appuyer + win this Amazon gift certificate!
Gagner: Enter to win a one-week rental in Provence!

Tirer au sort + Prize giveaways


I would have never met GUS, had he not entered to win one of these blog contests. Proof that the best part of these giveaways is getting to know readers! (Pictured: wrapping for the antique key that Gus won. Click on the hyperlink in the first sentence to see Gus receiving it!)


tirer (teer-ay)

    : to pull, to draw, to close...

Word etymology: Related to tear. Alternatively from a reduction of Old French martirier (to torture). -Wikipedia   

Thank you all very much for your helpful and very encouraging feedback. I'm deeply touched! Your comments inspired me to be more consistent in posting all sections of this French language journal. Here is one section that fell by the wayside, years ago: Expressions. Another section was "Word Etymology"...and another "Quotes"...  Though it is not always possible to get everything in, owing to time constraints, I will try a little harder. Sometimes it is impossible to include every part (ex. no sound file when Jean-Marc is away). But I am finding ways around some of these challenges... (now only if my dog Smokey could speak French! But then he'd need a smartphone to record the words....)

tirer au sort
= to draw lots, to draw a number i.e. for a prize
tirer à pile ou face = to toss a coin
tirer la langue = to stick out one's tongue
tirer un trait = to draw a line
tirer son épingle du jeu = to make it out unscathed

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc: MP3 or Wav

Tirer au sort: Les gagnants de ces prix sont tirés au sort.
To randomly choose: The winners of these prizes are chosen randomly.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

You may be wondering: Why is Kristi having all these prize giveaways all of a sudden? Well, sit back and let me tell you une petite histoire...

A few years ago, while photographing Smokey in front of my Wall of Keys, it occured to me: tu pourras en donner une.... You could give one of these away (a key, not my dogs!)


It was exciting to think that a centuries-old clé would soon be travelling far away: to a reader in Perth? or maybe even someone in Phoenix? I hurried to my computer to post the giveaway at my blog, adding a suspenseful twist:

"The trésor is currently a secret," I wrote, "but here's a hint: anyone would love it: young or "wizened", man or woman. If you like French antiques, you'll love this historic memento, one from my collection... one I adore and would love to offer you!"

A total of 1537 readers entered the giveaway, after following these simple instructions:

"To win this antique simply leave a greeting here, in the comments box, along with your city. Example:  'Hola from Jules in Puerto Vallarta!'"

How exciting it was to see my comments box come to life. One by one, readers delurked!:

...Hello from Rio de Janeiro! hi from Nova Scotia! Salut from Manchester, England! Hello from sunny Melbourne!  Best wishes from Cape Town! Bonjour de Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisie... and from Alabama, New Jersey, Illinois!!!...

And then came the first critic. As go most vitriolic messages, this one came privately, in my inbox:

"Quit self-promoting!" the reader complained. "And unsubscribe me now!" 

The words stole my breath away. Next they pierced to the core,  producing a bubbling up of doubt. Then my curiosity crept in, and I googled the email address of the person who had sent such an abrupt and upsetting note. 

I discovered the complaint came from a published writer... of French-themed books (the same genre that I write). Looking at her book listed at Amazon I thought, What a shame. My readers would have enjoyed this person's work. Rather than writing me off, why didn't this author at least GET something out of me--if not a "thrice-weekly" vocabulary word. She might have written in asking me to mention her book in my blog's sidebar--where I list French-themed books). 

Meantime, self-promotion? Was that was this prize giveaway was, après tout? Did I have an ulterior motive--apart from livening up my comments box? I had to think about all this. And I did, for three long years during which time I never mentioned another prize giveaway.

And then, little by little, my skin began to thicken. This morning, while preparing today's post, I clicked back to that first giveaway, and tried once again to see where I might have offended anyone. What had I done to provoke such a reaction from this person? 

My eyes pored over the post. And then it struck me. I had book-ended the update with pictures of myself! The angered reader wasn't criticising the giveaway, she was irritated by my portrait. (Gosh, even I was irritated by my portrait, now that I look at it. If you didn't know me personally you'd swear I didn't like hugs or mud or roller skates! 

Then again, qui sait? Who knows what the critic thinks? We can't always understand what causes people to lash out. Meantime, we've got to go ahead with our own party! And as long as most people are dancing, chances are c'est une bonne fête!   

