Pique Tea Crystals (How to Drink Tea in the 21st Century)…

Dear Readers,

I have an exciting discovery in the world of tea to share with you today!
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Most of us lead very busy lives –we are constantly on the go, and rely on anything and everything that helps to simplify our lives.  This does not mean that we do not have an appreciation for the finer things, it simply means we must find the little pockets of time available to us in order to take a few moments and re-center ourselves.  Tea is one of the most popular ways to do just that; after all, to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.”

As someone who cannot do without tea even in the summertime, I find there are many accessories that I have to tote around in order to be able to make that perfect cup wherever I happen to be.  Tea packets, a tea strainer, stirring stick, and a cup/travel mug all rattle around in the depths of my Longchamp tote bag.  What if the process of having tea could be simplified without sacrificing the quality and one’s appreciation for the ritual?  Tea bags, you say?  I have something neater.

Enter Pique Tea’s innovative tea crystals, a concept by tea-loving entrepreneur Simon Cheng, similar to water-flavouring crystals, but better.  With a special process, Pique Tea is able to extract the antioxidants and fresh flavor of whole leaf tea at optimal levels, and no sweetening is ever included.  These 100% natural and organic crystals completely dissolve in water and enable one to instantly enjoy an exceptional cup of tea, without compromising on flavour or quality.  You don’t even have to stir!

“Tea Crystals are the biggest innovation in tea since the invention of the teabag,” Simon says, and I am inclined to agree.

Watch my video to see this product in action:

Pique Tea Crystals are available for purchase or via subscription in five flavours: Sencha, Mint Sencha, Jasmine, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or you can opt to try them all with a Variety Pack. (Starting at $7.98/month).  They also have a sleek canteen for sale –I love the lines of it.

Have I… Pique-ed your interest?  If so, satisfy your curiosity and your thirst by visiting: www.piquetea.com

(Please note that as of this writing, Pique Tea’s website does not offer shipping to Canada.  Yet.)

Sailing Through Summer {Outfit Post}…

Happy first day of Summer, my friends!! ^_^

I do not remember if I have ever explicitly mentioned it in this blog, but I Detest warm weather.  I do not deal well in it at all.  I feel uncomfortable, hot, and sticky and become prone to nosebleeds and headaches.  It has always seemed easier to stay warm than it is to stay cool.  You can’t tote around an air conditioner (if you’ve found a way, please let me know), but a coat and some stylish layers are much easier to carry.

Complaining aside, it is the perfect weather for pretty sundresses, and all things sailor.  I have a soft spot for nautical garments as you can see if you look at some of my older posts, and it seems fitting for those blazing days when only the cool waters of a pool or lake and a good iced tea or popsicle can assuage the heat.

Today is one of those sailor days, and so I have on a new pair of shorts from Banana Republic.  Shorts seem to be the article of clothing that like to taunt me most.  Either too short, too boxy, too thickening at the waist, etc.  I have gone through quite the hunt to find the perfect pair.  I seem to have found them in this beautifully buttoned baby; may it last me a good many summers!  On the downside, it does wrinkle somewhat, and it likes to attract wandering pieces of fluff and fur as you can see in the picture.  It just requires a bit of checking on here and there, but it hasn’t become too annoying yet.  Who could be annoyed at having to look down on such lovely shorts?  Not I!
Summer's Outfit - 2016 - Cathie Cabot

I paired this top with another piece from Banana Republic –this has been in my archives (wardrobe) since 2013.  After not wearing it for a few years –I can’t think why I haven’t more often– I am giving it an airing and a day out in the sunshine.  It’s a soft cream but looks whiter in the pictures.  It complements the deep blue of the shorts quite nicely, and I still love the be-ribboned Eiffel Tower graphic composed entirely out of lovely French words and phrases.
Summer's Outfit - 2016 - Cathie Maud Cabot

For a dressier version of a casual sneaker –which I think is perfect for Summer, I am wearing these high-heeled sneakers by Keds.  I love the soft grey colour, and can’t help thinking, “The higher the heel, the better I feel!”  Not always true, if you’ve ever actually worn heels, but in this pair?  Definitely!
Summer's Outfit - 2016 - Cathie Maud

I’m awful at accessorising with jewellery, but in summer, I have a wonderful excuse.  In my opinion, it is too hot and icky to wear bits of metal against your skin for long periods of time.  I do without completely, and rely on accessories such as interesting shoes, silk scarves, and straw hats.  This one from Gap is casual but with a refined, ladylike feel.

