MY VACATION IN JORDAN….and how I embraced their culture!!

Jordan20

My vacation in Jordan was a trip of a lifetime to say the least.   My friends live in Amman, Jordan and I was fortunate enough to visit them.   I never in a million years would have thought I would travel to the Middle East, but I am so thankful I am open to new experiences.  My friend, Elissa put together a remarkable itinerary and each day was better than the next and it couldn’t have been more perfect.   My first thoughts were… what do I wear?  Can I wear shorts?  Do I have to wear long dresses?  Do I have to cover my head like they do?  What is allowed and what isn’t?  Thank goodness Elissa was there to guide me and tell me when I could wear shorts and when I should wear pants.  If we were going to be in town amongst the locals I was to cover up as much as possible, no shorts or sleeveless tops.   If we were going to a tourist site, then it was okay to wear shorts but still obviously not too short.  Easy enough!

My first day in Amman was a fun packed day of sightseeing.  We went to The Citadel, the highest point of the city to see The Temple of Hercules and admire the stunning views of the city.   We then went to the Souk (the local market) and wandered through the town before stopping for lunch at a local spot, which was delicious!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next day we went to Mount Nebo, where Moses saw The Promised Land.  The views were breathtaking and left me speechless.   After this spiritual experience we drove down the valley to The Dead Sea!!  This exceeded my expectations.   We bought a day pass and swam in the pool and spent a much needed day of relaxation.   Towards the end of our day we made our way down to the Sea and when I say down, I mean down!  The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth!!  You can’t swim in the Dead Sea, but you can float!  There is a high concentration of dissolved mineral salts in the water and since our body weight is less dense your body automatically floats.   We covered ourselves in mud from the sea, sat in the sun for 10 minutes till we were dry and then floated in the sea.  The mud from the sea is high in minerals, such as sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium, so it nourishes the skin leaving it remarkably silky soft!!!  Better than any spa day that you pay for here!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next on the itinerary was Jerash to see the Roman ruins.  This is where I bought an Arabic scarf and had one of the locals wrap my head Bedouin style to protect me from the blazing sun.  It really did keep me cool.  Followed by Petra, an ancient city carved from stone and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.  This is where my dream came true and I rode a camel! I rode three to be exact over the next few days.  It was such a calming and thrilling experience.  Then we were off to Wadi Rum to camp in the desert.  This was such a spiritual experience and by far my favorite.   Star Wars and the new Aladdin movie were filmed in Wadi Rum and I truly felt like I was in a movie while we were there.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My trip was coming to an end and what better way to close out my whirl wind of a vacation than swimming in the Red Sea in Aqaba!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I know how truly fortunate I am to have experienced all of these amazing things.  I learned a lot about their culture and I really embraced it.  However, my first day in Amman was the only time I felt people were staring at me.  My dress was very long and shapeless, and I felt like I was wearing a tent so the fashionista in me tweaked it by pulling it up and tying it in a knot.   I thought it looked great, but Elissa was quick to point out the looks I was receiving.  I didn’t understand why till she told me it was because my leg was showing.  My initial reaction was, it’s just my lower leg!  It’s barely anything!  I then noticed that the women were sending me disapproving looks.   I didn’t understand it, I wasn’t grasping what the big deal was but then quickly realized I didn’t need to understand it I only needed to respect it.  From that day forward I felt completely comfortable and safe everywhere we went.

Jordan19

This trip made me realize how fortunate we are that we live in a country that allows us to dress freely and be our own individuals.   We have so much freedom and I really took that for granted but not anymore!  We live in completely different worlds and I am not sure how well I would do living in a country that forced me to dress a certain way and act a certain way.   I did however love learning about their customs, culture and traditions.  I loved every minute of my experiences while I was there and I feel like I really grew as a person.  I was open to everything around me which really enhanced my experiences while I was there.

I truly believe they are happy with their culture and their religion is extremely important to them.  They probably don’t understand our western ways and how we dress but if we respect each other and learn from each other then this is all that really matters.

Melissa Gauvreau – Styled by M

Stay fabulous!