There will be lots more rumba around here -- confetti and prizes and who knows what kinds of surprises. There will be dull and awkward moments too. Whatever the mood, please stay for the ride. Your seat balances this writing vessel, and your words and comments (or silent positive thoughts) are the steam that moves it forward. 



P.S. I never got to the question I set out to explain: Why all these prize giveaways? Answer: Just making up for lost time! I hope you are out there doing the very same thing today.  Thank you and bonne journée!

To leave a comment about today's post, click here. 

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone. See photos here


petit, petite = little
une histoire
= story
tu pourras (pouvoir) = you could
une clé = key
en donner un(e) = give one away
amicalement = warmly
bonne journée = have a good day

I noticed some confusion in the recent comments, what with all those "have a nice time with Mom in Mexico" wishes. (Thank you!) I returned to France last Thursday, after a lovely visit with Mom in Puerta Vallarta... and my sister in Denver:

Here is Heidi making me another delicious meal... but it was hard to quit eating all these crackers (hard to come by in France. Update: try My American Market!)
That a seed blew from one of the sunflowers, landed in the gravel and sprouted is hard enough to believe. That it is about to bloom in December is absolutely incroyable!

Capture plein écran 10122014 085506

Behind The Scenes of this French Word-A-Day

These photo stories continue at Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. (And now at Tumblr, too!)


No giveaway prizes today. In life, everything needs a balance and it's time to recharge. When you buy a copy my book, your purchase is a great support to this free language journal.

"Faire d'une pierre deux coups"
Please consider buying a copy as a gift for someone this holiday season--and "kill two birds with one stone" (much prefer the gentler French expression above!): support this educational blog and tick off one more item on your gift list!

View a selection of my books. You can even buy all three in the "Frequently Bought Together" section--and tick three loved ones off your gift list! Three gifts at under $50!


CLICK HERE TO ORDER KRISTI'S BOOKS Mille mercis! I greatly appreciate your consideration and support. 

"Indognito," or when Smokey wears his sunglasses in public. Did they fell off when he tried to raid that ice cream stand? Smokey, I told you they were closed for winter!

See you next week with the BIGGEST giveaway yet.... meantime please share this post. It's good luck!

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Marika Ujvari

Kristi, just continue doing what you are doing, we love you and we love your blog!!!

Denise Morgan

Your writing and photos provide a lovely mental vacation. Thank you for the brief respite!

Faye, Gleneden Beach, Oregon

Thank you for your wonderful blog/posts and the lovely photos. I always love to hear about your life in France! Be well.

Denise Givens


I seldom write comments here, but you know how much I enjoy your blog and your books (I have them all). Reading your post today about someone objecting to your past post as being self-promoting reminds me of how there sometimes seems to be so much negativity these days, particularly on social media, comments on news articles, etc. Personally, I find it distressing to read so much vitriol on a regular basis. We are all entitled to our own opinions, of course, and it has gotten to the point that I've stopped reading comments on Facebook or appended to news articles as it upsets me too much. It would seem that it should not be that hard to just support one another, be kind to each other, etc. I guess all we can do is steel ourselves to the negativity and try to lift each other up as much as possible. So with that, I love your stories and hope that you never shy away from writing because of negative emails or comments. Your blog has brightened many tough days for me, and I appreciate that you share your life, your family, and yoyr photos!

Nancy Stilwagen

Kristin, I am sure you could stand in for Jean-Marc and create the audio files yourself, when he is away. Obviously, you speak French, too! And I am guessing we wouldn't mind hearing your voice, too. :)

Vicky from Athens

That critic obviously "got up on the wrong side of the bed" that day she verbally attacked you. I don't see how anyone could see your blog as anything other than perfectly delightful! Please keep 'em coming!

Dawn Thomas Willey

Kristin, I smile every time I read your posts. I feel as though you are a friend, and I am not simply a 'fan'.

Kristin Espinasse

Nancy, thank you for the encouragement to do the recordings when JM is away. I had almost forgotten that was an option :-)

Denise, It is so true what you say. Hard to read those social media comments when people are being attacked by others. And good idea to quit watching most of the news

Marika and Faye and friends, thank you for these warm comments. 


