2020 Fashion Accessory of the Year

2020 Fashion Accessory of the Year

2020 Fashion Accessory of the Year

D

ifferent colours, different fabrics, different fit.  I do like to coordinate with what I’m wearing but more importantly I want to wear a clean mask.  That’s why I have one for each day.

 

The Necessity of Masks

Masks have become increasingly mandatory everywhere.  To find out the specific regulations where you are, be sure to check with your local public health authority.  In general however, I think we can go by these simple guidelines:

  • wear a mask when you are in public and in contact with others,
  • wear a mask when you are in shared indoor spaces and with people who are not in your social bubble.

 

Masks Around the World

Other parts of the world adopted this mask wearing practice before us as they have experienced previous pandemics. Just think of SARS or MERS in China, Hong Kong,Taiwan or Saudi Arabia.  In some of these countries, even after the pandemic passed, people continued to wear masks.

Their tendency is to be more utilitarian with masks unlike here in North America where masks soon became a form of self-expression through the use of different colours or patterns in the material used to make masks.  Many commercial enterprises also got on the bandwagon by designing masks with logos or slogans imprinted.

 

The Making of Masks

Check out this story at Refinery29 that talks about how the fashion industry has met this new trend.

The making of masks has become something of a cottage industry. Just check out Etsy and Instagram and you will find plenty.  Should you want to make your own, instruction and patterns are readily available.

 

Material, Design and Fit of Masks

Masks should ideally be made with three layers:  two layers of a tightly woven fabric (cotton or linen are ideal) and then one layer that is a filter.  The design of it should snuggly fit over the nose, mouth and chin and be easy to breath in.  Ties and loops around the ears hold the mask in place on the head.

 

Keeping Your Mask Clean

Your mask should be cleaned or replaced daily and immediately, if it is damp or soiled.  To wash your mask,  you can put it in the wash machine in hot water or you can wash by hand using soap and hot water, then allow it to dry thoroughly.  If you have a disposable mask, make sure that you dispose of it properly (in a closed trash receptacle and cut the ties to prevent hazards to wildlife that may get into trash) and wash your hands after handling it.

 

Preventing Problems with Facial Skin

The importance of wearing a clean mask is not limited to minimizing virus transmission but also to prevent dirt and oils of previous wear from coming in contact with your facial skin again.  Also, consider not wearing makeup underneath to prevent skin breakouts.  I use a good moisturizer and instead of wearing lipstick or lip gloss, I simply use a lip liner rubbed gently into my lips.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, to prevent skin problems:

  • clean and moisturize skin before and after wearing your mask,
  • protect lips by applying a lip conditioner,
  • avoid wearing make up,
  • avoid trying new products or skin care routines now as wearing a mask can make your skin more sensitive,
  • monitor and possibly minimize the use of retinoids and salicylic acid as these products can cause skin irritation,
  • make sure your mask fits well,
  • give your face a break every four hours by removing your mask for 15 minutes.  Avoid touching your face when you remove the mask and wash your hands before and after you handle the mask.

We are in a very serious time of this pandemic. This virus is everywhere.   However, I think it is important to not stigmatize people who are not wearing a mask as perhaps they have a valid reason that is related to a condition or disability they may have that either makes wearing the mask difficult or makes breathing especially difficult. 

I encourage you to be vigilant, right now.  Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.  Do your part to keep yourself and others safe.  😷🙏

I love to hear from you. Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

“Wearing a mask is better than wearing a ventilator.”

Unknown
What Is Sexy?

What Is Sexy?

What Is Sexy?

Western Sexy

W

hat is sexy?

By definition Merriam-Webster says:

  1. Sexually suggestive or stimulating:  EROTIC
  2. Generally attractive or interesting:  APPEALING

I think for me it is something in between EROTIC and APPEALING.  It has a lot to do with feeling confident and feeling beautiful.  All of it comes from what is inside of you.

This is not about vanity or conceit.  It is simply stepping into your power; owning who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going.

In this middle of life time, we’ve grown into the faces and bodies that we now own.  We’ve earned each and every wrinkle, age spot, scar or stretch mark.  We’ve earned each and every pound gained and shed.  Some of those have come through incredible joy but many have come by heartbreak or loss.

Our faces and bodies may not be as supple and limber as they once were but there is still incredible beauty, strength and vitality there.  We do our best to take care and nurture ourselves by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and maintaining our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.  Most of the time, anyway.

There is something to be said about the people around you making you feel good about yourself.  Each one of us is responsible for their own esteem but having people around you who do not honour or respect you, elevate you and even challenge you be your best self does erode your confidence and self-esteem.

Make sure you choose to be with those friends and family who elevate you, and most especially if you have a partner that person should support how you feel about yourself.

An article in Huffington Post listed 7 things that make a woman sexy and I have to agree, they are a good start.

