Frenchified for life!
Today, I am going to share with you the French secret(s) for embracing life!
Now that the holidays are over (seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it?) and a New Year upon us, you may have made some resolutions, whether it be to learn a new language to saving money to choosing to become healthy. I made some resolutions too, I would like to learn to sew, (again) improve my French, and continue losing weight.
Today's article is about embracing... French life. It is an outline I created that has helped me survive in this crazy country called France, but more importantly, IT WORKS!! That said, I ask you to seriously ponder the questions below in hopes of embracing.... your best self. To truly embrace la vie français, you must simply K.I.S.S. and make love!! Explaination below.
But first.... Questions to ponder: Have you ever noticed the world is passionate about all things French? Think about it... what springs to mind? Perhaps French Champagne? French perfume? French women? French men? A French lover? French fashion? French wine!? French kiss? French cuisine? See what I mean? I must admit, the French do have that certain something, which keeps one intrigued, (afterall, they have a reputation to protect!) but truth be told, the French are very practical people. Surprised?
As mentioned above, this is the outline I have followed that has helped me truly embrace life: K.I.S.S. and MAKE LOVE!
1. The KISS method -- Keep it Simple Sexy! I would say this is the French credo, but HOW do you master it? For that I turn to Bruce Lee, "It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
Deep down, we all know what we SHOULD do, so why don't we? I often tell my students, (I teach English) Do not make something easy, difficult, and they immediately comprehend, because they practice it, everyday.
To truly embrace la vie française is to simply: Do what gives you pleasure, as long as, it doesn't break The 3 Lines! And remember... Keep it Simple Sexy!
** The Three Lines, also know as The Three B's, is something I wrote late one evening in my personal journal, dated June 2, 2013. The Lines are as follows: (the lines of the) Body, (Crossing the line) Behavior boundries and (The) Bottom (line), meaning money.
The Three Lines/The Three B's
Bottom line: The Three Lines works. After making a routine and sticking to it, I know that at the end of the day, I'm saving money, feeling good, and looking good!
AND... You know exactly what I mean, because YOU TOO have had these same feelings! It's TRUE!
Humour me a little bit.... I want you to think about/recall that feeling of slipping on that perfect dress or well cut suit!
Are you picturing it? Do you remember how you felt? Did you perhaps feel a sense of pride or confidence?
That simple garment had the power to make you feel as if you could take on the world!
Now recall the feeling of finding money in your winter coat. Remember what you felt? Perhaps a feeling of excitement and surprise? Did you attempt to remember how it got there?
Now think of your best achievement! Think about all the hard work, stress and perhaps pain you felt to reach that particular goal. Do you remember it like it was yesterday? Did all that work and strain make you a better person, one who can overcome any odds and get it done, like a boss!?
We ALL have had the feelings of pride and confidence, the feelings of surprise and excitement, and the feelings of pain and stress! These feelings make us who were are! It is these feelings we must cultivate!! We must feel the force, Luke! (yes, I love Star Wars.)
I feel if one commits to the K.I.S.S. method by adhereing to The Three Lines, you are on your way to embracing... perhaps your true and loving self? Your best life? French life? Your life!
2. MAKE LOVE! I recently came across this quote from Langston Hughes, an American novelist and poet. “Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.”
How simple, how perfect, I thought. To embrace life is to love life! Do what you want, enjoy, eat good food, take care of yourself, cultivate your feelings, pamper yourself, read more, take up something new, learn, and above all mind, The Three Lines!
Have a happy and healthy and wealthy new year! May you and yours be blessed! Take care of yourselves, KISS often and make love! -- Jenny! xoxxox
Starting the New Year with a Plan and a Fistful of Food!
Another year is in the bag, so I ask you... what do you wish to accomplish this year?
Perhaps get a new job? A new look? A new outlook? A new romance? Learn something new? Lose weight?
The possibilites, much like life, are endless! And the solution has never been simplier, the KEY is changing your mindset! Ohhh, that simple, you think to yourself mockingly? Yes, mofo, it is that simple!
