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Style
Nature Smells
July 22, 2009 3

Last month I made a big effort to use more natural products, including natural deodorant and organic moisturizers. In the beginning it was fine, and I didn't notice any difference from my un-organic products. Then, about two weeks later I noticed that I was a bit smelly and was sweating more than I was used to. I thought it was because I was stressed at work and my hormones (smell) were a bit different. But, three weeks in, I knew there was a problem. Natural deodorant does not work for me. This is the second time I've tried to use it, and both times within three weeks of regular use I got really smelly and all my clothes had a lingering sweat scent. So for now, I'm back to regular deodorant. No more lichen and moss deo for me!
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Life
Seven Ways I Survived the Economic Crisis
July 21, 2009 0
Recently I had a chance to reflect on life over the past year. It has been a great year for me in my personal life (just a hint, but I met someone lovely), and it's also been a good year for me financially. I was able to get a better job and weather the economic crisis with a good chunk of savings. Here are some of the things that I did that made a difference to my bottom line. 1. I bought a condo that was affordable. Instead of being tempted to buy a larger 1bdrm apt that was over my budget I settled on my bachelor apt. Yes, it`s small, but so are my mortgage payments. Besides, I know I won`t be here forever, and I`ve been able to save a lot living in this very affordable space. 2. I switched to a cash budget. Every month I watched my money very carefully and made sure I never over-extended myself. With cash it is so much easier because you never get a surprise credit card bill in the mail. 3. I paid off my debt and saved like crazy. I needed to have a large safety savings account so that I could feel comfortable everyday, in case something bad happened. Now I know that if I lose my job I will be okay for a few months. 4. I socialized differently. I love going out to fancy restaurants and very much enjoy great wine, but I don`t need to indulge all the time. This past year I`ve had friends over for dinner more than ever, and I drink my fancy wine at home, too. If I do go out it`s for a special occasion, or I meet my friends for drinks after dinner. 5. I shopped for less expensive clothing alternatives. Instead of going for the pricey brand names I`d opt for the less expensive clothing lines. The funny thing is, people often ask me if I got my dresses at designer stores. I was at a wedding in Montreal and a girl at my table asked me if I got my dress at BCBG, but really I got it at Bedo. As long as you stick with decent quality you`ll be fine. 6. I second guessed purchases. When tempted by a purchase I`d step back and figure out if I really needed it. If the answer was maybe, or no, I just moved on. 7. I didn`t go into stores if I wasn`t looking for something specific. I avoided the temptation. If I didn`t need to go shopping I`d do something else that made me happy, like read a book in a coffee shop, or go for a walk outside. That way I didn`t feel like I was denying myself.
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Travel
Tuscany: Italian Dream Part Two
July 17, 2009 2
The Tuscan Countryside After two exhausting days in Florence it was so nice to escape to the countryside. By chance we made a hotel reservation to a modest looking hotel, the Borgo di Fontebussi, which turned out to be a luxury retreat. The pictures on Expedia do not do justice, and the price was amazing for what you got. As we drove up to the gated retreat I just wanted to sit inside and take a nap…until I saw the place we were staying….and then I felt like a princess who just landed in heaven. There were many different buildings, a lovely pool, two restaurants and many seating/park areas. The views from the hotel were outstanding and it was filled entirely with Europeans that wanted a little getaway. Everyone was just relaxing and having lovely slow meals, drinking wine together, sitting on the grass and enjoying life. It was bliss! After spending our first day in the retreat it was time to check out and go to Cinque Terre, but I just couldn’t leave. My very accommodating boyfriend had no problem with losing money on our other hotel reservation and staying on one more night….he’s so lovely about these things. Since we had an extra day we decided to peel ourselves away from the heaven retreat and visit the Chianti route. We drove around all day and visited many different towns, cafes, restaurants and vineyards. It was nice to just chit chat away driving down the country roads, getting lost and seeing amazing views at every turn. Throughout the entire day I was concocting plans in my head figuring out how I would take a six month sabbatical in Tuscany, living in a farm house, eating glorious food at every meal, and drinking the best wines I could imagine. Tuscany is a place to lose yourself in fantasy….and indeed I did. I felt so relaxed, blissful and in love with everything, and I’d go back tomorrow if I could. Stay Tuned: The crazy city of Rome is next! For more Italian travel journals see posts on Florence and Rome
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Travel
Florence: Italian Dream Part One
July 16, 2009 5
