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Love, History & La Vie Franรงaise

January 2018



Because a woman loves so many things...

January 2018

ur first issue of 2018! Are you ready for a good year? The magazine is zipping along as we go into our eigth year. The entire Belle Inspiration team is celebrating the best way we can - dreaming, planning and nearing the launch of a brand new venture… stay tuned! We dig into the archives for a behind-the-scenes visit to Versailles with Elissa Villines Shaw. Elissa also shares a deliciously easy recipe for Carmelized Onion Goat Cheese Pastries. Our resident photographer, Krystal Kenney, adds a little Valentine’s romance with her Falling in Love in Paris photoshoot. Teri L. Reynolds unveils her exciting new novel, Marie Anotinette and The Hidden Door of Versailles. Don’t miss the excerpt from the book that she generously allowed us to publish in this issue. You’ll also meet Anthony Tambourini, a talented illustrator who enjoyes capturing iconic location in London and Paris. À bientôt, Editor-in-Chief

Mimi Bleu


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A Novel by Teri L. Reynolds



14 14

New Traditions - Macaron Party

37 Jacqueline deMontravel

24 32

Antoinette and The Hidden Door of Versailles, an excerpt


Falling in Love in Paris


An Interview with author Teri L. Reynolds

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Krystal Kenney




Carmelized Onion Goat Cheese Pastries

Elissa Villines Shaw


Chasing French History

Elissa VIllines Shaw


An Interview with illustrator Anthony Tambourini

Cover image by Elissa Villines Shaw 9


Inspired Ink Media

Founder, Editor in Chief Mimi Bleu

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Belle Inspiration Magazine is published on a bi-monthly basis by Inspired Ink Media. 1-Year Subscription is $19.99. Before submission of any manuscripts or photos please contact: Publisher assumes no responsibility for any unsolicited materials. All inquiries: Recipes have not been kitchen tested by us, so must be used at reader’s discretion. Copyright Š2015. All contents protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced without first obtaining written permission and posting credit. All rights reserved in all countries. 12

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Gorgeous Photos of You in Paris -�-_� Contact us Today:

Writers & Ph Jacqueline deMontravel is an editor, writer, designer and stylist in design. She is the author of eight books, including Hers: Design with a Feminine Touch, Hers: The Vintage Table and Vintage Vavoom: Decorating with One of a Kind Finds. Her first book was 21st Century Etiquette, which she wrote with Charlotte Ford. Jacqueline was the editor of Romantic Homes and content director of Beckett Lifestyle group, which publishes many well known magazine titles. Formerly the editor of Country magazine, Jacqueline held editor positions at Self magazine and GQ. She has been a contributor with Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar. She also worked on the launch of Oxygen Media’s Style website, Lucky and Black Book magazine.

Elissa has a Master’s degree in European History, and a passion for French history in particular. She found a passion for photography when she started blogging about her travel adventures. The Traveling Pear blog is where she and her Chef husband talk about "their experiences we cherished while living in Paris and other randomness that just pops up… like fluffy white sheep and medieval latrines". And now there’s a Little Pear. You can purchase her amazing photos at Elissa Gabriella Photography.


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Krystal Kenney, a Maryland native, who fearlessly followed and achieved her dream of working as a professional photographer. She’s now the owner of the Paris-based photography company, Miss Paris Photo. Krystal’s expertise and photography skills have made her one of the top photographers in Paris. Her easy manner puts her clients at ease and makes her shoots natural and fun, no awkward poses or stiff smiles. She stays on the move traveling the world to photograph weddings, events, and special shoots for both business and private clientèle.


M Bite-Sized Style

Written & Photographed by Jacqueline deMontravel


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Create a Gathering Around Small Beauties Macarons are the couture version of pastry with their dainty, miniature packaging in resort colors. There is something very Marie-Antoinette about the confections elaborately displayed on a silver tray or pedestal plate. Should I have just one? For the ladies who group-workout and meet up with friends for a deserved indulgence, the savory does meet a not-too-guilty quotient as they are simply made with egg whites and sugar but explode with taste.


laine Kirby McCleary has carved out an entire macaroon theme in her store Kirby & Co. complete with an Old World barista who may have had higher education in the art of making frothy beverages that both delight and apprehend sippers by disrupting his fern print artistry, an attention to such details make an indulgent treat an event. It’s very French to celebrate the finer things without that instant gratification, drive through food mentality. Whether it’s a casual gathering or RSVP party, added touches such as the display, rock candy stirrer or personal pieces result in smiles. Match the dÊcor to the edibles with a tiered stack of plates, small trays and gilded wrappers and accessories.

