Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy holidays!

As you can tell, I've taken a mini-break from blogging. Between the gatherings we've been hosting, the dinners with friends and family, and trying to squeeze in quality time alone with DH and Maya, I haven't been left with much time for blogging.

Entries to resume once life calms down again in 2010. (In just two days, oh my!) Until then... wishing you all a very happy new year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The days are short, and time is even shorter

OOTD Sun Dec 20 2009

Outfit Details:

top - H&M, cardi - Gap, jeans - Banana Republic, shoes - Steve Madden, necklace - Jones New York

Things have been a little chaotic lately, and I've been having a hard time squeezing in even a few minutes to take outfit photos. I'll try and be better about it going forward. In the meantime, here's the last outfit I snapped a few days ago.

I've had these jeans forever (since 2005) and they had always been my absolute favourite pair. Since I finally lost the last few pounds of pregnancy weight, I've been wearing them constantly. I find that Banana Republic jeans fit me better in the waist, and hips than any other pair I've tried (including high end pairs), and the pockets are flattering to my booty (aka junk in the trunk). Also, as much as I love the skinny jean trend, it's not the most flattering for my body type, so I rarely reach for the one pair of skinny jeans that I own. Bootcut, flares, trouser or even straight legs work so much better at minimizing my hips and thighs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eleven dozen cookies

OOTD Sun Dec 13 2009

Outfit Details:

shirt - H&M, cardigan - J.Crew, jeans - Banana Republic, shoes - Steve Madden

Since moving back to the suburbs, I've joined a Mom's group. On Sunday, one of the meet-ups was a cookie exchange. It sounded like a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and it was just for the Mom's (no kids) so it seemed like it would be a much appreciated break for me.

Then a couple days before the meet-up, I reread the invitation. I had thought I was supposed to bring two dozen cookies - a dozen to share at the event with everyone and a dozen to exchange with one other mother. Umm, obviously I cannot read. The invitation actually said to bring a dozen to share at the event and a dozen for EACH mother. Given that 10 other Mom's were attending, that brings the grand total to eleven dozen cookies... or 132 cookies!

So guess who spent Saturday afternoon baking?

Shortbread cookies!

It actually wasn't too bad. I had been smart enough (or lucky enough to be honest) to choose shortbread cookies for the exchange. Besides the chocolate I topped the cookies with, it only required four little ingredients. Score!! Plus, I actually love to bake and the 2 1/2 batches I made turned out wonderfully.

The only problem now is that I came home with a ton of yummy cookies, and I also still have 1/2 batch of shortbread that I baked myself. I spent Sunday and Monday munching on the cookies (soooo good and I didn't want them to go to waste) and feeling incredibly guilty over the amount of sugar, fat and calories that I was consuming. Then it hit me. I could just freeze the cookies, and enjoy them slowly over the next month or two. So I am now down to just 1-2 cookies a day instead of the gratuitous cookiefest I was partaking in.

In other holiday related news, What Would A Nerd Wear requested pictures of the tree I trimmed with Maya. Here you go, with a bonus picture of our fireplace!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Another great find


Outfit Details:

dress - J.Crew, cami - H&M, tights - Joe Fresh, shoes - Steve Madden, necklace - Banana Republic

I first spotted this J.Crew dress in their fall sneak preview that they posted on their website way back in the summer of 2006. Since I was pregnant at the time, I decided that this was one dress I would likely have to pass on. Then, about 20 weeks into my pregnancy, the dress went on sale. Could I resist buying, even though I should have been spending my money on maternity clothes? Nope.

It's too bad the bump kept me from trying the dress on because I probably would have never bought the dress. It turned out to be way too long and frumpy on me. I wore it briefly after I had Maya. You know, the time when all your maternity clothes are way too big on you, but everything else you own won't button or zip up or pull on without ripping a seam. This dress was one of the only things that I could wear, and I was so tired and felt so yucky all the time, that I barely gave myself a glance at the mirror. I pretty much said... yay, it fits! All dressed.

Once that foggy point in my life had passed, I relegated the dress to the back of my closet. That it until this fall. I tried it on, and decided that it was the length that was ruining the dress. So, I took my trusty rotary cutter and hacked off about 6 inches of material. Then I spent about ten minutes pinning and ironing the hem (the secret to a professional hemming job) and another five minutes with my sewing machine. TADA! A pretty non-frumpy dress.

Even after the hemming, I thought it was still just a touch big around the torso, so I added one of my favourite wide belts to cinch the whole thing in.

