1.25.2015

Life at Home: Self-Discipline



Our Life at Home series continues with the topic of self-discipline. We have already begun to discuss the very important topic of self-discipline with regard to shopping and eating, and now we are looking at where we need it at home. Self-discipline is extremely important to have at home because at home we are our own bosses, we set the tone and no one (unless you live with your parents) is going to set it for you. Sometimes this freedom runs away with us.

I believe everything boils down to needing self-discipline at home. It could be that you need self-discipline to not reach into the cookie jar all day long, or binge-watch reality TV. It could be that you need self-discipline with how you communicate to your spouse (otherwise known as biting your tongue) or with keeping your home office in order. Many of you expressed the desire to change how much screen time you use each week... this is where self-discipline comes in handy!

This week's video answers the question: why even bother with self-discipline? Why not just do what we want to do and live how we want to live? Check out my video to hear my response. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

This week I would love to know... what areas of your home life require more self-discipline than others? How do you plan to implement your changes? Let me know in the comment section below. On social media use the hashtags #LifeatHome #MADAMECHIC

News
She is Little,She is Fierce blog writes of Lessons from Madame Chic: "this book is perfect. You need it STAT!"

Tips on Life and Love recommends At Home With Madame Chic in their article: Clutterbugs, Beware: 10 Books for Organizing Your Home.

Italian readers: The marvelous Edy Tassi, who translates the Madame Chic books into Italian, has written a blog post about At Home With Madame Chic on her blog. You can read it here.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Practice self-discipline with the small things. This week, put your belongings away immediately after you use them. This goes for everything from the sugar bowl to the blow drier. Don't leave anything for later... with intention, put it away as soon as you can. Notice how this small change exercises your self-discipline muscle and will inspire you to become more disciplined in other areas of your life.


Testimonial
Of Lessons from Madame Chic, loganperin writes on Instagram:

I'm currently a 19 year old exchange student in Japan from Ohio, and the other day I saw this book in a store. I've always been interested in French culture so I bought this book on my Kindle. WORLD CHANGED. I've been incorporating these into my daily life and it's amazing what a difference it's made. I've been very homesick... This book has helped me turn my exchange around and given it a whole new meaning. I am truly grateful.

Thank you! I hope you enjoy every moment of your exchange in Japan. I am so happy to hear that Lessons from Madame Chic has inspired you in such a way.

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1.18.2015

Drugstore Beauty Favorites



This week, by popular demand, I am sharing my drugstore beauty favorites with you. Often when I do my skincare and makeup posts, readers ask for drugstore alternatives to the higher-end, more expensive products. This week I am sharing a handful of my favorites with you.

All of these finds I came across myself, and many have been very pleasant surprises! If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of the blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur



St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer
This drugstore facial moisturizer is such a find! After running out of my favorite high-end Eminence Age Corrective Coconut Moisturizer, I wanted to see if I could find a drugstore version that would compare. I have found it with this cream, which is very lightweight, and is priced at an extremely good value.

St Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub
This is a marvelous dupe for my favorite Epicuren fine herbal facial scrub, and is much more affordable. My only complaint is that the scent of the St Ives scrub isn't my favorite, but try it for yourself to see what you think.


Dove Purely Pampering Body Wash
in almond cream with hisbiscus
This is the most luxurious of all the drugstore body washes. It is a bit pricier at around $9 a bottle, but you get a lot for your money and the quality, scent and texture is my favorite (and I've tried nearly all of them!)

L'Oreal Infallible longwear lip color in mulberry
I've talked about this amazing lip color before and can't stop boasting about this gem of a find. The color truly lasts all day long and does not dry out your lips. Mulberry is the shade I recommend.

News


Thank you to everyone who watched my Critics' Choice Awards red carpet fashion run-down last Thursday. What a blast I had with the entire Maker TV cast and crew! I am pictured above with host, Taryn Southern.

The Epoch Times discovers the ten-item wardrobe in a very humorous way.

The Neo-Trad lists both Madame Chic books as the Best Books for Francophiles.

Ruby's Musings discusses the ten-item wardrobe on French Girl Friday

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Don't worry if you do not have a big budget for skincare and makeup products. Contrary to what many women's publications will have you think, you don't need hundreds of products to keep up a beauty routine. Focus on clean and clear skin and a manageable le no makeup look and you will find yourself saving money and feeling inspired to appreciate your natural beauty. Also, for every high-end product you long for, chances are there is a less expensive dupe out there. Read reviews, talk to your friends and cultivate a beauty cabinet that works within your budget.

