Sunday, March 29, 2015

Snapshots ~ Highlights from the past week.

It's a rainy Spring day and I am feeling quite lazy...
so I'm writing a blog post instead of going for my usual walk.
I've got a pot of chili simmering on the stove and a pot of Lapsang Souchon tea brewing...

There have been so many opportunities to capture beauty this past week...
maybe my eyes have been "more open" or possibly I have been "tuned into my surroundings."

Walking with eyes open wide...scanning the scenery looking for something worthy of a picture...

I took quite a few pictures this past week of things I have seen on my walks.
If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a few of these pictures.

There's a lot of varied textures coming together in this image...
the ornate shell, the gritty concrete wall, the calm sea.

All of the photos taken on my walks are captured with my IPhone.

 Driftwood structures are fun to make as a shelter from the sun and the wind.
I like to think of them as "Log Homes." 

Hardy mosses growing in the crevices of the rocks along the seafront...
they thrive despite the salt air and brisk winds.
Nature is so resilient and adaptive.

We enjoyed a delicious brunch at Zambri's earlier...

The food at Zambri's is always fabulous...
Our son and DIL arrived at the restaurant in a newer BMW, which they recently purchased in preparation for the birth of their third child which is due in August.
 It was fun getting together and I just want to say we got some big hugs and cuddles from the two wee ones...
who by the way made our day extra special and who were on their very best behaviour.

Brunch frittata and salad...

The Paris Architect was a great book...
written by an architect it is set during the second world war in Paris.
It was so well written that I didn't want it to end.

A pretty pink rhododendron from the Garden Centre.

Mr. HB wants a green house for our Humble Bungalow Garden.
He was checking out the various models that they sell...
and I do not mean these "models!"

I should have taken note of the artist of this wonderful sculpture.
It's quite beautiful...

Chester decided to take a nap in the sink...
 we had a dinner party and I had cleaned up the dishes
 popped the linens into the washer 
 it was very late and
all I wanted to do was to wash my face and get to bed!

I did a bit of shopping this week...
Dressing room shot of a pretty coral blouse which I didn't buy...

Tahari blouse which I thought was silk, but turned out to be polyester...
the price was too high for a polyester blouse even though the style was nice.
I bought socks which I did need.

I made and delivered David Lebovitz's Coq au Vin recipe for my friend L and her family.
The recipe is from his Paris Kitchen cookbook and wow it was tasty!

It's been a busy week!
How about you what have you been doing?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Food for Thought...weighing in on mid life weight gain.

Spring has arrived and I am struggling trying to shed a few pounds.
They are proving to be rather stubborn despite the walking.
Is it a sluggish metabolism or the hypothyroid condition that I have?
Whatever it is I am getting frustrated!

The Weight Watchers Regime advocates keeping I'm writing down the WW point count of everything I eat and drink.

I am not too hungry at breakfast time so I usually eat lightly...some fresh fruit and yogurt.
But I am usually really hungry by lunchtime...

Keeping busy with chores, actioning domestics, walking, running errands doing the things we women do can really give you an appetite.

Something that fills me up, satisfies and sustains me until my tea and a small mid afternoon snack is what I need.

Wraps are the stars in my book...they are fast, easy and versatile.

Hummus, red cabbage and pea shoots on a corn and wheat wrap.
High fibre goodness that sates and satisfies.
You could use a scrambled egg, a modest serving of lean meat or poultry, 
a bunch of cooked, raw or roasted veggies 
whatever you have on hand.
Think healthy and use salsa or hummus.
 Avoid the creamy dressings which will quickly add fat and sabotage your eating regime. 

A piece of fruit for "dessert."

Loaded with flavour and simply it's a low point count lunch.
Weight Watchers and Hostess Approved!

I'm waging war on these persnickety pounds!

It won't be long before the weather warms up enough so that we can sit outside and dine al fresco.

How are you handling mid life weight gain and a slower metabolism?
Tish Jett the writer of one of my favourite blogs wrote about it in a recent post.

I think Candace Bergen is lovely and it is her right to choose how she eats and if she is comfortable in her own skin I say Bravo!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thoughts on Personal Taste....Questions to Ask Yourself ~ Starring You.

In this series "Starring You" let's take a look at accessories...
they offer the best and most affordable option to add that authentic and personal touch.

Consider for example that you and another person are both wearing the same outfits...
Let's use a white top and a pair of black trousers as an example.

