I do not remember if I have ever explicitly mentioned it in this blog, but I Detest warm weather. I do not deal well in it at all. I feel uncomfortable, hot, and sticky and become prone to nosebleeds and headaches. It has always seemed easier to stay warm than it is to stay cool. You can’t tote around an air conditioner (if you’ve found a way, please let me know), but a coat and some stylish layers are much easier to carry.
Complaining aside, it is the perfect weather for pretty sundresses, and all things sailor. I have a soft spot for nautical garments as you can see if you look at some of my older posts, and it seems fitting for those blazing days when only the cool waters of a pool or lake and a good iced tea or popsicle can assuage the heat.
Today is one of those sailor days, and so I have on a new pair of shorts from Banana Republic. Shorts seem to be the article of clothing that like to taunt me most. Either too short, too boxy, too thickening at the waist, etc. I have gone through quite the hunt to find the perfect pair. I seem to have found them in this beautifully buttoned baby; may it last me a good many summers! On the downside, it does wrinkle somewhat, and it likes to attract wandering pieces of fluff and fur as you can see in the picture. It just requires a bit of checking on here and there, but it hasn’t become too annoying yet. Who could be annoyed at having to look down on such lovely shorts? Not I!
I paired this top with another piece from Banana Republic –this has been in my archives (wardrobe) since 2013. After not wearing it for a few years –I can’t think why I haven’t more often– I am giving it an airing and a day out in the sunshine. It’s a soft cream but looks whiter in the pictures. It complements the deep blue of the shorts quite nicely, and I still love the be-ribboned Eiffel Tower graphic composed entirely out of lovely French words and phrases.
For a dressier version of a casual sneaker –which I think is perfect for Summer, I am wearing these high-heeled sneakers by Keds. I love the soft grey colour, and can’t help thinking, “The higher the heel, the better I feel!” Not always true, if you’ve ever actually worn heels, but in this pair? Definitely!
I’m awful at accessorising with jewellery, but in summer, I have a wonderful excuse. In my opinion, it is too hot and icky to wear bits of metal against your skin for long periods of time. I do without completely, and rely on accessories such as interesting shoes, silk scarves, and straw hats. This one from Gap is casual but with a refined, ladylike feel.
A few weeks ago, during the Winterlude festival here in Ottawa, Alex and I decided to break the monotony of winter in our own little way — afternoon tea. We were joined by his brother –whose first time it was– at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and had a wonderfully soothing and refined few hours. There are very few places (as of yet) to have afternoon tea here in Ottawa, and Zoe’s Lounge is certainly one of the most elegant places to have it in.
The experience started with a glassful of seasonal fresh fruit; delicious, and refreshing! It definitely whet the appetite, especially as I have a habit of not eating anything at all before tea, otherwise I find I get too full, too quickly to do all the tiers justice! I chose the jasmine tea –which was lovely and light in the beginning, but as time wore on, started to grow incredibly bitter. I hope that Fairmont will consider implementing a little dish or tray to put your tea strainers in so that it doesn’t get over-steeped. Apart from that, and the fact that the bread for the butter chicken salad seemed a bit dry and stale, everything was lovely. I tried not to indulge too much in the Devonshire cream and strawberry jam (too scrumptious to be sparing), and savoured every bit of my scones. The staff were very friendly and attentive, and helped to elevate the experience. Many thanks to the lovely lady (I did not get a chance to peek at her name-tag!) for patiently letting us sniff our way through almost their entire tea repertoire!
The ambiance was restful –soft music (both classical and more modern piano pieces) played in the background, although I did notice that the television on the wall was on as well; it usually isn’t, which I prefer, as it can be distracting to one’s focus on and pleasure in the moment.
All in all, such an incredibly enjoyable way to brighten one’s day and shake off the winter blues.
Monday to Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.
*Reservations are required for Afternoon Tea. Please call the hotel directly at (613) 241-1414 to reserve.
