Provence-sur-la-Prairie tomcat Sam still hunting his little friend Petit Pogo

|| 1 June 2017

Nouvelles "On Vacation" for June

The Prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn wrote in her autobiography that each summer she used her two weeks of vacation from the Royal Ballet to travel to Paris and take ballet lessons to improve her techniques. In the last few years my “vacations” from the Chic & Slim website have been about as leisurely as those of Margot Fonteyn’s in Paris. I use the time to try to make progress on a lengthy to do list of business and household chores that I have not found time for when I am posting Nouvelles Thursdays and Sundays.

This year I am feeling particularly frustrated by all that is NOT DONE. I have a new camera that I bought last August (yes, August 2016 !) that I have never had time to take out of the box much less learn how to use, also new software for more efficient image editing still uninstalled on the computer. New software for web design ditto. There is a backup hard drive also purchased last August also still in the unopened shipping box. 

The Chic & Slim Toujours update is two years behind schedule (and my bank account shows the damage done by the absence of a new book available for sale). The office and my bedroom wait to be painted and the floors restored. My closet is in an unorganized mess. (Marie Kondo would just faint.) The cats need shots, and I need a dental checkup. There’s more, but you get the idea.

Additionally, 28 August 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the publication of the original Chic & Slim. Some updating of the book and website is needed to properly celebrate this anniversary. 


When you begin a project to become slimmer, the first thing you do is to ask yourself: What one thing could I change to get the best weight loss results? Sometimes this one change is all that is needed for slim success.

When you are struggling to find time to learn all the skills you need for your work, you ask: What one activity could I eliminate to give me more time for study and practice? The answer for me is always easy. Eliminate the conceptualizing, writing, editing, creating and editing images, coding, uploading, troubleshooting the twice weekly Nouvelles.

So no Nouvelles in June.

We will see how much I can accomplish the next 30 days. Until 2 July.

image: Provence-sur-la-Prairie tomcat Sam still searching each evening for his little friend Petit Pogo.

Index to Previous Nouvelles

|| 28 May 2017

G7 Meeting Fashion

Fashion and politics. Here are a collection of links that focus on the fashions worn by first ladies Melania Trump (USA) and Brigitte Macron (France) this past week of the G7 meeting.

Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron in Daily Mail. First Ladies hosted by Belgium Queen Mathilde in Brussels. Numerous full length photos. The woman in light blue in several photos of this artice is the first lady of Turkey Emine Erdoğan.

At the concert by the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra at the Ancient Theatre of Taormina. Dresses worn at the concert. (Merci Jane in Dallas for the link)

The Washington Post columnist labeled Melania Trump’s trip fashions as “Control and Containment.” In The New York Times Vanessa Friedman prefers “Ambivalence and Armor.” Some comments are a bit catty. The accompanying slide show has a two outfits I had not seen in other trip fashion photos, one a long pale blue worn in Saudi Arabia.

Vogue (US) has been enthusiastic about Melania Trump’s trip fashions. The magazine has been chronicling the trip with a series of articles. The best way to access all the article links is to follow the one for “Brigitte Macron Gives the LBD a Fashion-Forward Slant to Meet Melania Trump” then type Melania Trump in the Vogue site’s search box at top right of the page. You will be presented a list.

French media have been approving of their new first lady’s fashion choices for the trip. They like “le look tendance,” trendy look, and approve of the casualness. (Brigitte Macron wore jeans on arrival in Siciy. Melania Trump wore a $51,500 designer jacket.) An example of French media coverage is this article in Femme Actuelle. I thought Brigitte Macron had forgotten to button the top button of her white jacket in the suit she wore to the concert. But then, when I saw in a photo that three shoulder buttons on the red top she wore on arrival in Sicily were undone, I decided that this is the current French style. Or at least current Brigitte style. The magazine liked her all white outfit. They thought it set off her tan well. Un look total blanc très chic qui met son bronzage en valeur.

