LOOKING UGLY IN PHOTOS: THE CAMERA DOESN’T JUST ADD 10 POUNDS

This week in first-world problems: The camera adds 10 pounds…

“…The camera is like that bitch of a friend who’s always the first one to tell you you’ve gained weight and the last one to wish you a happy birthday…”

Picture this: It is Saturday morning and I am meeting with my photographer in 2 hours which leaves me with about one hour tops to get ready. But no matter how in a hurry I am, I somehow always have time for a quick 5 minutes dance session (insert John Travolta emoji here) followed by a quick 2 minutes face check (to make sure I haven’t morphed into Cinderella’s famously ugly stepsisters overnight). By the time I am done with these two “essential” activities I have already lost a good 15 minutes which puts me into overdrive for the remaining 45 minutes. Fast forward an hour later and I am miraculously done, with perfect make up and outfits for photo shoot in tow. Now comes the most important step in my entire morning routine: The mirror checks.

 

“…In my case, the camera usually doubles my butt, triples my belly, adds a double chin and remove a breast size….”

First thing first, the bathroom mirror check and the verdict is: “Hello beautiful”. Second, my hand mirror, the verdict is still the same : “Hello beautiful”. Walk to the bus stop and take a selfie (I obviously take this very seriously), verdict is even better: “spectacular”.   I then arrive at said photo shoot location late but with a glow that not even the best filter can match and get compliments from hot buff guy in construction uniform (go ahead and use your unbridled imagination here). At this point, my ego is abundantly flowing through my veins like the Nile river. That day I went home looking smug and proud as if just named most beautiful woman on earth by Vogue. Fast forward two weeks later. Receive photos and the verdict is: 80 % of pics? “Mildly good looking with a risk of ugly”. 20% of pics? “spectacular”.

They say the camera adds 10 pounds but that is not completely accurate. I think the camera doesn’t just add 10 pounds, it adds 10 pounds of bad fat and remove 10 pounds of good fat. In my case the camera usually doubles my butt (was born with a perfect butt so don’t need that), triples my belly, adds a double chin and remove a breast size (throws outraged fist in the air). Now I don’t mean to sound vain but I think I was created perfect but somehow the camera doesn’t seem to pick up on that.

“when in doubt always chose to be beautiful.”

But once again, since I am an ageing and vain little person, I decided to focus on the 20% and ignore the 80% and retire forever into the very comfortable and happy world of denial. Being vain saves lives, I tell you!

Thank you for passing by and don’t forget to subscribe, like, comment or share this article and most of all I would love to hear your take on this “very serious matter” 🙂

Gros bisous!

Hairdresser from hell made me look like a baby dinosaur

I remember it like it was yesterday when I call to book that hair appointment. I had been thinking about a drastic haircut for a while now. This time I had told myself I wanted to look completely different. A real departure from my usual self. I wanted to feel elevated and posh (Insert pink champagne emoji here). It just happened I used to pass by a certain hair salon all the time on my way to work. To be truthful it looked a bit posh with people coming out of there looking like retired models. I guess I was hoping some of that chic vibe would rub on me. Go figure…

“I could already see myself walking out of there finally looking like my higher self: long, lean, with hair that could double up as a parachute if needs be (I never seem to have enough volume)……..”

 When I called to make the appointment, the clerk made it a point to let me know that the person who does my type of hair is part owner of the salon and does mostly photo shoots and big projects with the likes of artists and such. In other words, I should feel grateful he even accepted to touch my mere mortal head (at this point I am feeling rather emotional and grateful). Fast forward a few days later and I am sitting at the salon waiting for the haircut of my life. First of all, the assistant who shampooed my hair acted like my scalp was made of broken  glass. Although I like a bit of a scrub, I refrained from mentioning it for fear of sounding like I usually get my hair washed by Shrek. After the shampoo she announced the “coiffeur” won”t be long. After her departure, I sat there conscious my life was about to change forever, a historical moment so to speak. Well, my life was about to change all right. 

 “I came in looking like a law abiding citizen and came out looking like a baby dinosaur who just survived a hurricane”

 Finally, the headmaster deigned to gratify my mere mortal broke self of his presence. He looked rather annoyed, like a true artist who’s forced to earn a living while waiting for ‘his art’ to sustain him. I suppose I was not his type of clientele. Nevertheless, he “sucked it up” and got to work. When I tried to show him a few pics I had brought, he silenced me with with a raised eyebrow. I felt as intimidated as if I had interrupted a famous painter. When he finally finished what he probably thought was his “work of art “, he let out a big sigh.  Then and only then did I dare look in the mirror. Shocking. I no longer looked like I belonged in the human species. In fact, I looked like a baby dinosaur who just survived a hurricane.

