Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What makes you feel chic? and I've been tagged!

I have almost finished reading Madame Chic.

Please don't forget to tell me what makes you feel chic to enter the giveaway...
details are in the previous post.

materfamilias has tagged me in a meme
and I am rising to the challenge by sharing some things about myself.

11 random things about me are;

Spiders scare me...lovely daughter was bitten by a brown recluse spider and it was a horrific experience, her bite took nearly a year to heal and has left her with a scar on her leg the size of a toonie.

I do not like to fly...I have flown several times but have been anxious the entire flight.

I have never pumped my own gas...and I am not particularly proud of this fact.

Very few family and friends know that I have a blog. It's my secret hobby!

I have considered getting my nose pierced with a very small and sparkly diamond stud.

Several years ago I ate an entire pumpkin pie over the course of an afternoon. Incredibly shameful but true!

Metric measurements still challenge me as I was educated when the Imperial system was in use.

I have a crush on Colin Firth.

Potatoes are my favourite food, I love them mashed, scalloped, baked, fried and even potato salad.
It must be my Irish heritage coming through.

While my house may be dusty on any given day it is usually tidy as I cannot stand to live in chaos as it stresses me no end.

I carry a handbag/purse everywhere I go. I get teased about this quirk!

Now to answer mater's questions...

1. What was your favourite film last year and why?
Midnight in Paris was my favourite film last year. I liked it for the cinematography, the costumes, the sets, and the fact that it was set in Paris, a city I long to visit. I saw Midnight in Paris very soon after reading The Paris Wife, which was about Paris in the 20's and the bohemian lives that so many arty types were living. I love Woody Allen's quirkiness when it comes to film and thought that he chose a fine cast of characters to star in his film. I've viewed it twice.

2. If money were no object, where would you spend your next vacation? and why?
I'd go to Paris and the south of France. I have always wanted to go there...I'd love to spend a year in the south of France as dear friends John and Cheryl rave about the warm and friendly people, the beautiful countryside and the lifestyle.  I'd love going to market days and poking through the brocantes.

3. Describe the earliest meal you can remember enjoying.
Soft boiled eggs and toast fingers (which we called soldiers)
I remember dipping the soldiers into the runny yellow yolks. It was almost like playing with my food and Mother allowed me to do this. I remember feeling very grown-up.

4. If you were dividing domestic chores with a new roommate, which ones would you try to claim?
The cooking and the kitchen...and the decorating!

5. Do you play a musical instrument? If so, which one?
I played the flute in school but I have given it up now.

6. When you're bothered by prolonged muscle or joint soreness that's interfering with your workout plans, do you visit a General Physician, a Chiropractor, a Physiotherapist, or a Massage Therapist?
My G.P. and I love massage so I'd hasten to book a few sessions at the spa.

7. What activities do you hope will sustain you throughout your 80s and 90s?
Walking, Yoga and perhaps swimming.

8. What was the first important car in your life?
My first one! It symbolized my independence...it was a vintage Zephyr. White with black accents fins at the rear, red leather seats inside, quite posh but so retro in the 1970's!

9. What was the most significant course you ever took?
Oh I have taken so many courses over the years I really cannot choose just one!
Maybe Lamaze preparing for natural childbirth.

10. If you had the resources, which elementary or high school classmate would you try to track down, and why?
Louise Kahn. She and I enjoyed and played music together. She was very pretty and creative and so interesting. Her father was a professor and they lived in a large arts and crafts home that was furnished eclectically and had vast stacks of books strewn everywhere. They moved to New York when her father was transferred to another university and we lost touch. I have always wondered what happened to her.

11. Which chef would you like to have come to your house to prepare a meal for your guests -- or, alternatively, give you a cooking lesson in that chef's professional kitchen?
Jamie Oliver! I'd like to go to his home to meet his lovely family before sitting in his kitchen, watching him make me a tasty meal.

The rules are:
1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them

Part of my participation requires that I tag a few bloggers who would kindly post and answer the 11 questions that I pose to them. 
I understand that not everyone likes to, or has the time to play along....but if you were to join in here are my 11 questions.

