“Thoughts”


Magnolia Noir

Yes, you saw it right! A new blog name!!!

Magnolia Noir means many things to me:

Bloom!

Each spring, the magnolia is the first tree to bloom in Montreal. And every first blossom I see gives me so much joy and hope (it signifies the end of winter after all). It’s like a renaissance, and I like this idea for my blog! I also love magnolia flowers, they are delicate and radiant at the same time–it’s inspirational!

Growth

I don’t talk a lot about my profession here on my blog, but Chinese Medicine plays an important role in my life. As an acupuncturist, I cherish its philosophy and perspective, and I love to observe and analyze my surroundings from a five-element (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood) point of view. One of them, Wood, draws its strength from its roots in order to grow in a straight line toward the sun. That is why Wood is associated with determination! Whenever I am tired or discouraged about blogging, I feel an inexplicable force inside me… I have the irrational conviction to continue blogging, and I attribute this to a hidden and intuitive energy I always had in me, that was waiting to have its chance to grow.

Noir

Speaking of the five elements, Noir (which is French for black) is the color associated with Water in Chinese Medicine. Water type people appear a bit reserved and are often creative. They can seem stoic, but are actually very sensitive and contemplative. Well… it’s totally me!

Noir is also a nod to my love, Sam. When I was looking for a name last year, he add the word black or noir to every name I suggested. It was a running gag and we laugh a lot about it! So, to add Noir to my name is a way of honoring him because Sam always supported me through this project, and he is the talented man behind the lens.

Contrast

I love the fact that the light and softness of magnolia flowers contrasts with the deep and dark side of black. It totally reflects my personality! Sometimes luminous and happy, sometimes introverted and mysterious. My Instagram account totally reflects this idea. Go have a look!

Creativity

The more I blog, the more I want to develop my own creativity. To have a name that reflects something poetic and inspirational is very important to me! Also, this name gives me the latitude to blog about whatever I want, from fashion to calligraphy…

A French name!!!

I’m French Canadian and having a French name is really important to me. I was looking for a bilingual name or expression, but every idea I loved was already taken. I decided to assume my origins and I opted for a French twist!

That’s it! Now you know why I made this big change!

Stay tuned, I’ll share with you the new mission of my blog very soon… Suspense…


The First Candle!!!

I can’t believe my blog is already a year old!

Last year, I launched my blog in the evening of February 28th, and I was excited and terrified at the same time! I talk about my fears here.

After a year of blogging, I can tell you that the things I experienced definitely weren’t the things I expected, but that has been the most interesting part! I discovered so many facets of my personality, good and bad, and it has led me to the most important lesson I have ever learned in my life:

To love myself.

Maybe it sounds cliché and obvious, but the last year has been quite challenging to me. Launching a blog reveals a lot about yourself, and you can’t hide behind your routine! Blogging is about sharing your thoughts, your passions and what drives you in life. So, if you don’t know exactly who you are, well, it’s challenging.

I spent some time soul searching, trying to figure out what I really want in my life and the kind of messages I want to send to others. Then, I realized that I didn’t know exactly who I was. I realized that I never allowed myself to dream. Probably because I thought I wasn’t allowed to… Probably because I wasn’t loving myself enough.

Ouch! It’s not easy to admit that to yourself! But at the same time, it was liberating! I changed my perception of myself. I decided that I deserve a very beautiful life.

And just like that, I began a big transformation. And it’s funny because when I look at the first blog posts, I get the impression that i’m a completely different woman today!

Thank you so much for following me and accompany me through this great adventure. You have given me the opportunity to share my passions and to grow through this project, and that means a lot to me.

Here’s to you, my friends!

Love

xx

Photo credit: Eliane Marcoux


Best Wishes

It’s time to send you my best wishes for Christmas and the holidays! Enjoy every second with your loved ones. But, while the holidays are full of parties, don’t forget to reserve time to take care of yourself, you deserved it!