Recently I went on an eleven day whirlwind trip through central Italy with my boyfriend. We had tossed the idea of going to Italy around, but like so many things you chat about them, and then you get lost in daily life….until I found an amazing seat sale. I was able to book the flights from Toronto to Florence return for $577 per person ($500 US)….amazing! So with tickets in hand we constructed a brief travel plan and then adapted it as we went along. To make my trip diary a bit more digestible I'm going to post from each city for the next few days. First, let's start with... Florence We landed in Florence in the morning, and spent the entire first day walking around the inner city. I was jet lagged and running on fumes so I kept on drinking double espressos thinking it would perk me up….it didn’t work that well, but luckily I didn’t get too jittery. Florence as a city didn’t wow me, it was totally over-run with tourists (7 tourists for ever resident!!) and I didn’t really feel like I was in Italy since I couldn’t find any Italians outside of people that worked the tourist industry. We spent two days in the city, and I felt exhausted from walking all day and dodging the throbs of people. The best place to visit was the Uffizi museum. It is a very cool building and the art is outstanding. It’s a place that you could go into every day for a week straight and still be wowed. We were able to reserve our tickets through the receptionist at the hotel, so we avoided the mile long line-up outside. Thank heavens! There’s nothing like going on vacation only to wait outside in the burning sun to see fun stuff – no thanks! The most memorable thing about Florence was the restaurant we went to on the last night, Castello di Sabbia(they don't have a website, but here's a map with reviews ) . The restaurant specializes in fish and truffles and you won’t be disappointed. It’s owned by two guys, one of them a former police officer who speaks English and is very friendly. To get to the restaurant you need to take a taxi, which the owner will reimburse you for – a very nice perk indeed! The drive up is great, because you get to see where the actual Italians are, and it really sets the tone for the evening. After you’ve traveled for twenty minutes via taxi you find yourself in this beautiful cabana style building perched atop a hill with a view of the nearby area, and once you eat the food you will FALL IN LOVE. We had an antipasto appetizer, a pasta course and then a steak with truffles that was absolutely perfect. I still dream about it. We actually went back on the final night of our trip, and the host greeted us like we were returning friends. It was the perfect send off. Stay tuned: I'll blog about Tuscany next...and that truly was a dream... For more Italian travel journals read posts on Tuscany and Rome
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Life
Seven Secrets About Men They’ll Never Tell You
July 13, 2009 2
While ladies tell their girlfriends every last detail about their dating life, men tend to keep silent. To help solve some of the mystery here are seven little dating secrets that you'll never hear from a man. 1. Men want to find their perfect match as much as women do. Everyone wants to be in a fulfilling, supportive and loving relationship. It’s just not cool for guys to talk about it. Instead they talk about humping girls and sports. 2. A challenge is a great thing. Think low maintenance is sexy? To a certain degree it is, but if you say yes to everything and don’t challenge your man on some things that’s boring. Really boring. 3. Girls with limits are sexy. Don’t let your man get away with bad behaviour. Secretly, guys love it when you let them know you expect to be treated like a princess sometimes and you will accept no less. They will push your boundaries, and test out if you will stay strong on these, so make sure you are strong and believe in what you’re asking for. Don’t go overboard though. For some girls it’s as simple as their man opening the car door for them on date night, for others it’s getting him to make reservations at your favourite restaurant instead of you doing it…..whatever it is make sure it’s important to you, otherwise it’s just silly. 4. Men love to be loved, admired and appreciated. Every man wants a woman that lets him knows he’s great, and says thank you for the little things, and provides support and encouragement. As much as we love it when our friends tell us we look cute and sexy and that we really helped them out by driving them to the mall men love it too. If your guy does a sweet thing make sure you tell him. It makes him feel great and makes him want to do more sweet things for you. 5. Men love to feel powerful. They like to feel that they know what they are doing and that you are confident in them. One of the main killers of this great feeling is when women nag. It’s just annoying. Sometimes if your man takes a longer route to a party and you know a better way, just be quiet. If he’s stressed and work is bothering him, let him know that you think it’s great how dedicated he is and how you know he’ll come up with a great solution. It’ll make him feel great, even if he never tells you. 6. Sex is a great reward. It’s just that simple. If you want your man to feel great and powerful and like a man you should be having lots of sex. And not mercy sex either. Do what you have to and get yourself in a mental space where you love the lovemaking. Read some sexy novels, buy some new lingerie, talk dirty….whatever it is get yourself ready for sexy times and then get at it! 7. There are lots of things men love and they’ll never admit it. See numbers 1 - 6 for more details.
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Style
Makeup Murder
July 10, 2009 0

