We’ll always have Paris!

Whenever I drive into Toronto the “An American in Paris” billboards call to me!

I finally did something about it and asked my Mom if she would like to join me.  In typical Mom fashion her response was, “Yes!  My treat!”  Geeeez am I ever a lucky kid!

Our evening began with a windy walk up John Street discussing what we would like to eat for dinner before the show.  Seafood was high on the list of possibilities.  In all the excitement we walked right on King instead of left to where all the restaurants are.  I find when I’m with my Mom we always end up in the right place at the right time when we veer from the path.  We stumbled upon a lovely little cozy Mexican restaurant called Los Colibris where we scored the last two seats for dinner.  We indulged in Salmon, Yellow Tail and Shrimp Ceviche.  All separate dishes, delicious in their own way!

When the first dish arrived and our Sauvignon Blanc was poured my Mom asked, “So honey, what makes you so interested in An American in Paris?”

I really had to think about it.  To be honest I didn’t really know anything about the musical except for the Gershwin tune.  My Mom and Dad had a Gershwin Album when I was a kid.  It was called “Levant plays Gershwin, A Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F and An American in Paris”  I was so intrigued by the record cover.  The woman on the cover was stunning, she had long black gloves and her lipstick was perfect.  She casually hung on to a silver telephone and lay comfortably in a remarkable black gown over big satiny pillows.  To me she was confident, glamorous and I wanted to be her!

When I got older and started painting, this album cover was one of my first projects. Of course I wanted to be just like Sonny on Xanadu, ha ha! I replicated the cover by painting it on Bristol board.  I played the record over and over again while I painted, my replication had to be perfect.  For years it hung in my parent’s basement behind the bar and became a conversation piece when my brother and I held our high school basement parties.  All of our friends thought it was so cool!

The musical on Friday night was everything I imagined it would be and more!  The intrigue of Paris, the romance, the glamour, the sophistication of the women.  One of my favourite scenes was the Parfumerie with all of its whimsical little bottles in dreamy pastel colours.  I just wanted to stop time and enjoy that scene for a little while longer.

Looking back now on how much that album cover inspired me and how wonderfully the musical resonated with me on Friday night, I have to wonder . . .

Should we expect miracles to be these BIG, GRAND events or things that suddenly appear in our lives?  I’m convinced that miracles are more often the subtleties in life that we really need to pay attention to and feel grateful for.

There are so many experiences I have had in my life where I have felt this type of inspiration.  The word  “inspire” comes from the Latin word “spiritus” which means connection to spirit.  Have you ever noticed when you are feeling inspiration from something or when you are working on something meaningful it can often feel like it is arising from some type of external influence?  Whenever I am designing a piece of jewelry or painting, public speaking or even cooking I go into a zone.  When I am in that zone I inherently know what to do next and I can honestly say this free, happy, wonderful sensation usually feels like I am channeling it from something much bigger than myself.  I’m pretty sure we call that purpose.

These are the miracles I am talking about.  Next time you have a gut feeling like you need to be somewhere or create something,  you must listen because that means it’s your turn to do something magnificent in this world that only you can do!

As for me, I feel an American in Paris glamjulz collection coming together in my head.

Now, please excuse me, while I escape into my zone.

What’s that? You want to come along?  Well, of course you can . . .

Let’s start with a stroll along the Champs Elysees, shall we? Cue the soundtrack Maestro!

Monica XO

Be sure to enjoy our “Nurturing” Collection this season as we celebrate all of the characteristics of a woman.  I’m lucky enough to have a Mom who still nurtures her baby birds today.


Dawn Bartels

I love this Monica!!! I feel the zone every time I create new combinations and it feels amazing!!!! I am so lucky to have this beautiful job and to be inspired by you every day!!


Hey Monica – I am in rehearsals now for The Drowsy Chaperone. A 20s type musical written by Toronto actors and musicians that had big success on Broadway. It is a fundraiser for Nightwood Theatre (an all women collective – each of them a wonder women!)
The actors are all lawyers who are not singers or dancers but we are singing and dancing. The directors and musical director are professionals who are very kind and encouraging. The lawyers are all driven types so we work like crazy to get it right.
There is something great about leaving my office after a long day of work to be with my colleagues in a completely different space; creating something that is out of our wheelhouse. But its for a good cause and we are having so much fun doing it.
I encourage everyone to take a deep breath and sing out in whatever way makes you feel inspired and invigorated.

Monica Graves

Yes Llana!!

Sing it sister!!! How inspiring. Really appreciate you sharing this XO


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