Thursday, 30 January 2014

Outfit of the Day - I refuse to say "Mad for plaid"

Jenn and I were wandering around the mall the other day and saying how we just haven't seen any clothes lately that interested either of us.  Everything we see is just kind of okay or seemed to be aimed at someone older or younger, nothing quite right.  This is good for the wallet, but kind of disappointing for the closet.

We ventured into Suzy Shier, somewhere that I don't often have much luck, but it was worth a gander.  I've kind of been wanting to find a decent blazer - something that I could wear with jeans or skirts or dresses, so I was checking out their blazer selection when I came across this one.

That is one red, plaid blazer.  I held it up and said I was kind of crazily liking it, and Jenn demanded that I try it on immediately.  I didn't think I would be able to pull it off, but somehow it worked.  And it was the last one left in the store and it was actually in my size.  Meant to be!

It's a little strange, because there's no buttons on it, just a little hook and eye closure, but it's in a weird place.  Here it is done up how it's supposed to be:

Womp, womp.  It makes me too boxy - Stacey and Clinton would not be pleased.

Not a big deal - I figure I can just move the hook and eye closure up a little bit so that it nips in at the smallest part of my waist, like so:

Much cuter.

It's been a long time since I've worn a blazer, and I really enjoyed wearing it the other day.  I faked a LBD by just pairing a black tank and skirt to let the blazer be the real star for the first time I wore it.  When I tried it on in the store I was wearing a polka dot top and it actually looked kind of awesome together.  Jenn correctly identified it as "Power clashing" because we can apply HBO's GIRLS to everything, at all times.

I am totally in love with this little $20 gem.  It totally fits with my New Year's Resolution of only buying clothes that make me feel my absolute best too.  Now my only problem is trying to determine how often I can get away with wearing this - is once a week too often?  Not often enough?  I always worry that if I wear a real statement item like this too often people will start to think I'm crazy.  Also, it should go without saying that this needs to be worn with my glasses at all times.

Blazer - Suzy Shier
Tank - Old Navy
Skirt - Smart Set
Tights - Joe Fresh
Ankle boots - Aldo

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Very Vivian - Almost time for school!

If I remember correctly, September 2004 was my last back to school.  September 2014, however, will be Vivian's very first back to school.  Which I suppose isn't really a back to school, but just to school?  Is that how it works?  However you say it, Vivian is starting junior kindergarten!  

I am beyond excited for her to start school, and to be able to go full-time.  I'm not having any of those "my baby is growing up!" feelings at the moment, just excitement.  I just know that she's going to thrive in a school environment, and I can't wait to see what she learns!

The plan was for her to start in French Immersion, but unfortunately our school board doesn't offer French Immersion in junior kindergarten.  So she will be in an English school for this year, then next year she will be able to move to the French Immersion school.  She's recently had a re-check with her speech therapist and occupational therapist and they both think she's definitely ready.  It's a little bizarre to think that she's going to be only 3 years old starting school (damn those December birthdays!) but I just know she's going to rule the school.

I mean, that picture is definitely one of a kid with excellent social skills.  I'm sure she'll be super popular.

Is it wrong that I can't wait to pick out her new little backpack?  And lunch box, and shoes, and put little labels on all of her stuff?  Kids in junior kindergarten need lots of school supplies, right?  Because I really miss buying school supplies.  She probably needs a new protractor.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Arts and Craft Supplies - Organized for the time being

Remember back in the summer when I decided to try and strip a million coats of paint off a dresser?  Then I got fed up with it and just kind of called it quits until I decided what to do with it?  It was hanging out in the garage looking like this...

Then after I spent some time sanding the shit out of it, it looked like this...

Which was when I decided that I was done with sanding and it just needed to be something functional again.

Meet Vivian's arts and crafts cupboard.

It worked well for awhile.  I liked that it was up high so she couldn't get into it without me, and I liked that I could close it so it was out of sight, out of mind.  However, after she got a bunch of new Play-Doh for Christmas, getting something out of the cupboard was becoming quite the obstacle course.  Tired of things falling on my head, I decided to bring the dresser into the kitchen.

I was boring and just painted it white so it would go with the trim in the kitchen.  I'm thinking about repainting the kitchen, so I didn't want to do anything too crazy and have it not match down the line.

Now there's a whole little Vivian corner in the kitchen, so it's nice to keep it all together.

