Monday, August 18, 2014

Intimidation factor

This dress kind of intimidates me. This dress is the kind that could swallow me up. The shiny polyester fabric is unforgiving, and the bold print daunting against fair skin. I find that strong accessories help stand up to it. Not unlike a Shiraz paired with game meat. Instead of toning things down - say with soft waves - I decided to just go for it: gold accessories, a slick bun and pointy buckled stilettos. To see how I've previously conquered this dress, but in fall temps, click here.

xx










Dress - Ripe Collection (also here)
Shoes - Aldo
Belt - Consigned
Earrings, bracelet - Hand me downs

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Working hipster?

When my coworker spotted me arriving at work, he proclaimed, 'Hey Kat, you look like a hipster!' With nary an ironic tee, pair of skinny mom jeans or off-label stitch of clothing in sight. I think it's my urban zip code. But I don't have a better description of this pencil skirt-crochet top-waterfall cardigan combo, so we'll call it working hipster.

xx












 
Top -
5/48 via Saks
Skirt - Femme de Carriere
Cardigan - Laura
Hat - Forever 21
Bag - Dooney and Burke
Shoes - Aldo via thrift store
Necklace - Hand me down
Bracelets - Aldo Accessories
Watch - Kenneth Cole

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The colour <-> neutral spectrum

Over the past couple of months, I've received some nice compliments about my fearlessness with colour. In many ways I'm not a big risk-taker when it comes to fashion, but I am proud to have sported a colour wheel's worth of hues. For those interested in a little trip down memory lane, some of the more vibrant ones can be found here, here and here. In an upcoming post, I'll show how just a little colour can go a long way. 

After a dip in the rainbow pool, black and white can be a refreshing change, especially on a silhouette with clean lines. 

Where do your outfits typically fall on the colour<->neutral spectrum?

xx







Jeans - Guess
Blazer - Banana Republic
Tank - DKNY
Glasses - Marc O'Polo
Bracelet - BHLDN

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A cobalt sundress for a cottage wedding

Earlier this summer Brad and I attended a wedding at a cottage. The bride is very laid-back and I knew there would be a bit of a hippie vibe to the day. I'd worn my boho best to her hippie-themed bachelorette, but I tried to keep things casual in a sundress with slightly mod vibe. I'm not crazy about the final effect. It could be the bad hair day, the fascinator that now seems slightly out-of-place, or the flat footwear (which was me acquiescing to the reality of navigating a sloping lawn after dark). We'll chalk this one up as a win...for the red heart-shaped sunglasses from a photo booth dress-up box.

xx







Dress - Hermes
Fascinator - La Vie en Rose
Sandals - Ann Taylor
Bracelet - ?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Unfussy

These photos date back to the spring, before I became a Mrs. In the lead-up to the wedding, simplicity reigned. My to-do list was too long to fuss about what to wear every morning, so I turned in a lot of outfits like these - black pencil skirt, black pumps and a simple blouse with small gold epaulette detailing to match the exposed skirt zipper. A rare  time-out for blog photos breathed some normalcy into those final days!

xx






Top - Velvet Heart via Winners
Skirt - Zara
Shoes - Liz Claiborne
Earrings - Hand-me-down
Watch - Kenneth Cole

Friday, August 08, 2014

TGIF

I bought these jeans with summertime casual Fridays at the office in mind. Dark washes don't seem right in July, and it's easy to get away with a more laid-back look when half the staff is on holidays anyway. A sequined top with a sheer panel takes this outfit right into the weekend, but a cream blazer keeps it office-appropriate until happy hour. 

xx







Jeans - Joe's via Saks
Blazer - H&M
Top - Kische via Winners (previously here)
Belt - Ann Taylor
Sandals - Ann Taylor
Bracelets - Aldo Accessories