Top: Kate Spade ‘abree’ cashmere sweater in black (2014)
Skirt: J. Crew flounce skirt in bonded wool in cerise (2014)
Shoes: ALDO ‘Loralee’ ballet flats in red (2015)
For my outfit, I went a bit farther in my choices than I normally would, even for afternoon tea. I remember feeling that day that I wanted to wear something ‘outrageous’ (for me, at any rate!) and pull it off because I liked it, whether or not anyone else giggled, smirked, or thought me odd in the belfry. Wearing a substantial headpiece definitely was a little bit out of my comfort zone, but either people in Ottawa are incredibly kind, or being confident and forgetting that I am wearing lots of fabric on my head makes other people feel that this is normal fare. I’m not sure which, but I truly felt that I had grown up just a little bit more. It’s nice to try something with aplomb!
I wore my ‘Duchess of Cambridge-esque’ ruffle coat from DKNY — love the ruffle detail on the bodice, and all that is missing is for me to add a belt to the ensemble, and then the ‘copy-Kate-ing’ will be complete. 😉
For shoes, I really wanted to wear a pair of pumps, but knowing that I would be walking through wet, slushy streets, I decided for the still not-quite-sensible, yet slightly more practical ballet flats. I was all about the pops of red as well; my skirt was the same bright hue, and it is a shame it didn’t get documented, because it has the most beautiful flouncy, ruffly hem!
There’s Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, my birthday (and two of my family members’ birthdays!), as well as being in the swing of French classes.
There is so much fun and exciting energy that, coupled with the absolute beauty of autumn, there is no surprise that October is my favourite month.
Let’s start with my favourite picture –the pie I made for Thanksgiving! It is Jane Austen themed, with Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett cut out of the crust. I am quite proud of my ‘skills’ in making this!
If you would like these Austen themed cookie cutters, I got mine from the Jane Austen Centre’s gift shop hereand here. I could browse the lovelies there all day!
I always love dressing up for my birthday weekend even if nothing grand is planned, and when it is to work, a less frilly outfit must be worn of course! I still have fun through the details –combining my love for a sleek fit-and-flare silhouette with sheer tights, polka-dots and bows. I hereby present to you my ‘practical’ birthday outfit:
Top: Kate Spade ‘abree’ cashmere sweater in black (2014)
Skirt: Club Monaco ‘Minkie’ skirt (2013)
Tights:Gap polka-dot tights (2015)
Shoes:Vaneli ‘Lenita’ pump in black Soffio patent (2013)
Jewellery: Pandora charm bracelet –birthday gift from husband (2014); wedding + engagement ring from my husband. White gold swirl ring with diamonds. (2014)
We went for sushi for my birthday lunch at 168 Sushi Buffet. It isn’t our top favourite place to go for sushi in Ottawa, but it is a convenient location, and when the staff is not too busy, the food is fresh and very tasty. If you catch them on a busy afternoon though, prepare to have missing items from your order and/or the food to not be up to its usual standards. Following-up usually leads to them bringing the order in, so if you are not in a hurry, it isn’t ideal but not truly awful either –especially if you pay the all-you-can-eat price. We sometimes simply re-order what was missing.
October was a beautiful month; I hope you enjoyed yours! I will write in soon with my November happenings…
It’s no secret that even with care, white garments can get a little stained in the sweatier regions after a while. And there is nothing more exasperating than to lose a much-loved item in your wardrobe simply because its appearances are beyond repair; those sweat stains can really age an item!
So when it comes to buying white garments, I only choose pieces that are in natural, breathable materials such as cotton, silk, and linen. They must also have plenty of breathing space (such as dolman sleeves) or be as far from the underarm region as much as possible (sleeveless, and not right up in the armpits).
Sure, bleach may fix the problem –though it may not add to a garment’s longevity, but why not try and avoid it entirely?
