What I’ve Been Wearing (Blonde Debut Edition)

Welcome back, and happy Wednesday!  I’m back today to share some cute outfits I’ve been wearing recently.  In the spirit of full disclosure, these won’t always be chronologically accurate, they are picked based on seasonality and cuteness, so you’ll be seeing some where I’m blonde, some where I’m brunette, it’s all good 🙂

All neutrals for a warmer weather office look.

  • Black cami – Smart Set
  • Black pencil skirt – Suzy Shier
  • Grey short sleeve blazer – Garage
  • Neutral dress sandals with metallic details – Wal-mart
  • Crystal bracelet – gift

For attending a wedding, I went with my pink maxi and cute metallic accessories!

  • Pink maxi dress – Aliexpress
  • Neutral dress sandals with metallic details – Wal-mart
  • Crystal bracelet – gift
  • Silver clutch – Aldo

This was another professional look, again with timeless black & grey and finished off with my beloved sandals (who are showing up lots and lots these days).  The key with such a minimalist palette is to spice it up with makeup, like bright lips.

  • Black & grey surplice top – Giant Tiger
  • Black pencil skirt – Suzy Shier
  • Neutral dress sandals with metallic details – Wal-mart
  • Crystal bracelet – gift

A super casual date night (and blonde now) called for a full-fledged Barbie getup.

  • Pink zip neckline dress – Venus
  • Pink polka dot peeptoe wedges – Suzy Shier

Barbie goes to the office!  My tried and true, never fail pairing of this dress and this necklace gets me compliments every. single. time I wear it.

  • Black pinstripe dress – Venus
  • Neutral dress sandals with metallic details – Wal-mart
  • Blue and silver loop necklace – Ardene

What summer fashions have you been trying or loving?  Personally my office outfits are pretty much all-season with slight modifications, but I’ve been really enjoying my maxi dresses this summer!  Til next time, beauties!

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5 Things That Are Making My Week

Bonjour, mes belles!  Hello and welcome to another fun (and blonder) installment of 5 Things That Are Making My Week.  Here’s this week’s Top 5, starting off big with a whole new look for moi!

  1. My blonde hair!  Of course, the biggest cosmetic change of my entire life.  I’ve always wondered how I’d look as a blonde, and I LOVE it!  I think I might have been an inner blonde all along, so this is very fun right now for me, and I feel pretty!  It still feels so different, but it’s really given me a new lease on life, as well as an added boost of confidence.
  2. My shell & circle drop earrings:  I received these earrings as part of a gift set years ago.  Recently, I’ve been wearing them almost every day (I tend to repeat accessories a lot), and the slight shimmer and hint of seaside beauty feels very feminine and delicate.  It makes me think of mermaids and beach vacations.
  3. Sweet Kale Superfood Salad:  I was first introduced to this delicious salad by Nick’s mom, and it’s become a dinner staple for me at home.  Everything is prepped, chopped, and fresh, and it’s so tasty and healthy!  It’s got kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, pumpkin seeds, a delicious dressing – in short, yum.
  4. Homemade Lavender Linen Spray:  A simple mix in a small spray bottle, (1-2 tbsp rubbing alcohol, 10 drops lavender essential oil, and then water to fill), lightly spritzed all over the sheets, pillow and blanket just before getting into bed.  It’s great for freshening up the linens, and the lavender scent is a beautiful natural relaxing scent to help with sleep.
  5. NYX Stick Blush:  I have the Tulip shade, a nice natural pink.  The blush leaves a rosy glow on my cheeks that not only lasts all day, but that I can also have control over the placement.  For lazy makeup days, I just dab a bit on my lips and I’m set 🙂

I hope you enjoy these little bullet points.  It’s been a fun, fresh week, and I’ve got a fun, fresh new look!  I’ll keep finding out if blondes have more fun, but it’s looking like they might 🙂

What’s making your summer sweet?  New foods, a new look?  I can’t wait to hear what it is for you!

Mid-Year Reset

Here we are, smack in the middle of summer.  This is my favourite time of the year by a wide margin, and I am loving the long days, sunshine, and magic that the evenings and midsummer nights bring (just ask Shakespeare).  Today’s post will be short and sweet, and I hope that it helps you as well, since we’re talking about goals and resolutions!  Last week, on Tuesday, I remember glancing at my calendar, and being shocked that half of 2015 is gone by – half!

While I know that time flies when you’re having fun, I must admit that when I looked back at my goals and resolutions for the year, I wasn’t exactly beaming at my progress.  Looking more closely at my goals and resolutions, I noticed a few things that were likely reasons why I wasn’t further along:

  1. Some of my goals were either not realistic, out of my control, or no longer applied.  For example, aiming to have all our pictures hung on our wall and a new paint colour on the walls – except that we have moved into a shorter term rental, where we are expressly asked not to make holes in the walls or change the permanent decorative elements (paint, curtains, etc.).  So while there might be some Command hooks in our future to keep the walls intact, this goal is no longer applicable.
  2. I had too many goals.  I had 21 goals and resolutions, of varying importance and benefit.  While they are all certainly worthwhile goals and possible, I could clearly see a lack of focus.  Happily this is simply fixed by evaluating each one in terms of priorities and the Importance and Urgency scale.
  3. I had no action plan.  This one was the biggest factor.  For example, I had a monthly reading goal.  While I truly love reading, I had no real plan to hit that goal, instead simply picking a book that seemed pertinent, reading it when I can, and then picking another one when I was done.  As a new action plan, I’ve started picking out my books for the month in advance, and seeing how much I need to read daily in order to hit the goal.

