Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Book Review: At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life

This review of the wonderful book At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life by Jennifer L. Scott of the blog The Daily Connoisseur is a long time coming. I pre-ordered the book, so I received it months ago, in October and devoured it right away. I actually read it twice and have revisited parts many other times. Pleased to have my own print copy on my bookshelf, I plan to revisit this incredible resource for a tip, recipe or music recommendation in the future.

This is the author's second book. Her first is entitled Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris, which I have not formally reviewed on this blog, but highly recommend and seem to mention here often.

This follow up examines the art of homemaking. It is a guide on how to become chic in daily life, particularly at home. The author advocates that this is entirely possible on any budget.

If you follow my blog, there's a big chance that you value the Italian and/or French lifestyle. A francophile may be wondering if this particular book offers anything new, something different. It does. Trust me as I am an avid read of blogs, books and articles on the French lifestyle. The tips that Jennifer offers are invaluable. This is a life-changing read.

Her book is divided into two sections. The first is basically how to get your home in order. The second (my favorite) suggests how to manage your day, further organized by morning, afternoon and evening.

Her tips for managing your home and life well are good. Furthermore, she explains how to make these routines pleasurable, down to candle scents and background music! Every moment, even a few minutes spent accomplishing the mundane activity of cleaning something, has the potential to be a celebration of life. She reminds us to be present. Life is too short not to be thoroughly enjoyed.

What I really took from this book was that a major attitude adjustment is needed in everyday life in order to become a true domestic goddess. I truly believe that life is what you make it. Having the right attitude is crucial. If you are determined to enjoy every moment and at least calmly take a difficulty one step at a time, then you very well might live life to the fullest.

The Motivated Type via Pinterest

This book has changed my life already. I have adopted many little habits. It installed her words in my head so I am reminded to put things away as soon as I am finished with them. In fact, I think of her every morning when I put my sugar canister and pot holder away immediately after sweetening my two little cups of espresso freshly brewed in a stovetop Moka. Also, even though it took time to develop the habit, I usually seat myself at my dining room table to enjoy my breakfast. I may still shoot back my espresso while standing at my kitchen counter, but leaning over my coffee table and lounging on the sofa like I used to would feel very odd now. I remember how she often times herself in doing a dreaded chore, and after setting the timer myself once or twice, I now realize that my chores take very little time to accomplish. Washing dishes, for example, is not my favorite task, but I know that half a sink full of dishes takes about three minutes to empty. Knowing this, I now hardly ever leave any dishes dirty for long. In addition, I dust my wood furniture with Pledge more often since I know that doing my whole apartment home would require 20 minutes. Dusting my entire living room including my office area plus my dining room table takes half that time. If I prepare a whole box of pasta at once, rather than a portion, lessening my tasks for future weekday nights, then that means her voice inspires me yet again. 

One of her product recommendations was epicuren's Volcanic Clay Purifying Mask which I love and find truly effective. In fact, I just started using my second tube. (It is available on Amazon.)

I think I will revisit this guide for a few more tips. For one, I'll probably check out an album she specifically recommends or at least search for a different kind of music station on Pandora. In addition, now that I have grown out my long layers and finally achieved a bob, I'm trying to grow my hair just long enough to style a sophisticated updo for special occasions. I think I also might try a chignon for which Jennifer provides step-by-step directions.

I highly recommend At Home with Madame Chic. You may want to read it before year end so that 2015 can be très chic.

I plan to publish this at midnight turning into Christmas Eve, so I hope you have a very merry Christmas! My family is actually serving lasagna on Christmas Day instead of the traditional ham so you know I'm psyched!


  1. I have just received At Home With Madame Chic and am planning to read it on New Year's Day...inspiration for 2015. Her first book was excellent...there are so many lessons gleaned from her wisdom and experiences.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog which I so enjoy, and a best wishes for a
    Very Happy New Year!
    Diane in Canada

    1. Have you finished with it yet? I hope you love it too. Can hardly wait for her third!

      You're welcome! Why, thank you!

      I wish you a truly fabulous new year! Sounds like it's off to a great start already with a good book!