This cute little number which I fondly call my LWD fits my criteria perfectly. I also appreciate the fact that it isn’t one’s typical strapless summer dress. Those are cute in their own way, but for less sunburns and to be able to wear this in more settings that may require a bit more covering, this Juicy Couture dress is just what is called for.
Dress:Juicy Coutureeyelet dress (2013)
Shoes: GAP classic ballet flats, Cognac (2015)
This picture was taken during a jaunt by the Rideau Canal with a friend. With her help, and Nature blowing gently through the trees, the shot turned out to be a bucolic portrait. I felt like Anne of Green Gables skipping down Lovers Lane, and my dress was dancing with the wind.
I had the pleasure and honour of attending my sister-in-law’s bridal shower this past Saturday!
It’s always more fun of course, when it is in the theme of an afternoon tea party, and the dress code practically insists that you dress up and have fun doing so! The invitation called for a hat and summer dress, and I was more than happy to oblige. You see, not many know that in a deep, dark corner of my wardrobe, I harbour several frothy creations –hats and fascinators. Once in a while, on a rare occasion, I will take them out and wear them for the world to see. More often though, I am to be found covertly trying them on in front of the full-length mirror in our bedroom when no one is around. I suppose it’s my secret, guilty pleasure. But it is certainly nice not having to act about my collection as if it were illicit. My mum-in-law even joined in on the fun when I brought my fascinators over and wore a particularly stunning one to the party! I am notoriously picky when it comes to clothes, and I currently have only one summer dress in my possession which sadly didn’t feel quite right for the occasion. So I bent the dress code rules a bit, and went for a ruffly silk georgette blouse and a flirty skirt in pinkish hues. In the below picture, I’m posing with the two shoes I was trying to decide between. I finally went with the pink ones (which were also my wedding shoes) as they seemed more fun, but I promise I didn’t go to the shower in Pippi Longstocking mode, although that probably would have been hilarious, too!
Top:Aritzia‘Ainsley’ blouse in Mauve Chalk (2015)
Skirt:Club Monaco ‘Talley’ lace skirt in Eclipse/Lotus (2014)
The affair was held at Birks Café in Montréal, inside the jewellery store. It was like feasting among glittering chandeliers, sparkling treasures, and beautiful presentation boxes.
At $26.50 per person, the menu included:
Selection of teas from Mariage Frères
Milk and lemon
Mini sandwich with cucumber and shrimps
Finger appetizer with Duck foie gras and chutney
Finger appetizer with smoked salmon and Abitibi Temiscamingue caviar
Mini club sandwich with crispy prosciutto
A dessert in a verrine
A chocolate from our selection
A bag of sweets to take homeI chose the menthe tea, which was one of their herbal choices. I recall ‘healing’ being used in the description, and since I had a headache, thought it perfect for me. It was light, and refreshingly cooling. While the food was exquisitely delicious, they were incredibly petite, even by afternoon tea standards. For about $6 extra, you get a more substantial serving at the Fairmont Laurier and Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. However, I suppose the upside is that you go away feeling not overly full, and as a once in a while treat, say if you were shopping for a beautiful ring at Birks and wanted some refreshments, the Café is a sophisticated and convenient choice.
A few months ago, my best-est friend came down for a glorious 11 days, and we explored the nation’s capital like tourists fresh from another part of the world.
Our gastronomical adventures (not all in one day!) included nibbling on cupcakes, sampling divine Stubbe chocolates, feasting on the most amazing pizza at The Grand,and paying a visit to Smoke’s Poutinerie for some of Ottawa’s finest cheese curds and gravy on fries.
Smoke’s, by the way, is a very tiny establishment and is almost always full. It was a beautiful day outside though, and em and I were more than happy to take our poutines to the street and people-watch while we indulged.
