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Getting Into the Holiday Spirit With Sézane + Interview

To get into the holiday spirit, out of the city and create some beautiful content for Sézane, Scott and I headed towards the mountains of Big Bear. We stayed in a beautiful, warm, charming and cozy cabin (link here) and enjoyed shooting and playing tunes. It was so hard to leave; I wanted to stay there forever!!! Our host, Jake, was an absolute sweetheart and made sure we felt welcomed and had everything we needed to feel relaxed and at home. Sometimes living in a busy city like L.A. can feel overwhelming — cars are constantly zipping by, people are whirling through life (as I am), and like any metropolitan city, the pace is just…well, fast. And I, for one, need a little slowness sometimes:)

Below are the images (some of my favorite, ever!) Scott and I created together, including an interview where I talk about holiday traditions, the things I’m most thankful for, winter time as a Californian, life lessons I’ve learned this year and what it feels like to be a Franco-American (identity and home, where do they live?). All great, reflective questions. Merci, Sézane!

Story & Interview:

 

What are you most thankful for this year?
I am thankful for my support system. My darling husband who has stood by my side through the beautiful ups and difficult downs. I’m thankful for my health, the love and support of family and friends (on and offline!), the beautiful life (not devoid of imperfection and hard days) I am able to live each day, the wonderful teams and crews of talented, kind people I am lucky enough to work with, and the beauty that I’ve been able to experience. This year especially has been so full of wild, unexpected, deep, meaningful beauty!

The most important personal lesson you’ve learned in the last year?
The primary lesson or reminder for me has been the importance of finding, maintaining and up-keeping our self-love and sense of self-worth. Taking care of our mental health and really listening to our minds and hearts. Remembering that after all, it is not things or career advancements or status that genuinely define us or bring us joy. I’ve also been reminded that striving to live a life of gratitude and positivity does not mean it will all be lived without pain and sadness. Along the way this year, I forgot that these hard things are a part of life. The truth is that they just are! Like flowers — blooming and wilting, only to bloom again. Spring is around the corner, and if we can remember that, perhaps it can help get us through the unavoidable hard winters (metaphorically speaking).

How do you mark the changing of the seasons?
Each season feels like a renewal of sorts. I don’t think about it so intently, but with each new season, I often find myself starting fresh in a multitude of ways — grounding my roots in my home, cleaning, a change of wardrobe, pulling out sweaters and longer hems and pants, etc. I also often feel a hint of melancholy — I find the passing of time both beautiful and heartbreaking, and a change of seasons is an apparent evolving of time. So much change happening so quickly!

How does living in LA affect your feelings about winter? Do you still feel the instinct to ‘cocoon’?
In LA we certainly don’t have very distinct seasons. We don’t have snow or much rain or cold in the city at all. However … the light changes, darkness comes sooner in the day, a slight chill rolls in, and as a Californian, that’s enough to get me into a sweater and making some hot chocolate! (Quick hot chocolate recipe: in a pot on low, add raw cocoa powder, honey — blend— add almond milk, vanilla, a pinch of salt and voila! Add a pinch of pepper, maca, turmeric, cinnamon if desired.)

Your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Oddly enough, I’ve never really felt entirely connected to Thanksgiving, perhaps because most of my childhood was spent in France and my family is quite spread out. However, as an adult, I’ve loved the idea of creating my own traditions and making memories. I like to keep Thanksgiving relatively simple and have family or friends over, decorate festively for fun, maybe bake a chicken (I prefer over turkey), and enjoy a nice meal together. At the end of the day, there are no rules! The point is to remember what we are thankful for and spend time with those we love. However, we can and should also do both of those things all year round!Can you share with us one recipe you love repeating on Thanksgiving?
I love roasting a chicken with carrots and vegetables and roasting sweet potato wedges! For sweet potatoes: peel potatoes, cut in half, then lengthwise into wedges. Place on a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, cinnamon — any spices you enjoy! Bake at 375 until wedges are golden and crispy.

Do you opt for a ‘Friendsgiving’ or do you prefer a traditional Thanksgiving?
Because my family is so spread out, my husband and I often celebrate by hosting a few friends, which we love! I’m sure traditional Thanksgivings can be beautiful as well, but you do what you can and make the most of those you have around you. I think sometimes holidays can be difficult for those who don’t have family or aren’t close them (physically or emotionally); I’m very much into the idea of Friendsgivings because the truth is that love is love and gratitude is gratitude, no matter where it comes from or what it looks like!

How do you bring French traditions to this very American holiday?
Well, my husband and mom are both American, so we do celebrate — with a twist, whenever I can help it! The fact that I don’t love turkey or gravy is perhaps very French of me; my grandma in France bakes the most wonderful, simple chicken and that’s what I do on this day! I also like to set a beautiful table.

You currently live in the US, do you find yourself missing France and family at this time of the year? What do you find helps with this feeling?
Yes, absolutely. When I can’t be with family, I find having friends over and creating my own little traditions helps keep the holiday spirit alive. I like to make my home feel cozy and warm, with blankets, candles and little festive decorations.

How do your French and American identities live together? Do you feel pulled more to one culture as opposed to another?  
They certainly live together! It can be hard sometimes to feel like I belong to either country, because I’m not entirely American, and I’m not entirely French. France does pull harder at my heartstrings, primarily because it’s my birthplace and childhood home, but even if the divide between these two identities can sometimes feel alienating, I’ve learned to embrace and love my differences. I love the engrained perspective, sense and appreciation of culture, quality, and beauty that France has brought me; I love the hopeful, go-getter, dreamer attitude the U.S. has implanted in me. It’s the best of both worlds!

Your best Thanksgiving memory?
The best is yet to come, I feel it! 😉 but I do want to say this — each day I choose to focus on gratitude and what I’m thankful for is an infinitely more joyful and peaceful day. Why not practice Thanksgiving every day?

P.S. Holidays always feel particularly heartbreaking because as I stated above, my family isn’t perfect or entirely close-knit at all (I think this is more common than we think, though! But it’s easy to forget during the holidays). If you’re also feeling saddened or alone, my heart is with you. You are not alone, and you are worthy of love and are loved whether your family makes you feel it or not. I love you!
XX