Don't Make Assumptions

Our Four Agreements book club continues this week as we discuss the third agreement: don't make assumptions. This week's video shares a few personal anecdotes, including an assumption made by a Daily Connoisseur reader and the events that ensued. To check out this week's video, watch it above, click here, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Here are some favorite quotes from this chapter:

We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking— we take it personally— then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. p. 63-64

Do you see how all of the agreements are linked? Once one agreement is broken it is easy for a snowball effect to occur in which all agreements are broken (as you'll see in this week's video).

We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing. p. 64

Whenever any drama is going on in your life, ask yourself if you've made any assumptions. When you are in the thick of the drama, it seems very serious and important. Then looking back at it down the line, it seems so silly. These dramas can largely be avoided by not making assumptions.

We have the habit of dreaming with no basis in reality. We literally dream things up in our imaginations. p. 65

Remember what Don Miguel Ruiz said about how we believe lies as truth? Making an incorrect assumption is believing a lie and taking it as reality.

For example, I receive a lot of emails and private messages everyday from readers. I love to get them. I read them all and treasure each one. Because of the large volume of emails I receive I rarely am able to respond to them. I always hope that the person who has sent the email does not make the assumption that I don't care about them because I have not responded when quite the opposite is true.

We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. p. 69

I find this to be very true for relationships. Sometimes (OK a lot of the time) men and women have a hard time living together in the same space because they see life very differently. The man might want the television in the bedroom and the woman could think of nothing worse. The woman might like the bed to be piled with pillows and the man might prefer one pillow per person. A woman might expect to engage in a meaningful conversation with her husband at the end of the day and her husband might want to quietly watch the football game. Not everyone sees life the way we do and it helps to remind yourself of that, especially when dealing with relationships.

For much more on this topic, I hope you'll watch this week's video, Don't Make Assumptions.

I'm really enjoying your comments on these agreements. Please let me know this week what your experience is with making assumptions. Do you have any anecdotes to share? Any tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments section, tweet me or write on my facebook wall. I love to hear from you!


Lessons from Madame Chic got a mention in Newsweek this past week in an article called Learning Out À La Francaise.

See you next week when we discuss the final agreement: Always Do Your Best (my favorite!)

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Don't Take Anything Personally

Our Four Agreements book club continues with the second agreement: Don't Take Anything Personally.

As you will see in this week's video, the aha! moment for me is to not take anything personally: not the good stuff and not the bad stuff. This week's video is full of personal anecdotes about (what I find is) the hardest of all of the agreements. What do you do when someone calls you a terrible name? Or when a colleague deals you a low blow? How can we shield ourselves from the negativity of others? If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from the chapter:

"Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves." p. 48

This realization is HUGE. We internalize everything and make it about us, but it is always about them. Always. This reminder really helps us to not take anything personally.

"That person tried to send you poison and if you take it personally, then you take that poison and it becomes yours." p.49

A wonderful visual for the negative encounters we might have with people. If someone says something mean-spirited to you, you can choose to take that poison by internalizing it, or you can choose to not take it and leave the poison with the person who misspoke.

"When you take things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts." p. 50

Think about all of the conflicts in your life. Most of them probably have begun because you took something personally. When we practice this second agreement, the conflicts we are so used to will dissolve.

"When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others." p. 60

Freedom! :)

For much more please watch this week's video. As always, I would love to hear from you. What is your experience with taking things personally?

See you next week when we discuss the second agreement: Don't Make Assumptions.

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My First Novel Tales of Woe and Glory Book Giveaway

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of My First Novel: Tales of Woe and Glory, an inspiring and hilarious compilation of essays from some of today's leading authors on how they got their first book published.

My writing mentor, Alan Watt, edited the book and includes his own fascinating story of how he came to write his first book, the internationally acclaimed, Diamond Dogs.

This book is something every writer should read (it would make the perfect gift too!). But even if you aren't a writer, it is fascinating to come to know the writing and publishing process from so many different perspectives. Also the stories in this book will inspire and motivate you to follow that creative spark that resides in all of us. Here is part of the description from Amazon:

Have you ever wondered how your favorite authors got their start? How did they make the leap from closet scribe to published author? In My First Novel: Tales of Woe and Glory, twenty-five authors recount the variety of hurdles, both internal and external that they had to overcome on their journey. Alan Watt, editor of My First Novel and founder of L.A. Writers’ Lab’s 90-Day Novel Workshops, states, “The goal of this book was to demystify the creative experience, to level the playing field, to say to the writer who was struggling with his novel late at the night in the garage of his parent’s house in Walla Walla, that you are no different than any of these other writers, and to keep going, and yes, at times it really is that difficult and scary, but that you are not alone, and you are up to the challenge, and here are twenty-five separate road maps to the same destination.”

Writers Tribe Books is generously offering to give away one book to a reader of the Daily Connoisseur! Please enter via the Rafflecoptor widget below. All entries must go through rafflecoptor to be fair. The winner will be announced on this widget one week from today. This giveaway is open to United States residents only.

