Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Wrapped Up

In case you're in the market for a new bag - this one's on Laws of General Economy now...

Don't you deserve a lovely green bag for November??

Friday, October 30, 2009

Method Sewing

On the weekend I went to see John Irving at the Harbourfront Reading Series. My friend Nicole, she of the sewing fame, kindly invited me to go and it was an awesome event. Intriguingly, Mr. Irving opted to spend most of his allotted reading time to a discussion - well, monologue really - of his "creative process". This was both fascinating and irrelevant (as far as I was concerned). I mean, seriously, his process isn't mine and, even if it were, I don't have his brain to back it up. Nonetheless, it's intriguing to learn about the strange creative paths of others.

So I bring you: Kristin's Creative Process re: New Pursuits. Trust me, it's really interesting.
  1. I identify the interest i.e. sewing. (This stage can be nebulous and inactive for years, btw.)
  2. Something coheres to catalyse activity (In this case having a friend who's been sewing for a year was encouraging. But, being treated by Scott to a sewing machine(!!!) galvanized my move from theory to practice.)
  3. I read every book I can get my hands on.
  4. I read everything on the internet I can get my hands on.
  5. I watch every video on the internet I can get my hands on.
  6. I talk to friends who know what they're doing.
  7. I talk to strangers who might know what they're doing.
  8. I buy magazines on the topic.
  9. I look into the history of as many facets of my new pursuit as possible i.e. the mechanics of the sewing machine (in this case), the history of textile production etc.
  10. I take courses at reputable studios (M and I are signed up for Sewing Basics in mid-November).
  11. I get set up in the best way I know how - get all the accessories I'll need, find clean workspace with best light etc. - and work with the best materials I can justify purchasing.
  12. I make Scott learn half as much as I'm learning so that when I get stuck he can help me. (He has much more patience than I do.)
And then, truly, I immerse myself so fully in the new activity that I think about it constantly. I dream about it. I can't shut up about it.

That's when the word "enthusiasm" starts to look like "insanity".

But let me say this about that: I'm not half-assed. When I give something a go I take it on to do it with as much skill and experience as I can bring to it. And, if I do it well, I know it's because I've worked my butt off. And tormented a few people.

This post is dedicated to them.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sew Excellent

Unabashed enthusiasm is a hallmark of my personality. Not a bad quality, on balance, though if you need to live, work or hang with me while I'm in the midst of "exploring" something new, I can be vaguely, um, overwhelming.

To wit, my latest "interest": the (almost) lost art of sewing. You may know that my daughter has always been very creative, loves crafts and specifically sewing. I definitely want to encourage her natural talents and put that plastic childhood brain to work. And, of course you know that I love fashion and that I more than appreciate good design, construction and material. While I've never had the opportunity to learn sewing until now - interest and confidence have not converged before - I'm finally on the bandwagon, peeps. Apologies, in advance.

It occurred to me, while explaining to my slightly concerned friend Nicole - a year or so ahead of me on this path - that I am an immersive learner. She gingerly inquired, as I talked (without pausing for breath) about sewing wool jersey drapey tops with cowl necks, if I were the sort of person who was "at all crushed by uneven preliminary results". Let me clarify: I'm not so nuts that I believe I'm going to be able to machine sew even a straight line to begin with. But I can't set my sights on cotton twill makeup bags even if I'm destined to make a few of them. And lots of other easy patterns.

Nonetheless I'm going to keep my eyes on the prize because, IMO, creativity is about reach.
What excites me tremendously about sewing is that it's the next frontier in my love of clothing. Heretofore I have only been able to admire the skill of others in creating garments that drape beautifully, that flatter my frame (and those of others), that apply incredibly gorgeous fabric to dexterous design. No doubt, that's nothing to shake a stick at but what if, someday, I have the skill to create items for myself? What if I can rework stunning vintage garments to better suit my frame? What if I can make lovely things for others? (Talk about a great gift!)

