Hello everyone! How are you are taking care of yourselves?
Today's post is about change, helping you find that spark that ignites action and the true story of Modern 1950s Housewife Jennifer.
Read time: 7 minutes
First, let's talk about change. Do you remember reading or hearing about those stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary feats?
Do you remember the lady who lifted a car off her husband?
Or the lady who kicked a bear's ass to save her husband's life!?
What about the man who cut off his own arm to survive?
And how about that everyday Joe who saves his fellow man's life?
These kind of 'life changing' events happen everyday. They were just ordinary people, but when shit got real, SHIT GOT REAL!
YOU, my darling, are completely capable of enormous feats and change, the spark comes from action! Do and Become, it is as simple as that!
Just imagine that SHIT JUST GOT REAL!
How does this relate to Modern 1950s Housewife Jennifer? Turns out, life in France is expensive and simple silly things that I use to take for granted, have now become complicated. As a result, Modern 1950s Housewife Jennifer was begrudgingly born the week I arrived in France because of a dryer. A what? A dryer.... rather lack of a dryer.
Truth be told, I enjoy being a modern housewife, in fact it has elevated me. Of course, there are always pros and cons, but I find the benefits outweigh the bad, by a long shot!
THE DOWNSIDE... laundry. Stupid stupid, stupid laundry! I hate you.
[Quick Sidebar] When I first moved here, my husband and I stayed with my mother-in-law for about a month. Coming from Las Vegas to the suburbs of Bordeaux, as you can imagine, it was jarring. But I immediately knew I was completely out of my element when I inquired about the dryer. The dryer turned out to be a clothes line located in the pantry. I seriously thought my husband was joking, sadly he wasn't. NO DRYER?
This was something I never experienced before. In hindsight, yes, it is very dumb, but at the time I was like What the hell did I just get myself into!?
That was when SHIT GOT REAL! Everybody hates doing laundry, it takes up half of your day, but THIS French washing machine took more than 2 hours for ONE LOAD, then I needed to line dry it! I SPENT THE WHOLE WEEK DOING LAUNDRY!
THE UPSIDE... It has been more rewarding than anticipated. I have become more creative, inventive, organic and have raised my status from Housewife to Lady of The House!
UPDATE: I am now known as The Countess.
Allow me to explain:
I've learned to knit, and have made scarves, and beanies, and earwarmers for myself, The Man, my family, and most of my friends and their kids! Of course, it takes me forever to finish them, but when I see anyone sporting my wares, I feel like Coco Chanel. My first knitted piece was a disaster, I made a one of a kind scarf necklace, first photo -- and I wore it too, even got compliments!
I have made my own beauty products. My citrus toner is simply fabulous and will not break the bank! There is also my coffee face beauty mask, and my secret beauty product that I use externally and internally. All my beauty potions and lotions costs less than 20 cents per month! Click on the So Stylish section to get the recipes!
I have also learned to sew again. I am taking classes to learn how to restyle and tailor my clothes so they are wearable year round. UPDATE: I gave up, sewing is stupid.
Ok, it's not, but I don't have the space, much less the patience for sewing, it annoys me.
I have also become a master French chef! I can whip up the best magret de canard and sweet potato french fries, served with a light buttery and creamy onion and mushroom sauce and topped with fresh ground pepper and salt! In less than 30 minutes - FLAT!
Need a recipe for this weekend? Check out the MIAM! YUM! NOM! section and eat well, my pretties!
I have successfully hosted a traditional French dinner party setting with a flair of Texas swag.
Think about that for a moment.
It was all too charming, if I do say so myself! I am pleased to report that that evening and even the next day, I received glowing French accolades. I felt like the toast of the town!
UPDATE: my Frenchies LOVE my Tex Mex food -- apparently French-Mexican fusion cuisine is all the rage right now! But, it's been our everyday, for the past decade! Eat well, ya'll!
I have become more active due to not owning a car. My feet or my bike (affectionately called, the Ferrari) are my main modes of transportation. This requires perfect time management. As I like to say, "better to be late, than to be ugly." I'm often late, but never shabby. This is a work in progress. UPDATE: My Ferrari was stolen, now I'm using my husband's bike, affectionately called, my Mercedes.