Comment of the Week

Julia G. writes:

Just a brief note to say that I followed your advice a few months ago and started eating lunch. As a teacher, this is generally impossible, but in so doing it has improved my quality of life 2 ways: bringing me a moment of peace and pleasure in a busy day, increased nutritional intake. I never dreamed I'd be listening to DeBussy's La Mer in the middle of the school day, but it is so nice. It's an island of calm. Thanks, again!

Julia this is wonderful to hear. Your job as a teacher is so vitally important, I'm glad that you are taking the time to nourish yourself at lunch!

This week I would love to know... what are your drugstore beauty favorites? Do you have any good ones to recommend?


FTC: All items were purchased by me. I have no affiliation with any companies represented. As always, my honest opinion is used.


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1.11.2015

Life At Home: Cut the Distractions



We are kicking off the Life at Home series on The Daily Connoisseur this week with this first installment: Cut the Distractions. Living well at home is very important. It's important because how you live at home behind closed doors when no one is looking is indicative of your true self and your true values.

We strive to make changes to our life in the areas of style, makeup, wardrobe, clutter, being in the present moment, presenting ourselves well, etc. and if we are serious about making these changes, we need to get serious about implementing them at home.

In At Home With Madame Chic we discuss how a happy home life sets you up for success in the outside world. Order is needed at home. Organization is needed at home. Beauty is needed at home. Dignity is needed at home. The arts are needed at home. Style is needed at home. But are we able to live well at home if we find ourselves constantly distracted? In our minds we know what we should be doing but when we will actually get around to doing that? We're not sure. Right now we're surfing the internet, or binge-watching a reality TV show, or deep into reading Facebook posts.

You'd like to cook that healthy meal. You'd like to get some patio gardening done. You'd like to write that letter. You'd like to practice the piano. You'd like to organize your lingerie drawer. You'd like to read that historical biography. You'd like to write in your journal. You'd like to tidy up the kitchen and you will... just after you spend an hour perusing the online shops.

Sound familiar?

It certainly does to me! Screens- whether television, smartphone or laptop can be a major distraction and if we want to live well at home, we need to cut the distraction. This doesn't mean cutting these things out entirely. But it does mean getting strict about how much time you devote to them.

Check out this week's video for the rest of my thoughts on this subject. If you cannot see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

I'd love for you to join in on this discussion. What are your distractions at home? How could you be spending your time instead? On social media use the hashtags #LifeAtHome #MADAMECHIC

News
I will be part of a live red carpet commentary for The Critic's Choice awards this Thursday, January 15th from 4pm to 6pm on MakerTV. You can watch the entire viewing party here or visit http://www.maker.tv/live/criticschoice

Ruby's Musings just adores Madame Chic for French Girl Friday

MoonFireGypsyWagon muses on At Home With Madame Chic in her latest blogpost.


Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
If you have extra time this week, don't spend it on the internet (even if that means shutting down this blog right now!), but try something that enriches your soul: play the piano, write a poem, get some gardening done, make a cake, write a letter, arrange some flowers. Feel invigorated by your freedom from the screen.


Testimonial

Patricia W. from Connecticut writes:

Jennifer, I've been following your blog for a while now and love it. Love your videos. And yes, I'm adhering to your 10-item capsule wardrobe. It's so much easier and stylish with regard to ease of deciding what to wear. Almost everything in my closet works with everything else so no problem. My closet is now a streamlined and pretty personal space...one I'm happy to show to my girlfriends as an inspiration. The best news is Lessons from Madame Chic inspired me to put my best self forward even if I'm just doing errands or going to the supermarket. I feel so much better knowing I look presentable and need never again feel embarrassed upon meeting an acquaintance or neighbor while out and about.

One of the very best compliments I've received as a result was from the mother of a good friend, Whenever I see you, Patricia, you always look so...so...clean and shiny.

I was drawn into your video blogs not only by their content, but also, almost immediately, by the fact that I'd find myself smiling whenever I heard your intro, ... Jennifer here.

Patricia W


Thank you Patricia. You have been a long-time reader and supporter of my blog. I appreciate your testimonial!

See you next week!


