I will be leaving for Paris in a couple of days. I am very excited and nervous. I will be traveling around seeing much of the country and I cant wait to see actual French girls in their everyday life. My plan: To drink in life. I hope to come back rested, refreshed and ready to enjoy and appreciate every day life more. 11 months ago
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How I did it:
Beauty:Skin care is important to French women. Use the best products you can afford. I now know what skin care works well for me but I also know that if I can't afford it what cheaper options will do until I can buy my preferred brand. Wash your face before going to bed, this alone will improve the condition of your skin greatly. You should also wash your face in the morning to get rid of accumulated oil and dead skin. Talk to someone who is knowledgeable about skin care to find out what is best for you. Be patient. It can take 6-8 weeks to see results.
I started wearing make-up more. Play with it, it can be fun. Go to a department store and ask for advice. If you cannot afford all of it splurge on one item and look for less expensive make up somewhere else. A lot of the time spending the extra money is worth it but sometimes you can find a less expensive option that works almost or just as well. Make up should flatter you. I know you have heard it before but it is so true. You should not use make-up to disguise yourself but rather it should accentuate the real you. The more natural the make up the better. Focus on one feature. Don't wear heavy eye make-up and bright lipstick at the same time. We are all beautiful in our own way. You may think something is your worst feature but it may be your best. Think Lauren Hutton and the gap in her teeth. Confidence is key. I think it is a circle. French women take care of themselves and can see that they are beautiful which leads to more confidence which makes them want to take care of themselves. They know they don't have to go for over the top looks because they see the beauty in themselves.
Style: In some parts of France I some some women in heels and high fashion (in Nice I saw a girl wearing 3 inch heels don a helmet and take off on a motor bike) but mostly I saw women in flattering everyday clothes such as jeans, slacks,dresses and ballet flats or a moderate heel. Of course many of them wore scarves as well. They were well dressed but they were comfortable. The confidence is what shone through. You should dress to live but dress well. When buying clothes think quality vs quantity. Wear clothes that fit and flatter. You will find it will have an amazing effect on how you feel and how you come across. Don't mistake comfortable with sloppy!!! Always try to put your best self forward. If you look better you feel better about yourself. You cannot take yourself seriously or expect others to if you are wearing pajama pants to the grocery store. I think it was David Lebovitz who said he knew he was French when on a lazy Sunday he took a shower, shaved and traded his sweats for a nice pair of slacks and shirt... to take the garbage out of his apartment.
“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little- if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”- Coco Chanel
Age gracefully: French women take care of themselves so they age very well physically but they are also not afraid to age. There are not a lot of older women trying to dress like a 20 year old. They accept how they are and work with it. At the Musee d' Orsay I saw an older women dressed in a very nice pants suit with a beautiful scarf around her neck. She wore little make-up and simple jewelry. She was comfortable with herself and I thought she looked fabulous.
Eat well: Eat a healthy well balanced diet. Your diet has a huge effect on every part of your body. Not just your weight. If your are putting junk into your body expect your body to react accordingly. Low energy, Acne, etc. Food in France is wonderful. I wish we had boulangeries like the French do. A simple ham and cheese with butter on a baguette beats Subway any day. I ate real food. I have a new appreciation for goat cheese. I had duck for the first time in my life and I liked it more than I was expecting to. Every evening you watch people walk home with a fresh baguette. They have junk food but I can tell you from personal experience that once you eat real,fresh, delicious food junk food does not have much allure anymore. I would much rather have a rich Opera cake from a patisserie than a hostess cupcake. It is will worth the price. You may end of spending more but in the end you will probably eat less because you are so satisfied.
Exercise: A phrase I heard a lot was There is always a step in France. This is very true. A lot of apartments in Paris don't have elevators. People commuting to Paris walk to and from trains. Museums and stores all have stair cases. In older towns you walk up stairs and on old cobblestones. People do walk more and ride bicycles but I also saw a lot of runners.
Education/work ethic: Education is free or low cost in France. If students don't want to go on to university they can go into an apprenticeships for other jobs. The French take education very seriously. They study a foreign language and they usually learn more than one. This inspires me to take my French classes even more seriously and to be open to educating myself more.