Hat:  GAP straw floppy hat in natural (2016)

Top:  Banana Republic Eiffel Tower tee (2013)

Shorts:  Banana Republic sailor short in navy (2016)

Shoes:  Keds ‘Damsel’ wedges in pewter chambray (2016) [in black here]

Swingin’ and sailin’ my way through summer

I wish you all an auspicious start to your summer!

How to Wear Sunscreen Properly…

Did you know that wearing sunscreen is almost an art?  There are so many rules and so much information out there on how to apply them correctly that it is probably much easier to grab a bottle of your favourite protector, slather it on your skin and hope that you’re doing it right.  Does this sound like you?  If so, fear not!  I am going to distill everything I’ve learned (and I am still learning!) into as few words as possible to keep things simple and easy to remember.

What is SPF, and is the highest grade the best?

SPF = sun protection factor.  SPF 30 doesn’t mean that it’s twice as powerful as an SPF 15, it simply means that you will be able to have a longer amount of time in the sun before burning and having to reapply sunscreen.  Thus, if it takes about 10 minutes for your skin to burn without sunscreen, and you apply an SPF of 15, you will be able to stay out in the sun for 150 minutes before burning (that’s 300 minutes for SPF 30).  So you could say it provides twice the time, but not the blockage power.  The blockage power does improve a bit in the higher grades, but it is more effective and important that you apply the proper amount, and reapply it as needed.

Which SPF grade should I use then?

Most dermatologists recommend SPF 30 for everyday use and SPF 50+ for outdoor activities.  Make sure that the sunscreen is labelled broad-spectrum –this means it blocks out most UVA rays.  No matter how high the SPF in your cream is, you must apply it every two hours if you are under the sun all day, because sunscreen will get rubbed, washed or sweated off.

How long does a sunscreen protect you from burning (if applied correctly)?

Minutes it takes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number of your sunscreen = maximum sun exposure time  *Note that most people apply less than the needed amount of sunscreen, and that this will affect the time it takes for your skin to burn.

It’s an overcast day, why do I need to still apply sunscreen?

Two types of sun rays reach the earth: UVB, and UVA.  UVB causes immediate damage to the skin, aka burning/tanning.  UVA rays age your skin and up to 80% can pass through clouds, smog, and glass.  Save yourself the trouble and expense of age-reversing creams later on, and slather on that concoction that most of us think is only for the hot sunny weather.

What’s the difference between a chemical sunscreen and a physical sunscreen, and how does this fit into my beauty routine; do I put it on before or after moisturising/makeup?

Chemical sunscreens have active ingredients that need time to bind to the skin in order to activate.  So if you use chemical sunscreens with UV filters such as mexoryl, oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octocrylene, make sure you apply sunscreen before your moisturiser/makeup routine.  Otherwise, you are preventing the chemical reaction and the sunscreen from working the way they should.  Reapplication of sunscreen during the day should not be affected too much, as the moisturiser will have had time to sink in or wear off.

Physical sunscreens contain titanimum dioxide and zinc oxide.  These minerals form a shield on your skin so that the sun’s rays will be deflected from your skin.  This means that they don’t need to be applied in advance, and they don’t necessarily need to be applied before your moisturiser.  Keep in mind that your moisturiser(s)/foundation/etc. may have ingredients that will dilute your sunscreen and make it less effective.  In my opinion, it is always best to apply sunscreen first, and after applying your skincare routine, to make touch-ups with your sunscreen.

The order of application for skincare products is usually from thinnest to thickest.  I happen to use two natural sunscreens from Josie Maran and tarte that are less thick in consistency than the standard sunscreen.  Therefore, I would apply them first before any other skincare products.  The type of sunscreen you use, and its consistency in relation to your skincare routine should dictate which should be applied first.

How much sunscreen is the proper amount?

The technical answer is about two milligrams for every square centimeter of skin, and half a teaspoon for the face.  If you use a lotion, a quarter-sized dollop on every single body part should suffice.  For sticks, two passes back and forth or four layers total.  With a spray, the can should be held an inch or so away and sprayed until the skin glistens; then, rub it in.

