Category Archives for "Books"

Apr 13

How to Be Parisian. Fashion, Life and Fun Advice

By Joanne Blake | Books , Dress & Image , Etiquette & Manners

Tips for Love, Style and Bad Habits

I just finished reading a cheeky book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits written by four French girlfriends who currently live or have lived in Paris. They live life large. Their experiences are a moveable feast that you can take with you wherever you go. (Links to Canadian Amazon and US Amazon at the bottom)

From fashion clothing, to conversation, food and affairs. It’s funny, frank and sometimes outrageous. It’s full of contradictions, but I guess that’s what makes Parisian women endearing – you can’t pigeon-hole them.

Here are seven tips and advice that I wanted to share from the book:

Parisian women on –

Imperfection advice

1 – “The Parisian retains her little imperfections, cherishes them even (the gap in her smile or her slightly crooked tooth, her prominent eyebrows or strong nose): these are the signs of a certain strength of character and allow her to feel beautiful without being perfect.”

2 –  “In short, you’re not a slave to the cult of the perfect body—so learn to make the best of what nature gave you.”

Nail tips

3 –  “Short, clean nails, sometimes worn with nail polish—but not always.”

Aging Advice

4 – “Enjoy the face you have today. It’s the one you’ll wish you have 10 years from now.”

Signature Items

5 – “You don’t have to spend a decade’s worth of salary on your wardrobe, or flaunt designer brands the whole time. All you need is one signature item: the one you wear when you need to feel strong.”

Plastic Surgery Advice

6 –  “A measure of its success is that it is undetectable. You don’t talk about it, you don’t tell people. The main thing is to avoid any operation that distorts or that might turn a woman into a statue or a doll.”

Words to live by

7 – “Parisian women never try to appear to be something other than what they are. In truth, more than wanting to look young—which is but a fleeting illusion—they want above all to become the best possible version of themselves, outside and in, at any age.”


Even if you can’t get to Paris, you can add a little Paris to your everyday life.
I’d just be a little cautious with their advice on affairs. My Terry can be very jealous. 🙂

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret & Sophie Ma

Links to Amazon Canada or Amazon USA

Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian corporate image consultant and sometime Parisian
Disclosure: Some of the book/product links on our site are affiliate links, which means that if you buy something we make a commission – at no extra cost to you. NOTE – We only recommend books & products we love.
Nov 19

How is Your Parking Etiquette?

By Terry Pithers | Books , Etiquette & Manners

10 Parking Faux-pas

Okay, you have good manners but does it show up in your parking etiquette?

Joanne and I recently read a great new book on Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, called The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills (which prompted me to re-read To Kill A Mockingbird).

Harper Lee talked about her father, who was a lawyer and the model for her

You Should Consider Yourself Lucky To Have Bike

character Atticus Finch, in the novel. She admired her father and Atticus, because, he was “the same in his house as he is on the public streets”.

An Authentically Courteous Person?

Wow, that is something we can all aspire to and something that we often talk about in our etiquette seminars. Being an authentically courteous person, one who treats everyone with respect no matter who they are or where we encounter them.

On the Public Streets

But that got me thinking about extending courtesy and good manners to our automobile and driving habits. I saw a great article on parking etiquette in the Edmonton Journal from Lorraine Sommerfeld, entitled Just Call Them Unmoving Violations – 10 parking gaffes are enough to get the blood boiling.

I’ll paraphrase her 10 Parking Faux-pas here that really get her and my blood boiling.

1 – People who can’t/won’t park between the lines

2 – Visitor Parking squatters

3 – The wreck/derelict car slowly fossilizing in the neighbourhood

4 – The home-based business clients who block your driveway

5 – The ‘Horatio Hornblowers’ tooting goodbye to their friends at 2 am

6 – The four-way flashers that excuse them from parking in a No Parking zones

7 – The people who park on the bike lanes

8 – The audible remote that lets them and you know their car is really locked at 3 am

9 – People who park on the sidewalk, Italian style (click for a funny italian parking etiquette video)

10-The work truck with the backup alarm that backs out beeping at 5:30 each morning

Click here to read Loraine Sommerfeld’s witty article

My addition to the list

I would add my own #11 – the boy racers/motorcycle aficionados with the tuned exhausts (read LOUD) that live in and delight our neighbourhoods.

