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!

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.

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

Find Feather & Bone across the web:

Facebook: Feather & Bone

Twitter: @feathernbone

Instagram: @feather.bone

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

xoxo,

— Cathie

Sugar House in Quebec…

As a little girl, I read of Laura Ingalls’ trip to Grandpa’s for a sugaring off, where they collected the sap and turned it into maple syrup. It was a big event, and there was also work to do, but they did it with style –they dressed up, had a fine meal, played music and danced merrily.
Reading is wonderful, but getting to experience it for oneself in person is truly living.

The last week of March, we went to a sugar house in Quebec… Canada is famous for its maples, of course, and so the sugaring off tradition is a strong one in Eastern Canada.
We went to one close to where Alex’s parents live. It’s a modest family establishment, Meunier & Fils.  While not one of the fancier shacks, the people there are very nice and warmhearted.  I’m not sure if there is the option to help out with collecting sap, but since we went quite late in the season for it, we most likely missed the charming bustle.
Sugaring OffThe food was simple, hearty fare but absolutely delicious.  Their pea soup was capital, and I was starting to help myself to a second bowl when Alex reminded me that there was still plenty to come!

Here’s what their menu looked like…

Soupe aux pois – pea soup
Cretons maison – pork spread
Betteraves – beets
Fèves au lard – beans
Petits pains frais – fresh rolls of bread
Omelette
Jambon d’habitant – ham
Grillades de lard – curly bits of fried … pork/bacon
Salade de chou – coleslaw
Patates rôties – breakfast potatoes
Crêpes
Sirop d’érable – maple syrup
Grands-péres – a pudding-y dessert…
Tartes au sucre – sugar tarts
Tire sur la neige – maple syrup on snow!!
The, café, jus et lait – tea, coffee, juice, milk
Meunier Sugar ShackAfter the meal, we walked to an old barn, where there was a pot of maple syrup boiling merrily away on an old wood-stove.  A man poured the boiled syrup onto basins packed with snow, and I finally tasted my first maple taffy on snow.
Maple Syrup CandyIt was a realisation of one of my childhood fancies, and I waxed poetic about edible liquid gold clinging onto a bit of bark splintered off a magical birch.

I loved every bit of the experience, and hope to go sugaring off with Alex again next year.  I found a lovely establishment in Rigaud, QC that is a bit fancier… Sucrerie de la Montagne.  It is definitely on our list of places to go now!

As some people would say, you’re not really Canadian until you’ve gone to a sugar house.  😉  If you haven’t tried it out yet, you must put it in your calendars for next year!

Hope you are all enjoying the appearance (finally!) of Spring weather!!

xoxo,

— Cathie

Survive THAT Week, Naturally…

Well ladies,

It is a fact of life.  There are certain days in the month when a girl just sees red, feels weepy, and wants —needs— to stay under downy covers and watch a good movie (romantic comedies for me!) while nursing certain aches and pains.

Here are a few tips that I’ve found help me through this not-quite-awesome time:

  • Pamper yourself, and take it easy as much as you can.
  • Drink lots of hot water and tea.  Above all, avoid the salt cravings.  They never help.
  • Do simple stretching exercises.  The last thing you might want to do is exercise, but something light actually helps you channel your energy and focus on something besides your pains.  You will feel better after; I promise!  I recommend Mary Helen Bower’s Ballet Beautiful program.
  • Make a point of dressing up.  You will feel far more confident and beautiful than your condition would have you believe possible.  Flowing tops, a-line skirts and a trench coat are amazing for hiding and flattering your figure at the same time!

***

On a related note, I wanted to share that I have made the switch over to reusable pads!  I felt so awful for just tossing so many un-recyclable pads in the rubbish. The guilt and the numbers certainly add up during a woman’s lifetime; that’s a really huge pile sitting in a landfill!

Cathie Maud - Lunapads in Cocoa Kaleidoscope

There are plenty of amazing companies to choose from, but the one I bought my intro kit is from Vancouver based Lunapads.  Not only is it great for the environment, and better for your skin with natural, non-scratchy fabrics, but it’s a fantastic way to save money as well.  Plus they have a One4Her incentive: For every eligible Lunapad purchased, a girl in need will receive a Ugandan-made AFRIpad pad to support her school attendance.  And ladies, they work.  Seriously, not to be TMI, but I have a heavy flow and this kit has not failed me for the three months I’ve used it.  Last  but not least, they have some fun colours and patterns to choose from.  My favourites are Cosmic Dancer and Cocoa Kaleidoscope.

How wicked is that?  Colour me impressed!!  I highly recommend them.

In case you’re interested, here’s what the intro kit includes:

Cathie Maud - Lunapads - Cocoa Kaleidoscope

Cleaning them is also quite easy, so don’t be daunted by the prospect!  If you’re like me, you may be used to shutting your eyes, ripping pads off, rolling them up and tossing them into the trash, end of story.  There are a few extra steps involved with reusable pads, but nothing incredibly complicated.  Lunapads recommends pre-soaking –change water daily if you go that route– or rinsing in cold water, but that isn’t always necessary.  For example, I worked through my last period.  When it was time to change, I folded the pad up and secured it with the snap buttons, and threw it into a Ziploc bag in my purse.  Double the bags up if you buy the flimsy no-name brands!  (Lunapads does sell bags to store and soak used/new pads in, but it’s not in my budget at the moment.)  When I got home, I simply un-fastened the snaps, threw it in with dark laundry on the cold water setting, and ran a load.  The pad came out unstained, too!  If you can’t wash it right away, you’ll definitely want to pre-soak or rinse it, just so nothing gets too ‘set’ in.  I usually try to air dry them so that the fibers last longer, but since I only have a starter kit, that’s usually not possible if frequent changes are needed.  Dry on low if you must.  🙂  (Thanks Katie for the wonderful question!!)

How do you beat feeling blue and seeing red during THAT week?

xoxo,

– Cathie

 

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!  😀
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

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

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)

Oh, 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

 

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.  😛

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