Valentine’s Day was two weeks ago, did you have a good time? The bubby and I have always tried to make V-day special. Probably because our anniversary is December 31st, so we never get to celebrate us on New Years Eve.
Typically we go out to eat at a nice restaurant, exchange flowers and candy, and try to write a card that will make the other cry. Liam always wins. But since he is in crutches right now, we had to come up with some low-key way to celebrate at home.
I picked up a take-home meal from one of our favourite casual restaurant/caterers, Todric’s. It was easy to heat things up and plate using the chef’s instructions, and I didn’t have to spend too much of my evening in the kitchen.
Everything was delicious.
For an after dinner activity, we decide to go through the shoe box where we toss all our little relationship keepsakes. We have been together over 6 years and have amassed quite a collection of love notes and old ticket stubs!
We also wanted to give these memories a nicer place to live than a shoe box, so we re-housed them in a vintage hat box.
It was so much fun to go through! We were 19 and 20 when we met, and the expressions of young love were exactly what you’d think; exploitative, intense, and very random. There were doodles, notes, and poems, a surprising amount of event tickets, and a sundry collection of small things Liam had given me. Apparently we had found a heart-shaped red Smartie and thought to keep it. Hilarious.
Best of all were the cards and their inscriptions. Mine are comically identical year after year, some of them we could not at all remember writing and sound nothing like us, but all expressed a love that hasn’t changed. I was crying like a baby by the time we got to the bottom of the box, and I’m lucky bubby never reads this, because I’m telling you that he was a little moist-eyed too! It was very sweet and romantic.
I love the way our memory box looks now. We grouped like paper items together and tied them up in bows. We added craft paper tags to all the random odds n’ ends so that we never forget the meaning behind them. We even sorted the cards in chronological order so that when we read them again it will be like going back in time.
Our new memory-box is stuffed full, so we will have to start on another one to go through on some future Valentine’s Day.
To complete the trilogy which includes The Essential Work Wardrobe and The Essential Weekend Wardrobe, here is a list for the clothes that go beyond the day-to-day of life. This is the stuff you wear when you are partying it up!
Have to attend the office Holiday Party? A cousins’ engagement party? Your friends’ art show? Your parents anniversary dinner? Wear a cocktail dress. These dresses are designed to look good while you stand around chatting and making toasts. They should always be a bit modest and classy, but not formal. Think fun and show off your style. You cannot do without the versatile Little Black Dress, but also get a bright colour or pattern.
I don’t frequent clubs so much anymore, but bars are inescapable at any age. Going for a few drinks with friends is pretty much the only event on my social calendar. Get at least one dressy top that shows a bit of skin and wear it with dark jeans from your work wardrobe, or an additional pair of skinnies. Have a sexy skirt for more formal venues and when a girls-night-in turns into “Let’s go dancing!“. Alternatively, you could wear a scandalous dress. You get the most out of your wardrobe when your clubbin’ top goes well with both the skirt and the jeans.
I am a firm believer that every girl needs one gown taking up an inordinate amount of room in the back of her closet. And no, your prom or bridesmaid dress does NOT count. One day you will have to attend a formal event; a charity gala, a fancy New Years celebration, a formal wedding, or Captains’ Night on a cruise. You will know the event is fancy when the invitation looks like it costs more than all the ink in your printer. If you even get a hint of the words “black tie”, “white tie”, “ceremonial dress” or “formal” surrounding the event, you should be wearing a long gown. No doubt there will be a few silly girls who will dawn a cocktail dress on such occasions, but they will bring down the calibre of the event and the enjoyment of everyone. You don’t want to be a silly girl, you want to be Cinderella; elegant, classy, and beautiful. Relish in the special occasion that calls for such a dress, they don’t happen often so you might as well give it your all.
Because if this, you don’t need to have a gown wrapped up and ready to go at all times. These occasions are normally so rare that you are better off buying your dress when you get the invitation. By the next time a formal event comes around your dress is likely old-fashioned or (in my case) no longer fits; so buy a new one. Who cares? it’s been 8 years! This is actually a very small part of your clothing budget.
Some of your work pumps or weekend boots may be fine for pub nights, but you need a few pairs of shoes that are designated for more formal evening engagements. I recommend one black strappy heel and one metallic.
A Rite of Passage for every Canadian girl is to wait in line outside a club, in January, in the snow, in the middle of the night, wearing almost nothing on her feet. I’m not joking, I know more than one person who got frost-bitten toes this way … alcohol, while keeping you from feeling pain at the time, is not a good idea in the end. Even at 19 this was stupid, but now it would be unbearable .
When I do go out I wear heeled boots. Get a pair of black leather boots that go as high up your leg a you dare. My mother, of all people, calls these CFM boots. The C stands for come, and the M for me, I’ll let you figure out the rest. Wear these over skinny jeans or with your club skirt/dress but not your other dresses. Also a cute option are heeled booties. These keep tootsies warm while sort of looking like a shoe. A nice pair would look fine with even your cocktail dress.
