Thursday, March 19, 2020

Bigass Free Day: Mental Health Walk, and Thursday "If I Were at Work" Outfit

Hello, my friends! I've been having a lovely day to myself, introverting away in a slightly social manner. Like my good friends, Ann of Polyester Princess (here) and Mim of Crinoline Robot (here), I'm throwing my energy into maintaining a routine of getting dressed up. Connect with us and through us - click on other commenters' names to see if they have blogs and go say hi! Let's be alone together. 
I'm totally holding this wall up

I have a very shiny outfit in store for you - and I've amped it up to 11! - and I also went for a Mental Health Walk today, so grab a hot cup of tea and a comfy chair and get settled in for a Bigass Free Day post.

I slept in a bit - L went to his empty office to work today - then I put on my walking gear and headed out.
Construction work is still going ahead on this new development only a block from home.

This tiny bunch of some kind of daffodil/narcissus variant was so pretty.
When I walked to Book Club last week, I passed this house called "The Magnolias" and kicked myself for not having my camera on me (I don't have a phone).
It's magnolia season!

Look at that wonderful pink.
Doesn't that just make your heart happy?

This yard is always one of my favourites on my walk.
There are always weird and wonderful decorations and things hidden in the plants and rocks- I wish I'd taken a picture of their Hallowe'en display, as it was full of pirates! I'm guessing that orange parrot is leftover from that.

I spotted a Cat of Victoria on my way to the water.
"Who goes there?"

He's got a bit of Charlie Chaplin vibe about him.

Pretty daffodils. Yellow is so joyful.
It was alternately sunny and cloudy as I walked - I was out for about an hour and a half.
 A giant Arts and Crafts-era house, with a stone wall.

I know I like whoever built this little garden scene.
The guinea pig, pig and frog are raptly looking at the angel, but that kitschy poodle is having none of it. Peace birdhouse!

And a violin-playing gnome.
 That's a cedar tree - there are lots of them around.

I arrived at Dallas Road to find that a good percentage of Victoria citizens also decided that the waterfront would be a fine place to visit today.
 Most people were keeping their distance, but I had to swerve or give wide berths to many of them.

You can see the demarcation of the cloud-line on the cliffs.
That blue thing is a stairwell to get down to the beach level.

Looking towards Clover Point - that's where I'm headed.
That rocky beach looks appealing. I think I'll go down there.

Looking back at that gorgeous sky!
I see the blue stairwell - it's very far away now.

Logs and birds on the water.
A freighter in the distance.

I was careful walking on the logs.
Those are mostly cedar and Douglas fir.

A "whip" of kelp near the water.
 The tide was out a bit so I could actually see sand.
 Well, hello there!
That's the Pacific Ocean!

I wonder what that big iron ring is??
 Do you think tall ships once anchored there? That would be cool.

This is the most southerly point in Victoria.
It's obscured by clouds, but Washington State is right there behind those two freighters.

This daffodil is so amazing, standing strong.
 I was heartened by the budding greenery outside and all the fauna around.

These crows were in quite a tizzy.
"Did you see him? What's he doing? What does he want?"

They were cackling away and hopping from wire to wire.

I saw a few of these driftwood creations along the beach.
There were a lot of families with little kids out.

Up ahead, near Ross Bay Cemetery, I saw a big dark speck in a tree.
Holy smokes, it's a bald eagle!
"Those crows better keep their distance.."

They aren't that rare on the west coast, but I haven't seen one this close to people in a long time. 
"Photos? Please let me tidy myself."

That is one big bird.

Looking into the cemetery, which is on the other side of the road from the water.
There were a surprising number of people strolling through.

And a bunch of our urban deer, foraging for food.
These ones look pretty young - their shaggy coats look a bit tatty.

Back at the water, I'm headed for the other side of the bay. 
I saw a lot of people out walking their dogs.

Another driftwood structure.
And more people.

This pink stone was put there with love.
Thank you, whoever did this. I appreciate this gesture.

