Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Be sure to wear your best bespook today! (Hahaha)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just A Little Something from Brasil!

Remember Sal's fabulous Shoe Swap? (I know, it was a while ago.) Well, I was fortunate to be partnered up with a delightful illustrator from Brazil, of all exotic locales! Now, in the interests of protecting her privacy, I won't disclose her name. (Update: Janaina says I can tell you who she is and how to find out more about her: But when she gets famous for her amazing work, I will have the signed sketch to show for it:

(I suppose it would be a good time to disclose that I've shot these photos myself - usually my husband does the artwork - so I apologize to everyone for their relative crappiness. They don't do these illustrations justice...)

Now, hold on, I am getting to shoes. First though, please view photo from a book illustrated by J (my illustrious swapee), which she also sent to me:

Of course it came with the most adorable card:

(Which reminds me of Snow White, for some reason.)

And, finalement, the reveal:

Are these not the cutest spring shoes for walking hither and yon? I cannot wait until the seasons switch around and I can style these with some spring/summer outfits!

Thanks, J, for all of your lovely gifts!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Required Reading

Dolls: As you know I am very up with the "make sure your bra fits, you only have 2 boobs" message that Oprah's made so popular lately. In truth, many others talked this talk for a long time (till it got on the O radar) so there's lots of good reading on the subject.

Over the past couple of days, Karen from Of A Certain Age (the age of great style, apparently!) has talked about Isaac Mizrahi and his new book and website. I've always been a big fan of Mr. M. I think he's nutty, adorable and talented all at the same time. And I get the impression he really loves his mother and she taught him to respect women.

Long preamble short, I checked out his site on Karen's advice, and was pleased to find this very good article about supporting one's breasts with an excellent bra. What I really appreciate about it is that, for a change, the woman writing is slight of cleavage.

Intriguing sidebar: Though the writer's breasts are not of the stature one imagines could cause insecurity on account of their noticeability, she still feels bad about looking like she has them. Which boggles the mind of someone who occasionally has to ask men to look at her face when conversing. What hope is there when women of all shapes and sizes are self-conscious about tits? (Not that I'm particularly self-conscious, I should disclose, and I do appreciate my shape. It's just not easy being as curvy as me if you want to blend into the background.) My question for y'all is, how do you feel? Are you happy with the size of your chest?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

They Didn't Say it was Gonna Snow...

Last week, having been advised by the weather idiots it would be "increasingly chilly", "maybe 10 degrees Celsius midday", I wore a light coat suitable for that temp. Instead it snowed. OK, it was rainy icy snow, but seriously, it was mid-October!

So the next day, on being apprised it would be "a bit warmer" and how shocking that it snowed when we predicted it would be merely cold, I wore a proper winter coat.

And boy was I glad.

This one is early Soia & Kyo - a great brand from Montreal (the higher end line is called Mackage). This was one of their first or second season offerings. I got it very affordably because I found it the following year languishing alone on a sale rack at a chichi store off St. Laurent. I couldn't get that "in every photo shoot in every magazine" Balenciaga white bell coat out of my mind and when my husband saw this one he said "Hey, isn't that like that coat you keep saying you want that costs a zillion dollars?" And, in it's own way, when you see it photographed from a different angle than either of those shown above, it sort of does.

The complete impracticality of the colour is offset by the pragmatism of the toggle-esque snap closure and the fact that the collar can be worn 3 ways - cowl/turtleneck (for extreme cold), totally open or somewhere between the two. And those Mtlers know a thing or two about staying warm in miserable temps.

It is optimal for about minus 8 C to plus 5 C (I think that's 17 - 40 degrees). It's an early winter option.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fleur de Sel

I'm one of those people who loves sweet with salt. Dutch salty licorice is a long-standing fave, though I've drastically cut down because it's a) quite bad for you and b) burns a hole in my mouth, which is already susceptible to canker sores and booboos. Another perennial fave is salted chocolate. I love it in beverages, in bonbons in bars. You name it.

Will it surprise you to learn that I am a terrific snob when it comes to all food, really, but specifically chocolate? I will not touch the commerically-prepared - which is simply insulin-raising crap. (Well, I do have a soft spot for British chocky bars; they're made with a much better quality of cocoa than the Canadian or American counterparts.)

I'm the kind of girl who goes for handmade Belgian bonbons filled with lavender and bergamot ganache, or salty caramel truffles, flown in from Denmark (the ones that go off if they aren't refrigerated and eaten within 5 days). I say, if you aren't spending 3 bucks on a bite, what are you waiting for? :-) Life is too short to eat bad chocolate. And chocolate is too important not to eat it.

