Thursday, February 26, 2009

The perfect cape

Lately, I've become obsessed with the idea of owning a cape.  The only thing is that I'm not sure if it works enough with my current wardrobe to make it worthwhile.  While it would look super cute with some of my shorter skirts and dresses, I rarely wear pencil skirts or slim trousers/jeans.  Just too much junk in the trunk, and no one wants to look at my post-baby hips.

When I went thrift shopping a few weeks ago, I was hoping that I'd magically come across a vintage treasure.  No such luck.  

If I had the money to spend, and the wardrobe to justify it... I would go ahead and add this Paul and Joe Sister cape to my repertoire.  It's perfect.  Classic, clean-lined and this shade of grey (my colour obsession over the last year or so) makes the perfect neutral. (It's also on sale from Urban Outfitters. *double sigh*) Why oh why is my birthday in September and not now? > Rendez-Vous by Paul & Joe Sister Normandy Cape


Pleated Ruffle Dress

More love from Forever 21...

Pleated Ruffled Dress

I adore this dress so much! The colour is perfectly in line with the muted shades for spring yet won't wash me out like the beiges, soft rose and taupes of the season. The pleated skirt would disguise my post-baby pouch and the oversized buttons and pleated ruffles are just adorable!

It's a good thing that this dress isn't available online from Forever 21 Canada, otherwise, I'd be crying over my ban right now. And I would be tempted to hunt it down in the stores, but I get overwhelmed when shopping in the B&M. *sigh* Money saved I suppose...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What I'm Wearing

cardigan - J.Crew
tank top - Gap
skirt - J.Crew
tights - Banana Republic
boots - Frye

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where did these come from?

sweater - Martin and Osa
skirt - Old Navy
tights - H&M
shoes - Nine West

I just dug these shoes out of my closet, and had to throw them on. I just adore the grey detailing on the t-strap and the retro feel of the skinny wedge. Even though they are probably about four years old, they feel new to me. Hence, the fun in re-discovering goodies in your own closet.

... Plus, it probably shows you how much I've worn them since I've had Maya. I've only just begun wearing my heels again. Navigating a frighteningly steep flight of stairs along with bumping a Bugaboo up and down a flight of brownstone stairs resulted in me almost exclusively wearing flats and flat boots while living in Brooklyn. Now that I'm in the 'burbs and drive a car, I am able to wear heels again (during the short periods of time that the snow has melted anyway).

I would call this outfit an example of my daily uniform. Everything is wash and wear, and extremely comfortable. I went through the whole yoga pants, tee or hoodie SAHM uniform back when Maya was a wee thing, and I just felt so frumpy. I consider this outfit just as easy to wear, and just as comfortable for running after a toddler.

The itch is getting worse!

I am entering week 10 of my spending ban.  Ever since that 7 week itch (which I scratched via a $15 thrift store hunt), I have been doing so well.  Nothing has popped up on my radar that I haven't been able to resist, and I've been having a lot of fun re-discovering items in my own closet.  (Now, if I could just lose those 10 pounds and fit into them... I would be ecstatic!)

The strange thing is that while there's nothing in particular that I want, I have been fighting the urge the last 2 days to head to the stores and browse.  In a way, I think I just miss the fun of looking and the thrill of a new purchase.  I wish I could give in but it would be pretty frivolous considering that I don't need anything and there are about a hundred better ways (yes I would like new hardwood floors!) for me to spend my money at the moment.  Sometimes being responsible is such a pain!

I think part of the itch is that I am still lacking a creative outlet and that little bit of "me time".  Back in Brooklyn, my friend and I took a pottery class every Saturday.  So that gave me a break from Maya, some adult conversation and a creative outlet all in one go.  I would love to take up pottery again, but Mo has been so busy with work since we've moved.  He works 7 days a week, probably 70 hours+ a week.  And the time he doesn't spend working, we spend a lot with extended family.  So in the end, there just doesn't seem to be much time for either of us to have some much "me time".  