You don’t have to apply sunscreen in the areas that are covered by clothing, right?

Short answer — yes, you do.  Hold the garment(s) in question up to the light.  If you can see through the fabric even the teeniest, tiniest bit, it’s not protecting you.  Rub that sunscreen in!

Done, done, and done.  I’m ready to deflect those rays!

Not. So. Fast.  Sunscreen is an important part of your arsenal, but you shouldn’t rely on it alone.  Wear hats, use parasols (I have done this!), and walk on the shadier side of the street.  And of course, the Mexicans were onto something with their siestas.  The midday sun’s rays are the most intense.

***

In 2012, I came across Josie Maran’s SPF 30+ argan sunscreen and fell in love. It lasted me for four wonderful years mostly because I used to be pretty bad at applying sunscreen every day.  By the time I learned how to make it a regular thing, an eighth of the bottle was left and starting to … errm, congeal and lose its texture and consistency.  I finally decided to hop onto Sephora’s website (it was never available in Canadian stores) and buy another bottle, but they no longer sold it.  Neither did Josie Maran’s website.  I panicked.  Panicking is proper procedure when you lose a beauty staple, is it not?  I finally decided to try out another product from Josie Maran, and one by tarte cosmetics.  In the picture, you will see that the Josie Maran argan sunscreen’s texture looks dodgy — see this post for its original, glorious consistency.
Natural Sunscreens 2016

After using my two new sunscreens, I can honestly say that I won’t miss my old standby too much.  Here are my thoughts:

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturiser SPF 47

Does not have:

– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

Consistency is incredibly liquid.  The light formula rubs in easily and is not greasy.  Has a pleasant, soft, natural smell and does not have the heavy, white look of the original Josie Maran sunscreen.  It is also a moisturiser which rather takes out the dilemma of applying moisturiser/sunscreen first.  Skin feels hydrated, and I cannot tell that I have sunscreen on.  This is a bonus in my man’s eyes, because the previous formulation on my legs meant that my seat in the car became chalky white every summer.

tarte’s tarteguard 30 sunscreen lotion SPF 30

Does not have:

– Parabens
– Phthalates

Also a moisturising lotion, its consistency is firmer, but still liquid.  Blends into skin easily, isn’t greasy, and does not leave a visual trace.  However, when I run my hand over the skin, it feels stickier than the one that has Josie Maran’s formula on.  Has a soft, sweet floral scent that may make some people feel queasy.  The bottle is very heavy, and it is hard to tell whether there is more packaging than there is sunscreen.

The competition is fierce but close between these two, and Josie Maran’s has the slight edge for me because the packaging is clearer in terms of showing how much product is left, the formula seems lighter, the SPF is higher, and the scent is less obtrusive.  In terms of price, Josie Maran also wins.  A 2 oz. bottle costs $32, whereas tarte’s 1.7 oz. bottle costs $38.

I recommend these two, especially if you are in the market for sunscreens with natural ingredients, but my top pick is absolutely Josie Maran’s.

Keep cool, covered (in sunscreen) and enjoy your sunny days!

How to Get Fit, Inside and Out…

Lately, my friend Amy and I have somewhat merged our fitness journeys, which includes doing workouts together while video chatting, and sharing our healthy choices in meal planning, as well as keeping each other motivated and (more or less!) on track.  It’s all been so inspiring, because fitness isn’t something to achieve, necessarily.  It’s something to maintain and better every day –a daily habit, and one which we’ve been working on for a few months now and still going strong!  So today, I wanted to share a few ways on how to get fit and stay fit, inside and out.

Work Out Outfit

Find and incorporate a fitness program that you like and that suits your lifestyle.  For me, a combination of Ballet Beautiful and Sleek Technique works best, although I do not do their live classes very often as I find their programs a bit expensive with the exchange rate.  Also, BB has –perhaps temporarily– taken out the option of streaming classes online.  Why do I do ballet inspired workouts?  For me, boot-camp style workouts are not motivating, and are often overwhelming.  The sense of calm and peace during a workout is very important to me, and the goal of most ballet fitness programs are to achieve long, lean lines while working out muscles that people who do not dance would not necessarily use.  I like that, and that is why these programs work for me!

