How to dress like a Parisien – 5 must have items!

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Bonjour!  I have recently returned from a special trip to Paris!  It was a celebration of milestones with a few close friends and it was an amazing trip!  Before we went, we scoured Pinterest for ideas on how to dress and how not to look like a tourist in Paris.  We found lots of pins showing jeans, sweaters, slip ons and other easy to wear basics.  We all have these types of clothes in our closet, so how hard would it be to pack?   Funny enough each day as we got ready to go out, we often looked the same; striped shirt, jeans, moto jacket and slip ons.  With a bit of laugh, one of us would go change so that we didn’t look exactly alike as we walked out the door.

The women in Paris dress simply wearing classic clothes and shoes.  It is not complicated and looks so easy to put together.  As we wandered the streets of Paris and admired the women, we noticed five basics that each wore and I thought I would share them with you.

  1. Sunglasses – usually in black or tortoiseshell and oversized.  Not the oversized that makes you look like large bug eyes, but oversized like Jackie O.

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  2. Trench Coat – I had seen women in London wearing trench coats last June when I was there and have wanted one ever since.  The French women also have a trench in their closet and they wear them so well!

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  3. Jeans – this goes without saying.  Jeans are a staple of women everywhere! We saw mainly skinny or straight leg jeans and some with the frayed hem.

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  4. White runners (aka tennis shoes) – Adidas and Superga were spotted most frequently as we strolled around Paris.  They were being worn with jeans, skirts, dresses – essentially with any outfit!
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5.  Scarf – this was the one accessory that we saw on almost every woman and a lot of the men.  Scarves were being sold on the street corner under a tent, in every store and we happened upon a neighbourhood in the Marais that had stores 100% devoted to selling scarves.  Any colour or size works.  We must have been in there for an hour and we each bought 3 scarves to take home and add to our collection.

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Packing for this trip was probably one of the easiest I have ever done and my friends also felt the same way.  If you get a chance to go to Paris in Spring, or anytime – don’t forget these five items.  You will instantly look and feel like a Parisien!  If you need a little more inspiration, I found these two blogs had plenty of ideas on how to incorporate a French wardrobe into everyday life : Gamine & Stripes and Classy Yet Trendy

Au revoir!

linking up with: More Pieces of MeStyle NudgeNot Dressed As LambByBMGBeauty by Miss LElegantly Dressed & StylishThe Fashion CanvasThe Pleated PoppyCurly Crafty MomSincerely, PaulaElegance and MommyhoodFashion Should Be FunJaymie AshcroftThe Blended BlogJo-Lynne ShaneA Pocketful of Polka DotsShelbee on the EdgeA Little Bit of EverythingNancy’s Fashion Style

Pinned & Tried – Fashion

When I saw this outfit from Posh Classy Mom, I just knew I could recreate the look  for me:

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I already had the grey jeans and a chambray top.  I didn’t have the grey pumps, so I changed it slightly:

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Ok, so I’m slightly more wrinkled than the inspiration photo.  I swear that my shirt does not look that wrinkled while I am wearing it!  #ohsure

These black platform wedges are the only (repeat only) heels I have.  #needtogoshopping

I’ve had this top for about a month now and never considered wearing it with my grey jeans – not sure why?   But since pinning this image, I have worn it a couple of times with my grey converse and I have to say, it’s a successful pinned & tried.

linking up with: Jo-Lynne ShaneJaymie AshcraftNancy’s Fashion StyleFashion Should Be FunMore Pieces of MeSincerely Jenna MarieElegantly FashionableFine Whatever

Pinned & Tried – Beauty

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a beauty pinned and tried, but there’s always a first time, isn’t there?

A few weeks ago, I read this post on South by Northwest and this diy particular beauty hack caught my eye.

I’m blond, with highlights and a few grey hairs.  I try not to wash my hair too many times a week and I’m lucky my hair doesn’t get too oily or greasy.

On days when I don’t have time to wash my hair, I use a few sprays of this Kevin Murphy dry shampoo

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It works well and smells great.  It’s a little expensive, but since I use it infrequently it lasts a long, long time.

 

So, when I read about a diy dry shampoo, I knew I had to give it a try.  There were only 3 ingredients; cornstarch, cinnamon and a few drops of an essential oil (I used lavender).  I used a clean little jar and here’s what it looked like when I mixed it up.

 

I had an extra make up brush (yes, I cleaned it first) to dab on the mixture and I’m happy to say it worked!  It blended quite well, smelled just fine and it worked!  I’m not 100% sure that I will give up the regular dry shampoo just yet, but I’m glad I found a natural solution that I can make at home and use frequently.