Trying to decrease the amount of "me time" necessary and save some money, I borrowed my mother-in-law's sewing machine a couple weeks ago so I could teach myself to sew. I imagined myself altering my mall store clothes to fit like custom made, and create some beautiful new garments. Sadly, it's just been sitting in the corner of our living room gathering dust.  Right now, I would kill for a chance to get to the fabric store to pick up black thread and a stitch ripper... much less having a chance to actually make something new.  

Getting back to the original subject... I'm actually quite proud that I've lasted so long on this ban.  Once I got out of the habit of buying, it hasn't been too hard resisting.  I am even toying with the idea (despite this damn itch!) to extend my ban longer.  At least into mid-March or even into April.  What I really want to do is get to the point where Mo will actually encourage me to go out shopping and spend some money because... I deserve it. :)  I suppose that I want Mo to be proud of me... even if it is a silly thing to be proud of.  I think it would take a year long shopping ban to get to that point however.  In Mo's eyes, I have enough clothes to go on a two year ban without feeling it...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sugar and spice

I really love the idea of this skirt.  It is prim and proper, with it's full skirt and demure length, yet edgy and modern due to the unexpected zipper details.  I would have to check the fabric out in person (100% polyester) but style wise... it is definitely a skirt I would want to add to my wardrobe.

Zipper Trim Skirt from Forever 21


Paint it Black

Today has been a much better day than yesterday, yet ironically, I chose to wear black today!

I thrifted this vintage top a few weeks ago, and I've been dying since to show it to my SIL. We're heading to dinner at my MILs tonight, and since SIL's going to be there, I put together an outfit to showcase the blouse.

On a side note, if you are planning to re-caulk your shower/tub anytime soon, this article on how to "Caulk Like A Pro" has some pretty good hints. I wish Mo and I had read it before we started. I think we had to redo each area three times! Maybe we should've kept renting instead of buying a home...

blouse - vintage, thrifted
dress - Old Navy
tights - Old Navy
boots - Frye Adriennes

Saturday, February 21, 2009

One of those days...

Today started off great. Maya overslept and gave me and Mo a chance to catch up on our sleep too. It was a fairly nice day -- sunny albeit cold. And we made plans to go for brunch and then over to the Apple store.

Then it all went downhill. Without getting into all the icky details, I just feel like I am being picked on for doing nothing wrong. Not a nice place to be. I feel so downtrodden right now that the day could become nothing but rainbows and songs, and I would still be counting the minutes until I can crawl back into bed. Unsalvageable. Nothing short of a million dollar winning lottery ticket can make today seem all right again.

To lift my spirits (because wearing something nice always makes me feel better), I put on my most beloved sweater dress. It's like wearing a painting...

Wallowing in self-pity in:
dress - J.Crew
tights - Old Navy
boots - Frye Adriennes

Monday, February 16, 2009

Too early in the morning for this...

We went to a dinner party last night hosted by a good friend of my MILs. The host partly threw the party just for us because all my MILs friends were dying to see Maya. The last time they saw her was over a year ago when she was still a crawler.

I have to say that I enjoyed myself a lot. A little surprising because I was expecting to feel a little awkward and left out (they all speak to each other in Arabic unless I am there. *English only speaker here*). On the contrary, I felt very much welcome, like how I feel when I am amongst my aunts, and of course, the food was phenomenal -- I ate way too much. But even if I had felt awkward, I'd have enjoyed myself just seeing how much they all loved Maya.

When we arrived there, Maya was a little overwhelmed (new faces and new place) so she had a few minutes of crying and needing some time in Mama's arms. But it did not take her long to warm up, and by the end of the night, she was giving everyone kisses and singing and running around quite content.

They also gave her a bunch of belated birthday presents, spaced out throughout the evening so she wouldn't be bored (can you tell they are all grandmothers?) -- totally unexpected and very sweet. One of the presents is apparently the loudest toy ever created... so naturally, Maya loves it! In fact, she is playing with it right now...