You are both unique.
Unless you are identical twins, of course you'll look different.
So right off the bat ~ you are "YOU."
YOU may want to further personalize your individual look by adding accessories....
YOU may not...
and the good news is that it's up to YOU.

Tilda Swinton is a prime example of someone who is a minimalist when it comes to accessorizing and yet she makes a very bold impression...
she gets noticed for her personal style even when she is modeling designer clothing.
We "see" Tilda, not just the clothes.

So how do YOU add flair that is honest and authentic?
Are YOU in tune to what YOU want to add to make the outfit "YOURS?"
If might be asking yourself why not.
Where to start?

What do I need to know about myself and how do I go about excavating my personal taste and unique look?

Something to think about before you embark on the journey of exploration.
 Consider your lifestyle and personality and how they impact they way that you dress?
Do you want to make a BOLD style statement or are you comfortable BLENDING in?

"Elegance is not standing out, but being remembered." 
~ Giorgio Armani ~

The "Real You" is in just need to explore and investigate.
This part should be fun.
It took me quite some time to go through the discovery process...
I visited thrift shops, galleries, markets, read magazines, blogs and books before feeling confident about my choices.
I love Hermes silk scarves, vintage jewelry and pearls.

Your choices will be completely different from mine but that is the whole point of the exercise.

There are so many wonderful ways to put your personal touch on an outfit.
Ebay and Etsy offer a huge range of items...

Carve out a day just for yourself
take time to savour and wander through the shops.
Ethnic, thrift, and antique shops are a great source of unique and beautiful pieces.
Don't rush or you might miss something...
it takes time to discover what makes your heart beat a little faster.

You may already have an inherited stash of family jewels and if so, lucky you!
There may be a paste brooch from the 1930's or a stunningly beautiful necklace that you can adopt as your signature piece...

Sherman brooches are popular here, are of good quality, and beautifully designed.
 Sherman jewelry has increased in value and is highly sought after by collectors.
The local antique mall Vanity Fair has quite a few Sherman pieces for sale.

If you are passionate about designer goods you'll definitely need a larger budget.
If your budget is smaller your work will take longer.
Think of the process as an adventure.

 You may never snag that coveted piece but you might be surprised at what you discover along the way.
Consignment shops, estate sales and ebay will most likely be your best bet.

I tried on a gorgeous tweed wool Chanel jacket with champagne hued silk lining
 in a consignment shop several years ago
the price was a bit high but within my budget 
but sadly it was too snug...
(it would fit me now)
It might sound silly but I have regretted not purchasing it.
I can imagine myself wearing it with a simple white tee and dark wash jeans!

You may want to start your journey of personal discovery with a signature scent.
Meander through the department stores and try on some perfume.
Ask for samples to take home and wear them awhile to see how they react with your chemistry.
It's a great money saver testing them out before investing in the full sized bottle.

"A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. 
We all need a splash of bad taste—it's hearty, it's healthy, it's physical. 
I think we could use more of it. 
No taste is what I'm against." 
Diana Vreeland ~

It's all about YOU!
Excavating your personal style should be fun...
it will evolve over the years as you age and your lifestyle changes.

It's important to remember to have fun on the journey...
and getting to know yourself better can be a real eye opener.

Is a great read and a wonderful resource on the road to self awareness.

“The way you reach that awareness is through an inner journey that brings about an emotional, psychological, and spiritual transformation. A deep inner shift in your reality occurs, aligning you with the creative energy of the Universe. Such change is possible when you invite Spirit to open up the eyes of your awareness to the abundance that is already yours.”

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach ~

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Victoria Orchid Show Pictures of the more exotic specimens...

The Victoria Orchid Show and Sale was held earlier this month and I volunteered at the admissions table on the first day. It was super busy and after seeing the beautiful displays you'll know why so many people stopped by to admire these unique and unusual plants.

The pictures speak for themselves so have a wee gander...

There were many varieties of orchids on sale 
 many require specific conditions...
a controlled environment, heat, moisture, fans...
 a green house !

I opted to purchase a yellow Paphiopedilum, the one most commonly sold at the florist and many grocery stores.
Also known as the windowsill orchid.

Curiously orchids are one plant that my mischievous cats will not eat!

So they do not need to survive under the cloche! 
Two recent finds are these Ojibwa Tamarack ducks...
I planned on selling them in my case at Vanity Fair Antique Mall but they are so endearing I might just have to leave them here on the dining room table.