All in all, I would call this one successful Pinned & Tried Beauty Hack!

linking up with: The Pin JunkieFabulous and Fun Life

Pinned & Tried

It has been quite a while since I posted a Pinned & Tried – any edition.  Over the past week, this rainy weather has had me looking at pictures and photos of a sunnier time.  Say, last summer?

It got me thinking to this outfit that I saw on Pinterest:

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Cute and easy, eh?

I realized I had pretty much every piece in my wardrobe. I mean, really, who doesn’t have have a striped maxi dress and a jean jacket in her closet these days?

So, here’s my recreation:

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The striped dress is from Joe Fresh and I liked it so much I bought another one in black and grey 🙂  The jean jacket is actually quite old, but hasn’t been worn much, so it is like new!  The purse is light grey and from Kate Spade.  You can’t seem my feet, but I think I was wearing flip flops or flat white sandals.

I guess the only sad thing about this Pinned & Tried is that I don’t have cognac coloured accessories or shoes.  So, those are now on my list for this upcoming Spring/Summer wardrobe.

I did pick up these flip flops from DSW on a recent trip to Palm Springs:

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They are pretty comfortable, but I think I will keep looking for more of a sandal than a flip flop in this colour.

I have my eye on this great bag from Matt & Nat:

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So in closing, I would call this a fairly successful Pinned & Tried.  But just wait until I get that new bag to complete the look!

linking up with: More Pieces of MeSincerely Jenna MarieReasons to DressThe Pleated PoppyShopping My ClosetJersey Girl Texan HeartCurly Crafty MomHappiness at Mid-lifeJaymie AshcroftFashion Should Be FunJo-Lynne ShanePosh Classy Mom

 

 

5 Easy Steps to Remove Clutter

Because it’s January and everyone is looking to de-clutter and clean their homes, I thought I would share this post from last year.

It’s the time of year whenever has an opinion on how to relieve yourself and your home of clutter. Check out Pinterest, blogs, even Faceook. Someone has an idea (or two or three) on organizing your life and ridding yourself of excess. I’m not alone in my quest to do this.  I have always been a fairly organized person, but since the arrival of my little ones, I never seem to have  make the time to really really organize.  That said, I have more time now since they are both in school and I had a few quick wins in the de-cluttering world that I would like to share with you.

Starting with:

1.  Chopsticks in the kitchen drawer. This picture shows 44 pairs of chopsticks.  They accumulated innocently enough over the years as we ordered in sushi and Chinese take out.  I only counted them this week when I tried to put some spoons into the drawer and realized there were a few too many.  I have kept six pairs (not sure why that amount) and the rest have been bundled up and will be donated.

2.  Hotel samples.  I love the samples of soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.  I always use the soap and lotion, but rarely the hair products.

Then, I saw this great pin:

And I thought to myself, this is what I will do with all my samples. So, I did.

 But during the course of a year, we don’t have many guests and our one regular guest is bald.  So, our samples are collecting dust.  I have packaged them up and will be donating to a local women’s shelter.

3.  Plastic utensils.  

IMG_7753 They come with take out food, or we grab too many extras when we get ice cream.  It doesn’t seem to matter where they come from, they just accumulate.  I cleaned out 30 extra spoons, forks and knives.  I kept 10 so that I could put them in the kids’ lunch kits for when they have soup, yogurt, etc.

4.  Magazines.  My sister probably started me on the love of magazines.  While I tend to usually buy Style at Home, Canadian House & Home and Chatelaine, I have never been known to turn down a complimentary issue of Oprah or Real Simple.  But my magazines were taking over my bedroom and a shelf in the family room.  I even had a few issues in the pile from December 2012! IMG_7824

I have a hard time throwing them out or recycling them, so I gave a few to some friends, dropped some at the doctor’s office and conveniently left some behind at the community centre after a hockey practice.  And then there were none – until next month.

5. T-shirts.  My kids attend bike camp, soccer camp, art camp and participate in charity runs.  And each time they do, they get a t-shirt. IMG_6219 We use some shirts for when we are doing messy crafts or have a particular colour for a theme day at school, but for the most part, we do not wear these shirts.  They are in such great shape since they are only worn for a few days, so I kept 2 for each child and donated the rest.

These were 5 easy ways to get rid of stuff now without a lot of effort. I bet you might find the same things in your home.

Go look and see if you have 44 pairs of chopsticks.  You never know…

linking up with: The Jenny Evolution

 

Holiday Packing in the Fall

It’s hard to believe that November is here!  The balmy weather has quickly turned to rain, puddles and cooler temperatures.   I still haven’t bought a blanket scarf, but I have been wearing my booties and last year’s plaid scarf.

Just a peak of plaid.
Just a peak of plaid.

