THE PRETTIER LIFE 2.0

The Prettier Life started as a lifestyle blog where I promised to talk about all things fashion, travel, health, fitness, literature and more. I actually did not anticipate to be building another huge aspect of my life into it – which is this little bundle of joy we have created! I now understand that it’s only natural to share this part, as it’s now (I’d say) one of the BIGGEST aspects of my lifestyle – of the theory of The Prettier Life.

I guess I’ve always admired and followed social media moms/families, but I just didn’t realize that when my time came, I would want to join them. I mean, I’m having so much fun finding inspiration from moms/family social media accounts, that I decided I just have to get on board too. I do have to admit that this final push to take my blog in this direction was because of a good friend of mine. It’s incredible how in one conversation we can share thousands of ideas, build on theories we’ve been sitting on, and change them into a realistic action plans. I’m so grateful to have someone so motivated and inspired in my life! I urge you to find yourself a friend like that!

I’d like to tell you what I’ll sharing on here through this journey, but I don’t even think I really fully know myself what it will be. This is all so new for me, and I really want a piece of everything. I think we will just have to see how it goes, and you will probably get a dose of a little bit of everything and anything that comes to mind. I’m sure things will just fall into place on the blog, as they have been falling into place with my pregnancy – no pressure on anything, and life has just taken me by the hand and has been leading me week by week.

Be sure to check out my Instagram page, as I already know I’ll be posting polls and questions (because of course, there are hundreds of things I have questions about) and I’d love your feedback and advice.

#PregnancyWorld + #MamaToBe + #Motherhood lets connect!

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READY FOR SUMMER: DIOR MULES EDITION

By now, I’m sure you’re well aware of my love for shoes – designer shoes. This season, the designs have reached another level for me. There are so many amazing pairs of shoes out there right now that it was really quite a difficult decision to make as to which ones to talk about first. But, here we are: DIOR MULES you have caught my heart.

Honestly, I think every celebrity and influencer owns a pair of these at this point, and the fashion house continues to make more; different designs and colours! The more reason to add to the collection.

When I shared a poll of my favourites on Instagram I got an interesting response – you loved all of them! There was a pretty equal split between each of the pairs I chose, which goes to show that there is really something for everyone when it comes to these slides! Good job DIOR!

So, let’s talk price point – are these affordable or more of a splurge purchase?

Well, that of course depends on how much you are wanting and willing to spend on a pair of summer shoes. If you live in a warmer climate and can wear these all year round, it might be a great investment for you, but if you live in Canada where we only get about a few months of hot summer days, maybe the price point isn’t so much on your side.

If you are travelling this summer, here’s my breakdown of the different price points of these mules in various locations (and the benefits you can take advantage of, for shopping in other countries):

CountryPrice PointCAD ExchangeKeep in mind…
United States$650 – $690$870 – $925*Taxes not included; as they vary per state.
Don’t forget potential import fees!
United Kingdom£490 – £540$822 – $906Shop at the airport! Remember to claim your
VAT return which may be up to 20%!
Italy €550 – €580$822 – $870Counts for any country using EURO. Remember to
claim your VAT return which may be up to 20%

The next question: are they even comfortable?

That’s a good question, and again, completely personal preference. You’d hope that for that type of price point a shoe would be comfortable, but if you think about it, many of these high end designer shoes are really not that comfortable, and really just a fashion statement more than anything.

If you’re comfortable in flats, these will work for you. There is a tiny “heel” on these shoes, but basically barely enough to make you feel it at all. So, let’s just call them flats. The single strap made of soft cotton and is a decent width size to keep the slide on your foot; basically like any other slide out there in that style. The cotton material definitely makes the shoe more comfortable, especially in the hot summer, in comparison to, for example leather.

So, in conclusion, there are a lot of pros and cons with these depending on what you’re looking for. The question remains; are these a seasonal piece or will these become a classic?

*Photo Credits: Damsel in Dior & Dior.com

ZIMMERMAN FOREVER

If there was one designer I would have to wear forever, it would definitely be ZIMMERMAN. Each season, I browse through the collections, staring at each piece thinking “I’d wear that”. Is that even possible? To fall in love with every single piece? In my relationship with Zimmerman the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES.

Honestly, I don’t have a single Zimmerman piece, because well, who are we kidding, the prices are a bit higher than what I would like to spend on a piece of clothing like a dress or blouse… BUT one day, I will find that perfect piece and make the investment to buy my first Zimmerman piece. I promise you that.