Including personal pieces show French style. For Elaine, an elephant motif is homage to her grandmother, a professional baker, who collected such pieces. Whether its heirlooms or whimsical accessories, the addition prompts a sharing of something meaningful to the host. 16

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Elaine’s tips to an impromptu gathering After a long meal of laughs (and sometimes take away on fancy plates) I never skimp on dessert and love serving my friends a petit treat bar on our family heirloom silver, especially my grandmother’s pieces.

Tray, dishes, creamer: Kirby and Company 18

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acarons in different hues, chocolates, tiny squares of our family brownies dusted in sea salt and caramel drizzle, little demitasse cups of rich chocolate mousse topped with crème fraîche. The women in my family have collected Limoges vintage tea cups and saucers - all totally unmatched but perfect together. It’s fun to see tall stacks of little treats come back to the dinner table usually with lots of wide eyes and giggles. We joke that it doesn’t count if its two bites, especially the bites on the way back to the dinner table. I also use all of Grandmother’s mirrored gold trays to serve after dinner drinks or espresso. We do the same at the shop so it feels a little bit like your having her famous hot chocolate right in her living room like we did as kids.


A Novel Approach

to Paris & Versailles

An Interview with Teri L. Reynolds 24

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Teri L. Reynolds is a wife and mother of three, who always had a dream of visiting Paris. She finally made it there on a trip to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary, and life hasn’t been the same since. She and her husband Scott fell in love with the city and its history and have returned many times. Marie Antoinette and the Hidden Door of Versailles is her first novel, which was inspired by her visits to the Palace of Versailles, and her fascination with French royalty.


Marie-Antoinette and The Hidden Door of Versailles – a fabulous read for anyone who enjoys French history and especially for falling in love. When and where did the inspiration strike to write this romantic story? When my husband and I first started our annual trips to Paris years ago, I needed a creative outlet to express my love of all things French. I started a blog, Girl Meets Paris, and through a fellow blogger, I learned about National November Writing Month ( It is an organization that challenges people all over the world to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. The novel didn’t have to be complete or perfect, you just had to get the words down on the page by the deadline. Without any prior writing experience, I decided to take the challenge. When I sat down to start writing that first morning, I was ready to tell the story of our many adventures in France. Then I reviewed the rules and instructions. It had to be a novel, a work of fiction. Somehow I had missed that detail! I stared at the blinking cursor and almost quit right there on the spot. After a few minutes thought, I decided to write about Marie-Antoinette. The story came to me very organically with absolutely no pre-planning. Around day three I realized I was in over my head, but I kept plugging along. My passion for Marie, and royalty in general, kept me going. I met the word count and the deadline, but because I did it just for fun, I didn’t look at it for almost three years. Family and friends encouraged me to get it out and work on it. That’s when the real work began… more writing, rewriting and editing!


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You and your husband, Scott, have traveled to Paris many times, what is it that draws you back for more? What doesn’t draw us back? Paris is a city of contradictions that keeps surprising us at every turn. On one street it’s loud, on the next it is totally quiet. The architecture is stunning, yet old and time worn. The French have a reputation of being rude, but we have yet to meet a rude French person in all the years we’ve been going there.

It’s a city that keeps you on your toes. The maze of streets will trick you. You must look ahead to keep your bearings, but if you don’t look left and right, you can miss something unexpected, hidden just beyond the obvious, for that is where the beauty lies.


The main character in your book is Marie-Antoinette. Can you imagine yourself living in Marie’s time, and do you feel it would be a positive experience? I honestly would not want to live in Marie’s time. To be a commoner, would be rough. Between hunger and sickness, and no real possibility of changing your lot in life, it would be hard. On the other hand, being royal is never as good as it seems. From the outside it looks easy, full of privilege, but dig a little deeper into court life and between the gossip, the demands, and the high expectations, it was tough. I often wonder if Marie was ever really happy and fulfilled.


