9.29.2013

Snow White

Over the last few years, I had a few of my friends tell me their landlords would not let them paint their walls. It seems like it is especially true in big cities like Montreal or Boston. When I first heard about that, I thought that this was the most horrible rule possibly made on earth. I love bright colors, and I could not imagine myself being happy in an all-white apartment. All I could think of was me being depressed in my white apartment in the dead of winter. But lately, I have been browsing the home decor category on Pinterest and I found myself surprisingly inspired by all-white apartments. Maybe it's me getting older and wanting to purify my lifestyle in general. I realized that it IS possible to be happy in a winter white apartment by following a few simple rules. By looking at hundreds of pictures, I created my own theory for the successful decoration of a white apartment. (Please don't follow all the rules at once. Choose with parcimony).

1- Make it look like it was planned. Like raising an "accidental" child (you don't want to make him think he wasn't wanted), you need to make your apartment look like it is how you have always imagined it. Clean or repaint the walls white again if the paint does not look fresh and choose your props accordingly. One way to make it look planned is to choose white furniture to match your walls. 

(jurnaldesigninterior.com)

2- Play it like it's 1953. The first color television show was broadcast in 1954. Why not make it completely black and white so it seems like you're stuck in Pleasantville. The black and white trend of last spring is not ready to leave and is expanding from the wardrobe to the whole home. 

 (found on pinterest)

3- Café-crème. You're a big Starbucks fan? You can now make your home look like a coffee, by adding chocolate accents in your cream white home. Coziness guaranteed. (I'm already picturing myself grabbing a book from that bookshelf and reading it on that comfy chocolate leather couch sipping on a latté bowl). 

 (thefancy.com)

4- Colorful prints. Not sure a bi-chromatic look is enough to cheer you up every day? Add colorful prints everywhere. Think of your apartment as a blank canvas and go wild. My advice would be to stay within on category of colors: bold, pastel or dark. Not all at once. (Love the bright vintage French prints. And I already own that dotted cushion, eek! Only 53 other things to buy to achieve that look!)

 (myscandinavianhome.blogspot.fr)

5- (White) Wine & Blue: Nautical-inspired decor is a classic that never goes out of style. Matching navy and white will never go wrong and there are so many options for prints: stripes (love of my life), chevrons, Aztec prints, dots... Dive in bed and float on...

 (minted.com)

6- Vintage style forever: This is my own personal taste, but I've always been in love with older apartments and vintage prints. This may not suit people with more modern tastes but I think elements from another era complement well wooden floors and wall cracks. Vintage frames and prints makes the whole "old apartment" thing look more legit.  

 (witanddelight.com)

My favorite accessories for a white flat are:

Colorful printed cushions:



 (elce stockholm)

Ethnic carpets
(esalerugs.com)

 Rough, natural wooden furniture. It goes so well with white walls and makes everything look pure and natural. 

(archilovers.com)

So what do you think? Could you stand not painting your walls in a single room of your place?






9.25.2013

Drinks After Work or How to Dress for Corporate Fun

I used to live 1 km from my office so this was not a question I thought I would ever need to answer.
It's a new reality I have to face now that I live more than a 30 minutes commute from my office (don't get me started on traffic and road work). Humans are social animals and, even if I live far away I still want to have a social life. A social life that sometimes includes drinks after work! Tomorrow, I will be attending a social event that will allow me to mingle with young professionals like me over a few drinks.

This BIG, multi-faceted question came to my mind last night when I decided I would go:

What to wear at the office and after when you:

1- Don't want to look boring at the cocktail
2- Don't want to look like a party animal at work
3- Don't want to change more than 1 piece of clothing in-between

I created a perfect look that requires to change only your top and will get you going from 9 to 5 to... !!

Disclaimer to anyone from work: No, I won't be out that late, I still work on Friday.
Drinks after work


The key is to wear pants that are good for work but have a little fashion-forward edge, like high-waisted pleated pants (hello, menswear trend!). Instead of regular pumps (which honestly I rarely wear at work, but I know most people do), wear fun cut-out booties that are still suitable for the office but add a wow effect to your outfit. Plus, after 8-9 hours, you might get a little tired to wear heels (I would). A sleeveless blazer will make your office outfit look legit but still allow tickets to the gun show at the cocktail, after you quickly change from a tailored shirt to a fun, sleeveless, (whole)leopard-print  top. Use a cross-body bag that day instead of a large tote that will dig into your shoulder at the bar. Don't forget your pocket mirror and make-up for touch ups (I don't know about you, but after a day of work I look far from fresh and fabulous). Add a statement necklace, grab a drink and be happy!

Details of the outfit are here!

9.21.2013

Comme Un Garçon

People hardly believe me when I tell them I used to be a tomboy.