1. Confidence – The appearance of being confident by walking with your head held high, being able to make and maintain eye contact and a great smile.

2.  Ambition – Having goals and going after what you want.

3.  Passion – For your work, for people or any interests or goals that you have.  Having the desire to pursue all these things.

4.  Kindness – What could be more sexy than kindness?!!

5.  Honesty – This is getting into the more substantive qualities that make us gravitate towards certain people and avoid others.

6.  Class – This is not represented by the name of your handbag or the car that you drive, rather is the dignity and respect that you show towards everyone and everything.  Perhaps, we can say the integrity with which you lead your life.

7.  Intelligence – I think we’ve all been attracted to someone based on appearance but I think you need to be able to have a conversation or discussion that is engaging, informative and maybe even challenging.

I wrote a piece about being #sociallybrave in an earlier blog post.  In it I wrote about feeling invalidated and choosing to play small.  At that time, I barely felt attractive let alone sexy.  Well, the Universe was going to have none of this so my world was shook.  

What shook out is a new me but really is the old me, only now older and perhaps, a little wiser.  I am slowly finding myself and feeling my confidence return.  Oh my goodness, I can now take photos and feel good about myself.  The smile is real and it is coming from my heart,  and I am not looking for a partner’s validation.

Dare I say, I may be getting my groove back.   

So, I invite you to find your sexy.  Don’t do it for anyone else but for yourself.  Don’t know where to start?  Start by looking in the mirror and really seeing yourself.  Look into your eyes and connect with that part inside of you that is your essence, the true you.  Bring that woman out and let her shine.  Do this every day and you’ll see, you are going to shine.

Think about it, what makes you feel sexy?

Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

I think the quality of sexiness comes from within.                    It is something that is in you or it isn’t and it really doesn’t have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips.

Sophia Loren
Keeping Your Devices Corona Virus Clean

Keeping Your Devices Corona Virus Clean

Keeping Your Devices Corona Virus Clean

Photo:  Shutterstock

N  ever before has hygiene been as important as it is today.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease that is crippling the world is making us aware of and change so many of our habits.  From physical and social distancing to concentrated public sanitary practices to focused personal hygiene, we, as a collective, are doing everything we can to combat this virus.

Health officials have advised us that we need to wash our hands with soap and water, avoid touching our faces, cough or sneeze into our elbows and definitely avoid contact with others.

We can do all of these things but if the things that we have most contact with, our electronic devices, are not cleaned, all these precautions can be pointless.  Health experts say that COVID-19 can remain on some surfaces for up to nine days.

So most importantly, keep your hands clean and this will keep your phone and keyboard clean.  However, you should do a bit more these days, in light of the corona virus.

How to Clean Your Phone, Tablet or Laptop

  1. Unplug your phone, tablet or laptop.
  2. Use a soft non-abrasive or microfibre cloth.
  3. Prepare some soapy warm water.
  4. Dip the cloth and then totally remove excess water by wringing out the cloth.
  5. Gently wipe the exterior surfaces and the screen.  Frequently refresh your cloth by dipping in the and wringing out excess water.
  6. Do not allow water to go into any device openings such as the charging port, speakers, mute switch or anywhere else.
  7. Alternately, use a Clorox Wipe or other alcohol-based wipe (70% isopropyl alcohol).
  8. If you have a case or cover for your device, make sure that you clean that too.  Check the manufacturers specifications to see if the wipes can be used (do not use on leather or vinyl).
  9. Make sure your device is dry before you put the case or cover back on.
  10. Another option is to use Ultra-Violet light for daily cleaning.  UV rays have been proven to remover 99% of germs.

                                    Check out Amazon for this cleaner.

Here is APPLE’s support page, detailing how to clean your device.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204172

We need to be vigilant about protecting ourselves from this virus.  Let’s make sure that we are taking all the precautions that we need to to stay healthy and safe, including keeping our devices clean.

For the latest information on COVID-19, refer to these sources:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/coronavirus-covid19-march23-canada-world-1.5506430

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/world/coronavirus-updates-usa-world.html

https://www.who.int

How are you managing?  Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

Let us not let the world be defined by the destruction wrought by one virus, but illuminated by billions of hearts and minds working in unity. “

Pardis Sabeti
Do You Have a Signature Fragrance?

Do You Have a Signature Fragrance?

Do You Have a Signature Fragrance?

have always loved fragrance.  

In my garden, I plant the most fragrant roses and jasmine.  I love the smell of fresh cut grass and walking through the woods after a fresh rain.  In my home, I like to burn a natural lavender or tuberose candle; it evokes comfort and beauty to me. Same for what I like to wear.  Always something soft and feminine, a light floral. 

I have memories, as a child, of a friend of my mother’s who used to wear a clean, soft rose scented fragrance.  When she would give me a hug, it felt like an embrace of safety, comfort and love.  Perhaps, that is still why I gravitate to the rose fragrances.

