Frenchie Friday: Living the French Kiss Life-style in the Middle of Nowhere


Before you dive into today’s Frenchie Friday, I want to invite you to join me for a community-wide Soirée I’m hosting next week.  This will be a gathering of women from around the globe who are dedicated to living with more ease, elegance, beauty and pleasure.

This is a free event and you can join from anywhere in the world. I promise you that this is NOT a pitch fest. I simply have a deep desire to connect with and support this incredible community.

I’ll be answering your burning questions about how to live the French Kiss Life-style in your business, career, health, relationships, every area of your life.  They don’t call me the ease whisperer for nothing! Bring your questions, and I cannot wait to connect with you personally.

Click here to learn more and join.  

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.

Maya Angelou

We often hear, “Home is where the heart is” and more than ever in my life, this so resonates with me.

I thought I’d end up in New York City or Paris, but two years ago, I landed in the little mountain town of Durango, Colorado.

If you look up my little town on a map, you’ll realize that it’s far removed from any metropolitan area.  Albuquerque, New Mexico (home of Breaking Bad) is the closest thing we’ve got.

So, when women email me with the belief that they must live in New York City, Los Angeles or Paris to live a glamorous and luxurious life, I chuckle.

I’m living the French Kiss Lifestyle in a little mountain town, where Patagonia and ski-gear is considered haute couture.

Did I mention that Durango was voted America’s worst dressed town?  In fact, one local claimed, “Being one of the worst-dress towns in the nation is a badge of honor.”

Just to make my point:  I remember being invited to a movie premiere in this lovely mountain town, and my glamorous heart was SO excited.  Finally, a reason to dress up.

So, I put on a beautiful wool Diane Von Furstenberg dress, over-the-knee suede boots and my bright red lipstick.  Red Carpet, here I come.

I quickly realized upon my arrival that it was the premiere of a Warren Miller movie.  If you want to see what that’s all about, click here.  While everyone looked like they had either just come off the mountain or gotten out of bed, I looked like I was heading for Hollywood.

There was a moment where I wanted to constrict and melt into the floor, but I decided to own my style and sashayed down the aisle with stares and whispers following in my wake.

Never, ever shrink to please others (tweet it)!

When I decided to bring the French Kiss the World Society ladies here last month, I was a bit hesitant at first.  I knew they would love the Wine Country and Paris.  But, Durango?  I wasn’t so sure.

However, because I believe that a woman can French Kiss Life anywhere, I thought it would be a lovely challenge.

Needless to say, they fell in love.  One of them said it was like being in an alternate universe.  Another one said that the town felt like a huge playground.  (You must experience it to understand).

But, they also wondered, “Tonya, how do you do it here?”  By doing it, they meant living the lifestyle that I so adore – one of luxury, beauty, style, elegance and culture.

Well, that question made me think about all of my readers who, like me, live in the middle of nowhere and want to feel as if they’re in Paris (or London, Rome or whereever that place is for you.)

So, here’s my short guide to living luxuriously, even if you’re just a small dot on a map and surrounded by cornfields:

1.  Take advantage of the cultural activities that are available.


Fortunately, Durango is a college town, which means that there are lectures, symphonies and the like available.  We’re also a tourist town, so the summer is packed with things to do.

~ I’m sure your town has something to offer.  While it may not be the MoMA or the Louvre, indulge in what you do have.

2.  Dress up.

Just because the rest of your town sports yoga wear or jeans and t-shirts doesn’t mean you have to.

You get to choose how you express yourself to the world. (Tweet it!)

~ Take it from someone who knows that if you do set a new fashion standard, people will mistake you as a tourist.  Take it as a compliment and keep rocking on!

3.  Enjoy local produce.

Each Saturday, we have a local market full of fresh, local produce.  While it may not resemble markets on Rue Cler, it’s special and sweet.  And, it’s a great social opportunity as well.

I also remember that the small town where I grew up didn’t have the food options that I love in Durango (we are blessed with amazing restaurants and farms).

~ So, if you don’t have access to certain things, again, make the best of what you do have.

4.  Learn to shop online.

Since TJ Maxx and a couple of stores on Main Street are all that we have, I have learned how to leverage the amazing World Wide Web to obtain just about everything.

