Back to the good ol’times: handwritten letters ! #1

handwritten

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Hi readers ! It’s been a long time already and God willing I will maybe write a post or two on some reflections I had this summer. We were privileged to spend three beautiful weeks in USA, two at my aunt’s in Florida and another in Pennsylvania. Lots of happenings there led me to go back to my “first love”, writing. For years, I kept a diary, and every day after school, since the age of 16, I would let my thoughts ripe on the paper. Really, paper is my second brain and during the 4th year of universtiy, it happened for some reason I don’t quite remember that I stopped writing and it was a bad idea. A bad one. I thrive on writing.

During my stay in the USA, I talked to a relative and other girlfriends and realized something: we are in an age of rush. Of social media, of things-to-do lists. Some will be leaving for college and leave their parents behind, and sometimes, it can be quite overwhelming. They won’t always have the time for phone calls and answering emails and will be heavily disturbed when WhatsApp/Snapchat sends a “Ding !” while they are studying for their next quizz/test. Yet they need some presence. The warmth of those they love.

I wanted to stay in touch with these girls. Some of them cousins, some of them friends, sisters in Christ, older women at times. And yet, I, too, am getting crazy with the social media tornado that dominate our lives: you either choose to be an active member of it or, you socially die, forgotten of everyone !

It was upon these considerations that I have decided to buy a good, thick block of paper, a stash of envelopes and while decreasing my time on social media, to take the habit to write a letter once a day (while I am on vacations) but to have, at least, a special time, every week, to sit down with my tea on my little round table and to pen a few words.

The art of handwritten letters brings unique things…

The one who writes will see his/her thoughts unfold on the paper in a way that writing them on a computer won’t -there is no erase button after all… and it’s such a pleasure to go to the post office and print stamps to send your thick stash of letters. It’s usually hard to get me out of my appartment unless for shopping for groceries. My parents keep telling me, “Go out for a walk”- but this time I think going out on the Rue Nationale will be a much awaited time of the week !

The one who receives the letter will have the surprise of receiving something personal- all handwritings are different- and you get to have something that is specifically written for one person. And, unlike notifications, you get to have something that you can read at any time and requires your attention, yet is not as interrupting as those !

What’s not to love ? As I was sending an email a few minutes ago, I found, on my mom’s desk, a small adress book.*This is a siiiignnnn*. I just can’t wait ! And since I’m taking the train every Monday and Friday, I hope to, when I don’t want to study, to make it a tradition to write in the train.

Post #2 to follow !

Do you still write, or am I the only squealing Jane Austenish gal out there?

 

 

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An update

I thought I would write a sort of random post about how life is going and where I have been lately !

I finished the exams two weeks ago and I am very thankful the year is over. It will be, God willing, my last year of community pharmacy- my initial plan was to become your typical pharmacist but the Lord has other plans for me. If the Lord wills, I will start, in September, my Master’s degree in immunology, which hopefully will be the last year of my pharmacy program… unless I pursue another Master’s degree… School is so fun and I have always loved learning differents things !

Last week’s conference 

Last week, we went to Houlgate, a beach located in the North of France for a Christian conference in Arabic this time.

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FYI, the crab was dead

 the topic of the preaching was on the short yet powerful book of Malachi and the great lesson I will remember from this weekend is that we ought to aim at honoring the Lord, that so often we honor humans more than we honor Him: “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 1:6). It made a deep impression upon me and recently, I have been feeling more intensely the conviction of the Holy Spirit to seek to honor the Lord, even when I am alone at home, and with my thoughts, because the truth is, He is always here, and is the most Majestic being in the Universe, and deserves all the honor and worship.

We can’t do this on our own. It is because He loved us first that we are enabled to love Him ! But recently, that conviction led me to stop giving God the last crumbs. The last minutes of the day. The occasional thought or prayer when I am bored and I have nothing to do but pray. Sometimes, instead of putting some music on, I feel the conviction, again, to intentionally seek to “integrate”, “include” the Lord while I do my everyday tasks, such as cleaning my appartment, cooking… I thought, no one would talk to a loved one out of boredom, right ? We have to be intentional !

 

Thoughts on being useful as a young single woman

I noticed something interesting during the conference: a lot of young girls, between 11 and 17 years old, wanted to chat with me- the kind of one-on-one talk. About lots of things: school, God, the Bible, guys, and whatnot. And I began to realize that all the struggles I have faced during my life, what the Lord has taught me, sometimes in painful ways, was found to be useful during those conversations. Chance is that if you begin to see those young teens as younger brothers and sisters in the faith, you might become a mentor to them, an older sister, and your experiences might be useful, not to mention that they need to talk to someone who has been there and understands. These moments fill me with gratitude because though the world might portray single as desperate and “waiting on the bench”, God has ways to use ordinary people to encourage others.

