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Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of my faithful readers!  I hope 2017 brings you and your family all that your heart desires.

Scrambling to get the tree up on Christmas Eve.  Here is Monsieur giving it a good watering whilst wearing his Santa slippers.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

LBH Christmas Gift Guide for Men 2016

Whoa, is Christmas just around the corner already?  Even though I have been diligent all year in decluttering my home, I don't try and force a spartan mindset on friends and family during the Holiday Season.  If not at Christmas, what other time can one relax a wee bit and ooh and aah over lovely things?   I put together a little Gift Guide for Men because, let's face it, men are hard to shop for.  At least, I find them hard to shop for especially when considering something other than the standard fare of shirt, tie and socks.  I asked Monsieur for his input but he said that he was drawing a blank. Hah! It is a very edited and curated list with a decidedly Canadian slant, just to kickstart your imagination!
First up is a gift set from Acqua Di Parma.  Holiday Season is usually the time when fragrance houses bring out their gift sets.  While pricey, they can be a better deal than buying everything separately.  Monsieur loves Acqua Di Parma.  I got him Acqua Di Parma Colonia Essenza for his birthday which was just in November so this set won't be sitting under the tree for him.  This set is $152.00 CDN at Saks.

via saksfifthavenue.com

For those frosty Canadian winters, there is nothing more cozy than a pair of Garneau sheepskin slippers.  Best yet, they are a Canadian company.  All of their slippers are made by hand in Quebec and come in a large range of colours and styles.  The mules are $95 CDN.  Monsieur's parents got him a pair of moccasins for his birthday so he and I can attest that they are sublimely soft and comfy.
via garneauslippers.com

Speaking of eminently Canadian, of course I have to mention the iconic Hudson's Bay Point Blanket.  It comes in a variety of colourways in case the traditional red, yellow, green and black stripe is a bit too log cabin-ish for your suburban man.  

via thebay.com
The Millenium Point Blanket, from $325.00 to $550 CDN is in a tasteful neutral colourway of taupe and brown and would not look out of place in a downtown condo.
If that special man in your life is a foodie, then an apron from The Blunt Roll is just the ticket.

via thebluntroll.com

The Blunt Roll is a local Toronto-based shop that specializes in aprons made of denim and leather.  The aprons can be rolled and double as a knife roll, hence the name.  The original apron, pictured above is $170.00 CDN. Hurrah for supporting local, small businesses!
Lately, I have been seeing a lot of university students walking around in Moose Knuckles coats and jackets.  They are a Canadian company that seems to have taken over the winter outerwear scene.

via mooseknucklescanada.com

This parka is the Yellowknife Parka $895.00 CDN.  Well, I guess if it's good enough for the Millenials, it's good enough for Monsieur.
Oh my, my brain is whirling now!  Time to start making lists.  Do you find men hard to shop for?  Any suggestions?  Please let me know!

This is not a sponsored post.  There are no affiliate links although such links may be added in the future.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

LBH November Favourites: Kate Spade Tasha Tote Bag

It is time for another Monthly Favourites!  I have only one favourite to highlight this month for reasons I will explain in a bit.  My father gave me my Christmas present early.  It is a Kate Spade tote bag.  I believe the style is called "Tasha Foster Court" in aubergine and rose.

It was a complete surprise.  I love the contrasting lighter interior as it means that I am not madly scrambling for my keys in the gloomy depths.  The deep plummy colour has got me thinking that this could be one of my favourite colours for a winter wardrobe as it is a dark colour that has warmth to it without the starkness of black or the boldness of red.  I must say I adore gifts that are gorgeous, practical and much needed.  Where I live, there are quite a few grocery stores that charge 5 cents per bag as a way to encourage customers to bring their own tote bags.  I have gotten into the habit of bringing a tote bag everywhere I go.  However, I found that my previous one was now too big and cumbersome as I injured the rotator cuff in my right shoulder recently.  And then, because my left shoulder was taking the brunt of the work that my right shoulder used to do (I am righthanded), the left rotator cuff conked out as well.  Shampooing and doing my hair became hard for me.  Putting away the dishes and getting dressed became agonizingly tough.  Most days are spent in a fog as I usually spend the nights tossing and turning in pain.  And yes, typing away on my laptop is arduous and painful.  My doctor says that it could take up to a year to heal.  A year!  If I think too much about it, I will just become overwhelmed.  I have been taking magnesium supplements because I heard it was good for the bones but if you have any suggestions on other vitamin or mineral supplements that would be good for the ligaments and bones, please let me know!

