Wednesday, June 29, 2011

These boots are made for walking

This outfit is a little bit o' country in the city. I don't think real cowgirls carry purses. Or wear white boots or makeup. But it's still fun to play out the fantasy and these boots actually made an appearance in a country music video - so there we go. Whenever I wear these out I get random compliments from people in the street. Usually gay men. When the gays are on board, you know you've got some fun footwear going on. B, on the other hand....well let's just say I brought home a question from a bachelorette party game that goes 'If you could get rid of one thing I own, what would it be?' These boots came a close second to this hat. My answer? His Toronto Maple Leafs wastebasket, towel, blanket, hat, unmentionables...but we put up with it ;) That's called love, people.


There's no particular reason we're taking these pictures in front of this store.
It was dusk and we were just trying to beat the bugs.

Shorts - Talula
Black tank - Club Monaco
Sequined tank - Club Monaco
Vest - Carolina K. Morgan (Australia)
Boots - Oak Tree Farms (Winners)
Necklace - ? (Australia)
Purse - Hongmei Wang (Vietnam)
Sunglasses - Boathouse
Earrings - Walmart
Bracelets - Thrifted

Monday, June 27, 2011

Salad on a Stick party appetizer

I attended a party where we were asked to bring an appetizer, but told to 'think outside the box'. Inspired by something similar I'd seen in a magazine, I decided to bring bite-sized salad on a stick. For my take on it, I threaded romaine lettuce, store-bought rotisserie chicken, bacon and mini cubes of Parmigiano Reggiano onto toothpicks. The dip was store-bought Caesar salad dressing, refreshed with squirt of lemon juice and some roasted garlic.

A variation on this is cherry tomatoes, mini bocconcini and basil leaves, served with an olive oil and balsamic dressing for dipping.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Statement bib necklace

In keeping with my recent theme of clean lines and modern silhouettes, I planned this outfit around a statement black crystal bib necklace. I added a touch of colour to monochromatic greys, silvers and blacks with an orangey-red lipstick.

I'd been passively looking for a statement necklace for months beforehand. Being a grad student at the time, I wasn't willing to spend a lot, but didn't want anything that looked really cheap either. I finally found this one in the markets in Thailand for $15. It's a quick and easy way to dress up an otherwise plain outfit, and I also like to wear it peeking out from a brightly-coloured collared shirt. The crystals are sewn onto a piece of fabric so the necklace lays flat.

And now for my next trick...

Sheath dress – Calvin Klein (Winners) (also seen here)
Necklace – Thailand markets
Shoes – Guess (Winners)
Bracelet – Le Chateau
Earrings – Steelex

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pork tenderloin stuffed with candied pecans, dried figs and blue cheese

To make pork:
I followed this recipe for the pork, but substituted their thyme/garlic/cayenne/apricot/cheese filling with my own. To make filling, chop a handful each of dried figs and sugar-and-spice pecans (see recipe for pecans below) and add about 1/4 cup crumbled mild blue cheese.

I served the pork with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed asparagus on the side.

Sugar-and-spice pecans (recipe adapted from InStyle magazine):
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, beat 2 egg whites until frothy. Add 2 T sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 1/2 tsp cayenne.  Stir in 2 1/2 cups of pecan halves. Lightly coat a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the pecans in a single layer and bake 10 minutes. Sprinkle pecans with another 2 T sugar, then bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool, then store in an airtight container. These are great to put out when you're entertaining and can also punch up an ordinary salad during busy weeks.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another work outfit

(Inspiringly original title, eh? Took me all day to come up with it)

MyEdit's great post on thrifting silk button-down shirts coincided with an upcoming trip to Value Village. I hit the shirt rack as soon as I arrived and quickly found this ivory-coloured one with the original tags attached. Silk is a wonderfully luxurious fabric that drapes magnificently, can be layered without awkward bunching, and feels great against your skin. I layered it under a cowl-neck knit shirt and paired it with a plaid teal-and-brown wool skirt.