All I can say is, thank God for duct tape... the best parent tool ever created.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Sorry for the fingerprints on the mirror. Such is life with a 2 year old.

sweater dress - Martin & Osa
tights - Nine West
boots - Frye

Every year in my high school, the student council would organize a Valentine's Day exchange.  You could buy a "kiss" (Hershey's) for a quarter along with a note, and send it to whoever you wished.  The kisses were distributed on Valentine's Day morning in homeroom, so it always felt a bit like a popularity contest.  

Despite my shyness, I had a lot of friends in high school.  I'm pretty easy going so I got along with pretty much everyone.  So even though I was always a little worried about being embarrassed over a "lack of kisses", I was usually pleasantly surprised by the amount I received.  It probably helped that my friends and I would sit in the cafeteria at lunch, and fill out the notes.  So seeing how many kisses I was giving out probably resulted in my getting a good number in return.

I rarely got any from the boys, unless they were a good friend (just friends) of mine.  I was shy, blush easily, and felt socially awkward among boys I found attractive.  After I graduated and went to college, I later found out (from a boy or two who liked me in high school) that my shyness translated to aloofness and they found me unapproachable.  One boy told me that I seemed to have so many friends and was never alone, that he found it intimidating.

Ah... but I digress.

So today is Valentine's Day, and even though I know it's an occasion made up by card manufacturers and candy companies, I still get a little thrill from it.  Mo woke me up with a sweet "Happy Valentine's" this morning before he went to run an errand with his Dad.  He later proclaimed that Valentine's Day is nothing special, which I do sort of agree with.  But deep down, I like to make it into something special.  It is a nice sentiment -- showing someone how much you love them... something old married couples like me and Mo forget to do often enough.

After Mo made his little anti-Valentine's Day speech, his mother laughed that yes, it is true.  And then she went on to mention how her husband surprised her with flowers last night.  "They (the flowers) are much overdue", my father-in-law smiled.  

Which made me smile.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th!

I've never been superstitious, so Friday the 13th is not an ominous day at all for me. In fact, I woke up quite happy and optimistic... after all:

- it's Friday (hurray!)
- it's warm(-ish) and sunny out without a cloud in the sky
- Maya treated me to a big kiss and hug as soon as I woke up

And now we'll see if I'm jinxing myself with this post...

For this beautiful day I'm wearing:

cardigan - J.Crew
tank - Martin & Osa
skirt - Old Navy
tights - Old Navy
boots - beloved Fryes!
necklace - vintage (Mom's from the 70s)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What I'm Wearing - feeling kinda smurfy

dress - Alice Temperley for Target
tights - Nine West
shoes - J.Crew
necklace - Urban Outfitters

I actually don't plan to wear these (4") heels with this dress. I thought I looked a little stumpy in my flats, so I kicked them off in lieu of the heels just to snap this picture. I love this dress, but to my dismay, it shrunk after the first wash and the hem is borderline indecent on me now. The only way I feel comfortable wearing it now is by negating the length with opaque tights and flats. Hence, I will be wearing my black mary jane flats when I head out the door later. Boo...

When I first came across these cobalt tights last year, I was ecstatic. I love the look of colourful tights with a demure grey/black outfit. It adds a little fun and personality. Unfortunately, I don't wear them nearly as often as I expected because I always feel a little bit like Smurfette (or so Mo teases me). What do you think? Can I pull them off?

Sorry for the grainy picture. It is dark and dismal outside, so the lighting was very poor.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What I'm Wearing

dress - Gap "Lucy Liu" sweater dress
top - J.Crew Frances blouse
tights - H&M
shoes - Nine West Ruffled
necklace - H&M

Monday, February 9, 2009


Ever since I discovered there was a Value Village about a 10 minute drive from my house, I’ve been itching to go check it out. My SIL used to go there every so often, and come back with wonderful vintage finds that made me green with envy. I’m not an experienced thrift store shopper, and have only been to one store in fact… Housing Works in NYC. It’s a great store, but I’m sure not one that hardcore thrifters visit often. The prices do tend to be a little high, but I’ve always rationalized my purchases since all proceeds go to charity.

