Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Monday, friends! Here's a bit of eye candy for your week, from things I've been loving to just straight up pretty stuff. 

all images via tumblr.

Which is your favorite? What's keeping you inspired during this mad, busy season? :)



Friday, November 27, 2015

I'm not the sort of person to even try to be healthy on Thanksgiving. Of course, I don't approve of gorging either - I've never understood the appeal there - but whether you're trying to avoid that glorious leftover cranberry bread unsuccessfully or have had a thick slice already for breakfast before your shopping/decorating, there's a very little chance you're feeling slim and fighting-fit right now. (If you are, we're all a bit jealous...but we're also happier. ;)

We've done the rounds with the green juice on here before (check out previous recipes here and here), a thick and creamy version and the classic detox one. This time, I wanted to make a holiday-inspired version. I figure if its pretty, and a little bit Christmassy, then we'll all be a lot more likely to try it. Right? ;)

1 clementine, 1/2 of the peel included (other half can be used for garnish)
2 cloves
1 large handful of spinach and/or kale
1 ripe banana, fresh
A drizzle of honey
3-5 ice cubes
1 cup of water

Blend all the ingredients for a good few minutes to be sure the pulpy clementine peel fully blends, as well as the cloves. Serve cold with a garnish of clementine peel and a clove or two!

Cloves are incredible for boosting your immune system (something especially good during the cold-and-flu season!) as well as aiding in digestion.
The clementine adds a sweetness to the drink without overpowering the greens or weighing them down. Instead of a heady, spicy flavor (though there is a happy twinge of spice from the cloves, obviously) this brings a fresh, Christmassy flavor.
Honey and banana are for natural sweetness, as well as a bit of a thickener to make this drink more of a proper snack or meal, and not just a drink.
And we all know spinach and greens are good for us. XD

I also happen to think this would taste amazing through a candy cane straw, if you're being cheeky and sneaky and ditching some of the health benefits.

Now go set up some string lights and garlands with renewed, healthy vigor! At least, that's what I'm doing at the moment.

All the best! Xx

Thank You

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

via tumblr
I want to take a moment here on this blog to reflect on all the good that has come out of this year so far, and all the good I can see ahead of me right now - because I think a lot of times we ("we" being "me") focus on what could and will go wrong in a situation far more than we focus on the benefits of it, the beauty.

It's more than being grateful for the good things in your life - your warm blankets, loving friends, unexpected free time - Thanksgiving is about having joy despite and through the hurdles you're struggling to overcome. The pilgrims found joy in each other's company, despite the bitter winter that preceded the first Thanksgiving, and a second almost as difficult that would follow. They were uncertain of their future, but they were joyful nonetheless. God brought us here. We have purpose. 

A lot is happening around us today that gives us more reason to fear that we have had in the past. But we are not meant to live in fear.

"Death closes all: but something ere the end
Some work of noble note may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men who strove with Gods . . .
Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to see a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the Western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles
And see the great Achilles whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides: and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. "
from Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It is never too late to seek a newer world. And for that, I am grateful. Xx

Winter Essentials

Monday, November 23, 2015

Recently Rach shared her favorite girly items for staying warm, cosy and hydrated during the harsher winter months. I loved the concept, so I thought it would be fun to share my own over here! Let me know what products make you feel cosy in the winter months. I want to know! :)

1. Dark lipstick
My current favorite is this red one from the Covergirl X STAR WARS collection. The shade range is brilliant, and even if they're not the most long lasting lipsticks, you can't beat a good bit of fangirl fun. ;)

2. Blanket scarf (see top photo)
I bought this scarf back at the end of summer and its been a life saver during these in-between months! I love that I can wear it as a coat alternative (you know me, always needing to switch things up...;)

3. A Good Book
I'm currently loving Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. A brilliant read for this time of year. Now I only want to be in the highlands or the moors...

4. Lotion
I can't live without a lotion in the winter - my hands get really dry. I absolutely love the scent of this body lotion from Bath and Body Works: it's warm and sweet enough to feel seasonal, without being overpoweringly so. If you get the chance, head over to the store and have a sniff!

