A hop over the pond: What to pack for 10 days in the UK

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Vacation Packing 101, or 102 if you consider this the upgrade from my trip this weekend (Cottage Trip)

Hot on the heels of a gorgeous cottage getaway (stay tuned for that), I am packing it up for a vacay to the UK. I’m going with my mum, while my lovely wife stays on the homefront. I managed to pack for 4 days of beach and countryside in a carryon (including all my pregnancy vitamins and meds), so this time, the challenge will be taking all those extras, for more than twice the time away, in a medium sized case and soft-sided carryon. I’m a classic over-packer.

The UK is the perfect not-too-hot, not-too-crowded, great healthcare in case of emergency destination for a pregnant gal on the go. So, as I lay out my look book for the days away, what is the inspiration?

Here you go! For all images, links and credits, check out my Pinterest page, Vacation Lookbook 

Dresses will the the staple of this trip, with some basic black pants (one flowy, one pair of skinny jeans) and two skirts thrown into the mix.

Some hats, a classic bag and comfortable shoes are also making the cut. Simple gold necklaces, a few good bracelets and my wedding ring will be the basics that come along.

Can’t wait to get wheels up… I’ll be posting as I go. Cheerio and see you on the other side!

Lula Lounge – Live Music and Festive Fringe

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I’m not the mini-dress, sexy heels type of going-out person. I like to be comfortable, above all else. But when you’re going out to see a live Salsa band at Lula Lounge, to be twirled around the floor by some polite, but persistent Latin man… you have to wear something special.

The music was perfect; the band was so slick and full of life.

Lula Lounge is a club that is friendly and welcoming to both the pros, who look straight out of a movie, and novice dancers. Early evening features a salsa lesson to get things rolling, then the band hits the stage.

It was the perfect night to bust out my new Zara midi dress with embroidery, a comfy t-shirt cut and 6 inch fringe on the hem and sleeves. Total coverage, comfort and swingy details. And yes, there was a Latin man, who delighted my friend and I by partnering us for an entire song, with impeccable leading skills and a gracious end to the song – disappearing into the crowd.

Get out in your city, experience live music, and don’t be shy about stepping out with style and a bit of coyness on the dance floor. 2712007800_6_1_1.jpg2712007800_1_1_1.jpg

Photo credit: Zara.com

What is your going out style?

Ring it in: 2018

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I love nostalgia. Capturing the moment. Journaling. This site has become sort of a living version of this. I was gifted a supremely awesome new book for 2018: it’s a 5 year journal with a small space for each day of the year, where you can add to each ‘same day’ for the next 5 years in a row. Five years stacked on top of each other with gilded pages; you can scan back and compare at a glance how you were doing on each day. I’m very excited to crack the spine.  Blogger, Danielle at verderamade.com just did a really lovely post about journals, methods and content; check it out!

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I started the Style Sa Vie site years ago to indulge my own creativity: I used to draw a picture of my outfit every day in high school, then technology came along and made it so much easier to bring that into sharp focus. Like choosing my clothes, I don’t write this for other people, that’s not why I started. But here, and on my other blog, where I chronicle my fertility journey with my wife, I get so much back from the kind emails, comments and encouragement of an online community. I sometimes wonder why I do this still. I’m not going to be an Alexa Chung or Aimee Song. But that was never the point. I have a life and a job that I love, and I have a hunch that I will like looking back at a snapshot of what life has been like, whether it’s the year in review, or a decade from now. Style Sa Vie is about the words: Style with a possessive adjective in front of Life. I want to own my life and curate it in a way that I find inspiring. A life of style. A style of living. Life that is mine.

In the spirit of hearkening back and looking ahead, a question: Do you believe in resolutions? For me this year will be about intention- being intentional. I want some guiding phrases, not edicts for a new year.

*Joy – be more joyful, rather than shredding joy with the tools of perfectionism, anxiety or guardedness. I am pretty comfortable with living and embracing vulnerability, but I can definitely get mired down, perseverating on things that just aren’t important. I’m going to Marie Kondo my attitude; does it spark joy? No? Then heave-ho!

