6.20.2016

Family Not On Board with Madame Chic? Reader Q&A



Thank you for all of your wonderful comments. Life with baby Connoisseur is just wonderful. He is such a joy!

As promised, here are the Q&A videos I shot before having the baby. Today's video answers a reader's question about how to deal with family members who live contrary to the Madame Chic lifestyle. I receive this question so often, I am really happy to address it today.

When we decide to embark on the lifestyle of living a beautiful, elegant and poised life, we sometimes expect everyone else in our life to follow suit! But the reality, more often than not, is that others who are close to us don't even have these issues on their radar. So how to cope?

Check out this week's 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

Question of the week

Sara writes:

Hi Jennifer! My name is Sara and I am a big fan of your videos and books and I was hoping to ask you a question on the topic of quality friendships. I love the suggestions you have on how to make quality, like-minded friends. Although those are important friendships, I wonder what I can do about my oldest friendships. The more I have practiced poise the more I realize that some of my best friends are not poised at all. I know that being an example to them is great, but do you have any other suggestions on how to inspire others to lead a poised life? I do not want to make them feel as though I am trying to change them, but I am excited to share the wonderful side-effects that come from looking presentable always and maintaining an air of mystery! Thank you!

Hi Sara, this is such a great question, and I feel it relates nicely to this week's topic as well. It is very important to realize that we cannot change other people, only ourselves. I have mentioned before (as well as in this week's video) that if we maintain our poise and integrity, we may inspire others to do the same. If these are some of your oldest and dearest friends, it is perfectly fine to share the exciting changes in your life with them. You could lend them one of your Madame Chic books, or tell them about how the ten-item wardrobe has changed your life. Or you could email them a blogpost or video from The Daily Connoisseur that inspires you. They might find it interesting and they might not, but either way, you tried! Just remember there is a reason why you became friends with them so many years ago. Remember those reasons if you ever feel frustrated with their behavior. Not everyone has the same lifestyle goals and that is OK!

Comment of the week

Starr writes:

Congratulations on the arrival of your sweet baby. You are a hero! Welcome to the world, baby boy.

During the time I lived in England I haunted the charity shops, gathering a beautifully mismatched collection of Staffordshire transferware. The truly old pieces (some of them over a century) a significantly smaller than the more contemporary pieces. But, sticking with traditional patterns (ie. Willow ware, English Scene), the newer pieces still feel puny compared to a set of "standard" white plates I picked up during a subsequent U.S. relocation. Those white plates almost are never used -- except as serving platters.

Incidentally, when I first returned to the U.S., my sister came to visit. The shipping container had just arrived from England and my sister was so interested in my plate collection. After a happy 30 minutes of looking at the different patterns, my sister (who is universally recognized as the most elegant amongst my siblings) turned to me and said, "Now you need to go to [big box store] and buy some plastic plates." When I asked *why* I would do that, she explained that I needed to save my plates for "special occasions. You can't easily replace these as they break. You aren't in England anymore." I simply told that I use the best I have and if they break, it would be fine...and it is.


Hi Starr, thank you for your comment. I loved the story about your elegant sister. I'm glad you explained that you like to use your best everyday. I bet she got a kick out of that!

This week I would love to know, have you dealt with similar frustrations? Are you struggling with how to deal with a co-worker, family member or friend who is not on board with the Madame Chic/ Daily Connoisseur lifestyle? Let me know in the comment section below, and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week on the blog.

See you next time as we discuss your ten-item wardrobe questions...



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6.13.2016

Antique Dishes vs. New Dishes (Portion Size)

Before we begin today, I'd like to express my heartfelt condolences to everyone affected by the horrible terrorist attack this past weekend. We are holding the victims and their families in our prayers.



Thank you for all of your wonderful notes and well-wishes for our family! Baby connoisseur is such a joy. We are all really enjoying spending time with him and just delighting in his presence.

Before I delivered my baby, I was able to shoot 5 videos for you that I have scheduled to go up in the next few weeks. I wanted to stay in touch with you on the blog, yet give myself a break to spend time with the baby without working. Today's video shows you some observations about antique dishes vs. modern dishes. In the weeks to come, I have three reader Q&As, as well as a fun and easy chicken dinner recipe.

Let's get started with today's post...

