52 LISTS OF HAPPINESS VS. FIVE MINUTE JOURNAL

Reflection journaling has become ALL THE HYPE these days – everywhere I turn I see someone either writing in one, or talking about it. Honestly, I’m loving this because I think they are such a great way to [first of all] reflect on your daily actions and feelings, and to gain some insight into what’s really happening in your mind.

Often, our day to day thoughts don’t touch on the specific topics which these journals push us to discover. Once you are “forced” to sit down and think about a specific event or feeling, indicated by the journal, many other bursts of information may come up. So, you want to get started with one of these but have no idea where to start or which one to choose?  Let me help you get started.

Although there are many options for these types of reflection journals these days, there are two specific ones that I personally love and would recommend. Here’s a quick comparison of the two of them to give you a better idea on which one you want to dive into first:

52 LISTS OF HAPPINESS

5 MINUTE JOURNAL

One question/prompt a week. This gives you seven days to think about and reflect on the question asked. The following week a new one is posed.

Attempts to discover various topics such as reflect; acknowledge, invest, and transform.

Colorful and very pretty internal and external design (lots of floral)

$16.95 CAD

The same questions are asked in the morning and the evening; every single day for as long as you continue the journal. A different quote is offered on each page.

Questions focused on the days feelings and/or events; gratitude and affirmations.

Classic beige external design and black and white interior design.

$26.95 CAD

Personally, I have enjoyed the 52 Lists of Happiness journal because I enjoy being challenged with a new question each week, and I like having those 7 days to think about and add to my respone.

It’s all personal preference though!

 

CLASSIC SUMMER #OOTD

Blogger, Model, Ottawa, Rideau Hall

Could this be part two of my Shades of Blue post? Or, does this just mean that I’m following my THEORY? I think it’s a little bit of both.

Ever since I’ve come to terms with my style; colours I enjoy wearing, etc., it seems as though all of my outfits have become grouped into a similar category. Well, that is what I was going for though, wasn’t it. It definitely was. I want to be able to wear ALL of my clothes regularly, and to be able to mix and match all of the items. I used to have a randomly coloured of printed top that I could only wear with one other item, and it literally made me crazy – so I gave that top away; along with a few hefty bags of other items which I felt the same way about.

There’s no better feeling than looking into your closet and knowing that [mostly] all of your clothes can be worn together – and I’m talking about the regulars, not the evening gowns etc… Everyday clothes that you pick out for your daily outfits – those ones. ootd, outfit inspiration, the prettier life, ottawaI’m sure you’ve seen this skirt plenty of times on me, and that’s because its one of those classic pieces I can’t get enough of and wear constantly.  I’m thinking that the ripped denim trend is not stopping so I should be good with it for the next little while. The top was a gift from my sister-in-law, and the sweater is my mothers. Personally, I would have never purchased anything in his shade of neon anymore, but these two ladies made it work.

Also, I was able to take my darling Michael Kors Mercer out for a stroll, and I’m still as in love with it as I was the day I saw it sitting on the shelf in the store waiting for me. Some things are just meant to be!

Altogether, the outfit is pretty simple, a little bit outside of my comfort zone [ the top + colour choice especially ] but it felt right for this scorching hot Sunday afternoon in Ottawa – so I made it work.

BOOK REVIEW: THE GREAT ALONE

Kristin Hannah, Book Review

“It had been an amazing trip north on the mostly unpaved ALCAN Highway. Their first true family vacation. Days driving in bright sunlight; nights spent camping beside raging rivers and quiet streams, in the shadows of saw-blade mountain peaks, huddled around a fire, spinning dreams of a future that felt closer every day. They roasted hot dogs for dinner and made smores for dessert and shared dreams about what they would discover at the end of the road…” – The Great Alone; Kristin Hannah

There hasn’t been a single book written by Kristin Hannah which I have not fallen in love with. The authors latest and greatest; The Great Alone fits into that category with ease.

This time, Kristin takes her readers into the world of wilderness and beauty of Alaska. A compelling story of growing up surrounded by a different than usual world; varying personalities; and challenges no one should ever have to face on their own.

Without giving too much detail away, it’s a story of deep unconditional love + loyalty.

SHADES OF BLUE: WHY THE DENIM JACKET IS IRREPLACABLE

gucci bag, ootd, wordpress blogger, michael kors

If there was to be only one staple item I could recommend that you could wear all summer it would be the D E N I M  J A C K E T. I literally cannot live without mine. I think that denim jackets are the perfect addition to any summer outfit; either to a flowy dress, or a skirt/shorts and a top. I love how versatile denim is and how it can actually be used to complement basically any outfit (of course I’m not talking about your evening gowns, cocktail dresses, etc…).

