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Sunday, 6 October 2019

Life Update: Suddenly Single and Life After Separation

This week's Weekly Roundup is more of a Life Update.  It's unusual for me to lift the curtain on my private life as whatever gets published on the Internet tends to live on forever.  But for the sake of authenticity, I do want to allow a bit of a sneak peak at what has been going on behind the scenes at LBH just to provide a bit of context.  This year has been tumultuous and stressful, even more so than last year.  Without warning, I became a Singleton again.  I didn't have much choice really as I discovered that my long term partner had been having a long term affair.  One plans for retirement, for a holiday and for buying a new car or appliance but never for a separation.  I ended up picking up extra hours at work wherever I could and for long stretches of time I was working 12 hour days.  Unfortunately, I couldn't keep that up anymore.  Years of being in a toxic relationship had taken its toll on my heart (really and truly!!).  I am so thankful that I live in a country that has public health care.  But now a lot of time gets taken up with visits to the doctor and the cardiology clinic.  On top of all that, after 2 years of negotiating, my workplace finally unionized!  The down side to that is that we had to wait over a month to get even a partial payment of wages while management came to grips with such novel concepts as direct deposit and biweekly pay.  I'll leave my thoughts on that for another post. What this meant was a tightening of the belt.  In the spirit of WWII's philosophy of Make Do and Mend,  anything that needed repair was mended instead of rushing out and buying a replacement.  The strap had ripped off one of my favourite tote bags so I took it to a local tailor to have it sewn on again.

Tintin and Snowy get to live again!  You can make out the extra stitches on the upper left side.  I love that my tote bag gets an extra lease on life and I am supporting a local small business.
I have always liked strolling the aisles of Dollarama (Canada's version of The Dollar Store).  You just never know what sort of deals may be lurking on the shelves.  While I was waiting to get paid, trips to Dollarama  pretty much became the order of the day.  I was very pleased to find Canadian healthy pet treats there.

Any pet owner will tell you that healthy, natural pet treats and food normally come at a premium price.  This pack of freeze dried chicken was only $2.50.  Now if only I can break the furkids' addiction to the junky stuff...
I was thrilled to find a couple bottles of my favourite hypoallergenic shampoo (which I have written about here).

Live Clean hair products go for over $9.00 at the drug store but it was only $4.00 at Dollarama.
I have to take my hat off to anyone who is able to maintain a heart healthy diet and live on a tight budget at the same time.  Recipes and tips would be greatly appreciated!
In the future, I hope to keep you updated on everything I have learned in terms of financial recovery, adjusting to life as a Singleton and reconnecting with myself after living for years in negativity and chaos.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

The Weekly Roundup: Cole Haan Boots

I have been inspecting my Autumn/Winter Capsule Wardrobe and have known for some time that there were a number of gaps, namely a comfy but stylish pair of flat heeled ankle boots.  I love me a sexy pair of boots.  Is there any sound more tantalizing that the heel strike coming off a pair of killer boots?  The problem is that I am on my feet for hours every day and even the chunky stacked heels on my beloved J Crew ankle boots begin to feel uncomfortable at the 4 hour mark.  I was gutted when I came across Cole Haan's Harrington Slouch Boots last Winter only to find that they were completely sold out online.  When Cole Haan brought them back this Autumn, I didn't bother waiting for a sale but ripped off to the nearest Cole Haan store.

These ankle boots are Cole Haan's interpretation of the 80's slouch boot.  I loathe 80's fashion.  I am sure that to a millenial, 80's fashion is new and exciting but for me, it is a case of "been there, done that, don't need to do it again."  BUT, and this is a big but, I absolutely adore these boots.  They are that perfect blend of 80's redux with a modern twist. The ruching around the ankle means there is a lot of give so there is no painful breaking in of stiff leather. I love the fact that there are 2 zippers (!!), one on either side of the ankle.

