Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Partial Victory

We went through an internal audit of our workplace a month or two back, and one of the questions was: "how you do measure success". While it was an interesting exercise to compare answers as a workplace about our business practices, I think I got more out of it examining it at a personal level. I think success is always being able to distinguish a need from a want, and always being able to supply the first, and practice wise judgement on the second. I believe success is achieving goals, celebrating them, and setting the next goal. I believe success is being surrounded by family - both in the literal and figurative sense. I believe success is knowing what brings you enjoyment in your life, and taking the time to appreciate it.

But my thoughts on success are very philosophical. It's hard to always tell if you're succeeding in real life. On the one hand, I'm being very successful in my Lenten goal of abolishing the snooze button. I am getting out of bed within a couple minutes of the alarm going off (sometimes you just need a quick morning snuggle), I'm having time for breakfast and I'm even getting in a bit of exercise. From that angle, my goal seems to be a success!

On the other hand, my brain still seems to have found a magical loop hole in this whole Lenten challenge. I'm not allowed to lazily doze for half an hour AFTER my alarm goes off, so my body decides to wake up half an hour earlier to lazily doze for that same period of time. I can't seem to avoid that 30 minutes of lying in bed, dreading the day, festering over problems that are likely not to happen, but seem inevitable in the hazy grey of morning.

I'd start getting out of bed that half an hour earlier, if I didn't fear that my brain would awake half an hour before that, and the trend of lazing and loathing would continue on. Instead, I'll reason it's only been a week, and maybe, with time, my body will learn to sleep fully until it is time to wake up. It's best to celebrate the partial victories than to focus on the partial failures.

How you do measure success?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cardigan Vs. Blazer: The show down

I laughed when I read Taylor of It's My Cardi's post which started out: "I cannot believe that until recently I was missing out on the blazer as a completer piece to any given outfit. I owned a couple, but typically preferred a cardi. (Hence the blog's name.) But for some reason I have been picking up blazers left and right as of late."

Being a blazer girl, I spent the week trying to prove the benefits of both.

I still advocate for the benefits of blazers. Why?

They add shape to a shapeless outfit. As Sheila commented last week, "I have to admit I struggle with cardigans, being a woman with curves and boobage. They can make me look very lumpy and saggy." While I don't have curves or boobage, I struggle for similar reasons - they lack the definition provided by a blazer.

Secondly, the simple addition of a blazer takes an outfit from "uninteresting and unpolished" to "posh and professional" in a way a cardigan just can't.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Can you tell I'm getting rid of empire waists?

Ugh - nothing worse than writing up a whole blog post about a shirt you want to give away, only to realize you can't take a picture of it because you've already given it away!!!! You'll have to use your imagination

A friend gave me this shirt when she was weeding out her closet. I think she said she gave it to me because it was too girly for her. I'm completely "meh" about it now. I think I just don't like empire waists. Good thing to remember for the future.

Why did I take it?
It was cute and girly, and I was still in the giddy "love" phase where I felt I had to be cute and girly.

Why did it work?
It's not a blousy empire waist that doesn't work on me. It's just rubberized dots, stitched or woven.

How have I worn it?

I know I've worn it more - just never blogged about it. And it's barely visible in this picture. It's black with purple dots, comme ├ža:

What will happen to it?
Went to my sister - haven't heard back from her about it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feb 18-24th

It would be easier to post pictures of my week if I could post pictures of my niece - we hung out 3 times this week, which is pretty much more than I hung out with Scott. We had fun - feeding the vultures (aka her cats), building block statues and eating pancakes

I also had a very weird day waiting for the bus. Not only was Queen Elizabeth wandering the street with a couple foot guards (a common sight at Winnipeg Jets games), but all transit information was down, leaving countless amazed and confused.

And of course, there was a massive dump of snow right before I was set to drive to my parents place. While the roads mostly cleared up (the roads themselves were good - the snow reducing the visibility above them was not), I needed my energy for the drive. I slipped into the nearest McDonalds... only to discover my usual treat of a happy meal now came with the itty-bittiest size of fries. Yes, I realize childhood obesity is a horrifying reality, but come on! What about us kids at heart who only spoil themselves once and a while?!?!

(Note: I did not take either picture while my vehicle was in motion. And the snow picture? That was from the day before. I would have rather driven through that)

Friday, February 24, 2012

When an Ooops?! becomes OOOH!