We also wandered around the ByWard Market –which extends extensively around the main building itself. I’m not sure that I’m describing it as accurately as I would like, but it is a sprawling conglomeration of boutiques, salons, restaurants, bakeries, produce, meat, and cheese stands, etc. that spans across several streets. This is my impression based on the numerous ByWard Market signs that we encountered far from where we thought the market would have already ended! You cannot compare this to the Granville Island Market. There are similarities and differences, and each has its own distinctive flavour, but neither is ‘better’ than the other as I have heard some people hotly contest. They are both interesting experiences to be appreciated in their own right. We had supper at The Aulde Dubliner, which was opened in 1992 by two Irish immigrants with a big dream. I forget what em had, but I had the most comforting French onion soup imaginable. It was a cloudy, slightly damp day with a brisk breeze. I insisted on sitting outside on the balcony for the view but we finally went indoors. In a sterling case of poetic justice, em who wanted to sit indoors in the warmth, remained hail and hearty. I took sick after a few days. In my defense, there was that one evening where the skies absolutely poured and we were caught in it for hours –I with nary an umbrella.
We also stopped by Thimblecakes, and I tried one of their Ugly Ducklings, which is to say, less than perfect cupcakes that they would not sell at full price, but are still too delicious to toss. The one I had was incredibly dry and lacking in taste… and I’m not certain whether it was because it had been an Ugly Duckling for quite a while, but I was not very impressed. The decor of the place was elegantly decorated however, and I could be easily persuaded to give them another chance and try a perfect cupcake if I were to pass that way again. Now before you begin to wonder at our endless appetites, we did have other sights and interests that we pursued in our fair nation’s capital! There were paper shops… …which begged you to reconsider the notion that paper could ever be ‘plain’ or ‘boring’. In fact, I’m quite positive they made me feel as if one could gather together a tasteful collection of paper, wrap it in yet more, and present it as a very suitable and exclusive gift. And there were statues! There was one of Galahad, erected in front of Parliament to commemorate the heroic but unsuccessful attempt at saving a Miss Bessie Blount. Then there was this scandalous sculpture of young love, sitting on a bench and engaging in a subtle –yet public!–display of affection! I own I did not know where to avert mine eyes to…We stumbled upon exquisite beauty in Nature… …and revelled in it. We took a tour of the Supreme Court, and sat in on discussions in the House of Commons and the Senate, which I arbitrarily insisted on calling the House of Lords, simply to rile em‘santi-monarchist sensibilities. I suspect I only managed to irk her merely due to my inaccuracy. I am, without a doubt, the best friend a girl could have. 😛 Afterwards, we went to Parliament, which is a beautiful, stunning building. If this edifice is capable of inspiring awe in me, I can only imagine what the ancient castles and buildings in Europe will do. My favourite part of Parliament was the library, of course! It was built in the Victorian era, and survived a heavy fire in 1916. This disaster was caused by a cigarette that hadn’t been put out properly, and the library was only saved due to the quick thinking and actions of the librarians, who closed the heavy iron door leading to it. This is why you will notice a difference in architectural styles between the library and the part of the building outside of it. I can’t remember anymore whether the entirety of Parliament burned down, so I’m not sure whether the rest of Parliament is also part of the newer rebuilding completed in 1920. It is a very warm, bright atmosphere, and reminds one immediately of the library in Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I could have stayed in there for a very long time, except we were unceremoniously shooed out of the place after not even five minutes! This of course, went into a comment card with the polite suggestion that if the library only had one actual patron in it, surely a group of very quiet and well-behaved tourists could tiptoe ’round for a little while longer! 🙂 We then visited the Memorial Chamber, which is at the heart of the Peace Tower…It was originally built to honour the fallen from the Great War (WWI), but has since evolved into a memorial for all Canadians who have died serving their country in war and peace, since Confederation. There are several Books of Remembrance, with the list of all known Canadians who have died in service. The pages are turned every morning at 11:00, and there is a special calendar that ensures that each page of every book is displayed at least once during the year. The Peace Tower itself is a bell and clock tower, and you reach it via a golden elevator. I believe our guide mentioned that the golden ‘leaves’ on the ceiling was the number of Canadians who had died in service. I can’t seem to find this information on the internet to verify, so please take this ‘fact’ with a grain of salt. 🙂There is a picturesque view of the Ottawa River and the surrounding area from the Tower; it is not to be missed!
