Little luxuries: June

Luxury, in its new context (and in the very truest form of its vogue over the centuries) is the enjoyment of the best in life: the experience of beauty, knowledge, and humanity at their deepest and most inspiring. It is the sweetness of life. Luxury could be a sunset, a song, a moment of peace and satisfaction, a perfect cup of tea, a wonderful book or a poignant photograph in a local art gallery. From this perspective, luxury is any jolt of beauty or wonder that reminds us to love the life we’re living, and to not simply live it, but to devour it gleefully and scoop up any crumbs that are left over–to not let a second of this fantastic existence go to waste.

Where did June go?! I know I say that every time I write a LL post but honestly, June just disappeared.  Maybe it's because I was productive this month, wearing a lot of hats, or trying to accomplish some goals that I didn't realize until now that it's 2 days until July. Whatever the reason, I am looking forward to July and hoping its just as productive and fulfilling as June was!

Besides productivity, here are a few things I really enjoyed this month:

Essence Lipstick 07 Natural Beauty
If you haven't dappled in the Essence stall at Shoppers, you must! This brand from Germany is so inexpensive but so high quality it's nuts. Actually, it's pretty confusing really because this lipstick, for example, fades (as they all do) so seamlessly and without feathering unlike some higher end brands I own and it's under 5$. It also has a really nice formula, no too creamy but not matte either. Maybe it would be semi-matte? I don't know, you're the beauty guru! They have a wide range of colours so for 2.99, give it a go! This pinky browny- mauve colour is great for a natural pink without straying too far from your lip colour.

Complex 15 daily moisturizer
 I read about it on my friend Celia's blog and since I was in the market for a new, light weight moisturizer for summer I thought i'd give it a try. I really like this stuff! I struggle with finding moisturizers that aren't either so lightweight they don't work or so heavy they take ages to sink into skin. This product sits in between this scale, and blends over the face smoothly, like a primer. Perfect for someone like me who can't forgo a moisturizer even in summer!

Dior Nail glow
This was one of my May luxuries but it's still went strong into June. It was the only thing I really wore on my finger nails all June. It makes my hands look clean and manicured and I had so many people ask me what my nail colour was! I still stand by my comment that it's worth the investment. I tried to capture its essence as best as I could in the picture above as it looks best outside in sunlight. But like most reviews will say, you have to personally see it in action to get its full result!


June thoughts

How has it been going for you?
June was a good little month, a short one that zipped right by without warning. But it was full of good things.

It's the end month, with school over and the promise of summer and adventure just beginning. People wait all year for June.

 I spoke to a lady at work who works as a cruise tour guide in Europe for 7 months out of the year. It's a tough job she said, but then one day after ending a tour she borrowed a bike from her cruise ship and went out for a solo bike ride.

Passing through the French countryside, past lavender fields in full-bloom she realized, This is my job. To travel the world and enjoy every bit.

It was her Eat,Pray,Love moment, she said, her realization that adventure doesn't only wait for summer. It can be all year. That she took a risk and seized a moment she wanted but never thought she'd have.

And now, after jumping proverbially off the cliff, she found herself around fields of lavender.

She carped the diem. You go girl! we said to her as she left.

You go, girl.


Summer reads

Summer seems to be synonymous with reading.  Everywhere I turn I find "beach reads!" in my face, or pictures of people swaying in tree covered hammocks, book in hand (if only!). Whatever the situation may be, summer is the perfect time to catch up on the reading we missed during the year. Maybe the extended hours of light have to do with why people enjoy reading so much more in summer, or in warm weather in general- there seems to be more hours to do things so we don't feel as guilty taking up our time with reading.

Okay, I might be going on a limb with that theory. Maybe. 

But whatever your situation may be, hammock, break room, storage closet, beach- don't forget to dive into at least one, really good book this season. You'll be glad you did.  And why not make it a travel-ish book at that?

Here are some I suggest:

Here are a few of my favourites: 

Beautiful Ruins (Italy)
Set in Italy in the 1960's and current day Hollywood- the story flips between two time periods, but connects in the best way, looking at the film industry through a vintaged and modern perspective.  I loved the imagery in this novel, I could feel myself amongst the bright coloured homes of the Italian coast ala Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. It makes me want to visit the coast so bad!

