Tuesday, September 30, 2008


That Club Monaco cherry red dress looks rather drab on me. (Shortens the waist, thickens the hips.) My wallet is soooo relieved.

PS: Once again I feel liberated from the shackles of "the purchase". You see, all the fun in this was in the browse, the touch, the observation. Hmmmm. We all know Enc is onto something. I'm just finding it such a challenge to carve out my own path of conscious consumerism.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dramatic Reenactment of a Scene that Never Happened*

* Or did it? :-)

(Ed Note: The performance artist in me has been seeking a minuscule fissure in the veneer of personal correctness behind which we conduct most of our life. Apparently, she's found it... Matt (the world's sexiest guy who knows about shoes) has generously agreed to let me use a montage of pics he sent me recently. Of course, he has no idea in what crazy context he's about to be portrayed. Thank you Mattie! Or sorry...)

The year is 1987. George Michael plays endlessly on AM radio. Cell phones are the size of Geiger counters. Hair is the height of cell phones. Girls just wanna have fun.

Except this one:

She prefers to imagine fun. Everything she knows about fun she learned from Hollywood Husbands, which she hides under her mattress lest the housekeeper discover it while tidying up. Frankly, fun concerns her. But not enough to put the book down.

Next door, a boy moves in. He's from Australia, visiting relatives for the summer. He's older and mysterious with an accent she can barely understand. Occasionally, they chat on his porch. For some reason, her reminds her of Jack Python. He's got a number of friends though he's only just arrived. They all go driving together and, when they get back, his friends seem quite amused. They think she's prissy. They try to set him up with other girls. He seems to like those girls. His interest in our heroine wanes.

But she can't seem to get him out of her mind. What is it? Boredom? Infatuation? Hormones? Slowly, she realizes, it might benefit her to change her ways. She considers how Madonna might approach this dilemma. She buys some new shoes:

She wonders how on earth one walks in these things - and what to wear them with:

A binge at the mall, during which she spends all of her birthday money from the last 3 years, yields some choice finds. They make her punchy...

...Increase her confidence:

She buys some makeup. Tries a cigarette. Considers him while she's smoking. Smokes some more.

One day, on the way to the library, she runs into him on the street. He tells her how, um, different she looks. His friend, who's with him, does not make fun of her after she continues on her way. Instead he stares at her well-proportioned bottom. He suggests our hero invite her to the Motley Crue concert that Saturday night. He's welcome borrow his friend's Camaro:

(Apparently the back is roomier than it looks.)

She says yes, and begins to assemble a suitable get-up. This, to match the car?:

Or this?:

What will he wear, she wonders? A knock at the door reveals it:

He really does have the hottest biceps.

And his shoes are freakin' awesome.

You gotta know that, like every good smutty book, this doesn't end well. But it sure is fun while it lasts.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's A (Canadian) Thanksgiving Miracle

Yes, patient blog friends, the bathroom reno is complete.

The me that is beyond irritated by how long this took is at odds with the me who's mentally jumping up and down yelling "yipee! new bathroom! woohoo!". You can guess which me is winning.

Elle Decor makes taking artful interior design pictures it look easy. Of course, its photogs are generally working with cranes and more than 10 square feet. My (irritated) photographer makes an unavoidable appearance.

The Tour:

Please tell me you like it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's A Small World After All

The other day, while reading fashion nation (a fave), Stephie posted about Niotillfem (about which I’ve also blogged). In my post about Niotillfem, I indicated that I couldn’t even figure out from which Scandi nation it hails, what with the translation being so minimal to useless. Stephie, on the other hand, seemed to know all sorts of things about it and its author. Like her name is Sandra and she’s Swedish, for starters. Natch, I instantly determined that Stephie must be some sort of Singaporean multi- language expert. Turns out, there’s this super easy trick to reading the foreign blogs – a beautiful translator that’s part of Google. Thanks Stephie for sharing your expertise!

