Thursday 27 June 2013

Silk and Spikes

It occurred to me that I may have been misleading when I asked for help choosing a dress for the Next Gen DIYalogue Talks Fashion event I attended.  It may have seemed that I would *return* the two dresses I didn't end up wearing.  Maybe I would do that when paying regular retail but definitely not with VV Boutique prices!  I could hardly wait to wear my "Anthropologie" Lilka dress.  And tell everyone I encountered I was wearing a dress from Anthro that I paid $6.50 for.
 Lilka dress $6.50 VV Boutique
Franco Sarto shoes $13.30 and necklaces $2.80 together, VV Boutique
Vest hand-me-down from my sis

This dress can hold its own, of course, but I liked the layering with the vest and felt it made it more work-appropriate without resorting to an expected cardigan.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  
The pretty colours are going to be easy to style with purple, gray, blue, blush, mustard, black!  I can easily think of 6 different styles per cost just sitting here and it goes without saying that this dress only spurns on my hunt for the elusive mustard cardi.
My photographer was distracted by his cat, but this photo gives me a chance to boast about the skirt a bit - it is SILK.  Not only do I have an Anthro dress, I have a silk Anthro dress.  In addition to keeping all the dresses, I'm keeping the perfect accessories by She Does Create.  The accessory-trifecta of earrings, necklace and bracelet was perfection as a unit, but the piece that most boggles my style mind is the spiky bracelet.
I have a very small wrist and have a hard time finding bracelets that fit.  Well, luckily I'm a spoiled baby sister because my talented sister made this specifically for MY small wrist!  You'd think all those spikes would be heavy, but no; they are light and pleasantly jingly!  My 3-year-old said, "ouch your beautiful bracelet poked me," but really, those spikes are not large or dangerous.  I think she was just trying to get my bracelet.  Can't blame her.  Sorry Sweetie, but Mommy's not sharing this one.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Neon Next Gen DIYalogue

Earlier tonight, I took my youngest friend on a date to Edmonton's Next Gen DIYalogue "Talks Fashion," and since we carb-loaded like 24-year-olds* at 10pm, I am now wide awake and ready to share.

*She is 24. I am that reversed minus the age of my youngest child.

I asked for help deciding which dress to wear and almost immediately it was clear that neon was the next gen choice.  I made a quick stop for some custom-made stunningly perfect accessories from She Does Create and then, we hit the scene.  Wait, that sounds old.  We left.
We clean up pretty good.
That also sounds old.

I had no idea what to expect from this event.  The poster said something about it being like speed dating, but somehow I thought that meant mingling in small groups.  Nope.  There were tables set up around the room with a "mentor" at each table and, after being called to the front (!! luckily for us, the front happened to land us next to the cocktails), the attendees broke off and sat at a table and had a few minutes to chat with each mentor before the timer went off (!!) and we moved on.  This must be horrifying in a real dating situation, but for the DIYalogue, it was indeed conducive to some quality chit chat.
 Chantel: What are we doing here?
Nicole: We are having fun.  Now be quiet and interpret like a good little next gen'er.

We made friends with Derek, the local designer behind LUXX Ready to Wear and I had to remind myself not to act like a proud mom.  But seriously!  Derek is living out his dreams, practicing his passions and that is truly awesome!  It just makes me so happy to see people living life to the full!   
 AND Derek's collection is designed for real women!

I loved chatting with everyone!  And I *may* be plotting some purchases once my strictly-thrifting year is done... First stop will be at Majesty Industries for a wallet and bag!  We agreed with Julie that mustaches are done, and I can't wait to see what she has in stock in September!  After that, I'll stop by Poppy Barley for made-to-measure boots and/or flats.  I had heard of this one-of-a-kind company but did not realize that they are A) local, and B) affordable!!  This may just be the perfect use for my Splurge Sorority shopping!  Thank you to Caroline Gault, Alberta Editor of Fashion Magazine, for reminding me of the awesomeness of Poppy Barley, and keep up the great work (there I go sounding old again) advocating for Alberta's fashion voice!