And a selfie from the top of the stairs, looking back at Clover Point.
I wish I'd worn my Panthers toque instead of my cap - my ears were freezing.

More plum blossoms.
We are a couple of weeks away from my favourite fat pink blossoms blooming.

This yard is always a bit hippy-dippy. But I like the peace sign.
"If you cannot be brave, be kind."

A good reminder.

I saw this squirrel dash across the road in front of me.
"No pictures! No pictures!"

That's a beautiful cedar tree - although the knot on the right is looking at me...

I decided to go by Government House (home of BC's Lieutenant Governor), and cut past the Castle on my way home.
Dreemskerry is on the Victoria Heritage Foundation's registry. You can read about it here - it's a B&B now.

Another B&B across the street.
I worry about how these small businesses will survive with the shut-down of the tourist industry here. Cruise ships have been cut off from docking in Victoria, which is a huge part of our economy.

Government House's grounds are still open, and look at all these good folks doing their social distancing.
Two gardeners, and a group of people doing Tai Chi around that lovely old Gary oak.

Spring has officially arrived - my first robin sighting.
"Spring robins are here, mofo!"

The manors around Craigdarroch Castle are massive and magnificent.
 Do you see the squirrel? He's hiding on the tree trunk.

There's the Castle!
It's smaller than you think - it's not very far away. Maybe a block.

I like that a lot of the streets have these blue tile letters.
 I think I should go scout out the Castle for another photo shoot.
Do you remember when I went up there for my Traveling Yellow Skirt shoot in 2013? Here, enjoy! That was so fun.

The Castle is closed right now.
If you are self-isolating, and happen to catch either the movie Little Women (the Winona Ryder/Susan Sarandon one, IMDB link here) or The Boy (a slightly silly horror movie with Lauren Cohan, IMDB link here), both of those were filmed at the Castle.
I haven't been there in years.

I hereby pledge that when the Castle is open again, I'll go up there and take a tour so you can see the inside. They also have a new tearoom and gift shop converted from one of the houses nearby.

The work on the tower seems to be continuing.

I love that port-cochere, where carriages would drive up to the front door.
If you're interested in what the Castle is all about, here's their gallery (the flyover is really cool).

When I got home, Vizzini was super-excited to see me.
"Oh, were you out? Is it food time?"

He hasn't quite clued in that things in the world are...different...yet. We've been on our regular schedule for work, so as far as he's concerned, nothing's changed.

And speaking of schedule, here's what I would have worn to work if I'd gone today.
It felt really good to do my hair and make-up and get dressed! Isn't this dress amazing? Please do check out the detail pictures in the link below - it has lions on it!

  • Dress - The Arkin Collections, vintage 60s, vintage fair; purchased here for $40.00
  • Shoes - Tod's, thrifted; last worn here in my last outfit of my spring/summer in September 2019
  • Jacket (below) - Forever 21, thrifted; last seen here in April 2019

I will admit that I did go over-the-top (OTT, as they say) on the styling. Why the heck not?
I curled my hair and went bigass on everything.

I left the original gold vinyl belt on the dress for its inaugural outing- I probably won't wear it much going forward as it's quite fragile.
This dress is older than I am! But it's timeless.

It's such a great fit too. Remember, I did not try this on when I bought it!
Pockets!! Yes!

Here's with the belt off - I find this more comfortable to wear and I like the sleeker look of it.
I'll wear it like this next time.

While I was outside doing my stair picture, I experimented with carefully moving my camera around on the ledge (I always worry about it smashing on the ground four floors down). I take all of my pictures with the camera timer.
In addition to the "wall support" pose at the top of this post, I also have this "missing feet" pose. Note my death-grip on the railing. Those heels were high!

It was when I started to think about outerwear that my whackitude side came out to play. Heh. Note that I switched my bracelet and ring to the outside of my gloves. KLASSY.
Well, darlings, first we have that crazy-ass hat, which was a gift from my dear Elaine back in Hamilton, who I called today. Hello, honey!

