4.27.2015

My Japan Diary



I just spent one whirlwind of a week in Tokyo, Japan and recorded a video diary of my trip for you! What an amazing adventure this has been. Everyone I met has been so kind and generous. This week's video is a bit longer, but I hope that you will enjoy watching it as I share my adventures with you, including:

- my book signing
- misadventures in a Japanese drug store
- Japanese style observations
- A trip to the hama-rikyu gardens
- A traditional 10-course (!) Japanese dinner
- My television experience

and much, much more!


At dinner with the team from Daiwa Shobo and Japan Uni


after the book signing

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

I would like to give a special thank you to my Japanese publishers, Daiwa Shobo, who were so welcoming and generous. I am very lucky to be with the best publishing house in Japan! Thank you to my representatives at Japan Uni Agency, who took care of me every step of the way. Thank you to Nippon Television for the amazing days of filming and the wonderful show to come!

Lastly, thank you to the many Japanese readers I got to meet while I was here. Your stories are inspirational and I feel privileged to have met you.



Jennifer x

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4.20.2015

Ten-Item Wardrobe Talk-Through Spring Summer 2015



Thank you for your great response to my ten-item wardrobe for spring/summer 2015! In this week's video I talk you through the wardrobe choices. This year's wardrobe was heavy on the dresses. This was by design. After many years of curating these capsule wardrobes I have come to learn that I am most comfortable in dresses. They also fit the Southern California climate perfectly as the days are generally warm, if not down right hot! In the past, I would include more pants and even long sleeved blouses, but found I rarely wore them. Dresses are for me.

This year saw many repeats, such as my A.P.C. blue chambray dress, A.P.C. linen dress, Tory Burch silk patterned dress and the denim Talbots dress with the tailored sleeves from last season.



Many of these dresses are more than one season old and because of their high quality, still remain valuable assets in my core items.

Of the newer dresses, I decided to try a few accessible brands (able to order online or through catalogue) such as Garnet Hill and Boden. I have been very pleased with the quality of these dresses!



The star of the show for me is this new Rebecca Taylor dress, which I love and I know will last many seasons to come.


For the bottoms, I have one pair of Spanx jeans, which I purchased last winter and a khaki a-line skirt from Talbots. If the weather gets really hot or if I'm doing a particularly messy activity with the girls, I might take out a pair of shorts I have from Banana Republic. Right now, I've stored them away until summer.



As you can see I do not have any blouses in my wardrobe this year. If I need to look dressy during the day, any of my dresses will work just fine. I plan on using the jeans and skirt paired with the tee shirts for more casual looks. These tees are all from Boden. I only have a handful of tee shirts each season. Not all of them are represented here. I have another blue and white stripe (I love my nautical!) as well as a few long sleeved white tees. Because I only have a few tee shirts each season, I tend to need to replace them each year as they either shrink or get dirty. These Boden tees seem really high quality. They might last longer than one season! We shall see...



I do a lot of walking in Santa Monica and need comfortable flat shoes. I have not shown you my entire shoe collection here, but these represent my casual shoes that can pull each outfit together nicely. I have not shown my evening shoes (mainly heels) in this post. As you can see, I like to wear neutral or black shoes. They tend to go with everything!



I have not shown evening wear in this video. That will be discussed in a separate future video. Here, I wanted to focus on the everyday core items that get you through the week.

For links to all items that are still available (many are not as they are more than one season old), check out my original blog post here.

Check out this week's video for a more in-depth discussion of the ten-item wardrobe. 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

I am in Tokyo, Japan this week! I'm looking forward to meeting readers at my book event, Wednesday April 22nd, 7pm Kinokuniya Southern Theater

I am featured on Retail Me Not in an article called, Clean Home, Clear Mind.

Lizzbert blogs about her journey with the ten-item wardrobe here.

Pink Julep loves Lessons from Madame Chic and has her own take on the harsh critics.

Inspired by Madame Chic, Ruby's Musings works on cultivating her mind here.


At Home With Madame Chic is now available as an audiobook from Tantor Audio.


Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
As you go forward with curating your ten-item wardrobe, think about your true style. Do you dress how you want to dress? Or do outside influences dictate that you dress a certain way? Perhaps you would love to dress in a more feminine way, but tell yourself you could never do it for various reasons. Get inspired to discard your inhibitions and embrace your true style.