Look at your beauty products.  I sincerely believe that the less you use, the better for you.  “Easy for you!” some people say.  “You don’t deal with pimples or skin problems on a regular basis,”  This is true to an extent: I do get pimples occasionally, dry skin quite often, and even more frequently, there are days when I just feel dull and blah.  I find that simply making sure that my skin is clean and fresh, and pampering my hair or styling it is enough to blow away my discontent with my appearance.  If you can, figure out whether you are using cosmetics to enhance your features, or as a crutch.  Don’t let it be the latter!!  And if you do use makeup, look into natural, organic beauty lines.  These companies have come a long way and limited palettes are no longer a mark against going organic.

A few of my favourites are Josie Maran (I love her sunscreens!), Tata Harper, Belmondo, Weleda (try their deodorants!), Burts BeesRocky Mountain Soap Company, Wild Prairie Soap Company.  You can also check how ‘green’ your favourite products are with EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database!  Another tip that I’ve learned is that even though you’ve done research on a company and trust them, you should always do a follow-up research after a few years.  New products are added, and sometimes this means new ingredients that may not be up to the level of quality you’ve come to expect from the brand.

Beauty isn’t the only area where you can go clean and live green!  Items from household cleaning liquids to hand soaps have greener cousins –look for those products, and enjoy a well-rounded eco-conscious life!

Natural Favourites

Get into the habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day.  It seems mundane and obvious, but drinking water increases energy and speeds up weight loss.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice into your glass to add some flavour –plus lemon water does wonders for your skin!  Just be sure you don’t brush your teeth immediately afterwards!

Eat antioxidant-rich foods such as tomatoes, cantaloupes, berries, oranges (Vitamin C helps prevent wrinkles) and plums.  This is especially fantastic for the warmer weather months, as they are so refreshing.

Change your snacking habits!  Snack on almonds, walnuts (which contain alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that helps condition your hair –think supermodel shiny!), raisins, and ‘dipping vegetables’.

Eat broccoli.  It’s a great source of vitamin A which helps improve cell turn-over, which means that skin renewal is much quicker, too!

Eat whole wheat.  Selenium found in whole wheat products helps improve skin cells.

Eat lean red meat and eggs for their iron-rich qualities –iron will help if you’re feeling pale or have dark circles under your eyes.

Eat lots of fish.  So yummy, and so good for you!  I recently became a part-time pescatarian, and it’s made me feel a great deal better.  I do still enjoy the occasional steak, though.  😉

Take time to sleep, relax, catch up with and be good to yourself.  Reading, taking walks, reflection, and making time for even a movie and a cup of tea will help re-center and energise you.

Fairmont Chateau Laurier – Tea at Zoe’s Lounge…

A few weeks ago, during the Winterlude festival here in Ottawa, Alex and I decided to break the monotony of winter in our own little way — afternoon tea.  We were joined by his brother –whose first time it was– at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and had a wonderfully soothing and refined few hours.
Afternoon Tea at Zoe's Lounge, Chateau Laurier - Group
Chateau Laurier - Afternoon Tea - MenuThere are very few places (as of yet) to have afternoon tea here in Ottawa, and Zoe’s Lounge is certainly one of the most elegant places to have it in.

The experience started with a glassful of seasonal fresh fruit; delicious, and refreshing!  It definitely whet the appetite, especially as I have a habit of not eating anything at all before tea, otherwise I find I get too full, too quickly to do all the tiers justice!
Afternoon Tea at Zoe's Lounge, Chateau Laurier - Tea TrayI chose the jasmine tea –which was lovely and light in the beginning, but as time wore on, started to grow incredibly bitter.  I hope that Fairmont will consider implementing a little dish or tray to put your tea strainers in so that it doesn’t get over-steeped.  Apart from that, and the fact that the bread for the butter chicken salad seemed a bit dry and stale, everything was lovely.  I tried not to indulge too much in the Devonshire cream and strawberry jam (too scrumptious to be sparing), and savoured every bit of my scones.
Afternoon Tea at Zoe's Lounge, Chateau Laurier - Alex, Cathie, GuillaumeThe staff were very friendly and attentive, and helped to elevate the experience.  Many thanks to the lovely lady (I did not get a chance to peek at her name-tag!) for patiently letting us sniff our way through almost their entire tea repertoire!

