Thursday, September 22, 2011

22nd Day in a Chic September

For the month of September I plan to document daily steps I have taken towards a chic, elegant and healthy life. My goal is to keep uppermost in my mind the kind of life I want to live. I will be focusing on all the small things I do each day that lead me towards my goal, rather than away from it.

Here are today’s mini-chic accomplishments:

Dressed up today. I wore a bib/tuxedo front white shirt that I normally reserve for dressier occasions, with a pair of charcoal wool herringbone pants, mini-fishnets and beige heels. It was just a normal day at work but it’s good to shake it up sometimes.

I also did something with my hair. It was more out of desperation really, now that I think about it. I washed and blow-dried my hair, and because I don’t like to straighten too often because it’s fine enough as it is, I looped it up, but then twirled around the bottom piece and pinned, until I could sort of imagine I belonged in Paris, if you squinted.

It even lasted through yoga class at lunch-time, including handstands. Please note I had changed out of my tuxedo-front shirt and wool pants to do this.

Speaking of handstands, oh my goodness they are so fun. It took me a good 9-10 months of kicking practice to even get up, but now that I can fling myself upside down against a wall there’s no stopping me. I really am like the teachers pet hoping she’ll get us to do handstands.

Sometimes, like both classes this week I get up every time and it’s really easy, other times it’s not so simple. Isn’t that just life though?


Went to an appointment where I thought I might have to wait awhile, so took with me a small tote bag with two magazines, a book, bottle of water and a notebook and pen (for chic sightings, not much chance of that in the public health system). Naturally because I was so well prepared I was called in before I even sat down to fill out my form (literally before, my bottom hadn't even touched the vinyl seat).

I should tell you, I had a little dot cut off my leg a month or so ago. It’s bothered me forever, years I say, but I had my usual doctor tell me 12 months ago it was nothing to worry about, and then a plastic surgeon tell me just before he cut it out ‘it won’t be anything’. People, it was a melanoma. Now I am getting everything else checked out and a few more removed just in case.

What I want to tell you is to trust your instincts, even if you worry others will think you’re silly or a hypochondriac. It cost me quite a few hundred dollars to go private because public health doesn’t cover vague thoughts of ‘maybe’. But now it is proven to have been cancerous, I’m in, and covered.

I feel really lucky that I pushed for a specialist appointment, even if it was at my cost, and can’t help thinking, what about those people who don’t have $500 to get a hunch checked out?


I'm still enamoured with my 'C'est normale' idea. Every time I start obsessing about food or diet I ask myself 'is it normal?' and everything is alright again. It's just magic.

I checked out from the library French Women Don't Get Fat on audiobook (can you tell I am obsessed with audiobooks at the moment? I can't believe I haven't discovered them earlier. Simply drive around and listen.). Mireille Guiliano herself reads the book and it's a pleasure to listen to her French/American accent.

I've read her two books, and they reside on my bookshelf, but today's listening reiterated the 'normal food in normal portions' message. I've heard it before but the saying is certainly true - 'when the student is ready the teacher will come'. It is only when we are ready to hear it that the message appears.

C'est normale. My chic mantra.


If you feel like you want to make September a chic month for you as well, please join me. You are welcome to share your mini-chic accomplishments for the day (or the previous day if you read in the morning) in the comments section. It would be lovely to have you along for the ride!

Image 'Parisienne' by Ron di Scenza


  1. * I'm liking the "normal" perspective you espouse.
    * Thankful that you got that spot taken care of!
    * I like the chic-ness of having a bag packed in anticipation of both the expected and unexpected in your schedule.
    *I'm thinking about trying a handstand against a wall, thanks to your enthusiasm.

  2. Holy crap, Fiona. I'm so glad that the melanoma was caught in time. Here's hoping this is the end of it!

    xoxox --

  3. Good for you and your persistence in getting that mole removed. I have had a few far so good. I am probably going to be pock-marked by the age of 50 but if that means catching melanoma when it can be be it.xxBliss

  4. That melanoma diagnosis is very scary! I hope you gave your regular doctor a firm reprimand for not getting a biopsy when you brought it to his or her attention. And good for you for being persistent.

  5. So glad you got the spot removed and followed your hunch! I read an article the other day that referred to medicine as the "uncertain science" and I totally agree. We have to advocate for our own health.

    Love these daily posts, the normal food in normal amounts reminder, and the photos! Where do you find them?

  6. I used to do handstands all the time as a kid - my family would look for my feet against a wall then me right side up. Must try that again :)

    I love, love, love your perspective on "normal".... love it.

  7. Oh good for you to trust your instincts...
    I could never do a handstand against the wall, and with a chic up do you must be the teacher's pet!

    I waited over an hour yesterday at the doctor's office fortunately I had my book The Paris Wife to's very engaging and the time flew by.

    Hooray for normal.

  8. I found this blog yesterday, and I just wanted to tell you that I think the world would be a better place if everybody made an effort to be chic, just like you are doing. I honestly do!