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Best of luck! And see you Monday when we discuss the second agreement in our book club: don't take anything personally. See you then!

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Be Impeccable With Your Word

Our Four Agreements book club begins with the first agreement: be impeccable with your word. Don Miguel Ruiz's bestselling book has been a complete inspiration in my life. The agreements are not easy to live by all the time, but, for me, that is the fun in life— waking up, seeing where the day takes you, being open and curious and always doing your best.

This week's video discusses the first agreement, Be Impeccable With Your Word. My videos will discuss my personal journey with each agreement and each blog post will share favorite quotes from the chapter and my interpretation of the quotes. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur .

The following are some of my favorite quotes from this chapter. The quotes from the book are in italics and my commentary is below each quote:

Why your word? Your word is the power that you have to create. p. 26

This is so true! Your word is very powerful. More powerful than you could ever imagine. It makes sense to become mindful about the words you are speaking, writing and thinking.

It is through your word that you manifest everything. p. 26

I firmly agree that your intent is manifested through your word. It is the vehicle we use to communicate but also the vehicle we use to manifest and most of us do not realize this.

Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself. p. 32

In order to stop the pattern of self-sabotage you must change the way you speak and think about yourself. Question any negative thoughts you have about yourself and change them to loving thoughts.

Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself. p. 32

When people speak negatively, they think they are only hurting others, but really they are hurting themselves. They are not making correct use of their energy.

The truth is the most important part of being impeccable with your word. p. 37

Don Miguel Ruiz goes on later to write that people lie because they are afraid. They are afraid that others will find out they are not perfect. Ridding yourself of this fear, the need to present a perfect facade and the need to people please will give you infinite freedom.

Impeccability of the word can lead you to personal freedom, to huge success and abundance; it can take away all fear and transform it into joy and love. p.45

This is kind of like the ten-item wardrobe. Bear with me on this one. With the ten-item wardrobe, you first have to clear all of the clutter from your closet. All of the clothes that don't suit you; that don't speak to who you truly are. You must do the same thing with your word. You need to cull your words and thoughts and throw out anything that doesn't work with who you are now. A very liberating experience!

Here is our active challenge for the week: notice what words you think and speak. Are the majority negative or positive?

Please watch this week's video for a more in depth discussion on the topic.

I would love to hear your thoughts on being impeccable with your word. Please write in the comments, tweet me, facebook me or blog/ vlog about it. I want to hear from you!

Next week we will discuss the second agreement: don't take anything personally. See you then!

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My New Book Deal with Simon & Schuster

Today I come to you with great news...

Last week, I received a new book deal with Simon & Schuster for my next project!

Over the last few months I have been working on a very exciting book idea. I wrote the proposal, and together with my agent, Erica Silverman, we presented it to Trish Todd at Simon & Schuster. Trish absolutely loved the idea and we are now officially going forward with it. I love working with Simon & Schuster and could not be happier to be with the same team again who produced Lessons from Madame Chic. The deal was announced in Publishers Marketplace this morning.

I will not share too much about the new book right now except to say that it will inspire you to live your best life every single day and revolutionize the way you think about your routines at home (mysterious, I know!). I will keep you posted with everything and you will be the first to know all of the details. Thank you for your support. I truly love my readers. You inspire my writing every step of the way!

To see my video announcement, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Ten-Item Wardrobe

Thank you for all of your amazing feedback on this week's ten-item wardrobe video. The video is currently being featured on the Huffington Post, along with a new motivational article on the subject. Check it out here.

Once again, thank you for your support and... see you soon! x

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My Ten-Item Wardrobe Fall/Winter 2013

It’s finally here! My ten-item wardrobe video for fall/ winter 2013. This one is shot fashion show style, so you can see all of the outfits on and how they work with each other.

After basically having two children in a row, the past few years have been a time of upheaval for my wardrobe. But now that my littlest is just over one year and things are starting to get back to normal, I am having fun donating the old clothes from the past seasons and bringing out a few old favorites that I can fit into again.

A few things to keep in mind when watching the video:

♠ Everything in this video was purchased by me (except for the emerald Chan Luu scarf, which was a present from my mother-in-law). I have no affiliation with any of the brands listed, except, of course, for London Sole, which is our family business. I am not paid to promote any of the brands in the video. These are honestly my everyday clothes.

♠ Some items are new, but a majority of the garments are old. Some, like the black jersey dress from Velvet, A.P.C. trench coat, J Crew wool coat and black velvet blazer, BCBG clutch, etc. I’ve had for over four years.

♠ This video is not about the brands mentioned. It is to give you an example of what one woman’s ten-item wardrobe + extras can look like. Every one lives in a different climate, has a different budget and different style. You must tailor the ten-item wardrobe to work for your life situation. Have fun with it! I mention the brands purely for information.

