Thursday, August 29, 2013

Double the trouble

I need another gift of olive foccacia bread. I've been unlucky twice now with theft. Someone nicked this blazer from our condo's party room when Nini and I stepped out onto the adjoining patio for a moment to snap pictures of another outfit. The entire area is only accessible to residents and their guests, so it felt close to home. I put up a sign (you know, of the lost puppy variety), out of desperation more than any genuine hope that I'll see it again. 

It feels doubly bittersweet that I only got the chance to wear it a handful of times, and I lost some colourful leather flower pins I'd bought in Thailand along with it. I haven't found a replacement anywhere, but Nini - who felt so badly when she heard - is going to keep an eye out for a similar version she saw at H&M next time she's in Toronto. Sigh. Here's hoping the person spills red wine all down the front the first time they wear it.


Dress - Gorman (last seen here)
Blazer - Banana Republic outlet
Shoes - Vince Camuto outlet
Necklace/Earrings - Thrifted
Earrings - Gift

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Island of misfit clothes # 7: The smocked green tunic


This piece was part of a loose-fitting top-buying frenzy, when I discovered at some point in my twenties that I prefer playing up my legs or my collarbone than my midsection.

Pros: This green is a good shade for my skin tone and eye colour. Smocking can do wonders for a smaller bust. The neckline can be yanked higher or lower depending on the occasion, and the top can also be worn off the shoulder. Someday (that is to say, in the as-yet-undefined future), it would be a great maternity top.

Cons: It can only be worn with a limited number of bottoms, such as leggings. All my leggings are black, and black and green doesn't really get my pulse racing. It doesn't look good tucked in and therefore isn't easily layerable, making it basically useless for Canada.

Solution: Wear with super-tight indigo jeans. Add silver jewellery and strappy silver sandals to make an otherwise autumnal colour combination more summery.

Top - Max Studio via Winners
Jeans - Forever 21
Shoes - Nine West outlet
Necklace - Ardene
Earrings - Gift

Monday, August 26, 2013

Jumping on the bandwagon

I'm shamelessly exploiting a couple of trends with this outfit: cobalt blue, sequins, blush, rose gold. On the plus side, I like that tucking the top into a pencil skirt gave it a different vibe from last time, when I wore it mostly untucked with white skinny jeans. On the other hand, I think the pairing of these colours worked better in theory than in reality. Give me the straight goods - yay or nea to cobalt and blush?


Skirt - BCBG outlet
Top - Kische via Winners (also here)
Shoes - Nine West outlet
Bracelets - Hand-me-down
Earrings - Gift

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cozy wrap sweater

Happy birthday to me! I didn't get a new outfit for the occasion; instead, I plan to wear a newly-shortened coral bridesmaid dress and fun jewellery. But since my big shopping day in Boston earlier this summer felt like three birthdays wrapped into one, I thought I'd do a post with a sweater I bought during that trip. It's ULTRA soft and can be wrapped a couple of different ways. Worn with leggings and ballet flats and cinched with a wide belt, I'm sure this will quickly become a go-to travel outfit.

When I was trying the sweater on in store, I immediately thought of the polyvore below, which I copied over from one of my pinterest boards. Incidentally, it's one of the most repinned pins from my account. No surprise there: after all, who can resist cozy comfort?


Beautiful wrap cardigan with leather closure
{The inspiration}

Sweater - Ted Baker outlet
Belt - Consigned (Ralph Lauren)
Leggings - Gap
Shoes - Vince Camuto outlet
Earrings - Zone

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Turning 30

Today's my last day as a twenty-something, but I'm not going to wax nostalgic about the past decade or get philosophical about turning 30. I will make a wish, and that's that the next 10 years be as soul-expanding as the past 10. I've worked really hard to build the life I now enjoy, but I couldn't have done it with the support of my loved ones - friends and family alike - behind me. And I'm very thankful for that.

 I'll be celebrating my birthday on a getaway weekend to Montreal planned by B. After a night of dining à deux, I'll get to spend Saturday morning at the spa, courtesy of my father-in-law. Then B and I will probably stroll around the city, and spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool hotel. Later that night we're meeting up with friends (I haven't been told who) for dinner and dancing. My family got in on the birthday action too, getting together with B to chip in to replace my stolen bike. Wishing you all a lovely weekend!


Leggings - Antistar via Winners
Cardigan - Laura
Belt - Bought in Australia
Shoes - Guess
Earrings - Handmade by my cousin
Sunglasses - Street vendor

Friday, August 23, 2013

Preppy pink and blue

A linen skirt and super-soft chambray shirt felt polished enough for work, but light enough to stand up to warm summer temps. I added my pearl collar necklace and camel ballet flats to keep with the preppy vibe. I wore this outfit again for my father-in-law's birthday dinner. B's hometown is in the country, so people dress pretty casually even in nice restaurants. I didn't want to overdress, but I also wanted to respect the occasion and I felt it struck a good balance between casual and dressy.  

The rolled sleeve style was inspired by an article called 7 Fashion Tips from a J Crew personal stylist. I rolled the sleeves once, then did another half-roll, for a more undone feel. 


Skirt - Banana Republic (last seen here)
Shirt - Thrifted (Ralph Lauren) (last seen here)
Necklace - Winners (also here)
Shoes - Vince Camuto outlet
Earrings - Gift
Clutch - Coach

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Graphic black, grey and yellow

Guys, I almost missed out on a whole season's worth of outfit blogging! This is the start of me making up for weeks of lost time before summer makes way for fall. Nini was sweet enough to come over and spend over an hour very patiently photographing 10 or so outfits I've worn at different times throughout the summer. This one was my favourite and the one that's the most 'me'. 

