Living Romantically Every Day by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Sink down in your coziest living room chair with a cup of tea and your favorite journal and pen so you can take good notes. Of all Barbara's books, (she's a legendary bestselling novelist with about a gazillion copies in print and many movies made out of her books), this book is my favorite because it's her real life how-to on living artfully and romantically. Stunning photos throughout the entire book immediately captivated me, and the cover is beautiful too. I love her thoughtful topics like "Creating Time for Romance," (I agree that you have to make time; it doesn't just happen!), "Finding Romance Every Day," (She says to give each other the luxury of some private time), "Enjoying the Romance of a Rainy Day," and of course, "Removing the Clutter from Your Relationship." (You have my vote on that!) She even includes recipes and also tips for adding romantic ambiance to your home. I also think it's so dear how she shares personal stories of how she and her longtime husband Bob live romantically together. And since my longtime husband Steve freely admits to being an incurable romantic like I am, (he still takes me in his arms and dances in the kitchen after many years of marriage, for instance,) I heartily agree with Barbara's assessment that it's just not true that men aren't as romantic as women! If you'd like to add more beauty, elegance, and happiness to your relationship, and your overall lifestyle, be sure to read this charming and lovely book.
Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Ollivier
Although I've traveled quite a lot, I have never been to France. Even so, like many, I've long held a fascination with how the French live so artfully well--from their beautiful shop windows showcasing delicate and delicious pastries, to their elaborate Old World buildings, to those chic women from Paris who can easily tie a scarf so that it looks like they're wearing art. I was delighted to happen upon this book as part of my personal French lifestyle studies--it's broken down into chapters covering everything from cooking, to throwing parties, to wardrobe, to home. Ollivier engagingly describes the practical how-they-actually-pull-it-all-off-with-style stuff, but better yet, she also enables us to really understand the quintessential French woman as "mythic, mysterious, compelling, contradictory," and "a star in the pantheon of feminine beauty and strength." (Now that's a tall order to try and emulate, huh ladies?!) Looking to up your own beautify-your-life-with-style-and-charm-and-aplomb quotient? This book will help you do just that.
Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott
I serendipitously happened upon young debut author Jennifer L. Scott's new book, and I love it! Jennifer was a French exchange student while in college and the family she lived with in Paris, as well as another family, unknowingly became her "chic lifestyle tutors" as she not only observed, but remembered and recorded, every detail of how they lived artfully and deliberately well in every area of their lives. Mesmerized by their quality lifestyle, Jennifer takes us on a fun and fashionable Francophile tour of how to "Liberate Yourself With a Ten-Item Wardrobe," to "Look Presentable Always," to "Clutter is So Not Chic!" I also loved reading about the beautiful dinner parties she attended in Paris, and about how French children are raised to be polite. What makes this book wise, fun, and witty all rolled into one is that Jennifer not only convinces you that you too can easily adapt some of the artful French lifestyle ways no matter where you live, but her youthful wit and personality shine through as she tells humorous stories like her foible of not wearing tastefully elegant lingerie or nightgowns...which according to French women is ... gasp! wink! ... the unpardonable lifestyle sin. :) Surely Jennifer's real life "Madame Chic tutors" must be proud of her new book and their huge influence on her current lovely lifestyle in California as a stylish and sweetly sophisticated young "Santa Monica with French flair Mom." You can meet Jennifer via her video tutorials on her great blog, The Daily Connoisseur.
CHOOSE to create a wonderful lifestyle ... whatever that means to you!
Full Disclosure: I purchased all three of these books with my own funds, for my own personal library collection. All review opinions here are solely my own.