Month: July 2013

Remix Challenge: week 43

As my near and dear ones can attest, I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. I blame it on hormones, and the lack of a proper summer vacation, and too much stress at work … but mostly the hormones. As it happens, though, despite feeling frumpy and dumpy all week, I actually really liked how some of the outfits turned out. I’m still sad to be missing out on a lot of the fun summer clothes out in stores right now, but … sigh … it’s probably for the best, as far as my wallet goes. So no cute shorts for this woman.

Saturday, July 6: family outing

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Jeans, maternity; top, J. Crew; tank top, J. Crew  Factory; necklace, J. Crew Factory; shoes, Taryn Rose; bag, Coach (vintage)

We made it to Whyte Ave two weekends in a row, which is a record for us. It really helps that Luka is now willing to sit in a stroller for longer stretches of time, which means less mad dashes after a toddler-on-the-loose, and more relaxed strolling. Even – gasp – a little store browsing here and there. Speaking of which, I finally made it to the Eye Care Group shop, where I got to try those Ray-Bans I’ve been eyeing online. What do you think?

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Ray-Ban aviators

The general consensus was that this pair is a little too narrow for my face; the lovely Jenni will order a different size (I didn’t know they came in different sizes!) for me to try. They’re loud and kind of obnoxious, but I love these! Jenni also talked me into trying a pair of sparkly cat’s-eye glasses. Surprise, surprise – I love these too! I don’t think my poor, abused budget can stretch that far – for now, anyway – but I’m definitely keeping them in mind for later.

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Meow!

This outfit was one of the ones I really enjoyed this week, even though the skinny maternity jeans aren’t working for me anymore. Quick pregnant lady rant: what is it with maternity pants that have that weird little elastic band as opposed to a full belly panel? As someone who has the (mis)fortune of carrying super low, these types of pants are a wardrobe nightmare – they dig in exactly where extra room is most needed. Ugh! Rant over.

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Manicure: Essie Bikini So Teeny

I especially loved the pop of red of the necklace against the awesome floral print of the top – it felt so summery and happy.

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Safe to say, I can barely see my toes anymore

Monday, July 8, 2013: work

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Dress, Nougat (gift); cardigan, J. Crew Factory; belt, J. Crew Factory; necklace, vintage (gift); shoes, Ferragamo (eBay); bag, Coach (vintage)

This outfit looked cuter in my head, but I think I’m still in denial about the size of my belly. It kind of throws off all of my proportions. Oh well. I’m still enjoying accessorizing this dress in different ways – not to mention wearing it on hotter days.

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In reality, that bump is about 3 times as big as it looks – or feels that way!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013: work

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Dress, Banana Republic (consignment); cameo brooch worn as necklace, vintage (Etsy); bag, Marc by Marc Jacobs; shoes, Ferragamo

I love the colours of this dress, but I always end up feeling rather frumpy wearing it – something about the fit of it on me. On the plus side, I love all of my accessories, especially my new Fossil watch. The mix of yellow gold and tortoiseshell is fun; not to mention, it may help prevent visible wear and tear (I have heard mixed reviews for the quality of plating on Fossil watches). Behold:

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Manicure: Chanel Rose Cache

Wednesday, July 10, 2013: work

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Pants, maternity; top, Tension; necklace, J. Crew Factory; shoes, Liz Claiborne (thrifted); bag, Longchamps

Ignore my constipated facial expression – I was having an epically bad morning, and looked about as grumpy as I felt – because I actually loved this outfit. Yep, I loved a “pants day” outfit! After getting fed up with my skinny jeans on the weekend, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy some new maternity jeans. Naturally, I didn’t find any I liked … but I did find this pair of pants. Granted, they are still polyester, but a softer, nicer-feeling polyester; more importantly, the cut is really quite decent – a straight leg that falls nicely and makes me look almost, well, chic.

I am actually excited to wear these pants again. Pants day might go from “yawn” to “yay” very soon!

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Not a stain on my shirt, just a random sun spot!

Now, if only I could magically transform Wednesdays from “woe” to “wow”, I’d be set.

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Manicure: A England Dragon

Thursday, July 11, 2013: work

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Dress, BCBG (consignment); necklace, Banana Republic; shoes, Stuart Weitzman; bag, Arcadia

I was meeting a friend for lunch, so I got a chance to actually see daylight for a change. Naturally, it rained. But that didn’t stop me from admiring the linden trees, which are now in bloom. They remind me of my childhood back in Romania.

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The camera seems to subtract 10 pounds in my case

Friday, July 12, 2013: work

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edit

My biggest challenge these days is finding (non-maternity) tops that are long enough. This one still is … just barely. I’m down to one pair of jeans (not my favourite either), which will mean that being creative on Fridays will be that much harder from now on. Only 8 more weeks to go, though!

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Manicure: OPI Gargantuan Green Grape (the blue version!)

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Playing with Jewelry

As my recent eBay and Etsy hauls attest, I have been somewhat obsessed with jewelry lately. It’s a perfect outlet for my inner magpie, who loves anything shiny, sparkly, or colourful. However, since my baubles aren’t exactly free, I do try to pick up only things I can actually wear day-to-day, and especially things that are versatile. Necessity (or determination) being the mother of invention, I have become quite good at finding ways to re-purpose my costume jewelry in different ways.

Brooches

Brooches are my favourites. They’re like a little jewel casket in your hand – compact, but full of awesome. I would happily wear brooches every day, but I don’t want to become known as the crazy, brooch lady (“she died by drowning in an avalanche of brooches, and no one found her for 3 months”). So, I’m always looking for ways to wear my brooches as, well, something else.

