image: Portuguese Grilled Sardines with lettuce, tomato and boiled potatoes. Photo via Wikimedia by Yusuke Kawasaki, Tokyo, Japan

Portuguese Grilled Sardines with lettuce, tomato and boiled potatoes. Photo via Wikimedia by Yusuke Kawasaki, Tokyo, Japan

2024 SCHEDULE: Anne is working on a new book. Nouvelles postings will be sporadic. But usually at least one per week.

|| 20 February 2024

Atlantic Diet

Recently the media has carried a number of articles about a study done on the (somewhat misnamed) Atlantic Diet. This way of eating is based on “the traditional dietary pattern in northwestern Spain and Portugal, which is composed of home-cooked local, fresh, and minimally processed season products. There is much similarity to the “Mediterranean Diet” with which we are long familiar. And apparently the study was done on the traditional way the people in this area of Spain and Portugal ate, but no longer do. So much so that for the study, the group tested had to be given food baskets and cooking classes.

I have recently read a number of articles on the Atlantic Diet. And because some presented slightly conflicting information on what improvements this diet would bring to our health, I accessed and read the detailed technical report on the study available on the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Network. Perhaps I am being a bit cynical, but I sum up the study’s findings as: Not as much as they hoped for.

The article linked below is on the Fortune Magazine website. Having read the full study report, I believe it presents the findings of the study well.

Meet the Atlantic diet: The Mediterranean diet’s neighbor — with an added benefit.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 5 February 2024

Washing Non-Organic Produce

Medical authorities tell us that some of those “viruses” we self-diagnose are actually food poisoning. Both maladies are unpleasant. Some food poisoning prevention tips below, but first the bad news.

I have not yet been able to evict the possum/s (it is definitely one or more possum) from under my house. They are still waking me in the night. Sometimes I can go back to sleep. Sometimes not.

None of the remedies I have tried so far have worked. Possum, unlike bears, apparently love the smell of moth balls. You are just wasting your apple cider vinegar if you are soaking rags in it and putting the rags at the entrance and exit points. But since I have identified how the possum are going in an out, and it looks as if the solution is to block up the vent grills the possum is able to squeeze through. And possum can squeeze through some unbelievably small spaces. We shall see.

Now about washing produce

Someone is always telling us we are doing something wrong and suggesting a better way. Currently there is a lot of discussion about the proper way to wash produce to remove pesticide residue that can cause a number of health problems — as well as harmful bacteria, particularly Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, bacteria that cause food poisoning.

I have a subscription to, the independent testing company that reports on supplements and, increasingly, the foods that we eat to stay healthy. Recently has posted information on the produce washing topic. We do need to wash produce well, even organic. reported that the Environmental Working Group using USDA data identified the produce with the most pesticide residue: strawberries, spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens, peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, grapes, peppers (bell and hot), cherries, blueberries and green beans. (Sounds a bit like my shopping list.)

So what to do — beyond buying organic for those fruits and vegetable? And be aware that organic does not mean pesticide-free. There are pesticides that are allowed for growing organic produce and these leave their own residue. Pick your poison.

According to the recent report, studies have found “little or no difference” between using a fruit and vegetable wash and rinsing produce under tap water for one minute for the removal of surface pesticide residue. Other testing found that rubbing produce while rinsing with tap water would even better remove pesticide residue. None of these studies said anything about that wax that the our Food and Drug Administration considers “safe.” And some of us want to get rid of before we eat the fruit. (For this removal some people soak fruit in hot water for 1 minute then rub briskly with a towel.)

After reading these recent instructions on washing produce, I have not decided if I will continue to buy a fruit and vegetable wash when my current bottle is finished. (I have been using Fit.) But since this recent focus on fruit and vegetable washing has called my attention to pesticide residue and harmful bacteria, I will likely buy more organic, especially fresh leafy greens. I do eat a lot of kale and spinach.

|| 28 January 2024

Something Under My House Is Waking Me & More Chanel Exhibit

At first I thought it was the raccoon who had gotten under the house. Last night I had cause to change my opinion. I now believe it is possum. A multitude of possum. From the sounds I am hearing, I fear they are damaging my plumbing and flooring in addition to waking me several times during the night..

I tried evicting them by spraying cleaning vinegar under the house. The smell of the vinegar was temporarily successful. But now they are back. A friend told me a woman evicted a bear under her house with moth balls. My son says you can buy wildlife repellent. As I did when I was trying to lose weight, I will try one thing, then another until I find what works. Those critters have to go.