5. Pretty socks

These lovelies come from Forever 21 and I'm a wee bit obsessed. Warm, cute, cozy - you can't go wrong. :)

What do you use to keep yourself beautiful or happy during these colder months? 

November Playlist: A Beat For Your Weekend

Friday, November 20, 2015

via tumblr

I'm really not sure what it is about November, but there's a chill in the air and I just want to put on a glittery dress and sneakers and go dancing out in the cool night air (and then come home for a cup of hot chocolate because I'm still a homebody at the end of the day). Even though for the most part this whim is more fantasy than reality, there's nothing like a good bit of heavy-beat music to get your heart pumping despite the cold temperatures. Here are the songs, old and new, that I've been loving so far this month. I hope you love them too. Xx

//Listen Below//
1. Survivors by Selena Gomez
2. Hello by Adele
3. Spirit Breakout by Kim Walker-Smith (Absolutely love this one)
4. Make It Rain by Ed Sheeran
5. Down In The Dumps by WALK THE MOON
6. Tu Oublieras Mon Nom by Coeur de Pirate
7. Comme des Enfants by Coeur de Pirate
8. Rise by Selena Gomez
9. Intro (Delirium) by Ellie Goulding
10. Something In The Way You Move by Ellie Goulding

What songs are you listening to at the moment? (And can you bear to hold off from Christmas for one more week because I barely can!)

The 5 Invariable Rules of Tea-Drinking, from an American Anglophile

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

via tumblr

I figure for all the gabbing I do about tea and coffee around here I ought to tell you how I take mine. It seems . . . oh, I dunno, protocol? :)

How To Make, Drink and Generally Inhale Tea (the right, proper and British-American Way)
1. Get a Cup  Mug Bathtub
This element of the Tea Process originates invariably from the 13-Colony-Way (#MURICA if you're so inclined). Nonetheless, I have reason to believe it is a more broadly (abroad-ly?) accepted way to guzzle the life-juice these days. We're not going to judge if you drink from a basin. In fact, we might salute you if we weren't aware of how American the gesture is.

2. Pour The Tea
And proceed to bobble your teabag impatiently for three or so minutes while you contemplate life and stare into the distance. Then the color reaches that beautiful golden-brown shade, you snap out of your daydream and hope it's going to be strong enough to support your vitals for the next few hours (until you give in and make another cup).

3. Milk It
I'm a cream-only sort of lady, but if you take sugar, you don't need me to tell you when to put it in. (You must invariably know that now is the time, you absolute moron.)

4. Take a First Sip
You might burn your tongue. Actually you will. It's just part of the process. Embrace it, be proud of it! And then quietly retreat in shame and hope that nobody noticed that horrendous jerk backwards when you attempted that casual first sip...Cool? Yep, of course that's still you. Always.

5. Enjoy Your Cuppa
When it's finally cooled, and it's at that perfect temperature and all you want to do is cuddle it in your hands and drink sip after sip...And then it's gone. Withdrawals are to be expected at this stage. Or maybe that's just another aspect of being more Anglophile than American who knows??


How do you drink your tea? XD

The One About Self-Love

Monday, November 16, 2015

via tumblr

Multiple people over the past few weeks have brought to my attention, in their own ways, the struggle that our society - and perhaps more specifically, the female community - have in loving themselves. But the oddest part about it is that from the outside, we appear to have it down. Feeling stressed? Take a bath, drink tea, here are a hundred and one essential oils that will destress and also make you loose weight girl you are going to be happy. We're so good at fixing ourselves by someone else's remedy that we forget what it feels like to actually be happy. Truly happy. Content.

