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Work to Play

Warning: Landscaping ramblings ahead...
This spring has been beautiful. Warm, sunny, fantastic....and way ahead of schedule. Every spring is obviously busy for landscapers, clients see the first Hosta noses and they want their property done...yesterday. Because the weather has been wonderful, everything is growing and blooming so fast that we are left to do the work of two months in just over a month. So, I'm busy. My steel toes have definitely seen more action than any of my heels recently. A few years ago I made some work decisions that gave me a lot more control of my own schedule so that I could landscape and work on other commitments (including making 2 wedding dresses and 6 bridesmaids dresses this summer...ahhh!). Unfortunately, when it's this busy, taking time off is like stealing a lollipop from a child...totally awesome but morally wrong.
In all the crazy business of the last while, I've really missed getting dressed. So, I thought I'd do my own versions of the classic 'from work to play' looks... Buckle up kids... this may be awesome...


Pants? Jacob, thrifted and comfy.
Sweater? from work
Plaid jacket? Tommy Hilfiger, Winners...indestructible.
Boots? ?, Mark's Work Wear House

Pants and Jacket? same as work look...
Striped tank? h&m
Belt? Michael Kors, Winners
Shoes? Derek Lam, Holt's LC
Necklace? The Last Hurrah

Testament to what a cuff on a pair of pants and some high heels can do. Release the hair from the functional twist to reveal some curl (I promise, when the business is over, I will do a tutorial on the twist...) and I'm off to fill my grocery cart with organic goods.
Shorts? Bluenotes
Tee? Martee-ni, Winners... so old and stained but comfy
Boots? ?, Mark's Work Wearhouse
Shorts and tee? same as work look.
Necklace? The Last Hurrah
Sandals? Rockport, StyleSense
Denim jacket? French Connection, Winners

The jacket hides the stained tee and it's cute. The necklace deflects attention away from the major pilling on the tee. Hmmm. Basically, the tee is at the end of its shelf life but I will never throw it out, so it's distraction tactics to make this shirt ok for after work.

OK, truth time. My work to play looks are just for amusement (the most amusing part was tracking dirt all over my kitchen from my boots just for this post... I'm committed). As fun as they were to do, no high heels or flashy necklace can cover the fact that I come home from work smelling like gasolina and with a dirt mustache that could rival an Italian teenager...


Blame the Rain





Dress? h&m by Sonia Rykiel
Plaid shirt? ?, Winners
Leopard pumps? Steve Madden, DSW
Belt? Roots, thrifted
Clutch? thrifted
Bangle? thrifted

I wear this shirt a lot. It's been on my blog often and countless times it's also my 'Matt's yelling at me to hurry up and I don't like what I'm wearing' back-up shirt. I try to wear something else but this shirt always wins. It's plaid, it's long enough to tuck in and it makes any outfit so cheery. I may not always be cheery but my shirt is. Hey, a plaid shirt doesn't have PMS...
I love taking pictures at this spot by the bay. Unfortunately, if the weather is nice, it's over run with people trying to cram in family time. It was rainy so I took advantage of the isolation and got some pictures. My shoes were also a product of the weather. I had other shoe plans but I didn't feel like dealing with squishy, wet toes from the rain. So I wore my trusty leopard print pumps. They are so comfortable and the shape is very classic and they work with anything. I have worn them a lot, so they have seen better days and the cobbler but they look nice out of direct sunlight. This winter I saw a pretty pair of zebra printed, horsehair (or cowhide?) booties and I thought they might make a good replacement. I didn't really need them, so I patiently waited for the final sales. I saw them later for $102 and I was still unsure. This kid needs at the very least 50% off and I figured I'd wait some more. At the bitter end of winter I saw that the store (a reputable chain store, no less...) had an extra 20% off final prices. I thought with another discount off $102 (it was about time for another discount), plus 20% off and I might be in for some wild new booties. I checked the price and they were marked back up to $120, minus, let me do the math for you.... that makes the boots $98. I wait patiently for months for my boots and they are going to give me just $4 off? Is that even allowed? Jacking the prices up and down and tricking shoppers (not me... I'm too sale savvy)? Soooo... I didn't get the booties. And I added a store to my not cool list.


Windy, yes?


