5.25.2015

My Hostess Horror Story, The Respect of Dressing Well + My Writing Routine



I am on a strict deadline for my book three edits right now so this blog post will be much shorter than usual. Even though I have a heavy work load I didn't want to leave you without a video. So this week I am sharing some of the great comments of the past two weeks along with some of my own stories (like my very traumatizing experience as a first time dinner party hostess!). Check out the video above for that and much more, including my writing routine, a very inspiring observation about dressing well in Uganda and the excitement and nervousness that comes from changing the way you dress. 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 all of the Japanese viewers who tuned into The Most Useful School in the World last weekend on Nippon Television. I had such a great time shooting the show!

Here is my interview (in Japanese) with Asahi Shimbun Online.

Thank you, Pink Julep, for your great review of At Home With Madame Chic.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Just like our friend in rural Australia, let's feel both the excitement and nervousness that comes from making positive changes in our lives. No matter what small change you make, it can feel daunting! Take comfort in knowing that you have a community of fellow connoisseurs going through the same thing and cheering you on.


Stay tuned for a very exciting announcement later this week!

Until next time...


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5.18.2015

Dressing Up Daily: Dealing with Attention



You wake up. It's Wednesday morning. You don't have anything particularly special on the calendar today, just the usual: school run, work, house duties, errands and school pick-up. But something has recently changed and you have decided that instead of wearing your sweat suit or exercise clothes, you are going to wear a dress today. You pick one from your ten-item wardrobe (that you are still getting used to!) and put it on, even though it feels counterintuitive to what you would normally wear for a day with "nothing special" planned. You do a quick 5-minute le no makeup look and brush your hair. Before you can change your mind and change your outfit, you step out the door to start your day. You feel different. Even rebellious. You feel brave for dressing up as you pass person after person in sloppy attire on the street. This outfit has given you the proverbial spring in your step. And then, you stop and talk to an acquaintance.

"Ooohhh someone looks fancy! Where are you going?"

and another one...

"Wow! I love your dress. What are you doing after this?"

and another one...

"Look at you!"

Has this ever happened to you before?

I often get letters about this very subject. My most recent letter was from a woman who said she was inspired to dress up after reading the Madame Chic books but because of the unwanted attention she received regrettably would go back to her old way of dressing.

I completely understand not wanting the spotlight on you and feeling uncomfortable with all of the questions from people asking why you are "dressed up".

Here is where it is wise to pause. It's important to analyze why you feel uncomfortable with the attention and compliments and address that issue.

It is also a good idea to analyze the fashion trends in society and to realize that you are not "dressing up", you are merely dressing with the standards of care in your appearance that most people don't care about anymore. Most people today dress really sloppily. These sloppy dressers are the ones who have changed, not you. You are merely dressing with dignity and choosing to look presentable as people have done for centuries.

Check out this week's video to hear my thoughts on dealing with the attention that comes from dressing up daily. 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
I will be appearing on Nippon Television's The Most Useful School in the World, Saturday, May 23rd at 7pm in Japan.

Japanese readers, check out my interview with Yomiyuri Online.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Choose one day this week and put extra thought into how you present yourself, even if you have nothing special planned. Notice how it feels to go about your usual business beautifully dressed. If you feel uncomfortable, or as though you are standing out from the crowd, analyze those feelings and push through the resistance you feel.

Comment of the Week
Thank you for all of your comments on last week's post, Receive Guests Properly. There were too many great comments to choose for comment of the week so I will do another follow-up post to highlight this topic again.

I did love this success story from Lmi747 on YouTube:

In my early twenties a dear friend invited me and another coworker to her home. She prepared each of us cornish game hen a beautiful salad and cake with strawberries and coffee. Its been over 20 years ago but I learned so much from her and I always think of her as the "hostess with the mostest!" Love your channel :)

What a special memory... I love that you can carry this experience with you to this day and that it inspires you!

This week I would love to know... have you experienced attention from dressing well? How do you deal with it? What are your thoughts on the subject? Let me know in the comment section and you could be picked as the comment of the week!

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5.14.2015

At Home With Madame Chic in Italy & Czech Republic

I hope you are having a wonderful week!

I am happy to announce that At Home With Madame Chic is now available in Italy and the Czech Republic.

Here is the beautiful Italian cover from Piemme:


L'eleganza del Riordino

and the very chic Czech Republic cover from Mlada Fronta:

S Madame Chic Doma

Thank you to all of the international readers who have embraced Madame Chic!

Send me pictures of your books with the hashtag #MADAMECHIC and let us know how the books have impacted your life. I will try to include all of your pictures in a future Madame Chic around the world video...

See you next week!

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5.11.2015

Receive Guests Properly



One of the habits that made a big impression on me in Paris was how both Madame Chic and Madame Bohemienne loved to entertain guests. They had dinner parties at least once a week. The style of their parties varied- Madame Chic held more formal affairs and Madame Bohemienne's were more casual and spontaneous, but what they held in common were how welcome you felt as a guest. They never apologized for the state of their dress or their home or their cooking. You were always offered a refreshment, or aperitif, immediately upon arrival and were generally made to feel very comfortable. I believe it is because they had people over so often and so regularly that being a hostess was just like second nature for them.