The ambiance was restful –soft music (both classical and more modern piano pieces) played in the background, although I did notice that the television on the wall was on as well; it usually isn’t, which I prefer, as it can be distracting to one’s focus on and pleasure in the moment.

All in all, such an incredibly enjoyable way to brighten one’s day and shake off the winter blues.

Afternoon Tea:
Monday to Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

*Reservations are required for Afternoon Tea. Please call the hotel directly at (613) 241-1414 to reserve.

***

Afternoon Tea at Zoe's Lounge, Chateau Laurier - Cathie Maud

Fascinator:  Monsoon ‘Vivian’ velvet pillbox fascinator (2015)

Coat:  DKNY cascading ruffle wool ¾ length coat (2013) [buy here]

Top:  Kate Spade ‘abree’ cashmere sweater in black (2014)

Skirt:  J. Crew flounce skirt in bonded wool in cerise (2014)​

Shoes:  ALDO ‘Loralee’ ballet flats in red (2015)

For my outfit, I went a bit farther in my choices than I normally would, even for afternoon tea.  I remember feeling that day that I wanted to wear something ‘outrageous’ (for me, at any rate!) and pull it off because I liked it, whether or not anyone else giggled, smirked, or thought me odd in the belfry.  Wearing a substantial headpiece definitely was a little bit out of my comfort zone, but either people in Ottawa are incredibly kind, or being confident and forgetting that I am wearing lots of fabric on my head makes other people feel that this is normal fare.  I’m not sure which, but I truly felt that I had grown up just a little bit more.  It’s nice to try something with aplomb!

I wore my ‘Duchess of Cambridge-esque’ ruffle coat from DKNY — love the ruffle detail on the bodice, and all that is missing is for me to add a belt to the ensemble, and then the ‘copy-Kate-ing’ will be complete.  😉

For shoes, I really wanted to wear a pair of pumps, but knowing that I would be walking through wet, slushy streets, I decided for the still not-quite-sensible, yet slightly more practical ballet flats.  I was all about the pops of red as well; my skirt was the same bright hue, and it is a shame it didn’t get documented, because it has the most beautiful flouncy, ruffly hem!

Do you have any favourite afternoon tea spots?

Speak soon!

— C.x

Making a Stink… About Poo-Pourri…

Dear readers,

Your MIA blogger is back in action, and what better way to get back into the swing of things than to talk about the basic human function of doing a No. 2?

Normally, this is a topic usually left out of civilised conversation, but I’m going to share with you a way to pretend that you never poo.  Or at least, if you do, fairy dust and unicorn wings are involved.

By now, if you watch Youtube videos, you most likely have come across this sassy advertisement:

Curiosity piqued?  Mine was!  The lovely Tiffany from Nail Polish Canada sent along a bottle of Poo-Pourri‘s ‘Poo La La  for me to test and review.

Miss Cathie Reviews - Poo-Pourri - Poo La La

Poo-Pouri claims to stop odours before they even start, and it works like so:  the essential oils create a protective barrier when sprayed onto the surface of the toilet water, and keeps everything trapped underneath the oily film of scented goodness.  However, the best part about Poo-Pouri is that it is completely natural.  I balked at first at the idea of spritzing potentially harmful ingredients and causing damage to our water system every time one has to go.  Thank goodness then, that Suzy (the founder) is just as crazy about being environmentally friendly as I am.  Rest assured, she guarantees that all Poo-pouri products are alcohol, aerosol, parabens, phthalates, formadlehyde, and synthetic fragrance free.  Yes, please, and thank you!

Let us first start off with the notes, which are a combination of my favourite flowers and plant/fruits:  peony + rose + citrus.  As promised, the fragrance of the blended essential oils is quite pleasing, but the strongest note is the citrus, which isn’t unpleasant –I do like a good citrus.  I just hoped that it would be more meadow than breakfast fruit, but that is most likely because I love the scent of peonies.  The scent did not give me a headache or seem artifical, as most commercial/synthetic fragrances do.

I have used this magical concoction quite a few times since I got it, and have even brought it to work; I love how it doesn’t mask, but contains the smell.  If your No. 2 doesn’t leave a strong scent to begin with, I’ve found that even one spritz can be more than enough if you use (and you should always use) the courtesy flush –i.e., flush as you go, don’t let it collect in the bowl!