 

FALL FASHION….who else is excited??

fallfashion2019

Summer ’19 you have been amazing.  We had almost perfect weather and I have soaked up as much sun and spent as much time outdoors as possible.  Sad to say, it is quickly coming to an end though.  Kids are going back to school soon.  The days are becoming shorter.  The nights are a bit cooler.   It’s okay though because it’s time to get excited for my favorite time of year, fall!  I am not talking pumpkin lattes people; I am talking about boots and sweaters!! Time to get excited for fall fashion!  Time to find out what is coming in hot this season!

Cinched suits.

Belts are a must to pull off this fashion trend.   Throw on a blazer, cinch it with a belt and voila!  I am excited to try this look with my new Steve Madden belt I bought on sale at Simons.

Fallfashionbelt

 

 

All satin everything.

As pretty as satin is, not everyone can wear this material.  It is very clingy and shows every curve.  That won’t stop me from wearing a sexy satin dress or skirt though.  I just need to find the right one that suits me.   Adding this to my fall must haves for sure!

 

50 shades of purple.

Good thing most people can wear purple as it is everywhere this season.  Time to get your purple on.

 

Micro bags. 

Micro bags may be tiny, but they are here in a big way.   Can my phone even fit in there?

microbag2microbag4microbag5

Stick a feather in it.

Feathers are making an appearance everywhere, even boots and shoes.   This trend might not be for everyone, but it is definitely here!

 

Statement hats. 

Hats are one of my favorite accessories.  I think it’s time to step my hat game up though and make a statement.

 

Long coats.

The longer your hem on your coat this fall, the better!

 

Asymmetric neckline.

This neckline is particularly nice for anyone who doesn’t enjoy strapless.   The one cold shoulder look is very classy and stylish.

 

Dripping in gold.

Wearing gold is bold and confident.  It’s not just for the Grammy’s.  It’s time to shine this season!

 

Capes.

Not all heroes wear capes but fall fashionistas sure do.

 

Power shoulder!

80’s are back in a powerful way.  I wasn’t a fan then and I am not a fan now but it is making a big come back whether I like it or not.

 

Square neckline.

I am loving this romantic renaissance look.

 

 

So there we have it.  Fall fashion 2019.   I am ready for it but first let’s enjoy the last bit of summer to the fullest.  Time is passing us by too quickly to wish fall upon us just yet.

Melissa Gauvreau – Styled by M

Stay fabulous!

What’s hot and what’s not……

whats hot10

This is not your typical fashion what’s hot and what’s not blog.  I am not about to tell you what is hot this season and what is not.   I want to talk about personality and how it’s hot to be kind, thoughtful and positive.  Be the kind of person that people want to be around.  That is hot! 

What’s hot? 

Uplifting others! I love when I see people supporting and uplifting others.  I particularly love seeing women empowering other women.  Being genuinely happy for someone else’s success is hot!  I love surrounding myself around inspiring people.  Inspiring people inspire others to be better and that is a beautiful thing.  There is no limit to success so why not wish success for everyone,  there is enough for all us.

 

What’s not?

Tearing others down!  This is such an envious thing to see.  I see a lot of this, especially on social media.   It’s such a massive turn off for me.  I think this mostly comes from people who have low self esteem and I am not sure they even realize the damage that this can cause.

 

What’s hot?  

Positive people are on my hot list!  People who can find the positive in every situation are my kind of people.   Positive people always have a great energy about them and who doesn’t want to be around great energy?  Positive people are usually smiling and happy and that is contagious!  This world needs as much positive energy as possible!

whats hot6

What’s not?

Negative people!  Negative people are usually scowling and look miserable.   I avoid these people at all costs because they can be so draining.  Please don’t mess with my positive vibes!   I often wonder if they even realize how negative they are.  I am a firm believer that you get what you put out there.  So if you are thinking negative thoughts then you will receive negative things in your life.   I don’t understand it, I am just not wired to think like that so that’s all I have to really say about this one.

 

What’s hot?