Also, I have a special thought for those who have experienced (or are still going through) some difficult times. The holidays often amplify loss and the feeling of solitude… It’s not always easy to celebrate when someone important is missing or when times are tough. I wish all of you find peace and love this holiday season.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

xx

Photo credit: Samuel Laflamme


Let the Elephants Run

I was in the Personal Development section at the library when this book caught my eye. The title, Let the Elephants Run, intrigued me. Then, I noticed that the author was David Usher (the lead signer of Moist, one of my favorite groups as a teenager). I was curious! Especially because this book gives concrete tools for developing our own creativity, and coincidentally, I was in this process at that time.

The book starts:

“Rule number one: Never start a serious book with a picture of yourself in underwear.”

“Rule number two: In the world of creativity, there are no rules…”

And then, on the next page, there is a picture of a 3-year-old David in underwear. This immediately establishes the humorous and frank tone of the book. No need to beat around the bush: to develop one’s own creativity, it’s imperative to ignore pre-established rules, whether they come from our society, our entourage or our own barriers.

The book continues, punctuated by some exercises to complete as you go. There is no excuse not to develop our own creativity, whether we have a particular talent or not! The trick is to start the idea machine and eventually learn to make them reality.

Here are a few quotes that caught my attention:

“No single structure works for everyone. But for everyone, there is a structure that works for them.”

“Creativity is an action sport. We take ideas and put them in motion.”

“Stop considering creativity as the jackpot that someone else won at birth.”

I don’t want to tell you more about this book because I want you to read it! It definitely helped me to move from procrastination to action. I found an old picture of myself (the one above) and found inspiration in it. As a little girl, I wanted to learn and do everything! I was really curious and creative. I drew, played piano, wrote stories, sewed and knitted. I still feel this impulse in my adult life, but I wasn’t making it a priority. Since I read this book, I have taken some calligraphy lessons, registered to Skillshare, which is a website offering online classes on many many subjects, and went back to drawing… which is the topic of my next post! Stay tuned!

Photo credit: Eliane Marcoux

Ligne_Peche

Tea pot: Souvenir from China, Tea: Sencha from Camellia Sinensis.


Fear & Love

It was my birthday last week! I’m 32. And yes, I’m a Libra… I’m constantly in search of the perfect balance in my life and it can take me a long time to make a decision!

On my birthday, I like to think about the challenges I faced during the last year and the lessons I learned. I think about the things I want to improve in the coming year, a bit like making New Years resolutions!

My 31st year was quite something! I laid the foundation and launched my blog. It was a huge personal challenge! Before starting this project, I needed to reconnect with some facets of my personality that were hidden for many years.

As a little girl, I had a passion for drawing, music, sewing and fashion. But as I grew up, I put my passions aside to help my parents with the daily tasks. Coming from a family of 6 siblings meant everyone had to help out, so naturally, taking care of others became a big part of my life and vocation. I became a massage therapist and for 4 years I have been an acupuncturist. I firmly believe it’s the best profession in the world! Helping others to be healthier is so rewarding, and I feel fortunate to practice a profession that I love so much!

But, I realized that I spend most of my time taking care of others. What about me? What about my personal projects? I started to want to reconnect with that little girl inside me, and that’s where the idea of having a blog came from! Sam, my love behind the lens, and I talked a lot about this project and he fervently encouraged me to do it! His support has been precious because he takes most of the pictures featured on my blog. He’s really talented!

Once I started working on this project, a lot of fears and insecurities started to come out. Am I an impostor? What will people think of this project? Does blogging about fashion make me look superficial? How can I incorporate my core values into a fashion blog? What if I fail… or it’s a hit and I’m not able to live with the demands of having a successful blog and career? Will I have to make a choice between professions?

I asked myself: Where do these fears come from? I realized that a few where there from my childhood, and others appeared more recently. Until then, I was living in my comfort zone and it was really hard for me to dive into something new, something I had never done before.

