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.

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!

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.

Summer Love Picnic…

Last week, my Mister and I went on a picnic –our first together!  ^_^  I absolutely love dining al fresco and it’s extra-special when shared with him.  I also finally got to crack open my Winnie the Pooh’s PICNIC COOKBOOK and put it to good use!

We tried the ‘Expotition Picnic‘, and the menu includes fruit punch mixed with ginger ale, some roast beef sandwiches (which I ended up using salami for, because… I forgot to buy roast beef. :D), carrots with cucumber and sour cream dip, chocolate-chip peanut butter cookies, and sugared nuts.  Yummy! 🙂

We went to a nearby park and had such a relaxing, peaceful time.  It was the best place to be in the world –under a willow tree on a blanket laid over the grass, with my man’s arms around me and a fine view of the lake.  ♥

Love Picnic - Lakeview
I suppose we were too eager to eat, because I never managed to take any pictures of the food, but I think that’s almost better than if I’d been able to.  Sometimes, you’ve just got to be so excited for the moment and the experience, and who cares if you end up with memories rather than snapshots?  🙂

Love Picnic - 2014
We even had a visitor, whom we fed some crumbs to… and he just wouldn’t leave after that!

Love Picnic - Visitor
I hope you manage(d) to have a lovely picnic too, before the summer ends.

xoxo,

Cathie

Lace & Pink (With a Happy Accident)…

Dear readers,

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Summer.

Of course you have!  How could anyone fail to notice?  My sister reports that it is “Super hot!” in Vancouver, and we’ve just come out, slightly tanned and toasted, from a week of humid heat waves that are ever the hallmark of the season in Ottawa.

Now that temperatures have returned to below boiling state, a soft, light jacket is always nice to have on hand for breezy days or summer nights when the temperature dips to something just a touch warmer than chilly.

I happen to have worn this particular lacy one from LOFT Lou & Grey quite a lot.  But you know what makes me really happy?  I shrunk it in the dryer (on purpose) and it fits me even better now.  The size I purchased was a petite small because the XS sold out while I was deliberating said purchase, and I wasn’t sure what the fit would be anyway.  I figured that if I ordered up from my usual size, I could always rely on the dryer to do some magic since it was 100% cotton.  Yes, I know this method is very tricky.  😛

When I got it in the mail, I almost sent it back.  It was so huge and loose and shapeless on me.  You can see it here in this picture of my hubby and me in Banff, standing right beside Lake Louise!
Alex and Cathie in BanffI suppose it’s hard to see in this ‘after’ photo since I don’t have it zipped up, but it has more definition now and doesn’t hang so loosely anymore.  I am one happy girl as I never know when the dryer plan will backfire on me!

Lace & Pink
The sleeves are still the right length; I only scrunched them up because I like wearing the jacket that way!

Jacket:  LOFT Lou & Grey ‘Hint of Lace’ moto jacket (2014)

Jewellery:  Tiffany Heart Key Charm pendant (2013)

Top:  Moon sleeveless patch blouse (2013)

Skort:  Ya Los Angeles ‘Darling’ bow skirted shorts (2013)

Shoes: TOMS ‘Splatter’ wedges (2013)

I like wearing pale neutrals and pastel colours in the summer heat… I’m sure pretty much everyone feels the same, although I have spied a few ladies walking down the street clad in the darkest colours.  I don’t know how they do it!  You are also probably sick of seeing this pink skort on me, but I can’t help it.  It’s comfy, cute, and too easy to throw on –I suppose you could call me lazy.  And it’s not like I do jumping jacks or cartwheels in the street, but I certainly appreciate the added peace of mind of not having to move in ladylike ways (or remember to) all the time.

Happy Summer!

xoxo,

– Cathie