Today I am going to be doing a book review on a book that I have been enjoying recently. The book is called
“Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I learned While Living In Paris” by Jennifer L. Scott.
I love this book, as it has many tips and ides for becoming a connoisseur of every day life. There are chapters on the subject of grooming, living well, and the diet and exercise of her host family. This book is a great book if you want to learn how to live passionately, yet not have to change your surroundings.
I particularly loved the chapter on “Deprive Yourself Not.” The fact that the french do not gain weight, and yet enjoy their food is because they did not deprive themselves of nice, yet nutritious food. When we deprive ourselves rich and decadent food, we tend to overindulge when we actually allow ourselves to eat, then obsess with what the food will do with our bodies. This is the exact opposite of what happens when the French eat. They treat each meal as nourishing the body and the soul. They do not watch TV or look at their phones when they eat. They put their full attention into eating and engaging with others around them. They did this for every single meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with perfect posture, napkin on lap, and knife and fork in hand. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone do this in my experience in eating. Like many others, I usually read and eat at the same time when I am at work. Or if I am home, my sister and I will watch an documentary while eating our lunch, and breakfast is usually watched with a movie. While I can’t vouch for everyone, I think the majority people eat like this in America. And it is no wonder that we are so obsessed with our body, because if we don’t appreciate the food we eat, we cannot know if we have eaten, and if we don’t know if we already had eaten, naturally we will eat more. After reading this chapter, I try know to to be mindful when I eat, and not be distracted by anything.
Also, what I loved, is the French appreciated fresh air and exercise. They walked everywhere, to the store, to work, to see friends. Now I have walked home from work before. It takes about 7-12 minutes to drive from work from home. Many of you are thinking I could just walk there everyday, but since most of the time I don’t get off work until after dark, it is not very safe to walk home. And when I did walk home, because all the cars were in use that day ( before my sister got her car and was using the one my sister and I share) it took almost 2 hours. After walking at work all day ( I work in retail), my feet were killing me. But I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air ( it was a brisk February morning) and looking at the beauty of the trees and the sky.
Also the last lesson that was learned was how the french enjoy life. From the author’s experience, the french do not watch TV. They nourish their minds. They are mindful of events, up-to- date on events, and love to discuss philosophy. music, etc. There is no lost art of conversation here. Instead of yearning for a life and watching TV that showed their ideal life, they embrace what they already had, and lived passionatly. So, if you love theater, try going to the theater with your friends, instead of spending the evening in front of the TV. You will be doing what you love, and also engage your mind and broaden your sphere of knowledge.
All in all, this is an enjoyable book, and I highly recommend it for learning how to be elegant and sophisticated. In future weeks I am going to be reviewing two more of her books. So stay tuned!