Introducing the wonderful world of Chez Cameil and the woman who built it

Introducing the wonderful world of Chez Cameil and the woman who built it

Following your gut. Listening to your dreams. Building your fantasy business. It’s wayyyy easier said than done.


You could be the most creative and focused person on the planet but when self-doubt, fear and insecurity pop up those dreams will scatter away to some safe little corner of your mind, or deep down on a to-do list that you’re sure to forget. 

That’s why I’m totally fascinated by people who find the clarity and confidence to follow through with their dreams, even when it scares the hell out of them…

Which is why I’d love to introduce to my friend Cameil Kaundart.

I met Cameil years ago while I was working for Yelp. She was running around the kitchen with a floral headscarf and a couple of trays of American cookies, testing recipes weeks before the launch of my friend Marc’s cafe, Bob’s Bake Shop. She greeted me with such an insanely warm vibe that I loved her immediately. 

Fast forward to today.

I’m officially the luckiest coach in Paris because I get to see Cameil (and her cookies) three days a week at the cozy new space she launched this Fall. Located in central Paris, Chez Cameil is a cheerful, colorful loft where people come for healthy food, yoga classes, lectures, events and other well-being services, like coaching and hypnosis. It’s where I see my clients three days a week and I absolutely love it!

But Chez Cameil was lodged in Cameil’s head for years as a “maybe-one-day-I’ll-finally-get-it-together-to-make-this-happen” kind of dream. 

I had Cameil on the phone this summer the day she had to tell the landlord whether she was going to take the space. It was not a light decision to make for loads of reasons that I’m sure you can relate to (self doubt, money, and the huge responsibility that come with following through) but on top of that she was also just separating from her French husband and reconstructing her identity as a single American on French soil. 

I so, so admire her for finding the clarity and courage to just go for it! So I’d thought I’d share her story with a little Q&A with her below about how she made it all happened. Hope you find Cameil as inspiring and fascinating as I do!

Creepy Stroller Stage Prop

Creepy Stroller Stage Prop

The red-headed drag queen with the never-ending legs, gold glitter eyeshadow and pointy stilettos kept appearing on stage with a khaki-colored baby stroller from the 50s. 


Just like that creepy Rosemary’s Baby stroller with the devil’s baby inside. 


What the hell was that stroller doing there all of the time? 


Were the songs all about babies? Collateral from previous relationships? Reflections on responsibility and independence? The pursuit of liberty? Growth and transformation?


I had no idea. 


All of the songs performed that night were by an old-school French composer named Jean-Jacques Goldman that none of us American expats in my entourage had ever heard of. (side note: a friend chose the campy drag show as a fun offbeat activity for a birthday celebration, and it was a BLAST!). 


When the stroller appeared on stage for the third time, my friend Ajiri leaned over and whispered the exact question that was running through my mind for the last 45 minutes: “What’s the deal with the stroller?”

Clarity through charity

Clarity through charity

Charities and not-for-profit associations haven’t really been my thing. 

 

I was reminded of that rude reality two years ago while being interviewed for my naturalization papers in France. 

 

When asked if I volunteered with any associations, I stunned myself with how quickly I blurted out “No!”

 

Back in High School I was a much better person. I took the bus down with friends to Washington D.C to march in defense of animal rights. And spent months going into Manhattan with my BFF Helen to get people to sign up and donate to the AIDS walk we did together. 

 

But as an adult, aside from some sporadic GoFundMe or Doctors Without Borders donations, my charitable acts have been pretty slim. 

 

Lack of time, lack of motivation, call it what you want, but I never really found the energy or mission. 

 

While I was getting my coaching certification, though, I did a lot of thinking about why I chose this path and who I ultimately wanted to serve. I knew I wanted to coach women. Women who were looking to bring more meaning to their work. 

 

But how could I bring more meaning to my work? 

 

I started researching organizations that were doing great stuff for communities I cared about, and then challenged myself to take one concrete step towards contributing to that cause. 

 

That’s what lead me to apply to become a volunteer mentor with Led By Her

Using Your Full Frame

Using Your Full Frame

Adults are amazing at respecting limits that don’t really exist. 

 

And kids are amazing at disrespecting limits that do really exist. 

 

Cries, tantrums, arguments, flattery, debate, negotiation. There’s no shame to their game. 

 

They’ll use whatever they’ve got to see how a limit can be toppled, overturned and redesigned. 

 

As we get older, though, and move along in life we adapt to the limits that the world throws back at us. 

 

Conditioning, rules, beliefs — all of these boundaries become a part of the way we perceive the world and operate within it. 

 

But as our habits and expectations become more and more entrenched, we start seeing limits where they don’t exist, eventually boxing ourselves into tighter and tighter spaces. 

 

The truth, though, is that what’s not explicitly forbidden, is technically allowed. 

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

I had a very intimidating social studies teacher in High School named Mr Savage. 


He would walk into the classroom, silently go up to the blackboard, scribble a provocative open question, like “What is democracy?” in his chicken-scratch handwriting and then stare back at the class with his beady little eyes. (can you tell how much of a fan I was??)


He’d smile slyly with pinched lips revealing a little scar alongside his mouth. Then he’d gesture to the class to let the debate begin. 


I dreaded that moment. I was a shy and insecure adolescent and that kind of intellectual dogfighting made me shrink even further into my shell. 


Mr Savage didn’t give homework, but he did assign two big writing projects per year that were famously tough. For one project we had to propose our ideal presidential candidate and then argue and defend why we thought he or she should win.


Get into your growth groove

Get into your growth groove

It was the official rentrée, the first chaotic day of reality after a long summer break. 


We were walking among perfectly-coiffed kids with their new backpacks and outfits on their way to school when I glanced over and saw my toddler hobbling along with his heels hovering in the air. 

 

“Shit!” I said to my husband. “We forgot to get him new shoes.”

 

My son was so obsessed with his red suede Adidas we conveniently overlooked him busting out of them. 

 

Next day at the shoe store, we embarrassing learned he had grown, not one, but two shoe sizes! Needless to say when he put his new sneakers (Adidas, again!) he was born-again.

 

Ripping his beloved pacifier out of his mouth big-boy style, he started running — down the ailes, down the street, to the park, around the park. Tirelessly, enthusiastically, like he had a new set of Duracell batteries on full blast.  


You Should Be Talking Business With Your Besties

You Should Be Talking Business With Your Besties

So it turns out that Edith Wharton didn’t care much for her female peers.


In the copy of Old New York that I borrowed from my mom, the author of the introduction, Marilyn French, says that Wharton was “stubbornly disinterested” in the successful female writers of her era. A dismissive attitude French calls “horizontal hostility.”


The term “horizontal hostility” was coined in the 1970s by lawyer/activist/feminist Florynce Kennedy to describe destructive power dynamics between women. Be it shaming, attacking, belittling or flat out denying each other’s potential and talent. 


Women have come a long way since.