A New Era





Skirt? A New Vision, thrifted
Dress as shirt? h&m, old
Belt? h&m, old
Boots? Aldo
Purse? Vintage
Jacket? thrifted

Another day, another double. After denim with denim, I thought I'd wear lace times two. I know, such a risk taker...what's next? I asked Matt what the next natural step would be and he said I should try some double leopard print. I think that was a challenge...
Today's post is not about my outfit, it's about a new era in blogging. Today I am officially blogging while watching nothing good on tv (we have ghetto cable and it's Saturday afternoon). We finally got a laptop... Our computer had been giving me anxiety for a long time... sometimes it would be great but other times it would take foreeeeever to load a page and then it would crash. I tried bargaining with the old computer, I agreed to not leave my old ice cream bowls beside the keyboard if it would just let me click and quickly see what Tieka was wearing... that wasn't happening, to console myself I would eat the whole tub of ice cream and not use a bowl at all. A while back, we decided to get a laptop with our tax return but when I came home and saw sad face on Matt, I knew we owed money instead. There was a problem with the taxation rate at one of my jobs and we owed 4 figures in front of the decimal point. Ouch... I really wanted to be patient with our slow mc-slow pants computer but then this week, it took me 20 minutes to open up a comments box...with the tax cheque going off to the government this week and a new computer on my lap, the fun section in our budget has been capped. Meh... who needs to go out, or to even dress up when you can sit on the couch, watch tv, read blogs and eat chips all at once.


Claiming the Denim





Jacket? Gap, thrifted
Denim shorts? Joe Fresh
Button-up? Joe Fresh
Purse? ?, Winners
Sunglasses? h&m

Double denim is a distinctively Canadian fashion statement. I've heard of it called the Texas Tuxedo, and while the alliteration is quite clever, double denim has its roots in Canadian tradition. After all, Bryan Adams is from Canada, and he's the poster child for a whole lot of denim in one look. He might even have invented the look and if he did, he's a genius... blazing fashion trails for the future generations while writing the beautiful ballads this same generation was conceived to.

I'm all for trying trends and having fun but I think it's important to make the trend look nonchalant instead of trying too hard. Double denim is especially tricky. Around here, people often sport double denim without any fashionable intentions, it's more about the blue collar way of life, or perhaps it's about just not caring at what comes out of the closet. So, on the one hand you don't want to look like a fashion victim but on the other hand, you want to look like you care (though not too much... such a delicate business, this getting dresses successfully).

I'm happy with the way this look came out. The denims are different enough to share space and the white button-up keeps it fresh. I originally styled the shorts with a denim men's shirt and I looked like I was wearing a denim diaper onesie. Not cute... I'm glad I gave myself a critical once over, this is much better...



Because I Really Need More Vintage Clothing

The sisters that run the Etsy store The Last Hurrah threw a clothing party this weekend (read about it here). I was in when I found out that there was going to be scads of vintage treasure for sale but the liberal supply of sangria and chocolate zucchini cupcakes sweetened the deal.


(No, I didn't eat the 'r'... see the cupcake on the top right with the flower? It didn't last long after this picture and it was delicious... )


I took my bestie 'M' with me to the party. She has an eight month old daughter at home so I don't see her as often as I used to.... Is it bad that I was so glad to have her all to myself? Well, I had to fight for her attention with a rack of clothing but I can expect that... And guess who bought the most? That's right.... 'M', who's shopping habits have been curbed by the arrival of her baby, went all out and bought twice as much as me. And I was her proud enabler, encouraging every purchase...
'M' and I have been best friends since I was in Gr. 12 and she was in Gr.11. I broke highschool social code for her by forming a relationship with an individual from outside my grade level. As punishment they threw slushies at me...oh wait, wrong life. Actually it was good being her best friend, she worked at Gap for a while and life couldn't have been sweeter... but it was. Not only did I get to borrow all her fancy Gap clothes (my favourite 'designer' clothing in highschool, though I couldn't afford it), I also finally had a friend who was taller (! I'm 5'11!) than me.



Jacket? French Connection, Filene's Basement
Tank? ?, Winners
Necklace? h&m
Cute peeps toes that can't be seen? Primark

'M' was totally a good sport and posed for the blog. She said she felt awkward posing and didn't know what to do. I should have told her to imagine that she was Sasha Fierce... Regardless, she looks beautiful and I'm going to stalk her until I have an opportunity to steal that colourful necklace.



Bustier? Sonia Rykiel for h&m
Tee? Joe Fresh
Cargos? Thrifted
Jacket? French Connection, Winners
Boots? Modern Vintage, Winners
Bangles? Thrifted and Primark
Awesome necklace? Just purchased from
The Last Hurrah, I wore it immediately...

And wow... I'm posing like I'm soo bored with it all. Not true. The bustier just gave me some attitude. This was one of the only times that Matt has vocalized his confusion over my choice of wear. He didn't understand the whole bustier as outerwear thing... I am by no means Miss Modesty 2010 (though 1998 was a good year for me) but I do like to keep it clean. I tried to balance out the sexiness of the lacey top by wearing a tee and some heavy duty cargos. Thank-you cotton! And thank-you The Last Hurrah and 'M' for a lovely night!


Weekend Warrior




Jacket? Roanik, Holt's Last Call
Plaid shirt? ?, Winners
Hoodie? F21
Jeans? Zara
Boots? Church sale in Holland, 1 Euro!
Purse? Thrifted
Bracelet? Auction at Goodwill ($5?)