We are fortunate to be taking a trip to Maui next week.  It was booked about 6 months ago when there was a seat sale on our favourite airline, so we decided to take advantage.  We have a couple sets of friends who will also be there, so it will make for a fun family time.

But while I am looking forward to our trip, I still have to pack.

If you have read this blog over the past couple years, you will know that I don’t like packing.  I can pack for the kids with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back.  But when it comes to my own clothes, I tend to freeze and get overwhelmed.  With time, I would say it is getting better and for beach holidays, you really don’t need to pack a lot.  Do you?

When in doubt, head to Pinterest.  Here’s what I have found to make my own packing experience easier:

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This list looks like it would be easy to follow.
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The visuals in this picture look simple and would be easy to pack.
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I like this grouping with all the options for what you pack.
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Lastly, this grouping looks so simple that you could probably pack the day before you leave!

Wish me luck over the next few days as I bring out the suitcases and start to pack. I’ll post my struggles and success and show you which packing tips I used.  If you have any tips for warm warm holiday packing, please let me know!

linking up with: Fashion Should Be FunJaymie AshcraftJo-Lynne Shane

Family Foto Fun

It’s seems to be that time of the year when everyone seems to get family photos done.   Up until 2 years ago, our family photos were pretty sporadic.  Most of the time, I was the one taking the pictures and I never seemed to make it into a picture.  Other times, the kids, dog and husband and I couldn’t seem to look at the camera at the same time, so the pictures were, well, they were fun to look at, but they weren’t something I would frame.

So, when we started elementary school, the school made it easy with a Family Foto night.  You pay a small sitting fee, get 15 different poses and then order your favourite.  Easy peasy.  Well, it was easy peasy until Pinterest made me think about coordinating outfits.  You know those pins where the whole family is colour coordinated in complementary, yet matching outfits.

Like this:

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or this:

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or this:40046f73c5be70b02160901c0dcb6045

They look lovely, don’t they?  Well, maybe this last one is just a little too much grey?

Anyway, I was feeling overwhelmed, so I started hunting on Pinterest and found some helpful bits of advice:

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This site lays out so much information.  She’s a professional family photographer and knows exactly what we need.  Just a pick a colour and there are lots of ideas to help coordinate outfits.

But guess what?  It overwhelmed me.  So, I started to look through our closets to see what might work.   As you can see in this picture, I started with blue, grey and burgundy (or would you call it marsala?).IMG_5779

After much debate and frustration, I narrowed our choices down to this:

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I’m pretty pleased with the colours as they seem to be on trend this Fall and I hope the photos turn out.  If not, at least I’ll have a lot of time between now and next year to pin some more options!

linking up with: Walking in Memphis in High Heels,  Jaymie AshcraftFashion Should Be Fun,More Pieces of MeThe Pleated PoppyShopping My ClosetSydney Fashion HunterCurly Crafty MomHappiness at Mid-lifeJo-Lynne Shane

Pinned & Tried – Food

Today’s Pinned & Tried is the food edition.  It’s no secret that I like Pinterest and I pin many many pins.  But how many do I really try?  As you may have guessed, I don’t try as many as I would like to.

This week though, I tried this:

nutella banana bread

The recipe was a little different than my Mom’s banana bread recipe as I have never had to mix baking soda with water before adding to the mixture.  That said, I followed the recipe exactly.  Well, sort of.  I substituted chocolate peanut butter for Nutella.  We’ve been buying chocolate peanut butter over the past year as it has slightly more protein than Nutella.  The kids love it on toast and on sliced bananas. You may think I am splitting hairs on this, but that’s how I am selling myself on any chocolate spread these days.

My gas range oven cooks quickly and 45 minutes later, voila:

chocolate banana bread

Once it cooled, I made myself a latte and enjoyed a large slice.

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It was delicious and was the perfect afternoon snack.  Try it here at The 36th Avenue.  I bet you’ll like, too.

This was one successful Pinned & Tried – Food Edition!

linking up with: Curly Crafty Mom

Organize your linens in 5 easy steps

organize your linen I’ve written about de-cluttering a fair amount on this blog.  I always have a donate bag on the go in the house and every couple weeks, I drop it off at our local thrift store filled with clothes, household items, books, etc. Last week, we had an unexpected repair in the basement which meant I had to unload our junk guest room into the main play/family space.  This week, I started sorting out all those items and I was determined that the guest room would remain a guest room without looking like a junk room.  Make sense?

