Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not My Favourite Chore

Attempting to sweep soggy rice krispies, cheerios or corn flakes off the floor after breakfast is definitely not my favourite chore, that is for sure.  Dried cheerios that never met the milk - easy peasy - but damp, soggy, cereal clinging to the hardwood floor for dear life and not responding to my desperate sweeping strokes of the broom - gross. And then if you're too aggressive they start to somewhat disintegrate and break apart and well, now you're rubbing your floor with a new cornflake polish.  Another challenge exists when the cheerios harden onto the floor and require you to actually pick them off with your fingernails, or via my lazy way using the opposite end of the broom handle (sometimes I would rather attempt my lazy way with the broom, taking ten times as long than having to crouch down and scratch at the cereal).

I also don't enjoy stepping in abandoned cereal pieces throughout the day as I navigate past my kitchen table (gasp! no, I don't usually sweep after breakfast).  It's also really nice (insert sarcasm) when you feel the crunch under foot as you walk on the family room carpet and realize that you have just pulverized a cheerio (that had been tossed aside from a snack cup) into a thousand little crumbs ... and then I usually take another step and bull's eye, step on another few before making a successful exit.  errrrr!

This is where all you families with dogs can have the last laugh (I have mine while I'm out walking and don't have to carry that blasted poop bag with me)!

Thinking about switching to eggs this morning? They are absolutely no better.  Maybe we'll smoothie it :)

Happy Friday!

P.S. In regards to the Lead in Your Lipstick posts earlier this week, if there are any specific types of beauty produces i.e. mascara, deodorant, baby powder, that you are interested in learning more about, let me know and I can share some info from the book.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Staggering Facts

So earlier this week I mentioned that I had purchased the book, There's Lead in Your Lipstick, by Gillian Deacon.

I'm approximately half way through and am thoroughly captivated and enjoying the book (regardless of how painful and staggering the information provided is).

I received a lot of comments from you indicating your interest in the book and the topic. Thought you may like a few excerpts from the book to further entice ... be prepared to be scared and shocked:

  • "The average woman uses a dozen personal care products every day. (And these numbers arent' much different for men, so don't feel too smug, fellas.)  According to Environmental Defence Canada, before she heads out the door in the morning, that same woman has sudsed, soaked, slathered, and spritzed herself with 126 different chemicals, many of which are toxic."  page 6
  • "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval rating "safe for human use" simply means that the product didn't give the test subjects a terrible rash five minutes after they smeared it on; it does not in any way reflect an understand of that product's impact on internal health or mean that the product will be safe to use over the long term." page 8
  • "They (the Organic Consumers Association) recently posted a list of "fake" organic products ... in spite of their best labelling attempts to convince you otherwise, these are products to avoid:  Avalon Organics, Earth's Best organic, Giovanni Organic, Jason Pure, Natural and Organic, Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic, Nature's Gate Organics and Stella McCartney 100% Organic." page 10
  • "Sperm counts worldwide have dropped by 50 percent over the past forty years." page 37
  • "A 2004 study found parabens in the tumours of 19/20 women with breast cancer." page 38 - check your labels ... guarantee you there are parabens in your face wash and cosmetics!
  • "Formaldehyde is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a carcinogen. It is banned in Canada, Japan, and the European Union but is deemed safe for use in cosmetics in the United States." page 37. It can be listed on labels as" ... formalin, formic aldehyde, methanal, methyl aldehyde, oxomethane, oxymethylene, DMDM hydantonin, diazolidinyl urea and imidazolidinyl urea." page 32
So perhaps your response is just to gloss over, ignore or even make light of topics such as chemicals in cosmetics or antibiotics in our food, etc.  But I urge you to learn a bit more.  It's not as if you have to give up makeup or never use a nice shower gel again, nor do you have to make all of your own products and start only shopping from dread locked hippies, there are plenty of safe and healthy options out there. 

With so much cancer out there and heart ache over lossed loved ones, don't you want to know what could be contributing to this and other illnesses? Even more, wouldn't you want to make changes that could ultimately affect you and your family's health? 

Would you want to be diagnosed with breast cancer and then told that it was because of that fancy mascara and nail polish that you wore for twenty five years? I'm guessing not. Have a read.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Closet Cleanse: Final Step

Getting Back To The Basics ...

