Le Mervetty: The Taste of Paris in Beverly Hills

As a former ballerina, this of course, caught my eye!!

I love that  Anna Pavlova is their muse!!

In keeping with our family tradition of Sweet Saturdays, The Beans and I had the unique pleasure of visiting a lovely new French patisserie by the name of Le Mervetty last week. We were so excited about it, we invited Sugar Bean’s best friend, String Bean, to join us, so she is making her début at A Calibama State of Mind in this post today! So make her feel welcome, y’all!

Now, back to our outing…

If you’ve not yet visited this elegant little gem at 319 North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, I highly suggest doing so immediately. You will not be disappointed! The first thing we noticed is the bright, inviting decor. It absolutely makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Paris, and are about to experience French desserts at their finest. The attention to detail is stunning, right down to the Eiffel Tower and precious packaging. But see for yourself:

Yum!!

Yum!!

Sugar Bean and her BFF, String Bean showing off their treats!

Sugar Bean and her BFF, String Bean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake!

Now this is definitely not an ordinary bakery, and I can assure you neither this Southern gal, nor any of The Beans, had ever tasted anything like their delectable treats! The unique desserts, properly known as merveilleux, are available in five flavors (Chocolate, Nutella, Coffee, Praline and Speculoos) and three sizes: Le Petit Mervetty, Le Mervetty and Le Grand Mervetty. Being from the South, I naturally went straight for the one covered in crushed pralines, and it was quite honestly like eating a meringue based, cream-filled cloud of airy sweetness.  So light and fluffy you’ll swear they’ve been whipped up by angels in Heaven! Let’s give credit where credit is due though,  and throw the spotlight on chef Etty Benhamou, who makes these confections on-site, everyday. Oh, and they take special orders too! Which was fabulous news to me, because as soon as we walked in, Sweet Pea’s eyes went directly to their house specialty, Le Pavlova, and wants one for her birthday next month! 

Le Pavlova...ooo la la!!

Le Pavlova…ooo la la!!

 

And if a picture is worth a thousand words….the ones below are worth millions…which is what you’ll feel like after you visit Le Mervetty and taste the sweet perfection they deliver to your taste buds!!

Sugar Bean had Chocolate

Sugar Bean had Chocolate

Butter Bean had Chocolate

Butter Bean had Chocolate

Sweet Pea had Speculoos

Sweet Pea had Speculoos

 

And the grand finale was String Bean and her Le Petit Mervetty flavored with Nutella!

The face of sheer delight!

The face of sheer delight!

 

 

Le Mervetty 319 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 310-804-9409

Le Mervetty
319 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310-804-9409

Is God Real or Pretend?

I know what I believe: a very emphatic, loud, resounding YES MA’AM!  I mean, if you read this post , you’ll understand that it’s by His very Grace that I’m alive. In addition, I believe He is a loving God, who through the Christian principles and teachings I’ve chosen to follow from The Bible, compels us to be compassionate, tolerant, non-judgmental and forgiving. And also that, as Glennon Doyle Melton, of Momastery  puts it…“God is forever tries.” In other words, no matter how many times we sin, or how bad the sins are…if you ask Him to come into your life and forgive you….He does. No questions asked.

At the same time, I respect what you believe. Even though your answer to this question may be vastly different from mine. That’s perfectly fine with me, because differences are what make our world a unique place to live. I’ve never been one to force my beliefs on anyone, and I don’t plan on starting now, on the 42nd anniversary of my birth (yes, today is my birthday). The various religions of the world and their individual teachings and guidelines have always fascinated me. I’ve even sought classes on the History of Religions, only to enroll and find out it was not going to supply me with the knowledge I was seeking, so I dropped out. Oh well. I suppose as an eternal student of life, I’ll just have to keep looking. But anyway, enough about that.

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The reason for my post today is simple. I was asked by TLC Book Tours to review a book entitled “Is God Real or Pretend”, by Jennifer Horsman.

Is God Real or Pretend? is the story of young Franklin’s engaging and enlightening journey to answer this age-old question. Franklin’s grandmother, Dr. Wendy Knowles, a professor of astronomy, first provides Franklin with the basic scientific means of determining what is real and what is not and how science distinguishes questions it can answer and those it cannot. Franklin’s mission of discovery continues as he meets a kindly professor of Greek mythology who offers a historical-cultural prospective on the question. Here Franklin meets the Greek Gods and their timeless myths.

Once armed with these new ideas, Franklin meets with representatives of the world’s five major religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. These knowledgeable teachers from the great religions charm and delight as they shine positive lights on their religion. Franklin asks probing questions, while learning to appreciate and admire the diversity and beauty of these religious beliefs and traditions. Ultimately, Franklin’s dynamic school report on the immensity and magnificence of the universe becomes the backdrop for thinking critically about religion and questions about God.

This book is designed for anyone and everyone, young and old, religious or not, who wants to know more about these five great religions. It’s the most unforgettable and exciting journey, one every thoughtful child (and the curious adults in their life) will enjoy.