When I decided to lose the weight, my motivating factor was health. Allow me to explain: I am closing in on the BIG 4-0 and the reality of getting older is inevitable, so I asked myself, "Do I really want to cut the quality of my life by being FAT? And what if I fell down or had a heart attack? (Both very likely and COMMON) I more than likely would die right then and there, because I would be too heavy to move. I would die, prematurely, fat, and surrounded by others who wanted to help, but couldn't. THAT is the REASON I decided to lose weight.
At the beginning of last year, I decided to start a diet, a creation of my own, which sadly, did not work out. I practiced portion control, but I still ate a lot of crap, including too much sugar. Then, in August 2013, I decided to revamp my eating habits by opening a book. I re-read Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution (2002 edition) and used that as my Bible, along with a three different low carb websites that I still use for inspiration. At that time, I was about 167 pounds, today I weigh in at 132. During the holidays, my plan was to maintain that weight (I did!) even though I hogged out at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's!
This year -- I'm going for broke, baby!
I am still a chunky monkey, but this chunky monkey has a plan!!!! My plan is to build muscle and I have set a deadline for March 20, 2014, the first day of Spring to reach my goal physique. Obviously muscle weighs more than fat, so precise measurements must be key. I also will visit my doctor to get a print out of my cholestrol, body fat and so on.
I plan on keeping you updated monthly, along with giving you an insight of my exercise regime and let us not forget all the glorious food I plan on consuming with pleasure!
I hope I have given you some food for thought, and I wish you nothing but the best in the coming new year. Remember, YOU ARE WORTH IT! Summer bodies are made in the Winter! So, onward hoooo, mofo, onward hooooo!!
French women are noticeably different than American women - both physically and in attitude. Read their secret rules!!
1. French women are usually feminine. This doesn't mean that you always have to wear a dress or a skirt. It simply means that every day you embrace your femininity. Make sure your hair is well-conditioned and moisturized. No matter what style your hair is in, it will look great because it is soft and shiny. Make sure nails are clean, neat, and shiny.
2. Do everything you can to ensure great skin. Exfoliate at least twice weekly (three times on body skin). Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. Try to keep makeup to a minimum. As a whole, French women don't look as made-up and perfectly coiffed as their American counterparts. They go for a more natural and sophisticated beauty. Try foundation, mascara, and a good lip gloss for everyday.
3. Comfort is important, but the Americans and the French do comfortable in very different ways. Skip tennis shoes and sweat suits. Instead go for a comfortable pair of skinny black pants and cute pair of flats. Or a comfy silk or cashmere dress. French women usually accessorize with little pieces that make large statements. A cute scarf or a nice brooch. etc.
4. Be a little enigmatic. Americans have a bad habit of telling their life stories to people they hardly know. Exercise a little restraint. Don't be so eager to let people into your life. Guard your personal life as if it is a crown jewel! Keep things private for only your loved ones and close friends. A little mystery is attractive!
5. Walk everywhere! Your waist and thighs will thank you a million times over. It's not necessary to sweat it out in a gym everyday if your daily life includes one of the best exercises in the world! Staying thin will not be a problem. Also, don't snack. Three meals a day and that's it. It works for them and it works for us. Just do it.
6. The French diet is different from the American diet. The French have a small breakfast, a large lunch, and a small late dinner. Eat slowly! Most stores/work places close in France for about three hours during the lunch time, to allow everyone to have time to eat. (restaurants and cafes are open, of course)
7. Don't smile unless you mean it. The French may come off as rude, but it's simply their culture. A French woman will only smile when she truly means it, and when there is truly something to smile about.
8. Always be polite. This is common sense for everybody, but the French aren't rude or demanding. They are generally kind, well-mannered people. But don't confuse being polite with being a people-pleaser.
Seven French Beauty Secrets
These are some secrets and sensations, that I have observed and have picked up from my French femmes. Many of their secrets are nothing new, however the proverb of "if it is not broken, don't fix it' applies 100% here! I have started implementing some of these over the counter pampering techniques at chez moi, so perhaps it time to spoil yourself, and do the same!!! Ohhh la la!
So without further ado...
