shoespiration.

it’s another gloomy day- so what better way to cheer up then looking at pictures of amazing shoes.

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one of the major reasons that i live, breathe, and love fashion so much is that it is an art form. fashion is a product of a designers inspiration and vision- and in turn- the items they create can also become an inspiration to others. fashion can change your life.

here are some of the most inspirational and beautiful shoes that i wouldn’t be upset about owning.

stella mccartney valerie plexi wedges

stella

alice + olivia ursula capri glitter heel

alice

vivienne westwood clomper sandal in tea garden

vivienne

rick owens open toe chain wedges

rickowens

chrissie morris stasia sandal

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marc jacobs platform loafer

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kenzo wild sandal

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chloe susanna studded leather ankle boots

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christian louboutin pigalle spikes pumps

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saint laurent striped suede and metallic leather sandals

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gianvito rossi cutout leather ankle booties

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charlotte olympia hollywood platform sandals

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isabel marant the carol studded leather sandals

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nicholas kirkwood sculpted leather wedge pumps

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jeffrey campbell coltrane

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jeffrey campbell silverlake

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jeffrey campbell secret

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alaia cutout suede and metallic leather platform sandals

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brian atwood claudelle

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l.a.m.b noss

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alexander mcqueen suede skull open toe

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and these totally badass alexander mcqueen studded two-tone booties

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and now i need to go shoe shopping.

ox, katie

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expand your mind- it only costs 1 cent.

as soon as my friend told me his new years resolution was to read a book a week for the entire year (52 books in total) i was immediately in on the idea. i read a lot while traveling, commuting, etc. so i thought this was something i could definitely handle. i got a kobo ereader for christmas and everything! i was ready to go! quite frankly, i thought e-books would be cheaper then buying an actual hard-copy- turns out, i was wrong. they’re still basically the same price- and you don’t have something physical in your hand or to add to your library collection (i plan to have a full room library in my house one day!).

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so i started doing some research and remembered from my university days that you could buy used books on amazon.ca. well low and behold- you can get them for one penny!!! (and people say you can’t buy anything for a cent these days- wrong!).

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if you are okay with used books (i basically fold mine and tear them up while reading so i don’t mind), then you can pretty much find any book that hasn’t just come out, on amazon for 1 cent. you do have to pay shipping however, which is generally in the vicinity of $5 (you can often qualify for super saver shipping if you are ordering more than one)- and your total cost is still only about $6 total- the cheapest i’ve found any books.

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if you know me, you also know i love getting things in the mail- so this is a win-win situation. i find the books usually take about a week to ship to my house depending on where they are coming from- two weeks max.

if you’re not interested in ordering online, you can usually get 40% off books at the superstore or walmart. or if you are in the city there are quite a number of used books stores around- sometimes its hard to find exactly what you are looking for however.

here are some of the books i have recently ordered off amazon.ca and absolutely loved!

“One Day” by David Nicholls

200px-One_day_-_david_nicholls“Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn

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“The Doctor’s Wife” by Elizabeth Brundage

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each of the above books only cost me a penny and provided hours of entertainment. i know that you can also take books out from the library for free- but unfortunately i am one of those people who always forget to return them on time and end up paying ridiculous late fees. you could also try doing a swap and trading with friends if they are interested in reading as well! if anyone wants to borrow a book from me let me know!

reading is an excellent way to learn and get lost in a story. it’s definitely one of the ways i escape.

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ox, katie

it’s wednesday, and i want to shop.

it’s wednesday, and the week seems to be dragging on already. all i feel like doing is looking at beautiful clothes- so i’d thought i’d share some with you. here are a few of the items i am coveting this … Continue reading

makeup in the mail.

in my pre-teen/teen years i used to spend hours in front of the mirror perfecting make-up techniques and trying out new looks. i’d wake up hours before school started to ensure that my silver eyeshadow/white eyeliner combination was just right with my blue mascara. nowadays i have a pretty good routine- black eyeliner, mascara, bronzer- and i’m set!

makeup

yes, i do vary up my look when i go out- adding a little dramatic eyeshadow or a winged eyeliner, but sometimes i worry that my make-up is getting a bit boring. i am all for a fresh-faced looked, but i think it’s fun to experiment and try out different things at the same time. unfortunately, unlike shoes and clothes, i’m not overly knowledgable when it comes to make-up. yes i know how to do it- but i’m not great at knowing which brands are the best, and what the latest in beauty innovation is. luckily- a few years ago i stumbled upon something called luxe box by loose button– and lets just say it’s changed my make-up life!

