Miss Cathie Reviews: The Keurig 2.0…

Last December, I had the good fortune to be one of a number of Canadian Influensters who were chosen to receive a complimentary Keurig 2.0 brewing machine.  To say I was excited and grateful was an understatement!  :D
Keurig 2.0 Coffee MachineWhile unpacking it, I felt a bit overwhelmed –I had never used these ‘convenience machines’ before, and there seemed to be a dozen manuals to read, and I was beginning to wonder if it was going to be complicated to set-up and use.  I really needn’t have worried.

All you do is:

  • Plug brewer in.
  • Wash water ‘tank’.
  • Set tank in receptacle and fill with filtered water.
  • Turn machine on.
  • Let it preheat the water (takes around a minute).
  • Place desired coffee cup in chamber, snap lid down, and brew!

It was simple, easy, and quick.  The coffee flavours included were also quite good –my favourite being Timothy’s Breakfast Blend, and Van Houtte’s Vanilla Hazelnut.  With the included ‘Buy 2 boxes, get 2 free’ deal, I went on to purchase other flavours as well.  (Van Houtte’s Pecan Praline and Rasberry Chocolate are very good, in my opinion!)

I found that the coffee sometimes appeared to be a bit watery, and if you’re used to brewing fresh coffee all the time, you will notice a difference in flavour and taste, sadly.  However, for its purpose, which is a time-saving, get-out-and-go sort of machine, it performs incredibly well and for that, I am a fan.  :)


The only real drawback that I have come across is that when you simply want hot water, the resulting cupful has the faint taste of coffee in it.  I thought that perhaps one ‘flush’ would do the trick, but after three tries, the flavour was still in the water.  I was not too happy as sometimes I just want to get some hot water quickly to make tea in the morning, and having an adulterated taste to it is not ideal.

Another con would perhaps be the cost of cups.  I don’t intend to guzzle coffee, so the cups I’ve bought will last a while, and I’ll only be replenishing my stock if any deals come my way.  But for those who drink on a daily basis, the cost of refills can get quite pricey, quite quickly.  Be warned, and watch your wallet.  ;)

I do want to stress to Keurig users to please, please recycle your cups whenever possible.  The convenience of the machine does come with an environmental cost, so please do your part to minimise it.

All in all, I love my new machine.  Sometimes, even when you’re in a rush, you want to experience that European café experience.  Keurig 2.0 does that beautifully.

xoxo,

– Cathie

Happy 2015! (Reflections, Resolutions, Reading)…

I’m always so full of marvel and joy at the start of a New Year.  It’s ripe with possibilities, and I start off with the best of intentions and the notion that this is it.  The brand new, best-est version of me is going to be revealed!  And then when the year becomes more worn in, I start to feel a bit discouraged… as if I haven’t successfully turned into the person I was meant to be already.  This year, I’m doing it a bit differently.  I’m still a bundle of excited, thrilled nerves.  But I am also starting off with intention, and mindfulness.  As I read on steal time back, every moment can be like midnight on New Year’s Eve if only we remember.  The magic of new beginnings doesn’t have to be lost or forgotten a month into the year.  It is about continual growth, not fairy godmother transformations!
Pensive LetterI’ve got quite a few resolutions this year, but the most important ones are to learn more, spend less, and live fully.

This year, I am continuing my personal reading challenge of 27 books for the 27 years I will be turning this coming October.  I completed 26 last year, and felt a tremendous amount of satisfaction from it!  I didn’t share much of what I read here last year, but this time, I will definitely take you along on my literary journey!

As it so happens, I’ve already finished my first book of the year — Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit by Sean Hepburn Ferrer.  While a slim read at 256 pages, it was a loving, thoughtful tribute.  Not many people know that Audrey was also quite a talented artist (something I admire, since I dabble in the arts, too!) besides being an actress, humanitarian, and fashion icon.  There are also two recipes for her favourite pasta dishes; I’m definitely going to try them out since I am a huge pasta lover, myself.  :)  I think what struck me most with this read is that almost no one could ever say anything truly bad about Audrey.  She had flaws, she was human, but she was always kind.  I want the same to be true of me.
Audrey Hepburn, Elegant SpiritFor my next goal of spending less, I have decided upon the goal of buying only 40 items this year.  I don’t view this as a limit.  Rather, it’s a generous yet reasonable budget that will cause me to be more thoughtful about my purchases this year.  Clothes, books, snacks, art supplies, etc. will count, with the exception of courses and textbooks for school.  I don’t have to buy exactly 40 items this year; it can be under the limit, but I definitely cannot go over the number.  For accountability, I will be sharing each purchase I make on this blog as well.  I am really looking forward to seeing how this challenge of mine goes.  :)  So far, I have bought two things: a book and a watch.  I’ll share when I get them!