More Chanel Exhibition

After I posted information last week about the Victoria & Albert’s Chanel exhibition, Ann Leslie in New York found a review of the show. She sent a link to this review in The Guardian. The writer of the review finds the exhibit a bit de trop, but nonetheless one that successfully plays on her emotions. You can read the review at the link below.

Merci to our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat who originally alerted me to the exhibition and who sent photos. And merci also to Ann Leslie who sent the link for the review.

The Guardian review of Chanel exhibition.

|| 21 January 2024

Chanel Exhibition

Our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat recently viewed the Chanel exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum South Kensington. The exhibition is currently Sold Out. But you can view the exhibition’s webpage at the link below. The show is described: The first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel, charting the establishment of the House of CHANEL and the evolution of her iconic design style which continues to influence the way women dress today.

Much thanks to Kat for alerting us to the exhibition and sharing her photos.

V&A Chanel exhibition

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 26 December 2023

My Dealing With Holiday Stress Techniques

Ah, the plans that do not work out. Yesterday when I attempted to load the above photo into my web design program, I found that an orange blob, vaguely in the shape of a Halloween pumpkin, had imposed itself on the upper section of the red tree. What ??

Attempts to eradicate the orange blob were not successful. I did better this morning. Amazing what you can accomplish when you have had some sleep that you could not accomplish when you were very tired.

Sleep was one way I coped with stress when problems were popping up like weeds during the holidays. I did not stay up late to get things done. They just were not done. Some still are not done. Alas.

Another way was that I tried to maintain a blasé attitude when things went wrong. Though it was not always easy.

In the Chic & Slim book Armoire Boudoir Cuisine & Savvy, I include a chapter on the chic French women’s technique of maintaining a blasé, nonchalant attitude. This blasé attitude is discussed primarily in relation to food and staying slim. Of course, if you can avoid the holiday stress, you will most likely will avoid the holiday weight gain.

A very French blasé attitude helps me through the holiday stress.

I will discuss more techniques I used dealing with holiday stress in coming Nouvelles. In the meantime all my best wishes to you for a happy and UNstressful 2024.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 21 December 2023

Dealing With Holiday Stress

I am feeling proud of myself. Circumstances in the past week have tested my ability to deal with stress, and I have managed to stay calm and collected and NOT (a) fire the painter when, for reasons I cannot fathom, caulked the doors to my circuit breaker box shut and even three applications of paint stripper did not free the door (b) strangled the two possums who had turned my garage into a latrine — possum poop and urine on almost every surface and (c) well, you get the gist of how things have been going. But thankfully the circuit breaker box has now been freed. But it was very worrying until it was.

My serenity in the face of these and other stresses (did I mention the SWAT team outside the house down in the next block where the residents were not handling holiday stress as well as I was? And the Texas department of prisons sent out a notice that a high risk sex offender was returning to his home about three blocks away.)

As I was saying, my serenity came at the cost of pampering my self and not doing such things as writing a Sunday Nouvelles (until today). My holiday greeting cards have not been mailed nor have three-quarters of them yet been addressed.

I hope you are having fewer holiday stresses than I am. And I hope you are dealing well with the stresses you are having.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 10 December 2023

Two Biggest Holiday Threats To Staying Slim

The hidden stretch waist pants I analyzed in depth in last week’s Nouvelles have returned to Coldwater Creek. But since I was concerned about the possibility these hidden stretch waists could cause the wearer to gain weight unknowingly, I felt it was worth paying the price of the shipping to actually examine pants with this feature.

Of course, it turned out the feature was not hidden from the wearer. My concern was unwarranted.

But in the coming weeks we are under double threat to putting on extra pounds: all that holiday food so generously available at dinners and parties — not to mention what we are producing in our own kitchens. Plus holiday stress.

Remember that stress itself can cause weight gain even if you don’t eat one slice of panettone or one bite of sour cream dip between now and New Year’s Day.

Prevention is best. Think about how you will cope with food temptations before you arrive at a holiday event — or when you prepare them yourself.

As for stress, try not to overschedule. Have in mind how you are going to destress when things begin to overwhelm you. A short (or long) walk in the brisk air is one possibility. In any case, don’t neglect your regular exercise just because you have 20 things to accomplish before bedtime. Unless, of course, those 20 things demand a lot of brisk walking,

be chic, stay slim, enjoy the holidays — Anne Barone

|| 5 December 2023

Hidden Stretch Waists: How They Work

I thought I would have today’s Nouvelles finished by lunchtime. But the painting and repairs go on. I have had frequent interruptions for consultation: Which windows will open? Which will be caulked shut (so the glass won’t fall out)? Do I want the security grills repainted? Flat paint or gloss? And so on.