The Italian media has taken note of the fact that the first ladies of the USA and France chose such different styles for the visit to Sicily. The Corriere della Sera site has a slide show of 93 (!!) photos including some taken on a helicopter ride. Le donne dei leader del G7: abito a fiori per Melania Trump, look casual per Brigitte. The women of the G7 leaders: floral dress for Melania Trump, casual look for Brigitte

Note: once you click the start button for the slide show, the 93 photos willl autoplay.

Robin Givhan in the Washington Post writes some thoughts on fashion design as art About Melania Trump and that $51,500 jacket she wore in Italy …

Trivia: Melania Trump reportedly packed a separate bag for each outfit she wore on the trip.

image: collage of Google images of fashions worn at the G7 meeting in Sicily. Frames 1 &2 Melania Trump, Frame 3 Prime Minster of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt (in pink), Frames 4 & 6 Brigitte Macron, Frame 5 Angela Merkel, Frame 7 group of spouses on balcony, Melania Trump center.

Index to Previous Nouvelles

|| 25 May 2017

Melania Trump Trip Fashion

For someone like me who has great interest in both politics and fashion, this has been a bonanza week. President Donald Trump’s international travels have generated interesting political analysis — and a certain frisson has been added by Mr. Trump’s penchant for outrageous statements. (None which, as of this writing, he seems to have made.) First Lady Melania Trump has provided us with a fashion parade.

And I suppose First Daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump has also worn carefully chosen outfits — though I have only seen photographs of the black dress and veil she wore at the Vatican. And the black head piece and hairstyle at the Wall in Israel.

Robin Givhan is a fashion critic I have quoted in Chic & Slim books. She published a recent column in The Washington Post titled On her first official trip, Melania Trump is dressed for control and containment. I had assumed that Robin Givhan would update this article as the Trumps moved on to new countries. She hasn’t. Still the analysis is interesting. Though I am not sure I agree with all her conclusions.

The Daily Mail has charming photos of Melania Trump visiting a children’s hospital in Rome (following those of the outfit she wore when arriving in Brussels). Because Mrs. Trump has lived in Italy and speaks Italian, she could interact more directly with the children than if she had to communicate through an interpreter.

In addition to carefully choosing her wardrobe, Melania Trump also reportedly worked with US State Department officials to learn correct diplomatic and religious protocols required for the various countries visited. Nonetheless, she has been subjected to much commentary, some by those unfamiliar with the various traditions and diplomatic protocols required.

Robin Givhan’s analysis

Daily Mail photos of Melania Trump at children’s hospital

Index to Previous Nouvelles

|| 18 May 2017

Little Paris Kitchen Cookbook

At this stage of my life, my attitude toward cookbooks is the same as the one expressed by Audrey Hepburn’s character in “Charade” about friends: I have so many I couldn’t possibly add any more.

But our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat regularly adds new cookbooks to her library and prepares their recipes. Kat believes her latest cookbook acquisition is “one to share with the Baronettes.” She wrote:

I recently came across Rachel Khoo's "Little Paris Kitchen" cookbook via the BBC series based on the same. Only one episode was available to watch, but I was riveted by the way this girl could produce such wonderful French dishes in a kitchen the size of a broom closet.

British (and, I presume) American women seem to think they need enormous amounts of space and huge numbers of sophisticated gadgets. It's not true! Granted a bit of work surface helps, and an oven large enough to accommodate a reasonably sized piece of meat (which Ms. Khoo does not have...) is useful, but you really can get by without. New Yorkers do. Generally their apartments and kitchens are very small, compared to those of the rest of the population. But they work with what they have, shop little and often (limited storage!). Most don't have cars, so they walk to the shops. As a result Manhattenites are the slimmest (and chicest!) people in the USA. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they give the Parisians a run for their money!

Khoo's cookbook is lovely to look at, sprinkled with anecdotes, the recipes are easy to follow, and they work. In fact, I am making her fish quenelles today.

Merci, Kat.

Fish quenelles sound so deliciously Parisian.

Sampling of Rachel Khoo recipes on BBC online

Index to Previous Nouvelles