Monday, May 31, 2010

Lazy Monday - Don't Steal My Sunshine

I took a bundle of stuff to my favourite second-hand shop yesterday. I got $60 in trade-in! Of course, I "spent" it right away!

I found this awesome dress for only $19.00:
It's wool, and is actually a tiny black/white tweed (I know, it looks grey, we'll call it grey). I wasn't sure about the style, because I usually go for more fitted cuts, but if the weather every decides to stop raining (grrr!), I'll be happy to have a lightweight loose dress to wear for work.

It's from the Gap (ha, size 2, oh, you Gapsters and your vanity sizing! I'm so not a size 2!), and is marked Holiday 08, so it's going on two years old. It doesn't appear to have been worn.
And it has pockets! I also really like the flat-ish neck ruffles and the wee pouffy sleeves. Inigo's checking out the shoes.

I really wanted to wear my new zipper rose pin that I got at the Victoria & Albert museum with it:
I didn't want to go solid black with accessories, so I punched it up with the yellow scarf (saving my rain-hat-headed hair) and my yellow cuff.

The stuff:
I got my foot smunched by a large man while playing Ultimate on Saturday, so I had to baby my toes in my Tsubos. The scarf was 2 for $5 in a thrift shop a couple of months ago. I like the acorn and oak leaf pattern on it.

A close-up of the stuff:
Isn't the zipper rose cool?

Dress (Gap, consignment), shoes (Tsubo), scarf (thrifted), pin (V&A Museum gift shop), cuff (thrifted), ring (Club Monaco), earrings (The Cobbler).

Book Blurb - The Book of Negroes

My latest finished book is "The Book of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill.
If you aren't familiar with this title, it was changed to "Someone Knows My Name" for US publication.

Ah, this is more like it! This is what I'm used to: reading about a book a week. Between doing this blog (a fashion entry takes me about 40 minutes from taking the picture to hitting "Publish Post") and having a life, I don't have a huge amount of time to read, but I find that when a book is grooving for me, I make time!

Stats: 470 pages. Started May 24th and finished last night, May 30th.

Blurb: This is a Book Club book (Daisy's pick), and it's the best one I've read in a while! Thank you, Daisy!
This reminded me very much of Alex Haley's "Roots", which I read when I was in my early teens (I still have the hardcover book club edition of my mom's from the 70s), in its tale of one young girl and her journey through a free African, to slave, to free woman again.

The story is well-written and I found myself zooming through it. I did find it somewhat jarring that between 1 and 4 years would be collapsed into a single sentence...just when it was getting interesting! The author did this several times, which mildly irked me. It also just sort of...ended, without a real dramatic resolution, but pretty much when I expected it to end.

I like that this book was well-researched, but not too dry in relaying historical facts. It has just enough "novelization" to make it feel like fiction. I'd recommend this. A good read!

Vacation Outfit Roundup!

I haven't been on a vacation of longer than 5 days in three years, so I dithered quite a bit on What to Pack. I wanted to take a functional capsule wardrobe, but I also had another plan in mind: come back with less than I took.

The idea was to take clothing, shoes and accessories that I didn't want anymore, and leave them behind in the various hotels. This way, I'd have clothes to wear, but lots of room to pack the new things that I would (obviously) buy.

I saved up my old underwear (ha, maybe TMI! sorry!), socks, tights with snags (I tossed all that stuff, don't worry!), and went through my bags of stuff in my "giveaway/consignment" area at home for planned abandonment. As I used or wore things, I put them in a pile, then at the end of our stay, I put a note on them: "Garbage or Keep For Yourself."

I couldn't keep track of which day was which, but here's what I wore while on vacation in London:
This was what I looked like 90% of the time, due to cold, rainy weather in both London and Paris. So much for my plans of looking chic while I shopped! Abandoned: Boots.
I wore this dress to death! Abandoned: boots, dress, belt.
Thank goodness for the cardigan - it was snuggly warm. This was my travel outfit on the plane - I tossed the shoes as soon as I arrived home.
Abandoned: skirt, vest.
Abandoned: red cami, t-shirt.
Tossed: tights. Abandoned: shoes, cardigan, cami.
Tossed: purple tights.
I wore this on the first day in Paris. Kept both tops and the studded cuff. I know I wore jeans at least one day, but they were so hideous I tossed them really fast (bad muffin top!).