Imagine my surprise on finding this, earlier in the week. (So sorry, this is the only photo in the world of it online, apparently. The product must be super new.):

I know, you're thinking, Kristin: Lindt is crap. (Indeed, most of it is, but the Excellence line is actually passable. And they do some fun flavours like Chili and 99% chocolate - I like to call it chalklate.) And if you can't get to Holt Renfrew or Suite 88 - Montrealers have all the cool stuff! - you need a little fix that's available in the quartier.

PS Hey, quick question to all: Are Twiglets Australian or British? I used to be able to get them at M&S in TO till it closed and I've been having such a craving for them for, like 5 years. If anyone could find me some I would sooooooo appreciate it.

PPS To my foreign friends, on a related topic, I'm apparently the only North American who loves Marmite and Vegemite. Loves. Esp. with gobs of melty butter.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

One of Those Things

I went out at lunch the other day with a workmate, ostensibly so that she could pick up a new pair of buttery grey long gloves from Rudsak. Said gloves have a gorgeous fold-down mechanism with a kind of cuff-link clasp. (Can't find a pic, sorry.) Regrettably, the sizing wasn't right.

This was one occasion on which I had no intention of buying. I actually left my wallet behind (it being in such shabby shape) but brought along the Visa. Why, I couldn't say. But it was a fortuitous act, natch, because I found this lone, lovely chestnut brown wallet, formerly $100.00, on sale for $39.00.

And I think I just told you my current wallet is a tip.

If there had been another I would have bought both as a perfect Xmas giftie for one of my friends or my mum. Arguably, I should hold onto it for the coming present-exchange. Arguably, I shouldn't show photos of things I'm considering giving away. Thing is there's no arguing with me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

T Cubed

So, you'll recall this post: homage to my insecurities. Ode to the status anxiety that (occasionally) riles me up.

Well, gots to say peeps (cuz I know I've said it before): Fuck status anxiety. Enough of the why aren't I a Rhodes scholar with a chalet in Klosters and an Emmy? Maybe because my heretofore efforts at fame and fortune have been, um, slightly unfocused? Maybe it's just not my path?

I've decided instead, to tell you all 10 Terrific Things (Triple T) about me. Note to Miss Perkin, my former headmistress: This is how I've amounted to something, in no particular order.
  1. I own a home in downtown Toronto. And it's nice.
  2. I'm a true communicator - life and career skill par excellence. And I love and value - with indescribable fervor - the interchange of ideas and negotiation of agreement this skill supports.
  3. My style reflects my eclectic micro-creativity (with which I am thrilled to tell you I am entirely satisfied). It also appeals to others.
  4. I've managed to coparent a human being to the age of 8 (so far) without completely going insane. And I've done it with relatively little external support - though with the collaboration of a very engaged spouse.
  5. I live by my principles in a sustainable way.
  6. I am healthy and I work consciously - with discipline - to stay that way.
  7. I am resilient and I frequently solve problems with uncanny spontenaity.
  8. Which is why plan a fine event - media or otherwise.
  9. I generally get what I want. Because I ask directly. But respectfully.
  10. I am super fucking smart.

Oh, and bonus point, I'm modest. Did I mention that? :-)

So Dolls. I would love to know about your Triple T (and that can be two or three or 10 - depending on how much comment space you feel like taking). I say, live large. You may save the world yet. And I am all ears.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yet Another Thing I Love...

Though I have the, ahem, glowiest visage thanks to my sebaceous glands, that doesn't mean I'm immune to "It's minus 5 and my legs are so itchy tight I'm going to rip them off" syndrome.

Enter my winter stand by:
The Weleda (pron. Wel-eh-da) brand has the benefit of being widely available online and in health food stores / pharmacies around the world. This fantastic rose body oil is entirely natural and sustainably produced from plants grown organically by partners whom the corporation respects. It absorbs relatively easily (but put it on slightly wet skin to enhance this). It even removes press-on tattoos in a jiffy (don't go there, I meant the kid's) without hurting or drying out the skin! And it's Swiss. Need I say more?

Now it's not cheap, given how much I use, but what price soft skin? And I really do believe it's staving off wrinkles and sag, especially on the thin-skinned chest meets neck area. (Mind you, I'm the girl who spends 60 bucks on an ounce on sunblock so use your best judgement...) 3.4 ounces will set you back $29.00 CDN. That lasts about a month.