I love ladylike fashion, beauty and make-up, but I also enjoy being able to make my feminity pop-out of a boyish look. I think it's a trend that runs in my family. I love to look at old pics from the late 80's of my mother and her sisters, who ran a clothing store. They sported with great style menswear-inspired outfits (I wish they had kept their stuff!). I agree that this is a trend that is not for everyone (it might be harder to pull off for really short women or women on the curvy side, but fear not, it can be done). It's super simple for medium height to tall women and it's a fun and comfy look that's easy to wear (if you know how).

I literally drool over looks like this:
Inspiration found on Pinterest.

So how one can achieve a "menswear" look without actually looking like a man? BALANCE, people, BA-LAN-CE. 

The key is to not overdo it by putting every "boyfriend" piece of your wardrobe at once. If you choose to wear loose trousers (whether they are pleated or have a loose leg), try to choose a top with a slimmer fit (without being too tight). And the shirt can still be boyish, like an oxford shirt for example. And you can wear a nice simple sweater or blazer on top. If you want to go bold, I would add a large-brimmed hat (my current obsession) or a bowler hat. If you have a total menswear look (top, blazer, hat, pants), I would tone it down with a more feminine ankle boot (like on the top picture) or oxfords with heels. Unless you are really tall!


Menswear look
Details of this look are here
P.S. Those topshop monk shoes are sold out in my size. It makes me wanna cry. But maybe you will be luckier than me!

If you chose to still go with skinny pants (which is what I suggest for shorter or curvier women), for example, then I would totally go with oxfords or, even more fashion-forward, monk shoes (my favorite!). By wearing skinny jeans or a feminine top, you show people that there is a female individual under all the looser clothing!

Menswear #2
Details are here here.

The key is to wear your boyfriend's clothing but to remind people you are a woman with a feminine necklace, bag, lipstick, winged liner, etc. Keeping your hair down will also help balance the look! So what do you think? Will you try menswear this fall? 

9.17.2013

Painting Your Hunter Boots a New Color: DIY

A few years ago, I snagged a pair of light gold Hunter rain boots for half the price. I liked them back then even if I would have chosen a darker color, but lately I was really tired of them. I tried to find a tutorial for changing their color without success. I finally decided I would take the risk to paint them anyways, since they usually stay in my closet. The worse that could happend would be for them to remain in my closet. What really convinced me is when I noticed the gold color was coming off in some spots. I thought... well, they're already painted anyways so why not repaint them.

I went to my local craft store and bought a can of spray paint (Plutonium brand) that works on rubber (the lady in the store didn't even know about that, but since I'm an avid online shopper I already knew exactly which paint I was coming to buy). The color I chose is "Stealth". I wasn't even sure if it was more of an army green or a brownish charcoal but I didn't really care. I just wanted my boots to be dark, but not black.

Here is what you will need:


A can of spray paint for rubber surfaces, painter's tape, scissors, newspaper (or anything to cover the ground), a wet rag or paper towels. And, of course, a pair of rubber boots.


First, clean your boots to remove any excess dust or soil. Believe me, even if they look clean, they most definitely are not.


While you let your boots dry, cover the ground with newspaper. 


Then, cover the "hunter" logo (or anything you want to leave the same color) with painter's tape. I actually had to cut my tape several times before I got the right size.


If you have any buckles or ornaments that you want to paint, unbuckle them so you can reach under.


Then, spray a little paint on the newspaper for a test. This is just to make sure that the can sprays well and won't leak on the boots. Make sure you don't hold your can closer to your boot or the newpaper than 5-6 inches.



You can start spraying your boot in a linear motion.


Here is the result after one boot. Not too bad, eh?


When finished, let your boots dry for at least 15 minutes after you make sure you haven't forgotten any spots. When the boot is dry, you can lay it on the side so you can spray the sole, and wait until it dries again. (I painted the whole boot at once and had pieces of newspaper stick to my sole. My can't-wait-for-my-nail-polish-to-dry disease is expanding!)
Here is the result:


And then, remove the tape off the logo:


Tadaaa!!! (Sorry if the last photo is blurry, it was getting dark!)


I am REALLY happy with the result. I will wear them next time it rains and keep you posted about the durability of the paint! The color is perfect and not too matte, not too shiny!

**Update** The paint does crack a little bit where the boot folds. It's still minimal and I spray some more every once in a while. I still prefer them dark but if you want them to be perfect, you shouldn't paint them.

9.13.2013

Grandma's tips!

If you're like me, you sometimes wonder how much time you need to put in your beauty/style routine to look flawless everyday. While some people probably really get up at 5 to make everything perfect, some other people prefer to sleep in and snooze too many times (like me). I'm the kind of person who always looks clean and put together, however, if you look at me closely,  you will notice minor flaws.

1. Cat hair
I have a cat, and until recently I had no idea how people with cats ended up at work with no cat hair on their blazers.


