A-Peel-ing Designs

[Note: This post was originally published on Stylefinds. I don't normally re-post my Stylefinds articles on my own blog, but I thought this was a special exception since I'd mentioned in this post that I was keen to interview Megan Berks.]

Local label Peel Designs has an irresistible allure for those who crave simplicity and femininity in their clothing. I first came across Peel when I purchased the 'Anthology' cardigan from Madison on Main. Intrigued by its clean lines and demure styling, I knew I had to check out Peel's online catalogue and talk to designer Megan Berks. Luckily, Megan is just as sweet as her creations and took the time to answer a few questions.

Megan's lifelong love of sewing and fashion design led her to study at the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design and to complete a two-year textile arts program at Capilano College, after which she worked with local designers for a few years. She founded Peel in 2004, releasing a capsule collection of six dresses, jackets, and tops.

Five years after its inception, Peel has expanded its offerings and earned plenty of buzz from top Canadian fashion publications like Fashion and Flare. It's also been featured regularly in local papers such as The Province, 24 Hours, and The Georgia Straight.

Megan describes Peel's aesthetic as "vintage-inspired and feminine": "I think it can be quite girly at times but also very classic and wearable. I think Peel attracts creative, independent women who aren't overly fixated on trends and fads. They just want beautiful, high-quality clothes that can be worn for more than one season."

The 'Champagne' dress from Peel's spring 2008 collection.

Like Peel's previous collections, the spring/summer 2009 collection is sure to contain perennial favourites that women will want to wear for many seasons to come, albeit with more sustainable fabrications. "Spring 09 is really bold & fun. There are lots of pretty sun dresses and girly blouses. There is a definite move into using more organic and sustainable fabrics--over half of the spring collection is eco-friendly," says Megan.

So, what's next for her and for Peel? "I recently had a baby girl so I'm trying to strike a balance between the two!," says Megan. "I'm really excited for 2009. We're finally launching an online store! I'm really excited for this because right now we mainly focus on wholesaling to stores. It's so nice to get a chance to talk with the women who actually wear our clothes!"

Peel is available at Hum and Dream in Vancouver. For more information, check out www.peeldesigns.com or email megan@peeldesigns.com

Notes On Fashion-y Attitudes

1. To all those label-loving girls who show contempt for other girls not dressed in head-to-toe labels, please stop. Stop with the catty comments, inflammatory insults, and snotty smirks. You can feel like a million bucks walking down the street with your Louis Vuitton Speedy without raining on someone else's parade. Just because your wardrobe costs more does not make you smarter, hotter, or better than a girl who shops at Target and thrifts for one-of-a-kind accessories. All it means is you spent more on what you're wearing.

2. To the fashion police--seriously, don't you have better things to do? We need more adventurous dressers in this world. Your attitudes ruin it for self-proclaimed fashion enthusiasts like myself, people who do not call themselves experts and dole out unwanted advice, and merely want to appreciate and understand fashion and see what others are doing with it. Being a fairly tame dresser myself, I admire people who push the envelope and take their layering experiments far beyond my (not particularly) wild dreams. You ruin it for me by planting the misconception that the fashionable are always evaluating, judging, and criticizing. You have no idea how many times my guy friends jokingly ask me "So is this a fashion don't? Does your expert opinion disapprove?" My response: A shrug, followed by something along the lines of "How the hell should I know? I just know what I like."

3. To the people who buy into rules like "Black and blue don't mix," please see #2 on this list. How the hell should the fashion police know? They just know what they like, and so should you. By the way, I wear blue and black together quite often, and I think it looks pretty damn good.

4. To the people who think fashion is superficial and unworthy of so much devotion, consider this: Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry employing thousands all over the world, whether it's in textiles, production, PR, retail, publishing, etc. It's also one of the most democratic forms of self-expression. Not everyone will be gifted artistically, musically, or intellectually, but every person does have to dress him/herself in the morning.

5. To the fashion enthusiasts who do it for all the right reasons, please keep doing what you're doing. You have no idea how much your passion inspires those who dabble and those who dive in head first.