"5 Ways To De-Stress" is potentially the most attention grabbing title, whether for a post, a video or a pin on Pinterest, which in and of itself points to a fallacy in the way we deal with difficulties. There's a heckuva lot of stress running in and out of our communities, and we bounce it off of each other like little bolts of lighting. "I'm so stressed right now."  "Really? I bet I'm more stressed." I would like you to honestly declare you have never thought something along those lines to yourself in conversation with another woman. It's almost like the lack-of-sleep conversation: we've got some sort of unspoken competition that the woman who is handling the most right now must be the best - must be a warrior, that one - because she may be going crazy, but "she's just got a lot going on right now." The more stressed she is, the better she must be. We can't blame her for her mistakes; so maybe they won't blame us for ours if we just say that "we're really stressed"?

We're really good at excuses.

I get it: we need grace - goodness knows I can't and won't debate that one, because I know how I often need it. (Read: every. living. second.) But you know, I think beneath all the pretense of stress and anxiety (a real thing, yes, but something that could be a lot less real if you dedicate yourself to your prayer life and daily reading of Scripture) - beneath all of that, we are lead by something much simpler, the age-old desire in us for attention. It hasn't changed, even though it's masquerading under a different name. It used to be cool to have it all together; now its cooler to be stressed and anxious, as if you need to prove it to the world that you really are doing Something.

We're fighting so hard to get the approval of others because within ourselves we lack that intrinsic value of our own existence.

Self love does not start with your friends, and it doesn't start with you either. The only way you'd ever be evinced into loving yourself - as Lewis says, in many better words, we are our own worst enemy - is if we feel loved already by a worthy love-giver. Not a human love, rife with errors and mistakes and yes, even selfishness within the best of them - but a true, pure Love. When we understand the true depth of the love of God for His creation, (meaning you, reader) we are forced to put aside the misgivings we have with ourselves because His love is perfect, and it cannot be argued with. We don't feel deserving, but we can't refuse it.

If a love that great will pursue us, how can we do anything but agree?

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with Love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of out Lord Jesus Christ." 2 PETER 1:5-8

And now I'm going to go take a bath and have a cuppa because there isn't a complete lack of sense in those self-help articles, (for all their impenetrability), is there? :)


Friday, November 13, 2015

via tumblr
It's November. We're getting into the Holiday season and you want to throw a dinner party (why? why not, I ask you?) But how exactly do you handle the delicate and timeless task of playing hostess and satisfying your guests?

The Dinner Party can be a daunting feat - there's a precedent that comes with hosting one, and they tend to be somewhat expensive endeavors. However, a successful dinner party is one of the key ingredients of lifestyle excellence, meaning once you've conquered this you can do just about anything with grace.

How To Throw a Dinner Party
Goodness gracious, don't leave seating charts and menus until the night before. Do your homework, and even if planning ahead only means you picked up a few extra bits in your weekly grocery shop, do something - anything - in advance so that everything isn't done in the last minute.

I've hosted friends for birthday dinners before and had to usher guests in while I was still wearing my apron and ponytail, and you end up feeling underdressed at your own event, which isn't fun! You know how long it takes you to get changed and fix your hair; simply budget your time to incorporate that hair jzooshing.

One of my favorite posts of the summer was this one on Petie's blog about her brilliantly un-fancy dinner party. If you're the sort that likes to dress up and use china, have at it! But a dinner party can be a picnic with good friends and sparkling grape juice and it would still be lovely. You do you.

If you are the sort of person who wants to dress things up (hey kindred spirit!) you need to be prepared to spend time on it. Dinner party prep, properly enjoyed with no pulling out of your own hair and burning the roast (or that last minute argument that seems almost unavoidable) really will take your whole day. So plan for it. Spend the morning setting the table, cleaning the room and arranging flowers and furniture. Take a break for lunch. Then work on the smaller details like placecards or favors (I gave away little bottles of gold glitter tagged "Felix Felicis" at my birthday, which were a hit & very easy and affordable to make - so get creative!). Start on the dessert so it can chill in the fridge for an appropriate amount of time. Make dinner with enough time to tidy a bit before your guests arrive. Play jazz music and enjoy the process. The whole thing can be fun, not just the party itself. :)

...Not people you want to impress. The best gatherings are between people you love or you get along with, and while this doesn't have to mean your closest friends - actually, I love getting to know new friends better in these situations - try to pick people you know you can talk comfortably with, because you're going to be talking for a while. Life is too short to be wasted with whiners. Good people means good conversation, and good conversation means a good time. :)

Do you have any brilliant or hilarious or disastrous dinner party stories, or do you plan on throwing any this season? Lemme know!