Keep posting your picture - we read to get to know you and your family's life - including the dogs, and your mom, and your dad and his wife, and your guests, and your neighbors, and....That is what life consists of.


I subscribe to your posts, not just for the French vocab, I'm desperately trying to learn French, but for the wonderful images. I don't always have time to read the blog but the images transport me to France in all it's glory. So because of the picture of all those antique keys I did read on this week. A wonderful tale of generosity, on your part, and party pooping by someone else. Oh well you can't please everyone:)

Tish Tyler

Dear Kristi,

I remember the key giveaway! I enjoy all your posts and your sharing your life with us as you do. Smokey cracks me up - I just love him!

Hope you are on the mend and glad you were able to visit your mom and sister and family.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
I enjoy the blog and also love all your books! I clicked back to the post on Feb. 15, 2012 and I love the photo of you! I like seeing photos of you and your family and it makes it more personal! Love it! Sometimes you just can't please everyone so just keep doing what you're doing! I love the photo of Smokey and the keys. I love imagining who the keys belonged to and what doors they opened. One of those keys would make a lovely Christmas ornament tied with a red bow on the tree!

Heather C.

Kristin -- I love your blog!!! IGNORE the haters and keep up the wonderful work.


sometimes, like your nasty critic, people are just angry. remember: YOU ARE NOT THE TARGET!! thank you for all your wonderful posts ~ i enjoy them so.


Hi Kristin,

i'm going to guess that your critic, complaining of your self promotion, wasn't criticizing self promotion itself, after all, that person as a writer knew that you have to play that game or vanish, but was disturbed by your looks, which had the effect of throwing a mirror to the writers own face.

Keep up the good writing; i for one enjoy it.

joie in carmel-by-the-sea

I had forgotten about the phrases. I used to love them and be happily frustrated by them. How could one word have so many meanings. More reason to be careful how you use a french word ;=) My all time favorite one was "ceci et cela". And I remember in your first book the one that really got me was the word "string". You must have had at least six different phrases using the word. I will have to go back and look that one up. Keep it up and have fun with it.

Brian (Bulldog) Drummond

Bonjour Kristin!
I love reading your posts each time they arrive in my in-box! I retired from teaching French for 36 years two years ago and the transition has been far from smooth - heart surgeries, hip replacement, challenges with helping my Dad deal with Alzheimer's and my own frustration of trying to find what I can do to help others once again! Through the past two years your posts have been a light for me to hold on to to try and brighten the challenging journey I have been traveling! Merci beaucoup! This is one reader from Hastings, Minnesota who truly benefits from each story you write! (The fact that your name is spelled exactly as my daughter Kristin spells her name is a small connection I've hung on too as well! Bonne Journee et Bonne Semaine!

Heather in Arles

There was just so much positivity here that I am smiling! Merci Kristin for all that you share a lot of light with a lot of people...
If you would give Mr. Smokey a bisous or a scratchie from me, I would be so appreciative. :)

Cheryl in STL

I remember that key giveaway, too. And what fun it was to read where we all come from! That negative private message was totally out of line. Giving away an antique key that was long ago separated from what it unlocked was almost whimsical, certainly not self-promoting!


If you are doing what you enjoy in life, as long as you are not harming yourself or others, does it really matter what other people think about it? I have to remind myself of this all the time. Who cares if they don't "approve"? It is my life, and I am doing something that makes me happy. Life really is short, so we should enjoy it while we can. Keep doing what you have been doing! We enjoy it!

Maxine Gorneau Oesterling

Kristin, jealousy is rampant in this world, unfortunately. You are gorgeous, living in a country most of us can only visit for a week or two, if ever. What continues to amaze me is that you give even one thought to this type of junk mail.

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

Sometimes, as you slide down the bannister of life, the splinters are pointed in the wrong direction! Seems that life has those moments of unpleasantness for everyone.

Bonne journée,


Well yes, shame on you Kristi for letting us into your life and introducing us to your family with delightful anecdotes and photographs. Shame on you for wanting to sell your books.

And while we're about it, shame on the writers who do book tours, the artists who exhibit their work, and the celebrities who graciously give autographs to admirers stopping them in the street. Shame on the high school students who write essays to put themselves in the best possible light hoping to encourage universities to give them a place. Blatant self-promotion. Tut, tut.