Kind people.  I wish there were more kind people in this world.   We can all do better at this one.  Everyone deserves kindness and compassion.  Thoughtful,  caring,  helpful and gracious all mesh with being a kind person.   Like Ellen says at the end of every show,  be kind to one another.  It’s not a hard thing to do but I see us struggling with this one.

 

What’s not?

Inconsiderate and unkind people.  These are the people that can ruin your day.  Unkind people can be bullies and they get off on putting others down.  The compassionate side of me realizes that these people don’t love themselves they way that they should.  So I will send them positive vibes and hopefully they realize that being unkind gets you nowhere in life.

So, what do you think?  Did you make it to my hot list?  Or not so much?  I will continue to work on my hotness and try to be the best person I can be.  I think I can improve on a few things myself.   Nobody is perfect and I am always learning and growing and that is hot!!

Melissa Gauvreau – Styled by M

Stay fabulous!

THRIFTING…. is this for me?

thrift16

I grew up with a Mom who loves a good deal.   It’s not that we didn’t have the money to buy expensive things, but my Mom was always thrifty when it came to shopping.   I am proud that I learned that from her.  It’s just never really been my thing because I have such a specific style that I usually don’t have much luck finding things I would wear at a secondhand store.   I try to be fashion forward and I like to wear the latest trend before others.  So, when I invited my friend Pamela to come visit me for the weekend I suggested we spend the afternoon thrifting because she is a professional.  She has her own Facebook page called Thrift Love and is also a blogger and a vlogger.   So if I am going thrifting there is nobody better to go with than her.  https://www.facebook.com/thriftloveblog/

Pamela had done her research and already had a game plan.   We were off to The Clothes Secret, Value Village and Salvation Army.  My idea of thrifting is Nordstrom Rack or an Outlet so I was looking forward to a new shopping experience.  The Clothes Secret is a cute consignment store in Ottawa and just happened to be having a massive sale.  I found an over sized shirt that I will wear as a dress.   It was $17.99 but it was 80% off so I actually paid $3.60.   That’s right!  $3.60.   I was impressed and was starting to get into the whole thrifting vibe!

Next stop, Value Village.   I found cute shoes, designer rain boots and a pretty dress.   My goal was to find a dress that was not black.  My whole closet is basically black, and I am trying to work on that.

I knew they were designer boots as soon as I saw them but had not heard of Lola Ramona before.  After googling the name I found out she is a designer from Denmark, and they were roughly 140 Euros, which is $200 CAD!  I paid $15.99.  Score!!! The camo shoes are incredibly comfortable and were $5.99.   I wiped the insides down with a Lysol wipe, in case anyone is wondering.  The dress was $23.99 which was too high in my opinion, but it was made in the UK so something different and it was colourful.  I mean yes it was still black but look at all the colourful flowers!

Overall, I was very happy with my purchases.  Is this something I will do regularly?  No, but I am more open to it now than ever before.  I always find Pamela’s sense of style to be very inspiring and wish that it suited me more because she is always so colourful and well put together.   She did bring out her black heels and black dress this weekend though as she said I inspired her as well.

thrift2

thrift17.jpg

 

Melissa Gauvreau – Styled by M

Stay fabulous!

ENHANCING MY LIFE….one word at a time.

best life

I have not written anything in awhile because I have been extremely busy, and I was away all of June on an adventure.   My adventurous month inspired me to write this blog.

In January some of you know I was at a conference called Your Best Year Ever.   It really inspired me to focus on all aspects of my life and I realized how important it is to live a healthy balanced lifestyle.   So, it was then that I decided to have a word of the month and for that month I would focus on that aspect of my life and improve it as much as possible.  By December I should feel complete and extremely well balanced.  I am going to share with you my words of the month and what I have done to make sure I am living my best life ever.

JANUARY

Focus

Focus was the perfect word to start my 2019 off right.   After all I just learned at the conference, I knew I had to focus to make sure I was going to reach my goals.   January started off with a bang.   I had a new morning routine that allowed me to start my day off right.   I was focused all day to make sure it was productive.  I had a new night routine that forced me to shut down early in the evening so I could write in my grateful journal and read each night,  which was one of my goals.   Then it was lights out at 10 pm so I could get a great night sleep and kick butt the next day all over again.   I was so focused on my goals that I was spending less time on my phone.  I was highly motivated and focused all month.  I am going to say I killed it that month.   It made me want to keep the momentum going all year!