Art Is Burning

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Recently I've begun writing a bit more again. But you know how your head is running over with ideas and images of what you want to portray, but your words just don't fit? They don't capture what you want, and you end up staring at your computer for the longest time, typing a few words at a time, pulling teeth to get your meaning across. I've been struggling with this, because I haven't written often enough this school year. I'm a bit out of practice. It's painful for the process and its painful for my pride, to be honest.
via tumblr

The word "passion" in Latin means "to suffer". You have to get past that initial struggle of starting on your work - whatever that may be, a novel, a painting, an app; fill in the blank - but you also have to get past the second, third, fourth, fifth and five-hundredth struggle that will follow. They will follow, and head's up: the struggles are not actually going to stop. The hope is rather that, whatever you create, at the end of the day, will be worth it to you.

For me, that's blogging, that's writing Psithurism. It's worth the extra hours every week to produce something I'm proud of and add to the community. It's worth the extra hours writing, even when I only walk away with a few hundred words, to know that I'm working towards creating literature to be remembered, to make an impact. For you, it might be something else - or it might be blogging as well (and in that case welcome!). And I'm sure you've heard that there will be an initial "bump" to get past, because everyone knows that, and everyone's told you that. So yes, of course, get past Bump #1. But don't think you're going to be done with the struggles there.

At every step of the creative process, there will be hurdles. And they will not all be the same.

But whatever you do, don't allow yourself to be cut off because of a bump in the road, or several hundred bumps in the road. I disagree with the idea of just getting past "that first bump": there are more than one, and no matter how experienced you may be in your field, you'll never be to the point where you can't learn more, can't improve, can't struggle with a new complexity. That is the nature of art. We struggle and we work and we're always attempting to reach farther and for our work to grow deeper, and that is what makes it art: life from the ashes.

Here's to the phoenix-creators. We crash and we burn and we get back up no matter how many times it happens. 

#OOTD: Plaid Pants

Monday, November 09, 2015

I got these pants a little over a month ago. They weren't on sale, they weren't even very cheap, but they weren't too expensive either. And they were plaid. And as crazy as I knew they could look, I also knew they could be styled really well, with just the right pieces - I was skeptical, but I bought them anyway (I'm trying to think outside the box more with my clothing.) And guess what? I love them. I absolutely love them. 

Top, pants, shoes (old): Old Navy / Leather jacket: thrifted 

Conclusion: life is short. Wear patterned pants and dance around in them in front of the camera. ;)

Here's to another week of good work!
xx, Carmel

My Travel Bucket List

Friday, November 06, 2015

via tumblr

Guys nothing makes me happier than talking about travelling. Can we just have a moment to appreciate wanderlust?

I've seen a few posts recently depicting blogger's lists of the top to-visit places on their travel lists. I figured, since we're all pretty much travel-a-holics over here, it would be fun to indulge in some globe-trotting envy and also a bit of dreaming. (Dreaming's always good. :) Here are 7 places I'm going to see before I die, no matter what.

In no specific order.

The food. The street style. The shopping (French skincare anyone?). Someone take me now, please and thanks. Will pay in homemade croissaints.

My baby! I visited London when I was about 2, and I use that as an excuse for having such a good British accent immitation (really I just watch a lot of British Youtubers) and also such a love for their literature and humor (and television. Great Scot, I love their television.) I have no more than a flash of a memory from that trip, but what I do know is that England has got my heart, and I haven't even properly visited. If this list was in an order, this one would be fighting pretty hard for first place.