I've spent many years observing clothing as it relates to proportion. Naturally, I have the most knowledge of my own proportions in clothes but I'm a fairly three-dimensional thinker, which is why I've been a popular choice "stylist" of my friends and coworkers and people I meet at parties. And girls on the subway. (What? I'm friendly.)

Unquestionably, I believe that all bodies are beautiful when they are dressed well. And dressing well, IMO, means wearing luxe fabrics with give and ease that drape one's frame elegantly (not too much - or too little - fabric), in suitable colours and shapes. We are all unique. A Club Monaco size 10 top is not going to fit one woman the way it fits another - even if both women are notionally a size 10. The likelihood is that one of those women is going to look better than the other because the cut of said garment suits the woman with large breasts or small breasts or wide shoulders or long arms etc. Most modern peeps have neither the time nor interest (nor natural skill) to understand which shapes they should embrace or avoid - and they've never made anything, which would give them a lot of context.

Now I've never made anything either, but I'm fortunate to have discovered which brands of clothing suit my size. And I have a good tailor. What if I could take the guesswork out of it altogether? What if I could amend the almost, but not quite, perfect mass produced garment to fit me perfectly? And what if, after some concentrated time of exploring that, I could make things from scratch that play up all my assets while playing down the things I'd prefer to hide? Wouldn't that be EXCELLENT??

In my next post I'll address my own personal way of exploring new hobbies - cuz I'm sure that's fascinating to y'all :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Delicious Second-Hand Reading

The other day, while walking by Balfour Books (second hand bookstore) on College St., I saw these titles in the window. Both hardcover - and with extremely appealing food photography - the first one is mostly about the author chatting with his food subjects (who then provide a few recipes - easy recipes) and the second is Charlie Trotter being all "man of the people" and coming up with reasonable dishes you can try at home.

We modified one of the Trotter recipes - chicken with herbs and mustard (we had to grind some powder ourselves because we were out of Dijon?!) marinated in a bag and it was rather yummy. Of course, somehow it took almost 2 hours to put together. Easy weekday meals, my ass. Is it just me or is he looking all smug-chef on the cover??

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ski Bum Living

Oh look, it's some long windows with yellow-glowy light. I wonder why I'm attracted to this gorgeous place. :-) I suppose it could be the ski mountain in the background.

Photo courtesy of DesiretoInspire

So tell me, does this kind of place do it for you?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Now This Is Improvising

Admittedly, I've always thought that Letterman is an arrogant idiot, but if this doesn't have you peeing your pants laughing, I want to know about it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pound for Pound

Ah, the moment of innocence, before you try to remove the cake from the crappy (but totally buttered and floured) pan, and everything is still possible.

And then there's the moment of truth. Yes, I know the top is pitted. That's because my bundt pan is shot and I can't stop myself from poking at the cake before it's 100% cool. It's a weakness.

But look, it scarcely matters when plated. The cake is gorgeous and it tastes AWESOME.

I've made this recipe many times over the past few years - and it never ceases to delight. In truth, I'm not much of a cake baker. I don't love icing and I find cakes overly fussy. I mean, you can't eat the whole thing in one go, it's challenging to pack it individually and where do you keep it while you're getting through it all?

Enter the cake lid. I think, having made this recent purchase, I may need to experiment with cakes. Tall, fancy cakes - because the lid is very high. Admittedly, it is an interim purchase. I didn't buy a beautiful glass version because I don't know how I'd store it when it's not sitting on the counter with goodies inside and I don't know if cake is really a direction I want to go in. I mean, people, it's frosted temptation. That serves 16. Generously.

My daughter, however, loves it when I make cake. For her, it's the ultimate. She's already eaten 6 slices in the last 12 hours. So maybe I don't have to worry too much about left-overs.