  • Hat - Henri Original, vintage 50s, gift from Elaine, last worn here exactly 6 years ago in March 2014
  • Gloves - Club Monaco, consignment

And because we're feeling very EXTRA today, a faux leopard cropped jacket.
Oh, yes, indeed! Elbow-length gloves and a bracelet-sleeve jacket - works every time.

And I'll just sling on this new-to-me vintage bag with the whole ensemble.
This makes me happy. I walked around in the house in this outfit, did my make-up and ate breakfast, danced around with Mr. Kitty - a couple of hours of wear, and I feel oodles better.

  • Purse - Ted Lapidus, vintage 90s, vintage fair; purchased here for $31.00

The stuff: 

My feet are tired just from wearing these so briefly around the house. I do love them, though. The quality is amazing.

Gold bling:
Go bold with your gold!

  • Earrings - Biko, consignment
  • Bracelet - Butler Fifth Avenue Collection, consignment
  • Ring - c. 1996

And now, some reading on the couch with another cup of tea. Maybe Vizzini will join me.
"And leave my robe and crown pillow?"

Take care, my friends! I'm off to enjoy my long weekend with L - we have some fun adventures planned for our anniversary. Be kind to yourselves and others. Take it a day at a time. Breathe. Thank you all again for stopping by!


  1. You look absolutely fabulous and have given me joy today when I needed it most.

    And, unless I'm very much mistaken, you're located on Vancouver Island? How did I not realize that until now!

    I visited Butchart Gardens with a dear friend of mine several years ago when we vacationed together in the Vancouver area. All I can think of now is that I wish we'd spent several days on the island instead of just one, although Butchart stole my heart clean away. We were there in December and it had snowed the day before so the gardens were magical.

    Thank you for that amazing walking tour!

    1. Aw, glad to hear that, thank you! Yes, I am in Victoria, on Vancouver Island! That's so cool that you were here - it's a gorgeous place. I haven't been to Butchart's in years.

      You are so welcome, thank you for dropping by.

  2. You look amazing! This entire post really brightened my day.

    Such a gorgeous area that you live in, as well. I want to move there!!!!

    1. Thank you, Chrissy! I'm so glad. :) It's a wonderful place - you should move here! :-P

  3. What a gorgeous dress! Thanks for the walking tour photos -- it is so lovelyt o see green grass, blossoms, and blue sky. Here in Edmonton we still have lots of snow and highs well below zero!

    1. Thank you, Cynthia, and you are so very welcome! It really lifted my spirits. Gah, snow?? I hope it melts soon so you can get out.

  4. Love that you still got dressed up Sheila! :) It's nice you were able to get out the house too. I dropped off my eldest boy at school today and as I turned to talk to him another parent bumped into me and coughed in my face so I'm not too pleased with that, haha! We are figuring out what will happen with going into the office, it's changed so much this week! But school continues so I'll get dressed then. Working from home I will just be in loungewear I'm already thinking I'll reduce my blogging. But we will see what happens!

    1. I really needed it, Mica! I wonder how much longer the schools and offices will be open this week for you. I hope you will not ease up on blogging - it's been a huge help to me and to my readers.

  5. Oh WOW! It's like virtual travel - THANK YOU! I have been feeling a bit housebound as our weather hasn't been all that warm so far - we're still in the phase where the snow is gone but everything is still brown/grey and dead. Your photos are just what the doctor ordered. After my grandfather died my grandmother moved back to Victoria where she was originally from and I visited her a few times. I was astounded at how beautiful it is there. The highlight for me though was high tea at the Empress Hotel.

    You sure have a great eye for fit to buy that beautiful dress without trying it on! I can eyeball blouses/sweaters but not dresses or pants. Well done!

    Stay well and healthy :)

    1. Oh, I like that you added a picture to your profile, Nana! Thanks for doing that. :)

      I'm so glad you enjoyed my jaunt - I know it will get nicer in your area soon! How awesome that you've been here! I've done tea at the Empress!

      I'm lucky to have an hourglass figure, and I know how those old dresses fit - I lucked out here for sure. Thank you, you take care too!