3. NEW YORK CITY (again)
This is another one of those places I've visited quite briefly at a young age (I think I was 7?) but not properly explored. It would be brilliant to be there during Fashion Week, but I'd settle for a good long explore around the concrete jungle under many other circumstances as well. :)

All of it. Milan, Florence, Rome, what-have-you. (How amazing would it be to spend your summer here?)

Because you can't go to Rome without going to Greece right? Santorini I'm coming for ya...

There is a deep beconing in my heart and it sounds a lot like bagpipes. And moors. And fog.

Jess and Petie, you're making me extraordinarily jealous. I want to see the Gardens of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives.

Where do you want to travel? Have you checked anything off your travel bucket list recently?

October Favorites

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

via tumblr
As far as beauty products go this month, I didn't try very many new things. October was such a busy month I found myself slapping on some mascara, eyebrows and concealer more times than I care to admit, so when it came time to actually do a full face of makeup, I've been loving my stash and saving my money. XD

Nontheless, other things have kept me excited this month, and I think they'll make you happy too.

1. Benefit The POREfessional Primer
I've rambled about this enough in the past few posts (and plan on rambling more because WOW.) On the days I am wearing full makeup, this is a must have, and even when I'm just concealing my under-eyes, this product prevents creasing brilliantly. Expensive, yes, but the POREfessional is quickly reaching holy grail status. My skin has actually improved a lot since using this, and it's not even necessarily a skincare product. If that isn't a plug I'm not sure what is! (Not sponsored, I just like the product.)

2. Plaid
I realize I've still not shared a post with my favorite plaid pants yet, or my plaid scarf. Good gracious. Keep your eyes pealed, it won't be long. Nontheless I've been absolutely loving plaid - a real, chunky, textured plaid, not just a cute flannel from Forever 21 - during the month of October. It's probably my favorite of this year's Autumn trends, and I will take it in any and every form. love.

3. Candles
Candles in general are just such a lovely October thing. I love a traditional Yankee Candle in their Vanilla scent.

4. Lotion
As the weather gets colder and our skin gets drier, a good lotion is needed. Bath and Body Works have an overwhelming array of scents, and usually not many to my taste, but a friend gifted me with their "A Thousand Wishes" lotion, which has a lovely warm, sweet scent that isn't too sugary or sickly. I love a lotion that has a subtle fragrance to it; they're a cheeky alternative to carrying around your nice fragrance bottles when you travel.

5. OGX Morroccan Smooth Perfection Blowout Cream
My hair, because the ends are bleached, can get quite dry and brittle especially in the colder months. I received this lotion in a giveaway package back at the end of the summer but didn't reall have a use for it up until now! I like to massage a bit of it into the ends of my hair before I go to bed; I usually braid my hair quite loosely and the result is a nice piecey texture with some loose, defined waves. Very handy indeed.

6. This fashion series with Vogue and Alexa Chung.
Seriously, if you're into fashion in any way, this is such a fascinating insight into the many many jobs in the industry - countless ones that most people (me!) are unaware of. The whole thing is about an hour long, and well worth your time. Highly recommend!

What did you love from the month of October?

#OOTD: The Dungarees Make Their Appearance

Monday, November 02, 2015

Hello and happy November, dear friends! For those of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I wish you all the luck! And for the rest of us, many many hot teas and good books...

Goodness gracious - I meant to share photos of these so long ago, and somehow things just didn't happen. World, meet my dungarees. Thrifted for $10, I really couldn't have found a better deal on this fun, wardrobe-shakeup item. If you're in the market for a pair of these, a few of my favorite options are linked at the bottom of the post!

(Not sponsored, I just like clothes. ;)

Top - old, Forever 21 / Dungarees - thrifted, other options here and here / Slip-ons - Old Navy / Nail Polish - Rimmel London x Rita Ora 60 Second Nail Polish in #313 'Rita Rouge'

The thing I love about dungarees is that they're multi-seasonal. ;)

What trends are you loving/maybe not loving at the moment?
Design by Bethany. All images and text displayed here (C) Carmel Elizabeth 2010-16, unless otherwise stated. Please do not steal.