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the mission of loose button is “to help consumers better discover, try and purchase quality beauty and lifestyle products through a unique experience”. essentially, you become a member, sign up for a plan, and receive a box of makeup/beauty products every three months. your luxe box is filled with 7-8 seasonal trial-sized beauty and lifestyle items that are picked by their beauty editors. members also get exclusive access to private events, product launches, as well as beauty tips and tutorials.

just to be clear, trial-sized is not the same as sample size. this is what i received in my last luxe box:

> blending sponge ($10 value): i seriously had no idea what the heck it was when i opened the box. but after reading the very informative booklet that comes with your box, explaining the products, i was very happy to find the sponge. i don’t actually wear a lot of foundation or powder- but when i do use it-well the sponge has made a huge difference! it’s smooth and applies very evenly! it looks like a little acorn- i think it’s cute!

sponge

> marni perfume (7mL bottle- $14.54 value): this new fragrance from marni is perfect for the spring. it is very fresh and has very subtle hints of warm spices. i’ve been using the perfume every day since i received my recent box (about two months ago) and i’ve still got quite a bit left. i would definitely consider purchasing this in a full size for every day wear.

marni

> lancome genifique youth activating concentrate (0.27oz, $25.67 value): i do pay a lot of attention to my skin and what kind of creams i use (i’ve been using anti-wrinkle serums since i was in my pre-teen years). i really like this concentrate from lancome. it is light and refreshing, leaving my skin feeling renewed and youthful.

lancome

> l’occitane shea butter hand cream (10ml, $2 value): i am really enjoying this hand cream. not only is it nourishing but it’s doesn’t leave oily traces that i find a lot of other hand creams/body lotions often do.

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> pandora’s eye’s mascara (full size, $19 value): for those of you who know me, know that i take my eyeliner and my mascara very seriously. i don’t often veer from my normal brands but i LOVE this mascara, it is truly amazing! the brush is slightly curved, and just applies so nicely. i’ve been applying two-three coats and it makes my lashes full, thick, and long, without causing any clumping!

mascara

 

> b.kamins lip balm (4ml, $20 value): for an avid lip chap wearer i have to say this balm is very good! it’s extremely moisturizing (lasting for hours) and does not feel at all greasy on your lips. i put it on in the morning and sometimes my lips are good until the afternoon!

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> kérastase’s bain chroma captive shampoo (250ml, $20 value): i haven’t actually tired out this shampoo yet (i’ve been sticking with my aveda damage repair products lately), but based on the reviews i have read- it seems pretty great. the shampoo is for colour-treated hair (which is great for me!) and is supposed to improve shine and colour for up to forty days, as well as reducing fade by 30-50%. i will have to give it a try once i finish my current bottle.

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i also received about four sample packs of redken’s colour extend shampoo and conditioner- something which i have tried in the past and really did like.

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as you can probably tell i was very happy with this luxe box delivery and am still using all of the products- there are definitely some i am going to invest in in the future.

as far as costs go, luxe box has a few membership plans.

>annual: $24 per season (so $24 per box) (making a commitment for the four boxes a year)
>semi-annual: $25 per season (making a commitment for two boxes a year)
>quarterly: $26 per season (purchasing one box at a time)

considering the value of my latest luxe box was $111 not including my shampoo/conditioner samples i think it was a pretty good deal.

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luxe box is a great way to try out and learn about new products. as i mentioned before, each box also comes with a little booket all about the products included. it also comes in adorable little box that is very much reusable. for me, it’s a great way to learn about make-up and beauty. and plus, i really love getting things in the mail!

ox, kt

coffee on the rocks.

i wouldn’t go as far as too say that i am addicted to coffee- but i do really, really like it. i usually have a couple of cups a day- in the morning to get me going and in the afternoon as a little pick-me-up. but come summer time- it is just too damn hot to drink a steaming cup of coffee sometimes! luckily many places now offer iced coffee- or coffee on the rocks as i like to refer to it.

