Saturday, 18 October 2014

Fall Fun in a Thrifted Sweater

I had every intention of going out into the world today... run a couple errands, maybe do a little thrifting but instead my Saskatoon friends were in town for the afternoon, so instead we ate good food, drank good drink and played in the leaves...
Perfect leaf-playing sweater, don't you think?
Kimchi & Blue mustard sweater $3.50 VV Boutique
JBrand denim and TOMS from my closet
Needed to do something useful with the leaves, like throw children into them.
Airborne!!
Why should the kids have all the fun?
This pile is big enough for grown women and...
five children!
Turns out afternoon wine doesn't improve my posing ability.
Just me and my $3.50 sweater hanging out on a Saturday afternoon...
I'm thankful for this beautiful fall day, my family and my friends! 



Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Thrift Like a Man

I love taking people thrift shopping - helping them find quality pieces at great prices, witnessing the thrifting spark take hold...it's wonderful!  All of my thrift-guiding clients have been women... till now.  Last night, I had the pleasure of taking a young* man thrift shopping.  (*Young enough to be Next Gen but not so young I could be his mom.)  Eric is a work colleague of mine, a tech guy that has helped me out of more than a few jams.  In fact, he's been so helpful, we let him in on where we keep our secret candy stash.  Inner circle...  He asked if I could help him shop for some updated wardrobe staples, so we met at VV and I hit the men's clothing racks expecting the same success that I find in the ladies'.  Well, long story short, Eric found a grand total of 5 pieces at an average cost per piece of $10Is my disappointment audible?!  Before I muse about the experience, let me show what he DID find...
This mint-condition Michael Kors shirt fit perfectly!
This alone would be worth anywhere from $70 to $170 regular retail...
 
Eric liked the vertical stripes on this dress shirt.  Dressy enough for trousers, casual enough for jeans.
 
The tailoring and pattern on this one made it a nice addition to Eric's selections.
 
Mexx trousers fit nicely and had some stretch so Eric can comfortably climb under people's desks to fix cords 
and do whatever other magic those tech guys do.
Oakley cardi manly sweater.
At lease we can say he has preferred colour palette.

Even though Eric didn't go home with a huge haul of clothing, he was satisfied with the outcome.  He dislikes shopping (??? I don't get it) and wouldn't have had the patience to sort through the racks alone.  Even in regular retail, Eric has troubles finding pieces that fit well so five good pieces were worth it.  He tries to buy good quality labels then wears them till they're dust.  Sound like any men in your life?  That explains the lack of second-hand selection - men tend to hang onto their clothes a lot longer than women.  There's far less attrition and if they're like Eric, if they have one good pair of brown shoes, there's no need for another.  Uh, I cannot relate to this line of thinking.  
 
He already has brown shoes so put these back, 
but it was satisfactory to me to prove that you CAN find a full range of sizes second-hand, including sz 13-14!!

I recommended that Eric try and find a blazer...
Perfect condition but too short in the arms... keep looking Eric!!

Maybe it's just because I've been binge-watching Suits, but I do think both men and women should have professional pieces at the ready and, with thrifted prices, most can afford them.  Eric asked me what difference it makes how you dress.  Well, aside from the fact he obviously he hasn't seen Suits, I think dressing well reflects self-respect.  There's a huge range of "dressing well" so I should clarify that I mean putting some effort into YOU.  I guess tech guys have a sort of instant authority because the rest of us are at their mercy to be able to do our jobs best, so they don't necessarily have to dress to earn respect.  Still, there's a big difference in professional cred between jeans and a t-shirt and this:
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/420945896394191366/ 
As but one example.
This is what I think of as business casual for men.
(You're welcome lady readers)

It was my style-consultant duty to search men's style on Pinterest.  I'm very selfless like that.  It got me thinking about where men can turn to for style inspiration.  There are plenty of great male style bloggers but Eric doesn't read style blogs (except mine??) and he doesn't do Pinterest or social media or read mags like GQ.  My advice then for a young guy like Eric is to just keep an eye out while watching TV or movies or looking at websites or whatever - make some (mental) notes about what kind of guy-style you like then shamelessly copy.  Consider a Pinterest account because that's where you will find all the links you'll ever need for things like:
How to Roll Up Your Sleeves: The Italian
Just right. Too small. Too big.

