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Inspiration for living a luxuriously and balanced life

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Preparing to Welcome 2013 ...

Final last minute touches of cleaning and polishing (the cleaning and organizing process starts boxing day) will have the High Heeled Life home buzzing this week-end, as we prepare for Monday and the countdown to 2013. I like ringing in the new year with an empty laundry basket; empty sink; and a tidy home.

Monday morning the bed is stripped and remade with new, freshly pressed (thank you Mr. G. for ironing) with a touch of lavender ironing water sheets. Click here to see a previous post on sheets and caring for them. One final load of laundry and check all is in order throughout the house; a trip into town to pick up fresh bread from the bakery; fresh veggies and seafood from the market and we are almost ready.

In the afternoon all the ingredients for the evening meal will be prepped; a chocolate cake baked (Mr. G's favourite); and bubbly chilled. Once the kitchen is cleaned up and the table set, it's time for me to relax in a soothing Laura Mercier almond coconut milk honey bath. After my bath I will nap for a couple of hours, this girl needs her rest if she is to stay up till midnight. 

The days of going out to noisy New Year celebrations are behind us and we much prefer a quiet(er) evening at home with our furbabies and a few friends. This year will be just us and the furbabies.

After the evening meal we'll do a quick tidy up in the kitchen and settle in the family room with an array of sweets, hors d'Ĺ“uvres  and some bubbly, watching the various New Year's Eve celebrations on TV. We tend to flick back and forth between Time Square in NYC and Dundas Square in Toronto.

At midnight we will call family and close friends and wish them a Happy New Year, wherever they may be.
image link
How will you be welcoming 2013?

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Year Ahead - 2013 forget Resolutions...

2012 is now behind us and the magical feeling of a fresh start is being felt by many around the world! People have been busy making their list of resolutions - yet again- determined "this year" will be different, they will stick we the resolutions and life will be magically transformed. In theory I think making resolutions is a great starting point, after all like many I have made my own lists over the years. We are full of hope and anticipation in the beginning, but year after year the same thing starts happen. After a few weeks, the newness and excitement of  a new year begins to fade and we become deflated and with this comes guilt and before we know it we are back to the "same old patterns".

What I have realized, resolutions are often a list of desired outcomes based on negative words/phrases, with no direction (thought) on how to achieve success. This year  MAKE A NEW YEAR's PLAN! by using positive words/phrases and actions you will be re-enforcing an action that will get you closer to the desired outcome.

A PLAN also includes action, by noting some points on how to execute your PLAN you will be reminded of the actions required to achieve your desire result.
I've created the above chart using 6 items commonly found on Resolution lists; I have replaced each desired outcome with a positive phrase ( i.e Get in Shape with Be more physically active) and noted actions to achieve desired results.

Partial 2013 PLAN ~ for me. No Resolutions = No stress.
Here is part of my plan for 2013 ~ I've added in the bubble the word/phrase which I would have normally used to create my resolution list as an example.
Old Resolution List:
Get in Shape = flabby out of shape
Loose Weight = fat
Use Brain = dumb
Stop Being a Hermit = anti-social
Stop Neglecting Me = careless/slob
Think of Others = Ungrateful/Selfish

Note how the old phrases in the circles translate in a negative visual. Whereas the Positive Phrases on the post-it notes translate into actions.

As you sit and think about how you would like 2013 to be, Make a Plan and you will be that much closer to achieving your goals. If you have already made a Resolution list, at the very least make sure the phrases are positive ... i.e. Loose Weight - change to > Eat Healthier.

What fabulous Plans are you making for 2013?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012 ~ It's A Wrap

Around our home December is filled with many activities. Getting the Christmas decor out and up; my birthday; Christmas celebration visits and presents and reflecting on  the blessings we have received throughout the year.
While daddy surprised mommy with a new handbag; Dolce and Gabbana refused to be out done. They surprised mommy with a Christian Bernard watch. 

Christmas Eve we celebrate with Angel P's family and our extended family. Traditional home cooked Portuguese meal and lots of smiles and laughs, as the children get to open the gifts from Auntie C. and Uncle G.

Miss A. is growing up and is quickly becoming an elegant lady. Her first pearls, she was delighted and wanted to wear the new pearl set right away. She will also be busy enjoying her love of baking with  the new  waffle stick maker.

Young Master J. is all about dinosaurs and the two play sets will be entertaining him for hours. 

Miss M. is both niece and God daughter, and despite being 3 years younger than her sister, is becoming quite the little fashionista.  She was over the moon thrilled with her new Gucci belt, which will be sure to hold her pants up on her slim frame. Hello Kitty is a favourite ... but this fashionista loves her Teddy Bears.

There was no sleeping in Christmas morning ... we may not have children, but our furbabies are just as excited to see what Santa may have brought them. 
After being good little furbabies and not going under the tree or Pawing at the gifts under it for the past few weeks, they quickly claimed their spot as gifts were cleared away. Gabbana was a bit more interested in the ribbon than the Ralph Lauren sweater Santa brought her and Dolce didn't let his sweater wearing deter him from helping daddy open his gifts.

