Cozy and Chic Fall Essentials

Fall is my favorite time of the year, although winter is a close second. Spring and summer seem to be received with much anticipation from nearly everybody, but personally, I can’t wait for fall – a time for contemplation, comfort and détente.

Take a look at what I like that puts me in that warm and cozy mood:

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1. CHANEL Rouge Double Intensité Ultra Wear Lip Color in Daring Red

Colder weather calls for deeper colors that warm up our color palette. What I love about this lip gloss is how long wearing it is. I can put it on at 7AM and it will keep lasting through meetings and lunches until around 4PM. My preferred way to wear it is as a stain by dabbing the color and spreading a thin layer all over my lips. That way I get the statement lip that I want but it is still appropriate for the workplace

2. ZARA Faux Suede Coat in Beige

The clean and minimalist look of this collarless coat is amplified by the soft ivory hue and gold button detail on the front and the sleeves. The material is ultra soft and provides just the right amount of warmth for the fall months without weighing you down.

3. ORIGINS Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask

Moisturizing the skin is important year around, but most definitely when temperatures start to drop. This mask has become part of my nightly routine due to its effectiveness at making my skin supple, soft and radiant.

4. Kabocha Squash

I purchase these at my local Korean market but I’ve been able to find them in any Asian market. Fall is the season for this squash and it’s my go-to breakfast and snack. It is a well-known Korean diet food due to its nutrient dense, low-calorie and low carbohydrate qualities. What I love is the taste of it – it is sweet and similar to a chestnut. I cut it in quarters, clean out the seeds and steam it over a colander for about 30 minutes until the entire squash is soft.

5. CHARLES by Charles David Shirley Herringbone Knit Booties

I purchased these during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and have been storing them until I could wear them in the appropriate weather. These are so comfortable and unique! They look so chic with any sort of cut of pant: skinny, straight leg, wide leg. The thick heel makes it easy for me to wear them on a daily basis too!

6. INGLOT O2M Breathable Nail Polish in 653

I always get compliments whenever I wear this color. While I’m not convinced that it’s “halal”, it’s still a great quality polish for that time of the month. I love how it brightens my skin up and makes  my hands look a bit more finished.

7. Sweet Potatoes

Along the same lines as the kabocha squash, sweet potatoes are in! I actually steam them at the same time to treat myself to a medley of fall flavors. I eat both of them without any accoutrements but popular toppings include butter with cinnamon and sugar, maple syrup, or even a bit of sea salt.

8. INAYAH High-Neck Jumpers

I have missed these warm and easy staples! I own five of them (black, mustard, charcoal, beige and navy blue) because they are so incredibly easy to wear and I can add layers such as a sleeveless trench to change up the look.

What fall staples do you look forward to using? Let me know!

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3 Ways Elegant Women Remain Collected

We all want to feel more in control when things go awry. I’ve never met anyone who enjoyed feeling nervous and helpless and I’ve also met some women who seem to defy all characteristics of normal human reactions when it hits the fan. It made me wonder what this quality was and if I could learn it too. After some study of their behavior, I realized that this quality was “elegance”.

Now, elegance is not snobbery and high tea with lace fans and finger sandwiches.

Elegance is a state of mind and therefore anyone can be elegant — strands of pearls and diamond rings are not compulsory. What elegant women share in common is their mind. They are focused, clear, and decisive in their thoughts which leaves very little room for them to feel “off”, worried or hysterical. After much study, I’ve reduced their behavior down to these three ways to that use to stay calm, cool and collected.

1. They know their priorities

If you ask most women what is important in their lives, you’ll be inundated with an avalanche of things which is no wonder most women feel like their running on steam much of time.

Elegant women are not super-human. They have the same amount of time and energy as anyone else, but they know where to focus it and not give it away to unimportant people and things.

To feel in control, you need to be able to constantly decide what is truly, deeply important to you and be at peace with your decisions. There is this phenomenon called “FOMO” today. That stands for the “fear of missing out” and that has no place in an elegant woman’s life. If you find yourself at the mercy of FOMO and afraid to cut off things and people, just remember that if everything is important to you, then nothing really is.

2. They abhor drama

In a world where vulgar, outrageous personalities are gossiped about, emulated and celebrated, elegant women take a step away from these people and prefer to acquaint themselves with those who uplift and inspire others to our highest ideals. Choose the high road all the time and soon you’ll find yourself among others who have done the same.