I have paid more attention to my health and the foods I place in my body. I follow the Atkins lifestyle and have trimmed down considerably since moving to France. Becoming more active has changed my eating habits, or perhaps vice-versa. Eating and drinking well is very important to me, everything else, I buy it when it's on sale!
I have lost weight. When I first arrived to France, I wore a size 46. Now I wear a 36-38. I can finally walk into any French store and shop. That is huge for me, because French women have the bodies of Barbies! Skinny bitches, I hate them.
I am a big believer in the following clothing mantra - Use, Reuse, Recycle or Lose!
It simply means that I wear out my clothes and purchase timeless pieces that won't break the bank. In the past, I have organized a Bizarre Bazaar, a clothing exchange with my friends.
See the beautiful blond hawking her wares -- that's my Barbie girl! I nicknamed her Barbie. She is so lovely, I hate her.
1950s Housewife Jennifer turned out to be more of a blessing in disguise!
It has made me the Lady of the House. A title I am proud to have, because I have earned it.
I have even noticed when the sweet husband gets a little irritated, I can win any dispute with the following declaration, "Chouchou, je suis la dame de la maison." "Sweetheart, I am the Lady of the House."
I do not know WHY but it WORKS EVERYTIME!
But the main thing 1950s Housewife Jennifer has taught me was that when SHIT GETS REAL, SHIT GETS REAL! And, I have changed! And, that's a good thing!
The desire to change and to live a grand life is to simply to take the action to do so.
xoxxox -- Jenny
Have a question? A comment? Would you like to book me? Well, on you go and Ask Jenny! I am only an email away.
Go to my contact page and let's discover something new together!
I found this while on my seventh hour on Pinterest. I thought it couldn't hurt, so here's wishing you a Chan full of cash!
I just adore Jackie Chan, he is, quiet simply, a living legend! Bless you Mr Chan!
Have a great weekend everyone! Take care of yourselves.
What I eat!
It has been awhile since I've done a weight update. So, instead of throwing out numbers from a scale of measurement just yet, I decided to also show you some of the meals I eat and how my body looks today.
Read Time: less than 5 minutes
I lost a considerable amount of weight by limiting carbs and sugars, and upping protein, vegetable, and my fat intake. I used the Atkins Diet as my Bible. I read the book, put it into practice and Haaaallelujahhhh, it's a miracle!
My heaviest weight was 215 pounds, and today I hover between 124 -126 pounds, depending on the moon cycles!
I attempt not to put too much emphasis on the numbers, because I enjoy the relationship of being in tune with my body, which just means I feel good in my skin, but I'm feeling I need to tone up some more, and I shall, after all summer bodies are made in the winter!
I have maintained my weight loss for more than two and a half years, (can I get an Amen?!) and even though I may overdo it from time to time (moon cycles and chocolate and these cranberry white chocolate cookies/biscuits for my Brits) I just feel good and wish to maintain my healthy eating and exercising habits.
Speaking of glorious luxuries: THIS THAI SOUP!
Depending on what I have going on, and if I don't have time to drink coffee or have a hearty breakfast before, lunch is usually eaten out.
I don't eat out often, I feel my cooking is on par with Julia Child or Hélène Darroze, (look them ladies up!) so why go out when I can eat in? Don't believe me? Well, come on over and I'll cook for you! It'll be a pleasure!
And besides, restaurants don't look too kindly to their patrons eating in their underwear or pajamas. Staying in has its comfort advantages!
The other day, as it was freezing rain out and me, stuck right in the middle of it, I decided to stop in at my favorite Asian resto located near my home and warm up with some Thai soup.
It was/is so delicious and fragrant and filling, I only ate half of it. I am always pleased to have leftovers, two meals for the price of one - uhh, yes please!!!
The Thai soup pictured is made with a spicy coconut milk base, with shrimp, calamari, noodles, some fresh vegetables, and herbs. It was a party for one and all for me! By the way, this soup is super easy to make, but as I am lazy, I haven't gotten around to making it.