The jeans, black tank top and aviators create a slightly androgynous backdrop for graphic accessories: my favourite grey-and-black animal print scarf, a mustard yellow bag and disc-shaped mother-of-pearl earrings. The earrings have sentimental value as they were given to me for Christmas by my teenage male cousin, who choose them without any input from his sisters. He's a catch, that one! I wore this outfit for a Saturday night drinks on a patio with B and our volleyball teammate. 


Top - Winners
Scarf - Consigned
Jeans - Forever 21
Belt - Mexx

Shoes - Guess
Bag - Thrifted (Chloe)
Earrings - Gift
Sunglasses - Street vendor

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Banana-ricotta mash on English muffin

I used to be (in)famous in my family for eating anything but ordinary breakfast food. All throughout high school, I'd scrounge around in the fridge, looking for the previous night's leftover pasta, vegetable bake, roast chicken, hamburgers, you name it. And although I still like to tuck away a turkey dinner in the AM over the Christmas holidays, these days I stick to more traditional breakfast fare. Usually that means cereal with bran buds and pomegranate seeds, but sometimes oatmeal, toast and jam, or this banana-ricotta mash piled onto toasted English muffins. 

This recipe is a simplified version of a Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart cookbook recipe. (I'm not going to grate orange rind in the morning, or turn on my oven just to broil toast toppings). So this version is ridiculously easy to prepare.


To make, mash 1 ripe banana and 2T light ricotta cheese until combined but still slightly lumpy. Spoon over toasted English muffin halves. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a dash of ground cardamom. Drizzle with honey. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Baked cod with fresh herbs, lemon butter and olive foccacia breadcrumb topping

You know those days when something shitty happens, then you turn around and are suddenly on the receiving end of a random act of kindness?  Yeah, those moments are awesome. It may not compensate for the shitty thing, but it sure goes a long way to restoring your faith in humanity.

Shitty: My locked-up-in-a-public-area bike was stolen, my second such theft in as many years. Awesome: A neighbourhood gourmet sandwich shop comped me a free loaf of olive foccacia bread with my order, and on the same day my friend offered me a free ticket to a local event. 

A couple of days later, what remained of the foccacia loaf had hardened, so I pulverized it into breadcrumbs for this dish. I didn't toast them in advance; they browned as the cod baked. The salty olives added a nice flavour to the mild and moist cod.


To make, finely chop one large handful each of whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. I  used marjoram, thyme and dill. Grate the rind of one lemon. Melt 4T butter, stir in 2T lemon juice and brush onto four filets of cod. Top with chopped herbs, grated lemon rind and breadcrumbs. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Season to taste.

We ate this with steamed broccoli and a wild and brown rice blend.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Raspberry-pineapple zinger

I love fruit, but sometimes I find the idea of eating it whole ...unappealing. Smoothies are a tasty alternative, but it's easy to lose track of all the extra sugar and fat in them. Cue this light, refreshing zinger of a drink with a hint of ginger. I've never been one for fizzy drinks, but I could handle this subdued version. Plus it's ridiculous easy to make: blend 2/3 cup chopped pineapple, 1/3 cup raspberries, 330mL Perrier water and 1T grated ginger. That's it! Sip and enjoy.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Prosciutto-wrapped scallops on creamy polenta with wilted spinach

This is the second recipe I made using giant scallops (see the first one here). I adapted this recipe by making the polenta creamier and brushing the prosciutto with maple syrup, and skipping the white wine sauce. 

If I made this again, I wouldn't use the sage because I find the flavour too strong for the delicate scallops. The dish had a nice mix of textures, but it felt like it needed another standout flavour, though not something that would overwhelm the scallops. Maybe I should have kept the white wine sauce? Or substituted sundried tomatoes for the blistered cherry tomatoes? Or added some confit lemon? Any suggestions?


To make polenta, bring 1-3/4 cup milk, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup light cream and a bay leaf to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1-3/4 cup cornmeal and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Season to taste. Spread polenta into a 9 x 5" baking dish and let sit and harden for about 30 minutes. Using a pizza roller, cut into 6 slices. Brush both side with olive oil, then saute over medium-high heat for about two minutes per side. 

Heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add 4 very large handfuls of raw spinach leaves and a bit of water. Cook until just wilted, stirring occasionally. Squeeze out excess liquid.

Brush six prosciutto slices with maple syrup, then roll each slice around a scallop, maple-side in. Slide three scallops onto a wooden bamboo skewer, alternating with cherry tomatoes. Wrap the ends in foil to avoid burning. Broil or grill the skewers over high heat for 4-5 minutes, turning once. 

To serve, heap wilted spinach onto 2 polenta slices, and top with the scallop skewer.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Snakeskin and a perfect blazer

The weather for 90% of the days of this summer can be summed up as: hot, sticky, and windy with threatening thunderstorms.  This week we're enjoying a reprieve (Blue skies! Cool nights!). You can tell these photos were taken last week by the second photo, where my blazer looks like it's about to take off on a stiff breeze! Thankfully, it didn't, because I've been on a hunt for a 'perfect black blazer' for as long as I can remember. 

I was looking for something tailored but comfortable, in a true black hue, that could be dressed up or down. This one from Banana Republic fit the bill; unfortunately, the photos don't do it justice. I was drawn to the lapel-free neckline - it's less reminiscent of a suit jacket. Plus, the stretchy fabric is great for travel. A couple of weeks later, I spotted a cream version at the outlets near Boston and promptly snatched it up. The price was right too - $80 with a 50% off friends and family discount for the black one, and $100 for the cream one.

Do you have a perfect blazer? Where did you find it? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!


Pants - Calvin Klein outlet
Blazer - Banana Republic
Blouse - Old Navy
Shoes - Guess via Winners
Pin - Consigned
Earrings - Gift