Month: September 2015

The Proust Questionnaire

As I threatened promised last week, here is my Proust questionnaire. The questions that Vanity Fair uses appear to vary from issue to issue, so I picked a bunch that seemed the most interesting.

Oh, and here’s a photo of the man himself:

Photo credit: Entertainment Weekly
Photo credit: Entertainment Weekly

I lied. That’s not Proust at all. Are you mad? Didn’t think so.


What is your idea of perfect happiness: Reading a favourite book, curled up on the couch in my library on a rainy day, with the kids playing (nicely! together!) nearby. While getting a foot rub from my husband. Hey, this doesn’t have to be their idea of perfect happiness, ok?

What is your greatest fear: Failure.

Which historical figure do you most identify with: Elizabeth I, minus the daddy issues.

Which living person do you admire most: Malala Yousafzai

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself: Ego

What do you consider the most overrated virtue: Humility. Just kidding. Honesty – way too often, people use it as an excuse to be assholes.

What is your favourite journey: Life. Hey, I like to wax poetical sometimes.

On what occasion do you lie: When faced with strangers’ babies and other pet projects.

What do you dislike the most about your appearance: My nose. It has some good angles, and some “holy crap, is that the same person?” angles.

Which living person do you most despise: Anyone who takes pleasure in hurting another creature, big or small. Except spiders. Now, to be clear, I’m not advocating that people should enjoy killing spiders – they just have to do it, and quickly, preferably with fire.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse: Inter alia

What is your greatest regret: Not learning more languages as a child.

When and where were you happiest: Whenever and wherever it was, I didn’t realize it until later. At some point in time, this may be the happiest I’ve ever been.

Which talent would you most like to have: To sing like Adele. Every cool talent I would have picked when I was younger (reading minds; seeing the future; time traveling) has way too many downsides.

What is your current state of mind: Anxious. Where are the correct answers for this quiz?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be: I would be more patient. And two inches taller. Dammit! Well, patience is overrated anyway.

What do you consider your greatest achievement: Surviving the following (in chronological order): the first semester of law school, the first year of motherhood, and the writing of my first book.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be: A brilliant, good-looking, funny, much-loved billionaire. If I can choose, I’m going to go for the top, you know? With that said, the reality is that I would probably actually come back as a cockroach. I hate cockroaches *shudder*

What is your most treasured possession
: My kids. They’re mine till they turn 18, yes?

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery: Oh God, this answer is sending me into an existentialist tail-spin. Let’s just go with the superficial answer: being stuck in traffic on the way home from work, listening to the same Katy Perry song on repeat, on a hot day, with no air conditioning, while hangry – forever.

What is your favourite occupation: Spa reviewer.

What is the quality you most like in a man: Kindness and fairness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman: Why is this a separate question?

What do you most value in your friends: Loyalty.

Who is your favourite hero(ine) of fiction: Elizabeth Bennett and Jon Snow.

Who are your heroes in real life: My parents.

What is it that you most dislike: Rudeness. It’s an epidemic.

How would you like to die: Feeling that I lived a fulfilled life.

What is your motto: Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face (borrowed from Mike Tyson)

Throwback Thursday, Style Edition

Jacket, Tristan; dress, Tahari (thrifted); shoes, Ferragamo (via consignment); bag, Gucci (via consignment)
Jacket, Tristan; dress, Tahari (thrifted); shoes, Ferragamo (via consignment); bag, Gucci (via consignment)

I bought this cropped jacket, from now-defunct Canadian retailer Tristan (previously Tristan & Iseult), back in early 2010 from a local consignment store. I remembered seeing it at the mall, at least a couple of years previously, and lusting over it and its matching skirt. Alas, it was too expensive for my budget at the time, so I was thrilled to find it for a more manageable price ($32) secondhand. (Too bad I never found the skirt as well. Sad face.) It’s a beautiful piece – the detail work is quite impressive, and it looks expensive – and I always get compliments on it when I wear it.

The truth is, I haven’t worn it very often in the last 5 (almost 6!) years because the cropped silhouette never seemed to lend itself to my wardrobe. Here are a few of my attempts:

2011 / 2012 / 2013
2011 / 2012 / 2013

However, I held on to it through the years (even when it didn’t fit) because it always felt like a “special” piece to me. And now, I’m determined to find new ways to wear it. Well, this first effort is not exactly new … it’s just the same jacket + dress combo, except with a different dress. I’ll wait to blow your socks off with my creative styling till next time. (All the LOLs, but let’s roll with it.)

