I’m back from France, and my place is buzzing with WAY more action and energy than usual right now.

I’m in full-blown preparation mode, as I’m heading to Toronto next week to be a guest speaker at the National Women’s Show. I take the main stage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on November 7, and I’ll also have a booth there for the full three days of the convention. I’m excited! (I’m also giving away a fabulous Gucci bag from the 2014 Fall/Winter collection…but more on that later.)

There is no denying this is a ton of work. Prepping for a big speech on short notice requires significant discipline and effort. There are also the logistics of pulling together a booth…you wouldn’t believe the hours of work that takes!

Today, I’m particularly delighted to connect with you straight from south western France, in the heart of my sister and brother-in-law’s magnificent vineyard.

And oui, it’s been a wonderful vacation! French food, lots of wine, and, most importantly, connecting with my beloved family has been good for the soul.

But what I wanted to share with you today isn’t so much about the obvious joys of France (of which there are many); rather, it’s something that I’ve noticed in the last ten days: how incredibly HAPPY everyone is!

Yes, HAPPY. My sister, her husband, and their two beautiful girls are genuinely happy! And it’s not just them. The neighbors who came over for dinner are, too. And so are the people on the street.

Advance warning: today’s Jacquie Straight Up may ruffle your feathers and stir your emotions. I’m weighing in on the controversial subject of domestic abuse, sparked by NFL star Ray Rice’s recent assault on his finance.

Admittedly, my opinions on the root issues here may have you nodding your head in agreement, or perhaps sputtering in disbelief…but either way, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a sobering topic that demands our attention, reflection, and action.

Now to my thoughts on the matter…

So much has already been said about what punishment is appropriate for a guy like Ray Rice. And so much has been said about his then fiance and now wife, Janay, who went ahead and married him after the assault happened, and is now standing by her man.

This week on Jacquie Straight Up, I’m paying a special tribute to the extraordinary Joan Rivers. Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that “Joan the Great” was an unstoppable force, and her sudden departure has left a rather gaping hole in an otherwise carefully managed, PR-sanitized, and decidedly inauthentic media landscape. (And no-one is going to miss her searing red carpet critiques more than me!)

Joan Rivers lived a remarkable life. She always had us talking, she demanded our attention, and as far as I could tell, she lived as authentically as she possibly could, embracing her flaws, plastic surgeries and all. My kind of woman!

Joan Rivers is an inspiration to me, and on today’s Jacquie Straight Up, I share the top three cage-rattling lessons her incredible life can teach the women of today, and future generations to come.

This week on Jacquie Straight Up, I’m going to get on my broom stick and fly around a bit.

You’ll have to excuse me, but I kind of enjoy the news of Beyonce’s recent relationship troubles, and call “BS” on Elle MacPherson and Christie Brinkley’s “secrets” to anti-aging.

And then when I’m through with them, I fully admit to be pumped FULL of Botox.

But before you tune out this seemingly self-centered rant, just see it through. I’m going to make a big point you’ll probably appreciate…and it’s likely not the one you are expecting.

Beyonce’s “relationship” with Jay Z and Christie’s “agelessness” are examples of carefully cultivated images of perfection, and in my opinion, are phony, disingenuous, and misleading. And they are all indicative of a much larger issue: the detrimental portrayal of perfection in our society.