Monday, November 19, 2012

Music Monday: the songs that make you tear up because of the truth in them.

(Note Bene: Welcome to...MUSIC MONDAY!)

You know that time - that time when you're on the bus, in public, listening to music...and all of a sudden, that song comes on. The song that makes you emotional because, well, it applies to you so much, makes you think about and evaluate your life so much, and the lyrics are just...true. And honest.
Well, this song is one of those for me. I swear, every single time I listen to it, I near burst into tears.

I'm going through a stressful time with school right now - you know those stressful times that border on an existential crisis? They suck, right? Well, this helps me see the bigger picture, I guess. Also, it's a really pretty song and calms me down. It brings me clarity! (Which is the main subtitle/meaning of this blog, if you take a look at the header ;). )

Yael Naim - Far Far

Are there any songs that really make you think about your life and bring you clarity?
Or, what are you listening to lately? Put links in the comments, I'd love to hear about what kind of music you listen to! (Also, I'm always in need of new music.)

Tune in next week for a song that's quite the opposite: a song that makes you bob around, even in public, while you hope no one is watching. Yay for songs that put a swing in your step! :)


Saturday, November 10, 2012

5 steps to improve your health, particularly during times of stress

"Particularly during times of stress..."?
Exams, I'm looking at you.
For those of you past your school years (a little jealous right now, though I'm sure you'll tell me how much you miss it), you can totally apply these little tips to your daily life. I do even when I don't have exams, essays, and more to do for school!
(Disclaimer: this is one of the reasons why I haven't blogged in so long.)

So, what normally happens during times of school stress? You have 3 essays due within 3 days and don't know which one to prioritize, you have 3 midterms back to back over 4 days (that was me), you have tons of teachers and teaching assistants to see in between, you still need to find time to sleep... (What was that thing we used to do? Sleep? Hmm, I don't recall...)

Anyways, as you can all expect, your body gets all out of whack from all this stress, whether it's from school, work, or family-related issues. Adrenaline spikes up not only right before and during an exam, but in the week before while studying, while discussing the class material with your friends and realizing you're ridiculously underprepared...
You also don't have as much time for healthy eating and exercising. I love to cook and take care of my body and even I barely had time to cook myself a decent meal. I'd be about to hastily throw together a salad...and the ramen soup would be calling my name.
I'd be about to chop up a bowl of strawberries...and the chips would call my name.

Part of this could be contributed to dehydration - your body is telling you "damn, I really need water in my system, and I'll get it in me in any way I can, even through chips!"...but stress also kind of impairs your judgement overall - you start asking yourself, "do I really need to sleep?", "do I really need to exercise?", "do I really need to get some air?", "do I really need to get up from my desk chair and do a few stretches?"

Here are a few ways I like to beat that stress. In my opinion, everything that goes into your body affects how you feel. Because, honestly, you feel better eating a bowl of strawberries than a bowl of chips, right? You feel better eating salad than ramen soup with sh*t loads of salt, right?

So here are a few tips that I've found have really helped me in the past few years:

1 - Drink water!!!!!

I know, you probably hear this in every single health and wellness article you read out there. But, seriously - not only are you not dehydrated and less likely to eat unhealthy stuff, but I like to imagine cold water hydrating my brain, too. (Bear with me.) Water fuels every aspect of your body, and is cold, so it's almost like a jolt of energy going to the head. Also, it gives your mind 10 seconds to chill while you drink. Win-win, no?

2 - Craving chips? Find alternatives!

Source: via Oralia on Pinterest

I love dried edamame. Edamame is a soybean, and can usually be found in the frozen section of the grocery store either shelled or unshelled, but I love that dried edamame has the crunch aspect of chips and peanuts without the insane calories, salt, chemicals, and more.
Dried edamame not cutting it for you? (Try it before deciding this. Trust me.)  Try snacking on almonds. According to this article , almonds release acetylcholine, which increases your ability to pay attention. Almonds also have the typical crunch of chips, and are much more filling!

3 - Spend 10 minutes outside everyday.

That's if you can stay outside for only 10 minutes ;). Unless it's frigging cold where you are (here, very soon), go for a short walk outside, at least. Anything goes, though - you can go for a jog, walk your pet (so they get exercise, too!), go for a walk on your own, go outside and take a 5 minute break to talk on the phone with your best friend, you can go into the backyard and meditate...the list goes on and on! Gosh, you can even go study outside if you're that short on time. The sunshine, fresh air, nature around you (even if it's only a little) can all help clear your mind.

