Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dec 29th - Outfit #27 - Shopping at the Mall and January's Capsule Sneak Peak

Hello, my dear friends, fellow bloggers and readers! This'll be my last post before 2012 ends, so I'm taking this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year and sending you all wishes for 2013 to be a great year! 

Thank you for your support, your comments, and your viewing this year as I've gone on my 30 For 30 For 12 Fashion Challenge! I do have one month to go (it ends after January), and there's a preview of next month's capsule below. I will also have a surprise for you for my New Year's Eve post - well, a couple. I'm working tomorrow (it'll be dead) so I do have one more December outfit in the works, and I'm going out for dinner and to a party at some friends' for the holiday evening, so there's another Wild Card. I guarantee you that you won't want to miss my outfit - you know I don't go "meh" for a big event! 

Speaking of lack of "meh", this is what I wore to go shopping on Saturday with Elaine:
Why, yes, that is a purple streak in my hair! Elaine had loaned me this "hair chalk" stuff to try over my blonde streak, so I wanted to give it a shot. It got all over my face (and my bathroom sink), and it faded out to a pale lavender by the end of the day, so I gave it back to her with thanks. It was fun for a day.

Don't forget to visit Patti's "Visible Monday" at Not Dead Yet Style!

As you can see, I'm also wearing my new floral tights for some extra colour. I love the bits of orange, pink and purple in them.
I'm wearing my Smoking Lily hot pink skull skirt, last seen here with some rock 'n' roll accessories. As I knew I'd be walking and trying things on, I kept my outfit pieces unfussy and simple: easy-on-my-feet black boots (last worn on Christmas Day), and my navy cashmere sweater, last worn with buttonflowers and an obi here.

It looked a little cloudy, so I donned my orange raincoat and some warm accessories.
This coat has been one of my favourite thrift finds of the year.

Coat (Bebe, thrifted), sweater (Land's End, consignment), skirt (Smoking Lily), boots (Aldo, consignment), tights (Look of London), gloves (Club Monaco), scarf (Danier Leather, thrifted).

So. The Mall. I've come to really dislike the mall. The more I look at the cheap and shoddy quality of the clothing, the more turned off I am by shopping there. However, I wasn't going to let a $100 gift card go to waste! It's been languishing in my wallet for far too long - sorry, Mom!

Elaine and I spent four hours at the mall, and a few stores really stood out to me (no compensation was provided to me for mentioning any of these companies, and my opinion is my own):

  • Danier Leather: Beautiful quality, a Canadian company, and they carry a small selection of Canadian-made items. I'll keep shopping for Danier in consignment and thrift stores - I can't afford their Canadian-made leather items (they are 3 to 4 times the price of the ones made in China), but I'll stalk pieces I love until they go on sale! (hint hint, scroll down).
  • Club Monaco: Gorgeous quality, mostly neutrals, ALL made in China. I'll continue to thrift and shop consignment for my CM fix. This totally bummed me out - I love Club Monaco.
  • Le Chateau: Okay, yes, this store knocks off high-end looks in about 2 seconds flat, but I was shocked at the large amount of clearly-marked "Canadian Made" clothing. The price on the Canadian-made stuff was commensurate with the production (LC is over-priced for the most part anyway), but the quality was impressive. Way to go, Le Chateau! 
  • The Bay: The Bay department store (aka The Hudson's Bay Company, which started out as a fur-trading company) is a Canadian institution. But sadly, I only saw one line - ONE - that was Canadian-made, the Lori M dress collection. Considering that The Bay has been working to upscale themselves, adding lines by Rachel Roy, Lord & Taylor and Coach, to mention a few, how about throwing a few ethically-produced Canadian designers a bone? 
  • Talbot's: Love the quality, but the prices make me gulp. For clothing made in China...yeah, no. I'll continue thrifting my Talbot's.

I don't bother going into crap-quality stores like Aeropostale, American Eagle, and we were too tired to do Reitman's and RW & Co. (two Canadian chain-stores). The mall we went to didn't have a Jacob (there's one downtown), or we would have gone in there - they also carry a small selection of Canadian-made items. I am actually quite cheered that if I need a "mall fix" I can still shop at Le Chateau and Jacob.

Anyway, yes, I spent my gift card. Mom bought me this fabulous red leather purse:
It's Danier Leather and was on sale for $50.00. They had purple, yellow, 2 shades of green, orange, brown, black and turquoise, but I don't have a red purse and my mom is such a red fan, I think she will like this choice.

Check out the inside:
All leather trim and wonderful black and white stripes!

