things that make me happy, feb 2012...

Time does fly! Here are a few things that made me happy in February...

1. Adele on 60 Minutes.

Anderson Cooper interviewed the delightful Adele on 60 Minutes. I'd never seen so much giggling from two trained media professionals, like two BFFs on a girls weekend. Shortly after, Adele proceeded to sweep the Grammys, and land the ULTIMATE honour: a Vogue cover. She is big-haired, down-to-earth, self-deprecating, Cockney, adorable! Don't ever change, girl.  

2. Downton Abbey Christmas special.

I was so excited by the return of Downton Abbey. And then, season 2 unfolded. Ugh. There was a) Matthew's engagement to the drippy Lavinia; b) Sybil repeatedly visited the garage for a chemistry-free romance with the driver; c) Edith kissed anugly farmer; d) vile Richard Carlisle; e) Matthew's broken penis; f) World War I; g) Bates and the Wicked Witch; h) the Canadian patient; i) Lord Grantham and the maid; j) the Glee scene; k) countless other forgettable plots; and then when you think it can't get ANY worse, z) Bates (the last man you wanted to see topless) and Anna in bed, a scene so disturbing you just can't unsee it! What a mess. 

But by the finale, it all worked out! The useless characters were written out, Dowager Countess Violet nailed her one-liners, Matthew's penis tingled, and ... Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley admitted their love and are engaged! Twirling in the snow! Joy all around! Snow globes for Christmas!  

3. Parenthood

Bravermans: Sarah, Crosby, Adam, Julia. 

I was so involved with the Braverman siblings on NBC's Parenthood this season that I talk to them in my head, and on twitter of course. Last night's season finale was an emotional roller coaster filled with comedy (how does Crosby know FNL's Billy Riggins?), sadness, frustration, and finally, perfection. Each Braverman got exactly what they wanted, which is terrifying. The plots were so neatly and happily wrapped up, it seemed like a series finale. 

NBC: If Parenthood isn't renewed, I'm boycotting all your shows forever!

4. Schmidt on New Girl.

The funniest character on TV.

5. Bonne Maman jam.

I usually just have fruit for breakfast, but when I 'indulge' in a scone or croissant, I top it with this jam and I pretend I'm in my Paris apartment. 

6. Balzac's Cafes.

I love a good cup of coffee, but especially so when I'm sipping it in a cafe that brings me to another place and time. No, not Starbucks. Balzac's cafes are designed in the Parisian style, and furnished with marble tables and classic bistro chairs. Their coffee is rich, bold, and served with almond milk! It's always worth the drive to Balzac's.

What are the little things made you happy in February? How can it be March already?


NYC style...

I've recently returned from a few days in New York City for some mother-daughter togetherness with rorygilmore. I marvel at the effortlessly chic New Yorkers -- their perfectly imperfect hair, flawless makeup, It bags, striking coats, and their absolute commitment to heels.

How do they do it? I'm a former runner who practises Bikram yoga daily, but after a day navigating the city streets and climbing those steep subway steps in touristy flats, I'm roadkill.

The most noticeable trend was the 'librarian' look--hair off the face, big glasses, with the occasional bright lips.
Source: flickr.com via Marla on Pinterest

It's a look I first saw on Jcrew prez Jenna Lyons late last year.
Source: google.ca via Marla on Pinterest

I hesitate to call this a beauty trend, since this is how I (and probably most of you) look 95% of the time anyway. Hair off the face? Yeah, too busy and too much yoga to bother wearing it any other way. Glasses? Nearly blind, legally required to wear thick glasses. Lipstick? Okay, that requires some effort. 

I'm 'accidentally' cool and chic.    


oscars 2012, random thoughts...

I agree with most critics who say this year's show and Billy Crystal were very mildly amusing at best. (How quickly we've forgotten the Franco/Hathaway fiasco of 2011!) Even so, the night had its moments.

Cutest gag. Cast of Bridesmaids, 'Scorsese'! Nice continuation of their SAG gag. Sorry you didn't win, Sookie.
Most desperate cry for attention. JLo's nip slipped, and she didn't apologize for it. Somewhere in Brentwood, California, Ben Affleck is holding his boring, 11months pregnant wife Garner tightly, and thanking God that he had the courage to walk away when he did. 
Trying hardest to be liked. Jolie smiled, wore a dress that I don't hate, and wanted us ALL to notice that said dress has a very high slit.  She tried. She's still a crazy husband-stealing beeyotch, but she tried. And judging by my twitter feed, she failed.  I'm firmly Team Aniston, but I hate Jolie a little less today. 
Best presenter. Emma Stone, what a charmer. 
Best BFFS. Michelle Williams and Busy Phillips. Am I the only one DYING to know if Katie Holmes, who was at the Oscars and the Vanity Fair party with Tom, spoke to her former Dawson's Creek costars? If so, where are the pictures? Do you think Michelle and Busy mean-girled Katie (unlikely), or is Katie not allowed to speak to them (likely)? Is Katie jealous of Michelle's much more successful career (perhaps)? These are important questions! 

