Archives For March 2012

A few weeks back, I was an enjoying a dinner with some good friends. Over dinner, the conversation turned to ice cream (this is a common occurrence when you hang out with me).  Specifically, my friends expressed their delight at being members of the Dairy Queen Blizzard Fan Club. Every couple of months, they receive coupons for free Blizzards. All this time, DQ had been handing out free ice cream I’d been paying full price like a chump! Not long after we parted ways, I too signed up for the DQ Blizzard Club. Over the past few weeks, my husband has signed up, my sisters have signed up, and if it were allowed I’d get my cat to sign up too. I’ve now become accustomed to a weekly Blizzard, with or without coupons. It’s crossed over to that dangerous place when I eat an item of food so much I give it an obnoxious nickname. Observe:

It’s pretty obvious – I’ve got a Blizzie problem, and I’ve got it bad. A snack-sized Blizzard hovers around the $3 mark. $3 is a small price to pay for a good 10 minutes of Reese peanut butter deliciousness. However, I wore a collection of items the other day that might be the wake-up call I need to kick this habit. Most of the items I’m wearing in this post also cost me $3. That belt? $3. That vintage camera case reborn as a purse? $3. That yellow and green bracelet? 3 Cuban pesos. The final kicker? That rainbow, floral explosion skirt was $3 as well (and had a tag from a previous vintage dealer that deemed it a $39.99 skirt). These items didn’t melt. These items didn’t leave me with a bloated dairy belly, and these items will be in my closet for the rest of my days.

All four pieces amounted to $12. $12 could get me a Reese Blizzard, a Skor Blizzard, and a Cookie Dough Blizzard for Matt. But my closet wouldn’t be nearly as colourful, I’d have to go back to using an actual purse, and my arm party would be bereft of its most colourful attendee. What kind of a life would that be?!

The next time the scarlet Queen tries to tempt me with her hot eats and cool treats, I’ll look back on this post to remind myself how much further those $3 can go. Get behind me Blizzies!

PS: When ever I was stumped for paper titles in my university days, I’d just go way over board with alliteration. Looks like I stillll got it.

Out of My Suitcase

March 26, 2012 — 17 Comments

Ola, my friends! I have returned from the coast of Cuba at last. What a wonderful, relaxing week. When I tell people about it, it’s a very short story: I sat by a pool and read. Then I ate. Then I slept. Then I repeated that for 6 more days. While my days were full of sloth, I did manage to rally for dinner on most nights. I loved getting out of the sun in the late afternoon, washing up, and taking my time getting dressed for the rest of the evening. Here’s a look at some of the items in action from my last post. (Note: I left the big camera at home, but my iphone stepped up as an understudy)

The first night, I celebrated my transition to vacation mode with my much-discussed Betsey Johnson dress. It felt so good to finally wear this baby! There’s such an ease with vacation style – I didn’t blowdry or flatiron my hair, or fuss around with heavy makeup. The only accessory this dress needed was mojito. Or four.

I also wore many-a-maxi during my time in Cuba. I love of the loosened rules of vacation style – it I were wearing the outfit below back home, I’d fuss over the straps of the dress showing under the tank-top, but here it works just fine.

The vintage scarves I told you about also added some flare (oh man, flare – that’s one lame word) to my basic black swimsuit. I paired another with my sailor shorts for a more casual evening outfit.

I found myself adopting a simpler approach to dressing all week. Up until recently, I found it difficult to decide what to wear with my snakeskin sandals. But with a limited closet, it made perfect sense to wear one animal print with another:

The same goes for the vintage crochet top my mom found found. I wasn’t sure how I’d wear this one – jean shorts? Bathing suit coverup? But when the time came to put it on, I decided the best compliment to crochet was…more crochet. Rocket science! And wouldn’t you know it, this became my favourite ensemble of the trip:

Last, but surely not least, one more loving shout-out to my faithful jean jacket. It was the perfect way to tone down this coral, embellished maxi dress:

So there you go! Seven different outfits from several different pieces, none of which cost more than seven dollars each to start. Now all I need it for that heat wave to return, a few more mojitos, and I’ll be wearing all of these again soon.

In My Suitcase

March 17, 2012 — 10 Comments

VACATION!!!