Guest Blogger: The Farmer's Trophy Wife

For the final step of the closet cleanse, its' all about restocking the wardrobe.

You've already written out a list of what you have that fits and you love ... so now it's time to fill in the blanks.  This post includes all that will build a BASIC wardrobe.  Once you have this, you can mix and match easily and adding the frills is the fun part after!!

Taking a good look at your wardrobe every season is a great way to keep on top of what is and isn’t working for you. Everyone has those items in their closet that take up space and never seems to be appropriate or look “right”. And who hasn’t had a day of “I have NOTHING to wear!?!” while standing knee-deep in clothes!

Well ladies, here is a list of the basics that EVERY closet needs to be usable and incredibly fantastic. Just take the basics, add YOUR flare (style personality) to them and poof….you have a closet to envy!
  • Fitted White Shirt (buy 2 if you find one that looks fab!)
  • Trench Coat (in neutral or leopard…whatever floats your boat!)
  • Turtleneck, Fitted Tees & Tanks (each in a couple neutral colors)
  • Jeans (straight leg, trouser, dark & a fun “weekend” pair)
  • Sweaters (v-neck, cardigan and a fun chunky knit)
  • Pencil Skirt
  • A classic black blazer (hat can be thrown over virtually anything - slacks for a suit look, a sleeveless dress for a business function or a tanktop for a cool evening date)
  • A pair of neutral colored fitted Trousers
  • Little Black Dress (of course!!)
  • A GORGEOUS wool knee-length coat (I have one in turquoise…doesn’t have to be the basic black!)
  • Knee high boots
  • Bras that fit right -  Tshirt, strapless and sexy versions are all important (nude colour is a life saver!)
  • Undies suitable for everyday, dress and more transparent fabrics
  • Pumps (black)
  • A pair of cute flats/those GREAT cowboy boots you can’t live without!
Photo from Mink&

Now these are just the basics…mix and match to your taste and only buy what works for you!! (You've worked so hard on your closet cleanse, so don't fill it back up with whim purchases or items that you don't feel 100% like you in.) 

To the basics you add YOUR style…a hot Hair-on-Hide purse, that smokin’ large turquoise stone necklace or that HUGE pair of sunglasses…that’s the fun part and what will make your closet yours. And by having the basics and layering your accessories on top, it will take your wardrobe from impractical and frustrating to one a Farmer’s Trophy Wife would be proud of!!

Good Luck!


Thank you so much to the lovely Cathryn at the Farmer's Trophy Wife for all of the great information and posts on our closet cleanse adventure. This is by no means a 100 per cent complete list so we would love to hear some of your "staples" and we'll add them to the list. Thank you to everyone for their comments and encouragement.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Latest Trip to Chapters

Last week I went to Chapters and picked up these three books:

1) Positive Discipline for Preschoolers
by Jane Nelson Ed.D.
For Their Early Years - Raising Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful

This was recommended by a friend. Hoping it will provide some helpful hints and solutions to some of the current power struggles. I will let you all know if it holds the answers to all of our challenges!

 2) There's Lead in Your Lipstick
by Gillian Deacon

I happened upon this book when I heard a snipit of the author on CBC one day.  "Organics" and living healthy and clean has always been something I strive for, but something that is very hard to get information about. Sure, "organic" is everywhere and in your face at every aisle and page of a magazine, but finding out real information about what is in our beauty products so we can make our own educated choices (instead of just trusting words and claims on a bottle) is difficult. I have read the first few chapters of this book and with every page I have to pick my jaw up from the floor. The information that is provided and the sad and sick truth about what we slather on our bodies and ingest on a daily basis is heart breaking.  I urge each of you to pick up a copy.

3) The Year of Living Biblically
by A.J. Jacobs

This is a book I picked up for a book club.  Haven't started it yet so nothing to share. Looks like it could be a great blend of humour and serious insights.

 Have any of you read these books?  Started any other good ones you'd like to share?

Any how are those closets looking? Do tell.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

FNL vs. Mad Men - Pllllease!

When I tell my friends about Friday Night Lights and ask if they have ever seen it because:
  • it is awesome
  • they would love it
  • your husband would love it
  • it is awesome
  • Riggins
  • Coach and Tami
  • Saranson & Julie
  • the stories and characters are soooo good
  • it is awesome
I often here a "no, I haven't, but you know what else is really good ... have you seen Mad Men?"