Mo was kind enough to take Maya for a few hours to a nearby bookstore so that I could peruse Value Village. The experience turned out to be a little different than I had expected. It was much bigger and more organized for one — akin to shopping at TJMaxx (for the Americans) or Winners (for my fellow Canadians). I was eager to check out the coat section, imagining stumbling across a vintage swing coat or 60s cape. Unfortunately, the only thing I found were oversized coats covered in lots of pet hair. My allergies seized up immediately and I had to retreat. I bypassed shoes (not for the novice thrift shopper I’m sure), and stopped by bags (pleather city), blazers (eh), dresses (graveyard of 90s sundresses…in fact, I found one identical to a dress I used to have but donated!) and then skirts. Ah skirts… I always seem to do well in the skirt section of thrift stores, and found a couple lovely vintage wool ones. My favourite was a purple pencil skirt, but my hips were too big for it. In the end, I took home a lovely cream high waisted skirt. It just needs a little hemming to be perfect.  (Sorry for the wrinkles.  I should have hung the skirt when I got home.)

Next I headed to blouses, where all of a sudden, I felt like I was going to find something really good. My hunch was correct. I found this lovely blouse… it has wonderful pleats and details, but the print was a little loud (hello - gold threading!). I took it home anyway because I was sure I could make it work.  After all, a loud shirt isn’t so loud underneath a dress or sweater…

My only other find was a very cool black belt. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to add a little jazz to some of my plainer dresses.

In the end, my shopping experience wasn’t as fruitful as I hoped (aka not a vintage gold mine). But what I did find is enough to bring me back there again. It was a nice diversion for 1 1/2 hours and only cost me to break my shopping ban by $15. Not bad!

And so it begins...

I just spent the last 10 minutes browsing different online retail sites (uh oh!).  I've noticed that the first area of the site I will click on first is "dresses".  Yes, I am a dress addict!  Is there really such thing as too many?  I adore dresses because (1) it always looks polished (2) it shows off my best feature - legs (3) as a stay-at-home-mom, it makes such an effortless outfit -- dress, shoes or boots and voila... instant chic!

I've been loving some of the things Forever 21 has been releasing lately.  These three dresses in particular caught my eye.

The first is a cute little black/white number.   I love the ruffle detail down the front placket and the high prim collar.  I also love the trend of having a dress that looks like two separate pieces.  It makes it easier to dress (one piece!) and solves the annoying problem of a shirt becoming untucked.  If this dress were short sleeved, rather than sleeveless, it would be perfect.



This dress has the same idea as the first, with the attached skirt and top... and I love the extra chunky embellishment around the neck.


Finally, I think this dress is so adorable.  It is so simple and clean lined, and then bang... girly unexpected bow right at the collarless neckline.  Unfortunately, the colour doesn't look the best on me and it's also a little too cutesy for me (of age 30-something) to pull off.  If I did attempt to wear it though, I would pair it with a simple clutch and sky high heels to negate the cutesy factor.


What I'm Wearing

Since it is warm-ish again today, I am winterizing this spring skirt.

skirt - H&M
striped tee - Forever 21
cardi - J.Crew
shoes - Frye Liv t-straps

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Falling in love with my new home

top - Philippe Adec
skirt - Tocca
boots - Frye
tights - H&M

I woke up today to the warmest day that we’ve seen in months.  As such, I felt inspired to put a little effort into my Saturday attire.  I pulled out this skirt from storage a few days ago, and was overjoyed to find that it actually fit!  (Hurray for losing a few more pregnancy pounds!)  I paired with it one of my favourite sweaters, my favourite brown boots and I was ready to go.

We decided to try out a local restaurant for brunch.  We’d passed it a few times, and I’m sorry to say that the food snob in me made fun of it.  The decor needs a little sprucing up, but the food and service definitely made up for it.  I did feel a little overdressed compared to the other Saturday morning patrons, but I’ve come to terms ages ago that I will always be more dressed up than most.  I just get so much enjoyment out of putting together an outfit just so.  And to be perfectly honest, a skirt, sweater and boots are just as easy to wear as jeans, a sweatshirt and sneakers.  Different styles, but just as comfortable in my opinion.

