Wellegance

Cultivate a Life of Vitality, Pleasure, Passion and Purpose


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Easy Outdoor Entertaining

Seating themselves on the greensward, they eat while the corks fly and there is talk, laughter and merriment, and perfect freedom, for the universe is their drawing room and the sun their lamp. Besides, they have appetite, Nature’s special gift, which lends to such a meal a vivacity unknown indoors, however beautiful the surroundings.”
-Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

It’s that time of year when longer days and warmer temperatures make dining “al fresco” possible, and what a joy that is! I absolutely love preparing a meal (usually on the grill), then sitting down to enjoy it outdoors, among the breeze, sights and sounds of summer. It seems to be an instant stress reliever and a beautiful opportunity to be present and enjoy the many gifts of this incredible season.

The best part is, outdoor entertaining can be surprisingly fuss-free. And we all know that the simpler things are, the more likely we are to do them. Here are some tips for hosting an intimate outdoor dinner party:

  1. Keep the menu simple: a salad, protein and a couple of sides are all that’s needed for a lovely dinner. Dessert can be as simple as some cut berries and ice cream/gelato.

  2. Build your menu around whatever is seasonal. Summer’s bounty gives us LOTS of healthy and delicious options.

  3. Include side dishes that can be served cold or at room temperature. Less time spent cooking means more time spent with your guests.

  4. Prep most of the meal ahead of time. Even grilled vegetables can be done in advance and served at room temperature (I love to add a drizzle of balsamic reduction right before serving to “fancy” them up!).

  5. Serve at least one course that you can purchase, rather than prepare yourself. This might be a cheese/charcuterie board, fois gras with crackers, cocktail shrimp, a hummus platter, etc. Certainly, a wonderful dessert may be purchased from the pastry shop. The point is…don’t feel that you need to make everything yourself. Choose how and where to invest your (limited) time and energy, so that you can have fun preparing for the party and not feel overextended and drained.

  6. If using the grill, make sure that it’s in working order and that you have enough gas/charcoal.

  7. Limit beverage choices; a fully stocked bar is not necessary. Still or sparkling water with slices of citrus fruit and a nice wine will satisfy most guests.

  8. Create a cozy outdoor space (click here for some inspiration).

  9. Use real china, stemware and cutlery (as opposed to paper/plastic) to create a more elegant meal. And if you want to add an extra elegant touch, bring your linens out (napkins and/or tablecloth).

  10. Include a couple of small bouquets of flowers, rather than one larger arrangement. If you’re lucky enough to have a flower garden, a few cut flowers and a few sprigs of greens will be perfect.

  11. Make sure to bring outside all of the the kitchen tools/equipment that you need (like tongs, spatula, etc.) ahead of time.

  12. Linger over the meal. Summer seems to beckon us to slow down and savor what’s going on around us. Savor the meal, the setting, the company, the warm weather, the night sky, etc. Enjoy every moment of your very Wellegant gathering!

I hope that these ideas have inspired to partake of this simple summer pleasure. In the words of Savarin, may you enjoy “laughter and merriment and perfect freedom.”

xo,

Karen

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It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

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Weekly Wellegant Find: Succulent Plants

I’ve always loved having plants and cut flowers in my home and, after spending some time learning about Feng Shui, I now understand how healthy it is to keep these things in our living space (you can read about some of the principles of Feng Shui here). The problem with keeping plants in my home is that I’ve never had much of a green thumb.

I walked into a local flower shop recently and saw these gorgeous succulents set out on a table without even so much as dirt or water beneath them. They were simply sitting on little mirrors and wooden plates. The shop owner explained that they last for quite a long time, as is. Absolutely no care required. Some of them even bloom, with a single little flower growing from the center. I’d seen succulents planted in dirt, but had never seen ones like this before and found it amazing that they needed no care at all. Sounded like just the plant for me! Needless to say, I came home with one.

If you’re looking to bring some green plants into your living space and want something low-maintenance – in this case, NO maintenance – you’re likely to love these cheerful little succulents.