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iced coffee is a delicious and cool jolt of caffeine on a hot summer day, a perfect alternative to it’s hot counterpart. however, what you may not realize is that iced coffee often comes with a lot more calories then a regular cup which is only zero if you aren’t adding creams and sugars. i did some research and found the calorie content of some of my fav iced coffee beverages.

tim hortons

small mocha iced coffee: 110 calories
small iced coffee made with cream: 110 calories
small iced coffee made with chocolate milk: 80 calories

starbucks

grande iced coffee with milk: 120 calories
grande iced coffee lightly sweetened: 90 calories

second cup

12oz iced coffee unsweetened, no milk: 20 calories

mcdonalds

small caramel iced coffee: 110 calories
small caramel iced latte with skim milk: 90 calories
small caramel iced coffee with 2% milk: 110 calories
small iced mocha with skim milk: 190

although it may not seem like many calories, for me for example, it’s a big jump from having a zero-five calorie hot coffee to having a iced coffee that’s 110 calories.

coffee-wine

like i’ve mentioned before, it’s very important to know what you are putting into your body- paying attention to nutrition guides, including calorie content, sugar and fat. as you can see the options i posted below are small sizes, and made with milk. the calories in frozen coffee drinks made with cream and more sugar almost triple in calories.

iced coffee is delicious, but just be careful about throwing away calories with these drinks. i have tried most of the drinks i listed above and i have to say that the mcdonalds iced coffee is by far my favourite! i just get it made with french vanilla instead of caramel- i highly recommend it!

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you also have the option of making your own iced coffee- i haven’t tried it myself, but do plan on it this summer! pinterest has a ton of recipes and many of them are “diet friendly”. here is one of the recipes i found:

>2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules (or how many you prefer)
>1 teaspoon of sugar (if you want/need it)
>3 tablespoons of warm water
>6 ounces of cold milk (you can use skim, 2%, chocolate milk- whatever you prefer)

you then simply combine the coffee, sugar and warm water in a concealed jar and combine until frothy and thoroughly mixed. pour this mixture into a glass full of ice and then pour the milk into the glass- adjusting to your liking.

i’ll definitely be trying that this weekend!

here are some links to other iced coffee recipes i found, that i think sound absolutely amazing!!!:

nutella iced coffee
spiced iced coffee
iced coffee chocolate chip popsicles
peppermint-vanilla-mocha iced coffee
light calorie iced coffee

enjoy!

ox, kt

p.s. here are links to more nutrition information

tim hortons nutrition

starbucks nutrition

second cup nutrition

mcdonalds nutrition

long hair don’t care.

for as long as i can remember i have always had long hair- until one moment i became completely insane and decided to chop it up to my chin- and i was so excited about it- but then this happened.

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although i was alright with my short bob for about a month or two, i started immediately regretting my decision. here i am below, sad about my short hair.

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although i had lots of reassurance from friends and family- i really wanted my long hair back. i couldn’t even put my hair into a pony tail- thus resulting in all kinds of awkward up-dos. it was time to start growing back my hair- thus beginning my hair growth journey.

now before i made the fatal mistake of cutting my hair, i would routinely visit my hairdresser every three months for a trim (which i had always been told to do to keep my hair healthy). although my hair was long at the time (and i was happier), it didn’t seem to get to the exact length i wanted it to be. as i got to the sometimes awkward shoulder length stage of my hair growth journey and was debating a trim i stumbled upon an article that really put it bluntly;  “stop cutting your hair”. essentially the article discussed the myths of the three-month trim- guess what!? it’s not necessary! frequent trims that are supposed to help with growing hair do not in fact make your hair grow faster. the hair expert suggested focusing on taking care of your hair so you don’t need to get any spilt ends (and length) trimmed away.

longhair

the average person’s hair grows about 1/4 inch a month. so if you are going to get your hair “trimmed” every three to four months and they take off an inch- well you do the math. you are never going to get anywhere. instead there are a number of things you can do to focus on keeping your hair healthy and happy- skipping your “trims” altogether and reaching your hair length goal. here are some great tips i found:

1. massage your mane: proper circulation is key to growing your hair out. get your blood flowing to promote proper circulation and get your hair growing! you can do this by using your fingertips in a circulation motion on your scalp once a day. exercising also helps with circulation- so your gym sessions are good for your hair as well!