As for living fully, it’s incredibly important to remember that little miracles happen even in the everyday, mundane things.  Notice the little things, appreciate the little things, and change the little things.  Dream, but also do.  Bloom where you’re planted, explore new places.  And remember…
Possible

 Happy New Year.  :)

xoxo,

– Cathie

Touch and Go (Winter Gloves + Mobiles)…

Dear readers,

It has been snowing heavily on and off, for a few weeks now.  And I have come to the realisation that certain ways of keeping warm in Vancouver will not ‘fly’, here in Ottawa.  The good news is that the Mackage ‘Bijou’ parka that I bought in 2009 is now being put to fabulous good use.
Bijou - MackageThe not so good news is that my fingers were not prepared for the onslaught of ice queen frost, as I call it.  This means that in Vancouver, I am able to tug off my glove, make a call/send a text on my iPhone, maybe browse the web a bit… all without feeling the loss of warmth acutely.  Not so, here.  But what’s a girl to do when she’s got a touchscreen phone?

Get some techie gloves to match, of course!
Cold Weather Survival

Cathie Maud - Echo Touch Ruffled Bow Gloves in Snow

Test run in the snow…

After a particularly bitingly cold day taking the bus to an interview, I came back home and immediately ordered this pair of wool gloves from Echo Design (via Chapters here).  Boasting an 80% wool, 20% nylon mix, as well as a techno fabric pad on the thumbs and index fingers, these beauties will keep me warm and socially connected!

This is a pair that should be in every smartphone user’s cold weather wardrobe, period.  I am personally all about bows and ruffles, but Echo Design has a wide variety of styles for both women and men, so be sure to check them out.  :)
Echo Touch Ruffled Bow Gloves

Do any of you cold weather style experts have any survival tips to share?

xoxo,

– Cathie

Feeling Audrey…

Sometimes we emulate our personal heroines (or heroes) in their tastes and styles.  It is unavoidable.  Something in them resonates with us, and reminds us of ourselves or something we hope to be.  Perhaps if we dress like them, people will see in us those qualities that we admire in our role models.

I recently went for an interview at a movie/media company.  I decided to dress up as Audrey Hepburn –classic, elegant, full of fun, yet you know she is capable of great things.  Sadly, I didn’t get the position, but I feel as if I’ve still gleaned something from the entire experience.  And you know, simple pleasures…dressing up is lots of fun.

Cathie Maud - Audrey-esque

Can’t you just see Audrey in this elegant cashmere turtleneck, and these pointed kitten heels?  The skirt however, is most definitely a ‘me’ touch.  :)

Top:  Club Monaco ‘Selma’ Italian Cashmere Sweater (2014)

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

Tights:  Pretty Polly ribbon backseam tights (2014)

Shoes:  Zara high heel leather court shoe with pointed toe (2014)

Jewellery:  Pandora charm bracelet –birthday gift from husband (2014)

Cathie Maud - Audrey-esque Tights

What could be more cinematic than a dramatic exit?  I am absolutely crazy about details, and tights with lovely patterns fit this criteria beautifully.

Please send some prayers and positive vibes my way, that I might find my path in life!

xoxo,

– Miss Cathie

A Table, A Pie, and a Homecoming…

Really quick post today!

