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Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris Hardcover – November 6, 2012
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Scott spent six months in Paris in 2001 as part of a foreign-exchange program. What she observed and learned fills this book. Many of these style secrets—for instance, how to eat and what to wear—can be found elsewhere, but Scott’s 20 tips cover much more than the traditional diet-and-exercise and style-and-beauty. Extremely readable short chapters include recaps of the major points discussed in them, and those points include always looking presentable, realizing that clutter is not chic, cultivating your mind, and living life as a formal affair. Each of those lessons features tidbits Scott picked up from her two Parisian families, here called the Chics and the Bohemians. Throughout, two words appear most often—quality and passion. --Barbara Jacobs
"A guide for women who yearn to channel Audrey Tautou. . . . Personable, anecdote-filled, and studded with lifestyle tips . . . its vivacity and sincerity have struck a chord among women who would like a French role model of their own, but don't have a year to spend apprenticing with one in Paris." (The New York Times)
"Part tribute to the effortlessly glamorous Parisian way of life, and part tutorial . . . on how to emulate the French je ne sais quoi." (Daily Mail (UK))
“Downright intriguing. . . . You’ll close the book feeling inspired.” (The Plain Dealer)
"The writing here, a combination of elegance and breeziness, seems to reflect Madame Chic’s personal philosophy that life is to be lived fully and elegantly." (Smoky Mountain News)
“Winningly combines sincerity and self-deprecation . . . sweet-natured and well-intentioned . . . full of advice.” (Kirkus Reviews)
"Scott's book encourages American women to live simply and beautifully by eating well, slowing down, simplifying their lives and enjoying life." (The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC))
"Scott blends vignettes and fun encounters with philosophies and lessons that helped her evolve a sense of style and aesthetics. Lessons from Madame Chic is a fine pick for anyone interested in women's fashion, style, and how the French have recreated style lessons." (California Bookwatch)
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Based on Scott's time as a foreign exchange student in Paris as a young woman, she is now a mother of two young daughters, happily married and living in southern California, so she converses with her readers from a relatable platform. Immediately upon reading it again, I was reminded of another author who shares her insights and tips on living well with inspiration from the French - Mireille Guiliano. Scott's tips are weaved skillfully into her experiences and time with Madame Chic and her Parisian family, so much so that you feel you are having a conversation with a trusted, yet wiser girlfriend.
And the beauty of discovering her book was that it didn't have to end once I finished reading it. As the founder of the blog The Daily Connoisseur, readers are able to enjoy a regular dose of inspiration and YouTube video instructions on how to continually integrate the fine art of French living into their every day lives.
The re-released edition of Lessons from Madame Chic (279 pages) contains the same content I initially raved about in my review in April, but is now adequately accessorized with illustrations found throughout the entire book from the talented artist and designer Virginia Johnson.
Filled with specific advice, anecdotes and descriptions of Madame Chic and Madame Chic's entire Parisian family, Scott shares ways to live a fulfilling life that are not only simple, but help to create a luxurious life that is rich and focused on what most all of us seem to want to put at the top of our priority list - healthy relationships, good health and the ability to be our best selves.
As I was reading I found myself underlining a sentence or two on nearly every page that I didn't want to forget, and after going back over these annotations I realized that the lesson of living formally doesn't have to take the beauty or the spontaneity out of living, but in fact it can enhance it. By showing respect to the life we've been given and then continue to create for ourselves we consciously make it all the more enjoyable.
Below are a few ideas for welcoming in a bit more formality and at the same time simplicity that I especially took favor too. Have a look:
1. Play classical music throughout your home
If you don't have any Bach cds laying around the house, simply go to Pandora on your computer, iPad or iPhone and search classical symphonic music, and it will create a radio station for you for free.
2. Eliminate snacking
Each meal that you sit down for is an opportunity to eat well. Scott explains how dinner in Paris with Madame Chic's family always included at least three, sometimes four, courses and one was always a cheese platter, yet still her host family was slender because when they ate it was mindful.
3. Create rituals to look forward to
Maybe every Saturday morning you wake up and stroll down to your favorite coffee shop for a tasty treat and chat with a good friend, or you play checkers with your son every Sunday evening in front of the fire or perhaps you take a bubble bath and savor a glass of wine after Monday has wrapped up. Take time to discover the activities that you enjoy doing either alone or with those you love and make them regular occurrences that are something to look forward to.
4. Wear luxurious lingerie
The mistake that seems to be perpetuated regarding lingerie is that it is worn for someone else. This is not entirely correct. In fact, a woman should wear beautiful, high-quality lingerie for herself. Simply knowing you are keeping something to yourself and at the same time have treated yourself to something luxuriously wonderful is certain to raise your confidence at least a smidge. While it will take time to build your lingerie wardrobe, know that you are worth investing in.