at-home-with-madame-chic-9781476770338_lgIn my coaching training class last week (I’m working with the bliss-filled Kathy Stowell from Bliss Beyond Naptime) we talked about values, and how viewing even the mundane tasks in your days through the lens of your values can change your attitude. My example was dusting – it is a Sisyphean task, but absolutely necessary. When viewed through the lens of living my life beautifully, (one of my core values for many years) it goes from the mundane to a rite I perform for this sacred space where we live our days.

ASIDE: If you are moving to Peru, take note. Lima is a dusty place. You can either, a) resign yourself to dusting constantly, or b) hire a housekeeper.

Yesterday, the much-anticipated At Home with Madame Chic arrived on my kindle.

Jennifer Scott writes about the ways to live a chic life, making the mundane and every day beautiful. My first impression is that there is not that much new here. After all, Flylady Marley Cilley has been telling her followers that ”nothing says I love you like clean underwear” for years.

Chic, the goal here, is for anyone who makes the effort. In the first part of the book, Home, she explains that a home that runs smoothly will contribute to “that air of effortlessness”, an essential component of chic. I find this true. It hard to concentrate in chaos, and when I’m short with my boys, it is often the result of messes underfoot. Worrying about what to make for dinner certainly doesn’t contribute to a chic home or a relaxed family meal. Her recommendations in this section is again nothing new – declutter, plan menus, set the table for breakfast at night, keep your home company ready. The difference is the attitude – housekeeping is not drudgery to be gotten through as fast as possible, but part of creating and living a chic life. Curate your house as an art exhibit, she recommends.

The second section of the book, Daily Routines, is divided into morning, afternoon and evening. Each section contains beauty for the senses – a list of suitable candle scents and music albums.  Each section also talks about opportunities for entertaining – elevenses, brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner parties. There are a few nice recipes – from green smoothies to a blueberry cake.

The morning section touches on Jennifer Scott’s famous Ten Item Wardrobe. To implement this, I still think you are better off reading her first book, Lessons from Madame Chic (or watch her on TEDx), but she does talk about the attitude to dressing and how it contributes to the chic life. She adds a few make-up and hairstyle ideas here too.

This is ultimately a book about a living a chic life, and while it was a quick, enjoyable and inspiring read, there wasn’t much that was new to me. Then I got to the last section, and she relates how she drives past her childhood home, only to find it sadly neglected. At this point, she has this epiphany: “I knew in that moment that we had taken the soul of that house with us to our new home”

And this is where she won my heart.

I have taken the soul of home with me

When you are a foreign service family making a beautiful and “homey” home takes on a new urgency. You have to declutter because you are always bumping up against those weight limits. You have furniture that likely would not have been your first choice. Sometimes you have a lovely home. Sometimes you just have to make it work. You are still expected to host graciously.   More importantly, you have to create a safe, comfortable, and familiar home environment for your family.

For us, homes come and go, furnishings come and go (thank goodness!), and all we get to take with us is the beauty we created, the memories we made, and the soul of our home, which always comes along.  Jennifer Scott got that, and shared beautiful ways to make it happen.