So I worked on my issues, launched my blog and continued to work on myself. And this big change brought me so many positives things! First, it gave me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who work in this challenging industry in Montreal, inspiring and courageous people that quit their jobs and security to pursue their dreams of having a boutique or a brand. Secondly, because this project gave me the opportunity to grow, bloom and develop skills I never thought I had. I feel more intuitive and creative, and that I have dropped my barriers which prevented me from going forward and becoming a better me.

“What would you do if you had no fear?”

This quote was a wonderful source of inspiration. Even after a year which kept this Libra off balance… 😉 and even if my fears come back occasionally, I’m ready for a new challenge! To let my own barriers and insecurities fall away and live every moment with love, to do things and projects I love, to put myself first, to love myself at every moment despite my imperfections and mistakes, to be open to the new opportunities and people life brings me and to fully live in the moment.

I think it will be a wonderful year!

I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for following me through this adventure. It touches me deeply. And, you have no idea about how much I love reading your comments!

Thank you so much!

XX

Photo credit: Eliane Marcoux


No Makeup Day

It’s No Makeup Day in Quebec and, for this occasion, I wanted to show my natural face (of course) and share my thoughts about this special event.

My Little Story

My first experience with makeup was at the age of 5. It was halloween and my kindergarden teacher put makeup on me. I was dressed as a witch. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was terribly disappointed! As if what I saw in the mirror was a hideous version of me. While all the other girls were princesses, I found myself ugly… It scarred me.

A few months later, I tried makeup again. I shared a room with my teenage sister. One night, because she went to bed later than me, I secretly searched through her makeup drawer and dusted myself with pink and baby blue makeup powders. I though she would never notice. It was definitely utopian! While sleeping, I smeared the makeup I was wearing all over my pillowcase. Suffice it to say I received a lecture the next morning.

In my teens, I didn’t use any makeup. I was very lucky. I didn’t have any acne and my cheeks were naturally rosy. They were so pink that I got picked on regularly, even by my teachers! People thought I was putting to much blush on my cheeks. And because I was a really shy girl, and blushed easily, they teased me even more.

So, let’s just say that I didn’t hold makeup in high esteem.

One day, I dared to put mascara on before going on stage for a concert (yes, to sing, but I will tell you this story another time). I remember that my boyfriend at the time told me: “Did you change something? You are really pretty tonight!” That made an impact.

And a few years later, I took the plunge. I started to wear mascara everyday. I remember that clearly, I was 23. I was working with a woman who told me everyday: “My god, you look so tired!” Her remarks stopped when I started regularly wearing mascara. This was an eye-opening experience. I could really feel the social pressure, especially the kind that exists between women.

To me, wearing makeup should be something we do because we truly want to, independent of what people may think. A bit like the way we have fun mixing clothes, accessories, shapes, textures and colors together.

We should have the choice to show our natural face without being criticized, or to wear the makeup we want. And I will add that men should be free to use it if they want to as well. I’m sure there are guys who would wear concealer sometimes!

I advocate for diversity, freedom of choice and respect. Because the real problem is not caused by makeup, but by the perception we have about others and ourselves. Let’s search for that sparkle that distinguishes us from others. There lies the real beauty (cliché, but true).

And to finish my little story, I would say that even if I don’t always wear makeup, I’ve never had more fun doing it than today, and I’ve never felt so radiant. Not because makeup gives me more confidence, but because I own who I am: a woman who is strongly attracted to beauty, which is the mean focus of this blog.

It takes a lot of skill to apply makeup perfectly! We don’t call professionals “makeup artists” for nothing! Those who master the eye liner know…

Have a wonderful No Makeup Day everyone!

Be proud of the person you are and more radiant than ever!

xx


Finding Your Style

Maybe you already know Yves Saint Laurent’s famous quote: “Fashions fade, style is eternal”. I think this is absolutely true! Trends are created to be fleeting and to encourage consumption, while style should reflect our own personality and remain timeless.

