Saturday, September 29, 2012

Random Saturday Style Thoughts and (in my opinion) my 100th Blog Post

Well, it is Saturday morning and just wanted to share some random style thoughts which have hit me lately:

1) Ralph Lauren's Military Jacket

Maybe some of you love this.  Ralph has obviously visited the Royal Military College of Canada where you can see beautiful young men and women dressed like this:

In my late teens and early twenties, we would have found old military jackets and rocked them with black or white ripped tees, jeans and combat boots.  We would NOT have bought this new.

Would you wear/buy this and rock it like Miss Shiloh Pitt?  Where would you wear it if you did buy it?

2) Sequin dress

Do you really think that J Crew could make a sequin shift dress that was worth $1,250 CDN?

Collection multicolor sequin shift

I would be afraid to wear this outside the house.  At the same time, I would have to wear this a lot if I was to get my cost-per-wear down to a reasonable amount of say $100 per wear.  In other words, if you lived around here you would see me rocking this baby for the next ten years to every event I had an invite to!  I got J Crew's lovely sequin dress of a couple of years ago in camouflage that still looks great and which I paid $110 CDN for.  I am pretty happy with it.  Does that make me a luddite?

There are some things I have seen lately, which I think are just lovely: 

This Temperely London Cape can be bought for an ungodly price at Net-a-porter, but allows you to play Cathy from Wuthering Heights...Buy yours here and make sure you wear your black equestrienne  boots with these.

Temperley London Avalon leather-trimmed wool-blend cape

I'm going to need this to go with it:

Alessandra Rich Chantilly lace and woven-silk gown

Again, for a little more than $3000 CDN, this can be yours.  By all means - pick yours up here!

Since I have a long black talbots skirt and lovely white blouse, I may try to recreate this for Christmas parties!

A couple of outfits that I wore this week:

Earlier this week, I finally started wearing my snakeskin skirt:

I am wearing this with some Anne Merino heels from a couple of years ago, a Calvin Klein blazer which is also old and the lovely blue wool scarf I purchased in store at J Crew in July.  Sadly, this does not seem to be available online, but the skirt sure is and I truly love it!

Yesterday, was sombre black (with a bit of blue) as I had to go to the funeral of a friend of mine's father at lunch time:

This is the Judith and Charles dress I purchased in the summer, paired with a Judith and Charles black wool blazer, basic pearls and my new black Arturo Chiang riding boots which I blogged about here.  I thought of you at the funeral Dani, as I saw so many people in what I would consider as completely inappropriate outfits for a funeral.  Call me old fashioned, but I think a pink floral dress belongs at the drunken wake the night before, not for a sombre church service!  And since every woman I know in this town seem hell-bent on wearing black to work on a daily basis, they surely could have pulled something out of their hat!  There, I got it off my chest and feel much better!

Finally, this is my 100th blog post.  I know it only says 96 on your screen, but i have 4 others that I have never gotten around to posting, so for me it is 100! :-) I did not think I had this much to say, despite being a person who talks a lot in "real" life!  I want to thank you all for popping by and I will actually have an upcoming post about my experience in blogging thus far!  As some of you know, I do not have my blog on google or other search engines.  So most people who are here have tripped over me while being elsewhere and for that, I am awfully grateful!

As always, have a wonderful Saturday and stay safe out there!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Finally Friday! Or: Still Making the same mistakes...

Is it just me, or was this a LONG week?

Regardless, I am happy that it is Friday!  When I arrived home last night, there were two JCrew packages waiting for me from the last 30% off sale (takes a while for things to wend their way to Canada..)

I ordered the herringbone capris in grey.  These were a love and I will post a picture of them on the weekend!

I also ordered the minnies in stretch twill in orange:

Minnie pant in stretch twill

Or should I say ORANGE?????

