Monthly Archives: February 2015

My Winter Essentials

Today, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite items this winter.  A few are some of my fashion staples, a few of my beauty staples, and a few items just for fun.  Here goes – my little list of wintery pleasures!

1 – My Long Leather Coat from Danier – This coat is beautiful.  I’ve had it for a few years, and it’s a gorgeous bordeaux shade of lambskin leather.  It’s lightweight, but lined with Thinsulate which makes it extremely warm.  I’m usually a peacoat girl, so this one didn’t get too much use until the extreme cold kicks in.  Once the temperature dipped way below tolerable, this has become my go-to coat in the mornings.  I love the length, which keeps me very well bundled up, and that it’s dressy enough for wearing to the office, but has a few edgy design elements.

2 – My High Heeled Biker Boots from Xelement – If you’ve seen my What I’ve Been Wearing posts, you know that these are the boots I kick on most often on my way out the door.  They’ve got the durable wear and ankle support of motorcycle boots (since that’s what they are), but also a well-designed 3.5” heel that lends itself to ladylike elegance.  The wide heel makes them amazingly comfortable to walk in, and I can easily wear these all day.  They’re also still available here.

3 – Arbonne Shea Butter Hand Lotion – This beautiful little tube is from the holiday collection, and I never leave the house without it.  I’ve found this cold winter especially drying on my hands, and this is one of the few creams that I can actually feel working and seeping into my skin in the best way.  I use it after every hand washing.

4 – Artistry Youth Extend Enriching Lotion – My skin is naturally oily, so I’m very careful about anything too rich on it.  But just a tiny dab of  this lotion on my face at night, and a small pump on my neck and decolletage in the morning and at night has been able to keep my skin soft and supple while avoiding dryness and flakiness.  It’s available here.

5 – David’s Tea Red Velvet Cake Tea & Teal Perfect Mug – I have a deep appreciation for simple things that are beautiful – a well designed lotion package, a pretty mirror, a beautifully designed candle.  The beautiful perfect mug from David’s Tea in their classic teal is one of those things – it makes me smile and feel pretty.  But inside the mug, this particular tea blend that tastes like red velvet cake and has a pretty crimson shade to it as well is amazing.  With a bit of milk or cream and some sugar, it tastes like dessert in a mug – yum!

6 – Zumba classes at the gym – I’ve recently started going to Zumba classes, and I think I’m totally sold on it!  Not only is it super fun and a great workout, it makes me feel so alive and even kind of sexy.  More than that, the fun latin-infused music makes me think of warmer climates and sunshine – I can almost pretend that I’m taking the fun dance classes poolside at a resort 🙂

How are you keeping pretty, stylish and smiling this winter?

 (Photo of boots from Leatherup.ca, photo of Zumba dancer from Zumba.com)

Tips for Beating the Midwinter Blues

How have you been, friends?  I have been (oddly enough) finding joy and seeing beauty even in the less than awesome winter weather.  My soul was made for warm weather and tropical breezes, so I tire of winter very quickly, usually by December 26th.  The fact that I am finding joy and not feeling miserable when I look out the window or step out is a miracle!  Of course, the wonderful jolt of pink and red that is Valentine’s Day does help with this.  However, if you are feeling the winter blues creep in, I’ve got a few tips that might help put a smile on your face.

1 – Get outside.

I know, this can be completely counterintuitive.  And honestly, when it’s grey and miserable out (or extremely cold, as it sometimes gets here in Toronto), this can be the last thing you want to do.  However, a dose of fresh air will always help lift your spirits – and if you look, you might be able to see beauty even in the dreariest day.  Perhaps it’s the snow sitting on the pine trees like icing, making the world look like a snowglobe.  Maybe it’s cute little pawprints along the sidewalk.  Sometimes, I just pop out on our balcony and look at the rooftops of houses, and how with snow on top, it looks like a sleep gingerbread village.  And of course, if it happens to be a sunny day, few skies look as brilliantly blue as those contrasted with sparkling white snow.

2 – Cozy up with a hot drink

Tis the season!  Break out the hot chocolate, or hot apple cider.  Why not throw together a hot toddy or peppermint mocha?  Or a delicious cozy cup of tea?  It’ll warm you up from inside, and this is such a simple and pure pleasure, it’s sure to brighten your day, especially if you use a pretty mug that makes you smile.  As you drink it, try to focus on the simple sensual elements of the experience – watch the liquid swirl in the mug and the steam rise, inhale the delicious aroma – it almost becomes a meditative experience.

3 – Bring in some brights

Sometimes, in the midst of all they grey and white and slush, what we really need is a pop of bright colour.  It feels like a green juice for your visual palette.  So go ahead and beckon to spring and renewal this way – paint your nails a bright fuschia pink, make yourself a green juice, add pops of vibrant colours to your look.  One of my favourite pieces is my blue and silver loop necklace.  Its gorgeous turquoise hue reminds me of tropical beaches, and the colour brightens up my whole look.  Another easy favourite – slick on some bright pink lipstick or lip gloss.  It’s like a facelift in a tube!