This week I am linking up with Share Your Cup.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Friday, 18 November 2016

LBH Weekly Roundup: Beauty And Skincare Christmas Holiday Ornaments 2016

Time for another Weekly Roundup!  I know it is only November but, if you have a European background as Monsieur does, or if you are an eternal child at heart and can't wait to get the Christmas tree up (as Monsieur is), then you might be preparing for Advent already.  An unusual way to decorate your tree or add some unexpected thrills to your homemade Advent Calendars are these mini sized beauty treats packaged as holiday ornaments.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Ornament via Sephora.ca
This one from L'Occitane for $15.00 comes in a gorgeous red and gold ball.  

The Nars holiday ornament contains his signature Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer for $30.00.

Nars Blusher Bronzer Duo Ornament via Sephora.ca

All the ornaments are limited edition.  I have noticed that the brands tend to pick their bestsellers or the product that they are most known for as their holiday ornament.  It is a great way to try out the product without having to buy the full size version.
Formula X Nail Polish Ornament via Sephora.ca
Gorgeous gold glitter nail polish from Formula X for $8.50.  

Lovely selection of lip treatments from Fresh for $36.00.

Fresh Sugar Lip Small Wonders Ornament via Sephora.ca

Philosophy have made an ornament out of their famous Hope In A Jar, $22.00.

Philosophy Hope In A Jar Ornament via Sephora.ca

All products and prices are via Sephora.ca.  Imagine sprinkling these ornaments around your tree and then letting your guests pick one to take home with them!  

This is not a sponsored post.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

LBH Eyes On Design: Butler Pantries

A friend of mine is building his dream house.  It will, of course, have a showstopping kitchen.  I underscore "showstopping" as the kitchen will be "for show."  There will be a secret, second kitchen tucked behind the "show kitchen" where the real cooking and all the messiness that that entails will take place.  I am doubtful that this concept of an enfilade of kitchens will ever become a trend (or will it?) but I have noticed the advent of "butler's pantries" infiltrating the home design world.  It seems it is not enough now to have a walk-in pantry for storing all of one's sundry foodstuffs.  The walk-in pantry, once a must have for a family home, has been superseded by a pantry that has a sink, a second dishwasher, possibly an oven and other appliances where one's butler, should one be so lucky to have one, can do all manner of kitchen related menial tasks in privacy.  In this recently renovated condominium, you can see the butler's pantry tucked away to the right of the kitchen.

Image Source: Channel Nine
Pantries aren't just for extra storage anymore!

Image Source:  Channel Nine

This one has an espresso machine and another sink.

I am not sure what to make of this trend.  On the one hand, I am swooning at the thought of all of that extra storage and the ability to tuck away any bulky, unsightly appliances that might not get a lot of daily use.  On the other hand, in this era of open plan living where cooking has entered the arena  of entertainment and has become a commonplace component of socializing, hiding away somewhere to do the prep work seems contradictory.   What do you think?  Yea or nay?

Thursday, 3 November 2016

LBH October Favourites: Portable Radiators and Vintage Flatware

Time for another Monthly Favourites!  I am not sure if it is the effect of spending my childhood in a much more temperate climate but I really don't like a chilly home.  Monsieur, on the other hand, would have all the windows wide open and the air conditioning blasting even in the depths of December.  Enter the portable radiator.

via canadiantire.ca

Personally, I think that radiators are a much more efficient and cost effective method of warming a home than forced central air.  Even if you do have central air heating, a portable radiator is a great way to warm up a drafty room or a chilly spot.  And if safety is a concern, you can get ones that are programmable so that the temperature can be set and it will automatically turn off after a period of time.  I have tried fan heaters but they are just too much of an assault on the ears especially when sleeping.  The radiant portable heater spreading its cheerful toastiness throughout a designated room is my friend and constant companion during the arctic Canadian winter.
It is doubtful that the contents of one's flatware drawer has ever been the subject of excited discussion on anyone's lips.  Flatware serves the purpose of carrying food to one's mouth and, in keeping with trying to have a simple, intentional home, it doesn't really need to do much else.  However, I have secretly, with much guilt, begun feeling a bit meh over my flatware.  I knew it was frivolous to want fireworks to explode from the flatware drawer every time I reach for a fork or spoon but still.  Imagine my delight in coming across a set of vintage flatware that had me oohing and aahing at first sight.

