I hope everyone is having a great week! It’s been a pretty good one for me thus far. I have been sticking to portion sizes and drinking tons of water with lemon. My big goal this week was to fit more veggies into my diet each day. I have no problem getting all of my fruit in, but I’ve always struggled with eating more vegetables. I bought celery, carrots, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cucumbers and have been eating them like mad, trying to get them all in. They’re 0 Weight Watchers Points, so that’s always a good thing. Plus, I want glowing skin and to get there, I need to increase my water and veggie intake.
I’ve been doing a lot better regarding my cravings issues and not snacking (too much) between meals. Cravings always hit me between 2-4 p.m. To curb this, I’ve adjusted my eating schedule and have made it a point to sit down for at least twenty minutes each afternoon at 4 p.m. to have afternoon tea. I turn off my cell phone, the television and put some classical music on. (I’m a Chopin girl all the way!) I make my favorite Moroccan Mint tea and allow myself to have a low-calorie snack, which is usually fresh berries with a dollop of whipped cream.
My favorite teas are chamomile, Earl Grey and Moroccan Mint. I buy them from different places, but my current favorite tea brand is Numi Tea. I stumbled upon their teas while on vacation in Whitefish, Montana a few years ago & have been hooked ever since. I am dying to try their new line of savory teas, Chocolate Earl Grey and Chocolate Mint. I may have to order their Garden Sampler soon & let you know what I think of their savory line of teas. I wonder what you eat alongside the savory teas? Maybe a slice of quiche or a muffin? Some cheese with a few sliced cucumbers?
Anyway, I think it is important to take time out of our day to just sit with a quiet mind and simply let go. I am a busy mother, wife and librarian. Life/work pressures can sometimes be a lot, but since I’ve been carving out time to take tea and shake off my stress, I’ve felt so much better. Tea also curbs my appetite and I don’t do all of the mindless snacking that I used to do. Since I do not eat after 7:00 p.m., I have another cup of tea (either mint or chamomile) and that signals to my body that it’s time to get ready for bed and that the kitchen is closed. I believe it helps me sleep better, too.
Now on to the fun stuff–books!!! (I’m a librarian. You didn’t think I’d let a week go by without suggesting something for you to read, did you?)
Today, I am going to suggest some great French/Parisian-inspired books that I own and love. I am a huge Francophile! At 17, I visited Paris with my aunt and uncle and voila, my love of this fascinating, wonderful culture developed immediately. I remember people watching at a busy cafe and paying attention to the way they moved and talked, to what they wore and how they carried themselves. I grew up in the Midwest and the differences between the two cultures was astonishing.
French was my minor in college and I speak Franglais rather well, merci. I was going to be a French teacher and it was my major for about a year, but after doing my teaching observations and being told by my mentor teacher that I’d never find a job in that field, I switched to Anthropology. (Which, ironically, I’m unable to find a job in that field, either. Oh, you gotta love the things life throws at you!) That being said, my love of all things Parisian and French is still with me. You can take the girl out of Paris, but you can’t take Paris out of the girl, right?
Here are a few books that inspire me and feed my inner Coco Chanel. I keep them on my nightstand and flip through them often.
“Lessons from Madame Chic” by Jennifer L. Scott. This book is fantastic! Ms. Scott lived in France and this is where she learned important lessons that would change her life. She paid attention to those around her and applied their tips to her own life. She talks about discipline, nutrition, makeup application, fashion/style and generally being a kind person. She has another book coming out this November 2014, “At Home with Madame Chic” which is available now for pre-order. Ms. Scott has a great YouTube channel called “The Daily Connoisseur” where she posts videos about makeup tutorials, skin care/cosmetic product suggestions, fashion tips and other various tips to enrich one’s life. I follow her on Facebook & YouTube and she’s fantastic.
“Parisian Chic” by Ines de la Fressange. She is a native Parisian, model, business woman and icon in France. She has such a unique sense of style. This guide is fantastic and my teenage daughter borrows it on occasion. This would be a really great gift to give a teenage or college-aged girl who is trying to find her own style. Ines de la Fressange has all sorts of YouTube videos, so just type her name in and you should find plenty.
“Chic & Slim” by Anne Barone. This is actually a series of books and I own every single one of them. They are signed by the author, too. She has a great website with current events, weight loss tips, recipes, etc. She used to be 55 pounds heavier, but after incorporating the French way of eating and living into her life, she was able to lose the weight and revamp her life. To read more about Anne Barone, visit her site here.
“Forever Chic” by Tish Jett. She did a lot of digging into how French/Parisian women care for themselves and look fantastic at any age. Great tips on aging, skin care, diet and discipline. She has a blog “A Femme d’Un Certain Age.”
“The Parisian Diet” by Jean-Michel Cohen. Yes, I know this book has the word “diet” in the title, but it’s so much more than that. And, yes, I am still following Weight Watchers, so don’t worry! In college, I studied what is called the “French Paradox” and this is something I’ve always been interested in.
How can the French eat croissants, cheese, pastries, fatty foods, and red wine and still stay slim? In a nutshell, they walk more than we do. They drink more water (with lemon). They also eat smaller portions and they do not carry around all of the guilt that we Americans do. They also do not snack between meals. Snacking is not chic. This book takes a common sense approach to weight loss and can be incorporated into any program or lifestyle. Monsieur Cohen does have a website and you can go there to find your “Right Weight.” I do believe this would be a program worth trying.
“Words in a French Life” by Kristin Espinasse. This has nothing to do with diet, fashion or food. This is just an interesting story of how an American woman ended up living in France, getting married and starting a life in a foreign country. I own this book and could read it over and over again. Ms. Espinasse also has a fantastic blog called “French Word-A-Day” that details her adventures in France.
I think that’s it for today. When I start talking about France/the French, I could go on and on. I truly hope these books bring you as much joy as they’ve brought me.