On this beautiful summer evening I opted for a shades of blue outfit; a pale blue chiffon pleated midi/maxi skirt, a simple crew neck t-shirt, and my favourite washed denim jacket. I did have a pair of navy blue tie up flats picked out, but since it’s still summer and the evenings are still fairly warm, I decided against them and went with the sandals.

What do you think? Would you wear this?

 

TOP THREE FARMERS MARKETS IN OTTAWA

For those who are looking for healthy, organic, or fresh from the farm products, Farmer’s Markets are a true gem – especially for those who live in the heart of a big city and don’t have too much spare time to venture out to these local farms. (Yes, most stores carry “fresh from the field” products, but read on, and you’ll see why a Farmer’s Market is worth your while).

Since moving to Ottawa, one of our main weekend attractions has been searching for these organic + fresh from the farm products. We have ventured outside of the city as well to a few farms to pick our own strawberries, raspberries, or currant, but always find ourselves being drawn back to these farmers markets. Here are my top three picks for Farmer’s Markets to venture out to this summer:

CARP FARMER’S MARKET

The Carp Farmer’s Market, located in (you guessed it) Carp, is open on Saturday’s between 8:00am – 1:00pm, from May to October. The Market features an incredible selection of locally grown fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, flowers + plants, and arts and crafts. At the entrance of the Market you will find a few food stations with hot and ready items to try (and snack on) while you shop around. One of the biggest fan favourites is the bacon on a bun; the lineup always seems never ending. Across the street from the Market, sits the cutest + coziest coffee shop called Alice’s Village Cafe we like to stop in for a coffee (and sometimes a snack) before or after our Farmer’s Market adventures. Click here to read more about our experience at the Carp Farmer’s Market.

LANDSDOWNE PARK – OTTAWA FARMER’S MARKET

Located in the heart of The Glebe, this Farmer’s Market also boasts all of your favourite fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and plants + flowers, and is open on Sundays between 9:00am – 3:00pm. Although the layout is set up into two rows, it never takes us just two strolls up and down to look at everything. One of the main reasons why this market is at the top of my list (besides the delicious selection) is the fact that it’s inside a park, minutes from the canal, and next to one of my all time favourite food markets; WHOLE FOODS. Before moving to Ottawa, Whole Foods Markets were merely a destination for me while on trips to the USA (I believe I spent na hour in the store in San Francisco), but now that it’s right at my fingertips it’s become my actual grocery go-to for specific organic and healthy products.

BYRON PARK – WESTBORO FARMER’S MARKET

This Market, open on Saturdays between 9:30am – 3:00pm, stretches linearly through Byron Park in the beautiful Westboro neighbourhood, where vendors bring forth a great selection of organic and healthy options. In addition to the Market shopping, you can cross the street and enter into the heart of Westboro where you will find neat shops and cozy restaurants; including many healthy and vegan options as well.  PLUS if you’re feeling the need for some clothes shopping as well, you’ll find unique boutiques along the street, as well as one of the most popular Lululemon store locations in Ottawa.

I definitely don’ need much convincing for why a trip to the Farmer’s Market can turn into an adventure on its own. Not only are Farmer’s Markets a great place to pick up fresh products, but they’re also a nice place to just stroll around and take in the atmosphere and environment. Many Markets offer food stands with hot/cold snacks that are ready to eat; keep in mind that these yummy snacks are usually also organic and fresh from the farm! BONUS! Most are situated in quaint neighbourhoods you can venture out to after your shopping!

Best to set aside a few hours to a trip to the Farmer’s Market these days!

COACH BACKPACKS: 5 REASONS TO LOVE THEM

Coach, Coach Backpack, Backpack, Designer Backpack

C O A C H is a global household name; mostly popular in North America but gradually making its way over the European market. Personally, I’ve been surrounded by Coach all my life; from the browsing stages to the purchasing. Today, I am the proud owner of many Coach handbags, wallets, backpacks, and other fine accessories that I feel confident enough to write my honest and educated review of the brands products.

Since there is a strong appeal to BACKPACKS these days (because of the fashion trends, back to school mentality, and just in general because backpacks are comfy and practical) I decided I would give you a few main reasons why a Coach backpack is totally worth your time + money. Not only for the season, but for many years to come. Generally, the pros mentioned impact all of the Coach products.

