October Fun…

Goodness, October is always such a busy month!

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!
Canadian Thanksgiving Pie

If you would like these Austen themed cookie cutters, I got mine from the Jane Austen Centre’s gift shop here and here.  I could browse the lovelies there all day!

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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: Cathie 27 Birthday

Jacket:  Danier ‘Bree’ lamb leather jacket in Port (2014)

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)

Cathie 27 Birthday Outfit

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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.

Sushi Couple
We two.
Autumn Heels
An autumn perspective.

Birthday 2015 Sushi
The sushi.

October was a beautiful month; I hope you enjoyed yours!  I will write in soon with my November happenings…

— Cathie

Summer’s Little White Dress

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.
Summer Breeze

Dress:  Juicy Couture eyelet 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.

Wandering in Ottawa…

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.

Ottawa - Smoke's Poutinerie
Smoke’s Poutinerie Poutine. Delicious!

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.
Ottawa - Byward MarketWe 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.
Ottawa - Supper at The Aulde DublinerIt 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.

Ottawa - The Aulde Dubliner French Onion Soup
The comforting French Onion soup…

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.
Ottawa - ThimblecakesOttawa -Thimblecakes InteriorNow 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… Ottawa - Papery Store…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…Ottawa -Shocking Young Love StatueWe stumbled upon exquisite beauty in Nature… Ottawa - Appreciating Nature…and revelled in it. Ottawa - By the Bridge and O'er the River 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‘s anti-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. 😛 Ottawa - Supreme Court of CanadaAfterwards, 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. Ottawa LibraryMy 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…Ottawa Memorial Chamber ExteriorIt 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. Ottawa Memorial ChamberThere 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. 🙂Ottawa Peace TowerThere 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!
Ottawa - Opening Session of ParliamentOne 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.”
Ottawa - Moscow Tea RoomWe 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!
Ottawa - Moscow Tea Room - Vladimir Poutine

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 herbal and 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.
Macarons & MadeleinesIt 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!

Touch and Go (Winter Gloves + Mobiles)…

Dear readers,

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.
Bijou - MackageThe 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!
Cathie Maud - Echo Touch Ruffled Bow Gloves in Snow

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.  🙂
Echo Touch Ruffled Bow Gloves

Do any of you cold weather style experts have any survival tips to share?

xoxo,

— Cathie

Summer Love Picnic…

Last week, my Mister and I went on a picnic –our first together!  ^_^  I absolutely love dining al fresco and it’s extra-special when shared with him.  I also finally got to crack open my Winnie the Pooh’s PICNIC COOKBOOK and put it to good use!

We tried the ‘Expotition Picnic‘, and the menu includes fruit punch mixed with ginger ale, some roast beef sandwiches (which I ended up using salami for, because… I forgot to buy roast beef. :D), carrots with cucumber and sour cream dip, chocolate-chip peanut butter cookies, and sugared nuts.  Yummy! 🙂

We went to a nearby park and had such a relaxing, peaceful time.  It was the best place to be in the world –under a willow tree on a blanket laid over the grass, with my man’s arms around me and a fine view of the lake.  ♥

Love Picnic - Lakeview
I suppose we were too eager to eat, because I never managed to take any pictures of the food, but I think that’s almost better than if I’d been able to.  Sometimes, you’ve just got to be so excited for the moment and the experience, and who cares if you end up with memories rather than snapshots?  🙂

Love Picnic - 2014
We even had a visitor, whom we fed some crumbs to… and he just wouldn’t leave after that!

Love Picnic - Visitor
I hope you manage(d) to have a lovely picnic too, before the summer ends.

xoxo,

Cathie