 4 - Make homemade salad dressings instead of store-bought one!

Store-bought salad dressings contain chemicals, especially asparthame, and though they may say "low-fat", that aspect is usually compensated by through copious amounts of salt and sugar. You end up feeling bloated and on a sugar high when you're supposed to feel refreshed after eating a salad! Trust me, take a few minutes a week to prepare a bottle of salad dressing. It made a huge difference for me! Also, after only using homemade dressing, the store-bought stuff tastes, well...gross.
I love this article of a roundup of all different kinds of dressings - from ranch dressings to oil/vinegar-based dressings - with directions on how to make them! I love the oil/vinegar ones, especially.

5 - Cut out soda, the sugar-laden and diet ones.
 This infographic explains the whole situation really well. However, I know that for me, diet soda and caffeine have been key to late night studying and essay writing! So, if you need that caffeine rush, drink plain coffee, it's already healthier than diet soda. Even better, though? Water! (See #1). Need something a little sweeter than plain water? Try coconut water! Although it's more calories than water (obviously, since water has 0 calories), it has electrolytes in it, which is always good after a workout (and I know study marathons can sometimes feel like workouts, but without the brain-boosting benefits), and contains no chemicals. Just make sure to check the label says coconut water, not coconut soda or coconut jelly!

I hope those tips have helped you! I have more, but these are my main ones specifically during stressful times. Any tips you guys want to add? I really want to add more health content to this blog - health is so important to me! I try and live as much of a healthy lifestyle as I can, and although I don't always succeed, I can feel the difference for every single little step I take to improve my life through my food and exercise habits.
Hope you enjoyed this!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Into fashion history: the 1910's and Lucile!

In my opinion, fashion can tell so much about a civilization, generation, or era, just as an outfit can tell so much about a person.
That's why I love fashion history. Not only can it be kind of funny - they wore what at that time? - but also enlightening, especially as it concerns women's status.
Women laced up in corsets? Society was probably a little repressive.
Women starting to wear jeans and trousers? Women are becoming better able to actually move around in their clothes, making them more active participants in society! It also means that they're starting to push against societal boundaries, aka the "women wear dresses" ideal that lasted for so many centuries.
Women wearing simple, utilitarian clothes with shorter hems? Hey, it might be World War II where women replaced the men in factories, therefore needing clothes they could work in, not fancy materials, and the hemlines were a little shorter because they needed to ration materials!

All to say, I find fashion history so interesting. In this post, we're going to talk about...
The 1910's and Lucile! 
(And the Titanic era, because who can ignore Titanic when talking about the 1910's?)

A little blog background: do you guys remember when I wrote a review about The Time-Travelling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky? Well, the vintage dress Louise is transported back to 1912 in is by none other than Lucile!

                                                                                   Source: via Laura on Pinterest

The reason I wanted to feature Lucile for my first fashion history series, particularly this week? Well, I know many people are preparing for fashion week, and guess who we partly have to thank for that? Lucile! She was credited with being the first designer to showcase her designs on a runway, and the first to show her designs on models and photograph them! I guess we also have Lucile to thank for  fashion blogging?
(I'll post a clip of a Lucile runway show at the end, it's so cool!) 

A little background on Lucile:

                                                                 Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Designed by Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, Lucile clothing was very popular from the turn of the 20th century until the 1920s. Lucy herself had a pretty controversial life - she was on one of the few Titanic lifeboats that managed to escape, and there was a huge scandal over rumours going around saying that her and her husband bribed the crew to let them on. Also, according to Vogue, she went on to design outfits for the Ziegfeld Follies!

Most notably, though, Lucile made fabulous evening dresses.
Check out this flapper dress!

Other super fabulous evening dresses from the first 2 decades of the 20th century:

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Edwardian fashion is very interesting because it was very much a transitional time for fashion. Some dresses, especially ones from the first decade of the 20th century, look very much like Victorian fashion (which officially lasted until 1901, at the passing of Queen Victoria.) This means that corsets were still popular, and dresses that had bigger skirts were still popular. However, looser sports clothes were becoming more common, and more column-style dresses were starting to become more common. These column dresses would lead to the looseness of the flapper dress in the 20s. The early 20th century was very much rooted in the Victorian Age but also looking forward to the excitement of the 20s, making it an "in-between" fashion era.