Impulsive Sunday Afternoon Purchase

Tashi hammered teardrop earrings (except mine are gold vermeil, not sterling silver!), from Front & Co. on Main Street. My goodness, that store is fun to browse.

Fab Blogs Get Awards

The lovely ladies of Asian Cajuns have given me a "Your Blog is Fabulous" award. Thanks Lauren and Catherine!

I think I'm supposed to pass this on to 10 blogs, but I'm fudging the rules a bit in honour of Chinese New Year and passing the award on to 8 instead. For those of you who don't know, 8 (or "ba") is a lucky number according to Chinese superstition because it rhymes with "fa," the word for "prosper."

Here are 8 fabulous blogs I love to read. Keep up the great work, ladies!
  1. (Into) the Fray
  2. Being High Maintenance, Not Bitchy
  3. Broke and Beautiful
  4. Clothes Line Finds
  5. Everyday Sugar
  6. Letters From The End Consumer
  7. The Ongoing Project
  8. Working Girl

Eye Candy: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

It's been ages since I've done an Eye Candy post with pictures of whatever catches my fancy at the moment. For today's Eye Candy fix, I turned to one of my all-time favourite guilty pleasures, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. I appreciated the fashion the umpteenth time around much more than Diego Luna's puppy dog eyes. Think full skirts that swish and swirl on the dance floor, belted waists, cardigans, halter dresses, retro swimsuits, and lots of ladylike details like red lips, pearls, and gloves. Enjoy!

P.S. I'm so glad I've figured out how to take screen captures in my DVD viewer.


Links à la Mode

A Few Goody GumDrops - A Few Goody Gumdrops tells you how to own a Rockstar!
Aysha’s Rabbit Hole - my new creation! still working on it though!
Capitola Girl Jewelry Blog - brick house reds
Couture Allure - Couture Allure takes a three day look at the inaugural fashions worn by Jacqueline Kennedy.
Debutante Clothing - Mad for Vintage at the Golden Globes
Dogmom’s Dish - Hayden Harnett for Target: The Good, The Bad, The So So
dramatis personae - Etsy Designers: Mischief, My Dear! Shop Launch & giveaway!
fashion in my eyes - Blake in Vogue
fete a fete - Spring denim by Freedom of Choice & interview with founder Nathan Menashe
Independent Fashion Bloggers - Swag Etiquette: How to approach the ‘freebies’ in blogging.
Iwanttowearit - Come along as we mine Flickr’s Commons for fashion-related history lessons. Take a trip to Pie Town at the tail end of the Depression.
Mademoiselle Robot - Vintage inspiration for Spring fashion.
Nico Assatly - Old School Spring Favorite : American Eagle!
Retro Chick - Brighten up the dull winter days
Shopping and Info - Shopping and Info found some great deals on Graydn leather motorcycle jackets, Ella Moss, and Lily Mcneal cashmere this week.
Studio Purpura - Vicente Villarin - A Fashion Newcomer that Dares to Dream!
Style Symmetry - Eyeliah loves props in outfit photos, do you?
THE COVETED - Become Red Lip Royalty: Interview with Lipstick Queen founder Poppy King
the musings of ondo lady - Meet Stephanie Savage, the queen of teen dramas such as The OC and Gossip.
two months rent - i’ll take (or make) one of those a diy braided chain necklace

Urban Outfitters 'Ecote' Watercolour Silk Skirt

I wish I were celebrating Chinese New Year this weekend dressed up in the 'Ecote' watercolour silk skirt ($58) from Urban Outfitters. The last two seasons have featured a lot of clothes and accessories inspired by the art world, but I do believe this is the first time I've seen a piece that reminds me of Chinese landscape paintings. Just look at those strong brushstrokes fading into gradients--so evocative of mist-covered hills! And those tree branches with buds on them in the foreground--can't you picture Li Po composing one of his Tang dynasty verses under such a tree? The cinched waist, flattering A-line silhouette, and scoop pockets on the side don't hurt, either. Staring at this skirt is bringing back memories of Chinese school and the many hours I spent writing "Happy New Year" and "Gong Hay Fat Choy" in Chinese calligraphy, a brush in my hand and an ink pot at my side.