And so we have yet another successful find from my closet, and yet another reason why it's not such a terrible thing to be a clothes hoarder.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Something old, something new, nothing borrowed, something blue

OOTD Tue Dec 8 2009

Outfit Details:

dress - H&M, cardigan - Zellers (Alfred Sung PURE), belt - ?, boots - Steve Madden

Are you tired of hearing about my finds digging in my closet yet?

This is one of the last items I bought just before I became pregnant with Maya. Technically, I think I already was pregnant, but unaware of it yet. My friend Pearly bought this dress while she was shopping with me over our lunch break. (Sigh, I do miss those quick retail therapy trips). I loved it as well, but was on a psuedo-ban and decided to be good. For two days, I thought about how cute the dress was, and I finally went back only to discover that my size was sold out. The size down was a little tight, but I resolved to lose the few pounds I had gained recently in order to wear it. (Did I mention I was pregnant at the time and didn't know it? LOL)

Fast forward to post-pregnancy. The dress was now much too tight and the material showed every bump and roll. I packed it up, and almost gave it away so many times. But for some reason, I always pulled it back out of the donate bag and couldn't bear to part with it. Maybe someday I reasoned...

Finally, in the last few months, I've managed to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. To my dismay, not everything had gone back to the way it was before. While I'd never had a flat and toned stomach, my pooch has become a bit more prominent. This dress STILL showed all my bumps and rolls, and I felt self-concious wearing it. So I went over to my beloved sewing machine and took it up at the waist changing the shape from a fairly straight cut slight a-line, into a true a-line. So much better!

Because I felt like the dress was a little too formal on it's own, I dressed it down with some wedge boots, and paired it with my new cardigan from Zellers. Yes, you heard me right, Zellers. I was lured into their store by the sale on their Alfred Sung PURE line sweaters. In the ads, they looked so promising, so cute and J.Crew-ish and so unlike Zellers that I had to check it out for myself. I was pleasantly surprised, and ended up picking up three cardigans. While some of the line is a little frumpy, there was enough cute stuff that I will definitely be back.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's beginning to look...

OOTD Wed Dec 9 2009

Outfit Details:

top - J.Crew, cardigan - Forever 21, jeans - Gap, shoes - Steve Madden

If you take a gander at the edge of my fireplace mantle, you can see that's it's been undergoing a holiday transition over the past week or so. I tend to write about this every year, but the holiday season is a really special time for me and makes me remember my mother. Christmas was her favourite time of year, and she loved to share that joy with me and my brother. Now that I have Maya, I find myself missing her more than ever. My mom would have had so much fun doing all the holiday activities with Maya, and I so wish they could have known each other. Last week, while I was telling Maya about how I used to bake gingerbread cookies with my mother, Maya said to me "I wish I could meet your mommy". My heart just ached. I suppose one of the reasons why I have looked forward to doing all the holiday stuff with Maya, is it's a way that Maya could know my Mom.

This weekend, we spent trimming the tree. Since I had to pack away all our breakable glass ornaments, we needed to re-buy some toddler safe decorations. We didn't go overboard - just a trip to Superstore, Walmart and Michaels - but it was great fun because I had Maya pick out everything (with a little gentle guiding from me). The result is the prettiest tree that I've ever had in my home, and a beautifully decorated fireplace mantle. Not to mention, wonderful memories that I'll relive every year when we unpack the decorations in preparation for the holidays.

Wednesday greeted us with a quiet and cold snow day, so I decided it was the prefect day to build a gingerbread house. Maya consumed just a little bit more sugar than she probably should have. The little bunny was dipping her fingers in the icing as I tried to glue the roof to the house walls, and snuck quite a few smarties when I wasn't looking. This girl seriously doesn't need much sugar to get her going, so she was quite literally bouncing around, dancing and singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as loud as she possibly could. I wish I had recorded it!

Although our house didn't quite turn out as I had hoped (lopsided roof, icing windows that dripped into a sloppy puddle, a broken icing wreath), Maya still loved it. She declared it the most beautiful gingerbread house ever, and (after her sugar crash) climbed onto her chair, rested her chin on her hands and just sat there admiring it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My first re-fashion

OOTD Sat Dec 5 2009

Outfit Details:

cardigan - J.Crew, top - Old Navy, skirt - DIY (re-fashioned from a tee), shoes - Steve Madden

A few months ago, I came across the Wardrobe Re-fashion community. And while I lack the drive to give up new clothes completely for 2/4/6 months in order to join their pledge, I'm still very much intrigued with the idea of re-fashioning outdated or ill-fitting items to give them a new life.