 

My new hobby

 

Watercoloring is so fun ! I bought myself a watercolor palette and I have been painting nearly every day since the last week (yep, even at 6 AM in the train, I was wide awake and ready to paint the Eiffel Tower). I hope my mom does not read my blog because the picture on the right, “Tea Time” is a painting I am intending to give her as a mother’s day gift and the first one was a quick sketch I made for a friend who works at the hospital with me- we are both fond of a jumbo lemon-flavored muffin they bake at the cafeteria so I had to paint it 🙂

That was everything for today !

Have a lovely weekend readers !

My frugal week

You know, far from being synonymous with a miserable life, I think frugality -making the most of what you have, learning skills in order to save- teaches you a lot. I think it taught me to pause, to stop, and no longer jump from one shopping spree to another. It taught me to work with my own hands, to be grateful for the clothes I had, to take care of them, to cook my own food and be grateful for it, to not take anything for granted… I am no longer in that rush that keeps me thinking, what should I buy next. I am learning to be content with what I have and I feel, honestly, richer that I have ever been, more that when I allowed myself to buy tons of stuff…

Also, I really think that as Christians, frugality is something we ought to aim for, in the sense, that we ought to be good stewards of what we have and not waste things. Think about what the Lord did with the loaves of bread…

Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”  (John 6: 11-13)

 

Little steps I have been taking, and things I have been doing recently in order to save money, increase my creativity and take care of the environment…

 

  •  I started carrying a small fabric tote bag in my purse so I would be able to say “no” to another plastic bag when I buy something
  • I made sushi for my family last week-end.
  • I have started adopting the need it or not ? mentality. Last day, I was considering purchasing on Amazon a makeup palette and I gave myself a few days to think about it. Eventually, I realized that I had tons of makeup and that I actually did not need that palette at all.
  • I am learning to say “no, I’m good” when pressured to buy something.
  • I have started making my own bread. Bread was something I avoided trying as I thought it was something too fancy and that you could not do unless you had a bread making machine… But trust me, it is really easy ! I don’t eat a lot of bread so I thought making my own small breads would be a good alternative:

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  • I used what I have in the pantry to blend my own chai latte mix. In France, we don’t have that Starbucks/Tim Hortons culture so we don’t really have that budget hole due to Frappucinos and other drinks.

 

What frugal steps will you be taking this week ? I would love to hear your ideas !

 

Frugality and natural beauty: my favorite products

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Beauty best reviews

This year, as I began a journey toward frugality and buying less, I have learned that this new way of life did not have to be synonymous with cheapness and inferior quality.

At first, writing a post about beauty was not something I thought I would do since when it comes to that area, every lady is different: each one of us has a different budget, a different routine, a different skin type… Some ladies wear makeup, some don’t, some take five minutes to get ready while some will take a little longer.

I am just sharing here some beauty products that worked for me. Also, remember; if taking care of our outward appearance is nice and important… “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4). External beauty fades, but inner beauty is something that is precious, and is imperishable !

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When it comes to beauty products, they ideally have to as natural as possible (non-toxic, without ingredients that are impossible to read), versatile (i.e, ingredients that are multipurpose), and not overly expensive. If they can be reusable too, and environment-friendly, it’s even better !

HAIR PRODUCTS

I dye my hair with henna ! Henna is a powder that comes from a plant (or rather, from different plants). Henna comes in different shades: browns, black, differents shades of reds and copper and there is even a clear henna ! Henna makes your hair glossy,thick (you’ll notice it when you will tie your hair ! It definitely sheathes hair) and ultra-shiny… I love henna ! I buy mine from a French Website for only a few euros and dye my hair every 2 months. It fades gradually and is very subtle so I never had roots problems so far. However, if you buy it, make sure it is 100% pure, as it is important.

Apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse ! You probably have it in your kitchen, and mixed with water, apple cider vinegar makes your hair shiny.

-Coconut oil: or almost any oil/butter, used on your lengths before shampooing your hair, is like a pre-shampoo conditioner.

A lighter butter if you have long hair and you wish to apply, before leaving the house, a bit of it on your lenghts in order to protect them. I bought, for 1,25 euros, a small jar of mango butter and its non greasy finish makes it easy to apply without ending with greasy lengthts^^

Rice flour or corn starch as a dry shampoo. Because what is the main ingredient in those Batiste dry shampoos ? Rice flour. Apply it on your hair roots with an old makeup brush and it will absorb the excess of sebum on those days you have to skip shampoo time !

 

Skincare

 

Coconut oil as a makeup remover: it works even on waterproof mascara !