Speaking of the dress, this is the Tahari number I mentioned in my last thrifting post. It’s a very nice dress for all of the $8 I spent on it. It does have this weird tie thing at the back:

back/waist tie detail
back/waist tie detail

At first, I thought it was super cool because you can adjust the waist tighter or looser depending on mood, size of lunch, etc. However, I quickly realized that if I use the last snaps (I.e. tightest “setting”), they immediately un-snap as soon as I bend down or make any similar movements. So, I’m stuck using the middle snaps, which makes the dress quite loose through the waist – admittedly, not the biggest problem as the dress still has some definition to it. I’ve debated having it tailored, but it doesn’t seem worth it; I think I’ll keep it as is, as insurance against weight fluctuations.

black & red & sequin
black & red & sequin
tripping down memory lane ...
tripping down memory lane …

Bag Love: Gucci Britt Large Tote

As promised, here is my review of the Gucci Britt tote, which I recently purchased from My Favourite Aunt’s, a local consignment store.

Gucci Britt tote
Gucci Britt tote

First, a bit of background. I’ve never really been interested in Gucci bags before, with the exception of the reissue bamboo handle ones. I especially dislike the interlocking Gs canvas print (i.e. the Gucci equivalent of the LV monogram). So it was interesting when a similar Britt tote (the “dialux” version, I believe) turned up on the IG account of a re-seller I follow, and my first reaction was “ooh, I kinda like that hardware”. I know, it’s big and in-your-face but … I still kinda like it. The bag on IG was too expensive for what was essentially a whim, so I forgot about it.

And then!

I popped into MFA one day and there was the almost exact same bag – except in a larger size, and for a cheaper price. (That, by the way, is one of the reasons that MFA is one of my fave consignment stores – not just in Edmonton, but anywhere. In addition to mid-range brands like J. Crew and Anthro, they get the occasional top end designer stuff, and it’s always very reasonably priced.) I hemmed and hawed – more on that later – but ultimately bought it; at $200 for a pristine looking leather bag of generous proportions, it was just too good a deal to pass up for a bag addict like me. So how does it stack up?

closer up
closer up

It’s amazing!

Let’s start with looks. Obviously, this is very subjective, so take this as my 2 cents. Other than the hardware – which, as I’ve already said, I like despite its in-your-faceness – the bag is very plain and classic. If you turn it around, so people can’t see the logo, no one would necessarily recognize it for OMGdesigner. It has nice lines, and it’s right on the border between structured tote and slouchy hobo bag. The lining is an added nice touch – it’s a beautiful striped fabric. Looks-wise, I’d give it an 8.5/10.

pretty lining
pretty lining

The Britt really shines when it comes to functionality. If you love big bags, and don’t need very rigidly structured ones, this one’s for you. It has a LOT of room. There are no inside dividers, so it’s a bit of a “black hole”, but you would have no problem fitting a laptop in there. (The bag might get very heavy, though, and the straps would probably start to hurt.) It has the usual complement of small inner pockets, though. The straps are adjustable, and fit comfortably on the shoulder. If you don’t weigh down the bag with rocks, they don’t cut into you. There are feet on the bottom of the bag, which is always handy.

big bag. huge.
big bag. huge.

The only downside is that there is no zipper closure. The Britt is basically a clone of the LV Neverfull but slouchier because of the leather. This isn’t something that bothers me too much (I often leave my bags unzipped for easier access) but YMMV. For function, I give the Britt a 9/10.

As far as quality goes, it’s early days yet. However, the leather is soft and lovely to the touch. There are no scuffs, even in the spots that typically get the most wear (bottom corners, etc.), and no discolouration of the leather. This is no small feat since this is likely a 2007 bag – 8 years old. (Its former owner either didn’t use it much, or babied it a lot.) As I mentioned, the fabric lining is delightful. I would give it a 9/10 (so far).


[Edited to add: after about a week, I eventually noticed that the handles do show a little bit of cracking in the leather on the edges. Not very noticeable – obviously – but it’s there, so in the interests of full disclosure, I thought I’d mention it. Also, the gold of the hardware has either faded or rubbed off, so it almost looks silver in some lights. For an 8 year old bag, I still think it’s pretty darn impressive.]

For the price I paid for it, the Britt was a great deal (it originally retailed for around US$1800). I can see it becoming one of my everyday go-to bags. But it has created a bit of a dilemma for me. See, I already had 4 black bags, and now have 5 … which is at least one black bag too many. Two of them are special occasion bags, and I don’t mind holding on to them for reasons other than practicality. I love the Longchamp bag I recently thrifted as a “smaller black bag” option (especially for weekends), which leaves my MbMJ Aidan bag – a perfectly lovely bag, still in excellent condition. It’s not as roomy as the Britt, and for that reason, it’s less useful in my day-to-day life. Still, I’m loath to sell it, and take the risk that I’ll end up with seller’s regret, which has happened before. I also know I probably won’t use it often in the foreseeable future. Then again, it’s not exactly costing me much in terms of closet space. See what I mean? Wardrobe dilemma!

Marc by Marc Jacobs Aidan bag
Marc by Marc Jacobs Aidan bag

Should it stay or should it go?