French Feminine Secret:
Tend to the Details of Life

Blog_Tend to Details

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”
-Ernest Hemingway

When I decided to become an entrepreneur years ago, I was driven by my love of beauty — beautiful thoughts, places, things and people.

My mission was simple: inspire women to live with elegance, style & joie de vivre.  

Fast forward to a year later.  I was hot mess — overwhelmed and frustrated — I was throwing food on the table cafeteria style, rushing through conversations with my daughter, walking out the door without putting on my favorite scent, reading books on marketing and running a business, hanging out with complainers, working in my PJ’s all day and running to the gym to get in a quick workout.

Doesn’t sound so beautiful, now does it?

Sure, my business was growing, but my life?  Not so much.

What I’ve learned is this:  a woman can become so busy trying to change the world, herself or others that she forgets what her soul truly craves:  the beauty that is found in the details of her life.

A scarf.
A beautiful shade of lipstick.
A cup of tea served with time to savor.
Sunglasses.
A vase of fresh flowers.
Ecstatic sex.
Coffee with friends.
Art.
Gorgeous lingerie.
Stone massage.
A vintage Bordeaux.
A trip to the Farmer’s market.
A classic novel.
A handwritten note sealed with a kiss.
Time to play with your kids.
Igniting conversations about things you’re passionate about.
Alone time.

These are the things that weave allure into a woman’s life.

Our French sisters know this; it’s taught to them from a very young age.

Here’s the French Feminine Secret:

Beauty is not found in your degrees or bank accounts;

it’s found in the details of how you live.  

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This is why she’ll sacrifice checking her e-mail to set up the most sublime table settling.

She carves out special moments to enjoy her favorite book by the Seine.

She makes time to enjoy sex.

She knows that a scarf will add just the right pop of color, and a beautiful plate of food is much more enjoyable to eat (not to mention that it inspires her to eat less).

Her home is filled with her favorite artwork, not a bulletin board with a to-do list.

The result?  Her does not fall apart; it becomes romantically divine.

While an American woman tends to have her eyes set on the big picture — the business of her body, home, community, parenting and career — the French woman doesn’t treat her life like work; she treats it like art.  This is part of her je ne sais quoi.

An American woman obsesses about the caloric content of what’s on her plate, while the French woman is more concerned about the quality of the food and how it’s prepared and presented.

An American woman spends hours in the gym to get the perfect body, while a French woman enjoys the body she has and opts to engage in her favorite sport and long strolls.

An American woman will head up several associations, while a French woman will opt out of as many obligations as she can.

An American woman rushes off to her next appointment, while a French woman will savor a two hour lunch.

Of course, these are all generalizations and not every French or American woman fits this description. However, the question to ask is:

“Does this feel true for me?”

We live in a society that drives ambition and success over time and quality, which can make a woman afraid to stop for five seconds to appreciate a sunset, much less an entire day at the beach.

Our minds are always racing to what’s next instead of taking in what is right before our eyes.  

Yet, our hearts crave these details that make life so exquisite.

Years ago, while walking through Le Marais in Paris, I made a commitment to tend to the details of my life and to add beauty to an ordinary day.  

Of course, my mind shouted out all sorts of fears:

If I’m not giving my business 100% of my attention, will it fail?

If I don’t attend every business conference, will I be known?

If I don’t get a client, will I be homeless?  

If my daughter isn’t involved in every extracurricular activity known to man, will her life be doomed too?

Despite the fears, I have stayed true to my commitment: to live a life of beauty by paying attention to the details.

Some days, I rock it.

Some days I fail miserably.

However, I’ve learned that this isn’t a test or a competition.  It’s not another reason to beat yourself up.

It’s just the world asking you to wake up and take note.

A wise friend once told me, “Life is in the details.”

This is my daily practice: to stay awake in my life by paying attention to the details.  

And, this, m’friend requires discipline.

Yes, a disciplined life is a beautiful life.

You must break the habit of saying things like:

One day, I’ll do that.

I’m too busy.

It doesn’t really matter.  

The details of your life matter because all those little details add up to create your life.  

And, guess what?  When you tend to the details of your daily life, you will thrive.

Sure, you’ll still have have challenges, obstacles and fear.

I experience all of this and more on a daily basis.

Sometimes I’ll forget to put on my favorite perfume.

I have those “rushed, how am I going to get it all done” days.

Sometimes, I worry about the future.

I feel extreme frustration when I can’t figure something out.

I don’t dine on gourmet meals every night.

And, I certainly don’t wear haute couture every day.

The difference now, however, is simple:  I have a deep awareness of when I’m living out of fear and neglecting the details or when I’m in a place of love and paying attention to them.

When I sense that I am off course, I now have the tools to adjust my mindset, I put on my lipstick, pick up a copy of Vogue, take a luxurious bubble bath and repeat my favorite mantra: there is no hurry.  

And, just like that, I’m back on track…

Immediately, I feel inspired and ready to jump back into my life from a passionate and excited place, not one of dread and fear.