She also insisted that I have these glorious purple gloves:
They were on sale for around $23.00. So soft! They're also Danier Leather.

And although it's not her colour, she threw in this fuzzy toque:
It was marked down to $15.00, and is also Danier Leather. Thanks, Mom!

I hemmed and hawed and tried this on about 6 times. Then I left and came back a couple hours later.
It's one of Danier's Canadian Collection, handmade with Italian leathers. It's butter-soft. The regular price was $799.00 (I know, ouch!), but it was on sale for $349.00. So yes, Merry Christmas to me!

I've decided that, in the way that some people give up booze in January (not me), I will be giving up shopping for clothing/accessories/shoes for the month. I just feel shopped out and frankly...I have a lot of clothes! I don't need anything else right now.

And having just finished spending 3 hours putting together January's capsule wardrobe, and culling some items out of my closet (Book Club babes, you're in for a treat!), I still have a lot of pieces in my wardrobe that have not been worn for this challenge. Those are going to be subjected to my rigourous New Item Test that I'll be implementing as of February/the end of this challenge. I'll elaborate further then, so stay tuned.

Oh, what fun 2013 is going to be! I have a LOT to write about this challenge, and I'm sorting through it in my head so that it will a) make sense, b) be fun to read, and c) be insightful about what makes a capsule work. I also have Major Awards to give out (and will be pointing out those bloggers/sites who are still going strong after 5 years of awards!), which I'll probably do on Tuesday, depending on the level of my hangover. Heh.

But enough blathering, Sheila! On with the Last Capsule of the Challenge!

Here are the shoes!
The magic number of shoes/boots = seven. It's the law. There are 3 new pairs in there! Wee!

Tops, sweaters and jackets:
Lots of new-to-me and new items here! I only have one sweater, but I've learned that in cold weather I prefer more jackets.

"Other" and dresses:
I actually have 4 "other" items, in addition to the two vests above, but they've been slotted in with their main functions as they are multi-use items. Gotta love those!

Me and pants, man. I am just a skirt gal, all the way. There are a few new and new-to-me items here (and one turquoise fringed skirt that is now hung up way out of a little kitty's reach), including two of the last new items that I bought at Dots, a store I won't be shopping in much at all anymore (*sad face*) as 99% of their stock is mass-manufactured. I'll have to go through Dots and check some of the labels of my favourite brands (Noa Noa, InWear, etc.) and see where they're made, but I'm pretty sure it's China.

And even just looking at the pictures above, what do I see? A lot of neutrals. Gee, maybe this capsule has taught me something after all...

Bring on the New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dec 28th - Outfit #26 - Les Mis With Nieces

Today I did one of those out-of-character things: I went to the movies with my two eldest nieces. I took the bus to their house, then the three of us walked to the theatre, so I dressed accordingly.
Crazy Auntie Sheila wears big skirts and impractical shoes! News at 11!

Actually, as I've mentioned before, these boots (last seen here on my last shopping trip prior to Christmas) are fabulously comfy, even running for a bus. FYI, these boots just got marked down on the Fluevog website - eeee!

The skirt was made extra floofy with my red full vintage slip underneath - it also added that extra warmth too for the over-chilled movie theatre. I last wore it here a couple of weekends ago with my cashmere sweater.
Although I'm sleeveless here in the red velvet top (last seen here, just before the shopping booty, for brunch), I never took my outerwear off. The stomacher and belt topped the skirt nicely, but I'm a little boobtacular without the coat on!

Yes, once again the long black coat comes to the rescue (I wore it yesterday, in case you missed it). Seriously, why do extra-long coats ever go out of style? I love them!
This one is extra special with the velvet and wool plaid. Added my fur scarf and my fingerless gloves and I was set.

Coat (Vassalli, consignment), top (ACW, consignment), skirt (Mister Leonard, thrifted), boots (Velazquez Baroques, Fluevog), stomacher (INC), belt (Plum).

We went to see "Les Miserables" - both Hannah and Zoe liked it. I have been a fan of the musical for about 20 years - I listened to the Cast Recording on CD a LOT when I worked at the Christmas store, in the off-season back in the 90s. I also saw it performed live at the Queen Elizabeth theatre in Vancouver many years ago with L (it's the only musical he can stand). And I've seen the movie version with Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, which I liked, although it left out my favourite character, Eponine. I was less enchanted with this movie version, sadly, and have to agree with Slate's Dana Stevens: why so many close-ups of singing heads? I get that the actors actually sung this as they acted, but made for a...lot...of...heads. Singing. Dramatically.