I was recently watching a morning tv program and the presenters looked into local women’s makeup bags. I would be soooooo mortified if someone were to look into my makeup case – I’m sure I’d go to cosmetic jail for make up murder and crimes against aesthetics. Almost everything is past the due date, my eye liners are all hard, and my lipsticks are so worn out that I have to dig to get the colour out of the lipstick tubes. It seems like someone is due for a shopping trip, which seems to fit in perfectly with my shopping plans for the afternoon! Photo credit: Ben Nye Lipstick
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Life
Outdoor Entertainment
July 6, 2009 1
Earlier in the summer I felt like I wasn’t having a summer. The weather didn’t help, but mostly it was because I spent most of my time in my office, with air conditioning and cubicle dividers, and nothing summery! Not one to rest on my laurels, I decided to seek outdoor activities that would be fun, and somehow convinced my friend to join me. I found an outdoor exercise class in this lovely local park in the evenings – it was just what I was looking for. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve started and I can see some changes in my physique, but that’s only part of the fun. There is the ride to class and all the chit chat along the way with my friend, the lovely clean smelling outdoor air, the joy of releasing work tension while doing push ups outside…and of course the laughs we give all the passer-byers who stop and watch twenty girls in tight outfits doing lunges and squats in a park. Sometimes they look confused, sometimes they smirk, and sometimes they stop, sit down and open a can of beer. Who said you need a tv for this kind of fun?
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Life
I Have a Confession
July 3, 2009 0
I have a confession. I have this slightly obsessive habit. It’s not bad for me, actually it makes me feel quite happy, but it’s still a little obsessive. I check my bank balance online everyday. Not that it’s that exciting – trust me, I’d notice if I found an extra $10 in my account, but it just makes me happy. I feel like life is trucking along like it’s supposed to, and I’m always upward bound. It’s just a simple thing that makes me smile.
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Life
iphone 3G
June 29, 2009 3
I'm not much of a technology fan....and to be honest, after owning my ipod for two years I still don't know how to download music.

But......my phone was near retirement and I wanted to fancy it up for once and buy some hot technology. When my old phone hit the floor hard and broke into many little sad pieces....complete with broken wires hanging out....I knew I had to move on. So I did my reserach and splurged on an iphone 3G. We've been together for two days now, and I must confess I think I've found "the one". When I turned the phone on it took me less than two minutes to figure it all out. It has to be the most "user friendly" thing out there. If you've used a computer, and you know how to do internet searches, you're already an iphone expert! I was a little worried that it would be too precious, but it seems to be pretty sturdy. And for all the ladies that are wondering how the keypad works with fingernails, it's not too bad.....To be honest, I'm not blessed with cute lady fingers, it's more like I have sausage fingers....and even for me it's pretty easy to use. I would be happier if the texting keys were a tad larger, but it's not a deal breaker. So all in all, I'm rating this product a 9.5 out of 10. The only annoying thing - when you are texting the punctuation and numbers are not offered up on the same screen....or at least I couldn't find another option where it is a true QWERTY keyboard. It just means you need to spend a bit longer typing...... but it's such a sexy looking phone that it's not a problem.
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Life
Down to Zero
June 25, 2009 0
Last year I had some major changes in my life. One of the most important was getting out of debt. I remember when I received my tax return...... and lo and behold I took all of it and put it onto my line of credit, which suddenly was down to ZERO! It had taken me one year to turn this $-9,000 animal into a ZERO, but it finally happened. I was so thrilled with myself. I kept on checking my online balance and seeing it at ZERO. I couldn't wait to call my friend and tell her that finally, I was down to ZERO!
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Style
Statement Dress
June 24, 2009 3
I've been on the lookout for a statement dress recently. I haven't found what I'm looking for exactly, but I did find this knockout dress online. I just love the butterfly inspired mix of colurs, the generous cut of the dress, and the detailing with sparkles and feathers. Can't you just imagine how much fun you'd have in this dress?
from outlier* on flickr