4 – Embrace cozy styles

You know how by the end of summer, it seems everyone can’t wait to get back to sweater weather and leather jackets and pumpkin spice lattes?  Well we’re in that right now, so enjoy it!  Wrap yourself in soft sweaters, load on the scarves, toss on a sweater dress and tights.  Before you know it, we’ll be back in the heat when we’ll be trying to wear as little as socially acceptable to keep cool, so enjoy piling on the layers now and rock your cute Pinterest outfits!

I hope this helps.  There really is fun and beauty to be enjoyed in every season, and I often think of winter as wrapping myself in a cocoon, luxuriating in warmth, coziness, and comfort before the spring unveils new wonders and experiences ahead.  So today when I sip my hot chocolate wearing my fuzzy pjs, I’ll be sending warm thoughts your way.

 

What I’ve Been Wearing

I’ve decided to start doing What I’ve Been Wearing as a recurring post topic, this is one of my favourite types of posts to share with you 🙂  I get to talk about style, cute clothes and looks, and it also motivates me to actually pick out my outfits in advance the night before!  Win-win!

January and February have been very cold here in Toronto thus far, but I’m still trying to stay at least somewhat stylish.  You will see lots of skirts & boots combos in this particular post.

For an evening professional event, I went with classic black and white accented with lace.  I really like the corseted look of this blouse, and those cute little ankle boots with lace all over and faux leather detailing are adorable!  

  • Black & white corset blouse – Suzy Shier
  • Black pencil skirt – Suzy Shier
  • Black & grey lace ankle boots – Shoedazzle

An office look for daytime in softer colours and tones.  This lavender is really pretty, and this grey pencil skirt with button detail is one I turn to quite often for something other than black.  

  • Lavender blouse – Fairweather
  • Grey pencil skirt – TJ Maxx
  • Black high heeled motorcycle boots – Xelement

This was an especially cold day, so I went with seasonal wintery colours and a cozy scarf to keep warm!  This jewel-toned turquoisey blue is one of my favourite shades to wear, and it makes any outfit pop!  

  • White scarf – Ardene
  • Blue detailed top – gift
  • Black pencil skirt – Suzy Shier
  • Black tights – Smart Set
  • Black high heeled motorcycle boots – Xelement

Another classic colour combination, black and ivory with lace!  This is cute for a meeting, interview, or even a dinner out if you’d wear a blazer.

  • Black blazer – Garage
  • Ivory shift dress with black lace detailing – Venus
  • Black tights – Smart Set
  • Black high heeled motorcycle boots – Xelement

A sweet fuschia outfit for the office – comfy, polished, and with a pop of my signature colour!

  • Pink v-neck cable knit sweater – Old Navy
  • Crystal heart pendant – Ardene
  • Grey pencil skirt – TJ Maxx
  • Black tights – Smart Set
  • Black high heeled motorcycle boots – Xelement

Those are some cute little numbers I’ve been putting together, and yes, you can definitely see a love of pencil skirts, neutrals, and my lovely black biker boots which really have earned a post of their own 🙂

How are you staying stylish and warm?

Bring Home Some Romance

It’s the middle of the week, and it’s also 2 days until Valentine’s Day!  Yes, the sugar-sweet, hearts-everywhere, chocolate-covered, rose-scented Hallmark holiday.  It’s secretly one of my favourite holidays, and we don’t usually do anything too extravagant (actually, I usually don’t even care about the very day itself), but I adore seeing the world put on some pink and red and hearts.  So I thought I would share some easy ways to bring some romance into your home.

1 – Candles:  This is a classic staple for romance.  There’s nothing quite like the warm and flattering glow of candlelight.  Kick it up a notch with some pink or red candles, like these red tapers or rose scented tealights, you can even pull out your red or white candles from Christmas!  Why not spend one evening, or even just dinner, with only candles to light your home?  It will feel magical, romantic, and evoke the beautiful mysteries of so many thousands of years of nights when candles were the only way to light up the night.

2 – Sweet posters and artwork: This is the perfect time to pull out your most romantic wall adornments and pictures.  Wedding and engagement pictures are timeless classics, but for a more novel nostalgic spin, how about the sweet posters you maybe had when you were younger?  I have two posters from my university days hanging up – a beautiful black and white shot of the Eiffel Tower, and the entire balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet written out on a black background to form a rose.

3 – Flowers: Obviously.  Since I’m frugal, I have a few red silk roses that I keep around, and I make them the star of the show this time of year – they bloom beautifully every time, and for no extra money out of pocket!  Just put some silk blooms in a pretty vase and you’re set for a centrepiece.

