Less is More - My 2015 Motto

Oh how I really wish I were French. I've been thinking a lot this week about a lot of different things. I've been working really hard at exercising every day this week and trying begin to eat better again, which means cutting out sweets. I feel like I am on a bit of an exercise/eating right high right now, and I hope it will carry me through rough times.

While I've been sweating like a pig while exercising this week, I've thought about my trip to France 4 1/2 years ago with my hubby. It was seriously the trip of a lifetime, or at least it was for us. We stayed one week traveling the Normandy coast,
An awesome old abbey outside of Paris.

Taking in the scenery.

American Cemetery at Omaha Beach.

Mont Saint Michel

Monet's famous Japanese Bridge.

staying in Gites (somewhat like bed and breakfasts),
Our hotel just down the street from Monet's house.

Le Clos - This is where Leonardo Da Vinci died.

Our AMAZING hotel in the Loire Valley.

Honfleur - The view right outside our hotel window.

Charming port town of Honfleur

traveling down to the GORGEOUS Loire Valley region and just taking in all the beauty around us, then ending up last week renting an apartment in the Marais arondisiment (neighborhood or borough) in Paris, riding the subway, seeing "Les Miserables" on its 25th Anniversary in the actual city it takes place in (PHu-freakin-nominal!), and basically attempting to live as the French do.
Arc de Triomphe.

Enjoying the Eiffel Tower with my hubby.

While we were in France, I paid a lot of attention to the way the French dress, talk, and basically conduct themselves as people. Here are a few things I noticed that I liked (there were of course things I didn't like, particularly that people chain smoke like crazy there and well, sometimes they smell like B.O. Not all of them though).

1. Less is more is definitely their way of life. Everything was much more scaled down there compared to our loud and large American ways. When we had hot chocolate there, the cups seemed tiny, when in all reality, they were 8 oz, you know, a real serving size. Portions all together were much smaller than American portions. But while we were there, we learned to really take the time to enjoy our food, not just wolf it down. An 8 oz cup of hot chocolate was enough. The smaller portions, were enough.

2. Walk, walk, walk. People walk everywhere over there. I'm sure it had to do with being in Paris, a huge city, walking everywhere. We weren't worried about gaining any weight because we walked so much. And we grew to really like it. I remember thinking, "When I get back home, I am going to walk to as many places as I can. Freak, I live like 2 miles away from Target. Why can't I walk there and back?!" Yeah, it didn't happen. Not even once. Oh well.

I noticed also out in the countryside aka not Paris, people either walked or rode their bikes everywhere. Overall, it appears that the people are much more active in general there.

3. Simple yet Classic/Timeless Style. I noticed that the women wore hardly any make up, if any at all. They probably wore a simple foundation, or just lipstick and mascara. Whatever they did, it worked, because I swear almost every French woman I encountered was naturally beautiful. There were no fake eyelashes, or fake anything else (at least with the people I encountered). They seemed to be comfortable in their own skin and didn't need to use loads of makeup to cover up their natural and unique features. They also dressed very minimalistic. A pair of skinny jeans, a t-shirt, a casual blazer, and a scarf. The end. And yet they managed to look amazing. I noticed that most men and women wore layers, meaning a blazer or jacket with their casual outfits, and most everyone wore scarfs. The men also dressed very simply, but still tailored and nicely put together. They had the ability to look like, "Oh this? This old thing? I just rolled out of bed and put it on. I just naturally look this way." Maybe they do.

4. They are quiet. Or is is that we are loud? Probably the latter. I noticed in a lot of cafes or restaurants, our table would be very close to the people sitting next to us, and yet I really couldn't hear their conversation. There wasn't the loud noise and bustle that we've grown accustomed to when we go to our restaurants here. It was nice, comfortable, and relaxing. I had to teach myself to tone down my natural voice. I didn't even know I spoke loudly, until I got there.

5. The are proud. But unlike what most people think, that they are snooty, I learned that like us, they are proud of who they are, of their heritage, of their country, of what they have overcome themselves to become a strong, proud nation. I have tremendous respect for the things they have gone through as a nation, and also think about all of the times they have come to our aid over the past 200 plus years.
I found that like most major metropolitan cities, the people in Paris were probably a little more curt and standoff-ish, while the people outside of Paris, were extremely friendly and conversational.

It did help that I was with my husband who is extremely fluent in French. People thought he was either British or Dutch the whole time we were there. They never thought he was an American. They didn't think I was an American ... until I spoke. Then, they laughed. But not in a mean way. Every single one of them would say, in English, "You should have your husband tutor you so you can speak French as good as him!" Yeah, I probably should. I could understand the gist of the conversation between Brent and whoever he was talking to, I just couldn't speak with them myself, which was a bit frustrating at times. But like anywhere else, people will tend to be more conversational if you actually speak their language. Imagine that!

So while I have been remembering my time in France, I have been thinking, "I want to live as the French do." I want to adopt these principles into my own life. I want to stop over-indulging, mass consuming everything that I do and see. My word, we even take in our entertainment in massive quantities (binge watching on Netflix).

So I am attempting to make "Less is More" my official motto for 2015.

Less consumption of all things, more taking the time to really savor and enjoy the things I partake of, whether it be food, entertainment, or anything.

Less worrying about counting calories and a number on a scale, more eating what is good for me and actually fuels my body, and therefore being happy, proud, confident, and comfortable in my clothes and my body, not by what a scale says.

Less sedentary activity, more moving! More exploring with my kids!

Less time worrying about if I am doing things right or perfectly. More time being good enough for each individual day.

Less is More.

I want to be this happy, serene Suzie that I was in France 4 1/2 years ago, today.
Enjoying Montmarte and Sacre Couer


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