Thursday, December 01, 2011

Searching for the words....

I have decided to take a brief interlude from blogging to grieve and to support B following the passing of his mother, a wonderful woman who was taken from him far too young.

I really struggled with whether and how to communicate such personal news publicly, but was given B's support to do so. I've learned over the past few months what a supportive and caring community this is, and have shared in others' joys and, occasionally, sorrows. The fact that I have come to consider some of you virtual friends helped me realize that it was important to me to explain my absence.

Please keep B and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
I look forward to a return under happier circumstances.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pulled barbecue chicken sandwiches

Mmm, mmm, mmm!! I love me some moist chicken, slow cooked in a tangy-and-sweet sauce, piled on a piece of crunchy bread, and topped with melting, gooey cheese.

If your taste buds are drooling right now, you can thank LV of Food, Fashion and Flow, because her recipe is what started all this. Her version combines bottled barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire. In mine, I made the barbecue sauce from scratch and omitted the Worcestershire (since I'd already included it in my barbecue sauce).

To make sauce, saute 1/4 cup chopped sweet onions in oil until brown. Add 1 cup red pepper chilli spread, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 T vinegar, 2 T brown sugar, 1 T Worcestershire sauce, 1 T mustard, 1/2 T dry mustard,  1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sweet or hot paprika and 1/4 tsp pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes. Combine this mixture with 1/2 cup Italian dressing and 1/4 cup brown sugar. 

Place 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts in crockpot. Pour sauce over chicken and cook on high for 3 hours. Take fork and shred chicken. Then reduce to low and cook one more hour.

Serve open-faced on crusty bread. You can also top with grated marble cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes, as I did below.  

To all the American readers, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Warming up to fall with a 'borrowed' dog

These photos were taken by my darling friend Michèle, who happily volunteered during a poker night at a friend's place recently. Since we were staying in, I chose to wear cozy separates - a faux fur-lined puffy down vest, a cashmere-blend bell-sleeved tunic sweater (bought on mega-sale last Boxing Day), liquid leggings and faux-shearling booties. Because my outfit already had a lot of different textures, I stuck to a more neutral colour palette - right down to my new taupe nail polish. The dog in the last two photos had the most gentle temperament; I couldn't resist getting a few shots with her.

So Brad finally revealed my birthday surprise this weekend, which was a getaway to my old university town. We stayed in a cute hotel room with a fireplace, window-shopped along the picturesque main street, and went for a long walk in a conservation area I didn't know existed (I saw my first beaver in nature!). There was a second surprise when a couple we're good friends with drove in from yet another city to join us for a fantastic dinner at a lakeside restaurant followed by drinks. Brad put a lot of thought and effort into the weekend and I was absolutely thrilled. Love you sweetie!


Top - Jacob
Pants - Thifted (Madonna)
Vest - Consigned (Mexx)
Bag - Danier Leather
Shoes - Sirens (also here)
Necklace - Gifted (also here)
Silver ring - Winners
Black ring - Le Chateau

For this post, I'm linking up with Silverstyle's Trending Through the Decades - Tunic Edition

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sunny yellow for a grey day

The bright yellow of my wool/acrylic skirt cheered me up one recent dreary grey morning. Instead of toning down the colour, I took inspiration from the circus and went with coral jewellery and bold stripes. This skirt is the second of the two I thrifted in the 2.50 euros sale in Bratislava (see the first here). One of the fun parts of thrift shopping is discovering previously unknown labels, then googling them to get a better sense of the quality and price point. This skirt is by Caroll, a French company with stores in Europe, Japan, the Middle East and North Africa, so I'm hoping I won't spot it on anyone else in Ottawa.  

This weekend B's taking me away for a belated surprise birthday celebration. I can't wait to see what he has planned! Then we're having dinner with my family to celebrate my grandmother and brother's birthdays. For my grandma's birthday, we got a card sent from the Prime Minister's office which is a standard, free service for Canadians. She was over-the-moon and promptly replaced a framed picture of the family with it in her living room. Thing is, she thinks the Prime Minister himself decided to send it and we don't have the heart to correct her. Why? Because she shares a maiden name with our city's mayor and at her age that's reason enough. Ever mindful of good manners, she sent a lengthy thank you letter...addressed to the premier of our province. 

{Summer remix option: Wear blazer over a light floral sundress with chunky boots.} 

Blazer - Thrifted (George) (also here)
Tank - RW & Co.
Skirt - Thrifted (Caroll)
Tights - Costco
 Necklace - Dynamite
Shoes - Guess via Winners

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I almost didn't buy this top when I found it at my local thrift store, but nautical stripes in a red-white-and-navy colour combination are utterly classic. I get compliments whenever I wear it. A easy DIY would be to add red or gold decorative buttons along one or both shoulders of a striped top. I played up the marine element with flat-front grey wool pants with dual zippers, gold accessories, and a yellow bag. I tied a coordinating scarf to my bag rather than around my neck so I wouldn't conceal the cute buttons.

