Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lanvin for H&M

A few weeks ago I woke up at 4 am and drove to Montreal for the unveiling of Lanvin for H&M.  The store opened at 8 am, and upon arriving I noticed an already-snaking line.  Shoving silly hand warmers into my mitts, I fought off the crisp, dark cold, and passed the hours criticizing my fellow consumers. In front of me was a fully grown man who arrived with his mother, whom he sent on a coffee run just minutes before the doors opened.  Behind me was a clan of plus-sized pretty boys bragging about how much they were going to buy.  We were given bracelets displaying the time frame in which we were allowed to enter the women's Lanvin area, while the men's section was open to everyone as of 8 am.  When the clock struck eight, and the doors opened, I began to question my understanding of humanity.  Men, shoving women out of the way, clambered up a downwards escalator, racing each other to the silk ties and leather loafers.  Though the pretty boys had been standing behind us for the past couple of hours, they were somehow already upstairs by the time I politely jogged my way up. 
The dresses were gorgeous, without a doubt, but surprisingly, they were not very flattering. I tried on a pink frilly number, and was told I resemble a cupcake.  Then I was told that's not a good thing. 
So, I settled on a pair of gorgeous burlesque-ish red pumps, heels encrusted in rhinestones, and a pink chandelier necklace. Now I just need the right outfit for them. 

The most exciting shopping bag!

My vintage faux fur coat makes a brilliant comeback..

Ignoring the several times I had dresses torn out of my hands by rabid shoppers, it was a truly magical event. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Illegal Steven

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed a break from real life, and took the train to Montreal, where time doesn't necessarily stop, but rather stops caring.  An example of that was the two-hour train ride which was somehow condensed into (what seemed like) a five minute chat with a family of eight heading down to watch the hockey game.  Montreal was playing Ottawa, so we weren't the only ones chatting:  the entire train was heading down to watch the game, and the pre-party was held in Via Rail seats 1-200. 

My friend Tyler met me at the station and said something really stupid upon seeing me, launching us into what turned into a 48 hour laughing/heaving fit, full of wheelchair-bound traffic rule breakers, and imaginary cougars.  Somehow our old friend The Pantera Italiana (The Italian Panther)  made his/her way into conversation once again.  Tyler and I met in Italian class, and we like to imagine our relationship stemming from our love for this imaginary...thing.  The surprising part is that it's been years since it's creation, yet when we see each other, all pantera-isms rise to the surface.   

But all was not lost to our inexplicable immaturity:  when we weren't mistaking Cher for Jim Carrey or declaring that Christmas is about blame and regret, we cleaned out H&M, danced amidst pre-pubescent boys, ate incredible food, and dreamt really strange dreams. Only in Montreal. 

Tyler, posing with a nearly-vegan scarf.
Thanks, 10% wool, thanks a lot.

We waited about eight hours (fine, one) to have Sunday brunch at Sparrow, but it was well worth it. My new favorite brunch place, if only for these homemade vanilla custard donuts and mimosa!

"There is no shame in preferring happiness." I found this quote at Les Glaceurs, the cupcake shop I wrote about in an earlier entry, where Tyler and I ended our adventures.  What better way to capture such a lighthearted weekend? 

I'm starting to really like Montreal and its craziness.  The unpredictability of our metro station surroundings, the unreasonably late open hours of bistros and toy shops, the insatiable craving everyone seems to have for being somewhere, everywhere perhaps, at once...the energy is so palpable.  Though sometimes I wonder if maybe, just maybe, it's just Tyler. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Battle Begins

Last winter was such a lovely break from the norm...the snow only made one attempt at scaring us (a 24 hour blizzard), after which it, seemingly shamed by its failure, sat in little clumps, shyly melting into sewers. Being able to walk to a coffee shop without having to pull strands of frozen hair out of my eyelids was wonderful.  Having full control of my fingers on my trips to and from work was delightful. Being able to wear my new ankle boots without having them covered in patches of salt like winter's own barnacles...just perfect.  It seems this year we'll be paying the price. Yesterday was the coldest October day ever.  My friend Lindsay and I first noticed it as we walked back to work having bought lunch.  Our McDonald's bags flailed violently in our hands, risking escape and consequently, the release of two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun onto passers-by.  The wind howled, and it was freezing. So, I thought, 'Okay winter. Let's do this.'