This kitchen is such a weird layout - it's so big, but there's so much wasted space.  Having the small table in here really frees up a lot of room for stuff like this though, so I'm not complaining too much.

I cannot believe that everything in that one little cupboard ended up filling the entire dresser.

The top drawer has smaller stuff - pipe cleaners, paint pens, scissors, stuff like that.

The next drawer has paint, more markers, colouring books, and the world's largest package of construction paper (hooray for back to school stuff from Costco!)

Play-Doh drawer number one.  I like to keep those Folgers coffee containers for Vivian's stuff.  They ended up being the perfect size to fit in the drawer to hold all of her little tools and containers.  That way when she plays with it I can just grab the one she wants instead of having to dig through a huge pile.

And the bottom drawer has her bigger Play-Doh sets

I couldn't figure out a good spot for her painting smocks (she has four, for some reason) so I just stuck them in a basket on top.

I love this dresser, and I'm so glad that I finally found a space for it to be put to good use!  Now if only I could stop buying art supplies when I see them on clearance maybe this thing could stay organized for longer than ten minutes.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Treats of the Week - Potatoes fix everything

I had a shitty day today.  The kind of day that started with getting stuck on the babysitter's street and having to shovel myself out and was capped off with a parking ticket.  I know it could be worse, but it was still a helluva day.  Here's what's keeping my sanity on this day of NEVER ENDING WINTER.

  • Putting on my PJs as soon as I get home from work.
  • I saw the movie Her on Friday (another Oscar nominee down - only 3 to go!) and I really enjoyed it.  It's one of those movies that I've been thinking about ever since I saw it, and I keep remembering little nuances that made it such a special movie.  Can't wait to watch it again.
  • I needed some comfort food for dinner, so I made a big pot of mashed potatoes.  Because I'm a grown up and can eat a giant pile of mashed potatoes for dinner if I want.
  • HBO's True Detective has been amazing and creepy in all the best ways.  I am loving it so far!
  • I rarely buy magazines anymore, but I just had to cave and pick up the new issue of Vogue with Lena Dunham on the cover.  Love her, love her, love her.

  • I've been making more of an effort to read lately.  I tend to spend those little pockets of time like when Vivian is in the tub on my phone.  Lately I've been trying to fill them with just sitting and reading and it's been nice to actually make progress on a book!
  • Giant platters of homemade nachos.  Always a good idea.
  • Banana Republic is collaborating with Marimekko for a line this spring and I'm super excited!  Yay for pretty things!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Outfit of the Day - Pants may be required

This winter has been COLD.  I know I'm Canadian and should be accustomed to the cold or whatever, but it is freaking COLD.  Like Hoth cold.  It sucks, I don't like it.

Maybe I could deal with the cold a little bit better if I tried wearing pants.  The cruel reality of my wardrobe is that I don't currently have any work pants.  I have two pairs of jeans, that's it.  The rest of the time it's dress/skirt city.  It's been frosty, but I've survived so far.  At least it isn't too far from my car to the office.

This was my outfit today - nothing too special, but I love that skirt.  I got it a couple months ago from Maurices.  The scalloped hem makes it a little bit different, and I love that it's a pull-on skirt.  I hate having to deal with side zippers and hooks and skirts with stupid annoying liners, so this one works awesome for me.  I also really enjoy these leopard print tights - they help make a boring outfit a little more interesting.

Top - Smart Set
Skirt - Maurices
Tights - Joe Fresh
Boots - Maurices

Monday, 20 January 2014

Treats of the Week - Free Purses and Fluffy Robes

I have basically been sick on and off since going back to work after my surgery.  I've moved on from being "still sick" or "sick again" and have just come to accept that this is how I live now, in a perpetual state of sneezing and congestion.  It's dumb.  These things are not.

  • A stranger letting you go ahead of them in line at the grocery store.
  • It was my brother Brent's birthday on the weekend, and I actually got to see him.  He travels a lot for work, so it was nice to be able to see him even for a minute on his birthday weekend.  
  • I spotted this purse at my mom's on the weekend, and she told me that my grandma got it at Winners and then decided she didn't like it so she gave it to my mom.  Mom didn't like it either, so I snagged it.  Yay for a free Nine West purse!  I still love my coral kiss-lock purse, but it's looking a little worse for the wear these days.  Plus this new one provides lots more room for movie snack smuggling!