Ah, well, it was fun to hang with my chicks again.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the mall with my friend Elaine - I still have a $100 gift card from my birthday that I haven't spent (I was put off by the rampant consumerism and reek of plastic last time I ventured there). Poor L is sick and has been in bed napping for the last 3 hours, so I'm going to console myself with some wine and a movie, and a snuggly kitty on my lap.

Hope your weekend is full of purry love.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dec 27th - Outfit #25 - An Ethical Shopping Expedition

I'm off today and tomorrow and poor L is back at work - it's kind of nice to have the day to myself, so I got up early and went to town to check out Smoking Lily's Boxing Week sale and to spend my She She Shoes gift certificate. Yee haw!

Today's outfit was almost a duplicate of this one (the evening version) except with different outerwear.
It was so warm out!

I actually last wore this skirt and boots together on the weekend here (2nd outfit), and the grey sweater here with a skirtload of sequins.

Just added my simple leather cuffs and white gold hoops and you've got an easy outfit for trying stuff on.
Both the teeny-weeny Smoking Lily store (4' x 11' - seriously, it's small) and the Milkman's Daughter (slightly bigger) were packed with people scrabbling for 30-50% off pieces.

I knew I'd be wanting to try a few things on, so I wore an outfit that would work for that - I was surprised at how many people hadn't planned for that! They stood in line for the 1-2 changerooms and I just changed in the street or the middle of the store! You have to plan for these things!

I wore this awesome long coat as my outerwear:
I last wore it here over my green swirly dress.

I love how turquoise and purple go together.
Ready to shop!

Coat (Vassalli, consignment), sweater (August Silk, consignment), skirt (Smoking Lily, consignment), boots (Prepare Volunteers, Fluevog), gloves (Accessorize), scarf (Marks & Spencer, thrifted).

I had some good luck at the little Smoking Lily store - $25.00 for silk obis! Wee! I got this lovely olive, grey, beige print and black one. About time I had one with more of a neutral base.
I think this makes 6 of these. I have a bit of an obsession.

At the Milkman's Daughter, I spotted this gorgeous metallic moto jacket on the 30% off rack for $91.00.
It's a stretchy denim - isn't it amazing? It can be worn fully zipped, as above, with the snap done up, and the sleeves snapped.

With the cuffs turned up and the front turned into lapels! So cool!

I got another Hama Hama top (I have this great crow one from the March capsule):
It's a rich olive colour - totally did not photograph well.

It has a moose:
It was $44.00.

I also got some underlovelies:
On half price for $10 a pair.

And a couple of little leather pouches. At least one of them is going to a blog-friend...
They were $9.00 each.

The skeleton thing is a new business card holder for me - it's by Bonspiel (I have a jacket by her). My old card holder is too small for my new cards. Oh yeah, I got new cards!
I've made my own business cards via Publisher on the computer for a few years. I decided to treat myself to professionally-made ones (these are by, and I'm linking because the quality is nice and they use recycled paper, no compensation received) when I ordered L cards for his blog as a Christmas present.

After going to Smoking Lily, I strolled over to She She Shoes. They had a big sale on! I spent some time wandering around the store, despairing as every shoe I liked seemed to be made in China. They were all lovely, and gorgeously made...but I didn't want to break my resolve so quickly.

But yes, I bought a pair. These gorgeous lavender lace-up boots:
I had to look at this as L buying me this gift - he hasn't taken the pledge to shop second-hand or ethically. That's my thing, and I don't want to impose that on others or make them feel guilty for not doing what I do - I hate that kind of high-and-mighty attitude.

So I sucked it up and graciously allowed him to buy me these wonderful, gorgeous, amazing boots with the gift certificate.
No zippers! You have to lace that thick cotton velvet ribbon.

Metallic leather behind the holes.
A slight platform.

A rock and roll heel:
They are by Feud London.
A lovely ruffle of leather for a tongue.

And a crown button:
What would you have done? Is it too much rationalizing? Am I going to be struck by lightning?

They were on sale for $60.00, so I still had $90.00 left on my gift certificate to spend. Fortunately, She She does carry some wonderful jewelry and accessories that are ethically or locally made. Hurrah!

Check out these amazing tights by Look From London:
They're made in the US.

I also got some tights by Voila (made in Italy), and some knee highs by Sox Trot (also made in the US).
Hurray for fun legs!

This gorgeous silk flower necklace was only $23.00.
It's by Harriet Grey, and was made in Vancouver. I am totally grooving on flowers lately.

I popped into Lotus, a shop in the mall downtown that only carries locally-made or ethically-sourced items.
The little blue studs were $8.00 and the felt flower was $5.00.