Most people have a story, whether good or bad, about a time they were a guest in someone's home. When we have guests over we want them to feel welcome right away. This week's video shares my basic guidelines for receiving guests properly.

1. Get accustomed to using your best- If you use your best on a daily basis, it won't feel awkward to do so when company comes over.

2. Shed your insecurities and don't apologize- While it's important to get your home ready for guests, don't obsess about the details. Let their knock on the door be a signal for you to drop any insecurities that you may have about the state of your home or whether or not they will like your cooking. Don't apologize for yourself, your skills or your home. Your guests are most likely just happy to have been invited over!

3. Designate a space for their belongings- Let your guests know where they can place their handbag, coat and umbrella, or place their belongings there for them.

4. Always offer a drink to your guests upon their arrival- It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of seeing your friends, but don't forget to offer them something to drink when they arrive. They might be really thirsty or would really appreciate a strong cup of coffee.

5. Provide food if your guests are visiting during a mealtime- If you are inviting people over during a mealtime (noon or 7pm, for example) you must provide them with a meal.

Check out this week's video for a more comprehensive discussion on the subject. 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


News
At Home With Madame Chic is going into its second printing with Simon & Schuster! Thank you readers for embracing this book on how we can live better at home.

Pink Julep is bringing At Home With Madame Chic along with her on a journey.

I will appear on Nippon Television's The Most Useful School in the World, Saturday, May 23rd at 7pm in Japan.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Make connecting with people face to face (rather than screen to screen) a priority again. Invite a neighbor or one of your friends over for a cup of tea this week.

Comment of the Week
Madame Chic reader, Shannon, has tried the ten-item wardrobe and says:

Now in the morning when I slide open the closet door there is a sense of giddiness and excitement instead of dread or stress. What favorite outfit should I wear today? It doesn’t bother me to don the same dress twice or on one occasion three times a week because I love it so much. I have also built up my accessories to the point where I can easily change the look of dress with a belt, scarf or cardigan and it feels new. I’ve narrowed down my colors so that most things coordinate. Thanks again for the inspiration. It’s been a great life change!

Shannon, I am so happy you are reaping the benefits of the ten-item wardrobe. I hope it continues to positively influence your everyday life going forward!


Before we go, I would just like to say Happy Mother's Day to all of the Daily Connoisseur moms out there. I am so fortunate to have such a lovely mother who raised me well. All mothers deserve the highest accolades and respect for doing the best and the hardest job on earth. I hope you had a great weekend.

This week I would love to hear about your stories as a hostess or a guest. Do you have any horror stories to share? Any wonderful experiences that left an impression on you? Let us know in the comments and you could be picked as the comment of the week!


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5.04.2015

Tailored Boden Dress Before & After



This week I show you how a small alteration can completely transform a garment, in this case, my Boden "Cate" dress. When it arrived in the mail, I loved the fit and the length, but did not love the floucy bat sleeves. I felt they weren't flattering. So I had the tailor pin back the flounce to create the perfect cap sleeve dress and now I love it!

Check out the before and after in this week's video. **My apologies for the echoey nature of this video.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



I hope this video inspires you to take your "off the rack" purchase and tailor it to make it one-of-a kind and perfect for you.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Go through your lingerie drawer this week and get organized. Discard any old or over-worn items and arrange your nice undergarments beautifully. Make a note of where you need to make purchases (new slips, stockings, shapewear, etc.) and keep this list in mind the next time you are able to buy.

Question of the Week
Amy G. from Texas asks if shorts can ever be chic and classy. I say, yes! Certainly not the ripped, cut-off variety, but tailored shorts can look very chic. If you are not comfortable in short shorts (and I don't know many people who are) consider a longer short. Tuck in your blouse and wear them with a belt and a nice sandal for a presentable look. If you feel self-conscious about your bare legs consider wearing them with stockings.

Artistic Recommendation

On My Japan Diary, Amy B. writes:

You may enjoy reading the book by Japanese skin care guru Chizu Saeki called The Japanese Skincare Revolution: How to Have the Most Beautiful Skin of Your Life--At Any Age. That was where I first was introduced to those thin cloths as well. She says applying toner ("lotion" in Japan) with those cloths helps it sink in more and plumps up/nourishes the skin more than a quick swipe with a cotton round. I think she says in Japan their toners are more nourishing/moisturizing than the standard stripping American type toner.

I love that she talks about not needing to buy the most expensive skin care products, because she says you can often make a $10 skin cream act like a $100 skin cream if you use it carefully (warming the cream between your fingers before application, pressing the product into skin, etc.) It's a quick but great read.


Thank you for this recommendation Amy. It sounds like a great read!

News

Japan viewers: I will appear on Nippon television's The Most Useful School in the World, Saturday May 23rd, 7pm.

**This is the last video you will ever see shot in our town home as we recently sold it! Yes, the Connoisseur family is looking for a new home in Santa Monica.

Ruby's Musings concludes her thoughts on Lessons from Madame Chic.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the tailored dress featured in this week's video. Have you tailored any of your clothes recently? How is your ten-item wardrobe coming along? Let me know and you could be featured as the comment or question of the week!

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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

Update: I will appear on The Most Useful School in the World on Japan's Nippon television, Saturday, May 23rd 7pm.

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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