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Inspiration for living a luxuriously and balanced life

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hot Summer Evenings in the City ... What I Wore - cotton and linen

The weather has been out of this world AMAZING this past week, in Toronto. Days have been sunshine filled with temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s (feeling much hotter on humid days). Evenings have remained hot; only cooling off in the early hours of  the morning just before the heat takes over again. On the odd evening a slight breeze has been welcomed, encouraging evening outings. The week-end was more of the same.

Having spent the day doing chores around the city house and various trips to Home Depot on Saturday, Mr. G. and I rewarded ourselves with dinner out. After a wonderful meal at Trattoria Nervosa the warmth of the evening called for a gelato stop at Zaza's and a stroll through Yorkville.

There is still a lot of construction taking place on Yorkville Avenue - but the finish looks close - and it's much easier to navigate your way from one side of the street to the other. The new cobblestone street is looking fabulous.

Thankfully the parkette is on Cumberland - the waterfall fountain, natural gardens, and ample places to sit (from table and chairs, sitting on the rock ledges or the big rock right beside the Cumberland subway exit) is perfect for walking off some extra calories or just extending an evening outing a little longer while enjoying this great weather!!

What I wore : blouse - Simply Errisistible : pants - Elie Tahari; wedge sandals - Stuart Weitzman  : accessories: watch - Cartier; pink bracelet - Galm&Tease; bead bracelet - Pandora Essence Collection; blue cuff bracelet, dangly blue earrings and silver & blue stone ring - finds at various Artisan markets; tote - Louis Viutton; handbag shoe decoration - gift from dear friend Mariette of Mariette's Back to Basics; eye glasses - Chanel

What has the weather been like where you live? Where do you like going in your city, to enjoy the warm summer evenings?

You are the curator of your life so make it luxurious,

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In Search of an Affordable Standard Pedicure ...

Am I the only one who is feeling "cheated" when it comes to her pedicure? A standard pedicure should consist of foot soaking, foot scrubbing with a pumice stone or foot file, nail clipping, nail shaping, cuticle care, foot and calf massage, moisturizer and nail polishing. The whole pampering, maintenance and evaluation of the health of your feet process should last around 50 -60 minutes (not including drying time). So why is it that I'm in and out of most Toronto nail salons within 30-45
image via google

minutes for BOTH a mani & pedi combo?

Nail Salons helped move mani/pedi from a special occasion or treat to mainstream regular maintenance.  They use to be a great alternative for getting regular professional manicures and pedicures at a fraction of the cost of a spa experience. Sure you didn't get some of the perks offered by spas such as: a glass of bubbly, cappuccino, tea, delectable goodies, a posh environment and good conversation - but you got your standard pedicure - you left feeling relaxed, somewhat pampered and with perfectly coiffed feet.

Well ladies it looks like things they are a changing! Like most major cities Toronto has an abundance of nail salons - but it seems they have become more interested in turning a buck than actually caring for your feet (and hands). They lured us in with $25-$35 mani/pedi combo "specials" in the beginning for a standard pedicure - getting us hooked. Once we were hooked, they started to slowly cut back. 

Since my accident giving myself a mani/pedi has become a challenge and I rely on the "professionals" to keep my feet and hands healthy and groomed. Over the past almost 9 years I have seen and experienced a huge decline in the service offered by these nail salons (and I can assure you in almost 9 years I've tried countless places). Here are some of my personal experiences: your feet barely soak before they are being plucked from the water and cuticles pushed back with no pre-softening cream used; and the scrubbing of your heals is as light as a feather - unless you say yes to the scrapper (which I would not recommend - if your feet require a blade go to your doctor or podiatrist); the hand and foot massage lasts all of 1-2 minutes if you are lucky to even get one aside from the motion of applying what you hope is body cream/oil; base coat is often omitted; some places try to give you the impression you are being pampered by using a hot towel to wrap your feet or hands (which is more often luke warm or cold); polish is applied while the nail technician is busy paying more attention to her colleague's conversation than your toes. While these experiences varied from nail salon to nail salon - the one thing that was consistent was " My name is (fill in the blank) - you tell them at cash". And while the service has gone down (and don't get me started on the lack of cleanliness) the average mani/pedi combo has risen to $35 - $45. 