Mommy and daddy received beautiful gifts from the furbabies.

Christmas Day afternoon some friends stopped by for cocktails, tea/coffee and homemade (yes, the Kitchen Aide mixer and Wolf oven ovens were busy for a couple days leading up to Christmas Eve) treats of shortbread cookies, gingerbread cake, chocolate cake, lemon honey cake and red velvet cupcakes!

The best part of Christmas celebrations is sharing the joy of Christmas Eve with loved ones and listening to children talk about the gift God gave us so long ago ~ that keeps on giving to each of us. With my family be far away we were able to see them via FaceTime (a bonus of technology) and share a little bit of Christmas day with them.

By the end of Christmas day ... Dolce and his exhausted yawn, pretty much summed up how we were all feeling. Now we will enjoy a few days of rest, while waiting with anticipation for 2013 to arrive. 

What was your favourite part of Christmas this year?

Monday, December 24, 2012

From our Home to Yours ...

The Nutcracker ballet is one of my all time favourites; so, what better way to wish all the wonderful readers around the world (171 countries) of High Heeled Life a very Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season, than with a greeting from the talented cast of this year's Canadian National Ballet performers of The Nutcracker... click the video below for wishes in the various languages of the performers
Mr. G. surprised me with tickets for this year's The Nutcracker opening night at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. That the opening night was December 19th, on my birthday - was magical! The performance was breath taking and possibly one of the best I have attended over the years.

The video clip below gives you a peak backstage... I hope you enjoy.

Click card image to enlarge
I will be taking a break during Christmas and the holiday season to enjoy time with family and friends. Looking forward to catching up in the New Year...

Some posts you may have missed:

Joie de Viver ~ Affordable Luxuries

Birthday...Celebrate Yours!

Nutcracker Tea

High Heeled Life Wardrobe Organization

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Joie de Viver ~ Affordable Luxuries

original image google- image edits HHL
With Christmas less than a week away, I thought I would share with you some items that I have started to incorporate into my everyday life (and some that are on my wish list) that don't break the bank - but definitely add a luxurious feeling to everyday living.  These would be great gifts for anyone on your list or a little treat for yourself.

Laura Mercier ~Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath ~ The delicious scent of almond coconut milk and honey infuse the bath water, emitting a gentle fragrance, turning my bathroom into a relaxing and soothing luxurious oasis. After twenty minutes or so submerging my body in this heavenly liquid, my body is left feeling refreshed, nourished and silky smooth.

Crabtree & Evelyn~ Vanilla handwash ~ We were gifted this wonderful luxurious handwash by our friends from Vermont. Mon ami says it's all she uses in her bathrooms and since trying it, ~  it will be the signature handwash at chateau High Heeled Life too! even Mr. G. loves the vanilla scent it exudes.
On my Wish List ~
Cire Trudon ~ I recently discovered the world of Cire Trudon candles and to say I'm beyond excited is an understatement. These candles are known for the quality of their wax, which is made from rice, soy and copra (coconut kernal). It burns cleanly, doesn't drip, lasts a long time, is biodegradable and is particularly well suited to carrying pigment and scent. The glass containers used for the scented candles are hand made in Vinci, Italy.

G. Lalo Stationary ~ There are many luxury brands of writing stationary to choose from, but few have a history that dates back almost 400 years. I have started using G. Lalo Verge de France stationary and whether using a ball point pen or my fountain pen, both glide magically across the page with ease. Lavender and champagne are my choice colours in size 5 3/4 X 8 1/2 ~ perfect for short notes and letters.
On my wish List ~
"Versailles" Collection 
Originating in Paris in 1919, G. Lalo quickly rose to be 'de rigueur' for social stationery in Paris and in the royal courts across Europe with its handcrafted stationery. Two aspects of G. Lalo stationery contribute to its fame: the quality of its papers and the elegance of its presentation. A paper is selected and allowed to bear G. Lalo's exclusive watermark only after exacting examination of its texture, weight, finish and color.
Verge paper has the look and feel of handmade paper. It even has the grid of parallel translucent lines ("vergeures") made as the paper was laid to dry. These grids are very helpful as guides for handwriting. Verge paper was made by hand in huge vats, and today, G. Lalo makes the same paper according to traditional methods but with modern techniques.

On my Wish List ~
The Butterfly
Lampe Berger ~ To cleanse and fragrance the air in our home we use various scents from Lampe Berger depending on season and the rooms. Paris Chic is a favourite for spring and summer , throughout the main living areas. For the kitchen I love Almond Pear or Orange Cinnamon; when cooking a delicious meal So Neutral is a great option (especially when cooking fish dishes) - removes odors without adding fragrance. To freshen up the air in the bedrooms (most important when it's winter and windows are rarely open) Lavender fields is our choice.The first Lampe Berger lamp was created in 1898 by Maurice Berger, a pharmacy dispenser, to purify the air in hospital wards.