Winter rose to the challenge last night.  It snowed. On October 23rd.  And instead of getting angry, I decided to compile a quick list of essentials for the "not fall anymore but not quite winter yet" season. 
Item number One, of course, is a nice, big scarf.  I tend to choose earth tones for my wardrobe, so this time I decided to follow my 14 year-old sister's advice and step out of my shell.  I love the lilac color of this one, and I really, really love the giant pompoms. The only thing I still haven't decided is how I like to wear it...

With my hair up, looking part Little My, Part Lykke Li, and really drawing the focus to it's shape, perhaps? 

Then, of course, it's important to factor in shoes, purse, and hat.  I haven't worn this vintage hat out yet (it's a vintage pillbox) but my plan is to wear it with these fabulous vintage shoes and purse. 

Last but not least, I'd say the best transition-season article of clothing is a little faux-fur coat.  

I found this one at an antique store in New York, and wore it for the first time last night.  Maybe it's the four seasons of Sex and the City I watched in the last two weeks (in which Carrie makes wearing fur coats as natural as a donning a pair of Uggs), or maybe it's just the coat...but when I walked down the street and felt it's light trim flowing gently behind me, I thought, 'You can have this round, winter.'

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Quick Thanks

In light of the beautiful Thanksgiving weekend we had, I thought I'd capture a couple of the things I'm most thankful for. It was hard to hold back from posting the entire contents of my camera for this one, as I've realized it's bursting with memories of wonderful people and places.  Here's an abbreviated version...or my attempt at one:

Things I'm Thankful For

1 ) My birthday being in September!  This year, I had the pleasure of discovering these in Montreal: 

2)  Waking up to this sweet little corner every morning...

3)  Successfully baking a pumpkin roll vertically in an oven (due to cookie sheet being too large to fit oven)...

4)  And almost successfully baking a vegan pecan pie...this one bubbled wildly in the oven and, as a result, stuck to the pan. 

So there it is. I wish I knew enough people to ask what you are happy for, but for now I'll stick to perusing random blogs in search of that answer :)  And in the meantime, here are a couple of my favorite fall pieces, including my fall coat (the one that appears to be gobbling me up in the last photo) which I've had for a year now (*gasp) and which I have, quite suddenly, been receiving compliments on whenever I'm in public. Very strange that it took a year for people to say something. I now understand the meaning of an 'investment' piece ;)

I've been looking for a companion for this light vintage top for years

When I first bought this vintage dress, my intention was to cut the bottom to knee-length, but I once had it on while Jacques Brel was playing and it's serious twirliness made a poignant argument for keeping the length as it is :)

The length really makes the contrasting tones stand out. Also, if I wore this on a date, I wouldn't need to awkwardly explain that I'm not easy. The dress would say it for me. (Oh, the belt is vintage as well.)

This is what happens when I attempt to be graceful. I've given up a while ago. I blame it on the puffiness of the jacket.  Of note: I bought these shoes two years ago in Tallinn, Estonia and they still go with just about everything!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Little Bit of Lykke Li

Since I'm still in the introductory stage of my blog, I thought I'd mention the one artist I have a never-ending love-hate relationship with: Lykke Li.  I heard about Lykke Li a few summers ago and after watching her "Little Bit"  video, I went straight to Value Village to buy myself a similarly whimsical outfit, twisting my hair into a bun.  Since then, I'm proud to say I've caught on to the majority of her trends, though my loved ones are mentioning more and more often now that they have no idea what size I really am.

Wispy, baggy layers have found their way into my heart and closet, and I've come to realize my obsession with them stems from their ability to pull me away from real life, at least on a physical level. If no one can see what I really look like underneath, well..it's the closest I'll come to being invisible. And why I would want to be invisible I haven't yet figured out..but it sure beats being flashy (or a flasher), and finally, it really helps around the holidays when I'm inhaling anything edible within a five mile radius.