Just realized that I really have been all "go buy this" with the beauty products lately. Hmmm, could this be recession-inspired? A little bit of luxury in a haywire economy? Or maybe I'm just acting French.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Preloved so it's Guilt-Free

You may have heard of the Canadian brand Preloved. At one time it was simply a store selling vaguely grungy, rather interesting reworked vintage. Now it's a concept incorporating beautifully realized designs by Peter Friesen. Though, alas, the pricepoint has shot up.

Preloved's less fun claim to fame is that the original, long-standing location at Queen and Bathurst was burned to the ground along with many others in a spectacular, horrible fire at last year.

So pleased to say that, like a phoenix, the store has recreated its retail space on Queen Street (farther West across from Trinity Bellwoods Park) and it is so much nicer than the old one it does justice to the design transformation it has also undergone. I took a number of interior shots which somehow I managed to erase without loading them on my computer. So you'll have to settle for some fuzzy closeups of cool clothing:

This style of sweater dress is made from three different garments and every one is unique.

This top is awesome but my camera didn't do it justice. It's a knit-fabric combo.

Lovely Sales Associates whose names I'm embarassed to tell you I cannot remember. (This is why you write stuff down!) I believe they are Erin and Victoria. Sorry if I've got it wrong, Ladies!

Me trying on this fantastic asymmetrical short-sleeved sweater reworked from 3 knit pieces. I wish I'd got a better shot. The pattern on the back is differnt than the front. Each sleeve is unique (one puffy and cuffed, the other rough and short). It was $120.00, which is why I didn't buy it. Gotta draw the line at vintage-fashioned, short-sleeved sweaters for that kind of cash. Though I will be back there for something soon, I am certain.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vaguely Freaking Out

My 20th high school reunion is coming up. As in 2-0.

I'm sorry, but this is whack. I had intended to be running the world by now. And to have been a multi-millionaire. And a published author. And world-traveller. And 3 time Oscar winner.

And rock star.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What I Wore

Sometime last week:

So my mood was obviously pissy, but whose wouldn't be what with the days disappearing into dark mornings and dark evenings? I know this isn't my best shot. I hesitated posting it because I feel it makes me look, well, fat. And I'd hate not doing justice to this incredible, versatile, warm blazer/jacket thing from Sisley. Because it really is special (and flattering, swear). You can brooch it closed, wear it open (and flappy, exposing a gorgeous lining), belted with the tie, belted with a thick patent belt, totally high-necked. The sleeves are close cut and the shoulders slightly puffed from mini pin-tucks.

It's one of the few pieces I've unhesitantly paid full-price for ($250.00). No regrets about the purchase. Just the photo :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What I Wore

This was last Thursday's outfit:

The sweater, which I've profiled before, is Karoo Mark Eisen. It was originally $300.00 at my (now-defunct) best-kept secret but I got it for $80.00. It's cashmere and the funnel sleeves just thrill me. The skirt is vintage Rae Phillips, $40.00. It's this excellent wool wrap skirt with 2, original mother-of-pearl buttons and inside snaps. It has beautiful drape and it's so timeless. The boots are Franco Sarto vegan. Every girl with skinny calves needs a pair of these because they suck to your legs no matter the width.

Friday, October 17, 2008

In Case You Didn't Believe Me...

What is it with me these days and pointing out the flaws? I've spent so long going to such lengths to make you think I'm infallibly stylish and here I am deconstructing the illusion :-) Well, to my credit, I know this is unflattering and I didn't even consider buying it for a moment.

It's that gorgeous red dress from Club Monaco I coveted:

Only on me it says "Put it back".

Give me credit for listening...

PS: Late breaking news is that some key element of our home network has given up the ghost and it may take till next week to get new part to fix it. If this is the case, you may not see me commenting or responding to comments till Monday. What if I can't read the blogs on the weekend?? Having separation anxiety and fear of reader inbox getting so overfull they cut me off. Hope for quick fix pls.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Thing I Love

Y'all know how I have the oiliest skin in the land. Indeed, it's hardly genteel to shout this from the rooftops, but if I had a dollar for every Clean and Clear oil absorbing sheet I've applied to stem the problem, I could have 3-bedroom-with-a-view on Park Avenue. Yes, the kind with a concierge. :-)

You'd think, by the age of 38, I might have moved into less-greasy mode, and I suppose I have. It's just that less greasy by my standards still means "requiring large volume of loose powder" by yours. So I am shocked, and thrilled, to report a new product (really two new products) that have radically diminished the shine while improving the glow. (Could a line actually live up to its far-flung claims???)