Lucile was also greatly inspired by the exotic, especially the orient:

And check out those pajamas? I don't know about you, but I'd LOVE to sleep in those!

And I don't know whether this source is right or not, but imagine if it is: how cool is the idea of a fashion designer being a suffragette?! Apparently, the reason this dress is green, white, and violet, is that the three colours stand for Give Women the Vote! (Seriously, how cool is that? Thanks for the tidbit, Ye Old Fashion!)

Here's the video I was talking about. It shows a part of the evolution of women's dress over 15 years, and I think the first part of it - the 1914 fashions - are all screenings of Lucile shows! Cool, no?


Sooooo, what did you think? Interesting? Visually appealing? Was the fun fact about fashion shows being credited to Lucile your favourite part? How about the rumour that the green, white, and violet dress stood for giving women the vote? I think that may have been my favourite part since elections are happening on my side of the pond, and I'm always grateful for the ability to vote even if most of the candidates are kind of, well, bleh.

What I want to know, though, is what you guys thought of the fashion history aspect of this post. I enjoyed writing it so much! If you'd like more of it, maybe fill out the poll about what era you'd like to learn about next?
Or, leave me a comment answering the poll or saying which designer history you're interested in!

Let me know what you think! I've never made a poll before, eek! (You can also fill out the almost identical one on the main page of the blog, whatever you prefer!)


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Twirly coral dress at my cousin's bridal shower

What I love about bridal showers, fancy brunches, and day parties:

- Alcohol during the day? I approve! Especially when the alcohol is champagne.
- Unlike fancy dinners, which have a lot of heavy meats (not always good, in my opinion), there are yummy sandwiches, fruit bowls, croissants, and salads! Yum!
- I get to wear pretty, flowy, and colourful but still casual dresses!
And, finally...
- It's still light enough to photograph the outfit I wore when arriving home afterwards! 
(Pictures taken in my lovely new backyard, thanks muchly to my sister, Julia, for being the photographer.)



I've been trying out new poses! I'm sick of the ol' hand on hip, even if it's one of my favourites either way. Thoughts on this torso-and-up one?



Forget arm party - how about ring party?

Has anyone gone to any cool day parties lately, or are there any that stand out to memory? What's your favourite thing about them?


Dress + belt: Forever 21
Shoes: Payless
Bangles: The Bay
Gold cobra ring: old ring of my Mom's - a fave!
Sapphire ring: gift from my grandmother for my 16th birthday
Silver and turquoise ring (ring finger): Bought on a trip in Israel
Clutch: thrifted
Nails: After Sex by Essie 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Luscious Gypsy Inspiration by Leighton Meester at the Salvatore Ferragamo Show

Fashion inspiration:
luscious luxurious Renaissance gypsy meets haute couture!

Worn by Leighton Meester, at the Salvatore Ferragamo show.

This is a perfect summer look, but one that's sophisticated enough to also be worn in the fall; it has bare shoulders and loose arms, making it easier to wear in the heat, but is in rich colours, which is perfect for fall. It's the perfect outfit to let out your inner gypsy, while still being elegant, if that's the kind of style you like!
A way to emulate this look: don't shy away from showing a touch of skin, experiment with clothing shapes and drapery optimal for the heat - loose sleeves, flowy silhouettes - and fill yourself up with beautiful colours and patterns!
Wear culture on you!




Are you a fan of this look, or have anything similar to it in your closet?

 Photos courtesy of

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer inspiration on Pinterest and Fashion Steals!

Hello darlings! Guess what...

SUMMER'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Officially, since Wednesday!

In honour of the Summer Solstice, here is a post about what you can do to make your summer a little better - and cooler - with ideas courtesy of Pinterest! Look underneath the fashion inspiration for cheaper ideas on how to get the look!

Why don't you...

Wear a chambray dress? It has the same allure as jeans, but you can actually wear it during the summer without dying of heat! Did I mention it looks amazing, especially in shirt-dress form? Win-win, I say!

A steal for a chambray shirt dress: Forever 21 Classic Chambray Dress, Forever 21 Collared Denim Dress with Belt (pretty similar!)