This was, in fact, my motto. My only trick was to wear blazers of other colors but sometimes, you really need to wear black... I can't even recall how much money I spent on lint rollers over the past 2 years and I always ended up with a homemade mohair blazer at work. Until I discovered the genius of the "air fluff" option in the dryer. It litterally saved my life. Put your blazer in there for 10 minutes and see for yourself. You might need to use a lint roller for stubborn hairs but I guarantee you will use only 1 sheet.

2. Nails


(image source: awaywiththefairiesblog.com)

I loooove nail polish! But I'm a very busy person and I rarely have the time to paint my nails. Everytime, the same thing happens. I paint my nails, and then I can't sit still and start doing something else. Bam! I stratch my polish and have to start over again. I also paint on the skin around my nails on my right hand (I'm far from ambidextrous). I end up with a bad nail job and try to hide my nails at work. My best grandma trick for that is to paint your nails before you shower (and shower at night, right before bed). You have to wait 5 minutes before showering and when the polish starts to set, the water will help it finish the process. And will wash off any excess polish on your skin! Be careful if you wash your hair though, try not to get your finger stuck in it.


3. Hair/Frizz


(image source: ihomeremedy.net)

I have the frizziest hair on earth! My hair is naturally blonde so it's very dry (I have this unverified theory that blonde hair is dryer than dark hair). My tips are bleached right now (I have a subtle ombré) which makes my hair really tangly and frizzy. I don't like spending an hour doing my hair so I usually tie it up in a low bun and go to work. I've recently discovered a new way to towel dry my hair that makes it 3x easier to style afterwards, so I can leave my hair down without people thinking "wow, she really needs a haircut". Thanks to Lauren Conrad, I now dry my hair by wrapping it with an old, soft t-shirt. It's so much easier on your strands than a towel that causes breakage! I started this week and see a huge difference!

4. Wax on clothing


Ok, this rarely happens unless you're clumsy like me (and love candles or lack outdoor lighting). But if you end up having candlewax on your clothes (which happened to me on a brand-new trench coat), it can be removed super easily! You just need to wait until it dries and put a paper towel on top of it. Then, you iron it and poof! the wax has completely transferred on the paper towel (p.s., it does NOT work on suede shoes, I tried). If you don't have an iron (which was my case for the last few months, don't judge me!), just use a flat iron for hair! Which leads me to my next tip!



5. Wrinkled shirt, 10 minutes late, no iron/no time/nothing else to wear!



Let's say you have a very corporate job. And you snooze too much. And you don't have much free time to do your laundry. It is possible that one morning, you are late and need to wear a dress shirt and that you don't have any ironed shirts. Tip: wear a blazer on top (Thanks, The Lady Olive). If the shirt still looks wrinkled, use your flat iron on the front placket and on the collar and poof! Magic happens again! And it literally takes 30 seconds since most flat irons heat up in 2 seconds! (Ok, I'm really proud of that one because I invented it. Well, maybe other people use it but nobody actually gave it to me).


I think living a balanced life is all about shortcuts. Until 50-hour days happen, I guess!

Enjoy your weekend, the time of the week where you don't need to use any of those tips! :)

9.09.2013

Anchored in Cappadocia

My colleague just came back from a trip to Turkey and the Greek Islands... (sounds boring, right?). 

Not to me!
I started dreaming about hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia (Turkey) about a year ago, while looking at THE best travel pictures I had ever seen in my life on Facebook. I had never heard of that destination before and thought the views were completely breathtaking. See for yourself :

Source: 4feet2mouths.com

And then, suddenly, after I decided that this was MY dream destination, everywhere around me, I started hearing people talk about going to or coming back from Cappadocia. At least every month during the last year, I'd hear about someone going there or just coming back from there. I started thinking woah, this is the new destination. My little hipster fiber didn't like that (but I had the idea before them, right?). 

But was this truly THE new popular destination? Probably not. It was just that good old anchoring bias playing a trick on me again.
Eh?
The anchoring bias is a social psychology phenomenon that causes you to attach more importance and pay more attention to information you processed recently, and react accordingly. In my case, I had probbably heard about Turkey/Cappadocia trips before but didn't really pay attention because I hadn't seen the pictures (pictures have a huge effect on me, I'm totally visual). And ever since I saw those dreamlike pics and got interested in them, I started giving more importance to that destination. And would notice every time someone would mention it (and put a mark on the wall in my brain). 

Anchoring is also the same old trick that makes all of us fashion victims buy overpriced items that are marked down . For example, you enter a store, find a jacket you like and see that it's too expensive. Then you find out it's marked down and buy it, because you attach too much importance to the first price you saw even if in fact, it was way over the top.

Anyways. Cappadocia IS an awesome destination, my colleague just confirmed it. She even recommended a hot air balloon ride company (Rainbow Balloons). They take you in that huge honey-colored field of rocks and get you as close as they can to the caves (not for wimps). They even serve you champagne on the ride. 

Since I haven't visited that place I can't really tell you more about it. All I know is that there was a Greek community there (Cappadocian Greeks) that was relocated to Greece (hello lover!) during the population exchange in the 1920's (see here). I dream about going in the next year. A girl can dream and a little inspiration helps:

Arabian nights

Details are here.

My favorite Disney movie as a child was definitely Aladdin and I think it's a parallel that's easy to make: flying a hot air balloon in Turkey is about as close you can get to being a princess on a flying carpet in Saudi Arabia. Think drinking some bubbles in a luxe setting, everything covered in gold (including your own shoes...those D'orsay flats strangely remind me of the magic lamp). Silky fabrics and luxurious brocade... Tassels, tassels, tassels everywhere (like the flying carpet's little tassel-hands in Aladdin, awwww). Ok, last time I mention Aladdin. Think also luxurious, ethnic-looking products like Guerlain's mythical Kohl. Also think Jules-Vernes-esque cameras or accessories (hot air balloons...zeppelin, same, right?) And, of course, a silk scarf. I bet it can be windy out there and if not, turbans are hot.  Anyways, I am far from looking like Freida Pinto (and I know she's Indian but she's soooo beautiful) so I might be better with my gold locks covered. 

P.S. I know this post is out of season but... If you're like me you have to start saving now for your next summer vacation! Stop buying cozy sweaters and save up!

9.05.2013

September Wish List

I woke up this morning and it was 5 degrees (Celsius, of course. It means about 38 degrees Fahrenheit). Brrr! This is so cold compared to the hot, moist couple of days I just spent in Boston last weekend (post to come). I know we're already Thursday so it's already a while ago but...Monday was a holiday so I have an excuse (kind of).

Anyways, the fact that we lost many degrees so quickly makes me happy (I know I'll be crying in January though). But for now, a drop in temperature means I can finally start wearing fall clothes and this is what inspired me for my fall wishlist.

september wishlist
I've been longing for cozy sweaters ever since I started seeing them on Pinterest about a month ago. This one is from Madewell and seems just perfect. That necklace's price is wayyy over the top but this is why it is a wiiiish list. Same for those amazing Jenni Kayne flats. By the way, if you're looking for one type of flats to buy this fall, buy D'Orsay flats (pointy flats that open on the side just like those). I know Chinese Laundry  makes a much cheaper option (thank God!). Well maybe don't buy them if you live in Canada because you will stop wearing them in a week (they're probably not the best shoes to wear with socks).

I have a really big problem with hats. Please don't tell anyone. Every summer (and fall), I buy a hat. I loooove hats and they generally suit me well (I have a small head and it makes it look bigger, I guess). But I end up never wearing my hats (or I force myself to wear them). And then I bring them on vacation and crush them in my luggage and make them impossible to wear. And I repeat. So I told myself I would never buy hats again (except for beanies). But if I were to buy a hat this fall, it would be this Brixton hat. It is perfeclty floppy but not too big and burgundy is my favorite fall color.

The price of this JCrew silk blouse is out of control, but really...What's better than a fun printed collar peeking out of a sweater? Plus, black and white goes with everything and it's printed with little hearts! Awww (I tend to doodle hearts everywhere when I'm on the phone... maybe I could DIY a similar shirt so this shirt is made for me). This Clare Vivier clutch caught my attention a while ago on Happily Grey but the price makes me want to cry. Anyways, there's a cheaper option (but still real leather) at Gap.

I have been obsessing about army green pants lately. I wouldn't dare camo pants (Ok I would dare them, but I don't like the fact that camo came back so quickly, I feel like it was cool when I was 17, 10 years ago already!). So these pants, with black colorblocking, are just the perfect compromise. Sorry for the price again!

I've also been excited to wear plum lipstick. My favorite one is the Rouge Interdit from Givenchy. It is not as dark when you put it on your lips, I promise.

See the full set here.

What's on your wishlist for September?

9.02.2013

BROCADE

Labor Day is over and the first few fall leaves are falling...already!

I'm couting the days before I have to start wearing tights so I seize every opportunity wear skirts with nude legs a few times before it's too late. After all, those days won't happen again before April or even May... Eeek!

I already put away my summer dresses and started to wear more neutrals to welcome fall. Circle skirts are big this fall and brocade is back again, so I particularly enjoy wearing my boutique Onze skirt (looks good with an end-of-summer tan! I swear my legs are tanned. At least a little bit).








 This cute kitty even kept us company during the photoshoot! 
Skirt Boutique Onze, Sweater Boutique Onze. This Montreal-based boutique has tons of original and cute dresses and you can shop online! You should check out their website! They are one of my favorite Montreal stores :)

P.S. Sorry for not posting for a while, I was on a weekend trip and did not have my computer. Come back this week for new posts!