1. Bleach Your Feet!
Add a cap of bleach to your pedicure warm water, at your discretion, of course! (Too much? Try a cup of distilled white vinegar.) After verifying with my Aunt, who continues to whip and tease hair like the devil for more than 50 years in her salon, told me it will help kill any fungus that may lay underneath your toe nails, is a cure for stinky feet, can remove nail stains from dark polish and eat away at dangling dead skin cells. It will also leave your skin very smooth and soft. Family knows best, and it seems the French do as well.
2. Olive Oil
Olive Oil is the best invention on earth, other than woman!
Have an problem? The answer is Olive Oil.
Ok, olive oil is not an oracle, but it sure is a God send! It benefits? Dry hair, dry body, foot scrub, dry lips, face scrub, body scrub, you can put it in your ear to help with earaches, you can you can eat it, you can use it for furniture polish and to brighten up leather furniture, you can give it to the dog for a shiny coat and help their digestion, the list goes on! Wear it, Ingest it, Use it... I keep a small bottle of extra virgin olive oil on my vanity to use as a moisturizer!
Always be well groomed! Get that hair styled, girl! Your hair is your crowning glory, so therefore showcase it. Invest in yourself and in a good cut that will flatter your features, and most important you must be willing to make the effort to fix it everyday!
This is why I have long hair, I would love a short French bob, but because of my face shape, its not my best look, and most importantly, I don't have the time nor patience to fix my hair everyday, and I'm ok with that! I do, however, make an effort to keep my mane in good condition with olive oil treatments and hair accessories, and recently, I purchased a gel spray that makes me feel like Farrah herself, may God rest her soul.
4. Make Up...
Lots of mascara and lipstain! Simple and pretty. Their faces already glow from all those olive oil treatments!
5. Quality EVERYTHING!
I had a friend who said that he didn't have money to buy cheap things. Goes to show, its true. Never purchase below quality goods. Instead, purchase EVERYTHING that will last for decades, that way you will be sure to get your money's worth! This includes pots and pans, furniture, cutlery, dishes, clothing, shoes, jewelry, handbags, other household items, and of course, FOOD! Never shop out of boredom, I equate it to throwing money in the trash!
6. Be the female version of James Bond!
Stock up your bar! Always have the good stuff on hand just for you or that impromptu house call! I was surprised that many of our French friends just popped by (without calling, the horror!) and it was something normal, like the sky is blue! However the French woman in me, whipped up an apéro and drinks before our guest got comfortable. My husband was so proud! An apéro is assortment of different foods. It is to your liking, yet note that most consist of nuts, chips and dip, veggie tray, cheeses, bread, and some meats served with wine or beer or water to drink. Most impromptu guests bring something to share, so it eases the tension off the hostess if her bar is not stocked.
7. Indulge in Pleasure!
The French has this wonderful and very annoying trait of doing whatever they want. The vulgarity! They don't count calories, they eat all of their dessert, they smoke like firefighters, and they eat carbs and real sugar and real butter. And it is something normal, something comme ça, or it's just like that. So take a page from the French recipe for life and do what you want, but remember, pleasure does not equal gluttony! Find the line. Mine keeps moving. :)
In French it has 5 significant meanings:
1. Panache = style, façon de faire or way of doing things!
2. Plume, usually a white ostrid feather that has a historical importance to some battle where the French King, Henry IV (13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610). placed a white plume in his coat or hat and went out to war stating, "Follow my white plume!" (French: "Ralliez-vous à mon panache blanc!").
3. Writing utinsel
4. Cyrano de Bergerac's last words on his dying lips was "my panache"
5. Beer and lemonade (sooo good!) mixed together is called a panache (pronoucned pan-nah-shay)
An I HATE FRANCE! Post
When I first moved here, like all immigrants, I had to go through the immigration process. It was a nightmare. The people that worked at the immigration office were beyond rude and disgusting.... seriously, thinking about it now, fills me with so much anger and rage, it makes me want to do evil, evil, evil things.
Allow me to vent for a moment.... I want to do evil, vile, disgusting things that will put Hitler to shame. I want to shove a baguette so far up your ass, you will fart crumbs for a year. I want to dig my nails in your face, then bite your cheek off!