Comment of the Week
On YouTube, Janice writes:
I completely understand what you are saying about appreciating, being grateful for what we have instead of always wanting more or thinking that it isn't enough. I just recently discovered your blog and am reading your book.I love the idea of a 10 piece capsule wardrobe. I am tired of (bored with) having so many clothes that I so seldom wear. I find the idea very refreshing.

Thank you Janice, and have fun compiling your ten-item wardrobe!


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4.13.2015

Ten-Item Wardrobe Spring/Summer 2015



The Spring/Summer 2015 ten-item wardrobe is here! I had a lot of fun creating this wardrobe, which is (as usual) heavy on the dresses. In this video and blog, I show you what is in the wardrobe (you will recognize many returning pieces) and in next week's "talk-through" video, I will share my inspiration and process as well as discuss new vs. old items.

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 (and don't forget to subscribe!)

Ten Core Items



Boden Cate dress (please note this has tailored sleeves, which I will discuss in a future video)
A.P.C. blue shirt dress*
A.P.C. blue linen dress*
Tory Burch silk print dress*
Boden green tank dress
Garnet Hill black knit dress (no longer available in black)
Talbots denim dress (tailored)*
Spanx skinny jeans
Talbots a-line skirt in Chino
Rebecca Taylor dress

Tee shirts



These are a few of my tee shirts, all from Boden

Shoes



Here are a few of my day shoes: London Sole beige ballet flat, Sam Edelman black Gigi sandal (I also have this in nude patent), Trotters Mickey wedge

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
If you are interested in the ten-item wardrobe but hesitate to get started, make this be the season you take the plunge! Get radical and donate all of the clothes that don't suit you and that are creating confusion in your wardrobe. If you still need more convincing, check out my TEDx talk on the ten-item wardrobe here.

News
Next week I will be in Japan! I am looking forward to meeting all of the Madame Chic fans in Tokyo.

The Spirited Thrifter writes about creating a sustainable ten-item wardrobe.

Bonjour Emily embarks on her own ten-item wardrobe.

Melissa55 takes on my 5-minute Makeup Challenge to very successful, hilarious and charming results!

Comment of the Week
ChlsBird writes:

Your message has inspired me so much this past year, Jennifer. I have made subtle but significant changes to my wardrobe and strive to find joy in routine tasks daily. Your post about Swan Lake has inspired me to purchase tickets to see an opera for the first time. I'm taking my mother to see The Magic Flute for mother's day (she has read your book and now seeking the arts is a family affair!). We plan to study the Libretto to get a full understanding of the storyline before the show to further enhance the experience. Thank you for the ongoing inspiration!

ChlsBird, This is so wonderful! I am thrilled that you are seeking out the arts to further enrich your life. Have a wonderful time at The Magic Flute and let us know how it goes!


Thanks everyone, See you next week for the ten-item wardrobe talk-through...




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4.06.2015

Get Ready With Me: A Night At the Ballet The Sleeping Beauty



Last week I attended the Los Angeles Ballet's production of The Sleeping Beauty at Royce Hall. Before attending the ballet I had a rather full day and in this week's video I show you how to go from day to evening makeup. Come get ready with me as I refresh my day makeup and choose a dress from my extras. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel (and subscribe!): www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur



Makeup used in the video:

CHANEL Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation

Benefit Fake Up under eye concealer

Benefit Boi-ing concealer

Laura Mercier loose setting powder

Urban Decay Primer Potion

YSL faux cils mascara in burgundy


MAC eyebrow powder

Tarte BeMATTEnificent palette (I thought this palette was discontinued but I see it is available on Amazon but for a much higher price. Please let us know if you find it elsewhere for less) shades used: sand out from the crowd across entire lid, rose to the occasion in the crease and two plums up in the outer crease and blush in elevated.

Bobbi Brown longwear gel eyeliner in caviar ink

MAC bronzer along the hollows of the cheeks

Hourglass femme nude lip stilo no. 6

Urban Decay lip gloss Naked in deep pink/ mauve



Outfit in the video:
The DVF cocktail dress from my extras. You will recognize this as I wore it to many speaking engagements last spring. You will see this in my extras again this year for the ten-item wardrobe. The shoes are nude patent Ferragamo heels and the trench coat is from A.P.C., another mainstay in my extras.