As others have noted on Amazon, it’s hard to spray when you tip the bottle sideways completely.  My secret is to spray at a 45° angle; it works quite well!

In short, Poo-Pourri absolutely delivers.  It is practical, discreet, and cheeky –qualities a good ‘toilet accessory’ should possess.

To get your own Poo-Pourri, go and take a peek at Nail Polish Canada’s selection here!

I now leave you with this little limerick for Poo La La.

pooetry:
there once was a dame called Colette,
whose odor she’d rather forget.
she bid odor adieu,
by spritzing the loo,
au revoir to “eww” de toilette.

— Cathie

Disclaimer:  Although the product was gifted, this post features my honest opinions and I went out and bought deja poo with my own money.  Every opinion expressed herein is true and not influenced in any manner.

October Fun…

Goodness, October is always such a busy month!

There’s Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, my birthday (and two of my family members’ birthdays!), as well as being in the swing of French classes.

There is so much fun and exciting energy that, coupled with the absolute beauty of autumn, there is no surprise that October is my favourite month.

Let’s start with my favourite picture –the pie I made for Thanksgiving!  It is Jane Austen themed, with Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett cut out of the crust.  I am quite proud of my ‘skills’ in making this!
Canadian Thanksgiving Pie

If you would like these Austen themed cookie cutters, I got mine from the Jane Austen Centre’s gift shop here and here.  I could browse the lovelies there all day!

***

I always love dressing up for my birthday weekend even if nothing grand is planned, and when it is to work, a less frilly outfit must be worn of course!  I still have fun through the details –combining my love for a sleek fit-and-flare silhouette with sheer tights, polka-dots and bows.  I hereby present to you my ‘practical’ birthday outfit: Cathie 27 Birthday

Jacket:  Danier ‘Bree’ lamb leather jacket in Port (2014)

Top:  Kate Spade ‘abree’ cashmere sweater in black (2014)

Skirt:  Club Monaco ‘Minkie’ skirt (2013)

Tights:  Gap polka-dot tights (2015)

Shoes:  Vaneli ‘Lenita’ pump in black Soffio patent (2013)

Jewellery:  Pandora charm bracelet –birthday gift from husband (2014); wedding + engagement ring from my husband.  White gold swirl ring with diamonds. (2014)

Cathie 27 Birthday Outfit

***

We went for sushi for my birthday lunch at 168 Sushi Buffet.  It isn’t our top favourite place to go for sushi in Ottawa, but it is a convenient location, and when the staff is not too busy, the food is fresh and very tasty.  If you catch them on a busy afternoon though, prepare to have missing items from your order and/or the food to not be up to its usual standards.  Following-up usually leads to them bringing the order in, so if you are not in a hurry, it isn’t ideal but not truly awful either –especially if you pay the all-you-can-eat price.  We sometimes simply re-order what was missing.

Sushi Couple
We two.
Autumn Heels
An autumn perspective.

Birthday 2015 Sushi
The sushi.

October was a beautiful month; I hope you enjoyed yours!  I will write in soon with my November happenings…

— Cathie

Summer’s Little White Dress

It’s no secret that even with care, white garments can get a little stained in the sweatier regions after a while. And there is nothing more exasperating than to lose a much-loved item in your wardrobe simply because its appearances are beyond repair; those sweat stains can really age an item!

So when it comes to buying white garments, I only choose pieces that are in natural, breathable materials such as cotton, silk, and linen.  They must also have plenty of breathing space (such as dolman sleeves) or be as far from the underarm region as much as possible (sleeveless, and not right up in the armpits).

Sure, bleach may fix the problem –though it may not add to a garment’s longevity, but why not try and avoid it entirely?

This cute little number which I fondly call my LWD fits my criteria perfectly.  I also appreciate the fact that it isn’t one’s typical strapless summer dress.  Those are cute in their own way, but for less sunburns and to be able to wear this in more settings that may require a bit more covering, this Juicy Couture dress is just what is called for.
Summer Breeze

Dress:  Juicy Couture eyelet dress (2013)

Shoes:  GAP classic ballet flats, Cognac (2015)

This picture was taken during a jaunt by the Rideau Canal with a friend.  With her help, and Nature blowing gently through the trees, the shot turned out to be a bucolic portrait.  I felt like Anne of Green Gables skipping down Lovers Lane, and my dress was dancing with the wind.