We recently picked up a set of 1960s antique dishes from a local estate sale. The set has a French blue and white scroll design with a gold edge. It is an ironstone set called Capri Crown Essex, made in Staffordshire, England. In today's video, I compare the antique set with our modern Pottery Barn dishes. As you will see, the modern dishes are much larger. I have compared antique dishes before in a previous post. It's fun to do this because you really do see how trends change. As time goes on, we tend to eat more and our modern dish sizes really reflect this.



If you have a set of antique dishes, I encourage you to use them on a regular basis. Not only is it fun to eat off of unique and beautiful plates, but we can all benefit from the smaller portion sizes as well. If you do not own antique dishes or china, keep an eye out for local estate sales or visit consignment or thrift shops. You can find wonderful bargains at mere fractions of the price of modern china, which can be so pricey. Don't worry if you cannot find a complete set, it can be fun to collect and mix and match.

Check out today's video to see the difference between the new and old plates. 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

News

Thank you to LandOMoms for recommending Lessons from Madame Chic in their article on eating well.



Comments of the Week
Lo C writes:

I'm a public school band director and we have two major concerts every school year. While our number one priority is to have families support their children (there is nothing more devastating than watching an elementary school student look for their parent only to have them not there), I have noticed a couple families attending our events without dressing up. Of course we understand as teachers when parents are running from one event to another. The children do seem to notice a difference in the presentation of adults. I, personally, love seeing parents dress up and make the event even more special to the kiddos! It's all about those babies!!


Hi Lo C, I took part in band from 5th to 12th grade and I remember each band concert feeling like such a major event. Back then, all of the parents took pride in their appearance and I think it helped make the events more special. What a fun job you have!

Me writes:

Congratulations for the birth of your son!

I grew up in Italy and brought up with the habit that you always give the best of yourself, it doesn't matter the circumstances. There's no grand, medium or small occasion in which you shouldn't show respect for the others and keep up your own dignity by dressing appropriate. "Comb your hair, wash your hands, polish your shoes" was what we still remember our grand-father's motto, "because you never know".

Dressing with decor at the children's function aligns with that idea, maybe very Italian, of pull yourself together without trying hard, without having to impress anyone. It's where good manners meet style and elegance. It doesn't take much and makes everyone in a good mood.


Hi Me, thank you for sharing the Italian perspective on the subject of dressing well. I love hearing from different cultures around the world. When I visited Italy, I had so much fun people-watching. I found the presentation of dress in Italy to be lovely.

This week I would love to know... do you use your good dishes on a regular basis? Have you noticed any differences in plate size from one era of dishes to the next? Let me know in the comment section below and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week.

Please share photos of your dishes on social media using the hashtag #MADAMECHIC

See you soon!

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6.07.2016

Parents, Dress Up For Your Children

Hi everyone... wonderful news! We had our baby this past weekend and ... it's a boy! He is wonderful and healthy. I will speak about him in a future post, but I wanted to publish this for you first... Monday's original post. It's very timely! Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on social media. We are all enjoying this very special time! See you soon, Jennifer xx




We have come to the end of the school year. This time of year can be so busy for parents, with graduations, concerts, recitals, award ceremonies, open houses and parent teacher conferences. In this week's video, I encourage parents to dress up for their children to mark the specialness of these occasions and rites of passage.

Children do notice how we dress, whether they tell us or not. You will notice them smile and compliment you when you dress up for a certain occasion. Dressing up for them will send non-verbal communication that the event is special. It also conveys respect, because you are showing that you thought about, and have prepared for the function.

Now, this is not supposed to be stressful. If you have a ten-item wardrobe, you will most likely have many presentable options already to choose from. You don't need to go overboard in expensive clothes, or even go shopping for anything. Just looking presentable and appropriate for the occasion is enough. To deem whether you are appropriate for the occasion, just think of the event. One would dress differently for an outdoor daytime graduation, for example, than they would for an evening choir concert.

There are so many options, even casual ones, that still convey dressiness. Always avoid exercise clothes, pajamas and sweat pants (yes it seems obvious, but I have seen it all at these sorts of functions). You can absolutely wear jeans, it just depends on how you style them. Jeans with flip-flops and a tee shirt do not read as dressing up because this is the type of clothing that is worn on an average day.

Below are some outfit ideas. I am giving a wide range of options because I know not all people are comfortable in dressier clothing and prefer to wear jeans (whether or not you choose to wear jeans will depend on the formality of the event, it's up to you). I tend to veer on the dressier side for everything, but you don't have to if it makes you uncomfortable. The key is to look presentable and feel great too, so do what works for you.

