the web:

* Alisa Morov, creator of the oh-so amazing Choco Diablo cookies (if you ever want to bribe me -> Choco Diablos are the ticket) launched her updated Sweet Pea Paris website. Author of three books with Marabout, she knows her meringues!

* Felicia’s site. She expresses herself with words in a way I can only dream. This post has been making waves and gives serious food for thought.

* Sivan Askayo takes beautiful images of international destinations from Tel Aviv, to New York, to Amsterdam and beyond. Take a look at her series Intimacy Under the Wires.

* In South Australia lives Wendy Philips, a former school teacher and now a passionate photographer. One of Wendy’s current projects is a children’s book, illustrated with her own images. I can’t wait to see her dream come true and be able to order a copy of the book.






Posted in Paris Tagged , , |

A once in a lifetime Paris experience….

In partnership with The Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris, My Beautiful Paris founder Norma Thiessen and Paris based photographer Carina Okula are proud to announce EMBRACE – Paris 2014.

EMBRACE will bring women together to collaborate, share and engage in all things related to the wonderful and crazy world of social media.

More news coming November 22nd. Stay Tuned!

Embrace, Paris, Social media retreat in Paris

Posted in Uncategorized

Tommy Hilfiger Paris and the Dailey Method team up for a good cause

Tommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi Campbell Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living

One thing you may well have noticed around these parts is I rarely post shots that include people. There are multiple reasons, but those at the top of the list include 1) French privacy laws – snapping shots of people on the street and posting them requires permission from the person in the image,  2) there are a whole lot of amazing, talented photographers that do portraits and it’s best left to them, and 3)  at the end of the day, my lens focus is usually elsewhere.

Recently though, I broke out onto the streets of Paris for some laughter and people shots in the name of a good cause.

Tommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi CampbellTommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi CampbellTommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi CampbellTommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi CampbellTommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi CampbellTommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi CampbellTommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi CampbellTommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi Campbell

Tommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi Campbell

Tommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi CampbellTommy Hilfiger Dailey Method Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living Claudia Schiffer Naomi Campbellhod Paris Breast Health International Fund for Living

A couple of years ago I met Kelly Dailey, owner of the Dailey Method Paris, an exercise studio tucked at the back of a beautiful Parisian courtyard on Avenue Victor Hugo. Kelly’s sister Jill started the Dailey Method in San Francisco twelve years ago and the company has now grown to fifty two studios scattered throughout the USA/Canada. Another sister Erin is heavily involved in the business on American soil. Keeping it in the family, back in 2003, Kelly came across a unique space in Paris, and converted what had previously been horse stables into the first Dailey Method studio in Europe.

The Dailey sisters  are part of an amazing, caring and kind spirited family. Along with their parents and friends, they also founded ‘Every Child is a Gem‘, a charity that looks after orphans and widows in third world countries. Amongst the projects they’ve undertaken and continue to help, they currently sustain two orphanages in Kenya.

During the month of October, and in particular this week, Kelly has joined forces with Tommy Hilfiger Paris and another lady from another equally remarkable family, Susan Schwartz, whose family founded Breast Health International (BHI) in 1990 and who attended the first Dailey Donate class on Monday.

For the past seven years, Tommy Hilfiger has united with BHI and teamed up with top models to create a unique bag for sale, the profits going to BHI’s ‘Fund for Living’ and to improving the lives of women with breast cancer. This year Tommy Hilfiger worked with Claudia Schiffer and Noami Campbell for their campaign ‘A little JUMP makes a BIG difference‘. And that is where Kelly stepped in. Uniting forces with Tommy Paris and BHI, classes at the Dailey Method this week will be exempt of normal fees, operating instead on a donation system with all funds raised going to the Fund for Living. The Tommy Paris team will be participating and have dressed the Dailey studio with images (and Dailey girls for the above photos) as well as bags for those who feel like purchasing one.

If you’re in Paris and looking for a stretch this week ….. this is the perfect spot to let it all out on Avenue Victor Hugo.

Read more about Dailey Method Paris and the Tommy Hilfiger / BHI week here:

Following Words and Wine, Mary Kay tried out Dailey Method. Read about it in her Turn Paris Pink post Out and About in Paris

The Kale Project made a stop on Victor Hugo for a session that combined pink with green.

and,   Savoir Faire Paris  took a break from helping others with life in Paris to strengthen and energise themselves.

As the Tommy campaign says, ‘A little jump can make a big difference’. In the Dailey case, a stretch doesn’t go amiss either.


Posted in Paris Tagged , , , |

Sweet until the end – a moment before the doors close at the Plaza Athénée Paris

Plaza Athénée Palace Paris Luxury HotelPlaza Athénée Palace Paris Luxury HotelPlaza Athénée Palace Paris Luxury Hotel

This weekend, life has wound to a slower pace at one end of Avenue Montaigne in Paris’s 8th arrondissement.

Home to some of the world’s best known luxury brands, the Avenue will have to live without one of the city’s most beautiful palaces as the Plaza Athénée closes its doors on the 30th September.  Thankfully, the rotating doors won’t remain still for too long and the welcoming smiles, along with the signature red geraniums, will only be absent for a short nine months.