So until recently, I had not. I was intrigued ... what was this Mad Men that people were talking about?

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I started watching and all I have to say is:

Pllllleeeease!!!! Mad Men can sit down right now.

I can see why people like it. Interesting characters, catchy idea, but no way. FNL = WAY better!
(If you missed my review of FNL back in September, click here.)

Friday Night Lights I enjoy so much more, not to mention the upside that after watching it I don't feel dirty and like throwing something at Don (the philanderer) Draper or any of the other "gentleman" on the show.

FNL has heart, gorgessity, actual plot lines, hunks, drama, football and adrenaline for the hubby, heart break, morals, real marriages (you know the ones where two people are together and actually like being together) ... you get the idea.

I have no idea why this show has not hit the "big time" as so many people I know that have started watching it become totally enthralled and obsessed (Go Panthers Go!). But hey, if you prefer those dancing stars or kardashians live than perhaps we have different viewing habits :)

It's Friday. Do yourselves a favour - Rent/Buy/Google/Download Friday Night Lights Season One.

You can thank me on Monday.


P.S. Keep in mind I am not a huge TV person so for me to go on like this means something.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Closet Cleanse: Step 4

Time to Pretty Things Up
We are on our way to the best part!!!
Later this week, I will be posting a wardrobe “basics” list so we get to go….SHOPPING!
But first we need to pretty up our closets…

1- Those wire hangers HAVE TO GO!!! Nothing hurts my fashionista heart more than seeing gorgeous clothing hanging on those darn wire hangers. Please, please, please gather them up and take them to the nearest drycleaners - they recyle them and your closet will thank you.

2- Replace those ugly hangers with something pretty and functional. Wood or fabric covered hangers are suggested as best. I love my IKEA wood hangers - super cheap and look fabulous. What more could a Farmer’s Trophy Wife ask for?!
BUMERANG Curved clothes hanger natural Width: 16 7/8 " Thickness: 9/16 " Package quantity: 8 pack  Width: 43 cm Thickness: 14 mm Package quantity: 8 pack
*image from IKEA*

3- Make your closet pretty.
This is one step that I might have to put off for a while, being that I have a bathroom project to finish first. But if you have the time and energy right now, go for it! The closet is one area that I think most husbands would be willing to hand over to our girlie ways and let us run wild with. I personally want something like this to paper the inside with…

*image from Anthropologie*

And then use something like this for the shelves….maybe spraypainted gold?!
STOLMEN 3 sections white Width: 120 1/8 " Depth: 19 5/8 " Min. height: 82 5/8 " Max. height: 129 7/8 "  Width: 305 cm Depth: 50 cm Min. height: 210 cm Max. height: 330 cm
*image from IKEA*

Add a few of these and I will be a happy girl!

KASSETT Box with lid for paper black Width: 11 " Depth: 13 ¾ " Height: 7 " Package quantity: 2 pack  Width: 28 cm Depth: 35 cm Height: 18 cm Package quantity: 2 pack
*image from IKEA*

Just about every fashion/style book I read suggest/insist that sweaters are to be folded, not hung. This helps them keep their shape longer and make all that “laying flat to dry” work worth while!

Shoes and boots should also be kept either in the boxes they came in or something gorgeous like above.  You can take pictures of what is inside and post on the outside.

I could go on and on about how to organize your closet, but you just need to find what works for you. Color coded, summer vs. winter items together, putting outfits together and hang together…and so on. I’m all about grouping similar items…all my tees together, jackets together…etc. Works for me!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Closet Cleanse Continues: Step 3

The Closet Cleanse Continues: Step 3

*image from here*

Well…how are things?! Hope your step 2 went well and you cleared out some stuff! I found a pair of gym shorts that I have owned since grade 10… That’s 15 years ago folks.

A 15-year-old pair of shorts….I feel old.

Now is a perfect time to tackle step 3!!

Step 3…

1- Either drag all your clothes out into a huge pile again or work your way through the drawers…either way is fine by me!! We are going to start at the bottom and work our way up…

2- Socks…holey or ancient….have got to go!