Note: The secret to a perfect pound cake is to substitute half the butter for cream cheese. Trust me, it's genius. And mix the flour in before you add the eggs. Sounds crazy but it makes the thing so light and buttery, you can't stand it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Catch All

I've been looking for a new bag (one that approximates a sac I got last year at Zara, but leather and not as heavy as hell) for, well, about a year. The gray Zara one is a great shape and it's very hip, but the chain link handles are uncomfortable and they weigh a ton. And I do prefer leather, to be perfectly honest. I mean, I am a grown up slash heartless meat eater.

I'm not an "it bag" woman. A) I don't like to spend that much money and B) To generalize completely, those it bags tend to be rather ornate (heavy in all ways) - even "mature", in some instances. Of course, I enjoy looking at other women's it bags. They tend to go well with their well-made and (usually) sexy shoes.

Alas, this post is neither about the "it bag" nor the women who sport them.

This is about the new bag I bought - an awesomely buttery soft leather sac that can be worn 4 (count 'em) different ways: across body, long strap one shoulder, shorter strap one shoulder, hand carry and clutch. And it doesn't look mishmashy at all! The flash photography below makes it seem hideously shiny (which it is not - I promise) but it does have - concession to my maturity - gold hardware. Note: not bling-y but bright.

It's big enough without overwhelming, sits comfortably in all positions and it drapes amazingly. I'm loathe to tell y'all I got it at Roots. Yeah, rather populist - I know. But if the bag works... The indisputably excellent features of Roots bags are that they are last-forever well made and very reasonably priced, considering the quality - if not style. My bag is not constructed from the oft-seen pebble leather we have come to associate with Roots. Despite the premium material, it was $250.00. It easily looks like it cost twice that. And no one will be able to place it. But you.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thing I Love

This cheese, like butter on steroids, is the best thing ever. Miraculously, I found one little pot (tucked away) at the Metro (grocery store). On Thanksgiving weekend! I'd never seen it there before, but you can bet I'll be looking for it diligently from now on.

In case you haven't tried it, St. Andre is a gorgeous, soft-ripened cheese to which cream is added as it made. It has a soft, odorless "bloom" (or fluffy mold on the top) and the sides and base have a regular, though thin, brie-like rind. It spreads beautifully on crackers or toast, and goes really well with cured meats.

Just don't drink white wine when you eat it. The intensity of the cream content (75%!) can lead it to taste sour.

I remember, in the '70s, my mother would serve this at dinner parties - very Ice Storm. Our friend's Steen and Nicole recently reintroduced me to it and I'm so sold. Yum.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cashin In...

How freakin' gorgeous is this candy-pink cashmere sweater? I almost shrieked when I saw it while shopping with Hilary this weekend. I tried to get her to buy it (note: she bought some other incredibly cool vintage including a fantastic asymmetric blazer thing from Romeo Gigli circa 1989) but she could not be convinced. So I knew I'd have to give it a loving home. My friends, it was designed by Bonnie Cashin - pioneer of American RTW. Is that not awesome??

Check out the colour and the cropped sleeves and the cylindrical buttons!

It was made for the chicest of Holt Renfrew ladies, in Scotland by Bonnie Cashin at Ballantyne, in the early 60's. She designed there from '64-'68.

See the ribboning at the seams. That's why it's kept its shape for 45+ years.

It's even under the armpit - talk about dedication to the art of sweater manufacturing.

Apparently, the buyer for I Miss You, undoubtedly the best vintage store I've ever seen anywhere (you'd never know it wasn't new stuff except it's all one of a kind), got it along with 3 other fab sweaters at an estate sale in Rosedale recently. I can only imagine what this little swatch of cashmere has seen.

Each of the sweaters was utterly darling - and flattering. One, in camel (by Pringle), had a gorgeous bow at the collar. Another was pumkin-coloured. And all of them were cropped in this way. (Apparently, their former owner knew what she liked.) I would happily have bought them all (you know I am telling the truth) but, alas, at $110.00 each, that was not in the cards. Unfortunate really, as they are perfect pieces; cheap at the price, though pricey.

I've been shopping at I Miss You for years now. Every time I take a friend - and I've taken many - she comes out with at least 4 stunning and life-changing pieces.