Work/life balance and joie de vivre: The French have a very good work ethic. They are committed to doing a good job but they know to take time for life. Businesses close for 2-3 hours everyday for lunch. Long conversations are enjoyed over meals. Simple pleasantries are used every time you step in a store or restaurant. They don't overwork themselves and enjoy life everyday. This can be very challenging for me but I am committed to continue to watching the amount of hours I work and taking time to enjoy life and not worry so much. Read how I did it… 11 months ago
I have been slipping on taking care of myself lately. I am getting back into the habit of washing my face and moisturizing before I go to bed. I need to have my hair done that always makes me feel better. I think tonight is a good night for a little pampering. Face mask and scrubs etc. 13 months ago
I am giving myself a rest from working extra hours. I still have time to earn a little more spending cash in the next few months. The French know that having time to enjoy life is important. They have a 35 hour work week compared to our 40+ and they have a least 5 weeks of vacation that is required by law. The last few days have made quite a difference. I am not exhausted and cranky. All these books that I read about finding your perfect job tells you to do what you love and what you would do for free. What do you do in your time off. I realized I don’t know becuase I spend so much time at work. 15 months ago
I had my first French class on Saturday. I really enjoyed it. Some of it I can guess because of my experience with Spanish but I love being lost in another language and the little light bulb that goes off when I acutally understand what I have just read. 16 months ago
I love the idea of this. Your secret garden is a way to keep balance. You should work to live instead of live to work which I sometimes have trouble with. The secret garden is somewhere you can go either physically or mentaly where you can decompress and start to regain balance. Ideally you should do this often and find some ways to keep it in your daily life. Wear your nicest things more often. Put flowers on your desk, use the china for Tuesday night meatloaf. It is a way to get back to yourself. I dont know if that makes any sense. Don’t save your life for a rainy day. 16 months ago
It does not matter what you do as long as you are moving and that you enjoy it. If you don’t like structured classes than don’t do it. Add little things through out your day. I can walk to the grocery store and library. It’s not very far and the walk is actually quite nice. You notice things you can’t see while you are driving. I have a bicycle buried in the garage. I need to clean it out for my decluttering goal anyway. So by spring I should be on the road on two wheels. 16 months ago
People talk about the myth of French beauty. Part of this is French women know how to dress, how to wear the right makeup to accentuate their best feature, and of course how to accessorize; but most of it comes from thier confidence. Even if the French girl is plain she feels she is beautiful. She knows she does not have to wear short skirts and low cut tops to be noticed:she can be sexy and stylish. 17 months ago
I signed up for French lessons! This has been on my much longer bucket list and I thought if I was going to France I should learn some of the language. I am taking classes at the French Alliance. As a member I get information about many French happenings in town. 17 months ago
- Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
- Visit the Louvre
- Have a coffee at a sidewalk cafe.
- Visit a street market and buy ingredients for a picnic lunch and eat it in a park or along the River Siene.
- Buy lingerie in Paris
- Be thin enough to buy fabulous clothes that are very French. 19 months ago
I thought a great way to finish this goal would be to take some French classes and of course go to France. I have been looking at airfare and I almost have enough. I would have to save for the rest of the airfare, spending money and the tour. I want to take a guided tour because their fairly priced and if I ran into trouble with the language I would have help. I know I have a little bit more to go but this would be a great ending. Oui? 19 months ago
It seems like a contradiction in terms, but Parisian woman tend to favor the “au natural” look more than their American counterparts. Hairstyles are more unstructured and air dried. You’ll see more long hair pulled back into a casual chignon than elaborately straightened and styled like in the US. Make-up is minimal with an emphasis on glowing skin (visit any French pharmacy and you will be stunned by the amount of products promising “prefect, pore-free, blemish-free radiant” skin). To quote Laura Mercier, the French creator of a line of cosmetics, “French women are not flashy. They must be subtle. The message must not be, ‘I’m spending hours on my face to look beautiful.” Parisian cosmetologists caution restraint by choosing one area to highlight – shadowed eyes mean neutral or no lipstick, wear lipstick and keep your eyes untouched, and let your natural skin show by wearing minimal foundation and little blush. For an example, pick up a copy of French Elle and be amazed to see unairbrushed models with minimal make-up. So, “embrace your inner beauty” and spend your time exploring Paris instead of styling your hair and making-up your face.
I have been having fun playing with makeup. A year or so ago I hardly ever wore makeup now I wear it just about every day. I like bringing out my features that I have come to appreciate more. As much as I enjoy makeup I am always sure to wash my face every night and I use serums and moisturizer. I love my haircut that I dont have to do a lot to. I like taking care of myself and presenting my self in the best possible light. 19 months ago
I have been tryng to keep up my nails and having fun with it. I am not very good but with practice I should get better. It is something that can be done for little money although I can go a little crazy when I start looking at all the different colors. My current nail color: Khaki. 23 months ago