Tuesday, January 31, 2012
LAST CHANCE TO WIN VINTAGE FRENCH MEDALS! COMMENT BY 2/5/12, WINNERS PICKED 2/5 *Corey Amaro* of Tongue In Cheek...enjoy the story and win...
Tongue in Cheek is one of my favorite blogs. What is the pull that compels a person to read about the life of a total stranger on a daily basis? Like-mindedness I suppose, something clicks, a puzzle piece fits and the seed is planted. For me that seed was an interest in France and the French, antiques, living a full life, being a women of a certain age, art, the ability to see magic in day to day life.
Because my work takes me to France, I decided to try to meet the tongue of Tongue in Cheek. Our schedules matched and a date was set. I was a bit nervous. She sounds so good online I began to wonder if she could really be that good in person. I prayed that I would not walk into a “Pay no attention to the women behind the curtain!” scene.
Not to worry. Corey is just as she presents herself on Tongue in Cheek. Indeed, she is better.
In a move straight out of “you must be an American tourist,” I shrieked, “You’re real!” when I first laid eyes on her. I could feel the French eyes rolling as I tumbled out of the car in an explosion of loopy American excitement. I gave her a big hug-as if I’d known her forever.
In my defense, I have “known” her through the world of blogging. Though I’d never laid eyes on her I felt like she was a kindred spirit, a soul sister in the order of the ancient junk gypsies. I was struck by her hair, flaxen blond and glinting in the fall sunlight. It surprised me because she never talks about it-no good (or bad) hair days, no big hair drama-nothing. And then you meet her and think “Wow! What gorgeous hair!”
Tiny, with a quick smile, she hugged me in return and invited me into her home.
Walking into her home is like walking into an Architectural Digest spread.
The pictures I’d seen on her blog came to life, the blackboard in the kitchen, the collage wall, the garden, (though I didn’t see stinky cat or the chickens.)
It is more beautiful than pictures or descriptions can convey. I would close the door on my own home without one backward glance given the chance to move in.
Elegant without being fussy; formal, yet comfortable; it is a feast for the senses. I could have spent hours just wandering…just looking. Corey has a talent for combining modern convenience with ancient history. An uber modern stove was used to make delicious food,
which was served on antique plates at a centuries old table.
FH did the cooking (Corey was still nursing a broken wrist.) He’s a great cook, which seems a bit unfair. I mean really, how many gifts can one man have? It’s true, he’s as handsome (and nice) in person as he is online.
I missed Sacha, but was able to meet daughter Chelsea. Lovely and bright, she is beautiful with a level of sophistication that belies her young age (note to self, ask about raising smart, happy, nice kids.)
I even met belle mere. I knew she was going to be there and I was the slightest bit nervous. I am super American (read “pudgy and prone to outbursts of excitement.”) Belle Mere is all angles, there is nothing soft or rounded about her. Formidable was my first impression. “I’ll bet she in naturally good at anything she attempts,” I thought to myself. I didn’t know whether to bow, curtsey or what. I did not envelope her in a big American hug. With a quiet beauty about her, she has the healthiest, wrinkle free skin I’ve ever seen (note to self, ask about beauty regimen.)
Reflections of her blog surrounded me. Each room I entered, each person I met, new to me, yet at the same time familiar.
The blog is deceptive. On first glace it’s light. She has a way sounding down-home, comfy and off the cuff while at the same time being incredibly perceptive and insightful. Initially drawn to it for it’s fairy tale story-girl meets handsome Frenchman at a disco, they fall in love, marry and move to Paris, where she has beautiful babies and truffles out 300 year old gems at the brocante-I return time and again for it’s depth. As lovely as a fairy stories are, they can get tiresome, they tend to offer a lot of fluff and not much to sink one’s teeth into. While they are good for diverting one’s attention, they are not going to make you contemplate life. This is where the deceptive part comes in, I read the blog for comfortable happiness yet often go away with a deeply thought out lesson on life. Mining life’s experiences Corey writes about the day’s happenings, which are invariably kneaded and shaped by what happened yesterday-or a hundred yesterdays ago.
I love her style though at times it can be maddening-like her “more later” posts. Do you remember her post about FH’s former girlfriend who showed up to visit him in the USA? The one that said, “she had her feet up on the dashboard, I thought French girls weren’t so open and free…” and ended with Corey (who had followed them in her car) driving past them as they pulled into a hotel parking lot? Do you remember that Corey said “more later?” Did you sit at the edge of your seat as you waited for later? Did later ever come? Nope!
"Well? What happened next?” I asked Corey and FH. He could barely remember the girl’s name and, well, what happened next was right in front of me…Corey, FH and Chelsea in their Provencal home.
There are a lot of “more laters” at the end of her posts, maddening, I tell you! Yet still, Tongue in Cheek is the only blog I read each and every day. If I have time I look at previous posts. It is easy to get lost in the story of Corey Amaro’s life, and she is even more interesting in person than on the printed page.
We sat in her living room and talked…
Surrounded by first generation Americans who came to the U.S. from Portugal, she was steeped in a bilingual, cross-cultural world. Her Parents spoke Portuguese to one another at home, “mostly so we couldn’t understand what they were talking about,” she said. Her grandparents were very religious and Corey always felt a strong connection to the church. She felt its passion and the spirituality so strongly that she wanted to be a nun, and lived in a monastery for a time (another “more later” blog post.)
Corey has a huge family, most of whom are still in the same village, some 80 cousins, in a small California town. She grew up on a farm and describes an idyllic home life. Her mom is “super creative, someone who found value and beauty in the chipped and tossed aside-which certainly wasn’t in vogue back then.” It must be genetic as this is a trait Corey obviously inherited. “Mom was very, very emotionally available. She made cookies and pies and we went blackberry picking.”
At this point the song Someone Like You, by Adelle was playing and Corey gently shushed me…whispering “I love this song…” We sat quietly, amid the candlelight, surrounded by objects sacred to her, and listened to the song.
“…don’t forget me, I beg. I remember you said, Sometimes it
lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead…”
When the song was over, she talked about her dad. “There were 800 people at my dad’s funeral. I attended his embalming. Watching as they lovingly prepared my fathers body for burial was sacred. The children carried his coffin. My mother chose the song Save The Last Dance For Me for the funeral.
I marveled at how Corey embraced the death of her beloved father. I told her I didn’t think I would be capable of embracing death. “Emotion is real, share it, don’t hide it.” she advised.
I can see how living in France has imbued her with traits…perhaps they’ve always been there but to me they seem distinctly French. She is deliberate, I don’t think she makes a move without carefully thinking it through. She seems a bit reserved, as do (to me) the French. Yet there is a definite willingness to hop into adventure,
Just at this point a friend stopped by and the focus turned away from Corey and on to other things. The rest of our time together was spent in the company of others, eating, shopping and visiting. I never did get another chance to sit with her and talk. I do plan to return to France in April. Hopefully, our calendars will click.
Photographs above courtesy of Corey Amaro, Tongue in Cheek
If you would like a chance to win 5 vintage French medals, leave a comment. Two sets will be given away.