5 Ted Talks to Get You Through Mondays

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Why is Monday so far from Friday, but Friday so close to Monday?," is the age old question I ask myself every Sunday afternoon. For some reason, everything is louder, slower and more annoying on Monday - and you may wonder just how you will make it through.

Personally, I love watching an inspirational Ted Talk to get me going when I'm singing the Monday blues and today I'm sharing five of my go-to talks. Some are short and some are long, but they are all sure to leave you feeling inspired to take on Monday.

The Happy Secret to Better Work // Shawn Achor

Being Young and Making an Impact // Natalie Warne

The Key To Success. Grit // Angela Lee Duckworth

Never Ever Give Up // Diana Nyad

How To Make Work-Life Balance Work // Nigel March

Cheers to Monday!
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Weekend Links!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Phew, what a week! Between work training (wahoo summer camp!) and making sure everything on the blog runs smoothly while I'm at work, it's been a crazy week! My plans this weekend are definitely low impact as I plan to catch up on missed sleep! 

As always here are some links for the road! 

Look Up Mini Documentary
This is a really interesting perspective on the digital age we live in today. It raises some really good points, but I don't think technology is 100% negative! Watch for yourself and decide!


There seems to be a number of sales happening right now! Kate Spade has a great one going on until July 6th! There are some great limited edition items up for sale now - so head on over to Kate Spade and don't miss out! 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Doughnuts

I came across this picture on Pinterest and managed to track down a recipe. Seriously, go check out this recipe right now and make these over the weekend. You won't regret it.

Alex Goot ft. Against the Current "Find You" cover
I'm pretty sure that I've talked about Alex Goot on the blog before. He is an amazing artist who makes YouTube videos (both covers and original stuff). He just teamed up with Against the Current to cover "Find You" by Zedd and I love it!! It's so soulful and also really fun! 

What are your weekend plans?
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Currently Reading: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I suppose the title of this post is slightly misleading because I've already read this book....but I really want to share it with you (don't worry, there are no spoilers). 

I thought this book was really well written and hilarious. Mindy gives you a peek into her life pre The Office, which will make you feel great if you're currently living in a hole-in-the-wall apartment or really hate your job. Mindy's wit will keep you laughing throughout this read, but the life lessons she pulls out of her hilarious and sometimes unfortunate encounters are the real stars of this book. 

Hard work, persistence and staying true to yourself are definitely recurring themes in this must-read! If you haven't read "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" yet, I highly recommend adding it to your summer reading list! You won't regret it!

Available on Amazon

Ps: You can add me to Goodreads
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Summer Braids

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I have very thick, curly hair that easily frizzes - so when it's super hot outside I prefer to keep it up and out of my face. I also don't like to overuse the hot tools (blow dryers, curlers, straighteners) because they make my hair feel very dry and brittle. Braids are a very simple and chic solution for hot weather. It doesn't take much to do a braided hairstyle and they can take you from day to night! 

Troian Bellasario aka Spencer Hastings from Pretty Little Liars. Obsessed with this side Dutch braid - it's so different!

Summer braids
Image via: Paige Arminta

How-to get Kerry Washington's side fishtail braid.
Image via: Harper's Bazaar

Smiley by The Joy of Fashion (6)

braided crown
Image via: Let it Be

short hair braid

Do you love braided styles for hot weather?

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J. Crew Sale!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

J. Crew is having an awesome sale right now! You can currently save up to 50% on already reduced items! Now is definitely the time to grab those items you've had your eye on! 

 I complied my favourites in the widget, but definitely head on over to J. Crew to see everything!


Happy shopping!
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3 Step Manicure

Monday, June 23, 2014

Today I have a quick how-to for you that puts my last nail polish post to great use. Once in a while I love to splurge on a manicure, but most of the time I do them for myself at home. I've managed to narrow my process down into three key steps which result in a great looking and long lasting manicure!

1. Prep - Get your nails ready by shaping with an emery board, cleaning with a quick swipe of nail polish remover on a cotton ball, and moisturizing the nail bed with some cuticle oil. Follow up with your favourite base coat. 

2. Paint - Refer to my mani-pedi chart to determine your polish colours! Once you decide on your perfect pairing paint your nails by dropping a small dot of polish on the base of the nail and then spread it up and to the sides. You most likely will need to repeat this step because most nail polishes do not look so great with a single coat. 

