Archive for August, 2009

YYZ: Stand Back

Post title is a tribute to Stevie Nicks, but also good advice for anyone who gets in my way today.
After a morning in a 3.5 hour meeting in an airless room in which we faced a thousand tiny-fonted PowerPoint slides, I am in no mood to be crossed.

On a happier note, why Stevie?
Because this sweater makes me think of her, all wind-machiney and layered and assymetrically hemmed….


Sweater (get used to it, you’ll be seeing a lot of it):  Anonymous Clothing Co.
Silk Top:  Club Monaco
Belt: Betsey Johnson
Linen Trousers: H&M
Shoes: 9 West 


(Two different exposures– same setting, but some temperamental behaviour on the part of my camera…)

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Taking Mary Poppins’ advice, I decided to tackle a project I’d been putting off all summer. Turns out, today was the right day to do it: organizing is my spoonful of sugar, a fine antidote to the medicine that is the back-to-school blues.
I may not be cured, but at least my hideous abomination of a “dresser” is a bit more under control.

Let me explain.
Our house was built in the 1920s, when people had one set of “good” clothes and maybe two sets of weekday wear. The closet space in houses from the 1920s reflects this reality.  In the year 2009, our sad culture has become rather more acquisitive and that, combined with the globalization of cheap labour, means we have a lot more stuff.
Okay, I have a lot of stuff.
Really.  A LOT.
And I purge twice a year, so imagine how bad it would be if I lacked even that little bit of discipline.


For years, I have been using my parents’ old upright dresser, bought in 1966 and painted at least four times since then (three times by me). The bottoms of the drawers were falling out and I could only open four of the five drawers and everything was just stuffed in to the point where it was a Herculean feat to find anything in it, let alone get it out once I’d found it.
It had to go.
To make an already long story a bit shorter, let’s just say we had another piece of furniture, a big TV armoire, that we were no longer using, so I made M and his brother schlep it upstairs to replace the old dresser.
I had glorious dreams of retro-fitting the interior with slick drawers and pull-outs from Ikea.
I would be organized! I would be able to find things! My clothes would not be wrinkled or squashed!  
There would be a place for everything, with everything in its place!  
I was giddy at the prospect and lay awake more nights than I care to admit, mentally organizing my new wardrobe storage solution.

Well, then the global financial crisis hit and my place of employment pulled a fast one, “moving” our pay date by two weeks and, essentially, doing us out of two weeks of pay in the process; I went to Paris; I went to NYC and, thus, I could not afford to go to Ikea.

The giant armoire became a dumping ground.
Even LHR, not noted for her neatnik tendencies, was horrified when she saw the interior of the space in which my poor clothes (and jewelry and accessories and bills and passport and perfume and sewing paraphernalia and some photos and well, you get the idea) languished.

My closet is no better– crammed and disorganized and, thanks to a quirk of construction, boasting a good half of the space which is totally inaccessible from the open door.

Today was the day to make a fresh start.
I knew that a strategy to corral my jewelry would be key to any success I might have, freeing up space in my closet for belt storage and in my armoire for storing folded clothes.  Thanks to BMad, who initially loaned me a fabulous thrift store find, I came up with a way to store my earrings and to make them more easily accessible than they had been when they were all piled together in a pretty tray.  
BMad, remember the part of the deal where I got to give the thrift store find a makeover and, if I loved it, then I could keep it? Um, I love it. 🙂

Here is what I did:


First, I painted out the hideous 1960s-1970s brown/gold/cream/dirt/filth paint job with a crisp, fresh coat of blue on the interior and, of course, black for the frame.
Go here to see more of the process, if you like. 


Next, I thought suspending some ribbon within each shelf so that I could hang my earrings would be a good idea. Wrong– ribbon is too slippery, so I had to go with mini rick-rack, which provides natural “sections,” allowing each set of earrings to remain separate from the others, rather than all sliding into the centre in one big clump.
The space below each “rung” of rick-rack is perfect for some brooches, rings and stud earrings.





Next, I stole a smart idea from LHR, who has a very cool system for storing her gorgeous collection of necklaces (maybe she will post it, someday).  
My version is the bargain-basement take, involving a cafe rod suspended in the wasted space in my armoire.



I also organized my most frequently-worn belts, hanging some in my closet on the back of the door (where all my necklaces used to vie for space with belts and bathrobes), and laying out in the armoire those belts that cannot be hung up. All my reorganizing made room for my many corsages and some of my more frequently-worn cuffs.

The final touch?
A little Richard Avedon— what a great way to start every day, looking at these beautiful images.





Now I feel ready to face the new school year.
Okay, not totally ready, but at least I am not heading in to the new year with everything I own in a hideous, depressing jumble.

Next weekend’s project?
The closet…..

Tell us, how and/or where do you store your gear?