Have a happy and prosperous Year of the Ox, everyone!

Essentials For The Colour-Phobe's Wardrobe

If you find yourself reaching for clothes in neutral colours every day, you're not alone. Countless fashion bloggers I've read listed "I will wear more colour" as one of their 2009 style resolutions. However, going from a day-to-day look of neutrals to one with more colour requires some strategizing, particularly if you're on a budget.

The solution? I suggest buying a few things in bright colours and wearing one colourful item at a time with the denim, black, gray, white, and beige pieces in your closet. Just make sure that your new colourful items can be incorporated into multiple outfits. The "one bright colour, keep everything else neutral" look is one I've really been loving lately, and these items have proven to be the workhorses behind it.

I love how the hot pink scarf pops against the black, white, and gray of this outfit.

1. Colourful coats and jackets such as the Framboise jacket ($42.50) brighten up any outfit. Wear one over a black or white sweater, skinny jeans, and tall black riding boots--an instant picker-upper for a neutral ensemble.

2. Tank tops in various colours, like these stretchy tanks from Old Navy ($8.50), are one of the most inexpensive ways to add bold colour to a colour-phobic wardrobe. Stock up and layer them over black, white, or gray long-sleeved or short-sleeved tees. Wear them under neutral cardigans. I personally love wearing a colourful tank under a low-cut black top so that a bit of colour is peeking through, and depending on the colour of the tank I get a different look every time I do so.

3. If I find myself donning an all-black ensemble, I'll incorporate colour into my look with bold eyeshadows. I have shades of green, purple, gold/bronze, and so on. The one I've been wearing often lately is the azure blue 'Birdy' eyeshadow by B (£8.30).

4. Does your neutral ensemble involve jeans on a near-daily basis? If so, consider adding a boldly coloured flat to your look like AK Anne Klein's 'Poodle' flat ($75). Just imagine how much mileage you'll get out of one pair of boldly coloured flats.

5. Black coat, black shoes, black bag...yawn. Add some visual interest and draw attention to your lovely face with a bright scarf. Forever 21's faux pashminas only cost $5.50 each, which means you can stock up on a couple of colours and alternate.

What are the colourful items that have proven to be the workhorses in your everyday look? If you're one of those people who has resolved to wear more colour, how is your resolution working out so far?

Hats To Warm Male Ears

Last week, an anonymous commenter on my Goorin Brothers fedoras post asked:

"Other than a toque, what kind of hat can a guy wear to keep his ears warm?"

Anonymous, that's an excellent question! My thoughts immediately jumped to the bulky furry or shearling hats with very obvious ear flaps, which, honestly speaking, I'm not too crazy about. Styled in the right way and worn with confidence, these hats might look good, but to me they've always had undertones of fur trappers and the Soviet Union. I instead opted for sleek options that could keep ears warm while looking right at home in an urban setting that isn't Moscow.

Aside from the furry ear flap hats, the most obvious alternative would be a toque-like knit hat with a brim similar to the 'Urkel' by Goorin Brothers ($25). Its alternating rib knits create dimension and visual interest, while its overall style is versatile enough to pair with a wool peacoat or a down parka.

Another option is a wool cap with hidden ear flaps, such as this one ($28-30). In extreme weather conditions, the hidden ear flaps can be let down; at other times, you can wear it as an ordinary cap.

However, my favourite find of the bunch has to be the Stormy Kromer cap, a 105-year old design created by a railroad engineer and baseball player. Sick of his engineer's cap flying off in windy work conditions, Stormy asked his wife to sew ear flaps on an old baseball cap one day, and the rest is history. Outdoorsmen swear by the hat's comfort, warmth, and ability to stay put on one's head. I love how it basically looks like a warmer version of a baseball cap. But the best part for you, Anonymous, is the cap's patented ear band system: Those bands that wrap around the front of the hat can be pulled down a bit in the back so that they cover the tops of your ears. Very subtle, no? The 'Rancher' cap ($44.95) comes with an extra Thinsulate layer beneath the wool and slightly longer ear flaps to keep your head extra toasty.