Miss Cathie Reviews [Beauty]: Feather & Bone Face Gems…

Alright, readers.  Time for a review — Feather & Bone’s Face Gems!  The amazing people behind this company kindly sent along a few samples for me to try, so I’m here to share my thoughts with the obligatory face shots that such products usually entail, so I do ask that you be kind.  😉

Feather and Bone Face Gems are face cleansers based on natural ingredients, and are meant to be an all-in-one skincare routine, cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise, all in one tiny tablet.  Sounds impressive right?
Note to tablet:  There’s a lot resting on your shoulders, little one.

Trying out my @feather.bone face gems this morning! Love it. #natural #face #beauty #Ayurveda #skincare

A photo posted by Cathie Maud (@cathiemaud) on

 

They come in these little ‘popsicle stick’ blister packages.  You pop the tablet out, mix a bit of water, and apply the paste in massaging motions to your face.  (Proper instructions will follow below!)  I’m not sure why the packaging is what it is, though.  It’s not like I would scoop the paste up with the packaging afterwards –that’s not very hygienic or gentle on the face!  I think it would be more environmentally friendly and make more sense for the one stick to simply hold, say, five tablets altogether, and you just pop what you need.  Packaging aside, I had fun mixing water with the tablet and turning it into a spreadable paste.  There was an element of mud-pie making there, definitely.  The echoes of my two-year-old self were glorying in squishing around the tablet until it turned into ‘dirt’, and I was applying the mixture onto my face with un-adult-like glee.  Who knew being natural could be so enjoyable… please tell me it’s not just me!

All gem-ified with @feather.bone! #naturalskincare #face #beauty #Ayurveda A photo posted by Cathie Maud (@cathiemaud) on

 

 My adult side resurfaced just before I applied the paste to my face.  I sniffed the paste delicately, because it needs to smell nice if it’s going on my face!  The face gem smelled slightly herbal, spicy, and earthy.  The ingredients are sandalwood (cleanser), Fuller’s earth (exfoliator), and starch (moisturiser)… simple, natural, and fresh-smelling.  It came off easily when I rinsed my face, and behold you see me in my post-face gem ‘glory’ below:

I noticed that my face seemed moisturised after rinsing — as if I had taken a few drops of argan oil and worked it into my skin –a very nice feeling.  I’m blessed in that my facial skin is smooth, but I did notice a slight improvement as well.  Overall, I felt clean and fresh afterwards.  So far, I believe it does exactly what it says it will!  Well done, Feather & Bone.  🙂

I think this concept and packaging would come incredibly handy if you were travelling and wanted to freshen up.  Especially when on a plane, what better way to pamper and revitalise your face after hours of canned air than to use one of these little beauties!  I can’t wait to see what else Feather & Bone come up with, and I definitely will be using the rest of my face gems.

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Proper Instructions:

1: pop one tablet and place in the palm of your hand

2: using your hand add 5-10 drops of water as needed and apply pressure on tablet to break to form a paste

3: scoop paste from palm to massage/apply on full face and wash face

Feather & Bone is an inventive, fresh and unique personal care company.  We are dedicated to the creation of fresh product solutions.  Uniquely for YOU.  At Feather & Bone, our mantra is INDIVIDUALITY and AUTHENTICITY.

At Feather & Bone our goal and mission is for men and women to feel empowered by who they are as individuals and embrace their inner weirdness and authenticity.

Authenticity – it’s your inner core, your gravity, it’s the intangible and everything else is noise and constantly changing.  How you look from child to old age will change.  You change yourself through make-up and clothing to fit in, but in reality your inner core, values and authenticity are static.  Feather & Bone believes that the best way to fit in is to be you.

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Reviews from customers:
“It was easy to dissolve with just a few drops of water in the palm of my hand.  It was odorless so that was good.  Skin felt soft after using.”

          – Sandy Cataldo, VP of Marketing & PD at Batallure

“It felt different. I got that clean feeling I don’t normally get with other face washes. My skin was glowing. It was easy to use.”