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1.04.2015

New Year Message and My Third Book



Happy new year Daily Connoisseurs! It is great to be back on the blog. I hope you all had a restful break.

2015 on The Daily Connoisseur is going to be a very exciting year. We will continue to explore the concepts in At Home With Madame Chic on the importance of living well at home. We will elaborate more deeply on traditional connoisseur topics like the Ten-Item Wardrobe, etc. and we will also uncover new concepts that will enrich our everyday lives in magnificent ways.

This week's video discusses the upcoming 2015 topics and shares the Christmas present I received from Mr. Connoisseur (you will have to watch the video to see what this one is!).

Please check out this week's video to hear more of what I have in store for you. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

My Third Book!
I am so pleased to now share my wonderful news with you... The week before Christmas break I received my third book deal with Simon & Schuster! I have been working on this book concept for a few months now and am so thrilled to have received the go-ahead from Simon & Schuster.

I won't discuss my work until I'm finished with it, but I can tell you that it will bring us even deeper into the Madame Chic lifestyle and will contain concepts that all readers can incorporate into their lives. We are hoping that the book will be released in time for Christmas 2015 (this year!). Thank you to my agent, Erica Silverman, and my editor, Trish Todd, (the Chic dream team!) for making this happen.

News
At Home With Madame Chic is mentioned in Redbook magazine this month inspiring people to cultivate gratitude.

I am featured on At Home With Cheryll and Sam's radio show discussing Madame Chic and the art of living well.

BookGirlTV has featured both Madame Chic books in her annual gift guide. Thank you Tessa! (Her YouTube channel is wonderful, by the way, check it out and subscribe if you love books as much as I do).

Rose of Books recommends At Home With Madame Chic for your new year reading resolutions.

Mrs. Shockley of A Home For Elegance loves the affirmations in At Home With Madame Chic.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
What are your new year resolutions? Most people vow to eat healthier, lose weight and exercise more. These are great aspirations, but I also encourage you to strive to improve your life in a even more meaningful way. Commit this year to changing yourself for the better: to be present, stand firm with your values and to not be swayed by what is popular, but by what is important to you and your heart. Resolve to be an even better version of yourself this year. I will be there right along with you.


Testimonial

Casey N. writes:

Dear Mrs. Jennifer,

I wanted to thank you so much for all that you have done by writing your books and sharing your life with everyone through your blog. I am a thirteen-year-old girl living in Maryland, and your blog and books have changed my views on life. I have turned my closet into a 10 Item Wardrobe and read your first book cover to cover. I just asked for and received "At Home With Madame Chic" for a Christmas present, and it was definitely one of my very favorite gifts! You are such a great role model for women and girls everywhere. All of the ideas about living have inspired me do do things that I would never have done otherwise. I de-cluttered my room, I wear my nice things always, and always have a refined and positive attitude.

Thank you again and have a Happy New Year!
Casey


I wrote Casey back privately to thank her for her kind email but wanted to share it with you here on the testimonials to emphasize how life-changing The Daily Connoisseur concepts can be. To hear such an articulate and inspiring email from 13-year-old girl makes all the work I do worthwhile. Thank you Casey!

Requests for 2015
Please leave me a comment below with any requests you have for the new year. The most popular and heavily requested topics are the ones I will strive to address first so don't be shy and let me know what you would like to hear on The Daily Connoisseur this year.


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12.21.2014

Christmas Message 2014



Thank you for another wonderful year on The Daily Connoisseur. This is my last video of the year as I will be taking a break until January. I am greatly looking forward to 2015 and have some very exciting news to share with you upon my return.

So until then... Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and I am wishing you a very happy new year!

Please check out my video above to hear my Christmas message to you. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

News
At Home With Madame Chic is featured on Bella NYC as a book that will warm you up this winter.

On December 28th, check out my radio appearance on At Home With Cheryll and Sam, discussing At Home With Madame Chic.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Enjoy the merriment of the season and "deprive yourself not" when it comes to holiday treats while still maintaining your standards. Be present while you are eating. Enjoy but don't overindulge past your comfort zone.

Testimonial
On my author guestbook page, Debbie writes:

I adore both your books – I read them both cover to cover! I remade my mornings to be more “Madame Chic” and now have a proper breakfast, sitting down and eating together, with my son, even on weekday mornings. It’s something I look forward to with great delight and prepare for the night before. Such a difference. I’m trying many of your hints. The idea to take pride in domestic tasks and “not to be lazy” are things I’ve taken to heart and really feel good about – thank you!