The goldtone hardware adds subtle glamour.  The flat heel means I can wear them all day and don't have to worry about sore feet.  Amazingly, they were comfortable straight out of the box.  I was surprised that dustbags weren't included.  I was told that Cole Haan got rid of dustbags as a cost cutting measure.  Considering that Cole Haan footware isn't dirt cheap, I was a tad disappointed.  Over all though, I am in love with my new ankle boots.  The 80's never looked so good.

Monday, 16 September 2019

August Monthly Favourites New Kitchen Faucet, Bareminerals Complexion Rescue, Ask For Task

August is done and dusted, school is back in session and Fall is here.  This Summer was emotionally and physically hard on me.  I thought 2018 was tough but 2019 has been a year of upheaval.    In order to shake off the glooms, I finally had the leaking kitchen faucet replaced.  After much searching, I ordered this beauty off Amazon:

Long time readers of this blog will know that I did a number of minor renos several years ago.  At the time, they were done under the advisement of a real estate agent.  Many of those renos have had to be replaced or redone as they did not stand the test of time.  The kitchen faucet was one of those renos.  I found that the curve of the faucet was too low and it sprouted multiple leaks.  I really wanted an industrial type faucet with a high arc.  After experiencing sticker shock at the big box hardware stores, I ordered the above faucet from good old Amazon.  The price was at least 50% lower than what I was seeing at the hardware store.  I love the fact that there are not one but 2 faucets which is handy if, like me, you have a double sink.  Each faucet has an on/off lever at the nozzle as well as one at the base.  Be warned, it is extremely powerful.  I think the brushed nickel finish and the industrial vibe works well with the industrial light fixture that I chose for the kitchen (which I wrote about here).  I booked a tasker off Ask for Task to install it for me.  I love Ask for Task.  No more stressing over trying to find a contractor to do repair work.  Booking a tasker is so easy and straightforward that I had to include it as a Monthly Favourite.  I can't even begin to describe the thrill of having a functional kitchen faucet again.  No more having to go to the bathroom to get water and no more emptying out a bucket under the sink!
Next up is Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Cream.

I usually get freckles and sunspots over the Summer but this CC cream with SPF 30 really helped to safeguard my face from UV damage.  I noticed that I didn't freckle up as much as I would have without any UV protection.  Of course, a CC cream will not offer as much protection as a stand alone dedicated sun protection cream but I love the fact that my makeup has a built in SPF which makes my morning makeup routine easy and efficient.  I know I have written about this product before but this really is a holy grail item for me that I have repurchased more than once.
With Fall sneaking its way in, I have been assessing my Fall/Winter capsule wardrobe.  There are some gaps that need filling.  I am looking forward to telling you about them!  I have had a capsule wardrobe for a while.  Do you have one?  Let me know if you have any suggestions for having a streamlined and edited wardrobe.

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Weekly Roundup: Michael Kors Crossbody Bag and H & M Makeup Haul

Can you believe that the Labour Day long weekend is approaching?  Where did the Summer go?  The city is amok with students and their helicopter parents.  This Summer has been a roller coaster whirlwind for me with a lot of personal highs and lows.  Hopefully more peaceful days are ahead.  I just had some family members come in to town for a visit.  They were so kind as to give me my first Michael Kors bag.

I love the neutral tan that can transition effortlessly from Summer to Fall.  It is a very convenient crossbody with a strap that is a mix of gold chain and leather.
There aren't that many big summer sales left but I did score a nice H & M makeup haul.  It is H & M so their prices are already easy on the wallet but the sale prices will you have scooping up makeup by the handful.

I have always wanted to try invisible powder so one of these came home with me.  To date, I have been sceptical about invisible powder being truly invisible.  However, I can attest that applied with a light deft hand, you will not end up looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost.  I think I must have bought five tubes of the concealer.  I use it daily but there is only a tiny 2.2 ml in there which gets used up very, very quickly.  The $9.99 regular price may seem affordable but if you are having to replace it every couple of weeks, the cost can quickly mount.  However, at the sale price of $2.99, it gets the green light from me.