More flowers!

I hope your week is bringing you some sunny days!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dec 25th - Outfit #24 - Elvish, Presents, Cat Pics and a Skull Santa

Merry Christmas, my friends! I hope you had a lovely relaxing day, filled with good food, good friends and good times. I know I did!

L and I spent the morning at home, chillin' with Vizzini and doing our presents to each other, then we walked to my ex-sister-in-law's place to hang with Mom, Cindy, Pete, Zoe, Hannah and a bunch of their friends (some very cool people). It was a great time - one of the best Christmases we've ever had.

I had to live up to my wacky-auntie image, so I wore a distinctly elvish outfit.
Dressed for comfort! My swirly green dress, last worn simply here with the same boots and a black belt, with my drapey black cardi over it. I last wore the cardi belted on the weekend for lunch out, here.
I'm wearing a pair of red tights with black lacy tights over top. The black boots were necessary for the 40 minute walk (it was rainy and blustery for most of the morning, but thankfully it stopped raining until we arrived). I last wore the boots here with my purple sequined skirt.

If my legs look like watermelons, it's because I'm wearing frog socks!
L gave these to me for Christmas (among other things, which we shall get to shortly) and I had to wear them! So fun!

The stuff:
I'm wearing a pair of Christmas tree earrings that Mia from my WW group gave me - thank you, Mia!

Cardigan (Kensie), dress (INC), boots (Aldo, consignment), earrings (gift), rings (both Oscar & Libby's), socks (gift from L).

And onto the day! Christmas started with Vizzini waking us up. We usually boot him out of the bedroom so we can sleep, but we did a stocking for him, so we let him hang out.
"Are you up yet? Feed me!"
He got very excited once all the presents came out.
"Where's my stocking?"
I took a lot of pictures of him going nuts over all the catnip and toys, but they were all understandably blurry. We had to take the toys away - he only gets supervised play with his toys, otherwise he runs away and eats them.

He spent most of the day flopping about after all the excitement.
 Sphinx position:
He moves so fast, it's hard to get pictures.
 And now for the other side:
"I flop very well."
 I was totally spoiled by L this year - thank you, love!
I got: 10 different kinds of loose teas (I'm on a tea thing right now), a beautiful mug with bicycles on it, two pairs of fun socks (the frog ones, and Van Gogh "Starry Night" socks), Cthulhu Fluxx (a fun game), the new Band of Horses CD, Til Tuesday's first CD (I had it on tape when I was a teen - love Aimee Mann), the newest issue of Bust Magazine, books (short stories by Kim Harrison, a short story collection called "Songs of Love and Death", a novel called "The Tiger's Wife", and another Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novel (Megan Mae, you would like these), a necklace and a pin (both vintage), some sour cherry candies, Violette candies, several boxes and bars of chocolate (all consumed already, heh heh), and a $150 gift certificate to She She shoes!

I am well-loved and very spoiled - and I give L just as much! He deserves it for putting up with me.

The necklace and pin from him:
I really love the necklace - I might wear it for New Year's Eve - and the pin is a perfect companion for the one Lynne sent me!

We got a fun game for starting conversations from our nieces, and my Mom got me some fantastic things. Check it out:
Can you guess what the wooden thing is?

The floral metal thing was hand-made by a friend of Mom's and can be worn as a pin or a necklace pendant - I love the steampunk vibe of it. The gold and wood disc necklace is from the Global Village shop and is so cool. Mom knows my taste well!

Did you figure out the wooden box?
It's a portable easel! You can store your brushes and paints in the secret drawer and adjust the canvas holders to any size. I had such a fun time painting with Mom back in September - we are going to do it more once the weather improves.

Vizzini is exhausted by it all. We've had a lot of play-time with both L and I being home.
I slept in today, and then have spent the day reading and sampling teas (I love the Lapsang Souchong - it's very smoky!).

I have to share a few pictures from last night. One, the Christmas Moon:
Ha! Yes, that's a naked Ken doll, mooning from the high branches of the Christmas tree. I do love that Zoe and Hannah have a warped sense of humour (like their auntie, uncle and grandmother!).

And what Christmas dinner is complete without a skull Santa cake??
Check out the skeletal "arms" on the serving dish! 
He was delicious! Shout out to Aleysha who made him. Hee hee, I get a kick out of that.

This one is for Ally, who asked us to take pictures of ourselves with a Christmas decoration.
I'm doing my best nutcracker impersonation!

Hope you are all enjoying your time off. From my fam to yours, all the best.
Happy holidays!