Alright, that’s out of my system now. But it’s true, as of 3:30 this afternoon, I’ll sail  into the sunset, leaving the cares of office life behind me. No 9-5 day job, no 5-9 freelance; just flip-flops and cervezas. As a fitting farewell post, here’s a little sneak peak inside my suitcase. I’ve been gathering up quite a collection of thrifted goodies ideal for for sand and sun (chief among them, this dress). Here are some more of my vacation finds:

First up: Maxi dresses! I picked up this coral maxi dress from Talize a few weeks ago. It’s SO LONG. It goes right to my toes, which is a rare find for a tall chick like myself. Love all those embellishments, too.

I’m also packing this light, fun maxi dress my mom picked up for me last year. It’s such a summery, tropical print.

I had unprecedented amount of luck in thrifting shorts this year. I found a pair of still-tagged Gap khaki shorts, but the real find are these fantastic high-waisted sailor shorts. So retro!

Another mom-find that made its way into my suitcase is this turquoise crochet top. Mom bought it along with a matching skirt. It’s vintage, an amazing colour, and a little dowdy right now, so I plan to cut out the lining and wear it with some jean shorts.

I read one too many head scarf tutorials lately, so I’ll be jumping on that bandwagon with lovely vintage scarves like this one!

Another favourite is this slouchy leather backpack I received as a birthday present a few years ago. Mom found it at the Salvation Army and knew I’d love it. As usual, she was right.

Last, but certainly not least, SHOES. These Blowfish gladiator sandals came into my life last summer at a steal of a deal ($4.99). Snake skin! Buckles! Hurray!

The weather back at home has been incredible, so I encourage those of you that are staying local for St. Patrick’s Day to wear in your sandals and sundresses too. Summer is here, and it’s not even Spring yet. Take advantage!

You know, I really don’t have anything else to say. So, I’ll leave it at that. Adios, amigos!

Little Heel, Big Step

March 14, 2012 — 54 Comments

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very pressing announcement I need you all to hear. Pay close attention now:

I’m tall.

I know. I was shocked too. Luckily, some stranger on the street finally made me aware of my condition, and I am now fully informed of my vertical dominance in comparison the average human being.

Alright, enough with the sarcasm. I’ll admit it’s been honed over 25 years of people acting genuinely freaked out by my height. In grade 7, my teacher felt the need to take time out of gym class (already my nightmare) to in say (in front of the whole darn class) “Julie, you never stop growing!”. In grade 9, the first boy I thought was cute nicknamed me “Long Arms”. Yes – Long Arms. He wasn’t flirting. Just this year, as I was about to exit the convenience store, the clerk yelled after me “you’re tall!” – as if he had been surpressing the urge to comment all through our transaction, and just couldn’t let me leave the store without saying something.

At the ripe old age of 25, I’ve made great strides in fully embracing all 6’1 of me. I get to help old ladies at the supermarket with the crackers on the top shelf, I can spot anyone in a crowd, and I rarely have a bad view at the movie theatre, yet there are still times when I feel just a little like an ogre. But recently, I took a monumental step in silencing the gawkers with pitchforks. I thrifted heels. Heels! Now before you scoff at my new favourite footwear, I need to make something explicitly clear: I’ve never worn anything with even the slightest heel. I’ve neglected winter boots in favour of frostbitten toes because the tread was too clunky, I volunteered to be Sporty Spice because I knew I couldn’t rock the the platforms, and I still silently rejoice every time I read ballet flats and gladiator sandals will hang around for another season. This is a big step.


They may only be kitten heels, all of two inches, but  gosh, I love them. I feel as though a great door has been opened to me, and the world is one big hallway just waiting for me to stomp down. I reached this conclusion: people are going to stare, they may even comment, but they’re going to do that whether I’m 6’1 or 6’3, so why shouldn’t I get to wear cute shoes like everybody else? I wore these bad boys OUT IN PUBLIC yesterday, with this lovely new spring thrift – a vintage Lori Anne dress ($4!) and a made-in-Italy clutch I thrifted last month.

I have no practice walking in these, so I clomp around like a t-rex, but so far, it’s worth it. I have only one request if you pass me on the street: Please, don’t stare, and if you must say something, let it be about my shoes.

Pretzel Day

March 10, 2012 — 9 Comments

Before I tell you about my week, I’ll need you to watch this:

For those of you who refuse to follow instructions, the above clip is from The Office, and features the resident curmudgeon Stanley Hudson. Never one to crack a smile unless he means it, Stanley is beaming and delighted because he gets to celebrate Pretzel Day – the one day of the year when a soft pretzel cart comes to Dunder Mifflin, and all the employees get to enjoy a free, salty treat.