5.  Indulge in simple luxuries.


Flowers in my home.  Beautiful soaps.  Exotic candles.  Perrier with a twist of lime.

~ Most of the things I enjoy in Paris, I can enjoy right here at home.

6.  Have Sunday Brunch


I’m a brunch lover, and it’s one of the weekend treats that I enjoy the most, especially when I’m in New York.  And, guess what?

~ You can have brunch anywhere in the world. How fabulous is that?

7.  Make your home feel luxurious.

Again, your home is where your heart is. Make sure you celebrate where you wake up and go to sleep every night.

~ Hang lovely art on the walls, paint your home sensual colors, make it warm and inviting and adorn it the way you would if you overlooked the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy the elegance of lighting a special candle as your day draws to a close.

8.  Have luxurious rituals

Wake up and have tea time, lay your gorgeous attire out for the next day, breathe in the air (hopefully yours is as sweet as what I experience in Durango), reserve part of your day for meditation, reflection, journaling, hiking up a mountain or taking a pleasant stroll in the park.

9.  Host an Evening Soirée


Good friends, inspired conversation, deep-belly laughter, delicious wine and food all add to a rich life. Fill yours with them.

~ Maybe your girlfriends also love opportunities to get dressed up and be glamorous. Why not host a black-tie event where everyone gets to wear their very best?

~ And, if you want to join me for a soiree, I’m hosting one next week.  You can join a like-minded group of worldly women from all over the globe for an inspiring evening.   Simply click here, and my team will send you everything you need to join.

10. Remember that glamour and elegance begin from within.

No matter where you are, where you begin your day or where you end it, you have the choice of how you want to live, feel, behave and view the world around you.

Be bold and become the woman who receives glances and rocks gorgeous heels when everyone else is sporting their Birkenstocks. If you feel good on the inside with confidence, grace and ease, people will take note.

~ Live your life the way you want to and the way you dream it to be. Show up for yourself, regardless of what others are wearing, thinking or doing.

And, above all else, have fun!




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24 Responses to Frenchie Friday: Living the French Kiss Life-style in the Middle of Nowhere

  1. I so know what you mean.. I live in the podunk town of Knoxville, TN and I feel as if I am a fish out of water.. But that is OK with me.. I am doing my best to live the French Kiss Lifestyle here.. Some people have issues with it and I have resolved that they have to deal with their issues, not me 🙂

    Thank you for your inspiration 🙂



    • Oh Desiree,

      I get it!!!

      I grew up in the DEEP south, and my heart craved culture, style and eclectic people.

      I finally figure out, with a little creativity, I could create that for myself.

      Sounds like you’ve figured it out too!

      Rock on and show those people of Knoxville how to French Kiss Life.

  2. Living in a mountain town, I understand completely. While I love the mountain view, (and it is not nearly as grand as Colorado) I was certainly out of place. I love bohemian style best and stand out in these parts. Still I just do what I do and over time I have found others who enjoy art, food and adventure. Thank goodness for discovering the fun people, artists and wineries in the area! The newly emerging farmers markets are amazing with other fringe folks. It has taken four years to fill out my social world with quality by just showing up in this world. The kitchen is an international lab, even here!

  3. I live in Auckland, New Zealand, the biggest city in a rather small country. I love dressing as if I was strolling a Paris boulevard and enjoying all the simple luxuries of life such as beautiful soap in the shower each morning, scented candles at night and a flute of sparkling Perrier – all your examples! Your blog is truly a delight Tonya. Thank you for your beautiful mind.

  4. Durango is beautiful! And yes it is indeed remote – holds the record for being the farthest town in the U.S. (with a population greater than 10,000) from an interstate. And there’s a lot of “glamour”/wealth hiding in our small mountain towns of Durango, Crested Butte, Aspen, Telluride, etc. Hidden by personal preference 🙂

    • Kelly,

      I learned something new. I had no idea about the interstate fact.

      And, yes, there’s a lot of “hidden” money here. Well, it’s not so hidden in Aspen:)

      I love that people drive junk cars and have a $10000 bike on the back.