Here are some suggestions:

Graduation:

Slacks in any color or white jeans, blouse, flat or wedge sandals and a cardigan or wrap.

Summer dress, cardigan, flat or wedge sandals and a special piece of jewelry.

Skirt, blouse, flat or wedge sandals, wrap or cardigan, sunglasses.


Concert or recital:

Dress, heels or flats, paired with a cardigan or wrap.

Skirt, blouse, heels or flats, cardigan or wrap.

Dark or white jeans, blouse, cardigan, heels or flats, special jewelry.

Slacks in any color with blouse and cardigan, heels or flats.


Award Ceremonies, Open House, Parent Teacher Conferences

Dark jeans, blouse, sweater, flat shoes and handbag.

Dress, wrap or sweater, flats or low heels.

Skirt or slacks with blouse and cardigan, paired with low heels or flats.


I wish I could model some of these looks for you, but being 37 weeks pregnant and on bed rest, that isn't happening right now... perhaps in the fall I can model some appropriate looks! Check out my video to hear me discuss this topic. 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


Comments of the Week

Wenzday writes:
Hi Jennifer,

I love your books and blog, and putting together the 10-item wardrobe has been amazing for me.

I am in total agreement with you on the bad language issue. (So is my husband, who makes me turn the sound up whenever I watch your videos!) The thing is, I think it goes beyond the fact that they are "bad words." I think it is about disturbing the atmosphere and comfort of people around you. Swearing is accompanied by strong negative emotion, and it is just plain obnoxious to inflict that on other people. Especially somewhere like a restaurant, where other people have dressed up and are paying good money to have a lovely meal and time with friends or family, or a beauty salon where one expects to be able to relax.

Thanks so much for your post!


Hello to you and your husband, Wenzday. You touched upon a major truth in your comment. Foul language does carry a negative energy with it and does infect the atmosphere, which is why we can't quite put our finger on why it is so bothersome in public spaces. Thank you for wording this so eloquently.


R&R writes:
Thank you for this post. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of self-awareness (or lack of). Unfortunately, I find that it is now unique to observe behavior (language, cell-phone etiquette, driving etiquette) that IS respectful of others. I am the Human Resources Director of a large medical office and it is not uncommon for applicants to arrive for an interview in jeans and sneakers and to use profanity during the interview. By far, the worst offenders I have are the high school students that apply for a job shadow. They arrive (after having been dropped off by a parent) to observe a licensed medical professional wearing gym shorts or flip flops with their belly button exposed. After having to ask several of these students to leave, I now provide every job shadow applicant with a description of appropriate attire, since they are certainly not provided with this guidance at home or at school.

Dear R&R, thank you for sharing your experience as a human resources director. People can be oblivious to their bad habits. It sounds like all of the applicants you describe in your comment could benefit from working on their poise. One of my favorite letters was from a reader who just landed her dream job and was told her "poise" was what made her stand out in the interview process.

Edna P writes:
Every lady is a woman but every woman is not a lady.

Hi Edna, thank you for commenting on YouTube. I would like to add to your sentence that every woman has the potential to be a lady. And I truly believe that. Anyone who makes up her mind can have the grace, class and elegance described in Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic.

News
Congratulations to my blogging friend, Fiona Ferris, of How To Be Chic on the publication of her new book, Thirty Chic Days.



Fiona's blog is wonderful, and she infuses all of her inspiring tips and ideas into her comprehensive book. Congratulations, Fiona!


This week, I would love to know... What are your thoughts on dressing for children's school events? Do you feel that parents are becoming more lax in this regard? Do you think it is important for us to present ourselves well when we attend a child's extracurricular or school function? Let me know and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week!

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6.02.2016

Amy Snow Book Giveaway


I am excited to present you with a giveaway from Simon & Schuster, for an exciting new book by Tracy Rees, Amy Snow.

Winner of the UK’s Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition, this page-turning debut novel follows an orphan whose late, beloved best friend bequeaths her a treasure hunt that leads her all over Victorian England and finally to the one secret her friend never shared.

