Wish I Said It Wednesday: The Power of Lip Gloss

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This is the part of the year where many of us get weary of winter.   We are done with the chill in the air, that while once felt refreshing now feels biting on our skin.  We are over the pink-blue-gold sunsets in mid-afternoon, as no matter how pretty they might be a little more daylight is what we really need.  We love our boots and tights, but it would be nice to have the option to show off our pedicured toes in some sandals.  We are over winter.

The journey to spring seems far away still and some mornings, it feels like effort enough to get out of bed never mind get dressed and look presentable.  But ladies, we all know it must be done!  So with that in mind, some inspiration from one of my favourite ladies, Mindy Kaling, to get through the last bit of winter and hope for spring to come soon.

Best Valentine’s Day Hacks

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You’ve probably heard the terms “life hack” or “life hacking” tossed around quite a bit lately and if you are like me, you pretended to know what people were talking about and made a note to look it up later.  Well, if you are still wondering about “hacks“, look no further:

Life hacking refers to any productivity trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method to increase productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life; in other words, anything that solves an everyday problem of a person in a clever or non-obvious way.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share the best “hacks” I have found to make Valentine’s Day more special and less stressful.

Valentine's Day Hacks

(From top left) Simple Strawberry Chocolate Hearts, Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce, Easy DIY Heart Tote BagValentine Candle Card, Valentine Flower Bookmarks, Sweet Lemon-Sugar Scrub

Like what you see?  For more fun ideas, take a peek at my Valentine’s Day themed Pinterest board.

Valentine’s Day Dessert: Raspberry Kissed S’mores

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Dessert, Raspberry S'mores, Valentine's Day, Recipe, As a child, Valentine’s Day was always such a simple and sweet holiday, one that focused on the symbolic centre of our emotions, the heart.  Paper hearts, cinnamon hearts, candy hearts, heart-shaped cards…Hearts took over every inch of almost every elementary school classroom I was in.

Somehow, when romance (or lack thereof) got in the mix in my teen years, Valentine’s Day filled me with angst and the general feeling that it was a holiday made to point out the one thing I didn’t have but desperately wanted:  someone else’s heart.  A heart that I knew was all mine and one whose intentions I would never question.  Many a Valentine’s Day passed where the idea of this became a little less realistic in my mind, but, admittedly something I wanted more and more.

I’m probably not the only person who has felt this way and certainly will not be the last.  It has been a long, hard and sometimes disappointing road, but fast forward to 2014…I have a heart and it’s the heart of a fella I deeply love, admire and trust.  Looking back, I’m not sure why I spent so many Valentine’s days turning my nose up at silly gifts and fun-loving traditions.  Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love of all types, not just the romantic kind.  It is a shame that through all those Valentine’s days I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge the love I did have in my life and instead focused on the love I didn’t have.

What I am trying to say, is that I understand why some hate to celebrate Valentine’s Day but still hope that you do!  Even if it is just a moment to be thankful for the love you do have in your life from friends, family, co-workers or that guy at Starbucks who always gets your coffee right.

And if you’re stuck for inspiration, how about a little dessert to start?  I recently made these amazing Raspberry Kissed S’mores which are simple to prepare but oh so indulgent. They are great to share with a group at a V-Day brunch, over hot cocoa with a friend while you watch “Hitch” for the 20th time or that fancy dinner you are making for your Valentine.

Dessert, Raspberry S'more, Valentine's Day, Recipe

Lady of Style: Kourtney Kardashian

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Kourtney Kardashian, Style, Lady of StyleThough they seem to be falling out of favour with the public and the audience for their long running reality show shrinking in record numbers, there is something to be said about the staying power of the Kardashian sisters.  Kim, Khloé and Kourtney have bombarded the public with juicy tidbits about their personal lives and relationships over the last decade, and though it is getting old, you have to admit the ladies have some savvy after making an empire out of, well, doing nothing!

If you follow their show (guilty!), the sister that seemed most uncomfortable with the spotlight since day one is oldest sister Kourtney.   This is probably what endears her to a lot of people – this and the fact that she seems to be a very devoted mom to her two kids.   It’s no question that she lives her life on her own terms, and her fashion sense expresses this independent streak.  While her sisters favour tight over tailored and glossy over gilded, Kourtney finds a way to be trendy without being a fashion victim.  She has a great eye for unique pieces that still have a neutral aesthetic.

Being recently featured in two major blogs – The Coveteur and Into the Gloss – has given Kourtney real fashion credibility and it’s well deserved.  The girl knows how to dress her petite, curvy frame like a true fashionista.