Hot Water Bottle ~ on cold winter nights who doesn't enjoy the warmth created by an old fashion tradition ... the hot water bottle? Instead of just having the plastic touch your feet ... why not up the comfy factor with a cashmere hot water bottle cover. These are from Restoration Hardware, but you can easily find them in most shops that carry the standard hot water bottle. I have seen them also in Alpaca , wool, faux fur, and velvet.


Sharing this post with:  A Return to Loveliness Tuesday ~  My Simple Country Life for The Country Homemaker Hop ;Katherine of Katherine’s Corner for Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop; Kathy of A Delightsome Life for Home and Garden Thursday;Sheri at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet HomeCourtney of French Country Cottage for Feather Your Nest Friday; At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday; Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday. ~  What Inspires Me Friday

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Birthday ... Celebrate YOURS!!!!

For many people birthdays are just another day, their only wish is for the day to pass quickly. For me they were an opportunity to gather friends together and celebrate (often celebrating from the 1st of December right through the holidays and a grand finale on New Year's Eve!), the good ol'days.
Those close to me know that the past 6 years have been very low key, with little to no interest in big celebrations and with only family. I have even contemplated no celebration/acknowledgement of the day - or moving the celebration date. But this year something is stirring, and I find myself looking forward to the 19th.

Could it be that there is something to a 7 year cycle? After all I'm entering the 7th year post accident. Whatever the catalyst to my improved positive attitude and out-look for my future, I'll take it!

Today I'm sharing the gift of what I have learned in these past couple years ...

Photo by the English National Ballet
(pointe shoes by master cobbler Christian Louboutin)
Flats and high heels can exist together.

Experiences (good and not so good) really are what write the book of the University of Life for each person. Depending on how you let each chapter affect you (1/2 full glass or 1/2 empty?), will set the tone for what comes next.

The Universe tries to be gentle in steering you along the journey of your life. If you are not listening it will make sure you listen... for me it came on October 28, 2006. And it's taken 6 plus years to start moving towards the right path. 

Changing one's shoes does change one's life! Each shoe I try is fitting better and better. I know the RIGHT shoe is only a shoe or two away.

What have you learned since your last birthday?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nutcracker Tea and Unexpected Guests

Welcome ... happy you were able to stop by and join me for tea. The day is quite overcast and the rain makes the outside feel quite damp. But we are toasty warm inside where I have set up a Nutcracker tea, to cheer things up on this rainy day.

It's hard to believe Christmas is just a week away. Though we have experienced some cold days, the temps have been above normal for this time of year - no snow in our area. as you can see from the breakfast area window ... the Christmas cabbages are vibrant with all the rain.

As I turned to retrieve a few things from the island ... I heard some stirring behind me... when I turned this is what I encountered... 
It seems for today's tea, a couple of unexpected guests have decided to join us...of course when they realized they were busted ... they thought if they froze still I would not notice. 

They quickly discovered there was no doggie treats to be had. Dolce was quick to make his escape. Miss Gabbana, decided to do the "If I don't see you , you don't see me" turn.

These lovely teacup trio sets came to me from my dear friend Nan author of The LBD Diaries blog. There is on stamp on the bottoms, so I don't know the manufacturer. The teacup does have a figure 8 like impression  on the bottom.

They look to have been hand painted and the gold detail is gorgeous. The edge of the plate, saucer and teacup have a scalloped detail and the design is slightly raised. The inside of the teacup also has been painted gold about half way down.

The photos do not show the full loveliness of this trio. There is a gold circle detail on the bottom of the inside of the teacup, as well as on saucer and plate.

The handle of the teacup has a slight thumb rest and is also detailed in gold.

To accompany our tea today, we have some treats I picked up at a French Patisserie in the city, ~ Patisserie La Cigogne (on Bayview Avenue). The madeline are delectable baked from scratch on-site and the soft nougat with exotic fruit are both perfect for a Nutcracker tea. 

If you really want a treat ... how about a little rose jam with your madeline. Mon Ami from Vermont introduced me to this delightful jam - it's from France and of course having been born and raised there ..she.has been enjoying rose jam with her morning baguette for years. I have not been able to find it here in Canada, but mon ami has a couple places in the USA, which she thoughtfully keeps me supplied from.

Thank you for visiting and taking tea with me today.

Sharing this post with:  Little red House for Mosaic Mondays ~Antiques and Teacups for Tuesday Cuppa Tea ~ Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea time Tuesday ~ Artful Affirmations and Martha's favorites for Teacup Tuesday  Table Top Tuesday ~  A Return to Loveliness Tuesday ~  between naps on the front porch Thursday My Simple Country Life for The Country Homemaker Hop ;Katherine of Katherine’s Corner for Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop; Kathy of A Delightsome Life for Home and Garden Thursday;Sheri at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet HomeCourtney of French Country Cottage for Feather Your Nest Friday;Alison of Stuff and Nonsense for Fridays UnfoldAt the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday; Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday. ~  What Inspires Me Friday

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