I once bought a ticket to see Lykke Li in Montreal.  I was just starting a new job at a really mean office, so I was too scared to ask for the day off to leave for Montreal earlier. Instead I ran for the Greyhound right after work, missed it, caught the next one, and made it to the concert venue just in time to watch Lykke Li perform her last song.  I stood there crying like a toddler by a closed candy shop. I Let It Fall as Lykke would say. Then a bouncer standing near-by (most likely having witnessed the snot and tears pooling in the creases of my scarf) said "It was a short show. She only played a couple of songs."  That's when my sadness turned to anger.  We walked back to the Greyhound stop literally fifteen minutes after having arrived in Montreal, and got on the next bus back. How could she do that to me? I thought.

Never mind that. Then there was Osheaga, the next summer, in Montreal again. This time I came prepared. I arrived early and when it was finally time for her to come on stage, my fingers gripped my camera tightly. As did those of five thousand other people.  But she didn't come out then.  She didn't come out for another hour, and when she finally did, she laughed saying "Technical problems! Sorry!" and I thought strike two...this better be a good show!  And how it was.  So I forgave her. That night we took the bus back and I hated her a little less, because my heart, now covered in wispy, baggy layers, was inspired. So there's the love-hate.

Lykke Li at Osheaga

Swedish, careless, and unfortunately unforgettable, Lykke Li is now my BlackBerry's ring-tone, my first choice in impressing musically-starved strangers, and well...my fashion icon. 
Also, as you'll find much further below, she looks a lot like Little My. 

Coincidence? Jag tror inte det. 

Uncanny resemblance!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Propos de Paris...

While I would normally try to keep this blog content hip and happenin' (there, an embarrassing dad moment already..) with the current season, I thought 'How could I have a blog about the little pleasures and delicacies of life without mentioning my magical trip to Paris?'  After spending a week in a city that looks like a film set and smells like a just-opened box of chocolates, I returned with the optimism of a sugar-coated almond, determined to live my life as Parisians do:

1. Sleep below a velvet bed frame.  This one is from our hotel, but we made one that's very similar, for my own bedroom.  

The heaviness of the velvet made it so hard to wake up every morning

2. Splurge on soap. Admittedly I haven't found any Hermes bath supplies that didn't smell like a man you might meet on the back of the #95 bus at 2 am on a Friday, but the entire Philosophy line more than makes up for it.  (Especially their fall collection which I received as a lovely birthday gift from my first Blogspot friend Anais!)

The soap was already hairy when we got there, I swear!

3. Eat lots of delicate desserts. Alright, I already knew this one, but the incredible shapes and ingredients of the thousands of Parisian concoctions I wolfed down during the week....really inspired me to hunt for similar things in Ottawa. So far, The French Baker has really...taken the cake...when it comes to fluffy yet rich Parisian macaroons, but their prices are a little on the higher side.  Once again, Anais to the rescue!  She recommended the Ottawa Farmers' Market where I found macaroons as wild as lavender-apricot, at slightly more reasonable prices.  

"I'll have one of each!"

A cherry turnover I ate barefoot in a downtown park

The name of this mess crumbles under the pressure of its exploding components

Some cakes are kept under futuristic domes

A Parisian McDonald's

A 'Divorce'

A chocolate-wrapped eclair and a raspberry mousse cake kept in place with dainty plastic toothpicks!

Strawberry Coulis with Creme Fraiche
4. Dress as though you are quite literally out of this world. I noticed something funny about Parisian women: looking effortless is key in any outfit. For example, they'll combine a perfectly tailored Marc Jacobs raincoat with a flawless make-up application and....messy hair.  There always has to be something to lure their audience into thinking this is just something they threw together.  Lipstick is always minimal, make-up palettes are very neutral, and, for the most part, hair color doesn't stray farther than 3 shades away from the color of your roots. So, while you might be wearing a faux fur stole, or in this case, an electric blue suit, always keep it looking like you didn't care about looking good when you got up this morning, you don't care about it now, and you won't ever have to care...it just comes naturally to you. 

5. Eat unique food as much as possible.  I won't even get into the story behind our dinner at this little bistro...let's just say the chef was unpleasantly surprised by my persistence in getting us a seat despite my date's vegan restrictions. All part of the atmosphere,  my vegan date likes to say.  Though I normally don't enjoy snobby chefs, the food surely made up for it.

6. Accept yourself for the hopeless romantic that you are. It's impossible not to fall in love with love in Paris. I'm trying my best to keep some of that magic back here, where the Eiffel Tower can only be found in old photographs :)