Make sure to protect yourself from the sun - and keep cool - by wearing an overly large (did I mention cute?) sunhat with a billowy light and white dress, which will let air pass through, which won't attract as much sun as wearing black, and looks adorable? Don't forget sunscreen!

A save on a large, striped, floppy hat: The Bay - ECHO 2 Colour Cross Floppy Hat  (seriously, I cannot describe how gorgeous and comfortable this hat is. I've been trying to dissuade myself from buying it for a month now! The pink/orange one is a personal favourite, the blue/green one is gorgeous, and the black/white one is classy!)

Flowy (mostly) White Dresses you can get at Forever 21: Vibrant Feather Dress with Belt, Crochet Lace Dress, Kaleidoscope Print Maxi Dress, Collared Polka Dot Dress with Belt, Layered Trapeze Dress, Flounced Abstract Maxi Dress,

Ride trains and people watch...all while looking stylish, cool, and being able to take the occasional catnap!

Steal on a striped red and white top: Forever 21 Striped Crop Tee
Steal on a fedora hat: Forever 21 Straw Fedora (the men's fedoras are always the best ;). )

Eat outside and enjoy the weather! A set-up like this is even perfect for the person with an apartment and no grand sweeping garden - buy cute, small chairs, a small table, and hang plants and flowers from the top of the balcony! Or, even better, buy certain plants which are able to wrap themselves around railings - like vines - and put them outside on a little piece of layered wood pieces, or a railing in your backyard! I recommend morning glory!

Why don't you make mint blueberry lemon water? Staying hydrated during the summer is so incredibly important, but I know that some people just don't like the taste of water. Well, here's a pretty tasty alternative!

Why don't you start jogging? I swear, Runner's High is not a myth. Just make sure to do it in the morning or evening so that it's not too hot out! For those of you who are just starting out - or anyone who wants to double check that they've been doing it correctly - here's a handy infographic on jogging!

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

What's inspiring you so far this summer? Bright colours? Travel photos? Music festivals?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Birthdays and Reflections on my Teenage Years

Want exciting news? On Saturday, it's my...


(Just replace "next week" with "on Saturday".)

I'm so excited for it, for various reasons. There are the obvious ones, such as "PRESENTS, WHOO!" (sounds childish, but c'mon, gift-wise, it's more personal than whatever winter holiday you celebrate, and don't lie, you get excited too when you know you're getting presents, even if it may not be your favourite part); also, a lot of people don't think of this, I think, but why wouldn't you want to celebrate the day you "came into being", if you will? It's the ultimate celebration of YOU! Sure, getting older can suck sometimes, but it's also proof of the fact that you survived another year! Don't say "Ugh, this time next year I'm turning 30/40/50/60/whatever", say "I can't wait until I turn another year older, it means I would've survived a possible zombie apocalypse, getting drunk out of my mind on New Year's, family dinners with the very extended family during the winter holidays, and a possible world apocalypse in December as predicted by the Mayans!"

See what I mean? Birthdays are awesome.

Also, I love partying with friends, and on Saturday night I'm going out with close friends to a very festive Mexican restaurant - so exciting!
...What to wear...

Then, there are the not-so-obvious reasons for wanting this particular birthday to come. I'm turning 20, which is a very big birthday in Europe, or at least France, according to my Grandmother. For me, however, it's very significant because I'm finally getting out of the "teenage" range. My teenage years were good and bad. They were riddled with high school - seriously, high school was like pestilence or something, haha - but I also went to college during them, which was quite nice. I had petty drama at sleepaway camp in the first few years of them, and then missed it in the last few years of the teenage range. I had braces, which was awful, but I also had beautiful teeth for the remaining 2 or so years of my teenage years.
Overall, it was a sucky few years, but I felt like I've come out of it pretty ok, and I've definitely learned a lot from it.

However, I'm definitely not sad to see those years end, learning experience nonetheless!


So, you know how people make new year's resolutions? I do that, too, but I very much prefer making birthday resolutions! I feel like there's less...commercialization than new year's resolutions, so it's easier to reflect on yourself.

My birthday resolutions:

- I didn't lose 10 pounds by the time I turned 20, like I hoped at new year's, but I did lose a little bit - which is a big deal for me, since I have an awful metabolism and my hormones aren't great, long story short. I'm going to keep on keeping on, and aim for health, not weight loss. Though, for me, they're pretty much synonymous (though they're not for everyone!), aiming for health feels more...real.

