|If you can not make it to France, give it your|
very best to channel your inner French girl
where you are.
Yesterday my wonderful husband treated me to a day out in Historic Sacramento. We have been there many times, but this time was to visit the Crocker Art Museum to see a Paris art exhibit. A private collection of art by Toulouse-Lautrec among others dating between 1880 and 1910 is there currently on display. The exhibit was titled "Toulouse-Latutrec PARIS 18180-1910 LA VIE MODERNE " . It is a look at the art of the avant-garde artists who gave us a look at what was then modern Paris society. Of course I was drawn to the exhibit like a moth to the flame, and upon entering the third floor where the exhibit was housed, I could hear the strains of Edith Piaf singing, and was greeted with a large sign that let us know that we were going to get a taste of what the art of the time was and how it reflected life so long ago in Paris.
The disappointing part that I have to let you in on now is that there was no photographs allowed once we entered the doors of the exhibit. There was a theater of sorts that was set up with costumes and a dressing room and a place to sit and watch shadow puppet shows be acted out and hubby did take a few photos of me sitting in there....
We had a lovely time of it viewing the exhibit and if it comes to a city near you, or if you live in the area, I encourage you to visit the exhibit. Moving on to the normal FGF post that I had intended to share from the wonderful book Lessons From Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott, were I am now reading Part 3, Chapter 10, "Always Use The Best Things You Have" . In this chapter Jennifer opens with a giggle worthy story of her wearing less than her best clothing items as pjs and seeing her less than best out there panties hanging above her head to dry in the hallway of Famille Chics home, and how from that point on she made it a point to treat herself to the best that she could afford in both departments.
I must admit that if anyone was to see my pjs and or panties I would be blushing and hang my head in shame. I have basic flannel, and not even what I consider real flannel button front pjs in a leopard print, and my panties are serviceable cotton. Neither are the best that I can afford, and truthfully I do feel rather dumpy in both, but I just never seem to be able to force myself to buy such things at a higher price point. Oh I do swoon a little when like today I was in Nordstroms buying seamed stockings at the pretty pj's and scanty, lacy trimmed panties and bras, but I put them back when I realize I have whole outfits that cost as much as one pair. This year I set myself a goal, even before buying the book to buy less, but buy better. I deserve it. So little by little I am getting rid of what is not in great condition or does not make me feel pretty or fit me just right, and replacing it with higher end items. It does not means I shall spend 30.00 on a pair of frilly panties, I just can not seem to want to break the bank to do so to cover my ..... for the week. Jennifer says that she is not pushing for that at any rate, simply that you do not skimp or settle to save a dollar, but that you spend your money wisely to buy the best that you can afford. I have mentioned that I plan to have my breast implants removed, I am hoping it will be no later than this Summer, and hopefully before my birthday, and when all is healed I fully intend to buy a couple of very pretty , not Victoria Secret, bras ( not that they are that cheap) , and perhaps I will treat myself to a couple of those Nordstrom panties and fill in the rest with at least some that I do not find in a max pack on sale.
The chapter was not all about pjs and panties, Jennifer also encourages us all to use the "special china" so to say, each and every day. Now I use my Corning wear dishes each and every day, and my wine glasses are some I found while thrifting, and I will admit that my fine crystal and vintage inherited china goes mostly unused.... but my every day is also my holiday items, we rarely upgrade as it is just usually myself, my husband and two of our three daughters. I have even, and do not fall down in a dead faint, have used themed paper plates for easy clean up. Buying holiday napkins instead of the cheap white ones from the Dollar Tree is as fancy as it gets! That being said, if we had a bigger house, with more than one tiny cabinet to store dishes etc ( the others dishes are in a bin buried in the storage room) , I might be more tempted to do as she suggests. There are days I pull out the crystal wine glasses or champagne flutes to drink my wine or sparkling water out of , and I do feel quite special when I do this. I also pull out the few dessert dishes that are saved for the holidays that I do store in the house, all four of them, to serve dessert or sandwiches on. I am thinking that it might be time to upgrade the table and table settings just a bit... I wonder what I can find at the resale shop down the street.... ok, ok, remember it is baby steps, this upgrade , buy the best you can afford thing.... can not help myself, I am thrifty by nature.
When I first started writing this blog nearly 5 years ago, we had just lost our dream home to the bank, had to sell, our furniture ,or I felt that we did ( as most of our furniture would not fit) and all our antiques... and some were French too ... to get into an apartment and were starting from scratch. We had a mix of IKEA, Goodwill and second hand store as well as donated items to feather our new nest. I began writing the blog as a way to show people that you could live well on basically next to nothing. I would scour places like Ross, Home Goods , second hand and thrift stores in search of items that mimicked those I saw in the high end stores that I used to shop in. I changed the style here and there with basic tweaks of inexpensive accessories, sell items on craigs list to afford others, and would show how changing out pillow covers and framing a poster or painting an old dresser could really help create a look. The blog went down rabbit trails after that and I started to blog about being fashionable on a budget, daycations and even entertaining on a budget. I went through a very dark time and that is when I started sharing my more personal side of things as I took you all on little journeys through self help books, and that is when FGF was truly born and where I have come full circle 5 years later. The reason for the history lesson is to give a back story to new readers as to why I am fighting this use your best mentality. Sometimes the best for me was a silver tray , not real, from The Dollar Tree to display my perfume on, most of which was gifts. In her book, Madame Chic, Jennifer relates also about the home, furnishing it with the best that you can afford and not regulating special pieces to be like museum pieces that you never allow to be sat upon.... sit on it, daily, use those items, display them, enjoy them to the fullest, your life will seem richer. I do agree with this... but still wince when my husband puts his feet up on the couch.
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Manners. One should always use their best manners, even if at some times it seems the rest of the world has no manners at all! Be charming, you get more bees with honey as the old saying went. You see you simply must give it your best efforts to use your best in this area of life as well. The author is dead on when she states " ...many of us use our best manners in public or when we have guests, but when we are with our immediate family members, our kindness and good manners go out the window." Gracious, how true that is, how guilty I am of that very thing.... but then my family is a sarcastic one and love to push buttons and one must have a tough skin. I did not for a number of years and inside I am still quite soft I am afraid, but I try my best to remember I love these people and should treat them as I would like to be treated, and not just save that behavior, the good manners for strangers and guests.
Being your best and using your best takes practice and Jennifer chats about that as well. She shares a brief story and at the end it is stated ..." always practice his best, especially when alone. And that by doing so they would not come across as phony when joined by the proverbial Joneses..." I think that is sage advice. How often when around strangers and guests do you put on airs or are on your best behavior ? That is when the best china comes out, the best food, no grilled cheese sandwiches and bagged chips here, we have our best manners, or try to, my girls teachers used to say what darlings they were, and then I would get them in the car....you get the picture. I think if we were to follow the advice above, and channel the lessons learned from reading this chapter life would possibly be not only a little bit richer ( even if you were on a Dollar Tree budget) and nicer too. As the author puts it so well, " Celebrate every day life by using your best. Hold your possessions and your actions to the highest of standards. Doing so can make the mundane special and life so much more interesting." As you can tell I agree, I guess I just needed a little refresher course. After all that was and has always been my goal with this blog. I guess I just need to give it my best efforts to follow my advice and that of the author.
|Til Next time..... Give it your best. xx|