Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to wear sleepwear to a summer concert (sort of)

I'm constantly inspired by fellow bloggers (THANK YOU). In this case, Niki of A Haute Mess's two posts (here and here) on clothes that look like pajamas, taken to the streets. Except I forgot the bit about clothes that just look like pajamas and actually used my pajamas.
 Some of you may be conjuring images of that brief period, sometime in the late 90s, when it was cool to wear flannel plaid pants. If your geographic location, age and/or general intelligence caused you to bypass this trend, count yourself lucky. But no, I didn't take it that far. The item in question is a beautifully patterned silk slip with an antique-looking lace hem by Knitted Dove, a brand I'd never heard of before. Their website is under development but they have some incredible pieces profiled on their Facebook page. Have any of you ever come across this brand?

I wore I white tank over the slip to smooth out any lumps, then added a taupe knit tank. I accessorized with a chunky brown leather belt, my white cowboy boots and some gold and ivory jewellery. It was ideal for what turned out to be a sizzling hot Sunday evening, spent watching Peter Frampton and Huey Lewis and the News at Ottawa's annual 2-week concert series, Bluesfest (yes, it's a misnomer). If you ever find yourself in the region in July, I suggest checking out the lineup. You may just catch anyone from Kiss to the White Stripes!

Slip - Thrifted (Knitted Dove)
White tank - RW & Co.
Taupe tank - Dynamite
Belt - PacSun
Jacket - Hand-me-down (Olsen)
Boots - Oak Tree Farms via Winners (also seen here)
Bag - Gifted (Dooney and Burke)
Earrings - Le Chateau
Bracelets - Le Chateau and hand-me-downs

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crisp summer whites

Nothing says summer like white separates and a pop of colour. I wore this fuchsia tee with Rihanna-sized pink hoop earrings, linen capris and a short-sleeve blazer with tiny black polka dots and piping, to play off the colours in my shoes. I added a couple of my favourite flower pins for good measure. (Note to self: Must remember to remove them before laundry day next time). As for my hair, well, blistering heat, humidity, biking to work and a lack of follicle-related skills put impeccably-styled hair out of reach. But no matter - you're here for the clothes, right?

Capris - Caramely via Winners
Tee - Jacob
Blazer - Limite
Shoes - Thrifted
Earrings - ?
Flower pins - Thailand markets
Bracelets - Gifted
Ring - Reitman's
Sunglasses - Joe Fresh

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Spring greens with figs, prosciutto and blue cheese

I didn't set out to take food pictures this day; this is just a quick picture I snapped of my lunch at work so the presentation leaves something to be desired. The salad was delicious though, so I wanted to share. To make, I tossed spring greens with fresh quartered figs, sliced prosciutto and crumbled blue cheese. The saltiness of the prosciutto provided a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the figs, the creamy texture and sharp flavour of the blue cheese and the peppery crunch of the mixed spring greens.  

I used a vinaigrette of 1T olive oil whisked into 1 tsp each of orange juice, red wine vinegar and honey (Alter quantities to taste). Season to taste.

Substitute figs for strawberries.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Everybody, Everywear: Return of the thrifted It Bag

(Sorry this post is longer than usual - please bear with me for my first-ever blog rant)

This Chloe Paddington bag, bought for a mere $11 at Value Village, is the shopping equivalent of finding a unicorn. That is, if you could put the unicorn in the back of your car and take it home with you. After spotting this gem gathering dust at the very back of the store, I guarded it like a hawk until I got to the cashier. A likely unnecessary precaution, given that I was only person in the store who didn't look like they had witnessed the end of WWII first-hand. It seemed fitting to use it for Everybody, Everywhere's special Thrift edition - an idea I've really come to support.

Lately I've been reading article after article about record levels of household debt in North America. OK and maybe occasionally indulging in TV shows like Til Debt Do Us Part. After all, it's good to get your news from a variety of sources. But seriously, I'm a little alarmed. I know there are many working poor who struggle to make ends meet and don't have the choice but to extend themselves. On the other hand, I'm noticing that for many of my peers, the value of money seems to be a foreign concept.

I'm grateful to my teacher and parents for teaching me financial literacy and to my friends, who share the same values as me. Clothes and food are by far my two biggest indulgences, but I've tried to be fairly reasonable about my spending. Building up my wardrobe has been a gradual process, in line with increases in my income. My number 1 rule is don't spend what you can't afford, and that includes not blowing my savings either. I look for a good quality-to-price ratio, consider how long I'd need to work to pay for something (after-tax!!) and exercise restraint until I see a good deal. I rarely covet a specific item, instead buying things a bit more sporadically and hoping it all comes together in the end. 