Hilly and I discussed how much the vintage reminded us of her incredibly stylish mother, a woman who was wearing Yamamoto with Hermes almost 25 years ago... What a lovely day we had.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Online Shopping: The Goods

When making the decision to give the online lingerie scene its due, I knew I wouldn't be shopping via America. I'm not being mean. Every time I do, it costs me 40% extra in hidden fees. And that pisses me off. You'd think, what with me being up the block metaphorically, it would be easy to import from the US. Not so, peeps.

Realistically, that leaves Britain. Seems strange but, as most of the lingerie I actually buy is made there (Freya, Fantasie, Panache) - not to mention the brands I wish I could wear (Agent Provacateur, anyone) - it struck me as a good plan.

The next thing I had to figure out was where to buy. This was pretty simple. Figleaves is well-known and their policies seemed very reasonable. Plus, the prices are awesome compared with those I pay retail in TO. No doubt, I questioned whether that would all go to hell in taxes and duty and shipping. It did not. I wasn't charged a penny more than they advised I would be. I did not have to go to the post office to pick up a package. It arrived at my door in 6 business days beautifully (but not wastefully) wrapped.

My third issue was size. Natch, every bra is its own scene, though lines done by any particular brand tend to be somewhat uniform. I decided to start slow: I reordered 3 pairs of fancy undies that I already own (ones that needed replacing), and one bra (a basic, seemless nude thing) I've bought many times. I got them all in the size previously purchased. (Note, being the OCD idiot I am, the first thing I do, after buying, is take every tag out of my lingerie. Which means I had to guess/remember what sizes I'd purchased those babies in, in the first place. May I suggest you keep your removed tags on hand for future reference?)

All of them arrived and fit well - well, the back size on the bra was a bit snug but I ordered a 30 (remembering that this back stretches fast) and I'm not at my absolute fat-free-est right now.

Not only that but I was offered a 10% discount for first purchase. Now, when I tried to apply it on the order, it didn't work, so I emailed customer service and they happily offered to refund it to me when the goods arrived (were I to keep them). Very politely, I might add. Moreover, they do little Twitter promotions and they are constantly having short sales (on good stuff - not simply the dregs) and the deals can be 30% off. On the first order - the trial run - I spent $118.00. It would have cost close to $300 at the store.

So, needless to say, once I got the first shipment, I instantly decided to order something new and fun. Behold:

Freya Tamsin Balconette and Brief

Mind you, this set is by Freya (one of my go-to brands though it's a style I haven't worn) and the pattern is zebra! How could I resist. And, it was 30% off. In TO, this set would have cost about $250.00 with tax. I got it for 34 pounds - and that includes shipping. That's turned out to be about $60.00. And no attitude. Even if I have to return it for another size (or send it back altogether if I don't like it), I'm only out the cost of shipping it back to the UK. That's a risk I'm willing to take.


Truly Exciting Update: The set just arrived and it fits PERFECTLY. And I love it. You can't see it here but the background is dove grey, the zebra pattern is muted and there are tiny little pink embroidered roses dotted all over. So fun!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Online Shopping: (Counter)Intuitive

It seems crazy, buying something sight unseen (or should we say untouched) - kind of like it seems crazy to write about your life and interests on the internet as a gesture of global community-building. But if blogging is anything to go on, internet commerce is a worthy investigation.

Many of my blogger friends are hard-core online shoppers. As a regular bricks-and-mortar shopper (I do live in a huge urban centre with access to most everything), I really couldn't understand this until quite recently. The onliners are American and British, mainly. No surprise there, as those two markets have the best infrastructure for online shopping.

Canada, as you know, is a vast landmass with a small population, triangulated between our wealthy (if currently beleaguered) neighbour to the south and our tiny, Commonwealth "parent" to the east. Between culture and geograpy, both the US and UK are optimally positioned to create strong, healthy online markets. We in Canada struggle to obtain online goods here in some format that doesn't cost a living fortune. And as we sport but a handful of homegrown outlets, relatively speaking, that's not easy.