3. Protect - If I've got to get out of the door, I will use these awesome quick dry drops. They basically freeze the polish so that you can go about your day. When I have time to sit and relax, I turn to a regular top coat. Though the drops are convenient - they do not keep your manicure for as long as a standard top coat. 

Voila! Stare in awe at your fabulous DIY manicure!

Do you prefer at home or salon manicures? 

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Weekend Links

Friday, June 20, 2014

This week has had its fair share of ups and downs so I'm pretty happy that it's over. I can't believe that another month (and quarter) is coming to an end so quickly! This weekend I'm planning on playing catch up with responding to comments and getting prepared to start a new quarter of the year! 

As always, here are some links for the road! 


DIY iPhone Case / Martha Stewart

Make your own fabric covered iPhone case with Martha Stewart. This is a really simple tutorial with few steps to keep up with. These cases could make fun gifts for the techie in your life. 

On The Line
I found this game while browsing the App Store and impulsively decided to buy it. The concept is simple - follow the line with your finger. However it gets tricky really quickly! A great game if you need a little break from work!

New Arrivals / Mark and Graham

I can admit that my love for monogramming is a little crazy (though I would never place a monogram on my big toe....) so when I saw the new arrivals at Mark and Graham, I was pretty excited. I would consider this brand to be a little on the higher end side - so to me some of the items are investments! I really love the Oxford top and broach! 

Competitive Foursome 

This video is awesome and hilarious! These four women push the boundaries of playing classical music while adding in a comedic aspect. This video gave me a great laugh and left me wanting to pick up the piano again! 

What are your weekend plans?

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Life's A Beach (Tote)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I've been longing to take a trip to the beach. I love reading a book on the warm sand, people watching, and eventually going into the water. Sadly, the polar vortex has delayed the opening of beaches in my area because even though it's super hot on land, the water temperature is only slightly above freezing! 

While I wait for the beaches to open - I've been thinking about snagging the perfect beach bag. I've definitely come a long way since my beach bag and towel in one combo and I'd like something more chic. Personally, I think any stylish tote will do. This way you can use it all summer long at the beach and then keep using it for the rest of the year for various other things. 

I found some great totes that fit the bill and now my challenge is choosing just one! 

Which tote is your favourite?
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Send Snail Mail!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

These days we are always connected. Phones, tablets, laptops - you name it. When I was in the third grade I remember being really excited to setup and receive my first e-mail (over dial-up internet no less). To me it was pretty incredible that a message I wrote on my computer screen somehow traveled through my phone line to my best friend's computer screen.

Image via: Matchbook Magazine

These days though, my inbox is a huge source of stress. Between work, school, blogging and bill payment e-mails I sometimes dread opening up Outlook. But do you know what I never dread receiving? A good 'old fashioned' letter. I love handwritten correspondence because of the effort that goes into it. Picking out the perfect stationery, writing out the perfect message, sending the letter off and waiting to hear if your loved one received it are reasons why I love handwritten letters. 

E-mails are fast and sometimes great, but I think once in a while we should surprise our loved ones with a fun handwritten letter! Plus sending snail mail gives you the perfect opportunity to grab some beautiful stationery and pens! Wins all around! 

Shop my picks: 

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Budget Friendly Wardrobe Staples!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

About this time of year I like to go through my closet and take an inventory. I like to make a list of items that can be donated or just need to be tossed. Often the items that need to be tossed are items I consider to be my wardrobe staples. Since I wear these items so often, they usually have a high turn over rate. For this reason, I don't spend an arm and a leg on these items. I try not to skimp on quality though - because I still want my clothes to last as long as possible and look great!  

I put together a little list of my favourite budget friendly staples. These items are my can't-live-withouts which don't break the bank! 

What are your wardrobe staples?

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30 in 365 Update: Phoenix Concert

Monday, June 16, 2014

I've gradually been checking things off from my 30 in 365 list. When I compiled the list, I thought of things that I always say I want to do, but never follow through with. Making this list and sharing it online is a great motivation to get stuff done!

Last year I twice missed the opportunity to see Phoenix live. They are my all time favourite band (search them on YouTube) and I needed to see them live. Truthfully, when I wrote my 30 in 365, I wasn't even sure if they were going to be touring this year!. So imagine my surprise when I saw the announcement that they would be coming to North America this year!!