By the time we got to Paris, I had very few clothing pieces left, so they got worn multiple times. I never really got sweaty, and I aired things out and didn't wear things multiple days in a row to keep them fresh. I handwashed underwear.
Pointing at my boo-boo from wiping out at Notre Dame. Tossed: tights.
I only took two pairs of earrings: a pair of hoops and a small purple stone pair. I took a silver chain and a bunch of charms to make a variety of necklace looks.
Tossed: tights.

That's it! I ended up abandoning 1 pair of shoes, 2 pairs of boots, two dresses (I had taken a purple taffeta strapless dress, but it was too tight and I never wore it. I didn't feel like lugging it around, so I abandoned it), a pair of jeans, a skirt, two camis, two t-shirts (I slept in one), a belt and a cardigan. Oh, and a bag that I didn't want anymore.

I bought home 3 dresses, 4 pairs of shoes, 3 t-shirts, a vest, a new bag, a purse, and a bunch of jewelry. I actually had more room in my suitcase than when I left!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Paris - The Louvre, Montmarte

Last two days! We headed down the Champs Elysees and spent a full day in the Louvre. I love the I.M. Pei pyramid next to the old palace.
We spent the entire time in the wing with the European paintings. I have always loved "La Grande Odalisque" by Ingres - how amazing to actually see it!
I also crammed into the giant room to see this little bitty picture:
I thought this was hilarious:
Right in the corner of a giant painting! Hee, that puppy is going to get nipped by that monkey!

At the end of a long day of soaking up culture, we walked back to our hotel up the Champs Elysees:
That's Cleopatra's Needle in the centre, and the Arc de Triomphe right behind it, far in the distance. It's two kilometres from the Louvre - a lovely walk!

I did some shopping along the Champs Elysees: I got a cool black cocktail dress in Naf Naf - it's a party dress, though, so I won't be wearing it for a while.
The Arc de Triomphe.

This was a funny sign near our hotel:
"I love my neighbourhood. I pick up."

We had been told that there was dog poop everywhere on the sidewalks in Paris. It wasn't as bad as I'd dreaded, but there was a lot of poop.

The next day, we hopped on the Metro and zipped up to Montmarte:
We'd Seen Montemarte from the top of Notre Dame:
We wanted to see the Moulin Rouge (I love the movie):
That whole street is nothing but sex shops.

While the top of the hill is a tourist nightmare, the side streets are charming:
I grew fond of the neon green crosses (they indicate pharmacies).

We also checked out Sacre Coeur:
It had an amazing view of the city, but because it was such a cold, damp day, my shots are all just haze.

We also checked out the very awesome Salvador Dali museum on Montmarte:
I loved the "Alice in Wonderland" series of etchings and the amazing sculpture.

I bought yesterday's shoes while wandering around at the bottom of the hill, by the way. We had lunch in this authentic Parisian cafe:
How do I know it was authentic? No one spoke English and we were the only tourists! We had Croque Monsieur and espresso.

L and I did pretty good getting by in French. Both of us took it in school (L for 4 years, me for 5) and it's amazing how it comes back. Although there were moments when we just said, "Toilet?" and looked pained.

I liked this graffiti:
It says, "hard sex" on the pig and "pony love" on the chicken. Hee!

Up bright and early the next morning to catch the train back to London. Gare du Nord was a neat-looking station:
Ah...time to go home!
We arrived in London, met up with Mom at our hotel (she'd been on her walking tour in the Cotswolds for the three days), and realized..."Oh my god, I don't have the camera!"

I had no idea if I'd left it on the train or if I'd been pickpocketed (some smarmy guy had tried to sell me tickets for the Tube). The nice gal at the hotel reception called to see if it had been turned in but the train offices were closed - she also sent an email. We finally decided to take the Tube back to St. Pancras station to see if the camera had been found.

We spoke with a policeman, then a lost and found guy, and then finally we found the train's lost and found. We told the man the train number, my seat...he headed to the back to check. As he came out, he said, "What colour was your camera?" and L said, "It's got cat pictures on it!"

And it was my camera!
We had taken some pictures of Inigo (in case we missed him), the first ones on the camera.

