Review| L’art de la simplicité

Hey everyone!

Sorry for not posting in awhile. Life has been a bit crazy due to starting baking school at my local community college, starting a new job and trying to study for the G.R.E. Although this is true, the last two weeks, I have been reading this absolutely amazing book called L’art de la simplicité: How to Live More with Less by Dominique Loreau.

Loreau’s background diversifies this book because of her experience of being born and raised in France and then choosing to live in Japan. This infusion of culture allowed her to write this fascinating book that outlines how to live a minimal lifestyle. Much of the background and history of her advice comes from centuries-long Buddhist teachings. I do come from a strict Catholic background, but I have learned a lot from this small reading and about the peacefulness of Buddhism.

Here is the advice I have obtained from this reading (Disclaimer: Some of the wording I copied from the book. Therefore, it will be some of Loreau’s writing and not my own).

1. Clothing

  • The Rule of Seven
    • 7 outdoor pieces (jackets, a raincoat, a coat)
    • 7 tops (sweater, polo necks, t-shirts, shirts)
    • 7 other items (trousers, jeans, skirts, dresses)
    • 7 pairs of shoes (for walking, ankle boots, pumps, sandals, house shoes and loafers
    • a few accessories (pashmina shawl, scarves, belts, hats and gloves)
  • Wear only black & white; this color is neutral. Therefore, people will start noticing your complexion, hair color, etc. They will notice the most beautiful and aesthetic qualities about you.
  • A functional & beautiful bag that will last you years. I know buying expensive items are a hardship, but they are investment pieces.

2. The Home

  • Create enough space to move freely
  • A private boudoir
    • In the Japanese culture, a boudoir is a private room for sitting/ relaxing or their private bedroom
  • Empty space can get rid of clutter & be stress free
  • “Form & function are one” – Frank Lloyd Wright
    • Buy material that are beautiful, but that have multiple functions in your house. You will not have too much stuff, and it lessens the clutter.
  • Photograph objects you love but never use, then get rid of them.

3. Your Body

  • Our bodies have clearly defined needs
  • A person with presence will always make a strong impression. They don’t need a perfect figure to be beautiful. The quality of that presence is what we call their ‘allure’.
  • Recipes can work wonders on the body. The older the recipe, the more effective it is!
    • Drink ¼ cup of apple vinegar with ¾ cup of water every day for a month. It will help with constipation and help the liver functions.
  • Puffy, dark-rimmed eyes are a sign of fatigue and low energy, often related to poor to liver function. Adopt a leaner, healthier diet avoiding spices, meat, salt, sugar and saturated fats
  • Only eat:
    • Eat only fresh, and whole wheat or whole grain foods.
    • Eat desserts only occasionally
    • Take cold food and drinks at room temperature, never straight from the refrigerator
    • Don’t eat between meals
    • Eat only one type of protein per day
    • Eat food as soon as you have prepared it
    • Eat fats in moderation and choose heart-friendly fats like those found in olive-oil, nuts and seeds.
    • Avoid salt as much as sugar
    • Favor steaming or bag-steaming in the oven
    • Eat quality and not quantity
  • My body will tell me when it’s hungry. I don’t have to think ahead about food. A slim figure is my reward for frugality.
  • I will eat nothing for three hours before going to bed; my stomach needs to finish digesting before sleep.