I was so shocked I didn’t say anything for a good little while. He was beaming. I had become “his creation”. I briefly thought about crying but realized with such a haircut, I would probably look even worse (read: deranged baby dinosaur). I ran my fingers through the few strands of hair I had left and mustered enough courage to ask him how he thought I should style it. His answer: “Just let it do its thing”. My answer: “Ah, I see..”. I had expressed interest in a set of comb upon my arrival, he graciously gifted it to me. He might have realized I was this close to commit murder. Confused, I said thank you and rushed home where I spent the rest of the evening alternating between moments of staring at myself in the mirror trying to look like a cute baby dinosaur  and moments of intense cursing out loud.  

My advice: If you’re not used to the hairdresser and you’re going for a drastic cut, go progressively. This way if the first haircut doesn’t work out you can at least leave your house. Second: Ask to see their work (Obvious, right? Well, apparently not cause I didn’t do any such things…) Did I mention I was a sucker for eccentric and weird human beings? Well, now you know.  I suppose that’s what you get when you have a penchant for incompetent people masquerading as eccentric artists…

What about you lovely readers? I’ d love to hear your own experience…

Thank you very much for liking, commenting and sharing this article and gros bisoux:)

 

Workout that delivers: 30 min hit

I remember the first time I set foot into a 30 min hit location. Let’s just say it was rather under special circumstances….

“I had two choices: Lose a dress size or remove a rib cage…naturally considering my low pain tolerance, I went with the first option.”

collage

 

I had to lose a dress size in order to fit into an already bought and paid for wedding dress to be more precise. The ladies at the dress shop were actually nice enough not to say anything when the zip threatened to break as they try to zip me up into my soon to be wedding dress. I kept my eyes glued to the ceiling for fear of having to meet their embarrassed glares. I wasn’t breathing but still it wouldn’t do.

Luckily for me some alterations could successfully be performed.  I could come back in 4 weeks for one last fitting once alterations were made but that was it. Which meant if I came back even half a pound fatter I’d need to get married in a potato sack. Naturally, it didn’t help that every single bride to be who came in that day looked like broom sticks.

So with images of myself busting out of said dress flooding my mind, I went on a frantic google search to find some form of training that would allow me to lose a dress size in 4 weeks with normal good nutrition (no severe portion control and sleeping on a treadmill involved). That’s when I discovered 30 min hit.

“With proper diet, it’ll whip your belly fat into muscle in no time. Allow for 4 to 6 weeks and you’ll be amazed. Which explains why I am willingly putting myself through torture by going there 3 times a week.”

How does 30 minute hit work? Well, it’s a high intensity interval training made out of 13 stations that lasts about 2 minutes each with 15 seconds break between stations. Each 2 minutes is broken into  8 x (15 seconds) time increment where you alternate between 15 seconds high intensity and 15 seconds normal pace. The entire circuit takes around 30 minutes.

Now you may be thinking to yourself “2 minutes and you’re complaining? Fabienne, you’re a wimp” Well, this isn’t just two minutes. This is 2 minutes with a trainer on your tail pushing encouraging you to go harder and harder. At any given time there are usually two trainers circling the floor like hungry sharks smelling blood. It’s like they have sensors that can pick up on signs of muscle failure and tiredness. Plus, they don’t just pass by and yell “go harder”. No Sir. They stay by your side for a good 15 seconds (which under the circumstance feels more like a quarter of a century) and watch you go harder and harder all the while matching your every kick and punch with words of encouragement. I personally didn’t know two minutes could be that long. Talking myself into doing this three times a week is a workout in itself.

“The only workout that makes 2 minutes feels like a quarter of a century”

At the beginning of  the circuit I usually try to have some dignity and look a bit graceful (jumping rope) so that when I look like a whale with heart failure people can at least remember I started out a bit more gracefully. But then again I shouldn’t be worrying about that since everybody is kind of busy trying not to drop dead on the floor. By the time I reach the 11th station all sense of dignity and grace has left me  and I usually look like a ballerina with hip problem. At that point my legs are so weak I am usually crawling.

My favorite part is when I find myself at the last station and I know I only have two more minutes to go before I can go crash one the cool down mat and I promise myself not to come back. I now understand why women keep having children despite the pain of childbirth. The pain outweighs the joy in the end. Nothing makes me feel as good and spent as this workout. With proper diet, it’ll whip your belly fat into muscle in no time. Allow for 4 to 6 weeks and you’ll be amazed. Which explains why I am willingly putting myself through torture by going there 3 times a week.