These nail salons have become nothing more than mass-service. They want you in and out.  Whether out of need (like myself); habit or not wanting to be left out when your friends/colleagues are getting regular mani/pedi, you are lured in by the $35 - $45 mani/pedi combo. And within 30 - 40 minutes you are at the counter paying. You don't feel pampered, you certainly are not relaxed and know that you did not receive a proper standard pedicure. But "getting" a mani/pedi has become the norm and you can't possibly go against the norm?

Well for those of us, who for whatever reason have the need to utilize nail salons I'm happy to say there are still some gems out there: providing excellent service (a standard pedicure) that won't empty your wallet. I was pleasantly surprised to discover SheaCoco Beauty Lounge - after walking by numerous times I finally took a chance - and am happy I did.

I was pleasantly greeted and once seated I was offered magazines that were current!! And for convenience they even have a charging station for your technical devices. I love this charging station for various reasons - aside from the obvious of being able to charge your devices; it kinda of encourages you put your device on silence and sit back and enjoy your ME time.

All pedicure tubs at SheaCoco are made out of stainless steels and disinfected with ACCEL TB surface disinfectant spray after each use.
My nail technician was Kay ... very pleasant and friendly. After removing the polish , she actually looked my feet over. Every step was carried out with care and attention to detail.

All nail files, buffer blocks are single use - All foot buffers, callous removing tools are single use - All gloves, waxing spatulas,examination table paper cover are single use - All tools are stainless steel, one set per client and disinfected with ACCEL HLD5 chemosterilant and high level disinfectant instrument soak after each use 
And Kay is the only ONE to date (in 9 years) that has taken extra care to remove the callous that develops between my baby toe and the next toe on my right foot, without me having to point it out! (I kid you not). My feet received a massage during the salt scrub and a luxurious massage was completed on both feet and calf just prior to polish.
An hour and 10 minutes later (and only $49)... I had pretty well groomed feet and beautiful  manicured hands.
If you are in the Toronto area you will find SheaCoco at 9 Hazelton Ave. in Yorkville. You can check out their website here.

And I was still able to treat myself to a quick lunch at Nespresso !!! Gotta love that.

ACCESSORIES I WORE: white sandals: Lilly Pulitzer ; orange bracelet - Hermes; pink Mala bracelet - Glam & Tease ; tote to salon - Louis Vuitton ; green messenger bag  - Paris market find 2010

Benefits of a Pedicure...

Having nice groomed feet and polished toes is always a mood lifter. You can't help but smile when you slip your feet into an open pair of heels or sandals.

The foot massage helps to stimulate circulation in your feet. Like wise the calf massage helps to stimulate circulation in your legs. This stimulation helps with lymphatic and blood flow. Your body has lymph nodes all over which are the tiny factories that help process and clean the toxins from your lymphatic fluid (lymph) into the blood which then gets taken back through the veins to the heart to get cleaned. Lymph nodes are also known as glands which in our legs are situated behind our knees. leg massage can help the lymph to flow more easily up to the knees for better and more efficient drainage.  TIP: Drinking a glass of water after massage is also helpful as it helps to flush these toxins out of the body which then get expelled through your urine.

The removal of callouses from your feet can help prevent the formation of pressure points from uneven weight distribution. Removing dead skin and callouses leaves your feet looking great and feeling baby's bum soft.

Having your toenails trimmed by a professional can help prevent ingrown toenails, and we all know how painful ingrown toenails can be. Overgrown cuticles not only look messy they can become quite dry and the skin easily tears. 

Your nail technician should be able to recognize a skin or nail condition, disorder or infection while washing your feet. Then would be able to refer you to a doctor or podiatrist for the correct medical attention your feet or nails may require.