Here’s another benefit of tending to the details of your life: it will not only inspire you but everyone around you.

Your children will witness the importance of art and elegance.  Your friends will appreciate the time you offer to truly be with them.  Your conversations will be more sparkly and authentic.  Your clients and co-workers will admire how you live your life.

As for you?  You’ll will begin to feel that joie de vivre that you were too busy to notice before.

And, you know what I say?  A happy woman is a magnet for her desires.  

That, mon amie, is priceless!

Will you join me and rise to the challenge to tend to the details of your own life?  

Now, if you’re thinking, “Well, Tonya, this sounds all lovely, and I’d love to, but I don’t even know where to start,” remember this:

The most simple things are often the most beautiful.

And, simple things don’t require as much time as they do presence.

What’s one small detail you’ll tend to this week?

Then, join the French Kiss Life Club and celebrate with other women who are committed to living their days with more elegance, style and joie de vivre.  (It’s free, fabulous and fun!)

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10 Responses to French Feminine Secret:
Tend to the Details of Life

  1. Tonya… Another awesome topic and post… Tending to the details of life in the USA for a woman business owner or an executive, from my experience has been a difficult task. As the USA culture as a whole is constantly on the go; and it gets worse depending on the geographical location as well.

    I’ve had to learn how and when to disconnect from it all. It’s not been easy as I own and operate an Information Technology Consulting Firm in the DC metro area, and we’re on the computer 24/7 along with our Crackberries (blackberries, iPhones)!

    You wrote a post on May 4, 2012 which I truly love and it’s my favorite – with the “Please Do Not Disturb” sign. This post reminds me of today’s post – “Tending to the details”. You said you stopped putting pressure on yourself for having things all together, you told us what you were going to be doing, and you eloquently put your sign out to tend to the details of your life.
    I’m going to meet you with the challenge to tend to the details of my own life in a different way by:
    1. Signing off from work email early.
    2. Texting my honey to let him know how much I love him.
    3. Go make a smoothie and read one of my summer books.

    You are definitely being a mentor for those of us who are on the go 24/7 and sending us gentle reminders to stop and smell the roses, have some chocolate with our champagne.

    Chaleureusement

    Laynita

  2. Dear Tonya,

    Your writing and approach to life are beautifully inspiring. They’re not only a breath of fresh air; what you have to say feels like an infusion of oxygen in a life where goals and ambition can suffocate the very life they are supposed to support and elevate.

    This comes at the perfect time for me. I needed to hear this right now: “The difference, I guess, is that I can sense when I’m living out of fear and when I’m living out of a passion for life. ” And you are so right about tending to the details. I know that’s why I’m so drawn to painting and poetry – it requires you to slow down and really, really pay attention. The whole world opens up in those moments. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget that, so I love being able to read your blog (and I loved the opportunity to have a jam session with you in June – tres wonderful! :).

    Merci, Tonya!

    XOXO-
    Leah

  3. I’m enjoying my vacation, making time to go slowly trough your posts -like one would do with a precious piece of fine dark chocolate-
    And once again I have to thank you for all your inspiring words. I’m applying to new jobs and setting up meeting for a possible entrepreneurship and I really needed to be reminded of keeping focus on the tinny beautiful thing that really make me happy.

    Big hugs and lots of love to you all, beautiful women!!

  4. Dear Tonya,
    Thank you so much for your amazing words! you are inspiring and I can’t think of a day where I haven’t read your blogs or listened to your podcasts!
    would you be able to share a list of books you like specifically books about women such as biographies, essay collections, philosophy or any other inspiring books!
    Thank you,
    Sima

      • I love this post, Tonya! Perfect timing too as it was much needed. Could you please do a post on how to live well when the colder months arrive and some of us get the winter blues? What are some activities we can enjoy and how can we be in a healthy place emotionally when the cold gets us down? This would be much appreciated! xx

  5. Love, love, love this post Tonya!! AND I absolutely LOVE everything Paris (so I’m already enjoying this site).

    Joined your group this week and I must say, I’ve been inspired to go after my passion even more! Your daily emails have emboldened me to live my life with even more fervor! I’ve always embraced the beauty of life and lived in the moment ( I guess it’s the “southern belle” in me), not knowing that what I’ve been experiencing all this time has been “The French Kissed Life”, lol.

    Oh, and thanks for encouraging me to find my “iconic” word…it’s “cultured” btw. It so fits in with my mantra, “do you well” and my blog, “Prowess and Pearls”. You’re so correct, I’ve been having a blast just researching and embodying that word in every area of my life.

    As you can see, I’m a talker. So I’ll stop right here before I end up writing a blog post here in your comment section, lol. Thanks again Tonya for encouraging us to live the “French Kissed Life!” Btw, I’m your “#pigglywigglysister” from Instagram. Have an absolutely wonderful weekend lady! Benedictions a vous!

  6. I absolutely loved this post! I smiled the entire time I was reading. Inspiring. I could see various parts of my life being reflected here in this post. Oh yes “A happy woman is a magnet for her desires”. Love it!

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