"What makes French girls as serenely self-satisfied as purring cats...and catnip to the men who admire them?......"
"The French girl understands that sexy is a state of mind. Her relationship to food and her body is sensual, not tyrannical, and she takes pleasure in both"
Ruby here...back again with both my self assigned home work and highlights from Chapter 2.........
There was a question(s) within Chapter One~ " Is this really me? Should I speak my mind or hold back? How should I approach this particular person? How much of myself do I reveal? What is the true value of this friendship, this experience , this thing? Does this make me feel good, sexy, alive?"
Deep questions I know! I never expected when I bought this book that it would be life examining...I just thought it would be fun. But they do make you really stop and think; not a bad thing. I worked on this by asking myself these questions , well not all, but some , if it fit the situation, this whole last week. I really examined much of what I did or how I reacted based on these questions and the "lessons" in Chapter One from last weeks FG post ( you can read it here if you missed it )
So from the headers of ....
Practices Discretion ( touched on that in this post)
Shop Like A French Girl
Cultivates Own History
It was interesting how I would catch myself when I did something or said something that did not fit the "lesson plan" . I would stop or change direction of that action or make a mental note. In what was really supposed to be really only a fun exercise and blog fodder , I found it having an impact. I found myself taking new paths, thinking in new ways from how I ate, to what I cleaned out from my closet ( and got rid of) . So I am very eager for Chapter Two, and as you know already touched on it once this week.
I had already , as I had mentioned in an earlier post, when I could not sleep , read ahead. Now somethings touched a nerve and inspired me. Other things, I KNOW that I shall never achieve them, nor do I care to. I am not after all trying to be something I am not, I am not trying to fake being French...I just want to learn from and shape perhaps what lies beneath some of the thought process and ways of thinking that I already have in place. So now on to Chapter 2 Le Corps:
This chapter was very amusing and all about the body, body image, how we obsess, and well French Girls do not. I again touched on that in my checking in blog. I was amazed at how very much I fall into the ways of thinking that were mentioned ...the American side. I do not want to think that way; it's not healthy. The freedom and embracing the French Girls/Women have about their appearance is amazing! Now again given some of it like not shaving, not bathing as much ( that latter one was not in the book, but was told to me by someone) not wearing make up or coloring their hair ( guess I was there and then reverted recently) and loving their wrinkles as it was because they thought of it as growing into who they were supposed to be; it repeats through the book that French Girls are born adults/grown ups. How liberating to have it where you do not have to be a slave to all those things. There is more, but you will have to buy the book. I will supply the "Borrow from " sections though.
The headings in this chapter are as follows:
Growing Up Sexy
The Naked Truth
Skin and Sanctuary
Make Up and Scent
Aromatique: the Short Story of French Scent
The French Signature
These headings alone if you are the readers I know that most of you are should make you want to spend the 13.99 plus tax to buy this book! If I was reading these headings , I know I would want to at least flip through the pages...OH wait , I did and so I bought it.
So here are the "Borrowed Froms":
"Borrow a Page from The French Girl's Book: Body Love
Get rid of the diet books. Get to know your body. Spend time on yourself. Get naked. Sleep naked. Skinny Dip. Don't wear underware. Love your body and your children will grow up loving theirs. be realistic . Take the time to own your body: if you seek change , modify your relationship to the food with patience and simplicity . Relax and enjoy the ride."
*****Ok , well , point on point, my well, point of view ( how is that for bad grammar?) I agree with the diet books, there has never been a single one that has helped me for long. I know there is others out there that will swear to one or another book or program, but for me, they are too rigid. I LOVE food, the taste, the feel, the act of eating. I guess that is why I am always putting the weight back on. But recently, especially in the last two weeks I have been finding that if I simply just relax and make smart choices that the weight is coming off. Sounds simple, but it is working. I do not feel deprived and I am not even missing certain things. I have changed my mind set enough that I do not torture myself if I have a sweet or white bread, or a larger glass of wine, as long as right after I get back on track for at least one whole day before I indulge. I am now at the lowest I have been in over three years and it has not been hard at all.
I am pretty aware of my body. Every wrinkle, mole, rippled skin area and stretch mark , scars, etc. It is very far from perfect, but it is mine and I do not shy away from it. I do need to spend more time on it, not just the walking. I need to learn to use the face creams and lotions and to make time for bubble baths and such....I just get very lazy. I know discretion is key, so no deep details...so I will just say I do get naked. I do often sleep that way if hot. I WILL NOT skinny dip and I shall always wear my undergarments....so if that makes me fail on those fronts, I am comfortable with it.
I failed with the accepting my body soon enough. I am not sure I 100% accept it now. I am just more comfortable with it. I mean I see some of the girls and ladies down at the pool and well , they do not seem to care what hangs out, what is lumpy bumpy or stretched beyond ...well you get the idea. So two out of the three of my daughters have a bit of a body image issue, not sure the other does not, but I am doing my best to tell them they are beautiful and just fine ...and that is so very true.
I am realistic, sometimes too much so and get chided for it, so have that covered. I am that way with not only my body, but with everything.
I believe I finally have the last part of that covered as well, I am modifying many areas of my life, being patient, and simple about it and I am relaxed , more so than I ever have been, and I pray it lasts!!!
