Italian Sunday Meal: No Fuss Lasagna

Who are we kidding- when is lasagna, no fuss?

And then, yet…if you prepare some of it in advance, there’s hope!  For instance, your sauce need not be prepared the day of.  Prepare it up to a few days before.

Cheese?  Grate that mozzarella the night before (or better yet, buy the pre-grated in-a-bag-mozzarella).  Same goes for the actual pasta used; you can buy the oven-ready kind.  It’s just as good.  All I do is pass it under hot water and then place directly in pan over first layer of sauce. Easy peasy.

As for the beschamel…well, that one you gotta do on the spot.  Unless you can prep this too the night before?  Never tried it- but if you have, let me know.

Note: For Beschamel sauce: melt about 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour on low heat. Gradually pour in milk. Stir on low to med heat until thickens. Pour as much milk as needed until you get the right consistency.

Alternate layers between beschamel and sauce.

All that’s left to do is put it in the oven for about 45 minutes covered at 200 c. Then uncover for another 15 minutes of cooking. Et voila!  Serve with a side dish of cauliflower and another of coleslaw.  Simple!

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And there you have it:  No-fuss Lasagna.  Enjoy!

 

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Leave a Trail and Make your Mark: A word about Fragrance…

Don’t be a prey…Leave a trace of your scent…not for them to track you down; but for them to follow the leader -Lucy Bertoldi   (Did I just write that? I love it! Repeat this and Tag me!)  

Nothing can leave more of a lasting impression than a woman’s fragrance. Your signature fragrance is an extension of yourself- as much as the way you carry yourself the tone of your voice, the way you dress, the way you smile or stare.  So it’s important to get this right since you only get one chance to make a first (or lasting) impression.

IMG_1299_Facetune_23-03-2019-17-58-43( Me about to start to start my shift- ready to make a good impression lol!)

And when you find that one fragrance that works for you, you’ll notice how those around you will also love the way you smell and will also tell you they know it’s you just by the trace you leave.  Scent is a powerful thing.  It can bring back memories, transport you and even make you feel a certain way depending on the circumstance.  Choose your fragrance well.

Since I am also in the Fragrance world as part of my work, I often  hear women tell me they want to try something new because they can’t smell their fragrance anymore.  This is normal!  When a fragrance suits you, it becomes part of you.  Your subconscious registers it and it no longer needs to constantly recognise it!  Trust that what you loved still smells wonderful.  It’s only when you can actually smell it and you find the scent different and unpleasant that you should reconsider.

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But, as women, we are entitled to our choices (and to change our mind as we please) -so I know many of us like to try different perfumes and that’s ok! Since we do feel differently depending on seasons, times of our lives, hormones- name it.  Yet, I’m convinced that when you’ve found the One, you always somehow find your way back.  It’s a feeling.

Personally,  I have my One-go-to, and I stick to the brand but often change it up depending on the seasons or occasions- but they are all from the same Maison.  For those who know me, it’s no surprise that I’m a loyal Chanel girl.  I find it so much easier to switch it up within the line.  After all,  the compositions are based on similar notes and florals- so I’m naturally attracted.

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If you are on the hunt for your personal signature fragrance, try looking within the same line you already are accustomed to buying,  More often than not, you will be sure to find a fragrance that  varies while still remaining pleasurable and exciting to you.

What’s your favourite fragrance?  How do you switch it up?

#confessionoftheday: I often spray two different Chanel fragrances to create my very own personal signature. (Did you know you can do that with Chanel fragrances? Yes you can!)

Make Time for Besties…

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Having good friends is everything. Family comes first, but true friendship is a close runner up. This is true for every stage of our lives…but I think it’s especially important in midlife. Most of our baggage almost empty; we’ve got so much less of a load to carry.  At this stage we’ve pretty much eliminated the irrelevant and kept the most precious. Friendships have had many purposes in life. Most often related to: work, kids, neighbours, hobbies and interests, higher education, community…Let’s just say that more often than not, these relationships flourished for a particular time and period of our lives. And once these stages done, so was the friendship.

