2012-05-30

All Thrift

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A few weeks ago my favourite thrift store, Talize, asked me to style four looks for a fashion show (video here) during the Ultimate Women's Show. I didn't know how much exposure the event goers would have had to thrift stores prior to the show, so I wanted the outfits I pulled to be accessible and fun. Basically I sat myself down and had a talk with myself. I said 'go easy on the crazy and leave the sequins alone'. 

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It was really important to me that every last detail in the outfits came from Talize; the shoes to the scarves to the bangles, everything is secondhand... I guess I wanted that thrift (humble)brag right.
All the looks were pulled from one trip to my local Talize in Hamilton. I started with a giant shopping cart of anything that caught my eye and then narrowed it down to a lot of red and navy with a healthy pinch of stripes. Keeping it all cohesive... The hardest part was finding shoes that matched both the outfits and the models' specs. It was a little like Cinderella, except no one ended up with a prince... But every model did end up with shoes that fit. And some cute, preppy outfits... if I may say so myself...

2012-05-28

The Journey

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Top? All Saints, thrifted Skirt? Kopa, thrifted Belt? Thrifted Shoes? Coach

As much as I tried to tell myself that this blousy silk/cotton top I thrifted was actually a dress, the breeziness I felt convinced me otherwise. Sometimes you just have to listen to the wind... It was handy that I had a skirt that matched perfectly and so created the illusion of a dress. Tricky, right?
It's a skirt that I haven't worn in a while but I can't seem to get rid of because the three blousy tiers of soft cotton are too much fun to donate. The last time I wore the skirt was a long time ago and I actually rather dislike the outfit now. There is a lot going on... Sometimes I look back through my blog and cringe at some of my fashion choices. I would like to think that as I get older and reach dizzying heights of maturity, my style is getting more streamlined and it is better able to stand up to the test of time. Who knows? I am tempted to purge the old posts that I don't like but I think that even the bad outfits are part of my fashion journey. I am now cringing again because I actually just wrote the words 'fashion journey'...

2012-05-24

Buns Without Socks

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Dress? Joe Fresh Shoes? Cole Haan, consigned Sunglasses? Jessica Simpson

Just a few hours before these outfit photos were taken, I posted a picture on Instagram (myeditblog) of the face I saw in the rear view mirror as I drove home from work. 

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Lovely. That is a classic landscape face; though usually I have more of a dirt mustache as well...
This post is evidence of the wonders that a shower, a cute dress and a generous dollop of make-up can achieve. I didn't even have to wash my hair. I just back-combed it and hair sprayed it into place. Between the remnants of bug spray, sunscreen and sweat (so attractive, no?), my hair holds a pretty good tease after work. The secret to my big bun has nothing to do with a sock and everything to do with dirt. Consider yourself in the know...

2012-05-23

Snapped. Beach Weekend.

It's always a little amusing how tiring a day at the beach can be. Apparently reading fluffy literature, eating chips and doing a lot of nothing is exhausting. And wonderful.
It was a long weekend in Canada and some lady friends and I rented a cottage along the beach. It was the nicest weather ever and it was wonderful to get away. It was just what the doctor ordered... minus the slight sunburn...

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1. View from the balconey... beach within touching distance. Bliss. 2. Took a quick picture of a flock of birds along the quiet beach in the morning. Later I noticed the interesting effect of curve from the waves... I love good accidental photography.  3. The sign said to watch for turtles... 4. ...So we did. 5. A quick walk to the variety store for toilet paper got side tracked by a garage sale. A dollar and a handful of vintage jewellery later, I still had just enough cash for said toilet paper. 6. A guy spent an entire day at the beach beside us flying a whole parade of huge and rather gaudy kites. It was a source of entertainment to see what would come out of his bag next. The three snakes flown in a line got my vote for best show. 7. Slightly embarrassing to admit this but for some reason I actually packed a pair of heels for this weekend. I never wore them. Beachy (a.k.a. greasy) hair and sandy clothes for the win. 

