1.24.2011

The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris- #2 Quality Above All


Living with Famille Chic completely changed my mindset of living and leading a quality life. Quality with regards to tangible things like clothing, furniture and food, as well as quality of the intangible- quality of thoughts, of feelings, of intellect. So many things about the French lifestyle promotes quality.

Madame Chic and her family were great role models for this. Their clothes were quality, their appearances were quality, their home was quality, their food was quality, their discussions were quality, the time they spent together was quality time… they really lived fully realized lives.

It could have been their aristocratic state of mind but they believed they deserved to live well and they did indeed do just that. They were so comfortable in their skin- so genuinely content with their lives. Their living well had nothing to do with money and everything to do with attitude and discernment.

It was in Paris, really, where I became a daily connoisseur. If a connoisseur by definition is an expert able to appreciate a field (such as fine art, for example) then a daily connoisseur is someone who appreciates every aspect of daily life. Someone who seeks out the highest quality in whatever tickles their fancy.

Seeking out nothing but quality in your life is not about being snobby or pretentious- it’s about being selective and discerning, realizing that life is short and why not fill it with the best things and experiences you can manage.

Once you commit to living a life of quality, your discernment will infuse into every aspect of your life. You will be more selective of the foods you choose to eat, the fabrics of the clothes that you wear, the way you choose to spend your time

You are less likely to binge on fast food or snacks- to hastily purchase an inferior article of clothing just because it was on sale- or sit for hours in front of the TV while your life slips away…

Also…

You will start to cherish the space around you and are less likely to litter it with clutter.

You begin to reevaluate your relationships and only give your time and energy to the people most important to you.

You begin to respect yourself and trust your instincts by not overextending yourself- (You will become comfortable with saying no. Saying no is perfectly OK!)

You will speak with purpose and allow the words that come out of your mouth to be quality words. Your thoughts, quality thoughts and actions, quality actions.

And in turn, become the daily connoisseur of your own life…

I’m not sure whether Famille Chic was aware of their commitment to a life of quality- as far as they were concerned that was just their life and they knew no different. But I am very grateful for my observations on the subject and I’ve committed myself (and it is an ongoing process) to cherish quality above all...

I would love to know… what does a life of quality mean to you?


Won’t you stay tuned for #1?



A typical Parisian farmer’s market is pictured above where quality items abound…


My book, Lessons from Madame Chic: The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris will be published by Simon & Schuster and re-released in the fall of 2012.


The Daily Connoisseur is now available on Amazon Kindle

15 comments:

Rebekah said...

Quality is a practical concept I explore everyday, and it has become a mantra from the food I purchase for meals to the discussions in which I participate with friends. This post perfectly expresses my own efforts of the last couple of years.

I have an Excel spreadsheet documenting my wardrobe inventory. Those items of less quality are marked as future donations when I am able to replace them with their better quality interpretations. I have a similar inventory of household items, too.

At the end of the day, Famille Chic probably knew this from inception, we spend LESS when we buy quality items and participate in quality activities. And we are happier and more satisfied for the effort.

Rebecca said...

Quality over quantity is so important. As a designer friend of mine told me recently-buy the best, cry once. :)

I enjoy Famille Chic and I hope to continue to read more about them in future posts!

Beth - In My World... said...

I love everyone of your posts. Quality above all has been applied to my clothes purchases - less in quantity; more in quality. I am learning the are of saying no and saving quality time for myself and my family.

I enjoy learning about Famille Chic and how this lifestyle was their way of life...it is what continue to strive for.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Quality = Craftsmanship

We purchase in hopes that what we choose will be of quality and will stand the test of time...

I suppose that is why I choose Hermes...Tiffany and vintage arts and crafts.

as you profess in chic french style...waiting for more...

Rebecca said...

It's hard for me to believe that #1 could be any more inspiring than #2!

How well you have expressed the concept & importance of QUALITY. Paris definitely rubbed off on you.

Charlene said...