Since I have short hair, a fancy, brooch-bedecked chignon is out of the question. [Also, probably de trop for the everyday office.] Generally, I settle for making my brooches into necklaces. Here are a couple of ways to do that.

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Brooch (with hook) as pendant
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Brooch (no hook) as pendant
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Symmetrical brooch as pendant
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Brooch + chunky necklace

Another cute way to wear brooches is as belt accessories.

Earrings

One of the “downsides” of vintage clip-on earrings is that they tend to be quite large. Since I also like mine to be sparkly, this can be an over-powering combination for daytime; after all, I don’t want to look like a Mad Men extra – a subtle nod is one thing, looking like you’re in costume is another. But their size is actually a great advantage when re-purposing these earrings. They can easily work as either brooches or pendants.

Now, you may be thinking: “Why do you need more brooches?” It’s true, I already have plenty. But earrings work great for a “layered” look – mixing 2 or 3 brooches (and “brooches”) of different sizes and shapes for a more eclectic look.

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Earrings as brooches, alongside real brooches (spot the difference!)

You can also wear larger clip-on earrings as pendants. Just make sure that the clasp is secure; alternately, you can use a small safety pin to secure the earring to the necklace.

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Earring as pendant

Necklaces

I don’t wear bracelets a lot, so I don’t get to play around with necklaces as much as my other pieces. That said, you can still get some different uses out of them. For example, they can be layered …

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Layering necklaces

Or extended:

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Two necklaces, connected by brooches

How do you remix your jewelry?

 

Remix Challenge: week 42

Friday, June 28, 2013: dinner a deux

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Dress, Mexx (thrift); jacket, Tommy Hilfiger Outlet; sandals, consignment; earrings, Winners; sunglasses, Gucci

Ok, I’ll admit, this was kind of a lazy outfit. In my defence, we were looking for a relaxing evening not necessarily a romantic one. With temperatures already climbing in the high 20s, comfort definitely trumped romance this time.

Saturday, June 29, 2013: family outing on Whyte Ave + dinner

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Dress, J. Crew (consignment); necklace, J. Crew Factory; sandals, consignment; bag, Coach vintage; sunglasses, Gucci (via Winners)

I made a little bit more of an effort on Saturday, when the whole family spent the afternoon on Whyte Avenue. Naturally, the excursion involved a pit stop at Block 1912 for a much-needed gelato break. I also paid a visit to Red Pony, one of my regular consignment haunts. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you must – they often get some real gems, always very reasonably priced. The back room contains all the clearance stuff, 50% off. I also stopped in to C’Est Cera, who is having its 50-60-70% off sale; if you’re looking for Sweet Chemise dresses (and you should definitely check them out), this is a good place to start.

I may have dallied a little too long, because I just missed out on a visit to my friend Jenni, who works at The Eye Care Group (alas, only open till 5 on Saturdays). Since I’ve been pondering updating my sunglasses collection – currently consisting of one pair of Guccis I found for $12 at Winners – with a new pair of Ray-Bans, it’s probably for the better that I didn’t make it to the store on time … temptation averted for now. Sadly, we also missed out on dinner at The Upper Crust, which was inexplicably closed. Tired and hungry, we retreated to the south side and a Boston Pizza dinner. Win some, lose some.

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I need one of these in my house – the perfect backdrop

Tuesday, July 2, 2013: work

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Dress, Max Studio; tank, J. Crew Factory; shoes, Jules + Jim (consignment); bag, Marc Jacobs (consignment)

I’ve had this dress forever, and it’s been sitting in my “purge” pile for the better part of 2 years; it’s too large (normally) and doesn’t do much for my (usual) figure. It’s great maternity wear, though, which is why it’s stuck around. I’ll admit it, I had bigger plans for this outfit, but the heatwave put an end to them. Even in an air-conditioned office, there was no way I could bear wearing anything else (like a jacket).

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Manicure: Chanel Coromandel, accent nail OPI Smitten with Mittens

Wednesday, July 3, 2013: work

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Pants, maternity; t-shirt, Liz Lange for Target maternity; cardigan, J. Crew (consignment); shoes, Kenneth Cole (thrift); bag, Arcadia

It was pants day at the office … yawn. But it was also my husband’s and my 3rd wedding anniversary, and I got something very pretty and shiny to play with:

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Swarovski bangle

I added an extra bit of sparkle with my vintage watermelon rhinestone earrings.

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Vintage earrings

Thursday, July 4, 2013: work

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Skirt, Joe Fresh (consignment); blouse, RACHEL Rachel Roy (consignment); shoes, J. Crew (consignment); pearls, vintage (gift); bag, Chanel (consignment)

One more time, with feeling! I think this polka dot skirt has done its tour of duty in the maternity wardrobe, and it’s time to retire it. But not before I pair it with my favourite colour of the moment – cobalt/lapis blue. This was my personal favourite outfit of the last few weeks.

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Love it from every angle, even the extra-wide one!

Friday, July 5, 2013: work

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Jeans, maternity; top, Jacob Connexion (consignment); cardigan, Winners; shoes, Bloch; necklace, vintage (gift); bag, Chanel (consignment)

Skinny jeans + a long cardigan are such an easy, breezy, comfortable combo. This is especially true in the summer, when I can’t stand wearing blazers (too hot and constricting). A long necklace matches the casual vibe, while still dressing up the outfit.

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Manicure: A England Lade of the Lake
Note: For the time being, I disabled comments due to the large amount of spam that recently starting showing up in my comment inbox, which is now completely disproportionate to the number of actual comments. To those who are regular readers/commenters, as always I appreciate your feedback and thoughts, and I hope to hear from you soon – and feel free to send me a shout on Twitter or Facebook.