How would Atticus park?

What are your parking/driving pet peeves? Don’t you wish everyone was like Atticus, as respectful in their parking etiquette as they might be in the office? Another scary thought is that many people probably are. Yikes, and that keeps our business etiquette courses going. Maybe we should run a driving etiquette course?

Posted by Terry Pithers – Canadian Business Etiquette expert and good parker

Other articles:

Jul 22

No. 1 Summer Read – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series

By Joanne Blake | Books , Etiquette & Manners , Movies & TV

Good Books – Feel Good Summer Reading

Want a good conversation starter?

Ask someone what they’re reading.

Joanne and Terry both give a big 4 thumbs up

Here’s what I’m reading.  A kinder, gentler, good manners detective series. That’s how you could describe the Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency books. Terry and I both love these books.

No guns, no car chases

Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

More like a collection of short stories that take you into the special world of Botswana and Mma Precious Ramotswe, a “traditionally built” female detective. No guns, no car chases, just engaging cases built around human foibles, personal problems and mysteries of the heart.

Cheerful stories

These cheerful and addictive books explore the human spirit and the frailty of our egos and human hearts. They are the masterful concoctions of Alexander McCall Smith, a Zimbabwean-born Scottish writer and Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. Click here for more info and list of books in the series.

Now a TV series

BBC with HBO has converted the books along with a few new plot lines and characters into a feel-good television series that Joanne and I recently saw on DVD. Sometimes you are disappointed when you see a book you love turned into a movie but in this case the series is remarkably true to the feel and spirit of the books. Click here to see short video of the making of the HBO series.

Nice people finish…

Chill out this summer with one of these delightful books. Let Precious Ramotswea and her “traditional values” show you that rude bad people get their comeuppance and nice people rarely finish last. (Now there are 14 of books. The latest is The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon.)

PS – The mystery how to pronounce Mma Ramotswe – solved

Trouble conversing about the book because you’re not sure how to pronounce  the main character’s name? Mma, what to do with the double M? According to Lisette Lecat, a native of South Africa who narrates some of the series audio books:  Lecat pronounces both — mm-mmah — as if the word had a false start and needed to begin again. The second part isn’t too difficult. It’s Ram-OAT-sway, with a slight roll on the R. (Pronounciation guide courtesy of SANDY BAUERS, Knight Ridder/Tribune news.)

Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian Business Etiquette Expert and well-mannered book lover
Sep 12

The Shocking High Cost of Cheap Fashion

By Terry Pithers | Books , Dress & Image

Over-Dressed – A book that tells it like it is

Do you ever feel bad about buying new clothes? I sometimes feel queasy about the amount of clothes we consume.

Fashion dis-ease

I just read an eye-opening book that helped me understand this unease with the fashion industry. The book is called Overdressed – The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline.Our book pick - cover of Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline - chosen by Canadian corporate image consultants

Voyage of discovery

It follows one woman’s voyage of discovery from a closet crammed with flimsy and ridiculously cheap garments, to investigating the ruinous phenomena of fast fashion.

Fast fashion treadmill

This fast fashion treadmill that we’ve got ourselves on is terrible for the environment, for workers and even for the way we look.

The way we look

We pay less for clothing than we have ever done in history. While prices for fast fashions have been on a downward spiral the quality and fabrics have been watered down as well.

Fast turnover

The book reveals how quickly a garment can go from inception to shelves and how this has dramatically shortened the fashion season cycle. From three or four fashion seasons a year, trends are now being updated and sold on a weekly if not daily basis

Throwaway fashions

Trends change so fast and quality of fashions are so poor that most clothing is now designed to be worn once or twice and discarded. This attitude drives me crazy.

Human costs

The author, Elizabeth Cline visits factories around the world and reveals to us the environmental, economic and human costs of fast fashion. She also dispelled some major fashion myths.