Ahhhh... that is better. Excuse my French. Where was I? Oh yes, the immigration situation.
First off, it is mandatory, obviously. I had no idea what to expect, although, I figured it was similar to going to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles - you know, car bullshit) you present paperwork, pay a little something, and BAM! - Good for ten years! Au contraire, mon frère! I had NEVER been so insulted, humiliated and angry in all my life. I came home in tears. My husband attempted to comfort me saying the French administration was reknown for their inhumanity, but still. How could they be so fucking repulsive?
Second -- I didn't understand anything they said or attempted to explain. I just stood there dumbfounded, like an idiot, all the while thinking to myself, what the hell did I get myself into? I was completely out of my element, embarrassed and frustrated because I couldn't comprehend what they wanted. I felt like an infant, knowing exactly what I wanted, but couldn't communicate what I wanted. It is a horrible feeling and now I understand toddlers!
Then came the bombs!
Part of the immigration process is getting a medical exam. These so-called doctors were especially vile. They did the normal stuff doctors and nurses do, blood pressure, listening to my heart, checking in my ears, then they weighed me. At the time, I weighed about 90 kilos or 200 pounds. It is shocking, yes, but what they said was took the CAKE!
She said and I quote, "You are too fat. You need to stop eating McDonalds and drinking Coca-Cola." Talk about stereotyping! Obviously, it was the truth, except the part about eating McDonalds and drinking Coke, but I wanted to punch her the fuck out! I sat there in shock and utter amazement, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The thing is, before I went into her office, I wanted my husband to go in with me to help explain things to me. She said no, that it was not necessary. I can only imagine what my husband would have said if he had witnessed the situation. I also felt I couldn't say anything because it was the immigration office and I didn't want my anger to effect my residential status. I feel they know we are anxious and nervous about going, so they just prey on immigrants because of their miserable little lives. I know this NOW, but back then, it was something I had not experienced before.
Next, she asked about my past medical history, specifically diabetes. I told her that my family are very healthy and strong and we live very long lives. She then told me and I quote, "Because you are fat, I check for diabetes." She did the test and when completed, I asked for the results. She said in a disappointed tone and I quote, "No diabetes." To which I replied, I told you.
Needless to say, I cried. And since then, lost 45 pounds, still have another 30 to go. (UPDATE: My fat ass has lost more than 90 pounds - that's close to 7 stones - 45 kilos!) But as horrible as this immigration situation was, it does have a silver lining.
I call it my Scarlett O'Hara moment. While walking home from some place, crying and angry over someone treating me like an asshole, (ahhh, only in France!) I looked up to the sky and said through gritted teeth... and I quote,
"You want to fight, then let's go, bitch! I will beat you at your own game!
I will learn your stupid fucking language,
I will learn your ways and your customs,
I will be more French than the lot of you, you just wait and see!
I will fucking OWN YOU. You messed with the wrong motherfucker!
I swear to you... you WILL NOT WIN,
even if I have to lie, cheat or steal, as the Gods as my witness,
you will NEVER, EVER put me in this situation
And I am pleased to report that after that, no Frenchie has been rude or disrespectful towards me. I won't allow it. In that time, I also symbolically crowned myself Queen Jennifer, Mother of France and breaker of chains, which is hilarious, I know, but when French people on the streets have bowed to you... and I shit you not, it has happened on several occasions, seriously, I can't make this shit up. It lets me know that I'm on the right path?
One must learn, it's a process, the art of French fighting -- it's being really bitchy in a very, very, very polite way, (gotta perfect that French grammar!) and to REALLY hit it home, end with the famous line, "bonne education" and sashay away, like a bitch! IT DRIVES THEM CRAZY INSANE! Payback is a motherfucker, motherfucker!
Frenchified for life!
It's a New Year!!
If you have made any resolutions, I say brava and wish you godspeed in your endeavors! I too have made some resolutions, but I shant bore you, instead, here is a sneak peek of what is coming for Frenchified in the new year!
In the coming weeks, I will be writing a series of posts named, "The Fine Art of..."