Meet L'Occitane Brightening Renewing Serum:

(I got this on my excursion with Yulanda in early September. At the time, I thought I was high on drugs for spending $60.00 on something to "de-age" and "brighten" me. But I'm not proud. I bought it. And it really is firmalicious!)

It worked so delightfully - not to quell grease as much as to "firm" and "redefine" my "aging skin" - that I allowed (ok, asked) my mother to buy me the Immortelle Very Precious Fluid SPF 40.

Yes, I use sunscreen 40 and when my skin looks baby soft line-free at the age of 85, you can credit the SPF (or the fact that my sebaceous glands will have been basting my visage in grease for 8 and a half decades). But I will give it all up to the block. The only problem: it costs $56.00 CDN per ounce. Wait, let me sell you on the concept.

On entering the store, L'Occitane bombards you with these pretty "French Country"-esque flowers called fleurs immortelles. As in immortal, get? The "cool factor" (they quickly advise) is that the flowers have been out of water for months but they are still, like, flowery. And not so much dried flowers as flowers that are living sans water. Oooh. Contained within these little buds is the veritable secret of youth!! (They tell you this outright in case the metaphor didn't take.)

Immortelle fluid is the basis of both the Very Precious and the Renewing Serum. In fact, some people can't take the "volatility" of both products on a daily basis. Of course, I'm not one of them. Which is why I get to spend on both. But the benefits are also two-fold. (OK, I made that part up.)

This is the fantastically weird claim which appears to be true: If you've got oily skin, the SPF40 version of the Very Precious - as opposed to the less expensive SPF 15 version - is the indicated formula.

You know how usually when you have greasy skin, the higher the block, the more like a basted turkey you look by the end of the day? And the more likely you are to breakout and feel bad about being some almost-40-year-old with zits? Well, mysteriously, the 40 works better than the 15 to mattify and calm the oil glands?!?! Now, not having tried the 15 I cannot corroborate that it wouldn't do as well, but the 40 is pure awesome on this account. So awesome I intend to continue spending $56.00 for the foreseeable future.

Has anybody out there tried this line? If yes, I'd love to know if you concur with my assessment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vintage Version

You know these posts, which showed us these fantastic Neimen Marcus babies?

Well here's the 1960's version I found at 69 Vintage:

Yes, this is the most pedestrian (hahaha, get it?) shot of my legs I think I've ever taken. But it was impromptu with the cell phone and weird mirror. Nonetheless, does it not prove the point that everything old is new again?

FYI: I did not buy these (though they did look fine, photo notwithstanding). They wanted $120.00 for a pair of boots that should have been slightly less worn in the toes for that kind o' bucks. And they were not super comf. Not to mention, if you need to be anywhere quickly, these are not your throw-ons.

But they were a fun find.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Times They Are A'Changin' (Or Maybe They'll Stay the Same)

True Story:

A while ago, when Ontario was going through its provincial election campaign (not to be confused with the federal campaign that culminates in voting day today), I decided to exploit campaign lawn signage as a platform for preliminary discussions about politics with my then 7-year old daughter, M.

That's a fancy way of saying that every morning, while we walked to school, I would choose one party and speak about its overriding philosophy. Then, after that info cycle was over, I revisited each party and talked about one policy from each that I liked, and one I didn't. I figured it was a non-partisan way to start informing her about our complex political system. To make things "kid-friendly", I renamed the parties by the colour of their signs. Liberals were "the red party", Conservatives "the blue party", NDP "the orange party" and Green was self explanatory.

One day, when talking about the policies (I called them "big ideas") for the Liberals, I spoke specifically about its position on faith-based funding (namely, the party did not support educational funding for faith-based schools). She paused, on the cusp of asking a question (I thought), and I wondered if I'd got a bit too complex. Apparently, I needn't have worried, since her well-considered response was: "That's not quite true, Mummy, is it? I mean they wouldn't stop providing additional funding for Catholic schools. And that's faith-based funding, right?"

After my jaw snapped shut again, I asked her how it was that she, of the grade 2 set, was aware of that little loop-hole in the the philosophy. Just out of curiosity, I mean...

It's not like I don't watch the news, Mummy, was the exasperated reply.

Here's my point. Don't be outdone by an underage ideologue. If you've got the right to vote, then exercise it. The global community will thank you for doing your part to protect the freedoms of democracy in your part of the world. And it'll give you something to talk about at your next dinner party. Capisce?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Walk on By...

