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Inspired By: Canadian House & Home

January 29th, 2014

No matter what the internet bring I still love me a new glossy magazine!  This month I LOVED LOVED Canadian House & Home! I found so much inspiration in the pages! Here are some of my favorite spreads:

I adore this kitchen renovation- it proves that small spaces can have BIG style and impact! I mean just look at that floor and those metal famed glass doors!!!!

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This seating idea (and the faux brick) is kind of genius for a narrow space without much architectural interest.

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Perfect grey grout on the subway tile and the floorplan showing just how small this galley kitchen is!

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And this patio right outside of the kitchen doubles the space in the warmer months!

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Loved the bold color and pattern of this living room.

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As well as this KILLER striped banquette paired with black chairs and modern art and lighting! ADORE!

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Another awesome kitchen with brass hardware!

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This home was more traditional but equally stunning. The neutral palette is so calming and clean and that tan/white marble floor is to die for.

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I can’t tell you how much I adore this bench!!!

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This makes me want to paint my little window in my kitchen black!

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This simple black four-poster bed is so great with the stripe wool blanket- country modern at it’s finest.

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Oh, hello awesome bathroom- the herringbone floor, the wall tile detail, the tub….. I’ve been paying close attention to bathroom details as I plan my own master addition.  I have planned a chevron marble floor, but laying tiles herringbone is about 1/3 of the cost because it’s less labor (cutting) for the tile installer (just an FYI!)

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The mix of chrome and natural accents is such a great mix!

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This library with high-gloss navy moulding and walls is pretty much everything. Especially love it paired with that rug (reminds me of Andrew’s office in my house in color palette).

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(all images via House & Home February 2014)

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Good Hair Day

January 28th, 2014

I’ve been asked a few times via Instgram followers to do a post about how I do and take care of my hair. It’s funny because I really don’t do anything super special.  I am pretty blessed with my mom’s thick hair (by the way, her hair is still crazy amazing at 60-something- we should ask HER what SHE does).  My hair was always my safety blanket, even when I felt horrible about every other part of how I looked. Even when I was sick, my hair stayed pretty great.  So when I had a majorly awful coloring (and corrective coloring) incident with a new colorist four years ago that left me with such damaged hair that started breaking and falling out, I absolutely lost my shit (pardon my French, but it’s true).  It took that to realize how much of my confidence was wrapped up in my strands.  The more I stressed about it the worse it got, a vicious cycle.  For over a year I was so self-conscious and depressed (even though everyone said they couldn’t tell much of a difference).  Long story short, I skipped coloring it for a very long time, did lots of masks and worked on my stress level and it got better.   So now when people compliment my hair it makes me happy again!  While I’m not one to do photo-shoots of myself doing my hair, here are my favorite products and how I get my messy waves:

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Left, happy waves in the early fall    Right, miserable waves in the winter.

(That is not a duckface, that is a “I hate the cold” face”)

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1. & 2. I am so obsessed with this L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner. It’s works wonders for such a good price. Better than some I’ve tried that cost six times this much!

3. Once in a while I love using this peppermint shampoo to feel like I’m really cleaning my scalp. I lather it up and leave it for a few minutes to get a good tingle on.

4. I put a pump or two of this awesome oil through the ends/ middle of my wet hair and then brush through. This big bottle has lasted me over two years so for the price it’s worth it!

5. Another oil I use sometimes is this L’Oreal one, I’ll spray on my ends if I’m out of Absolue.  I also use this on my dry hair (sparingly) to calm frizzies! It’s genius!

6. I love to air dry my hair as it has natural wave- when it’s not 194 degrees below zero I’ll spray this sea salt spray on my hair from roots to mid-shaft and let it air dry for good slightly tacky texture.

7. If it’s freezing out (like now) I’ll put a little bit of this mousse on the roots and blow dry with my head upside down for some lift and volume. I’ll use a large round brush here and there but I don’t dry it straight because the more texture there is before I curl the longer the waves last!

8. I use this 1″ super hot (i.e. I’ve branded Andrew with this when he’s come into the bathroom at an ill-advised time) curling iron.  I section my hair with clips so I can get the underneath part first and holding the iron with the wand pointed down I take 1-2″ sections and wrap them around the barrel away from the face. Wrap fro root to tip- don’t start at the bottom!  Hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat over entire head.

9. I flip my head over, tousle everything so it’s not so perfectly curled and sometimes blast the root with a little Oribe Dry Spray (amazing dry shampoo/ texturizer).  A lot of times I skip this and do it the second day when I don’t wash it. P.S. this stuff is AWESOME for updos as it adds a lot of grip to the hair!

10. To finish, a light spritz of Elnett- the only hairspray I’ve used that isn’t crunchy at all.

Breakfast of Champions & A Question

January 27th, 2014

Well it’s Monday…again. The weekends go by SO fast (which is ok since whatever we can do to get closer to spring is fine by me).  I’ve posted pics of my various morning smoothies on Instagram and people always ask what’s in them. So here is what I put in my very favorite morning smoothie, perfect to get going on Monday (plus then you feel like you at least did ONE good thing for your body for the day should you end up snarfing down grilled cheese for lunch!)