2012-05-22

Fade

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Jeans? h&m, thrifted  Sweater? Gap (can't find it online but I just bought it off the sale rack for $8!) Shoes? L.A.M.B., Winners (here or nude here) Purse? Tignanello, thrifted

So I've seen these jeans with the stark bleach out around online and I had a weak moment where I actually went to Zara to buy them. Oddly bleached jeans seemed like a wise investment at the time. But when I was in Zara I remembered how I like Zara much more in July and January when the sale signs appear and I left empty-handed. I figured I could just do some creative bleaching at home.
The jeans in this outfit post did not bleach out as much as I anticipated but I do actually like the less glaring fade out. It's like I'm taking baby steps to crazy jeans; Trend Light so to speak. Maybe next time my (backyard) bleach shenanigans will be more successful.
I'm not a natural DIY kinda girl, I guess... I should have known this because in Grade 7 I cut up a feather boa and taped the fluffy pieces to the end of a pen, so I could have fuzzy pens just like Cher from Clueless. That didn't work out quite right either... A for effort, though.

2012-05-18

Almost Again

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Beaded skirt? Thrifted (similar here) Shirt? Thrifted Shoes? Aldo, thrifted Necklaces? Thrifted and Cuba Purse? Tignanello, thrifted

I was debating what shoes to wear with this outfit. Should I go for the more put together look of high heels or the comfortable, casual vibe of my beloved (and well worn) oxfords? I ended up going with the oxfords. I thought that would make everything I was wearing 100% thrifted. I've come close before, having a completely thrifted outfit but I don't think I have ever achieved perfection. And for a fashion blogger who yaps a lot about thrifting, a completely second hand look would be big moment. It would be like getting my thrift doctorate...without the years of study, the letters added to my name or the proud parents...

It wasn't until an hour later that I remembered two of my necklaces were not from a thrift store but rather from a vacation in Cuba. I could have taken those necklaces off and brought back an all thrifted outfit. I could have lied about the necklaces and not slept at night. Or I could have kept the necklaces on and continued working towards thrift perfection. And so I chose to keep working towards that ultimate goal. Life is about the journey, or something like that...

2012-05-16

Lies and a Vintage Dress

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Dress? Vintage, thrifted Shoes? DvF (here) Clutch? Coach, bridesmaids gift

This dress recently spent two long years waiting around patiently for its zipper to be fixed. Which is shameful because it deserves much more than that. Even though I love it so, the last time it appeared on the blog was almost three years ago. I had a funny little trip down memory lane looking for that post. In those days I was still a modest blogger; only posting two, small sized photographs per outfit... the good, old days of blogging, really. Sometimes it still blows my mind that finding old walls with vines and taking outfit pictures is part of our regular routine. I suspect it is something I won't ever tell my grandkids about... I'll lie and tell them that when I was younger, I didn't have time for the world wide web, I was too busy walking uphill to school in 3 feet of snow... both ways... everyday. 

2012-05-14

Shine On

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Sweater? Vintage Perry Ellis Denim Shirt? Vanilia (similar here) Jeans? Zara Shoes? DvF (here on sale right now... seriously worth every penny)

An outfit post. It's how we roll around here. Because at the end of the day I enjoy clothes and writing about nothing in particular.
It would seem weird however, not to acknowledge my last post, where I did indeed talk about something in particular. I was a little shocked at how fast the words poured out of me when I wrote about my father's struggle with Alzheimer's.
I was humbled by your response. Your thoughts, prayers and encouraging words meant a lot. They meant more than just 'a lot' but I can't quite find the right words to express that properly. I am not even sure there are any words besides thank-you, thank-you, thank-you...
After I put up the post, my mama sent me a text (as per usual, I need to stop here and allow the people who know my mom in real life, to giggle over the fact that she texts. I personally think it is funnier that she has a plan with only 50 texts/month and that she yells at me every month for making her go over the limit...) to thank me for the open and honest post. She also told me that she had noticed my latest posts had been missing some sparkle and now she knew why.
So, this post is for my mama as I work on bringing the sparkle back. Today it is on my sweater and I hope that shortly it will be back in my heart...