A is coming home and I’m super excited.  It is about time.  I made an Old English Apple Pie (see Darren McGrady’s Eating Royally) at 1:30 am as a welcome back, because I know he is crazy about apple pie.
Cathie Maud - Apple Pie for Alex - 2014I also wanted to ‘show off’ the kitchen utility table that my dad-in-law made.  I gave him a quick sketch to work off of and picked out the designs, but he made some modifications that made it ten times better!  Doesn’t it look like something a German woodworker would carve??  We also had a lot of fun painting the details together.  I think I like working with wood… it’s another avenue of artistic expression, and the smell of freshly shaved wood doesn’t hurt, either!  ;)
Cathie Maud - Olde English Apple Pie

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

Scarf:  Lochaven Official Warner Bros. Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf 170g (2014)

Top:  Loft eyelet sweatshirt in Forever Navy (2014)

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

Tights:  Club Monaco lace tights (2014)

Booties: DUO ‘Tova’ shoe boot with mid-heel, collar and bow in Navy (2014)

Bag:  Noble Collection Hermione’s beaded handbag (2014)

Cathie Maud - Homecoming Outfit- 2014Oh, and yes.  This is just what I will be wearing when I rush out into the icy cold to GLOMP him when he arrives…

xoxo,

– Cathie

 

[SHER]Locked – An Irene Adler Shoot…

I am a hug fan of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.  From books, to movies, to BBC’s television series, the detective has always been a hard and fast favourite of mine.  There’s just something mysterious and charismatic about the character that has always fascinated me.  And if you know me well enough, you know that I like to dress up as a character from movies and novels, if a story resonates with me particularly.
Cathie Maud - Sherlock - The WomanToday, I am Irene Adler (BBC Sherlock version!) because she is such a dynamic, razor-witted and glamorous femme.  Who doesn’t want to be perceived as such, even if only for a day?  Hopefully you can’t tell that I’m actually a fantastic klutz, even when dolled up.  *sigh*  The shame of it all… but then, things are always in my way.  :P  (You really ought to start listening to the music, if you haven’t already!)
Cathie Maud - Sherlock - Smart is the New SexyI actually wore this outfit (minus the coat that I *ahem*, borrowed without permission) when A proposed to me.  It brings back many lovely memories!  The dress is a 1950’s reproduction; very sleek, glam, and yet business-like.  The shoes are a sheer fabric decorated with swiss dots and a moderately high heel –perfect for a hint of peek-a-boo flirting.  And yes, I am using my man’s coat to evoke that risqué scene.  In my opinion, Irene almost looked way better in Sherlock’s coat, than even Sherlock himself did!  Hopefully the same is somewhat true in my case… oh come now, can’t you use your imagination to humour me?  ;)

On a side note, I think Sherlock needs to wear a Mackage coat.  They’re truly a Canadian brand to boast about with their stylish, fitted cuts and leather trimmings!
Cathie Maud - Sherlock - Irene Adler

 Coat:  Mackage ‘Seal’ men’s coat with leather trimmings (2011) <– I picked this for him!

Dress:  CheriseDesign 1950’s reproduction walking dress (2013)

Clutch:  Danier mini envelope clutch (2013)

Gloves:  Soia&Kyo ‘Stella’ bow leather gloves (2009)

Jewellery:  Pandora charm bracelet –birthday gift from husband (2014)

Shoes:  ZARA Swiss Dot court shoe (2014)

Cathie Maud - Irene's AccessoriesI also wanted to share my love of Prtty Peaushun, which –though it isn’t instantly obvious– I had applied to my skin before this shoot.  What is it, you ask?  It’s a 100% natural ‘skin tight’ body lotion, that has subtle light-reflecting particles which help give the skin a nice, gorgeous glow. Among other things, the natural plant extracts in the mixture also help to lift, firm, and tighten your skin.  And you may not think the package is pretty at first sight, but it’s designed so that you can squeeze out every last bit of it.  It’s definitely grown on me, and I highly recommend this product!
Prtty Peaushun

 

Alright, that’s enough prancing around in borrowed coats and high heels.  I’m going to go back to doing French revisions, and reading “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” on the side.

After all…
Brainy is the New Sexy

 

xoxo,

The Woman Cathie

The Perfect Game for Potterhead Parties: Harry Potter Bingo…

Those who grew up reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books all felt a tremendous amount of both joy and grief when the series finally came to an end, but the wizarding world and Hogwarts never left us. In the years since the last book was released and the last movie was shown, we’ve all but said goodbye to the wonderful, inspiring world of magic, and all we Muggles can do now is look back at the books and celebrate them for the masterpieces that they are.
Cathie Maud Cabot - At HogwartsOf course, J.K. Rowling hasn’t let us down, and she continues to release new content for Potterheads via Pottermore. In fact, over Halloween, she released an essay relating to Dolores Umbridge – a fitting choice for the occasion – revealing more information about Harry’s world and adding to the bits of trivia we all have acquainted ourselves with.

