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Not So Effortless

Jeans? Mih Jeans, Winners (here) Tee? Old Navy (here) Purse? Thrifted Shoes? Jeffrey Campbell
Sunglasses? c/o Smartbuy Glasses (yes, I wear them all the time, here) Pics? Julie

This is me trying to be 'effortlessly chic'. I had to talk myself into sticking with a plain tee and not piling on 4 necklaces. 
I blame Pinterest. For everything really... But specifically for the cool photographs of cool girls in cool jeans and cool plain tees looking so freaking cool. And that's cool, I guess... 
Don't get me wrong, I love a soft white tee and these jeans (which I admittedly got for a lot cheaper than I can find online...) make me feel like I got my life and muffin top in control but as it turns out, I'm not an understated kinda girl.
There's a reason I have so much success in the thrift store and in the sale section and it's because I am attracted to the weird stuff that most people pass over. I like things a little crazy and a pinch over the top. So effortlessly chic I will never be, but effortfully chic? I got that.

I also just called myself chic. Humility. It's happening right here...



Little Ridiculous


I'm working on a thrift wardrobe make-over for my friend's husband. He wants to look less dad and more stud (my words but that is the idea...). I hit up the Value Village 50% off sales to get a start on that wardrobe overhaul and I was humbled to find out that thrifting for men is a little (a lot) trickier than thrifting for women. Especially when the person who you are shopping for has a modelesque physique; he's tall and skinny. I did find a cool vintage plaid shirt and some snappy Kenneth Cole shoes but this thrift overhaul will probably take a little more effort.
As my success in the men's section was fairly weak, I wandered over into the ladies'section to turn my shopping around. And turn around it did... Especially in the form of this $5 Canadian made Irving Samuel jacket... You can tell from the animal print, the leather trim (yes, that's leather!) and the gold hardware that this was a pure 'notice me' jacket from the 80's. A twist on the ever popular Chanel bouclé jacket...

I always wonder who originally owned the crazy pieces I find at the thrift store. This person undoubtedly appreciated quality and a little bit of the ridiculous. Pretty sure we could be BFFs...


And how will I wear this lovely piece of thrift? With ripped denim, of course... How else?


To Bare Arms


Top? Vintage, thrifted (exact one in white or similar in mint) Silk skirt? Vintage Alfred Sung
Shoes? French Connection Clutch? Thrifted (similar here Bracelets? Vintage and made from vintage

It's that time of year when I start looking at the calendar and mentally noting how many weeks I have left for both bare arms and bare legs. I will (obviously) push bare legs as far as I can but the freedom of having these bare appendages without also putting on a brave face is limited. 
And since we are way too close to September for my liking, I don't want to waste any warm days we still have left. I love blazers, heaps of crunchy leaves and well, that's it really, but I can wait a little while longer for either of those... Right now I will exercise my right to bare arms. 
Eh... that was weak. But when you are wearing a sweet sequin vest and a silk scarf style skirt, the written portion of a blog post is really not that important. I hope...  


The Difference


Shirt? Vintage Jeans? 7fam Shoes? DvF Purse? c/o Jess Rizzuti (here) Hat? h&m
Sunglasses? c/o SmartBuy Glasses 

Matt called me out for Hawaiian shirt hypocrisy. Apparently I've told him before that he wasn't allowed to wear his Hawaiian shirt in public. I would prefer to say I strongly discouraged him, not that I didn't 'allow' him... 
And it's not that I have a problem with Hawaiian shirts, I just had a problem with his variety. There is a difference between this sweet authentic, vintage find and the mall Hawaiian shirts of over a decade ago. You know the ones I am talking about... The polyester, oversized and brightly printed shirts that almost all guys wore back then; they came either with the bright flowers, Asian inspired dragons or at their very worst, with flames. If you don't know what I am talking about then maybe this was more of a local trend. Either way, I am sorry, but they were all bad. 

Almost as bad as my Horatio Caine impression in picture #4... 