Enjoy!

xo,

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

 


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Create Harmony in the Home: the Basics of Feng Shui

Who doesn’t want a more harmonious home environment? You know the feeling…orderly, spacious, clean, light, a place full of natural beauty and a sense of peace. Most of us have a visceral reaction when we’re in a space like this; our bodies and minds relax and our spirits revive. Conversely, when we’re in a space that is tight, cluttered, dirty and dark, we feel that too, in the form of tightness, discomfort, anxiety and frustration.

The ancient Chinese system of Feng Shui is based upon this idea that our physical surroundings are, like everything else, comprised of energy (life force energy, referred to as chi) and that energy affects on a physical, mental and emotional level. The practice of Feng Shui is, therefore, designed to manage the energy of a space to create balance, efficiency, peace, health and harmony.

Some consider Feng Shui to be a silly, “airy-fairy”, rigid, New Age notion. Knowing how strong an effect the energy of my physical environment has on me, I desired to learn more about it. I first researched it years ago, when my family moved into a new home, and again more recently.

While Feng Shui can be quite complex (and, yes, it can be a bit rigid at times), there are aspects of it that I find very logical and practical. My understanding is that the goal of Feng Shui is to ensure that the physical space you’re working with- a room, office, home, yard, etc. – (1) allows energy to easily enter the space, (2) keeps this energy flowing freely throughout the space and (3) prevents energy “leaks”.

Here are some simple, very “do-able” ways to manage the energy of your space and promote balance, clarity, health and harmony:

  1. Allow energy in:

    Keep home clutter free
    Seating plan that encourages interaction and conversation (furniture close to each other without being jammed together)
    Natural elements, such as flowers, plants, a fruit bowl, etc. (discuss five elements
    Use mirrors to create a sense of expansiveness)
    Use natural fibers (cotton, silk, etc.)
  2. Keep energy flowing:

    Good lighting
    Avoid allowing tv or other electronics to dominate the room
    Sense of proportion with furniture (allows for movement between and around pieces)
    Work with color (more vibrant in the living areas; softer in the bedrooms and bathrooms)
    Only include items you find beautiful and meaningful
    Soft edges, as opposed to pointy corners, on furniture
    Keep appliances in good, working condition at all times. Replace lightbulb son that burn out; discard or replace items that break or plants/flowers that die (NO DRIED FLOWERS OR POTPOURRI)
    Have a place for everything, order promotes the flow of energy
    Keep countertops relatively clear (avoid cluttering the surfaces in your home)
    Balance (end tables, lamps, etc.)
    Allow fresh air in when ver possible (open windows or use an air purifier)

    (3) Prevent energy “leaks”:

    Cover the windows (blinds/curtains should allow some light in, but provide a sense of privacy and containment)
    Use rugs to create a sense of grounding and security in certain areas
    No computers, television, or other electronics in the bedroom (and as few as possible in other areas of the home)
    When not in use, close toilet seats, closet doors, cabinets, etc.

I hope that these tips serve you well and that your home is a truly Wellegant sanctuary!

xo,

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


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Weekly Wellegant Find: Thieves All Purpose Cleaner

Last week, I spoke about non-toxic cleaning products for the home, which is important for everyone, but especially for us women, as so many of the chemicals found in our everyday products are known to been disruptive to the endocrine system and quite dangerous to our overall health.

When I decided to rid my home of chemical cleaning products, I did a lot of research into various products (those of you who know me well know that, when it comes to health and wellness, I LOVE to read and research!). I was shocked to find that many of the so called, “green” and “natural” products are actually far from it.

So I was thrilled to find this product, made by the Young Living essential oil company.

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Non-Toxic Cleaning Products for the Home

Spring is fast approaching (hallelujah!!) and, if you’re like me, you might feel the need to clean things out and freshen things up! By the time spring rolls around, most of us have an intense desire to escape the doldrums of winter. Tired of “ warm and cozy,” we’re now ready for “light and fresh” in just about every facet of life and we long to change things up in a big way – in our wardrobes, homes, food, fitness routine, beauty regimen, etc. For that reason, spring tends to be the time when most of us do our best cleaning and decluttering.  At this time of year, I actually, almost, sort of, kind of, maybe…enjoy cleaning. Just a little bit. Maybe.