It is 1831 when eight-year-old Aurelia Vennaway finds a naked baby girl abandoned in the snow on the grounds of her aristocratic family’s magnificent mansion. Her parents are horrified that she has brought a bastard foundling into the house, but Aurelia convinces them to keep the baby, whom she names Amy Snow. Amy is brought up as a second-class citizen, despised by Vennaways, but she and Aurelia are as close as sisters. When Aurelia dies at the age of twenty-three, she leaves Amy ten pounds, and the Vennaways immediately banish Amy from their home.

But Aurelia left her much more. Amy soon receives a packet that contains a rich inheritance and a letter from Aurelia revealing she had kept secrets from Amy, secrets that she wants Amy to know. From the grave she sends Amy on a treasure hunt from one end of England to the other: a treasure hunt that only Amy can follow. Ultimately, a life-changing discovery awaits...if only Amy can unlock the secret. In the end, Amy escapes the Vennaways, finds true love, and learns her dearest friend’s secret, a secret that she will protect for the rest of her life.

An abandoned baby, a treasure hunt, a secret. As Amy sets forth on her quest, readers will be swept away by this engrossing gem of a novel—the wonderful debut by newcomer Tracy Rees.


I have already started reading Amy Snow and I love it. I can't put it down! I love the Victorian era, I love a good mystery, and I love an enthralling page-turner. This book has all of these elements. In short, this is my perfect summer read.

Simon & Schuster are generously offering to give away 5 copies of Amy Snow to lucky readers of The Daily Connoisseur. This giveaway is for US residents only (terms set by Simon & Schuster). Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below and the winners will be announced on the widget one week from today. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Amy Snow will be released June 7th, 2016, and until then is available for pre-order. Check it out on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or stop in to your local bookstore to buy.

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5.30.2016

Etiquette Chat: Bad Language in Public



We continue exploring the concepts of etiquette, poise and deportment that I write about in Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic, with today's discussion on bad language in public.

In today's video, I share four examples from my everyday life, including an etiquette horror story from Geoffrey's. Oftentimes readers ask me why I bother to talk about these personal experiences, and why I don't just ignore them. I write about them because one of the main endeavors of The Daily Connoisseur blog and Madame Chic books is to help us to live beautiful, elegant lives. In today's modern life, it's an etiquette minefield out there! I like to bring up specific examples from my everyday life because I feel they are more helpful than generic generalizations. These real-life examples help to illustrate my point.

Clearly, my stance is that bad language should not be used in a public place where other people are privy to it (especially children). While many of my etiquette subjects tend to be controversial, I imagine that this is one that most of us can agree upon. It's always a good idea to look outside of ourselves and be aware of where we are and who we are around before speaking. Plus, it doesn't hurt to clean up our language...

Check out my video this week to hear my stories. 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

News

Jessica M. White shares her book picks for May, 2016 and Madame Chic made the list!

I enjoyed reading this article on Bridgette Raes' blog called 5 Secrets of a Well Dressed Woman.

This Thursday, I will be running a giveaway for the new Simon & Schuster novel, Amy Snow. I am reading this book now and it is so good. 5 winners will be chosen so be sure to stop by and enter!

Comment of the Week
Susan writes:

Hi Jennifer! Love all your books, videos and blogs! One thing I especially love is the listening to classical music in the afternoon! It really helps me transition to the evening . . . wouldn't have thought of doing that on my own!!! Also, your advice regarding going with the flow of the day . . . that helps so much! Your wall paper in both bedrooms is beautiful! Stay well and we are all looking forward to hearing the baby news soon.


Dear Susan, Thank you! I am so happy you discovered the joy of classical music through my books and blog. It is one of the very true pleasures I indulge in almost every day. I hope it continues to bring happiness to your everyday life.

Question of the Week
J writes:

Thank you for your insights! If you have time, I need some outfit suggestions for a week long trip to Disney World. I see you wearing cute ballet flats and flat sandals for activities with your girls, but my feet do not hold up wearing those. If you had to wear shorts and sneakers (I blister horribly from sandals when walking long distances) to a theme park, how would you make it look put together and feminine on top? I was thinking sleeveless polos and cute cardigans, but I'm lost. Shorts/sneakers are not my usual staples, but Disney is a whole other world. Thanks!