1. What name would you choose for yourself if you could pick your own name?
2. Who would you most like to meet and spend an evening getting to know?
3. What are your pet peeves?
4. If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?
5. If money were no object where would you like to live?
6. How would you describe your fashion style?
7. Who influenced your life the most?
8. What is your favourite book?
9. What have you discovered about yourself that surprised you?
10. What is your favourite blog?
11. What 5 beauty products would you take if you were to go to a desert island?

OK now this is where it gets tricky....
I now need to ask you to if you'll participate...
If you are too busy I will undertsand completely...

Lisa, the author of the privilege blog has just returned to work after spending 2 years as a lady of leisure. She hails from a High Wasp background and has grown up in style. Her blog was the first I discovered and remains one of my all time favourites.

Duchesse has recently moved to Montreal. She has a great sense of style, loves pearls and I'd like to know more about her. She writes the blog passage de perles.

Adrienne lives in wine country and is a volunteer coordinator with a flair for fashion. I hope that she'll share with us some tidbits about herself. You can visit her at the blog A Rich Life on a Budget.  She's very friendly and has impeccable manners.

Today felt like any other day except that I broke my tooth eating a cracker today at lunch...
and I swallowed the part that broke off!
I'll be supping on soft foods and soups until I see my dentist for a crown.

My mouth feels so odd,
thankfully there is no pain...
and I hope there won't be any.

I am not a fan of the dentist, drills and drilling.
On a positive note
my dentist has the most beautiful baby blue eyes...

How's your week going?

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Lessons from Madame Chic" a giveaway!

You don't need to speak French to enjoy Jennifer Scott's new book "Lessons from Madame Chic"
I am immersed in all things French...
so learning more about French Style Chic is exciting.

Jennifer lived in Paris with an aristocratic family in the 16th arrondissement for six months. Her keen observations and attention to details are shared as she highlights the top 20 things she learned from her experience.

Jennifer Scott is a very savvy young woman who has produced many You Tube Tutorials and she is the author of the blog The Daily Connoisseur. She very graciously sent me an autographed copy of Madame Chic in the post all the way from California.
In fact, she sent me TWO copies so that I could host a giveaway!

If you have never visited her blog you are going to be delighted when you pop over and meet her.
Jennifer if you are reading this I sent a note in the post and you should get it any day now.
Merci beaucoup!

I am halfway through the book and I don't want it to end.
Mr. HB snapped the photo and I must say I look quite serious
perhaps studious...

 Sitting by the fire reading and keeping cozy
Pepper is asleep on the other chair and Mr. HB is reading a novel.

The house is scented with the aroma of Beef Daube as it cooks in the oven.

I used this French wine in the recipe.

 Herbes de Provence 
c'est marvielleux!

une baguette s'il vous plait

(a must to soak up all the tasty juices)

French Chic soap...
I am saying farewell to that hideous bar that makes me cringe every time I use it.

Jennifer has a chapter in her book that is titled 
"Only use the best things you have"
this made me realize how much negative energy went into that cracked bar of soap
BTW it was French too!

Black and white 
are my kind of colours
this zebra tunic top is going to be top dressing for my black leggings and boots.

If you would like to be entered for the giveaway you must be a follower of my blog
You don't need to advertise my giveaway or tweet about it
I want to keep it simple.

I'd like you to tell me what makes you feel Chic.
Please enter before February 6th, 2012
Mr. HB and I will choose whose description will win the book.
Have fun...

Bon Chance!

Bon appetit!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flowers, brown paper packages and keeping up appearances...

I wrapped a gift with brown paper and string and it reminded me of that song from the Sound of Music.
I viewed the movie no less than 7 times
my grandmother took me to the theatre often
as my grandfather was a projectionist at the Pantages Theatre here in town for years.....
he earned his gold watch.

brown paper package tied up with string...

a package of another kind

I drove up island awhile back and stopped for coffee in Cobble Hill
at the Drumroaster cafe
it turned out to be the best cup of coffee I have had in recent memory.


these little sweets came in a small brown box nestled on top of spun cotton

dainty pearls
deep red garnets

   I will wear them when I want to feel feminine.....

