Monday Musings : Improving the Ambiance At Home

Happy Monday ladies. It feels like summer is coming to an end in Vancouver already, which is a nice change from the blistering temperatures at home. I’m loving it but I didn’t pack a lot of clothes for cooler weather so we may need to do some shopping. Horrors!!

Here a few things on my mind this week:

Pill Organizer

As I sat filling my weekly pill container last week, I recoiled at its appearance. Ok, that may be a tiny exaggeration but why is it so damn ugly? The older I get the larger my pill organizer becomes because, besides my medication, it holds my vitamins and mineral supplements. It either sits on my bedside table or is hidden in my top drawer…because it’s ugly. I touch that container several times a day to retrieve stuff so I want it to look better than it does. It may seem frivolous, and this is not a world problem, but with so many things out of our control these days, I’m looking to add joy to my daily activities and not offend my sense of style. A quick hunt online showed plenty more ugly ones and a few not-so-ugly.


Hair Masks

This past summer has not been a good one for my hair. After a long dry spell, I finally got out to see my stylist, who added some lowlights that I hated the color of.  (It’s hard being my hairstylist.) I knew it would be a very long time before I could see her again so I took matters into my own hands and tried to strip the color out. Not my best idea. I googled and googled until I came up with possibly the worst idea ever.

Mix equal parts of baking soda with dandruff shampoo and leave on for 20 minutes. Being the impatient person that I am, I figured if 20 minutes was good, then 45 would be even better. I was wrong. The color did lift but so did all the moisture in my hair. Fast forward and I’m embracing every hair mask I can get my hands on.

Up first, I popped into Sephora before leaving California and purchased this Ouai hair mask and a ton of samples! You need a magnifying glass to read the instructions on that back so I will repeat them for you here:

Apply to wet hair (mine was dry, because of the tiny letters!), run your fingers through your hair, and chill out for 5-10 minutes. My hair is so damaged, I think there was really only so much it could do, but it helped. My daughter absolutely loves the Ouai hair oil, which smells incredible – like fresh gardenia. She adds it to the ends of her hair, after blow-drying or straightening.

Back to the masks! Our Sephora gal also gave us this sample of the Briogeo which I’ll be using this week. Its part of the Sephora VIB birthday gift this year. It is free to join their beauty insider club and you can earn points for free products or get the birthday gift. 😉

Patio Refresh

As I mentioned earlier, during quarantine, my daughter and I have been reorganizing and redecorating her apartment as well as her patio. She has a fairly large outdoor living space, given how small the apartment is. It’s beautiful, but it does rain here most of the year. We’re brainstorming how to create more green space and an inviting view from inside the apartment for when it is cold and grey out.

A few ideas we had: astroturf to cover the cement, silk plants in the garden (because she faces North and also has a black thumb of death in the garden), an ivy wall to add some green, and some new patio lights on a timer.string lights on patio

I like to add patio lights and outdoor flameless candles to a patio for some extra ambiance. I prefer purchasing the kind that has a timer so you can set them to turn on every night at the same time or plug the lights into a timer.

When you come home from work or errands, it is so nice to have a bit of warmth when the day starts to fade. Stay tuned for some photos of our redecoration project!

What have you got planned for your week?



This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.


  1. Shannon
    August 31, 2020 / 7:08 pm

    I am searching for a new pill organizer, too. One day has gone missing and I can’t find it anywhere! I am afraid it may have accidentally ended up in the garbage. I will look at what you found. I would also like something eco friendly.

  2. Francesca B.
    August 31, 2020 / 4:33 pm

    Love the patio ideas! I love teak armchairs or teak rocking chairs for outside as they go that lovely silvery color. And we have a basket of blankets that we have just for outside use too to snuggle under. This week my 27 yr old daughter is coming home to live for a while and giving up her apartment as now she is working from home and not in the office, she prefers to have company/family around her. Her friends are all taking Covid seriously and going online to be social but it is tough for that age group. We are loving having her home and my husband loves her company in the surf when they hit the beach nightly before sunset. New Covid living! So this week it is finding storage units and cleaning cupboard spaces, sounds familiar!! Enjoy your girl 🙂

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 9:41 pm

      I bet it’s wonderful to have her home! There are some benefits to the way life is changing because of Covid.

  3. Carolynn
    August 31, 2020 / 2:55 pm

    I used baking soda with my shampoo, for a short while, as I’d read that it’s a good way to remove hair product. Then I learned that you shouldn’t use baking soda on your skin or hair because the ph levels are not right, and will cause damage. This may sound strange, but it works—I mix coconut oil with an equal part of aloe vera and leave it on my hair while I floss and brush, then rinse it out in the shower. It’s improved the moisture levels in my dry hair as much as any commercial product I’ve tried, without the big price tag.