You will have the best times of your life in your evening pieces. More pictures will be taken of you on special occasions than at any other time. Regardless if you a tradeswoman, an office drone, or a stay-at-home mom, when you go out at night you can shed the uniform of the day and transform yourself into whatever you want to be. Your evening wardrobe is the most personal, and most fun of your entire closet. Spend some time looking for the garments that make you look good and feel fanatic. When you are well dressed will have more confidence and have more fun.
Life is hard, when something happens that occasions a celebration, grab hold of it. Make the most of it. Celebrate the good parts of life in style.
This was the result of a conversation with a friend yesterday.
For your enjoyment.
To compliment The Essential Work Wardrobe from yesterday, here is a list of basic clothing to get you through the two most important days of the week: The Weekend!
I pulled from a couple different on-line stores for this list (photo cred in the caption) but please understand that theses are just example of the pieces I mean.
I don’t know about you, but my weekend starts on Friday when I throw on a hoodie. They are cute with jeans and super comfy with sweatpants. I recommend a pullover as well as a zip-up.
Rock bands, The Periodic Table of the Elements, Nayan Cat, I heart various things, whatever; graphic ts are about individuality so let your freak flag fly. These are for bumming around the house mostly, but if you heart Pop-Tarts so much you need to run out and get some, paired with jeans and a zip-hoodie you are ready to rock and roll.
Stay warm while you’re out and about with some long-sleeved tops. Shop, meet-up with friends, catch a matinée, and generally do what you needs to get done. Try to have a selection of both solids and patterns. Wear mostly with jeans but longer shirts can be worn with leggings too.
Knits are for colder days and when you want to be dressy casual. You can borrow from you work wardrobe here. Have a cozy cardigan to match with everything, a sweater to layer over your work shirts, and add a trendy knit piece every year. This season I’m keeping an eye out for the Colour Block trend.
Denim is the official uniform of the weekend. Get a straight-legged dark washed pair for dressier occasions and casual Fridays at work. A lighter wash will take you everywhere you want to go. Have one other colour in your jean artillery. The bright coloured denim is still very on-trend this year but that doesn’t seem to fall into the realm of ‘essential’ so I’d go with a more classic grey wash.
Thanks to lululemon and their crazy expensive sweat-rag clothing, we are now allowed to wear yoga pants outside. I’m going to choose to see this as a good thing … because, well yoga pants are like wearing nirvana! Also have a pair of traditional sweatpants and a pair of leggings. These should see you through the entire spectrum of ultra casual.
You can’t get through winter without boots. Trust me I’m a Canadian. You need a fancy pair and a casual pair. Your fancy pair should be high and leather and still have no heel, it is the weekend after all. Your casual pair can be shorter and should probably shearling (a.k.a UGG knockoffs). Yes I know they look like slippers but that’s the point! They are SO warm and comfortable. Seriously, put me in a hoodie, yoga pants and shearling boots … and I’d go comatose in a snowbank on plow day. You should also have a cute pair of sneakers for fall and steel from you work shoes for flats and heels.
And there it is, the essential weekend wardrobe according to me. Now I know what you’re thinking;
I do more on the weekend than just go to movies and lay around my house. I go to dinner, clubs, parties, and charity ball galas!
Well good for you. I generally don’t get invited to such things. So if you know of anything going on and you wouldn’t mind having me there, you know … oh never mind.
I am working on The Essential Evening Wardrobe. You’re welcome.
That’s how I’ve been waking up every morning lately; squealing ”spreeee!” in a high octave voice as I stretch in bed. The bubby loves it I swear.
The reason I do this is because we are going on a shopping spree this weekend. Finally! No more battles with the closet every day, flipping through hanger after hanger, over and over, convinced that this time I’ll find something that
- isn’t worn out because I’ve had it since high school
- matches one other thing on the planet, and
- that I didn’t wear yesterday.
It’s a challenge.
But to get the most out of my shopping trip I realize I probably shouldn’t spree at all. I should have a plan … and a list. I love lists! So with the help of my brain and in internet, I have come up with a list of basic items that I should absolutely have for work this fall and winter.
All the images are from BananaRepublic.ca and are merely examples of what I should be hunting for on my very focused and organised shopping spree.
Nothing says “I’m a professional” like a blazer. You feel boss in a blazer, like literally a boss. You can wear them over everything, even dresses, and your salary jumps up a decimal point instantly. Have a black one and a grey one, also have a cardigan for more casual days.
It is the law: no work wardrobe is complete without a few formal shirts. Layer under your boss blazers, or wear on their own tucked in or out of pants and skirts. Get a black, a white, and a colour.
Blouses are office-appropriate tops that aren’t formal shirts (see above). Look for high quality fabrics like silk and stay away from jersey or cotton with their more relaxed looks. Have some long-sleeved, short-sleeved, and sleeveless for layering options, and feel free to add colour!
