Monday, May 28, 2012

Curating my Closet

Uh... I'm not feeling this blog any more. I know, it's a phase. For now my plan is to persevere, but it posting gets erratic, don't worry! I'm still happy and healthy!

Short Sleeved White Wrap Sweater

Why did I buy it? 
It was so long ago, I don't quite remember. I think I was working at an un-air conditioned museum during a hot summer, so I needed professional clothing suitable to really warm weather. 

Why did it work?
I wore it to death. I think wrap sweaters work for me - if for no other reason than they allow layering without the fuss of cardigans flapping away when open. 

Why didn't it work?
The cuffs of the sleeves are rolling up, and the whole sweater is definitely a dingy grey. 

How did I wear it?

What will happen to it?
I will need to replace this. Short sleeved sweaters seem to be a must for a business casual summer!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

White out!

I love white out. Actually, I love whiteout tape. Best office supply ever.


I guess I must be inspired by it, because I I dressed to match it twice last week!

That first outfit, I thought up a couple days before my wedding, but didn't have a blue skirt. However, when I found this denim number, I knew it was how I'd debut it!

Weird thing about the skirt, though, no button. No zipper. No hooks. No Velcro. You pull that baby on and hope you don't gain any weight or you'll have to cut it off!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Running into bad weather, bad planning, and bad excuses

A couple weekends ago, I went for a run. It was a good run - the type where you felt appropriately exhausted immediately afterwards, but your body recovers rather quickly, and you feel energized. To me, that's the feeling of being in shape.

The next day, all I wanted to do was go running again. I lay on the couch, debating my strategy. I knew it wasn't a good idea to run two days in a row this early into a training program. I knew my body needed a day off. Instead, I strategized how to carve out time the next day.

But the next day met with knee issues, not uncommon to me after a run. My postponed my next run another day.

Then the weather was too windy (like blowing me into buildings and trees when walking). Delayed again.

Then the weather was too hot.

Then I was looking after my niece.

Then my parents were over.

Then it was raining.

Finally a full week had gone by, and it was nice enough to go running. But the urge to run had died out. Pesky little excuses like: "my iPod is in the bedroom, and Scott's still asleep" or "I would have to eat first, and then wait 2 hours for the food to digest, and what happens if someone calls to make plans before then". But as the excuses got more and more, well, stupid, the more I knew it was important to strap on those shoes and hit the pavement.

What's the dumbest excuse you've used to avoid doing something? How do you motivate you in spite of your excuses?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The long and short of things

Now that was a busy and relaxing long weekend, and now we find ourselves in the generally accepted "summer time". As we approached this weekend, I noticed hemlines creeping upward. Naturally, the minute the snow melted, there were half a dozen girls every day traipsing through the city in their booty shorts. I hope my hemline creep was more subtle, professional and above all else, age appropriate. This last week, I pulled on a pair of capris


These were followed by a pair of bermuda shorts (for Tropical party day we had on the Friday before the long weekend).


I contemplated the appropriate length of shorts the previous weekend as well. I didn't actually wear one leg down and one leg up. I took it to be able to cover up one side at a time to see which I liked better. (For these? I like it shorter. A narrower short, I like longer).


Monday, May 21, 2012

Curating my Closet

Denim Man-Capris

These pants aren't from the men's section. They aren't from the women's section either. I can't even say they are from the juniors section. These are straight up from the kids section. 

Why did I buy them?
Based on that intro paragraph, I do feel I have to justify. I hit a point in my life where I could be called no other shape than "rectangle". It was at a time when the fashion world seemed to cater to curves. After a frustrating day in Reitman's, looking to expand my summer wardrobe, I walked into their children's section and found these jeans on sale. A couple scissor cuts later (since the size 14 fit, but were too short, and the 16s were long enough but fell down immediately), I had a new pair of capris.

What worked?
Until gravity thinned out my waist a bit and transferred some of itself to my hips (which I'll say is a good thing, I just blame gravity because I don't understand what happened), they were the perfect solution to a world that didn't cater to 2X4s. 

