FAN CLUB BY JESSICA BOUKRIS
Jessica Boukris is one of our two cofounders. She has a passion for Japanese food, free-thinking female writers and got her first empowerment lessons from the Riot Grrrls scene. Despite being born and raised in Paris, she is a true nature lover and considers her thirty year old horseback riding practice to be her greatest self-care experience.
Read on for a selection of her favorite places, tools and products.
Shopu Shopu is an online shop owned by Nathalie Agematsu, a half French, half Japanese Parisienne. The careful curated collection of objects mixes design, art and craftsmanship. The selection is minimal with only premium and authentic products always with a sophisticated touch. I personally love the beauty products, the home slippers and the wooden pieces for cooking. This online store makes me want to buy all sorts of accessories and try new Japanese recipes!
My husband's grandmother, who has lived a very healthy life and is always full of resources, recommended I use this when taking my driving licence test last year and for the fifth time. (My advice: start at 18!) It worked - I finally got my licence. Since then, the Rescue bottle has been a life saver for me. I use it during tense moments like my dressage competitions and it works really well by both decreasing my stress level and helping me to stay focused. I also put a few drops on sugar cubes for the horses when they get nervous.
Girlfriend Collective is a brand that we love. They are totally transparent about their production, their recycled polyester, how their fabric gets made and information about their factory. Their pieces are simple with a limited but strong color range, but the materials are premium, recycled and technical. I really like the Compressive High-Rise Leggings and the Petite Paloma Bra both in this beautiful cherry red.
My personal style combines minimal boyish 90s with a touch of seventies, so sailor pants have always a wardrobe staple for me. My collection expands every season, color after color, and for a couple of seasons now, my heart has gone to Jesse Kamm. I love her California made high-waisted pants in all of the colors - olive, salt white, black, tobacco, caribbean gold - although my favorites are iron oxyde and piscine blue. The cut is wide enough, but not too much, and you can wear them long or cut to the ankle.
CLIMBING IN THE FONTAINEBLEAU FOREST
Fontainebleau is 30 minutes south of Paris by car or train. I used to go there every summer when I was younger and the memories of outdoor meals on the white sand and the rocks warmed by the sun, remain some of my favorite to this day. Going to Fontainebleau was an adventure. My parents would let us go climb the rocks and walk through the forest for hours on our own. One of the rocks was called the Elephant and the forest was the perfect playground to let our imagination create the most amazing quests. I particularly liked the moment where we reached the top of the rocks. With the amazing panorama of the entire forest and the sun setting, I felt like I was in a jungle.
ACG (for All Condition Gear) has always been my favorite label at Nike. Debuting in 1989 (Nike Hiking was created in 1981), this indie and now cult outdoor collection still has this 90s Richard Dean Anderson meets Pendleton vibe. Even the names of the products evoke national parks and trekking in the Mojave desert. The Dog Mountain, the Air Mowabb, Air Mada, Lava Dome, Magma, Approach and the Air Escape...these iconic sneakers still resonate as the promise of an adventurous lifestyle. So, if you’re the type to sport kicks that mix purple with turquoise and electric blue with vivid orange and like the feel of Gore-Tex this brand is for you.
Many of us spend several hours a day hunched over, shoulders slouched forwards and our heads and necks at awkward angles. Others suffer from chronic backaches, despite years of dancing, yoga and Pilates. The Alexander Technique can help our bodies remember what good posture feels like, while also keeping us in shape over time. Last year, I was looking for a horseback riding teacher who would teach me how to incorporate more psychology and wellness into my practice. Enter Véronique Bartin with whom I did a 3 day training that transformed my posture. Véronique is one of very few people to teach this technique in France, with a particular focus on riders, but she also works with non riders, performers, as well as many people come to her for particular style of personal development coaching.
I have traveled by horseback in Iceland, Mongolia, the Sahara desert, England, Ireland and all over France with many riding treks still on my bucket list. One of them is the Del Colca Canyon in Peru - the deepest canyon in the world. I dream about discovering the local horses like the Paso Peruano who can amble (similar to a trot) and the ancestral ethnic traditions. The trek includes the lake Titicaca, the thermal baths of the Colca Valley, some pre-Inca and Inca sites and some colonial cities. An amazing visit at the heart of the Andes, mixing history, spirituality and long time breeding traditions.
A beautiful pool with a hammam and a sauna built directly into the granite fondation, studios spread out over 3 floors, an army of private trainers and the most high end equipment, a private cinema and a restaurant by Jean Imbert… Welcome to Blanche, the most luxurious sports club in Paris. With its art nouveau façade by Charles Girault - one of the architects who created the Grand Palais - the freshly opened club happens to be five minutes away from my home. I can't wait to try one of their Box and Fit classes then lie in their sauna for twenty minutes of pure delectation. Only in Paris.
Jeong Kwan is featured in an episode of Chef's Table. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you do. She is a zen Buddhist nun based in a Korean temple and with a very unique approach on cooking, namely that of a spiritual practice that she fills with compassion. She cooks for herself, the nuns who live with her and her visitors, and describes her vegetarian cuisine as being 'inhabited by the spirit of a serene and static person.' Her mindfulness and conscience fills the eyes - and the mouth apparently - with delight, as you discover her plates that look sublime, delicate and carefully thought of.
This book is one of a kind. I have gifted it to several friends and suggest you pack it in your beach bag if you have not read it yet. It is non fiction based on a true story, the story of a relationship between the author and gender fluid artist Harry Dodge. It's about love, of course, but also about motherhood, sex, gender, transmission, feminism and the challenges of creating a queer family. This is a quote I particularly like: ‘'The mother of an adult child sees her work completed and undone at the same time. If this holds true, I may have to withstand not only rage, but also my undoing. Can one prepare for one's undoing? How has my mother withstood mine? Why do I continue to undo her, when what I want to express above all else is that I love her very much?'
WHAT'S YOUR TYPE? The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing by Merve Emre
I had the chance to experience a several day training mixing Myer-Briggs testing with some techniques based on the instinctive movements of the body. The Myers-Briggs Type test is the most popular personality test in the world and it was conceived by a mother-daughter duo. During the training, I discovered that I was an INFP type person, from the 'Idealists' family. In other words: that Introspection, Intuition, Feelings and Perception were keys milestones of my personality. And if this experience helped me to understand myself better, i also learned how to read other people's types in order to initiate a better communication with them and it was equally important and beneficial to me.