And back to fashion....Casual Friday meant I could break out one of my cool t-shirts that I'd gotten at Upper Playground just off Carnaby Street in London:
This one is called "Howl" by Saelee Oh. I love that it has a design on the back too.
I have been looking for a yellow leather jacket forever - I was hoping to find one in London or Paris but no luck. My friend, Karen, was wearing a gorgeous white jacket when I saw her last weekend - I happened to mention my yellow jacket quest and she said that Danier had the same jacket in yellow!
Isn't it gorgeous? It was 1/2 price: $149.00.

Have a great weekend!

Jacket (Danier Leather), t-shirt (Upper Playground), long tee (Mexx), jeans (Seven7, gift from Caro), shoes (Hale Bob), belt (Plum), big gold hoops (gift from L).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paris - La Tour Eiffel, La Seine, Notre Dame

We were off to Paris on May 12th! I was full-on sick at this point, oh woe is me. But I was greatly cheered to see our first-class train car:
That nice gentleman took a picture of L and I:
If you ever have to get from London to Paris, I highly recommend the Eurostar train - holy smokes, it's fast! Only two hours, city to city! I sprung for first-class tickets - what the heck, we were on holiday (and I'd booked them months ago, so they were already paid off before we even left home).

We got fed a fabulous breakfast:
That's mine (you can see I've snagged L's yoghurt, heh heh). That's a salmon mousse omlette with potatoes and mushrooms - and real cutlery too!

Poor L went with the cheese breakfast:
Three measley grapes? Lame!

Because the trip was so fast, we were able to have the whole afternoon to explore! We stayed in the Trocadero area, only a couple of blocks from...
Wow, so amazing. All the plum/cherry trees were in bloom too. We decided not to go up the Eiffel Tower - too pricey.

We walked along the left bank of the Seine, thinking it was only a mile or two to reach Notre Dame Cathedral. But no...
That shot reminded me of the scene in "Les Miserables" where Javert throws himself into the river.

After over an hour, we arrived at Notre Dame:
See that crosspiece between the towers? and the top of the tower on the right? We went up there!

But first, we went inside:
It was gorgeous. I love old churches.

We waited in line for the tower tour for about 40 minutes. Was it worth it?
Heck, yeah!

Forgive me, I love gargoyles. I took a lot more pictures than these few. Here's a view from the very top of the tower:
You can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance on the left side. That red arrow is pointing to the "Place du Wipeout", which is where I tripped and fell in front of hundreds of people, skinning my knee and ripping my tights, and resulting in me having a bloody knee. Of course, I popped right back up: "I'm fine!" and suffered for the rest of the day. Gah, I'm so clumsy.

You can see that it was a pretty cold and hazy day. We did not have great weather while in Paris.
Here, I'm climbing into the top of that tower, where the bell is:
You can see a bit of my skinned knee. I'm also totally bundled up in my toque, scarf and gloves. I'm so glad I took them!

This is my favourite gargoyle:
Because I have a replica of him!
That's my "Smaug", and he was made locally - he's a limited edition casting. I got him about 17 years ago.

And now back to fashion!

I dyed my hair last night and it came out a lot darker than normal (ah well, it will fade). I also have bad hat-head because I got caught in the rain on the way to work. Enough of rainy spring! I want summer!
Check out the shoes! I got them in Paris, near Montmarte (near the Moulin Rouge). There were tons of cheesy prom gown stores and cheap shoe stores. I fell in love with these - only 29 Euros (less than $40), so I'm sure they won't last more than a year.

The stuff:
But they are gorgeous, aren't they? They smell (vinyl) and they make my feet sweat.

A close-up of the jewelry:
I've worn the pins before, but the ring is new - I got it at the Louvre gift shop (more on the Louvre tomorrow). It's inspired by the Russian exhibit they had on - we didn't view it, but that's the kind of souvenir I like to buy. It was 35 Euros, is gold plated and that's an enamelled "stone" on it. I like the thickness and the scrolly pattern on it.

Vest (Le Chateau, gift from Ruth), blouse (Vero Moda), skirt (Mexx), shoes (Belle Women), skinny pin (80s vintage), big pin (The Bay), ring (The Louvre Museum).