A Mid-Week Pamper

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

There are times when the weekend just can't come soon enough.  I always take time to relax and rejuvenate during my precious weekend time.  What I don't do often enough, however, is pamper myself during the workweek.

So here's my fail proof relaxation routine guaranteed to calm yourself and help get you to the weekend.

Step #1:
Draw a bath with luxurious bubbles, oils, salts, or milks (whatever you like best).  I recommend these products:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Step #2:
Light a candle (or two).  It is such a sensory experience to smell therapeutic scents, see the soft warm light, and feel the warmth of a candle.  I am partial to these candles (despite the price, these are amazing organic candles that really last a long time.  I tend to stalk my local TK Max because I can often find them ½ price there!):

1, 2

Step #3:
Prop your laptop next to the tub and settle in for a movie or some Netflix.  Or bring your book with you.  But, there's a rule: no work-related reading allowed.  This is break time!  Relax, don't do it!

Step #4:
Slather on a face mask.  I am a huge supporter of face masks.  No matter what skin concern you have, there is a mask to address it.  These are my favourites:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Step #5:
Give yourself a manicure.  If you do this often enough you'll get pretty darned good at doing your own nails and will no longer need to shell out buckets of money at the nail salon to get perfectly painted tips.  I've perfected this self-mani over the years and these are the products I rely on:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Step #6:
Go to bed early.  If the goal of this pampering is to relax and rejuvenate you halfway through the week, you've got to sleep.  I am terrible about pushing myself to stay up late to work but sometimes you've just got to quit.  If you've gone to the trouble of indulging yourself, you might as well finish it off with a decadent early night.  Turn off the technology (I am horrendous about this step) and catch some shut-eye.  You'll be happy that you did.

I should point out that wine can accompany you at any stage of this process (if you're legal) but be careful not to overdo it if you're in the middle of the workweek and have to get up and at 'em in the maƱana.  But honestly, I tend to reserve the boozy relaxation version for the weekend.  Chocolate is also a good friend when you're spoiling yourself.

There you have it.  Six steps to a perfect Wednesday night.

What do you do to treat yourself?  

Spangled dangles

Monday, August 25, 2014

If there's one thing I wear every single day (aside from deodorant and underwear--well, clothes in general) it's earrings.  Since I am a student and spend so much time typing away on my laptop, I find rings and bracelets get in the way.  I almost never wear necklaces because, for some bizarre and untrue reason, I think they take longer to put on because of difficult clasps or knotted chains and ain't nobody got time for that.  But earrings?  I like those...Especially petite, dangly ones.

A little more exciting than basic studs (don't get me wrong, I like those too!), dangly earrings that only drop about an inch or so are appropriate for almost every daytime situation.  Comfortable, pretty, and feminine, dangly drops are oh-so-chic.  Just look at Kate Middleton--she wears drops all the time!

So, out of the vast variety of online options, here are the dangly drops that I myself recommend:

Pamela Love Telepathy Earrings

Elizabeth & James Constance Earrings

Kate Spade Ball Cluster Earrings

Jacquie Aiche JA Chrysoprase & Turquoise Rectangle Earrings

Kate Spade Estate Sale Drop Earrings

Miguel Ases Sea Earrings

Do you have a favourite pair or style of earrings?  Who's your favourite jewellery designer?

Cookbook Buyin'

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I make no claims to be a genius in the kitchen.  In fact, I make no claims to even be proficient in the kitchen.  There are people who love to cook and find the whole process creative and therapeutic.  I am not one of them.  However, I do love to eat delicious food and that means cooking must, at some point, happen.

I mentioned in my post about Paris that I eat a quasi-vegetarian diet.  I don't really like meat and fish but I do occasionally eat chicken or some seafood/fish to ensure I get enough protein and stay healthy.  Vegetarian cooking used to be so boring and bland.  How many of you vegetarians out there were disappointed when you went to a fancy restaurant and all they had to offer was a grilled vegetable platter or a stuffed pepper?

Things have changed for vegetarians since the 1990s and so many more people commit to a meat-free diet, meaning people far more creative than me have put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to craft beautiful, healthy, and appetising vegetarian cuisine that doesn't rely on obscure exotic foods you have to search high and low for.