It is vintage so big check mark there.  The quality and workmanship are superb.  I never thought I would love 70's avocado green but the way the terracotta of the handles gleam through the green glaze is so pretty.  It is so thrilling to use something on a daily basis that is both imminently practical and beautiful.  I can feel William Morris patting me on the shoulder right now.

This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Clinique Chubby In The Nude Foundation Stick Review

I used to be a foundation girl.  I wore it every day without fail.  Then life got busy or I got lazy.  There just wasn't time in the morning to be faffing with foundation.  Plus, I always felt like I was wearing a mask on my face.  I switched to just dabbing on a bit of concealer and foundation powder. Then, when cc and bb creams and tinted moisturizers made their appearance, I started using them with a sigh of relief.  It was just so much easier.  I ran out of my trusty cc cream and concealer recently so decided to check out the latest cosmetic offerings instead of simply repurchasing the same products as I have the sneaking suspicion that, with the advance of age, my skin needed a bit more (cough, cough) help.  I wanted something quick and foolproof.  By chance I came across the Clinique Chubby Sticks.

The Chubbies come in lip balms, eyeshadows, contour and highlighters and foundation sticks.  I picked up the foundation stick in 08 Grandest Golden Neutral.  I think it might be a shade too dark for me as, now we are heading into November, my summer tan is fading.  But with a tan, it is a very close match.  My biggest complaint in the past with Clinique was their limited range of skin tone shades.  However, I think they have really improved and made an effort to offer a range that covers a wider spectrum of skin tones.  The Chubby Stick goes from cream to powder and is easily blendable.  The portable size means that you can tuck it in to your purse for quick touchups during the day especially if your liquid foundation tends to get patchy.  You can use a brush or sponge to buff it in to your skin but honestly, because it was designed to be portable, patting it in with your fingertips works extremely well too.  It is buildable so that you can go from sheer to full coverage.  If you have dry skin,  I would recommend moisturizing and/or priming first otherwise you might find it gets patchy or clings a bit too much to the dry areas.

I really like the fact that it is oil free as my nose does tend to get a bit shiny as the day wears on.  

I am pleased with the natural finish as well.  I don't feel like I'm wearing a heavy mask.  As mentioned above, the Chubby Stick is available as a Contouring Stick as well but if you went a couple of shades darker, you could use one of the foundation sticks for contouring instead because it so easy to blend.  Foundations tend to come in a wider range of shades than contouring makeup so if you are aiming for a natural contoured look then a foundation stick is one way to achieve that.  All in all, I like it a lot as it is a good way to ease myself back into using foundation without sacrificing a  lot of time and effort in the morning.  
Have you tried a foundation stick?  What are your thoughts?  Are you like me, always looking for shortcuts when it comes to makeup?

This is not a sponsored post.
I am linking up with Share Your Cup.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

LBH Weekly Roundup: Festive Scented Candles

The trees are changing colour and heralding the arrival of Fall.  I do love this time of year.  I pull out my favourite cozy sweaters and fire up the radiator.  If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, this is the time for hot chocolate and roaring fires.  But, if you are like me and don't have a fireplace, go for the next best thing which is a candle (or two) scented like a fresh wintery forest. This is the only time of year that such candles make their appearance in the shops and I can't tell you the number of hours I have spent in gift stores happily breathing in the woodsy scent.  Here are a couple of my favourites.

via chapter.indigo.ca

The Thymes Frasier Fir candle is a perennial favourite of mine.  It really does smell like a Christmas tree.

via chapters.indigo.ca

This Balsam & Cedar candle by Illume is an interesting combination as the cedar base note gives it an earthy, woody tone.
 Now I am off to light some candles and put my feet up.  Do you love scented candles?  What is your favourite scent?