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What would you like your readers to come away with? I would like them to get a different perspective of Marie‌ to put themselves in her shoes, so to speak. She never really had any choices in life. She was raised as a princess in Austria, and sent to Versailles at a very young age to marry a man she had never laid eyes on. I believe she had a good heart, and honestly did as good as anyone else might have done if put in similar circumstances. My novel is obviously fiction, but a lot of the background is based on historical fact. When the story opens, Marie is 18 years old and has been married a few years, but is not yet queen. An event changes her life in an instant, and she goes through some harrowing experiences, yet she finds strength and bravery she never knew she had.


You have a YouTube channel, TeriGigi, where you talk about beauty, travel, and lifestyle. What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned from making your videos? I have been surprised at how deeply I’ve connected with my viewers. They seem to respond well to what I put out, because I’m always honest and transparent, and try to do videos on topics that I feel passionate about. Right now I’m posting videos about my most recent trip to London and Paris. Following up on that, I plan to do an entire series on all things French, where I will show my viewers how I plan to bring a little more je ne sais quoi into my life, my home, and my marriage. My viewers seem excited about the new series, as they always are when I talk about France. Their input in the comment section always brings even more fun and ideas into the mix.


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Describe yourself in one word? I had to ask my husband for help on this one... the first word out of his mouth? Passionate!

Turn the page and read an excerpt of Marie-Antoinette and the Hidden Door of Versailles

Learn more about Teri on her website: You can pre-order her new book, Marie Antoinette and the Hidden Door of Versailles.


An excerpt from the excting new novel, Marie Antoinette and The Hidden door of Versailles by Teri L. Reynolds.

Chapter 1


Marie’s eyes flew open. Her body trembled, fear caught in her

throat almost suffocating her. What is it? What’s happening? Darting her eyes around the room she saw nothing. No light came in around the edges of the thick drapes covering the windows. The darkness was complete, oppressive. She reached over to be reassured by Louis’ presence but found his side of the bed empty. He must have retired to his bedchamber sometime during the night, she thought. She rose from the bed and reached for the crystal pitcher and glass that were kept on her nightstand. The pitcher was icy to the touch and she shivered when the cold water slid down the back of her throat. She glanced over to the fireplace and saw that the fire had died down. I need an extra coverlet. She opened a small door next to her bed that led into her private dressing room. As she stepped across the


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threshold, the chandelier behind her tinkled ever so slightly, and at the same moment, a queer sensation cut through her body. She hesitated, and then quickly returned to bed. Unable to shake the uneasiness in her spirit she rolled over and pulled the heavy covers tightly around her. She exhaled slowly, and within moments, fell back into a deep sleep. Waking up hours later, she immediately sensed something wasn’t quite right. Furrowing her brows, yet remaining perfectly still, it suddenly hit her - the smell. The air smelled stale, musty, very unlike the pungent odor that Versailles usually had. She sat up in bed wondering where the odor originated. The room was still dark, but tiny slits of light peeked out from around the drapes. She wondered why her courtiers had not come in to wake her. They were usually present when she woke, bustling about getting ready for her morning dressing ritual. As much as she wanted to linger in her unexpected privacy, the odd smell had her curious. She climbed out of bed, padded over to one of the massive floor-to-ceiling windows and threw open the drapes. The estate was covered in a dense fog, unlike any she had seen before. Squinting, she perceived changes in the landscape, but the fog made it difficult for her to see clearly.


Turning back toward her bed, she froze. Her hand-carved writing desk was gone, along with the quill and inkwell she had used to pen a letter to her mother just the night before. The left corner of the room was bare, no longer holding her golden harp and stool, or her music stand. Her treasured harpsichord was missing as well. She quickly scanned the rest of the room. Paintings surrounding her bed appeared dull and lifeless. There was no fire in the fireplace and the soot that usually stained the underside of the mantel was gone. One lone object stood on the mantel: an unfamiliar clock. Nothing was as it had been when she and Louis had retired to bed the night before. She hurried across the dimly lit room toward her dressing area, feeling for the hidden door which was cleverly covered with ornate gilded wallpaper that perfectly matched the walls of the room. She flung the door open and peered inside. Everything was gone— clothes, shoes, hats, brushes and combs, even her priceless jewelry collection. Only a chaise and an empty side table remained. Where are my things? What has happened?


