Sunday, June 21, 2015


“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
― Umberto Eco

Some of us are missing our dads today, either because they are no longer with us or they are far away.

Others of us are fortunate to be able to spend this day with our fathers and celebrate them for all they have done for us: hugs given, endless drives her and there, pearls of wisdom, kindness, humour, the wallet that never seemed to dry up. 

There is the young dad, the middle aged dad, the old dad.  All are needed if we are to become fully ourselves.

My father was a shy man. He never danced with me at my wedding because he would have been terrified to get up and dance in front of people. That was okay. He got me down the aisle, and before and after then, he got me through life.

In the end, I married someone a lot like my dad - kind, sentimental, handy, but I may have upgraded slightly to a dancer. 

Either way, I am grateful for the dad I have and the dad my children have.

I hope you have a lovely Father's Day!

xoxo wendy

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Uncanny in our Lives

One of the finest things about listening to public radio - the CBC or NPR or BBC - are the great interviews that you "stumble upon".

I am a regular listener of the CBC show Tapestry, and caught a really interesting interview with journalist Patricia Pearson about her new book Opening Heaven's Door: What The Dying May Be Trying To Tell Us About Where They're Going.

Pearson became interested in the topic of Near Death Experiences and the uncanny after her father's death, when it seemed he had "visited" her very ill sister before she discovered he had passed away.

You can listen to the whole interview here and it is certainly thought-provoking.

What Pearson argues, and has convinced me of, is that our secular, scientific world has left very little room for unexplainable incidents. The book cites numerous academic studies aimed at isolating and then proving (or disproving) the individual's contention that they have been part of something that simply cannot be explained using traditional and conventional approaches. An interesting aspect is how almost all individuals who have one of these experiences - knowing that someone has died in advance of being told, seeing their lived one's soul exit the body, having their own near death experience - are almost universally afraid of sharing their story for fear of ridicule.

They are right to feel this way it would seem. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the fact that many doctors have experienced the uncanny when their patient dies, but felt they would be drummed out of the career if they shared the information.

Our lives are orderly and neat compared to the lives of our ancestors, but in many ways, we have completely isolated ourselves from the experience of death and dying. Pearson unpacks the issue well in her book.  This is no James van Praaghe or Long Island Medium kind of book (and that is not said with any disrespect), but a more academic approach to the issue, although one that is grounded with a lovely touch of believer by the end.

We all know people - our friends and family - who have experienced these kinds of things, and yet, they are often not spoken of save during late night conversations after a glass or two of wine. I know at least three family members who had unexplainable experiences, and always wondered if there was anything to it. Now, having read Pearson's thought-provoking book, I am more likely to believe than disbelieve.  It is truly a fascinating subject and Pearson handles it well.

How about you? Have you had any uncanny or unexplainable experiences related to those who are dead and dying?

Have a lovely Sunday!
xoxo wendy

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Everlane Loafers Review - Patent Maple

As promised, a little more information on the Everlane Loafers.  I bought these a couple of months ago.  I had a nice credit from Everlane due to a SNAFU on their part regarding an order I made over a year ago, and these loafers have sat in my shopping bag for months.  Literally.

I loved them, but I was terrified to buy them.

What tipped the scales for me in the end was that Everlane allows Canadians to return items with only a $5 surcharge.  I have paid way more over the years to return things to J Crew, and I have to say, I was impressed that they charge so little. 

I also had a long email exchange with one of Everlane's lovely staff people, trying to determine what the correct size would be as patent loafers are considerably stiffer than plain leather.

I had contemplated going up a 1/2 size, from the 6H to 7.  In the end, the staff person convinced me to go with my usual size and they were right.

My point of comparison is an old pair of black patent Cole Haan loafers that I have practically worn to death.

As you can see above, the Cole Haans are wider, but that is probably because they are now 5 years old!  They have a square toe box, which I think makes them a wee more comfy than the Everlane loafers, but honestly only a wee bit. 
The fact is, my toes stop at about the same place on both shoes.  my left foot, which is about 6 3/4 (ack!) is definitely more pinched than the right shoe, which feels as comfortable as my right shoe on the cole haans. 
My sense is that order up a half size might make them too loose at the heel, which is a regular problem for me - I tend to "walk out of" shoes.  I have worn these about 5 times, and I feel they are loosening up slightly, so I suspect by fall, when I am wearing them with light socks, they will be as comfy as the cole haans.
What they have in spades is looks.  They are so pretty!

I plan to buy a navy pair sometime in the next year, having expended all of my summer wardrobe $ on my recent gold skirt purchase, but I really recommend these loafers!  As the images on their website and other blogs show, they can be styled multiple ways:
Hope this helps some of you who have been wondering whether or not these were worth getting!
xoxo Wendy

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Journey to a true Personal Fashion Style

For 25 years, I worked in the corporate world.