The myth of recycling

I’ve always felt that one of the mitigating factors to our fashion consumption is at least clothing can and is being recycled. Not! This book takes us from Salvation Army thrift shops to fabric recyclers to Third World dumping to show how fast fashion is actually destroying clothing “recycling”.

A greener solution

It’s a fascinating and sobering book. But not totally depressing because it shows us what changes and options are available to stop this destructive cycle. It shows how get back to a greener, more sensible approach to our clothing rather than being fast fashion addicts.

Seven step program

With the help of this book, Joanne and I have put together tips and a seven step program for fast fashion addiction;

  1. Go on a fashion diet – Admit you have a problem and commit to not making frivolous spur of the moment clothing purchases.
  2. Establish a wardrobe game plan – Analyze your existing wardrobe to cull and decide what you really need for your lifestyle and career.
  3. Learn to recognize quality and crap – Start looking at the labels to see where and with what the fashion is actually made. Buy quality not quantity.
  4. Take a sewing course – Elizabeth Cline actually did this so that she could recognize quality manufacture and also repair and alter her own clothing to get more mileage and better fit from garments.
  5. Understand your body type – Consult an image consultant or take a course so that you know what your figure type is and what fashions make you look better and what fashions to avoid.
  6. Understand your skin tone and coloration – Again an image consultant may have to help you with this but it will enable you to find out what colors look best on you and avoid buying trendy colors that make you look washed out.
  7. Read this book – It may change your life. You’ll never look at clothing the same way again.

Since Joanne and I are corporate image consultants, we knew many of the things about quality, fit and cost per wear of clothes. But we were astounded by the fast fashion insider information that is revealed in Overdressed. For the love of yourself and the planet, check this book out. You’ll be glad you did.

Posted by Terry Pithers – Canadian corporate image consultant and more conscious consumer
Disclosure: Some of the book/product links on our site are affiliate links, which means that if you buy something we make a commission – at no extra cost to you. NOTE – We only recommend books & products we love.
Aug 20

A Must Read Book: Blink – Life After Locked In Syndrome

By Terry Pithers | Books

Six years ago this September, a very good friend of ours went for a routine chiropractic neck adjustment. On her way home from the chiropractors, she suffered a series of violent strokes that left her unable to move, swallow, or talk.

The neck manipulation had damaged arteries in Sandy’s neck and she almost died. Instead she became a prisoner of locked-in syndrome; aware of the world around her but only able to communicate by blinking her eyes.

David and Sandy Nette

A riveting and inspiring book about her journey back

We are neighbors and good friends of Sandy Nette and her husband, David. They have just published a must read book based on this incredible 6 years of their lives.

The book’s jacket says it all

Blink: Life After Locked In Syndrome is the remarkable true story of a young woman’s courage, strength and determination to beat the odds. It is also an exceptional tribute to the power of unconditional love.

In the blink of an eye, everything can change.

Barely in her forties, she’d been cast into a living hell. But neither Sandy, nor her devoted husband David, were willing to accept this cruel fate and together they began to fight for their future.

David Nette narrates the events that tore him and Sandy apart and then brought them closer than ever, sharing the trials and triumphs of their unique relationship, one always filled with humor even in the darkest days.

Blink: Life After Locked-In Syndrome is a story that may just change your life.

Joanne and I contributed a testimonial for the book

This is what we had to say:

This is a story that everyone needs to read. It is a cautionary tale, a motivational story of trials, courage and triumphs but mostly it is a love story. An inspiring love story about a man and woman whose commitment and love for each other serves as a touchstone and example for our own relationships.Blink: Life After Locked In Syndrome - chiropractic stroke

Their book is available through their site and on Kobo.

A hardcover version of Blink: Life After Locked In Syndrome is available through Amazon .

Their story has been aired on TV and with the publication of their book, the world media is covering their inspiring story.
Here is a link to the UK’s Daily Mail Newspaper article along with many photos of Sandy and David Nette before and after their ordeal.

We cried, we laughed

Sandy and David’s journey will make you laugh, make you cry and come away with a renewed commitment to your life and family and to savoring each day as the gift it truly is.

Posted by Terry Pithers