Monday, December 12, 2011

Joyeux Anniversaire, le Blog! [Introducing French Girl's first Giveaway!]

It's official: The fun little blog is one year old today! Félicitations, le Blog!

Well, time certainly went by fast. 1 year. 81 posts. 100 followers. 1,000 visitors a week. Pas mal. Pas mal du tout, drôle de petit blog. (Not bad. Not bad at all, fun little blog.)

I remember it took a while before I actually started writing last December (I had created the blog format months earlier.) Fear of the unknown. How do I handle the techie stuff? Will people enjoy reading my stories? What if nobody stops by? Readers' comments? What's that? Am I going to have enough ideas to contribute on a regular basis?

I finally jumped in, a few days before our Christmas trip to Paris, a year ago today. I never looked back. It was a fun and captivating adventure right from the start, as I punched in my first stories in that Parisian rental apartment. I guess I started the easy way, with a travelogue. Not just any travelogue: a travelogue about Paris. Le Blog's first readers and followers? Family, friends, and French students. Merci à tous.

When I came home after the Holidays, the reality of blogging hit me. The time commitment  - up to 10 hours a week - the discipline - finding new ideas and photos; researching stories; writing; following up -  the feelings of isolation and self-doubt when the early posts hardly generated any comments.

I persevered. Teaching had slowed down, and I had extra time I could dedicate to this new hobby. My mind needed the extra challenge. My mind wanted the extra challenge. My mind thrived on the extra challenge, and it still does. A former English Major, I was rusty at writing in another language, but I welcome the weekly derrière-kicking Le Blog never fails to provide.

Slowly but surely, the number of readers and followers increased. Slowly but surely, each story started receiving more comments. I will not lie. What a great ego boost that was for this part-time stay-at-home mom. "Oh? So you don't need to do crafts to be considered creative? Writers can be creative too? How about that..."

"You love me! You really love me!"
Sally Field (the famous 1985 Oscar speech)

As if I needed to receive even more from Le Blog, then came la cerise sur le gâteau (the proverbial icing on the cake.) Not only did I gain more readers, I also started making new friends. Friends in cyberspace, from all over: How cool is that? Bloggers (I visit their blogs on a weekly basis,) and people who enjoy reading stories. You all know who you are. 

Le Blog has become a small community. Every week, visitors (old and new) stop by and often leave comments. Many are francophiles who enjoy reading about France and French culture. Others found me one day, and stayed. My readers. My friends. My posse. Merci à tous. 

When Bad Men broke into the house a few weeks ago, I wrote about it. My blogging friends rallied to show their support. I was deeply touched by their messages. 

Ok. Let's not get too sappy. This is a birthday celebration after all. Let's have a party, shall we? All of you have joined me, once again, to sing "Joyeux Anniversaire" to this fun little blog. Let's raise our champagne flutes. We have Kir Royal and petits-fours, as we should. Mini babas-au-rhum (spongy rum cakes); éclairs au chocolat et au café (no translation needed); mille-feuilles ("Napoleon" in the US); tartelettes aux fruits (fruit tartlets.) 

You're welcome. Only the best for mes amis. Bon appétit!

The prettiest, most festive, most delicious drink in the world! 
Petits Fours et mignardises

You are all here, but some dear friends could not make it. I miss them. You know who they are. They visit Le Blog often too. 

"Mademoiselle" was busy and could not get away from la rue Cambon.
Madame Chanel, you work too hard!
Carrie B. stayed on the East Coast. She is writing her new book.
Deadlines. Enough said!
Wish Grace could have pulled herself away from la Côte d'Azur
we both love so much!
La Grande Joséphine would have been the life of the party!

Getting sappy again. What is it with French people? Toujours nostalgiques... 

This is a birthday party. We need a present: I am proud to introduce French Girl's first Giveaway! 