Gotta say, shopping online via a large US company is rarely in the cards for me. The exchange rate, the extra shipping charge, the duty - they make the experience at least as expensive as if I were to go to the store to purchase object X. And if I go to the store I get to try it on. Again - it's the plus of urban living, I've got going for me.

I imagined shipping from the UK would be that much more onerous - I mean, it's over the freakin' ocean. But I have to tell you, it's not the case. Please stay tuned for my next post in which I promise to give deets about one of my most exciting online shopping trips to date - the one involving bras and undies! It was easy, fun, the customer service rocks - and I managed to buy for less than half of what it would cost me at the shops here.

I have mixed feelings about overthrowing my own local economy for quality goods at half the price from other lands. But I've been thoroughly impressed by the experience - which was not working for me at all any more at my long-time vendor - and my shopping experience matters to me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Not Me It's You

In the past, on this blog, I've talked up a TO institution - a lingerie shop that broke the mold, shall we say, by importing gorgeous, flirty, well-constructed, sexy bras and undies for women of all breast sizes from the entirely mini to the outrageously endowed. Let me start by saying that this store has the undying appreciation of many a woman for doing this - and for doing it knowledgeably - but for many, the bloom is off the rose.

See, this shop now takes itself so seriously - and sports such impracticable customer policies - that many are going elsewhere. Eventually, you aren't the only game in town.

Secrets from Your Sister - which I will no longer link to as I'm not giving it any traffic - is the place in question. You know I love lingerie. Well, I've spent thousands of dollars over the last decade - thousands - and I've directed dozens of women (who've also spent money) to this boutique but, last week, I experienced the straw that broke the camel's back.

I'm not going to get into it. It's a totally boring story that raises my blood pressure but, I'm intrigued to note that (subconsciously) I expected it to go badly, I realized afterward. I mean, every time I've gone there in the past 2 years I've been irritated by the place. Not the product, mind you. But by the culture of officious management that filters down to the ranks. The SAs are amongst the most informed anywhere. In truth, I blame the owner of the store - a woman I've never enjoyed dealing with - for instituting the kind of regulations that make regular clients (like me) want to go elsewhere. Note: I hadn't been there in a year, when I walked in last week. If you know me, you know that is shocking.

The great thing about modern commerce is that there's always a next best thing.

As I walked out of the store the last time, I knew it was likely, really, the last time. So I got home, got online, and decided to see how I might make that system work.

I know you're thinking: Kristin, you rarely online shop and yet you choose to make things like skinny jeans and bras your main items of purchase?? I realize it seems crazy but I've always been a bit bold with the shopping. I figure, I have lots of experience buying those items. There are brands whose fit I know well. I've hit a point where I can look at something on someone else (a fit model) and know if it will not work. I like to think it's only a matter of time before I'll be able to figure out with some efficiency when things will work. And, if the return policy is good, what's the harm?

Please stay tuned for more on this topic...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

These Boots are Actually Made for Walking

...And they're surprisingly hot! (And warm, and waterproof, and made in Canada...)

La Canadienne Dorina Boot

I know I've talked about this brand before - and it's gorgeous flagship store in Montreal - but I can't say enough about how much I love the brand.

I've owned two other pairs of (more rugged) La C boots that I literally ran into the ground. But it took 2 years before the waterproofing started to wear off and the weather took its toll. Not to mention my miles-a-day of walking.

Buying winter boots is a serious challenge for me a) because I live in Canada and it's freakin' cold here, b) because I walk a long distance every day, c) because I want something multi-purpose (for dresses or jeans), d) I have the skinniest calves I've ever seen on a real person and e) because I demand comfort. Fortunately, I'm not high enough to think I can do all that on a budget. And very fortunately, this brand inspires me to spend my hard-earned bucks.