REVIEW

Being the mother of The Beans –Sugar, Butter, and Sweet Pea– and having just concluded a glorious holiday season during which they were all three baptized in a beautiful ceremony, our family lit the last candle of Advent–the Christ Candle — at our church’s Christmas Eve service, and then witnessing them open the gifts Santa brought them on Christmas Day…..my biggest issue with this book is that on page 2 it clearly states “SANTA CLAUS IS NOT REAL.”  WTF? Seriously. For a book that is geared towards a young audience, that’s just…well…wrong in my honest opinion. And to think, I almost read it to my youngest two children, who still whole-heartedly believe in the magic of Santa. Talk about dodging a bullet inevitably designed to break a tiny heart! Now, I realize not everyone allows their children to believe this myth based on the assumption that it’s ‘lying’ to them. And hey…to each his own. But I, for one, plan to allow mine to enjoy the magic for as long as they choose to. They grow up fast enough. Besides, I’ve witnessed Christmas miracles in my life that could only be explained by belief in both God and Santa Claus. So there.

All that being said, the book does an effective job of explaining the 5 major religions of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It talks about each one separately, outlines the major rules or principles its followers abide by and explains the differences between the faiths. At the same time, the author manages to highlight how the various religions are similar in their teachings on an elemental level, which I very much enjoyed. In addition, the book addresses the existence of God from a scientific perspective, discusses the history of Greek Gods, or polytheistic belief, and talks about Agnostics, or those who are unsure whether God exists at all. The language is easy to understand, and it flows well, which is definitely a plus for a book about religion. All in all, an interesting read full of useful information.

In the end, Franklin, the curious child at the center of this story, says  “I learned that religions all have different ideas of God, but that God still remains mysterious,” and, “All religions try to help people be better.”  Both valuable points, I believe. However, ultimately he decides he likes “the scientific way of knowing best.” For me, this is not the conclusion I would prefer my children to settle upon, but that’s likely because I feel the presence of God in my life, have a strong faith and want my daughters to grow up with the same. Because often, at the end of a particularly challenging period in one’s life….hope, belief and faith may just be all you have to cling to.

Think I’ll tuck this book away from the eyes of The Beans until they begin asking questions. For now, they love Jesus with all their hearts, and believe God is very real….which is fine by me!

The Beans just after their Baptisms.

The Beans just after their Baptisms.

Jennifer Horsman is the author of many popular books for both young readers and adults. In addition to a B.A. from UC Irvine in Social Ecology (don’t ask; no one knows what it means), she has spent a lifetime reading about religion, philosophy, history and science.

You can find her books at www.JenniferHorsman.com, or by clicking on her picture below.

Author-JHorsman-photo-taken-by-Ken-Mooty-199x300

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GRACE UNPLUGGED

Every so often, I’m invited to cool events as the result of my incessant over-sharing here  at a calibama state of mind. Some are blogger networking soireés, others are invitations to be part of the audience for a talk show, and others are opportunities to attend private screenings of great films before they are released.  That’s what happened last week, and the film sent such a positive message, I want to tell y’all about it so you won’t miss it once it opens in theaters this Friday!

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**A talented young singer and aspiring songwriter’s Christian faith and family ties are tested when she defies her worship-pastor father and pursues pop-music stardom in GRACE UNPLUGGED, a moving and inspiring new film that explores the true meaning of success.

Grace Trey has just turned 18 and aspires to do more than sing in her church’s worship band, which is led by her father, Johnny Trey, a one-time pop star who gave up his life in secular music when he became a Christian. Grace longs to escape his shadow and make a name for herself singing songs about something other than God, but Johnny warns her that fame is not as glamorous as it looks and reminds her that serving and worshipping God with the talent she’s been given is a far more worthwhile goal.

When Johnny’s former manager, Frank “Mossy” Mostin shows up 20 years after the two parted ways to offer him another shot at the big time, Johnny declines the opportunity. But Grace takes it – without telling her parents. She records a cover version of her father’s old Top 10 hit, runs away to Los Angeles and, under Mossy’s guidance, begins to taste the kind of success she’s always dreamed of, landing on the charts herself, attracting the attention of the entertainment press, even dating a popular TV star.  But with each rung of the ladder she climbs, Grace feels pressure to compromise her Christian values, and her relationship with her parents gets further strained. Even as plans move forward for her to record a follow-up album, Grace learns not everyone who says they’re on her side really is. The one exception is Quentin, an intern at her record company and a fellow Christian who urges Grace to reassess her choices and put God first again in her life. Will everything she experiences lead her to reject her faith … or …rediscover it?

 

Ironically, the screening was scheduled for last Wednesday evening, which happened to be not only the eve of Sugar Bean’s 14th birthday, but also the night she attends her beloved youth group meeting at our church. And as much as I adore attending a private screening (and even more so the party that usually follows) I must admit, when Sugar Bean opted to attend youth group instead of the movie, I smiled a bit. Okay, a lot. Because raising a teenage daughter in LA is really tough, and there is always a moment of pride when you are presented with unequivocal evidence your angel has her priorities aligned properly: God, Family, and Fun. In. That. Order.