This is such an excellent post. Although we usually think of quality in tangible things, I love what you've said about quality in thought, speech and actions. So important! You've given me so much to think about in this series. I can't imagine what's left for #1 on your list but wait anxiously to see what it is.

steppingmywaytobliss said...

I choose the best quality I can afford in everything...food, clothing, experiences, entertainment,friendships, etc.

I love your distinction of what quality is (selective and discerning) and what it is not (snobbery, pretension). Yet, many people will assume one is "snobbish" when she is truly just being selective because they choose to live lives that are governed by "have it now"...or they choose to live without thinking--running with the pack.

Another lovely post--can't wait to read #1. And then I am going to print them all off and put them in a notebook for reference. : ) xxBliss

Merveilleux said...

Great post!
We all owe it to ourselves to have quality possessions, thoughts and food.
There's really nothing like fresh food or quality bed linens to slip into at the end of the day.

Oshiya said...

This is so true... Being selective is a good thing.

Shelley said...

...cherish the space around you...there's another mantra for uncluttering and one I need to use. Looking forward to #1 - can't imagine what is left! Maybe Paris is where you fell in love???

Ms. Mig said...

Thank you for the post. Greatly enjoyed. Looking forward to #1.

Lacey said...

Love this post. I'm looking forward to next week's post (and feel a little sad that the series is coming to an end!)

When did you first cross paths with Madame Bohemienne?

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Rebekah- I love the idea of a spread sheet- you are much more organized than I am! It is also more sensible- I tend to give away masses of clothing without considering if I'm leaving a gap in my wardrobe. And it is so true that we spend less when we buy quality...

Rebecca- Buy the best cry once! I love it. As opposed to crying all the time because you wish you'd bought the best ;)

Beth- The art of saying no is something that I will probably work on for the rest of my life. It is so hard, but I'm getting there. Each one of these things requires daily practice. Thank you so much for your comment...

Hostess- craftsmanship indeed! My favorite show on TV5 Monde is called Nec plus Ultra... each week they highlight different craftsmen- whether they are jewelers, fashion designers, artists or furniture designers, you can really see the passion in the objects they create.

Rebecca- Thank you! I can't believe the countdown is almost over... it makes me sad really- but I will be going in depth and exploring each of these topics after the series finishes...

Charlene- Thank you! I'm so glad you've enjoyed the series so far.. looking forward to sharing #1...

Bliss- Thank you so much. The key is with quality the best you can afford... so many people live outside of their means but quality can come at all price ranges... and quality of the intangible (thoughts, feelings, intellect) is most always free! How glorious xx

Merveilleux- Everyone has their particularities that must be quality- I love that yours are bed linens! Mine are rather strange, I, for example, absolutely need a quality deodorant- I get mine from Kiehls. I know this is the most random fact- but I cannot stand drug store deodorants! Also need quality face products and body creams. If we pick and choose our priorities it makes it easier to afford the things that are a must for us...

Oshiya- it sure is! xx

Shelley- #1 is a love story , but not the sort you are imagining :) You would have thought that after all of this I would have married a Frenchman! But alas my husband is English :) He finds my fascination with the French mildly amusing...

Ms. Mig- Thank you!

Lacey- I feel sad too! But as I've mentioned before I will go in depth into each thing in the New Year and I'm also currently working on the book, which will have a lot more than the blog shares. I met Madame Bohemienne right off the bat in Paris. She was the host mother of my very close friend on the trip. She was an excellent hostess and very welcoming so I went to dinner at her house at least once a week for 6 months...

John said...

Hi! I just got here and I just skimmed through your article and find them very interesting... I couldn't help but read it all..

Thanks for posting a nice article.


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Ann G. R. said...

Hi Jennifer, I am writing this post in 2014. I found your site a few years after you wrote this in 2011. I STILL like to go back and re-read these comments from time to time. You have so many good tidbits of information that are still so relevant. They are like little treasures or daily affirmations that keep me focused and on track. Maybe some day you can send out email blasts or subscriptions like Eckart Tolle does. Wouldn't that be broadening your scope? :-)

 
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