FINAL VERDICT: I highly recommend. And in case you’re wondering: yes, I am a masochist. Albeit a very vain one who prizes looking good and feeling good above all 🙂

Favorite brunch places in Laval: Allô! mon coco

Who needs a getaway when your food looks that good? Welcome to Allô! mon coco! The one we went to is located in Centropolis, Laval.

“Doesn’t this make you feel like you’ve landed in a resort buffet?”

IMG_20180901_121806
Allô! mon coco brunch

Brunch culture is extremely strong in Laval and Montreal. So much so it is akin to real punishment to have breakfast at home on weekends. For me at least :). Although we’ve tapered off quite a bit, we try to do at least one brunch every two weeks either on Saturday or Sunday. I usually prefer Saturday which leaves me with Sunday to help my body recover from the food induced coma of the previous day.

IMG_20180901_121925
Allô! mon coco breakfast

What to wear:

It is brunch not a visit with the Dalai Lama so it’s okay to look like your growling stomach got you out of bed. Just do it in a stylish way 🙂 The last thing you want is for you to just happen to meet an old friend with your hair looking like a snake pit. In which case I sincerely advise you to hide behind whatever you can find, human or object. I’ve clearly thought about everything, thank me later 🙂

Portions:

IMG_20180901_121915

Judging by this pic, it is obvious portions are gigantic with plenty of choice. No risk being bored here. It’s also fairly delicious too.

Who to bring: Just about anybody as long as they are paying for you :). It is family friendly. There are long lines but service is efficient. They have plenty of locations all over Montreal as well.

Price: Reasonable

The last time we went I was able to resist their big side of potato. I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult that was. Their mash potato is so good it should be illegal.  I comforted myself in the fact I had great discipline and courage…but not for long…

IMG_20180901_122207
My self-righteous omelet:)

I felt both victorious and bitter. On one hand I was glad I resisted but on the other hand I felt bitter looking at dear husband enjoying his side of potato sitting right besides me. He didn’t even have the decency to pretend he wasn’t enjoying it. All in all, it was a pretty well-spent Saturday.

Bisous and talk next week!

 

 

 

Great weekend activities around Montréal: A nice walk in the Oka park

A lovely afternoon in the park…

IMG_20180825_154723

Don’t we look lovely here?

The morning started out nice enough. Dear husband was in a nice mood so I told myself “Fabienne what better moment to suggest a nice little walk in the park than now”:

Me: “How about a quick shower followed by brunch and then a nice walk in Mount Royal park?” dear Husband agreed at the first  two and barked at the “walk in the park” part.

Hubby: “What’s with you and that park, it’s turning into a real obsession, you know?”

Me: “Well, we all have our little obsessions, don’t we? Plus I like it because we can get a good workout with the stairs. It adds some challenge”. But apparently not everybody is looking for a challenge on a nice Saturday morning. Some people rather stay in bed. shocking I know…

Hubby: “How about the other park, the Centre de la nature?”

Me: “No, I prefer Mount Royal? The other one is always full of moms and toddlers and babies and strollers and flies, etc”.

Husband: “Well, they need fresh air too, you know. But I suppose they could stay home on weekends to give you more room to wiggle! How about Oka Park?”

IMG_20180825_161740.jpg

IMG_20180825_165152.jpg

We got ready in record time, got through brunch and made it to the park in record time. I am at my happiest in nature and with plenty of sun. The Park Oka is such a nice gem. From where we live it’s about 45 min drive. There’s an entrance fee. There’s also the beach on the other side. The last time we went to that beach was in 2014 when we first met. How time flies…. I’ve seen couples with babies and small children and I am not sure how much of a good idea it is but I suppose if they’re used to it there should be no problem.

IMG_20180825_165607.jpg

An insect repellent of some sort is mandatory as well as proper hat and sunglasses. Lots of annoying and vicious mosquitoes. For those obsessed with hitting their 10000 steps a day, you’ll be served. With the mosquitoes hurrying you, you’ll have no problem hitting that goal. In fact, you might even set a new record…

Once we hit 5000 steps, I suggested to dear husband that we start retracing our steps. Dear husband assures me with the confidence of a pioneer:”We just need to keep going and we’ll hit the end of the park and get to the parking lot”. Since I am not good with direction I trust him. 7000 steps later, we hit the end of the park except there no exit. We had to cross the entire park again in the opposite direction to get to the exit or whatnot.

IMG_20180825_172406.jpg

Upon learning that cold truth, my sense of adventure failed me and I found myself haunted by visions of people stranded on deserted islands and dying of thirst and hunger. To top it all off a suicidal mosquito decides to flap its little wings straight into my right eye.

IMG_20180825_154648

Initially I worried we wouldn’t be able to hit 10 000 steps but with our “misfortune” we made it well past 14 000. The sun was already going down which seemed to bring out the most vicious breed of mosquitoes. But thanks to the help of  these “lovely” mosquitoes, we made it rather quickly to the other end of the park, just under an hour.