I had a very amusing shopping experience this week when I purchased them at Brown's. I was staring approximately 500 styles of boots in the face, trying to figure out which ones wouldn't be completely useless or entirely ugly, when I came upon the Dorina's (pictured above). I asked to try them, and when the SA brought them out from the back, they were in their branded, La C box. (This is the point when suspected, if they fit and looked good, I was going to buy them.)

I tried them, they fit like a glove (well, with my mega-skinny calves they could be slightly more fitted but they'll be perfect with tucked-in skinny jeans and quite fine with tights) and they were comfy with a chic heel.

Note: La C's do fit slimly in the calf in some styles. Not slimly enough for me, but on some the calf is a challenge because it's too tight. And before someone suggests that skinny calves are a good thing, they are perfectly lovely to be sure (as are all working legs), but even more difficult than thick calves to fit into a winter boot. Cue gratitude that they were in stock, in my size and I liked 'em lots.

In the end I got the black (couldn't find a reasonably sized photo of those). They are more boring, to be sure, but more practical. And a girl's gotta be sort of practical when she's spending $300.00 on footwear. Apparently, the price has come down since last year, 30 bucks on this particular boot, likely because of current economic realities, so support Canada (no matter where you're from) because these boots are the real deal.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I took these (arguably inadequate) images on my way to my friend Jeannette's for dinner on Saturday evening. It was a moody, autumn dusk. I could see my breath as I walked and the clouds were gathered ominously overhead.

The incomparable thing about living in a really northern climate, is that you get to see the splendour of seasonal change in high-relief. Trees go from summer green to fiery red or burnt yellow in the blink of an eye.

As I walked, I felt such gratitude for my numerous good fortunes, among them, access to beautiful food and warm shelter, for family, friends and health. The sun set and the chill rose; I smelled burning leaves and woodsmoke all around me. Those are the best smells in the world, I thought, as I walked - bundled - all along my way.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


You know Maegan, my bloggy girl-crush? Well, here's a snap, just in case you're unfamiliar:

You will all agree that she is outrageously gorgeous, dare I say it, in a Hollywood movie star way. She is also stylish, hilarious and an INCREDIBLE crafter. (I swear I'm not being paid anything to say all this :-))

Well, now she's (rather remarkably IMO) decided to enlighten us about the specifics of her dimensions - something she is asked about all the time. Don't you think it's incredibly brave to tell the entire world how much you weigh and what size your boobs are? And don't you also think that it's incredibly sad that we live in a society in which that's a mark of incredible bravery (she asks, not offering up the details of her own weight).

I'm pretty confident that many women, who look to M as the yard stick of attractiveness, will be thrilled to see that she is both gorgeous and of very real proportions* - just like them. And she appreciates herself!

*By "real" I am in no way implying that those with other proportions are fake. And no doubt, M wears a "smaller than average" dress size. What I'm going for here is that M happens to be conventionally great-looking (proportioned, healthy, strong, curvy) regardless of what dress size she wears. The fact that her frame isn't "beauty industry small" gives ballast to the truism that conventional beauty is not contingent on any particular dress size.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Figure You Should Have A Chance to See What Someone Wore...

As I'm sure you know by now, LLG and Susie were featured as two of The Telegraph's 20 Best Blogs. Of course, they are excellent recipients of this honour.

In checking out some of the other featured blogs, I discovered What Katie Wore. Y'all know this one? It's totally adorable in that crazy stylin' British girl way. I'm only just getting into it, but I have a feeling it'll be coming to a Google Reader near me soon.

What do you think?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vanity Watch

Check out Martha Stewart's answers to the Proust Questionnaire on the Vanity Fair website.

(Why don't I believe that her greatest regret is not having a dozen children?)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Not Exactly A Band-Aid Solution...

I had some really fab photos of the restorative plaster work done in my Victorian salon - ok, living room, whatevs - but the computer monster saw fit to eat them. What can I say, sometimes you have to feed the beast.

What I can tell you is that the work was expertly done.

Rather unspectacularly - and yet prudently - I repainted the very same colours I fell in love with when I first set eyes on the room a decade ago. The walls are a soft pink/white (sounds awful, I know), the ornate trim is slate grey. Only now there isn't a crack in sight.