What didn't work?
They really made me look like a bought my clothes from the K-Fed collection, and if I can remember the year correctly, I likely bought it when K-Fed was still with Brittany. 

How have I worn them?
Pretty much only on lazy weekends since the blog started. I think in the past, I only went through my closet in winter, as that's the only reason why I can see them kicking around still!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A week in review: May 12-18th

The highlight of the week? Getting a new dishwasher. We now have all brand spanking new appliances in our kitchen! Of course, it means when we move out if something is wrong, it's our fault.


These are some super large stone busts my bus drives past and always fascinate me!

The weather was nice, so I took a walk at lunch. We have great little quad - an oasis in the middle of downtown.

I swear, we have the best bus stop in the city


Of course, we also have stairs that lead to... nowhere.


 Then again, stuff around our apartment isn't always normal. I swear this rocking horse rides from balcony to balcony. It's never in the same place twice. Also, our city is overrun with bunnies.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spoiling myself (the healthy way)

I've jumped into fitness again. Something about the nice spring weather always makes me a fitness fanatic. Oh, and the fact it's free? That's the biggest selling point. And the more interested in fitness I get, the more I'm concerned about the food that I'm eating. And the more that I am concerned about the food I'm eating, the more I want to just screw it all up by having a milkshake every night.

That is, until I made this smoothie. Words cannot express my love for this smoothie. It puts Booster Juice to shame.

Ingredients
1 handful of ice cubes
1 single serve container of yogurt (peach works best)
1 mango

Blend up ice cubes (a big of water apparently helps). Add yogurt and mango (cubed, or butcher or however you can get the fruit off the stone and the skin). Blend.

And now for the most important part - consume slowly while sitting on a deck.




Thursday, May 17, 2012

Should it stay or should it go?!?

As I said on Monday, it's getting easier to weed through my closet. However, there are still item where I go: "Hmm... stay or go?" This shirt is one of them.

I love the colour. I love the subtle stripe stripe detail. I love the stretchy comfort.

I'm ambivalent on the neckline.

I'm not crazy about the fit (it's big)

But what bugs me is that the elastic in the sleeve has gone. Only on one side.

This item is on probation - out the door the minute I've got a bright colourful well fitting one to replace it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Easing In

  I woke up Sunday morning with a headache. Again. Every morning for a month, I wake up with a headache. It goes away as soon as I eat.

On what I believed was an unrelated note, I was browsing around Self.Com learning about... was it Cross-fit? I don't quite remember, but I saw "Five on Five with Eva Longoria - find out what she gave up eating!"

Since I was at a loss as to what to eat for breakfast (running low on yogurt... cottage cheese... butter... we may have failed at planning our grocery list last week), I decided to see what she gave up, and in turn, what she ate. It ended up she gave up sugar and all foods that turn into sugar. She said it got rid of the little pooch in her belly.

Somewhere between "ya right, like she had any belly fat" and "I want to get rid of any belly fat," my headache worsened. And then it clicked - maybe it wasn't just food in general that cures my headache. Scott has a headache until he drinks coffee and I call it an addiction. My morning headache often has me reaching for fast and easy foods - like instant oatmeal, or worse yet - pre-packaged oatmeal breakfast bars. Maybe I have an addiction to sugar!

I'm not going off sugar cold turkey. And I'm not going off sugar 100%. Between road trips, weddings and family events, I almost feel like I'd be setting myself for failure. In a nutshell, I'm working to consciously reduce my intake of refined sugar products. Here is my plan:

1. Find home-made versions of processed products (instant oatmeal / breakfast bars)
2. Modify favourite recipes to eliminate or replace refined sugar with more natural alternatives (pizza dough)
3. Eliminate chemical sweeteners (while not entirely linked to my sugar addiction, it's still a good step)
4. Slowly replace sugar-laden products with no-sugar-added varieties (peanut butter, tomato sauce)
5. Consciously opt for less sugar-loaded foods when eating away from home
6. Avoid juices and soft drinks

My hope is that I can slowly make adjustments through the month of May, and be at full speed at the beginning of June. I'll try to check in at the beginning of the month, and then again at the end of that month to let you know how it's going.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fix as we go

 I had two outfits this week that I loved... in theory. In practice I liked how they looked, but how they worked in a day -to-day setting, well, the needed some work. Fortunately, neither was was so bad a few office supplies couldn't fix!