Kourtney Kardashian, Style, Lady of Style, Black and White

Kourtney Kardashian, Style, Lady of Style, Leather, Coloured Leather

Kourtney Kardashian, Style, Lady of Style, Short Suit

Kourtney Kardashian, Style, Lady of Style, Prints, Cream, Manolo Blahnik

Beauty 101: How to Tightline Your Eyes

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You may have noticed through following my blog that I am a little obsessed with eyeliner, specifically black eyeliner.  Given my colouring (olive), my hair colour (dark dark brown) and problem with dark under-eye circles, it actually makes sense that it is on rare occasion that I’m not sporting at least a little black eyeliner.  And if you have seen me with no eyeliner at all, well you are probably very close to me!

I’ve been in love with L’Oreal Lineur Intense Brush Tip Liquid Eyeliner for ages but I’m always looking for options for the times when I want a softer, more natural look.  Recently, I had been hearing about “tightlining” eyes, which simply put, means to line your eyes as “tight” as possible to your eyelashes.  The result is the most natural yet defined eye that you can imagine.  Your eyelashes look longer and thicker and your eyes look bigger with out the “look at me, I’m wearing eyeliner” effect.

How to Tightline Your Eyes

Tightlining can be done with a regular old eye pencil, but if you want the true benefits of this method, which is a soft and seamless eye line, try a gel or cake liner such as, my personal choice, Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liner.  A gel or cake liner usually comes in a compact or pot and must be activated with a liquid.  Some companies will offer their own activator (as Laura Mercier does) which creates a more long-lasting look, but dipping the brush in a little water beforehand I found will also do the trick just fine.  Speaking of brushes, the key is to use a flat eyeliner brush (I used Laura Mercier’s Flat Eye Liner Brush) with the liner.

Though it sounds a bit daunting, tightlining is really not that much harder than lining your eyes the traditional way.  The first step is to dip the brush in water, then load it up with a bit of product.  Then, it’s just filling in your lash line with short, soft strokes from outer to inner corner.  I chose to fill the top of my lashes where most people would usually line their eyes, but if you are adventurous you can do the inside of the lashes, close to the eye.  It really is that simple, but if you need a little help, this tutorial from The Cut is a great step by step on tightlining using a cake or gel liner.

Classy and Sassy: ModCloth Palette on Parade Dress

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One of the inspirations behind Lady In Charge has been to challenge the websites, blogs, magazines, newspapers, etc who encourage women to conform to what others think we should be.  I believe that every lady has a classy and sassy side, so why not acknowledge and embrace this?  By society’s norms we are told we must be perfect, prim and proper, while popular culture sells us the idea to rebel, be wild and roam freely without a thought to anyone else.  The truth of it is that we aren’t meant to be one-sided beings – we are meant to be complex and that means something different to every woman.

Live classy, stay sassy is the approach to I take to many parts of my life because it’s truly who I am – classy and sassy!  This also applies to how I approach fashion.  I, like many of you, have a shortage of space in my closet, therefore what I do buy has to have multiple uses and match whatever mood I might feel when I wake up in the morning.   Simply put, my purchase have to fit both my classy and sassy sides!

ModCloth Palette On Parade Dress

The ModCloth Palette On Parade Dress is the perfect dress to show off your classy and sassy sides!

I’ve been thinking about to be more effective at this lately, spending time on Polyvore for inspiration.  I came across this adorable dress from ModCloth the other day which I thought was a perfect option to show one’s classy and sassy sides.  The print is bold, yet has a softer side.  The colours pop, but are also quite neutral.

There are multiple ways to make this dress both classy and sassy.  A classy girl would pick up on the muted shades in the pattern and find a way to make the dress both appropriate for the workplace and meeting her fella’s parents for brunch.  A sassy girl would bring out the bold colours of the dress and make the pattern pop even more.  She wouldn’t shy away from mixing in other prints or adding funky accessories like fox face slippers and beetle shaped rings.

Whether you wake up in the morning feeling classy or sassy, the Palette on Parade Dress from ModCloth is the perfect option to match any one of your moods. 

ModCloth Palette On Parade Dress - Sassy Look

Caffeine Conundrum: Giving Up Coffee

Today is my 10th consecutive day without coffee.  Though I am proud of myself, I have to admit…it has been really really difficult!  Coffee has helped me power through many a  morning when all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed.

My dependency on coffee was a slow progression.  I used to be a tea-only lady and had no love for the bitter, pungent taste of straight coffee.  But, it started with just one cup to get me going for early mornings.  Then, somehow my morning cup turned into 2 morning cups, which somehow turned into 2 morning cups plus a mid-afternoon cup.  Sure, I had a lot of energy and I got a lot done, but the nights upon nights wide awake trying to will myself to sleep were making coffee more of a hindrance than a help.  The vicious cycle of using coffee to give me energy and then not being able to sleep because of too much coffee had to stop.

So, I quit coffee.  Cold turkey.  No coffee, no lattes, no mochas.  No coffee.  Yes to tea (but more on that later).

