Living Forever Chic: Meet French Lifestyle Author Tish Jett!

My sister Judy has the coolest friends. Like Tish Jett, best-selling author, fashion journalist and our special guest for an exclusive book engagement at Nell Hill’s on Oct. 20.

Judy and Tish met back when they were cub reporters at the Detroit Free Press. Tish went on to work for such famous publications as Women’s Wear Daily, W, Architectural Digest and the Chicago Tribune. Today, Tish’s home is in France, where she writes books (like best-selling “Forever Chic”), for publications and her popular blog, A Femme d’un Certain Age. You may have met her on her last trip to Nell Hill’s, when “Forever Chic” came out.

Soon, these two dear friends will be reunited when Tish travels from France to Nell Hill’s to sign her newest book, “Living Forever Chic,” on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2:00-4:00 p.m. I hope you will join us for the party!  (The event is complimentary, but please RSVP or pre-order your book here.)

I asked Judy to dust off her reporting skills and interview Tish so we could learn more about her and her newest book:

Judy: Much has been written about the lifestyles of French women. What do you hope to accomplish with your new book, “Living Forever Chic”?

Tish: In my first book, “Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style and Substance,” my focus was primarily on fashion, beauty and diet, but for some time I’ve wanted to expand the parameters of living an elegant and fulfilling life by exploring the vast and fascinating philosophy of l’art de vivre à la française.

L’art de vivre permeates every aspect of life including: the way one dresses, entertains, decorates, prepares a meal, converses, and maintains a home. It’s civility, respect for nature, quality in everything from bread and butter to haute couture and architecture.

The French seem to intrisically understand that, though many aspects of life are beyond our control – c’est la vie, there are always life-enhancing details that are totally within our control. It’s a choice, a way to celebrate la joie de vivre whenever and wherever we find it.

“A view of our garden in the French countryside, looking out our kitchen window.” – Tish

Judy: In your book, homemaking in France is described as an art. Tell us more.

Tish: When it comes to French homemaking, I see it as a combination of three elements: art, science and tradition. Cooking, entertaining and decorating are the art. Science comes in with the cleaning, maintaining, and organizing of the home. Finally, tradition is that very special ingredient each family brings to the whole by adding its unique mix of culture, heritage and customs. When all those components are in harmony, households run smoothly and pleasantly while providing a restorative retreat for all within. The homemaking chapter looks at everything from linen closets and a well-stocked larder to decorating and cleaning tips.

“My granddaughter Ella walking out of our front door, dressed in head-to-toe French clothes.” – Tish

Judy: Style and beauty have been the main topics you have covered as an author and journalist.  What can readers look forward to learning in your new book?

Tish: It would be impossible to talk about l’art de vivre à la française without celebrating the renowned style of French women. When I began to think about the chapters on beauty and style for this book, I realized I was setting myself up for a serious challenge: What more could I say that I hadn’t already said? So, I turned to experts and asked lots of questions.

In the style chapter, for example, Inès de La Fressange, Dior’s Mathilde Favier, LVMH’s Camille Miceli and Chanel’s Marie-Louise de Clermont Tonnerre all contributed to the conversation. They talked about attitude and posture, the importance of details, and how to use clothes to express our personalities. Their advice was relevant for all of us, no matter our lifestyle, age or budget.

The beauty chapter features interviews with doctors, makeup artists and two women who create divine perfumes. Then, because I know how much we love our beauty products, I’ve included a collection of some of my favorites.

“The chateau in our village.” – Tish

Judy: If you had one tip the American dinner party hostess could steal from the French hostess, what would it be?

Tish: In conversations with two and three Michelin star chefs and celebrated Parisian hostesses, the single constant in their advice for gracious entertaining was: “Keep it simple.” Learn how to prepare a few delicious recipes that can be prepared with ease and use only the best seasonal ingredients. Then set a lovely table to enhance the sensual experience. Some of the best hostesses I know have a tried-and-true repertoire of recipes on which they have built their reputations.

“Catherine Muller’s flower school in Paris, one of my absolute favorite places.” – Tish

Judy: You have a whole section in the book called “Cadeaux” (gifts) that include lots of tips. Please tell us more.

Tish: These pages are so much fun. The best thing about writing a book like this is meeting absolutely brilliant people who are willing to share their secrets. The section came about because I simply could not stop doing interviews. As a result, there were exceptional bits of information that didn’t quite fit into the chapter categories. They include everything from how to take a beautiful photograph to poetic descriptions by Catherine Muller, floral teacher extraordinaire, on how to make exquisite seasonal bouquets. Then there are tips on cashmere care, a wine vocabulary and an extraordinary section on Slim Cuisine (including a few recipes) with three star Michelin chef, Michel Guérard.

We can’t wait until Tish – and you – join us on Oct. 20, 2:00-4:00 p.m., for wine, appetizers and insider tips on French style. The event is co-sponsored by Rainy Day Books. Please RSVP, or preorder your book, by clicking here.

See you soon!