I fight battles with Fridays. I love the weekends; meeting up with friends, going out, dressing up (yup)... and I hate to waste a second of them. Unfortunately, on Fridays I come home from work so physically exhausted that it's hard to get the motivation to do anything. If there are plans, I'm good. I may be late to show at whatever is going on but if I say I will show, I'm there. 'I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant's faithful 100%'... thank-you Dr. Seuss. I love that line and I live it...well, except for likening myself to an elephant but you get the idea.
However, if Matt and I don't have concrete plans and if my butt and the couch meet, it's game over. Attach a few straws together to reach from my glass of wine on the table to me on the couch and I may be able to finish half a glass before I'm asleep.
This weekend I was determined to not let my weekday exhaustion win over my weekend extravagance, so I avoided the couch like the plague. By 10:30 I finally had showered, tamed the dread locks the wind had put into my hair and applied my face ( a mask really). We walked over to a local pub (may I gush for a moment about living downtown? Of course I can, it's my blog... I love that we can just walk to go to so many unique places and not just hop in our car and end up at a chain restaurant...) had a few drinks and some nachos and made it home to be in bed by midnight. I know, not the most exciting night... But I wore a shiny jacket and we beat the Friday Funk. Friday-0, Matt and Yen-1.



Brag Time

Last weekend we celebrated Matt becoming one year older and awesomer. In a last-minute shuffle of events, we ended up just having a gaggle of people over instead of going anywhere. I attempted to class-up the get together, which was bound to become a hanging-around-the-illegal-firepit kind of party (meh... bylaws...) by making passion fruit ice cream again. This time I remembered to take a pretty picture as well. Cupcakes and Cashmere better watch out, I did good...


Passion fruit ice cream served in the empty passion fruit, with a dollop (I like that word) of spiced rum whipping cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

I'm giving myself extra points (feel free to give them as well) for hand whipping the egg whites and the whipping cream that went into the ice cream. Matt tried to use the hand blender to mix chocolate chip cookie dough a while ago and burned out the engine. Sometimes he's so smart and other times... he breaks things. Hand whipping stuff takes a wee bit more effort but if Laura Ingalls could do it (one of my heroes growing up), so can I. Besides, you might as well get whatever work out you can before you indulge in dollops of whipping cream.
Ok, this picture is making me far too proud. For the sake of my ego and your entertainment, I will return to fashion blogging pronto.


Vintage Print






Trench? Mackage, Winners
Pleated dress? thrifted
Shoes? Dumond, used a gift certificate
Belt? Roots, thrifted
Purse? thrifted
Bangle? thrifted

When I saw this printed purse from afar at the 50% off sale at the Salvation Army in Winnipeg (I told you I scored and my luggage came back twice as heavy...), I thought it was a 90's Liz Claiborne bag or something. I coveted it, so I pushed aside two ladies, a child and my friend, snatched the purse from the rack and upon closer inspection, discovered it's a couple decades older than I first thought. I love that; the purse has a modern vibe but it is most definitely vintage. It's in great condition too, it has a little nick in the cow hide but other than that it's a pretty piece of arm candy. Ok, it still has the sticker mark on it, which is not coming off parents always said that a bit of peanut butter helps with that, apparently the oils loosen up the sticker residue?... I should try it. There are worse things than walking around smelling like Reese's Pieces.
I hand washed this silk dress instead of dry cleaning it, so I had to re-set the pleats afterwards. It also wrinkles easily... very annoying but I'll forgive the dress because it's so pretty. Just like I forgive my cats for shedding because they are so pretty...
EDIT: After reading your comments, I must add I handwashed the dress because I wasn't sure it was silk (no tags) at first. After it lost its pleats I figured it out pretty quickly.... The wiser thing would have been to get it drycleaned but I did my best to fix my mistake...


(Yes, this is your work place 'S'.... I hope there are no security cameras? If there are... I waved.)


Swan Lake






Shirt? h&m
Jeans? Gap
Flats? thrifted
Bracelet with horse heads? From the crazy lady at The Ex.

A really simple outfit. I took the ballet inspired top and I went very literal with the rest of the look. Black pants, flats with a faux pointe (though Matt calls them my steel toe flats...) and twisted back hair... Yes, The Nutcracker called. They seem to be missing a principal dancer...

This shirt is the reason I try to avoid h&m. When I'm in there, everything looks so fresh and appealing and when I wake up from my h&m overdose, I realize I've just spent $100 on a pile of clothes that won't last 3 washes. But I had to buy a gift for a friend (where she lives there are no h&m's) so I went in and got seduced by the sweetness of this top. I am weak. When I wear this shirt I feel so very graceful. Which is a lie. Because if you've watched Seinfeld, you will know that grace is an inherent quality, either you have it or you don't. Judging by the three fresh bruises on my legs from running into random stuff, I would say I'm like Elaine, I just don't have grace. But in this shirt, I might fool you for just a second...