2012-05-09

In the Shadow of Alzheimer's

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The last time my father stood on the pulpit at church was just under 6 years ago. It was my wedding day. If I had known that it would be the last time, I would have paid less attention to Matt's unfortunate haircut and more attention to his words.
I can't believe that it's been 6 years already that we have known something wasn't right. Back then my dad was forgetting things, repeating questions and losing track... We dismissed Alzheimer's. Probably because we wanted to. The symptoms weren't quite right and my dad was a workaholic professor; he was likely just really stressed. But a sabbatical turned into an unofficial retirement and we searched to come up with some answers to our questions. And then, when we finally got some answers, they were everything you never wanted to hear. It turns out, my father had been struggling with a slow-moving form of Alzheimer's for years. When we had a family meeting after the diagnosis, my dad himself told us what the doctor had said and what steps we were going to take as a family. It was a good little speech, except for the part where he actually forgot to tell us he had Alzheimer's. By this time, we already knew but still... a moment of irony.
I don't think I knew a lot about Alzheimer's until it became a part of my everyday life. I mean, it makes you, like, forget stuff, right? Oh ya, and it's the disease the girl on The Notebook had... that Ryan Gosling, what a hottie...
It wasn't until I saw what Alzheimer's was doing to my father's life that I realized that the 'forgetting stuff' is the easiest part to deal with... People always ask me if my dad still knows who I am... He does. One time he referred to me as his friend, not his daughter and it scared the crap out of me. But while the forgetting is awful but it is the loss of identity that hurts the most. My dad lost his identity as husband, father and professor. He can't work. He can't drive. He can't find the right Bible text in church. That is why I think thrifting with my dad was such a good activity for a time. My dad could spot quality and beauty and when he found something, he got that rush of accomplishment back; even if it was just for a little while. And if he found nothing, he would still find as much joy in me finding something. This would explain some purchases that were not exactly to my taste. I didn't care though, I paid a few dollars to give my dad some moments of happiness...
On the one hand we have been blessed that the advance of the disease has been slow. I've learned the lessons of appreciating the moments, of spending time and of saying I love you. My dad and I have always had a great relationship and our family, spread across two continents, has been blessed with some amazing times together. On the other hand, our family has been carrying the weight of the disease for a long time. It feels heavy. Especially right now. Right now, my dad is so limited in what can hold his interest and what he can do, that he spends a lot of his days in boredom and frustration. Yet the disease is not so far advanced that he is not aware of his own limitations. He might not be aware that he has Alzheimer's but he is aware of every little thing he can no longer do. That awareness is painful. This restless, depressed man is not someone I recognize. My dad is smart, funny and caring. I have to remind myself daily to separate the disease from the man. There are moments I spend with my father and then, there are moments I spend with the disease. Lately, I have spent more and more time with the disease.
I can't take him thrifting like I used to. Sometimes it's a good day and we can still thrift for about 20 minutes at a time, often I don't even try. I talk about his life growing up in Holland or I take him out for ice cream and treats. There are times when nothing really works and I am near tears, trying to entertain a broken man. Selfishly, I mourn for myself. I used to always be able to cheer him up. I could breeze through the door with loud comments and stupid jokes and take my dad out on some crazy adventures (the further away the better because long drives equals more downtime for my mom at home), lifting his spirits every time. I have to work a lot harder for a smile or a conversation now, and I feel like I am failing in what I used to excel at. Once again, I need to learn to separate the disease from the man and not take it as a personal failure when I can't reach him. I am just not ready to stop being his little girl. Sometimes, my dad can't listen to more than 3 seconds of my conversations; his eyes lose mine and recede into sadness so quickly. I want to grab my dad then, grab him by the front of his shirt and hold him here. Here with me. To listen to me. To love me. To love my future children. And when I drop him off back at home, I am exhausted. Yet, my exhaustion over a couple hours is nothing compared to what my mom goes through every day.
I have nothing but respect and admiration for my mother. She is taking care of her husband, a husband who often turns his frustrations on her, and she is doing it with grace, dignity and a smile on her face. My mom who has done so much research and work to develop the best treatment plans for my father (with doctors' supervision, of course). My mom who used to painstakingly insert glaring mistakes into my dad's old writings every night, so he could edit his own work the next day and so, feel a sense of contribution. My mom who, laughs loudly to try and fill the emptiness in the air. When I break down to my mom in helplessness (which is, I might add, unfair, as she shouldn't shoulder my grief), she reminds me to focus on my relationship with my husband. She tells me of how she promised to be with my father in good times and bad times and while they had a lot of good times, she is now going through the bad time. It is painful to know that my mom's life will be so much easier when my father's awareness reaches a lower point. My father losing his awareness, will give my mother some freedom... That is brutal fact to acknowledge.
I don't do research on Alzheimer's. I know too much already. It is a heartbreaking disease. I know every person affected is a different face of the disease. I also know that the journey we are on will continue to be a very long and difficult one. When I dare to think of future obstacles, I feel sick to my stomach. I don't want to focus on that, I would rather focus on the good moments we still have now, even if they are less frequent. I take lots of pictures of the good times and message them to the family in Holland. These pictures are like an Instagram feed... full of food, smiles and scenery. In the pictures at least, we are happy.
Last week I took my dad to a local food truck festival, even tweeting about it excitedly in advance. Foolish. It was too hot, too crowded and it didn't work out at all. I want to forget that. But I don't want to forget the moment that day when my dad asked me if we needed to stop and help the rough looking (yes, I judged that in one glance, my father did not...) guy struggling to fix his bike tire. That's my dad; helpful, polite and patient. He is always ready to help, even when we need so much help ourselves.
I don't really know why I am letting the flood gates on this open up on my blog... I talked about it a bit when he went missing last year, but for the rest, I try to keep the complicated aspects of my personal life out of the blog. It's easier that way. But lately I can't seem to write. Well, I can but it takes me forever and the joy is gone. I feel it every time I post. It's hard to write funny, light posts when your heart is heavy. I don't think anyone reads this blog and thinks my days consist of dress-up and cat snuggles, but lately writing about that stuff has felt false. I just needed to get some of this out of my head.