  • And so much more!  
Keep in mind that style isn't only about what you wear.  Find a good hair salon and get a good cut (and whatever else; take care of your man-business).  Invest in a good belt and wallet (you can find these thrifted) and yes, even a nice man-bag can up your style cred exponentially.  Last but not least, mind your mannersNow I sound like a mom but if nothing else, I would want my two sons to behave like gentlemen, so I think it's fair advice for Eric too.  

Eric had a definite idea of what he did not like...
 
I know I'm right that this Eddie Bauer plaid piece was awesome 
but I couldn't convince Eric that the colours weren't "too wild."
This with a plain white tee would have been nice, right?
Eric, you might come down with a case of Thrifting Regret...
Skinny jeans were way outside Eric's comfort zone, but at least he tried them on.

I learned a lot about thrift shopping with boys.  You men have less selection so that means you have to check in more often, but you can be quick about it!  Just amble past the blazers and button-ups and shoes!  Like the ladies, always try things on, and wash before you wear with some vinegar in the fabric softener section of your washer to neutralize any lingering Old Spice.  Dry clean quality garments and consider tailoring for pieces in excellent condition - it will still work out cheaper than regular retail.  BUT it's not only about the bottom line; more expensive doesn't mean better, and cheaper isn't the only reason to thrift.  There are many local charity thrift shops and the bigger chains like VV and Goodwill support local non-profit partners.  Then there's the whole environmental benefit, conscious consumerism, etc.  All together, these make a compelling argument for thrifting like a man!  Thanks Eric for the shopping fun!  I hope you like your pieces and I DO expect to see them at work! 


Monday, 13 October 2014

Happy Matchy-Matchy Thanksgiving

If you're like me, you may or may not put on real clothes on a holiday Monday.  Since issuing the Monday Style Prompt, I figured I better at least try to ease myself out of stretchy pants into something presentable.  This week's prompt was to wear colour neighbours:
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/127226758198793631/
I'm not exactly shy about colour.  I wear whatever colours I want whenever I want and am more concerned about what makes me happy than whether something fits in my colour "season."  I urged everyone to try a new colour combo but I am pretty sure I've tried most colour-neighbour combos, so when I finally got dressed this morning, I based my choice on a thrifted piece waiting in the queue and went with orange and red...
Joe Fresh sweater $3.50 VV Boutique
Fall leaves are so pretty.

I love orange and pink/red or any variation thereof, so naturally when I saw this light-weight sweater for such a great price, I snatched it up.
Orange is pretty much *the* colour of Thanksgiving.  And anyway, I've been wanting to wear my orange pants since I saw Beata wearing hers last week.
I know pink is the predominant colour in the sweater from a distance, but there is plenty of red, making my gifted thrifted Miz Mooz a natural footwear choice!
To complete my Thanksgiving Monday ensemble, I added some accessories which just so happened to seal my down-and-out case of MMS (Matchy Matchy Syndrome)
The top bracelet is by She Does Create and the other two are thrifted from VV Boutique!
Elephant earrings by She Does Create match perfectly.

Sometimes, MMS is okay for me, especially when it brings together so many happy colours in an outfit that cost less than ten dollars
Happy Matchy-Matchy Thanksgiving!


Friday, 10 October 2014

Cosmetic Splurgery

I have a big announcement: I've had my first cosmetic "work" done and I have been documenting the process.  Before you jump to boobs conclusions, let me give you a hint...
Some people were still hoping for boobs.
Sorry, instead I present porcelain veneers.

As I may have mentioned over and over, I'm now 40.  SHOCKING, I know.  It snuck right up on me.  It seems to me that as we women get older, our "options" of how to take care of ourselves expand.  Let's assume we're settled into our careers and family life (as if that's a small feat), and our homes are under control (bwahahahahaha)... with all our "extra" time, we have hair manis pedis brows facials veins under-eye-circles lip-creases bone-density thinning-skin sleep and of course, the usual diet and exercise to consider.  And that's if everything is going well.  It's downright overwhelming.  In the 5 minutes a day that I might have time to consider these things, what shall I choose?  Of all our cosmetic options, what is worth it?  What makes a woman beautiful and youthful and stylish and ... ageless?  My answer to that question is: her smile.  

Don't get me wrong, I don't think a smile has to be cosmetically perfected to be beautiful.  Nope, perfection is overrated and boring.  I think you just have to smile and that's what I've been doing for my 40 years.

I don't only smile with my daughter or at wineries.
These are just nice toothy examples of my "before" smile.

