Thursday, January 19, 2017

Are you 100% chic?

I read an excellent article about Caroline de Maigret, Chanel ambassador, author, model.  In it she talks about her new blog/website in partnership with Chanel.  I particularly loved this quote from Caroline about her new website:

‘It was very important to me that the platform shows that style comes from everything that builds you – that’s why I could not talk about fashion only.  What makes your style is your personality, the books you read, the music you listen to, the movies you watch’.

Are you hearing that in Caroline’s French accent?  Me too!  You can read the whole article here.

Her description of personal style is exactly how I feel as well.  It’s also why I write about many different facets of living a chic life; not just clothing and outfits, which is what many of us think of when we hear the word ‘chic’.

Caroline’s statement also made me think about my own choices in books, music, movies, clothing, perfume etc.  I have one side of me who is Parisian chic to a ‘T’ – Chanel no. 5, neutral classic clothing, close-to-natural hair colouring, makeup that is sheer and natural.

And the other side?  Well, sometimes she’s a hot mess.  There’s my questionable taste in celebrity fragrances, love of reality television from time to time, and my enjoyment of chick lit and tacky books (I picked up Holly Madison’s book from the library discard pile, although I haven’t yet read it!)

Plus, I recently received a big box of goodness from Bath and Body Works.  I discovered their yummy stuff in Hawaii when we visited three years ago, and despite being more than twice the age of the customers there, I stocked up large.

The Parisian side of me says ‘get rid of all those unchic things out of your life, it’s not what you’re about’, whereas the other side of me says ‘it would be boring to be all buttoned up and perfect, I love to have fun’.

I do actually think about this a lot (I know, I need to get a hobby), and it’s a tough call to know whether I am expressing my personality or whether I am giving in to base levels of ‘whatever’ and the more I lower myself the more I will want of them.

Kind of like junk food.  It’s a well-known fact that the more you have of something, you more you want of it.  So, if you start eating fast food every day for lunch, you will end up craving it every day for lunch.  Alternatively, if you start eating chicken salad every day for lunch, you will want that more, and even miss it if you have something junky.

I’ve found this with my meals.  I used to always have toast for breakfast and thought fruit was so boring (I barely ate any fruit from week to week).  Then, I started adding fruit to my breakfast and now it has taken over so that I have fruit with raw nuts for breakfast and I love it.  On the one or two days a week when I have eggs instead, I really miss my fruit and have to have some later in the day.  Craving fruit!  Is it really me?

So that’s my thought about the bad taste side of me.  If I indulge in it, it will grow bigger and crowd out the chic stuff.

But if I enjoy it and keep it in it’s proper place, not letting it become too big a influence in my life?  I think that’s doable too.  Like a dash of hot sauce on a dish to pep it up (I don’t do that, but my husband and father-in-law do).

I have read that French women welcome a touch of whimsy or bad taste into their outfit or d├ęcor, and it works for me to do that with my personal style.

I think it would be so boring if we all had the same carbon copy white shirt, red lipstick, current contemporary novel and watched the same French sub-titled movie.  I love all of things, of course (except perhaps red lipstick, my certain age mouth prefers to be dressed in something natural-toned, and I play up my eyes instead, a la Day Four in Thirty Chic Days).

I’m going to go the 80/20 way.  I am happy to be 80% chic and 20% hot sauce.

What about you – are you 100% chic?  No bad taste at all?  I’d love to hear how you handle the hot mess side of you – ignore and hope she’ll go away?  Or embrace and be happy that she zazzs up your style.  You’ll get extra points if you share some of your own bad taste examples :)


PS.  If you haven’t read my book Thirty Chic Days yet, I’d love you to!  It’s all about putting on your French-tinted spectacles and approaching your life in a whole new way.  My approach is to make little improvements every day that are fun and easy.

Life is too short to do all the things we ‘should’ do – where’s the enjoyment in that?  I prefer to make mini upgrades by enticing myself along in an elegant and pleasurable way.  It’s easier to stick to and you get better results too.

You can read Thirty Chic Days on Kindle or in paperback, and it’s available on Amazon here.

Friday, January 13, 2017

How to be serene (most of the time)

We use our local library a lot.  I order books, magazines, dvds and cds on their website and go in usually on a Friday to pick up our new stash and return due items.  However, they've recently upgraded their website and I found it bothersome to use.  I liked their old website much better!  So each time I'd log on to request items - which by the way costs me nothing for books and magazines, and a few dollars for a cd or dvd - I'd think 'stupid new website, why couldn't they leave it as it was'.

Instead of being grumpy about the new website I could be grateful.  I have access to this world-class library system and it costs virtually nothing.  They have spent probably hundreds of thousands if not millions upgrading what may have been an antiquated website that will set them up for the next few years.  I'm sure the staff have had way more headaches than me getting to grips with it, not to mention all the complaining customers who have undoubtedly flooded them with queries and moans.

I have no control over what the library does with their website so why am I getting grumpy about it.  Just accept that it has changed.  And that, my chic friends, is the key to serenity:

No complaining about that which you have no control over

This phrase would stop the whiny voice in my head 'why has this website changed, it used to be easier, now I have to learn something new...'

Complaining, even just to myself, about something I cannot control is futile.  It gets me nowhere since there is nowhere for the complaining to go - I can't fix it, I just stay stuck in the complaint with no was out.  If I complain about something I can fix, I can fix it, or stop complaining.  That's a different thing.  But complaining about something I have no control over is pointless.

I thought of other ways this focus is applicable:

  • When someone is rude to me
  • When someone cuts me off in the car or makes me take evasive action not to collide with them
  • When someone is thoughtless - cuts into a queue, doesn't return a call
  • A news item, if I happen to see the news or if someone asks 'did you hear about...'
  • A business's stupid policy
  • Other people simply being annoying - parking badly, loud music etc
  • When other online things change - i.e. our online banking, email, our shop website's hosting company
  • When I have no choice over buying a new electronic item because the old one has died or is obselete, such as my laptop.  When I had to get a new laptop just over a year ago it caused me months of stress, anxiety, anger and all sorts of not good emotions.  Yes it was loads of hassles, one after the other, but at the end of the day I just had to learn what to do to fix the issues and move on.

There are many ways in which this realisation will benefit me:

  • It gives me clear boundaries - if I can do something about it I will, if I have no control over it, I will go with it (or choose not to deal with that company maybe)
  • I will feel proactive
  • I will feel like I am in control (this is the main thing - feeling like you are helpless is the worst feeling and it leaves you feeling really demoralised)
  • I will become stronger with each thing I delete or overcome
  • I will be emotionally mature by sailing my own ship, not letting the waves buffet me around so much
  • I will be more positive and successful in my endeavours because I will be focusing on that which I do have control over, rather than the other
  • I will radiate calmness
  • I will go through life lightly, letting annoyances slip away, I don't need to hold onto them
  • I get to choose how I feel
  • I will be nicer to be around
  • I will have better health and general happiness because I have less stress

What do you think?  Do you stress about little (and big) things that you have no control over?  What might you change, if anything?  I’d love to know.


PS.  I've had wonderful feedback from my latest book 'How to be Chic in the Winter', which is all about living slim, happy and stylish during the cold season.  Here is what one of my lovely readers Elizabeth had to say:

'Great book!  She articulates and explains so many things I have struggled with in putting together my ideal lifestyle. She has a unique, patient, and step by step way of to be CHIC! Want to read all her others. LOVED her Christmas Chic book too.'

I am so happy that my writing comes across in this way; thank you for the review Elizabeth!
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