This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

LBH Eyes On Design: Modern Interpretation of the Sputnik Light Fixture

Monsieur recently broke one of the glass covers on the kitchen ceiling light fixture.  Rather than be upset over a light fixture that I had never really liked, I took it as a sign to look at the latest offerings in lighting.  I have always loved the Sputnik light fixture.  The very name evokes the midcentury fascination with technology and space exploration.  Decades later, its design is still relevant.   But finding a vintage one is difficult unless you have deep pockets.  A trend that I have noticed lately is the modern interpretation of the Sputnik showing up in design showrooms.  This reincarnation of the Sputnik is sleek, oh so modern and utterly contemporary.

via theblockshop.com.au

The reborn Sputnik can be seen in a variety of finishes such as oil rubbed bronze or golden brass, not just chrome.

via homedepot.com
Different types of bulbs such as an Edison bulb is another point of difference.

via homedepot.ca

Instead of the usual satellite shape, there is a play on shapes as well.  This one looks like a drawing of a molecule come to life.

via theblockshop.com.au

And this one definitely reminds me of chemistry class.

via theblockshop.com.au

Now I need to save up to get my mitts on one of these babies.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

The LBH Weekly Roundup: Buddha and Buddah Pain Relief Cream and Hot Water Bottles

I had the misfortune of straining the rotator cuff in my right shoulder a few weeks ago.  This means that, when I wash my hair or lift my arm to do anything, the jolt of pain sends me straight into the foetal position.  A well meaning friend gave me a jar of Buddha and Buddah Pain Relief Cream to try out.  My friend swore that this was the bomb when dealing with shark week or any other issue involving aches and pains.  The main ingredients are organic shea butter with essential oils but the "magic bullet" is contained in the last two ingredients, tetrahyrocannibinol and cannabidiol.  I will leave you to google what those are but suffice to say I have never gone for a walk on the wild side and my idea of getting crazy is settling down for a marathon viewing of the "Walking Dead."

Still, the alarming greasiness of my hair and my failure to suddenly become left handed meant that I was willing to give it a go.  After several nights of Monsieur massaging it into my shoulder, suffice to say that I felt...nothing.  The pain was still there.  No zen feeling, no meeting of the minds with Buddha, nada.  It was back to my old standby, the hot water bottle.  I love my hot water bottle.  Every Autumn when the hot water bottles arrive in the shops, I obsess over them.  There really is nothing like clutching its warm coziness in the depths of a Canadian winter.  In particular, I do love a hot water bottle that comes with its own sweater as it helps to insulate it and provides a soft surface at the same time.

via chapters.indigo.ca

I have been eyeing this one kitted out with a Fair Isle knit.

via chapters.indigo.ca
And this one with the zigzag knit gives off that 70's afghan vibe but in a much cooler way than your grandma's throw.

Now I am off to press my hot water bottle against my shoulder.

Please note that you should consult your physician regarding pain relief!  This is NOT a sponsored post.

Monday, 10 October 2016

LBH Eyes On Design: Stadshem and Scandi Styling

Confession time...I am addicted to those reno shows where a hapless family cannot, for the life of them, sell their home because it is 1) cluttered 2) poorly designed 3) poorly renovated 4) badly styled or all four.  I think these shows' popularity tap into the fact that, with a bit of elbow grease and common sense, it is possible for anyone to make their house desirable and sellable.  Enter Stadshem.  It is not a reality show but a Swedish real estate company.  Just looking at the photographs of the homes on their books is a master class in how to style a home not just to sell but for every day.

via stadshem.se

Look at that living room!  It is pure Scandi style which is so very popular right now.

via stadshem.se

I am in love with the kitchen.  If I was a prospective buyer, this kitchen would have me at hello.

What I love about the styling is that it is consistent throughout the entire property.  It paints a very clear, beautiful picture of aspirational living.

via stadshem.se
The little touches almost make me believe that these are the real owners' belongings and that this is a very livable space.  Well done Stadshem!  Now I am going to go and wipe the drool off my chin.

This is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The LBH Weekly Roundup - 2016 Beauty Advent Calendars

I know that Christmas is hardly a blip in your mind right now but I have found that those special Advent Calendars that generate oohhs and ahhs from the adult crowd sell out so quickly.  They barely make an appearance in the shops before they are snapped up.  As well, I just don't think that they are widely available in Canada as celebrating Advent tends to be a more European tradition.  I, for one, could wholeheartedly embrace this tradition as who wouldn't love a gift every day for 24 days?!! Here are a couple that have caught my eye.  

via L'Occitane.com

The L'Occitane Advent Calendar for 2016 made my eyes pop out!  It is packed full of their bestsellers like Shea Butter Hand Cream and the Almond Shower Oil and is available online prior to making their appearance in store later this month.