Silk Shirt – Thrifted (Jalouzie)
Brown top - Dynamite
Belt - ? (Sydney) (also seen here)
Skirt – Hand-me-down (Banana Republic)
Shoes – Elie Tahari (Winners) (also seen here)
Earrings – Vietnam markets

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Swapped LBD

Posting an all-black outfit consisting of a dress, heels and simple jewellery feels a little  sinful, by blogger standards. Where's the overload of accessories? The colourful pants? The artful layering?  To that I quote: "I do want to express myself, ok? And I don't need 37 pieces of flair to do it." Calculated restraint can still deliver a punch, and you run less risk of your outfit wearing YOU.

I wore this little number to a friend's moving away party after scoring it during a clothing swap. I've been to two swaps now, and despite being different sizes everyone has always managed to leave with at least a couple of items. Asking people to bring unwanted accessories - shoes, bags, jewellery, belts, sunglasses, scarves - can also be a fun way of getting around sizing issues. At the end of the swap, we donated all the unclaimed pieces to a recent refugee from Haiti. Doing good for your wallet, the environment, your closet, your friends *and* a random stranger = warm and fuzzies all around.

See pictures and read more about our swap on EF Magazine online. This up-and-coming Ottawa-based magazine is dedicated to sustainable fashion - check it out!


I'm still surprised my grandmother ever owned this!

Dress – Seductions (via clothing swap)
Earrings – ? (Sydney) (also seen here)
Shoes – Guess (Winners)
Ring – Le Chateau
Purse - from my grandmother's closet

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not your grandma's boucle jacket

When I put on this outfit, I spent a good long minute looking in the mirror and deciding whether I looked overgrown in it, arms and legs sprouting everywear. But then again, I was that girl in the back row of every single class picture with all the boys, so I'm used to contemplating my height - albeit with much less alarm than during my pre-teen years. Anyways, I decided that bracelet-length sleeves and cropped pants are great for showing off jewellery and shoes, and the cropped length is more suited for the casual vibe of summer.

A wool boucle jacket is a good officewear staple. You don't have to invest in a matching bottom, and it instantly injects separates with a dose of classic sophistication. Look for well-cut jackets with one or two fun details, like the dark piping in this thrifted version. To pick up the colours in the blazer, I wore it with a salmon pink cami, grey satiney pants and gold ballerina flats. A remix option is a leather skirt with a loose white tee and a chain-strap bag.

Jacket – Thrifted (urchin)
Tank –  Banana Republic
Pants – Jacob (also seen here)
Shoes – Lela Rose (Payless)
Necklace – Ottawa craft show

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beef stirfry with black bean sauce

I made the rice according to the package directions but substituted half the water for beef broth. While the rice was cooking, I made the stir-fry sauce. I combined a couple of tablespoons of prepared black bean sauce mixed with 1 T cornstarch, 1 T water, 1/4 cup beef broth, 1 T sherry, 2 T soy sauce, and a bit of garlic (feel free to be lazy like me and use the prepared stuff) and grated ginger in a bowl and stirred well. 

A tip if you’re using a store-bought sauce for a recipe is to check the list of ingredients, and if you have a fresh version of any of them on hand - lemon rind, garlic, cilantro etc -  add a little to your dish. It will freshen the taste while still saving you time.

I washed and chopped my vegetables and set aside. I used onions, oyster mushrooms, broccoli, green beans and bok choy but any combination would do.

I cut the beef sirloin into strips, then sprinkled with pepper (no salt as there was enough in the sauce). I heated a small amount of sesame oil over med-high heat in a pan until quite hot. Test it by flicking a drop of water into the pan – it should sizzle right away. Then I cooked the strips of sirloin quickly, about 1-2 minutes per side so they were still pink inside. I set aside the beef, turned down the heat down slightly, and added a little more oil. I added the vegetables to the pan, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook. You can steam them for the first few minutes by placing a lid over your pan. Once the vegetables were on the crispy side of tender-crisp, I added the beef back to the pan along with the stir-fry sauce and cooked for another couple of minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A riot of (thrifted) colour

I wore this outfit to my cousins' dance recital in Montreal.

Skirt (worn as dress)– Thrifted (Joseph A)
Cardigan – Veronika Maine (also seen here)
Belt - ? (Sydney)
Shoes – Thrifted (Naturalizer)
Necklace – Thrifted (Jones New York)
Flower pin – Thailand markets
Purse – Thrifted (Chloe)