Most of all -- and here I am not in the least ironic -- shame on the trolls who hide behind the relative anonymity of the Internet to voice at best ungenerous and at worst vitriolic comments and judgements.

Ignore the idiots, Kristi. They aren't worth your time. And by the way, there was nothing at all irritating in your photograph, which anyway was a clever hint -- you opening a door -- of what the prize was going to be.

Joan L.

I love your idea "As long as most people are dancing there's probably "une bonne fete." Too many of us forget or tell ourselves that we don't have time to dance.
Greetings from Kankakee, Illinois to Kristin and all her readers! Let's dance...

Vivian Langley

Kristin: Don't let that crab keep you from doing what you are doing. Check your comments and see that you have many happy subscribers. Happy your visit with your Mother was super. I visited Puerta Vallarta once and loved it. Vivian

Peggy Welborn

So many of us remember Gus and the keys - then he and his lovely wife visiting you - I miss his comments. Peggy in Florida


I agree w/ Nancy...I' m guessing your french is just fine and U R able to do audio yourself!
Love the key idea & I,too, am transported to the hands that have used them.

Renée C.

Hi Kristin,
For those with a kind and tender heart, envy and jealousy are not the first reaction to others’ achievements. The harsh trick, I would imagine, when dealing with the masses, is to somehow Plexiglas yourself to stay transparent enough to keep true to your own self, yet stay protected from the bitter and the bullies.
Just know that your fans adore you and your stories…you truly do help lighten our worlds with your words.
As far as critics go, “Non bastardae carborrundumus”, (homemade Latin for “Don’t let the Ba$t@rd$ Wear you down”!)
Best wishes!
Renée C.


Kristin , Your post are fabulous ,i so look forward to them, so informative and interesting and funny. Please keep the lovely photos of your dogs and your family and you. Just take absolutely no notice at all of nasty little messages sent by unkind people . Keep up the good work and I wish you a joyful and happy Christmas.

Ken Scupp

Vous nous donnez quelque chose chaque jour - les mots français et la sagesse. Il n'y a pas besoin d'un prix, mais c'est très gentil. On vous doit une fièr chandelle. You give us something each day, french words and wisdom. There is no need for a prize, but it is very nice. We owe you big time.

Jackie Clark Mancuso

That's the right attitude. This French-themed author loves reading every post, learning some new words, and the more photos the better!

Courtney Wells

I personally love your blog! Never have seen self promotion just a good ole REAL blog. I like that you show emotional up,downs and trials and be yourself. Keep up the good work. I enjoy the blog whether my French gets better or not.

Catharine Ewart-Touzot

can't please all of the people all of the time....I think it is a nice idea. and you appeal to an interesting group..I think!

anne wirth

Hi Kristin,
The rudely critical responder sounded jealous to me. Regardless, all speakers, writers, etc. need to have evaluations. That is exactly what you were doing. How do you improve? Feedback! It is a lot of hard work and time to write your blog and it obviously has an overwhelmingly positive impact on people.

Keep the good words and photos coming.

Anne Wirth

Nyla Witmore

I keep thinking smokey LOVES to have his picture taken...he just rushes in to smile for the camera.

I just ordered all three books...for myself! But I plan to share them with my FRENCH Conversation group where we force ourselves to speak ONLY French for 1+ hours each week.

I live in Boulder, CO. Where you daughter wants to go to college. Someday when that happens, I hope to have lunch with you and show you my Monet inspired garden.

Jeanne in Oregon

It is so sad to think that a critic managed to alter your course for three years. The Bible tells us much about the power of the tongue (and thereby the pen), and that we are to edify (encourage) with our words. That writer, apparently experiencing jealousy over your great beauty and immeasurable talent, lashed out at you and needs your, and all of our prayers. My Pastor teaches that we are to search for any truth there may be in criticism, work to improved ourselves when it does apply, and recognize that sometimes it just doesn't apply. Regardless, he always suggests thanking the critic for their comments. Love you, dear one.

Jan in Atlanta

Regarding your observation about the sunflower, determined to survive and bloom in spite of the odds of that happening in December: I had to let you know that your blog is exactly like that for me: a little seed that blows in, takes root, sprouts in my mind and gives me happiness, just like a bright yellow flower. Thank you for your thoughts, your pictures, your travel logs and your kind determination to help and inspire students of French and French culture. Merry Christmas!