Price: $59.00 CDN

Next up is the Ciate London Mini Mani Nail Polish Set.

via Sephora.com
The set includes 18 mini paint pots, a full size nail polish, 2 nail toppers, 2 nail treatments and a sequinned nail file.

Price: $70.00 CDN at Sephora Canada.

I will update the list as I am made aware of them.  If you know of any swoon-worthy Advent Calendars coming out, let me know so that I can add them.

This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

September Favourites - Live Clean Shampoo and Conditioner, Simple Skincare and Too Faced Lipstick

Is it October already?  For most of this year, I have been thinking about living an intentional life.  At first, I was quite flummoxed by it.  I thought that I had to give up makeup, all the things that make me happy and walk around looking and feeling miserable and disheveled.  Gradually, I came to realize that I had to make the concept fit my life, instead of the other way around.  In my heart of hearts, I knew it was unrealistic to expect me to completely give up shopping, eschew anything that came in a package and start making everything from scratch a la Little House on the Prairie.   I thought about my priorities and values and I know that, when I do buy something, it is important to get good value for my money.  So I thought that I would do a roundup of things that I have been loving and which have been working for me.  Keep in mind that what works for me might not necessarily work for you as everyone's skin is different.  First up, is the Live Clean line of shampoos and conditioners.  The Sensitive and Hypoallergenic Shampoo and Conditioner and Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo for a weekly deep clean are my favourites.  It isn't easy to find haircare that is free of the usual nasties and at an affordable price.  I get mine at Shoppers Drug Mart, which, thankfully, is a national chain pharmacy, so no more having to make a trek to a health food store and paying inflated prices.
Next up is the Simple line skincare.  I cringe when I think of the years when I didn't bother with sunscreen or moisturizer.  And then, one day, I woke up and found that wrinkles had decided to set up camp on my face, never to depart!  It is light weight, doesn't cause me to break out, and is widely available at an affordable price point.  It does the job, no muss or fuss, which is enough for me.  I do wish the Protecting Moisturizer had a higher SPF than the baseline 15 but that is my only quibble.  If you have any suggestions on a good moisturizer, please let me know!
And, last but not least, is my new love, Too Faced lipstick in Spice Spice Baby.  I have always felt a little self-conscious about wearing a lot or any makeup at all.  There was a time when there really wasn't a wide range of colours and a lot of what was out there just wasn't suitable for my skin tone.  I was that girl who would scurry past the makeup counters in a sort of embarrassed state.  When I finally screwed up the courage to really, really explore Sephora, I was astounded, not least because of the pounding music and manic crowd of 18 to 20 year olds.  Is that store every empty?  It really is amazing how the right colour(s) can wake up your entire face.  This lipstick is that perfect shade of coral that makes my lips look like my lips, only better.  I haven't been 18 in years but now you will find me determinedly jostling, elbow to elbow with the 18 year olds, happily swatching away. 
This week I am linking up with Share Your Cup.  This is not a sponsored post.  All items mentioned I purchased myself.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Slow Living In A Fast City

I know, I know, it has been forever since my last post.  I do have a good excuse though.  The slow onset of Autumn  meant Autumnal rain.  Unfortunately, while Monsieur was out and about recently during a rainy day, his crutches went out from under him and he fell and broke his leg.  Even more unfortunately, the break was on the side that he had just had his hip implant!  Life had to slow down if not come to a standstill.  During such times, I try to think of things that I am grateful for to lift the spirits.  My Russell Hobbs kettle, which has been my workhorse in the kitchen for the past 20 years, finally sprung a leak.  Obviously, as it has been 20 years since I last bought a quality kettle, I had a heart attack when I ventured into the shops and looked at the prices.  What?!! Have things changed that much?  And do I sound like my grandmother? (Yes...)

Imagine my thrill at coming across a vintage Russell Hobbs kettle, in near mint condition, that was the exact same model as my trusty workhorse?  It is made in Great Britain which you hardly ever see anymore.  Truly, when I found the kettle, I felt like my guardian angel was keeping an eye out for me and that the universe did have my back.  
Putting the kettle on for my morning cuppa is a ritual of mine that sets me up for the day.   I had just run out of my preferred tea when, quite luckily, a friend gifted me some Japanese matcha tea. Admittedly, matcha tea is an acquired taste and not really on my favourites list.  However, quite surprisingly, I have developed a fondness for it.  The bags are a mesh silky nylon and you can see little granules of toasted brown rice mixed in with the tea leaves.