But then, there are those that stuck around through it all- or at least popped back in here and there- but never, ever disappeared. Those are the friends I’m talking about. The kind that may have been on break while we were busy making other ‘necessary’ or ‘timely’ friendships. The kind of friends that you could pick up the phone at any time for whatever reason. Recognise them? You know who they are. So that’s who I’m talking about.

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Now more than ever, these people add so much more to our lives. Now because, having peeled off our mandates and all the responsibilities that those entailed, we are clear and free for Part 2 of our lives. A much carefreer self, we come full circle and those friends are part of that. To laugh, share, care and confide as though not a day had passed. Doesn’t the mere thought of that bring a smile to your face?

Darlings, let’s enjoy these precious beings that we call soul sisters; besties, partners in crime- or whatever term of endearment you’d like to use. We need these girls now more than ever, if just to bring back the laughs or remember the tears. They’ve seen us at both our best and our worst- lived through tears and joys, and, seen us evolve.  They just love us infinitely for who we are. Time to celebrate this friendship- call your bestie now and set up a date (just like back in the day!)

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Good friends remind you of who you really are and where you started off. Good friends bring out the truest, most beautiful you. And you know what is so awesome about that? That’s the part you really love most about yourself too!

Make time for your true friends Darlings. It just makes life that much sweeter.

#Confessionoftheday: I’m not always so good at picking up the phone…Thank goodness for text and social media!

Oberstdorf- Beauty in the Bavarian Alps…

 

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Click Here to see this beautiful hotel: HOTEL MOHREN

Being a figure skating mom does have its perks…travelling! Apart from the jet-lag and all the stress that goes along with being a Mom/ Chaperone to an athlete, I really am thankful for the opportunity of visiting so many overseas places. Our last trip was to Oberstdorf, Germany. We stayed at Hotel Mohren. Right in the middle of the town. The view was unbelievable- and the fresh crisp air made me feel so healthy. Bavarian Alps at best! This ski town, bustling with families, athletes from all over the world and the locals…perfect mix!

Besides being picturesque, quaint, but happening, Oberstdorf’s streets are lined with athletic shops, fashion boutiques, handcraft and souvenir hubs, cafes and upbeat restos and fine dining as well. The traditional look of Oberstdorf makes it sweetly appealing; especially when mixed with modern facilities to render your stay ever so comfortable. It still has the old European feel with traditional breweries, yodeling and all!

Being from Montreal, I can ‘somewhat’ compare it to Mont Tremblant…mostly because of its touristic feel. Oberstdorf has more streets, more restos, more shops and definitely more history. I enjoyed the food and of course dove into the schnitzel, as it’s traditional. It really was delicious.But these cabbage rolls though!

We did go to a cafe on our last night. But what really impressed me were the cafes along the streets. Everyone sips their coffee and dessert on outdoor terraces…uhm, it’s winter? No matter! People watching is all the rage, and why not sip your latte outdoors!

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And with me, some things never change…I was on a relentless lookout for fashion. I have to admit they have some pretty chic haute couture boutiques- but the athletic wear shops rule. So ski wear apparel was obviously de rigueur here…but I have to tell you- you know the typical Heidi mountain sweater look? Well, there’s still a lot of that too. Knitted sweaters, hats, mitts and more are still the rage here. And I was amazed to also find a shop that sells traditional Bavarian costumes!

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Oh and since it’s almost Valentine’s…chocolate and candy fest is alive and well here in Oberstdorf!

 

 

So with the excuse of going to a competition…I had myself a really good time in Oberstdorf Germany!  Good times with my beautiful youngest daughter…

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Hope to see you again, my lovely…Auf wiedersehen!

 

#confessionoftheday: those hourly churchbells still chiming in my ears- seriously though.

Part 2 of Your Life… Are You an Empty Nester?

Middleage Divas…Welcome to Part 2 of your life. This is what I call the part of life where almost all the kids have grown and have either moved out for school, or to be on their own, or for marriage…

I’m not quite the empty nester yet; my eldest daughters got married last year but since I still have 3 kids at home, the next two are seemingly very close to leaving the nest. So, the exiting part I’m kinda getting used to, or rather expecting. And perhaps I’m not quite phased about this because I never really imagined my husband and I ever being on our own.

