Thursday, July 28, 2016

The dream daily schedule

In Day 30 of my most recent 30 Chic Days Series, chic reader Ann left a comment that started me thinking about this post.  Ann said:

I realized yesterday how during the summer ( here ) off from school I try to cram so much my to do list in and get distracted by all there is to do... I realize this will be the case when I retire, too. So with your inspiration I am going to try to make a new "schedule" where I make more time for me, and not all the things that need to be done, or that I want to get finished. More reading, more writing in my journal, want to write down all family memories with old photos...etc.

I’ve thought about this too.  I imagine one day in the future when everything is 'perfect', I’ll have all the time in the world to do everything I’m putting off today because I am too busy.  But what makes me think I’ll have time for them in the future?  Sure, if I’m able to work from home instead of going to a workplace I’ll have more time at home, but I have days off at home right now, and it’s rare that I get time to sew or do something I imagine myself doing in that shimmery mirage perfect future.  Yes, I get to knit, but it’s snatched pieces here and there in front of a movie or television programme.

When I think I to myself ‘I’d love to get stuck into a juicy sewing project’, my mind immediately shuts me down with ‘finish what you’ve started, you want to write your next book, there’s washing to be folded, you have to start dinner soon' etc.  And all of those things are true, but if I always put things off, then I will always put things off.

Creating an ideal schedule and practicing it sounds like a fun way to address this, because it would be helpful to learn how to experience the days I dream about having in the future – I don’t think they happen by accident.

How we are now is how we will be 'one day' – when we have more time, when we retire etc.  We need to do all those things we think we'll do, and be the way we think we'll be now, otherwise we'll still be the same rushing person in the future.  How we are today is how we will be in the future because we are building our future with today.  It's such a huge realisation.  It still doesn't make change easy, but if we work towards it we will succeed.

Who’s with me?  Are you ready to practice your ideal daily schedule?  Or perhaps you’ve got everything down pat now and only need to make a few tweaks for improvement?

I think what I will do is commit to my next day off jotting down an ideal schedule and seeing how I go.  I’ve resisted many forms of scheduling in the past and sometimes I’ll have a lovely to-do list written out the night before which I then completely ignore the next day… I really wonder what’s wrong with me at times!

But an ideal schedule sounds different – much more appealing for one.  Usually with a to-do list it’s all your chores – fun projects and reading are not on that list for example.  If I created an ideal schedule it would have a few chores, but it would also have time marked out for lunch, a bit of relaxing, something fun etc.  That sounds way better!

The above is a screen shot from our local library website.  I was so thrilled to see my new book listed! If you live in the Auckland region of New Zealand and would like to borrow Thirty Chic Days, you can place your name on the library holds list.

I do all my library book ordering online then pop in to collect them; it's such a fantastic service.  If you'd like to read Thirty Chic Days and don't have a copy yet, ask your local library whether they can order it in. One of our librarians told us once that they love it when library users request books because that way they can see what people want to read and it also helps them with their book ordering.

Do you use your local library? If you haven't been in a while, you might be surprised at just how many books, cds, dvds etc you can borrow.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A touch of red

There is nothing that feels more chic to me than a touch of red.  I have a few torn-out pages of Victoria magazine from the late 1980s showcasing the French girl’s classic style.  Of course she wore a Breton top in one picture and a white cotton shirt with navy blazer in another, but her red lip colour was what drew the whole look together and made her look so ‘French’.

I also remember a home I saw photographed in Elle Decoration UK.  Like my Victoria pages it was many years ago (the nineties this time, I’m moving up the decades!).  The living room which caught my eye had off-white walls and simple mid-toned timber, giving a modern light and airy effect.  What made me tear those pages out were the pair of red sofas surrounded by all that neutral.  They weren’t bright red, but a liveable soft red.  I’d happily have that room today from the memory of it.

I love Ralph Lauren’s casual Americana style too, and a soft, weathered red is a feature of this aesthetic (such as inthe beautiful barn image above).  The red, white and blue of a vintage American flag or a red and white hand-pieced quilt; there are so many ways for red to enhance a look.

Having a touch of red could even become what you are known for, not in a costumey way but rather a subtle dash.  It could be kept in your secret garden, in that you are the only person who knows about your love for this flourish.  I’m thinking of a touch of red in home décor, what you wear, in your garden.

My favourite décor colours are tones of caramel, crème, soft-white, beige, ochre, taupe, linen and many other permutations of warm neutrals.  A perfect addition to these beige and cream shades is a small amount of red.  I love this Instagram image from Distant Francophile, and her evocative description of the use of red in Paris.

Here are some ways to include small touches of red in your life:
  • Red geraniums in a terracotta pot
  • A beautiful scarf in a shade of red that becomes you.  There really is a red for every skin-tone:  true blue-red, warm orange-red, deep plum, soft pink-red.  In the summer your red scarf could be fluttery silk or a crisp cotton print, in the winter why not choose a cosy wool knit.
  • My mum wears mostly neutrals, however when she needed to get reading glasses last year, she chose a pair of red frames and they look très chic on her.
  • Red shoes with an otherwise neutral outfit.  I love how red shoes really liven up the classic combo of jeans and a black top.
  • Red lipstick – ‘proper’ lipstick in red is not for me now, but I love to wear a sheer red, or use a normal red lipstick after applying lip balm such as Burt’s Bees which creates the same effect.
  • A cheery, classic red on short fingernails or if red fingernails are a bit much for you, paint your toes red.  My preferred red at the moment is a pink-red or orange-red to look au courant.  Classic red will always be there though.
  • A vintage-looking deep red Persian rug in an otherwise neutral room.
  • Tea-towels and dinner napkins in red and cream striped linen or cotton fabric.
  • Red capsicum (bell pepper) or cherry tomatoes to brighten up a dish such as a simple green salad or creamy chicken pasta.

Are you a fan of a touch of red?  How do you like to wear, decorate, garden or cook with red?
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