Thanks for the well wishes for Mothers Day and happy you enjoyed my post yesterday. Getting the MRI today will keep you posted and SO relieved that my email subscription nightmares are finally over…we are back on track! Hello, hope everyone had a marvelous Mothers Day….I have so looked forward to presenting this post today. Ever since I got my hands on a copy of Tish’s book and devoured it I cannot stop talking about? and recommending it! I loved it so much that I reread it while on vacation not long ago with a friend who had not read it. Together we sat poolside oohing and ahhing over all of the tidbits and of course taking plenty of notes! The French women no doubt seem to possess a very natural and authentic sense of self, carry themselves with poise and confidence that does not seem as natural for most. Their sense of style and elegance is legendary and this book spills the beans and then some on some of the “insider secrets”! Tish really did her homework and besides talking to scores of French women she went to the very top, when it came to speaking to the “experts” , the? dermatologists, facialists, stylists,etc……all of the information you have wanted to know about French women is in this little book, it is? a true treasure trove of secrets and I got more than a few tips, many of which I have started doing! So I was thrilled as you can imagine to get to interview Tish and then she was so kind to offer two signed copies of her book to two lucky winners! Tish’s blog, A Femme d’Un Certain Age is a must visit for me and one I highly recommend. If you don ‘t win I cannot encourage you enough to head to Amazon and purchase this. You will thank me later, I assure you. Anyone I have recommended it to made a special point to tell me how much they loved the book…yes, its that good! So enough of me, lets hear from Tish! Being an American with a very keen eye….. what are the two biggest differences between American women and French women? When I think about French women and try to decode what makes them different from those of us who are not, one word keeps popping into my head: Nuance. Although we?ve heard it before, it is absolutely true that the vast majority dress with classic pieces which they then rev up with a knock-out accessory or two (or three), but still they are wearing dark jeans ? mostly verrrrry slim cuts ? a navy blazer and a white tee or shirt. No matter. They have what I tend to think of as an innate Gallic appreciation for the simple, and a gift for making everything they wear look fresh and new. They don?t like ?perfect.? They never look groomed to death as if they?ve spent hours pulling themselves together. The only way I can think of describing them is the difference between ?matte? and ?highly polished to a reflective gleam.? It?s a sort of ?subversive? chic, head-turning without being neck-breaking. Does that make sense? The second characteristic I?ve seen over and over in all the years I?ve lived in France is a certain reticence among French women. Again, we may have heard this before, but like anything new in her life, unless it?s accompanied by a blinding passion, she likes to take her time to see if a relationship merits the time and affection she would naturally give it if indeed a potential friendship might deepen into a real, warm, lasting amie de coeur. Remember, I don?t know a French woman who worries too much about being liked. She knows life is short and that you can?t please all of the people all of the time and really, she doesn?t have the time or interest. Two of the best friends I have ever had are French. It took time, but it was worth it. You get to carry only four products in your purse for everyday, what would we find in your pocketbook? Ah, you said ?products? because, as you know,, there are lots of things in my bag. My products include: A very pretty translucent powder compact from Clarins; a very utilitarian, barely there Clarins lip gloss; nail polish remover imbibed pads (when my nail polish chips, off it comes immediately); a tiny spray bottle of my perfume, Aromatics Elixir. 2 skin care “must haves/cannot live without’s”? Just two? This is difficult. We?re talking about an area where I could go on and on, but playing by the rules I would say without hesitation prescription Retin-A cream (0.05%) and Purete Thermale 3 en 1 cleanser from Vichy. Here we have a three-fer: cleansing milk, toner and eye-make-up remover. The thing you most admire about French women? Men? What I admire most about French women is their ability to be romantic realists. They understand with every fiber of their being that life must be celebrated, i.e. la joie de vivre while at the same time realizing it will be complicated, disappointing, even tragic by moments, but the good, like the bad, is normal. They, don?t seem to dwell on the negative. And the men? They truly like women. Obviously I?m not talking about the two most prominent (though very different) aberrations: Dominique Strauss-Kahn and President Fran?ois Hollande who seem to have a distinct disrespect for women. French men give sincere compliments, engage and encourage interesting conversation. I?ve always felt they were at their best at dinner parties where their flattering flirting and genuine interest in women is on center stage. What are your favorite hair products that are “life changing”? My favorite hair products include: L?Oreal professional Elseve Nutri-Gloss mask. (It works miracles when applied before bed, covered with a shower cap and left on until morning. It?s particularly brilliant for those who color their hair.) L?Oreal Paris professional Lumino contrast shampoo. It?s a radiance shampoo for blonds, particularly those of us who have highlights. It?s mauve and keeps the ugly yellow at bay. Christophe Robin (the world famous French hair colorist), three products: Shampooing D?licat Volume Naturel ? la Rose. (I alternate with the Lumino contrast or use the Rose first, followed by the Lumino.) Volumizing conditioner with rose extracts for fine hair. Instant volumizing mist with rose water for fine hair. (It smells wonderful and has no alcohol.)