  • A soft, fluffy robe after a nice hot bath to clear out the sinuses.
  • Vivian had an impromptu sleepover at grandma's house on the weekend - which gave me a nice break.  She loves playing with B, A, and L there so it was lots of fun all around.
  • Neti pots remain the most amazing tool for fighting a cold.
  • Having some nice, cold Coors Light Iced Teas in the fridge after a long day at work.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Very Vivian - Busy Girl

Tuesdays is dance class
Wednesdays is swimming
Saturdays are skating and another dance class

Vivian might be only 3, but she's becoming one busy girl!  I'm a big believer in kids having a lot of activities - especially a kid like Vivian who needs a lot of stimulation.  Since she doesn't have siblings to play with, having activities to go to gives her more social time and helps to wear her out.  I also love how it makes her more a part of the community.  It can make for some busy nights and quick dinners, but in the end I think it's worth it, especially when Vivian loves it so much.

I worry sometimes about over-scheduling her, but I figure at this point it's more about trying things out and then eventually we'll settle into the top activities when she can give more input on what she wants to spend time doing.  There is so much that I would love for her to try - hockey, horseback riding, rock climbing, music lessons, martial arts...the possibilities are endless and I just can't wait to see what will end up being her passion.

At swimming lessons this week she was so excited that she would barely stand still long enough for me to take a picture.

Yes, she's a busy girl.  But I love watching her grow and learn and be more independent as she acquires new skills.

Soccer registration next week!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Culling the Vintage Glassware Collection

It's not exactly a secret that I have a bit of a thing for vintage glassware.  If I had the space, I would collect about a million different patterns and have them all lined up neatly behind a bar so perfectly stocked that Don Draper would never want to leave.  Sigh, that's the dream.

Sadly, I have one small china cabinet, and too much glassware.  I can't bear to part with any of the pieces, but I thought it might be time to pack away a few things and pare things down a little bit.

Here's a glimpse at my overstocked (and dusty!) china cabinet.

And here's the full extent of my bowling pin glasses.

I decided to only keep out a maximum of 4 pieces of each size, since I have the set of four shot glasses that started it all.  Anything over that got packed away safely, just in case something breaks.

I realized while packing things away that while I have nine of these tall glasses, two of them are different than the rest.  The one on the left is more straight up and down, and the one on the right is slightly more flared.

Here's all of my amoeba pattern glasses, which is an oddly blurry picture.  Whatevs, you get the idea.

I actually use more of these glasses - those large mugs in the front there are part of my regular rotation (which explains why they're not covered in dust).  All of the gold has long since flaked off, so I feel okay about using them regularly.  I ended up packing away a bunch of the fluted glasses.

By packing away all those extra glasses, I could more easily see what pieces I need to keep an eye out for when I'm thrifting.  These are my most wanted.

I need three more of the bowling mugs, two more fluted bowling glasses, three more amoeba shot glasses, and two more amoeba brandy (I think?) glasses.  I also wouldn't be mad if I found some of the tall or lowball glasses in the amoeba pattern.

I'm also up to six of my leather band glasses, but I consider those to be part of the regular rotation too, so I'm sticking with all six.  They're just too damn cool to hide.

Maybe now that I've cleared out some space in the old china cabinet I'll get lucky and find some more amoeba stuff!  It's been ages since I've come across any of that pattern - let me know if you find anything!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Treats of the Week - January Blahs

Are you feeling the January blahs setting in?  I've only had one full week back to work since the holidays and I'm already counting the days until the Family Day long weekend.  It's crappy outside and people seem to be sick everywhere.  All the more reason to find those little treats!

  • It's awards season!  Loved the Golden Globes last night - Amy and Tina are basically the greatest ever.
  • Also, HBO's Girls returned last night.  This show is basically religion to me now, I couldn't possibly love it more.
  • I got my new Keurig, a belated Christmas present.  I quite enjoyed my coffee this morning - can't wait to try out some new flavours.
  • Another belated Christmas present - no big deal, just THE GREATEST COAT IN THE WORLD.  I actually got it over a week ago, but then the whole Polar Vortex thing kind of made it impossible for me to wear it.  Love it, I totally needed a new "grown up" winter coat.