The ballet was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I especially loved principal dancer Allyssa Bross in the role of the Lilac Fairy.

I hope this video inspires you to have a fun evening out by seeking out the arts in your neighborhood. Supporting the arts is one of the most important things we can do to salvage the dignity of our culture.

Click here for more on the Los Angeles Ballet

News

The Glamorous Housewife took my 5-Minute Makeup Challenge! Check out her fun video here.

The Spirited Thrifter creates a sustainable ten-item wardrobe.

I'm coming to Japan the week of April 20th! Stay tuned for more details.

Artistic Recommendation
Marija writes:

Since you so kindly share your videos with us, I would like to share with you a book series which I believe you will enjoy. The series is by Kerry Greenwood, an Australian author. The books are based around an ultra-glamorous, yet very down-to-earth female sleuth, the beautifully named Phryne (Fry-nee) Fisher during 1920's Melbourne. The books have also been recently televised, fairly successfully, though not with the full supporting cast of characters.
A delightful read with a cup of tea, and a slice of blueberry cake! :-)
Warm regards, Marija


Thank you Marija! I have enjoyed watching Mrs. Fisher's Murder Mysteries on Netflix but will also check out the books!


This week I would love to know... what arts will you seek out this season?


*Music in video: Tchaikovsky The New Doll

Music from Audio Micro


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4.02.2015

I'm Coming to JAPAN



Dear Readers,

I am so happy to announce that I will be coming to Tokyo, Japan this April! Thank you to the Japanese readers for making Lessons from Madame Chic a bestseller! I will be there the week of April 20th and while there will appear on a very popular television show and do a major speaking event and book signing. All details will be announced as they unfold, so please check back with this blog, or the events page on my author website, which will have the latest updates.



Check out my video announcement above for more details. If you are unable to see the video, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

I can't wait to meet all of the Madame Chic fans in Japan!

Happy Easter and I will see you all next week!

Love,

Jennifer x



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3.30.2015

5-Minute Makeup Challenge



This week's video is a fun challenge that has been circulating around YouTube: a 5-Minute Makeup Challenge. I set the timer for 5 minutes and in real time attempt to do my complete makeup routine. I got a little ambitious and decided to add eyeshadow (you know my 5-minute le no makeup look does not include eyeshadow) and the results are quite funny. I hope you enjoy this video!

I am also tagging three of my favorite YouTubers: The Glamorous Housewife, TeriGigi and Melissa55. They all have really fun YouTube channels and you should check them out. Ladies, I hope you're up for the challenge!

Even if you don't have a YouTube channel, it's quite fun to time yourself. See how much you can get done in 5 minutes. Then you can streamline a routine in that time and be well on your way to looking presentable always.



Check out this week's video for all of the 5-minute makeup hijinks. 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 (and be sure to subscribe!)

Makeup used in the video:

CHANEL Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation

Benefit Fake Up under eye concealer

Benefit Boi-ing concealer

Laura Mercier loose setting powder

Urban Decay Primer Potion http://www.sephora.com/eyeshadow-primer-potion-tube-original-P284716?skuId=1515733

Laura Mercier Vanilla eyeshadow

Laura Mercier Fresco eyeshadow

MAC eyeliner in Costa Riche

YSL faux cils mascara in burgundy

Bobbi Brown blush in tawny

Hourglass lipstick

News
I am featured in Bankrate in an article called, Gain More by Spending Less.

There will be a very exciting announcement this week so be sure to check back on the blog!


This blog post is shorter because I am in the throes of my book 3 deadline...


Let me know what you think of this week's video in the comment section. And let us know if you have a 5-minute makeup routine.


I look forward to seeing you later this week!


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3.23.2015

Living with LESS



For the past two weeks we have tried a radical experiment chez nous to see how we get along living with less. I'm talking a lot less. This wasn't necessarily by choice. It all started when we refinished the hardwood floors in our apartment. We had to take all of our furniture out. We removed everything from our home save the beds, side tables and dining room table. We even boxed up most of our clothing and saved just a few pieces in a suitcase (more on this interesting observation in a moment).