? If you could only throw in 7 things to your suitcase for a quick trip, what would they be? Let?s set the stage: I?m flying from Paris to New York where I will stay for one week. I have work lunches, meetings, a private dinner party and a swank Upper East Side cocktail party (and, in my dreams, a book signing after work cocktail event ? that means no one will change before attending ? at some hip place in SoHo.) On the plane I will wear: black gab trousers; black cashmere V-neck sweater; black trench; leopard cashmere scarf/shawl; leopard ballerinas and a black gab blazer which is really cheating, but I don?t want it to count in my bag and as we all know we can take more with us when it?s literally on our back. In the bag: A pile of t-shirts from Uniqlo. (I consider these as one item ? please don?t tell me I?m cheating. I even sleep in them.) A black gab pencil skirt. A black silk pleated skirt. The pleats are sewn down over the hips; I can not wear pleats coming off my waist. My shawl collar tuxedo jacket. Flow-y black satin evening pants. A collarless lace blouse like this one from Stella McCartney. A Klein blue cashmere cardigan, cut like a Spencer jacket. All of this leaves plenty of room for lots of accessories, because you might be thinking black on black on black is boring. I promise you with the right extras it never is. Just imagine the possibilities with everything I will have on hand. (Well, you know that Tina.) The biggest myth about the French is…….. I?m not sure really. Maybe it?s that they don?t like Americans. I think they sometimes have love/hate feelings toward us because they don?t to see so many negative elements of our culture ? reality TV, junk food, etc. seep into their world. At the same time they like our jeans, our ?anything is possible? esprit no matter who we are or where we were born and they like our current president. Who is your style/fashion icon? Clich? or not, Ines de la Fressange. She is impossibly tall and even more impossibly slim, but that?s not the point. She dresses with the utmost simplicity while all around her may be decked out in frou-frou and she looks stunning. She just does everything right, everything turned down just a notch. She never over accessorizes or overdoes anything for that matter. She might simply tuck her shirt into her jeans, add a belt and her omni-present Roger Vivier ballerinas and that?s it. You look at her and think: Who would want anything more? Her insouciance and ever-present smile add a great deal to her look as well. The best two things? about living in France are…….. My-Reason-For-Living-In-France (of course), otherwise I would be living in the United States. And. . . Paris. Oh, how I love Paris. We are so lucky to be in the country a mere 45 minutes outside Paris. It?s the best of both worlds. The most important piece of advice I have ever been given regarding age is……. Don?t think about it. It?s irrelevant if you?re interesting, interested, lucky enough to be in good health, and living life to the fullest. Being in love helps. If you are going to splurge on one big thing, it should be……….. For me it would be a piece of jewelry, probably a ring. I wouldn?t splurge on shoes or a bag or anything ephemeral. I think of my jewelry as an heirloom, memory markers that will be passed down to my daughter and then to my granddaughter. A piece of jewelry worn by generation after generation of women is appealing and romantic to me. It?s a token of love and a souvenir that will always be precious because of its past and its future. How does the experience of shopping differ in France from that in the United States? I may not be the best person to respond to this question. I hate large department stores and avoid them whenever possible. ?The big store experience,? and that includes those in Paris, is my idea of hell. I think boutique shopping is great fun. Perhaps the most significant difference in shopping here is that stores ? large or small ? are not in perpetual sales and promotions mode. The twice-annual sales are strictly controlled by law. The dates are already on the calendar at the beginning of each new year. Therefore stores tend to be neater, more appealing and pleasant for shopping unless one is constantly on the lookout for markdowns. Finally what is one thing you have learned from the French that we Americans should take note of? Eat well, dress well, live well. Please do not think these notions are superficial, they make for a rich, happy, meaningful life. Fundamentally, they demonstrate a deep respect and celebration of oneself and of others.https://enchantedhome.com/wp-admin/post-new.php And another thing: I have found among my closest friends that they forgive easily. They seem to understand the fallibility of human nature and are therefore less harsh in rushing to judgment. Is she incredible or what? I love what Tish said about French women and men, and I must agree, they have a? certain sensibility that seems very natural and the men, well they are just downright charming and I love how they genuinely have a interest in talking to women and lets not discount the power of that accent! So many great tidbits here. I jotted down every one of her beauty tips and will be buying that L’Oreal hair mask and ordering the Vichy product TODAY! This post is a teaser for what the book is all about…the kind of book you will reference over and over. I cannot thank you enough Tish for writing this book, I know you have done a wonderful thing for thousands of women! Click here to be taken to her wonderful blog, A Femmed d’Un Certain Age. So if you want to win one of two signed copies, just leave a comment here. If you would like a second chance leave a comment on her Facebook page. I will announce two lucky winners on Friday!? Click here to purchase the book on Amazon (also makes a fabulous gift) which I have given myself a few times to very happy recipients:) Many thanks to everyone for stopping by and to Tish, much gratitude for this fabulous interview and giveaway…you are amazing! Wishing everyone a wonderful day….au revoir! Don’t forget about my other amazing book giveaway,? Romancing the Home Entertains, click here to put your name in the hat (winners announced on Wed)!