Archives For February 2013

Predictable Peplums

February 25, 2013 — 39 Comments

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I don’t usually eat my lunch in the staff room. This isn’t because I don’t like my fellow staff (I do!). It’s because I’m a graphic designer, and graphic designers are essentially trolls that live inside caves built out of monitors and reams of paper. We emerge from these caves for three reasons: to pee, to glean snacks from the Birthday treat table, or to go home. When it comes to our precious lunch hours, we allocate that time to catching up on what happened on the internet in the morning, because that’s just what designers do. But occasionally, I’ll bring a lunch that requires heat, and I’ll peel myself away from Buzzfeed to heat up yesterday’s leftovers in the staff room microwave. The nice thing about only using theĀ  staff room on an occasional basis is that the magazine stock pile always seems fresh.Today’s outfit has me reflecting on an exchange that took place in this very context.

One this particular day, me and my soggy left-overs crawled out of the cave towards the staff room. I was pleasantly surprised by a new (to me) stack of In Style magazines. As I casually flipped through the pages, I came across a spread of very flamboyant printed pants, forecasted as the next big thing. A fellow employee leaned over and said, with utter disdain, “Ugh, I don’t like these”. I replied, with annoying assurance, “You will.”

This person probably found my ominous, confident prediction insulting (and unnerving, as it was delivered in a weird troll monotone). She probably thought “Um, you’re not even a regular down here. You haven’t even contributed to the book swap. I’ve seen you take books and I’ve never seen you put any back in. How do YOU know I’ll like printed pants, cave troll!?” If that were in fact her response, it would be totally justified. But, dear fellow employee, I speak from personal experience! Behold my polka dot peplum dress:

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See, last year, when the peplum first became a thing, I was all “That’s weird. I don’t like it. Too 80s.” But slowly (predictably) I saw bloggers making it work, I saw one pop up on my girl Emma Stone, and I saw how it could disguise the fact that I eat Ruffles by the bag. Thus, suddenly (predictably) I wanted a peplum as much as I wanted another bag of sweet salty Ruffles.

Like the denim shirts and pleated skirts that preceded it, the peplum moved from something I resisted to something I wanted in my wardrobe. That just how fashion works. Those sneaky powers that be tell us we’ll suffer inside leather pants, and we think they’re crazy, but the next thing you know we’re all pulling a Ross in the washroom. So, fellow employee who’s fortune I tried to read, I don’t know if you’ll ever warm to printed pants. Perhaps you will forever find them ugly and distracting, but it’s more likely you’ll realize how well they disguise the crumbs from your bag of Ruffles and warm right up to them.

There are many people that will forever deny the influence designers and magazine editors have over their tastes. They’ll remain pre-makeoever Devil Wears Prada Anne Hathaways. That’s OK. I, on the other hand, welcome these fashionable overlords with glee, because they’ll never hold sway over my wallet. They may influence what I like, but they’re not going to profit from it. The Salvation Army, on the other hand, is taking the $3.50 it got from me for this peplum dress, and laughing all the way to bank. And in return, I’m happy to keep them laughing, because at least it gets me out of my cave.

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Dress: Salvation Army | $3.50
Belt: Salvation Army | $0.99
Bag: Talize | $8.99
Booties: Talize | $12.99

Bossy Pants

February 14, 2013 — 14 Comments

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Apparently, I was a bossy kid. My husband might tell you that I’m also a bossy grown-up, but it’sĀ Valentine’s Day, so we won’t go there. At one point, my Dad even bestowed upon me the nickname “The Little Boss”. Personally, I would have preferred “The Little Princess,” so I could run away with The Little Prince, but I soon learned you can’t marry a cartoon. My sister Laura learned a similar lesson about computer game characters when she realized that Commander Keen would never be her boyfriend. Man, I loved that game…Where was I going with this again? Right! Bossy kid!

I was a bossy kid, and today, I’m feeling a little bossy once again. This bossiness comes from my dress, although this dress almost didn’t make it home. See, when I thrift, I’m usually a very decisive shopper. When the change room is about to bust open with 23 different garments, one must learn to say “yes” or “no” pretty quickly. Occasionally, though, I can’t make up my mind, and when I can’t make up my mind, I ask my Instagram followers to make it up for me. While I loved the way this 80s purple dress gathered in the front, and draped in the back, I wasn’t sure if it was 80s in the good way or bad. So, I posed the question to my fellow Instagrammers. The responses were mostly “80s good!” and one response in particular sealed the deal for me: “Very Judith Light.” Suddenly, the leafy opening credits of Who’s the Boss? passed before my eyes, and I thought “Oh what the heck, I’ll get the dress.”

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For those of you who weren’t raised on TV, Judith Light portrayed Angela Bower inĀ Who’s the Boss? For reasons I can’t explain, I’ve seen more than a few episodes of this show, even though the whole thing sort of creeped me out. I didn’t like Tony, I didn’t like Angela, and Mona just made me flat-out uncomfortable. Who’s the Boss? occupied this weird space in my childhood pop-cultural formation of TV shows I didn’t like, but watched anyway. My parents didn’t get home until 6, so I HAD to watch as much TV as possible before then.