I am always on the hunt for pretty gifts that I can stockpile to give away.  This makeup palette has a great mix of matte and glittery shades that are perfect for Fall.  I haven't used a powder compact foundation in years but wanted to try out H & M's version ($5.99 on sale).  The gel nail polish in Bordeaux is a great Fall colour ($2.99 on sale).  
Can you believe that the next Weekly Roundup will be in September?

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Personalizing Your Home With A Custom Canvas Print: Canvas Factory Review and Giveaway

In 2018, I lost my beloved furbaby, Peter.  His birthday is in August and if he had lived, he would be turning 13.  I really wanted to find some way to commemorate him so when Canvas Factory reached out to me, I was thrilled.  Canvas Factory is an online site where you can upload a favourite photo and have it transformed into a canvas print, ready to hang up in your home.  I took my time sifting through countless photos of Peter to choose the one that really captured the essence of his personality.  After I had made my choice, I went to Canvas Factory’s website.  Their website is incredibly user friendly and walks you through each step of creating your own custom canvas print.
  1. Size – You can choose your dimensions from a wide variety of shapes and sizes. I selected a 50 cm x 40 cm (20″ x 16″) print.
  2. Select Photo – I uploaded the photo I wanted to use to their site. I was able to adjust the photo to have the image where I wanted it on the canvas.
  3. Wrap Style – You can choose how the edge of the canvas border will look. You can have the image wrap around the edge of the border (Gallery Wrap), mirror the image (Mirror Wrap), or choose a colour that complements the image on the edges (Colour Wrap). I chose white on the edges as the main background colour of my photo is white.
  4. Effect – You are able to change the look of the image for your print. You also have the option to add text to make your print extra special. I chose not to add text as Peter is lying on a book with its spine facing outwards.  I felt that any more text would have made the print look too busy.
  5. Checkout – I made arrangements to have my canvas print shipped to my door. I also received my invoice via email that notified me that my canvas had been produced and had been shipped.  I received a final email to tell me that the print had been delivered.  Yay!
  6. Delivery- This took approximately 10 business days from the time I placed my order.

As I was waiting for my print to arrive, I was filled with excitement and oddly, trepidation.  Peter was a huge part of my life for years and his passing left an indescribable void of pain and loss.  I wanted to celebrate his life in a meaningful way.   I need not have worried.  The parcel arrived securely packaged in a sturdy cardboard box.  When I pulled out the print, I saw that it was shrink wrapped in plastic with cardboard corners.

I cannot describe the rush of happiness I felt, gazing upon my canvas print.  The quality is excellent.  I was worried that the photo would look grainy and out of focus when enlarged but the fine details of the photo are still present.  The texture of the canvas actually gives his fur a very lifelike quality.

I hung the print above a dresser that sits in a corner of my bedroom.  Now, every morning Peter's handsome face greets me as I get ready to start my day.
Having a photo that is special to you transformed into a canvas print is a wonderful way to add art to your home that is significant and personal.

Whether it is to capture a special event like a wedding or graduation, remember a significant time in your life or just to express your artistic talents, hanging up a canvas print is a marvelous way to personalize your home.

And now for the Giveaway!  Canvas Factory has generously offered a custom canvas print to a L’Heure Bleue At Home reader.  The winner of the giveaway will be given a special code so that they can redeem a 50 cm x 40 cm (20″ x 16″) print OR a 45 cm x 30 cm (18″ x 12″) print.
Make sure you are a subscriber and leave a comment telling me where in your home you would hang your Canvas Factory print.
The giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents and ends at 11:59 EDT on August 19, 2019.  Good luck!
Rules: Open to Canadian and US residents 18 +. You have 48 hours to reply by email once you are notified as the winner. If you don’t, we will draw another entry. Void where prohibited by law. Prize is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent of prizes is permitted.  L’Heure Bleue At Home is not responsible for prize fulfillment and for the delivery/shipment of the prize(s) mentioned above.  One entry per person.  GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Christopher M was the winner in the Giveaway.  Keep reading for more fantastic Giveaways in the near future!
This is a sponsored post.
Linking up with DIY by Design and Between Naps on the Porch.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

July Monthly Favourites Kate Spade and Sodastream

Now that Summer is at its sweltering height, I am obsessed with cold drinks.  I received a Sodastream for Christmas.  At the time, I was slightly less than enchanted.  My first thought was "Oh no, another appliance!" I have done a complete 180 and I am obsessed with it.  There is nothing better than a cold fizzy drink in Summer.  What is even better is knowing that I don't have to keep running to the grocery stores because I have an endless supply at home.  As it was a gift, I don't know where it was purchased from but I know Bed Bath and Beyond has them.