♠ You do not need to stick to ten core items. This video shows you the clothes I will wear from fall through winter, so you see I have two transitional pieces (the linen dress and skirt from A.P.C.), which brings my core item count to 12. I will most likely wear these throughout the fall, which tends to be warm in California. Once it starts cooling down, I will retire the transitional pieces and start wearing my sweaters. But, of course, I am flexible. If we have an unusually cold day in September, I can easily pull out my sweaters.

♠ The point of having a ten-item wardrobe is to cut the clutter in your closet. You will clear your head of all of the sartorial confusion you are used to when getting ready in the morning. You can easily pull out something to wear and know that you will look presentable and that you are wearing something that does not compromise your true style. It is liberating!

♠ The music in the video is a piece called Heavy Rain. It is copyright-free music, purchased by me for use in my videos from pond5.

Here is a list of clothing items shown in the video:

APC linen dress (transitional item)
APC linen skirt (transitional item)

Equipment silk blouse in blush
Patterned blouse by Trouve
Blackberry silk blouse by American Vintage
Dark wash skinny jean by Paige
Black skinny jean by Paige
DVF plum snake wrap dress
Tory Burch long sleeve emerald dress
J Crew lavender cashmere sweater
Navy cashmere v-neck sweater Marks & Spencer


Tee shirts:
Tee shirts are getting fancy these days. My favorite are still the nautical stripe tees that I always have. But you will see lace tees, sparkly tees and of course, the basic white tee that is so indispensible. Brands shown in the video are: J Crew, Anthropologie, A.P.C., Michael Stars, James Perse.

J Crew cashmere cardigan in heather acorn
J Crew “tweed” blazer cardigan- this one is perfect for looking presentable for school drop offs, etc.

Anthropologie casual black blazer- great for travel!
J Crew velvet blazer (I have had this for ages. It is one of my favorite pieces)

Lightweight jacket by J Crew
A.P.C. trench coat
J Crew black wool trench

Cocktail dresses:
This video shows just three cocktail dresses I’ve been wearing lately. Perfect for fall.
Rebecca Taylor purple silk dress (I wore this for my birthday and a trip to the theatre this summer)
Anthropologie wine lace dress (I wore this to my first book signing)
DVF lace black wrap cocktail dress (fabulous for holiday parties)

London Sole ballet flats and flat boots
Jimmy Choo heels (Both heels shown here are fantastic staples. They are high quality classics that have lasted me years)
Chan Luu emerald scarf (I have more scarves than this. This happens to be the one I showcase in the video)
Sunglasses by Oliver Peoples (my favorite sunglass brand)
Navy handbag by Jewell (Faux leather and very affordable, yet high-end looking. My friend, Lisa, is a representative and I bought one from her at a boutique event. Jewell give 10% of purchases to Dress for Success, which is also great).
LV Totally MM (a great luxury for everyday and last years' birthday present from Mr. Connoisseur)
BCBG envelope clutch (I might have had this for 7 years. I’m not kidding)

Here are links to the websites for the brands shown in the video: A.P.C., Equipment, Rebecca Taylor, Velvet, J Crew, James Perse, Michael Stars, Anthropologie, DVF, Tory Burch, Paige, London Sole, Jimmy Choo, Oliver Peoples,Jewell

For more on the ten-item wardrobe, check out my book, Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris.

If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

I love to hear from you. Please let me know what you think. Are you trying the ten-item wardrobe? How is it working for you?

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Madame Chic Fan Video & Book Signing Pictures

Madame Chic Around the World

Thank you for sending in your pictures of Lessons from Madame Chic. I have so enjoyed looking at them! As a thank you to you, I've created this little Madame Chic fan video, with a compilation of all of your pictures. It's less than two minutes long, I hope you'll check it out. We get to see nightstands, bookshelves and cups of tea all the way from California to Australia to Lithuania and many places in between! The music in the video is a music box version of Schubert's Ave Maria*. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my youtube channel: www.dailyconnoisseur.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

And, once again, merci to you. Our little book has been embraced on a global level and I couldn't have done it without you.

Book Signing

Last Thursday was my book signing at Anthropologie Santa Monica. This signing saw an even larger turn out than the last! I love chatting with readers and hearing their stories. Here are some more photos from the event:

My dress is a simple navy shift dress by Maeve for Anthropologie. This is a great staple to have in the extras of your wardrobe. It's conservative, yet perfect for so many different occasions. I still have a broken toe, but thankfully I have my chic London Sole ballet flats to stay stylish :)

Here I am with the amazing staff at Anthropologie Santa Monica, who put on another first-class event:

Here's a closeup of my hair, which was done by Alicia at Sechoir + in Santa Monica. We were going for a modern, romantic, Parisian chignon. Molly, did my no makeup look. Thank you ladies!

The yummy refreshments, complete with French macarons from Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica.

It was another great day. Thanks to everyone who took the time to come out and visit!

*Schubert's Ave Maria is copyright-free music, which was purchased by me for use in my videos from pond5.

See you next week for our fall ten-item wardrobe video! x

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