The brown rice gives the tea a nutty flavour which makes it a satisfying drink in the morning.  It is almost like a liquid meal but without the calories.  Are you a coffee or tea drinker?

This week, I am linking up with Share Your Cup and Woman In Real Life.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Summer Makeup

Hello Friends,  Summer is finally upon us!  I don't know about you but my face tends to become an oilslick by the end of the day.  I am not quite sure what it is about an office environment but the recycled air just causes my skin to go into hyperdrive.   I really wanted to find makeup that would last 8 hours plus in the office.  I came across this fantastic coral toned blush from Too Faced that is supposed to last 16 hours (!).

I haven't had it on for 16 hours but I have had it on for at least 12 hours and yes, it does last without fading even without primer. Granted, I am in an office and not at the gym but so far so good!  The coral tone gives a natural, subtle flush and is perfect with a summer tan.  And check out the little bunnies pressed into the powder.

How cute is that?  When I showed it to Monsieur, he immediately said I would be reluctant to use it and it is true.  I have been swirling my brush very carefully around the bunnies.  And what's not to love about a heart shaped compact?
Lately, I have also been obsessed with my Stila waterproof eyeliner.  This stuff stays on!

The last addition in my Summer makeup collection is these very cool looking Sephora blotting papers.  They are made of charcoal.  They come inside a handy mirrored compact and soak up the shine like nobody's business.  Now I am on the hunt for a long wearing lipstick.  Most longwearing lipsticks tend to dry out the lips so if you have any suggestions let me know!
Lastly, I have finally hopped on to the Instagram wagon.  You can find me at @lheurebleuewithchloe and @lheurebleueathome.

I am linking up with Share Your Cup.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Planning Ahead For When Life Gets Stressful

Hello Friends!  Monsieur is out of the hospital.  Thank you for your well wishes.  While he was recuperating, I had a lot of time to think over what I wanted to talk about here.  Sometimes, life throws you unexpected curve balls and sometimes you know those curve balls are coming.  What can you do for those times in life that you know are going to be stressful?  I have assembled a check list of sorts that might help.

1) Stockpile necessities.  I live in a small home with not a lot of storage space so I don't do any sort of extreme stockpiling (I admit that I have watched episodes of "Extreme Couponers" with stunned fascination at the idea of turning a basement or garage into one's personal Costco warehouse).  Also, coupons are not as easily available here and things like catalinas and coupon stacking are either rare or nonexistent in Canada.  So creating a stockpile on short notice can, in and of itself, just add stress.  However, if you see a good sale or a price that you know is the rock bottom price, then, if you can, buy a few extra.  This way, you don't have to drop everything to run out for a tube of toothpaste.

2) Be honest and tell your friends and family that you are going through a stressful time.  If you have a support system, now is the time to lean on that system, knowing that one day, when they are going through a stressful time, you will be reciprocating.  I don't have a support system nearby but a quick long distance phone call to a bestie does wonders for my mood.

3) Learn to say no.  This goes hand in hand with Number 2.  This is something that has always been hard for me as I invariably tend to feel loads of guilt at the very thought of saying "No."  If there is a regular commitment like a potluck dinner that you always attend, it is okay to say that you can't make it because you don't have the time to bring something.  If they are true friends, they will probably tell you to forget it and come anyway!

4) Meal prepping in advance.  Having something that has already been prepared which you can just chuck on the stove or in the oven is such a timesaver and stress alleviator (is that a word?).

I will readily acknowledge that sometimes you may be in such a time crunch that the very thought of meal prepping may be too much.  You know what?  I don't see anything wrong with buying prepared frozen meals and keeping them on hand in a freezer for those times when you just want to go on autopilot and not think too much about "What's For Dinner?!!"  Sure, it may not be the healthiest or cheapest option but if it gets you from A to Z and stops you from losing your mind, then do it.

5) Automate as many things as possible.  Put bills on auto-debit so that you don't have to think about paying them.  Believe me, when you are stressed, so many things that you are normally on top of, just fly out the window.

6) If you have outstanding items on a "To-Do" list, try to do them ahead of time.  Do you need to go to the dentist?  Is there a checkup at the doctor that you have been putting off?  Do them now, cross them off the list and then put them out of your mind.  This can also apply to mundane tasks.  You would not believe the loads of laundry I did in the week prior to Monsieur's surgery.  I swear the laundry breeds during the night whilst I am sleeping but I finally made a big dent in it and got caught up with the ironing too.  Yay, me!  As I tidied and organized the house, I even managed to take a bag of donations to the thrift store.  Woohoo!