You know how I'm always on about this great thing and that thing I couldn't live without. Upshot being that I have lots of gorgeous stuff and nowhere to put it. Not to mention less cash. Well, here's an example of something I bought that I might have - nay should have - passed on.

And let me tell you why...

The dress, by Sisley (Benetton's edgier sister, a brand I have a lot of luck with), is a fantastic colour to be sure. It's got that retro shape I dig. The jersey stretch fabric is comfortable and "easy to wear". It's got a sassy kick pleat that makes it functional for walking. It looks nice with tights and boots or heels. It was on sale for 70% off so it cost $40.00.

So what's the prob?

It doesn't fit perfectly. The sleeves are too long (and they are cuffed so they can't really be shortened). Fortunately they look good pulled up. (Did I mention that the button closure is actually a snap designed to look like a button, which secretly thrills me?) The shoulders fit ever so slightly off. Not too snugly, exactly, but not right. Which impacts the look of the bodice, an area about which I need to be so careful.

I bought it before I was really into the blogs and blogging. Before I met Enc and Editor and all of the women who think so consciously about want and need. I bought it on an excursion during which a lot of purchasing was happening very liberally and it just slipped in. (You know what kind of problems that can land you in! :-))

So, today, if shopping, I would have tried it on and put it back. Lately, I've been doing that all the more often. In fact, in the last month I've bought but 2 things - a pair of stylish, heels I can walk in (about which I just blogged) and a vintage taupe blazer (50s) in the most awesome shape - perfectly preserved and made for my figure. It was art, IMO, that I couldn't pass by. And you know how challenging it is for me to find a good jacket that fits right. (Post to come.) It wasn't about the money - though neither item was particularly pricey. It was about need intersecting a compelling urge to own those items.

Am I edging toward a shopping ban? I can't say that. But I am moving in the direction of increased consciousness about consumption.

Editor has challenged us all to count the items in our closets and share the numbers. I haven't found an opportunity to do this yet, but I intend to. And, as with the Starbucks banana bread treat I just discovered has 430 calories a piece, I hope I'm so horrified by the numbers that I can't bring myself to buy again except occasionally / at least for a while. Sometimes you have to know the real price of something before you can walk on. Do you agree?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This is That Style Of Shirt I Covet...

This is for all you long-waisted, linear types.

It's well and good to focus on the looks I can rock, but also useful to appreciate my limitations. If I could wrinkle my nose and spend the day in some other body type, you can betcha it would be 5 feet 10, long, lean, with concave abdomen and B cup boobs. And it would be wearing one of these tops with a slim cut, architectural black blazer and high-waisted skinny pants. Hmmm, media isn't feeding me any imagery :-)

So, if you happen to fit this description - especially if you sometimes lament it (is this possible??) - please put on some similar outfit, love yourself, and then email me a pic.

PS: You don't even need to be tall or a matchstick to wear this. You just have to be sorta flat.

PPS: Apparently, according to the small-boobed cognoscenti, just wearing this style imparts the illusion of chesty voluptuousness. That you can get rid of when it becomes tiresome...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Next Time I Get Married I Wear This

The bain of my mother's life is that I didn't invite her to my wedding. And that's not because I don't love her, but because I couldn't bear the idea of being a bride and having a traditional ceremony the likes of which swirled with undertones of patriarchal hegemony in my nonconformist imagination. Natch, I eloped.

Just cuz, I've decided, when I've been married 20 years I'll have a wedding to which I'll invite all of the slighted parties. It will be very elegant. And I'll probably wear something stunningly understated like this:

Retro-Gorgeous Andrea of A Cat of Impossible Colour

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You Can Actually Walk in These...

That day when M and I went to get the Webkinz, I just happened upon these. Which is to say, I was walking by the Aldo in Dufferin Mall (hardly the choicest location - but definitely the cheapest) and they called to me from the window. These shoes are a really lovely, soft rich leather and the style is just retro enough, just modern enough to work with practically everything. Turns out I got the last size 9 in this colour. Rather strangely, while I was trying them, 3 other women asked for the very same size and shade. They all gave me hate looks as I said I'd take 'em. The best: They were $70.00. Very well-priced for such a wearable shoe.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Feel So B'Loved!

Today, as I was leaving the house to get to work (following a lovely long weekend visiting with my mother), I was struck - as I always am under these circumstances - by how truly suboptimal the whole "global" thing can be.