With the recent acquisition of adjoining buildings, the palace at no° 25 will put up the no vacancy sign to make way for renovations and expansion. Reopening the opulent doors in June 2014, part of the makeover will include a much anticipated luxury ballroom and extra suites to complement those already in place, with an assurance that whatever changes take place, the soul of the hotel will remain the same; full of  “passion, exuberant expertise, excellence and elegance”.

I was lucky enough to experience the excellence and elegance recently at a special afternoon celebrating all is ‘sweet until the end’.  And it truly was, awfully sweet, all the way until the end.

Attired in aprons (in Plaza Athénée red of course) and in the company of a wonderful group of French people, we made our way to the cuisine for an afternoon with the charming Chef Pâtissier Jean-Marie Hiblot.

Laid out and ready for tasting, we discovered a selection of delicious pastries that were calling our names. Whilst normally they’d have made it into the glass covered rolling trolley that whispers along the corridor of the Galerie de Gobelins, today some of the creations remained behind, destined for our indulgences.

In between savouring the different degrees of sweetness there was a task in hand and Monsieur Hiblot led us through a lesson of making ‘Bisounours’, taking us on a voyage to a sugary heaven. In no time at all, marshmallow had been whipped up, piped into moulds and dipped into chocolate. Our mission in the kitchen was a fait accompli, our lesson with Monsieur Hiblot had drawn to an end.

Collecting coats and bags, we thought we were done, but instead of making our way to the front door, we were guided to elevators that opened for us on the third floor. Ambling through the halls, I wondered if we might be about to experience a ‘Being Carrie Bradshaw’ moment and, in our own way, we were.  A door opened to reveal Eiffel Suite 361, one hundred and thirty square metres of luxury where Paris dreams come true.

Complete with a baby grand piano, the living room floor to ceiling window exquisitely frames the most beautiful real life piece of art….Parisian buildings, streets lined with autumn tree tops and, dominating the background, the Tour Eiffel itself. It’s the kind of room where you fall asleep and your dreams carry you away floating on stars.

And that’s how it was for the next two hours, admiring the view, and breathing the rarified air of the last word in luxury. But alas, as is life, wonderful things come to an end and the hour arrived when it was time to collect belongings and disappear into the night.

How do you finish off such an amazing experience?  Well, the answer to that is with an introduction to the Maitre himself, Monsieur Alain Ducasse.  Yes, it was one *pinch me* moment after another, all rolled together into one amazing experience.

Here’s to counting down the days of the next nine months until the palace reopens….. and hoping the time passes quickly.

(Click on the images below to enlarge)


NB. For anyone interested in having a souvenir, items such as porcelain by Hermes for Plaza Athénée, posters from the Yves Saint-Laurent ‘Love’ series and the iconic lights from La Cour Jardin along with hundreds of other lots including the magnificent Comptoir de la Conciergerie will be sold by auction. Open for public viewing October 4-6th at the hotel, the auction will take place at Artcurial the 7th and 8th of October. Details online at Artcurial.




Posted in Paris Tagged , , |

Diner en Blanc and the 8th monthly giveaway image


Diner en Blanc Paris, Paris photography, Paris black and white, giveaway, Eiffel Tower, Tour Eiffel

Having been lucky enough to enjoy the world’s largest dinner party for the third time in June, I wasn’t sure any other Diner en Blanc experience would come close to that of this year’s Paris evening. After all, what could be as magical as finding yourself with one of the most beautiful alfresco backdrops as you dined the night away with several thousand others dressed in white, champagne picnics in hand?

To answer my own question, I’m just back from Amsterdam where I was invited to attend and photograph the 5th annual Diner en Blanc Netherlands. I was blown away by so much, an equally remarkable evening for such different reasons – I’ll share more soon.

On an endorphin high that I bought back from the land of tulips, it seemed that this capture from the Paris dinner would be perfect for the monthly image. At 11pm as the lights on the Tour Eiffel blinked, sparklers were lit by everyone. Showing Paris at her best, it was one of those moments where you put your hand on your heart and take the deepest of breaths in awe of the sight you are witnessing.

Started in France twenty five years ago by friends wanting to unite for dinner, it now brings thousands together for an evening of fine dining in elegant surroundings.  This year forty cities across the world will host their own Diner en Blanc, a completely free and non-profit event.

If you haven’t heard of the Diner en Blanc before, you can read more here and here. If that has you wanting to learn even more, filmmaker Jennifer Ash Rudick’s documentary ‘DINER EN BLANC, The World’s Largest Secret Dinner Party’ is a wonderful behind the scenes capture. Delving into the concept that has people the world over talking about and enjoying, Jennifer gained unprecedented access to those involved. It’s a truly enjoyable film to watch.

I can’t think of anything better than sharing an image so that others can take in the beauty too.  Along the lines of previous months, share the image over on Facebook and leave a comment here so I have a way to contact you and send the image in high resolution. I’ll leave comments open from 3rd – 16th September. (Strictly for personal use.  Commercial use is prohibited.)

You might also like:

Diner en Blanc Paris 2013 gallery

Diner en Blanc Paris 2011 gallery

Diner en Blanc Paris 2012 gallery

Videos of previous years Diner en Blanc Paris by GinParis

Diner en Blanc Paris – Facebook page

Is there a dinner near you ? Visit the Diner en Blanc website.

PS. I’ll come back to the remaining 2 of 4 images for the next giveaway.

Posted in Paris Tagged , , , |