Here’s what you do:

1. Go to the blog you want to translate.

2. Copy the URL.

3. Paste it into your Google search bar.

4. When you hit enter, a link to the site will come up with the word “Translate” to the right hand side.

5. Click it to read an articulate (i.e. totally English seeming) translation.

*OK, perhaps I am the only blogger who didn’t know about this, but in the slim chance that you are as-yet uninformed, you have to give it a go.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Urban Gem

A while ago, I walked by this driveway only to discover a sweet urban niche...

I do love a little surprise.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Style Revolution

I've read some excellent posts lately about the evolution of personal style. Some bloggers, like the incomparable Skye, are veritably schizophrenic in their creativity. Others walk a tighter edge, and yet manage to be ever predictable in their elegance. It got me thinking about me, natch (what else do I do in this egocentric playground??) and about what I'm up to, stylistically.

Time was, I only dressed to look skinny. Not svelte, not slim, not willowy - I wanted to look a) tall b) flat and c) vaguely hungry. Of course, no amount of black was ever going to drop me off at that restaurant. Cuz I am a) short b) buxom and c) always eating. But youth is about experimentation. And experiment I did with the world's blandest array of cashmere, wool, silk, cotton and synthetics, all in various shades of noir.

It took having a baby, gaining weight I found challenging to lose and then losing that weight to determine that the goal of style - at least of my style - is not to look like skin and bones. I mean, there are so many stunning things to wear. So many beautiful things that come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and colours and textures and patterns. (Sidebar: Those of you who remember the early '80s must remind our younger sisters that textiles weren't anywhere as forgiving or malleable as they are today... I mean, if you had booty back then it was a challenge. And boobs? Well forget the crisp white button down with Lycra for some added give... Hello, they didn't even have Lycra when I was a girl. And everyday I walked 5 miles in the snow without a hat :-))

At the cusp of (gasp) middle age, I find myself giddy with sartorial desire. And rather confident, what with life having kicked me around a bit and me still being here. So I've made it my personal style mandate to get it on with as many looks as I possibly can - within the spectrum of my attractions, natch. I'm aiming for promiscuous, peeps. I'm a style slut. And those styles will do it with anyone!

Right now I'm seeing the following cadre of caddish fads:
  • Vintage - and by this I mean older than 30 years. I do like those mature looks. They have experience and they are rich.
  • The 80s - cuz sometimes you've just got to get back to where you once belonged.
  • Ultra-now: Welcome to asymmetric mystery fabrics, avant garde tailoring, hell, lame leggings.
Moreover, I do try to mix it up. You know, sometimes it's "group style" - the 70s loving up the 50s. The 60s with the 00s. I need to be free, you know?

Remember, Lovelies: Practice unsafe style. You have nothing to lose but your inhibitions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Want This

On Friday I was browsing through Club Monaco and discovered this soft, wool-blend gem. Imagine my surprise on finding a pic of it on Daily Outfitting also... Thanks Sal for pointing me in the direction of this blog.

PS: CM has numerous pieces in this awesome shade of red. Slim turtlenecks, sleeveless Ts (with interesting fabric embellishments), a fantastic jacket, a great skirt.

Seriously, get your butt there now before this whole collection sells out. It's the best offering I've seen from CM in a long time - and you know how I love this place.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Who Are You?

I'm not the first blogger to wonder, intently, about the origin of her sassy readers. Occasionally, I try to figure it out using my (apparently unreliable) Statcounter info. My techie husband has advised 4 times why the data isn't really useful (it has something to do with servers?!) but I find it hard to stay interested.

Point is, while I know many of you from your own blogs or comments, I'd love to know where y'all are from. Especially those of you who might be reading, but aren't commenting. (My "unreliable" data tells me you're out there...) Feel free to answer anonymously, if you don't want to be giving me all your secret details.

But please do tell. People from foreign lands are so exciting!!

And, while I'm at it, let me say again how much I value your readership. To say that blogging has been a meaningful experience for me vastly understates how much I enjoy this process. Reading your amazing tales and knowing that someone is reading what I have to say is just creative community par excellence. Here's to us!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Odd Fellows

So, my friends S and N told us about this new place (Odd Fellows) at Shaw and Queen that just opened last week. Maybe it's more correct to say it reopened, though the concept is changed and it's been redesigned, because the owner is the same.

