# At Home With Madame Chic # Distractions

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

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.


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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Anonymous said...

I think you posted this for me. Since I retired, I find myself spending more and more time on the computer and neglecting my home, my cooking, and myself for that matter. This is a good wake-up call. Thank you.

Ladylike said...

I'm happy to be able to say that I've felt very productive of late. I have you to thank for introducing me to helpful books which have launched me into positive projects. I was successful at clearing the clutter of household papers and old notebooks and binders during the week. I thought I would rest this weekend, but I surprised myself by clearing out my desk drawers and hutch drawer. I narrowed my huge recipe collection down to a manageable few folders. The good news is that once we do become involved in and inspired by a project, it can become addictive in a good way. Thank you!

Natalie said...

Dear Jennifer,

A close friend of mine recommended your books, and I'm so glad that she did. You've been such an inspiration to me. I've "cleaned out my clutter" at home and am trying to focus on being more in the present. I've shared your book with both of my sisters and they are now enjoying the "fine art of living," as well.

My latest distraction has been ebay! As I've tried to clean out the clutter in my home, I've been selling it on ebay. I'm constantly checking to see if I have any watchers or bids! I agree with you about the 45 minutes to yourself. When my kids nap, I think I will sit and read an old classic novel, but end up on Instagram or ebay.

Thanks for the tips and reminders. Instead of browsing the internet tonight, I think I'll start a classic book.

I hope you have a wonderful week. I look forward to your videos and posts.

Mommyoftwo said...

Hi Jennifer! I'm new to your blog and have really been enjoying it. I had a similar experience to you in that I studied abroad in Spain and fell in love with all things Spanish. My only regret is that unlike you, I didn't pay enough attention to the details of the lifestyle to figure out what I liked about it- I just knew I adored it! I guess I couldn't see the trees for the forest (or however that saying goes).

Anyway, I wanted to share something with you about the whole capsule wardrobe phenomenon. I definitely do not yet have a capsule wardrobe if you were to look in my closet. However, after thinking about what I mostly wear, I realized that I do indeed tend to wear the same favorite pants, jeans, tops, etc. over and over again. So in essence, I really do have a capsule wardrobe that defines my style; I just haven't taken the step to get rid of the other items I don't wear. Your blog inspired me to do just that! I am setting aside next weekend to do it and couldn't be more excited.

Anyway, sorry to be so lomg winded and off topic- I was just so inspired by your blog that I wanted to share. Best- Jill

Maureen said...

My husband and I have been talking about this exact topic all week! This is such a major obstacle of modern life, and its difficult to overcome. I've been working on it for about a year now, and I'm glad my husband is now too.

I found that I wasted a lot of time on social media. It wasn't enriching my life, only distracting from it, and it bothered me to realize I was wasting so much time seeing how other people are living their lives instead of living my own. It also made me less content with what I have, and I found myself endlessly "shopping but not really shopping," as you described in your video. Over the past month, I've deleted all of my social media accounts, and it has made a big difference. Now I just go directly to my favorite two blogs (including this one).

I manage a staff wellness program at my workplace, and one challenge my team and I put to the staff is Turn Off Technology Tuesdays. We encourage everyone after work to choose forms of entertainment which don't involve screens. At the end of June, we are giving away gift certificates to a local book store to the three people who take on the challenge the most.

Thank you for discussing this important topic!

Unknown said...

HI Jennifer - I have a two year old and so when she goes to bed or takes her nap I often justify my time on the computer as my time to "rest". But I have to say I finally have tuned in enough to realize these "distractions" are NOT restful moments at all. I live in a cold climate so winters are harder. But in the summer when I have a minute or two I cut flowers, work in my garden, water plans.
Some of my bad distractions are creating lists. I'm a never ending detailed "to do list" person. It's a waste of time for me and just makes my anxious. So I each day I try to really choose 2 maybe 3 things to accomplish. It gets done, I feel better, I haven't spent all this time writing mega lists. And it's a more sane way to live.
Thank you for your words!

yvettebujold said...