Dinner is usually a big meal.
I always have some sort of protein and vegetable. Always.
But I am also smart enough to not deprive myself, because if I deny myself anything, it only make me want to have it more. It becomes an obsession, that I simply don't have time for anymore.
Pictured above is a large salad with ranch dressing, duck breast, and a scoop of mashed potatoes with fresh herbs. It was good, if I do say so myself.
What also helps a lot is French portion sizes. You see, a normal meal in France, portion size wise, is considered a kid's meal in The States. And that goes with pretty much everything, you will almost never see a mega-jumbo Big Gulp portion sized anything. So, when I can't resist these cranberry white chocolate cookies that melt and blend so perfectly in my morning's coffee, or a bag of chips (or crisps for my Brits out there) the packaging and portion sizes feeds my greed, but curbs my gluttony.
In other words, I can't gorge myself, like Jabba the Hutt, unless I buy two or three, which I won't because I choose to spend my money on real food. Thanks, France!
To give you a better idea of what I mean: A small (normal) sized bag of Doritos costs about 2.70€ but so does two chicken breasts.
I feel I have come a long way since moving to France - geographically, physically, mentally, and emotionally - but one must continue to learn to become a better human being, and Big Mama still has roads to go. Wish me luck!
Have a question about how I lost weight, foods, or need any additional information? Well, just ask!!! I would be more than happy to help you out - it's what I do! I'm a helper. So, help me help you and let's discover something new together, after all, one must continue to learn to become a better human being!
Life is too short to eat bad food! Take care of yourselves and know that I love you, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Doubly Delicious Dishes!
Have you ever had one of those days where you open the frig and see only a couple of things staring at you?
That is what happened to me the other day!
My first thought: I have to go to the market.
Second thought: How do I make a meal with only one tomato, chicken breast and a jar of olives?
Boring, perhaps, but I added a few magic touches of my own to awaken my palette.
I ended up making chicken marinara, as if I had a choice, however I must admit, it was so tasty and simple to make, I couldn't help sopping up the juice with fresh bread! MIAM! YUM! NOM!
I even had leftovers for the next day and made egg marinara!
It was doubly delicious and so stupifyingly simple, I even shocked myself!
This is so simple to make, its almost embarrassing to share with you the recipe. Nonetheless, here it goes!
Chicken Marinara -- First, add a pat of butter AND olive oil in a heated pan and start browning the chicken. Next chop up some garlic, onion and tomatoes and throw it in the pan and allow to meld together. Next add salt, pepper and other herbs, then allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Then serve!
Egg Marinara -- Create the marinara sauce first to your liking then crack an egg on top and allow to cook to your liking! Season with salt and pepper and viola! Serve and enjoy!
Love is in the air...
Hello my fellow Francophiles!
Welcome to February in France.
Today's post is about some fun facts, updates and how to adapt to one's surroundings.
Read time: 6 minutes
Living in a foreign country is hard, you can read all about my growing pains in the I Hate France section, but it's the hard that makes it great.
Strife and struggle
Pain and suffering
Defeat or Victory
Ah, c'est la vie, mes amies!
Two of my favorite French expressions - C'est la vie and La Vie en Rose - common French expressions, yes, but it is the experience of these expressions makes them, well, true.
Lend me your ear for a second, please.
C'est la vie, translated means: That's life. But it is how it is delivered, contextually speaking, and of course the tone/attitude on how it is said, packs a punch, either positively or negatively!
La Vie en Rose, translated means: A Pink Life, which doesn't make much sense, except when it does. La Vie en Rose invokes a feeling of everything is coming up roses, or that you are seeing life through pink colored lenses - it just means being tickled pink with happiness!
Living as an immigrant (technically I am an ex-pat, but I prefer to call myself an immigrant) I have this habit of speaking Franglais, a mix of French and English. I even make up words, not on purpose, but because my brain is constantly battling two languages.
It's an everyday struggle, which can be a pain because everyone around me, doesn't have that problem. But, it is what it is, so I can either adapt and be victorious or claim defeat. Basically, I must work harder. (Ugh! I'm SUCH an American!) After all, it's the hard that makes it great.