Brunch was great, and I think it will become a standing place for us.  Maya behaved well. There were enough toddlers/kids so that she could be her happy, rambunctious self and not have us worry about it.  Plus, she liked the food.  Albeit, she ate to follow the typical toddler diet (ie: waffles, toast and juice), but just that she was content during our meal and ate made me a happy mom.

Afterwards, we took a drive to downtown (Old) Oakville to do a little walking and boutique browsing.  It made me feel “at home” and almost as if I’d never left Brooklyn.

Days like today reassure that we made the right choice in settling down in Oakville.  It has more character and charm that the other suburbs surrounding Toronto (at least I think so).  So far, as good as the food was in Brooklyn and Manhattan, I’ve found enough good restaurants to keep me content here.  The neighbourhoods of Downtown Oakville and Bronte Village give me the charm that I miss in Brooklyn, while the malls and plazas (bleh) at least give me the convenience for everyday life.  I can’t wait until spring comes when we can take full advantage of the neighbourhood walking trails and nearby Provincial Park.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What I'm Wearing

dress - Target
cardigan - J.Crew
boots - Frye
belt - Gap

It’s supposed to be a tad warmer today, so I am attempting to winterize this cotton dress.  I just felt like something a little flowy and feminine today.  Maya has been chasing me around with her plastic Cinderella figurine which came with one of her storybook.  ”Princess Mama”, she says.  ”Princess dress like Mama dress.  Two dresses!”  I suppose that is the best compliment from a toddler if she thinks I look like a princess!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The seven week itch

If you can believe it , I have been on a shopping ban since mid-December.  Considering all the sales I allowed myself to indulge in during November and the first half of December, coupled with all our new home expenses and the scary economy, I just cannot justify spending anything on clothes right now.  So far, I haven’t bought one clothing/shoe/bag/make-up/etc purchase for myself in 7 weeks.  But a few days ago, I started to feel the itch… that 7 week itch.  Oh, how I longed to give in and do a little shopping, even browsing in the malls.  But I know that if I do, it’ll be a slippery slope into breaking my budget and maybe a full-out binge.

So… I’ve come up with the perfect plan to stay on my shopping ban, while still fulfilling my love of fashion and the thrill of new things.  First off, I will be doing more shopping in my closet to discover all the little forgotten treasure there.  I mean, there must be a reason why I am wearing only 30% of my winter wardrobe right?  It’s good for my ego too.  Suddenly that too small skirt that wouldn’t zip up last winter fits!  And hello… where did this lovely eggplant cardigan come from?

I also am setting aside a big pile of clothes that need to be hemmed.  These pants and dresses worked fine pre-Maya (my two year old) when I wore 4” heels on a daily basis.  But now that I am a SAHM, I wear flats 90% of the time, and I look stumpy in these longish dresses.  My lovely mother-in-law has loaned me her sewing machine and (once I learn how to use it) soon I’ll have so many more dresses in my arsenal that it’ll be like a whole new wardrobe.

Lastly, I’ve convinced Mo (and myself) that if I put aside a small sum of money to go thrift shopping, that wouldn’t count against breaking my ban.  Since I haven’t found a pottery studio to join, I don’t really have a creative outlet for myself right now.  I think it’d be fun to go thrift shopping, dig and find a treasure or two, and then alter them to fit me and my style.  I’ve been addicted to style blogs of girls who do just this.  I find them inspiring and really admire their eye, creativity and style.  You should check them out, and maybe you’ll be inspired to save a little money (never a bad idea) and pick up a new hobby!

What I'm Wearing

Shopping in my closet yields some nice results!

top - Forever21
cardigan - Gap
skirt - Original Penguin (sample sale find)
tights - Old Navy
shoes - Steve Madden

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