So enjoyed this post! It's an eye opener for me.I am a grandmother and as I live alone I spend a lot of time on the internet and watching television, time that I could spend doing more enriching things, like listening to beautiful music, reading good books ( loved both of yours)etc...Although I'm older I enjoy your blogs very much, read all your post and am always happy when Sunday arrives to see your video... Thank you so much Jennifer, yo are an inspiration for women of all ages. xx

Unknown said...

I feel like I was meant to read this today! I recently noticed that I was spending way too much time on my cell phone looking at Instagram/ FaceBook, etc and that most of my free time was being wasted doing this. I especially seemed to do this in the evening when I was tired, instead of reading (which I normally love to do). So three days ago, I banned myself from looking at my phone after 8pm and it's so much better! More hobbies, more reading, less time wasting internet. Thank you for the encouragement!

Rose said...

Hi Jennifer, it's good to see you back. I've only recently come to owning (and using) an iPad and a (smart) phone so being online has meant coming here to sit down at my computer -- which involves a deliberate decision. I'm determined not to lose that, the ipad and iphone will, I hope, simply make some things more convenient.

Unknown said...

Jennifer, Thank you for another fabulous post that is completely on point and coincidently one of my goals for 2015. It is great to think of other people making similar endeavours around the world to cut their screen time. We have chosen not to have a TV in our house but this year I am also taking the year off Facebook and (Guilty Addiction) Candy Crush as these are my 2 biggest time sucks. You know you pick up your phone to check the time and 5 minutes later you are still scrolling your Facebook news feed. So Thank you once again for your continuing inspiration Andii

Lollyg said...

Hi Jennifer!
I am reading and periodically rereading both of your wonderful, life enhancing books. I am so happy to be able to have the companion posts and videos.

My distraction is the internet, as I find excuses to extend limits I set for myself. Then, I don't get any of the enriching things done that I want to do, like needlework, which has been on my list for years!

Can you talk a little bit about balance, please? I find my other "go to" activity to be cleaning, which sounds good, but this is out of balance for me. It is easier to just do a cleaning activity than to motivate myself to create!
Thanks and bless you!

Unknown said...

Busted! That was my thought when I saw the title of this week's post. I do a lot of my work from home and think I may have a compulsion towards distraction which affects not only my ability to use my time wisely but also my presence in any given moment. Case in point: had I not checked this website for the weekly video, I would have already turned on the TV and spent 10 minutes trying to find something to play "in the background" before I got my work started. After reading the post and watching the video, I don't think I can let myself get away with that! I really appreciate the accountability that this website inspires. Thank you Jennifer! Hopefully this morning will be one of many in which I am fully focused on the task at hand and present in the moment.

Unknown said...

I think this will strike a nerve with a lot of us! Funny how I can let 10 minutes scrolling through Facebook evaporate without noticing, but I can't find 10 minutes to sit down and read the Bible, or straighten up a pile of clutter, or get the post-dinner kitchen cleanup out of the way. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

Unknown said...

I love your short & sweet messages! Help with meal planning & preparation would be great.
With appreciation, Sandra

Susan said...

Hi Jennifer

My distraction is you! Just recently came across you and have read both your books and am now reading all your blog posts and watching your videos back to 2008.
I have packed away 80% of my clothes, loving the capsule wardrobe, bought a Clarisonic, an Urban Decay Naked palette and have been loving meals at the table. Particularly love Bach for Breakfast!
Thanks for inspiration.
And...... Once I have read your whole blog I"ll get offline and practise the piano and learn more Italion.

Bisous xx

LRS4AMANDA said...

Hi Jennifer,

I just finished reading "Lessons from Madame Chic" (a great read) and plan on buying your second book. I'm working on my wardrobe trying to keep only classic pieces that I will use again and again and buy only what I love. I really enjoy reading your blog...I am gradually working my way through it back to the beginning.