The Sun also Rises (Spain, France)
A classic Hemingway, the protagonist Nick splits his time between Spain and France, between bull fighting and fishing, and his comrades in Spain and ex-pats in Paris. Though I find Hemingway's concise, declarative sentences a bit dull at times (having to study it definitely didn't help)- I still suggest this story because it's such a good one. And an American classic at that! Give it a shot; some of the best quotes come from this book. And Hemingway has a way with imagery. (I really wanted a cocktail while reading the book.) 

A Year in Provence (France)
I think I may have liked the movie more than the book (yes I'm that person and hello Russell Crowe) but the book is still a lovely read. It follows Max, a British businessman who ends up inheriting a Chateau and vineyard in Provence from the newly deceased uncle he used to see every summer as a child.  Do you leave your high rolling life in England for the slower, languid, wine-filled days of Provence? This is the question Max has to answer. With lush vineyards and stucco chateaus, tennis matches and a mystery wines- I know what i'd decide! 

The Book of Summers (Hungary)
Not the genre i'd normally gravitate towards (I think it's a Harlequin book) but my mom bought it one day after reading that the story took place in Hungary. (We are both shameless Hungarian enthusiast.) The story follows the classic coming-of-age plot where the protagonist has to face growing older and navigating that life, while also facing the changing landscape of her family and her beloved Hungary as she grows; The older she gets, the more things change. I liked the book mostly because the writer is Hungarian and her portrayal of Hungary is dead on, right down to the little red flowers that dot every persons white-washed stone home. It's a nice, light, read.

The Paris Wife (Paris)
I bought this book when I was on a vintage Paris binge. It's a piece of fiction, but tells the life of Ernest Hemingway through the eyes of his famous first wife Hadley, using events that really happened during her life as Hemingway's wife. We don't know precisely what was going on behind the scenes, but this book gives us a good idea of what it was like to be Hadley in Paris, amongst the black Chanel wearing, bob hair-cutted, French femmes of the Latin quarter.

What about you? Any books you'd recommend? 


Life Lately 4

My life has been filled with coffee. Too much of it, if thats possible. I remember being little and hating coffee, swearing i'd never be one of those adults who seemed to have IV's of coffee attached to their arm. Well, here we are in adulthood and I am probably 3 notches away from being that adult.

Coffee culture is so strong these days and there is such good coffee available that it's hard to pass up a great flat white.  I'm sure if I explained this to my younger self she'd totally understand my feigning for caffeine.  Because it's not even the energy I like, it's the taste and smell. That rich, woody, coffee-smelling, smell.

You know the one.

So if anyone could bottle the taste of coffee without the drug-like side affects i'd be so eternally grateful!

I also got the chance to see Lights recently which was a really good concert. I'm not big on live music by famous artists because I always find myself disappointed when they don't perform as well as their CD's. But Lights brought the heat (literally, it was so incredibly hot in the theatre) and gave a really fun show.


Lasalle Strawberry Fest

Luckily, the rain held up till late at night on Saturday. After a long day the grey sky seemed to be on the verge of raining any moment, so when a streak of sun pierced through the humid clouds closer to the evening, we jumped on the change and headed to the Strawberry Festival.


Weekend visit

I found myself again in Erieau over the weekend.  Friends came along this time and we explored the marina and surrounding areas under a clear blue sky and a chilly wind. I wrote a post a while back about trying to take small trips here and there during the year to get away from the city and enjoy some where else. And so far so good! Traveling doesn't always mean big-scale adventures.

It can be something small like spending the day an hour and half away from home with friends (and learning all about the joys of white balance in your camera!)

What little trips have you been taking?


Rhubarb Crisp squares

Nothing says summer for me quite like rhubarb. This tangy, pinky-red hued celery-looking fruit pairs perfectly alongside berries in almost every dessert possible. Tarts, compote, ice cream topping, pie- rhubarb fits it all!