I hope everyone took a moment to remember our veterans and those on active duty around the world yesterday.

Top - Thrifted (Nautica)
Pants - Mexx
Shoes- Sirens
Bag - Thrifted (Chloe)
Scarf - from clothing swap
Necklace - Thrifted (Jones New York)
Watch - from my dad's closet
Earrings - Gifted
Ring - Coach

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

EBEW: Coloured tights

The building N and I work in has no shortage of textured walls and interesting background elements, like this indoor tree. The problem is the lack of privacy. It's a bad place for bloggers. And people seeking to indulge in illicit office romances, come to think of it. As N was taking my pictures, I thought I'd ever so nonchalantly lean against the tree. A whole bunch of leaves came raining down, which caused everyone in the vicinity to turn in our direction. Awkward! I tried to camouflage myself but my Bordeaux-coloured tights and burnt orange cardigan didn't help my cause. If work is less busy next week and the warm(ish) weather holds up, I'm hoping we can get a few outdoor photos.

{I've always liked wearing this sarong as a scarf. LV does this too}

{Pintuck detailing on the cardigan.}

Dress - Calvin Klein via Winners (also here and here)
Cardigan - Veronika Maine (also here
Sarong - Gifted from Hawaii
Belt - Club Monaco
Tights - American Apparel
Shoes - Old Navy 
 Earrings - Walmart
Bracelet - Le Chateau

Everybody, Everywear: Colored Tights

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Best form of flattery inspiration challenge

For this post, I'm linking up with Something Old Meets Something New for the second edition of her Best Form of Flattery challenge. Every Sunday, she provides an inspiration photo from which we create our own look. I suggested using another blogger's outfit as the basis for the inspiration photo, and to my delight, she agreed! This week's layered look comes courtesy of Atlantic Pacific. You can see her outfit, and my recreation, side-by-side below. This challenge was fun and it helped me visualize an outfit  I doubt I would have put together otherwise, even when I was racking my brain during my military vest 8-way remix. It did take a couple of tries. I swapped in and out a denim button-down and tried on my shiny black brogues before settling on my blue-grey suede boots. The final result is something I could definitely see myself wearing the spring.

{I tied the belt from my dress around the hat.}

Dress - Forever 21 (also here)
Top - Thrifted (Zara) (also here)
Vest - Calvin Klein via Winners (also here and here)
Boots - Le Chateau (also here)
Hat - Thrifted (also here and here)
Earrings - Le Chateau
Ring - Coach
Watch - from my Dad's closet
Bracelets - Aakriti Designs, Claire's and gifted

I'm linking up with Spunky Chateau's Thursdays are for Thrifters Link Party and Silverstyle's Trending Through the Decades - Accessories version.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Fall watercolours

This is not my week for photo quality. The LCD screen on my camera broke during our Europe trip, so until I can get it fixed we're resorting to the viewfinder. Also N and I have been too busy to get any outdoor shots. Bear with me - my next few posts will be the same. 

On a positive note, N found an (indoor) wall that coordinated nicely with my top. Other things that made me happy were my top's upright collar and alternating lace ruffles, and generally feeling lady-like in this outfit.

Skirt - Mexx (also here)
Shirt - Adiva via Laura
Shoes - Guess
Bag - Gifted (Dooney and Burke)
Watch - from my Dad's closet
Bracelet - Le Chateau

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween colours

I've mentioned that skirts are one of my hardest items to shop for, but I've surprised myself on a couple of occasions recently. A 50% sale at a secondhand store in Bratislava was not where I expected to find not one but two skirts: this rust-coloured, tulip-shaped H&M one, and a wool-blend bright yellow knit skirt made in Italy (tip: clothing made in highly-developed countries tends to be of a higher quality. Checking the tag is good practice). I happily forked over five euros, said 'Dakujem!' - the extent of my Sloviakian vocab -  and prayed the airline wouldn't lose my luggage before I had a chance to wear them.

I meant to wear my jacket and scarf for the photos N took, so I ended up taking a few extra shots at home.  The jury's in: I suck at self-portraits. All the photos came out super-dark so I had to edit the brightness rather gratuitously. I have a new-found appreciation for others who take their own photos. I also suck at remembering to wear a dark bra under a black shirt, so this post comes with a side serving of wardrobe malfunction. Trick or treat!

Jacket - Danier Leather
Scarf - Gifted from Turkey
Skirt - Thrifted (H&M)
Turtleneck - Jacob
Tights - Winners 
Shoes - Lela Rose for Payless
Bag - Leo Monk
Necklace - Aakriti Designs (also here)
Earrings - Gifted

I'm linking up with Spunky Chateau's Thursdays are for Thrifters Link Party and Silverstyle's Trending Through the Decades. Check them out!