My Dad has been cleaning out his basement and dropped off a bag of my old clothes last week. Much of the stuff are clothes I used to wear in high school (circa late 80s/early 90s) and had been sitting forgotten in plastic bins in his basement. On Friday night, I decided to sort through them. While some of them were just horrible (oversize sweaters and grunge floral dresses that are indecently short), I did find a few simple tops classic enough to wear even now. I also found this burgundy oversize tee which caught my eye. I held it up, and it instantly whispered "skirt" to me.

An hour later, three feet of elastic, a few snips of the scissors and a jaunt through my sewing machine created this skirt. Considering that I was just winging it (no pattern), I am really happy with how it turned out.

Of course, I had to wear it the next day to dinner at the in-laws. My sister-in-law liked it so much that she asked if I could make her one. While I don't have any more oversize tees in my closet to re-fashion, I will be scouring the clearance racks at Old Navy and Walmart to create a few more for me and her. And come to think of it, my Dad's got a few more bins of my old clothing sitting in his basement.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Here comes Santa Claus

OOTD Fri Dec 4 2009

OOTD Fri Dec 4 2009

Outfit Details:

dress - H&M, cardigan - J.Crew, tights - H&M, shoes - Aldo, necklace - H&M

As you can tell from the snowman on my fireplace mantle, the holidays have arrived at my house. I've been telling Maya about Santa Claus, and this is the first year that she actually gets him. (Jolly old man in a red suit with a round belly, who magically comes through our gas fireplace to bring her, and all the good little children, presents on Christmas!) She spotted him at the mall last week and watched a little girl take her picture with him. "I want to see Santa", Maya exclaimed.

I told her we'd come back when she had her party dress on, so she'd look very nice for her photo. So all the next week, she has been telling me "I want to wear my pretty party dress and see Santa!" I asked her what she was going to ask him for Christmas. "A dollhouse! A Calico Critters dollhouse!"

Sounded like she was ready to me.

So on Friday, my Dad and I took Maya to the mall to see Santa. Unlike the week before when there was absolutely no line, we were greeted with a whole gaggle of tots and their parents. The wait was one hour. The woman in front of us told us that some of the schools were having a PD day... hence the crowds. I asked Maya if she wanted to leave, and she frowned and shook her head. "I want to see him".

So we waited. Surprisingly, Maya was awesome in line and in a fantastic mood the whole time. She chattered on about the babies going by in their strollers, the other kids in line, what she wanted to ask Santa for. She sang, she danced and she took pictures with Grandpa. When we finally got to the front of the line, she held my hand and jumped up and down.

Then it was our turn. Without warning, Maya suddenly started yelling "Mommy up! Mommy up!" and becoming upset. I picked her up, and she held me as we approached Santa together. Then the tears started.

Santa handed her a candy cane, and said "What would you like for Christmas?"

"I want apple juice!" Maya replied and started bawling. Oh dear...

We let another family go ahead of us as I tried to calm Maya down. In the end, Santa hid behind his chair while Maya sat in his seat, surrounded by teddy bears as I held her hand. Before they took the picture, Santa popped up stealthily and smiled for the camera. Not the most ideal Santa photo, but I must admit it will make for a memorable tale when Maya gets older.

Plus, we now have the ubiquitous Santa photo with the crying toddler, and Mom's hand holding said toddler's hand with Mom's body mysteriously cropped out. While the photo won't make the holiday cards this year, it will be in the scrapbook of memories.

Afterwards, as we all stopped for coffee and a snack, Maya realized that she didn't tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas!

"Can we go back and see him with Daddy?" she asked.

"Do you want to see Santa again?" I questioned.

She started to tear up, and I hugged her and whispered, "Don't worry. When I spoke to Santa, I told him that you wanted a Calico Critters dollhouse for Christmas. And you know what he said? He said that you were a very good little girl all year and he would make sure you received the dollhouse."

Maya smiled.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baby it's cold outside

Outfit Details:

cardigan - Gap (outlet), dress - Old Navy, tights - Joe Fresh, necklace - The Bay, shoes - Banana Republic (outlet)

Today, the weather turned unexpectedly cold. Given that I live in Southern Ontario, where we experience the joy of the four seasons, I shouldn't have been surprised at all. But we were blessed with a fairly warm autumn so far, and Maya and I have been taking full advantage of it with trips to the park and lots of walks around the neighbourhood.

I am not ready for freezing temperatures, ice and snow! Not yet anyway.