I sleep better, I feel better, and I even look better.  The under-eye circles are still there but at least they are not as prominent or coupled with the oh so attractive bags under the eyes.

Benefits of Drinking Tea

In place of coffee, I’ve become a reformed green tea lover.  It used to taste and smell all too much like grass for me, but there are so many new flavours of green tea to choose from that I wasn’t even aware of.  I now look forward to my morning cup of passion fruit green tea, pomegranate green tea or (especially invigorating) mint green tea.  The benefits of green tea are multiple – its full of antioxidants and all sorts of amazing things that can make you feel good while still having the benefit of some caffeine.

Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

Sure coffee is sexy (vanilla caramel latte with whipped cream, anyone?), but tea is good for the body and for the soul.  It is warmth and comfort all in one little cup.  And yes, it has caffeine so if you are like me and need a boost to get you through the day, tea is a great choice.

https://ladyincharge.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tea-final.png

(From top left) Revolutionary Tea Bottle from More Tea to take loose leaf tea on the go! – Butter London Tea With a Twist Set (available at Anthropologie) – Green Tea Shortbread Leaves Recipe (via Martha Stewart)  – My favourite Green Tea with Mint (from Tetley Teas)

Currently Coveting: D’Orsay Flats

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Once upon a time, I bought the most amazingly sexy black heels on sale at Winners (Canada’s version of Marshalls).  They were platform, peep toe, patent leather with a stiletto heel.  They were a just gorgeous find and I could not wait to wear them!  At the time I had a fancy job that I dressed up for, so once I figured out the perfect outfit to pair them with, I made the inaugural tour of my new babies at work.

Fast forward to lunch hour and a stop at the local Starbucks with my co-worker Wendy. Everything was going great until, while deep in conversation (ok, ok, gossip), I missed a step while walking in the parking lot and crumbled to the ground.  My right foot was completely twisted on account of my brand new heels.  I was in pain, I was embarrassed and most of all I was sad that my beautiful shoes would not be in rotation for a long, long time.

That my friends, was the beginning of the end of my love affair with heels.  But..they say that with all endings come new beginnings, and thus began my love affair with flat shoes.  Yes, I am a converted flat shoe lover.  In fact, at one point I was going to re-brand Lady In Charge as “Best Flat Forward” until my fella kindly pointed out that saying that phrase out loud is almost impossible (really, try it).

Lucky for me (though sad for my wallet), there are loads of options when it comes to buying flats.  Spring 2014 trends are already being predicted, and the D’Orsay style of flat shoes is one of them.  According to Refinery 29 “the D’Orsay-style shoe…is any pump-style flat or heel that features a cut-away vamp”, with the “vamp” part of a shoe being the upper part of the shoe between the toes and the heel.

Simply put, D’Orsay style shoes are just a little bit sexier and a little bit more interesting than the average shoe. For that reason, I can definitely see myself indulging in this spring trend.

D'Orsay Flats

Top:  Need Supply Co. Studio Flats

Middle:  Belle by Sigerson Morrison Silvia Suede d’Orsay flatsSteven by Steve Madden ‘Sawyer’ Flat,  Asos Liberty Pointed Ballet Flats

Bottom: Tildon “Loren” FlatChinese Laundry Kristin Cavallari ‘Cadence’ Flat

Friday Inspiration: Trust Your Power

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This has been a week that in some ways I would rather forget.  You know those weeks where you start out bright, hopeful and energetic but end up feeling beaten down and questioning every decision you’ve every made?  Well, that was my week this week!  I’m being forced to make a significant choice in my career direction and no decision feels like the right one, right now anyway.

With all the buzz about NFL football this week with our neighbours down the coast in Seattle playing a very big playoff game on Sunday, I came across this video about a legally deaf member of the Seahawks named Derrick Coleman.  Against all odds he not only made it to the NFL but scored a touchdown for his team  this year.  To me, this is the epitome of not letting the challenges that life throws at you get in your way and makes the problems in my life feel pretty small.

Domestic Goddess: Mint and Chick Pea Salad

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Mint and Chick Pea Salad, Healthy Recipe

Delicious, healthy comfort food! Mint and Chick Pea Salad.

A satisfying salad can be hard to find in the cold depths of winter.  Sometimes a bowl full of greens does not cut it when you are chilled to the bone and craving stick to your ribs food.  This is often where I opt to make a healthy stew or soup to satisfy comfort food cravings, but my mom recently found and shared a this Mint and Chick Pea Salad recipe that does the trick.

The original recipe is from Chef Michael’s Kitchen, but she has updated it a bit to have more veggies and a lighter dressing.  Despite the changes, this salad still that has a comfort food feel without a lot of prep time or extra calories.  The bonus?  It’s also a beautiful dish to share with friends or bring to a potluck.

Mint and Chick Pea Salad, Healthy Comfort Food Healhty