I am working on another in the Starring You series on accessories and should have it ready to post soon.
Hope you've had a great weekend and that you are energized for the week to come.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shopping ~ Bling with Black...starring YOU!

The second installment in my series of wardrobe thoughts...

"Starring YOU."

Darling daughter and I went out for dinner at Rebar before embarking on a wee bit of retail therapy.

I recommend the fish tacos as they were so fresh and delicious,
 but the portions were too big for us.
We could only eat half...
next time we will order one order and split a small salad.

Darling daughter lives downtown so we took the leftovers to her condo and her boyfriend was happy to have a ready made dinner!
Then we hit the shops...

I have been shopping with an eye to Paris and the 3 weeks in a small Carry On.
Black is the core colour and there are going to be very few items so they ALL MUST work with each other.

Hose to wear with my LBD...and I did not want to go with nude or plain black.
I think hose can be a great accessory and make a statement without screaming too loud!

Target is closing here in Canada which makes me feel sad as I quite like their selection of lingerie...
I am told that Paris has lingerie shops on almost every corner...kind of like we have Starbucks.

Anne Klein silk and rayon lightweight cardigan in cream with black OOOO"S!
Brand new without tag ~ thrifted.
Will easily slip over a jersey tank or tee and can be worn over an LBD.

Striped lightweight jersey tunic top by Bianca Nygaard.
Great with skinny jeans or capri leggings which I am packing to wear in the south of France.

Super comfy black Clarks walking shoes to navigate the Parisian cobblestones...

I was on the hunt for a smallish cosmetic bag and looked high and low.
The Sportsacs were either too big or too small.
The leather Marc Jacobs was too small lengthwise and at $40 I thought a bit pricey...
as you may recall
I am saving Euros for Paris shopping!

The criteria was that it had to be long enough not to squish my Aveda blush brush.

Lilly Pulitzer for Estee Lauder cosmetic pouch ~ Thrifted.
Bright, cheap and cheerful.
Jane Iredale mascara...a luxe mascara.
I love the full brush and the formula PLUS it has a 12 month shelf life.
 I was wasting mascara having to throw partly used tubes away every 3 months.

The brush will fit inside easily with all my other cosmetics...
of which there are only a few pieces.
Mineral make up and a brush.
Eye shadow and a brush.
Eyelash curler.
Brow brush.

I bought a pair of Compression socks to wear on the plane.
 Tish Jett wrote in a recent post that French doctors and pharmacists recommend them.
She's been blogging about packing for Paris and she knows what she is talking about as she lives in France.

Bring on the BLING...

I tried on this bracelet for fun.
It was pretty but I don't think I'd wear it very often...
it is not a reflection of my "authentic self."
I would feel a bit like I was "dressing up for a costume party."
I am not suggesting that this bracelet is in bad is just not "my style."
But every so often I do like to dress up in something sparkly...
New Years Eve or at Christmas.
There are a few pieces in my closet that are kept specifically for this reason.

Darling daughter gave me a gift.
It's the sequined top which I am wearing with my black skinny jeans.
I had to stretch my arms way out to take this picture because we have no large mirror in our Humble Bungalow that is well lit enough to take decent pictures.
(I must try and rectify that sometime)
She found it at a thrift shop and it is vintage beaded wool top.
Woodwards label is intact and the piece is in pristine condition.

Look at the exquisite floral detail.
(Faux Fuchsia would approve...she luffs her sequins!)
It is surprisingly heavy and I plan to fold it carefully in tissue and store it in a drawer.
I am already thinking about what I'll wear it with...besides jeans.
It might be fun to pair it with my black skirt or dressy black pants and wear it out to dinner.

I'm wearing a stack of bangles too...
having fun blogging in a party worthy outfit while sipping tea as the washer and dryer are going through their paces on a very busy domestic day.
I must get changed and get on with my day.
I have a bazillion things on my do list and they won't get done by themselves.

I think "Fashion should be fun."
If it isn't why bother?

 I took Mother to see The Next Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and she loved it...
an all star cast and the acting is marvelous.

If you have any thoughts on sequins or bling or basic black wardrobes please leave a comment.
I am not the only one who thinks about what the clothes we wear say to the world.
Check out blogs online and you'll find thousands of women are talking...
Many of the fashion and style blogs that I have read are young women.
So IS anyone bothering to look at us older gals now that we are "Invisible Women?"

Should we care?
I don't mind being invisible at all.
I find it a quite comfortable prospect...
how about you?