2. eat right: what you put into your body directly affects your hair growth. focus on getting essential fatty acids like Omega-3, vitamins A, E, & B, including iron and zinc. these promote healthy skin and hair. these kinds of nutrients can often be found in foods like fish, nuts, and greens.

3. be dirty: it’s really okay to not wash your hair all of the time. shampoo will strip your hair of essential oils that it needs to grow. many experts suggest washing your hair three times max. i often alternate one day i wash my hair and wear it down, the next day i don’t wash and put it up.

4. try new styles: a lot of the time, people cut their hair because they are bored with the style. i suggest doing some research (pinterest has a ton of easy to do hairstyles) and coming up with some new styles that work for you. i regularly rotate my hair styles; one day i have a braid, the next it’s curly, the next it’s straight, then i may have a pony tail. this way  i am never bored.

5. treat it right: this is very important if you are going to focus on healthy hair and skipping your trims. instead of using a brush when you have wet hair make sure you are using a wide tooth comb to get out the knots. if you are using heat tools (i.e. hair straightener, curling iron) always make sure to use a heat protection spray beforehand. also try to avoid synthetic hair brushes and use natural ones instead as they work your hairs natural oils for all over moisture.

6. deep condition: this may be the most important to keep your hair healthy and avoid hair cuts. about two to three times a week i use a deep conditioner/treatment on my hair. my hairdresser suggested using aveda’s damage remedy treatment– and after only one month i have noticed a significant improvement. the treatment works to instantly repair hair, and certified organic. it’s about $26 for a 100ml bottle and after about 15 treatments i haven’t even used a quarter of the bottle.

it has now been about a year since i have cut my hair, and following the above steps, i don’t really need too. my hair is growing at an excellent rate and i haven’t lost any progress due to trims or cuts. here is my hair progress now:

hair

so bottom line- trimming and cutting your hair is not necessary! just focus on keeping your hair as healthy as possible and it’s be rapunzel-like before you know it!

longhairdontcare

ox, kt

choosing the right muffin for you.

i have to admit that i have a weakness for bakery items. this includes, and is not limited to; cakes, cupcakes, muffins, butter-tarts, donuts, timbits, cookies, scones, croissants, etc. (and now i’m drooling). being health-conscious, i try to keep an eye out on what i eat throughout the week; sticking to a rather strict routine. however, on friday’s, and on the weekends i do let myself indulge (with limitations) and one of the things i always look forward to is my friday morning muffin.

as i walk to my office in the king west area from union station i generally pass about 1800 starbucks, 400 tim hortons, and 250 second cups, not too mention all of the wonderful local cafes along the way as well (my favourite is wagamama!). the early morning smells of coffee brewing and baked goods baking makes my mouth water all of the time- but i am strong willed- and only give in on fridays.

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as a bit of a muffin connoisseur, i’d like to think i have tried most of what’s available. before i really began to think about what i was putting into my body i was eating things like double-chocolate-fudge muffins, blueberry-chocolate chip muffins, carrot muffins with cream cheese filling, etc. i think a friend of mine put it best when he said, eating a muffin is simply an excuse to eat cake in the mornings.

let me tell you- these morning treats are absolutely jam-packed with calories, fat, sugar, hidden behind their mouth-watering smells, and cute packaging. even though they appear small, you could be eating more calories than what’s in a big mac if you’re not careful.

but don’t fret! you should absolutely enjoy what you eat, and eat what you want- everything in moderation, including moderation. i have done my own research so i can enjoy my friday muffin without immense feelings of guilt and i am going to share it with you.