I had no idea Edmonton had so many talented designers!  We had a double-chat with Alisha of Suka Clothing, because we are rule-followers rebels.  Alisha is moving from Gothic cowboy to romantic bondage (marriage) (kidding) in her upcoming collection.  I am interested in where designers find inspiration, and those that articulated it well were most compelling.  Not that I'll be sporting any cowboy-goth because I don't want to break the Internet.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but both Chantel and I won door prizes.
Chantel was first, but I knew my win was coming.

Chantel won a style-consultation with Laurie Callsen, vintage blogger and style consultant.  She has amazing vintage style and I can't wait till my appointment I mean Chantel's appointment that I will also attend.  I could have spent all evening chatting with Laurie and Janis of Dress me Dearly who looks so familiar I can hardly believe it's only via Twitter that I know her!  Speaking of Twitter, that was the only part of the evening that was befuddling (sounding old a-gain); no one was tweeting.  At first I wondered if Twitter is passe according to next gen's youthful fancies.  On my ride home though, I understood.  From my limited perspective, next gen'ers have the youthful privilege of being able to easily and conveniently talk on the phone or even get together to talk and connect.  For your average mom, special forces of the universe need to collide in order to have a decent telephone conversation or go out alone clean and coherent.  That's ok, you all just enjoy this time of life because one day you'll be hiding in the bathroom from your children to text like the rest of us.
Neon dress $6.50 and pink shoes $8 from VV Boutique
I'm already dirty here.  But that's because of the aforementioned second supper:
My food matches my dress.

There was even a clothing swap!  Meaning, you could browse the clothes and just take what appealed - fits my second-hand rules!  They assured me and Chantel that we were not stealing... still felt a little like stealing unusual.

All in all, it was a fun new experience!  I absolutely loved my dress for this event and the accessories were nothing short of perfection.
I heart you coloured jade and beautiful spikes!

Like my fabulous and talented jewelry designer sister, these mentors are working hard at what they love.  And that is inspiring!  

Monday 24 June 2013

Point Zero Problem

Once you start thrifting, you discover the thrill of the hunt and that victory is sweeter at 50% off!  So sweet that you can't wait to wear your new treasures, so I was overly eager to wear this Point Zero floral shirt I scored for $3.50 on Sunday:
Sure, I could have paired this pretty top with any neutral bottom, but that would be too easy.  I wanted me some pattern mixing! 
 I have no idea why my face appears the same colour as my skirt.
Blame the photographer not the model.

So I paired it with my Stars on Ice skirt, teal belt from VV, mustard t-strap wedges from Walmart and pretty accessories from my stash.
Arm party mix of Cuba coral, VV and She Does Create.
And oh look, I guess I have an owie.  Why didn't my manicurist catch that?

I loved all the patterns, colours and textures going on in this ensemble...
But I quickly noticed a problem.  Or rather, my colleague walked into my corner cubicle and said, "I can see your business."  Should've known!  Should've worn a tank!  As it were, here is a short list of people I flashed today, whether they realized it or not:
  • Chantel
  • my boss
  • the doctor
  • the pharmacist tech
  • the DQ male teen cashier
  • the pharmacist
  • the pharmacist tech again
  • my kids
  • my husband
  • two pastors
I'm nothing if not an over-achiever.  

Too late, I realized a simple solution to my, er, issue.
Fossil Cross-Body Bag, is there nothing you can't do?

Despite the minor mishap, I love this top and see myself getting tons of wear over the summer!  But I'll pin that button next time because my code of ethics requires me to protect the public, from harm and random flashings.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Dress Face-Off

If you like me on Facebook, you'll know what I was up to today!  I went shopping to take advantage of my Super Savers Club Card early entry to the 50% off sale at VV Boutique!  (on tomorrow for the rest of you!)  I was on a mission.  I am attending an event on Tuesday and need something to wear.  The event: Edmonton's Next Gen DIYalogue "Talks Fashion."  I got my tickets at the suggestion of Tamara Stecyk and was frankly just flattered to be included in the "next gen" category.  I admit, I didn't/don't really understand what "next gen" is aside from "way younger than me."  As it turns out, I just squeak into the 18-40 year old target group, though I'm betting even that broad range is flexible to include young-minded inspiration- and innovation-focused individuals.  At least I hope so, otherwise I will just be sitting there all old offering the young people apples and reminding them to go pee before they leave.

