Stepford: Paris Style

My birthday week continued with gifts from the boyfriend. 

I’m a lucky girl. 
Even my free birthday gift at Sephora was good.

I’m really feeling good about this year. I’ve already had so many blessings. 

I was explaining to the ladies at the club last night (thank heavens for the resumption of kids’ badminton lessons – it civilizes my week) that as part of my New Year’s resolution to be more irie, I have decided to become french.

When pressed for details, I explained that I’ve been reading all if these How to Live Like a French Woman books. 

I shared that I plan to live in 20 pieces of mostly black clothing, drink wine, channel Clemence Poesy and eat a lot of roasted chicken.
“You realize nobody in Paris really lives like that,” stated my friend, the World Citizen, in her hybrid American/British/Dutch accent. 
I don’t care. I’m going to live like a fictional french woman. I’m going to have a low quantity, high quality wardrobe. I’m going to walk more, shop locally, and spend my money on daily luxuries like coffee, bread and flowers. I’ll surround myself with interesting people and witty conversation. In Oakville. 

A year ago, I didn’t know if one could have this lifestyle here. It is the land of 10,000 square foot homes, full-sized Range Rovers, Big Box stores and long commutes. It’s like Texas: everything is big here. My children used to ask me if we were poor because our 1920s home is less than 1500 square feet. 

Oakville is casual and sporty. Everyone skis and plays hockey and tennis. Whereas in the city I had a number of friends with Escada on speed dial and people shopped at little ateliers, the uniform here tends to involve yoga pants. To wit, there are 4 yoga clothing shops on our tiny Main Street. Part of embracing my inner french woman means that unless a Sarah Ivanhoe DVD is playing, I must step away from the Lululemon. Happily Eric Bompard, Everlane and Brora (thanks to  DaniBP for getting me onto this gem) deliver. 

Pour moi? 

The food situation is highly conducive to french living. I can easily walk to Whole Foods and walk to a fruit market, fish market, butcher, and bakery. There is a french bakery in town, Patisserie d’Or, which is pretty fantastic. Some people on Chowhound claim they have the best croissants in the GTA. Now how about them apples? (Or should I say les pommes….)

Since I live in the smallest house in town, it’s pretty easy to be disciplined about the wardrobe situation. I’ve chosen my edited winter wardrobe including sweaters and shoes. 

I’m already being more creative by digging into my collection of scarves. 

I will need to find a source for my favourite tea, Mariage Freres’ Wedding Imperial.

And start cooking some new dishes.

But I’ve found a source of Myrtle topiaries.



  1. Thankfully, I'm in Canada so we have the french language but we are very close the the border and there is much more of a US influence here than in Toronto where I used to live. The live small but well concept is more challenging here in Oakville than when I lived in a Victorian brownstone in the city just up the street from Hermes!!


  2. Step away from the yoga pants – hilarious. I can't wait to get – what my friends call the tight nasties – off after dancing, they make my legs really itch. Love that you are living in the french quarter of Oakville (is that CA?) my friend who lives in France tells me the reality is that French women smoke ciggies all day to stay thin with one low-cal pot of yoghurt.


  3. Hello Jen! I noticed your comment on Jody's blog and I so agree about the shimmer. Love this post. I have just about every one of those 'french' books and love the aesthetic-even if it is a touch fictional. Paris is one of my favorite spots…tres chic.I look forward to following your blog.Happy Monday!Heather @ Stylemindchic


  4. I never seem to tire of these type of books. I've got the whole black wardrobe and wine drinking down pat…so will follow your progress with interest. As you've said, we can just decide to start being a certain way, and do it.


  5. Oh this is awful, your posts aren't showing up in my feed. what an utter beauty you are, Happy Birthday!'Tis true, there is a whole lifestyle between the blog image of Frenchwomen and the reality but I like your attitude.Rachel Koo, is an absolute darling.


  6. I missed everything! You even mentioned me in this post. I'm taking some time off today to catch up on reading your blog. Happy Birthday! Do you love Brora? I have never actually been to Oakville. It's true. I spend loads of time of Burlington and the lifestyle seems similar. One of my best friends is a landscape architect who has done many houses in Oakville, he's always roaring over there and the way he talks about it, well it sounds very very different from Guelph. Yoga pants are the uniform here as well, sadly, accessorized with purple yoga mats and North Face fleece. What are we ever going to do about this?Anyway, I'm with Tabs, I like your attitude very much!!


  7. Brora is lovely. Great quality and I'm amazed there is very little duty to Canada. There are parts of Oakville that are mad: gigantic places, no concept of enough. I live in the old walkable part, which I like. I'm finding Burlington better for food (Blacktree, The Alex) and like it a lot. I hear wonderful things about Guelph. I find all university towns nice with good food, walkability, and things to do.


  8. Jen – I think we may be sisters. I too am catching up and I think I have all the same books, cookbooks and am so moving on to having less and being more simple chic a la the fictional French woman! I don't care if she really exists or not, she exists for me! Have you read Janice MacLeod's book yet?


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