With 5 children, there’s always been a full house. And, the fact that we had our last at 40, I simply never even thought about living in an ‘empty’ house. It often feels like that little one will be with us forever. So, my darlings, the real thing I never even thought about or imagined was…being an empty nester.

Where has time flown? My youngest is still only 17. And by the time she moves out, I’ll probably be at the grandma stage from at least one of my four other children. But this one is my baby. So this is what is drumming on my mind and soul- when she leaves the house one day- that will truly be the end of this act for me.

Did I think she would be a baby forever? Yes I did. Of course she’s not leaving anytime soon- but still, I don’t think I’ll ever be prepared. This one has been around for my better part of my parenting years. I love all my children equally, yet sometimes I feel I was granted a second chance to do things a bit different. With my first four – all were very close in age, and I was much younger myself. Life was more hectic and what I did for one, I did for all. With my last, she had the stage pretty much to herself. Maybe she had it a bit easier and better- Not that she would agree of course…when you’re 17 you don’t realize any of this. So right now I feel quite grateful that I still have a few more years of this fantastic time. But I know it won’t be for long…

It’s all bittersweet and part of life. So as I realize this, I find it all the more important that women over 50 find something meaningful to call their own. Personally I don’t believe I’ll ever find anything more important than the raising of my kids; the citizens of tomorrow’s world. And yet! Maybe this is the time to rethink our paths. All that devotion and care taking took first place and consequently, many of our personal passions we learned to simply forget or closet away somewhere.

Today, I do feel wiser, more assertive, more spiritual, more carefree and more accepting of myself. I like to believe that all those years of mothering paved the way for this. This is the new me. Darlings, there’s so much we put on the back-burner (because of love and devotion!)- And now we get a second chance! So let’s get out there and live our dreams – big or small- the time is right! And that’s the best part…TIME- we finally have some! So, take up a course, catch up on your reading, make art, travel, start up a business, volunteer, exercise, become a chef- the sky’s the limit!

And, dear Darlings, if like me, you still have a young one at a home, then all the more reason for getting a start in planning ahead. Hopefully, by being prepared, when we hug and kiss her as we send her off one day, that dreadful lump we fear so much will be that much easier to swallow. It might just help make things seem a little less empty. We can do this. Let nothing or no one stop you. Remember: If God is for us, who can be against us? Rom.8:31

#confessionoftheday: letting go is the hardest part for my mommy heart

 

Are you an Empty Nester yet? If not…are you prepared?

Over 50? Dressing Up For Winter Goes For Your Skin Too..

So you’re bundling up for the cold. Mitts, hat and scarf, heavy coat, boots- all set…but what about your skin? Are you preparing your gorgeous face for our cold winters? Moisturizing and prepping is most important at any age but even more so in your 50’s and up. By middle age our skin loses it’s souplesse, hydration and resistance to harsh temperatures, the sun and pollution. Time to protect my Darlings!

Because you’ve asked- I deliver! Here’s my skincare regimen that I am completely devoted to:

Mornings:

1-Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Cleansing Foam. This adds such radiance to my skin.

2-La Lotion by Supreme- Sublimage by Chanel. Restores my Ph balance and honestly feels like a gentle layer of pre-hydration.

3-Shiseido Ultimume Power Infusing Concentrate. This one I cannot live without. It’s a pre-serum that prepares my skin to literally soak up the following serums and creams I apply. It seems to activate them to work even more effectively.

4- Le Lift Firming- Anti-Wrinkle Serum. Because I am a firm believer of the technology and research behind this product. I see the firmness results and I love it. (Shiseido’s Future Solution X is also a contender- although I’ve only used a sample and loved it!! But at 200$ more than Le Lift…they’ll have to really convince me it’s that much better than Chanel’s).

5- Hydrabeauty Serum by Chanel. Because I need that extra layer of penetrating hydration! Keeping me moist and dewy all day long.

6- Finally my moisturizer: I ALTERNATE between Sublimage La Creme / Le Lift Smoothing and Firming Rich cream/ or Shiseido Bio Performance Liftdynamic Cream. But, truth be told, Sublimage is the ultimate in moisturizing for me. It works on all areas needed. I love the feel and the way makeup applies so well after this cream.