We used to buy multiple bottles of fizzy water every week and switching to a Sodastream has saved us a significant amount.  As well, it helps the environment as well as we don't have to worry about recycling all those empty bottles.  You can buy all sorts of syrups to flavour the water but I prefer it plain.  I think I may have to buy a couple more spare bottles as I go through the single bottle that comes with the Sodastream quite quickly.
Next up is my gorgeous Kate Spade crossbody bag.  It was a gift from family.  I had requested a crossbody bag as my shoulders were not taking kindly to having a heavy weight constantly dangling off one side. I was beginning to list to one side like a drunken sailor. However, I wanted one that looked stylish as many crossbody bags tend to have a more casual vibe.  First of all, the packaging that it came in was so pretty.  It was ordered from the Kate Spade website and delivered to Canada.  Delivery time was approximately 2 weeks.

The tissue paper features the "spade" symbol in a repeating four leaf clover design.

I love my bag.  It isn't overly large which keeps me from overstuffing it.  I keep the essentials in it like my wallet and phone. There is one inner zipped side pocket.  The adjustable strap is excellent quality. Oftentimes, the crossbody strap that comes with a bag is just an afterthought but this one has pretty, matching goldtone hardware and the strap itself is made of sturdy woven nylon.

I was surprised that it didn't come with a dustbag as my Kate Spade satchel came with one.  Maybe nylon Kate Spade bags don't come with one?  Anyway, I love it.  It feels so comfortable to wear but still looks very stylish.

Do you have a Sodastream (or something equivalent)?  Have you tried any of the flavouring syrups?  If yes, which one is your favourite?
Make sure you are subscribed and keep your eyes on this space as there is an AMAZING GIVEAWAY coming up soon!
This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Weekly Roundup: Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders Haul

My personal life has taken a battering recently.  To cheer me up, my stepmother and father sent me the most lovely care package from Harney & Sons.  First of all, let me just say that the delivery was lightning fast. They have sent me care packages from Harney & Sons before (which I wrote about here) but delivery time for this one set a record.  I think it arrived the next day which is bonkers considering my parents live in Las Vegas and I am in Toronto, Canada.

What you see in the photo is just the top layer of goodies.   My parents must think I am losing my mind (which wouldn't be too far from the truth, let's be honest)  as the box was massive and filled to the brim.  Harney & Sons has an incredibly comprehensive selection of teas.  My stepmother adores this tea company and with good reason.  The "silken" tea sachets are of fine nylon.  Just putting these wonderful sachets into a cup or teapot is an uplifting experience.  Right now I am obsessing over the Japanese Sencha as I love to have a cup of this delicate green tea before my morning meditation practice.

Harney & Sons also carry a selection of delicious treats, perfect to have along with a cuppa.  Pictured above are Raspberry Jam Drop cookies from Unna Bakery.  I was also sent Tate's Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies which are the best store bought chocolate chip cookies I have ever had, period.  I can't wait to try the Matcha Tea Shortbread cookies.

Of course, what would life be without Earl Grey tea and its heady scent of bergamot?  What I love is that if I am curious about a tea, I can get a small sampler size to see if I like it.  The round tin above contains 5 sachets.
I have turned my friends and my sister on to Harney & Sons and now they are fans as well.  I think they have a sale on right now so this is a good time to stock up.
Are you a tea connoisseur?  Do you have a favourite tea?

I will be hosting an AMAZING GIVEAWAY soon!  Make sure you are subscribed so that you can enter as soon as it goes live.
This is not a sponsored post.
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