Okay, let’s have a look at some of my favourite pieces:

// Verity Gathered Yoke Dress, $950 // Goldie Scallop Short Dress, $750 //

// Goldie Spliced Frill Top, $480 // Goldie Spliced Frill Short, $375 // Goldie Spliced Short Dress, $850 //

// Honour Pintuck Panelled Dress, $1150 // Zippy Frill Dress, $795 (now $565) //

TOUS DAYS!

Finally the time has come; TOUS is having a sale! I have been eyeing quite a few items of theirs for some time now, so I am super happy to announce this! Although, there is one trick – the sale is only on in POLAND right now. I’m not sure if it will be worldwide or in other countries after this (I assume it will) but hopefully at least some of you are able to take advantage of this.

The sale encompasses most jewelry with a discount of 20% plus an extra 10% if you purchase 2 or more items and 30% on handbags and accessories. The sale goes until June 16, and is available both online and in stores.

So what’s on my wish list you ask; here it is:

Hello Summer!

I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that it’s finally summertime and the temperatures are in the (positive) double digits! I feel like I’ve frozen deep into my bones this winter, and I’ve definitely had enough.

I know I disappeared from the blog for a few months, and each time I come back I say it’s because LOTS has been going on, but this time, there really has been a HUGE life changing event in our lives… if you’ve been following my instagram (@theprettierlife) you may have seen the exciting news that…

WE ARE PREGNANT!

Our little family is growing in the most wonderful way, and we are so excited to be on this journey. I’d say we’ve been planning and prepping for a year – in a way. I’ve been doing research and trying to become my healthiest and best self; meaning getting into healthy habits and routines. So, here we go; our biggest life project!

So, I’m hoping to share more of this journey with you here on the blog, and also on Instagram. Also, if you have any advice for us, please do share!

THEORY OF HAPPINESS

When I get asked questions like “what are your goals for this year” or “what are you hoping to achieve this year“, my answer always leads back to that one word I LOVE referring back to; my favourite word to use and describe all things in life, my answer to everything positive and good: H A P P I N E S S !

My goal is to be HAPPY; everything positive and inspirational in my life I attribute to that one powerful word: Happiness. I want to achieve Happiness; because all good things fall under that category.

H A P P I N E S S ! My goal is to be HAPPY; everything positive and inspirational in my life I attribute to that one powerful word: Happiness. I want to achieve Happiness; because all good things fall under that category.

“Happiness to me is something more than just a feeling; it’s a state of mind”

If you’ve been reading my posts and following my social media sites, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I try to thrive on this concept of Happiness. I feel that over the last few years there have been so many ups and downs; truly high highs and very low lows, and this word has been the one concept I’ve been able to grasp onto for that motivation to stay true to myself; what I want in life; and what I will work towards to build that positive and determined future for myself.

Happiness to me is something more than just a feeling; it’s a state of mind – a state I like to believe I’m in, and I’m working towards fully converting myself into. Happiness encompasses all things in life; the moments, the feelings, the situation, actions and reactions. Happiness is just one word which opens up an entire world of positive aspects. Happiness is defined as all things good, positive, healthy, inspirational, etc.

PUTTING IT ALL INTO PERSPECTIVE

Imagine an organizational chart; the hierarchy of a business. The EVP sitting on top, the next level down, the SVP, and the next level down, the VP’s. Now take this visualization and place HAPPINESS into the EVP position. This is how my mind builds this THEORY OF HAPPINESS for me. The SVP and VP positions can now be whatever you want them to be – anything that makes you happy, put a smile on your face, keeps you motivated, and builds + maintains that positive momentum.

If you’re interested in in creating a THEORY OF HAPPINESS Organizational Chart of your own and need some more guidance; let me know to help you to get you started. Feel free to make it your own; add blocks, colour, or anything else you feel will help you build this concept and make it successful for you. By all means, maybe your “SVP” isn’t happiness but something else; maybe it’s SUCCESS or MOTIVATION; it can be anything you want it to be. But, make sure it’s something you can build on. The main idea of this is to grow on a personal level + progress towards the kind of person you want to be, the life you want to live, and the direction you want to move towards.

Finally, I’d LOVE to see your Organizational Charts! I find so much inspiration and motivation from others; it’s a great way to build up your own goals + concepts. If you’re comfortable with it, send me your charts – I’d love to connect and share inspiration!

XX

COLD, COLDER, FREEZING!