In other news, I always love trying to help someone out with a style conundrum. If there's a question you'd like answered, leave it in the comments or email it to solo.lisa.blog@gmail.com!

Links à la Mode

39thandbroadway.com - Why our obsession for fast fashion is causing designers to burn-out and result in less innovative wardrobe choices for you!
Breakfast at Saks - Style vs. Comfort: What to wear when you’re traveling
dramatis personae - Mischief-Managed Media: My So-Called Life…
fashion forestry - Dressing like San Francisco architecture
fashion in my eyes - For the love of shoes
fete a fete - Lia Lintern custom fitted luxe coats!
Hello, Lover… Shoe Daydreams - The famous SATC: The Movie “Something Blue” shoe is now not blue?
Hollow Star - Spring fashion trends I’m most excited about
Independent Fashion Bloggers - In the Name of the Blog
Iwanttowearit - Kids who dress themselves will make you smile. I promise.
Mademoiselle Robot - Getting summer wardrobe inspiration from Robert Mulligan’s The Man in the Moon.
Nico Assatly - Accessories Junkie
Retro Chick - Warm Chunky Knits for Work, Rest & Play
Shopping and Info - Shopping and Info loves Nicole Richie’s Balenciaga platform black boots.
Studio Purpura - Weekly Editor’s Picks - Resolution to Ladies Pesky Fashion Issues!
Style Symmetry - Eyeliah calls skirts over dresses a trend to watch!
Style Tabloid - Staring off the New Year with work-out resolutions? Stick to your plans with the help of some cute work-out outfits inspired by your favorite celebrities!
Style With Anna - 20 Weird and Wacky Handbags
THE COVETED - How to Dress for Cold Weather
the musings of ondo lady - Ok so we had The Real OC and The Real Housewives of Orange County so make way for The Real Gossip Girls.

Photojournal: Madison on Main

I had the pleasure of going to the January blowout sale at Madison on Main last Saturday and took some pictures as I shopped. The sale is going on for one more day (that's tomorrow!), after which Madison on Main is closing to prepare for the grand opening of the new Two of Hearts store.

Local fashionista Tanya King runs her own business called KooKooKachoo Fashion Services. She does everything from styling and personal wardrobe consultation to retail consultation, and she'll be playing a major role in the new Two of Hearts store.

This is what the interior of Madison on Main looks like. You can see a big sign advertising Tabitha Savoie's line, Togs.

Christi York's vintage and reworked jewelry line BuenoStyle was part of the sale. You may remember that I interviewed Christi about her new jewelry line OAK for Stylefinds.

Tagged: Photo Op

Lovely Trisch of Trisch Express tagged me to do the following:

  1. Go to the 4th sub-folder in my computer's My Pictures folder.
  2. Pick the 4th picture in that sub-folder.
  3. Explain the picture.
  4. Tag 4 other bloggers to do the same.
I recently defragmented my hard drive and purged and backed up a bunch of files, so not much is left in the way of pictures on my computer unfortunately. Therefore I'm putting a spin on this tag and doing it with my Facebook photo albums.

I took this picture of the Versailles chapel's interior on my first trip to Paris in October. There were so many people swarming around the roped-off doorways that tourists took it in turns to snap a picture or two and move to the back of the crowd. I think at the time I had the self-guided audio tour headphones on.

I'm tagging the following 4 blogs to do the same, whether it's with their My Pictures folder or Facebook albums:
  1. Clothes Line Finds
  2. Already Pretty
  3. Asian Cajuns
  4. Tis Serendipity

Lisa's Most Coveted List

5 things I'm loving right now.

1. Evgeni Plushenko skating to "Sex Bomb." Nance in France forwarded this gem to me, and I swear, I have never laughed so hard at a figure skating routine. Oh, and just to clarify, Plushenko is not the fedora-wearing Russian I talked about in this post.