  9. What a wonderful post Fiona! So funny and well written about your hair, of course as I read farther I sobered up; I am very glad that you followed your instincts and had the spot removed. I'm sending you good thoughts that all others are benign.

    I've been very busy, (and unchic), but I've enjoyed all that you've shared this month; you are inspiring. What a big and exciting month too for you! So much to look forward to and so many new experiences. You deserve all that is good.


  10. So glad you were persistent in having your "dot" checked out!! I hope the rest are okay.
    Your yoga experiences make me want to go to class again. I may have to look for one or get a DVD. I was never good at handstands though so I don't know whether I could do them again or not.
    I love your new "C'est normale" mantra--so French. I may have to adopt that as well!

  11. OMG Fiona! Melanoma!! Thank God you had the funds to pay for private medical insurance. I have the same here in Spain and the UK, but like always think what a lottery healthcare is; if you have the money fine, if not....??
    Thank you also sweets for the lovely comments you left on my blog yesterday. I've left you a little reply xx

  12. Rebecca, love your bullet-pointed list. Handstands are so good for you. They help the immune system as well as lots of other good things I've forgotten.

    Marsi, me too. And I love 'holy crap' if one is lost for words. It's very Batman, but less PG.

    Bliss, I don't mind being covered in little scars, but so far I only have one.

    Adrienne, I know, scary! When I said to the plastic surgeon 'hmmph, my Dr said it was nothing a year ago, I'm not very happy with him', he said every so often there are melanomas that don't look like melanomas, and if they're going to test a biopsy they may as well cut it out and test the whole thing.

    Juhli, 'uncertain science' indeed. For photos I use Google Images with keywords like Paris, Parisienne etc.

    Sunny, your circulation would have been fabulous as a child! And all that blood to the brain would have made to do well at school, not sure if that's true but it sounds like it should be. Maybe it's time to bring back the handstand. That's one of the first thing my yoga teacher asks people - 'did you do handstands as a child?', 'Yes? well then you will be fine'.

    Leslie, when I see someone sitting quietly with a book, it always looks so chic. I'm careful of what I take though, just in case others see the cover. Maybe those are the unchic books.

    Eizhowa, thank you for your lovely comment! You are very thoughtful.

    Erina, thank you for your good thoughts and kind wishes.

    Charlene, I'm glad too. I don't like calling it a 'mole' because it's such a horrible word. Did someone say shallow? I happily go to yoga class (very happily) but as far as dvds go, well I've only gotten my mat out once. It just doesn't have the same appeal. Maybe in our new house where we have more than two square foot of living room space.

    Vanessa, that's the part that upsets me the most. We have a fantastic public health system here, but there are times like this that nothing will be done unless you start and pay for it. A lot of normal (not even poor) people wouldn't have $50 let alone $500 to have it checked out.

  13. I'm sorry to hear about your skin cancer! Hope all is well and that it was a little spot, in situ. I had one removed from my thigh years ago and have been fine since, but I do get yearly skin checks by my dermatologist.

    Your chic month has inspired me to try a chic October. Am enjoying your posts so much.

  14. Fiona, I'm SO LOVING your chic month.. keep it flowing till the end of the year please?.. and don't forget to, (like the Aussies say, slip, slap, slop).. slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat, he, he.. adieu - :) j Ps..

  15. haha...I tried doing a head stand and hand stand in yoga the other day...did not happen...but the instructor did help guide my legs up during the head stand...but I couldn't hold it!

    I LOVE audiobooks, too. Listening to them is the only way I can get my mind to stop going in circles and unwind before sleep. ;) I used to love reading actual books before bed, still do, but for eyes are just too tired from studying/sleep deprivation.

  16. So glad you got the spot checked out and went with your gut instinct. Better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your health!

    I love Mireille Guiliano books too.

    Your outfit sounds very chic!

  17. LunaStitches, mine was on the back of my thigh too, just above the knee. I'm glad yours is fine. I'll be doing regular checks too now. Enjoy your chic October!

    Jean, I was never a sunbather and do use sunscreen, but I did sunbed in my twenties. Those things should be banned. I really don't know if I could keep up the chicness until the end of the year!

    Ani, yay for you, you went up though. It's quite fun to do things that you would never do otherwise. I know what you mean about going to sleep. I often play a relaxing spa cd really, really softly because it stops the chatter in my head.

  18. I am so glad that you caught the melanoma, doctors really need to listen when a patient has a gut instinct that something is wrong. This could have ended up going terribly wrong if you hadn't had the forsight and financial ability to have a biopsy on your own.

    Also, I fear I may have offended you in my last post when I said if you eat normal amounts you will have a normal figure, I should have written if one eats..... one will have a normal figure. I never meant to make it seem as if I thought you needed to lose weight. If I did offend you I sincerely apologize.
    I have to go now and try to pry my foot out of my mouth.


  19. Cindy, no offence taken whatsoever! It's just hard to type how you're saying it sometimes. My thoughts were the same as yours, if I ate normally I could stay as I am, still having lost some weight, which I am happy about, but not going for the skinniest weight that I THINK I want to be. I know that you meant someone in general.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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