So with a fresh goal card, I set to work.  I evaluated which goals were applicable, and which were my top goals to hit.  Then I developed action plans for each of these goals.  I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the progress made within a week of that reset was far more than any week before it.

Have you looked at your goals for 2015 recently?  How have you been doing, and what tips do you have to share on how to stay on track?

5 Things That Are Making My Week

Hello and waving!  I do hope your week is going well!  We are gearing up for a road trip, and are excited about it 🙂 Here we go with this week’s installment, 5 things that are making my week, this week.

  1. My Neutral Dress Sandals:  I bought a pair of cute sandals for the wedding we attended in Mexico.  They’re sort of a nude/beige croc pattern with some metallic detailing and chunky heels, so they would look nice but be at least a bit suited to the beach just in case.  They weren’t very pricey at all, but I’ve been wearing them all the time since we got back!  They’re fun and summery, but also surprisingly comfortable as heels, so they’ve gotten lots of use this week.
  2. My Pink Gym Bag:  A little while back I bought a gym bag (somewhere along the line, grocery store tote bags just weren’t cutting it anymore for my workout stuff).  I wanted it to be cute, and found this adorable hot pink one by Nike.  It’s cute and roomy enough for all of my stuff without being gigantic, since I do take it on the bus and subway.  It’s really been making me smile this week, and just having it out makes me want to go to the gym more, so that’s definitely a plus!
  3. Virtual Fitness Classes:  Speaking of the gym, I made a fun little discovery on Monday evening.  Nick and I were at the gym, and one of my favourite classes, Sh’Bam (a dance cardio class), was scheduled for 9:30 that evening, but in virtual format.  When I went to check it out, there was almost no one else there!  A few ladies were using the studio to work out on their own, but I was the only one there for the class.  It was actually amazing, since I had almost the entire studio to myself to bust out my moves… which is exactly what I did.
  4. French Women Don’t Get Fat:  I’m rereading this old favourite, in an effort to refresh and clean up our diet.  It’s a fun read, and has already filled me with inspiration for fresh, light eating using whole, natural foods and in-season produce for easy, tasty recipes.  I’d highly recommend it for anyone that wants to read about healthy, balanced eating for life in a painless way.
  5. Bronzer:  In the summer, as I move through various shades of tan and pale, that means playing around with various combinations of foundations and bronzers.  One easy unresearched buy was Rimmel London’s Natural Bronzer, which I got in Sun Light.  It is apparently waterproof (though I’ve never tested that feature out), but it is very good.  It’s long-lasting, looks nicely even, and very very natural.  I’ve been trying for a long time to find a bronzer that doesn’t look orangey on me, and that is also matte, since shimmery face powders make me look sweaty.  This one does all of the above at a budget price, and I’m thrilled with it.

A bit of beauty, a bit of fitness, and a bit of fashion, these are what’s made my week just a little bit sweeter this time around.  Have you tried any of these, especially the classes or book?  And how have you been liking this first weekly feature?

How a little gadget made our mornings amazing

Do you ever find yourself having sad breakfasts in the morning rush?  Maybe you love the idea of freshly cooked eggs, smoky bacon, warm bread… but you also love your sleep too much to get up way early to cook it all up.  I know we definitely had that happening, and although grabbing a granola or oatmeal bar, or having a bagel (half a bagel in my case) with some sort of spread is fine, it’s not exactly the happiest way to start off the day. If that sounds familiar, one little gadget that would seem to belong on an infomercial could be the answer.

I am talking about the breakfast sandwich maker.  Yes, a funny looking little contraption that will likely set you back around $25.  After thinking about getting one for weeks, we finally got one!  Here’s the little guy in all his glory 🙂

Now, our mornings have been transformed!  I’m not even exaggerating.  We begin almost every day with the delicious experience that rivals an Egg McMuffin, a Timmy’s Breakfast Sandwich, or a Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich, but at a fraction of the cost, and none of the hassle – right in our own home!  The aroma of hot breakfast is very conducive to smiles, and I’ll show you exactly how we do it.

The night before, I prep our breakfast.  I slice two English muffins, and slice enough cheese for each one.  I sandwich the cheese (and cooked bacon if we’re having it) between the muffin halves, tuck it in a small sandwich bag, and pop it in the fridge.  I also put fresh ground coffee and water in the coffeemaker.