2. Starbucks espresso cups and saucers. They make perfectly adorable makeup brush holders.

3. Yerba Buena's "Sugar Daddy." Any group that can sample Celia Cruz, sing in two languages, and feature John Leguizamo monologues all in one song is tops in my books. In other news, thanks to Mr. Leguizamo, my new 2009 pick-up line will be "I like it sweet an' low too but I'm no artificial sweetener, baby." Now if I can only pull it off with the sort of bravado that he has...

4. Peel Designs. I discovered this local label on the weekend when I ventured up to Main Street and bought the 'Anthology' cardigan in black. Its clean lines and basic yet demure quality make it the perfect layering piece. Now I'm drooling over the sweet, girly designs on Peel's website. Note to self: See if I can arrange an interview with Peel's designer, Megan Berks.

5. WendyB's squirrel necklace. I've been wearing the squirrel layered with a white gold/diamond necklace I received as a gift ages ago and I just can't stop. In fact, I've started working my outfits around the squirrel, wearing as many V-necks and scoop-necks as possible.

Thanks to my friend Felix for snapping this pic! (Click to enlarge)

P.S. This is my 400th post, believe it or not! Time flies when you're having fun in the blogosphere. To all you awesome peeps out there, thanks for taking the time to read what I'm writing. :-)

How To Shop For A Purse You'll Love

My latest purse lusts: the Coach 'Sabrina' in black leather with silver hardware and a Chanel wallet clutch on a thin chain strap.

Do you find yourself falling out of love with a bag after 2-3 months and not using it anymore? Do you buy a purse and discover that you can count the number of times you've used it on both hands? Or maybe you find that you only use about 1/3 of your purse collection regularly?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you're not alone. I went purse-shopping with someone recently and was surprised to discover that not everyone thinks through their purse-purchasing decisions as thoroughly as I do. Although I'm a lot more thoughtful about the purses I buy nowadays, I, too, used to wind up with a lot of handbags I would rarely use. I hope these tips (based on my own experiences and how I shop for purses) will help you find a stylish, versatile number you'll use many times and love even 5-10 years down the road. Enjoy!

1. Peruse as many sources as possible for inspiration. Browse websites, flip through magazines, read blogs. People-watch in neighbourhoods known for stylish pedestrians. I find that looking at as many handbags as possible gives me an idea of what I do and don't like, and how a handbag will look in action. For example, the oversized Louis Vuitton Speedy looked great when it was displayed on a shelf, fully stuffed and backlit. But when I saw it hanging off the forearm of many a stylish girl on the street, I didn't like how it sagged in the middle when the purse was half-empty.

2. Assess your needs. Do you need a bag for the day or evening? What are the top items you carry all the time and require compartments for (e.g. cell phone, lip gloss, etc.)? What are your pet peeves with the bags you currently own (e.g. all the contents fall to the bottom and you can't find anything without digging, there are too few/many compartments)? Is there a size of handbag you would consider ideal, or a size that you would deem cumbersome? How do you usually like to carry your bag--on the shoulder, cross-body, in your hand, dangling from the crook of your elbow? A bag that doesn't meet your needs, or irritates you when you use it, is a bag you'll fall out of love with quickly.

I like my evening bags to be as tiny as possible so that they don't feel cumbersome while I'm clubbing and dancing up a storm. Coach wristlets are perfect for stashing my essentials, and the wrist strap makes it easy to dangle the bag from the crook of my elbow while I'm sipping my gin and tonic.

3. Research. If you're planning to splurge and spend a lot on a designer handbag, really do your research. Go into the store and ask the sales assistant questions as you examine the bag up-close. Talk to people who own the handbag you're eyeing. I find The Purse Blog and The Purse Forum to be valuable sources of information. Owners of the handbags you're coveting might comment on the pros and cons of the bags in the forums, or offer you advice on how to authenticate the designer bag you found on eBay. It was in The Purse Forum, for instance, that I learned about the difference between lambskin and caviar leather in Chanel purses (caviar leather is a lot tougher and therefore more suitable for clumsy me).

4. Envision yourself using the purse. Open and close zippers and closures. See how easily they do up if you have to manage with one hand. Carry the bag the way you would usually if you were walking down the street and see if it feels comfortable. Stuff what you would normally carry into the store's display model and see if the bag is spacious enough.