A while back, I recommended Marie Kondo's book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Ms. Kondo writes about radically getting rid of your possessions to understand the freedom of living with less. I was so happy I had read her book before doing this because I was quite excited to see how we would fare. It turns out (save for a few files and my beloved piano)... We didn't miss anything!



What a surprising verdict! We are quite minimal with our belongings anyway compared to the average family, but over the years with two little ones, we did acquire quite the collection of this and that.

One of the most surprising results is that the children didn't miss their toys! Their little playroom (which was really a play corner) was filled with bins of blocks, legos, dolls and art supplies among many other things. This space frustrated me because I felt it offered too much choice for them. They would play with one thing, get distracted and them move on to the next without putting anything away. Now with the toys all stored away, we bring out one puzzle, or get an art project going or keep out a rotation of around 5 books and they are still as happy as they were with all of their toys. In fact, they have been prompted to use their imagination more and have created things to do (like making a "midnight soup" from old food in the refrigerator). And what about those clutter hot spots and stagnant spaces as discussed in At Home With Madame Chic? With less possessions to begin with, the cleanup of these areas has been dramatically reduced.

The clothing experiment is also quite telling. It has been the ten-item wardrobe on a diet. We are all wearing the same three or four pieces over and over again. There is less laundry, we still look great and there is no question about what to wear in the morning. Now, don't worry, I'm not going down to a three-item wardrobe (!), this is only temporary, but this radical experiment has really opened my eyes to the fact that we can not only live comfortably with less belongings, we can thrive.

Living with less encourages me to only bring items into my home that I adore and to constantly reassess what I have.

Check out this week's video for the full discussion. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel (and subscribe!): www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur **

News
I am quoted in Bankrate this week in an article called, Living Luxuriously for Less.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Take one room in your home this week and get radical with it. Take out excess furniture, any clutter and all items that don't belong in that room. See what living in that room is like after you remake it. Enjoy its simplicity and use that room as a springboard to enjoy the same process to other rooms in your home.

Comment(s) of the Week
On Life at Home: Get Some Sleep, Alexa writes:

Naps, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee after a good night's sleep. I love thee after a bad night's sleep.

Naps seem to smooth out all the rough edges. Even a short one can be so refreshing. Naps or siestas used to be traditional in many cultures. It's another unfortunate aspect of modern life that schedules and routines no longer accommodate an afternoon rest. After all, who can guarantee a good sleep every night? Even when I was working, I used to nap during my commute on the bus. What does "nap" spell backwards, if you add a few letters? panacea!
I wish everyone a good rest!


Alexa, I have never been able to nap, but people who can swear by it! I'll never forget my time in Spain where the families would leave work for two hours to go home for a siesta. I like your thinking!

Madeleine writes:

Hi Jennifer,

in Beethoven's day the average amount of sleep people got was ten hours - TEN hours! No doubt lack of electric lighting and gadgets made this possible. But I think it tells us most of us are probably sleep deprived most of the time. Seven to eight hours is not for me!

I have to admit that the biggest habit I am trying to break this year is that of staying up late because i do just want some time to myself. I'm aiming to reverse the trend by going to bed earlier and doing yoga in the morning - which definitely makes my life a whole lot better.

I am a bedtime reader, but usually cannot stay awake for a full hour!


Great comment Madeleine... modern convenience has surely changed the way we live, particularly with regard to sleep. I would love to know what time Beethoven himself went to bed! :)


Testimonial
On my author website Guestbook, Lise B. writes:

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you for your belief and promotion of a quality life style. Your “Lessons from Madame Chic” has had a profound effect on my life.
I have and continue purging, going from 3 full closets to only 1 small one. I have purged everything else in my house and I am constantly thinking about what else I am no longer using which can be sold/donated or simply dumped.
Because of this book, I now only wear my best clothes whether to go to work, to teach or go grocery shopping on the week-end. I have gotten rid of everything that does not promote a quality lifestyle and that includes acquaintances. Thank you!


Thank you Lise and to everyone who has signed the guestbook. I love reading about your evolving journeys!

**This video was shot in my mother-in-law, Jane's Santa Monica flat in front of her lovely painting, "The Dancers" by British artist, Ashley Luff.

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