  6. What a wonderful post. I love Victoria and it's nice to see pictures of it again. One unexpected benefit of the virus is people breaking out of their routines and focusing on things often overlooked, like their hometowns, nature and family. By coincidence, I have both "Little Women" and "The Boy" on my Netflix DVD-list. (I loved Lauren Cohan in "Whiskey Cavalier.")

    1. Thanks so much, Ally! Did it remind you of your trip? I can't believe that was 2 years ago!

      Nice! Craigdarroch is where Jo goes to the party, when she's hiding the burn in her dress.

  7. Thank you for this amazing walking tour, brightening up our days is an act of defiant kindness. What a spectacular dress Enjoy your weekend and happy anniversary!

    1. I'm trying, Juliana! It's been hard for everyone, I know. Thank you so much for stopping by and for commenting. I really appreciate it.

  8. What a joyful post. What we all need to get us through these tough times is a daily dose of Super Sheila!

    1. Thank you so much, Helen! I won't be posting quite daily, but I'll still be posting.

  9. Beautiful post from a beautiful lady. Thank you.

    1. You are so welcome - thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  10. So lovely walk with lots of interesting things to watch (those fab houses and garden decoration, and daffodils!) and finally, seaside!. Love all the driftwood!
    And so fabulous to see you rocking your golden lions dress, it looks stunning on you!, and those shoes are damn elegant (and high!). Totally in love with your attitude, love to see you dressing up with plenty of accessories and fabulousness!, those gloves and the leopard shrug!, wowww!

    1. Thank you so much, Monica! I love the neighbourhoods I walk through.

      Glad you like the dress! Yeah, I wouldn't have worn the shoes to work, at least not for long! One of the benefits of not actually going out! Thank you, my dear - stay safe!

  11. Oh my goodness we were both out and about yesterday in the same area! I saw those driftwood structures and that painted rock! Dr Bonnie Henry advised us that walking and biking are great ways to get out in the fresh air and exercise while we are keeping our distance from others. Love that you got all dressed up...I’ve been cleaning a lot so I have been dressing much more casually. Stay safe!

    1. Oh, isn't that funny, L?? Yes, it feels good to get out, even if it's not for very long. Dressing up is really self-care for me.

  12. Fabulous, FABULOUS, simply and absolutely Fabulous - your outfit is you, with the fit of a luxurious pair of kid leather gloves, the look of a golden ray of sunshine, and the perfection of a favorite dessert eaten in just the right quantity. And thank you for the tour - I have forwarded this post to Fred and Robin so they may relive our visit to Victoria and see its loveliness through your eyes.

    1. Thank you so much, Laurie! Hello, Fred and Robin! Aw, those are wonderful metaphors, I'm honoured. Glad you enjoyed it!

  13. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Sheila, from your fabulous outfit to your soul-restoring mental health walk. What an utterly lovely part of the world you live in. I love those beautiful arts and craft-style houses, the quirky gardens and, above all, I am seriously envious that you can go for a walk along the beach and Pacific ocean. There's hardly any open space left here, apart from some parks and nature reserves, none of which are within walking distance, while some are even closed for the duration. I've walked once or twice during my lunch break, heading for the botanical gardens, which thankfully are still open, but had serious problem with social distancing on my way there. Some people! Thank you, too, for those close-ups of the castle. It does look very Gothic Revival. Now, to your outfit. That dress is a triumph and does fit you very well indeed. I'd be inclined to wear it without the belt too. It doesn't really need it, as it's stealing the show quite on its own. And I'm absolutely loving the ever so slightly OTT addition of the hat, faux leopard jacket and elbow length gloves. Magnificent, my dear! Enjoy your long weekend. Taking it one day at a time and keep breathing is sound advice indeed. xxx

    1. Hello, dear, Ann, thank you so much for the ginormous, juicy comment! I really appreciate it.

      Yes, it's a gorgeous place - we know how lucky we are to live here. The density is starting to happen here, but the waterfront has been preserved. I'm glad you are able to get to see greenery. I'll be back to the Castle soon, I think.