3- Jeans, pants, skirts….try all of them on.
Take a GOOD long look in the mirror…and ask for advice. Daughters and husbands are usually brutally honest so give them permission to tell you the truth. And then don’t hold it against them.
Can you do them up?! And if you can’t do them up/get them past your knees…let them go. We have all changed our shape over the years…having babies or drinking way too much cream in our coffees…but that’s life. And if we hold onto things that just make us depressed or annoyed every time we have to move them out-of-the-way in the dresser or closet to actually get to things that fit, what’s the point? And I know we will be losing the weight eventually, but then that’s the fun part…we get to go shopping for our new figure instead of having to wear clothes that are SO LAST YEAR…

4- Bras…
This is generally a problem no matter who you are. What do they say? …3/4 women are wearing the wrong sized bra?! Please, throw out/donate the old nursing bras, sports bras or others that are over two years old. And then waltz out and buy new ones!!! Our “girls” are doing the best they can and so we need to help them out as much as we can. Get to your favorite bra store, get fitted and go crazy! I’ll go over what would be the best items to have for your basic wardrobe later…

5- Shirts, dresses and sweaters…same as the pants. Try on and ask for advice.  Any bunching, gaping or just plain uncomfortable…get rid of it. No need to keep clothes that we can’t stand to wear!

6- Anything else left over?! I have a TON of home clothes that I keep holding on to.  On the farm I pretty much live in stained/holey tees and jeans, because I never know when I have to scale a fence or help wrestle a calf to the barn - nice clothes are pretty much ridiculous to wear day-to-day. That said…I keep WAY to many tees and jeans that fill my drawers and take up space. So this is my area to work on…I’m going to keep four tees and three jeans…this will cut down on A LOT of laundry!!!

7- When tossing, don’t play favorites….yes that coat may have cost a lot. But you’ve worn it once in five years. It’s okay to donate. Or in my case…the 15-year-old gym shorts. I have fabulous memories of high school basketball, but I need to move on. And those shorts HAVE TO GO!!!

Or gorgeous items that just don’t look good on you….give them to a friend that you know will love and wear it often…or do you think it’s tailorable? If there is a shirt that is almost cute if it had short sleeves, give it to your favorite, most talented person you know that owns a sewing machine and go for it. If it doesn’t work, then you haven’t lost anything…just add it to the donation bin!

Now, congratulate yourselves. You're done! Well…for now.
Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!!

My Closet Cleanse

So just to prove to everyone that, I too, am cleansing my closet, some pictures:

Yes, my bedroom is now 1/2 painted ,as well as in recovery mode from the closet cleanse.  My personal challenge with closet cleanses is that I never seem to get everything looking neat and put away before I have to go and do something else.  Trust though that things, at the current moment, do look better than the pictures above.  I successfully roped my husband (and 3-year-old) into participating with their own closets. We aren't even officially finished and we have three garbage bags filled up and ready for Goodwill and/or charity.  Watch out for a post later today - installment three of our closet cleanse - by guest blogger Cathryn from the Farmer's Trophy Wife.

So how did your cleanses go?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Closet Cleanse Check-In

If you haven't checked out our step-by-step closet cleanse just yet, click here and here.

For everyone else, just checking in to see how we are doing?  I will have to be honest, I am planning to gut this weekend. To try and do anything before then is unrealistic. I expect lots of stories after this weekend of interesting things you unearthed, sentimentals you decided to keep, but hopefully, most of all, that you were ambitious, determined and can see the back wall in some parts of your closet.

A lot of you responded to this post about finding out what your personal style type is and you shared that you thought you were a cross between many of the six types described.  I know that the descriptions given were vague, but let me explain in a little more detail.

I, as an example, am a natural/sporty type.  This does not mean that I gravitate to sweat suits nor does it mean that I can not wear anything trendy, dramatic or classic. It just means that the look I feel most comfortable in and most like myself in is probably a comfortable fabric, clean lines, not overly detailed, simple in design and dressed up easily with accessories.  It does not mean that I can't own all of the latest must-have items, it just means that if I was to wear a pair of sassy, patterned four-inch heels, instead of pairing it with a matching sassy, patterned dress or a nicely tailored suit or a seventies-inspired jump suit, I may just go low key and balance it out (in my way) with jeans, white shirt and funky necklace. 