I've always prayed for a cure to Alzheimer's. A cure to help my family and all those other families who often suffer in silence. Lately though, I've just been praying for strength.

2012-05-08

The More Tulle, the Merrier...

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Sadly, this is not my dress. If it were, I would be pulling a Josie Grossie and heading back to high school just in time for prom.
The good news is, if you live in the Hamilton area or want a good reason to visit the area, you can purchase this dress at the Dreaming of Dresses sale happening at White Elephant this weekend. I got a chance to peruse some of the vintage dresses before the sale (because I am VIP like that...) and the dresses are good. Really good. And I don't say that lightly. Seeing a few racks of unique and wonderful vintage dresses makes me want to bust out my knitting, make some pea soup and talk about how 'they just don't make them like they used to'.
So, if you are in the area and need a wedding dress, a prom dress or a just an awesome dress, make sure you get down to the to White Elephant on May 11th or 12th... If you are not in the area, you can try Etsy or spend some time this weekend watching 'Never Been Kissed' and ponder how the storyline is actually a little weird... That is all.

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2012-05-07

Edge of Classic

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Shoes? L.A.M.B., Winners (here or in blue here) Skirt? Old Navy, thrifted (similar here... kinda pricey, or just thrift it) Shirt? Joe Fresh Bag? Tignanello, thrifted Belt? Thrifted (similar here)

I was originally wearing these vintage cuffs with this outfit as well, but I took the cuffs off to make dinner and I forgot to put them back on. That'll teach me not to make dinner again...
To be honest, I quite like the look without the cuffs. I like the contrast of the rather classic denim skirt and white button-up against the bright shoes.The bright shoes that have the been the source of many internal conversations in my mind. Meh... sometimes I talk to my cats and sometimes I just need to talk to myself. I left them behind at first while I struggled with the different voices that told me both 'they are so awesome and unusual' and 'they are mighty frightening to walk in'. Obviously, the 'awesome and unusual' argument won, mostly because I convinced myself that I like to live on the edge. Which, now that I think about it, is mostly a lie. I prefer to park between the lines, I hate roller coasters and I yell at Matt when he pulls the handbrake so he can do donuts in the snow. But I do like my heels to be very high and I like to run my mouth occasionally so if that makes me even a tiny bit edgy, I shall take it...