Prior to hauling all the stuff out of this room, I had put things under the bed, in the cabinet and just piled up on the floor.  If you are thinking we must not get a lot of guests, you are correct! When I finished sorting, the biggest pile of stuff that I had to deal with was linens!  Blankets, sheets, towels and more blankets, sheets and towels.  I went upstairs to my linen closet and pulled out even more items! I counted:

  • 12 blankets
  • 6 old sheets
  • 1 set of sheets for the sofa bed
  • 1 set of sheets for the guest bed
  • 2 sets of extra pillow cases
  • 6 towels for the dog
  • 1 set of pillow protectors
  • 2 picnic blankets
  • flannel Christmas sheets
  • baby blankets
  • an extra mattress pad, duvet and pillow
  • 20 tea towels

*I excluded the sheets we use daily on our beds in this initial exercise* Then I analyzed my lot.  A fair amount of these linens had seen better days, so I quickly put them out of their misery and into the garbage.   They were not even worth to become cleaning rags if you know what I mean. Next, I carefully looked at each item and decided if it was a keep or donate.  This was tough.  I became fairly ruthless and kept only what we needed.  Off of this pile, I donated:

  • flannel Christmas sheets (too warm for my kids)
  • 4 blankets
  • 1 baby blanket
  • 2 knitted afghans
  • 4 tea towels

The dog did pretty well.  She got 2 blankets, 2 sheets and 4 towels.   I think this is fair considering how often she gets wet and dirty and it means I won’t have to do laundry every other day for her. Based on this quick success, I headed into the kids’ bedrooms to suss out the linen and bedroom closets.

I keep the bedding for each child in their room.  Easy to find and change the beds this way.  I only found 1 extra set of twin sheets that was a little too young in pattern for my now 9 year old son.  They were quickly put in the donate pile. My daughter only has 2 sets of sheets, so there was nothing taken from her room – except I found….more baby blankets!  We no longer have any babies in our house and my daughter doesn’t play with dolls, so the 8 blankets I found in her room were pretty unnecessary.  I kept 1 for sentimental reasons, 2 for her to play with stuffies and the other 5 were being donated.

Then I tackled the towels.   In our powder room, there were 6 hand towels and only 3 were in colours I actually liked, so 3 were donated.  The kids’ bathroom has 2 sets of towels in different colours and patterns to match their bathroom, so I kept them all.  The master bathroom has 3 sets of towels in white and they were all in pretty good shape, so I kept them all. After all was said and done, our family now has the following linens:

  • sheets for the sofa bed
  • sheets for the guest bed
  • 2 sets of sheets for my son’s room
  • 2 sets of sheets for my daughter’s room
  • 2 sets of sheets for the master bedroom
  • 2 picnic blankets – which I promptly put in my car
  • 4 blankets – for the couches and on the guest bed downstairs
  • pillow protectors  – I actually put them on the pillows
  • 10 tea towels
  • 3 hand towels for the powder room
  • 2 sets of towels for the kids’ bath
  • 3 sets of towels for the master bath

My 5 easy steps to declutter your household linens are:

  1. Go room by room and deal with each room on its own.  Bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, mudroom, etc.
  2. In each room, pull out all the linens associated with that room and put into one big pile.
  3. Sort into keep, donate and garbage.   Be ruthless and only keep what you need.
  4. If you are keeping them, use them!  Right away, put on the pillow protectors, put the blankets where they are needed and hang those lovely hand towels.  Donating is easy, too – pet shelters and thrift stores are always in need of clean usable sheets and towels.
  5. When you put the linens back, make sure they are neat, tidy and easy to access.  If you have space in your bathroom, keep your towels there instead of a closet down the hall.  I also store the kids’ sheets in each of their bedrooms.

Check out this link from Martha Stewart if you need ideas on how to organize your linens and what might work for your style. I found these images on Pinterest to also give you some ideas:

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Hope this helps you reduce some of those extra linens you have stored around your house. If you have been following Marie Kondo, you will know that this room by room method is not what she would recommend.  I haven’t read the book yet, but it is on my list as I am always interested in new ideas on organizing.

If you have read her book, let me know what you think and if you have any other ideas, please share!

linking up with: Dwelling in HappinessThrifty Decor ChickThe Pin JunkieThe Jenny Evolution

Pinned & Tried – Gift

This is the last week of school for those of us in Canada and it’s time to reward those hardworking teachers!

A quick look at Pinterest and you can find all sorts of great end of year gift ideas for your teacher.  The one that caught my eye was this:

end of year gift idea in a cup

So, I modified it a little and filled it with sunscreen, lemonade, lip balm and a gift card to the local mall and here is my result:

end of year teacher gift in a cup

I’m not a teacher, but I think they will love a gift like this.  A little personal, practical and fun.

What a great way to end the school year; with a successful Pinned & Tried!

linking up with: The Pin JunkieThe Jenny EvolutionMade from PinterestBonBon Rose Girls