They almost seemed like a neon orange, if there is such a thing.  I know I should know better, but obviously I do not!  Back they will go on Saturday.  I did not even take a picture as they were blinding me with their orange-ness, which says a lot, since my natural tendency is to be as garish as I can be!  I have got to stop being attracted to these colours on my monitor which look nothing like they really are....Damn you J Crew and your ability to trick me!

Thanks goodness the herringbone trousers were fine! I am tempted now to order the hacking jacket that matches...

I shopped the closet today - J Crew navy lace skirt from 2011 and BRnavy cardigan with black lace panel from 2011 as well.    Shopping the closet is a good thing.... I am not sure about the sweater and would like some opinions - it may not survive the purge...

I wore the burgundy boots for the second time this week.  They are awfully comfortable:

I know, this is an odd angle for a photo, but I wanted you to see them close-up.

And the detail on the side:

These boots were made in France by a company called Un tour en ville.  They have a 2" heel and are perfect for walking out!  There appear to be many places in Canada which sell this brand, so assume the same is the case in the US as well.

Finally, one of my guilty pleasures began again last night (don't spoil it for me - had to tape it until I can watch tonight!) - Grey's Anatomy is back.  You can't even make me feel bad about myself for hanging in for so long, through good, bad and indifference...

I like Patrick Dempsey.  So sue... :-)

And now I will join Dani on the porch for Miller time... Oh snap!  Just realized that is 8 hours away...

Have an awesome Friday and stay safe out there!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Style Question Wednesday: Are you a good leopard or a bad leopard?

Do you know why it's easy for a hunter to find a leopard? Because a leopard is always spotted.
A joke my father used to tell me all the time when I was a child...

Folks, I love the Plains of Africa - I am enthralled by the Lion, the Zebra, the Cheetah, the Elephant, the Leopard. 

If given free reign, my house would be decorated in such a way that when I asked, I would say, in clipped danish accent "I had a farm in Africa".

(By the way, the second picture has nothing to do with decor.  I just swoon to think of having my hair washed by a man, especially Robert Redford....)

But I have always shied away from animal prints until very recently.

The reasons are many:

1) I am always afraid I will go over the top and perhaps end up at work looking like this:

2) I am always unsure as to how many animal prints can be worn on the body simultaneously:

nicki minaj grammy 2011 dress

I mean really - was Nicky suffering the same confusion as I?

3) Can animal prints be combined with each other - i.e. can the cheetah lie down with the zebra?

4) How can you be sure you are channelling Anne Margrock, not Edith Prickley?

I got to thinking about all of this this morning when I wore the following outfit to work:

Leopard print Tippi, burgundy pencil skirt in cotton - new burgundy boots (I will take better pictures of these as they are really comfortable!)

So dear friends - weigh in:  Could I have added more animal print?  How do YOU know when enough is enough?  Do you like animal prints?

And remember, the key for me is to always end up looking more like this:

Think Grace Kelly, not Grace Jones!

As always - I love your advice - you make getting up on wednesdays such fun!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Book Love: Le Road Trip

So there I was, in the bookstore, and they had a table filled with books for Francophiles.  It was quite lovely and I was quite besotted.  I am a sucker for these theme book displays.  The London table, timed to coincide with the Olympics, nearly broke me.

My first purchase:

The letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto.  Dani has mentioned this book, so I jumped on it when I saw it and am enjoying it immensely!  It is funny how discussions about kitchen utensils can be so riveting to read about!

As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto

I think that this friendship was one of the original "accidental penpals" that turned into a great and abiding kinship and as such, reminded me of blog friendships that are cropping up.  You can buy yours here and if you love to cook and eat or write letters, you will love it!

Next to it on the table was Le Road Trip:

Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France

Oh my goodness, I book of paintings and stories about a woman in middle age who marries and has her honeymoon in Paris and Normandy.  I HAVE been to Paris and Normandy!  I had to have it!!!  Onto the pile!