I write from personal experiences and discuss how I have been forever changed by adhering to THREE simple rules. What's more, it works, it really does, provided you practice the artform. Practice indeed makes perfect!
Frenchified Tour! Take a stroll through the streets of Bordeaux! Discover local legends, from wolves to serpents to corpses, and see another side of my very old and spooky city. Don't be scared though, Mama's got ya!
Creative Projects! Wish me luck as I attempt to document a couple of creative projects that have been hounding me for months. Ever hear the old adage, 'The more creative you are, the more creative you become?' Well, ze shall see.
Stay tuned for the following posts: Cork Art: Drinking has never been more fun! and It's to DYE for: Tie Dye never goes out of fashion (great gift idea!)
FOOD! What is France without her food, wine, perfume, Champagne... well, you get the idea!
I'll show you how to whip up some fancy French food to impress even the pickiest of eaters! I will also share with you some traditional French recipes (confit de canard, anyone?) and some low carb recipes (pizza casserole) to help watch your waistline! Yummmmoooo! (Food is my favorite!)
Speaking of Waistlines.... Tried and true weight loss tips and tricks that will get you ready for summer. I will share with you some of my secrets that have helped me shed the fat. Remember, summer bodies are made in the winter!!!
As you may or may not know, I am still plugging away on the Atkins diet, AND even managed to lose a couple of pounds, which is surprising since I ate like a fattie during the holidays! By the way, when I say holidays, I'm going back to Thanksgiving! I REGRET NOTHING!
Videos on adding French expressions to your vernacular! Learn the tongue twisting language of French, (it may help with French kissing too!) Plus, lessons in Franglais, a hybrid of both the French and English languages!
I am also pleased to announce the launching of The Frenchified Files! Even though it is still in the mock up phase, you will get a chance to subscribe for an in-depth seasonal look into Bordeaux life! The Frenchified Files, launching Spring 2014. Woot-Woot!!
Wishing you all the best and oceans of love in 2014! I raise my glass to you! Tchin-Tchin!
Here is to a fabulous Frenchified New Year!
Wishing you the best in 2014
Happy New Year! Can you believe it is already 2014? Holy Guacamole, time flies! I wish you and your loved ones, oceans of love, health, wealth and happiness in this new year and I hope your New Year celebration was just a memorable as mine.
Like all holidays, a certain amount of planning is done. This go around, we decided to throw caution to the wind and see where the wind blew us. Our plan was simply to spend the evening together. As we walked the streets of Bordeaux, our intention was to find a nice little restaurant, then bar hop among the locals to ring in the new year. But, plans change!
Our evening started at a little resto in Place Peyberland, which is located in the very heart of the city, (and within walking distance to all the bars!) We ate and drank well, when all of a sudden, I heard two different things:
First, a text message from my sweet friend, Marie, inviting us to a salsa dance party on the other side of the river. We immediately said YES!
Then, I heard a voice, very similar to mine. Turns out, a cute American couple (Morgan and Jordan) was also in the restaurant. We met Morgan and Jordan, the awfully cute American duo from Maine. We started talking and invited them along to the salsa shindig to ring in the new year with us. They immediately said YES!
Side note: I love Americans! They always say YES when it comes to adventure!
Another side note: Morgan proposed to Jordan that evening. She said YES! Congratulations to them both! We wish them so much joy and happiness!
That evening, we danced, drank, laughed, kissed, hugged, and enjoyed. We rang in the new year with Champagne and we danced the night away. Isn't life grand?
Wishing you the best in 2014! Take care of yourselves and be happy.
Love -- Jenny xoxxox
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
Thank you for stopping by for a spell!
I am a 40-something year old American woman. Born in Texas, raised in Las Vegas!
Frenchified for Life
is a fabulous little lifestyle blog about truly embracing French life!
My intent is to simply inspire you to create something unique and beautiful in your everyday life. The French have this wonderful and annoying habit of seeing the world through rose colored glasses, might as well learn something from them!
That said, I lift my glass to you!
By the way, I mention the name Cachou (or The Cash) a lot, I'm referring to her...