There’s also the drama that women create within themselves by giving away their feelings self-worth to other people. How many women do you know always think about what someone else is thinking about them and base their decisions on what someone else thinks? These women torture themselves which shows up as social anxiety by trying to know the unknowable — and frankly, the not worth knowing. Elegant women are truly confident in themselves, not confident in what others think of them. There’s a distinction there that makes all the difference.

Lastly, an elegant woman does not create negative thoughts in less than ideal situations. She understands that things will happen that are beyond her control and all she can do is remain level-headed and make the best decision with the knowledge she has. These last couple of weeks have not been the best: my husband got in a car accident (thankfully he’s fine even though the car is totaled!), my car has some sort of electrical issue that even the car shop can’t figure out so that car can’t be driven until they bring in an electrician, my husband’s job interview did not go as he wanted and they chose another candidate, and due to all of the car issues there are going to be some hefty, unexpected bills coming our way soon. With all of these events, it is very tempting to succumb to the stress and anxiety and begin to weave negative thoughts into my days, but an elegant women sees the facts for what they are.

Have these last two weeks been an anomaly? Yes.

Does that mean my life is falling apart and that nothing good will ever happen to me ever again? No.

Can I handle this with grace and not let it affect my overall happiness? Yes.

Life happens and there’s nothing that can stop that. Sometimes what seems like a bad thing can actually end up being good for you. It was time for a car upgrade anyway.

3. They are disciplined and intentional

Like I mentioned before, elegance is a state of mind and the mind is an incredible thing. It takes a lot of discipline to control your thoughts and actions, most people just let the first feeling that comes into their brain decide their actions. An elegant woman knows that life is just a series of decisions between what is right and what is easy.

On the same line, if something is important then you have to truly intend to do it. An elegant women does this by putting it down in a calendar. This can come in many different varieties and can be electronic or old-fashioned pen to paper (my preference). For example, if you decide that writing that novel is truly important to you (this is key) then you will write in your calendar the steps required to accomplish that:

  1. Write the novel
  2. Research the best publisher for you
  3. Find an illustrator

All that’s left to do is to tap into your discipline to believe in yourself and do those steps.

Of course, elegant women have their days when they feel stressed out, get angry, make some drama and commit themselves to something that they don’t truly feel is important to them. No one is perfect. But they don’t stay in that space for long, certainly not long enough to ever make a real impact on their lives, but if you are ever feeling that like, just remember these 3 methods and get back to being and living your fabulous elegant self.

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Book Review: French Women Don’t Get Fat

I am sure many of you have heard of a very popular health and cooking book called, “French Women Don’t  Get  Fat”. It was an enormous commercial success amidst a transition in the diet and health industry towards favoring a holistic,  pleasurable, “slow food” approach to long-term health and weight loss, in stark contrast to the obsessive calorie-counting, restrictive, puritanical tone to achieving your ideal body that had dominated the weight loss industry. If you have not yet read the book, I highly suggest you do so.  It will shift your attitude towards your ideal body, the traditions and ritual of food preparation and enjoyment with the larger goal of discovering and cultivating your little pleasures.

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Giuliano writes this diet book within the context of her own weight loss story after some late adolescent weight gain after a study abroad trip to the states. The experience of reading this diet book is so different from any other you may read because it is a story that Giuliano tells so charmingly well. It is an incredibly liberating and enjoyable experience to see the subject of food and weight loss presented in such a way that puts back the ritualistic and sensory pleasures of dining. There is no mention of calories, counting, fat, carbs, gym memberships. and the endless other unpleasantness that are found in any other weight loss book. Just sensible portions, fresh and seasonal ingredients, some light walking and other slow and easy shifts in your habits is what this book is about. A distinctly French method that emphasizes pleasure over deprivation and shuns the “no pain, no gain” approach to living in and loving your ideal body.

Although the concepts are simple enough to remember and apply in my daily life, and while I may not eat certain staples of the conventional French diet such as wine, cheese, or bread, I still find myself reaching for this book every once in a while just to enjoy Guiliano’s storytelling. I find that this book is more than just about weight loss; it’s about getting to know yourself and cultivating your own pleasures in not just food, but also in life. I think that we all work very hard to create the lives we want to live and between the demands of schooling, work, and family, this book has helped me to learn how to take my moments to take care of myself and perhaps its can bring about that same shift for you. 

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