One exception was a military-style vest, an item I'd been passively looking for for a couple of months. I finally found this Calvin Klein one at 40% at Winners.  I loved the idea of its versatility - it could be worn with everything from a floaty printed dress in summer, to a cowl-neck sweater, skinny jeans and boots in winter or a sharp skirt, button-down shirt and scarf for work. The neutral colour plays off virtually any hue and I love being able to swap out the fabric belt it came with.

I'd love to hear - what's your take on this post?

Leggings - ?? (Winners)
Shirt - H&M
Vest - Calvin Klein via Winners
Brogues - Libby Edelman via The Bay (also seen here and here)
Belt - Thifted (Nygard)
Necklace - Thrifted (Jones New York)
Watch - hand-me-down from my Dad's closet
Sunglasses - Joe Fresh via Loblaws
Bag - Thrifted (Chloe) (also seen here)

Thrift | Everybody, Everywear

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Orange glazed salmon

Preheat broiler on high. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, stir together 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar and 1 clove of minced garlic. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until thickened and glossy, about 4-5 minutes. Watch the skillet carefully to ensure mixture doesn't boil over. Cool slightly, then stir in 1T Frank's Red Hot. This amount of sauce will be sufficient for about 600 g of salmon fillets (serves four).

Arrange fish on a broiling pan or on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (I omitted the salt). Set aside 1/4 of the sauce to serve once the salmon is cooked. Brush the salmon with most of the sauce, leaving some aside for basting during cooking. Broil the fish, basting once, until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 8-10 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onions or chives. 

Recipe adapted from: Sobey's Compliments

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What I'd wear on a tropical island

This is what I picture myself wearing if I lived on a tropical island, in the evening after the sun has gone down. And no, the fact that I was actually on lunch break from work and about as far from a tropical island you can get is not lost on me. DON'T RUIN THE FUN. Let's face it, there's a reason little girls love Barbie dolls. Blogs are just the grown-up version of that.

Most of the things here have cropped up in previous posts - most notably the skirt which I previously wore as a dress.

Skirt - Thrifted (Joseph A.) (also seen here)
Knit tank - Dynamite
Cardigan - Jacob (also seen here)
Shoes - Lela Rose via Payless (also seen here
Necklace - Dynamite
Earrings - Gifted
Bracelets - Aakriti Designs
Belt - Thrifted (Nygard) (also seen here)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Orange, asparagus and almond salad

**Note:  I renamed the 'Cook' page 'Recipes' and have turned it into a quick reference index of all the dishes I've shown on the blog, with links back to the individual posts. I hope you find it useful! I'll update it with the latest recipes every couple of weeks, otherwise it'll be constantly showing up in your blogroll (I think). **

This recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and a good choice for spring/early summer when asparagus is in abundance. Trim then steam a small bunch of asparagus until tender-crisp, Cut into 3-4 inch long segments. Add orange segments from 1 or 2 oranges (set aside two segments for vinaigrette), diced red onion and roughly chopped toasted almonds. To make dressing, whisk together juice from two orange segments, 1T red wine vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and pepper.

Variations and time savers:
Don't toast almonds.
Substitute almonds for walnuts or cashews.
Substitute asparagus for green beans.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leopard prints

Some things about this outfit - 1) I'm proud to say I thrifted the top, skirt AND belt. 2) I feel Italian in it. Must be the leopard prints and gold accessories. 3) I love people who can pull off mixed prints beautifully and make it look effortless. I tend to be apprehensive about mixing prints but I'm challenging myself to try it more often. 

 This webpage is a good primer for mixing prints. It seems my outfit would qualify as a beginner one; leopard prints are considered a neutral. Also, my top doesn't have an all-over print which tones down the look. They suggest pairing florals with stripes as an initial foray into print mixing - see my take on this combination here.

The skirt was a little big but it was by Joseph Ribkoff, whose praises I sang in this post. Oddly enough, skirts are my Achilles heel of shopping. This one was comfortable, had a print I loved, fit relatively well, and cost me less than $10. Tell me - what's YOUR hardest item to shop for?


