First of all, I must confess that I am fascinated by all things French (really anything European will do!). My mother and I have read almost every book on Amazon about how French women do anything. It was a sacrifice, but now you can benefit from all our research!
Jennifer Scott’s Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris is my favorite of all the 20+ books we have read. Jennifer writes about her experiences as a foreign exchange student from casual California, living in Paris with a formal French family. There are twenty chapters, corresponding to the twenty lessons she learned from her host mother, “Madame Chic.” I enjoyed every chapter, but three of her lessons have stuck with me over the last few months.
“Exercise is a part of life, not a chore.” I just love that sentence! As I have slowly embraced exercise as a part of my every day routine, I have started looking for ways to incorporate more exercise into our family’s daily routines. We walk to run whatever errands we can near us (dropping off things at a friend’s house, or taking the mail to the post office), and sometimes I park farther out in a parking lot and we will walk to all of the stores instead of finding a close spot, shopping, then loading up the kids, finding a close spot at the next store, and then unloading again. The how hasn’t been as hard now that I am embracing exercise as a part of life.
Another big lesson for me was “The Ten-Item Wardrobe.” Jennifer writes about how the French have very small wardrobes, but they buy quality pieces and mix them to dress creatively. She suggests having 10 core pieces per season, and you don’t have to count layering pieces (like t-shirts), outer wear (like blazers, jackets, coats), pajamas, or accessories. I am not quite to 10 items per season, but I am definitely hovering around 15 items per season, and it is so much easier to decide what to wear! I really love this concept. Jennifer has a great blog called The Daily Connoisseur, where she posts a video about once a week, and I look forward to reading/watching it every week. I really like it when she shares examples from her own wardrobe to understand how the ten-item wardrobe works. Here is a video where she explains how to start:
The third lesson that I have been applying is “Always use the best things you have.” This echoes something that I first learned years ago from the house management guru, FlyLady, but I have slowly let go of this concept as we have had more children and more lovely things were broken or stained. Nevertheless, I have embraced this principle again! Saving nice things “for later” only means that you are storing them and not enjoying them now. I want my kids to grow up around nice things and learn how to treat our possessions with care. That said, most of my pretty things come from thrift stores, not too many family heirlooms!
So, that is what this mom has been reading. What are you reading these days? Any good recommendations? Please comment and let me know!
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