Nyla Witmore

I too am an author and like you have had an encouraging husband. An anecdote to share that might spark an idea fr another blog on "moral support". ...or living one's your "bliss."

When my husband came home from work he would take one look at me and KNOW whether or not I had done an writing that day. He would announce ..."You have not written today!" I would respond, "How did you know?" His response..."It is written all over your face...I can just tell. You look different after you have been doing what you love. You look happier, all over."

Kristen, whether there was or was not any remuneration for your writing, you would do it....because it is who you are and and writing feeds something inside you than nothing else will. It makes you a "whole" person, a real person, and a growing person. It feeds the soul. And in turn, feeds our souls. Bless you. Do not stop! Ever!

Alyssa Eppich

Don't let the nasty, jealous ones with their ulterior motives get to you, Kristin! I love your writing, your trust in us, and your sweet puppies. Thank you for brightening up my week, and keeping me up to date on my French. Someday, I do hope to meet you.

KaySue Smith

Dear Kristin,
I had written to you before my first trip to France and now I have returned. Paris was exciting, educational and fun but our week in Provence was where I left my heart. We were guests of the Reynolds at Mas de la Perdrix and it was all that I had heard about and more. It was my 77th birthday and they arranged for Chef Ronald to prepare my birthday dinner. Wow what a wonderful experience and worth waiting the 77 years. Although I do not speak French I tried before leaving to pick up some key words and found that they served me well along with the few I learned while there. However, the words I had learned from FRECH-WORD-DAY were really helpful as they were typical of the locale and not just from a text book. I continue to read your posts and delight in your fresh and original writing. Thank you for being the unique and unpretentious young woman that you are. KaySue Smith


There will always be someone "out there" that wants to complain about something, so please don't let that reader's comments bother you. You have so many readers that love you so much and love to hear your stories and see all your pictures (especially if you are in them!). Just remember that we all love you and will always follow your stories!!

Linda Roll

Now, why would your picture irritate anyone? You always look lovely, and that bit of loveliness would brighten anyone's day.

Jan Hentze

Well said! always stay on the Sunnt Side!

Holly Hokanson

Love your blog and books! Keep up the good work! Joyeux Noel!

Joanne Ablan

Bonjour, Kristin,
Bon courage!
Joanne, Carmel-by-the Sea, CA, USA

Brenda Prowse

So glad you are back Kiristi and hope that your wrist is much better. Shameless self promotion was huge part of my US real estate business so I got used to snarky responses. I am happy to be living in Paris now. Here one has to practically beg to get a business card from a realtor, banker, artist, photographer!

Diane Young

The great thing about the giveaway that Gus won was I learned he lived in Jacksonville and met him once at an Alliance Francaise luncheon. And, saw him at the airport once when I was going to Atlanta and he was going to France. So thanks for the "key" to meeting people.


Our dear Kristi,
Only one thing to say: You Are Awesome!And a gifted writer!If you only knew how many times you have brightened the day and brought smiles to your fortunate readers!!
natalia. xo
ps WONDERFUL Dernier Mot today,too!

Virginia JoDell Montoya

Buenos Dias Kristi
This message is coming to you from the Beautiful city of Albuquerque in the state of New Mexico - Land of Enchantment.
No Worries about the negative comments, hope this inspires you to continue doing what you love with even more gusto - hard to turn down a challenge especially when you know that you are sharing some of your journey and it is bringing joy to so many. The photos are delightful - keep em coming.
Thank You for having the courage to share.
Please give Smokey a hug and let him know he has a cousin in Albuquerque and her name is Tater Tot (she is the love of our life)
Happy Holidays
Wishing you and yours Health,Happiness,Love, Friendship, Peace

Virginia Montoya


Ditto Marika - the very first comment. Glad you are back and assume once the elbow healed you had a good time. Marry Christmas!

Mary Christopher

Chere Kristi, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts for years, and I particularly love the photos.There's only one way to describe the woman who made the nasty comment about self-promoting: JEALOUS! And besides, isn't that just part of the territory with blogging?? If she doesn't like it, she can very easily click on "unsubscribe".
I finally had the opportunity to meet you and Jean-Marc and Smokey and Max this past September, and taste some wonderful Bandol rose, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Keep doing what you're doing and forget the toxic people.

