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Archive for June, 2012

….why do they fall in lo-ove?

I have just returned from Dallas, Texas. Yep, Dallas. And yes, everything IS bigger in Texas.
And yes, Oprah cut off her nose to spite her face when she swore off Texas beef: deeeeeeee-lish!

Once all the book-learnin’ and female empowerment of the NCGS conference was over, my colleague S and did what one does in Dallas: we went shopping.
Lordy, did we go shopping!

We warmed up by cleaning out Target‘s Cute Office Supplies Department. And then it was time to Get Serious.

We were ready for Designer Shoe Warehouse.

Now, Gentle Reader, it is important to know that I take DSW very seriously.
I have a strict system. It goes a little like this (be warned; “it goes to 11“):

1. Get a shopping bag; you are going to need it.

2. Begin on the right-hand side, where the higher-end & the dressier stuff is. Cruise, slip a few on, get the lay of the land.

3. Next, the clearance racks. Sometimes you can get $700 shoes for 70% off, so it behooves a girl to take her time and really look carefully and closely.

4. Now it’s time for the aisles. Go row by row; looking left and right if you can handle all that stimulus; if not, then walk up one side and down the other before moving on to the next aisle.  Remember, you are just cruising; it is merely a reconnaissance mission at this point. If you can, use your phone to snap a photo of the ones you like as you go along.

5. With one exception: if you see something you like and there is only one pair in your size, add it to your shopping bag. You are not committing to anything yet, but you want to have the option of buying that cute pair and if you don’t pick it up during reconnaissance, it might not be there when you get back. (If you have size 9 feet or larger, or if you have size 5 feet, you don’t really have to follow this rule– there are always plenty and you are lucky enough to not share a shoe size with half of North America, so you should be safe to come back later.)

6. Still with me? This is not a sport for sissies, but if you need to take a break, powder your nose, get a snack, now is the time. I’ll wait.

7.  Right, feel better? Okay, scroll through your phone and see which shoes you snapped. Eliminate the ones that no longer look as tempting as they did in the initial frenzy.

8. Go back and grab your size in each pair that is still in the running.

9. Okay, find a spot near a mirror– not one of those little ones on the bottom of a stool (unless it is a weekend, in which case, just find any mirror you can). Try to get a full-length mirror for best results. Take off your own shoes and start trying on The Finalists. This can take a long time; think carefully about all the factors that might influence your decision. How comfy are they? Can you walk in them? If not, could you learn to walk in them? (Remember: this is not a sport for sissies!) Do they go with anything you own? (Don’t forget all that black you own– it goes with everything, so of course they will go with it!) Most importantly, how do they make you  feel? Do they touch your soul? Do they make you feel like a lady? How do they look? Roll up your trousers, if you are wearing them, so you can see how they really look. And finally, ask yourself, “If I don’t get these, am I going to regret it? If someone told me I had to walk away from them right now, how would I feel?”

10. Put the winners in your bag and you are done! Bravo! You are a CHAMP!

11. Go out for dinner and wear one of your new pairs of shoes!

Now, I must add one final caveat. DSW is overwhelming, even for me (!) and you are not always going to get it right. I have paid $40 in cab fare to return a pair of $85 shoes on the way to the airport in a near-crippling bout of buyer’s remorse. And I am currently suffering from remorse over NOT having bought two pairs in particular on my latest odyssey. But the system outlined above helps and, sometimes, you hit the sweet spot and end up like Goldilocks:
your shoes are Just Right.

So, time for a poll, Gentle Reader. Can you guess which of the pairs in this post I ended up buying?
You can only choose FOUR. (
Did I mention that I am in the throes of “woulda-shoulda-coulda” over two pairs?)

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Bonus points if you can guess which two pairs I regret not buying!

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Calling Ms. YYZ to visit her old friend, LHR. Does this sound like a reason to visit? I think so. Victoria & Albert Museum are hosting an exhibit on Hollywood Costumes.

V AND A COSTUME EXHIBIT

V AND A COSTUME EXHIBIT, originally uploaded by praguelondon.

Add in the fact the V&A also has an exhibit on ballgowns, might that entice you? You have to click through and look at some of the associated events such as the pattern cutting event for couture gowns. (YES! you read that right)

Ballgowns at V&A

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An ice-cream coloured outfit for the hot-hot-hot weather we are having here in YYZ these days.

Of course there is a story to go with these trousers. I was returning something at H&M and, on my way to the cash register, I spotted these pretties. They were fresh out of the packing box and the colour just made me sooooo happy that I had to have them.

Got home, tried ’em on, loved ’em. And realized…….I had NOTHING to wear with them. The last time I went through a pastel phase, LHR, PyjamasandTea and I were on our way to Ottawa for our end-of-year school trip in Grade 8. (I sense a  “From the Vault” post brewing in LHR’s mind….)  Thus, I do not own a lot of items that can be worked into a pastel look. Full disclosure: I did wear these babies with an all-black combo a few weeks back– that worked, too, but last week it was too hot to wear the black components. So, I had to really get creative.

That is when I remembered this silk jacket, purchased a decade or so ago (and subjected to a baptism of red wine by a not-remotely-contrite-enough fellow diner on its first wearing) and mostly forgotten for the last few years.  Jacket? Check. Top?

Um, top?

Oh! Wait! What about the mint and pink tank tops I bought a gazillion years ago and have been wearing as, erm, pyjama tops ever since?  Layer ’em up and call it an outfit.

Hilariously, I got TONS of compliments on this outfit, despite the fact that I was basically wearing pjs.