*Let Go – This time of the physical stuff: of clutter, of things that no longer serve me. But also the metaphysical stuff: of the idea of perfect, or fears like ‘missing out,’ things taking too long to accomplish, or wondering what the next year will hold. Also, I’m getting rid of the self-judgement. I don’t judge the people I love; why do I do it to myself? I love me. But I should do it better.

*Start Now – this is the moment. Don’t wait for a ‘good time,’ or the ‘right’ time. If I see a repair in the house, go get the tools. If I think about a friend, call that person when it pops into your head. If I want something, what will I do to get it?

* Keep indulging and seeking new experiences. Don’t be complacent. If what I want is to savour a new taste and have another glass of wine. I will. If what I want is to get back to the Ballet Barre… I will do that, too. Also, Be creative. Remember how lucky I am. Celebrate my relationships. Take a deep breath. Don’t be frugal with your love and affection.

*Invest in people who invest in you. And invest in yourself!

*Create routines, but only if they help you reach these goals. I did 365 days of Outfits of the Day last year (which you can find in the style heading), so I can definitely do more mindful writing. Starting today: Journalling.

See you on the other side,

The Style Sa Vie

Gift List

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For you and for yours. Here are some sure-to-be-a-hit items that might fill the stocking or heart of your special people during the holidays.

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Better than Bedazzling – this Popsocket is functional and pretty. Never drop your phone again, and prop it up to watch something hands-free. Popsockets. 

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Eberjey Violeta Short PJ Set, $102.00, available at Eberjey.

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Bambüsi Bamboo Bathtub Caddy Tray , $27.99, available at Amazon.

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Start fresh with a set of Juniper Ridge Smudge Sticks

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Perfect slide slippers from Anthropologie.com

 

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Uncommon Goods grilling baskets

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Daily Gratitude for your Loved One – Daily Love from Studio Penny Lane. http://www.studiopennylane.org/product_p/mjglnotes.htm

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Moxi Moxi Leather Roller Skates,$299.00, available at Urban Outfitters.

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Junebug and Darlin Nasty Woman Cross Stitch Kit, $20.00, available at Wildfang.

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Stuff a stocking with this calming nighttime pillow spray from Thisworks. http://www.thisworks.com/deep-sleep-pillow-spray.html#sthash.dBYuHwaF.dpbs

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Tech-love marries Nostalgia: Get a portable Instax printer for their phone… or yours.

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Gift Boutique Splash Tunes speaker for in-shower listening. https://www.shopbop.com/splash-tunes-bluetooth-speaker-gift/vp/v=1/1555090551.htm?folderID=13568&fm=other-shopbysize-viewall&os=false&colorId=11784

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USDA Organic Castor Oil – for face, hair and for lush lashes. I’d love this perfect stocking stuffer.

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Amazon Vegan Bath Bombs Kit,$19.98, available at Amazon.

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Something for EVERYONE – H&M 2-Pack Smartphone Gloves,$9.99, available at H&M.

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For the life-long learner: a book that piques their interest.

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A themed tea tree: Thirsty For Tea 

Get personal-ized with some Anthropologie lettered items, but caution- if you are in Canada or outside the US, beward the duties, tax and handling fees!

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Monogram pouches from Anthropologie.com

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I get compliments every time I wear my letter A, so I purchased one for each of my favourite ladies. Anthropologie.com

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Monogram treasure box from Anthropologie.com

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Monogram trinket dish from Anthropologie.com

My personal favourite: a piece that fills a gap in their closet. I have been coveting an oversized plaid blazer. I love this idea so much that I added it to my own wishlist AND added one to my cart when I was finishing a purchase online (to qualify for free shipping). A little bird told me by the time Christmas rolls around, I’ll have two. I just cannot wait.

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The perfect layering piece: Zara has some amazing oversized plaid blazers! 

 

What are you hoping to gift or receive this season? Share your ideas in the comments! Who do you find hardest to shop for?

*featured image from: https://www.instagram.com/p/BOP7xAODVz3/

Festive Customer Complaints

Indulge, Open Letters

I love getting into the spirit of giving, whether it’s giving back to the community, taping a Mariah Carey inspired “All I Want For Christmas …. is youuuuuuuuu” carpool karaoke video (for students to giggle at their teachers playing at late night stunts, or planning and wrapping the beautiful surprises that I hope will light up the faces of my friends and family.