I like to wear fragrance for myself but I also like that my daughter says that a certain scent reminds her of me.

The Composition of a Fragrance

Years ago I was vacationing in the South of France and in looking at things to do, discovered the town of Grasse in Provence.  This little town is the perfume capital of the world.  You will find fields and fields of flowers, most memorable were the fields of lavender.  There are around 60 companies that have a presence there and if you are interested, you can tour through some of the perfumeries.  My favourite were the Molinard and the Fragonard factories.

I learned that there are four main olfactive (scent) categories:

      • Fresh – think of citrus notes like lemon or grapefruit and aromatic notes like rosemary, basil or lavender.
      • Floral – this is the biggest category and could be described as the scent that is romantic, soft and feminine, I.e. rose, jasmine, violet and berries.  Some of the most iconic scents are floral.  e.g. Chanel 5, Chloe by Karl Lagerfeld
      • Spice – often referred to as Oriental scent.  Spice has notes of smoke, incense, warm spices and leather.  True vanilla when it smells earthy, almost musky, is a spice note.
      • Woody – the smell of cedar and dry wood or even the smell of a forest in the fall are woody notes.  These are the most masculine of scents.

How Do You Choose A Scent?

If you don’t have a favourite, then I suggest taking your time in finding what you like.  Visit your choice of perfume counter and spend some time trying different scents. If there is someone there to help you, they may be able to narrow down choices based on what appeals to you and by your lifestyle.  

Do you work?  Do you have an active lifestyle?  What kind of image do you want to leave people with?  

Don’t spray directly on your self or soon enough you and your nostrils will be overwhelmed by all the scents.  Instead use the strips or blotters that they provide.  Spray a light amount on the strip and let it sit for a few minutes.  Do this until you find a few that you really like.

Once you have a few, then lightly spray a fragrance-free spot on your skin and let it dry.  Don’t rub it in or pat it dry, as you may alter the composition of the fragrance.  After a few minutes, you will be able to tell if you like it or not.  Do this with only two or three, at the most.  For me, even at this point I’m not always ready to commit.  If possible, I like to take home a sample of my choice and then try it for a bit to see how it wears and if I still like the fragrance after wearing it for a while.

Also, remember that what smells good on one woman may not smell the same on another.  We all have different pH levels of our skin so that affects how perfumes smell on each individual.   Another thing to keep in mind is that over time, the way a perfume smells on you may change based on hormone levels.  What used to work for you may not now or the other way around; a scent that wasn’t great on you could be perfect now.

Take your time with this process, don’t be rushed.  If you need to make a couple of trips back to the store, that’s okay.  Above all, really enjoy the process and find that perfect scent that makes you feel fabulous.

Do you have a favourite? What makes it a favourite? Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

The appeal of perfume is that it is at once

ephemeral and empowering.

It creates a shimmering invisible armor that lingers in a room long

after its wearer has gone and infuses our imagination

with a subtle power, hinting at a hidden identity.

Mary Gaitskill
Self-Care Is a Non-Negotiable for Middle of Life Women

Self-Care Is a Non-Negotiable for Middle of Life Women

Self-Care Is a Non-Negotiable for Middle of Life Women

elf-care is not selfish.  Instead, it’s about taking care of yourself so that you are replenishing your reserves so that you are then able to care for others from a place of strength and happiness.

As women, most of us have spent our adult lives being caregivers to our partners, children, family members, aging parents, friends and even our pets.  How many of you have stayed up all night caring for a sick dog??  I certainly have.

So, how do you practice self-care?  Well, if you are not accustomed to putting yourself first, start with just the basics:  eat right, exercise regularly, reduce your stress levels and take time out to nourish and replenish your body, mind and spirit.

EAT RIGHT

Staying with a diet that is more plant-based, reducing or eliminating red meats, including fatty-fish, green leafy vegetables, blueberries and nuts would be a good start.  Also, make sure that you are getting plenty of fibre and reduce or eliminate saturated fats, sugar and salt.

EXERCISE

Daily exercise is so good for you both physically and mentally.  It is such a good stress reducer especially if you are going through difficult times.  If you can’t get to a gym, at least go for a walk or go to a yoga or pilates class.  Make it a regular part of your life.  I actually have to schedule it to stay consistent.  Take a look at my blog “Movement Matters Most at Middle of Life” for more information.

GET GOOD AND LOTS OF SLEEP

I know at this stage of our lives, many of us struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep.  I hear this from so many women.  Truly, we could have a 2:00 AM “I Can’t Sleep FaceTime Group”.  