First, the prizes: If you are the lucky winner, you get to choose between one of two favorite books of mine. Book number 1. Fresh from last week's post about la Maison Hermès. My new friend Michael Tonello's excellent story: Bringing Home the Birkin. Michael will tell you everything you have ever wanted to know about Hermès and the most coveted handbag in the world: The Birkin. Book number 2: Learn how to eat and shop like a Parisian with lovely Clotilde Dussolier, blogger extraordinaire, master cook, and published author. Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris includes her favorite recipes and addresses. 

Intéressé(e)? Voilà the rules of the game:

1. You must be a French Girl in Seattle Follower to join this Giveaway. Sign up if you have not already done so.

2. You must comment after this story and let me know what your favorite three posts have been this past year (categories are listed on the right to help you find them.) 

3. You must tell me what book you choose if you win.

4. You do not need to enter the Giveaway to leave a comment, but if you have a minute, I would love to know why you visit Le Blog. ;-) 

This Giveaway will run through Sunday December 18 at 10:00pm (PST)
The winner will be announced on Monday December 19. 
This Give-Away is also open to readers based outside of the United States.

Bonne chance, les amis!

And as our fun party winds down, I would like to write a few more "Merci," to those who make this adventure of mine a reality every week. Once again, to you, mes amis; to Blogger, that is free, and has given me enough confidence to pretend I, too, can be a "techie"; to Seattle, and all my Seattle friends, who inspire many great local stories; finally, to "la Belle France", and les Français. Without you, there may not be a fun little blog. I did not appreciate you enough when I was younger and still living dans l'Hexagone. If there ever was a true saying, then surely, it is this one: Absence does make the heart grow fonder. 

On this special day, I am looking forward to another fun, challenging and rewarding year of growth and blogging. I am so optimistic that I have just created a new category named: "Le Blog anniversaries."

Let's wrap up with a favorite [fictional] character of mine: Harry Potter. In this scene from the first movie, Harry (interpreted by cutie Daniel Radcliffe) celebrates his 11th birthday, my son's age. Joyeux Anniversaire, Harry. Joyeux Anniversaire, le Blog!

A bientôt!


  1. Bravo for the one year! More years to follow! Happy to have found your blog – a bit late, but better late than never!
    My favourites :
    Hermès / Birkin, Il était une fois, La Marinière.
    My wish :
    Bringing home…

  2. I have happily followed as one of your "faithful readers" and just want to comment to wish you a very happy blogiversary. Your writing and your stories are always a treat and I feel like we would be fast friends if we lived in the same city! :)

  3. c'est moi v....reading this post transported me back in time....i do not know why i had never commented when i started reading back in last dec. .... i felt odd plus i am always hesitant to comment when there is no re comment if you will-because i figure if i put my 2 cents in does it really matter....then my next memory is your birthday post.... and finally the break though where i thought what the heck and i commented....i was so happy you responded back. i am faithful to a few blogs...i comment on ONE with each post(that would be this blog),another one every so often -that blogger does not respond to comments and one sometimes although that author does respond to comments. when i read your blog in the beginning(i found it through one of the blogs above you left a comment)i just got the vibe that you were a really sweet hard working girl.....and i had so much respect for what you and LE H accomplished moving here and making a sweet life in seattle and although i would like to see a surprise post (a week is a long time to wait for me anyway) i have a feeling even if you didn't have france as your backdrop your blog would still be an absolute DELIGHT!! Happy Birthday dear sweet smart and enjoyable v...i simply cannot imagine a monday morning without you!! THANK YOU once again all your effort SHOW --- FOR SURE!!

  4. Congratulations Veronique on your Blogaversary, apologies, I have been a lousy blogger again and have fallen behind with every-bodies posts but I promise to catch up soon. Why do I visit your blog?...because it's informative, interesting well researched and always beautifully written.