I realize that I've been wearing a lot of black and grey lately. So to mix it up, I threw on one of my favourite cardigans and purple studded flats. You may have noticed that I own these in black as well. I am a huge fan of buying in multiples if it fits into at least one category: (1) it's a steal (2) it's a basic. If it's a memorable or unique item, I'm more hesitant to buy it twice. But if I love it, I'll go ahead anyway. For instance, I own this dress in two colourways!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Digging deep in my closet - Part 2

OOTD Fri Nov 27 2009

OOTD Fri Nov 27 2009

Outfit Details:

top - Banana Republic, skirt - Joe Fresh, necklace - self-made, tights - H&M, boots - Steve Madden

Last week ended with a particularly dreary day. My pictures in turn, came out quite dark, but thanks to the magic of Photoshop, it isn't too bad now.

I haven't worn this keyhole tee in years, but incorporated it into my outfit in yet another attempt to re-use my wardrobe. I'm not so sure I like it. I probably should've left out the necklace, but I feel really naked when I don't pile on at least one piece of jewelry.

This skirt was a clearance steal from the Joe Fresh line, and is getting a lot of wear. There's something so easy, and casual yet pulled-together about a simple jersey skirt and tee.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Digging deep in my closet

OOTD Wed Nov 25 2009

Outfit Details:

sweater - Banana Republic, jeans - Joe Fresh, necklace - Forever 21, shoes - Aldo

In an attempt to re-use my wardrobe and limit over-consumption, I spent a few hours sorting through the sweater pile in my closet. When I say pile, I mean it literally. When pulling together my outfits for the day, I have this tendency to pull out and discard maybe three or four sweaters before making my selection. Given that Maya only gives me a few minutes to get dressed in peace, I forgo folding them back neatly and just give them a good chuck to the back of my closet shelf. After about a week, my carefully folded collection of crewnecks and cardigans become a big ole mess!

So last week, in front of a Gossip Girl re-run with a glass of malbec beside me, I spent about an hour blissfully re-folding and organizing my sweaters. Now, crewnecks sweater, v-neck sweaters, cardigans, etc. are grouped with their respective peers. And even within those groups, they are further organzied - grandpa cardis, argyle crews, etc. Looking at the tidy little piles gives me such a thrill, and I'm pleased to say that I've managed to keep them (mostly) in order.

This sweater used to be an old-favourite of mine. So much in fact, that I initially bought it in black, and couldn't resist buying this light blue sibling when it went on sale. I hadn't worn it in years, but decided that it was long overdue to put it back into rotation. I paired it with one of my newer acquisitions for the fall... a lovely statement necklace which was a steal from Forever 21!

My teeny tiny Cyber Monday haul

If you can believe it, I have never ordered anything online since I've returned to Canada. No shoes, no accessories, not even a book! I'm not sure where my hesitation stems from considering that I used to have a package arrive every other day when I lived in Brooklyn. We used to order everything online: diapers, food (I miss you Freshdirect), toys... and of course, clothes.

Actually, I do know why I haven't been pulling the trigger with the online merchants. First of all, the deals are not as great for us poor unforunate Canucks. I cannot tell you the number of times I have winched over the price of a pair of shoes here. Not to mention, my staple merchant of choice for kids clothes (Gap Inc.) does not ship to Canada. And of course, the ownership of a car makes shopping much easier with a toddler, rather than the inconvenience of lugging a stroller up and down the subway steps just to get to the nearest department store. Guess what? Not everyone will help a woman struggling up the steps with a baby, stroller, and baby bag. (And people wonder why the transition to suburban life wasn't as shockingly painful to me as they had expected).

Getting back on topic, I just placed an order for Forever 21, taking advantage of their Cyber Monday free shipping deal. I initially placed my order because I thought that Forever 21 was one of those stores that was really hard for me to reach. But... checking the store locator, there's one only 20 minutes away from me! Hooray! I suppose if anything in this order doesn't work out... it's an easy trip for the return.

I feel in absolute love with this top as soon as I saw it. I adore the crochet and it speaks to the vintage girl inside of me. Hopefully, it won't look too Grandma in real life, but then again, I am inexplicably drawn to old-ladyish styles. (DH will probably have a great time making fun of me the first time I wear it).

I have been craving a studded belt lately, and thought this one was perfect. It's not too literal and still has a refined preppy feel. In fact, I thought it looked awfully close to this J.Crew one.

Ah J.Crew. Yet another retailer that needs to come to Canada (and they apparently are), or at least ship to us without having to pay duties. Something I absolutely refuse to do!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Moving over

If you're a regular visitor, you'll notice that I've made a small change and switched over to blogger. I realized that I needed a hosting provider that was more reliable than what I was using before. And of course, blogger is free which makes me very happy.