Gail Lentz (Gaelle)

Love you! Love the blog! Love your books!! Love your photos!! So many of us look forward to your emails and updates. I feel sorry for the negative person as she's the one she chooses to live with and spend each day with. Sad, really. Totally her choice. Totally her loss. I missed a clef giveaway??!! Bummer. I completely adore the keys on the old board and old lock. Would love to create a mini version some day. Big hug to dear Kristi!!! 😊 keep spreading your JOY!!!


Glad you had a joyful trip after all. I appreciating the insight into the "critic". Whatever the story about it, it's just a story. Enjoy the sunflower and thanks ~

Julie Farrar

Just keep doing what you're doing. While you may occasionally stumble and do something that puts off someone, you never have anything but the best intentions. We're blessed because you're willing to share your life with strangers.

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm

Ah yes, making up for lost time here too! Dear Kristi, as a friend of mine reminds me "Don't stand in front of the arrows". Good advice especially for those so tender of heart like you and me. :)

Love your generous, kind and beautiful heart what an extra gift that you share it with us all! Thank you!!!


Kristen, I have no idea how can anyone find a negative vibe in this blog. I was reminded of this quote I read on ArabicQuotes:
No one knows the tiny moments when your soul died, no one knows when was it revived or how, and no one knows why you smile when you’re alone! Be strong for you.
I see you as a wonderful strong woman, I remembered this quote because of me! Whenever I encounter inexplicable hostility or rudeness, I let it get to me and bother me for too long. Your way of handling this sort of people is really inspiring. Keep this blog alive, I rarely comment but I always visit.

miriam young  moorestown.  n,j,

love your blogs. They are perfect and so interesting to read of your life in France and of your French family.

Audrey Wilson

There's always one negative thinking person . Ignore it .You demonstrate you have a strong personality ,witness your trials on your journey & your stoicism in dealing with them ;
I am,by the way ,about to start reading my prize "Flirting with French",now I'm back from San Francisco!

Pauline Lowe

I don't comment very often, however I love your contribution to my lessons in French. I have all your books and in the words of Mary Poppins, "never explain anything"


Dear Kristi, envy or jealousy (what is the diff?) can be destructive emotions....
Sometimes the feeling of "I could have written that" can overcome manners and write things one would never dream of saying to one's face... Pity her... and maybe, she might have regretted her outburst. I wonder if she ever thought about apologising...?
Here's some spell-check:
1/ Then my curiosity creept in: crept
2/ Did I have an alterior motive: ulterior
3/ My eyes poured over the post: pored over
Finally, as the modern Aussie saying goes:
I love youse all!!!
Jacqueline in hot, humid Brisbane

Judith Harris

Ne t'inquiete pas. C'est tres impoli de critiquer quelqu'une qui est si genereuse.

Leslie in Oregon

Kristin, how is your elbow feeling, and how is Breizh doing? Don't think of the look in her eyes as sullen; the phenobarbitol probably is leaving her quite dazed, as it is, after all, a barbiturate. Has she developed Addison's Disease, as one Instagram commenter posited? Mango, a wonderful Golden on our street, was diagnosed with Addison's a couple of years ago, and she is doing very well since she began (medication and diet) treatment. Wishing both of you the very best, Leslie

Susan L.

Keep on doing what you've been doing. I love your posts, photos and the insights. Many, many days I feel like I'm the last tree standing in the forest. I have become used to it--finally; I know who judges me in the end.
I send my very best wishes.

moushka à Toronto, Canada

That writer was certainly jealous of both your talent and your beauty, and perhaps also of your happy life in France, too. Glad you finally overcame her baseless criticism. I love all your photos. You're a good photographer and keep getting better. I love your blog and your willingness to share your life with your readers. I'm in awe of what you have achieved. You have a brave and big heart, Kristen. Don't let anyone ever make you feel ashamed of yourself or your work. You wouldn't have so many readers if what you do wasn't very valuable. Merry Christmas and bonne année du Canada!