I emptied the contents of my MEC travel bag in Selfridges and stuffed them into this Chanel purse to make sure it had enough space for me to use as a day bag.

5. Take the time to think it over. Whether it's a lap around a mall or sleeping on your decision for a day, a week, or a month, not rushing into buying is always a wise decision. If after some time passes you still can't get the handbag out of your head, chances are it's a good one.

I took about a week to think over whether this Coach bag was right for me.

Are you an impulsive purse shopper or do you think through your purchase as obsessively as I do? What do you look for in a purse?

Links à la Mode

39thandbroadway.com - How can a half-naked Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton win you a free gift?
A Few Goody GumDrops - A Few Goody Gumdrops found something for the girl who has everything!
a sense sublime - Hair Today. The dilemma of a new hairstyle for a new year.
All Chic - Loving Scotland - from “The Three Lives of Thomasina” to “Thistle and Broom”
Being High Maintenance, not Bitchy - Time to get some lovin with Longchamp…
Breakfast at Saks - Bleached-Out Jeans: a trend you can afford to buy into
Consume or Consumed - Don’t we all remember events by outfits, these days? Here’s my year in outfit memories:
Couture Allure - Staying stylish in cold weather
Debutante Clothing - Debutante Clothing bids Aloha to the late Alfred Shaheen
Dirty Laundry - Recreating the style of Agyness Deyn posing with The Paddingtons
Dogmom’s Dish - Thakoon for Target (part two): The Dark Side
dramatis personae - Dramatis Personae: Etsy Designers– Friends of Plus-Sized Gal!
eye4style - Designer Ronit Genik talks about her favorite pieces from the Reverie Spring 2009 collection.
Fashion Birdcage - Liria Pristine, Rebel With A Cause
fashion fille - Fashion Fille analyzes boyfriend blazers, from who to how!
fashion in my eyes - Clothes that charm
Fashion Pulse Daily - Fashion Pulse Daily’s Editor tests mineral powders and eye makeup that cost only — are they just as good as mineral makeup?
fete a fete - indiDenim custom jeans beta Intellifit Design Studio program:
In Life and In Fashion - Seven Style Resolutions: What are yours?
Independent Fashion Bloggers - Design Usability tips your readers will love
Iole in fashion - Mix ‘n Match
Iwanttowearit - Fun With Etsy! Take a site seeing tour of Etsy to scope out the emerging, home-grown modeling talent.
Jewelry Gal - Five Style Tips For Dressing Well On A Budget
lace & leather - playlist 1.0 fashion inspired music!
Little Black Book - Aspiring Designer: I’m Your Present and some of her designs from the new “eBay” known as Etsy
Mademoiselle Robot - An interview with Mister Dreamboat aka Matthew Gray Gubler.
Market Publique - The Intrigue is Over! Find out when Market Publique is all about, and when it will launch!
noiretro - Make your own DIY studded hat!
Or False Glitter - Made up to look like a Dame- MAC’s latest collaboration with OAP drag Dame Edna
Parkas & Petticoats - A glance at the new Spring line from Rogues Gallery!
Retro Chick - 5 ways to shake off those New Year Blues
Shopping and Info - Shopping and Info found some amazing boots by Robert Clergerie and Loeffler Randall on sale for 70% off.
Studio Purpura - Key Fashion Trends for Spring Summer 2009 that you shouldn’t miss!
Style Amor - Like Fairies, Unicorns and Pre-Scientology Tom Cruise?
Style Discovery - Stylish vs Trashy. How would you compare old stars with modern day celebs?
Style Symmetry - Eyeliah goes GODDESS for The Year of The Rockstar!
Style With Anna - Permanent Makeup MUST KNOWS
Stylish Thoughts - What Shopping your closet truly means
Summershoes - Milk and Sugar Peeling for Baby Smooth Skin
Swell Vintage - New jewellery from Swell Vintage and hopes for the year ahead!
Technology Starlet - Fashionably Smart Clothing
The Bare Skinny - Take a Walk on the Wild Side
THE COVETED - Relaxing bath tips that will make you beautiful.
The Life and Times of a Problem Child - Male fashion that challenges the ideals of masculinity by means of Walter Van Beirendonck:
the musings of ondo lady - Whitney Port made her debut in The City last week, read my review on it.
The Style PA - Find out what is on The Style PA’s bookshelf.
Trendology - Unexpected Inspiration: Young Hercules starring a young Ryan Gosling.
Your source for all things wicked and awesome - Majo Fruithof’s latest jewelery line has one very stylish campaign