But now as I approach afternoon tea time, the Nouvelles is in good enough shape to upload. (Though I will surely have to do some fine-tuning.) Rather clever design these hidden stretch waistbands. More . . .

|| 27 November 2023

Problem With Expandable Waists

For the past few days I have been shopping the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Looking at all these websites, many which sell clothing geared to women of a certain age, I have become aware that trends in clothing design today may be contributing to the rise in overweight and obesity. And we here in the USA are obese. See the chart above.

When recently I took stock of my cold weather jeans and pants, I discovered that all were disreputably worn. Not surprising. Those Calvin Kleins were at least 15 years old and the L. L. Bean classic chinos were more than 20. In any case, time to buy new.

Since I had not bought pants or jeans in some time I was not aware how many in both categories now are designed with expandable waists.

For example: A pair of Coldwater Creek chinos offer “hidden self-expanding bands on each side that stretch for up to 4" of added room at the waist." Four inches!

Some Talbot ankle pants featured “new Invisiflex Comfort Waist Technology with an invisible elastic back waistband that adjusts to your body for the perfect, comfortable fit.” Maybe too comfortable if you gain pounds.

I can see good points to these design features. But the serious downside is that with expandable waists, if you gain weight (and don’t those pounds usually settle around the middle?) you might not be aware you are gaining until the problem becomes serious. Especially if you are pairing expandable waist bottoms with those generously full tunic tops that are so popular today.

Since so many pants and jeans designs come with this new expandable waist feature, perhaps they too are fostering the rising obesity statistics. Be aware !

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 19 November 2023

Thoughts for Thanksgiving 2023

For the very reason that in material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things . . . The things of the body are good; the things of the intellect better; the best of all are the things of the soul; for, in the nation as in the individual, in the long run it is character that counts.

Theodore Roosevelt in his Thanksgiving Proclamation 1908

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us remember that the difference between being surrounded by a loving family or being homeless on the street is determined not just by our own level of virtue or self-discipline, but also by an inextricable mix of luck, biography, brain chemistry and genetics.

For those who are well-off, it may be easier to castigate the irresponsibility of the poor than to recognize that success in life is a reflection not only of enterprise and willpower, but also of random chance and early upbringing.

Low-income Americans, who actually encounter the needy in daily life, understand this complexity and respond with empathy. That’s why the poorest 20 percent of Americans donate more to charity, as a fraction of their incomes, than the richest 20 percent.

Compassion is not a sign of weakness. It is a mark of civilization.

Nicholas Kristof New York Times Thanksgiving 2013

|| 12 November 2023

How Much Restoration?

The repainting of the trim on my house and the search for — and repair of — any place where water might be coming in and leaking from the living room ceiling — continues. (And a lot of those places have been found.) As the house restoration work progresses and decisions are made about the work, I have found myself thinking often about how much is the “right” amount of restoration for ourselves as we age.

My guiding principle for any work on this almost-100 year old house is that I do not want it to look like a “new” house. I want it to look like an old house that has been well cared for over the decades. I try for the same for myself. I do not try to look young. But I do put out effort to look like someone who has taken care of herself.

In any case, restoration work on face and body is expensive. And if you are paying for a lot of repairs and maintenance on an old house, there is not a lot left over for cosmetic surgery and the like even if you wanted it. Healthy eating, ample exercise, good posture, and a smile will have to suffice.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 5 November 2023

The Brilliance of Simplicity

Americans visit Europe and often find themselves envious of the lifestyle. But when they return to the USA and try to replicate that European lifestyle here, they often fail.

Why can’t American live more like Europeans? Susan in Hamilton sent a clipping of an article from The New York Times that helps answer that question.

It is the beginning of the month, so even if you do not have a Times subscription, perhaps you have not yet used all your free articles.

A Meal in France Showed Me the Brilliance of Simplicity. An ordinary, unfussy meal can still contain wonders.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 31 October 2023

Fitness at 97

As I wrote previously, the cold which struck me down last Wednesday made me seriously miserable and lethargic. With a few periods in which I prepared and ate meals and did a few household chores, for three days I mostly slept. No doubt paying back a sleep debt for those nights I was awake monitoring my ceiling leaks. And most unfortunately I did not exercise.

Yesterday, my cold more or less gone, I realized I MUST get back into my regular exercise program. You must keep moving. Or you stop.

I found inspiration in an Insider article about 97-year-old Elaine LaLanne and how she stays fit.