"Borrow a Page from The French Girl's Book:Body Care
Invest in the care of your body. Put together a private stash of your favorite body care products and commit to a regular weekly total body solace. Pay attention to every part of your body, particularly your hands and your feet. Feed your skin. Drink water. Indulge in sleep. Get massaged. Breathe deeply. Oxygenate your body and soul. Thank your body for it's life force. Remember to embrace sensuality as a human being you must be human with your body"
***I actually used to be really great with all this. It was easy, I worked at a day spa ! I was sooo spoiled. I really miss that. Then when we moved to Texas, I was just getting back to weekly massages and mani/pedis. When we moved here, I did not know where to go that was trustworthy for the massages, though I did keep up with the mani/pedis, till our finances did not allow for it. I am one that needs professional help with both , between arthritis and fibromyalgia it is hard for me to do my hands and toes. Plus the fibro dries your skin out, I do not know why, but it is an issue, so trying to keep the heels smooth, well it is WORK! But the assignment is correct, I need to make it more of a priority, all of it.
I do some of it, I am floating on the amount of water I drink! Ok well that is it. I know short list. I do not sleep well. I try. I do. Fibro and perimenopause seem to work against me, but I do try. So I guess I really need to step it up and concentrate on me, my body and how I treat it past diet and exercise.
"Borrow a Page from The French Girl's Book: The Look
Pay attention to quality, not quantity. Buy thoughtfully, never indulge in the impulse by-unless you know it's truly you. Throw out or give away every single item of clothing you don't wear ( that's everything except for the exceptional party clothes and things with great sentimental value) and rebuild your wardrobe slowly, piece by piece. Create a streamlined , I -love-everything-I -own collection of clothing and accessories. Avoid outfits and matching clothes. Invest in colors and textures you love. Avoid trends or "dressing for success." Dress for yourself, but do it with style every single day. Walk when you shop, stroll, rub elbows with the world. "
*** Ok I am VERY hit and miss with this section , I am ashamed to say. I would like to be so much better. But I LOVE my bargains, I often impulse buy and convince myself that I do INDEED love it, and it is ME! I have changed my style to suit others, to suit where I work, my age, if I was going to church, the "Mom Look" even the state that I lived in!! I have dressed retro, vintage, 1970 chic, velour pants and hoodies daily, every color....you name it I have done it. I guess some of it is boredom, some of it is a love of clothing and all things fashion/girly, and other times it is a true searching for who I am ...seems to be endless that last one...mainly as I have always had others telling me who I am...it gets confusing.
Now this last weekend, I did clean out my closet. I did get rid of some things, mostly accessories. So I am proud of myself on that front. I have a ways to go for the rest of my closet. For awhile I was all about the looking my age and wearing slacks and button down shirts with a matching coat. I was not working. I just thought I needed to look more mature. Stop dressing so youthful. I got rid of all of it. I saved the perfect white shirt and one pair of tweed like slacks that I loved and tossed the rest to Good Will. BUT, I will break one rule that is very anti "French Girl Look"....I have a couple outfits, and I have a thing for matching...I have tried to break the latter, but to no avail. I have a navy 1960's style outfit. A pleated A line skirt and matching jacket. It is trimmed in white, and has gold buttons. I bought it in Target two seasons ago, before our financial issues, and it still has the tags on it...I WILL wear this this season!! I care not that it matches, I love myself in it. You will also notice from my icons on my blog page and the fan page on FB, that even my avatars match, coordinate etc ....they are dressed based on my wardrobe that I own. I just love the clean look of it ...so if that makes me American , all I can say is "YIPPEE!"
I also must admit that I do not dress in style each day. I walk, so I perspire. I dress in cheap T's and tank tops and shorts or jeans . Day in and day out. In chapter two, French girls get exercise by walking in heels all over the city...well if they live in Paris. Some "toting gym bags and spandex" and wearing "American tennis shoes", but it is all in the name of fashion .
I once read Tim Guns book when I was running a fashion chat list on another site , and then of course I too have watched "What Not To Wear" and add in "How Do I look" and I was seeing myself in what I was reading and watching then too, and for a time, I dressed up daily. If I did exercise, I then came home, cleaned up and changed. I once was asked " Do you always dress like this just to grocery shop?" as well as " Do you have a special occasion you are going to?" NOPE, just following the rules of gym clothing was for just that, the gym. Athletic shoes were for athletes or again in the gym, during exercise. OH and flip flops are a no go as well, unless you are at the beach. I have to wonder if Tim, and all the hosts from these shows read the book I am now???
It did not last for long once we could no longer afford to go out and I felt depressed and did not care what I looked like. I ceased dressing up for no reason, stopped coloring my hair ( though in France that is an ok, accepted thing, a right of passage as we age) and all the other girly things I once cared so much about. I think I need to find a happy medium between what is acceptable there, even if it is against Tim Gunns and the rest of the fashion gurus, and what this book and all of the ones in the industry suggest. I need to work on that. I need to look cute and stylish when I am working out, and make the effort before I leave to make it so, and then also make an effort other times not to just stay in casual , comfy clothing, just because it is acceptable...BUT I shall hold onto my matchy matchy and my fav navy outfit thank you very much!
Just for fun I created a couple looks on Polyvore based on all of this, and well sorry to say I still went rather matchy, but I simply do not care ! It is who I am fashion wise ( at least when I dress up), and I like it.
Jusqu'à notre prochaine rencontre mes amis , au revoir ( Till next we meet my friends, good bye )