I need something that says, I belong here; I am young(ish) and inspired/ing; I like innovation; I care about future generations; I am not trying to look like a 20-year-old.  I picked up three dresses as potential options for Tuesday night, and now I need your help!  Which dress should I wear to the Next Gen event?

Option One: Lilka ($6.50)
I love the forgiving cut and the colours in the pattern, and I was downright delighted to learn this is brand carried by Anthropologie!  The Lilka dresses at Anthro run around $70 and up.

Option 2: Neon Quintieri ($6.50)
I couldn't find anything on line about this brand, and the dress didn't look like much on the hanger, but it fit like a glove and the green neon colour is right on trend! 

Option 3: New Nine West ($11)
This dress was new with tags!  It also fit perfectly, had pockets like the neon number, and floral is its own formidable trend!

So, what do you think?  Which of these says, "I'm the Next Gen Local Mommy Thrifting Style Blogger fashion presence" for the DIYalogue?!

Friday 21 June 2013

VV Boutique Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

I'm doing it.  I'm going there.  I'm doing a VV Boutique "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition"... Minus the sports.  Minus the beach.  Minus the Photo Shop.  Minus the model.  Plus one real life mom.

I decided quite a while ago that I was going to hunt for a bathing suit at VV Boutique.  I figure, they can be washed just like other clothing and they are expensive regular retail, so it can't hurt to look for one second-hand.  Then, my friend made a special request on my Facebook page for me to tackle swimsuits and alas, here I am, ready to go.

Before I show you the behind-the-scenes shopping adventure, I am going to rant just a little.  I have a three-year-old girl.  If I have it my way, she will never hear me complain about my body.  And why should I?  It serves me so well!  Every morning it wakes up, takes me everywhere, hums along with not much input from me!  It made 3 babies, nursed for about 7 years almost continuously, and graciously allows me to enjoy my life.  I am nothing but thankful for this body.  It is far from perfect, as it should be; after all, I don't work out, I have had inadequate sleep since 2005, I don't really like water, and I eat with pleasure!  I feel better when I take care of myself well, but when I don't, there's no sense wasting energy getting down on myself.  I don't weigh myself because I am a smart lady.  I have eyes to see and a sensory system to note when my clothes are getting tight.  I don't need a scale for anything.  I recommend y'all throw that bugger out since I'm betting you, too, are smart!  Chances are, you are the only one who notices your flaws.  Anyone who cares about them isn't worth being around or even considering.  I once worked with a mom who would not go swimming with her kids because she was so insecure about her body, and she was about my size.  I felt so sad that she would miss out on a pleasurable activity because of insecurity.  Let's all tell Insecurity to get lost!  Character is important!  Cellulite is not.  You may say, that's fine and well because you're a tall blonde.  Well, to that I say, yep, I'm blessed.  I fall into the category of "not the best not the worst" and guess what?  So do you.  Be thankful, read this then get to the nearest pool or beach and enjoy yourself!

Now then.  Here are some fitting room photos of my swim suit hunt at VV Boutique:
I don't really like halter-style tops or bathing suits despite the fact that my wedding dress was halter style!!  I find it leaves an expanse of back that is not very flattering, on me anyways, even though the front view ain't too bad.  All the others are self-explanatory!
I used to always wear a tankini but now with all the actual movement in water that I do to keep up with my kids, I prefer the security of a one piece.  Water slides + two-piece suit = flashing innocent bystanders.

I did find THREE acceptable swimsuits, ALL new with tags on and crotch gusset (there is no good word) sticker in place.  But first, I will show you my real bathing suit...
 Purchased a little over a year ago for about $125 from Swim Co.
Blue polka dots have faded to gray already.