I make sleep a priority and so stick to a routine to help with this:  

  • no caffeine after 2:00 pm,
  •  minimal sugar
  • minimal alcohol, better yet none,
  • devices off and away after 9:00 pm

I meditate to reduce stress and read a bit before bed, as I find that relaxes me.  My bedroom is dark and the temperature is quite cool with window open a bit to allow fresh air and NO TV, laptop or phone.

GET OUTSIDE

Studies have shown that getting outside for a bit of fresh air and sunlight help to reduce fatigue, stress and even symptoms of depression.  It can lower your blood pressure and help you to be more mindful.

You will also sleep better at night, especially if you do something that requires a bit of exertion such as running, cycling or hiking.  For me, even a quick 15 minute walk with the dog or some time working in the garden will do it.

TAKE SOME ME-TIME

Whether it’s taking a long, hot, relaxing bath or having an hour first thing in the morning that is exclusively all yours, me-time is really effective.  I do both of these.  I start each and every day with meditation and journaling.  This sets me up for a good day as it seems to clear my head and encourage a calm, centred approach to the day.

A long hot bath is a perfect way to end the day before your sleep routine.  Run the water, drop in some lavender essential oils, add bubbles, light a candle and you’re set.  I will often listen to gentle music or read for a bit and sip some soothing herbal tea.

RESOURCES FOR YOU

A great book to take a look at is Cheryl Richardson’s book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care:  Transform Your Life One Month at a Time.  She offers you 12 strategies to make self-care an easy and essential part of your life.  I have this book and have gifted it to so many.

One of my favourite candles is VANCOUVER CANDLE CO’s ORTUS (RISE) Red Currant, Rose, Balsam.

A soothing and relaxing cup of tea with chamomile and valerian root, (both great for sleep):  my go-to is DAVID’S TEA Valerian Nights.

“I’ve learned that when we care for ourselves deeply and deliberately, we naturally begin to care for others – our families, our friends, and the world – in a healthier and more effective way.” , writes Cheryl Richardson in her book.  I hope that you’re managing to do some Self-Care.  I know that it’s hard on some days but we really do need to make ourselves a priority.

What’s working for you?  What are you struggling with?  I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts with me below.

Christina xo

 

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you,

instead of what’s left of you.”

Katie Reed
All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go

All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go

All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go

New Year’s Eve 2019.  Both photos.

I was okay with nowhere to go. For the first time, I was perfectly fine at home by myself. No plans. No company. Just me, the dogs, really good champagne and my future all in front of me.

Instead I sat with the knowledge and satisfaction that I survived 2019, a little worse for wear but strong in that I still have my integrity, my faith, my belief that goodness and kindness triumph, my belief that the future is abundant in every way possible. And, I have my beautiful girl; beauty, brains and brawn. I could not love one more nor be more proud of who this girl is and will be.

2019 absolutely kicked by butt. My life as I knew it, changed just like that. What I knew to be true, was no longer. My heart broken, my faith shattered, my hopes and dreams crushed. Loss, in all forms, affects you to the core. Your physical, mental and emotional health suffer. I could not eat. I could not sleep. My heart just kept racing and then it just plain hurt. The professionals talked about shock, trauma, grief and anxiety. They helped but I knew that it was going to be time, and whatever it was deep within me and my faith that were going to get me through this.

I started writing in my journal. A lot. It helped. A bit.

I didn’t leave my house for about a month except to drive to and from school. I don’t remember even buying groceries. I guess I must have.

My girlfriends blanketed me with love, compassion, advice and humour. They listened. They dried my tears. They held me up. They stood me up. They did what girlfriends do for each other.

Slowly, I started to venture out. To the market, school sport games, dentist, hair, dog park. The days, for the most part were manageable but the nights were so long.

I spent a lot of time writing and somehow, I discovered blogging. Women were always talking to me about what I was wearing or how I was redecorating or other lifestyle things. I learned about how to set up a blog site but before I got too far, my dear friend Patricia told me she designed websites. She asked me a few questions and away she went and designed this beautiful site for me. She’s the ultimate girlfriend.

As all of this was coming together, I also discovered Instagram. Previously, I had only used it to keep a SM eye on my daughter but as I spent more time looking into the people and things that interested me, I found a community.

I found women who were in middle of life. They each had passions that they were happily, proudly sharing with other like-minded women. What I really liked was that people were kind and encouraging. Some posted photos of themselves or their families or their homes or where they traveled. Some were empty-nesters, others were just about to be, others had family at home. Some didn’t talk about family, rather just their passions: cooking, fitness, health, decor, fashion. Women from all over the world. These were my people.

Unknowingly, this community helped me get through each and every day by comforting me, inspiring me and motivating me, bit by bit. Creativity has always been my salve so starting a blog and learning the ins and outs of a website, carried me through the year as did starting an IG feed. New friendships. A blessing from 2019.

Next week, I’ll talk about how I became #sociallybrave.

Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

“Your best friend is he who brings out the best that is within you.”

Henry Ford