I like taking the extra time to get dressed up to go out
I don't always do this and I should
because I have been "caught" in my Yoga pants and sneakers!

It does seem to me that when I am thoughtlessly dressed I invariably meet up with a well turned out woman friend
who politely ignores my attire

she graciously excuses me when I stammer
 "I have just run out of a key ingredient for something that is simmering on the stove and I really must run."

I make a hasty retreat and vow under my breath, that I will not leave the house in the future 
unless I look decent...
(until next time that I must dash out unexpectedly!)

Sunny Yellow Tulips

fresh flowers in the Bungalow are a staple
considered not to be an extravagance.

In spring and summer the Bungalow garden has plenty of fresh flowers free for the picking.

Roses are plentiful....

Bright blooms are so cheery
 I buy them by the bunch in winter.

My "go to" flower shop is Harry's.

they carry a wide variety of greenery
and berries
as well as the mainstream blooms...

 I do so love the frothy petals on peonies.

Florist roses are not highly scented like the David Austin Roses 
that I tend and grow in The Humble Bungalow Garden.

I'll be perusing and choosing some flowers today
after taking Mother and darling daughter out to tea.

"Take care of luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves."
~Dorothy Parker~

Have a fabulous weekend
and treat yourself and others kindly.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thoughts of motherhood, food and more...

Children are a gift.
Mothering has offered me so many benefits beyond feeding and diapering.
I am eternally grateful that I was able to be a Mom.
It has been such a huge part of my life...

Tears well up when I recall past events or look at their baby pictures.
I turn to mush.

They grow up so fast and when they leave the nest it is painful to see them go...
knowing that my job was done and that time of my life was over and done with was not without sadness...
sure there would be new beginnings and opportunities would present themselves, but it's not quite the same.

In the quiet moments of solitude over a mug of steaming tea I often go back to those busy days,
the house littered with toys
mounds of laundry waiting to be washed and folded
cookies to bake
lunches to be packed
baths to be drawn
bedtime stories
hugs and kisses
the goodnight bed bug song before lights out...

Was it really so long ago?
It seems like yesterday and my heart is full with wonderful memories
and yet sometimes in the space that happens "in between" moments...
I feel an ache that goes very deep
and it startles and humbles me by it's sheer power.

Spending time with my adult children is so precious
I feel honoured to be invited into their homes.
I love how they have turned out.

Last weekend we were invited to our son and lovely DIL's for dinner
which meant there would be playtime
Isla = hours of grammy good times = LOVE
talk about tugging at my heart strings!

I snapped a few pictures and video's which were emailed off to friends near and far.
Who have responded with oohs and ahhs...thanks guys for indulging me my bragging "grammy time."

The other afternoon our darling daughter called and asked if she could come over and watch The Batchelor
(the ritual mother/daughter show)
and cook us a Thai dinner...
well that's a no brainer...
I'll be the sous chef,
bring it on!

Oh it is so delicious

Thai jasmine rice

Le Creuset wok full of Thai tasty goodness...
chicken, peppers, beans, coconut curry...
so amazing that I had seconds.
(sadly it's not low cal)

We enjoyed cooking together and critiquing the Batchelor
there is always so much drama!
I wonder if Ben the winemaker will find a wife?

Downton Abbey was fabulous
I just wonder how that housekeeper sleeps at night!

"Modern Family"
is a relatively new favourite of mine
such a great cast and the episodes always make me laugh.

If you are a mom and your kids have left home...
do you still hear their voices, 
and listen for their footsteps on the stairs?

Sitting here in the glow of the candlelight
I reflect on days gone by....

 while a new life has been born

Welcome to Rose Ashley

lovely DIL's BFF has become a mom!

I feel that great things are on the horizon
sincere congratulations
 the circle expands
we are all in this miracle of birth and life together....