      The dress is so gorgeous, and yes, completely agree that it doesn't need the belt. I had fun over-accessorizing! It made me happy.

      One day at a time, breathe.

  14. Thanks for taking us along on your mental health walk. What an awesome place to live. So cool that you got to see a bald eagle! We went for a walk at the nature center on Sunday and saw turtles sitting on a log, some ducks and a robin by the river. Love the lions dress outfit and that awesome faux leopard jacket!

    1. You are so welcome, Cheryene! I know, seeing that bald eagle was a highlight! Nature soothes the soul, doesn't it? Thank you, my dear!

  15. Stunning outfit!

    I so enjoyed your walk; how fab to be able to walk by the sea. Isn't it lovely how individuals style their outside spaces. I was fascinated by the ones you posted.

    Your castle is lovely and yes you must visit it when you can. And as for your bird life; a bald eagle and the robin? I've never seen such a humongous one in my life!

    Stay safe and well Sheila!

    1. It's really lovely here, and it reminded me that I really need to do this more often. I love seeing people's yards and houses. The castle is the coolest place. Our birds are big here - even the seagulls are humongous!

      Thank you, Vronni, you too!

  16. What a fantastic post, Sheila! I loved going on your walk around Victoria (you are very observant and articulate) I hope I get to Canada one day! To top it off you wore one of my favourite outfits of yours ever! You look completely fabulous in that dress, hat and cropped jacket - thank you.

    1. Thank you so much, Alli! I am all about details, so I see every little thing, and those are often the things that fascinate me the most.

      Aw, thank you! I had so much fun getting dressed up.

  17. What a lovely tour around your area! You live so close to the sea! Wow,that is fantastic. I love gardens with hidden funny things! We have that too. And you should defenitely show us the Castle! That dress is gorgeous. I received a dress with Purple and Orange and gold in it. Love IT when there is good in clothes, I only wear golden or gold colored bracelets, rings etc. Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Thank you so much, Nancy! It's really close in every direction, even from my office, it's only a few blocks. I will go to the Castle when it opens again, although gawd knows when that will be.

      I love gold in clothes too - it's so shiny! Thank you - you take care, my dear!

  18. That printed golden dress is amazing. You look fantastic. I don't see why we shouldn't put the effort in dressing up in this time. It was a pleasure seeing your photos...the ocean looks so blue.I think blogging in time of coronavirus is good for our morale. I probably won't be blogging because I have so much work to do with online teaching. I'm afraid that if I log into my ordinary mail and blogger, I'll loose access to several programs I need for teaching and Gsuite that goes through my official mail that has to be connected with this network controlled by ministary so that data can be for IT reasons I'll probably just stick to commenting via my cellphone for the time being.

    1. Thank you so much, Ivana - it's actually woven and not printed - that's the fabric! Isn't that amazing? Putting in the effort really helped my mental state. It is good for morale to blog, but I totally get why you won't be doing it - that sounds really complicated. Hang in there!

  19. That dress is fabulous on you! I'm so glad you've worn the heck out of it, it's brightened up my day. that first photo of you should be in a magazine, it's gorgeous.
    What a stunning part of the world you live in, Sheila. Does it take you as long as it does me to get anywhere, always stopping to chat to and wave at the neighbourhood cats?
    I'm so envious of your proximity to the sea and the abundance of wildlife and birds.
    Give Vizzini a big cuddle from his Auntie Vix. xxx

    1. Thank you so much, Vix! It was a hoot getting overdressed! Aw, thank you! I like that one too.

      It's a gorgeous place! Yes, I always say hello to cats and wave at them. :) We're so lucky to live so close to nature here.

      Cuddles are being given! Thank you, Viz - take care, and cuddles back to your boys.