      If you don’t me asking, where do you live Kelly?

      • Yes–you are a real Coloradan if your bike is more expensive than your car 🙂

        I’m in the foothills just west of Denver, near Golden!

  5. Hi Tonya, I adore this post! Thank you for sharing this, it’s music to my small-town-girl ears! Thank you for also showing us so many amazing ways to turn everyday into a magical adventure. Love your work girl xoxo

    • Narelle, I’m a small town girl too who still loves the big city.

      You are SO welcome. Thank YOU for being a part of the community!

  6. I also used to dream of living in Paris or France until I did and then I appreciated my home town more (it had to do with the job situation – though I loved the people and lifestyle in Montpellier, France).

    Once I started slowing down and stopped wishing to be somewhere else, I could appreciate the huge range of cultural activities on offer in Perth, Australia (they even have a French and Italian film festival that I love), the natural environment, the sunsets, the cafés, friends and family and I realised that ‘wanting to live in Paris’ is about a feeling. It’s a lust for more sensuality, pleasure, passion, beauty and presence – and that can be cultivated in whatever place you feel at home. Like you said, it’s in the fresh flowers and the way we see life.

    I do believe in the geographical cure, but I also agree that you can bring Paris to almost anywhere you live!

    Thanks for another article Tonya that makes me feel more sensual, present and appreciative xxx

    • Mirelle,

      I’ve often wondered if I actually lived there, how it would feel?

      And, you are SO right: how much time we can waste wishing we were somewhere else, and when we get there, the cycle begins again!

      The geographical cure…love that! And, Durango, ironically enough, was mine!


  7. Hi Girls!

    Great article .
    I live in Paris …and you know what ?
    Sometimes my dream is to live near of the sea or in the mountains !!!
    I saw a bottle of Vouvray wine, on the picture with cheese, it’s a burgundy wine .( I did study French as second language in Burgundy …)
    Excellent choice Tonya!!
    Yes you are right Tonya, wherever you are, always choose the best for you ,

    Kisses from France to all !


    • Bonjour Edith!

      I always love seeing your name pop up because I so appreciate your true Parisian perspective.

      Isn’t it interesting how so many people dream of living where you are and you’re dreaming of living elsewhere? I think we romanticize Paris SO much, and I happen to like it that way:).

      Tons of Love,


  8. Thank you for this! I think living the French Kiss Dream is partly finding beauty wherever you are and feeling beautiful in that culture. We live on 12 acres in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire with a herd of goats & chickens & a greenhouse & gardens. Lots of dirty work. We have mountains to hike & lakes to paddle. When I look in the mirror many days, my hair is unbrushed & pulled back, my clothes are covered in dirt, and my feet are bare. But there is so much love for what I do and where I am that I think I emanate just as much beauty as when I throw on a nice dress and some makeup (which I also love to do). I feel strong and independent in this culture, and it creates a confidence that carries over whether I’m standing in tall rubber boots at the Agway Store with a bag of grain in my arms or if I’m wearing a nice dress and coiffured hair, out for dinner. I love that I can be both.

    • Hi Angie,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I absolutely love every word you wrote. I grew up on farms, so many days bare-footed running around in dirt.

      Your beauty is in your passion, love and eyes!

      Keep doing your thing.

      By the way, I worked on a goat farm once. Those were happy days!

  9. Hi, Tonya!

    This topic is sooooo close to my heart, as I, too, live in a small town which I adore….. that tends to be more on the laid back side (which I love!) . And similar to your home town, sometimes I get ….eh….a bit “complacent”.

    Yes, I always refresh my 1920’s-esque crafstman style home (kitchen, living room, office) with fresh flowers from the farmers market.

    But I am reminded by your writing to become aware and how easy it is to bring luxury and beauty into *all* avenues and areas.

    One of my not-so-beautiful areas are my walls. I have blocked out Sunday to really make a game plan for my walls/artwork/curtains to really accentuate our living spaces . I also have a stack of photos from family outings and landscape photos from places in the world that have created such fond memories in our family, and I have been meaning to get them framed….but…. 🙂 Yep. Busted! I have definitely forgotten about those areas.