Sleep well mom and babe....
know that you are in our thoughts and hearts tonight...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cold winters and a skin care S.O.S

My skin dries out in the flashiest of flashes...
and not those of the menopausal kind.

The kind that is brought on by cold winter temperatures, those on the minus side of zero.
My skin has been rather parched by being outdoors and when indoors the central heating wreaks havoc on it too.
I have a small patch on my cheek that looks flakey despite my best efforts to keep my skin exfoliated and moisturized.
I find this exasperating....

I suppose I obsess about my skin...
with a no make up look I cannot slack off in the skin department.

I'd rather spend money on my skin than buy a new outfit or handbag.
It's something people notice right away when they meet you.

A frosty welcome...
 not my style
( in case you are wondering...I am NOT a doormat!)

I am not vain
nor beautiful
or remarkable in any way, shape, or form
I am
 an aging woman
who has started to sag
with a waistline on the move
expanding hips
who chooses to focus on her skin
as there will be no cosmetic surgery
no nips 
nor tucks
or magic tricks
just due diligence
a happy attitude towards the future.

“Nature gives you the face you have when you are twenty. 
Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But it is up to you to earn the face you have at fifty.”
~ Coco Gabrielle Chanel ~

I am going to make an appointment for a professional facial.
It's been months since I had one.
(I will use the gift certificate I received from Mr. HB at Christmas)
I enjoy a little pampering...

My daily army of products are these 5 basics...

I regularly have a home spa day for exfoliation and a mud masque.
The Olay version of the Clairsonic is a great tool which I use several times a week.
Rosacea is a tricky skin condition that needs lots of TLC.

The Sea Buckthorn ointment is only used at night.

I love it when companies put together packages...
this one has eye make up remover and eye cream.

I have not been a regular user of eye cream because my eyes are so reactive.
Rosacea affects the eyes too.

Interesting that the size of these two products are the regular sizes that are on the shelf not travel sizes.
The cost for both was $10 more than the eye make up remover alone.

French women value their skin and take great pains to maintain their complexions.
My Inner French Girl is listening...
I will be visualizing 
smoother, plumper, softer, clearer, more radiant skin.

Mother disapproves of spending money on facials and pedicures
she has never gone to a Spa.

My sister and I are trying to persuade her to go with us so we can all be pampered together.
My sister has booked all three of us into a luxe resort in February
which BTW has an outstanding Spa...
so we'll see what happens.

How do you feel about skin care?

Would you consider a face lift, Botox, Restylane ?
If you do, or did, would you tell anyone?
would you keep it secret?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Geek Chic" Goggles and a Bungalow Style Weekend

Weekends see me getting up later and lazing about in my robe longer
savouring the slow pace
listening to the sounds of the clocks chiming in the bungalow
as life ticks along...

Breakfast usually turns into brunch
with a light snack to follow later in the afternoon
before a hearty dinner of roast chicken or roast beef.

One skillet
brunch for two.

I had a play day and went thrift shopping with my daughter and BFF.
I found a butter dish in our everyday Maxwell Williams pattern

 a large vintage English Johnson ironstone bowl
which will be fabulous for pasta, salad or fruit.

I picked up my new glasses
  "Geek Chic goggles"
(can you say investment glasses?)

I don't know if they are chic
  they definitely are GEEK!

I love them especially with my bright red Chanel lipgloss.
At my age I feel that I have earned the right to push the envelope...

I can see so much better now...
it's been 3 years since my last prescription 
words were getting blurry, very distorted and wobbly.

If things get much worse I might need to get a seeing eye dog...
a Golden of course!

A Canadian band
who played at my high school...
there's a bit of a story...
I played the flute
and backstage my BFF and I met the band
we got autographs
the flute of Burton Cummings jumped into my hand 
and he indulged me
and listened
a very nervous girl
who was somewhat awestruck
played a few notes 
before their concert 
 my BFF and I were in the front row!

I have been cruising the internet for their songs...
check this out...
Bruce Springsteen
He's going to be touring soon
I hope I can be there!