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 9:39 pm

      I like the sound of that combo Carolyn. I bet it does add moisture

  4. Connie
    August 31, 2020 / 2:01 pm

    I had the problem of needing some volume in my fine hair but I can’t hold a brush in one hand and a heavy blow dryer in the other. The answer for me was the Infini Pro spinning hair dryer brush and some mousse foam. It has a variety of heat levels, you can use it in one hand and it adds volume and shine while you dry. I bought some for my 11 and 13 year old granddaughters to use as well. I imagine hairdressers are going to be busy fixing all our mistakes when we end up on our knees begging for help! We just added similar timer lights to our BBQ area and love them. Warning about the flameless candles…I put mine in outside lanterns on timers and was so pleased, until the next day they were blobs, having melted in our heat. I live near you Jennifer, don’t do wax ones! 🙂

    • Connie
      August 31, 2020 / 2:04 pm

      And…the ones you link to are the plastic ones…so I’m getting those!

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 9:38 pm

      VERY good tip about the wax;))

  5. Debbie
    August 31, 2020 / 10:21 am

    My hairdresser does a good job with my color, but I don’t like the way she styles it at all. It’s a long bob that she blow-dries with a flat brush and then flat-irons, resulting in a very straight, flat against my head look. I’m 70 and I feel like I need more going on, I don’t want all-one-length straight hair. Last time I got home from my appointment I used my hot rollers to give it some volume and body. Yes, I still use hot rollers, just bought a new set last week. They are the large size and give my hair the bounce it needs, I have never been very good with blow-drying. I read Reese Witherspoon’s book and she also uses hot rollers! I hope they don’t stop making them.

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 9:37 pm

      I was just thinking about getting som hot rollers. I remember the great body they give

  6. Ann
    August 31, 2020 / 10:05 am

    Had to laugh…”It’s hard to be my hairdresser”. It takes forever to find a good one…and then them move or leave…I think I finally found one in our new area, but it took me three years. I will have to try this mask…I have a short, spiky pixie cut and very fine hair. I color it myself ( it takes 1/2 box of Nice and Easy so to have it done in the salon seems crazy) and this time I thought I will go up a shade!!! Oh, my…It turned out much darker. I tell my dear husband just look at it as you have a different wife for the next 4 – 6 weeks ! Your daughter’s patio sounds lovely. I agree.. I have lights on a timer on our screened patio and on a gloomy night it is cozy to see outside.

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 9:35 pm

      I wish I was brave enough to color it myself

  7. Debbie P
    August 31, 2020 / 9:48 am

    My hairdresser recommends Olaplex #3 for all his blondes. I LOVE It.!!! Made a huge difference in my dry hair.

  8. Ellen
    August 31, 2020 / 8:15 am

    You might try Olaplex. My daighters swear by it for damaged hair. It is supposedly a bonding teatment, not a moisturizing mask.

  9. Audrey
    August 31, 2020 / 7:38 am

    I really like your idea of dressing up the patio area, ours is a beautiful area, but I need to add some patio lights, and once our summer flowers (in seat wall planters) are gone, find a way to change the look for fall and winter, that the rabbits will not eat.
    Also, changing the pill boxes at our home will be on my list.
    The best to you and your daughter.

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 9:34 pm

      The rabbits won’t eat artificial flowers:)

  10. Joanna
    August 31, 2020 / 7:32 am

    I hope your quarantine is at/or almost at an end. The next two weeks are predicted to be sunny and in the twenties. The early mornings are a little cool but I love that temp for my 5 km power walk in the AM. Time to get out and enjoy what beautiful Vancouver has to offer. Is Vanessa close to Stanley Park? That is a lovely place to walk, I love dining in the outdoor patios. It gives one a sense of normalcy. I went shopping Friday for the first time. I felt comfortable with their protocols – only so many allowed in at a time, hand sanitizers as you enter, and all staff wore masks as well as most consumers. It’s strange to not see faces but this too shall pass.
    A retractable cover would be prefect on her patio. It would give her some cover from the sun and rain so she can use her balcony more often. Lights strung from the covering are so magical at night. I have them under my pergola and turn them on all year.

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 9:32 pm

      I’m very excited to see Stanley Park again. It is the most gorgeous spot.I agree it feels so strange to not see faces but hopefully, this will all be resolved soon.

  11. Suzanne Daehlin
    August 31, 2020 / 6:50 am

    Rhassoul Clay. I discovered this wonderful clay for a face mask, and hair mask. I went two weeks without using shampoo on my hair to give it a break. Daily, sometimes every other day I washed it using rhassoul clay. I put a fine coating of rhassoul clay on my hair, mixing it with water to get a smooth gravy consistency. I spread it throughout my hair, left on for a few minutes and then rinsed it. As I get older, 60 now, my hair is fine and drier. This clay helped to add body and shine to my hair and yes I washed it all out. Surprised me in a good way.

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 7:58 am

      Wow, that’s a great recommendation. I love what clay does for my complexion, it makes sense it has other uses. Thanks.