Top - Thrifted
Skirt - Thrifted (Joseph Ribkoff)
Belt - Thrifted
Shoes - Guess
Bracelet - Coach
Ring - Diva

Monday, July 11, 2011

A swapped 1990 stone belt and a blustery day

This 1990 vintage belt was undoubtedly the coolest thing I came home with from the clothing swap. It was originally bought at a vintage store in Florida and I'm told the stones are semi-precious...which explains why it weighs about 2 lbs. I feel like one of those high school girls who have to walk around with a pregnancy simulator for parenting class. But I digress. I really wanted to wear it ASAP so I stuck it over a blouse and skirt for work, but I think it would be fun worn lower on the hips with ripped jeans and a casual tank top. Any other ideas?

My wedges are a demonstration of how I wear things *to death*. The diamond-shaped piece of material was originally covered in mini amber discs that shimmied as you walk. Of course, five years later they were falling off, creating unsightly little bald patches. So I summoned all my alteration abilities, grabbed a pair of scissors and snipped them all off. Impressive, non?

Skirt - Jus d'orange (also seen here)
Top -Yildizi (Vietnam)
Belt - Salena's Collection via clothing swap
Wedges - Anne Klein
Earrings - Thailand markets
Sunglasses - Boathouse
Windblown effect - all natural

Friday, July 08, 2011

Balsamic-marinated baked chicken; salad with pecans, pears and pomegranate seeds


I used this recipe, which involves marinating chicken breasts and mushrooms in a simple and tasty balsamic vinegar-based mixture, then baking in the oven. I had to omit the mushrooms this time since I didn't have any on hand, but they definitely add flavour and moisture to the chicken so I recommend using them if you can. I usually use a mixture of Portobello and regular mushrooms. On another note, I find the chopped mint a strange garnish for this dish. Usually I don't have any on hand anyway, but this time I did and while it didn't taste bad, I wouldn't bother using it next time.


This salad was adapted from an Instyle recipe and has become a standby for my whole family. It takes about 45-60 minutes to prepare if you don't use one of the time-saving tips below. Preheat oven to 350. Peel, core and quarter 1 or 2 ripe Bosc pears. (Make sure you get Bosc pears as they don't become mushy while cooking). Place on a baking sheet lined with foil, brush with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, turning once. While pears are cooking, bring 1 cup of orange juice to boil in a saucepan, then reduce to 1/4 cup. Stir occasionally to avoid burning and watch the pot for overflows. Once reduced, pour OJ into a blender and add 2T honey and 1T red wine vinegar. With the motor running on low, slowly pour in 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, then season to taste. I usually double the dressing if I'm going to all that effort anyways.

Toss the cooked pear with baby greens, pomegranate seeds and candied pecans (click here for pecan recipe), and drizzle with dressing.

- Serve with raw pear instead of cooked pear
- Don't reduce the OJ before using in the dressing
- Use regular pecans instead of candied ones
- Add thinly sliced red onion
- Add goat cheese or crumbled blue cheese
- Substitute dried cranberries for pomegranate seeds

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Maxi dress in the garden

This is a second round of photos (round 1 here) taken by my Dad in my parents' garden, this time with the plants in full bloom. We showed up with a sorry-looking set of herbs I'd bought for our balcony. My parents' house is like a hospital for plants that I've managed to all but kill off. A bigger pot, a little Miracle Gro, some freshly composted earth, a sprinkle of water and overnight they perk right up. In university I knocked a mini cactus off my dorm room window ledge four or five times, repotting what earth I could scrape off the carpet (ever wonder what those mystery carpet stains are?), and watched in dismay as the top gradually turned yellowish-brown. Lo and behold, after a summer at home and some TLC well away from my clumsy fingers it had grown a good 6 inches and sprouted flowers. Undeterred by the idea that maybe I wasn't born with a green thumb, B and I recently made a trip to a nursery to get some more plants for our balcony. We've been watering them diligently and so far, so good! 

I'm wearing my maxi dress with a sunny yellow cardigan and aqua sandals that suited the lush surroundings. We'd don't get to come here enough, but when we do I always feel like I'm on vacation.

What's YOUR escape?

My Dad figured I might as well water the plants
while he took my picture. See - I'm learning already!

Dress - Just for Wraps via Winners (also seen here)
Cardigan - Talbots via Winners (also seen here)
Sandals - Gifted (also seen here)
Bracelets - Aakriti Designs and gifted
Earrings - Thailand markets
Sunglasses - Boathouse

Yellow | Everybody, Everywear