We also saw the procession for an opening session of Parliament… mace, tricorn hats, and all! One must retire for refreshments, and we went to the incredibly elegant Moscow Tea Room. They serve “award winning teas, small plates, pastries, charcuterie & cheeses, vodka, craft cocktails, champagne & caviar all within a sumptuous décor filled with art. Whether you are looking for a tea, coffee, a business lunch, martinis with the girls, make a great impression during a date or just have a great evening in a lounge, Moscow Tea Room has it all.” We tried the Vladimir Poutine, which is a dish comprised of potato and three cheese perogies, pan seared with caramelized onions and topped with beets, goat cheese crumble and spicy vodka sauce. The combination of textures and flavours was comforting, yet new and delightful. For anyone who doesn’t like perogies, do not let your experience with those frozen ones you buy at the store deter you!
Of course, no expedition of ours is ever complete if it is not rounded off by a handful of gem-coloured macarons. We paid a visit to Macarons Et Madeleines, and while I wasn’t particularly taken with most of their odd/avant-garde flavour combinations, one of them –an herbaland spice combination– was particularly soothing for my sore throat. Despite the name, it seems that macarons make up only a very small part of their offerings, sadly. It was a pleasant time, and I cherished my friend’s visit very much. If I haven’t scared her away with my predilection for scenic routes, spontaneous capers, and bus stop mishaps, I hope we shall meet for more expeditions very soon!
Here’s a fantastic pop of colour from Farfetchto start your weekend with! They reached out to me a few weeks ago, and I’m happy to share this gorgeous infographic that showcases emerging underground trends from the luxury fashion sector. These beautiful illustrations show 10 new ways to do style differently, fashionable quirks that have not yet caught on in the mainstream, and so are fashion-forward styling concepts that have been adopted by trendsetters rather than followers.
As always, I’m a big proponent of adopting trends that fit in with your own aesthetics and lifestyles. There’s no need to adopt all ten, but isn’t it fun seeing the return of some, and the debut of others?
Do check out Farfetch.com for some amazing luxury pieces. The concept of a global community of independent boutiques under one address is probably clumsily described by me as a really amazing virtual mall. 🙂 I’m sharing some pieces that caught my eye… There’s a pink coat that I think the Duchess of Cambridge might wear to a spring wedding or a garden party. And I’ve a weak spot for anything with a bow on it, especially the Ferragamo one. Also trench coats, lace and ballet flats.
By now, any readers I have must know every excuse under the sun that all bloggers give at one time or another, so I will spare you the detailed details. Suffice to say that work keeps me occupied!
The dress code for work was casual, as was mentioned before my first day. But being me, I came in with what I thought was dressed down, and the environment of dusty files, boxes, and bits of paper, were not kind to my sartorial error. By Tuesday, I knew better. I traded in my silk blouses and crisp office skirts for jeans and easy-to-wash button-downs and tees. To keep the ‘sleek professional’ look, I went for fitted pieces in more casual fabrics with ‘echoes’ of the office, things I would normally wear on casual Fridays with nicer bottoms, …and then paired them with my jeans. Which are absolutely amazing, but that’s another post for another time!
Top:Gap fitted boyfriend shirt (2013) | C&C California tee (2009) | Zara organic cotton top (2012)
Jeans:Second Clothing Co. high rise straight wide waistband Yoga Jeans™ in Rinse Indigo (2013)
Shoes:Gap classic wool ballet flats in Steel Grey (2014)
Nothing too avant-garde (if I ever am that) or exciting to be seen here, but I would like to impart a bit of my ‘wisdom’. Even if your workplace seems to be hemming you in when it comes to style options, you can still make an effort to look respectable and pulled together. Please don’t go to work in your pyjamas, over-sized Taco Bell t-shirts, or ill-fitting, worn out jeans. I have seen those, and a great impression they do not make!