Vitamine E capsules: those caps you buy at your local pharmacy are actually a key ingredient you find in your store-bought eyecreams ! I apply it from time to times before going to sleep… However, used on its own, Vit.E is a bit greasy so I would suggest to mix it with a bit of coconut oil (here is one recipe) and voilà ! You have a chemical-free, homemade eyecream.

Shea butter ! This year, I made my mom a shea butter cream I made with shea butter of course ^^, a bit of beeswax to make it more “solid”, different oils I had at hand a lavender essential oil. Let me tell you, it’s the best cream I have used so far: creamy, chemical-free, with a wonderful scent of lavender… And packed with good stuff. It’s fun and easy to do, inexpensive compared to those creams you buy; you could also use shea butter on its own but I’d rather have it in a cream.

Jojoba oil: I love this oil because it is one of the oils that is the most similar to the ones that the skin naturally produces.

Oatmeal as a face scrub ! Take a spoon of oatmeal and grind it into a powder, add a bit of water and you have a soothing face scrub.

Honey as a face mask ! Honey has amazing antibacterial properties. Do a bit of research on the internet and you’ll see that lots of things you have in your pantry and fridge can be used as face masks: yogurt, tomatoes, cocoa powder with honey, avocado…

 

Essential oils

I am not going to go into detail here, but those I use the most are Tea Tree oil for blemishes and acne (it is a powerful antibacterial agent !), Ylang-Ylang for hair and lavender in face masks… Do a little research about it and be careful with essential oils ! However, when appropriately used, they might become your best friends when it comes to beauty and homemade cleaning products as they have wonderful properties.

 

Others:

Save money ! Instead of cotton pads and disposable makeup wipes, invest in reusable baby wipes, or, if you have sewing skills, use an old tee-shirt or whatever old fabric  and DIY your own makeup pads.

As you can see, most ingredients can be found in your kitchen and the others are not as much expensive as most beauty and skincare products and, at least in my case, they really work. I have been sticking to that routine since the beginning of the year and my skin and hair have really improved !

And some DIY’s…

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Here is an example of some DIY’s beauty product that I do. This super easy body butter took me less than 10 minutes to prepare, an old marmelade jar, a bain-marie= a pan on the stove filled with boiling water. In the jar, I have put beeswax, olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, vitamine E oil as a preservative and, a bit of thyme honey and a pinch of vanilla beans (can you see the brown beans in the jar ? It smells amazing as well 🙂 )The other jar is a tinted lipbalm, with basically the same formula colored with beetroot juice I bought from AromaZone. It gives a very natural hue to the lips…and doubles as a blush as well !

N.BHowever, be careful: natural does not equate innocuous (for example, the well-known cinammon mask you see on Pinterest is not something I would recommend as it is really dangerous !)

Saturday fun: of hats and calligraphy !

Hello ladies !

As much as I enjoy blogging, with my new internship starting on Monday, I will have to post less often… It’s almost the end of the year (it’s March already, time flies so fast it’s unbelievable), so that calls for more study time ! Anyway, it’s break time now and I wanted to write a bit.

 

Outfit of the (other) day ! 

 

ootd

A quick outfit I wore last week. Spring is starting to come around and I am glad that except for a few rainy days here and there, heavy coats will no longer needed ! In this outfit I am wearing a passe-partout knee-lenght black skirt, a champagne shirt and a white wool jacket along with a black hat, and long mustard earrings. I just love how hats add a final touch to an outfit; you can find those wool felt hats at H and M.

 

Calligraphy !

As I am starting to look for practical, beautiful yet inexpensive ways to make my appartement more homey and cosy, I am considering starting calligraphy ! In a way, I already do it on a daily basis since in France, when we were little, writing beautifully (often with a fountain pen and in cursive script) was something we were taught from the beginning of our elementary years.

I often saw on pinterest and blogs wall decors of quotes and verses and I thought that it was inexpensive and that with a bit of creativity, a frame or two, arranged on a desk, a kitchen counter or the living room, could add a lot of that unique touch to a room. One sweet lady, Jen, whose blog I have been following for years (it’s such a delight to read !), has started a her own calligraphy business, Arabella Calligraphy. Here are some of her works:

 

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How lovely is that ? Here are some other works from Pinterest. I find that not only they enhance a room, but they could be good reminders of God’s Word throughout the days.

 

Have an amazing weekend,

Stéphanie

These are a few of my favorite things <3

This category is all about my favorite things, the kind of things I like to post because I think they are lovely, they always make me happy- I love, every now and then, going on Pinterest to see those pictures that never fail to brighten my day.

One of my favorite things ? The eponymous song, Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music- that makes three. I just love this song, this movie and I think Julie Andrews is a lovely woman, I love her role in that movie and how playful she is with the children. Besides that, I’ve read of people who, inspired by this song, started a “favorite things” journal; how lovely ❤