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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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"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)
Top Customer Reviews
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.
However, I could not help but think about how much easier it would be for Americans to have a better work-life balance if so many people I know didn't have to work overloaded jobs at 50 and 60 hours a week to keep from getting laid off, plus deal with 2-hour daily commutes, and bosses who complain vigorously if a person leaves one's desk for anything more than a trip to the restroom or the company microwave to warm a frozen lunch, never mind a refreshing lunchtime walk. This is why we have gyms and home exercise videos, to replace what the French people get naturally in the course of a day's business. Also, it would be easy to turn out beautiful, gourmet meals and have an uncluttered house if the working women I know only had to work part-time like the lady of the house for the French host family of the author. The habit of the Frenchmen to pick up after themselves is a big help to the uncluttered look of a house, as well. How gallant of them.
The big secret of the French weight control seems to be lots and lots of walking and stair climbing. We're just not set up for that. Things here are laid out in a spacious manner conducive to driving and many, many areas, both commercial and residential, are too dangerous to walk in, whether because of pit bulls, no sidewalks, or demographics. The neighborhoods compact enough to walk in for any food marketing are generally older, and simply not safe. These are also the areas being referred to now as "food deserts".
I have just read that French workers receive 30 mandated vacation days per year, plus 10 holidays. When was the last time the majority of U.S. workers you know took any more than a total of 10 business days in a year's time -- and maybe not even that if there have been layoffs in the company, so now extra work is piled on an already overloaded job.
A wonderful book about the French lifestyle, and a sad commentary on ours.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a cute, light read.Read more