I love this sheath dress. It's the best purchase I've ever made. I love how adaptable it is. This outfit isn't that different from how I've worn it before, but I thought the addition of the patterned tights with the boots worked really well. It must have worked well - one person who I feel isn't warming up to me as quickly as I like at work gushed over it.

The downfall? I went to remove a paper jam from the copier, and caught the tights on my boots and ripped a giant hole in them. I could have cried - I love these tights! Since the gaping hole was above my hemline, I didn't need to quickly strip off the tights in the washroom. I just needed to make sure they lasted the rest of the day without the hole growing any larger. My solution? Our envelope adhesive! On average, I send out about 20 envelopes a day. Licking is not going to happen. And those "just add water" sticks? They never work. These are a combination of glue and water, perfect for a strong seal (always necessary when you are sealing transcripts!). Of course, they are perfect for sealing holes in tights too!

I pinned an outfit like this from one of Taylor's boards. I felt pretty confident in it, despite the fact that a man at the bus stop commented it wasn't my usual look, it was certainly "different". Of course, he also told me I'd hate my job and it would be a long haul to retirement if I stayed there. I now assume the opposite of whatever he says (one month in and I still love my job to pieces). And it did give me an excuse to wear the necklace my parents brought me back from their recent trip to Maryland/DC/Virginia

What didn't work? These shoes just don't fit right. I had blisters by noon, even with wearing my nude fishnets. I knew they'd start bleeding soon enough, so I stuffed kleenex in the toe, and managed to make it through the day.

And the stapler? I don't know. I just thought a third thing looked good!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Big Picture / Out the Window

I stood in the aisle at Canadian Tire and freaked the eff out. "$25 for varnish? Where is that money coming from?"

I stormed out the door and stomped all the way home (fortunately, not very far away - my poor knees!). We needed the varnish, but certainly not as much as Scott needed new shoes, and we have a road trip coming up, not to mention it's now wedding season... life just felt really expensive. Even though part of me knew that we had a plan in place for all of this, I just couldn't SEE how we could make ends me.

I'm a highly visual person. I was the kid that - when learning about the different bones in the body - pulled out the skeleton from the Halloween decorations, and made a came out of labeling each bone with sticky-notes. Why it had never occurred to me to make a giant poster of our budget is beyond me. But that's how Scott & I spent our Saturday night - making giant posters.

Now, when I stand in the aisle at Canadian Tire and freak out over the cost of varnish, I visualize the poster: "We have $50 set a side each month for household items. That is where this money will come from." And even better, when we want to do something, but life feels oh so very expensive, we made a poster of all the free/cheap things we can do in the city. Now, we have no excuse for yelling at each other over money or sitting at home, bored, on a weekend!

---------------------------------------------
Do you ever get the urge to just throw your clothes out the window? No, just me? That's fine, it works well into my "Curating My Closet" plan, anyway! I'm finding the more my brain gets wrapped around the idea of getting rid of something on a regular basis, the easier it is to weed through my closet to get rid of stuff. Don't love it? Don't need it!
Why did I buy it? 
Well, I didn't so much buy it as make it. I wanted a cropped sweater and this pattern was super easy to make. So easy, I made one for me and one for my sister. Rumour has it she doesn't like it, and has never worn it.

Why did it work?
It was easy! And it was cropped! And I made it!

Why didn't it work?
During the bedbug fiasco of 2011, it got washed with a number of colours and is a weird swampy white colour now.  It was also a bit more of a chunky knit than I had wanted. The good news is that making another one will solve both of those problems!