Another example. As you know, I just bought this dress for a wedding I attended. Really liked it. Fit me great and I pulled it off fine. Just because I am natural/sporty doesn't mean I don't like it, it just means that if I was able to find a solid colour, uber soft jersey dress with a funky attitude that fit just so ahead of the lace dress, I probably would have slipped it on, called it heaven and bought a fun pair of shoes to go with and called it a done deal and worn it ten times more often than the lace one I bought. I hope this helps.

Some of you have also been asking about what to do with the clothing that you decide not to keep after the closet cleanse.  Would love to hear from all of you out there and the places you know about. Katrix mentioned a consignment store in the Ottawa area - can you provide details for us i.e. address or website?

For those of you in the Toronto area, a friend of mine's Mom operates a wonderful not-for-profit place called New Circles that helps men, women and children.  It is a really special place that operates like a boutique and items are free for referred clients that are in need. They are always looking for lightly used clothing and right now are particularly looking for dresses suitable for upcoming prom events. Click here to find out more about donating clothes to them.

There is always a clothing exchange with friends as an option, maternity clothes to expecting relatives/friends, Goodwill, Once Upon A Child, etc.  Please let us know what you will be doing with your clothes.

Closet Cleanse: Helpful Hints for this Weekend

When you are cleaning out your closet this weekend, or ever, some helpful hints/suggestions ... ORDERS!
  • Keep only what fits now (unless you are pregnant). When you lose the weight, you're going to want new stuff. Make room. And talk about depressing - the feeling you get when you attempt to put on an item of clothing that is too small.
  • Do you even like it? Don't keep it if you don't like it because guess what?  You won't wear it if you don't like it.
  • Pitch anything with bad memories.  Sweet memories - sure, bad/sad/depressing/induces anger or sobbing memories - get rid of it!
  • Get rid of duplicates, unless it is a basic that you wear more than once a week.
  • Finally say good bye to ANY undergarment that is uncomfortable, requires wedgie picking on a regular basis or thong adjusting or leaves bright red marks/lacerations on your skin when you take it off.
  • One Year Rule - if you haven't worn it in one year (especially clothes that are meant to be worn on a regular basis), give it away. Only exception here is formal wear or items that are once-in-a-blue-moon apparel.
  • It must be comfortable - if you regret wearing it or constantly have to adjust yourself while in it, trade it in for something you love and that feels nice on.
  • Don't keep something just because it was expensive. Doesn't matter how much it cost, if you don't wear it and you're never going to, it's taking up precious real estate.
..and for those items that you are really humming and hawing over, here's a tip from my sister-in-law:

Flip all the hangers backwards in your closet. Every time you wear something, turn the hanger back to its regular position. After 3,6,9 months, do a check - anything that is still backwards gets the boot!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Need Help Picking a Grey Paint

So my husband and I are in the midst of picking and painting a new paint colour in our master bedroom. 

Currently it is "french vanilla" by Benjamin Moore and has been since we quickly slopped it on when we moved in four years ago. Nice and neutral but very warm and almost yellow. It has served its purpose and now we're ready for a change. We thought we may try something different with a grey shade since it is very "in" right now and relaxing and romantic for a master bedroom.

Testing testing!

Swatches and more swatches

Well, let me tell you, choosing the right grey is a tough task!  I have gotten swatches, tester paint pots, and even purchased two gallons of a colour that we have decided was not right (insert guilt!). 
If at first  you don't succeed, try again!

Currently our room is half french vanilla and half "snappy dresser" by Para and the search continues. 

You didn't believe me?
 Our challenge is that for some reason the lighting in our bedroom yanks all of the colour's undertones in a bad away. EVERYTHING is showing either blue or purple, nothing truly grey.

The colours currently sampled on our walls are:
  • BM Stonington Grey - shows purple
  • BM Gray Owl - shows blue
  • BM Asphalt - not sure, maybe too dark
  • BM Pewter - shows some blue but we're getting closer
  • BM Stormy Monday - PURPLE!
  • BM Stone Harbour - purple
  • Para Snappy Dresser - too light
So I'm asking for some help here. Does anyone have any suggestions.  A lot of natural light floods into the room during the day.

(I want my room back so that I can start my closet cleanse!).

BM= Benjamin Moore

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Closet Cleanse Step 2: Brought to you by The Farmer's Trophy Wife

Closet Cleanse Step 2:  Doing The Dirty Work
Brought To You By The Farmer's Trophy Wife

*image from here*

Are ya ready?!