  • I keep reading different blog posts and articles about how people are changing the way that they use Pinterest.  I finally had enough of all the garbage pins cluttering up my boards and did a major purge.  Turns out that virtually purging junk feels just as good as actually purging junk.
  • Bonnie Toggs in Hyde Parks is renovating and therefore having a big sale.  Mom and I were there and grabbed a few things for the kids, and Vivian spotted a little stuffed Twilight Sparkle My Little Pony.  She grabbed it and asked if she could have it, and when I said yes she said she needed a Pinkie Pie to give to her cousin Blair.  How could I refuse that?  She hasn't forgotten or tried to make Pinkie Pie her own either - it's sitting up on a shelf, waiting until we see Blair on Wednesday so she can give it to her.  What a sweetie pie.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Resolutions for 2014

I try not to make any resolutions that are too difficult, but I wanted to try out a few this year.  I am really hoping that 2014 will be a great year and hopefully the resolutions will just add to it!

  • Get back into food journalling.  I did it for a long time before getting pregnant, and have periodically done it again in the last couple of years but keep falling out of the habit.  For me it's less about restricting my eating, and more about just being aware of what I'm eating.  I'm really bad for mindlessly eating, so having to write it down definitely helps to keep me accountable.
  • To go along with the food journalling, I'm going to try and write down my expenses as well.  I've done this for a month before and it has the same effect.  I don't necessarily try to restrict my spending, but being faced with how much money I spend at Tim Horton's over the course of a month definitely makes me think twice about stopping for that coffee.
  • Nikki Stafford has issued the 2014 Bookshelf Challenge, and I'm going to take it on too.  No new book buying in 2014.  I'm going to work through all of those unread books that are sitting on my bookshelves and on my nightstand.  I will cave on buying new books if I have to for book club, but hopefully I won't have to very much because...
  • ...I'm also going to try and use the library more this year.  I need to go get my London Library card, and I also want to try taking Vivian to the library on a more regular basis.
  • And my ongoing quest, especially after the surgery - only buy clothes that make me feel my absolute best.  I hate having clothes in my closet that are "okay" or that I bought because it was cheap but now I hate wearing it.  I'm okay with having a small wardrobe if it means that I love everything in it and feel confident in everything.
So yeah, nothing too crazy.  I'm excited about the Bookshelf Challenge though - it will make me feel so accomplished!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Thrifting Adventures

With all of this cold, crappy weather I seem to be spending lots of time in thrift stores lately.  Jenn and I spend a lovely day wandering around some shops, and I've been heading out to check places on my lunch break just so my car has a chance to warm up during the day.  I haven't been buying too much (trying to keep a handle on those unnecessary purchases!) 

But, I did take some pictures of the things that just had to be shared.  For whatever reason when Jenn and I were wandering we kind of forgot about taking pictures, so we had to do a second tour to grab a few pictures.  

Here's what we stumbled upon at the Brydges Street Antique Mall in London

Yeah.  So that appears to be some Q-tip porn I guess?  So weird.  It makes me uncomfortable.

These lamps were amazing - there were two of them and Jenn and I both fell pretty hard for them.  I think they were like $200 each though, so that was a no-go.

I kind of regret leaving this behind.  This tray was just so cool - it's numbered around the outside for each drink to show all of those stages one goes through.  It would be awesome to have behind a home bar, or even just hanging on the wall.  The graphics were pretty awesome.

This clock had Jenn written all over it - astrological signs around the border, and a cool rope to hang it on the wall.  The best part was that it actually has legs on the bottom of it so you could have it just sitting flat on a table.

Oh how I loved this bowling bag.  The only problem was that it came with a bowling ball and shoes, and I really only wanted the bag.  The bag was in amazing condition!

Not gonna lie - I've kind of been obsessing about this chess-themed wall art ever since seeing it.  It was $70, and is quite large.  The background of it is all woven and then the chess pieces are wooden.  So quirky and retro awesome...sigh, come to me.
The best part about our trip to Brydges was the ridiculously adorable gay couple we met at the checkout who were buying lamps and amazing belts.  One was an electrician who was buying up vintage lamps because of course he is.  We seriously almost went back in to ask if he had a business card because we wanted to be their new best friends, but probably aren't cool enough for them.

In any event, here is what I actually have managed to bring home with me lately.

I found this big Vegas tray at Talize for $2.99.

I wanted you all to have an idea of how big it is, so I used my lovely model for scale.