Now it's time to get over my bitterness. We have 365 days to look forward to next year's show. Hopefully then, we will have worthy movies, less disappointing nominations, and plenty of stars and performances worth rooting for.

Is it too early to predict 2013 Oscar Best Pic noms for Les Miserables and Great Gatsby? Lead Actor nominations for Leo (Gatsby), Jackman (Les Miz), RG(that movie with Eva Mendez), and my Fassbender (Prometheus)? Lead Actress for Carey Mulligan (Gatsby)? Supporting Actor for Russell Crowe (Les Miz) and Tobey Maguire (Gatsby)? Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway (Les Miz)? 

I can hardly wait!!!


fave oscars 2012 look: rose byrne...

Rose Byrne, Oscars 2012.
I'm not excited about the Oscars tonight. But I do still enjoy looking at the fashions.

My award for Best Dressed goes to Rose Byrne for her simple, glamorous Vivienne Westwood gown, and Chanel jewelry.

I'm obsessed with her hair! It's the perfect Wintour bob. I foresee a trend.


bag stalking: clutches...

I have a tiny handbag obsession. The truth is, I could be driving a luxury car, but I spent the money on handbags. (Hey, a car just gets you from PointA to PointB anyway. Does it have to be fancy? or reliable? Who needs a built in GPS or bluetooth when you have a vintage 8track player? And a few leather purses that will be worth a fortune in the vintage market someday?)

Between rorygilmore and I, we own a small fortune in upscale/designer handbags.  We're bag snobs. Believe it or not, we don't own a decent clutch purse. So I'm currently searching for the perfect timeless 'everyday' clutch that we can share.

These style photos have fuelled my obsession.

The Handbag Gods answered three of my prayers with this beauty. It's a (1) Balenciaga, with (2) rose gold hardware and finally, it's a (3) clutch.


PS. I don't pretend to be perfect. I am also fully aware that a baby calf died in Italy to create this bag. That's why I call myself vegetarian, and not vegan. I am flawed. And ashamed.


products...that I actually use, pt4: vichy cleanser and avene water

These are two products that I not only use, I can't live without them. 
vichy 3in1 calming cleansing solution.
It's made for sensitive, aging *audible gasp* skin.  I use this at least three times a day--when I wake up, before and after yoga, before going to bed. I like my face to feel really clean, so I need a gentle cleanser that does a thorough job. The proof is in the cotton pad. Sorry, was that too much information?
avene thermal spring water. yep, I buy the largest can they've got.
After I've thoroughly cleansed (fanatically, as we've already established),  I always spray my face with thermal spring water. I suppose it's the equivalent of a toner. Or dunking your face in ice water as Joan Crawford used to do, according to Rachel Berry.  Who says you don't learn anything from Glee? I've tried going without, and then coincidentally my middle aged face will sprout a pimple the size of a knuckle. I've actually used this product for years. When we were first married, R was shocked that I would spend $20 on a 1/2 litre spray can of water. "Why don't you just use bottled or tap water and splash that on your face," he nervously suggested. Bwahahaha, as if! 


joe fresh boatneck, inspired by jcrew and madewell again...

joefresh marine boatneck. $19USD, $24CAD. hmmm, what's up with the price difference, Joe?
Striped boatneck tees are another staple of my everyday wardrobe. So when I passed by JoeFresh today, I had to check out their Marine Boatneck tee.  Hello, pretty! The photo doesn't do it justice. It's a creamy white with vibrant navy and reddish orange stripes. At $24CAD (or $19USD, ugh), I think it's a bargain.

I tried on all sizes (XS to L) and settled on the medium. The XS fit fine but I prefer my boatneck tees to be loose. To make it absolutely perfect for me, I'll have the bottom shortened by about an inch and half so it hits just above the hip, and the sleeves shortened about an inch to bracelet length.

The Joe Marine Boatneck is not lightweight--it's a tightly woven, thick and heavy knit tee. I was immediately reminded of the Jcrew St James nautical and Madewell La Mariniere tees which I've coveted for a couple of years, but didn't purchase because they were too expensive for my 'everyday' wardrobe.

jcrew saint james unisex nautical tee, $104 CAD
madewell dip dye boatneck tee, no longer available. priced around $80USD. garancedore.fr/en
Jcrew StJames boatneck modeled by GOOP herself, goop.com
I'll probably wear this for years, but in the spring I'll pair with skinny ankle jeans or very short chinos, flats, minimal jewelry, my hair in a bun. Tres simple!

Thanks, JoeFresh. Now, can you explain why this shirt is more expensive in Canada if you're a Canadian company?


new lulu tank: practice freely...

Practising Bikram yoga daily means a LOT of laundry, and I was frankly sick of seeing myself in the mirror in the same clothes. So I fell off the Frugal101 wagon. I justified these purchases by convincing myself that I'll need lots of clothes for teacher training. (That is, if I can still afford teacher training, after frivolously spending money on clothes. Life is a vicious circle.)

In addition to buying the NoLimits tank and matching hot shorts in camo (my GIJane outfit), I also purchased Lulu's new Practice Freely tank.