This book did not disappoint.  Each chapter tells a little story and jumps back and forth between Vivian's first trip to France and later visits, including the honeymoon.  Vivian Swift is witty and wonderfully talented and her spirit simply sings from the pages!

This book is wonderful.  Mr. WMM is reading it right now and loving it - the combination of stories, beautiful drawings and paintings make this an irrestistable read and so enjoyable.  She apparently has another, equally, wonderful book which is going on my Christmas list - I am already drooling, imagining Christmas Day, curled up in my jammies reading another book by this wonderful author!  I am not sure Mr. WMM reads this blog regularly (despire his loyal membership!) but never fear, I will send him a link and you can get yours for this lovely book here.

Source: The Author's fun blog here

Even better, Vivian has her own Blog!  I am slightly shy, but I think I am going to send her a fan letter this week - her book has given me so much joy!  You can visit her blog here.

Dreaming of Paris or France?  This is a lovely book to get you in the mood!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 24, 2012

J Crew pinstripe skirt suit visits Prince Edward Island (and takes WMM along)

Last Thursday, I headed to Prince Edward Island (PEI) for meetings.

It is always a treat to go to PEI.  I have gone there almost yearly my entire life and while many delight in the warm summer beaches, I find it particularly wonderful in the fall, when the leaves are turning and there are fewer tourists.

We stayed at the Great George, which describes itself as Charlottetown's Historic Boutique Hotel.  I had never stayed here before, but I will certainly stay there again!

I have never seen a hotel quite like this - it is comprised of 15 very old houses in a two block radius which have been lovingly restored and joined in really imaginative ways. 

There is an inviting lobby, where they serve breakfast each morning and have a complimentary happy hour for all of their guests each evening between 5 and 6 pm.  Free wine - if only I had known of this place in university!


Beautiful rooms, suites and even stand-alone houses.  Room prices range from around $189 to $350 CDN  per night for this time of year, but I believe they offer specials.  You can see more about this wonderful inn complex here.

It is all very lovely and for dinner, they took the meeting participants to Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar, which is apparently where they took Will and Kate for dinner when they visited PEI in 2011. 

We ate in the room pictured below:

The food and ambiance were great and you can visit their website here.

Finally - what I wore on the day of the meetings:

My super 120s pinstripe navy suit - Aubrey style jacket and little skirt.  I had to wear the Cole Haan boots again purposefully - our meetings were being held at the Atlantic Veterinary College and they toured us through the cow and horse barns!

I will be curious for opinions, but I think the Aubrey cut is the cut for me, as opposed to the 1035 or schoolboy!  I am wearing the navy polka dot tie blouse (a Boston purchase) and felt quite comfortable all day!

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday and I also hope you get to visit PEI someday (and stop in New Brunswick on the way by!)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Beef Tartare: Or How I Was Humbled in the South of France

Does your reach ever exceed your grasp?

I love to eat - if I am not allergic to it, I will give it a try..  I note the second part as I am deathly allergic to fish and nuts.  Don't cry for me, Argentina - have never had either so I don't miss them.  But for the rest of the food items - I will give them a go! 

When I was in France, if it was on a plate, I ate it; if it was in a bottle I drank it.  Every meal was the best meal ever, every bottle of wine was glorious!

Remember the scene in "Julie and Julia" when Paul Child asks Julia what it is she really likes to do and she says "Eat!" - well I could relate!  I tend not to overeat, but I start thinking about dinner at breakfast.

And of course France is the perfect place to go if you love to eat.  Each meal seemed better than the last and I thanked every waiter and chef profusely for every great experience and had a grand time!

 There was the best bruschetta ever near the Eiffel Tower...

The best tomato salads and frites which were everywhere and amazing!  And the rose!  Oh my!  This is a lunch at the Tuileries, en route to the L'Orangerie musee.  We were planning to make the pilgrimage back to Dani's patron saint, but it started to pour buckets just as we finished lunch so we hot-footed it for the musee and did not have time to get to say hello!  Ah - another excuse to go back!