The concert was last Wednesday and it was awesome! I went with two of my sorority sisters (hey guys!) and we had a blast! The concert was in Detroit at The Fillmore. It's such a beautiful venue! Phoenix played all of my favourite songs and it was such a blast singing (read: screaming) along and dancing! There were all sorts of people there and I still get goosebumps thinking about how people so different from one another can all come together to see one artist. It really shows how universal music can be.

I took a handful of photos with my phone:

After the concert we (naturally) wanted to eat. We settled on McDonalds (horrible..I know) and after being misled by the GPS for a good 20 minutes, we found one, bought really cheap 'food' and headed back across the border! 

I had such a blast at the concert and I'm really happy that I'm able to cross this off of my list! xoxo
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Weekend Links!

Friday, June 13, 2014

This week has been crazy. I took a really quick trip to Windsor to visit friends and see Phoenix in concert (!!!!) I spent a couple days away from the computer and was welcomed back by a wall of e-mails, comments and notifications, so I'll be spending my weekend catching up! 

Here are your links for the road! 

Smudge Proof-Eye Liner
I love this series on Teen Vogue's YouTube channel. My eyelids can get quite greasy at times so this simple tutorial is really helpful! Only three steps and you're good to go!

Disney's Cinderella Teaser
This video may just be one minute of a glass slipper - but I'm still REALLY excited about it! Cinderella is my all time favourite Disney movie and I can't wait to see it in live action (plus the cast is really dynamic!)

Five Labs
This is actually pretty cool! Five Labs analyzes the text of your Facebook posts to predict your personality. I tried it out for myself, and I have to say that the results were pretty accurate! You can try it out for yourself!

Unconditionally / Alex Goot Cover
I love Alex Goot. He has a great YouTube channel where he covers songs and even has a bunch of original songs! I love this cover he did of Unconditionally! So good! 

What are your weekend plans?

PS: Don't forget to enter the Little Problems giveaway! 
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Summer Mani-Pedi Nailpolish Pairings!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I always have the most difficult time picking polishes for my manicure and pedicure. A full with hundreds of polishes and you can only pick two - pretty overwhelming if you ask me. With summer (almost) in full swing, I'm sure there will be plenty of visits to the nail salon in your future. To make the process easier, I put together a little guide with perfect polish picks (holy alliteration) for your summer mani-pedi!

Here's to your best mani-pedi yet!
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Kate Spade Surprise Sale!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

For someone who loves Kate Spade - I am always behind on the surprise sales! This sale is travel themed, and as always they have some really awesome stuff! 

I've picked out some of my favourites from the sale, but pop on over to Kate Spade to see everything!

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Little Problems Giveaway!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Calling all sorority women! I have a great little giveaway from a great small business!
Little Problems is all about sharing the love you have for your big/little, through the adorable items offered in their web store. Summer break is the perfect time to start thinking about future little gifts and I think the koozies, cups and sunglasses would make an excellent addition to any little basket! PLUS a portion of the sale price is donated to charity! The combination of love for your big/little, online shopping and charity is every sorority woman's dream!

I teamed up with the awesome ladies at Little Problems to give away a koozie! They are gearing up to launch brand new products and right now you have a chance to get a koozie before they even ship! Enter to win one for yourself and then head on over to Little Problems to grab a few more for your family tree (at a special summer price)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This giveaway is sponsored by Little Problems
*This giveaway is open to participants in Canada and the US!
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How To: Navigate a Formal Dinner Place Setting

Monday, June 9, 2014

Prom and wedding season is upon us which means you may encounter a formal place setting in the near future. Even if these events aren't coming up for you right now - this is still a great little post to keep on hand. 

I've noticed that many people my age are terrified of formal dinner settings. Perhaps it's the abundance of plates, cups and silverware or the fear of making a mistake. In reality - it's quite simple to navigate your place setting, especially after a bit of practice! While some people may feel that dinner table table etiquette to this extent is antiquated - I think it's a timeless skill to possess! 