My uniform was simple - suits, pumps, subtle jewelry. I had almost no casual clothing; I couldn't afford it AND the higher end suits and shoes I was buying, so something had to give. I think I had one pair of jeans, an old jacket and some boots.  And I was too busy to be inspired or inspiring. (I exaggerate here, but only just).

Don't get me wrong - I wasn't a complete disaster or anything, but I was too busy to think much about fashion beyond throwing myself at my favourite local sales clerk, money in hand, telling her to "pick a bunch of stuff that looked classy and business-like."  She dressed me well in Theory, Elie Tahari and Michael Kors.

And then the world changed.  I left my job and in a 180 degree turn, found myself neither needing nor wanting the old corporate clothes, but having no idea how to dress for a casual/sometimes dressy life. And I had a whole lot less money to spend on clothes.

And thus began my style odyssey.  I hadn't even heard of fashion blogs until three or four years ago, and tripped over a bunch when I followed Michelle Obama to J Crew in 2007.

And while those blogs have been wonderful, they have fed my fashion confusion, as I tried various incarnations to determine what my style would be.

beautiful blouse - not me....
Boho Wendy - not me....

Nope - not me....
Me - simple, with a wee bit of pearl and sparkle....

Sometime around February, I was sick of it. I had bought lovely clothing - expensive and less expensive - and too much of it remained unworn, despite my attraction to it when I had bought it.  I had less money for clothing and yet I found I was wasting more of it, so uncertain was I of where my sartorial home really was.  And I felt an obsession about clothing I had never had before, and I didn't care for it.

Now and then I would discover a "hit", but never know quite why it was a hit.  I was frustrated and bored and to be honest, I no longer trusted style opinions, most of all my own. 

Enter Jennifer from A Well Styled Life, who took pity on me and shared her considerable experience and expertise as an image and style consultant.

How Beautiful is Jennifer?

I'm not going to lie; I had my doubts.  But then Jennifer sent me a bunch of questions to consider before we talked.  And they were hard questions actually, because they were things I had never thought about before as it related to my wardrobe. 

And during our nearly three hour consultation, in which she lovingly advised, tweaked, held herself back from mocking, and helped me understand why I was making the same fashion mistakes over and over again, it was as if a light came on.

Not only did I understand which kind of cuts would be most flattering, from a body perspective and in keeping with my style preferences, she explained why in great detail.  She told me what to look for when shopping and what to avoid.

And it has changed my life. 

First of all, it gave me permission to let go of things, since I understood that nothing she or I did was ever going to make that thing "right" for me.

Now when I do shop I happily smile at the clothes that mesmerized me in the past, and which still mesmerize me today, but which always end up either consigning or giving away in the future.  Instead, I focus on the 5% that will actually suit ME.  By separating the sartorial wheat from the chaff, she has saved me money and heartache. 

In the last month, I have bought little, but when I did, they adhered to my new "rules" for me:

The Patent Loafer - Maple - Everlane $175 size 8
Everlane Loafers

J Crew Sparkle Sweater Skirt in gold
(which is really more of a gold-cognac IRL)
This was a purchase for Paris - the colour seems more September
to me than June and July

Joe Fresh Silk Tank
$39 - YES

One piece of advice in particular has stuck with me since our session. "You will think in the beginning you are dressing boring," she said. "but you will look and feel like YOU."

And she was right!

Each morning now I "shop" in my smaller wardrobe, a wardrobe almost devoid of pattern (save the scarves and jewelry). I feel lovely all the time. And while I adore pattern and certain prints and certain cuts, I know they are not for me, and pass them by.

Not everyone needs image or style services.  But I did. And Jennifer was able to do what countless books and blogs and articles could not provide - she honed in on me! Too often we admire someone's style and seek to emulate it, not sure what it is about it that is so appealing. Now I understand the appeal and can easily determine what must only be admired from afar.

So if you are thinking you need a little shake-up, or feel you are consigning/giving away too much too often, I highly recommend contacting her and engaging her services!

One of the simple exercises she had me do after our time together was to make a private Pinterest board, where I could collect and collate images that supported my newfound style type.  I have found this unusually helpful, especially since it was just for me.

In the future (and most days now), these are the kind of things you will find me in:

Amber Heard

fashion me now

 @kattanita in the Rain or Shine Draped Jacket #trench #olivegreen || Get the coat:

9to5chic navy jcrew dress 2

Jil Sander, Look #31

 Brunette beauty: Olivia Palermo oozed sophistocation as she attended a Carolina Herrera fashion show and gala in Mexico City, Mexico on Friday
Kultstatus | D I L E T T A N T E | | Miroslava Duma :: London

Weekend Chic.

I appreciate those of you who have taken this style journey with me.  I am sure at times it was as frustrating for you as it was for me!  I am no fashionista - I have neither the time, the money, nor the inclination to be one. But now, I can be me, truly me, and that is a wonderful thing to be.

And to Jennifer - thank you! thank you! thank you!

xoxo wendy