If you’re a Harry Potter Trivia Buff and have friends who are Potterheads too, you might want to test your mettle with this Harry Potter Bingo game. Bingo has already brought magic to the lives of its players, as Free Bingo Hunter reveals that some online bingo sites have already given away Standard Merlin Passes to lucky players, allowing them to “unleash their inner wizards” with all-access passes to the UK’s top tourist spots. You and your friends can relive your Harry Potter fantasies and revisit key points in the story with this game too.

Playing the game can be both fun and challenging. To prepare for it, make a list of trivia items that you’ll want to include in the game. It’s best if you use trivia about certain characters (or maybe even the actors), and lay the answers out on a bingo card. You can use the template on Print-Bingo.com as a guide, and remove and add words accordingly. You should come up with something like this:

(More cards from BingoCardCreator.com here).

Turn your trivia questions into call cards, and put them in a bag or box (or a Sorting Hat if you’ve got one!) to draw from later. Once you’re ready to play, distribute the bingo cards, draw questions from the Sorting Hat, and have the players mark off who they think the answers to your trivia questions are. The first to complete a pattern, be it vertical, horizontal, or diagonal, wins the game.

You could also add spells and magical items to your bingo card. For an added challenge, add bits about the personal lives of the actors as well. For example, who knew that Daniel Radcliffe could rap? This would make an interesting item in your Harry Potter Trivia Bingo game!

**This is a guest post.  Remember to know your limit, and play within it!

Happy Hallowe’en, 2014!!

Growing up, we kids didn’t really celebrate Hallowe’en, or do anything special on that day.  Our parents didn’t approve of the pagan background of the holiday, the ‘occult’ things associated with it, and the fact that it could be scary… at least when we were little.  But there was still candy!  Molasses chews, caramel apple pops, tootsie rolls, and popcorn candy.  So maybe my little kid heart desperately yearned to dress up as someone else for a day, but a satisfied sweet tooth helps you forget some things.  ;)  (My dad did relent once when I was three, and my mum decorated a bit of blackish-blue fabric, and that was my little witch costume.)
Jack o'Lantern VillageWhen we were a little more grown up, we were slowly allowed to dabble a bit more in the spooky holiday happenings, but it wasn’t until I was 23 that I finally went all out and got all fancied up for the occasion.  I can’t imagine not dressing up for Hallowe’en now, if I can help it!

This year, I’m dressing up as Hermione Granger/ a plain ol’ Gryffindor student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Because I’m pretty obsessed/passionate about Harry Potter now, and you just have to thank J.K. Rowling for coming up with a character that would inspire costumes that are cool and won’t freeze your skin blue.  Honestly, some of the costumes out there are pretty ridiculous!

Cathie Maud Cabot - Hogwarts StudentOn a frugal note, I’m pretty stinkin’ proud of myself because my costume uses elements of my real-life wardrobe, pieces that I already own, coupled with a tie and scarf that I bought for the occasion.  Although, I am absolutely going to wear my Gryffindor scarf everywhere this winter –it’s not going to be just for the holiday!
I added a few personal touches to the ensemble –instead of plain, black shoes, I wore my favourite cherry-blood red pumps, to bring out the colours in my scarf and tie.  I am also wearing black tights with a back-seam running partway up the lower half of the legs, and ending in a cute little bow.  I’m such a rebel when it comes to uniforms.  :P

Cathie Maud Cabot - Hogwarts Student Avec Le FoulardShirt:  Gap fitted boyfriend shirt (2013)

Tie:  Lochaven Official Warner Bros. Harry Potter Gryffindor House tie (2014)

Scarf:  Lochaven Official Warner Bros. Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf 170g (2014)

Skirt:  Club Monaco ‘Caroline’ skirt in soot black (2014)

Tights:  Pretty Polly bow back-seam tights (2014)

Shoes:  Vaneli ‘Lenita’ pump in red 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)

I might do an in-depth review of the items from Lochaven, but quickly summed up, delivery was lightning quick, items are good quality, and I am very pleased!