4 things that keep Elaine LaLanne, the first lady of fitness, feeling young at 97

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone ,

|| 24 October 2023

A Minor Leak

I am happy to report that despite the downpour with wind that dumped an inch and a quarter of rainwater on my dwelling last night, the sources of the two major leaks in my living room the last big rain seemed to have been patched. BUT I did have one small leak in my living room ceiling. There is still work for the roofer and/or the mason to do.

Despite that I woke and checked the living room at midnight and again at 2:00 am, my sleep-fogged brain did not think to check in the area of the small leak. I did not find it until my 4:00 am check, when a drop splatted down on my head. Some damage to my hardwood floor, but I did get plastic and a pan down immediately and have a fan blowing in that area now the rain (and the leak) have temporarily halted. And I will be prepared for that leak in tonight’s forecast heavy rain. The mason was here this morning inspecting the new problem, and we have an idea of the source. But repair will have to wait until the rains stop.

When you write a website for women, the subject of leaks naturally leads to that plague of ageing women (and many younger ones) urinary incontinence.

An informative article on Healthline on that topic.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 15 October 2023

Will The Scandinavians Make Us All Slim?

We are at a new point in weight control. Or are we?

I am old enough to remember a series of medical solutions to excess weight and obesity starting with the amphetamines the doctor prescribed for me when I was six. But despite the number of medical weight loss “breakthroughs” over the decades, the population has only grown fatter and fatter.

Recently we have from the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk two products: Wegovy and Ozempic. Both delivered by injection. And very expensive.

Now the Swedish company Sigrid Therapeutics has clinical trials in progress for SiPore, granules that you swallow at the onset of meals to make you feel full with less food. Sigrid describes SiPore as a molecular sieve that captures digestive enzymes in the stomach to slow the food-burning process. This, they say, will lower blood sugar and thus food cravings. It is designed for diabetics and pre-diabetics as well as for weight control.

From what I can understand, SiPore is based on the premise that it will make it easier for people to make healthy lifestyle improvements that will become permanent. That could prove useful.

When I was working toward a healthier lifestyle that would make and keep me slim, I had the good example of chic French women I observed and copied. Now, according to reports we have received from our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat, except in Paris, it is difficult to spot many of those chic French examples.

So a product that helps with working toward a healthier lifestyle definitely could be useful. As long as that product does not produce unpleasant side effects. And if its price is not prohibitive. We shall see.

SiPore will likely not be available until 2025. And Sigrid Therapeutics is also planning to develop a version for overweight cats. This is surely a challenge, felines being known as finicky eaters — very particular about taste and smell of their food. As are a lot of overweight humans.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 8 October 2023

Keep Calm And Call A Repairman. Then wait

Wednesday we had a torrential rainstorm with wind — and a considerable amount of thunder and lightning. A window in the office and another in the living room were open when the storm blew in. When I closed the living room window and checked the floor, I found water on the other side of the room and a steady stream of water flowing OUT OF THE BASEBOARD. Bizarre.

Worse, when I turned around from putting towels against the stream of water, I looked up at the ceiling and there in the center of the room was a bulge in the ceiling dripping a steady stream of water onto the carpet. A plastic drop cloth over the carpet, a bucket, more towels for splatters were quickly recruited.

When the rain stopped, the water flowing out of the baseboard stopped. But leaving behind some damaged hardwood floor. The ceiling leak, however, continued until mid-morning the next day dripping (I measured) a little more than six cups an hour at its peak. I stayed busy emptying the bucket.

My roof repairman who, when phoned, promised to investigate the problem on Thursday has still not arrived. But I think I have a clue to the source of my leaks based on an experience we had with a house in Virginia. There, the house was relatively new, about 3 years old, three stories with an attic. During a heavy rainstorm, a mysterious leak appeared in the ceiling of a room on the second story. Though there was no sign of a leak in the ceiling of the floor above it, nor in the attic. Bizarre.

When the source of the leak was finally identified, an attic vent was found not to have been properly sealed. The wind had blown rain in around the vent where it ran down an inside wall until it hit a rafter for the second floor. The water then ran across the rafter until it hit a point where it dripped down onto the ceiling. When the attic vent was properly sealed, we had no more mysterious leaks.

At least for my living room baseboard leak last Wednesday, I think something similar to the Virginia leak was the cause. I am not so sure about my ceiling leak. But one more heavy rain and that living room ceiling will likely end up on the carpet below.

That was not all my leaks. Things come in three they say, and the bathroom faucet had a few days before developed a major leak. The lead-in hose for the garden hose reel began to leak at both ends. A new faucet has been purchased — as has a new lead-in hose. But these have not yet been installed.