Dutch Girl




Dress? MaxMara, thrifted! $12! High-five!
Belt? Roots, thrifted
Necklaces? Cuban market
Shoes? Derek Lam, Holt's Last Call
Clutch? Old Navy, thrifted
Sunglasses? F21
I feel like my Mama should like a whole lot about this look... My hair has its natural wave, my dress is sweet and modest enough to be worn to teach a kindergarten class and best of all, I'm even wearing a slip. In my mind I can hear her say 'Ja, dat is zooooo nice!'.
This is becoming one of those moments where I wish all my readers knew me in real life because my Dutch accent imitations are pretty worthwhile (though Matt can hold his own too). And I apologize to my Mama, who doesn't really have that strong of an accent but I always feel the need to exaggerate... After all, accents are like ice cream; much better without moderation.


A Weekend's Worth

I don't usually post about my weekends, it comes up occasionally but I like to keep the extent of my debauched or boring (your guess) lifestyle a secret. However, this past long weekend was perfect. Great weather combined with family, friends, food and fancy drinks (not so fancy, just trying to work my alliterations...) made for a lovely time. True, my to-do list was mostly neglected but the time off made me stop thinking and start relaxing. There are a lot of things I didn't get pictures of (like tanning on a hammock on April 3!...craziness...) but here are a few highlights.


I went out dancing in my newly thrifted tee. The scene (Hamilton is big enough to have a scene?) was awash in girls in little dresses and skirts and while I do love a pretty frock, I went the comfy route. Maybe I'm much funnier in my own mind, but I thought I was so clever in amongst the madness. Am I feminist? isn't that subjective and waaayy too deep for a weekend post?


The first patio meal of the season. Sunshine= bliss. I surprised myself and had a burger, something I never order. Matt on the other hand...


... stuck to his regular; fish and chips. Because beneath all that goodlookingness is an old man who likes mushy peas. Matt got himself a beautiful v-neck burn. Like magic, he could take his shirt off and yet still have it on...


We had a family cook-off with Matt's family. It's a new tradition that we have themed cooking competitions at sporadic times. So far we've had a Cajun cook-off, a garlic party and this weekend we decided to Thai one on. The best part of the competition is that we do a secret ballot and who ever wins, chooses the next theme. That's a lot at stake...

I'm directing my Brother-in-law to select the perfect chicken wings... cause I'm bossy like that.


This was supposed to be a picture of the passion fruit ice cream that we made. Yeah, totally forgot... Which is a pity because I was pretty proud of it; it was so good. It's rare that I'm actually proud of something I've made in the kitchen but this ice cream was mindblasting (thank-you Russell Peters). Passion fruit is really expensive ($1.50 each and they are tiny) but it was worth it because... we won! Yes sir... well, actually we tied with Matt's sister but now it is our turn to dictate the theme for the next cook off. Besides a martini competition (excellent idea but two pregnant sisters-in-law make this slightly unfair), do you guys have any other good ideas? While you are at it, recommend some winning recipes too... let the domination begin!!!!


And finally we celebrated my Mama's b-day. Compared to Matt's large family, our family events are small scale and quiet. This time it was even quieter, my one brother was away sick in addition to the two brothers who are away in On the bright side, more fondue for us....
In summary, it appears my weekend was a collage of drinking and eating. Not entirely true but pretty close. Is it Friday yet?


Surprise Love






Hair? not all mine...
Skirt? Zara, final sales $15
Crochet shirt? Ralph Lauren, thrifted $3
Shoes? Frye, Winners, final sales $36
Purse? thrifted, $6
Bangles? thrifted and gifted
Earrings? gifted
Belt? Fossil, consignment credit

The debut of my legs to the warm, springtime air (I'm really making a big deal about this...) did not go quite as planned. In the morning we discovered that our wild hearted cat, Stella was missing. He must have snuck out, that ingrate, when I came home quite late the night before. So instead of leisurely planning my outfit, I was walking up and down the street in half of my outfit from the night before and my faithful yellow track pants. I looked like a total crazy woman, especially when no less than 4 cats came out to me as I was calling, none of which were Stella...
So it didn't as expected but thankfully I had a back-up outfit on my mind (these are important to have... don't knock it until you try it. And no, your Uggs and leggings are not a back-up outfit... ). And then the back-up plan ends up becoming one of my favourite outfits ever! I felt pretty awesome in this outfit all day. The best part is that this whole look is the perfect merge of my shopping styles... all thrifted or bought at the bitter end of seasonal sales. A few of the accessories were gifts, worn to prove to myself that I do still have real-life friends, as opposed to just my blogging buddies.


P.S. A neighbour brought Stella home...