***

I finally consider myself an adult, purely based on the fact that I’m now going to be the one handing sweets out to the little kiddies.  :)  I’m pretty excited to be experiencing the ‘grown-up side’ of Hallowe’en, and am looking forward to ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘aah-ing’ over their cute little costumes.

Cathie Maud Cabot - Hogwarts Student - Halloween Costume - 2014

Don’t I look ever so studious?

I’m also going to be scaring myself silly with some spooky movies.  I’ve got Edward ScissorhandsCoraline, and The Corpse Bride all lined up.  I’m not really into adult horror movies, so I think these strike just the right note.  Does anyone have any favourites to suggest??  :)

Cathie Maud Cabot - Gryffindor Student

Doesn’t this look like a vintage snapshot of a student at Hogwarts? ^_^

I hope everyone stays safe and warm.  I’m really dancing with impatience for tonight!!  Because a day that requires you to eat candy, dress up and get spooked, is always a winner in my books.

Have a bewitching Hallowe’en!!

xoxo,

– Cathie

Miss Cathie’s ‘Irish’ Tea Toddy…

As the little red bar in the thermometer continues to plummet down towards the bottom, I find myself constantly raiding my beloved tea stash.  Sometimes in the evenings though, just to make myself feel a bit more sophisticated, I reach for my man’s bottle of Baileys Irish Cream, and make a tea toddy.  It makes sipping tea more interesting.  ;)

I’ve put my own spin on this recipe, but if you look for Baileys Tea Toddy recipes, you’ll likely find the original.  While I use DAVIDsTEA’s ‘the earl’s garden’ Earl Grey blend because it has extra subtle essences in it, you can easily substitute with a Twinings’ Earl Grey tea bag, or whichever brand you prefer.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and come up with your own recipe!  That’s what makes this so much fun!
Hot Irish Tea Toddy - Cathie Maud Recipe
Without further ado, I present my Irish Tea Toddy!

***

1 cup Earl Grey tea
¼ teaspoon sugar/honey (optional)
1 tsp milk (optional)
1 shot Baileys (That’s 44.36 milliliters, if you want to be fussy/pretentious like me)
1 shot Scotch whiskey (In my opinion, completely optional; I rarely add this!)
1 pinch cinnamon
Your favourite cup

Brew the tea as usual, stir in the milk, then add the sugar. Pour the Baileys, and add the dash of Scotch, which should be used sparingly, as too much ruins the flavour. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Settle yourself on the sofa or in bed, and enjoy with a book or while daydreaming!  And why not wear an Irish jumper while at it?

Enjoy the spice of life!

xoxo

– Cathie

Yellow –Oui or Non?…

Without colors, the works of a Nashville photographer or a London painter, would not make any sense.  When it comes to art, all the colors are important and vital.  But, when we talk about fashion and trends, there are always colors that are ‘the thing’ and colors that are ‘out’. So let’s talk about yellow –a shade that’s been absent in our favorite fashion magazines for a while.

This summer, trends and fashion managed to make us totally forget about the cheery color of the sun.  Light yellow is the hue seen most often in stores, because it’s pastel and is actually as far from the real yellow, as it is from blue. This is one of the troubled colors, as there are only a few women that name it as their favorite one.

It’s true that yellow is not the most wearable color. It’s good to know what kind of colors suit you and how to wear them in a way that makes you look your very best: yellow daffodil, mustard and fluorescents work really well for brunettes and redheads; banana and lemon yellow for the ladies with blonde or light brown hair.  In addition, it is strictly recommended to wear yellow on days when you’re in shape. It’s not a colour that hides or changes the curves, so be careful!

However, if you try several shades of yellow or if you go for yellow prints, you will see that it’s not just about the color itself. It is also about the fabric you choose, its glow, and the makeup you’re wearing.  For example, a cotton matte shirt might give you a sickly air, unlike a slightly shiny silk scarf or a veil of muslin, which reflects a different hue. Finally, the last option is to dress up only the lower half of your body in yellow: pants, accessories, shoes, skirts…

In case you’re thinking about wearing yellow from head to toe, that’s not the best idea. But then again, the streets are full of all black and white looks, why not make a bold departure from the norm?

If you’re not afraid to take a sartorial risk, then make sure your skin is tanned and your makeup palette is in glowing, golden shades.

Now head out the door and shine!!

**Guest post edited by MissCathie.com