Go Forth And Vote!

These people know the power of voting, and so should you!

They say a person can be judged by the company they keep. If that's the case, I hope some of the awesomeness of the Best Fashion Blog nominees in the 2008 Weblog Awards rubs off on me. Three of the nominees are on my blogroll: One of them apparently wants to be my new best friend (it's a deal, Winona!), and one of them was my standout NYC tour guide around the Upper West Side.

I highly encourage you to go here and vote for one of my blogosphere buddies:
  1. Daddy Likey: Since Winona hasn't even mentioned her nomination in a blog post, I will step in and do her shameless self-promoting for her.
  2. Wendy Brandes Jewelry: She's been campaigning pretty hard and one of her campaign speeches used "faux-mosexual" and "quixotic" in the same post. C'mon, you have to give her props for her impressive vocabulary.
  3. Broke and Beautiful: Miss Elle sent me a thank-you note after I left the first of many comments on her blog. Such a well-mannered lady, that one.
While you're at it, go here and vote for My Mom is a Fob, the humour blog founded by the lovely Teresa Wu.

You can vote once every 24 hours and voting ends January 13th.

Additionally, my friend Adam has entered the RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge and made it to Round 2. Basically, this is a competition where teams of students come up with an innovation or idea for RBC to adopt. Adam's team is Team #4, and can I just say that, as someone who studied international political economy and now works at a software company, the idea of an online dashboard for portfolio management is genius? If the 2008 Weblog Awards haven't exhausted your insatiable appetite for voting, go here and vote for Team #4. You can vote once every 24 hours and voting ends January 21st.

Tagged: Better Late Than Never!

Lovely Koko Stiletto tagged me ages ago and I'm just completing the tag now. Apologies! Now, let's get on with it, shall we?

4 things on my to-do list:
  1. Defragment my hard drive.
  2. See Milk. (I haven't had the time to go to the movies! Now that I'm not working 6 days a week maybe I'll finally get the chance.)
  3. Clean out my nightstand drawers.
  4. Go to the library.
4 guilty pleasures:
  1. Sophie Kinsella novels.
  2. Children's books--I can't resist re-reading books I loved when I was young.
  3. MTV reality shows like Laguna Beach, The Hills, and The City.
  4. Stuffed animals.
4 random things about me:
  1. My staple Starbucks drink: a tall skinny French vanilla latte.
  2. My latest food fixation: kiwis! I'm eating 2 of them a day with a spoon...mmm.
  3. An ongoing personal resolution of mine is to travel to at least one new place a year.
  4. I sleep 5-6 hours a night on most weekdays and make up for it by sleeping in past noon on the weekends.
The rules dictate that I'm supposed to pick 4 bloggers to tag, but I can't think of anyone I haven't tagged before and I'm afraid of tagging someone to do something they've already done! So, if you want to do this one, consider yourself tagged. :)

Goorin: It Ain't Borin'

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I was introduced to Goorin Brothers hats in a rather serendipitous way. More specifically, I got a bit drunk one Friday night and, emboldened by alcohol, I kept stealing the fedora off the head of some guy I'll call the Russian. Eventually, sobriety and mortification made me give the Russian his hat back, but now that I look at a picture of it online I wish I hadn't. That was one great fedora.

The India Blue fedora that I stole from the Russian repeatedly. It's nice to know I have good taste in accessories even while intoxicated, no?

