“ Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
I love the holidays and the excessiveness of it all – The eating, the shopping and glittery everything. There comes a moment however and even before the year ends that I start to crave simplicity. By January I find myself gravitating toward a lighter palette of nudes, whites and greys in everything from home decor to beauty.
After the Christmas rush there’s something about a simple beauty and skincare routine and a minimalistic home decor that clears the slate and allows my mind to rest, giving it space to create something new for the coming year. This is how I simplify.
Essential Oils As Perfume
One or two essential oils worn on the pulse points (wrists, neck, inside elbows, over the heart and behind the knees) can calm the mind or lift the spirit. I’ve been wearing Grapefruit, Rosewood and Fir neat. If you prefer premixed blends, the company Aromatherapy Associates as well as Saje (in Vancouver) sell some that come in roller-ball. The smaller bottles you see here are my own creation. One is uplifting and floral with cinnamon and carnations. The other deep, earthy, grounding with Vetiver, Patchouli, Cedarwood and Sandalwood.
Simple Home Decor
I’m very attracted to the idea of bringing the outdoors in. Cedar homes with large windows and views of trees or running water are what I find myself binging on when browsing Pinterest. I also really enjoy the clean lines of Scandinavian interiors and chose greys and whites (for furniture and a cow hide rug) and live edge wood tables when we decorated our home last year.
In the Spring, daffodils and tulips adorn vases. In the Winter I bring in pinecones to fill wood bowls. Potted cypress trees for the living room. I made this arrangement with dried flowers from my wedding bouquet and pussy willows for the dining room table.
New Year Neutrals
As I write this I’m looking down at the glittery gel nails I got for the Holidays. They seem so out of place and over the top when the home is so clean and the sky out the windows is all pale blue and ethereal. I’ll soak them off in a bit and give myself a manicure. Neutrals go with any outfit and always look elegant.
“No Makeup” Makeup
The skin really takes centre stage this year with a lot of the Korean skincare and the glass skin effect carrying over from last year. Don’t get me wrong, I love a full coverage makeup for a night out; Urban Decay’s Honey Eyeshadow Palette and a set of Ardelle Whispies. My day time look for work or when I’m running errands on a day off is flawless skin (a tiny bit of tinted moisturizer for any un-eveness) with a hint of cream blush, a natural colour lipgloss and brow gel are my go-to.
Above: Rodial Glow Drop give skin a dewy highlight. YSL Volupte Shine Lipstick, Kiko Milano BB Cream, Pixi Cheek Gel and ISH Clear Brow Gel.
Thrift Store Finds
This year I didn’t buy myself a new outfit for Christmas (something I’ve done every year for as long as I can remember). Instead I shopped my closet for Christmas eve and day outfits and pulled out this wonderful vintage houndstooth blazer I found at a thrift store years ago. I’ve been wearing it with a simple turtleneck, jeans and riding boots paired with toned down jewelry: diamond studs and a couple of dainty necklaces.
We all know by now that healthy eating is important for us. I do love comfort food and always will. Lettuce and cold veggies aren’t going to cut it for me so as much as I can I try to make meals that are grounding and warm and give me all the fuzzy feelings that a warm cheesy plate of pasta will give me. This Pumpkin Risotto really hits the spot. Note: broil, don’t charr your brussel sprouts. As you can see, I left mine in too long, woopsie!
Easy Pumpkin Risotto (Vegan and Gluten Free):
- 1 onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tsp coconut oil
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup of white wine (I substitute for 1/8 water + 1/8 apple cider vinegar usually)
- Approx. 3 1/2 cups of vegatable stock
- 1 can (240 mls) of pumpking puree
- 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- Salt & Pepper to taste.
- 3 cups brussel sprouts halved
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- parmesan (optional) or vegan parmesan
- pumpkin seeds
- coconut milk
Heat the oil in a skillet or saucepan. Sauté the onions until translucent for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and the rice and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Then deglaze with white wine (or substitute) and cook until the wine has evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium and begin adding broth into rice, a ladle at a time until rice absorbs each batch of liquid. When you’re about 1/2 way through using the broth, add the pumpkin puree and coconut milk and continue to cook the rice with broth. It should take about 15-20 minutes until the rice is al dente and the risotto is creamy (don’t forget to stir frequently to prevent burning).
For more creaminess, stir in vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the brussel sprouts to a sheet pan and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. You can also add the parmesan (if using)
Add to a preheated oven at 400 degrees.
bake for 30 minutes (or until cooked) then broil for a few minutes if you’d like them crispy.
May 2020 be calm, simple and inspiring to you all.