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Panic set in as she pulled her thin cotton dressing gown closer around her tiny frame and in her bare feet raced through a series of the back hallways that connected her room to Louis’, calling out to him as she went. Breaking protocol, she flung the door open. He was not there, and his room was in a similar condition to hers. She hurried into the next room, and the next and the next. The palace was almost bare. Lifeless. Haunting. It had been robbed of its grandeur; only a shell remained. Order a copy of Marie Antoinette and The Hidden Door of Versailles to find out what happens next‌

Pre-Order Marie Antoinette and The Hidden Door of Versailles by Teri L. Reynolds


Falling in Love Photography by Krystal Kenney


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Recipe from the

FARM Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Pastries

Story, Photos & Styling: Elissa Villines Shaw 46

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hen given the chance to spend a few days on a farm and vineyard, this one-time country girl and her chef husband didn’t think twice. With an abundance of wine and farm goods at your fingertips, who could say no? Not us! Situated along a winding road in rural Maine, is Oyster River Winery and Farm, known for producing an excellent table wine, and farming with their Belgian draft horse, Don, and their two goats, Quince and Edelweiss. It’s where the sounds of the city vanish - giving way to the melody of song birds, turkeys and the rustling wind.

Highlight from May 2013 47


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ur farm chores included gathering pastel colored eggs from the chickens and scattering hay for the animals to feed on. Milking the ever-so-sweet Edelweiss, who produced a gallon of goat’s milk every four days, the Chef and I were inspired to make goat cheese or chèvre. With an abundance of onions and red wine on hand, this easy and delicious recipe for cheese puff pastries was an obvious choice. We pasteurized the raw milk and made it into chèvre - a twenty-four hour process. The sweet caramelized onions and warm goat cheese nestled within the buttery, flakey pastry melted in our mouths. The hint of thyme complimented this tantalizing combination. Thanks to Edelweiss and her creamy milk we enjoyed these savory tarts that can either be served on their own as a starter or with a side salad as a light main dish.


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Carmelized Onion Goat Cheese Pastries Recipe (makes 6 servings)

4 sweet onions, thinly sliced 2-3 tablespoons butter 1 cup of red wine 2 tablespoons honey 3-4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and a few extra for garnishing Salt & black pepper 1 heaping tablespoon goat cheese per pastry (6 tablespoons all together) 6 puff pastry shells As you bake the pastry (as directed on box), begin sweating the onions in the butter over low to medium heat. Do not burn or brown the onions, they should become soft and translucent. Once you have reached this stage, add the wine and reduce slowly (stirring constantly) until the liquid has cooked off. Add honey, fresh thyme, salt and pepper at the end. Stir together and set aside. When the shells are golden brown, remove the tops and centers as directed on the box. Spoon equal amounts of the onion mixture in each shell, and top with goat cheese. Return pastries to oven and cook until cheese is warmed, about 10 minutes. Garnish with remainder of fresh thyme. Serve over a spring salad and enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine.


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French History Story & Photos: Elissa Villines Shaw Highlights from May 2013

ver since I was a little girl, I've found myself in full pursuit of one thing or another. As an aspiring fashionista in my early twenties, I chased a flowing silk chiffon dress from the runway of the Dallas fashion market to the designer's own hands. After years of chasing my chosen career in elementary education, and not finding the fulfillment I expected, I happened upon another area of study that took my breath away. The history of eighteenth century France with its gilded châteaux, fairytale hamlets; the excess, drama, and tragedy; the enlightened ideals and charismatic characters all sent me into a daydream that I hoped would never end. Like all chases that have come before, there was that initial spark. This time the spark came in the form of the last true Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette. From loved and cherished princess to detested queen, I found her life had more meaning than history has often given her credit for.


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She’s the one I chase and will most likely always chase. She’s the one I’ve come closest to catching. A private tour of her theater at the Petit Trianon revealed more than I’ve ever dreamed of seeing. Weaving in and out of the stage sets, gliding my hands along an eighteenth century canvas of a forest scene, I imagined her there.