God bless favourite Megan for accompanying me (whilst very pregnant) on that shopping trip and patiently helping me navigate swimsuit selection.  Megan, I couldn't have been successful now at VV without your tutelage then!! 

Winner Number One
 Joe Fresh blue polka dot $5.60
Chevron stripe wrap $2.80

How could I not get this?!  Bright colours, pattern mixing, CHEVRON!  The one-piece suit is a little high-cut for my modest taste on its own,but with the skirt, it is awesome!  This was my 5yo photographer's favourite suit!

Winner Number Two
 Leilani floral $7

Like my own suit, this has a bust-flattering ring and could be worn without that purely decorative tie!  It has ribbing on the sides so I felt very secure that I wouldn't have a wardrobe malfunction even with the tie off!
As soon as I tried this suit, I knew it would work perfectly with this large scarf I bought last year off Zulily for about $13.  I tied it like a sarong and instantly wanted a pina colada.

Winner Number Three
Christina black $9.10

This suit also had ribbing and ruching and could be worn without the straps.  The straps can also be worn straight or crossed.  It was very snug and secure and modest, but still black and a little sexy.  At least, that's what I told myself.
Paired with black swim skirt $4.20

The chevron wrap would work with this suit, or I picked up a little black swim skirt as well.  I would saunter down the beach for some onion rings in this and flip flops!

There you have it!  For $28.70, I got three NEW suits plus more styling options with the skirts!  I would call this a MAJOR SUCCESS!  

General swimsuit tips:
  • wear big earrings - draws the eye up, decorates yourself
  • sun glasses are essential (er, if you are outdoors.  Indoors would be odd.)
  • waterproof mascara is also essential
  • keep an open mind!  Try on several styles and patterns and go with what you feel good in! 
And with that, it's time for me to go and enjoy the longest day of the year!  Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Cardigan Cage Match

I *might* have popped into VV Boutique twice this week so far, as I mentioned last post, which you probably missed what with the distracting bouncy hair.  I am looking for a "next gen" outfit which is proving challenging since not only am I not next gen, I don't even really know what that means.  (If you are a baby in comparison to me under 25, please comment and help a girlfriend out.)  Instead, I found a super flattering and comfortable Marks and Spencer dress for $9.10:
Franco Sarto shoes $13.30 VV Boutique
Coral necklace gifted by my favourite Megan
Earrings by She Does Create
Bracelets from my closet

I estimate this dress was around $80 regular retail and it is in perfect condition.  As with so many of my VV Boutique treasures, I cannot believe someone was willing to part with this dress!  Maybe it was living with a much shorter woman on whom it looked dowdy???  Not so on me!
 In fact, it was stretchy and so forgiving!  It was the perfect outfit for sitting and finishing reports (YAYYY), eating chocolate lasagna, and accidentally stumbling upon a second lunch while on a run to the photocopier conveniently located next to the luncheon leftovers.  The only problem was that it was a rainy windy day today, therefore I needed a second layer.  My top two cardigan choices duked it out...

Ugly Pretty vs. Basic Black
The winner was selected for its willingness to let a pretty necklace take the spotlight!
U.P. took the loss like a lady.

Monday 17 June 2013

Hot-Mom Zero-Effort Summer Hair

Though things have been quiet around here since my tigress made her blog debut, I have been tweeting, Instagramming and updating on Facebook.  And partying (like a 3-year-old), volunteering, working, mmmmaaaayyybee shopping, and always always thinking of blogging even when I can't get to it.  In fact, what I'm about to share started 24 hours ago, right around midnight.  Here is the scene late last night...
Totally high fashion.
Hope you find that as funny as my kids.
Dang, those kids are rubbing off on me.