4 – Romantic accessories:  Do you have some throw pillows or decorative blankets in romantic colours, or with sweet phrases and patterns?  Or pretty mugs that say things like “Good morning, beautiful?”  Grab them and enjoy the extra little bit of love they add!

5 – Love garland:  This was an idea I just came up with the other day, when I was taking down my Christmas card garland at the end of January (I know).  I decided to use the ribbon and make a heart-shaped spiral.  I have heart-shaped post-it notes, so I made one for the centre that said “Love”, and then thought how nice it would be if Nick and I wrote out some things we love about each other on heart post-its and stuck them to the spiral.  This is super easy and fun, and you can do it with kids too!  It’s a sweet reminder to see the love in the details.  Of course, leaving notes like this is always nice, like in a loved one’s lunchbox, or on the bathroom mirror (in lipstick if you’re feeling sassy).

Are you bringing some Valentine’s love into your home?  Let me know what ideas you have 🙂

 

 

My Little Fitness Secret…

Happy Monday , friends!  I hope your week is going beautifully so far.  Thankfully, Toronto hasn’t been extremely cold anymore, just usual midwinter cold.  That’s at least meant sunshine, and an ability to actually walk without a maddening run into warmth.  If you’re reading this from a warmer climate (Hi there, southern States/Australia, any readers we might have in the tropics and subtropics), then please know that I dearly wish I was right there with you, not needing a winter coat, but alas.

So today I wanted to discuss fitness, and to let you in on a little secret of mine.  Being more fit, or in better shape, seems to be a perennially favourite goal of all of us.  And of course, we wish there was a magic secret, don’t we?  Some pill, some magical shake that would just do it all.  While I have not yet discovered that (I wish!), I can tell you about one of my best tools for fitness.  It’s simple, requires very little equipment, and extremely effective.

I’m talking about my favourite workout DVD, Skinny B*tch Body!  It is amazing!  I actually received it as a gift, and it is my go-to whenever I feel that my body needs to get back to its peak shape.

This fabulous DVD features 4 targeted workouts that are 15-20 minutes each, focusing on your abs, arms, legs, and ahem… bottom.  It’s all bodyweight training, so the only piece of equipment you might need is a yoga mat, though I’ve done them on a carpeted floor just as well.  I also like that unlike a lot of more cardio-intense DVDs, this one doesn’t have very much running around from one end of the room to the other, which helps when floor space is at a premium in a small apartment.  The DVD always gives me an amazing workout, and makes me lean and toned.  Also, Rory and Kim are very funny workout leaders/hosts, cracking jokes the entire time as if you’re at brunch over mimosas, rather than the repetitive yelling of calls to action that you might be used to.  I just follow along and try not to think too much, and get my workout in!  I can honestly say that this is the only workout where I’ve been able to start to see changes often within a day or two, I really can’t recommend this DVD enough!

What are your favourite workouts?  Any staple DVDs or plans you turn to time and time again?

 

Naturally Lovely: DIY Foot Powder with Essential Oils

Welcome back!  Today I’m tackling a subject that’s a bit less glamorous.  In fact, it’s downright stinks.  I’m here to talk about… smelly feet – and more importantly how to cure them.

Smelly feet are not something that goes well with being a lady, but they are a simple fact of life, especially if you wear shoes like heels or flats with no socks or stockings – yikes!  I went into the drugstore to buy some foot powder, but found that it was over $10 for just a small amount.

Luckily, I found a cheap and remarkably effective DIY remedy that takes care of the problem beautifully.  Here’s what I do – in a small resealable sandwich bag, I mix together the following:

  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup baking powder
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 5-6 drops of your essential oils of choice (suggestions – grapefruit, lemon, lavender, peppermint)

To mix it well, seal the bag leaving a bit of air in it, and give it a good shake.

Pro tip: Make sure you label your bag, or else you’re walking around with an unmarked baggie of white powder, which might look a bit odd.

That’s it!  When you’re about to head out, sprinkle a little bit of powder into your shoes, and then gently knock the shoes against a wall or each other to disperse the powder.  Sprinkle some more if needed throughout the day, though I’ve never needed to.

I use this all year.  I first made it in the summer, since I was wearing flats and heels with no stockings, and I found those little footie stockings you can buy would stick out awkwardly.  In the winter, I need it just as much.  I usually wear high heeled boots all day with thin stockings, so it works wonders there too.

The only downside that I’ve seen is that sometimes if you take off your shoes, your feet might have a bit of white powder on them (mainly the soles), or your stockings, if you’re wearing those.  Of course, that’s to be expected with pretty much any foot powder, and much preferable to smelling and feeling icky.

So there you go, darlings!  This is how I keep my toesies daisy fresh all year 🙂

Any tips for giving your feet some love?  Or cheap DIY beauty hacks? Share here!