Intriguing dilemma that is driving me more insane than I imagined it would: The walls - which originally held "placeholder art" (i.e. framed things I picked up on the side of the road over the years), perched on pre-hammered nails (what? old plaster is scary...) - are now barren. Ironically, the room currently looks terribly plain and its elegance is drastically undermined. Did I lose you on the run-in disaster that was the first sentence of this paragraph??

Moving along...

I went looking for new art - I'm always looking for new art, "real art" (to express my adulthood). I discovered that apparently it takes a different life than the one I've lived so far to express my adulthood with art. See, I found a dozen pieces I would love to call mine - edgy, textured pieces, pieces to pick up the pink of the walls and the zebra of the dining room chair seats, pieces to complement the warm wood of my modern-meets-antique coffee table. Thing is they each cost 6 grand, give or take.

I'm not sure about you but prices like these lead me, in my desperation, to utter stupidities such as: Please. I could draw that!? (the subtext being "if the dimensions weren't 10ft x 8ft and the material wasn't gouache"). Oh, and if I were a visual artist.

So, I continue to feel underwhelmed by the cavern that is my formerly homey, dare I call it academic room. And I don't know how to find a way to fix it before I officially lose my mind.

And you wonder why I cook.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Autumn Bugs

First my computer decided to fuck up again - most everything appears to have been restored by a disruptive (though appreciated) back up process. Of course, that doesn't include the photos that were to comprise the bulk of my posts this week.

And, as of this evening, my moderated comments are "experiencing an error" about which "Blogger is aware" and is no doubt "working actively to resolve". I've disabled comment moderation while this gets sorted, but pls. note that a few comments are hanging in the vortex. I can see they're there but I can't access them. No doubt, this will be fixed. But in the odd event you don't eventually - which is to say within the scope of my absurd reply policy - receive a response, that's the reason.

On another note, I'm absolutely pissed off by all this. Thirty years ago I would have been floored by the technical functionality I now take completely for granted but, I can't help it, as a child of the modern age, I'm massively aggravated.

Rant over and out.

Except one PS: Before I write again I will have to come up with some new interesting stuff to say - off-the-cuff-style - while also attending curriculum night and getting the kid to a track meet and going through half a day of meetings tomorrow while still making a bunch of deadlines that are fast approaching their best before date. And I have a headache. So if you don't see me for a few days - and you might well, knowing my penchant for life-procrastination, that's the reason.

Monday, October 5, 2009

You Can Eat Two Bites of Anything

A while ago, I alluded to a post wherein I'd discuss my ambivalence about cooking. Of course, it isn't ambivalence about cooking - or even about eating - but about getting totally carried away by the joy of creative, delicious food and getting fat. Note: I'm not even dead set against that model, that's how fun it is...

I know it's quite un-PC to imply, much less state clearly, that the only reason I don't want to eat everything in sight (or at least everything that I cook) is because I want to be slim by my own standards. But y'all who've been reading me for a couple of years (yes, it has been that long) know that, for quite a while after having my daughter, I was rather unhealthy and less svelte than I am now. Or than I was before I started cooking, at any rate :-)

I developed a healthy relationship with my naturopath - and rekindled one with nutrition via my food diary (a decade-long, on-again / off-again friend) and it's been good times ever since.

However, lest you doubt this, I am a hedonist from way back. I LOVE excess, debauchery, overdoing it. I get this from my father - who should be nicknamed Bacchus - a guy who thinks that one delicious, creamy thing is only improved by 3 more. My father embodies American joie-de-vivre, in my opinion. Send him out for some milk and you get 3 quarts, plus heavy cream and a pizza thrown in for good measure. It's always intriguing to see what he'll come back from the store with.