I distractedly started a knitting project while watching a hockey game one night. It was about a third into it when I realized the neckwarmer was about twice the width than what I had wanted. I took a chance and kept going. When it was the appropriate length, I cast off, and tried it on. It was perfect - for a giraffe.

A couple buttons later, I had a solution - a collared neckwarmer!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cardigans & Blazers Part II

The outfits from Tuesday's posts were some what of a struggle for me. I liked the idea, but didn't feel as pulled together as I like to be, especially compared to these outfits

Next week, you'll get a chance to see how switching out a blazer for a cardigan changes the feeling of the outfit!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Motivation fail.

I haven't done anything even remotely exercise related in a long time. I'm so out of shape, I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle holding my friend's newborn baby over the weekend.

Pants as limp as my intentions
I've stopped buying snacky foods, but find myself making cookie dough in "single serving" sizes, just to eat it raw (1 part butter, 2 parts sugar, 3 parts flour, a smattering of chocolate chips - doesn't bake up well, but so little effort, and tastes great raw. Shhh... don't tell Healthy Cara I told you the recipe!)

I've made Tim Hortons a fairly regular stop while I wait between buses.

These weekly "Wednesday Wellness" blog posts should have been decent enough motivation, but we all know how non-exercise related they have been as of late. Accountability? What's that? (Did anyone else get some Blink 182 stuck in their head just now? No? Just me who is stuck in 1999?)
I've even gone so far as to buy a pair of pants that SHOULD fit me, but are a smidgen too tight. Even knowing 8 glasses of water and a dozen or so squats a day will get me into these pants in less than a month is failing to motivate me.

Instead, I'm resorting to religious tradition. Today marks the first day of Lent. As penance for my lazy and slothful ways, I have decided that I'm going to use these 40 days as an opportunity to begin healthier, productive habits. Specifically, I am giving up my snooze button. Waking up and getting out of bed a full 30 minutes earlier (ok, 27. My snooze button only provides a 9 minute reprieve) should not only give me enough time to, say, get in a glass of water and maybe a dozen or so squats, it should also give me plenty of time to eat a balanced breakfast.

What do you do when even the best of intentions falls short?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cardigans & Blazers Week

After doing a rather thorough tidy this weekend, I decided to count my blazers. Twice. I didn't quite believe the number the first time. Sure enough, both counts came to 15. When I recounted the tale to my mother, she commented that maybe I certainly took Stacey and Clinton's advice on creating structure and fit to heart. I mused on that thought as we perused my preferred Value Village location, carefully avoiding the oh so tempting blazer section.

Again, I mused on this point as I edited the outfit pictures from the last week. Of the four pictures, I had a strong preference for two outfits that featured blazers, which made me feel powerful and pulled together over the two outfits that featured cardigans that made me feel shapeless and schlumpy.

Today, I'll show you the cardigan outfits, taken out of comparison with the blazers, in order to examine them in their own merit.

And yes, the pink with the red belt was my Valentine's day outfit, worn in participation with EBEW - despite posting a week late, and therefore not eligible to link up, I still played along!!

Check back on Thursday to see the blazers. I will note, that since taking count, I did weed out 4 blazers... expect to see those on a Monday post soon!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dear Louis Riel, you rock my socks

A few years ago, following the trend of our neighbouring provinces, Ontario and Saskatchewan, Manitoba decided to create a new holiday. While it was set the same weekend as the generically named "Family day" found in other provinces, Manitoba sought input from elementary schools for the name of this glorious mid-winter long weekend. Despite the day having no firm grounding in history, we now proudly celebrate Louis Riel* day. And by proudly celebrate, I mean we sleep in, drink our double-doubles (which is Canadian for "I want 2 containers of cream and enough sugar to make me diabetic in my coffee, please), and continue to procrastinate everything we wanted to get accomplished that weekend.

And that is why this post is so late.

*Depending on whose version of prairie history you want to read, Louis Riel was either the first prairie hero, or the first prairie terrorist. Since being honoured through the naming of this random long weekend, the balance has swung in his favour. Ok,that may be a huge oversimplification.

All right, back on track. Here's this week's "cut"

Why did I buy it?
It an attempt to bring pattern into my life, I just started buying everything that was patterned and on sale.