According to their website, Goorin Brothers has been making hats since 1895 and is a family-owned company spanning four generations. Although they make cute cloches, knit caps, and little brimmed caps for women, it's the men's fedoras I'm really in love with.

The patterned band gives the Moretti a unisex vibe, and its simple black/white colour scheme makes it versatile and sharp--a great contrasting accent for a feminine outfit.

Seeing the blue madras print band on the Blake, I can't stop picturing myself wearing this fedora with a black halter top and my floaty turquoise skirt.

How cute would the Yucatan be with dark denim capris, a crisp white tank top, and espadrille sandals in the summer?

Note to self: When spring shopping, look for a fedora and a straw Panama hat with a black band (another type of hat I've been craving since forever).

Vivir Solo Es Eso

Carrie found Big Love in the form of Mr. Big. I say phooey. (Image from imdb.com)

Remember last week when I said that I had an earth-shattering 2009 resolution to discuss in a subsequent blog post? Well, here it is: I'm giving up on love in 2009--as in toe-curling, heart-pounding, soul-shaking, goosebumps-inducing, turn-your-world-upside-down Big Love. I simply don't believe in it anymore.

Before you denounce me as a heartless heretic, just hear me out. I've already gone through 2 major relationships where we looked too far forward, promising our entire lives away without knowing what will happen tomorrow. Both times it ended in disappointment. And when I reflected on 2008, my one regret was how much time and energy I wasted being anxious over my single girl status. Ironically, though, I enjoyed the giddiness, the fun, the intrigue of my 2008 flirtations. It was only when I became anxious about where something might lead that I lost all perspective.

Instead of being anxious and forward-looking, this year I choose to revel in small moments--the moments you spend with the other person here and now, the moments you savour and look back on. If these moments add up to something, like small grains of sand at the bottom of an hourglass, then it will have been the most gradual of miracles. And if they don't, well, I'll always have those moments.

In one of my favourite songs ever, "Cuando Nadie Me Ve," Alejandro Sanz sings: "No darte la vida entera/ darte solo esos momentos/ por que es tan dificil/ vivir solo es eso." (Translation for non-Spanish speakers: "Not to give you my entire life/ to give you only these moments/ why is it so difficult/ to live is only this.") I've now adopted this as my guiding motto of 2009.

Here's to living in the moment. Goodbye, Big Love. Hello, the moments that count.

My Boxing Day Finds

In spite of the massive discounts everywhere, I bought a lot less this year than I did last year, and the bulk of my purchases were basics (tights, undies, layering camis). Part of the reason for this is there's nothing I really need. Another part of it is my aversion to crowded places. Indeed, my desire to shop on Boxing Day was propelled by a fervent desire to get out of my house after being snowed in for 2 days more than anything else.

My longing for a gray cardigan (as expressed in this post) had gone unsatisfied--until now, that is. You can't get more classic and preppy than this Jacob cardigan, with its fitted silhouette, deep V, embroidered crest, and little patch pockets. I like the large buttons, too--much easier to do and undo than the long row of too-small buttons on some cardigans.

Oh my goodness, I found a toque!! Once again, it was H&M for the win. This thick-knit number cost $7.90, and it really was the texture of the yarn that made all the difference in my eyes. If I get too bored with the plain white, I'll pin a brooch on it or something. I also picked up a pair of completely opaque black tights while I was there.

The fingerless gloves are from Urban Outfitters and are made of a wool-angora blend. Funny story about fingerless gloves: I was talking about them with MizzJ one day--she loved them, I complained that they reminded me of cashiers in Chinese grocery stores who would wear them for warmth and dexterity. However, this two-toned pair with the darling knit bow and button details may have changed my mind. Aside from looking cute, these gloves have a fantastic upside: I can now scroll through songs on my iPod without having to take my gloves off when I'm waiting for my bus.

I also found some cheap undies (0.97 at the Gap--no kidding!) and the perfect white layering camis at Zara. I decided that I loved my new gray cardigan so much that I would stop by Jacob a second time for a more thorough look. It was then that I found this satiny little menswear-inspired vest.

What were your Boxing Day finds? Did you shop more than usual this year because of the deep discounts?
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