Le Lift is my go to when I need that extra targeted pick-me-up in terms of firmness and wrinkle control.

And Shiseido’s Bio Performance is so rich that this one is a total indulgence for me when I want another layer of luscious creamy protection.

For my eyes:

1- Shiseido Ultimume Power Infusing Eye Concentrate

2- Sublimage La Creme Yeux

AND, just before applying my makeup: Sunscreen of course! I can easily become a creature of habit…and that’s what’s happened with this sunscreen- been using it forever!! Clinique!

Nighttime Routine:

1-Bioderma eau micellaire– To remove my makeup (French Divas swear by this- and so do I!)

2-La Mousse Crème Nettoyante, Chanel; A deliciously foamy yet gentle face wash.

Then I proceed with Step 2 and 3 of my morning routine

3- And now for my Favourite Serum in the world: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair.

4- Shiseido’s Benefiance Wrinkle Resist24 Night Emulsion. I love the feel of this moisturizer/ Lotion!!

Eyes:

Again: Sublimage Creme Yeux

I also dabble with other sample creams and I love masks as well. But the only mask I truly adore- and will indulge in about once a week (maybe more in the winter): Sublimage Masque.. It just feels like an extra loaded moisturizer. I sleep with it and feel gorgeous in the morning.

This may sound extensive, but it actually only takes me about 10 to 15 min at MOST. And with another 10 min of makeup…I’m done! What’s that L’Oreal commercial…Because I’m worth it!

What is your Skincare routine?  

#Confessionoftheday: Boy am I thankful$$$$ I work in the beauty industry and that my youngest works for Pharmaprix!!

The Unfashionable Side of Christmas…

Has the Christmas hustle and bustle caught up with you yet- or are you ready and as cool as can be? I think that organisation is key, that’s for sure. But more than that, is to have a serene and organised state of mind.  To be at peace that “all is well”.

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For years I’ve always regretted missing out on the true spirit and fun of Christmas due to over-fussing and detailing everything…it kinda took the whole joy out of the season. In fact, it came to be that right about November my anxiety level would go up. I stressed right up to Christmas Eve. And then, like every other year before that, by Christmas morning I felt a huge sense of relief and that’s when I started enjoying myself. I didn’t like this pattern. AT ALL.

Why did it have to be that way? I mean with so many Christmas parties, get-togethers and festivities around me-all fun stuff-so, why the anxiety? It all boiled down to preparations and the fear of forgetting something or just not getting it all done on time. And after all had passed I regretted the fact that I had missed out on so much due to all of the anxiety.

Well since then, I’ve changed a few things. My way of shopping has been reduced and narrowed down to Black Friday week. I’ve swallowed the pill that if I’m gonna be amongst a hectic crowd to shop, it may as well be way before Christmas- and done!

As far as food preparations go; My list is done a couple of weeks ahead and one week prior, the groceries get done. I start cooking a few side dishes 2 days before up until the very day. And my table is also set a few days before. Done. Ahhh! All this spread out organisation helps me breathe and gives me time to enjoy the Christmas season and what it’s really about.

Through better organisation, I’ve understood that Christmas is not about giving in the whole material kind of way. I’ve known this forever I think…but when have I really given it much thought? Giving means giving of oneself- and that my darlings means to offer your time and love to those you care about. Taking that extra time to sit and talk, to celebrate and yes, give thanks.

Had I forgotten the real reason why my family and I celebrate this time of year? It’s a special festivity that was given to me by my faith. Yes, that’s a very unfashionable thing to say these days- but it’s just the way it is. I didn’t write history… Christmas was given to us through the birth of Jesus. It’s because of Him and through Him that all this began. So why all the anxiety?

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Because honestly, we slowly shut out our faith by giving it less and less time. It just all became about “stuff” and more “stuff”. Don’t get me wrong! I love the glitz and glamour that all the festivities bring. And I’ll be the first to try to set a top notch dinner table and dress up the house (and let’s not forget my wardrobe for this time of year darlings!). But, all that is but a side note to the real deal.