I’m not going to lie; Ottawa has been VERY COLD! We’ve been dealing with negative temperatures every day (and night) and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I’m not complaining though so don’t get me wrong, I’m just stating the obvious and preparing anyone who plans on visiting the area. It really is COLD. But hey, I’ve been warned.

As long as you’re dressed right, it’s really not that bad though. The trick is though, to truly be dressed right. A simple warm jacket and warmer pants really don’t do the trick anymore; especially if you’re planning on being outdoors.

I can’t say that I’m a pro at dressing for this weather, but I now do know a thing or two about actually staying warm during these freeeeeezing Ottawa days.

1. THE COAT!

I remember as a teenager the priority for my winter jacket was how it looked, and how I looked in it. There was no way I was going to look “fat” in a coat! Fast forward a few years and my mentality changed drastically. The priority in the jacket was that it was long, puffy, and thick! My coat now HAS to be either to my knees or longer. With a few hits and misses I’ve finally nailed it down to TWO of my favorite most reliable winter coats; the Bancroft Park from TNA at Aritzia, or generally any winter coat from Canada Goose! The difference with choice being the price point. The Canada Goose coats are a bit expensive but if you think of the cost per wear; especially in colder climates, it really makes it worth it. I would definitely both of these options fairly equally.

2. THE ACCESSORIES!

I’ve always loved hats and mitts but again, they mostly always were just for “looks”. Now it’s about practicality, comfort, warmth, AND still the look. Last year I found a nice pair of mitts at Chapters – Indigo which I loved! This year, right before the cold weather started I went straight for the source and picked up an entire set – mitts, hat, and scarf. Unfortunately the scarf was a tad bit too short for my liking so I returned that, but I kept the mitts and hat (and actually went back and bought them in another color. There are so many different brands and places you can find accessories, so it really just matters how they’re made and if they’re lined! As long as they have some sort of lining you should be okay. The important part here is to always remember to wear them! If you remember to put your hat and mitts on before you go outside your body will retain its warm temperature for longer; therefore not letting you get too cold too fast.

3. THE BOOTS!

UGGs have always been a big part of my winter wardrobe but once it gets slushy and wet… and the temperature drops to negative 10 (without windchill) something much warmer is needed. A few years ago I came across this realization and went on the hunt for an even warmer pair of boots. Finally, I found the Sorel brand and a pair which I actually thought would work for me (see the post HERE )! So, here we are now, living in Ottawa, with these freezing temperatures, and these boots are PERFECTION! The Sorel Joan of Arctic boots now come in so many different colors and are available in many stores. I HIGHLY recommend these boots for winter!!

4. THE CLOTHES!

This is self explanatory – when it’s below zero and you plan on being outside for a longer period of time, a pair of jeans will most likely not do the trick. Layers are my trick – thermal leggings for starters, and thermal turtlenecks to keep your neck and chest warm. OR you can go a different route and just put in a pair of “snow pants” and those will keep you warm definitely!

5. THE MENTALITY!

This is a new tactic I’ve taken in recently – if you think happy warm thoughts you will be warmer. I once went outside thinking “omg it’s freezing and I’m frozen already this will be horrible”… and of course I was! Next time, I though, it won’t be that bad, I’m dressed in warm clothes, I won’t feel a thing”. Surely enough, it wasn’t THAT bad! Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dress warm and think warm thoughts and assume that will work, because it won’t. The happy warm thoughts only help in the process of stepping into the cold and adjusting your body.

Stay warm friends!

HELLO 2019

Time flies – I can’t believe it’s already 2019. I honestly feel like it was just Christmas 2017 and we were on our Louisiana/Tennessee adventure. I can still smell the pulled pork at Jack’s Bar-B-Que in Nashville! YUM!

Now is the time to look back on this last year; smile at all of the memories, grow in the changes, and evolve from our weaknesses.

To sum it up, 2018 was an absolutely crazy year for us; so many things happened and so many big things changed. I remember, sitting in a hotel in Nashville when I decided that it was going to be the year of “The Prettier Life”. I was going to make things happen, move ahead on a few ongoing projects, and rebuild and strengthen my happiness. That was the overall goal for myself.  I think I has been pretty effective with my goal and I’ve accomplished many of the things that were on my list. We definitely got our fair share of travelling in, and we made a huge life change by moving to a new city and literally starting a new life.