Whatever my feelings are about the process of cleaning, I can honestly say that I LOVE the feelings of lightness and clarity that I experience after my home has been, scrubbed down, wiped up and disinfected. It’s been said that physical clutter creates mental clutter and that is most definitely the case for me. The more clean and clear my surroundings are, the more clean and clear my emotional state.

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Creating a Meditation Space at Home

I meditated on and off for years before committing to a regular meditation practice and it has been an absolute game-changer for me. I meditate the first thing each morning and, while I shoot for 30 minutes of meditation, sometimes it’s only 15 minutes. Then there are some days when 5 is all my schedule will allow. But each and every day, I make it a point to spend time in stillness and I can honestly say that this practice (which I struggled with for so long!) has now become an essential part of my life.

One of the things that has helped me to commit to this practice is having a meditation space that I love coming to each day. My space isn’t big and it isn’t elaborately decorated, but it’s cozy, inspiring and serene. It’s a place I retreat to in order to quiet the noise of the outside world and turn inward and, as such, I am very selective about what I bring into this space.

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Decorate Your Home Like a Parisienne

No matter how small they are (and some of them are teeny tiny!), Paris apartments always seem absolutely enchanting to me. They’re charming in their simplicity and achieve the delicate balance between chic/modern and intimate/cozy. Like Parisian women themselves, they’re full of style and personality but also exude a certain effortlessness, showing no signs of fuss or bother. Most of us scratch our heads, wondering how they do it…

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn of Sarah Lavoine’s book, Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living Like a Parisienne. Lavoine is a Parisian woman who gives readers a glimpse into her life and generously divulges many of the “secrets.” She writes in a way that’s light, honest and fun and shares many photos from her own home, garden, closet, etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little peek inside Lavoine’s home and life. If, like me, you’re inspired to bring a little Parisian style to your own home, here are 20 easy ways to do it, as outlined in Chez Moi (and, if you’re inclined to dig a bit deeper, be sure to check out the book here).

20 Ways to Decorate Like a Parisienne:

  1. Don’t be afraid of color on the walls.
  2. Use mirrors for light and ambiance (play with sizes and frame styles).
  3. Use throw pillows on chairs and sofas to add personality to the room (changing them with the seasons helps to keep things fresh).
  4. Mix modern and vintage items.
  5. Place candles everywhere (Lavoine LOVES candles and uses them in every room).
  6. Always have fresh flowers in your home. This need not be a big arrangement. Bud vases or a few small bouquets placed throughout the house are just as lovely.
  7. Keep counters in the kitchen fairly clear. Lavoine discusses how Parisians tend to hide most small appliances, kitchen tools, etc. and, because Paris kitchens are so small, one is forced to scale back to just the essentials (link). No kitchen clutter here!
  8. Don’t save cloth napkins for special occasions. Use them everyday to elevate the dining experience.
  9. Use only white plates, which highlight the food being served. Lavoine notes that the pieces need not necessarily match. An assortment of white plates and serving platters in different styles can be interesting and eclectic.
  10. Have a handful of easy and delicious recipes for entertaining at home (something that the French quite enjoy doing).
  11. Display art and photographs on the walls which will, not only add personality to the room, but, in many cases, also make the room feel larger.
  12. Invest in a high quality mattress, as well as fine bed linens and pillows. (The French value a good night’s sleep!)
  13. Display books as art. Once again, be discriminating and keep only those books that are most cherished.
  14. Cover windows with sheer curtains in a natural fabric, so as to  provide a screen without blocking the light.
  15. Treat yourself to luxury soaps (bar soap or liquid) in the bathroom.
  16. Invest in quality terry cloth towels. They will maintain their appearance and last a long time.
  17. Store certain bathroom items (such as Q-tips and cotton balls) in apothecary jars. If certain things must remain out on the counter, do your best to make them attractive.
  18. Invest in a large, spa-like shower head.
  19. Organize the closet by color. This will make it easy to locate items and also draw attention to gaps in your wardrobe (too much black? Not enough color?)
  20. Frame and hang childrens’ own artwork in their bedrooms. It’s playful, colorful and a fun way to encourage creativity.

I hope that Lavoine’s ideas provided you with some decor inspiration; she certainly inspired me.

Buon Weekend!

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!