I’ve grown of the mindset and heart that I’m doing it in someone’s honour; while I help keep tradition alive. I’m preparing a big hearty feast fit for a King, for my family and I, to celebrate Christ’s birthday. After all that He’s given us- this is the least I can do! This has given it such a deeper meaning for me. With this comes the realisation of the importance to keep my family rooted to our faith. I’m pretty sure all this has to do with the fact that I am getting older- and that one day soon I hope to have grandchildren. And with that, I believe it is my duty to teach them about our faith and traditions. Otherwise, what is the point to Christmas?

If there is no deeper meaning to Christmas; just non-stop spending…who are we doing it for? Just to make the economy roll? I doubt this is the key to happiness and fulfilment- and the spirit of love and giving for that matter. (Just look at people’s faces and attitude next time you’re in a mall during the holiday season). No, I’ve decided that for my life, it’s gonna be different.

Organisation early on is key if you want to make time for volunteering, maybe going to a Christmas concert, or choir, and Church Services…certainly beneficial is some breathing time to pray and give thanks (call it meditating if you want!). Personally I’m really looking forward to visiting and receiving…And of course- precious time with the famiglia! It may not be the way for you- but for me, this is what I choose. I’m content and fulfilled with keeping my faith first especially during this time of year.

On that note my darlings, I pray you keep the faith and have yourself a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays- hoping yours are filled with much love, health and joy!

Oh! And of course, once you’ve made time for the real deep down important stuff, please do take the time to be ever so fashionable during this Merry time!

Blessings!

#confessionoftheday: so what if some of the laundry stays bunched up in the dryer for awhile…at least it’s out of sight.

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November’s Fashion Review: What Lucy Wore

November is gone! This year, October’s gloomy sister was a cold creepy nag wouldn’t you say?

I personally believe that November is the perfect month to break up the gloomies with a quick getaway. Somewhere that makes you feel like summer wasn’t too far gone; while the holidays are on their way…Welcome American Black Friday! A shopping girl’s ‘almost’ favourite time of year. Doesn’t make November seem so dreary after all!

This November I enjoyed quite a few favourite outfits. Blacks win my heart- that’s just the way it is. So this short cape over a grey turtleneck and tights seemed just right. Most of these pieces are from Le Chateau. Le Chateau offers great style at affordable prices- you never can miss.

Still in black mode- I love to take it up a notch with a bit of a retro look. This outfit was so practical and comfy. H & M short knit skirt; Guess wool sweater, Roberto Cavalli handbag, Givenchy sunglasses; Le Chateau boots.

It was also time to take out my reversible leopard print coat. Animal print makes me feel so glamorous.

I just have to tell you about my new tights obsession!! Have you heard of From Rachel? She is a Quebec designer who makes the most original tights. They are so stylish!! I bought several pairs with different motifs. Here I’m wearing them with my knit green sweater dress from Le Chateau (have you noticed how much I like shopping there?).

Red mood…as I was psyching myself up for the holidays soon approaching. Love these Cowboy boots that I’ve had a few years now. Such a conversation piece!

All geared up for work in black (the only color I’m actually allowed to wear – I’m almost thankful for that!). Totally in my element;) Marciano dress, and From Rachel tights (dressy ones!).

And then it was off to Florida! My November fashion turned into a Summovember mood! Jeans and loose blouses were favourites.

My Trussardi shorts and a pair of ruffled pants by Lucca Couture, that I got at the Black Friday sales, became my go-to’s.I also brought along a short white leather jacket, by Guess- perfect with almost all my outfits.

I could not live without my Mathilde handbag! From the plane, to shopping, to out for dinner- I wore this bag everywhere. In its gorgeous camel beige color; it just fit right in, always! Both my Gucci belt and my vintage Nina Ricci; worn all the time.

Back home- back to black! I love these leopard print booties by Charles David!! I got them for a steal at Saks Off while in Florida.

Last day of November, for a Blogittogether Event here in Montreal, I wore my Miu Miu skirt with boat top and Fiorucci top (and my can’t-live-without Gucci belt of course!) I was tanned enough and the weather mild enough that I wore my over the knee platform boots without tights (Montreal weather!)- but hey…it wasn’t quite December yet!

#confessionoftheday: I could not hold back on that American Black Friday…boots, boots, and- more boots. Le sigh.

Ready for December?  Stay tuned!

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