I was doing quite well, saying good-bye to my mum, putting a good face on seeing her 2-3 times a year for a few days, when my child really brought it all home. M was inconsolable at the thought of her grammy (whom she sees so infrequently and with such joyful fanfare) leaving practically moments after her arrival. It reminded me of my own profound depression and feelings of loss when, as a child who always lived far from family, my grandparents would visit and leave in largely the same scenario.

Joy and sadness really are so linked.

But how, you may wonder, does this segue into a post about happiness and blog friendship? Well, corollaries really are the name of the game here. The global expansion that sees my family living 1000 miles away is the same one that facilitates my camaraderie with all of you. And that's a big fucking deal as far as I'm concerned!

In the last week I've been particularly fortunate to receive a whole bunch of love tags from many of you. I am so grateful for these:

I Love Your Blog:

This was given to me by my fave expat sistah, Miss C and my fave New Zealander, Andrea of A Cat of Impossible Colour.

Now I get to pass this along to seven of my fave blogs! (I know this one's been floating for a while so, if you've been double tagged by me, just consider yourself that much more loved. I sure do!)

Yulanda's little thoughts has some big photos. And by big I mean incredibly beautiful.

Cheap Jap, one of my newer reads, is incisive and it has a lot of nerve. It's also very sound on shopping principles.

La Belette Rouge writes courageously about difficult things and difficult times. I'm so pleased to have discovered this fantastic blog.

Already pretty Sal is a great, straight-shooting writer and the kind of girl, I know, would help me out of any jam. She turned me onto Cheap Jap. So she's very on the pulse.

Please Sir does all the interiors so chicly! I look forward to her antique finds and beautiful ideas each day.

Monkey Muck, creation of the illustrious Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein (it's his real name), is a fantastic window onto smart American politics read by smart Americans (and other nationalities!)

Skye, from Skylark and Son, is a take-no-prisoners adventurer in all ways. Can't wait to see how her new life unfolds over the next few weeks.

Beautiful Blogger Award:

Now this one is a fab award to receive, not only because it's such an adorable photo and terrific sentiment, but because it was started by Hammie, a truly fantastic writer, advocate, mother, stylista and all around super being.

Having talked up this award's originator, I must also tell you how thrilled I am to have been tagged by FashionAbility, my window onto the very mysterious South Africa and a creative force who finds some of the most evocative photos from the past I've ever seen. I always look forward to her new posts. When she stopped blogging for a while earlier this year, I was sooooo upset!

The rules for this one are:

1. The nominated person can put the picture on their blog.
2. Share the love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to the person who founded the award, Hammie'sblog.
3. Give it to two bloggers and link to them.
4. Leave a message on those people's blogs to make them aware that they're nominated.
5. You are free to pass it on again, when you are "inspired" by a beautiful post or a beautiful blog.

Enc of observationmode, unsurprisingly, is one of my two inspirational recipients. I have been reading her blog for months, I love her way of expressing herself, her populism, her great shoe choices, her shopping integrity. So here's to you E!

Matt aka Imelda, Despotic Queen of Shoes, is insane in the most excellent way! He tells it like he sees it, sees a lot of things and isn't afraid to take a chance. And he likes zebra print...

I ♥ This Blog (Not to be confused with I Love Your Blog - above)

Seeker is a sensitive, poetic soul with an eye for the colour and great shapes that suit her super figure! Thanks to her for considering me when handing out this award.

Here are the rules for this one...

1. The nominated is allowed to put the picture on his/her blog.
2. Link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate seven other people and link to them.
4. Leave a message on those people's blog to make them aware that they're nominated.

Editor, of Into Construction, blows my mind with challenging questions and great ensembles.

The Clothes Horse, now the travelling clothes horse, makes stylishly jumping from place to place seem easy.

WendyB, new aunt and gorgeous philanthropist, also designs some fairly great jewels and writes about history like nobody's business!

Mahalo Fashion gives great celeb photos with commentary. And Jen comes up with the longest posts I've ever seen. Like, as long as this one :-)

One of the joys of blogging, is learning about new sites. One of my new faves is Make, Do and Mend. I feel like I'm in fashion school :-)

And speaking of new, have you check out C'est Si Belle? It's Songy's new offering and it's picturey delight.

I always like to acknowledge the tried and true, and Fructzwerg's Island is a terrific blog showcasing gorgeous German style.

