The Academy France a week with Heather Bullard - Part 2

Hello friends!
I'm back with part 2 of my trip to France. 
So much happened, it was hard to squeeze it all into one post, so here's the rest of the highlights of my trip.

The basis of this trip was to learn photography and styling from Heather Bullard.
It was great to get her tips and insight on how to set up a shoot and all that goes into it.
We also got to hear some pretty funny stories on some recent jobs she did and stuff you never hear about behind beautiful homes!

We were paired up with one other attendee and brought items from our flea market trip that we could photograph.

I chose to bring this pitcher, little green canning jar, and flower snips for my set up.
The flowers were from the bouquet that was in my room.

We worked on several different angles and back drops and Heather came around to each group to give her tips or answer questions.

This was my partner, Gina.
A Texas girl!
She was so fun to get to know and has done extensive traveling all over Europe.

This cute little vignette was part of another group's- I thought it was so sweet.

We went out to a few French villages during the week (after our lessons) to practice what we had learned.

The first village we visited was Perigueux.
It was beautiful and we photographed the farmer's market that was going on.

I loved this crusty Frenchman who was smoking his cigarette while selling herbs and flowers!

Photo taken by my friend Shannon.  (Find Joy in the Journey blog)
Those aqua doors and shutters were my favorite! That's Jamie of So Much Better With Age next to me in the shot.

My most favorite village was Saint Emilion in Bordeaux.
It was absolutely enchanting.
It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Every corner was breathtaking, and the cobblestone streets were incredible.

Someone in our group said
" can almost imagine Belle from Beauty and the Beast turning the corner...."
So true.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch in an 3rd century (? I think that's what it was) church courtyard.

These cute little linen bags were from the Etsy shop YUI Basics.
Another one of our gifts of the day!
They are so adorable, and I'm looking forward to using it again!

The panzanella salad that we had with our lunch was to die for.

We also visited a centuries old candy shop in St. Emilion.
Everything from classic chocolates to fun stuff for little ones.
Hannah's only request was that I bring her back some French candy.
And I'm not talking the fancy stuff.  She wanted the fun stuff, so I picked an assortment of suckers, chewy candies, and something that looked like pop rocks, but was gum.

The thing we all noticed with French sweets vs. American, is that they're not overly sugary.
It's just the right amount of sweet, but not the kind that burns your throat.
They also like to incorporate a lot of floral flavors in their candies.
Again, subtle- not overtly.

Our final village / market day was Riberac.
It was a more homey feeling place with a nice mix of handmade goods.
I bought a few French market bags, a linen shirt, some French soaps, pottery, and a few other goodies.

On the way home after lunch, we saw some gorgeous farmland and French cows by the roadside.
We had to stop and grab a few quick photos.

photo credit: Shannon Brown

Later that evening, we had a fabulous dinner in the chateau barn.
It was so beautiful and so much fun.  I miss those dinners a lot!
I can't remember the last time I laughed that much in one week.

So dreamy.  The little glass votives had "La Fermiere" written on them, and when I asked Heather about them, she said they were yogurt jars!
The French do everything so pretty.
Of course, the next chance I had in a grocery store I bought a couple to bring home!

Our last evening at the chateau, we had a blind wine tasting dinner hosted by one of the Australians on our trip.
It was so much fun, so delicious, and so informative.
I love wine tasting, but am absolutely terrible at identifying the smells or flavors.
So I after a few failed attempts at guessing, I just sat back, ate, and enjoyed.

I had my first taste of sardines in France- you can see them above here.
They were absolutely amazing.
Our chateau host, Laurent, made an incredible feta mint dip that I couldn't wait to recreate when I got home.  It was fantastic.  I may have to do a little share here on the blog.

And of course, the best cheese.

One of the funniest stories of the week was the groundskeeper, Benoit.

We noticed him one morning at breakfast.
He came buzzing through the grounds on his golf cart, and was wearing this long sleeve shirt you see here.
A few minutes later, he came back, but was wearing a beret.
A few minutes after that, he came driving through again with no shirt, and just the beret.
After that we nicknamed him Naked Benoit.

The same day, he kept driving by the barn doors that were part of our lecture area.
He was going by so often, that he caught Heather's attention, and she couldn't stop laughing.
With each drive by, the vehicle got bigger (golf cart to tractor) and the way he sprawled out on the seat with each drive by let us know he definitely wanted to be noticed.
Those Frenchmen.

It was a fantastic week meeting so many fun and amazing women from all over the world.
I will never forget the opportunity to go and learn and experience all that I did.
A huge thank you to Heather, Jill, Jaci, and Terry for all that they did to make this such an amazing and special trip.
This trip was planned down to the smallest detail a year before we arrived, and we definitely felt spoiled all week.
It was surreal to get all the advice that I did from someone I've admired for so long.
Again, thank you so much Heather.

I am so grateful to my family for letting me run away on this adventure half way around the world.
I can't wait to bring them back to these places.

And our wonderful chateau hosts, Martine and Laurent were so gracious and wonderful.
If you are ever looking to stay in the Bordeaux region, please look them up.
Chateau Mondesir
They are on Air bnb!


Let's Connect!


  1. It looks like you had a fantastic time! Thanks for sharing your trip with all of us!

    1. Yes, it really was incredible! I'm so glad I could go. Thanks so much for your visit, Angelina!

  2. I would say you captured the essence of France perfectly! And as for that Frenchman, too cute!

    1. ha ha! thanks Monica :) France....hard to find a bad photo opportunity ;) thank you!


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