It's all about communal eating, something apparently you either love or hate. I enjoy interrupting conversations with complete strangers all the time. So I say, bring it on. As the photos show, it's a long, thin room with one table and many chairs. Very Viking, actually. And it's so gorgeously designed I want to marry it.

There is an outside patio that's also banquette style. And I heard an (uncorroborated) rumour (more about this to follow) that they've applied for a license to add a sauna in the patio area. Like for communal "getting hot" in the middle of January. How Hipster Viking.

Anyway, take a look at the interiors...

Notice the incredible, suspended rotating fireplace:

How's about the magnetic wall paint and letters directing you to the toilettes:

Do you love the lighting? Those are old-style fluorescent tubes wrapped around compact fluorescent bulbs. Talk about recycle-power:

And how about the bar lighting:

Even puppies want in!:

And taxidermied beavers:

Gotta love a place with penis-shaped dutch ceramic salt and pepper shakers. Delicate and dirty:

But here's the best part. (Yulanda: Are you proud I didn't eat all of this before remembering to take the shot?):

This brownie is one of the best I've ever eaten. And the ice cream is organic and made on the premises. Calorie bargain, indeed!

PS: It's affordable.

Update: I went to this restaurant for dinner on Friday night and I have to say, while the service was excellent and the ambience awesome (to say nothing of the great company), something we ate really didn't agree with me or my husband. I don't know that I can recommend it for the food under the circumstances. Except the brownie, natch.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jonathan + Olivia = Discourse on Urban Refinement

A while back, though for the life of me I can't remember how, I learned about this shop going in on lower Ossington (the new happening zone in TO, now that every other place is too expensive). Lower Ossington manages to be both hip and gritty. We bobo Torontonians go for that. Pls. note, I'm more bo than bo :-)

At any rate, today I walked by and noticed it is now open and it really is a trip. Like to all the places in the world with great designers. (You know, it's sort of a subscription feed to Europe.)

Georgina, the manager, advised that the store is actually named for the neice and nephew of the owner, a Vancouverite who's originally from TO. The buying philosophy is simple: Get cool -read: minimal - stuff from respected diffusion and small design lines. There's some beautiful Alexander Wang leather, Vanessa Bruno knits. It's a veritable mecca of Acne denim.

When I asked to take some photos, at first I was politely rebuffed. They have a "no photo" policy. Happily, that changed after Georgina vetted my blog. On the spot. Not joking. So if you go in there cuz you read this post, please let her know.

I have high hopes for this boutique. I think it's going to raise the profile of (and add a new pricepoint in) an area that supports some fantastic local artistry (modern fashion, painting, installation art, vintage, cabinetry and carpentry). Lower Ossington is the last bastien of industry-meets-residential working class in the west-end of downtown. It is vibrant and complex. But it could use a little shot of minimal upscale to support the upmarket hipster restaurants and galleries everyone with a tasteful nose ring is hanging at these days.

No doubt, a whole raft of people will disagree - esp. those benefiting from the heretofore reasonable rents. It'll wreck the grubby sublime, they say: Roach infestations next to light industry meeting chic after-hours bars and galleries. To which I respond, whatevs. Time marches on and things change. The only recourse is to work to change them in the most attractive, read: suitable and holistic way. And what's more suitable than gorgeous fash, I say? (But maybe that's the bo in me.) You decide.

Dear Sandra:

Everytime I see the girls with big, crazy hair I think of you. xo

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You Should Buy This Belt

I did. And I paid full price - almost unheard of for me.

It wasn't cheap either ($59.00 at Club Monaco). However, I've worn it about 16 times in the last 2 weeks. So I think it's going to pull through on the cost-per-wearing premise.

Those are the Gap trouser jeans again, btw. I have a feeling I'm going to wear them threadbare too...