Thank you Debbie!

And thank you to all readers who have commented and contributed to the blog this year. You are appreciated more than you know.

See you in the new year!

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12.18.2014

OOTD Rainy December Day + Choosing A Simply Luxurious Life Giveaway



Rain has finally made it to California! We've been facing one of the worst droughts on record here in Southern California so it is with great relief that we all welcome the rain. Today I am showing you an outfit of the day, rainy day edition.

Many people automatically think they need to wear jeans in bad weather but you don't have to if you get creative with layers (remember Madame Chic never wore jeans and that Parisian weather was cold).





In this look, I'm wearing my Ann Taylor Loft navy and red spot dress, my felt coat from Anthropologie- the only new addition to my winter wardrobe since shooting my ten-item wardrobe video in the fall (this coat is no longer available online), textured tights from J Crew (key to keeping warm) and my black rain boots. For indoor use, I'm wearing London Sole black suede Henrietta ballet flats.

If you are facing even lower temperatures, I would suggest layering a winter coat on top of this look (or replace the felt coat with a thick cardigan and wear that under a winter coat)and adding a scarf, gloves, and/or a hat.

Check out the video above to see the full look. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Choosing a Simply Luxurious Life



I've gotten to know the lovely Shannon Ables of the Simply Luxurious Life blog over the years as she has been a huge champion for Madame Chic. Today I am very excited to share with you her new book, Choosing a Simply Luxurious Life.

Here is a description of the book from Amazon:

How can you have a rich and fulfilling life? The choices you make, not your income or financial assets, are the most powerful determining factor for your quality of life. Women have never had so many options. Yet we often experience a kind of paralysis, an unconscious willingness to follow societal dictates rather than become the CEOs of our own lives. When we mindlessly follow the dots, we smother our innate gifts and miss opportunities to fulfill our true potential. There is another way—choosing to live a simply luxurious life. This book will show you how to invest your time and what to eliminate from your life. It will enable you to: • Design a life of purpose that is aligned with your passions and talents • Become financially independent • Enjoy cultivating a healthy mind and body • Build and maintain strong, loving relationships • Create a chic, timeless signature style • Design a comfortable home that is a true sanctuary • Travel in comfort and style • Discover simple pleasures that make each day something to look forward to You can curate the life of your dreams by being purposeful and selective, no matter where you live, your income, or your relationship status. Luxury and true fulfillment are ours for the having if we know where to look and how to make the right choices.

Shannon was gracious enough to participate in an interview with The Daily Connoisseur so you can get to know her better for yourself:

We write about a lot of the same concepts with regard to living
well. My journey started in Paris, living with Madame Chic. How and
where did your journey start?


I’d have to say that the idea of living simply and living well began as a young girl as I had the opportunity to grow up in the country, having Mother Nature at my doorstep and the freedom to roam with my creative curiosities. However, much like you, the concept of living well as an adult was solidified when I studied abroad in France during college. From pairing each meal with hours of conversation, walking everywhere and taking in the history, museums and artisan talents that were on every corner, my initial experience in France confirmed that such a lifestyle was possible, and it was something anyone or anybody could instill in their everyday life.

What do you like about living in Oregon?

The amazing gift of Oregon is that you have a little bit of everything: all four seasons, vast rural, mountainous regions as well as urban progressive areas such as Portland, oh, and the many vineyards, of course. ;)

How can one live a Simply Luxurious Life no matter where you live?

Part of the mission statement of living simply luxuriously is the understanding that it must be a conscious choice. Living well doesn’t just occur; it is something that each one of us cultivates with the small choices we make each day. And once we understand that, the beauty is realizing each of us holds all of the cards for our own contentment. From sipping a delicious cup of hot tea from Palais des The to begin your day, to the thoughts we allow to run around in our mind, to nibbling on a chocolate truffle before snuggling into bed, such simple choices, not necessarily expensive or difficult, can make everyday moments very pleasurable.

I love that you write about finances, which are such an important
facet of living well. What are your top three tips for keeping one's
finances in order?