Sure, we all loved Full House, Boy Meets World, Fresh Prince, and Saved by the Bell, and I’d still watch all of those shows in reruns, but those shows were the cream of the 90s child crop. On the other side of the pog, there were a whole host of lesser shows; shows like Who’s the Boss?, Sister Sister, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, and The Nanny.Ā I’d bet more than a few Beanie Baby Trading Cards that many others in my generation also wasted precious hours of their youths on these lesser shows. We did not like these shows. We did not look forward to their presence on the screen, and yet, we can still recall particular episodes from all of them. What was in the mid-90s water that convinced all of North America to let Fran Drescher be a thing? I don’t know, I just don’t know.

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But here we are. I’m in a dress that could very easily go “Full Angela,” if I blew out my hair and kept in the shoulder pads. Oddly enough, that’s the reason I bought it. So maybe this is my way of reclaiming all the hours I wasted on not caring about Tony and Angela’s chemistry. I may never get back that time, but at least I got myself a pretty sweet dress out of it. And that makes me a Boss.

…Now I just have to find a way to reclaim the hours spent on Teen Angel. Yikes.

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P.S.: These pictures were taken on the one-year anniversary of meeting my best blogger friend (BBF?) Jentine. When I started blogging, I thought I’d have some fun, but I never thought I’d end up with a real-life friend that I intend to keep long after blogs die off and fashion is replaced by silver space suits. Yen, you love cheese and cats and thrifting as much (and maybe more) than I do. For all those reasons and more, I love you. Cheers to many more years of removing the cat hair off each others’ vintage blazers.

Setting the Table

February 6, 2013 — 10 Comments

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In my last post, I mentioned I was taking a little break from thrifting clothing. While I’ll be back to it very soon, I’ve made some substantial steps in terms of keeping the habit in check. For one, I went to the thrift store with my sisters with the sole intention of helping them find clothing, without finding anything for moi. And I succeeded! It was fun. I was like a personal shopper. Except now, every time Adele wears here cool new two-toned sweater with a zipper on the back, I stroke it and whisper “You could of been mine. She better be treating you right.” Minor creepy tendencies aside, that was fairly momentous. The other victory came when I went to Valu Village strictly for housewares. I blew right pass their many racks of clothing, and came out with exactly what I needed – a new look for my dining room.

The trip to Valu Village was a calculated decision. I find most of their clothing to be very overpriced, but they still have the largest selection of housewares, thus I knew I could get what I needed from them with minimal temptation to add to my closet. My mission came about after Matt and I invited some friends for dinner. Most of the time, when we entertain, I just assume they’ll be sated with wine and cheese like myself, and we avoid the dining room all together. This time, however, we were having an actual meal, so I needed to address the blank space that was to house our food, and that’s just what I did:

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First off, it’s a bit of a misnomer to call this space our “dining room”. It’s really just a corner in between our kitchen and living room, large enough for a table, with only two walls to call its own. I’ve neglecting this space in terms of decorating, so it was a blank canvas. Sure, one wall is blue, and one is taupe, but other than that, there were no motifs or colours I had to match. So, I searched through the table settings with a very open mind.

At first, I sifted through the table cloths, in hopes something would jump out. It didn’t, so I moved right along. Not long after, I picked up a brand-new (with tags) table runner. The lighter blue was a nice (albeit not perfect) match to the wall, and I loved the clean, retro print. I then found a whack of circular place mats (also with tags) in the very same navy as the modules on the runner. I loved that they not only matched the runner in colour, but also in shape.

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With those two items in place, I went back to the table cloths. I thought about searching for a solid white one, but then I remembered how much I spill on myself and nixed that idea. I was about to settle on a vintage seafoam one, as it was a perfect match to the runner, when this heavy striped cloth popped out. Not only did it have the seafoam from the runner, but all sorts of other purples, blues, and greens as well. I also liked how the stripes tied in with the runner. This table cloth would work with the pieces currently in my cart, and leave the door option for other coordinating pieces in the future. Perfect! From there, I did what I always do: Buy a bunch of flowers and a big loaf of bread.

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This mini-transformation is perfectly reflective of the approach to home decor that I’ve already taken on this blog. I don’t have the time or the coin to do anything big or dramatic, so I focus in on the small spaces – the corners, nooks, and crannies. In this way, my approach to home decor is right on par with my approach to fashion. I don’t always have a grand idea or vision in mind, but I know what I like (and what Matt will let me get away with). So that’s the way I set my table – bit by bit, piece by piece, until something comes together.

Now I just have to figure out how to apply this formula to food, because a pretty table is only as good as the food that’s on it. Unless you’re in the movie Hook, in which case you could just imagine all your table settings, too. Bangarang!