FEBRUARY

love

My word of the month in February was Love.  Not because Valentine’s Day is in February but because I love Love and I think the world needs more of it.  The more love you give, the more love you receive.  We all deserve and need love in our lives.   This is when I started incorporating love into my Grateful Journal every night.   I was already writing five things I was grateful for that day in my journal. I then started adding five things that I loved about that day.  Sometimes we forget about the simple things in life that we love.

MARCHFriends

In March I decided to spend as much time with my Friends as possible because I truly do have amazing friends and I don’t get to see them as often as I would like.  Let’s just say March was a fun month.  I didn’t turn down a single invitation.  I made time for as many people as I could.  I even started sending messages to friends that I haven’t seen in awhile to check in on them, see how they were doing.  We all have busy lives and Facebook is great for making us feel connected, but I think it’s important to make a connection one on one sometimes. 

friends5

APRIL

Career

One of my goals I made in January was to start blogging for a boutique store here in Ottawa, so it only made sense to make my word of the month Career.   In March I started making a list of downtown boutiques that didn’t have blogs on their websites.   I was beginning to make my blog portfolio and prep myself to reach my next goal when my boss approached me with an amazing job opportunity that I could not turn down.   I decided to put the whole blogging thing on hold for a bit because I would not have the proper time it would need from me.  This new opportunity was STILL enhancing my career in such a unique way and I was extremely grateful and ready to tackle this new challenge.  It was so unexpected and happened so quickly and I am grateful that I am equipped to roll with whatever comes my way.

MAY

Family

Family is so important to me and I always put them first but they also deserve to have their own special month.   I do not live in the same city as my family so I do not get to see them as often as I would like.  I have two nieces who are extremely special to me because I do not have my own children.  I love and adore them like they are my own.  May is always a special time for me to go home because my Dad’s birthday is in May,  Mother’s Day is in May and I do the MS walk in May with my friend Kathy who has MS and is basically family to me.  I went home for four days and spent as much time with my family as possible.  A lot of special memories were made with my nieces and I treasure every moment I have with them and I value how much they look up to me.

June

adventure

Let’s go on an Adventure!!  I already lead an adventurous life, but I thought this month I would be even more adventurous and be open to everything that came my way.   I was away for the whole month of June and one night I found myself in an unusual situation and I almost didn’t run with it until I reminded myself the word of the month.   I am so thrilled I allowed myself to go on this little adventure because it ended up being the best two days I have had in a while.  I had a few adventures this month,  made several memories and met some people I will never forget.

 

July

health

My birthday is July so I decided I wanted this to be my healthiest month yet, so Health is my word this month.  July 1st, I downloaded the Fitness Pal app again.   I used to be a Personal Trainer and I worked for Jenny Craig.  I already have the tools I need to live my healthiest life but sometimes we forget the basics.  So back to calorie counting I go because it is basic science calories in, calories out.   I am really embracing the whole calorie thing again except my wine.  I don’t understand why there are calories in alcohol it should be in food only.   So, I have taken it seriously and I am drinking wine sprinters instead.   Is this fair for my birthday month?  Not really, but it is the healthiest choice if I want to be successful this month.   I signed up for a pool membership this month and I am swimming laps every day and I am absolutely loving it.  It’s the best cardio exercise and I find its great therapy for my ankle that I sprained in February.   Working out and eating right is not only necessary to look and feel your best but it’s also necessary for your insides.  My heart, my blood flow, my brain, my stress level… all of me is loving this month.

This has been a very long blog and for those of you that are still with me, thank you!!   I hope I have inspired you to choose a word each month and make your life a little bit better each month.  No matter how successful you are, no matter how beautiful you are,  no matter how kind you are,  no matter how smart you are, we all need to keep improving on certain parts of our lives.  Which parts do you need to work on?   Stay tuned for the next five months of my year because you can best believe I am going to make this my Best Year Ever.