Betty Walters

I enjoyed reading your "Elvis in the Troisième Âge" article in France Today's Le Petit Journal. He is still the King here in Memphis, of course!
I always love to see evidence of your fame in other publications. Ignore hateful comments - just continue keeping the main thing the main thing.
Warmest regards,

Augusta Elmwood

Hi, Kristin. I especially enjoyed your post today b/c I find the study of origins/roots of words fascinating. To take one step further -- martyr (one who has been tortured, religious connotation). French and English are so intertwined that if all traces of French words were removed from English, English wouldn't exist ! (Well, maybe I exaggerate a little.)

Jackie Layton

I love visiting your blog and hope one day to visit France. Don't stop what you're doing.

Bonne journee!


(Does that work? I hope to be able to speak a little French for the day I finally make it to France.) :)

Beth Bright

Kristin ~ keep doing what your doing. We all love what your doing and writing. One bad apple doesn't have to spoil the whole batch.


Some people are just negative, angry, unhappy people and aren't happy unless they make others like themselves. Don't let them win!! I looked at the original post and still don't see what would cause him/her to write something like that besides that he/she is just a miserable person.
I'm glad you're not letting him/her have any power over you anymore!

kathy Ediss

Good for you! Get back on the horse and ride away from stupid comments from jealous people!

Kathleen from Connecticut

Jealousy is not pretty. The other blog writer needs to give it up. There is room for many on the blog sites,and if she doesn't like yours,she shouldn't read it.
I love reading your blogs. They are funny, inspiring, personal, touching, educational and much, much more. Thank you for them.



Once upon a time I spoke French "assez bienpour une Americaine!" But textbook and dictionary French only go so far. That is why I appreciate the stories which illustrate an idiom and the lists of expressions. Other stories may not teach me as much about France and speaking French, but teach me about life, humanity, and family. Not every story will be perfect for every reader, but every story will speak to someone.


Please help this imperfect student of French.....
"Tu pourras en donner une...." is translated as
"You could give one of them"

Shouldn't the French phrase read.....

"Tu pourrais en donner une......" (?)

(Conditional tense as opposed to future tense)

Would appreciate response from Kristi OR anyone
at all.



I'm always amazed at the things people get bent about . . . Don't like something you see online . . . click off from it! Poof! You've just made it disappear from your life! What power we have!

Seems so much easier than stopping to write a comment/email! :)

*shaking head in puzzlement* :)


I suspect your critic was jealous. You and your family and your dear doggies are precious and delightful. I hope you find it possible to continue this for some years. All the best from a grateful reader.

Marian A. Mohr

Dear Kristin,

Never worry about someone els's critic opinion, they are going through their own drama and projecting it on to you. If you don't except it, your not the one walking around with it. I love your newsletter, I find one word and try to say it every week. My problem is that I was injured at work in 2001, and my short term memory is gone, so I write everything down. Thats all ok, when I finely get to come to France, I will use sign language. I think you need to trust your self in life, we all walk to a different tune, and thats OK, we just have to keep marching on, its our responsibility to make our life the way we want it.. Love Marian

Coleen Clemente

The promotions are great! Who could complain? I have bought your books (multiple copies) and other items...and yes, I won the French Christmas songs CD ( and bought several copies as gifts). All wonderful. As a joke, it occurred to me it could be your husband wanting you to devote more time and attention to him. Ha Ha...just kidding. But that is the best I could come up with. Don't let one insensitive remark darken your day!

Tanya Fox

I have enjoyed your blog for years. Keep it up and thank you for your writing and beautiful photos.

keila horovitz

Re: 17 December entry.

I am mortified.

In my entry, I used the word beguiling, my meaning was natrually Charming or enchanting! Just now checked the dictionary’s definition and OH NO! It’s is not what I wanted to say.

The dictionary says, “ Charming or enchanting, often in a deceptive way”, and I did NOT mean to imply deceptive, I should have said Inviting & or Alluring!


I am deeply grateful to you for helping me along in learning French and adding to the little I know about the French culture. Blessings on you you this season and always.

Loretta LaCoy

Kristen, I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I so look forward to it to bring a ray of "je ne sais quoi" soliel into my email readings. I have purchased all (I hope) of your books and delight in reading them.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! Don't stop or let those unhappy people in this world, discourage you. Just click "delete" and move on.
You bring France , vicariously, to my heart. I have visited only once for a short 10 days and have longed for it like a misplaced old soul, since.
Atlanta, Georgia

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