Here's how lulu describes it:

why we made this

Our time on the mat is often spent trying to quiet our minds and steady our breath. This lightweight tank gives us the coverage we need and the freedom we crave so we can stop fidgeting, and practice stillness.

key features

  • the luon Sheer Jersey outer keeps you covered without weighing you down
  • the thin straps and racerback cut allow you to twist with ease
  • mesh panel thoughtfully placed in the bust lining where the girls come to touch
  • removable cups add shape and give coverage
  • chafe-resistant flat seams won't rub you the wrong way

I bought my usual size 6. The v or heart-shaped neckline is more flattering than the NoLimits' thin straps. That's the good news.

But, the overall quality of the Practice Freely ($58) is inferior to the NoLimits ($64). The luon Sheer Jersey tank stretches. By the end of class, the bottom had already stretched so much that the tank fell to below my hips. My top didn't look like a tank, it was more of a tunic.

And no, my hips haven't shrunk so much (I wish!!!) that I should've sized down. My new NoLimits size 6 fits me perfectly.

I can't recommend the Lulu Practice Freely tank. Save your money.


bikram vs moksha yoga, the verdict...

Let's cut to the chase: Bikram wins! By a landslide. Unanimous verdict. Not even close. No contest.

When I debated the pros and cons of Bikram Yoga vs Moksha Yoga last year, I didn't arrive at a concrete conclusion. It was a tie. I tried to convince myself that Moksha was just as good as Bikram to make myself feel better about settling.

You see, my home Bikram studio was having some management issues at the time. I didn't renew my membership and joined a brand new Moksha studio. Loved the Moksha studio (oh those pretty new sinks, the cubbies for shoes, the showers!). Hated my Moksha practice.

I missed so much about Bikram yoga:
  • The intense, toaster-oven heat and humidity. Entering the Bikram hot room is like landing on a different planet--my home planet. Here, we're all barefoot and barely dressed, and our language is broken English.
  • The mirror. My reflection under fluorescent lights. Most days I roll out of bed, go to the studio without an ounce of makeup on, and grey ponytailed hair barely brushed. I'm a scary sight. But somehow, after sweating profusely for 90 minutes, I think I'm beautiful. Goddamn miracle. 
  • The sameness. No matter who teaches, the 26 poses and dialogue are exactly the same. It's comforting.
  • The repetition. If I didn't get it 'right' the first time, I get a do-over. And I can come back and try again.
  • The regular students. I'm not an outgoing or friendly person, but I feel a certain camaraderie with my fellow diehard Bikram yogis. We're kindred spirits--addicted, type A, perfectionists in the guise of hippie health freaks.
Six months later, I heard via twitter (naturally) that the old studio reopened with a new owner. I cancelled my Moksha membership, and stepped right back into Bikram's hot room. I unrolled my mat on the new cork floors, and lay down in savasana. *sigh*

I'm home.

a year from now...




I learned about Whitney Houston's death on twitter (where I hear everything). The news truly shocked me. We knew she'd been going through hard times, but really rooted for her and hoped she'd make that comeback.

She was such a beautiful, gifted woman. Watch her sing live on Letterman in 1985, when she was only 22. I love this song.

Here's Whitney a few years later, performing with Chaka Khan. She's lost some of her poise, and she's beginning to sweat her upper lip, which annoyed me at the time. She was probably even high during this live performance. But her voice was still great and she was GORGEOUS. This song is one of her best. Who wouldn't get up and dance to this?


It's beyond tragic. What a waste.


jcrew shirts, genius...

Gosh. Just when I think I'm over them, the marketing geniuses at Jcrew hit me over the head with their styling tips. I'm such a sucker for this stuff.
jcrew lookbook
I've bought my share of Jcrew shirts lately, and this is exactly how I wear them. Honestly, I've been wearing them a little too much--Thanksgiving, Christmas, family party, lunch or coffee with friends, dinner with the boys, shopping, on my way to and from yoga--the Jcrew shirts are my go-to tops these days. But they are comfy, fit beautifully, and are absolutely PERFECT, just as they're named.

my Jcrew shirt wardrobe: royal paisley perfect shirt, keeper chambray shirt, and leopard perfect shirt. 
Here are more inspiring Jcrew outfits, with simple 'rules' for spring wardrobe.  

I really want the tillary tote!
I don't love the jules in this print, but it's a great dress. must have!
I will definitely buy a pair of cafe capris. when they're on sale.
Go to their lookbook here. If you're not inspired to revamp your entire wardrobe after viewing, you're a much stronger person than me.


vegan recipes, a guest post...

When AstigVegan asked me to participate in their 'Vegans Around the World' series by sharing some reviews or recipes, I was excited but nervous. While I love to eat, I'm hardly a talented cook.  But since I transitioned to a veg(etari)an lifestyle, I've expanded my repertoire with some fool-proof recipes that I was more than happy to share with my twitter pals and their readers. I hope you'll try them.

Recipes here.

I eat mango salsa and vegetarian red curry a LOT. Recipes on AstigVegan
Avocado pudding, better than ice cream. Really. Recipe here.


time to succeed...

It's been 3 months. I need a daily routine, a weekly schedule, concrete goals and a timeline.

I'm going to write it down, make it happen.