First…let’s pick a time when we can actually focus on what we are doing. Nap time or after kids are in bed is great. Depending on your closet I’ll give it about an hour to accomplish step 1…we are going to do this in baby steps…or if you are an all-in-one type of gal, you can wait till LadySmith is done all the posts, line them up and tackle this project all at once.

Since my me time is short and sweet, I’m going to have to do this slowly, ok?!?!

1- Take everything out of your half of the closet and empty your dresser drawers. Dump it all in one huge pile somewhere (except the pressed stuff…feel free to place this neatly beside the gigantic pile!)

2- Gawk at the gigantic mass of stuff you didn’t even know you owned

3- Attack the pile by going through everything and making two piles:
  • like it
  • don’t like it
Don’t bother to try anything on at this point. We are at the basics…either you like it, or you don’t.

Feel free to be ruthless, cold and cut-throat. You won’t hurt the feelings of that sweater that you loved the color of, but hate the sleeve length. It will get on with its life and so should you.
Cathryn from The Farmer's Trophy Wife
4- That’s it. Bag up the stuff you don’t like and as soon as possible take it to the nearest salvation army/donation bin/woman’s shelter….don’t give ANYTHING in there a 2nd thought. (Stay tuned to Cashmere & Carrotsticks for more ideas of where you can drop your clothes off).

5- Put everything back in your closet…your darling other will appreciate that and you will be shocked at how much more space you have to put your new stuff in once we go shopping!!!!

Hope you have fun and can’t wait to hear what you unearthed!!

Thanks Cathryn!
I think this is the biggest and most important step.  Keep your personal style in mind ladies (and Dad!).  This is your chance. Why keep something that is just collecting dust that every time you are going out and turn to it you think, "ugh!" - pitch it!  Bonus points (and prizes?!) for pictures se nt via email to and would love to hear some comments. Come across anything funny or that you need advice on? Ask the readers!

I am going to give everyone at least a few days to get this step done as I know it is going to take me at least that long. In the mean time I will continue my regular posts and be back with more closet news soon.

Closet Cleanse: Guest Blogger Alert

So I have to admit, the whole closet cleanse thing was not my idea. I was surfing around one day and came across a really fun blog - The Farmer's Trophy Wife. Click here if you haven't visited it yet.  Cathryn - the Trophy Wife herself - has agreed to guest blog on my site and share with us all of her steps to a clean closet.  So without further ado, here's Cathryn:


New Year = New Closet!

by The Farmer's Trophy Wife

Don’t be shy now…I know there are items floating out there in your closets that you haven’t worn in at least three years…or things still from high school (?!?) or the dreaded items that still have the tags on!!! Let go of the guilt (so what if you didn’t wear it…your bank account has moved on…so should you!) and the dreams…yes, I too would like to be able to fit into my high school jeans. But it’s not going to happen. I’m 31…and I need to let go of that dream…. (sob)

But maybe…if we all join together and fight our closets and it’s demons together….it won’t be so scary…and kinda fun!

*image from here*
 I want this to be a participation thingy…so leave a comment or send an email to LadySmith and let us know how things are going.

Love Cathryn

Stay tuned for the next post: Closet Cleanse Step 2: Doing The Dirty Work

I'm A Natural/Sporty, What Are You?

So if you missed yesterday's post on determining your personal style type and why it is important, click here. 

I myself am a natural/sporty type. I love getting dressed up and looking nice but I like simple, plain, easy clothes that can be accessorized to the degree I'm feeling. I do not like bedazzlement on my clothes and don't dress for the "look at me" factor.  In fact, when I try things on, I like them to flow effortlessly from the moment I put them on. I want them to be a part of me, not scream at people as they walk by. I am a jeans and a T-shirt gal through and through ... but maybe throw a funky necklace and some kick ass boots in there for good measure.

I'm thinking about who may be reading this and whether I should attempt to peg them.  Do feel free to share the type you came up with. (Thanks Katrix for sharing yesterday).

As far as Wendy's other questions about our lifestyle and influences and the amount that we entertain ...

I am a stay-at-home Mom so have very little use for all of the suits and dress clothes I have leftover from when I used to work in an office.  I need comfortable, hassle-free clothes that provide some sort of fashion i.e. tight pants that give you a muffin top when building Lego towers on the floor are not good for my self esteem, but some skinny jeans that fit nicely with ample stretch could be an option. 