"Mommy, your plate is so big!"

I've also been finding a lot of my bowling pin glassware lately.  I found these salt and pepper shakers at the Brydges Market for $8.

And I found two of the fluted glasses there too for $4 each.

Then when I was at Value Village this week I found four more glasses for $1.99 for the set.  They actually match the salt and pepper shakers, but not the rest of my stuff.  So I guess I'm collecting two different sets of bowling pin glasses?  You know, as one does.

Yes, good times at the thrift stores.  Jenn made out like a bandit with a vintage lamp that's to die for - but hopefully she'll decide to rejoin the blogosphere and write all about it.  

Monday, 6 January 2014

Treats of the Week - Brrr!

We've been having quite the winter storm/cold snap around here, which is pretty much the worst.  I hate winter.  It requires so much more effort and ruins your plans!  Blah.

  • Before the storm hit, we did have a really nice day on Sunday.  It was the good kind of winter weather - bright and right around 0 degrees.  Vivian finally got to make her snowman, but then in typical fashion refused to take a picture with him.

That's as close as she would get for a picture.  Happy memories!

  • A stranger at work today complimented me on my dress.
  • I got stuck briefly on my way to drop Vivian off at the daycare, but the old Foxy Focus managed to get out of it!
  • I watched JFK for the first time this past week.  I've been wanting to watch it forever, but had never had the opportunity.  It's now my life's dream to sit on a park bench wearing a fedora and hear Donald Sutherland give a crazy monologue.
  • I also saw The Wolf of Wall Street over the weekend and I loved it.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are like ridiculously, ridiculously good.  Plus, it apparently has the most F-bombs of any movie ever made, so that's pretty impressive.
  • The only good part about all this winter weather is being able to keep a case of beer outside the back door.
  • Homemade soup makes for a good Sunday.
Happy shovelling, everyone!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The question I probably shouldn't ask

There are a great many things in My List on Netflix.  Movies I've never gotten around to seeing, documentaries that sound interesting, TV series that I love and will watch over and over again, and TV series that I've always wanted to see.  But there's one TV series that intimidates me like no other - Doctor Who.

I really, really want to get into this show, but to be honest, I find it completely overwhelming.  I mean, the show has been on for 50 years.  Where does one begin?  There's a new doctor now, so should I just start watching the newest episodes and start with that doctor?  Should I be capitalizing "Doctor"?  Should I be referring to him as Dr.?  SO MANY RULES TO LEARN.

Netflix has 7 seasons of Doctor Who, plus I think there are several versions of classic episodes.  I'm at a complete loss on where to start with it, I'm such a noob.

Someone give me some direction.  I'd really like to be a more well-rounded nerd and I feel like I definitely need some Doctor Who knowledge.  I kind of feel like an angry mob is going to show up at my door just for asking this though.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Very Vivian - Just leave me alone

One of the biggest issues that we've had to deal with when it comes to Vivian are her tantrums.  She used to throw terrible tantrums that would last nearly an hour of kicking, screaming, hiding under the bed, just being completely inconsolable.  As she got a bit older and her vocabulary increased, things definitely got better.  Then this past weekend she started doing something a little bit different.

She was in a bad mood.  She even said, "I'm cranky."  Fair enough, we all get cranky sometimes.  It's the holidays, it can be a tough time for everyone.  There's different expectations, schedules are thrown off, there's more sugar getting into her system - just a recipe for disaster.  So she got home and was cranky.  So she marched down the hall and said she wanted to go to her bed.  I asked if she wanted to lay down and have a rest, but instead she covered herself up with her blanket (which is a huge source of comfort to her) and said, "Just leave me alone."

She's the lump under that green blanket there.

Now, as hard as it can be as a parent to think that your kid doesn't want you around, I was really pleased to hear her say that.  She recognized that she needed a little break to reset and calm herself down, so she did it.  She just laid it bed for a bit and then she was fine.  She actually did it a couple of times in one day - the second time she needed me to come in after a little while to rub her back and hug her to get her through it, but then she was fine.  No tears, no yelling, no tantrum.  Just leave me alone.

This is huge for her - I'm so glad that she's able to control herself a bit more and figure out what works best for her.  And I totally get it - we all need to hide under a blanket sometimes.  I'll probably be regretting saying this when she's 16 and locking herself in her room though.