  12. Teri
    August 31, 2020 / 6:43 am

    Hi Jennifer – I have read your blog for awhile now, but have never commented, but your “taking your hair into your own hands” made me laugh out loud – it SO sounds like what I would do, especially the 45 minutes would have to be better!

    Although I am looking forward to the redecorating “reveal”, I would LOVE to see what you would feel were good pieces to pick up on an impromptu “different season” shopping venture! It would kind of be your version of a fall “capsule”!

    Thank you for the morning giggle & enjoy your stay with your daughter!

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 7:56 am

      That sounds fun. Do you mean a fashion shopping or patio?

      • ann
        September 1, 2020 / 8:37 am

        The fashion shopping “I’m loving it but I didn’t pack a lot of clothes for cooler weather so we may need to do some shopping. Horrors!!”
        I was on a trip once that I decided to take an impromptu cruise and didn’t have “cruise-wear” w me….. I had to shop quickly, and judiciously, for a few pieces that would see me through, and they turned into some of my favorites!

  13. Rose
    August 31, 2020 / 6:33 am

    I love leaving our lighted umbrella on in the evening even if we aren’t out there. Looks cheery from inside too. I’ve just decided to leave my hair short. It’s just so much easier. After wearing a hat golfing I can just take it off and fluff it up and it’s good for the day.

  14. Diane B
    August 31, 2020 / 6:22 am

    That sound like a fun project. I like to decorate my porch and deck for seasonal fun, and was just thinking it is almost time to start the fall scenes. I am curious to see how big her area is, and how you dressed it up. Now that you are out and free, you can enjoy the time you have before heading home. As for the hair, I change it so often that I don’t know which way works best. I have a cupboard full of products for when it was longer and curly, and now it is really short, can’t win. I hope you had fun looking for fall fill in items that will work after you get home as well.

  15. Terri
    August 31, 2020 / 5:39 am

    I love your ideas for increasing ambience. Even the pill organizer is attractive!

  16. Arna
    August 31, 2020 / 5:30 am

    I can do nothing with my hair (my ineptitude not my stylist’s fault), so I let it do what it wants most of the time. I keep trying new styles that may be easier for me, and I have yet to find one that I can handle.
    This week? I start teaching, online, today, and I have been working full time all summer to prepare (and I don’t feel ready haha!)
    Cannot wait to see the patio when it is done. Sounds like some great ideas.

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 7:53 am

      Good luck today!

  17. Bea
    August 31, 2020 / 5:28 am

    Jennifer, I look forward. to seeing your daughter’s newly decorated outdoor space. I live in a townhouse with a screened in porch (the first I have ever owned), and I cannot tell you how much enjoyment this outdoor space has brought me. I live in upstate NY where the weather allows me to sit out there 3 seasons of the year. Often I eat, read, and play MahJongg with friends out there. Then there are the pots of flowers, which I constantly change, water, and rearrange. It is truly my happy place. Hope your daughter finds peace and joy in her newly redecorated outdoor space! P.S. At Christmas time, I add a fully decorated and lit up Christmas tree that can be seen from several places in my home.

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 7:21 am

      I envy you your screened porch. They are true delights!! I had a tiny one many years ago and like you, spent all my time out there.

  18. Jan
    August 31, 2020 / 5:22 am

    All of my life, I have fought what my hair wants to do naturally! It has a fine, curly texture and for years I colored it, back combed it, spayed it stiff, to force it to look perfect. Does anyone remember “dippity do”? I think I even rolled my hair on orange juice cans in an attempt to straighten it!
    Fast for several decades, and I now wear my hair shoulder length. I am pretty lucky that I have a single hair left on my head. I love the Aquage line of hair products. The silkening oil treatment and the straightening gel are my favorites. I have used them for years now. It reduces the drying time and leaves my hair less frizzy and very shiny.
    This week I am starting to clean up a couple flower pots and will continue some really fun sewing projects. I’m making new pillowcases and fabric pumpkins. Great COVID therapy!

    • Jennifer
      August 31, 2020 / 7:19 am

      I used Dippity Do! Applied to damp hair just as you rolled it. What a blast from the past.

  19. cindy
    August 31, 2020 / 5:15 am

    It sounds like you and your daughter are having fun together. I bet she really enjoys having you there! I am anxious to hear how you like the masque!

  20. Linda V
    August 31, 2020 / 4:58 am

    Uh, I would never do such a drastic thing to my hair. I hope all is well now.

  21. Paulette Levy
    August 31, 2020 / 4:40 am

    Oh my! Our hair—and oh the bad things that can happen when we take our hair into our own hands! I know. I’ve been there! Now it’s totally up to them. Not me! (Except a middling little trim of split ends ). I hope you recover from this “[email protected] Sure that you will!
    Vancouver is a great city and an outdoorsy place I think. I’ve only visited twice but it felt we spent 98 % of our time outside except sleeping. Must see her patio when complete! Love your blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any images or written material is strictly prohibited without express and written permission from this blog's author and owner. A Well Styled Life® a registered trademark.
| powered by chloédigital