I do not attend semi-formal or formal events on a regular basis, however, from time to time do have functions in conjunction with my husband's work, dinners or other special events that I need suitable clothes for (can't go shopping with a few hours notice of a dinner event ... need go-to staples in my closet). 

I love shoes, but have a very firm belief, that no matter how high and sexy a shoe is, a woman still must be able to walk half decently in them and not teeter like a fawn learning to walk (just my opinion!).

I love jewellery. Not the fancy, blinding types, but the funky, unique, vintage kind that is just perfect to spruce up a plain shirt.  Bangles are my absolute favorite!

I am so ready and excited to gut my closet.  Not great timing that we are also amidst a master bedroom paint change.  Stay tuned for more and please do share any revelations you are having.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Our Closet Cleanse Begins - Step One

Today, our closet cleanse here at Cashmere & Carrot Sticks begins with Step One: Finding Your Personal Style.  We are so lucky to have some great contributors this week to offer their expertise to ensure we get this done, we get it done right and we know exactly what we need to fill our closets with once they are cleaned out :)

So today, our guest blogger is Wendy Margolese Buba of "Work Optimal." Wendy is an image consultant who has excellent instincts for what suits a person and has been dressing friends and family for years! Today, before we begin our closet purge, Wendy is going to share with us some thoughts on our individual style and how important it is.

First Impressions
by Wendy Margolese Buba

We are a visual society and clothing is a powerful non-verbal language.


We instinctively judge by appearance – consciously or unconsciously.  That means that people, whether we like it or not, are constantly judging us as well.


When we are talking about style, there is no right or wrong look (although sweatpants are no one's ideal "look").  What is most important when thinking about your style is staying true to it.  You never want to try and look like someone else, mostly because you won't feel as confident or like yourself.  Sometimes it's disappointing, but we must realize, we are not all Sarah Jessica Parkers or Victoria Beckhams, nor would we feel right dressing like they do.


Wardrobe choices are influenced by our personality and our lifestyle.


By understanding our lifestyle and how it relates to our wardrobe choices, we will dress with confidence and feel good about ourselves.

There are six basic style/personality types, which one are you?

1)  Dramatic
You like to be noticed for what you wear i.e. Jennifer Lopez, Samantha from Sex In The City

2) Classic
Your wardrobe is always well coordinated i.e. Natalie Portman, Kate Middleton, Miranda from Sex In The City

3) Romantic
You like luxurious and textured fabrics with feminine details i.e. Charlotte from Sex In The City

4) Creative/Whimsical
You have a unique look i.e. Sarah Jessica Parker or Carrie from Sex In The City

5) Natural/Sporty
You have a relaxed attitude to dressing i.e. Kate Hudson, Jennifer Anniston

6) City Chic
You always have the right outfit for the occasion i.e.Victoria Beckham

You may be wondering if you always have to buy within your style type?  The answer is no, but if you do, don't be surprised if you don't feel as comfortable wearing the item, although you still may get compliments.  You may also find that this same item is one that you feel guilty about throwing out in this week's closet purge as it has barely been worn. Sound familiar?

A few more questions to think about regarding personal style:
  • What are the major influences in your life?
  • How do you spend your time?
  • Do you entertain a lot? Attend a lot of professional functions?

Thanks Wendy!

Before we whittle our closets down to half of what they are during this week's closet cleanse, think about what Wendy has said about personal style. What type do you think best describes you?  What type of clothes do you feel best in?  What makes you feel confident, attractive and the most comfortable (I mean in your skin, not in your sneakers).  Wendy can help you with all of your image and shopping needs - finding your look, dressing for different occasions and shopping in your closet.  Feel free to contact her at 416-930-4687 or

P.S.  I'm Natural/Sporty!

I Survived

Today, I survived three hours of the science centre ...

... on the first day of March Break
... with two kids under four
... with no stroller
... by myself
.... on the interactive "run all over the place" level 4
... and two bathroom visits fitting all three of us in a single stall (thankfully I'm not a complete germ phobe)
... without any melt downs, discipline issues or momentary fear of losing someone.

Woo hoo!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Invention I Discovered ...