    So excited to make small changes that will really make things *pop* and bring more beauty into my everyday home life.

    Thanks, Tonya, for the reminders!

    • I understand the complacency part, but is it complacency or enjoying life?

      Can’t wait to hear about the “pop” that happens!


  10. I love this. When I saunter into the grocery store with my Tiffany-blue purse and heels, I meet the snarls of the pajama pants-clad ladies who dominate my community.

    Rather than snarl back, I try to smile and engage. I have always wondered what prompts a woman to wear pajama pants, nasty t-shirts and crocs for day-wear. I can’t imagine that this is how these women WANT to show up. Is it?

    Rather than passing judgement, I try to set an example and put myself out there as someone who enjoys showing up in the world…and maybe someone will look at me and say – “hey, I can’ do that” – in whatever form it takes.


  11. Beautiful, Tonya 🙂
    My closest town has 100 people, and I am always looking for ways to incorporate more loveliness into life. I love your idea of setting out clothes the night before, like a treat for morning!

  12. Hi Tonya!

    Do you ever feel like you are being pretentious? I don’t mean to be offensive but I was just curious.

    Not everyone can afford glamorous, luxurious, decadent, opulent things and they might be just as happy as ever. I don’t think it is right to look down on them for being happy without all the “luxuries” you speak of.

    I’m just mentioning this because you said it yourself, “No matter where you are, where you begin your day or where you end it, you have the choice of how you want to live, feel, behave and view the world around you.” But then you go on with a jab at people who wear Birkenstocks. Who cares if they wear different shoes than you?

    I agree that it is wonderful to take pride in your appearance and how you present yourself. I always aim to present myself with poise, grace, and humility. But I also think it is unfair to judge others by the way they look the day you see them. Their priorities might be different than yours.

    It makes me sad that if a beautifully dressed woman engages with me, while I am still wearing my post-yoga attire, that it would be an “effort” for her; that she is talking to me even though she is judging/pitying me and thinks she is above me. I prefer ideas and intellect in my engagements; I don’t care so much about the Rebecca Taylor silk blouse or A.P.C. shoes she might be wearing, or lack-there-of. A warm, genuine smile is enough for me.

    Anyway, I just wanted to touch on this as I haven’t seen anyone else make a similar comment. I have followed Jennifer Scott (author of Lesson from Madame Chic) for a long time and I just love her. She combines the finer things with practicality and sensibility. I’m sure you have heard of her, but if not, definitely visit her on YouTube!

    I think what you do in regards to empowering women is fabulous. Encouraging healthy relationships with food and body image is so important in today’s society. I just wanted to interject a slightly different perspective 🙂

  13. Hi Renee,

    Thank you for stopping by, and I truly appreciate your perspective.

    So, you asked the question, “Do I ever feel like I’m being pretentious?” The answer is no, because I know my heart and I know what I love.

    This article was written to inspire women to be who they are and love what they love, and to realize that just because everyone around them may be dressing/acting/living a certain way doesn’t mean they must follow suit. If a woman loves Birkenstocks, then I am her biggest advocate in her wearing them. (And, you may be surprised to know that some of my closet friends live in their yoga clothes and that doesn’t change how I feel about them at all).

    What’s important is how a woman feels and what’s in her heart, yet so many women don’t give themselves the permission to exude the style of their choice. I use examples for juxtaposition, but as I said, “Live your life the way you want to and the way you dream it to be. Show up for yourself, regardless of what others are wearing, thinking or doing.”

    It’s unfortunate that you drew the conclusion that I might look down on people. Just because I don’t wear Birkenstocks doesn’t mean that I’m better. It’s just my choice. To me, fashion is fun, not a statement of someone’s worth. My whole philosophy is that “elegance and luxury is a state of mind” and that luxury is different for every woman.

    BTW, I wear yoga pants and love to bargain shop. I don’t have an endless shopping budget so I’m always looking for a good steal.

  14. This was a nice read! I found you when I googled Frenchie fridays because I started doing my own little version of this on I can’t wait to discover the rest of your website and read what interesting things you’ve come across and advice for women! Love the part about Sunday brunch- my boyfriend and I have made a great habit of that in Lille even when it’s rainy 😉

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