Why it worked?
I wore it a lot. I liked it. It reminded me of scrubs, but hopefully more flattering.

Why didn't it work?
It requires ironing, and it can only really be styled one way.

How have I worn it?

What will happen to it?
I've passed it on to my sister - it's more her than me, I think.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Feb 11 - 17th

It was a long week - mostly because I started my work week on Sunday, not Monday. I complained to Tiffany that working all week, keeping up with school work, and trying (and failing) to keep my life together was hard... and then realize she does all that AND is a mother, so I feel bad for complaining. I have this constant feeling of accomplishment, being so busy, but no feelings of relief, nor really anything tangible to show for it! (Hence yesterday's missing post)

I think the sudden busyness has really made me love my random opportunities to snap photos of random part of my day - a moment to find beauty in the chaos.

Like the random pieces of history scattered along the day - from the painted advertising of the Nutty Club, to the City of Winnipeg crest on the base of the streetlights downtown

Even though we live right on a major thoroughfare / highway, we're not far from a great little residential area with some great trees and green spaces (ok, white spaces, it is winter)

I even had a day when benches just looked beautiful, whether waiting for the bus, or boarding it (please note: Winnipeg does have a number of newer buses, just the express routes, since they don't run all day, tend to get whatever left in the garage)

And even the cityscape itself, whether it's construction at the MTS exhibition hall, or the Manitoba Hydro building.

And, of course, this find was just adorable!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Outfit Recap

Some weeks, I love not taking pictures because it means I don't have to always look picture worthy.

Some weeks, I love not taking pictures because it means I don't have to always crack under the pressure.

Pinspiration found here!
 This outfit was my favourite for the week. It's simple and comfortable, but still pulled together.

Inspired by me!
 This outfit was the favourite among my co-workers. You could tell it was Friday - I was wearing my casual socks. (ugh).

Inspired by me!
 And this outfit makes me laugh - can you get more preppy than khakis, and a sweater over a button down shirt?!?!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wake up!

My alarm used to go off at 6:45. I'd finally get out of bed at 7:30. Figuring I needed more sleep, I switched my alarm to 7:00. I still get out of bed at 7:30.

My brain says that alarm should just go off at 7:30. Of course, 7:30 is pretty tight, considering we leave for the bus at 8:00.

Naturally, my brain decided to stay up late and search Pinterest for ideas. Of course, there were lots of pics of interesting alarm clocks, motivational posters about waking up, and ways to stay out of bed. Of course, I have an alarm clock, I know my motivation, and I have no issue staying out of bed. I just need a way to get my body out of bed.

I then browsed the Googles, and found some gems. Naturally, there was the advice that you'd expect to find: avoid having caffeine before bed, create a bedtime routine, don't go to bed angry. Of course, these address a different issue: falling asleep - a problem I don't have an issue with.

The only piece of advice that I found immediately relevant to my problem (getting out of bed) was to physically create a routine. In the middle of the day, simulate going to bed - put on your jammies, turn out the lights, and crawl into bed. Then set your alarm for a minute or two later, and immediately get out of bed when it goes off. You're supposed to repeat that 3 times a day, every day until you are able to jump out of the bed when the alarm goes off in the morning. A little strange, but would work in theory.

Do you have any secrets to how to convince yourself to get out of bed in the morning?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

I came home the other day and saw that Shabby Apple was featuring me on Twitter as a great example of Valentine's day fashion, for wearing this.

Of course, I had to wear the same dress for Valentine's day. Ok, not Valentine's Day, but to be posted on Valentine's day. Last time, I went with brown, this time, I went with black. Naturally, I had to wear it with my black patent leather shoes with red heels.

Hope you are having a great Valentine's day! My goal for the day is to make time to spend with Scott - even if it's only holding hands on the bus!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Curating my closet

Why did I buy this?
I didn't buy it - I received it as a Christmas present many years ago

Why does it work?
It's super cozy

Why doesn't it work?
It gives me rectangle body.

How have I worn it?
I haven't - on this blog!

What will happen to it?
I'm going to harvest it for wool to make something else. And steal the American Eagle tag and throw it on something super random.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 4th - 10th

What a week! Last weekend started by kicking back and watching Buffy (or maybe it was My Name Is Earl. Really scraping the bottom of the Netflix barrel some days).