In the mornings comes the fun part (there’s a statement I never thought I’d make). As soon as we get out of bed, we turn on the coffeemaker and plug in the sandwich maker to preheat.  Once it’s warmed up, just lift up the egg plate, pop in the bottom half of the muffin, cheese, and maybe some cooked bacon.  Then lower the egg plate, crack in a fresh egg (scramble it a bit if you’d like), and lightly place the top muffin half on top.  Close the lid, and set a timer for 5 minutes.  Once 5 minutes is up, slide out the egg divider gently, and raise each divider one at a time.  Presto!  A delicious, hot, fresh breakfast sandwich.  By now, our coffee’s also ready, so breakfast is served and fantastic!

Right now we’ve stuck to the classic recipe, but I’m also excited to see what other tasty combinations we can come up with, maybe with some veggies, other types of cheese, biscuits… my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Seriously, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking, but want a great hot breakfast, give these little machines a whirl – you won’t regret it.

How do you make your mornings better?

5 Things That Are Making My Week

Here we are, near the end of another lovely summer week, and at the brink of a sweet weekend.  I hope you’ve been having a good week, lovely weather, and basking in the sunshine and warmth.  Here are a few things that have made my week better.

  1. The sights of downtown:  I find that there are two environments that speak to my heart above all others:  tropical stunning beaches, and big vibrant cities.  I’m a city girl, and draw my energy from the buzz and the lights and the gleaming smooth lines.  This week I’m once again amazed at the beautiful skyline of this great city, and the glittering gems of tall buildings that are found within.
  2. Mineral foundation: Mineral foundation has become my staple this season.  I was very skeptical of how a loose powder could ever be nearly as good as a nice cream or liquid foundation, but I have since changed my tune.  I’ve been using Artistry mineral powder foundation in Medium to work with my tan, and it’s been phenomenal!  Not only is it super-light and even, but the coverage is perfect and there’s no orangey tinge to it.
  3. Homemade breakfast sandwiches:  Ooh this has been a morning game-changer!  And believe me, you’ll be hearing more about this soon 🙂  We’ve started making hot breakfast sandwiches at home, and it’s been a fantastic addition to our mornings.  Instead of a hurried half bagel with cream cheese, or nothing at all for breakfast, one of these protein-filled satisfying sandwiches gets me off to a great start, and ensures lighter choices throughout the day, yum!
  4. Lemon scented sea salt scrub:  Every once in a while, I get really into scrubs, and right now is one of those times.  I have this lemony scented sea salt scrub from Arbonne, and I love that not only does it make my skin feel so silky and smooth, but the oils in it moisturize my whole body so deeply when I’m in the shower, I don’t even need to use body lotion after.  Once I run out, I’ll probably make my own with coarse sea salt, some sort of lightly scented oil, and essential oils for aroma.
  5. Minty lip gloss:  In the summer, I usually lighten up my eye and lip colours, and I’ve been in the mood for a lip gloss that has shine, but not glitter.  This simple clear gloss from Bath & Body Works has become a purse staple for me.  It looks great on its own or over a soft wash of lipstick, and the peppermint oil provides both cooling and mild plumping.  This was actually a winter beauty purchase, since it tastes like a candy cane, but it’s proven to be quite the perfect little item for summer as well 🙂

Interesting, it looks like this week I’ve been really into beauty and pampering!  I guess we all have those times when we want to put in just a little extra effort into our looks, and I know it always helps me feel better in my own skin.  I hope you’ve had a beautiful week thus far, and that you have a lovely weekend as well!

Coconut Oil Chocolates

Coconut oil is definitely having a moment right now.  It’s being touted as a superfood due to its amazing qualities, being naturally antifungal, antibacterial, great for digestion, a fantastic cooking oil, an amazingly versatile beauty product, and of course, delicious.  I like using the extra virgin organic coconut oil for maximum benefits.

When I was on the HCG diet, I found a great recipe for Phase 3-friendly coconut oil chocolate.  That one used stevia to sweeten it, but I loved it!  I also found a recipe using honey, which I love.

I really like this recipe because not only is it ridiculously simple and foolproof, but it yields a delicious fudgy chocolate that is all natural, whole, real food, and its rich taste means that only a little square can kill any chocolate craving with a fraction of the calories, but is amazingly satisfying!  A quick suggestion would be to use refined coconut oil if you don’t really like the taste of coconut, because it is still noticeable.

Recipe

  1. Mix the following in a microwave-safe bowl – ½ cup coconut oil, ½ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup sweetener of choice (here I used raw sugar), and any extras you want to add in (shredded coconut, nuts, etc. – I used chopped pecans here)
  2. Microwave if needed to soften the coconut oil, and simply mix until smooth
  3. Pour mixture into a dish or mold (ice cube trays would be great for portion control)
  4. Refrigerate until firm, I just leave it in overnight
  5. Cut up if needed, and enjoy!

Now you can easily enjoy all-natural chocolate, without fear of excessive sugars or chemically-laden ingredients!

Has anyone else tried this?  Or tried using coconut oil in general, let me know in the comments, I’d love to discuss!