I managed to import over all my wordpress posts to blogger, after many MANY tries. There's a handy online utility to make the job easier, but it definitely was not painless. (I kept getting these annoying error messages). After much trial and error, I realized that it was the comments which were causing the errors with blogger's import. So I had to manually delete all the comments from the export file. I suppose I could have tried to figure out what was wrong with the XML and fix that, but by that point, I was literally about to hurl my coffee at the laptop. So I chose the easier route. But that also means that... I have LOST ALL MY COMMENTS in the move. :(

So... if you left me a comment in the past, I'm so sorry and I really do appreciate your words. Much more than you know probably. (It's nice to know that people are indeed reading what I write, and they are not just going out into the Internet void).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sincerest form of flattery

Jesse.anne.o came up with a great idea for a project in an effort "to try to create new outfits from stuff I already have, worn the way others wear them". What a great way to come up with outfits outside of our normal look and comfort zone, as well as find inspiration within our own closets. I for one, have been making an effort to scale back my purchases (fashion and otherwise) so I'm going to take a cue from her and do the same with my favourite fashion bloggers' looks.

I am so flattered that she chose one of my looks for the inaugural launch of her project.

My look:

OOTD Nov 15 2009

Now head over to her site and check out her re-creation.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bubble necklace

OOTD Nov 20 2009

Outfit details:

necklace - J.Crew, sweater - Banana Republic, skirt - Old Navy, tights - H&M, socks - Joe Fresh, boots - Franco Sarto

After spending the majority of the week dressing for practicality and comfort, I decided that I needed a change of pace. So I pulled out the J.Crew bubble necklace that I recently acquired and set about building an outfit around it.

It's funny. I've adored and lusted over this necklace ever since it came out in it's original turquoise and coral versions last year (or was it even before that?). The $150 price tag seemed like highway robbery to me. I mean, c'mon! It's still a plastic beaded necklace. So every time my wistfulness over the necklace began to surface, I tried to flatten the feeling like a pancake. It's too big! It's a mass market piece of jewelry, so it's not that special. How could a petite girl like me pull it off anyway?

Well thanks to one of the lovely ladies on Fashionism who sold me hers, I was finally able to give into temptation. I actually danced when I pulled the necklace out of it's little silver box. It's much lovelier than I expected it would be, and I think it's my favourite piece in my jewelry box. (Of course, it also takes up half the jewelry box!) Maya likes it too. While I wore it today, every time the necklace was within reach of her grasp, her eyes would sparkle and she would touch it very very gently. No grabbing, no pulling… just admiring. My little girl is growing up.

I am astounded by how quickly she changes and how much she is learning. Right now, when she looks at me, it's with such sweetness, such unconditional love and trust and approval. Thinking about it just fills me with so much happiness, that it's almost impossible to believe. Before I had children, people would tell me, just wait. Children change your life for the better and in ways you can't even imagine. I knew they were right, but I could never imagine just how much of an impact children make on you. I don't think there are words that could exactly describe how my life and my core being has changed. Yes I am still very much the same person I was before I had Maya. But I've also changed in both subtle and unsubtle ways.

Maya growing up is such a bittersweet thing. On one hand, I am proud of the fantastic person she is becoming, and love to see her grow. But on the other hand, I wish I had a pause button so I could enjoy her just as she is a little longer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009



Outfit details:

cardigan - JCrew, cami - Old Navy, pants - Banana Republic (outlet), shoes - Aldo

Sometimes you just have to dress for practicality and comfort. Such was yesterday when I pulled on this outfit.

Cute, practical, polished and a little bit preppy. I do wish I'd thrown on a necklace of some sort, but overall I am happy with the look. Partly because...

… I finally fit into these pants for the first time in over three years! Hooray, the last of my pregnancy weight finally came off and I'm back where I began. Not everything is as firm as it once was or looks exactly the way it was before (I don't remember my hips being this wide), but that's another story.

So I have a confession to make. I am a clothes hoarder. Case in point, this J.Crew Tartine cardigan that I'm wearing. I was obsessed with it when it first came out. I so wanted to own it, but couldn't justify the full price. So when it hit the sale page, I stalked it and eventually, it was mine.

When I received the cardigan, I was so sad to find that it was a little bit too small for me, and emphasized how wide I was. On eBay, it was selling for much more than I snagged it for, so I was tempted to sell it and use the funds to buy something else that worked better on me. It wasn't doing me any good anyway, and I could make some cool cash. But in the end, I just couldn't bear to part with it. It was just too pretty. Every so often, I would pull it out wistfully and try to make it work with an outfit, only to bury it back into my closet again in frustration.

Until yesterday. I put it on, and it fit! And it looks good.