Atte the n

I've Trian 60

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ending the annual masked ball in L’Orangerie at Versailles, I’ve danced and celebrated night in an eighteenth century replica ball gown.

seen every nook and cranny of the private apartments at both Versailles and the Petit non. Blindfold me, spin me around, and I’ll find my way out each time. 61

very visit ends more spectacularly than the one before due to an amazing str unknown.

A chance friendship with a Versailles gilder provided the opportunity to see a room remained as it was left in 1789.

Behind a false door at the Trianon, I had the chance to view a sketch from an unkn revolution. Hence, the thrill and wonder of a private tour of Versailles.

If you pause for moment in these unlit, quiet spaces of Versailles, you can sense w years ago - gazing out a window while courtiers strolled below. This is where you ca time.

Absent of the loud throngs of tourists, the history of Versailles whispers to you throug hidden staircases, across mezzanine floors. This is what chasing history is all about and


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roke of luck or grace from forces

m offset from the chapel that had

nown artist rarely seen since the

what life must have been like 300 an truly chase history one step at

gh the hallways, up and down the d why it is my passion.


Unlike the general tours offered to the masses, a private tour usually leads to more rarely seen sights and a close view of incredible details. 64

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Hall of Mirrors 66

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Le Théâtre de la Reine (The Queen’s Theatre)


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An Interview with Illustrator,

Anthony Tambourini

I recently had the good fortune of finding your unique illustrations on Instagram. When did you decide that artwork was going to be your focus? I was a graphic designer in my 20s, but at some point, I decided to pursue a different career path. I still kept an eye on the art world, watching styles come and go, but I did not pick up a pencil for a very long time, as I'd thought I'd lost it somehow. A couple of decades later I had the good fortune to find someone who believed in me and in my artistic abilities, so I said, why not? I’ve done about 60 drawings in the last eight months, and people are taking an interest and purchasing my work, which is quite rewarding.


Do you have a method when you create? Do you refer to photos, play music, or is there another interesting routine that helps you? I usually research the subject or have visited the place itself - which is more personal, I feel. As my drawings show, I'm a little obsessive regarding detail - I like to get involved with the subject matter. I usually play classical piano or ambient music - it sets me in the mood to concentrate for a few hours. I find drawing very relaxing and therapeutic. An escape, if you like. Much of your art features city scenes; London, Paris‌ architecture plays a large role. What draws you to that subject? Since my youth I've been visiting Paris almost yearly. As everyone knows, it's a beautiful city, as is London where I worked in my 20s. I find architecture more rewarding than, say, drawing a person - I get more satisfaction from people recognizing places from a drawing - then I know I'm halfway there. I do however put my own style on it by making it look somewhat different.


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Clockwise, top right: London Tube/Paris Metro signs, Jardin des Tuileries, Parisian Metro sign, SacrĂŠ Coeur 74

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Can you describe your artwork in one word? Describe yourself in one word. My artwork: whimsical. Myself: detailed. What art do you most identify with? It can vary depending how I feel. I love David Downton’s fashion illustrations beautiful work. David Gentleman’s watercolor city series are a huge inspiration for me. I like the artistic messiness of Jackson Pollock also, as well as the Rococo paintings of Boucher. It's impossible to pinpoint my taste, I feel.

Pont Alexandre III 76

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Carousel & La Tour Eiffel 77

Petit Palais 78

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Petit Palais Staircase 79

Place des Vosges

London Thames Enbankment 82

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Pont Alexandre III 83

La Tour Eiffel


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What would you like people to come away with when viewing your art? I get such great joy hearing people say, “That would look lovely in my house”. I like the thought that my work is enjoyed by whoever walks by. Where would you like your art to go professionally? Ideally, I’d like to see my work showcased in an art gallery someday soon.

Anthony Tambourini is a Liverpool-based illustrator. He specializes in architectural drawings and vignettes. He loves Paris, Liverpool Football Club, and his cat Ollie. Anthony can be reached at and his illustrations can be seen on Instagram.


Belle Inspiration Magazine Jan-Feb 2018