My smile reflects relationships, my heart, kindness, love, laughter!  When words fail, a genuine smile will do and for that reason, I've never let my dark left front tooth stop me from smiling.  However, I was always aware of it, and this summer I decided to address it.  First up, I needed to whiten my teeth which took two weeks to do and two weeks to cure.  That makes me sound like meat.
I took my whitening kit to Yellowstone.
Here I am hanging out creek side, wondering what I would do if a bear came upon me all by my lonesome.

After that, I had gum surgery to even out the gum line, and thus began several hours of dental chair visits AND an audience for my summer humour.  Someone should have warned them.

Left: immediate post op (that sounds very medical)
Middle: still frozen (AKA my best Anthro-model look yet)
Right: almost healed.

My favourite part of gum surgery was when my awesome dentist Dr. Bernard pushed my teeth into my brains, a supposedly necessary maneuver.  That was swell.  That's why I was *ecstatic* to learn I needed a second gum surgery to get things just right. 
That right there is a look of self-pity, for gum surgery #2 was exponentially worse.
I comforted myself with expensive t-shirts and blender drinks.

After the recommended two-weeks of healing and strict Siberian Protocol, I went in for my temporary veneer mid-September with a strange horizontal gum line.  FINE, I'm not a dentist and maybe a morning vodka rinse is NOT a good idea.  (kidding)  Turns out I had a gum infection and needed a round of Gryffindor antibiotics to fix me up.
Penicillin is so much more interesting when you imagine wizarding side-effects.
The dental office asked if I could send a selfie of my healed gums... uh, have we met?

Next up, it was time for my temporary veneer AKA getting needles in my gums again, but totally worth it.
Such a huge improvement already.
Oh, and note my LOW-gum-line-smile, Dr. B.... BOO YAH.  It's possible. Not probable but possible.
 OTs are good at compensatory strategies for daily occupations.  I call this my "coping" collage.

I headed off to Ontario with my temporary veneer with a mild worry that I would somehow lose my temp and be stuck with a pirate-tooth stump whilst trying to be all professional and learned and stuff.  Fortunately, that never came to pass and I returned home ready for my permanent smile.
That's me holding my body up by my eyebrows, as Kim Barthel would tell me.
I'm *totally* relaxed.
 Just so's you know, you CAN take a selfie during dental work.

Well, I did NOT get my porcelain veneer that day.  It wasn't quite right...  I loved it when Dr. B asked my opinion on the matter.  "Uhhhh.  How can I say this, I see a tooth.  It's not dark.  I'm happy."  But I trusted his opinion and that I wasn't being a bother by sending it back to the lab.  (if nothing else made me sound old till now, that just did)  Second temporary veneer, another week and back to the chair.  That was yesterday and Dr. B brought the lab to me for any last minute adjustments, and not just any lab, Beata's lab all the way from Calgary.  I so wish I would have insisted on a photo with her, but let me just tell you, I knew right away Beata was awesome because she was wearing orange pants.  She shared life wisdom, an expert second-opinion on the veneer options and offered to run for wine sustenance in case of emergency.  That that even came up is more evidence of awesome.  Short story long, I now have my final porcelain veneer and can't stop smiling!  But before I reveal, let me explain one more thing - why I'm blogging about this.

I am part of a Splurge Sorority.  We are 12 women who contribute $40 each month then take turns "splurging" on something just for us.  First round, was way back before I started thrifting and I used my Splurge money for clothes.  Second round, I used my Splurge money for Anthro bedding.  This round, I'm using my Splurge money for my smile.  Since the porcelain veneer is considered cosmetic, it is not covered by my benefits and is therefore the perfect Splurge!  I gathered the girls for a night of cosmetic splurgery... not botox or group lipo or anything exciting like that.  Instead I went to Sephora, found *the* masks as recommended by the 25yo claiming to have wrinkles telling me to fill in my brows and aghast that I don't wash my face at night, then shared them with my friends...
Nobody said beauty is pretty.
During and after.  
I think I look at least 39 after.

Even though I couldn't reveal my final veneer at my Splurge party, we had a great night and all enjoyed some extra-special pampering.

AND NOW, the moment we've all been waiting for... 
Dr. Bernard said I should wait to take photos.  I totally ignored that advice because I'm an excellent patient that *needed* to blog.  But the gist of it is that the porcelain veneer will only look better over time.  

I can't say THANK YOU enough to Dr. Bernard and his assistant Louise for all their time and expertise!!  I can't imagine going through all this without having fun - thanks for making it fun!  
They even let me take a selfie with my "teeth team" - now that is awesome!