1. QUALITY MATERIALS – Coach products are so carefully designed that you can actually appreciate the stitching on any leather product you pick up. The material is so incredibly durable that it’s actually a struggle to wear it down and give yourself an excuse to  buy another one. In terms of my favorite little backpack, the attention to detail is amazing – the minimal design is neatly sewn in, the interior is perfectly lined, and the sticking around the edges is clean and precise. The grained leather minimizes the chances for scratches.

2. COMFORTABLE – Not only is the material super soft and durable, these backpacks are also very comfortable. The straps are a soft yet durable leather, which allows them to be flexible, and to take on the necessary shape (such as your back and shoulders). Although the mini backpack does not provide too much back support, the way the backpack sits on your back is the perfect medium to the “too low” or “too high” theory. In addition, the straps are adjustable which really makes it customizable to your needs for back support and position.

3. FASHION FORWARD DESIGN – Coach combines trends with class and creates beautiful products for all of its target markets (which really seems to be just about everyone these days because of the product diversity). By maintaining the design fairly classic and adding details such as embellishments or delicate designs, Coach ensures that the product will be viewed as both trendy and practical. My favorite part about this brand is that I know that the majority of their products will never go out of style, simply because of the sophisticated way that they are able to add a classic and modern take on designer trends.

4. PRICE POINT ON POINT – The value of the product and the forever wearability that you will get out of the product is totally worth the funds. Backpacks range from $100-$500; depending on the collection of course. BUT if you have ever been to a Coach Outlet store in North America then you know you can easily score a Coach product at a much lower discounted price point. Just this past weekend the discount at the Coach Outlet here in Ottawa was 60% off the entire store, plus an additional 20% off clearance. Of course, the outlet stores usually carry different products that the boutique locations, but you can still find similar products; and you can definitely count on the product being just as great!

5. CLASSIC FOREVER BRAND– This is a brand that you can hand down to generations. Being one of the worlds best known design houses and a proudly American company, the products will never become indifferent to buyers. The fact that you will be able to wear your product year-round (unless it’s a tote bag and it’s pouring Niagara style then maybe rethink a closed / covered bag) will make it that much more practical and coveted for you.

So, all in all, that gives you a pretty good idea of why I would suggest investing in a Coach product, and especially if you’re looking for a designer backpack.

HELLO AUGUST

Hello August – the official last month of summer before things kick back into full gear in September and the weather starts getting cooler. Most years the temperatures were still in the high 20’s (celsius) in the Toronto area, but since we have moved, we will have to see what it’s like up here in Ottawa this year. Fingers crossed for a nice Autumn season – which is my favourite.

With one more full month of sunshine and warm temperatures, I have one last chance to share some summer favourites with you before gliding into the Autumn season; which I’m already planning for. So, here are my favourite summertime books to read and my favourite summer fashion pieces to wear!

S U M M E R   R E A D S  First off, books don’t necessarily have to be categorized into seasons and you can read a book anytime during the year, but personally, I feel more in tune with the book if it’s in the generally similar season that we’re currently in. I just don’t like thinking + reading about harsh winters when I’m lounging on my patio in the summer sunshine.  Here is a list of a few “summer” books I would recommend picking up.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t have a Kristin Hannah favourite to recommend. Honestly, I could read any of her books at any time during the year but I think this one would be a top summer pick. The story takes you through three decades of a friendship between two completely different, yet similar women. As always, the book brought out all the emotions in me and I couldn’t put it down.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine It has taken me too long to pick this book up finally. I’ve been eyeing it since about November 2017 and I have just this week finally started reading it. It’s been a huge hit for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club and is  National Bestseller.

The Rome Affair by Karen Swan Living la dolce vita in sunny Rome, Francesca is drawn into more than she expected, but just what she needed to refresh her life and start a new chapter. If you have a weakness for romantic stories with a defined sub-story, this is the book for you. Did I mention it takes place in Rome?

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin I read this book a few weeks ago and although I prefer a bit more of depth to my stories, this is the perfect read for a weekend getaway or road trip. It’s easily a page turner and as always, Emily tells a great story.

When Life Gives you Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger Author Lauren Weisberger  brings back Emily Charlton; Miranda Priestly’s Assistant from “The Devil Wears Prada” in this page turning story. Want to know what Emily is up to now since leaving her position with Miranda at Runway; pick up this book to find out.

S U M M E R  F A S H I O N

Summertime is all for flowy + pretty dresses and light + fun accessories. Without going into too much detail about all my chosen pieces, for me it’s all about light fabrics, floral prints, and feminine finishes. Here are some photos of where my summer inspiration comes from.

From Left: (first row) La Petite Noob, Chouquette,  Something Navy, (second row) The Atlantic-Pacific, We Are Twinset, (third row) Hello Fashion, Lust for Life, Song of Style.