On our way back we stopped by the Magasin de l’Abbaye d’Oka. We bought some cheese and saucissons. They have all sort of delicious little goods up there. In my book a stop at this Abbaye either before attempting the Oka park or after is simply mandatory. Life is about balance: Cheese with 10000 steps:)

It was a very enjoyable walk. Lots of fresh air. We highly recommend. Bisoux!

 

Timeless summer outfits: What to wear when you look tired

My favorite summer outfit is a combination of blue and white. This is a combination I particularly affectionate on mornings when I need to look bright and perky but feel tired and worn out.

“…When I dress in blue and white I literally feel like the star feature in a toothpaste commercial…”

 

IMG_7358_halfrez

At the beginning of summer I had a photoshoot done by a professional photographer and let me tell you I now have a new level of respect and admiration for people whose full time job involves “posing”…the whole story will be for another post with pics to boot…

“The combination of blue and white can make you look like you spend your day surfing and munching on dry fish and blueberries. It can also make you like a tax collector.”

I remember coming to the shoot location and the lovely photographer asked me:”So what’s the story behind this shoot?'” and I am like: “Story? What do you mean!!?”. She replied: “Well , yeah what do you want to say with the shoot?”. Well, I thought to myself: “Look at me, I am pretty…?”. Unfortunately I couldn’t say that out loud. She sat there patiently waiting with an encouraging smile. When it became clear that I was struggling, she then offered: “Well, why did you chose this specific outfit this morning?” I thought for a little bit then I said “Well, because I find blue and white so fresh and clean, you know when you feel tired and you have to be up super early on a Saturday for a shoot (By the way I felt like a real model saying that :))”. Needless to say she had a point. There is always a story.

IMG_7384_halfsize

Nothing says fresh and bright-eyed like the combination of blue and white whatever material you chose although I do have a soft spot for blue denim and white tee. Of course depending on your complexion you can chose to replace the white tee with either an of-white or cream colored one but white will work with most complexions. When I dress in blue and white I literally feel like the star feature in a toothpaste commercial.

These two accessories have become my go to for summer either layered as shown here in the pic below or as stand alone.

IMG_7484_resize

In the pic below I chose to break the blue and white with a floral jacket to add a bit of sophistication to the entire look. On a side note I absolutely loved these braids and it’s a shame I took them out.

IMG_7582_resizeWell I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. I always feel so shallow when I say stuff like that 🙂 Talk soon!

When I don’t feel like writing, I read these quotes:

Hi peeps just want to share with you a few quotes that have been keeping me sane for the past few weeks: Hope you enjoy them as much as I did and refer to them often. Here we go:

On not feeling like writing and waiting for motivation to kick in, this quote is my all time favorite:

“You are never going to feel like it. Ever.”

Mel Robbins

I used to think if a book is beautifully written, it is automatically guaranteed to be published until I read this quote from Ginnie Sayles

On putting the work necessary to be fulfilled: Pursuing meaningless goals while meticulously avoiding putting in the work in order to find true fulfillment for your true hear’s desire. In other word trying to escape your own good:

“When we are afraid to pursue our true heart desire we hide out from ourselves. We hide out in jobs that are not really who we are and that are not fulfilling. Oh, we may fill up our lives with lots of interesting ‘activities’ and interesting people and we may enjoy all of them on some level but by and large a deeper ‘core’ satisfaction is missing.” Ginnie Sayles, How to write a book in 3 weeks

 

”…Publishers are not in the business of publishing books, they are in the business of making money. The sooner you accept this truth, the less confusion you will have about writing books..” Ginnie Sayles, How to write a book in 3 weeks

It is easy to forget that far more than talent, good writing is a skill that can be developed if you have enough passion for it. At times when I feel I am not skilled enough or good enough a writer and I get discouraged, I read this quote:

…”A book can be brilliantly written but if publishers think it will not sell at a profit, then it will not get published, no matter how beautifully written it is is. Conversely , a mediocre manuscript—-or even a trite one—-that has a good market (people to read it) ready and waiting—will be published immediately. That is because publishing houses have a staff of editors who can whip a mediocre manuscript into shape in no time and sell it. This knowledge should make you feel better! Why? because it means that you do not have to write a masterpiece—which means you can stop prejudging your book as not good enough—-because it does not have to be good enough, just marketable. “

Ginnie Sayles, how to write a book in three weeks

When I need to put failure in perspective:

“…Not taking a a risk is dangerous because we risk never knowing the joy of fulfillment…….Hiding out from ourselves deprives us—and in the end not taking a risk to be who we are is the only true risk, the only failure….”