  5. Nos blogs sont comme nos bébés: on les met au monde , on a peur de ne pas savoir s'en occuper, on les regarde grandir.. Et il y a de quoi être fière! un blog , c'est de la creativité quotidienne à l'etat pur, ça oblige à se motiver, à apprendre, à progresser.Et ça apporte tellement de joies inattendues!Alors, Happy 1st bloganniversary to the French Girl in Seattle! et à sa créatrice!
    Pourquoi je visite ton blog? j'aime l'ambiance, le regard que tu portes de loin sur notre cher pays, dont tu fais ressortir avec affection et brio l'histoire et les histoires, en nous mettant sous le nez ce que nous ne voyons plus d'ici.J'ai été accrochée par les posts sur Nice, et depuis, tous m'ont interessée, donc je revendique le droit de ne pas choisir! :o)
    Gros bisous niçois d'anniversaire!(garde moi des petits fours, ils ont l'air sublimes!)

  6. Veronique, Congratulations on your "birthday".

    I very much appreciate your enthusiasm for my book.
    (Sending you an email...)

    Happy Holidaze!
    p.s. following this blog now

  7. Veronique, Joyeux Anniversaire! You should be incredibly proud. I read your blogs and each time, I am awed and I think to myself, it's my friend Veronique who is writing all this! Where does she get the ideas and the creativity to put it all together to give us all pure moments of pleasure? I loved all your blogs about Provence and Nice, it gave me a new vision of this region I love so much. And I love how you give your readers such a wide horizon, starting from a simple idea or just a picture. Continue on to your 2nd and many more birthdays, Veronique. It is great fun and totally reflects who you are. I love it!

  8. Thank you for writing as always. I am a techy envious of your creative life,independence, and joie de vivre. I love the blog because it is like a fantasy life but in a real world which I love learning about. Keep at it!

    Favorite posts....As a French student and a very serious girl (;-), one of my favorite posts from th past is
    Expressions déprimantes dans la vie française..

    As a California girl, it was fun to read about the Savoyes reliving some of my old travels in
    The pleasures of the Central California Coast

    And as a budding francophile, I have enjoyed all of the posts on la vie francaise, places, people, fashion, including last weeek's on
    Hermes and Birkin, but I loved the fun and romance of your real life with Frederic as you were Following in the Footsteps of Chanel.

  9. Salut Veronique - Congratulations on your blog's birthday! My blog is about 6 months old, so I identify with a lot of your thoughts above about starting a blog!! Scary, yet thrilling!

    I learn so much from all of your posts - there are always new things to learn about France! - but I would have to say my favorites would be your recent post about the Hermès bags, La Marinière (something I knew quite literally nothing about), and I also loved learning about the history of La Tour Eiffel. I also enjoy posts where I can learn more about you!

    As someone who is a bit too obsessed with food and cooking, I am currently coveting the Clotilde book ;)

    Thank you, Veronique, for your support these past several weeks. I really enjoy our little conversations through commenting on each other's blogs - seeing your comments make my day! I come here because I've enjoyed "getting to know you" in the cyber world, and because I so enjoy learning more about the country and language I love so much.

    Joyeux anniversaire!

  10. Happy Happy blog birthday, Veronique. Congratulations on your first year. So often it's a foreigner in France so it's nice to be reading of a French girl in Seattle! I'm so with you on comments and how friendships are made - I just regret lately I've been a terrible commenter on all the blogs I really like, including yours. I will try and do better but somehow the days whizzes by in a blur of photography, blogging and dogs - call it old age. But just to say I love your take on things and thankyou, dear Veronique, for following Menton DP and always giving such pertinent comments. Bises xxx

  11. Happy, happy Anniversary Veronique...the one year mark is very special, congratulations! I loved your take on blogging...the time involved, the excitement of it all...and the cartoon, which is all to true more often that I'd like it to be!!
    Raising my glass to you...
    xo J~

  12. Joyeux anniversaire pour ton blog Véronique !et surtout longue vie à lui ...
    Passe une belle semaine !

  13. Eh oui, Véronique, rien n'est simple dans la vie. Même la tenue d'un blog. Mais tu es récompensée car tu as beaucoup de lecteurs, tes idées sont bonnes et les gens s'enthousiasment. Alors, il faut continuer.
    Heureux anniversaire!