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Monday Morning Smoothie

1/2 a ripe banana

1 big handful baby spinach

4-5 chunks of fresh pineapple (not frozen or canned!)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1-2 tbs. of vanilla whey protein powder

3/4 c-1 c. vanilla coconut milk ( add as you blend to right consistency, may be less, may be more)

1 tbs. flaxseed

*Blend at a high speed in a blender until very smooth. Enjoy. (P.S. I still am dying for a Vitamix!)

Once you’ve powered up with your smoothie please take a second to quickly answer this question for me- I have the ability to sell a select number of copies of the book (signed) through the blog and want to get a general idea of how many I should try to get to do so! Thanks SO much!

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Fashion Friday: If I Were An Oscars Stylist

January 24th, 2014

I always do a Red Carpet post-mortem but this year I decided I wanted to do a post about what I would select for stars if I were in charge of dressing them! After looking at tons of the Style.com runway shows here are some of my choices:

Sandra Bullock:

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I love Sandra is formfitting slightly sporty looks to show off her insane figure. I think color really looks lovely on her too- this coral number by J. Mendel or this simple Badgley Mischka would be so lovely.

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Jennifer Lawrence:

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We all know she HAS to wear Dior, and from their dresses (which I don’t love, honestly) I would adore her in this belted red number. However, she’s worn a lot of red on the red carpet so I doubt this will what she shows up in.  I also feel like she would be SO happy to wear a dress with straps. At the Golden Globes and the SAG awards she was compaining on camera about the strapless situation she was rocking.  I also love her in dresses with a sleeker silhouette, not the ball gowns they love to put her in. She’s a young, fun, funny gal who should be comfortable!  This fitted Badgley Mischka would be ladylike but bad ass too with her short hair!

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Cate Blanchett:

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This woman would seriously look amazing in a garbage bag. I’m serious. But if I were to pick something for her I love this gold and cream Valentino or this L’Wren Scott with a statement neckline to frame her regal features!

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Read the rest of this entry »

A New Low.

January 23rd, 2014

Two days ago I was perusing my feed on Facebook when an image a friend/colleague posted stopped me in my tracks. I clicked on it to get a better look and was beside myself to see that this image of what I thought was a severely anorexic or sick woman was in fact an ad from Saint Laurent’s spring campaign.  Before I continue take a look:

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To be honest, I almost didn’t believe it.  I knew that before I could write anything about it I had to confirm it was real first, even though the source of the Facebook image was a trusted one.  I have made the mistake of skipping this step before and learned my lesson from it. Sadly, I confirmed it yesterday by going to Barnes & Noble and seeing it in person in the February issue of Harper’s Bazaar. I don’t even know where to begin to describe my rage and disgust over this image.

But let’s start with this. There is a picture of me taken about two weeks before I was committed to a mental hospital for my anorexia that looks like this picture. Less glamorous, for sure, but the knobby knees, reed thin thighs and sunken eyes are the same. I was about 95 pounds and 5′ 9″ to put this model in perspective (if I could find it I would post it).  I am not saying definitively that she is sick, nor am I “thin shaming” anyone, but I AM suggesting that to portray this image as glamorous and high fashion is brutally irresponsible and dangerous. Yes, there are members of society who are naturally very thin or drastically underweight due to illness or factors beyond their control (like the fabulously inspiring Lizzie Velasquez), but that is not what is being presented here.  This is the kind of image that could (and will) be circulated on the bevy of pro-anorexia sites out there as an example of extreme thinness promoted and accepted by the fashion industry.  Even more heartbreaking is the idea that young girls everywhere, otherwise healthy girls, may see this during a time in their life when they are easily influenced and allow it to make them feel badly about their bodies. It could ignite a dark place inside one of them, a thought, a behavior, a pattern, that could spiral into something devastating. Just as it was ignited in me.

No, one ad will not cause someone to be anorexic, but our society’s  ideals and attitudes towards what is a beautiful body could.  No one could pinpoint what exactly it was that caused me to fall ill- I was never abused, neglected, bullied or tormented- I was just like any other young girl.  But one day I started comparing myself to others and thought maybe I should lose some weight. And then some more. And then even more. Until the prospect of having to eat a single strawberry would reduce me to hysterical sobs of fear. And this was during a time when models like this were not part of mainstream media- in fact, today the girls I admired on TV in the early 90′s would probably be considered “chubby”.  If we allow these kinds of images to become acceptable I am scared of what the future holds for young women- our daughters, nieces and grandchildren. THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Years ago I went to talk by the Council of Fashion Designers of America at Mass General’s Eating Disorders Program in which some famous designers made all sorts of claims about committing to using healthier models in an attempt to promote a more wholesome body image and protect the young models who feel forced to be a certain kind of drastically thin in order to get work.  Well, it seems those statements and assertions were not ones they took seriously.  This image had to go through SO MANY hands to be approved to run in Bazaar- the fashion house, their marketing department, the model management, PR people, the photographer, producers, magazine editors and publishers. This model was lit purposely to exaggerate her breathtaking thinness. The fact that this was PERMITTED to be published is flat out disgusting.  The fact that all these powerful people in the media could look at this and think “Yes, let’s put THIS out into the universe” is baffling.  To be in a women’s magazine is doubly insulting.

For all the progress that the fabulous pro-women ads from Dove and others out there have made, one like this can set us so many steps back.  I have no idea how we can affect change in the fashion industry, but I certainly hope that small efforts to stand up to things like this are a place to start.