This week, I had my very own pretzel day. No, there were no salty snack treats to be had, but I got to live out one of my favourite days of the working year. You see, every year, some of the students at the university where I work take it upon themselves to organize a second-hand clothing sale. All the proceeds go to the Invisible Children organization. For the record, they’ve been doing this for three years – long before Kony 2012 literally (well – figuratively) blew up the internet. In the weeks leading up to the sale, students, staff, and faculty drop off their unwanted items. Then, for two glorious days, they run the sale in one of the classrooms downstairs. Are you getting this? This means I get to thrift, AT WORK! On lunch! On break!

I lovingly call this occasion my Pretzel Day. Because like Stanley, I put the rest of my daily worries aside, and just enjoy this annual treat with a big, stupid grin on my face. Pretzel Day 2012 was yet another success. I don’t excercise as much discretion as I ususally do when thrifting on Pretzel Day, simply because it’s all for charity and everything is dirt cheap, so who cares if they end up back at the Salvation Army next week? My biggest score was this $3 brown jacket – sleeves long enough, relaxed fit, hello Spring closet staple!

Other thrifted finds were a lovely linen Gap top, an easy graphic tank for the beach, and a kinda-weird but strangley-comfortable blue cropped thing. I spent a mere 10 dollars on all these finds.

As we inch ever slowly towards the spring, I only hope each of you will experience your own form of Pretzel Day.  If you don’t experience this metaphorical joy, at least get yourself an actual pretzel. They really are delicious.

A Pantone Palette

March 5, 2012 — 23 Comments

Okay friends. I really try my best to hide the design geek and keep things snappy and fresh around these parts, but every so often I can’t resist the urge to give a little history lesson. This might seem a little dry to you, but at least this lesson comes with pictures.

As usual, this lesson starts with a thrift. I thrifted a Lane Bryant blouse on Friday. It’s nearly-new, and full of hot pinks, bright oranges, and warm yellows. Basically, I’m decreeing it my official summer 2012 palette, as long as it’s accompanied by my most favourite sea-foam nail polish. After I braced some seriously insane winds to snap a few pics in my blouse, I reviewed them, and defined my 2012 palette.

Nice, huh? Well, not long after I pulled all four colours, I noticed something oddly familiar about this collection of hues. But before I reveal what that is, I need to tell you about Pantones. What is a Pantone? To put it in almost-offensively over-simplified terms, a Pantone is a swatch of colour from the world’s largest swatch collection. The Pantone colour matching system is the definitive voice on colour when it comes to product and graphic design.  Every brand you encounter on a daily basis has a specific Pantone colour that ensures that colour looks exactly the way it should no matter where it appears. McDonald’s red is PANTONE 485C. Barbie’s pink is PANTONE 219C (and holy geek alert, you can buy a Pantone Barbie!) These colours are always a carefully selected, meticulously calculated choice. (are you asleep yet? I’m almost done, promise!)

How does this pertain to my colour-explosion outfit? I’m getting there! You see, every year, Pantone declares one colour as the “Colour of the Year”. They choose a colour that captures the essence of what people are loving, wearing, or using. Sometimes they are prophetic – predicting what’s next, and sometime’s they’re observant – expanding on what they already see.

Well, in a honest-to-goodness unplanned coincidence, I just so happened to be rocking every “Pantone Colour of Year” from the last four years. In 2009, they chose Mimosa (PANTONE 14-0848). In 2010, they chose Turquoise (PANTONE 15-5519). In 2011, they chose Honey Suckle (PANTONE 18-2120). And not two months ago, they chose Tangerine Tango (PANTONE 18-2120) for 2012.

I realize this may not be of any interest to anyone but me, but I totally dorked out over the coincidence. I suppose it pleased me so because it just reaffirmed what I already know – that all of my passions overlap in all sorts of unexpected ways. Graphic design trends spill into fashion trends, fashion trends leak into interior design trends, interior design trends influence graphic design trends, and so goes the cycle. To bring it back to the weekend winds we experienced, life is one creative, colourful tornado, and designers like me just stand in the middle of it. Hats off to Pantone for four years of solid colour choices, and hats off to me because, well, it’s still really windy.