Where do you get your pedicure - spa or nail salon? 
Would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

You are the curator of your life so make it luxurious,

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Paris Find - Le Comptoir des Orchidées

Long time readers of HHL know that along with Peonies and Lilies I j'adore Orchids. Imagine my delight when walking out from our flat, and a quick right hand turn had me directly in front of an absolute charming orchid shop - Le Comptoir des Orchidées.
image courtesy
I was in Paris during Mother's Day (May 31st-2015) hence the potted roses.

The orchids had captured my attention ... but the sign beside the candles in the window peaked my curiosity - Mariette Antoinette candles!!! I'm fascinated with Marie Antoinette and her passion for life (both luxurious -Versailles and simplistic - her Petit Trianon) . Orchids, candles and reference to Versailles - was the perfect combination to take me from admiring from the outside to stepping in.

Once inside my senses quickly went into action:
my eyes taking in the beautiful selection of Orchids. Each one as equally gorgeous as the previous...

Image Courtesy
While my eyes were busy taking in the loveliness of the orchids my nostrils were busy taking in the beautiful fragrance that had welcomed me through the door... from the coveted Château de Versailles candles.

image courtesy
and this little feathery friend awaken my ears with its chatter... but oh so adorable!

I had the pleasure of speaking with Charles the Orchideiste and owner of the shop and learned he provides home maintenance, treatment and renewal services for orchids; along with landscaping design for terraces. Charles happened to be working on a design for a client and gave me a little peek ... It was absolutely divine!!! Unfortunately for me I do not have an apartment in Paris ... but if I did it would have a large terrace and I would have Charles landscape it - a girl can dream!!!

In my conversation with Charles, I also discovered that Le Comptoir des Orchidées is 1 of ONLY 3 shops that has been granted the prestigious honour to carry the Château de Versailles candles outside of Versailles. How serendipitous for me, that this shop was literally steps from the building where our flat was.  

Those of you who follow HHL on Instagram or Facebook 
may recall this little teaser "what could be in the bag"

Well it was my very own Château de Versailles candle. 

I chose the Marie-Antoinette

This candle is directly inspired by the world of Château de Versailles . The scented candle is handmade in the purest tradition of French candle-makers. Its spicy rose scent pays tribute to a queen in love with flowers. Cinnamon, lemon, cumin, and cloves mingle with hints of vanilla and sandalwood that are reminiscent of the fragrant ointments Queen Marie-Antoinette was fond of.  The glass bowl is made by master glass workers. The 320 gram (which I purchased) will burn for 70 hours - the 1,500 one 280 hours.

I was so excited to purchase my candle and taking note of tips for caring for my orchids at home, that I forgot to ask Charles if he also sold the candle bell snuffer. A glass dome not only protects the candle (and gives it a luxurious look) it also helps preserve its delicate fragrance. I now have the glass bell snuffer from Château de Versailles on my wish list!! in the mean time I'm making sure to place a cover over the glass candle holder after each use.

On my Wish list ...

image courtesy
If you love orchids and enjoy luxurious candles I highly recommend adding Le Comptoir des Orchidées to your must visit While In Paris shops list. Charles is a real gentleman and is happy to share tips on choosing and maintaining your orchids. If you do visit please tell him Celia from Toronto, Canada says  "Bonjour mon ami".

To learn more about Le Comptoir des Orchidées you can visit the website here; or follow their Facebook page here; or Twitter here

You are the curator of your life so make it luxurious,

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Subscribe to Celia M. Living My High Heeled Life by EmailThe scented “Palace of Versailles” candle is handmade in the purest tradition of French candle-makers. The glass bowl is made by master glassworkers.

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Paris Find - The Start of My Love Affair with Lipault ... & What I Wore

It all started on our FIRST day in Paris!! Ms. E and I were strolling around our neighbourhood in the Marais to familiarize ourselves with the area. When we stumbled across the newly opened Lipault boutique... looked innocent enough from the outside.

image via
But one step inside and your eyes dance from piece to piece in a symphony of colours.  And as much as the friendly sales man encouraged me to touch the luggage, open it, experience it ... I tried hard to resist - but one innocent touch and I knew as my fingers delicately ran over the exterior I had to learn more... and I knew it was going to be trouble!!!

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