  14. Congratulations Vero! You are the first blogger i've ever "followed". I already knew you were smart, funny and creative and now I get a reminder each week. My favorite blogs? The perfume store visit, of course! I love all your travel stories but you always bring a fresh, lively perspective to all subjects. I always learn something new (Birkin bags - who knew?) Happy Birthday to the blog. Keep up the great work!

    Madame M

  15. I am a follower!! Congrats on your 1 year anniversary!! I'm not going to attempt the French, leave that to my daughter..mine is QUITE rusty. I didn't know the French were sappy, I must have some French in me! :)

    Thanks for stopping over, I am totally "imperfect"'ll see!!!

  16. Cher Veronique, Joyeux Anniversaire!

    I'm new to your site--but we share the western edge of the U.S. coastline. A profound love of France and are newbyish to the fabulous blogosphere--together. I'm so impressed and inspired with your astonishing creativity.

    To many more happy years of successful blogging. Who knows where it will lead!

    Hugs and congrats!


  17. This is so exciting my head might explode. NOT KIDDING! :D

    First, happy blogiversary! I am so happy you started blogging because I am one of your biggest fans and I'm so honored we have become friends. I fell in love with your blog because I learn something new all the time, and you're a great writer. You have actually turned me into something of a francophile! Lately, I have been thinking if I could visit one place outside the US, I would like to visit France! I never felt that way before! You should be their ambassador. LOL!

    I have no doubt that you will continue to steadily grow in readership and followers in the next year. :)

    And I love that you're giving away that Birkin book as one of your prizes!! You know it's on my list. Hehe. That would be the book I would choose if I won.

    Hope you are having a great week! xoxo

  18. -- Good Golly, Mademoiselle Molly! -- It seems I have waited too long to reply to all your messages individually. I hope it is ok if I write a big, heartfelt "Merci" to all of you tonight. Old friends, new friends, you have all been so kind in your comments. I am sincerely touched. Since I write my weekly stories for you, it makes me very happy that you have all enjoyed them enough to come back and visit me on a regular basis. I will be looking forward to another year (at least) of blogging, and friendships. Who knows? I may be able to meet some of you one day, during my travels. In the meantime. happy holidays with your family and friends. Oh, and it is not too late to enter the Giveaway if you have not already done so! A bientôt. Veronique a.k.a. French Girl.

  19. Happy Anniversary Le Blog & Veronique and cheers to many more!
    Please enter me in the giveaway to win Clotilde Dussolier's book... I could alway pretend that my little village is Paris!
    My three favorite posts...
    1. I See London, I See France
    2. Hermes, Kelly, and Birkin
    3. And even though it was a horrible experience, I really appreciated the post you wrote about the break in. The way you were able to write about what happened with humor was an inspiration :-)
    And I'm hosting a book giveaway over on my blog as well. Pop on over!

  20. My favorite blogs are: Josephine Baker, Coco Chanel and the one sharing your personal life about friends, Alec etc. I prefer Clotilde's Edible Advnetures in Paris. I read your blog because you are a good and interesting writer full of information and humour.
    Congratulations on your one year blog anniversaire!

  21. Happy Blogiversary to you! Here's to many, many more posts! My favorites. Oh my. You've touched on so many of my loves - travel, Chanel, Hermes, baguettes! As a Francophile, I love hearing from your perspective of what makes France... well, France. Raising a glass of Champagne to you.

    Cheers! Jeanne

    PS - I think the Birkin book would have to be my pick!! XO

  22. Congratulations on your "blog anniversary" and have fun and learn lots with your photography course.
    Carla x

  23. Hello Veronique...
    Please email your postal address to
    I have something to send you... xv

  24. Joyeux Anniversaire! I must say as a true francophile I enjoy reading all your posts but my favourites are:
    Hermès, La Baguette and La Marinière
    The Birkin book would most definitely be my number 1 choice!
    I shall certainly be having a Kir Royal this New Year - one of my favourites drinks - Santé, Véronique!