4. Self esteem

  • Learn to enjoy yourself
  • Visualize your dream self for 21 days & your body will react positively to your dream body
  • “I am beautiful, I am happy, I am light, I am me. Beauty begins when you accept yourself. I can materialize my ideal image.”
  • The basic rules for eliminating stress are as follows:
    • Eat good-tasting, healthy food
    • Be physically active, oxygenated the body, swim.
    • Make time for pampering treatments and pleasurable moments such as body brushing.
    • Respect your biorhythms: digestion, the secretion of hormones, the synthesizing of cholesterol, cellular regeneration. The best way to identify and learn your individual rhythms is to keep a notebook over the course of a month, writing down the times of day when you feel hungry, sleepy or lacking in energy. Little by little, try to adjust your habits and lifestyle to take account of your personal body clock.
    • Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is a source of stress.
    • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Sleep follows a ninety-minute cycle. If you miss the onset of one cycle, you must wait for the next.
    • Enjoy your food
    • Enjoy a meal in quiet; will affect your metabolism differently
    • Take a moment for yourself at lunchtime
    • Alcohol consumption disrupts sleep, and diminishes its restorative power
    • Never eat too much or too little
    • Eat a full breakfast
    • Do physical exercise. Sports are the best anti-stress activity.
    • Walk in the countryside or the park. Walking clarifies thoughts and helps put problems in perspective.
  • Learn to be happy for yourself alone: cook food, dig your garden, go foraging, beautify your body, your home, your thoughts.
  • Allow one single though to float to the surface of your consciousness: the belief that whatever happens is for the best
  • Viktor Frankl’s idea of logotherapy. I loved this addition to the book. Frankl’s book about the idea of finding the meaning behind your life is very inspirational and will help figure out your place in this world. I highly recommend his books, but disclaimer, Frankl’s books are very depressing. He figured out his psychological methods while he was one of the victims of the Holocaust.

5. Work 

  • Never leave a task half done; just creates more stress
  • Take one hour of your day to commit to a goal such as reading or learning a different language.

6. Money

  • Make money your slave & not your master!
    • Save & Do Not Spend!

7. How to clean your nails (I will def do this and have a blog post on it)

1. File your nails. Find a shape and length of nail to flatter your hands, and keep them that way. For rough skin and calluses, use a good quality, fine emery board on any dry skin.
2. Rub oil into the cuticles to soften them, then let your finders soak in the bowl of hot water for a quarter of an hour.
3. Gently push back the cuticles with a small boxwood stick soaked in your ‘unique oil.’ Remove any flecks of dead skin with pincers. If your scrub your nails regularly with a brush, these will reoccur less frequently. A good quality nail brush with hard bristles is absolutely essential.
4. Buff your nails with a polisher
5. Massage and nourish each nail with you ‘unique oil.’ Concentrate on the base of the nail, where regrowth occurs. Your nails’ two worst enemies are water and nail polish remover, which dry them and make them brittle. A tiny drop of oil at the base of each, once or twice a day, preferably before wetting them, will offer deep-down protection, even if your hands are frequently in contact with water. Wear gloves when cleaning, housing-painting or gardening.
6. Wipe the surplus oil away with a tissue, then apply one or two base layers of nail polish. When properly applied, nail varnish will actually protect your nails and last almost a week. Perfect nails on well-cared-for hands need only a transparent, delicate base color. For your toes, a whole range of pretty, bright colors are as secret pleasure each time you slip off your shoes.

8. Kitchen Equipment
A good, well-sharpened knife; a chopping board; a measuring tumbler that will double as a sauce bowl; a small grill-plate (easy to take out and store); a small cooking pot for rice and casseroles; a wok and a bamboo steaming basket; a sieve; a multi-function grater/ slicer; three stackable saucepans with removable handles; three ultralight mixing bowls; a dozen white tea towels; a pair of kitchen shears; a Pyrex tart dish; a Pyrex cake mold & spatulas, ladles

9. Fasting

  • Fast once a month or once a week
  • Drink plenty of mineral water- which would decrease your appetite
  • Fasting helps the body to burn off excess fat and eliminates toxins. Energy that is no longer being expended on digestion is diverted to the process of cleansing, extracting, and gradually expelling toxins lodged deep into the cells.
  • Fast in order to: lose weight (it’s the quickest way); feel better physically and in terms of your morale; look and feel younger; gives your system a rest; cleanse the body; improve digestion; brighten the eyes; cleanse your complexion; freshen yours breathe; sharpen your thought processes; rediscover the best eating habits; acquire enhanced self-control; slow down the aging process; normalize your cholesterol level; remedy insomnia and tension; live with greater intensity; teach your body to consume only what it needs
  • 10. Talking

  • Take a deep breath before speaking; you will be shown more attention and respect. Let others speak freely. Let them finish what they have to say.
    • Don’t be critical of others
    • Resist the pathological need to be always right
    • Laughter is the best medicine

Thank you for reading!

I hope some of these tips help! Also, I did want to let everyone know if you have an Illinois residency, you can get into the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for free (a $40 value) during the month of September. Recently went there and it was fascinating!

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