This week, I made up the word - Quit - no, not said like that. I was attempting to say quick and vite (pronounced veet) at the same time, it came out as Queeeet!! Ah, c'est la vie! But, I was also tickled pink, because I sounded ridiculous, but it also sparked today's blog post!
You're welcome! (squeeee!)
I am very lucky to be alive, I feel luckier to be able to have the guts to live as an immigrant in another country, and even luckier still, because I love!!
So, with February here and because love is in the air, and because I melange languages, I decided to melange my two favorite expressions: C'est la vie en rose!
Here's some French and February fun facts:
February 2 - La Chandeleur
Also known as Candlemas (Christian) Imbolg (Pagan) Groundhog Day (North American)
Candlemas, is a feast to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus. This holiday is called la Chandeleur, Fête de la Lumière, or jour des crêpes.
Imbolg means "in the belly." It is a light festival and celebrates the first stirrings of Spring. The perce neige flower, which means piercing snow flower, begins to blossom from the winter's snow. And, France is full of them!
I found the following text while doing internet research, so enjoy, as I did, and check it out when you can: http://french.about.com/od/culture/a/chandeleur.htm
Not only do the French eat a lot of crêpes on Chandeleur,
but they also do a bit of fortune telling while making them.
It is traditional to hold a coin in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other,
and flip the crêpe into the air.
If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan,
your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.
There are all kinds of French proverbs and sayings for Chandeleur; here are just a few.
Note the similarities to the Groundhog Day predictions made in the US and Canada:
À la Chandeleur, l'hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur
On Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens
À la Chandeleur, le jour croît de deux heures
On Candlemas, the day grows by two hours
Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte
Candlemas covered (in snow), forty days lost
Rosée à la Chandeleur, hiver à sa dernière heure
Dew on Candlemas, winter at its final hour
5 - Spring was thought to started on this day. February means purification, a time when seeds are to be sown. Spring cleaning really starts in February!
14 - Valentine's Day
Some say Saint Valentine was either martyred or buried on the 14th, hence it's place on the calendar. As you may or may not know, Valentine was a rebel. He defied Roman Emperor Claudius, who had forbidden marriage for his soldiers, but that didn't stop Valentine.
He went on to perform marriages in secret and was later locked up because of it.
I guess there is no such thing as forbidden love!?
15 - Lupercalia
A fertility festival honoring Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and the Roman founders, Romulus and Remus.
Basically it's a Roman national holiday love fest! Think Mardi Gras, Carnival, the 4th of July type of party, but Roman old school style, complete with running naked in the streets!
Luperalia means Wolf Festival. The Luperci, a Roman priest order, would return to the sacred cave where the two boys, Romulus and Remus, were believed to have been looked after by a she-wolf (lupa in Latin). A goat (for fertility) and a dog (for purification) were sacrificed by the priests. Then, after cutting the goat’s hide into strips, they dipped them in the sacrificial blood and went out into the streets, striking any woman who happened to be passing by with the goat hide to make the women fertile in the coming year.
Marc Antony, a Luperci, was said to have presented a laurel crown to Julius Caesar during the Lupercalia festival. Caesar turn it down because he felt he didn't have the support of the people, at this the people cheered. Caesar was assassinated a month later. Lupercalia has officially dissolved, but perhaps we can blame the adapting of this holiday on Christians (again) who made Valentine's Day official.
18 - 6 March - School Vacation
French kiddos are on break for two weeks. French students have a two week break after 6-7 weeks of schooling!
28 - Carnaval Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and 47 days before Easter.
Parties world wide ensue, and in Bordeaux, there is a parade procession with children dressed up in costumes walk the city streets and music, and little parties in different neighborhoods! Think of the ending of Chocolat, starring Johnny Depp, such a great movie, and come to think of it, is set in France and I think in the month of February!
It's the PERFECT movie if you are in the mood for LOVE!
PS: Watch the movie, Chocolat or again.
It will invoke the feeling of C'est la vie en rose!
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...