Keep calm and call the repairmen. Then wait.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 1 October 2023

Why Some People Cannot Take Tylenol/Panadol

We have been having beautiful moonrises here at Provence-sur-la-Prairie. In the photo above, I tried to capture with the camera what I was seeing with my eyes so you could enjoy my moonrises too.

As for the pain reliever Tylenol (Panadol in the UK), my digestive system has never tolerated it. Yet I have never had a problem taking either aspirin or ibuprofen.

A year or so ago, I learned that many other people cannot tolerate Tylenol/Panadol. But it is only very recently that medical science has clues as to why.

In a recent large study in the UK by Zoe, the personalized nutrition company run by the co-founder Dr. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, previously unknown microbes were discovered in the human gastrointestinal system. One explanation the study was looking for was why some pharmaceutical drugs do not work as intended for some people.

Dr. Spector said that the study results suggested this may be due to different intestinal microbes. These differences may explain why even Tylenol/Panadol affects people differently — and why some people more than others are more sensitive to the pain reliever’s effects and to toxicity from it.

I am always glad to have a medical explanation for phenomena I have experienced all my life.

So if your medication produces a different reaction than intended, it may be those little critters living in your gastrointestinal tract.

Of interest for weight control, the Zoe study also discovered that of the new bacteria identified, the bottom 50 bad bacteria are associated with obesity while the top 50 good bacteria are linked to a lower BMI.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 25 September 2023

Chic & Slim Success Factors

If I were as successful at making money as I have been losing weight and staying slim, I would be rich — or at least far more affluent than I am.

But while I have never earned much money from my Chic & Slim writings, I have reaped much joy and satisfaction helping other women — and a few men — have happier, more satisfying lives.

But I can only put the techniques and other information into written form and make them available. The key to success is how the reader uses my information. Some have been far more successful than others.

Recently I received an email from Kimberly who, over the past 20 years, has put Chic & Slim to excellent use in her life. I want to share the email with you because it points to several factors that have shown themselves repeatedly to being key to Chic & Slim success. More . . .

17 September 2023

Certain Age Chic

My tea reading lately has been Christian Dior: The Man Who Made The World Look New. The book on the legendary French fashion designer is by Marie-France Pochna. Originally written in French, the English version was translated by Joanna Savill. The book published in 1996 has long been on my bookshelf, but I had only dipped into parts, specifically about Dior’s death from a heart attack while trying to lose weight at an Italian spa. This time I read the book cover to cover. More . . .

|| 10 September 2023

Rewards for Difficult Tasks

I put much thought and effort into the Nouvelles I write and post for you on the website. I know how busy you all are, so it is a special reward for me when you take the time and effort to write and comment. After I posted the Nouvelles on my struggles with the assembly of my new exercise bike, I received two especially nice emails.The first was from Kate. She wrote:

Dear Anne, Congratulations on such a fantastic endeavor and success putting together the exercise bike! And you look absolutely wonderful, I might add. You are so inspirational, and I am delighted that you are still writing and influencing all of us who love to read your nouvelles. Thank you Anne, and I look forward to reading many more of them in the years to come. Have a beautiful labor certainly earned it. Warmest regards, Kate

The second email was from Ann Leslie in New York who also sent congratulations on my successful assembly of the exercise bike. She then posed two questions concerning rewards. I answer those two questions in today’s Nouvelles. More . . .

|| 3 September 2023

Assembling Exerwork 7150 Exercise Bike

Among the numerous projects I tackled during my time away from the website, the most challenging was assembling my new exercise bike, an Exerwork 7150. This model features a desk which, I believed, would allow me to write while I exercised.

When the bike arrived, and I opened the box, saw the numerous parts, looked at the tools and parts included, and read the assembly and instruction manual, I saw that this job was FAR beyond my skills level. Besides the instructions said that because of its weight, it needed two people to put it together. But when I couldn’t find anyone to hire to assemble the bike, nor even help, I knew I would have to do the job myself. More . . .

|| 14 August 2023

Today an update to the previous Nouvelles about clothing for extreme heat. Karen in Rosemount emailed about some linen pants she has found cool and comfortable for the summer heat. More . . .

|| 10 August 2023

Best Clothing For Extreme Heat

In the previous Nouvelles I wrote about several of my strategies for dealing with the extreme heat we have been having here at Provence-sur-la-Prairie. One of those strategies is to wear light-weight loose-fitting 100% cotton clothing.

My latest acquisition in this category is the dress you see below. This one is light weight 100% Indian cotton. More . . .