Remember, dress for the job you want –or deserve!– and not the one you have. 🙂 Unless you actually have the one you want/deserve, or are in the military (I don’t think swiping insignia for higher ranks is smiled upon!). Even then, always keep your outfit clean and pressed, hair coiffed, nails tidy, and your demeanour positive and professional. Best foot forward, and you will be a difficult person to pass over for the finer things in life!
Speaking of which, I am fortunate enough to have been the succesful applicant of a job more suited to my experience and career aspirations. I think dressing up will be in order again, and I can’t wait. 🙂
Hello everyone! Just a super quick first outfit post of the year!! *throws confetti*
I’m busy sending out more job applications as well as working on a few creative endeavours on the side. I don’t really have to go outside today, so I’m sporting a laid-back luxe look. On top, I decided to go nautical with a striped shirt with light french blue and white stripes. I love the button details, and the fact that it’s not your same old black and white stripes! For the bottom, I’m wearing a navy wool/cotton blend tweed skirt that’s really warm, cute and ladylike. It helps keep the outfit look more pulled together, and less like I am going to be spending my day on the sofa. Which I’m actually not, whatever this photo says. 😉
Top:Tommy Hilfiger long sleeved multi-stripe knit top with buttons in French Blue/White (2012)
Skirt:Rebecca Taylor tweed flounce skirt in Navy (2013)
I also decided to put my hair up –something I rarely do because my locks are not the obedient sort. This of course, means that when I put my hair up and it actually works, I have no idea how I managed it. It’s a lot of trial, and a lot of error(s). I’ve gotten a few hair tutorial requests and can’t oblige for that very reason. Please, you honestly have the wrong person! Youtube is your friend, as is Pinterest. I… wish to be, but cannot. 😉
Putting my hair up came in handy though when this baby came in the mail today. It’s the Helix ThreadEase hair removal system. Basically, for us ladies who are looking to try fixing our brows at home while achieving salon-quality results, this kit promises to help you get just that!
Being rather timid on my first attempt, I’ve decided to stick to gently shaping my brows. You can still see a difference in the video above –my left brow shows more shape while my right brow is still untouched. With a bit more practise under my belt, I hope to be back in a week or so to share more of my thoughts with you! Thanks so much to the Helix team for kindly sending me this complimentary kit. ♥
In the meantime, it’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, and the snow is finally melting which means that Spring is just around the corner!
It has been snowing heavily on and off, for a few weeks now. And I have come to the realisation that certain ways of keeping warm in Vancouver will not ‘fly’, here in Ottawa. The good news is that the Mackage ‘Bijou’ parka that I bought in 2009 is now being put to fabulous good use. The not so good news is that my fingers were not prepared for the onslaught of ice queen frost, as I call it. This means that in Vancouver, I am able to tug off my glove, make a call/send a text on my iPhone, maybe browse the web a bit… all without feeling the loss of warmth acutely. Not so, here. But what’s a girl to do when she’s got a touchscreen phone?
Get some techie gloves to match, of course!
Test run in the snow…
After a particularly bitingly cold day taking the bus to an interview, I came back home and immediately ordered this pair of wool gloves from Echo Design (via Chapters here). Boasting an 80% wool, 20% nylon mix, as well as a techno fabric pad on the thumbs and index fingers, these beauties will keep me warm and socially connected!
This is a pair that should be in every smartphone user’s cold weather wardrobe, period. I am personally all about bows and ruffles, but Echo Design has a wide variety of styles for both women and men, so be sure to check them out. 🙂
Do any of you cold weather style experts have any survival tips to share?