So there you go. As long as your home doesn't start to resemble those sad souls on the show "Hoarders", hoarding can pay off. My overflowing closet is justified. Wait until I tell my husband.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Suburban sterotype

OOTD Nov 16 2009

Outfit details:

cardigan - Old Navy, skirt - Old Navy, tank - Martin & Osa, shoes - Banana Republic outlet, necklace - DIY

Yesterday I attended a brunch meet-up with my mother's group. In a way, I've become the stereotype of all suburban moms --- 4 bedroom house in a very typical subdivision, SUV, trips out to the grocery stores and parent/tot classes, backyard BBQs with the relatives, pot-lucks with the neighbours… and to top it off, the mother's group I joined a few months ago. I'm sure that soccer mom will be yet another label I'll add to my repertoire once Maya gets older. (And hopefully, mom jeans will be a label I never earn).

I have to admit that I'm enjoying life in the suburbs. Shocking, I know. Especially since I spent so much time living in NYC, epicentre of culture, food, fashion and a melting pot of individual style. But I suppose that I always imagined my kids having a similar childhood to the one I experienced. I never found life in the suburbs as a child all that bad. It was quiet, safe, predictable… yes. But it was also warm, fun and happy. I want to give my kids space to move around, the ability to play in their front yard, and the slower pace that'll keep them kids just a little bit longer.

Truthfully, I do end up dressing slightly differently whenever I meet up with any other mothers or take Maya to any of her classes. Or maybe more accurately, I dress to not look too fashion-y or even too polished. I suppose I feel a little self-conscious that people are indeed judging me by my appearance. And that I don't want to come off as vain, or too involved in myself -- like I'm the horrible mother who drags her daughter off shopping everyday and spends every spare minute fussing with her appearance in the mirror. (I swear this is not me!) And I suppose I don't want my appearance to make people think I'm aloof and unapproachable. I do a good enough job of that as myself since I'm an introvert. When I was little, I was painfully shy so I try my hardest now to put myself out there. Hence, one of the reasons I joined this group.

When I met with the moms today, one of them complimented me on how nice I looked. It's silly, but I totally downplayed what I was wearing because I began to wonder if I looked out of place. She was 100% genuine in her compliment so I don't know why I felt embarrassment over looking nice.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I wish I were an Anthropologie catalogue

OOTD Nov 15 2009

OOTD Nov 15 2009

OOTD Nov 15 2009

Outfit Details:

dress - Brooklyn Industries, cardigan - Gap, necklace - Urban Outfitters, shoes - Aldo

You'll notice that my pictures are in a new location this time. This was not my choice. The tot decided that she would take over my "studio" location and make it into her pretend zoo for the day. A whole hoard of animals are taking up residence there, including the giraffe family, bunny, elephant and a baby. (I think the baby is just visiting).

Part of the reason I enjoy looking through different personal style blogs and fashion communities, besides to see the fantastic outfits, is to see the way they've set up their photos. Some of them are so well done that they look like fashion editorials. I've been playing with my poses, but I'm not sure if it works for me. I feel awkward doing any kind of "fashion-y" poses. Ah well, I suppose I'll improve with time.

I've had this Brooklyn Industries dress for over two years now and have never worn it. I kept putting it on, thinking that it would hide my post-baby pug, but instead felt super frumpy. Well, last week I took out the seam that was bothering me (the centre seam was sewn together about 5 inches down from the waistline), and hacked off about 5 inches of hem. Much better! Still, I'm not entirely happy with the dress. If I find some more free time with my sewing machine, I will take in the top portion of the dress. In the meantime, an oversized gramdpa cardi will cover up the slightly too blousy top. And this cardigan is yet another example of shopping in my closet. It's Gap maternity from my pregnancy days. Shh... don't tell!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Apparently, I have been living under a bridge because this month is the first time I've heard the term "Nanowrimo". While it sounds like it should deal with nanotechnology (or maybe a strange alien greeting), it is actually a project where people challenge themselves to write a 50 000 word novel during the month of November (hence National November Writing Month). Still, given that definition, my techie brain translates this to a bunch of nannies who replicate themselves into a fascinating science-fiction (of course!) novel. Hmm, that would be quite awesome actually.

I love to write. And while I've put aside my dreams of beginning a novelist, one part of me has been wanting to participate despite the fact that I am now far far behind. Whereas 50 000 words in 30 days sounded just a little daunting, 50 000 words in 15 days sounds downright impossible! Still, nothing ventured, nothing ever put down in paper right?

