Just before my birthday, I took a quick weekend getaway to the Napa Valley with A.JAFFE and Padis Jewelers. Tucked away between rows and rows of leafy green vineyards, the Padis Winery provided the perfect backdrop to an evening of fine wine, dining, and views.
When A.JAFFE reached out to me with their invitation to join them for a weekend getaway, and invited me to design my own necklace with Maps by A.JAFFE, I knew instantly what mine would look like. Maps by A.JAFFE are pendant necklaces that come in a selection of rose, yellow, or white gold (or silver), in heart, round, or rectangular shapes, and can be customized with the address of anywhere in the world, with a darling diamond in a specific location on the map. You can then add a special, short inscription on the back.
Can you guess where my map is located? I chose a city that has been close to my heart since I was 15 years old; a city where I celebrated my 21st birthday, and just last year my Golden Birthday. It's where I ran to heal from heartbreak, where I celebrated love, and a place where I still have so much more to discover. It is the city that held me close, and did not let go until morning. And if you guessed Paris, you're right!
Ever since I was a little girl my mother had promised me a trip to Europe for my 16th birthday. But when my parents separated a few years shy of that birthday, I assumed that the promise had been forgotten. Imagine my surprise when one day my mother came home with an armload of travel books from the library; Prague, Paris, Milan, Florence, Nice...We were going to travel by train, visit family friends, and even camp across Europe for 6 glorious weeks. I couldn't wait.
I didn't fall in love with Paris on my first visit. Instead, it was the south of France that had captured my heart: it was the vast fields of lavender, the Provençal friendliness of the locals, the pebbly beaches, rolling vineyards, and the slow pace of life that had filled my head with dreams of someday calling Provence home. Paris of course was lovely, but it didn't demand my attention the way the south had. My mother and I spent a week along the Cote d'Azur. We spent 48 hours in Paris.
Five years later I returned to Paris for a summer school program to study the concept of "beauty". For three weeks my classmates and I would study the social construct of beauty through art, pattern, science, and writing. In the evenings we would go out into the muggy summer streets in search of the "real" City of Light, walking down narrow alleyways and sitting in tiny bars, cheering on the French football teams for the World Cup. Locals would stop us and ask if Americans were really calling French fries "freedom fries". "We call them frites!" they'd say. "We don't know why Americans think they are French."
That was the summer I fell in love with Paris. It wasn't the cobblestone streets, or the beauty of the historical architecture. It wasn't the museums, the endless selection of yogurt in the marchés, or the mistral like gusts of wind that blew along the River Seine. Rather, it was the tiny glimpses of life: it was the men who whistled while they worked as they trapezed along the scaffolding, it was the stranger on the train who said nothing as I accidentally slumped in a slumber onto his shoulder while returning from Giverny, and it most certainly was the evening sky which was still ablaze with color and light at 9:45pm, on the Pont des Arts.
My Maps by A.JAFFE necklace has a diamond located on the Pont des Arts. It is the bridge that connects the French Institute to the Louvre, which is fitting as it is also where artists complete their works in studio en plein air. It's where I had my first French kiss. And it is where l, quite literally broken after my accident, was asked to dance by a perfect stranger.
On the back of my necklace is the inscription "avec tout mon coeur" meaning "with all my heart". And so it is with Paris: it has my heart in its entirety.
My Napa weekend getaway with A.JAFFE and Padis Jewelers was a delight. There was a fabulous wine tasting at the Padis Winery home followed by a luxurious dinner in the Padis wine cellar and cave. It was during the wine tasting that I, a red wine enthusiast, became a Chardonnay convert (no easy task!). After dinner my fellow bloggers and I gathered out along the terrace that overlooked Napa Valley. We conversed by the salt water pool, dipping our toes in the water, and took in the lush scenery. And as we listened to Alexis Padis tell stories about the conversations she frequently has with the tourists who float by in hot air balloons above the property (as is a regular occurrence when you live in the valleys), I realized that I love my Sonoma and Napa Valleys avec tout mon coeur as well.
Thank you to Padis and A. JAFFE for having me!
|PC: Stephanie Malilong Photography|
|PC: Stephanie Malilong Photography|