Five Dollar Holler


 Dress? Winners Jacket? Costa Blanca (for the AC at the restaurant) Boots? ASH, Winners 
Necklace? Thrifted Purse? Thrifted Aviators? RayBans c/o SmartBuy Sunglasses

I found this dress last week at the summer clearance sales at Winners for 5 whole dollars. If you stop reading this post now to go to Winners, I understand. Your priorities are right. You can always come back to read this post later, or never finish reading it.. I'm not talking about too much important stuff today anyways.

I wore this outfit last weekend when we took my brother out for his birthday. Traditionally birthday meals in our family were always home made pancakes but we decided to class it up this time and go out to a  restaurant. The food was good, the company was good and I dug my outfit (I always feel odd admitting I like my own outfit but if I didn't, why would I be wearing it?).
It was a Friday night though and we were exhausted and back home by 9:30. Lame. This dress definitely deserves to stay out past curfew sometime soon. Too bad I didn't find it when I was 18 and into breaking curfew on the regular...


Summer Fun


Skirt? Old Navy, thrifted Shirt? h&m Shoes? Coach 
Aviators? RayBan c/o SmartBuy Glasses (here) Pics By Elisha, thanks lady!

This summer has been busy and hectic. I know that Matt misses me when I am away because the last time I was gone, he spent part of the holiday Monday at the mall. The mall! He hates the mall.
I thought we could make up for lost time and spend a fun day together, so I booked stand up paddle boards to go down the Grand River last weekend. You know, spend some quality time and be all athletic.
Let's be honest, the 13 km (I believe...?) paddle down the river is not something that requires either skill or athletic prowess. Basically, if you live nearby, you need to do this asap. At one point we passed 6 middle aged ladies who tethered their 3 canoes together; they were eating junk food, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and having juicy conversations worth eavesdropping on. They didn't touch a paddle once the entire time we were near them... They were doing it right.
I tried stand up paddling a few weeks ago on a lake (and freaking loved it!!!) but maybe the Grand River isn't the best place to SUP. The river has a very mild current but it gets really shallow and rocky fairly often and if my balance is off and I fall (no shame...) there was no way I wanted to fall in a shallow, rocky river bed. So we mostly did the lazy thing and lay on our boards like they were personal tanning beds and leisurely dropped a hand in the river every once in a while to correct the course of the board as needed. I told you, pure athleticism.
My dumb move of the day was forgetting cutlery at home. So when we stopped mid-river cruise for lunch, we had to get creative in order to eat our salads.
I did make some smart  moves though. I didn't wear my brand spankin' new aviator sunglasses on the river because it would be just my style to lose them in the water the same week I got them. I also didn't Instagram from the river. As much as I wanted to show off the riverside views and my lazy paddle board form, it just seemed safe to keep electronics in the water proof bag provided with the boards.
It sucks because now that Instagram has video, it would have been funny to let you in on the conversations that the 6 ladies in their canoes were having...;)


Polyester Success


Dress? Vintage, thrifted Shoes? Aldo Cuff? Vintage, auction Clutch? Thrifted Earrings? Bebe

Sometimes polyester gets it just right. I mean, most of the time, I'm like 'poly what? Pass me the silk.' But then this dress comes along and I am humbled into turning down the snobbish attitude a little.
And I'm also not a fan of most draped cross-front bodices or cut away sleeves and yet, in this dress, it all comes together in some magical way and creates one of the most flattering dresses I have ever owned.
I got this dress at the same time that I thrifted the Barbie dress. I hit the jewel tone dress jackpot that day at Value Village. I bought the Barbie dress, this lovely piece, a pink silk wrap dress and a royal blue Lida Baday wool sheath dress for Julie. I don't wanna brag (code for: yes, I do wanna brag) but the Lida Baday dress is from the 2012 season and was up until recently available for $350, down from $950. So I thrifted Julie a $1000 dress?
Indeed (pats self on back). But she takes my pictures regularly, listens when I talk about nothing and most importantly, brings wine to my front porch...




Dress? c/o Dream-ers (here) Floral crown? Antique store Vintage cuff? Auction 
*Photos by Julie

Whoa. So this... was fun.
Now, where to start?
Perhaps with an apology again for too many pictures. I think this may be the most I have ever posted. But it was just too much fun...