I love the mouth-feel of well-made pastry, the umami of perfectly-grilled beef, the painful sweet/saltiness of fleur-de-sel caramel, the berry and hay notes of good wine, the earthiness of mushrooms, the tart of apples tempered by vanilla (ok, vanilla ice cream, if you must). And just as much, as I've stated before, I love starting with nothing and developing something alchemic and profound i.e. culinary experimentation.

I don't want to seem obnoxious here. I want to explain how hard it is, on the one hand, to love cooking so much that I could spend all day doing it (lord knows, I spend all weekend) and on the other hand, to care about fitting into lovely clothes (another passion) and feel good about looking at my stomach in the mirror.

Egad, the bourgeois challenges which, daily, I stare squarely in the eye.

I don't have an answer for you yet. What I can say is that, despite inevitably loathing the outcome, I continue to track the calorie counts of my "art". And then, to the best of my ability, I eat 3 bites (which still amounts to rather a lot of damage, and I use this word loosely) and wait for the next meal.

Pls. don't assume that I'm one of those quasi-eating disordered counters. I recognize, after years of being me, that I experience homeostasis at a certain intake vs. output. Trust me, I eat the absolute maximum number of calories I can possibly justify while attempting to ensure that I'll continue to fit into my (rather expensive, all things considered) wardrobe. It ain't easy being a woman approaching 40 who freakin' lives to eat. And my diet is varied and healthy - maybe too much so! - not in any way limited by food group or type.

And yet, beautiful food seems so costly...

Par exemple: A serving of boeuf bourgignon (Julia Child's recipe divided by 7, no starch) has 500 calories. A glass of wine (5 oz) has 125. A small piece of pumpkin pie has 300 calories.

That's most of the suggested daily calorie intake for a woman of my size and shape (which by the way, I think is generous and does not take the uniqueness of metabolism into account). And it's not exactly beyond filling. Even for one meal.

Nonetheless, life is long peeps (if we're lucky) and things change. We change. Life changes. I have so much more time and energy now than I did throughout the last decade. As we know, the years of early parenting were not kind to K. But my forties - I'm feeling optimistic about having space and passion and joy for things. This is good.

I'm going to return to this topic as I come to conclusions about the best way to find balance. Of course, as with every life experience, it's about balance. That's tough for the excessives of this world, and yet it's an exercise in self-awareness.

I can't be the only one to face this conundrum. Pls. share your thoughts. Do you struggle with this too? Let's talk, shall we?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Carpet? Or Just Pet?

Photo courtesy of desiretoinspire

I want this rug. That is all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

What I Wore

Here's what I wore for dinner out at Steen and Nicole's on a pissing-with-rain Saturday night:

Dress: Some unknown brand, bought on mega-sale a few years ago in Quebec City, Belt: Vintage (I Miss You), Vest: Rudsak, Unphotographed: T-Strap burgundy shoes, AA over-the-knee socks

I know, I know... Is it K or is it Stevie Nicks?? I'll let you be the judge. Say what you will, I shopped my closet and it's definitely not the same old outfit. In truth, it's easier to dress as the weather cools down. Till it gets positively frozen, I mean.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What I Wore

This is what I wore before I came up with the new manifesto:

Skinnies: Guido & Mary (this brand is starting to go places), T: My design, Sweater: $5.00 at some disposable clothing store (though I've been wearing it for 2 years), Bag: Zara (the grey sac with the chain handle I wrote about last season)

I realize it's a T shirt and jeans, but I'd like to take a moment to say a) how comfortable this combo is and b) how I do feel I wear it chic-ly. Is it so wrong to wear things under those circumstances, even if it the outfit isn't exciting??

Sadass Provisos:

Please note that the room in which these photos was taken has not yet been given a much needed face lift. Well, it's better than it was as a play-room (which is to say we use it), but it needs some work when some money, time, energy and effort combine in a whirling dervish. Don't wait up.

Also, I seem to remember advising that I'd never allow myself to be photographed from below ever again. But my husband was eating breakfast at the time and this is the best I could do, as standing was not in his plans. It appears I have another opportunity to remind us all that it's not an attractive angle.