friday

here is a list of the some of the best and worst muffin choices (health wise):

starbucks

i’d stay away from the zucchini walnut muffin. although it sounds healthy (it has a vegetable in it!) it is a whopping 490 calories. both the bountiful blueberry muffin and the blueberry yogurt muffin with honey (350 and 320 calories) are much better options. the morning-glory muffin isn’t that bad either at 380 calories.

tim hortons 

i always thought that raisin bran muffins were a healthy option- it turns out this is not the case. a tim hortons raisin bran muffin is 410 calories (and it isn’t that big!). their blueberry muffin is the only muffin on the menu below 350 calories (340) besides the low fat options which are around 290 calories but taste like cardboard in my opinion.

second cup

unfortunately i could not seem to find second cup’s nutritional information on their website- so i hope the information i did find is accurate. their lemon cranberry muffin is 420 calories, where their zucchini & carrot muffin is only 320! their raisin bran muffin is only 340 calories which also isn’t as bad.

mcdonalds

surprisingly mcdonalds muffins are actually quite delicious. perhaps avoid the double chocolate muffin with oreo cookie crumble which is 450 calories (that really is just like cake). their carrot and blueberry muffins aren’t that great either at 430 and 410 calories. i’d try the cranberry orange muffin which is 360 calories and very filling (it’s my muffin choice for this week)!

as with everything it’s always important to think about what you are putting into your body- just remember there are always healthier options.

if i’ve scared you with my muffin calorie counting there are lots of other baked good items that are much fewer calories! try for example, a starbucks marshmellow dream bar (210 calories) or their double chocolate biscotti (150 calories). tim hortons plain tea biscut (240 calories) or even their chocolate glazed donut (260 calories). second cups banana bread (210 calories) or their apple & cinnamon breakfast cookie (280 calories). and then mcdonalds- well the ice cream is only 230 calories, but i’m not sure how you feel about that in the morning.

another option is to make your own muffins at home if you have the time. president’s choice blue menu offers muffin mixes that you simply add water too and bake which are only 150 calories each.

love muffins

like i said above, if you’ve been trying to eat healthier, just think about what you’re putting into your body. and although the cute little, mouth-watering muffins might not look like much, they often pack a calorie-ladden punch.

ox, kt

ps. here are the links for more nutritional information from each company

starbucks nutrition

tim hortons nutrition

second cup nutrition

mcdonalds nutrition

keep calm and blog on.

one of the strongest memories i have of the first house i grew up in was that i could write all over the walls in the basement. it started out with the alphabet, practicing my little letters and capitals. it soon evolved into writings all over the place. jump ahead a few more years and i could be found meticulously practicing my cursive letters, eventually moving on to sentences and stories. throughout elementary school i always loved coming up with and writing epic tales- thinking i was going to write the next great baby sitter’s club novel or goosebumps saga. in high school i could often be found doodling in notebooks and writing song lyrics all over my bedroom wall (i’m sure nigel just loved that)- this continued into university where, low and behold, i studied english literature. over the last few years, although an avid reader and literary lover, i feel that my writing slipped through the cracks and it became lost. thanks to a very encouraging boss and colleagues, i’ve decided it’s time to start writing again- and i might as well keep up with the times and do it digitally, via this blog.

as we were driving to our peacock parade warehouse yesterday afternoon, we found ourselves on a very familiar topic- food! we decided it was well worth our time to make a little trip to tim hortons and of course we started talking about what we wanted to get. being such a beautiful day, one of my bosses, nancy, decided she wanted an ice cap- but that she felt guilty because it’s made with 18% cream. luckily, being the calorie-counter that i am, i recommended to try it out with chocolate milk- much less fat, but same great taste. “geeze katie,” she said, “you know everything, you should totally start a blog!”. with encouraging shouts from everyone else in the car that i should “totally do it!”, and after counting my absolute certain readership of about five people (including my mom! hi mom!) i decided- why not!

last night i was thinking about it some more- and kandidly katie was born. with this blog i promise to be candid and truthful. i promise to share everything wonderful that i find (like if you make an ice cap with chocolate milk it’s way healthier for you and tastes even better in my opinion). i promise to share my happiness and delights. and to myself- i promise to write.

thanks for taking the time to read my first post- i’m looking forward to writing more!

blogon

ox, kt