11 Little Things Meme:

Enc, my favourite thinker who acts on her thoughts, tagged me with this super fun meme. After much consideration, here are my 11:

1. Clothes Shop: Impossible to choose though I love Club Monaco

2. Furniture Shop: Man, this is a challenging game! Also can't choose but I'll go with Style Garage

3. Sweet: OK, obviously not a meme for the indecisive amongst us. I'm gonna say coffee ice cream but that is so not the only one, it's not funny.

4. City: Montreal

5. Drink: Perrier

6. Music: Young & Sexy

7. TV Series: This Hour Has 22 Minutes

8. Film: I see about 2 movies a year, and I'm embarrassed to say that film just doesn't stick in my mind... The last film I saw was Penelope (on video).

9. Workout: Yoga

10. Pastries: Clafouti or anything with a custard base

11. Coffee: Short, dry, extrahot, double shot cappuccino

I wanna know about the preferences of anyone who wants to tell me. Seriously, try it. This one is fun to do...

Quirks Meme:

And, finalement (phew), Songy, a woman who speaks 3 languages and wears sneakers like they're Manolo's, has tagged me to learn about my quirks :-):

1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking to them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged bloggers blogs letting them know they've been tagged
6. You can now display this charming dalek image i created when tagged!

It is a charming image!


1. When I get stressed, I sweep the floor.

2. I can sing pretty well.

3. I can't stand things when they are askew. That means, if magazines or trivets or anything (really) is on a wonky angle, I cannot relax until I straighten it out. (Or sweep.)

4. I love fresh flowers and try to have at least 3 vases of them in my house at all times.

5. I always match my underwear and it's always gorgeous.

6. I will talk to anyone, anywhere. I am truly NOT shy.

I'd love to know a few quirky details about Lavender & Yolk, SisterW at Goddamit I'm Mad, Etoilee8 at So Much to Come, Nadine at Strawberry Kitten, Super Kawaii Mama and Jill at Couture Salope.

Now I need to lie down :-)

Thing I Love

One day last fall, my husband came home from work early to take care of me when I was feeling sick. Ostensibly, this means he checked in to make sure I was still alive and then got on the phone with clients, but hey, I'll take what I can get. What makes this particular look-after so sweet is that he brought with him a little giftie - a new iPod Touch for me. It was a first version one, so it still has some glitches that I understand the newer version doesn't have, but I sure was cool for a few weeks before everyone got on the bandwagon. And it gave me something to do other than contemplate my eventual demise. (I'm morbid in sickness.)

Cut to this weekend when my husband, in another generous techie gesture, got me the software upgrade (those installation things are so tedious to do for oneself) and then bought me one of the new applications: Ambiance.

Here's where I tell you about a little problem I have: I am regrettably noise-sensitive for a person who lives amongst millions of people in a downtown neighbourhood. Like, noise makes me sort of insane. I mean, people I know think I'm insane and recommend treatment. Just ask my childhood friend Hilary, who remembers being woken up a dozen times nightly whenever we did sleepovers (which was practically every night) because I cannot bear the sound of people breathing. Like, my own child was relegated to her own room at 5 days of age not because I didn't believe in co-sleeping, but because she was so noisy it wrecked my only chance at 20 minutes of groggy sleep to have her in the bed. And don't get me started on bass noise. That, my friends, is enough to make me homicidal. Really. Or ready to move to Ottawa. (BTW, people in Ottawa are incredibly polite and orderly and don't believe in bothering one's neighbours with tooth-stabbing bass thud. And they're bilingual!) This little challenge has caused rifts in friendship, marital strife. My own parents thought I was a freak for telling them, during my teenage years, to keep the noise down please.

Earplugs are for sissies. I'm sorry but earplugs do nothing to absorb the pound of bass noise - or the screeching of tires or the moving of furniture. And, I don't mean to imply that I'm living in some heathen neighbourhood of bass-wielding, drag-racing, late night redecorators - but some summer weekends are a magnet for the unsavory element. I'm like an urban chick from the ears down - but those babies are suburban all the way.

OK - you get the picture, which is why, when my husband went to the effort of researching and then installing this new rela-plication (just made that up, get it?), which allows me to choose between 4 shades of white noise, trains or subways and 10 different versions of running water - each able to mask less desirable sounds - I took it in the loving spirit in which it was most obviously offered. Not to mention it was sexily self-preservational. That boy is so multitasking it's ridiculous.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Do You Agree?

The things kids carve into wet cement these days...

