Sunny Summer Essentials

Celine Pretty Sunnies

Summer is slowly teasing us with bouts of warm weather sprinkled in between colder days. And that’s enough for me to start getting my summer essentials ready for when the season makes its debut. This summer, I’ve decided that instead of focusing on clothing, I would invest in accessories that would add a personalized touch to my style. I’ve always believed in quality over quantity, especially when it comes to fashion. Sure you can get an inexpensive dress or jeans, but the best way to elevate your style is through accessories like a great pair of sunglasses, jewelry and a signature fragrance.

Celine Pretty Sunnies - Chloe Love Story - Jennifer Zeuner rose gold necklace

Perhaps my favourite addition to the accessories closet (just kidding, there is no accessories closet) are these exquisite sunnies by Celine. The big, round tortoise shell frames are so classic, yet the shape offers that little something extra that makes them unique. I couldn’t be more in love! And here’s a tip – if you are looking to get a beautiful pair of sunnies, I highly recommend you check out SmartBuySunglasses. You’ll find exactly what you need and even save a bit of money. Plus their shipping is super fast!

  Chloe Love Story - Jennifer Zeuner rose gold necklace

I’ve been having a love affair with Chloé fragrances for years. I’ve been wearing Love Story by Chloé for the past few months and it’s sure to follow me into the summer. The fresh floral scent includes notes of orange flower, jasmine and cedarwood that exudes femininity and sophistication. I’m also a sucker for the sleek bottle.

Celine Pretty Sunnies - Jennifer Zeuner rose gold necklace

This wouldn’t be a list of essentials without a good piece of jewelry. I’ve been obsessed with this necklace by Jennifer Zeuner. It’s a beautiful rose gold pendant adorned with a single diamond that hangs on a long rose gold chain. It’s the perfect amount of simplicity and edginess that adds the right touch of shine to pretty much any outfit.

Celine Pretty Sunnies - Chloe Love Story - Jennifer Zeuner rose gold necklace

What’s on your list of summer essentials?

Disclaimer: Although some products were provided to me for consideration, all opinions expressed are my own and 100% honest.

[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad with Creamy Dressing

 Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad with Creamy Dressing

So I know that Brussels sprouts are usually a fall thing, but when prepared the right way, who says you can’t enjoy them all year? Now I know that these little green cabbages are on many people’s Do Not Eat list, but I feel that they’ve gotten a bad wrap over the years, scarred by their past of being over boiled. It’s time to turn the page and give these little green babies another try! Not only are they oh so good for you (they contain amazing amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C and B vitamins), they also contain anticancer properties. And turns out that all you need to turn these little babies from boring to beautiful is the right recipe.

If you are a hater of Brussels sprouts, then this salad is the perfect way to introduce you to the yummier side of green vegetable. The sprouts are shredded to give it the same consistency as a cole slaw (and who doesn’t like cole slaw). Then you have the sweetness of pomegranates arils, the crunch of chopped almonds, the savouriness of parmesan cheese and the creaminess of the dressing. And for all of you who are still skeptical, there’s also crispy prosciutto which we all know makes everything better. Throw it all together for your next outdoor BBQ and don’t tell anyone it’s Brussels sprouts. With all the yummy flavours, they probably won’t even notice it’s healthy!

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad with Creamy Dressing

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad with Creamy Dressing

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad with Creamy Dressing
Inspired by Pinch of Yum
Serves 6

30-40 Brussels sprouts
6 slices of prosciutto
1 cup pomegranate arils
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 shallot, finely chopped
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

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1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the prosciutto slices on the baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto is golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Crumble and set aside.

2. Using a mandolin, shred the Brussels sprouts, breaking the slices apart and fluffing them up.

3. In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts, prosciutto, pomegranate, almonds and Parmesan together.

4. In a small bowl, combine the shallot, orange juice, lemon juice, sea salt, honey, Greek yogurt and olive oil.

5. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss together and enjoy!

*To keep this recipe in the fridge longer, simply add a little dressing when you are ready to serve.

[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]

White hot

White denim jeans

It’s not even summer yet and I’m already rocking the white jeans. Because, correct me if I’m wrong, but the rule about not wearing white before Victoria Day (or Memorial Day if you live in the US) is meant to be broken, right?! Of course, it is! White jeans are one of the most versatile pieces I have in my wardrobe. There’s no other piece that can be styled up with a great pair of heels or dressed down for a casual yet polished look like a good pair of white jeans. If you haven’t adopted white denim yet, don’t be intimidated. It’s as easy as swapping your favourite blues for a white hot pair of jeans. Just take a look and see what I mean.