  20. I enjoyed this post very much. Took me a while to go through it but it was worth it. First things first: what do you mean you went over the top with the outfit? I don't see anything over the top, it looks perfect as it is. And I agree the dress is better on you without the belt. Love the cropped jacket with gloves and bracelet over the glove. Nice touch.
    Now... about the yellow skirt... I tried to comment on it, but I think it is closed for comments as I didn't get it published. So I am telling you here: I never knew you also did the yellow skirt and I have been looking at all the others. Or I have a bad memory. I think your take on the skirt is marvellous, you have taken it to another and much higher level. What a great styling. And the photos with the castle as background: superb.
    I feel I was quite conservative with my styling of the yellow skirt. But Melanie told me that that was the intention, you should do it your way and I am more conservative. I do admire you for your playfulness.

    1. Thanks so much, Greetje! I'm glad you enjoyed it, even though it was a massive post (my specialty!). I mean the outerwear portion is OTT - I would wear that for going out, but not for walking to/from work (I really would have worn that entire outfit for work).

      Aw, that's weird, it shouldn't be closed...ah, they went for moderation (I have that set for any posts that are older than a few months - it keeps the spam comments down) - I have approved them, so you'll see your comments now! We didn't really know each other at that time - it was just before we met in Vancouver. I remember your post! You went to a museum, I think. I like that everyone's stylings of it were so different. I would do it differently now - my style isn't as steampunk (although you may disagree when you see my next post).

    2. It was the Rijksmuseum ! Very big, very old, recently been done up for a fortune. In Amsterdam.

    3. Yes, that's it! I remember your post.

  21. That dress is EVERYTHING! Gorgeous fit, and plenty of shine to brighten the day. Overdressed is always a massive mood lifter.

    Thank you for the link!

    It's good to see you have been able to get out and about for a bit. Those old houses are utterly lovely - we don't have anything in quite that style over here. I'd definitely stay somewhere like that! I hope the cruise ships being out of action don't hit the local economy too hard.

    1. Isn't is amazing? I love getting dressed and overdressed is even better! You're welcome, like I said, you inspired me!

      We have a lot of Victorian houses and Arts & Crafts-style homes here, nothing older than 150 years, though. The lack of cruise ships will kill a lot of our local businesses. :( I worry about them.

  22. Thanks for letting me virtually accompany you on your walk - so many flowers and lovely scenery. The Spring flowers aren't up here yet, and there isn't really anywhere scenic to walk here that you don't have to drive to get to.

    Your dress is marvelous, and I love it with that gold hat. Keep on showing off your style - it's great eye-candy.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it - it really lifted my spirits. I'm looking forward to my walk tomorrow.

      Thank you so much! I will keep on posting! It makes me feel good to know I'm helping others feel better.

  23. Love the photos of Victoria and your outfits.....miss you!
    It looks like you had a wonderful day. That hat never worked for me but it looks great on you. That dress is beautiful and it goes well with the jacket etc. I think that you'll get your money's worth out of it.
    Yesterday I realized that because of the social isolation thingy I'm not wearing some of the clothes that I like. Your idea of getting dressed up just to feel good and have some fun is a good one.I might try that :)

    1. Aw, I miss you too, Elaine! I love the hat, but really don't wear it that much - I adore the dress, though.

      It really does help to get dressed up a bit - we're living in challenging times!

      Hugs to you, hon.

  24. I really enjoyed taking this walk with you Sheila. I cannot believe you saw a bald eagle! What a joy :) and so very up close.
    I applaud you for getting dressed these days. I have not. for a week. I am just posting what i have in my cel phone and camera, what happens next, i do not know.

    1. Thanks, Lorena, glad to have you along! I did zoom on the bald eagle, but I was standing below that tree. Amazing.

      It's hard to motivate, isn't it? I find getting dressed really helps me mentally, and gives my day structure.

  25. Fabulous mega post Sheila. These long walks do work wonders on me - I'm loving have the free time to walk more now I'm at home all day. Thanks for sharing your work dress too sweetie - you look elegant as ever x

    1. Thanks, Anna! I find it hard to motivate for the walks - the weather's been very erratic! I would walk on your island!

      I hope I can wear this dress out in public at some point soon!


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