PS: My mother arrives for a visit today so I'll be taking a few days off. Will return next week. Have a great few days, y'all!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Wrap Dress: A Dissertation

Lately I've been seeing women in wrap dresses everywhere. I mean, it is the time of year (and we are experiencing a merciful autumn warm patch, to counterbalance the miserable wet, cold summer that just finished). But, I'm talking 50 wrap dresses this week if I've seen one. And, I regret to inform you, anecdotally, this apparently "fool-proof" style looks fairly wretched on about half of the bodies it confidently sheaths. Hence this "How To" post, this ode to the wrap.

For starters, let me concede that I own 4 of this style of dress. One is zebra-print and sleeveless, another has this insane brown, orange, pink and black pattern. One is the most perfect shade of green. The fourth, a simple black. I love to wear them with boots, dainty shoes, big jewels, bolero shrugs. Let me also suggest (feel free to disagree, of course) that mine is an apt figure for this style: fairly symmetrical, narrow in the waist, hour-glass, slim-calved. Oh, trust me, there are 8000 other looks I'd be thrilled to say are all mine, looks I can't pull off to save my life (translucent silk blouse with necktie, anyone?) but this one seems to work on me. How fortunate that I also find it appealing.

Ms. Von Furstenburg would like you to believe that every woman can experience her inner glamazon simply by wearing a wrap dress. I'm inclined to disagree. To wit, the following is a list of figure attributes that don't work optimally with the wrap:
  • An extremely narrow waist against a rather wide derriere: It makes the skirt of the dress hang as if on a shelf.
  • A soft mid-section: If the belted area of the waist is fleshy, one tends to look lumpy.
  • A flat chest: Sorry lovelies, while the flat chest is de rigeur for just about every sexy fashiony look, this one is an exception. Unless you happen to be taller than 5"8, angular and without body fat anywhere else. Then you work the ballerina angle.
  • Untoned, broad arms (though, the right fabric can suck it all in and mitigate this problem)
  • Breasts of observably disparate sizes: Most women have one larger breast but the wrap, which highlights the tits, reveals aysmmetry in the most unforgiving manner. If you fall into this camp and you want to wear a wrap, make sure your bra can solve the problem (put a little padding in the smaller side / wear a molded cup).
Furthermore, few garments rely as heavily on the perfect underpinnings as this piece. Please, please, please heed these guidelines:
  • Your bra must fit precisely (see this previous post for some clarity). In brief (ha), the band needs to adhere to your chest at the centre valley, the cups have to fit snugly (but not too snugly) over the breasts. When you remove the shoulder straps, while the cups may slip off the breasts, the band around your ribcage should not budge. You must wear something that lifts the tits. No drooping allowed!!
  • The bra should be a nude colour (to be invisible) or black (under something dark) and should be seamless and smooth so that the wrap fabric glides against it.
  • Wear a thong, end of story. This look is about ease (and power). I'm sorry, but I don't think Spanx work well under these circumstances. They are too restrictive, at odds with the subtext of the style. If you'd like something to control "dimplage", I suggest a sexy silk slip. Note: My friend Sandra, a wrap dress wearer from way back, disagrees with the thong. She feels it leaves a line at the hip. I say that doesn't happen with a well-fitting thong having a wide-ish band. Maybe this depends on one's unique physiology? What do you believe?
  • If the pluge is deep, or if your midsection isn't tremendously toned, wear a cami. Otherwise you may look lumpy or louche.
And, if ever there were a style requiring good posture, this one is it. Find your inner book-balancer. Lift your crown. Let your shoulders release and roll back for a long neck. Drop your tailbone as if a weight were suspended from it while you lift the breastbone up. That's what will draw your abdomen in and lengthen any waist.

The semiotic subtext of the dress (may I be so bold?) is fertility. Its structure and drape is all about highlighting the fertility touch points of the female form: breasts, hips, waist. Amongst those Biology sorts, symmetry is time and again associated with (re)productivity. Amongst the fashion designer sorts, it's associated with easy sex appeal. I've spoken with many women about the wrap dress, all of whom utter variations on the theme of: "Every time I wear the thing at least 8 guys try to get with me."

In my opinion, the reason the look is powerful is because it cuts to the chase. It says look at me. Not at my outfit. Look at me. Next time you wear one, all decked out and confident, look back. I have a strong feeling you will like what you see.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What I Wore

OK, no one is ever going to accuse this of being the most flattering photo, but I tried to do one of Sal's scarf tying techniques and something went somewhat amiss. I've been told sometimes I don't follow instruction so well :-) Sal: I will try harder tomorrow.

PS: Sal's taking her act on the road. Check out her new column at Capessa...