For all you vegetarians and veggie-lovers out there, this one's for you!

a modern way to eat by Anna Jones
With pals like Jamie Oliver, you know this cookbook is going to feature nutritious and delicious recipes. Jones says in her introduction that at the end of the day, she wants good food that doesn't take too long to make and won't call for every pot and pan in the cupboard.  I like that philosophy.  It's a gorgeous book: easy-to-read writing, thick paper, and pictures you could definitely call "food-porn."

white beans, greens, olive oil--a.k.a. ribollita

lemon roasted feta with traffic-light tomatoes 

pan-dressed noodles with crunchy cabbage and crispy tofu

Leon: Fast Vegetarian by Jane Baxter and Henry Dimbley
When I first bought this book, I cut up some paper into little tabs to mark the recipes I wanted to try.  At last count, there were over 30 recipes that made me say, "Ooh, yum! I want to pause my Netflix for long enough to make that!"  A true testament to this cookbook's appeal for I am very committed to my relationship with Mr. Netflix (We're going on three years!  Ahh, true love!).

Same kind of concept as Anna Jones' lovely book.  Fast Vegetarian seems somehow a little more approachable than a modern way to eat but it's still the kind of food I want to eat.

spring vegetable & farro salad

grilled corn, avocado & toasted tortilla salad

courgette & tomato gratin

The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier
As I've said ad nauseam, I love France--especially the cuisine.  The problem sometimes is that French cuisine often showcases the meat.  That's great, good for them.  If you prefer a more vegetable-heavy diet, you may be in trouble.  Enter Mme. Dusoulier.

The author of the blog divides this book into seasonally appropriate recipes, ensuring that you're eating the freshest food.  I would quite happily eat every single recipe in this book.  It's that good.  Simple, basic ingredients combined to provide healthy and appetising food with a french flair.  Yes, please!

crunchy lentil and watercress salad

baked apples with prunes and almonds

ratatouille tian

The Little Book of Lunch by Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing
Okay, I know.  This one's not technically a vegetarian cookbook.  However, there are so many veggie-friendly recipes as well as easily adaptable recipes that I'm including it anyways.  Besides, lunch is a meal I really struggle with.  If I'm not working from home, I either go out for a sandwich or bring a sad little PB&J.  I spend most days researching in the library and don't have access to a refrigerator or microwave.  That limits my lunch options.

As I alluded to, I'm not creative when it comes to cooking.  I need a recipe to follow.  Once I have a good resource, I'm golden.  And that's what makes this book such a great option.  There's even a page detailing just what to wrap your sandwiches in so that they don't get soggy!  While I would never serve this food at a dinner party to impress my hypothetical in-laws or boss, this book provides practical recipes all the while maintaining good flavours.  A winner in my book.

falafel with yoghurt, aubergine & red cabbage salad

tomato, pesto & goat's cheese tart

orzo pasta salad

I'm pleased with these recent purchases.  I've been cooking up a storm and actually enjoying the process, especially since it yields such wonderful results.  

Tell me, what are your go-to cookbooks?


Monday, August 18, 2014

A good timepiece is an essential of everybody's wardrobe: men and women alike!  I never leave home without a watch and feel naked (oh my!) without one.  I like all sorts of watches--oversized, dainty, plain, embellished, utilitarian, etc.  While everyone needs one good watch, it never hurt anyone to have choices.

The Oversized:
I am wild about this watch!  Rose gold is so trendy right now, I love it combined with the mother of pearl accents.

The Basic:
With interchangeable straps, you're guaranteed to find a coordinating strap colour to compliment any look.  This is a great watch to have on hand (or rather on wrist!) for traveling as it is simple, comfortable, and inconspicuous.  Plus, being a Timex, you get great style and quality for a low price!

The Evening:
With a bit of sparkle, this is the perfect accent to any Little Black Dress.  I don't mind that the sparkle doesn't come from diamonds, but it's petite and dainty size would be the final touch to an elegant evening look.

The Classic:
I'm partial to two-toned watches as it goes with both silver and gold toned jewellery.  This has a smaller face so it's sure to be attractive and useful for many years to come.