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Anthropologie Lamb Ornament

Unfortunately, in our well-connected, cyber world, the ease is sometimes accompanied by glitches. Case in point: one of my go-to stores, Anthropologie, is usually a place I hit up in person, but the selection of baubles online is far better. Due to some site problems, I ended up finding out part of my order would ship separately, which sucks as a Canadian, with border agents charging a tax per package, flat rate. So, I wrote to Anthro:

Hopefully, in the holiday spirit, I get a solution, or at least they consider this problem for others in the future.

Question:

What stores have the best customer service that keeps you coming back?

What local shops and artists, or causes, are you supporting?

What stores have policies around this time of year that make you reluctant to shop there?

For the rest of December I’ll be posting festive gift lists, wish lists, holiday fashion and featuring hand-made and one-of-a-king artisans whose products are worth the investment.

Hi there, I’ve been a longtime fan of Anthro. Instead of a wedding registry, we made an Anthropologie wishlist. Needless to say, I’m a fan. I was hoping to spread some cheer by shopping for friends this year at Anthropologie online, and filled my cart. Your shipping to Canada is often fraught with problems, like unpredictable taxes and duties, and shipping costs. I figured I’d bite the bullet and go ahead. This time, however, an item that the site said it was available wasn’t. As a result, part of my order is to ship separately. The problem: Canadian customs bills us $10.00 for EVERY order they process. So, Anthropolgie having an out-of-date stock list is going to cost me $10… twice. The remaining necklace that I want is $38.00 and will end up costing me 25% of the cost of the item just to have it ship on its own. This is such an unfair burden to pass on to the customer since there was no notice from you that the item wasn’t available when I placed my order. What can you do to fix this?

Happy holidays to those who celebrate ambiguously, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Hannukkah and wishing you a very Stylish, Merry and Bright season ahead!

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Anthropologie Penguin Ornaments

Yours Truly,  The Style Sa Vie

Charmed Aroma … A Less than Stellar Ring Reveal

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4cwdmBgrS2ugvudKNwf4_PineApple2.jpgFirst question: is there a crown in this picture? Second, have you heard the phrase: when you assume, you make an ass of u and me?

I was pretty psyched to have an adult gumball machine/Christmas cracker experience where I imagined that an overpriced candle might yield a shiny grownup sparkly bauble… I knew it could happen. The first time I ever saw one of these rings was when I, a woman who DOES NOT NOTICE blingy jewellery, saw it sparkling on the digit of an acquaintance. She explained its origin, then I promptly went home to order myself a fancy lady candle. But not just any candle; I carefully scanned the pictures to make sure I didn’t get one of the cheesy ‘heart’ or ‘bow’ … or ‘princess crown’-yielding ones. I knew I would wear a costume-y classic, but not (no offence if it’s your thing), definitely not a crown.

I faithfully burned my pineapple, patiently waiting for the little silver packet to emerge. What do you bet I got?

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And… I don’t even care that it was worth $150.

So, here’s my sad customer email:

Hi there,

I specifically ordered the Pineapple candle, because (based on the images on your website) it was one of the only candles that didn’t have ‘crown,’ ‘heart’ or other whimsically shaped ring, nor coloured stone items. However, the ring in my candle is a crown shape. I paid more for a pineapple-shaped candle, rather than the less expensive glass ones, and obviously I assumed that the content would be reflected in the images on your site. To be clear, I don’t care about the value of the ring; I would just never wear a crown ‘princess’ ring and, sadly, what I was hoping not to get is exactly what I received.

Is there a site for selling or exchanging rings that are unwanted?

I was so excited to post my ‘reveal video,’ which you encourage on your site… but unfortunately I don’t think my reaction is quite what Charmed Aroma is looking for. At minimum, I’d love to just request (to whoever does your marketing) that your images on the site accurately reflect what is IN the candle pictured beside the items. The surprise should be the value and design (of the options pictured), not a completely different style of ring than what is advertised.

Thank you for your consideration.

Pineapple bomb dropped.

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