  25. hello sister
    Happy Birthday "French Girl"!!!
    Ce qui est génial avec ton blog, c'est qu'on le lit pour se détendre, que c'est un blog à mi chemin entre le guide touristique genre "guide du routard" et de la pure culture sur les marques, les industries, les us et coutumes... Bref j'en apprends encore sur notre beau pays à chaque visie.... si un reader a envie de traduire mon propos en anglais, qu'il le fasse ...
    bisous véro

  26. Joyeux Anniversaire!! I found this blog many months ago on a whim, searching for French adventures in Seattle. I have lived in Washington my whole life, but my best friend and I took French in high school and loved the culture, the food, and the language!! In fact, it was your post "A trip to [insert city name] is always a good idea..." that inspired a French themed Birthday adventure for her 25th birthday last weekend!! It was amazing! Your blog is inspiring! I love reading your French Icons series (especially "A tribute to Parisian cafés..."). But some of the most fun I have reading your blog is the Travelogues ("As if the world needed more reasons to love Nice! - A travelogue - Part4"). One day my best friend and I hope to visit France!! Keep up the great blog work! Look forward to celebrating more Blog birthdays to come!


    PS - as an extreme lover of food, the Clotilde book is most intriguing to me!

  27. Happy Birthday French Girl in Seattle! ;) goes:
    1. I became a follower of yours! (CHECK) Not because of this giveaway only...but because I fell in love with your blog - my first time visiting! (I love all things French)
    2. The book I'd choose if I win would be "Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris" (CHECK)
    3. Why I visited LeBlog? I stumbled upon it and was fascinated by the blog title of "French Girl in Seattle" and decided to see what it was about. (CHECK)
    4. The three blog posts from this past year that I like (Oui, I went and researched your archives and found three that I loved and read them too! :) 1) Alexander Gustave Eiffel, a Man and his Tower 2) Hermes, Kelly, & Birkin - 3 Symbols of French Savoir Faire, and 3) Eze: Enjoying life on top of the World Part III.

    I think I've followed the rules of your Birthday Giveaway. I'm a rules kinda girl.

    LOVELY blog & many many birthday's to come I hope for you French Girl in Seattle...


  28. More messages... Thank you Sara Louise, Cherie, Jeanne, Carla, Vicki (I won, yeah!) Miss b, Georges, Holly, Catherine. I truly appreciate your feedback and encouraging messages. I am glad some of you decided to enter the Giveaway. My son - who is known on this blog as "Junior" - will be the innocent hand drawing the winner's name on Sunday. I am looking forward to seeing you all again chez French Girl soon. Veronique

  29. Oh Dear Veronique, Merci for stopping by to say hello and for wanting to contribute to little Amelia's cause. That was totally unexpected and much appreciated. After her birthday I'm going to post another picture of what she looks like now that she's one year old next week. My PPal email account is the following:

    Again...Merci for your generous heart and thinking of sharing in my love auction for this precious little angel.

    I'll be posting on how much the auction raises for her trust fund.

    Merry CHRISTmas!
    ~CC Catherine

  30. Favorite posts ? : All of them... ok, how about the sailor shirts, the beret, and the baguette...

    Why do I visit ? Because you do long posts with a wealth of insight like no one else I know.

    What book if the rabbit should pull my name out of the hat ? Edible Paris, as one cannot eat a Birkin bag... ;-)

    Sincerely hope the trauma of the burglary is fading, and that they catch the buggers and put them in a dungeon for a long time...

    Oh, and HAPPY BDAY !!!

  31. I can't believe that I am late to the party! Congratulations Vero! It is a big step and I know all of the feelings of anxiety that you mentioned. Why I love this blog is simple--it comes from you. Smart, caring you.