How about the best chicken ever, eaten on a terrace in Nyons?  Hey - is that more wine?  How did that get there???

And then, dear friends, I met my Waterloo at the little hotel in the village near our gite:

Yes, that is raw beef. We had eaten twice at this restaurant before (it was the only one in the village!)  I knew the chef by then and I knew the food was all made with local produce and local animals.  They took great pride in their food and I took great delight in eating it and it was a match made in heaven.

And then I got cocky.  I eat my steak quite rare; 2 minutes a side for a tenderloin and then onto the plate and into my belly.  I am not the person to sit closely beside if you like your steak well done and i always warn folks of such.

So I told the chef I wanted to try beef tartare.  This was a source of great rejoicing.  "Certainement, Vous etes une gourmet, Madame!" which loosely translated means "Ah, you crazy Canadian Woman, you love to eat, let's see if you can eat THIS!

And then it arrived at the table. Not only was it raw beef, but there was a big old raw egg yolk on top.  Oh dear!  My 20 year old daughter had ordered the same thing (she is the poster child for the meat eater's society of the world - I apologize profusely to any vegetarians who are reading this, though I suspect you didn't even click on the blog today when you saw the title...) and she was excited.  My husband was horrified and could not look at either of us.

And so, I dug in.  You could add shallots and scallions and tabasco, and i added them all.  Oh dear. 

It was horrible.  My daughter was raving about how unique it was.  I ate on.  The wait staff kept coming by: "Aimez-vous, Madame?"  "oui" I responded, weakly.

I drank wine.  A lot of wine.  Two or three mouthfuls for every forkfull. 5 or 6 frites per mouthful.  More wine.  I made it through half of this.  My daughter ate all of hers.  I admitted defeat to all and got a round of applause by the chef and staff.  I had to have the chocolate mousse to get the taste out of my nouth and drink some more wine to wash away the memory.  I walked back up the steep hill to the gite half-drunk and with a horrible feeling in my belly.  I have not eaten steak since.

Well, I can say I have done it, and that is worth something, isn't it? 

Here's to culinary adventures in beautiful places!  And as a lovely parting "shot", this was the sunset off the terrace of our gite that evening before we went down to the village for dinner...

Ah - I feel calmer already!  Have a lovely Saturday!

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Nougat London Version of the Jules Silk Dress

Happy Friday!

Today's outfit involves a new dress that I purchased locally here.  It is a wool/silk dress by Nougat London.  I was attracted to it immediately - while the brown sage-y colour is not my colour per se, the silk panel with the silver and blues makes it wearable for me.  It is very comfortable!

There was a wee small chocolate brown velvet belt attached at the sides.  I snipped the loops as I prefer it without the belt and if I want to wear it with the belt again, well, it is still sitting on my dresser!  For sizing purposes, this is a size 2 or medium.

I am wearing it here with my chocolate brown cole haan riding boots.  The dress was $250CDN, which puts it in the same ballpark as the Jules dress.  It was actually longer - I had it hemmed two inches, so for those of you taller gals, this might be more wearable than the jules!  It is also sturdier I think, with the merino wool in the back!

I don't see it yet on their website, but some of you good internet sniffers may find it elsewhere!

I think it would also look good with my brown leather equestrian belt, but since I was driving to PEI, I had no interest in constriction!

have a wonderful day and be careful out there!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The 1035 Superfine Cotton Suit and some JC sale picks

Many thanks again for all of your wonderful advice yesterday!

Of course, all day I wondered if what I was wearing is flattering once I started to read your post and learned more and more as the day went along...

Hmm - I like this suit, but not sure about the pose... I have the V thing going on, but jacket could be smidge too long...I think I would like the trousers better if I wasn't wearing the dark belt.  And I am wearing the valentinas in leopard print, but my feet are killing me and they are going to be finding a new home as these kinds of valentinas are not for me...Odd, as the slingbacks are divine...