from outlier* on flickr

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Style
Adventures in Beauty: A Fresh Start
June 23, 2009 0
I've decided to make an effort to buy more organic and healthy beauty products. With lots of news about parabens and phthalates and other unhealthy items that have potentially toxic side affects I realized it was time to take a bit more care. So, I headed off to the drug store and bought organic moisturizer and natural deodorant..... ...and then I got slightly off track.......and bought some tanning lotion....... It may not have been the best start, but at least it's a start!
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Life
Summerbreak Substitution
June 22, 2009 2
Last week I had a one day mini vacation. I woke up late, drank my coffee slowly and then took a long walk. As I was walking I looked carefully at how the leaves were moving gently with the breeze, the waves were rocking back and forth silently, and the sun was shining brightly casting light upon the lake. And then I realized, this is what it’s like to have extra time on my hands - to be able to see all the great things that happen around me daily, the same ones that I’m too focused on tasks and errands and work to actually notice. So I made a decision. This summer I’m going to live my weekends like I'm on a summer break, just like school children get every year. It's a little time out to step back and enjoy our lives, our families, our friends and all the great things happening around us that we’re too busy to notice.
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Travel
Weekend Warrior: Road Trips in Southern Ontario
June 19, 2009 0
A little while ago I went on a spontaneous day trip to Niagara on the Lake in Ontario. It was a lovely day and I smile every time I think of it.

On the Friday night my boyfriend tossed around the idea of going to Niagara for a weekend getaway, but since we have a major trip coming up soon I said I’d rather save my money. The next day I woke up at 730 am – very, very unusual for me on a weekend morning – and I couldn’t stop thinking about going away for a mini break. I opened my computer while still in bed and searched for hotels….but oh my, they seemed so pricey! There were some beautiful hotels, bed and breakfasts and lodges, but they were so expensive I just couldn’t justify it. So instead, I suggested we just go for a day…….and what a lovely day. It was a warm, blue sky day with no clouds in sight. A day trip definitely felt right. We packed up a few things, and a change of nice clothes for dinner, and then we were off. On the way to Niagara on the Lake I found a place we could rent bikes and also called a spa to see if we could get last minute appointments. When we arrived in town we discovered the bike rental place was right by the vineyards, so as soon as we paid for our rentals we were off and cycling through beautiful laneways. We took little random streets with no goals in mind, then we went along the parkway, and over to a vineyard for wine tasting. It was so relaxing and fun.

We took a trail to get back to the bike rental place so we could zip off to the spa. I had a mani – pedi and my boyfriend had a massage. I must confess it’s quite an extravagance for me as I’m really trying to watch my pennies, but this was worth every cent. When we left we both felt so relaxed and indulged..........so clearly it was time to indulge more! We went to a vineyard for dinner and tasted exquisite local foods coupled with great wine. It was fun being able to sample all the different wines......and enjoy the extra giggles that ensued. After dinner there was a lovely rain storm. While I took a little nap my boyfriend drove and listened to Feist, watching the lightening storm brew in the horizon.....
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Life
A Silly To Do List
June 14, 2009 0
I woke up this morning thinking I wanted to be productive, but at the same time I didn't want to be overly ambitious and wear myself out. The result? I wrote a to do list of silly little things that would make me feel accomplished. floss teeth go for coffee with my friend go for a run It seemed so funny to me that I had this list of silly things......and the funniest thing is, despite my efforts, I never flossed my teeth!
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Travel
Weekend Warrior: Road Trips in Southern Ontario
June 13, 2009 0
This weekend my boyfriend and I departed from our normal schedule. Instead of waking up late, watching movies, going for coffee and strolling around the city we decided to take a little road trip. On Saturday we went to Blue Mountain, Ontario. It was a two hour drive and when we stepped out of the car we discovered that it was still freezing up North! Somehow I’d forgotten that two hours North makes a big difference, and what feels warm in Toronto, feels very different in Blue Mountain. We were so chilly that we ran for cover in a restaurant as soon as we arrived! We only spent about two hours in Blue Mountain - having lunch, taking a quick walk, and then heating up with a coffee. We were both relieved to jump in the car again and head back to the warmer climate in the city. On the way home we drove through Kleinberg. It’s such a lovely and charming little town…..I’ve already planned what my yard would look like if I lived there, how I’d walk my imaginary kids to school, and the lovely dinner parties that I’d host in my country manor…..
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Life
How to Find Mr. Right
June 4, 2009 0
For many of us daters we spend so much of our time obsessing over our dates, but we don't really know what we're looking for. It's like we have a goal in mind, without a game plan. So, I went on a research spree to find out how to date successfully and how girls can get what they want out of dating.