Having our finances in order is one of the best ways to achieve peace of mind, and when we know we are on sound financial footing we can be more present with those we love. The top three tips I would recommend are:

1. Schedule a monthly budget date with yourself. Make it a pleasurable ritual. Pour yourself a cup of tea, turn on your favorite jazz album and do something to celebrate at the end of month in which your finances are where you want them. (Need help setting up your own budget? Check out my simple budget template here.)

2. Start saving for retirement yesterday (in other words now), no matter how small. The sooner you begin, the faster compound interest can work its magic.

3. Use cash. Each month withdraw a certain amount of cash for entertainment, groceries and transportation. Do your best to stick to it. Seeing your hard-earned cash exchange hands from your wallet to a cash register is a mental reminder of the labor you expended and what it is bringing into your life.


When shopping for clothes, how can we save money, but still invest in quality?
Cost per wear. Initially paying $100 or more for a quality pair of jeans is going to be hard to swallow, but if they indeed are a quality pair, they will last for years. And with each subsequent time of use, the cost decreases. The goal when going clothes shopping is to purchase items that will last and will still look impeccable with each use. You may not have a lot of clothes, but each item will look stunning, and that is ultimately the goal (and it makes the decision process a lot easier).

How would you describe your signature style?
Casual, chic, classic.

What is your signature scent?
I keep it simple with this decision as well. I love the blend of femininity and masculinity in Chanel No. 5.

How can we learn more about you?
A quick tour of how I live my own simply luxurious life can be seen in this short video below . Readers can now get to know me even better on my weekly podcast The Simple Sophisticate which airs each Monday morning on iTunes. Not only do I talk about the topics addressed on the blog, but I share more of myself, my experiences, etc.

The key for anyone wishing to live well regardless of their income, age or relationship status is self-knowledge and being willing to find the courage to tap into your very unique innate talents. They are there, and they’re waiting to be discovered. When you find them, you will be so glad you made the effort. Trust me. I know it’s scary initially, but it only gets better.


Shannon is offering to give away one signed copy of her new book to a reader of The Daily Connoisseur. Please enter via the rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to all readers (including international). The winner will be announced on the widget after the contest is over. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


For more on Shannon visit her at www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com

See you on Sunday for my Christmas Message 2014!

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12.16.2014

New Signature Scent: Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay



In the second of three new videos this week, I am sharing my new signature scent with you. I actually shot this video in early November but because of the many family events we had that month, I am just publishing it now.

A signature scent is a wonderful thing... A fragrance that encapsulates you, that your family associates with you... a scent that you can smell in the middle of a hectic day and be greatly soothed. A signature scent should be one that you not only adore but that evokes strong feelings, romance, luxury, whimsy or delight.

Perfume is that intangible mystery that can add so much to your life. Many of you are familiar with my signature scent journey. Stella has been my signature scent for nearly a decade, with a brief detour to Bvlgari Rose Essentielle. Even though I love and have loved Stella, I always knew that I would graduate from it and one day find the perfect scent for me. After much research, I can now say that I have found it! I've fallen in love with Jo Malone's Blackberry & Bay.



There are many ways to wear Jo Malone fragrances. Many people like to pair them with other fragrances (incidentally Blackberry & Bay pairs nicely with Jo Malone Red Roses. I've also heard it pairs well with Fig & Cassis). Or you can wear the scent with the body cream, which I enjoy doing with Blackberry & Bay.

Jo Malone describes Blackberry & Bay as: Childhood memories of blackberry picking...A burst of deep, tart blackberry juice, blending with the freshness of just-gathered bay and brambly woods. Vibrant and verdant.

I find this description to be very accurate. The initial top notes suggest very green, almost unripe blackberries. (Some people might take this as a sour top note but I see it as verdant.) Then the fragrance settles into a heady mix of deep crushed blackberries and woodsy notes. For me, this is fragrance heaven.

Now perfume is a very personal thing and what is ecstasy for one person, can be diabolical for another. So while Blackberry & Bay is my new signature scent, it might not be your cup of tea. Enjoy the sensual hunt and take your time, the perfect scent it out there for you.

Check out the video above to learn more about my new favorite perfume. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Today I would love to know... what is your signature scent? How long have you worn it? Are you looking to change? As you get older do you notice a longing to change your perfume? What is your favorite classic scent? What is your favorite new scent? Have you tried Blackberry & Bay?

See you on Thursday for another bonus post: an outfit of the day (OOTD) video and a giveaway from the lovely Shannon Ables of the Simply Luxurious Life blog.

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