Friday, October 24, 2014

Intentional Gratefulness v.6

While feelings of gratitude for joys big and small usually come very easily for me, over the past couple of weeks I have had to be much more "intentional" about reminding myself to find things to be grateful for. That said, I do have a few to share.

I am thankful for:

- First and foremost, the fact that friends and former colleagues at the Library of Parliament made it through a dangerous and harrowing experience unscathed.

- The beautiful fall colours and crisp autumn air in Prince Edward County.

- Flannelette. 
- Challenging Schubert Impromptus that are sharpening up my rather rusty classical piano skills.

- Giggles and full-on belly laughs shared with a sweet 3-year-old niece.

- Honeycrisp apples with caramel dip.

- Marathon phonecalls with my best friend Holly who is a constant encouragement, confidante, and general balm to my soul.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Firmoo Frames

As you may or may not already know, I've been wearing glasses since the young age of 8 (#nerdykid) and since I have to wear them every day (or contacts, as I often do), I have grown to enjoy all different types of stylish specs, and love using them to change up my look. So when Firmoo got in touch to ask if I'd like to try a pair, I was, of course, delighted to do so.

Although Firmoo offers the option to get a complete pair online, I opted for clear lenses, since, like I mentioned in my Beauty and Books video, I prefer to get my intense and more complicated presecription filled out in person. I chose the Rena frames - because ombré effect and purple were a winning combination, in my opinion. For comparatively inexpensive frames to my usual ($33 vs. my usual $200+), these are a great little pair.  I usually go with plastic frames because my superthick prescription lenses overwhelm delicate ones - and while plastic frames can sometimes be a little heavy, these are nice and light, and also flexible, which is a plus, if you're clumsy, like I am.

Overall? I'm super happy with these cute, wallet-friendly little frames. If you're needing a new pair and on a budget or just looking for a good bargain, you may just find something you like at Firmoo.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Closet: Fall Favourites

Fall Favourites
When asked to pull together some fall favourites from my own closet, I have to say that thus far, the key players in constant rotation are, simple, comfortable, and decidedly cozy. With the exception of yesterday's strangely warm rain, it's been pretty chilly here in Prince Edward County, and I've been drawn to various combinations of the above items from my closet time and again over the first few weeks of autumn.

First? My favourite ankle boots (oldies but goodies) from Joe Fresh. I purchased these a few years ago, and they've been going strong ever since. I pair them with jeans, skirts, dresses, you name it. They are versatile, and, considering their heel, surprisingly comfortable, even after several years of wear.

Another fall staple is my jean jacket. I am pretty much obsessed with this thing. When I lost my favourite one, I searched high and low for a new jacket and I lost count of how many stores I stopped in before I settled on this one. I wore it in summer and I am still wearing it now that days have gotten cooler. Crucial.

This sweater from Joe Fresh is new to me this fall, and I already love it so much that I am seriously considering adding the other colour options to my collection of cozy knits. It is so warm! And soft! And wonderful! If you're on the hunt for a chunky knit sweater, this is a winner.

Striped dresses. I think I might have a problem. There are seriously so many of these in my closet I should probably stop buying them. I do, however, love this one in muted fall tones though. Fun fact? It pairs pretty perfectly with the aforementioned jean jacket. Yep, winning.

Skinny jeans. No brainer. These are a staple year round, amirite? And a dark, berry-coloured lip? Check and double-check.

Although I typically gravitate to delicate jewelry, I admit that sparkly, shiny, chunky necklaces still manage to be a favourite of mine, and this one I got a while ago from Baublebar is still going strong. 

Last but certainly not least, perhaps my most beloved fall staple is a long, easily wrappable, cozy scarf. I love scarves and have quite a collection of them. It's time to put away the summery silk and soft cotton and bring out the fuzzy, wooly wonders that are the harbingers of autumn and the coming winter. This double-sided beauty from Joe Fresh is keeping me warm in spite of brisk fall breezes and I couldn't be happier with it.

What are some of the best-loved pieces in your closet this fall?
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Flying Solo: 5 Activities for Solitary Days

As someone with a decidedly introverted personality, I spend quite a bit of time on my own. I have wonderful friends and delight in spending time with them, as well as with my family members, but I also very much enjoy (and actually kind of require) quite a bit of time to myself to feel refreshed, rejuvenated and truly content. This has led to the development of my own sort of activity "arsenal" for days when work is done and solitude is the order of the day - whether it be by choice or by happenstance.