– Cheryl James, WholeBody manager at the Needham WF

“Feather & Bone Face Gems is by far one of the most amazing face wash brands I’ve ever tried. Great ingredients and immediate effect! I absolutely loved it!”

– Wad Taweel, Analyst at Palestine Investment Fund

“Feather & Bone Face Gems is certainly a revolutionary face wash. I had never experienced such a soft yet reviving feeling on my skin prior to using Face Gems Most importantly, I know that this great feeling on my skin will last the entire day. Women develop a strong loyalty towards products that change and improve little things in their routine, and this is what Face Gems is to me; it is such an easy-to-use product yet very different and exciting. This face wash is truly incomparable to anything that is currently on the market. Feather & Bone is the difference women have been waiting for.”

– Michele Lessard, Student

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Find Feather & Bone across the web:

Facebook: Feather & Bone

Twitter: @feathernbone

Instagram: @feather.bone

Website: http://www.featherandboneco.com/

xoxo,

— Cathie

Bridal Shower Tea Party [Maison Birks Café Montréal]…

I had the pleasure and honour of attending my sister-in-law’s bridal shower this past Saturday!

It’s always more fun of course, when it is in the theme of an afternoon tea party, and the dress code practically insists that you dress up and have fun doing so!  The invitation called for a hat and summer dress, and I was more than happy to oblige.  You see, not many know that in a deep, dark corner of my wardrobe, I harbour several frothy creations –hats and fascinators.  Once in a while, on a rare occasion, I will take them out and wear them for the world to see.  More often though, I am to be found covertly trying them on in front of the full-length mirror in our bedroom when no one is around.  I suppose it’s my secret, guilty pleasure.  But it is certainly nice not having to act about my collection as if it were illicit.  My mum-in-law even joined in on the fun when I brought my fascinators over and wore a particularly stunning one to the party!
Cathie - Pink Penny Flower FascinatorI am notoriously picky when it comes to clothes, and I currently have only one summer dress in my possession which sadly didn’t feel quite right for the occasion.  So I bent the dress code rules a bit, and went for a ruffly silk georgette blouse and a flirty skirt in pinkish hues.  In the below picture, I’m posing with the two shoes I was trying to decide between.  I finally went with the pink ones (which were also my wedding shoes) as they seemed more fun, but I promise I didn’t go to the shower in Pippi Longstocking mode, although that probably would have been hilarious, too!
Cathie Maud - Tea Party Outfit 2015

Top:  Aritzia ‘Ainsley’ blouse in Mauve Chalk (2015)

Skirt:  Club Monaco ‘Talley’ lace skirt in Eclipse/Lotus (2014)

Shoes:  Salvatore Ferragamo platform pump in metallic calfskin, Dusty Gold (2013)

Jewellery:  Tiffany heart key charm with enamel finish (2014)

Fascinator:  Fashion Addict ‘Penny’ pink flower fascinator (2015)

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The affair was held at Birks Café in Montréal, inside the jewellery store.  It was like feasting among glittering chandeliers, sparkling treasures, and beautiful presentation boxes.

At $26.50 per person, the menu included:

Selection of teas from Mariage Frères

Milk and lemon

Mini sandwich with cucumber and shrimps

Finger appetizer with Duck foie gras and chutney

Finger appetizer with smoked salmon and Abitibi Temiscamingue caviar

Mini club sandwich with crispy prosciutto

2 scones

Devonshire cream

Homemade jam

A dessert in a verrine

A macaroon

A chocolate from our selection

A bag of sweets to take homeBirks Afternoon Tea PartyI chose the menthe tea, which was one of their herbal choices.  I recall ‘healing’ being used in the description, and since I had a headache, thought it perfect for me.  It was light, and refreshingly cooling.  While the food was exquisitely delicious, they were incredibly petite, even by afternoon tea standards.  For about $6 extra, you get a more substantial serving at the Fairmont Laurier and Fairmont Queen Elizabeth.  However, I suppose the upside is that you go away feeling not overly full, and as a once in a while treat, say if you were shopping for a beautiful ring at Birks and wanted some refreshments, the Café is a sophisticated and convenient choice.

A photo posted by Cathie Maud (@cathiemaud) on

 xoxo,

— Cathie