But it’s definitely not easy to find a personal style. In my life, I have tried many looks! In elementary and high school, I didn’t choose a lot of my clothes, but I remember that I made some pretty big fashion mistakes! My sisters still tease me about my huge Boca T-shirt that I paired with baby blue leggings. Later, I had a very colorful bohemian look and even wore some clothes I made myself. It’s also during this period that I started working in boutiques and developed a passion for fashion. I had figured out my style and started investing in good quality clothes, which I still wear to this today.

I would generally describe my style as simple and elegant, cozy and timeless. These qualities are really important to me. While shopping, if I love a piece which isn’t really in sync with my personal style, I ask myself some serious questions before buying it. For example, I recently found a pair of white boyfriend jeans that I am crazy about! The thing is these jeans are very torn (which is very trendy right now–but not timeless), and I’m still wondering if they would truly be wearable over the long term. These jeans are not really inline with my style, so they are a riskier buy. And, because I don’t want to get tire of them rapidly, I’m really taking my time to think about this purchase.

If you are still looking for your own style, I would recommend taking a look in your closet. Which pieces are your favorites? Which ones have you had for a long time and still enjoy wearing? The answers will give you some very good clues.

Doing some research on the Internet definitely helped me to find my style. I was inspired by the looks of my favorite artists and bloggers, and by various street styles. I started a Pinterest account to collect my favorite outfits and, with time, I realized what kind of look I was attracted to. You can even follow my Pinterest account here!

Finally, I think it’s really important to understand your own silhouette, and to determine which cuts and colors flatter you. Sometimes, it’s really tempting to ask our friends or family, but it’s not always a good idea. I’ve noticed that when shopping with my friends, I am often influenced by their tastes! What they find pretty on me isn’t necessarily my style, even if they have a good eye! If you feel completely lost and you find it hard to know what would suit you, I recommend consulting a stylist. It will take her/he one or two hours to come up with some insightful and professional advice that will be helpful for the rest of your life!

Thank you very much for reading and have a nice weekend everyone!

xx


My Shopping Philosophy

Today is Earth Day and for the occasion I want to share with you my philosophy regarding the fashion and shopping universe.

The increase of fast fashion, which means the production, consumption and throwing away of a large quantity of cheap and inexpensive clothes, is worrying. Some clothing chains even present new collections every month! They accelerate the turnover in fashion trends and encourage the consumer appetite for new clothes, which is harmful to the planet and its resources.

To slow down this phenomenon, I think it’s really important to privilege clothes that are of high quality and offer longevity while still remaining timeless, cozy and in sync with our own personality.

I have a little anecdote for you: 10 years ago (already!) I purchased a fabulous pair of jeans. As soon as I started wearing them, I received a lot of compliments. A girl asked me how much they cost, and I told her $120. She started to lecture me saying that it’s crazy to spend that much money on clothing. She told me that she would never pay more than $30 for jeans, and that she had at least 40 pairs! I was dumbfounded… Why so many?! My jeans (shown in the picture), were my all time favorite, and I still found a way to keep wearing them even after they became threadbare! In my humble opinion, I think that a good quality piece that you really love is always worth the investment.

My Little Story

I grew up in a modest family with 5 other siblings. I wore my big sister’s hand-me-downs, and I passed them down to my little sisters, in turn. My mother has a talent for repairing and making clothes, and she taught me to sew and stitch at the age of 4. Well, it wasn’t always pretty at the beginning, but the skills I developed at this time are still very useful today. In my teens (around 1995), I was wearing my big sister’s clothes (which were from the 1980’s). I was absolutely out of fashion and I got teased at school! I realized at a very early age that trends change very fast; thus, to be able to appreciate a piece for a long time, it has to truly represent you and be timeless. That’s why as soon as I was able to buy my own clothes, I immediately opted for quality and for items that I deeply love.

Over the years, I have also given a lot of my clothes to my sisters. I always feel proud doing this because I know that my clothing will have a second life and will continue to be worn for a long time. I make them happy and it is definitely worth the price!

Thank you so much for reading and Happy Earth Day everyone!