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From the desk of Lauren Palmer

Hello friends! Today I want to share with you about a beautiful event I attended last week, an event hosted by our very own Resident Chef, Lorie Fangio. Most of you know, Lorie is the founder of A Taste of Paris, which leads groups on culinary-centric journeys across France. Once a quarter, Lorie hosts a French-inspired event to educate and inspire the attendees further about the French Mystique. Friends, you absolutely must attend one of Lorie’s events! You can learn more about them on the A Taste of Paris website.  

On Friday, Lorie held a French inspired Valentine event that I was so excited to attend. It was held at Toulouse at Legacy West from 10:30-2:30, and you will not believe how incredible it was!!

In our private room at Toulouse, Lorie kicked off the event by sharing with us, that when it comes to pleasure, French women never shy away. “For example, a French woman would never use the term, ‘chocoholic’,” Lorie told us. “They would enjoy a piece of chocolate and not obsess about the calories, or how ‘bad’ they were behaving. They enjoy life and beauty and pleasure, and are unashamed of it.” I enjoyed hearing about this because it really is sad how hard we are on ourselves sometimes. A large part of the American sensibility stems from our Puritanical and even Victorian roots. Pleasure is often associated with shame, not joy. After hearing Lorie speak, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and be a bit easier on myself when it comes to indulgences. This is life! It should be fun, exciting, delicious, and spent taking part in experiences we love. 

After Lorie welcomed us, local orchid expert, Julie O’Keefe, spoke to us about everyone’s favorite flower…the orchid! Y’all, she relayed such a plethora of knowledge I could barely keep up with all the wonderful information she gave us. Her past experience includes learning from the ultimate orchid master, Norman Fang, owner of Norman’s Orchids in Montclair, CA, and today Julie is the floral manager at the Trader Joe’s in McKinney!! Isn’t that exciting? We can go in and visit with Julie whenever we want. Below are a few of my favorite orchid facts:

  • (Almost) Never remove an orchid from the interior plastic container they are typically purchased in. Repotting is only necessary every few years, and typically should be done by someone who knows what they are doing. Orchids like to remain in one pot in one spot!
  • Before placing your orchid in a decorative container, use Excelsior Moss or wax paper to elevate your orchid to the appropriate height within the container.
  • If you don’t like the wooden stakes and clips that typically come with an orchid, use Pussywillow branches and rafia instead for a more organic, elegant look.
  • Flanking a piece of furniture with 2 orchids is a very “French” way of decorating. 
  • To make leaves shiny, use Leaf Shine spray

Everyone got to take home a beautiful orchid!

After Julie finished speaking, Troy Easton—owner of Sublime Chocolates at Watters Creek—came and spoke to us about the World of Fine Chocolates. We were able to try different truffles from his chocolate shop, my favorite was a chocolate from Madagascar because the chocolate had a “passion fruit” flavor that is natural to the cocoa bean. No flavoring was added! My second favorite was a truffle made with chocolate from the Dominican Republic. DIVINE! And it had a beautiful blue design on top which made it really fun to eat. Have you ever seen the movie Chocolat? It stars Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp and takes place in France. Go watch that movie and then run over to Sublime Chocolate in Watters Creek to indulge in a decadent bite!

Troy brought everyone a box of his assorted chocolates to take home. Aren’t they beautiful!?

And the grand finale of our French Valentine Event was a fabulous presentation by the team at Christian Dior Beauty. We learned about Mr. Dior himself and what inspired his perfume line. Several makeup artists were on site to give everyone a quick touch-up, and they even gifted everyone one of their Dior Addict Lip Glow sticks, a translucent sheen that reacts with the natural PH of your lips, creating a unique color just for you. It looked different on everyone! (If you haven’t tried Dior Addict Lip Glow, YOU NEED TO!)


Below are a few tidbits of information I picked up from the Dior Beauty team:

  • your olfactory system can only handle 3 fragrances at once. When smelling perfumes, don’t smell coffee beans between them…it just adds another scent! Instead, to cleanse your olfactory system, smell the sleeve of your clothing. Your nose will recognize the scent as “familiar” and cancel it out, leaving you ready to smell another fragrance.
  • Layer Layer Layer! Layer your perfumed lotion with perfume to add additional complexities to the scent as well as making it last longer.
  • In the summer, you may only need the scented lotion. Your pores are open from the heat causing the fragrance to sink in easier.

We sipped on champagne (the house one at Toulouse is sooo good!–picture below!) and shopped Dior Beauty and visited until it was time for lunch: a three-course seated meal with the 24 other attendees. 

Espresso Pot de Creme was the best I’ve ever had!!! Plus they served it with beignets!


Ladies, if you haven’t subscribed yet to A Taste of Paris, be sure you do to learn more about these fabulous events. Every one of us should partake in fun outings now and then. We should learn, be inspired, and visit with other women. Thank you, Lorie, for hosting such an incredible event!

To learn more about Lauren and The Art of Living Beautifully, please visit our ‘about’ page.

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