2018 at a Glance

Travel : We added a few new destinations to our map, but also got to visit a few favourites again! Birmingham, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Cancun, Mexico; Scottsdale, Arizona; London, UK  – 3X; Wroclaw, Poland – 2X; Paslek, Poland – 2X; Sopot, Poland – 2X; Gdansk, Poland – 2X; Warsaw, Poland ; Lisbon, Portugal; Montreal, Quebec.

Lifestyle: First we bought some land, and then we bought a house project… but THEN we moved to a different City altogether. Unfortunately, all of that time spent on searching for the best land and then the house project will now be no good to us, as we have no plans on moving back to London to live in this house. On the other hand, Ottawa has been an absolute blast and we have completely fallen in love with this City. I can comfortably and proudly say that Ottawa is my home and I am beyond happy that we live here.

This move to Ottawa has also brought on a new mindset for me; a clear and fresh vision for a brighter future. During the first few months here, we were able to literally have a mini vacation from life; I was just starting to look for a new job, and my husband was going through training in his new role. This gave us the opportunity to really spend more real time together; cooking, exploring, and truly just living life to the fullest. I don’t remember a time before this where we actually had nothing going on and had that time for one another. It was actually the most perfect 5 months of my life. All of this, anticipating the fact that this would most likely be the one and only time we would have like this, so we of course used it to the fullest. Now we are both working non-stop full time, and it’s back to that “regular-programing” schedule. Which we are fine with; it’s what keeps us motivated and growing.

Overall, the year has been one like no other – we enjoyed every minute of it, and I feel so thankful for each and every day and moment. Everything that happened this year, both good, bad, scary, exciting, has all taught me something – which I am grateful for.

We already have a few exciting plans for 2019; a few projects, trips, and general plans – I can’t wait to see what this new year brings!

I wish you all a wonderful new year; a fresh start and outlook. May you all come one step closer to achieving your dearest and most magical dreams!

XOXO

BEST BOOKS OF 2018

In between the 6 course meals, holiday movie marathons, and tears of joy laughter with family and friends, I always try to find some time for myself during the Holiday season. One of the best and easiest ways for me to do this, in simply by having a book handy which I am excited to read. Really, any book will do, either a new one you can’t wait to dive into, or one you’ve read before, loved, and want to enjoy all over again. Hand up if both of these lists are exploding for you and you don’t even know where to begin!

Before the holiday craziness started, I spent some time browsing my bookshelf and my “want to read” list in order to come up with a short list of books I would add to my “Best Books of 2018” list. These are the types of books that I stuff into my bag for that “moment to myself”. I get a lot of requests for book recommendations, so I thought this would be both thoughtful and helpful. Whether you’re looking for your next best read, or thinking of gifting a book, I think this list might be of some help to you.

First things first; a few questions I get asked when sharing these lists:

How do you decide which books to include on this list?  Well, I really do read a lot of books during the year, so picking only a few to add to this list is actually quite a difficult process for me. One way for me to figure it out is by checking my Goodreads app or my “Books Read Journal” (yes, I have a journal where I write down the title, author, and personal rating of each book I’ve read). This gives me an idea of books I’ve loved based on rating, and reminds me of books I’ve read which I may have forgotten about. I also like to do a glance through my bookshelf to see which ones pop out at me. In most cases, the books that I really loved stay at the top of my mind and I can automatically recommend and add to this list. It’s a very honest process, naturally.

Are these all books that you’ve read this year? Although the answer should be yes, it’s actually, NO. It sometimes take some time for me to decide if I really enjoyed a book and if it’s one I would recommend. Sometimes I reread books and the second time around I find I love it; or hate it. Generally, I try to share books which I’ve read in the recent year, but, sometimes I can’t help myself. There are so truly amazing books out there which I cannot let go of, and those are the ones I will share with you every single year (such as, Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale).

Is there a place where you track books you’ve read or want to read online for us to access? DEFINITELY! I always update my Goodreads app with the latest and greatest on my lists. Find me by searching “ThePrettierLife” in users.  I use the iPhone App, but you can also access Goodreads from any internet browser (www.goodreads.com). I have three main lists on my page: “Currently Reading”, “Want To Read”, and “Read”. I’d say all three are great places for new book inspirations.

So, ladies and gentleman; the BEST BOOKS OF 2018 List

  1. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  4. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  6. My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
  7. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
  8. The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking
  9. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
  10. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

So tell me; have you read any of these books? Were you planning on reading any of them in the near future?

If you ever have any questions about these books, or have any suggestions for me, please send them my way! I’m always happy to talk books!

XOXO