I must chime in with Natalie, I almost laughed out loud when I read her comment. I too started selling on ebay about a year ago to declutter. I was checking my account every 2 or 3 hours for watchers or buyers...I thought to myself, surely no one else is as obsessed as I am. :)

My other time sucker is reading blogs, although I have cut back to a few favorites because I realized that my house is suffering as a result. Not a good thing.

I look forward to your weekly posts/videos.

Have a wonderful week!

Linda in San Diego

Anonymous said...

Every year I give up reading a particular tabloid news site for Lent, and I always feel very free and peaceful without it. You have inspired me to just give it up permanently. Thank you for a great post.

juliagray19 said...


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 Gray

Unknown said...

I don't know that there is ONE big thing but a bunch of little things that distract me. I know I cannot be my best self with clutter around the house! So, after reading your books I have made a good effort to get rid of this. It is a constant battle! ;)

I have also just realized that after 2 years of having my husband and I commute and work away from home, what a huge toll it took on our house & our home lives. Now, that I'm done working out of the home, I am tackling the toll little by little and loving how I feel around my house!!

I also am taking on your "capsule wardrobe" idea and really trying to think about what I purchase and NEED. It is a learning process but I'm getting there. And it's a fun and unique challenge.

I also want to thank you so much for the brilliance of your cleaning schedule. I used to always get overwhelmed by having a day to clean and something would always stop me from getting it all done (C'est la vie) and I would feel bad about myself and the house wasn't the way I liked it, etc. and go into a downward spiral and be discouraged.

Then, after reading your books, I decided to commit myself to the schedule you put out and I can tell you I feel like a different person. I'm happier in my home, I'm able to get that day's cleaning done, because it is a REASONABLE amount to do, not the whole house like I tried to do before. Especially, with a little one around. And I find that the way you have the schedule set up, it seems like my house is "clean" on Monday and only gets that much better as the week goes on!!! I am in love with it. I have shared it with several others. My sister loves it and we text each other what we have to get done today! And I find I'm enjoying it! I am just so thankful and encouraged by all the help you give us on the seemingly little things that end up mattering a whole lot. I'm very thankful you met Madame Chic and are spreading the wealth of knowledge.

I love the idea of a Turn Off Technology Tuesdays from one of your other readers, and I'll discuss that with my husband. It is completely doable.

My little one is down for his afternoon nap now, so I must go, so I can read and eat my lunch! :)

Kari said...

Jennifer, what a great post! I have a built in safeguard against techno distraction at my house. My cats. They are forever climbing over my iPad to bonk me on the nose, laying down on the tv remote, and shoving my phone off the table. They are saying to me in their furry way, "mommy, pay attention to US! We are more fun anyway!"

And so they are. A few years ago, I decided I was getting too caught in people's Facebook drama and letting it upset me, so I deleted all media apps from my phone. That didn't seem to be quite enough, though, so I eventually deactivated my accounts. I have been much happier since then. Now if could just break my addiction to Pinterest...

galant said...

Life is a distraction ... getting up and then going onto the computer before one gets showered; being distracted by the post/mail when the dishwasher should've been stacked/emptied; watching daytime TV when there is a writing deadline to meet; but that is life, so beware 'oughts' and 'shoulds', the little niggly voices which tell us we ought to be doing this or we should be doing that. Yes, we might become more efficient, but I think we will find that we don't free up time so that we can have more so-called 'quality' time, we will just either continue to work or fritter that saved-time away. But the idea is a nice one, not to be distracted by so many outside influences. I just don't think I could keep up the regime!
Margaret P

Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer,

I am so excited about this series! I've loved both of your books! I just love what everything you share. :) I am striving to live a quality life as well (though at times it is so hard in our culture of fast food, cheap products, and, as you mentioned, screens, screens, screens.)

I was wondering if you have ever heard of Charlotte Mason? She led educational reform in England. Her method is now mostly used for homeschooling as there are very few of her schools left (a shame in my opinion.)

I think you would find her and her theory of education very interesting. She was a big believer in "living literature" as opposed to "twaddle" (which she defined as watered down and quality-less books for children), a huge promoter of the arts and making them a large part of children's education, as well as teaching life skills and quality habits.