I live in Canada, its cold here. Sometimes you need to leave the silk shirt at home and throw on a chunky sweater. This is absolutely appropriate and encouraged, because a frozen worker is a slow worker. Try to coordinate them with your bottom pieces.
Don’t forget pants, that’s a textbook nightmare. Make sure you have a pair in black, grey and navy and/or brown. Spend some time finding the right fit and flare for your shape. I like a wide trouser leg for my curvalicious body.
Skirts are the flirty younger sister of pants. They fill the same role in your closet but look hotter and show off your shoes. I love skirts. Get the same colours as your pants but also get a lot more.
Dresses are easy because you don’t need to think about matching anything; just throw it on and off you go. But they also tend to draw attention and look maybe a tad too formal … at least in my office. Well suck it, I look awesome in dresses. Save them for when you have dinner/drink plans after work and you will transition from day to night with ease. Get basic black, grey, and one fun colour.
La la la la lee lee la … Oh sorry, I was distracted by shoes. If you are a girl who likes shoes (like me) congratulations you’re done reading my post! If not, you still need a few basic pumps for work. They are polished and professional and can be worn with pants, dresses, AND skirts. LEARN TO LOVE THEM, they are versatile. You don’t need ridiculously high heels and they can be very comfortable. Get grey, black, and a nude at least. It’s winter so keep those toes covered.
Heels are amazing but flats are cute too. Especially if you know you will be running around a lot that day or have errands after work. They look best with pants but can work with skirts and dresses too. You can find these quite cheaply so buy a bunch to add colour and pattern to your basic outfits.
I’m terrible at accessorizing so I’m not going to give any tips on scarves, belts, or bags. I will tell you that you need hosiery though. Get some black and nude stockings for under skirts and dresses. People think you wear them because you are a lady, Ha! you’re not, you are a wild-thing that hates being cold. Lose them when summer hits but hoard a good supply all winter long; those friggers tear every time.
So that’s what you need for a basic work wardrobe according to me. I actually have a lot of this stuff so will only need to fill in the gaps, mostly in the blouse and pant categories.
Looking up at these items it all feels kind of dull and neutral … just like my office job. But these are basics that are meant to mix-and-match with each other and the more interesting pieces in your closet.
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So vacation is over. It was supposed to be a week at the cottage but it lasted one day. We started off strong, everyone having a great time; swimming, campfires, great meals, board games. And then a tornado hit.
Okay right now it is unconfirmed but a lot of people said they saw it touch down.
My family has had this cottage for 45 years and there has never been a storm like this. The wind and rain were extraordinary. We were saved from being terrified by a preoccupation with the copious amount of rain pouring in from the window seams and dripping down from the ceiling. It was ten straight minuets of six adults running from the living-room to the bathroom perpetually soaking up water and ringing out towels. So when the storm let up, and we were able to see outside, the damage came as a shock.
This last picture did me in. When I saw all the trees on the power lines, I knew our vacation was over. We can deal with black-outs for a day or so; candles and flash lights, keep the fridge closed as much as possible, put comforters over the freezer, wash with lake water, cook on the BBQ, etc. But this was going to take more than a few days: our power line had been ripped clear off the house and was coiled on the lawn. And we had bubby’s mother and brother visiting with our 3 month old niece. We can’t stay here, vacation is over, time to abandon ship.
But it wasn’t as simple as that. The rest of the day was spent talking to neighbors, trading war stories, and discovering that the roads were blocked everywhere by fallen trees and hydro lines. Two Fire Search & Rescue teams from neighboring municipalities had been dispatched to clear the roads. Several people had been trapped in their cars during the storm, on their way home from work. OPP were out on ATVs doing head counts. We were very lucky. One of the nearby campsites was hit very hard, and the road was still blocked when we got the go-ahead to vacate at about midnight. I haven’t heard about any injuries, thank goodness. It was heart breaking to drive by the lineup of cars waiting to get in to blocked off areas, passing people worried about their property, pets and loved ones, with phone lines down and most cellphone towers too.
So now we are back in the city, with all the food safely frozen and a mess to deal with when we can go back. But for now we are left wondering, what to do with what is left of a disaster vacation?
A short month ago I was what reality TV called a ‘property virgin’; idealistic, eager, and friggin’ nervous as heck. It was a pretty decent experience, some of it took far to long and others parts were over in a flash, but in the end I am a more mature person because of it. So because I don’t want to become a ‘property slut’, buying and selling homes all around town, I want to pass on my acquired knowledge to you.
When you start looking for a house, you will read hundreds of property descriptions. These are some common terms decoded.
Don’t get me wrong, these words are unavoidable and you shouldn’t dismiss a property because they are used. My house has a bright newer kitchen, entertainment sized dinning room, quality flooring and a spa tub. All those less-than honest- buzz words aside, I still love the house. It is just important to have realistic expectations before a showing.