Hi J, great question! You can still look chic and be comfortable for your Disney World trip. If you would like to wear shorts and sneakers, no problem! You can wear a nice tee shirt or blouse, and pair a cardigan or light sweater with it. You can tie the sweater around your shoulders if it becomes hot, or wear it if you get cold. I would definitely suggest wearing a hat with a larger brim to protect yourself from the sun. When I go to Disneyland with my children, I usually wear jeans, a striped tee shirt, my Nike tennis shoes and a hat with sunglasses (see my photo below). It's important to look after your feet when you are standing on them all day. Have a wonderful trip!


Disneyland 2013 :)

This week I would love to know... what are your thoughts on this week's etiquette discussion? Are you noticing more bad language being used in public places? Have your children been subjected to it? How do you handle it? Let me know and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week on the blog!


See you on Thursday for a special book giveaway for the new novel, Amy Snow.



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5.23.2016

Chat with Jennifer: More Wallpaper, Ten-Year Anniversary & More



Chat with me in today's video where I share a sneak peak into my daughters' bedroom wallpaper renovation. Thank you for your kind compliments about the paper we chose for our own master bedroom. I love it more and more each day. It's such a great feeling when your interior design efforts are successful (as I've had my fair share of failures in the past!).

For our daughter's bedroom, I wanted something sweet and floral (because they both love flowers so much). We chose from Norwall's Pretty Prints 4 book. Their bedroom is not complete as I am still waiting on the curtains and beds to go in, so I am not ready to share pictures yet (although you will see some in today's video). I'll be sure to share an update with you once their room is complete.

I also discuss our recent ten-year anniversary celebration and give my best marriage advice. There is also a pregnancy update. I do hope you'll check out my video this week. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my YouTube channel (don't forget to subscribe) at www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

News
Pre-order the Madame Chic Collection boxed set from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The set comes out November 1, 2016 and will make a wonderful present for the holidays.

Her Luxurious Africa reviews Lessons from Madame Chic and shares her top 5 lessons from the book.

Life With Dee reviews Lessons from Madame Chic, and shares her favorite takeaways from each chapter.

Modern Mrs. Darcy tries out the ten-item wardrobe. This is an older post, but one worth checking out.


Comment of the Week
Valerie writes:
Hello Jennifer,
Thank you for all of your wonderful books. I just wanted to tell you how much At Home With Madam Chic has helped me improve my days. The breakdown of Morning, Afternoon, and Evening has encouraged me to look at my day as different occasions to enjoy simple pleasures that enhance and add to the day. I usually have the highest stress midday and used to dread the afternoon but now I look forward to a cup of tea and some sort of de-stressing activities. You are such an inspiration, I can't tell you how glad I am to have read your books they are changing my life. I love the wallpaper, your room reminds me of the Granthams' room in Downton Abbey. Thank you again!


Dear Valerie, Thank you for your testimonial. One of my favorite concepts from At Home with Madame Chic is the breakdown of the morning, afternoon and evening, and how it is wonderful to transition into the different parts of the day with renewed hope. Thank you for sharing your story!

This week I would love to know... How did you decorate your child's room? What is your child's style? What is your best marriage advice? How do you celebrate your anniversaries? Let me know in the comment section and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week!

Don't miss next week's etiquette chat where I share my etiquette horror story with you from Geoffrey's. See you then!



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5.20.2016

Madame Chic Boxed Set

I'm really excited to announce that Simon & Schuster are re-releasing all three Madame Chic books in a gorgeous boxed set, called The Madame Chic Collection. The set makes a beautiful gift, and goes on sale, November 1st, 2016. Pre-orders are available now from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.







“For women who yearn to channel Audrey Tautou…but don’t have a year to spend apprenticing with one in Paris” (The New York Times), Jennifer L. Scott’s Madame Chic books—Lessons from Madame Chic, At Home with Madame Chic, and Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic—now collected in one beautiful package.

As an American student living abroad, Jennifer L. Scott found a Parisian mentor in her host mother, Madame Chic, who instructed her in the fine art of living. Now, Jennifer shares her lessons in her Madame Chic series: Lessons from Madame Chic, At Home with Madame Chic, and Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic. Based on what she learned from Madame Chic, Jennifer explains how to cultivate old-fashioned sophistication while living an active, modern life, teaching us to take pleasure in everyday routines, to dress presentably, perform household tasks with cheer, and how to conduct oneself both in public and in private.

The Madame Chic series encourages and inspires you to live simply and passionately, no matter your age, background, or location. Like Madame Chic, everyone deserves a little Parisian je ne sais quoi.



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