1. Bread plate and butter knife. Don't make it a habit to cut your bread with the butter knife. Instead use your hands to break it into small pieces and butter it with the knife. 
2. Dessert Spoon. This is used only for dessert.
3. Dessert fork. Same idea as the spoon.
4. Red wine 
5. White wine
5. Water
7. Soup spoon
8. Dinner knife
9. Charger plate (bottom)
10. Dinner plate (middle)
11. Salad plate (top) 
12. Dinner fork
13. Salad fork

Now, the general rule of thumb for silverware is to work from the outside in. So if you're lost - start there. Another point of confusion may be what drink ware and which bread plate belong to you. A neat little trick is to make the letters b and d with your hands. As you will see 'b' is made with your left hand - therefore your bread plate is on your left. Likewise, d is made with the right hand, which means your drink ware is on your right (how easy?!).

This really is just the tip of the iceberg but, I hope it helps you feel more confident at your next formal event!

Manic Mondays with itsemmaelise
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Weekend Links

Friday, June 6, 2014

TGIF! The weekend is upon us once again which means Weekend Links! 
Here are your links for the road!

The History of Laudree Macarons
Everyone loves macarons! They are cute, colourful and delicious. This Martha Stewart video takes you behind the scenes of the most well known macaron producer: Laudree. It was really interesting to learn a bit about their history and macarons in general!

Food Inc.
It had been a while since I had watched this documentary, so I decided to sit down and watch it again. DO NOT watch this if you a) are hungry b) don't want to give up meat.
I was in shock and horror after watching Food Inc., which led me to make the executive decision to give up ALL meat (the plot will thicken on this one....)

J. Crew Summer Sale!
J. Crew is having a great little sale now through the 8th. Use the code SUMMERTIME to receive 25% off of select summer favourites! You can scroll through the widget to see my picks or head on over to J. Crew to see everything!

Side Part French twist: Bumble and Bumble second day hairstyles
I love this little series on Sephora's Youtube page! Using second day hair, Bumble and Bumble's pret -a-powder and a few hair pins you can create this timeless hairdo in under 5 minutes! 

What plans do you have for the weekend?
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Splurge or Save: Midi Skirts

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm a huge fan of the midi skirt trend. Midi skirts are quite versatile and can be worn year round. Pair your skirt with a basic tank and espadrilles for the warmer months or a cardigan and heels for the cooler months. Midi skirts are also a great day to night transition piece!

I definitely think that everyone should have a midi skirt in their closet. I especially love these two from Pink Tartan and Asos. Both in a soft feminine blush, but with texture so they're are not too dainty: 

Splurge: Pink Tartan
Save: Asos

How would you style a midi skirt?

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Gifts for Dad!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

If I had to compare - I would say that Father's Day is way tricker than Mother's day. My mom is definitely easier to shop for than my dad. My dad rarely gives off any hints of something he'd like - and when he does it's always something extravagant to throw us off even more.

I searched high and low for some gifts that I think would be perfect for Father's Day!
Whether you have a small budget or a large one, you can get your dad something he'll cherish.

What do you plan on getting for your dad?

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Kate Spade New Arrivals: Havana

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm sure by now you know that I am a Kate Spade junkie. Seriously I love this brand. Every time the new arrivals are released, I spend at least an hour at the computer drooling over how perfect everything is. This new collection is no exception

Inspired by Havana, expect bright colours, classic shapes and lots of leather from this collection. I am in love. 
I already have a handful of items on my radar and I can't wait until they arrive! 


Seriously - how perfect? I'm beyond obsessed! 

Shop my picks from the new collection using the widget!

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How To: Tie a Fishtail Braid on Sperrys!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Over the weekend I saw a video by the Sperry brand on how to tie a braid that would prevent your laces from untying. Curious to see if it actually worked, I pulled out an old pair of Sperry's and decided to try it out. It's a fairly simple concept BUT the video was super fast and I quickly became confused. Fast forward to me hitting play and pause, frame-by-frame to make sure I had the steps right. In the end, it worked and the laces have not come undone since! 

I'm going to break it down for you today!
1. String the laces through the eyelets
2. Feed the left lace under and over the loop made between the eyelets
3. Repeat this on the right side
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 two to three times (depending on the length of your laces)
5. Tuck the ends of the lace behind the braid OR the tongue of the shoe (I preferred the tongue)
6. Stare in awe at your freshly tied laces (maybe even post a photo to Instagram!) 

My first ever GIF! What do you think? 

 Will you try the Fishtail lace? 
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