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What the flippin’ heck am I going to wear tomorrow??
Monday is my first day back to work and, after a summer of wearing what I want to wear, I must return to 10 months of wearing what other people tell me I may wear.
The “Guidelines for Professional Attire” were mailed out to us again
— for the 50th time–
just in case anyone had any wild ideas about dressing fashionably.  
Whew! Glad I dodged that bullet– who knows what kind of gold lame bikini I might have shown up in, otherwise!


I have an idea of what I will probably wear but, as you can see, I have let my usual neatness slide into true chaos over the past couple of weeks and I just haven’t had the energy to sort it all out and get organized.
This is no way to start a new school year, I realize. As Mary Poppins would say, “Begin as you mean to go on,” and I’ve always thought that was great advice, so I guess I know what I’ll be doing this afternoon. Ugh.


In the meantime, I have been thinking about maybe these trousers & shoes…

Picture 18

…this blouse…

Picture 17

… but what about a sweater and a belt…?
A dilemma I will have to try to solve before 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.
Maybe it will come to me in a dream…

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YYZ: Cherry, Cherry


A quick trip to the vet to meet up with my regular vet (who is on mat leave) and her darling little baby N, and to pick up some supplies for my Photography Assistant, who is not adjusting too well to the loss of his brother.

Crisp white and cherry red/pink work with the shoes I wanted to wear, so I went with this combo, even though it is freezing and cloudy.  
It is hard to bring myself to dress for the weather: we have long enough in this country to wear sweaters and woolly gear, so why rush it? 


Oversized Sunnies:  Ardene
Top:  Costa Blanca 
White Jeans: Gap, about 6-7 years ago!
Cuff: Le Chateau
Shoes:  Target
Wicker Bag:  Aldo

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YYZ: Against All Odds…

… the shattered and shredded heart keeps beating.

Turns out daily life goes on, even in the face of loss, and there are still things like groceries to be bought.
Today is the first day I actually got dressed in something other than my grubby shorts and t-shirt and put on a bit of make-up, so I felt it was worthy of a return to the blog.
(To be fair, I did wear this outfit last Monday, but did not leave the house, just sat around with LHR, which was, of course, a balm for the soul.)
Today’s big event?
A trip to No Frills at the Sufferin’ Mall.

I found the missing shoes (in a spot where I’d looked about 20 times already… I maintain that the Borrowers were using them and only recently returned them. Thanks for bringing them back, Arietty— they are wardrobe staples!). It’s a bit cool here in YYZ Land, thus the jeans.


Headband:  gift from my friend K
Top & Cuff: H&M
Jeans: LTB 1948 at Macy’s, Boston (with K!)
Shoes: Report, from DSW in San Francisco (also with K!) 


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Yes, it’s true. I’m dancing with myself (plus I’m trying to cheer up YYZ who was the BIGGEST Billy Idol fan eveh).

Today, J took my photos  and we had some kick-ass music on the computer. (how weird is that? Girls of the 80s? music on your computer? Wrong. Wrong. I digress)  As I was saying, J had some fun fun music on that he had compiled for my friend Boris.  ANYWAY…. it got me jigging a bit and J pretended he was a middle-aged Fashion photographer. As a result we have silly photos. I think they look like who I am more than the serious, hand on hip looks.

Nothing so exciting about this outfit. I bought this shirt in San Francisco back in February and was wowed by the deal. However, you know the story if you never wear it, no matter how cheap it may be, it is NOT a deal. This shirt from Nine West grabbed my attention at $11.99. However, until today it has hung in my closet without ever being worn.

I forced the outfit to wear it. Mehh… not sure, but the dancing made it fun.






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This weekend I’m going to a wedding. As those of you who know me, you will know I LOVE weddings. I guess I love weddings because it is a chance to look nice, drink champagne, dance to silly music and get teary eyed (not necessarily in that order). Also you have to remember,  I can also enjoy weddings without being reminded of my own wedding planning hell. As I never have been married,  I  never had to deliberate on whether I wanted gerbera daisies or tulips for the centrepieces and what keep-sake would be least offensive and inexpensive.

Last year, I attended six weddings. This year i was only  invited to two. Unfortunately, the first one – Martina and Steve- got married in Slovakia while J and I were visiting Canada last month. That is why when Val (yes, Vietnam Val!) told me she was getting married Idid everything to make sure I could attend.

I’m still busy trying to figure out the last few details. One of which is what to wear. It is a bit tricky as Val has been slightly vague about wedding attire. It’s up north Canada and sounds very casual. I’m tending towards wearing the green dress below with silver sandals (worn 2 years ago at Deborah and Roberto’s wedding). However, I still have the gray dress (worn to 3 weddings last year) and the blue dress worn to the Webby’s.

Any other suggestions for what I suspect is an outdoor wedding in Bala Bay Inn? (shoes need to be considered)




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