It is funny to me how much overlap there is between so much of what I read. I just thought you might find her interesting if you've never heard of her before. :)

Inkfanatic said...

Hello Jennifer :)
Thank You for yet another timely idea! First, love the plan for the 'Life At Home' series...SO looking forward to making some positive changes around our household to allow us to live a quality life! And, I love the idea of Cutting the Distractions. My husband and I have been talking about giving up internet & tv at our house for awhile now. It's time to just do it. (we have to have it at our business, so I will still get to check in, thankfully!!)
Not sure if you know about this project, but Ali Edwards runs a class through the year called One Little Word. The short of it is, that you choose a word, and monthly she gives prompts and creative challenges to help you apply your word to your life, in whatever way you want to. There a gazillion ways to benefit from it, and it's lots of creative fun. But, my word this year is 'Choose'.
I picked it very purposefully to encourage myself to make positive, healthy, happy choices this year (and hopefully much longer). I know I'm not alone, but for a long time now, I've been in a deep rut of just reacting in the same old ways to situations, thoughts, things people say/do, you name it.
It's TIME, for new thought patterns, happy and healthy choices, living a quality life, and spending my time in a quality fashion. So this? Your series...your books...your (& Madame Chic's) philosophies of life...are the perfect match for me just now.
I have already decluttered my closet, and am nearly there with the 10 item wardrobe - BEST IDEA EVER!!!!! I'm working on some of the other areas that need improvement as well, but taking it slow, so the changes will become permanent. Trying to develop one good habit at a time :D
So, Thank You!! And the series, and the new book? BRING THEM ON!! Can't wait!

Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer!

Thank you for your inspiring vblog this week. I have a request- would you be willing to host or share a brainstorm of quality ways to relax and sink into some well deserved pleasure at the end of a long day or when one finds themselves with an unexpected pocket of time?

I love reading but sometimes I want something else and I when I am tired it can be challenging to think up creative new ideas.

I hope you take me up on my request... I look forward to checking out folks suggestions.


Anonymous said...

Congrats, Jennifer on the hosting gig! This is my first time commenting, but I've been following your blog for a good long while and I just adored your first book. I work from home so I'm constantly reminded each day of your attitude towards always looking presentable as a means of fighting the "stay in pajamas" urge.

As always, this posts offers lots of really good tips for starting the new year off the Madame Chic way. Really enjoyed reading it. Thank you!

Ladylike said...

Hi Jennifer, I have to write again because I finally tried your sour cream coffee cake recipe. Oh la la! C'est fantastique! I've been making a similar sour cream bundt cake for the past 25 years, but I never thought of putting a cinnamon filling inside it. My teenage son said, "How do you make this magicalness?" He ate it for breakfast, afternoon tea and dessert! I'm looking forward to trying your other recipes and to all your future posts on your blog. In terms of distractions, there is certainly a great deal out there to make us feel distracted and upset. Just take a step outside one's door. Your work, Jennifer, reminds me to stay focused on the things I can control and to do the best I can with my own life and to hopefully set an example for others. Being a member of the "Madame Chic" family feels like coming home. :-) Alexandra

wildnettle said...

I love your positive attitude ...
  and inspirational books :)
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, I am the worst offender when it comes to wasting time online. Luckily I've found something that often helps - it's an app called "SelfControl" that I downloaded to my computer. There are plenty of similar apps out there. Basically, you set the timer for anywhere from 15 min to 5 hours, and it will turn OFF your internet - completely blocks access. It's brilliant!

Also, I wanted to say that I just read At Home with Madame Chic, and you truly inspired me. My home is now very, very close to clutter-free. And beautiful. I cleared out old clothes, tossing the hole-y ones and giving the good ones to charity; I cleared out my bathroom sink cabinet, my dresser drawers, my desk drawers, all over the course of this long weekend. And guess what? De-cluttering helped me find an important legal form (health care proxy for my father) that my family and I have been missing for months. So THANK YOU!!