- I'm not saying I'm going to get over my procastination - I don't even think it's possible to permanently get rid of it, though there are ways to curb it a little.
I will, however, say that I'm going to try very hard to get rid of one of the root causes of procastination - probably the main one, in my case - which is fear. Fear of many things: fear of failure, most notably, fear of humiliation, fear of unknown (and possibly good!) situations.
I think too much.
I need to throw myself into things. It doesn't work out? At least I tried!

- I'm going to be more open to the culture around me. I went to see Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince, based on the novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery) at the ballet last night, and it was fabulous. It wasn't a traditional ballet - I don't think there was single pointe shoe in sight - but the dancing was beautiful, like ballet but more fluid, almost lyrical. I really enjoyed everything about it - the score was especially fantastic, and the sets were innovative and beautiful. However, because they didn't necessarily read the book (or do a basic wikipedia search on the story, for some reason?) they didn't understand it, and instead of being bored in silence, they checked their phones (so distracting and disrespectful to the performers!) and spoke with the people sitting next to them (so distracting and disrespectful to the performers!) The whole time, all I could think of was: "Oh my goodness, they are missing quality art here because they didn't take the time to find out about it and because their minds aren't open enough to appreciate a style of ballet that isn't completely traditional".
This led me to this resolution: take the time to investigate and appreciate all the art around you!

- This leads to my last idea, and possibly the most important one:
 This is extremely important to me (duh, it means being happy!), but it's also the hardest to carry out. Because doing what I love and doing it often? It means actually making time for doing what I love to begin with, let alone doing it often. It means balancing doing what I love with school, family, friends, jobs, etc... Which kind of relates to the procastination resolution, especially with balancing doing what I love with school commitments, haha.
Which bring me to:
What do I love to do?
As crazy as it sounds, this isn't an easy question to answer considering I've put what I love to do on the backburner quite a bit, especially because of school.

I love art history, which is convenient because that's what I'm doing next semester at school.

I love dancing and exercising, together and separately. In comes...ZUMBA! Also, 10 minute dance breaks will definitely play into this.

I love museums and galleries. Seriously, I'm an art history student, I have a museum VIP pass, my school is pretty close to all the major galleries, as well as the museum itself...but I almost never go! WHYYYYYY? Why do I do this to myself? My goal is to go to the museum, at least, once every month. Galleries can have more iffy opening schedules and are sometimes a bit harder to get to, so even if I'll be visiting many this summer, my main goal for the rest of the time is to at least go to the museum. Once a month isn't too hard if I put my mind to it!

I love to read. Seriously, that's probably my biggest love ever. I have no idea how I'll implement more reading time, but I do know that, in most of my free time this summer, I'll have a book in front of me. Maybe I'll start a book club? What do you guys think of a book club on this blog? We could even read fashion books, like that really good Chanel biography I read last year, I think by Justine Picardie? And The Beautiful Fall, I forget the author, but it was mostly about Yves St-Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, and their world. We could even do fashion magazine reviews, each person would have a turn reviewing 1 fashion magazine, and there'd be a rotation every month, aka Jane reads her choice of fashion magazine in January and reviews it, Mary reads her choice of fashion magazine in February and reviews it,  I read my choice of fashion magazine in March and review it... We could divide the September issue into a few parts, haha...

And finally, I love this blog. I'm hoping to have an easier time of it by keeping a list of every single entry idea I can think of - the biggest learning curve in terms of blogging, for me, has been having enough to write about and to stick to a schedule - so we'll see how that plays out. I want to have fun with this blog!


I love travelling and reading about travel. As odd as it is, something as big as taking a trip has been easier for me to implement than most of these other goals. I discovered a few awesome websites which I'll talk about more in the future, I'm going next week to read my library's copy of National Geographic Travel (I hope they have it, they used to!), and I'm getting a job in order to save up even more for a trip I want to take next summer. I for sure have enough, more than enough, but this summer isn't quite right for travelling, and having a little more financial cushioning before taking the big trip would be really nice. Also, I have a ton of travel-related blog entries planned for this summer, yay! Two goals in one!


Do you place a lot of importance on birthdays, or have any birthday traditions? I'd love to hear about them!


Thanks for reading!