It was so nice on Saturday, we finally got around to running some errands. We went to Piazza Di Nardi, where there is a market known as La Grotta to buy some Parmesan cheese. Nummy nummy! There were lots of other nummy things there too!

Monday, my work week started off quite poorly, but getting this sweet valentine from my friend Erica helped improve my day!

I also took some time to play with my niece. Let me tell you, building blocks are still fun at the age of 28!

One day, I took a different route home, and walked past the building where Scott goes to school. It's a pretty crazy building - it is rather triangular! I also bussed through Osborne Village. I hoped to get more motion on this picture, so I was a little disappointed at how clear this picture of the Osborne Village market came out!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: History of the World

The one benefit to a lengthy commute is getting a chance to read. My first bus ride involves checking my email, facebook and twitter. My second bus ride usually lets me power through a chapter of a book. I just finished The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes. I loved reading one of his other books, Flaubert's Parrot for one of my classes a few years back, but it just took me some time to get around to reading another one of his books.

Image yoinked from Chapters Indigo
I will say FP  is better, but 10 1/2 is as witty and fun as I was hoping. I always know when it's a good book when I try to remember what my favourite part was, and I have to debate: "The last chapter! No! The half chapter! No, the twist at the end of the first chapter!"

If you like postmodern literature, witty comments, or just interested to see a literary take on the history of the world, give it a read!! It's fairly short (309 pages) and definitely a quick read!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Safety Net

I haven't cooked a full meal in so long that I feel rather guilty, especially after I justified slanting the cleaning list heavier on Scott because, I supposedly do so much more than him in other areas. Really, my brain just doesn't work these days because it's too busy dealing with other "stuff". In fact, I am about 90% sure I won't do everything on my weekly cleaning list. Do you ever find that when life gets difficult, even the simplest tasks seem monumental?

Anyway, I'm glad I still have my safety net of outfit pics. I wore this outfit last Friday. Earlier that week, a girl had shown up at work with her cardigan inside out - something we've all likely done once or twice. We joked around about it, and it reminded me of this shirt - and how often I wear it backward (like in this pic!). So far, no one has found me out, so I'm going to keep pretending it was designed this way!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What it's all about

Usually, I browse the fitness section of Pinterest in the evenings, in my jammies, with a salty treat or a spiked beverage. It's a proven tactic for having no effect on my plan to get out of bed 20 minutes early to fit in a quick work out, a plan that rarely sees the light of day.

Monday night, it was my pink monkey pajamas with my University of Manitoba hoodie, a small handful of pistachios and a coke with amaretto. I rolled my eyes at the: "7 Days to get Bootilicious" and ignored the "3 moves for a yummy tummy" promises that we all know don't work. Perhaps I was jaded after a rough day of work, but it seemed to be the only logical thing pinned in that area.

Originally pinned here
Sure, I'm not exactly looking to lose weight, but you can't deny the truth in this poster.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Better in Theory

I've been feeling off about clothing. I can't seem to get inspired. I've been combing Pinterest, and still, nothing. I did find this outfit the other day, and tried to recreate it.

For one, I didn't think I had a mustard scarf (which I found just as I was running out the door). I also didn't have a white trench. But I think the major issue is the skirt is too long to not wear with shoes. Ugh. So tired of having the lack of footwear ruin an outfit.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's about growing up

How are people feeling about this whole blog re-orientation thing? I'm not feeling it yet. It kind of feels like I went from: "I am only my clothes" to "Oh my goodness I am trying to say I'm a well rounded person but really am just coming across as scattered". So leave a comment telling me what you like, what you don't like, etc.

Anyway, about the whole organization thing, I'm certainly early in the "getting life together" plan. Scott and I finally sat down and divided up our regular cleaning chores. It's a little Scott-heavy, but that's to counteract the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly non-cleaning tasks I do, like buying groceries, paying bills, and, I'm guessing, doing taxes. Who else isn't looking forward to that. Anyway, I made the list all pretty like:

We'll see how well we actually do executing it.

Anyway, onto the thing I'm getting rid of this week.

Why did I buy it:
It was super cheap ($4) and I loved the eyelet pattern

What was good about it:
I love this colour of green. Once upon a time, it used to make my eyes look green.

What isn't so good:
Something about empire waists and hoods just say "childlike"

How have I worn it:
 What will happen to it:
Any takers? No? Back to Value Village.