1. Find the patterns in your dating past. What did you like and what did you not like?Chances are you’ll find a pattern. If you want to date out of your comfort zone and find your perfect match you need to look at all the similarities in your past and figure out why you went for those guys. When you see patterns emerge you can figure out how to avoid them in the future. 2. Make a list of what you are looking for. If you are searching for a partner make sure you know what qualities that person has. It’s best to do this when you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed. Don’t do this when you are feeling sad, lonely, used or abused. You want this list to be a list of your dream man. Not a list of the type of guy you don’t want. If your list has several “he doesn’t yell at me, he’s not cheap, etc etc” you know you are not in the right place to be writing now. Step back, take a sip of tea or a walk and start again. This is your dream "want" list, not a list of things you are trying to avoid. 3. Think of how you present yourself. This one is huge! Step out of yourself for a few minutes and think of the impressions you give other people. Do people respond well to you and keep asking more? Do guys try and talk to you about sex right away? Do people often look past you and at other girls when they are talking to you? Most of the time how people respond to you is a mirror of the impressions you are giving them. If people always want to talk to you about sex and your naughty experiences chances are very high you are giving the impression you are sexually available. If you aren’t happy with how people respond to you it is entirely up to you to make some serious changes and have people respond to you with respect and warmth.

4. Keep yourself open to opportunity. Look all around for chances to meet and connect with people. Waiting in line for a coffee? Have a quick chat with a stranger. If this is hard for you take baby steps. Maybe talk to women at first, and then start talking to men once you find it easier. Asking questions is an easy icebreaker – for example “How is that iced chocolate chip mint latte? I’ve never had one before” Everywhere you go find ways to chat with strangers, whether it’s at the coffee shop, at the park, or at the candy store. In these days of internet everything people are craving a human connection – if you just want to say hi people will usually respond well. 5. Go out often. One of the worst things you can do is pine over guys and wish you had a boyfriend and then stay in alone night after night. How is prince charming going to find you in your house? He’s out and about looking for you too, so let him find you. Make a conscious decision to go out and mix it up. This means go to different places and don’t always be surrounded by a pack of friends. If you always go to the same place chances are you keep on running into the same type of people and always remember - a group of girls is pretty intimidating. Go out alone, or with one or two friends at max.

6. Stop playing games with yourself. I know so many people that justify bad behaviour of their dates. He hasn’t called you in a week, and then he calls at midnight and wants to get together. Stop playing games with yourself! Don’t make excuses for others. Actions speak louder than words, and if a guy wants you, he’ll make sure you know it. If you don’t know where you stand you probably don’t stand anywhere. Set limits on what you will accept and what you won’t, and don’t deviate from this. 7. No sex for 2 or 3 months. If a guy likes you he’ll wait. This is a great way to weed out the guys that aren’t worthy of your time, and also to make sure you connect on a much deeper level before you get intimate. If you have sex before 2 – 3 months you’ve killed the mystery and put yourself on sale when you should have been charging full price. Dying for some sexy times? There are stores with accessories that can help you out. It may not be as good as a human connection but it’s sure better than losing someone that you really liked because you slept with him too soon.
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Life
I Heart To Do Lists
June 2, 2009 0
Few things give me more satisfaction than writing out my daily plans with a to do list. I love writing EVERYTHING down, so that it seems impossible to achieve my tasks in one day, and then figuring out how I can fit it all in. The rush of reviewing my to do items and then crossing off completed tasks is akin to the joy of making a perfect meal, or spending 20 extra minutes on the treadmill. I have proof in my hands of my achievements for the day, but the best thing is…..I’m actually getting it all done!
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Life, Style, Travel
The smart girls’ guide to living well
June 1, 2009 3

Cashmere Clutch is a women's lifestyle site that covers anything and everything to do with living a balanced, fulfilling and fabulous life. From dating advice, to financial freakouts and fabulous fashion, this site is one girls journey through life from darker days to a brighter phase.

Learn about me here
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