Now that the apology is complete, I should tell you about the dress. When Yanique from Dream-ers emailed me to ask if I wanted to feature one of her dresses, I immediately spent some time digging around her site. Of course I got distracted by her rather impressive vintage sequin selection but then I found a collection of new but vintage-inspired dresses that she designed herself. This collection, called Dream-ers, heavily features lace, classic silhouettes AND is produced in the States. It took me three days to pick a dress from her self designed collection because I took this dress decision very seriously.
I think I am supposed to act like it ain't no thing when someone sends me a dress but honestly, I was so flattered that Yanique wanted to work with me. She is such a talented designer (and total sweetheart) and I know that it's big deal for a smaller business to reach out to a blogger. I wanted to do both the dress and Yanique justice in featuring them. Especially when I got the lace dress in the mail and it was perfectly made. Yanique was a manager at a Chanel boutique for years and you can tell she knows her quality. Perfect seams, crisp cotton linings, an additional crinoline skirt for extra fouf and invisible zippers at the side and at the neck... you know I'm a sucker for a well constructed garment and all those good little details. This is the kind of dress you pass on to your daughter or your niece...

Click through for even more pictures...;)


When Barbie Goes to Texas

(Photo from Squarespace photobooth)

I dressed as a Barbie this weekend for the TXSC Prom. I got into the hotel elevator and the only other occupant politely asked me if I was going out that night. No sir, me and my hot pink dress are staying in and watching Big Brother while eating ice cream floats. And then, because I left later than the rest of my home girls, I had to exit the elevator and walk the expansive lobby of our hotel in this crazy dress to catch a cab by myself. I would say it was a walk of shame but really, I'm kinda proud of this thrift find.
(Jen and Kendi. Photos from Bonlook photobooth)

I had another dress all lined up but I found this one at Value Village the week before and as I was in Texas to talk about thrift with Savers/Value Village, I figured it was a good fit. I hand washed the dress, and the rosettes took four days to dry! They took so long to dry because this Barbie dress is cotton... which seems odd but I guess crazier things have happened. I also ended up taking out the donut sized shoulder pads, I reckoned I had enough shoulder volume. I think the 80's and the early 90's didn't believe in those words, 'enough shoulder volume', but it's a real thing.
And prom was a blast!!! (all three exclamation marks needed). A whole bunch of great girls, a plethora of photo booths and good music make a solid recipe for a fun time. Amanda won best dancer, Jessie won best dressed (against me, her friend. How could you? ;)), Kendi won best blog and Merl won a giant PayPal prize that will help her so much when her bricks and mortar store opens in a month. Paige and Janette unofficially won best new friends. Fuzzy feelings all around.


Leading a thrift seminar was great too. I reserve a bit of side-eye for our rather clueless bus driver but I hope everyone who came out learned a little or maybe even a lot about the joy of thrifting. I learned that I talk with my hands and make ridiculous faces the entire time I talk. Jessie took about 14 pictures of me, and I only look normal in the one I posted on Instagram. Oh well. Thrifting makes me animated, I guess. Special thanks to Savers for not only having solid finds but also for sponsoring the event. Their rep (hey girl!) was amazing to work with and it's pretty fun to work on something that is 100% in your comfort zone. I got a message from a sweet lady friend who told me she took her rather sceptical mom to the same Savers we were at later in the week, and her mom was converted to thrifting. That's the stuff that warms the cockles of this heart...

If I could sum up my time in Texas, I would say that it was a little like living a year in a few days. In a good way... like you are cramming so much into such a little time because apparently we all live all over and we need a conference in order to have an excuse to see each other. So thank you to Indiana and her crew for all the hard work because this is the kick in the pants we needed to have girly sleep-overs. So many memorable moments and new friends of the internet...
I said on twitter that it was kinda hard to really put into words those few days in Texas. Honestly, it was just really good; the best yet. These aren't just girls with blogs. These are true friends, who happen to be girls with blogs...