 White denim jeans

White denim jeans

White denim jeans

White denim jeans

White denim jeans

White denim jeans

White denim jeans

White denim jeans

[Photo inspiration via Pinterest]

5 ways to love yourself and make your day happier

Self love

Lately, I’ve been going through a time of self-reflection and rediscovery. Though times fell upon me after I came back from vacation, and although I don’t want to go into too much details just yet, these past few weeks have been some of the most difficult moments of my life. But it’s also been very enlightening. I’ve discovered things about myself that I just never realized. I’ve always been very hard on myself whether it’s in my personal life or my professional one, and often took people’s criticism personally. Soon I realized how self-criticism can quickly turn into self-hate. In a time when the world seems to lack love, isn’t it better to help spread a little more of it? Starting with yourself. Here are a few ways that you can begin to love yourself more and, in turn, love others.

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Be kind to yourself. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes. Accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. There have been moments in my life when others have made me feel inadequate. One thing that I learned is that if you can’t deliver criticism in a constructive way, then you are not in a position to say anything. Instead, silence the noise that comes with harsh judgments and comparisons to others and focus on the positive. What are your qualities and your strengths? What do you most admire in yourself? When you focus on the beautiful person that you are, all the other bullshit just doesn’t hold up.

Be grateful. For the past few months, I’ve been writing in my Five Minute Journal almost every morning and it’s truly transformed the way I see my life. Where I would usually think of all the things I don’t have in my life and let it bring me down, I now see all the things I do have in my life, and how lucky I am to have them. The more grateful you are, the more life gives you.

Stop being sorry. Oh sorry! I’m sorry! So sorry! Ever noticed how many times you say “I’m sorry” in a day? We say it over the most random things, but why? Sometimes saying sorry doesn’t even apply to the situation, but we still say it. Instead, replace “I’m sorry” with “Thank you!”. Someone gives you a compliment, don’t excuse it, just say thank you. A random stranger holds the door open for you as they walked through, say thank you. Say thank you as many times in the day as you can. It’s a small gesture that shows your gratitude and makes other people feel good.

Love your body. Most of us look in the mirror and see a list of things we want to change about our bodies. Yes, you may want to lose 5 pounds (or 10), maybe you want to gain weight, or maybe you just want to be a little stronger. Whatever your fitness goals, you will never achieve them unless you love yourself now. Love every part of your body and treat it like a temple. Feed it the nutrition it needs to function properly and do activities you enjoy and that make you feel good.

Do what makes you happy. We have a tendency to want to make others happy. While there’s nothing wrong with that, putting aside your wants to take care of someone else’s often takes away from your authentic self, drains your energy and deprives you of taking care of ourselves. If you want to do something, then do it! And understand that the things that you want and feel are completely valid. You don’t have to change to make someone else happy. And if someone disapproves of your choice, it’s ok. Usually, the disappointment someone feels when you say no is more about their own feelings and wants than your self-worth. Doing what you want is not selfish, it’s self-love.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Peanut butter banana bread

What is it about banana bread that is so damn comforting? From the moment I begin tossing my ingredients together and mixing the batter, a sense of calm comes over me and makes me feel happy. Then there’s the sweet aromas drifting out of the oven as the loaf slowly rises. It’s a moment of pure bliss. The past few months have been nothing less than a challenge for me both emotionally and, inevitably, physically, so I’ve been looking for ways to ease my anxiety and give me a moment of happiness. Being in the kitchen does just that. With everything going on, I’ve been searching for comfort, and this time it came in the form of this fluffy banana bread.

Peanut butter banana bread

The addition of the Greek yogurt makes each slice soft and moist, while the peanut butter gives it an extra boost of nutty goodness that cuts through the sweetness to give it a well-rounded flavour. I also decided to use Truvia Bakind Blend, which is a blend of sugar and stevia. It’s a great way to cut down on the amount of sugar without altering the taste. If you’ve haven’t given it a try, I highly recommend you do. I decided to top it with dark chocolate chips for a little extra indulgence, but adding chopped walnuts, unsweetened coconut flakes or even a few banana slices are other ways to personalize it.

What do you like to top your banana bread with?

Peanut butter banana bread

Peanut butter banana bread

Peanut butter banana bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Truvia Baking Blend
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Earth Balance
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups roughly mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

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1. Start by preheating your oven to 350°. Then spray a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (I love the Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil spray #justsaying).

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, add the Earth Balance and peanut butter and microwave for about 20 seconds to soften.

3. In a larger bowl,  add the Earth Balance/peanut butter mixture, then add the Truvia and the brown sugar and combine with a hand-held mixer on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana, yogurt and vanilla, and beat until well blended.

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture in batches, mixing on low speed until all ingredients are properly combined.

5. Spoon mixture into the prepared loaf pan and top with a few dark chocolate chips (or you can add whatever toppings you like).

6. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a baking tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Bon appétit!

[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]