How did I wear it?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A week in review - May 5-11

It was apparently a busy week, filled with cookies...
games with friends...
Imax 3-D movies....
 Coveting jackets and shoes of others on the bus...
 Waiting for buses behind the CBC
 MacGyver-ing solutions to wardrobe malfunctions
  Watching Baby E (foreground) play while we eat ice cream...
 Lusting after a new leather jacket (anyone wanna give me $300? Also, it's black not purple)...
And being so exhausted I slept through apparently destructive thunderstorms...
Boy am I glad it's the weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: The Avengers

via Wikipedia
We had a pretty great group of friends in Brandon, and we had some pretty great times. Oddly, one of my favourite memories is meeting up go head out to see Ironman the night it opened. Having been one of the newbies into the group, I certainly wasn't as well versed in the Marvel universe and its comic cannon. However, I found it didn't much matter when it came to the movie - it was pretty great, even from the outsider's perspective. Of course, I was the only one that noticed that Pepper Potts ran quickly - without a single stumble - in stilettos on a metal grate.
After leaving Brandon, we didn't keep up with watching the movies as they opened. There was the interest, but never the collective plan. Now being in Winnipeg, a variation of that group is forming, so we reserved 9 seats for the IMAX 3-D screening of The Avengers last Sunday.

In preparation, I recapped Ironman and Ironman II (having watched it earlier this year on Netflix), watched Captain America and Thor (also on Netflix) and watched key portions of The Hulk - the quick solution to not having the background the others had.

However, the minute the movie started, I knew the strength of the movie was that you didn't need to have a strong background. Sure, having seen the other movies did help, but the best way to build a successful franchise is to create a series of movies that work independently and collectively. And while I can't say all the movies were shining examples of cinematographic genius, The Avengers is certainly a strong capstone for the universe.

Among its strengths is that it follows the same set up as all the other movies within the series. These movies are essentially all bildungsroman* - loosely translated to "coming of age stories". This genre introduces a character who is different. This difference isolates them from the rest of society, being ostracized from those around them. They often take a journey - figurative, or literal - to learn how they can best use their differences as a strength. Having received this time for personal growth, they can re-integrate into the world, and provide a valuable service. The genesis of The Avengers as a group follows much the same pattern - only they are both the individuals being ostracized and the community ostracizing them.

Building off of this formula holds two benefits. One, it creates a link between the movies, some familiarity if you will. Two, it allows the audience to learn a bit about each of the characters individually before seeing how they all are designed to work together.

One deviation is made. While the romance sub-plot is heavy in the individual hero movies, the relationships in focus on this one is certainly how the heroes interact with each other. Sure, there is some interesting tension between Hawk Eye and the Black Widow, there is the familiarity with Pepper and Tony, and a quick reference to the love interest of Thor (Jane?)

Despite this, I do think it's a great date movie - no gooey romance to bore the gents, but not enough blood and guts to disgust the ladies.

*The level of social acceptance varies in each movie at its conclusion, and is interesting to examine in terms of identities. Tony certainly is accepted to a large degree as Iron Man, as is Steve Rogers as Captain America (interesting, Tony is accepted as himself in the second, while Steve Rogers is never accepted for anything other than his alter ego). Thor returns to his home planet (and also doesn't so much have an alter), and Bruce Banner distances himself at the end of The Hulk purposely, to further develop. His development is more thoroughly continued in The Avengers than the other characters. The Black Widow and Hawk Eye do have some development in The Avengers, but I have a feeling their time has yet to come.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Star Light Star Bright

I love taking a colour palette and playing with dark and light versions of it. This week, it was blue and green.

I started off last weekend with this outfit, and loved it. All day. And wanted to wear it the next day. I think it's the bright/light colours are just so fresh this time of year. I didn't quite do the "light" on all the colours, as I felt that the darker cardigan added some needed contrast.


Contrast came easily with the dark version! I had seen a girl wear a very similar outfit the week before - only with a plaid trench, and bare (but incredibly tattooed) legs. I went with her flat oxford look, but when I walked past the mirror just inside our apartment building door, I decided I would have liked the outfit better with my black riding boots.