  32. First my dear, I want to say that your blog is a delight each week and I marvel at how much time and effort and research you put in just to make it happen! I appreciate your visits to my blog every day. You're always the very first and I love your thoughtful comments. I hope one day we will meet in person,........à Paris bien sûr!!!

    Now I can't chose just three favorites. How could I possibly choose? Oh the prize! Well in that case: Hermes, Eiffel, and all of the posts that help me with my sad, sad French! :) H ow's that ? The books....hmmmm, I think Edible Adventures because I could share the recipes etc. with my daughter Melissa, who is quite a good French cook herself. But on the other hand.......the Birkin Bag book would be fun................:)

    Joyeux anniversaire chère amie. I raise my flut of bubbly to you.

  33. oh no! i'm still a newbie here, can i join? pretty please! ^0^
    I did enjoy reading your blog,one can say that you really take time to read each comment and clearly gave us funny and intersting if not informative post.
    Happy !st b-day!
    wishing Le Blog, many, many more post to come and more followers.

    and yes, blogging can be a real stress but also a way to de-stress at the same time. ^-^

  34. Joyeux Anniversaire, le Blog! Happy Anniversary Veronique. I remember my first time visiting your blog - I read, From Paris to Bear country - A series - Part 2. Your blog is a lot of fun and lots of energy. It keeps me connected to my other leg of the family. Raising my coffee mug to you...for another year!=)

  35. Well a very happy birthday to the blog - congratulations - it is fun isn't it?? My favorites are the French icons of course - the beret baguette and mariniere - clot idles adventures sounds like a great book. Here's to many more blogging birthdays cheers from the riviera.....

  36. Dear Veronique, congratulations! My favorites among your incredibly talented, informative and very often fun posts are The French Icons.
    I wish you a successful blogging life!

  37. What a happy day it was when I found your blog, mon amie! First thing: Joyeaux anniversaire!

    All of your posts on Nice were wonderful and it would be too difficult to pick one of those above the rest. So, I will say: Le Béret (because you look just like the French girl you are), La Baguette (because I have eaten more than my weight in baguettes), and La Deux Chevaux (because you told me more than I could imagine).

    Your posts are informative, charming, well-written, visual, and witty. We will meet in Seattle one day or in Paris or perhaps in Nice. Keep writing and posting, Veronique. Please!

    Thank you for your visits to my blog and your "insider" comments.


  38. Happy Birthday, and I'm so happy to find and follow you for the next Birthdays...happy weekend!

  39. Veronique,
    I have read many of your posts but as a new follower I would need many hours to decide on my top 3 far the Beret, the Marinere and your passionate post about visiting Vancouver are my top 3.

    I see that you are a boater too, so are we!
    I love Hermes and all things French, have yet to visit Paris but have confidence that I will when I retire.

    We love visiting Seattle too....
    Happy Blog Birthday!

  40. -- Dear CC Catherine, Owen, Heather, Virginia, Arabesque, Sandy, Catherine, Olga, Genie, DesignChic, HostessoftheHumbleBungalow -- Merci beaucoup! I am humbled by your support and friendship. Only a few hours left until Junior's "innocent hand" draws the Giveaway winner tonight. It is not too late to enter. Bonne fin de weekend to all. Veronique

  41. Thank you for your comment on Parisian Fields. And congratulations on your anniversary. We have been posting for a year and a half, mostly taking it in turns, and we admire all that you have done by yourself in a single year. Felicitations! (How do you add accents in the comment box? I have no idea.)

    I have just spent an enjoyable time reading your posts, and my favourites are definitely the one about Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (I had no idea he had done all those other things), as well as Paris: La Seine runs through it, and, bien sur, A Canadian Thanksgiving. Keep up the good work. We already have (and use) Clothide's book, but haven't read Bringing Home the Birkin yet.

    Here's to your next year of blogging!


Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle