Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Few of My Favourite Things ~ No. 1

 

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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things.”

“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.” ~ Rodgers and Hammerstein 

Oh, the Sound of Music – one of my favourite films.  Ok, so I’m not a big fan of the rain, I’m allergic to kittens and wool makes me itch; however, I do think Maria was on to something.  Turning to your favourite things, especially after a difficult or challenging day, does make you feel better.

While my favourites may differ from yours, we all have them.  I bet you have a favourite person that brings you joy when you are in their company.  Maybe you have a favourite place that immediately puts you at ease when you visit.  Or, perhaps it is an object that makes you smile whenever you see it.  Favourites can be static – staying strong throughout one’s life, or dynamic – changing with the season or circumstance.

Often, our favourites are determined by what pleases our senses.  Arguably, humans have a multitude of senses; however, sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch are the five most traditionally recognized.

I am forever interested in the “favourites” of others.   I look forward to weekly or monthly favourites on the blogs or Youtube videos I follow, in hopes that I may be introduced to a new favourite.

In the first of what I expect will be a reoccurring series on the blog, I offer you a glimpse at my current favourites, one to satiate each of the senses:

SIGHT

Simply Nigella – Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson’s latest series reaffirms that what, and how we cook, can do wonders for our bodies and minds.  Packed with mouth-watering recipes and fabulous tips, Nigella proves that food, both in the eating and making, should always be pleasurable.  While I’m not an avid cook (trying to change that), grabbing a hot beverage and spending some time with Miss Lawson is one of my favourite things to do.

HEARING

Tenderly – Stacey Kent 

While I listen to and appreciate several genres of music, jazz has always been a favourite of mine.  Since its release, I have been enjoying Stacey Kent’s latest album entitled, Tenderly.  Described as an “intimate collection of standards”, Kent collaborates with veteran Brazilian guitarist-composer-producer Roberto Meniscal to produce a swoon-worthy album.  Kent’s soft, light voice is soothing to listen to and is certainly one of my favourites.

TASTE

Herb Roasted Nuts – Haley Bell at Home

There is nothing better than a delicious snack that satiates your taste buds and is easy to make.  Lately, I have been enjoying Haley Bell at Home’s Herb Roasted Nuts.  From start to finish, this five ingredient snack takes less than 15 minutes to make and tastes sensational.  While I have been using cashews (my favourite), you can substitute different varieties of nuts to suit your taste.  For this and other delicious recipes, I encourage you to head over to Haley’s blog.

SMELL 

Verbena Linen Water – Lothantique

Linen water is one of life’s simple luxuries.  Historically used by the French to perfume their sheets, linen water provides a hint of aroma to bedding or other types of fabric without being overwhelming.  While there are a multitude of varieties to suit individual taste, I am currently loving Lothantique’s Linen Water in the scent Verbena.   To treat your fabrics, simply pour into a steam iron or spray directly on to linens and then, breath in.

TOUCH

Faux Fur Throw – Chapters/Indigo

When I want to truly relax, a luxurious throw is always part of the equation, especially during the winter months.  Right now, I am head over heels for my Faux Fur Throw, in the colour ivory, from Chapters/Indigo.  Made with finely spun strands that mimic the plush hand and rich shimmer of natural fur, this throw can be used all year to keep you warm and also, keep your chair or bed looking très chic.

Whether it’s a new find or an old goodie, I encourage you to make your favourites a part of everyday.  Like Maria said, simply remembering your favourite things can do wonders for your mood.

Bonsoir xo

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Rise and Shine…

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Though I rise fairly early on weekdays, I have never considered myself to be a “morning person”.  You know the type – those that jump out of bed with vigour at the sound of their alarm?  Much to my dismay,  I do not wake up like Cinderella, in pristine condition, with light streaming in my window and birds singing sweet melodies in my ear.  In fact, somedays it is quite the opposite.  I groan as my alarm rings, praying that it is just a bad dream.  I then drag myself out of bed looking like I have just endured a hurricane.

While I haven’t always loved mornings, I have come to appreciate the quiet beauty that comes with this time of day.  If you are fortunate to enjoy the luxury of quiet mornings (I do not have little ones yet), you may come to find the stillness is refreshing.  It gives one a chance to collect their thoughts and prepare for a new day.

How one spends these first few hours is important, as they can profoundly influence all the hours that follow.  As we gear up for another Monday (the hardest morning of all), I offer a few ways to help start your day off on the right foot:

Begin The Night Before

A good morning often hinges on a restful sleep.  If you find yourself exhausted by 3:00 p.m. everyday, chances are you may need more rest.  A sound sleep begins with creating a routine that tells your body it is time to power down.  I suggest turning off all electronics an hour before you go to sleep.  I know, this can be difficult in the ever-connected world we live in, but that blue light can play games with our natural body clock.

Then, take a few moments to prepare anything you can for the next day (i.e. choose your outfit, pack your lunch, clean out your purse).  This will give you a little extra time in the morning, as you won’t have to race around looking for your car keys or trying to find that rogue shoe.

Finally, luxuriate in whatever gives you pleasure and calms your mind.  Take a bath if that soothes you, or read a few pages of that new book.  Having a consistent evening routine can do wonders for your sleep, which will help to prepare you for that inevitable alarm.

Stretch the Body and Mind 

Taking a few minutes to stretch both your body and mind is a wonderful way to begin the day.  Whether you choose to go through a few yoga poses, like these, or perform some simple stretches, like these, your body will thank you.

The first moments of your day are also the perfect time to stretch your mind.  Yes, just as your body benefits from stretching after slumber, so too does your brain.  Whether you prefer to meditate, or you find serenity in running through a few positive affirmations, preparing your mind in this way puts you on the right track.

Hydrate 

While drinking enough water can be difficult for many (myself included), having a glass first thing in the morning is vital to your day.  After eight hours of sleep, the body becomes dehydrated, which is why so often, you awake feeling parched.  Rehydrating not only replenishes necessary fluids, but it has also been linked to jumpstarting your metabolism and digestive system.

To make those first sips even more enjoyable, try infusing your water. Anything from berries to lemons, cucumbers to mint, can make that first drink even more refreshing.  Need a little inspiration? Check out Amy Pogue’s blog, Infused Waters, for great recipes.

Get Inspired 

Some days, I start my morning by catching up on the latest local or international news; however, at times, the news can be somewhat depressing.  As we know, it is often the worst stories that make it to the news feed, not the most inspiring.  Most days, I prefer something more uplifting, or at least, thought-provoking first thing.

Often, I listen to my favourite podcasts (like The Simple Sophisticate or Tranquility du Jour) while getting ready, or I will take 15 minutes before I head out the door to read a daily passage from the book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, or an article that puts my mind in a positive space.

At times, I prefer to gain my inspiration from music.  Typically, I listen to jazz in the morning; however, it really depends on what genre of music speaks to you.  Anything to put you in a positive mood.  I’m currently loving Stacey Kent’s new album entitled, Tenderly.

Review the ‘To Do’ List 

Reminding yourself of what you want/need to accomplish is the best way to ensure a successful day.  Life can get busy and days can start to run together.  Too often, without a list, we forget that essential ingredient needed for dinner, or to mail that special friend’s birthday card.

Perhaps, you prefer to makes lists on your smartphone or computer.  Many phones now have a notes app, or you can easily search the app store to find countless productivity and tracking programs for a nominal fee.  Maybe you are more of a paper person, like me.  Whether you like Post-It Notes on your door, or you have an unhealthy addiction to prefer to keep your life organized with a paper planner, there are endless options.  Currently, I’m using the Bella Leather Binder in the colour blush, by Franklin Covey, with lovely planner inserts by The Simply Luxurious Life.

Find a list system that works for you and then take five minutes before you head out the door to review your goals for the day. Checking even the smallest item off your list can give you a profound sense of accomplishment, and you can carry that positive feeling throughout your day.

While you may not have the time to make each of these suggestions part of every morning, I encourage you to add at least one.  Or, reflect on your current routine and add items to it that fit your life and create the foundation for a better day.  Anything that will help you walk out that door in a good state of mind, ready to take on the adventures that await.

Wishing you all a good morning!

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