The Digital:
For those who prefer the ease of a digital watch, or maybe you exercise often, this watch is a great pick.  It has an easy-to-read face and it comes in a variety of bright, eye-catching colours.  I'm partial to this rich, saturated indigo colour.

The Ultimate:
Is there anything classier than a Cartier Tank watch?  No.  The answer is no.  It comes in several sizes as well as metal types or leather straps (as I said, I'm partial to two-toned metal) as well as diamond encrusted for the extra lucky few.  Some day, my beautiful Cartier.  Some day you'll be mine.

(this one too!)
A newer style but just as gorgeous and classic, this Cartier watch is one I certainly wouldn't mind adding to my jewellery box.  If I had my pick, I'd still go for the classic Tank as it's stood the test of time but I wouldn't say no to this one if someone wanted to buy it for me!

Prints Please!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

While I typically go for traditional and classic home design, recently I have fallen in love with cheery and whimsical prints.  Oftentimes inexpensive, these colourful art pieces would add a pop to your walls and hopefully a bit of merriness to your day.  I've been pinterest-ing excessively and have stumbled across these adorable prints.

The Budget Buys:

balloon ride print

Pepe's Key West water-colour print

Italian landscape San Ginesio, Macerata print

pale pink cockatoo print

lemons to lemonade print

dancing bear print

The Mid-Range Options:

tall tale. tall turban. print

Paris print

tropical alocasia print

Afrique print

still life with urn print
That last one comes from an artist named Caitlin McGauley.  I absolutely cannot get enough of her work.  She's created images for many prominent designers (like Tory Burch and Kate Spade) and also has a really inspirational blog.

The Expensive Ones: (Okay, I know.  These aren't technically prints but I'm including them anyways.)

adjusting her strap mixed media on canvas

geraniums in provence oil on canvas

I adore art.  Art, in all its forms, moves its audience like nothing else can.  These pieces transport me to a "happy place," however cheesy it is to say that.  What inspires you?

Trench Talk

Monday, August 11, 2014

England experienced some impressive rain and cooler temperatures recently, making me realise that summer will soon be over.  Like any normal materialistic girl, I'm already looking ahead to autumn fashions prompting me to write this post on the cream of the trench coat crop.

Every woman needs a great trench.  Appearing classy, classic, cool, sexy, professional, casual, and an infinite number more adjectives, a trench is the ideal outerwear for those transitional months.  After extensive searching (that was the fun part), I purchased a perfect trench last season at LK Bennett that I have already worn an ungodly number of times, more than justifying its high price tag (that was the not-so-fun part).  

I like a structured, double-breasted trench, no slouchy mac for me.  So, without further ado, the trench coats, ladies and gentlemen:

The trench that started it all, this option is a beaut.  It's classic design means that it goes with everything, and because it isn't yellow-toned, it flatters my porcelain complexion.  


Coming across as a cool-toned grey, this mac has a slightly fuller skirt, creating a super feminine silhouette.  I think this would look especially chic paired with skirts and dresses, rather than with trousers and jeans.  A slightly dressier option, I would love to have this in my wardrobe for evenings out.


Don't be surprised if you see this in future "outfit-of-the-day" posts.  I'm not sure that I can resist the beauty of this indigo coloured trench.  The colour and the details really make this mac a showstopper.  I'm particularly keen on the epaulets!


For the budget-conscious, this is my trench of choice.  Crisp lines and classic structure make this a timeless choice.  Combined with its versatile beige colour makes this an easy choice.


Again, this is structured, crisp, and classic.  Nothing groundbreaking here but just another perfectly designed, basic wardrobe essential.  The deep navy shade makes this a great choice for neutral lovers who want to avoid the beiges/tans and aren't fans of black.  Or, if you're like me, a great choice for someone who can't say no to new acquisitions.


So pricey but so beautiful.  This is the trench of all trenches.  Amazingly crafted and structured, this is the only one that matters.  But as its hefty price, sadly it won't be joining the ranks anytime soon.


Am I missing any?  Do you have a trench coat you can't live without?  
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