Have a fabulous weekend

Friday, January 20, 2012

January Blues...

Are you feeling BLUE?

Blue Boy
designed and made 
by The Hostess

January and February are months that many people experience a slump in attitude or the blues.
Feeling blah in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing.
In order to feel joy one does need to know what sadness feels like.

If you are feeling extremely depressed and have lost interest in things that normally made you happy then it is a more serious condition and you might consider visiting your doctor.

Feeling low happens from time to time.
It can be lack of sleep or vitamin D or not enough exercise...
or a combination of things.
Often it is due to worrying about things that are beyond our control.
(I am guilty of this one!)

Are you eating a variety of healthy nutritious foods?
Have you remembered to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day?

Do you set aside some time to sit and quietly reflect on the positive things in your life?

Have you been keeping in touch with your best friends?
Friends are a very dear breed as they accept us with all our quirks and foibles.

I think of these low ebbs as a time to delve deep and learn strategies I need to employ in order to alleviate and reclaim a happy mindset.

Fortunately I have learned to listen to my body and I am proactive and take steps to ward off the blahs...
but if they do strike despite my best efforts I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Flowers are my go to pick me up...

snow dust on the back deck.

"Blues Busters"

Pick fresh flowers from the garden or buy some at the florist.

Call and chat with a friend 
or better yet meet for a walk and a coffee.

Wander through your neighbourhood and greet the people you meet.

Watch a movie
(I prefer romantic comedies)

Soak in a hot tub of scented salts
slather on shea butter when you get out
wear your robe and slippers and cozy up with a good book.

Explore the local galleries and museums.

Take a class in something new and exciting...
many courses are offered throughout the community
photography, bridge lessons, ethnic cuisine, crafts and dancing, 
are just a few ideas.

Volunteer to help in your community.
The local SPCA is a great place to start...think of all those animals needing a little TLC.

Pepper was a rescue kitten.
Pets are wonderful companions
I highly recommend owning one.

Put your favourite music on and play it loud!

Make some comfort food for lunch or dinner.

Get creative...
knit, sew, paint, decorate.

Browse through inspiring and beautiful coffee table style books at the library.

Have one chocolate and savour the flavour.

Go to the cosmetic counter and have a free makeover
take advantage of the freebies they offer you.

Reorganize your closet.

Go thrift shopping for something whimsical that speaks to you.

Give yourself permission to be sad for a set amount of time and then get on with life.
It's OK to be blue
just don't make a habit of it.

If you or someone you know is depressed 
take action
and seek professional help.

Remember to take deep breaths
try to relax

this too shall pass....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What a dump and something rather controversial for the Fashion Police.

We got a surprise when we woke up this morning...
a dump of snow overnight!

The North side of The Humble Bungalow

The east facing covered front porch!

Our resident hummingbird at the feeder
I bumped up the amount of sugar this morning.
We take this in at last light and put it out at first light.

There were two of them buzzing around today.
One sits on a branch very close to the feeder conserving energy and possibly standing guard
marking the territory.

Miso soup a warming concoction was made in a jiffy by a chilly hostess.

Carrots, parsley water and miso paste
oh so easy peasy.

Now for the controversial portion of the post
fasten your seat belts!

Some of the following images may be disturbing
so proceed with caution.

Fashion Police look away!

Sperry Boots
Jules and James Jeans
Lands End cashmere cardigan
Lands End T shirt
Vintage Fur Coat

I have no idea what type of fur this coat is made from...
it's very old.

rolled cuffs

 by Eaton's Fur Salon 
I am guessing sometime in the 1940's

Please do not judge me too harshly...

I thank you on behalf of 
my great aunt Tirzah.

A lady of some style whose many fur coats were bequeathed to various family members
upon her demise.

I have a confession to make...
this is the warmest thing I own for these minus weather conditions.
I do feel like a target for the red paint brigade.

I put on bright red Chanel lipstick just in case there might be a sighting
one does want to be co-ordinated!

So I am interested to know where do you weigh in on vintage furs?
love em?
hate em?

If you were given one would you wear it?