1. Explore
Exploration can, for me, take many forms. Sometimes it's discovering a new place, or rediscovering an old one. Sometimes it's taking a run down a new dirt road, or a hike through the woods. Sometimes it's poking around in a dusty old antique shop looking for treasures, or wandering in and out of local boutiques and shops.  One of my favourites? Clambering up and over rocks and sand, around inlets and jutting points on my beloved Island in spring, summer or early fall. 

2. Learn
Take the time to learn something new, or work at developing and honing a skill you might already have. Right now I'm continuing to work at learning German, so I will often do a few lessons, or pick up one of my German books to refresh myself. Or, for something completely different, I'll check out some hair or beauty videos on Youtube and teach myself how to do look. I'm also currently working on learning this Schubert Impromptu as an ongoing project. There is always room for self-improvement, and often my best progress in any area is made during days to myself where I have the chance to devote the entirety of my attention to the task at hand.

3. Experience
Solitary days are perfect for taking in experiences and really being able to focus on them completely, without distraction. One of my favourite activities, when I lived in Ottawa, was to visit the National Gallery and spend as long as I liked looking at paintings, sculptures, presentations. Taking as long as I wanted in each exhibit without the guilt of keeping someone else waiting was freeing. Other experiences I've enjoyed alone? Lectures, recitals, plays, concerts - the options are endless. 

4. Create
Creativity and imagination are wonderful things, and one of my favourite things to do if I'm on my own is to exercise those two aspects of my personality. Whether it be through painting, photographing, creating a mosaic, jotting down thoughts in a journal, testing out new songs on the piano, attempting a craft or DIY project, or trying a new recipe. There are so many ways to express oneself and there's nothing better on a solitary day than to let those creative juices out!

5. Play
One thing I have often observed in my nieces and nephews is their fascination with the world, their joy, and their love for play and fun. I feel like, as adults, that we rarely slow down enough to enjoy the simple things, to let loose and simply play! Most often, for me, that means getting out and doing something that gets my blood pumping, like going for a run, swim or bike ride. But I will say that one of my favourite playful moments was a day last summer when I headed to the beach after work and was the only one there (save a man walking his dog). It was a gorgeous night, the tide was out, and the water was amazingly warm. I ran out into the waves and threw myself into the water, floating along and letting the waves carry me back to shore and it was THE MOST FUN. Give yourself the chance to just enjoy, play, and simply have fun. It's seriously the greatest thing.

If you're an introvert like I am, perhaps you've got your own list of favourite solo pastimes - if so, I'd love to hear them! And for the extroverts in the bunch? Don't be afraid of alone time! I promise, it can be pretty fantastic! That said, the nice thing about all of these activities is that they are equally great - in a different way - when enjoyed with friends or loved ones.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Intentional Gratefulness v.5 - Thanksgiving

Today is a special "Thanksgiving" gratefulness post. I think it's important to keep an attitude of gratitude (see what I did there?) all year round, but certainly it's nice to have a day specifically with the celebration and priority of thankfulness.

For me it has been another year of transition, of changes, of travelling, not only around Canada but back to the home of my heart, Switzerland. There were, and are, many challenges for me this year, but there is also much to be grateful and very thankful for, and I wanted to share a few of those things here, today.

I'm thankful for - 

A sweet new niece to add into the mix of darling nieces and nephews who bring me so many smiles, so much joy, and so much love.

For my family and friends, all of whom are willing to do so much for me - for supporting, praying, encouraging, uplifting, opening their homes, laughing with me, crying with me, for just being there and even, from time to time, doling out some tough love when I need it. There are beautiful souls in abundance in my life and I count each one as a blessing.

For the gift of gloriously happy time spent with faraway loved ones who are always close to my heart even if they reside across an ocean from me. 

I'm thankful that this year I was able to make a significant step towards the journey to health. I have run further and faster than I ever thought I could, and am almost back to feeling like "me". I've managed to drop 4 dress sizes and sixty-five pounds so far and am not far off from reaching (and maintaining) my goals. The journey is ongoing, but actually being able to see and feel the progress has been a huge reward.

Lastly, I'm thankful for opportunity. This year (or well, the last couple of years) has been uncertain, to say the least. I've struggled with that uncertainty for many months, but when talking with my brother-in-law, he encouraged me to see this time as an opportunity rather than a source of anxiety. He reminded me that there may be no other time in my life when I have the freedom of movement, of choices, of risk-taking, that I have now, and that in actuality, many potential doors are open to me. I'm thankful, therefore, for that shift in perspective, and seeing some of those open doors. I'm looking forward with hope, and I'm grateful for that.

What are you feeling grateful for? Let me know in the comments!
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