The Dream Life of Nichole Robertson

Nichole Robertson is one of those women I look at and wonder, how does she do it all? (And so well!) Excel at a career in New York’s high-paced advertising world, manage a continual state of wedded bliss, raise two young sons… all the while living the dream of Paris, photographing this city by capturing it’s essence unlike anyone else. Recently she was featured on Martha Stewart, but there was more I wanted to know. And so I asked her how Paris became a reality.

My husband and I decided to move to Paris on a whim one night after a few glasses of wine. By all measures it seemed crazy – we had two toddler boys, wonderful friends, a network of business contacts – but something nagged us. Was this the life we were supposed to be living?

We hadn’t yet bought a house (we were living in the NYC suburbs) and we both were self-employed with flexible work arrangements. Nothing was holding us down, and our desire to shake up our lives outweighed any practical considerations.

So we stored or sold most of our things, and did it. I didn’t really overthink it, and looking back, I’m humored by the cavalier manner in which we did it. It was exhilarating and scary and wonderful.

As we adjusted to our new neighborhood, everything was a challenge in the best possible way. While I could sleepwalk my way through a workday with a client in NYC or at Whole Foods or Target, simply buying milk or navigating the post office presented challenges. I had about as much French as an 18 month old and the same wide eyes.

Being out of my comfort zone was good for me. It allowed me to slow down and notice things I may have otherwise overlooked. Even though I’m a writer, I had little interest in writing about my experiences in Paris, it was all visual. I carried my camera with me everywhere. I snapped photos of everything that caught my eye (I even have photos of trash cans!), simply because it was new. New to me, and that’s all that mattered.

That was three years ago, and what started out as simple snapshots of my life in Paris turned into a three-year project, a side business and a book. I’m still floored by that, and wonder why my life took this turn. I guess good things happen when you follow your bliss.

To experience more of Nichole’s bliss, step into the world of Little Brown Pen where she often captures Paris in Color, her book releasing on April 18th! My favorites being red and gray, or perhaps the elegance of white… You can also follow her visions of Paris via Facebook and Twitter.

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18 Comments

  1. Lindsey April 4, 2012

    I, for one, am grateful she followed her gut ! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Virginia April 4, 2012

    Wonderful article! I’ve known Nichole for several years now through our blogs. Although I’m a Parisophile /photographer as well, I still swoon every time I see one of her new images. I dream of landing in Paris at the same time she does so I can finally meet her face to face.
    V

    Reply
  3. Virginia April 4, 2012

    And Kasia, I love your blog too. It’s going on my sidebar today!
    V

    Reply
  4. Little Brown Pen April 4, 2012

    […] In The City of Lights asked me to write a few words about why we moved to Paris. Read all about it here. Apr 4, 2012 in Uncategorized | No […]

    Reply
  5. Phil April 4, 2012

    I love the photography. There are nice pictures out there, and then there are compositions like these that capture the spirit of a place or just a mood (like yours and Lindsey’s photos do as well). As with a lot of art, understanding what to leave out is often more important than what stays in. Good photos like these suggest something more beyond the frame.
    I also thought Nichole’s story of picking up and moving was really inspiring for obvious reasons. Thanks for sharing with us. I just got a new person to follow. 😉
    Merci!

    Reply
    • Kasia April 23, 2012

      Thank you Phil! Most of all for being able to appreciate the visual the way you do. Often less is indeed more.

      Reply
  6. Phil April 4, 2012

    …and a Fedora is always classic in my books, on a guy or a lady.

    Reply
  7. Susan April 4, 2012

    A true example of following your heart, and I’m thankful she did!

    Reply
  8. I admire the heck out of Nichole! I’m amazed at her story, and not a little envious of her work and how she found her bliss and followed her guts. But I’m envious in a good way, in a supportive and so-happy-for-her way. I don’t begrudge her one bit the good things that have happened to her — her story is just too cool and inspiring for any begrudgeing (begrudgement? I’m making up words here!). Nichole’s work has brought a lot of people a lot of joy, myself included.

    Anyway, this made me chuckle a little bit because of the thought that popped up in my head when I read it: “I guess good things happen when you follow your bliss.”

    I thought as I read that, “Now if only I could find where I misplaced my bliss!!! I’d follow it if only I could find the damned thing!” 😉 Hee hee! Any day now, it may turn up around a corner. I just need to keep plugging away and seizing the day. 🙂

    Like you with your beautiful handbags, Kasia — they seriously keep getting more and more beautiful, BTW. You have a charmed story, too. I can see why Nichole’s story resonates with you.

    So here is the thing: whether I find my bliss or not, stories like Nichole’s (and yours) make me realize that it is possible for a person to find his or her bliss, his or her groove in life. Sometimes I think it is my bliss to be the kind of person who responds to others with a “WAY TO GO!” and words of support. We all need that. 🙂

    So rock on, Nichole! And thanks, Kasia, for sharing more of her story on your blog. I have read others’ posts about her, but I learned cool new things from this post here.

    Félicitations to you both!

    Reply
    • Kasia April 23, 2012

      Thank you for your compliments, wise words and thoughts Karin! Keep on following your bliss, wherever and whatever it may be.

      Reply
  9. ParisienSalon April 4, 2012

    I’ve always loved Nichole’s personal story as much as I love her photos. So thanks for sharing both!

    Reply
  10. I did the same thing and it led to a wedding and side business in antiquing trips. I love hearing how you took photos of everything….I walk around with an Iphone and am constantly looking up or around….basically anywhere but where my feet are supposed to be. I was invited in to a beautiful old Hausmann building the other day while I was stopped outside photographing a window carving. Let’s just say that it was a lovely surprise once inside!

    Reply
  11. Liesl April 4, 2012

    I am such a fan of Nichole’s and her photography and blog! I found this such a lovely look inside her life and decision to make the move to Paris…so inspiring! Anything really is possible, and just love following her adventures via pictures! 🙂

    Reply
  12. StyleOnTheCouch April 6, 2012

    Lovely interview. As someone living in NYC for three years and away from home, I’m increasingly interested in these stories…

    http://www.styleonthecouch.com

    Reply
  13. Amy Kortuem April 6, 2012

    So admirable – but also such good advice. Define your dream. Don’t overthink it. Go in wide-eyed and open to everything.

    This was so inspiring! I’m off to check out Nichole’s blog now.

    Reply
  14. Sweet Freak April 8, 2012

    Amazing story, amazing photos, amazing woman, that Nichole!

    Reply
  15. Anne April 22, 2012

    What beautiful pictures! I lived in Paris for years yet am continually amazed by the beauty and charm of the city. It does seem like an old, quaint village compared to New York but that is exactly what makes its appeal in my opinion.

    Reply
  16. Andi April 28, 2012

    I love to hear everyone’s Paris stories! Nicole sees things with such a unique eye, she inspires a lot of people, including me! Thanks Kasia!

    Reply

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