Well, I went ahead and created my Nanowrimo account last night, and started plugging away. So far, I am at a measly 968 words, but it's a start. Besides, I'm really accountable to no one but myself. If my November writing month morphs into a November/December writing month, who's really going to complain right? And I think NaNoDeWriMo has a nice sound to it.


Back when I was a new mother and still learning the ropes, I went through some dark days. Looking back, I suspect it might've been a mild (although it didn't feel that way!) case of postpartum depression. I spent much of my days filled with anxiety that I had no idea what I was doing, and I felt like my life and identity had disappeared.

I had thought that motherhood would fill me with joy, so I was completely unprepared for feeling so lost like I did -- both in my new role (hey, aren't we supposed to be born with maternal instincts?) and in my identity.

Eventually, with each passing day, I started to feel better. Thanks in part to my supportive husband (except maybe when lack of sleep overcame him) and my awesome friends. I realized that I was doing a decent job as a new mother so my anxiety lessened. And one of the more trivial things that helped me was finding the time to put myself together in the mornings (or sometimes afternoons). I noticed that my mood improved if I felt good about my appearance. So I tossed aside my maternity gear which I had shamefully still been wearing, my saggy yoga pants and tanks/tees, and began to dress in a way that made me feel good about myself. My appearance might be a vain thing to spend time on, but it makes me happy. And if I'm happy, I'm a better mom to Maya.

OOTD Nov 13 2009

OOTD Nov 13 2009

Outfit Details:

jacket - Gap, blouse - H&M, necklace - DIY, jeans - Gap, shoes - Frye, scarf - eBay

Here's another outfit of my typical "mommy style". I wore this on Friday to to run to the grocery store and get our shopping for the weekend done (toddler in tow). I then switched to my sneakers (jeans rolled up. I know… fashion faux pas with bootcuts!) so we could spend an hour at the park. It was actually a bit cold by the time we made it the park, but my scarf kept me toasty enough.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chain store shopaholic

OOTD Nov 12 2009

OOTD Nov 12 2009

Outfit Details:

dress: H&M, belt: H&M, trench: H&M, tights: H&M, boots: Frye, necklace: gift

I spent the better part of the day in an old grey t-shirt and black yoga pants, as me and Maya had a parent & tot gymnastics class this morning. After going home, having lunch and some playtime together, I was overcome by a sudden urge to change into something cute and check out the Old Navy friends and family sale. (Hmm.. are my shopaholic tendencies showing themselves?)

We both ended up scoring some cute things, and a nice sales associate allowed me to re-purchase the coats I bought earlier this week with the discount. Score! I have completely and totally burned through my budget for this month, but I do have some nice things to show for it.

I wish I could write about more interesting items that I shop for. Little treasures found in thrift shops, or vintage finds that I'll never see a dozen other people wearing. But in reality, most of my wardrobe comes from a variety of chain stores: H&M, Old Navy, JCrew, Gap, Banana Republic and Joe Fresh are my staples. I'm envious of all my fellow bloggers who write about the things they find: cute little peter pan blouses from the 60s, feminine 50s day dresses or a pair of amazing knee high boots circa 1970s. I would love to begin thrifting and shopping vintage, but the thought of digging through racks of clothes seems a little daunting with a toddler. I also wouldn't know the first place to start with regard to the shops. I've been to Value Village a few times before, but I don't think I've ever unearthed an amazing treasure. Oh, and I used to love haunting Housing Works in New York (both the one in the UWS and the one in Brooklyn depending on where I lived at the time). I have found some cute things there, but again, no amazing vintage finds.

So what are some tips for a newbie wanting to begin thrift/vintage shopping. Leave the toddler at home perhaps?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting the balance right

Sometimes I have a hard time striking the right balance between the image I want to project, the styles that I admire, and the look that most people with my lifestyle have. DH has told me several times that sometimes, he wishes I would just dress like all the other moms around here. He believes that me "dressing up" distances myself from other people, and make me hard to approach. It's not that the other moms around here dress badly. Most look great, but their style is so much more casual than my own (yoga pants, jeans, stylish sneaks). You'll see me dressed in jeans and sneakers going to the park, but more often than not, I'm in a simple dress, tights and flats.

Often I daydream of being born back in the 50s/60s where people were always immaculately dressed just because anything less was improper. Of course, their wardrobes were so much smaller that I'd probably cry from the lack of choices as well. I love looking at old pictures of my parents when they were dating. They and all their friends look so glamorous, yet relaxed and natural in their clothes. Even their picnic attire makes me swoon. My mom would wear capris, a simply sleevless blouse, sunglasses, scarf and wedges and look every bit as elegant as Audrey Hepburn. She passed away almost five years ago, and I still miss her every day. She's probably my strongest fashion influence and my icon, although I never truly realized that until she was gone.