Silk Jacket: Holt Renfrew Private Label
Tank Tops: Smart Set
Trousers & Necklace: H&M
($14.95! How the hell am I supposed to kick the disposable fashion habit with prices like that??!!!)
Shoes: 9 West

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We are in the home stretch (is that a baseball metaphor? what does it mean, exactly– non-metaphorically?).
But, under the new regime, we have to dress up even though it is 9 gazillion degrees and we are hoe-ing out classrooms that have not been dusted since last June.

Here is an ensemble from last week.

Green T: Smart Set
Belt: H&M
Skirt: Anthro
Shoes: Winners
Earrings: Ten Things

Blurry. Dammit!

Trust me, I will NOT be wearing this on the hoe-ing out days.

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When YYZ and I were in NYC a few week’s back, we had a crazy expensive day in Brooklyn. YYZ suggested we visit the Brooklyn Flea and visit we did. We happened upon a few great stalls and then a permanent vintage store where I managed to spend close to a mortgage payment on vintage frocks (most of which I’ll never wear, but knowing they are hanging in my closet makes me feel good).

Anyway, one of my cheaper and probably more practical finds was this shirt from the 80s.  I have been wanting to wear it, but today was the first day I managed to get together an outfit that worked pre-alterations that will come.

Here’s to pleats and more pleats and a few more pleats. (it’s practically issey miyaki)

Pleased with Pleats

The necklace and the shirt were both from the Brooklyn Flea

Of course I didn’t wear those heels to get to work. That’s why I have these babies.

What I wore:
Shirt: Vintage Pearl Silk Grey Shirt by Jack Mulqueen (silksational :)) bought at the Brooklyn Flea
Skirt: Pied a Terre, Black
Tights: black patterened
Shoes: heels from Le Chateau, black.  Oxfords from Office
Jewellery: Brooch (I can’t remember when I got it), necklace from Brooklyn Flea, earrings -cheapola

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YYZ: 96 Tears

Nice bra strap. Klassé.

Today is Exam Take-Up Eve.

Exam Take-Up Day is on my list of Top Ten Most Hideous Days of the School Year.

There is always some child who earns an A- and who just goes ballistic, crying, calling her mother/father (who then calls me and goes ballistic), generally causing a scene.
Because everyone knows a bad exam result is All The Teacher’s Fault.

Weirdly, it’s often the kid/parent combo you least expect.

Anywho, here is what I wore to run a few errands today. Last time I wore this, M said, “Is that a dress?! I thought you were in your bathrobe or nightgown or something.” Yes, dear, I got up this morning and changed OUT of my p.j.s  into ANOTHER version of p.j.s. Before getting dressed for work…. Because nothing streamlines that morning routine like a nonsensical wardrobe change!

Dress & Belt: H&M
Shoes: Winners

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YAY for the royalty. They have given us a 4 day weekend again. Remember, last year? YYZ and I were on a walkabout during the festivities. As we weren’t in London for the wedding, J and I decided to stay put this year to see what all the fuss was about.

Turns out the jubilee has been a chance for every single retail outlet to get in to the spirit. Here’s a few windows ranging from Furla in Mayfair to the shops in Hackney.

Regent Street displaying British colours

A dummy on Savile Row sporting the Union Flag stripes

A crown on a vase ….

Furla bags in red white and blue

Ted Baker’s 

As you can see the corgis were featured heavily this jubilee. Ted Baker was just one of many who jumped on the dog-wagon.

See what I mean? I can’t remember which store featured this corgi sporting HM’s crown.

This corgi is feeling jubilant

Dog Save the Queen

Even the Curzon movie theatre got in on the corgi action with this Dog Save the Queen cake. I must admit I still don’t know what this monkey has to do with the Jubilee. Most likely the Corgis were all sold out.

Monkeys? Anything goes I guess.

Lovely red and blue butterflies

A union flag made of butterflies at the Wills & Aubin store in Redchurch street in Shoreditch.

The Queen sporting some fancy new glasses in this store in Mayfair

Pret A Manger reminded us to keep the swearing down for the queen.

Finally, my own neighbourhood can’t be outdone by the chains on Regent Street.

It is true I have been to London to see the Queen.

Simple streamers add a festive feel on Stoke Newington Church Street

British Fever in Dalston High Street

Finally, not to be outdone by Savile Row, the classy dress stores along Dalston High Street got in to the Jubilee fever as well. The bouquet is a nice touch.

So, I can add a bit of what I wore, here’s my beautiful get up I sported for the River Pagent. We got down to the river at 9am – 5.5 hours in advance of the queen. So, warmth and keeping dry was the priority, not fashion.  Thanks to Lisa, J and I wore our Canadian scarves with pride.

Keeping warm at the river pagent.

J Sporting his Canadian scarf

The pagent was brilliant but it could have done with more music. The procession (especially the man-powered boats) was a real site to see. I have some shots over on Flickr, but felt I should share a few pics here – one of the royals and another with passengers all in 40s/50s wear. Plus a shot of a boat with a big pink hat (just because)

The Royal Barge

A toast to HM the Queen.

The hat boat

Just so you know I did make an effort, I wore red, white and blue under all my rain gear. You can see me here enjoying a glass of wine after hours in the rain. I think I look OK given the day.

A little bedraggled at the end of the day, but we did stay for the whole 1000 boats.

Finally, if you didn’t see Madness and the amazing light show on the front of Buckingham Palace as part of the Jubilee concert, watch it. How cool is it to see a council block projected on the palace? Fantastic.

PS if you missed the concert, don’t worry just watch Madness set. Most of the new performers and some of the oldies sang completely out of tune.

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