7) When did multitasking become all the rage?  Try unitasking which allows you to focus on just one task at a time.  Do that task and then move on to the next.  Completing that one task gives you the confidence and the motivation to try another task.  I have found that those rushed, scattered feelings begin to disperse when I lean towards unitasking.

8) Lastly, but most importantly, be kind to yourself.  Forget about being Superwoman or Superman. Because I don't have a support system nearby, I had to learn to be my own cheerleading squad.  Know that you are doing your best to keep home and hearth together and no one can ask more of you than that.  I read somewhere about the magic of just thinking about what you need to do in the next five minutes.  And then the next five minutes after that.  All things pass and this time will pass too.

Do you have any tips to share?  I think if we all pool our wisdom we could come up with some wonderful ideas that would really help!  I would really welcome your suggestions.

I am linking up with Share Your Cup.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Grateful For

Hello All!  This has been a strange week with highs and lows.  I celebrated a birthday.   It just so happened that my new glasses, a sure sign of the passing of another year, were ready to be picked up on the day.

I had to finally admit to myself that I needed new glasses (and progressive lenses at that) as it was getting too frustrating to keep lifting them up to read small or fine print.  Luckily, lenses have come a long way since my mother's day when you could see the telltale line going across the middle.  When I put on my new glasses, I felt so thankful and grateful.  The frames of my old ones had warped so they sat crookedly on my face and  the arms were bent out of shape too.  It just felt fantastic to have glasses that sat properly and securely and to have the proper prescription too.  There was a really good sale at the optometrist's at the time which made the prescription, while still very expensive, not horrifically out of reach.  I used the points from my glasses towards getting a pair of sneakers.

Yes, I am finally at an age where comfort trumps fashion!  They are my first new pair of sneakers in 15 years.  And I have to say, they are incredibly comfortable.  It was a bit odd at first walking around in a pair of flat shoes but the ease and comfort have me sold.

And finally, birthday flowers from Monsieur.  He is getting a hip implant tomorrow.  The first attempt a year ago was a disaster with the surgeon breaking his femur into 5 pieces.  The second attempt will be performed by a new surgical team.  We are hoping and praying that all goes well.  Please send lots of positive thoughts his way!  I am going to do my best to keep up with blogging but, if it is a little quiet around here for a while, it will be because I am busy going to the hospital.  Otherwise, I will "see" you on the flip side.

I am linking up with Share Your Cup.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

What I Am Wearing

Hello All!  I admit that I am a bit of a nosy parker and really love "What Is In My Handbag" and "What I Am Wearing Now" posts.  I can have a virtual rummage through someone's handbag and ogle their closets.  So today I thought I would do a "What I Am Wearing" post.  Winter came late this year and so I am still wearing a winter coat and boots when I go out.

The red tote bag was a Christmas gift.  It is vegan leather so I am curious to see how it will hold up over time.  I love how leather ages over time and just looks better and better but I am definitely open to trying vegan leather.  Of course, I remember when vegan leather was simply known as "vinyl" (!!).
Do you get bored with wearing the same winter outfit over and over again?  I have really embraced having a capsule wardrobe but when faced with the winter glooms, wearing the same winter coat for months on end does tend to add to the general seasonal dreariness.  One way I get around this is to switch out my accessories on a regular basis.

I have a small collection of vintage brooches, all thrifted, which I love and I will pin one to my coat just to add a bit of fun.  I love the penguin as he is such a cute little guy and reminds me of "March of the Penguins" (which I have never been able to watch all the way through because I get too caught up in the fate of the penguin chicks).  Do you have a favourite?

I do hope Spring will finally show itself.  Then I will switch out my wool scarves to a silk scarf.  I have a small collection of vintage scarves too which I love.  Scarves are a great way to change up an outfit.  Because almost all of my accessories were thrifted and/or vintage, they didn't cost a fortune and, when I look at my wardrobe, I don't feel a sense of deprivation because I know I can switch up a look if I am feeling a sense of ennui.  Do you have any thrifty fashion tips that you would like to share?

I am linking up with Share Your Cup and Woman In Real Life.

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