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Jumpsuit halvsies

This top used to belong to a jumpsuit, until I got fed up and cut it in half. Allow me to impart some wisdom from my first jumpsuit-buying experience
1) Make sure bottom half isn’t made of a weightier material than the upper half. To wit: A constant downward tug, even after bringing it to a seamstress for elastic reinforcement around the waist. Result: Self-consciousness as I strode up one of Quebec City’s famously steep hills ahead of a group of visiting international researchers, imaging their eyes zeroing in on my increasingly saggy bottom. Taking increasingly large strides in a pitiful attempt to compensate. 
2) Make sure the clasps fasten and unfasten easily. To wit: three of the smallest buttons known to man, lined up right on the back of the neck. Result: A 10-minute panic session in a Quebec City washroom, with the (same) researchers waiting for me to head to our next meeting. Breaking into a sweat as time ticks by and I can’t get the jumpsuit fastened again. Finally emerge with my blazer thrown over one triumphantly done-up button. Decide to not go the Bridget Jones route with an elaborate fib, and fess up to the reason for my awkwardly-long absence. Yes, these are first-world problems. But no, clothes shouldn’t give you that much trouble. And yes, this experience broke the ice in the way only shared embarrassment can.
The worst part is, because the bottoms were black and the top rose-coloured, most people didn’t even realize the outfit was a one-piece, which defeats the purpose. Anyways, I’m much happier to wear the top on its own. I do love the look of a good jumpsuit and I may dip my toes in the water again some day. If and when I do, I’ll be glad for my newfound knowledge.
xx






Top - Zara (originally a jumpsuit)
Shorts - Forever 21
Shoes - Guess
Earrings - Le Chateau

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Roasted sweet potato and chickpea salad with couscous, vegetables and honey-chile dressing


Not long ago, I wrote about my efforts to counter weekend summer indulgences with wholesome salads. I adapted this recipe from one printed in a recent issue of Style at Home magazine. I omitted the lentils, substituted different vegetables, and swapped sambal oelek in for harissa paste. I have to say, I liked this way better than the salade ni├žoise. Sweet and tangy flavours get me every time. And as someone who’s pretty liberal with sauces, marinades and dressings, this packed a lot of punch without an excess of dressing. Brad gave this an enthusiastic two thumbs (vegetarians, take note).

xx



To make dressing, whisk together 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 3T apple cider vinegar, 2T honey, 2T orange juice, 1T Russian-style mustard, 1T orange zest, 2 tsp sambal oelek, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom and 1/2 tsp salt. 

Peel and dice 2 sweet potatoes into 1" cubes. Toss with 2/3 of the dressing. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drain 1 can of chickpeas and toss with remaining dressing. Spread in a single layer on another baking sheet. Wrap 3 beets in foil. Roast sweet potatoes, chickpeas and beets at 375F for 40 minutes. 

While potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, cook 1 cup dry couscous according to package directions. Boil 2 cobs of corn for 2-3 minutes. Let cool, then cut corn away from cob. Finely slice 3 green onions.

Once beets have cooked, remove skin and dice in 1/2" cubes. 

In a large serving bowl, gently toss couscous, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, beets, corn and green onion with 1/2 cup of pine nuts. Serve warm, and spinkle mint leaves over top before serving. 



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hakuna matata

Deciding what to wear to a wedding taking place at a zoo was surprisingly easy - my flowy jungle-print maxi dress. I added a green stone earrings-and-pendant set handed down to me from my grandmother. A coral clutch and toenail polish picked up more of the colours in the print on the dress. It was a hot and humid day so I kept my hair off my face in a stylized tri-pony inspired by Blake Lively (see the inspiration photo here). 

xx









Hakuna matata is a Swalihi phrase meaning 'no worries'. It was popularized by The Lion King movie.


You have to be hakuna matata to get married with a baby belly that looks like this! To everyone's relief, their baby girl did not make her arrival until five days after the wedding. 


There were lots of cute animals at the zoo, like this alpaca....


Or these giraffes.


Monkey faces!


A short sleeve knit cardigan kept me warm through dinner.


Dress - Ted Baker outlet
Cardigan - Veronika Maine (most recently here)
Earrings and pendant - grandmother's closet
Bracelets - Aldo accessories and Toronto boutique
Clutch - Coach
Pumps - Guess
Sunglasses - Winners