I like the superfine cotton - it is soft and is fine for awhile until the weather gets worse but I am not LOVING this.  It is fine, and comfortable but not special I don't think...

I went into the closet and dug out the ralph lauren trousers I referred to yesterday - here they are:

I did not try them on for you as frankly I am tired tonight!  They are fully lined, fit like a trouser should  and are flattering I believe..

A close-up of the fabric:

I am going to search for a corduroy blazer and consider the schoolboy in purple flannel..
Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

unless I can find something else.. since this is not on sale, I can wait...

I can see that this blazer, the trousers and the manchester purple tie top could be quite lovely as an outfit..

Tie-neck top

Something like this, from smart set of all places, is also a cut that might look nice with it:


So I will keep looking! 

I also REALLY like the look Gwyneth is rocking in her JC ad:

I am unfamiliar with the hacking jacket cut and am afraid it will also be too boxy at the shoulders for me and i have heard that the capris are "wooly" and very thick...

I am heading away for meeting later Thursday returning Friday evening.  Since I will be away before the end of the sale, I decided that I would add a treat from the sale:

I decided to add to my minnie collection - I already have the navy and boulevard green minnies.  I LOVE the minnies and am now a complete convert.  So for $63 CDN, I think I can get a lot of wear out of these bright minnies for my weekends, with boots, et al.. 

Minnie pant in stretch twill

I love the poppy velvet blazer, but do not think it is the right shade for up by my face...could just be my monitor!!!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Style Questions Wednesday!!!

Ah, the first of  today's style questions was prompted by Well Fed Fred, raconteur extraordinaire, gourmande extraordinaire and all-around bon vivant!

On Monday, I posted a picture of an outfit that I felt like a million bucks in.  For those of you who missed this thrilling post, or who would just like to see me in all my glory again, here you go:

Yes, I really was that splendiferous, except for the odd angle of the right leg, but why (no - not why was my foot in the picture oddly hidden)?

And then WFF added to this navel-gazing by saying:

"This is such a great "template" for you, correct lengths of jacket and pants, not too much going on at the neck, unified color theme... Well done, you look terrific!" Copyright, WFF, September 17th, 2012, all rights reserved. In God We Trust, yadayadayada...

As we also like to say in the Maritimes, when hit with a piece of critical information that we had not thought too much about before we are known to say: "Jumpin' Gentle Jesus" which loosely translated, means "what dat she said?"  Can you believe I am an extremely well education individual???

So today's questions for you, my delightful and faithful readers, are as follows:

1) is there a formula for figuring our what the correct length of jacket, skirt and pants are for your body and how do I figure it out as opposed to my current trial and error methodology (often reinforced by  "wow, that is a great skirt length WMM!", which I dutifully recall like Pavlov's dog and try to recreate!)
2) is a unified colour theme better than an un-unified?  How will I know if I am being simply "charming" with my colour themes or crossing into Gayle S (JC bedazzler) territory?
3) Did you all know this intuitively?????  How do you learn this stuff? 
4) anything else about this outfit I need to understand better so I can recreate it in constant variations for the rest of my life so I always feel lovely?????

Finally, to cap off today's style questions, I need some help.  I would really like to get another schoolboy blazer.  I would like to get a non-navy or blue colour.  I really like the flannels from JC but would like some assistance in choosing a good colour:

Think of my colouring.  Could i get away with this:

Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

or this:

Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

Perhaps this?

Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

Think versatility for work.  I am quite torn.

I am thinking the caramel, as I recently purchased a pair of Ralph Lauren woollen wide legged trousers in chocolatey-brown plaid (small plaid). 

or is there a better blazer for my frame?  All advice solicited and welcomed!  Except for the $800 cashmere blazer.  I couldn't, no - really - I couldn't!

Thanks style sisters - I always appreciate your advice!!