T: Rebecca Taylor, Belt: Club Monaco, Jeans: Gap, Necklace: Imported from
Spain by Sandra
, Cardigan: A zillion Years Old (Caban - RIP)

This is my take on American chic, fyi.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just Have To Tell You...

I have some fun posts coming up... (Pass it on.)

Too Much of A Good Thing

Since I moved offices months ago (away from the caf that served my beloved 2 fried egg / 4 slices of bacon breakfast) I'm forever in pursuit of the next good thing. And by good I mean "contains lots of protein and a reasonable amount of fat". Cuz I find, if I don't get it at breakfast, I will continue to crave it for the rest of the day.

It's been harder than you might imagine - working in downtown TO as I do - to find a decent alternative. Sure, I'm fussy. Yes, the old breakfast was perfection. But really...

So imagine my delight yesterday morning, while getting my daily double dry extra hot short skim cappuccino (not a joke, sadly), on discovering a new, good option. In short, it's oatmeal with things thrown in and a latte with protein powder. Natch, I customized. It is beyond me to accept the food the way it's offered. Then, pleased as I was to have a lovely, healthy choice, I added up the calories (you know I do this) and was rather surprised by the tally.

Here's the way I got breakfast (conservative-style):

Oatmeal - 120 calories
Pat Butter - 30 calories
Pinch Brown Sugar - 15 calories
Nuts and Seeds - 100 calories
Tall Latte (Skim), extra shot espresso, no sugar - 100 calories
Protein Powder - 20 calories

Yeah, that's almost 400 calories. While delicious, satisfying and healthful, it's not exactly a calorie bargain.

Now here's how they wanted me to eat (OTT-style):

Oatmeal - 120 calories
Packet Brown Sugar - 50 calories
Nuts and Seeds - 100 calories
Dried Fruit - 100 calories
Tall 2% Vanilla Latte with Protein Powder - 200 Calories

Yum - 570 calories of (mainly) sugar for breakfast. And they're touting this as healthy eating in moderation. In truth, by comparison to most other offerings at Starbucks it is health food.

My point: You can't trust the conglomerates to protect your waist-line. But you can bet your sassy ass that the advertising will encourage you to do so.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Know, She's a Genius...

My daughter, creative tour-de-force that she is, recently "deconstructed" a Halloween costume and a shirt that no longer fits:

You can't really see it here, but she managed to use strategic cuts and ribbon to create an architectural piece that really blew my mind.

I gotta get this kid sewing lessons.

Monday, September 15, 2008

These Aren't Mom Jeans

Sweater Top: Jacob (8 years ago), Belt and Jeans NEW!: Club Monaco, Shoes: Vintage

So these aren't for those fat days or for anyone who's faint of heart. I just went out shopping for a new Webkinz with M and, let me assure you, I got lots o' looks from cute, if exhausted, dads carting infants in carriers. I felt so smugly "mother of an 8-year old".

Please overlook the worst posture ever. (I don't know what happened there.)

PS: The shirt cost $40.00, the jeans on sale from $150.00 to $90.00, the shoes were $20.00 and the belt $60.00. Which means the whole freakin' outfit didn't cost as much as my underwear. Not bad, huh?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Filling the Gap

While I'm on the topic of good, affordable American chic from the Gap, please see Exhibits A, B and C below:

I bought this homage-to-the-pumpkin T and, I have to wonder why they didn't use a model with slightly "more boobs" to show off its saucy neckline.

Ditto with this fabulous jewel-tone aubergine crew-neck. The model is svelte and lovely, if the lower half of her face is anything to go on, but she's lost in this shirt. They make an XS for a reason. Hell, I bought the small and my tits are 8x the size.

I had to resist buying this bag (which is shown in black but also come in a very rich taupe), even though I scarcely need another bag, never mind one without a strap:

It costs 150 bucks and is large enough to hold everything you undoubtedly cart around - although it's not "oversize". The leather, which looks a bit cheap in the photo, is actually soft and supple. Admittedly, it looks better in taupe than in black. It really is a great deal for a woman who doesn't need two free hands when out and about.

What do you think?