Our very important scheduling conflict did not, however, mean all was lost. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, and a great girl named Briana at Grace Hill Media, who hooked me up with a digital link, and provided me with log-in credentials…we were able to enjoy the film from the comfort of our own home, snuggled up together in our jammies. And it’s such an amazing, feel good family flick, that was an outstanding way to experience it. Quality mother/daughter bonding time is always sheer perfection! And the icing? The film is partly set in Birmingham, Alabama, which is not far from where I grew up, so I recognized the scenery. That’s always fun!

Anyway, the film itself is just the kind of movie I love to show The Beans. It’s packed with teenage angst, disobedience and rebellion. Wait…what?! Did I just say that? Yes. Yes I did. It’s incredibly relatable, and the rebellion is dealt with sensibly; emphasizing faith, family and the importance of remembering your roots, following your beliefs, maintaining strong morals, and trusting God to lead you along the path to where you belong. It’s packed with teachable moments. Yes, it’s a Christian film. But it’s much much more than that, so don’t shy away from seeing it, even if your spirituality and faith is rooted elsewhere. Because with all the horrifying images and behavior exhibited these days by the very pop stars whom our youth once viewed as ‘role models’, this movie is a gust of fresh, clean air our children can breathe in and be inspired by. The character of Grace Trey is just the kind of girl anyone would be overjoyed to have as a daughter, and fortunately….I’m pretty sure I’m raising three of her, with help from positive works of cinematic brilliance like GRACE UNPLUGGED. 

Starring AJ Michalka, James Denton, Kevin Pollack, Shawnee Smith, Michael Welch, and Jamie Grace, GRACE UNPLUGGED arrives in theaters October 4 from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. Inspired by a true story, GRACE UNPLUGGED is directed by Brad J. Silverman and produced by Russ Rice, the team behind NO GREATER LOVE.

AJ with Dad Performing In Church[1]

Grace Piano & Guitar[2]

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You can visit the official website, view the trailer and follow the journey of this film by clicking the links below:

Website: www.graceunplugged.com

Official Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0zIUGjIR1Q

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/GraceUnplugged

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GraceMovie

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**Denotes synopsis provided by Grace Hill Media. All images provided by Grace Hill Media, with permission from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.

The opinions stated here are entirely mine, and mine alone, and I did not receive any monetary compensation in exchange for my review. 

Shout out to FRESH BROTHERS PIZZA!!

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It’s no secret that when I plan things, Murphy’s Law kicks into high gear and throws a curve ball the size of the moon. So I usually just trust the wings I have growing out of my butt, and fly by the seat of my pants. It works for us, so probably best not to tempt fate too often, right? On occasion though, it is necessary to deviate from our mellow, go with the flow lifestyle in order to enjoy one day only, special events (hint: Murphy doesn’t take the day off.)

This past Saturday was one such day. I planned for our family tribe to attend an event at the latest location of FRESH BROTHERS PIZZA in Hollywood. The event was for MomsLA contributors and promised to be awesome….packed with pizza making, face-painting and all around fun. The Man and The Beans were ecstatic when I told them, so off we went!

It was scheduled for 11am and we arrived around 11:15. Much to my surprise, we were the only ones there…..except, of course Murphy and that Law Book. I approached the counter and confidently introduced myself to the manager, announcing we were there for the event. He looked at me with a bit of surprise, and asked if we’d booked a private party. Wait…what?!!  When I explained, he immediately got on the phone with Debbie Goldberg, one of the owners, while I whipped out my phone and logged into FB to check the original posting, and see if I’d completely lost my mind (don’t answer that). Turned out, the event was rescheduled for September….but of course, I’d missed that detail. Yeah…I’m a bonehead, and this is a sparkling example.

Not to worry though. Debbie and I chatted briefly on the phone, and she said for us to have a blast…lunch was on FRESH BROTHERS! I couldn’t believe it. The mix-up was completely my mistake, and she went out of her way to fix it. That is the ultimate in customer service!! The staff rolled out the red carpet of hospitality, and we had THE BEST TIME! The Beans made pizza, The Man watched sports, and I took pictures. A fabulous day was had by all!!

playing with dough

playing with dough

ingredients for perfect pizza making

ingredients for perfect pizza making

The Man, The Beans and some quality pizza making

The Man, The Beans and some quality pizza making

YUMMY!!!

YUMMY!!!

Oh, and the pizza?  To be honest, I’ve never been much of a pizza fan…so it takes  a lot to impress me when it comes to that particular cuisine. But I can, without any hesitation at all, say it was the YUMMIEST I HAVE EVER TASTED! Fresh Brothers has shown me the light…lol. In fact, I told The Man I would be ordering it often, and he would be picking it up on his way home from work 🙂

Again, I can’t thank Debbie and her staff enough. What a way to make me look like a hero in front of my tribe!

 

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