Back story: I posted this photo on Instagram lamenting the effect of rain on my freshly and arduously curled hair.  Jessica from Save Your Fork There's Pie alerted me to the life-changing video by Chelsey Andrews of The Paper Mama.  I had seen this pin floating around Pinterest but you know how it is; until someone IRL can give their word, it seems all Internet-y (fake).  Once I had Jessica's endorsement, I knew I had to try it and share my experience.  So: 
  1. Watch Chelsey's video now.
  2. Prepare to be amazed.
I did mention it was midnight.
The only thing amazing about these photos is that I am willing to post them.

I have A LOT of hair, and VERY LITTLE hair skill, and still this process took only a couple minutes.  I had showered earlier in the evening so my hair was clean and damp but not soaking.  I didn't use any product because I wanted to see how the process would go with everything au natural.  
Drum roll please...!
Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's a 12 cent hair band.

I used some smoothing lotion and added a few curls with my curling iron here and there, but otherwise left it as is.  This bouncing and behaving hair called for a girly outfit, so I reached for my Nine West polka dot skirt, which has been waiting patiently to go out.  First thing I think of to pair with polka dots is red (thanks to Minnie Mouse), and I wanted to do some pattern mixing with floral; alas, an outfit was born.
 Nine West skirt $4.90, H&M sheer top $4.20
All from VV Boutique
My photographer was not very enthusiastic/still.
Maybe the background props were uninspiring.

I had been struggling with how to style this top
 Surprise!  It's a peplum.  Ish.
Bracelets by She Does Create.

Tucking it into the skirt and adding the belt polished up the ensemble. 
Love me some red and blue.
Earrings by Stella & Dot.
I love my curly hair,
both because of how it looks and because it took about 7 minutes total.

As I mentioned above, I may have popped into VV Boutique tonight, so I did a quick change into more comfortable shopping clothes...
Simons sweatshirt gifted by my fave Megan.
Flats $4 VV Boutique

Notice the hair, people.  It's still curly.  Chelsey, I don't know how you came up with this ingenious technique but I am forever grateful!  This will be my go-to hot-mom zero-effort summer style!

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Graphic Tee Goes to Work

Since I know my boss reads VV Boutique Style, I'll start with a disclaimer:
  1. I did 7 reports today.
  2. The following photos were taken on a stealth-mode break.  I can prove this because you didn't notice me and my photographer lurking about.  At least I don't think so.  If you did, thanks for pretending you didn't.
Now then.  Graphic tees, statement tees - whatever you want to call them, they are a veritable trend and have been on my hunting list for a while.  A certain Splurge sister also stole one from under my nose.  You know who you are C.Y. or should I address you as "Khaleesi?"  Fortunately, my thrifting mentor sis recently gifted me a thrifted graphic tee and this morning it was... roaring to go to work with me.
 "Nerds are cool too."
I don't know why this shirt made her think of me.

I was lately inspired to try a graphic tee for work by a tweet from Sally McGraw of Already Pretty blog.  She asked, "Any tips for successfully pairing printed/vintage t-shirts with workplace outfits?" and I answered "Blazer, long necklace, black skinny crop trousers, colourful pumps," even though I don't have half of the pieces I would need to complete my own formula!  Instead, I used some suitable VV Boutique substitutes...
 Paired with my chevron ponte knit $7 and black pointy flats $7 from VV Boutique.
Skinny cobalt belt $2.10 VV Boutique
Earrings and velvet blazer circa 2004 from my closet.

I decided not to cover my nerdy tiger with a necklace and go for a pretty arm party instead.
Bracelets by She Does Create.
Of course, you have to consider your workplace vibe before attempting to wear Aeropostale to work.  I would wear this to work in preschool, but maybe not to a meeting where I'm trying to establish some OT cred. 
I've always wanted to stand at the Board Room helm.
Er, this board room happens to be empty.

As it was today, I just needed to hunker down in my corner office space (really my favourite Megan's office space but she is still off on mat leave... while the cat's away...)...
and work on reports.  So wearing a cobalt tee with a pink-glasses-wearing-tiger was perfectly acceptable.
Bottom line: my job is awesome.  Oh yeah, also, go ahead and take your graphic tee to work!  It will add some spunk to your outfit and your office!