We are such a great point in fashion where really, anything goes. But in reality, there's a limit to where I feel I can push my fashion boundaries before my age and lifestyle make it look ridiculous. The outfit that I have on today is one of my dressier ones. It's a quiet day for us so I had a little extra time to put into my appearance. The shoes are really my "fantasy" shoes for the outfit I have on. Leaving the house, I'll probably exchange them for a pair of ballet flats.

Outfit details:

skirt: H&M, top: H&M, necklace - Anthropologie, belt - ?, tights - Nine West, shoes - Frye

OOTD Nov 11 2009

OOTD Nov 11 2009 necklace

OOTD Nov 11 2009 shoes

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blacks and greys on this sunny day

Even though the sun is shining and it's another (fairly) warm and gorgeous day, I felt like dressing in shades of grey and black. I love how chic and elegant these two colours can look together.

With the exception of the heels (which I will be trading in for flats shortly), this is a prime example of my "mommy uniform". I find a dress the easiest thing to pull on in the morning. And as long as the dress is practical (ie: machine washable and not too short), I can run around with Maya in it.

Outfit details:
dress: Old Navy, necklace - gift, watch - stolen from DH, shoes - Aldo


Sunday, November 8, 2009

The best days of autumn

Today was the most gorgeous day we'd seen in a long time. It made the frigid temperatures of last week disappear and injected a new energy in our steps. We forewent our usual lazy Sunday and left the house early to enjoy the day.

After a quick breakfast at McDonald's (Maya's choice, not ours), we headed to the lake for a walk. We spent most of our time wandering along the pier gazing at the water. It's so much fun to do the things we had previously done alone as a couple with Maya. It's like seeing everything through a new set of eyes. Everything is magical and innocent and possible. Maya had a wonderful time making friends with the ducks and geese swimming around by the pier, and she couldn't stop chattering on in amazement about the "glittering" water. We ran into some weekend fishermen who were trying to lure some pike and bass, and they patiently showed Maya the rods and bait they were using. Our afternoon ended with a quiet walk around our neighbourhood and some play time in the park at the end of the street. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Outfit details:
dress: Jcrew, earrings: the Bay (random brand), tights - Joe Fresh, shoes - Banana Republic (outlet), bag - Rebecca Minkoff

Photo credit: Mo Attia (my wonderful husband)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Look what I made!

Monday, July 20, 2009

What I wore: holding out

I have a confession to make.  I've been a bit of a bad blogger and been holding out on you.  I actually have a HUGE backlog of outfit pictures that I've taken and just haven't shared.  There's no good reason except pure laziness.

Let's play catch-up... and I will try to be a better sharer from now on.  Promise... cross my heart, hope to die, stick a finger in my eye.  (Note: I did say "try"!)

(The first two are from the weekend, so they are quite recent. The rest... well, the past month or two... )

top - Joe Fresh (my new love)
belt - ??
skirt - H&M
shoes - Aerosoles
necklace - Banana Republic

cardigan - JCrew
tank - Joe Fresh
skirt - Zara
shoes - Loeffler Randall for Target
necklace - Banana Republic

tank - Martin and Osa
skirt - H&M
shoes - Loeffler Randall for Target
necklace - H&M

dress - Forever 21
shoes - Aerosoles
necklace - Urban Outfitters

top - H&M
skirt - ??
shoes - Banana Republic outlet
necklace - Etsy (gifted)

top - H&M
skirt - JCrew
necklace - Macy's
shoes - Banana Republic outlet

top - Banana Republic
cardi - Gap
skirt - JCrew
shoes - Banana Republic

top - Ann Taylor Loft
skirt - Forever 21
necklace - Etsy (gifted)
shoes - Banana Republic

dress - Target
belt - H&M
necklace - Forever 21
bag - TJ Maxx

cardi - JCrew
top - JCrew outlet
skirt - Old Navy
shoes - Clarks
necklace - Joe Fresh

top - Simply Vera for Kohls
cardi - JCrew
belt - Old Navy
jeans - Banana Republic
shoes - Banana Republic outlet
necklace - Etsy (gifted)

top - Ann Taylor Loft
skirt - H&M
shoes - Seychelles
necklace - ??
bag - Lauren Merkin (gifted)

dress - H&M
bag - LV
shoes - Banana Republic

top - ??
cardi - JCrew
skirt - Zara
belt - ??
shoes - Delmans
necklace - Forever 21

.... WHEW!
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