While preparing for a wedding I recently attended, I was faced with the not-so-rare challenge of not quite filling out the bust area of my dress in the way it was intended and necessary (even after alterations ..errrrr!). This is the dress on the model:

Me being the frugal and pragmatic person that I am, did not want to purchase $50 jello-like inserts to stuff myself.

Hmmm .... what could I do instead? I tried stuffing a variety of little bra inserts and nursing pads into my cleavage, but nah, no luck.

Then I had a light bulb moment.

What if I wore both of my strapless bras?  This way the bras would actually fit tighter (and not feel like they were going to fall down all night) and I would get some extra filler from the double bra and padding ... and why not throw in the (surprisingly substantial) inserts from my Lulu Lemon sports bra and presto! problem solved.

If you're trying to figure it all out in your head ... yes, I was wearing two bras and an insert while at the wedding in my fancy dress and the results were great - my dress fit better, didn't feel like it or the bras were falling down, rarely needed to adjust or heave my dress up and I didn't spend $50 on fakies.

I was somewhat proud of myself for this invention.

Feel free to borrow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm Back

Oh, wow, have I ever been delinquent on the ol' posts lately.  Hadn't missed a Monday-Friday post until a couple of weeks ago and now it's all gone down hill.

Well, husband and I are back to the real world after a few days away for a friend's wedding.  Had a great time and danced our faces off- who can go wrong with an eighties band! It's a good night for me when old school Whitney Houston is actually played ("I Wanna Dance With Somebody!") ... and even better when it's played twice and paired with Foot Loose.  Needless to say my legs and butt were hurting a bit the next day.

It was kind of nice packing five pairs of shoes that I knew I wouldn't wear all of ... especially when you contrast that to my usual - packing a family of four into two! moderately sized pieces of luggage for a week.  There ain't no extra pairs of shoes or full makeup bags being packed in that luggage, let me assure you.

Turns out my husband and I still like each other's company when we're on our own and loved spending time together. It was a nice break and getaway. Forever indebted to my MIL!

This week is all about getting back into the swing of things i.e. getting used to looking after other people again and not just myself.

Signs of spring this week are encouraging ... I saw pieces of green grass in my back yard. Temperatures hovering around zero make it so much more enjoyable to get the kids outside (our weekend away was in -25 Calgary!).

Stay tuned for more posts and updates on the Closet Cleanse - Jennie and Designwali are joining me - should be fun... and therapeutic ... and make much needed space for spring shopping!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We're Leaving On A Jet Plane

Next week, my husband and I are leaving for a couple of days - first multi-day trip away from the kids together.

It's crazy the mixed emotions I have.

Up until this week, I was super excited. Now the "missing the kids" feelings are creeping in accompanied with worry and fear at having them out of my sight and control for so long.

I am, however, looking forward to a non-kids airport experience and no curfew. we have even booked a massage and might even squeeze in a movie. I know the movie part seems a bit silly, but it's something we used to do all of the time and that we loved doing before we had kids and we just don't seem to get out to them anymore. And no, Caillou does not have a new big-screen feature out right now, so we'll be happy to settle for Matt Damon!

Have you booked a date night with your special someone lately? Maybe it's time to give your sitter a call. You deserve it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Closet Cleansing - Are You In?

In case you missed it, I posted this post last week about cleaning out my closet.

Very few of you responded ... does that mean you're not interested in joining Jennie and I as we clean out our closets? Is your closet already super clean and tidy (likely not if I'm guessing correctly!)? Or does that mean that you just don't like to comment.  What if I throw in a few prizes for those participating? 

Please let me know by Monday, March 7th via comment if you would like to join us in cleaning out our closets.  I will offer an easy step-by-step process (compliments of The Farmer's Trophy Wife) so it will be a piece of cake.

You know it will feel so good!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mascara Mascara Go Away

So what is your secret to getting off your mascara?

I'm not interested in having smoky eyes afterwards or any remnants whatsoever - when I decide it is coming off, I want my face back.

I have used Lancome's makeup remover in the past with success, but recently (of course just after I finally bought the full-size $34 version) I have not been as impressed. Sure, it gets most of it off, but it doesn't do the total job no matter how hard I try.

Anyone have any secrets that they could share?

Nothing is worse than coming home from a night out when you're all gussied up and getting up the next day and feeling like you have half of your makeup still on your face ... even after a shower.

Geesh. This mascara stuff is more stubborn than me.
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