Thursday, July 9, 2009

French Women and Wisdom

I'm reading the most marvelous book! Mireille Guiliano's "French Women for All Seasons" is fast approaching favorite book status. Her first book, "French Women Don't Get Fat", I have yet to read. I just haven't bought it yet! This past weekend, however, on my way to the check out counter at the local Barnes and Noble, I passed the discount table and saw this little gem. I grabbed it and have been savoring it ever since.

Most of us admire other cultures for one reason or another. Perhaps it's the fault of my ancestors, but I've always been drawn to Europe and the British Isles. No place is perfect, but their way of life seems slower, steeped in more traditions. Perhaps it is because they have thousands of years off which to glean.

This book is a fascinating look at French women and the subtle yet profound ways which make them elegant and enviable. Mrs. Guiliano in no way makes French women out to be better than any of us other ladies. She offers secrets and tips on how to bring more of a French way of life into our own.

For example, she's taught me how to look at food differently and how to enjoy the little things that I have, sadly, overlooked. Food was meant to be savored and not just stuffed into our mouths to fill a void. She has opened my eyes to eating seasonally, as well as I can, buying produce from local markets instead of just what's on the shelves at the supermarket.

I understand (as does she) that we don't all live in small villages with fresh markets within walking distance (a tragedy for sure). But we can make an effort to seek out and cook with the freshest ingredients we can find and afford. If nothing else, we can learn to be mindful of our food. Knowing what we're putting into our bodies is the first step to shifting gears in our eating habits. And I've discovered that most of the time, eating is just that for me: a habit.

She's teaching me to take better notice of how I dress, how I conduct myself. How it's not that important to have a closet full of clothes or shoes (not that I do, but I know I have far more than I need), but to spend money on quality pieces that can last for years, dressed up or down, for all manner of occasions. She also encourages the occasional splurge, be it in eating (why yes, I will take that third helping of chocolate!) or in shopping. Save up and buy that pair of really nice earrings. They'll last a lifetime and will go with everything! And you'll feel great when you wear them. We can't put a price tag on confidence.

I'm learning to eat slower, walk for pleasure and not just for exercise. I'm learning to enjoy the simple things, for example, washing my hands. It's such a mundane task, one we all do countless times a day. But have you ever stopped and really taken the time to consciously enjoy the feel of the water, the smell of the soap, the physical process of rubbing your hands together under a stream of warm liquid? Perhaps I'm crazy, but that one tiny shift in consciousness, that one small pause and reflect at the bathroom mirror has given me a series of small respites in an otherwise stressful or boring day. Try it; you may find yourself buying more fragrant liquid soaps :) As if we needed another excuse to visit Bath and Body Works!

And speaking of trying things out, take a wander over to and see for yourself how the French make life so grand. I can almost guarantee you'll be hooked!

Happy day,

P.S. you can also link over to her site French Women Don't Get Fat from her personal site. There, you can register for a newsletter and take a quiz to find out just how French you really are. Me? I might as well move to Provence and raise lavender :) Ahhh, now for the minor detail of buying property in a foreign country...


  1. I have heard of these books, I will have to investigate further. My life in Cyprus is so different,to the one I lived in the UK.I grow veg, walk for fresh bread etc. Interesting post.

  2. Oh I am jealous! My husband and I both dream of moving somewhere more conducive to a fresh, simple life. I know that you can make choices wherever you are to lead a more balanced lifestyle, but location does help! I long to live where I can walk to a market to buy my fresh produce and meats, breads and cheeses. A place where people actually linger over meals, sip wine, and chat into the wee hours of morning. A place where I can ride a bike or scooter wherever I need to go...ah...dreams.

  3. Wow, you are totally mind-melding with Lin over at Duck and Wheel with String on this one. You both make very good points about the value in slowing things down and appreciating the little things. Darned if I can figure out the mechanics of doing it. I feel like I am propelled through life by a force much greater than me, and that force is in a hurry. I think the force is called teenagers, but I'll have to double check that.

  4. Love this post!

    I acutally live in McDonough. I think we have a mutual friend, Crissy Gower.

  5. That's too funny! My husband and I live in Locust Grove. And yes, I do know Crissy Gower!! She does some modeling for my sister-in-law's business and my husband (a photographer) does a lot of her shots. Too fun!


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