Posts filed under ‘Fashion’

Style Tuesday: Footwear and Lifestyle

This post has two parts. If you don’t care about shoes and are happy in your ratty old sneakers all day every day, then you’ll have to hold on for Part II of this post which should appear very soon.

Part I: Footwear

I had a fun weekend with my out-of-town guests. Among the many planned activities, we took a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to stroll around the Byward Market. John’s dad owns an art gallery in NJ and he wanted to see some Canadian art. We stopped into a couple of galleries on Sussex and then Jess and I happened on a lovely new addition to the Ottawa retail market, Wolf and Zed.

Wolf and Zed is lovely – that’s the only word I can use to describe it. It is laid out like an warehouse-style art gallery with stripped down walls and no decorative distractions. The shoes, boots, and bags are displayed along the wall like art.

I didn’t buy anything. There are two reasons. The first is simple: I didn’t have time to have a proper look around and actually choose from the many I would have liked to try.

You will have to wait for Part II of this post to find out the other reason… (cue suspenseful music).

But back to Wolf and Zed:

Most of the shoes are brands that I am familiar with and some I have purchased online in the past. I’m excited to actually get to try before I buy. They have shoes for all lifestyles. These days I’m walking all over the place and I need flats, super-comfy stacked heels or wedges. They had them! And the prices are inline with the online prices which means they even want us virtual shoppers to become their customers.

Shoes at Wolf and Zed are mid-priced to high-end and include Derek’s favourite Campers for men and women (yes, they have men’s shoes too) and gorgeous Frye boots in a few styles I have been after. Like these…

Part II: Lifestyle – coming soon.


September 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm 2 comments

Style and Fitness Saturday: Swimwear and Skincare

What do you wear to the public pool when you go with your kids? At what age is a bikini no longer appropriate? Where oh where can I find an attractive yet supportive bathing suit for playing with my kids at the pool AND sitting at the beach sipping a margarita on vacation? These are the questions I asked myself last week.

I have one two-piece that I love. It’s three years old and looking a little worn out – though I will continue to wear it since I love it that much.

I was on vacation in Costa Rica a year and a half ago and found a cute little shop that custom-made suits and/or could copy your fav. I couldn’t pass that up! I had two made from the shopkeeper’s choice of fabrics. They weren’t cheap but they weren’t expensive either. They looked okay and fit well, but the quality and support is not nearly as good as the original. In fact, the clasp on one broke recently.

If this idea is of interest to you, I hear that Forbie in Ottawa will do the same thing suit copying, though I think the quality/fabric issue might be similar to the one I am experiencing. Plus, it doesn’t look all that fashion forward, but I’m judging a book by its cover with that last statement.

So, I’ve got one great-looking suit that is comfortable enough to play soccer with the boys on the beach in. I’ve got one copy of the beloved one that is okay, and I’ve got a one-piece that is okay for wearing for short periods of time (it has a metal ring that digs into my hip bone).

Bottom line: I needed another. In the summer and on vacation, I’m in a bathing suit at least a few times a week and variety is the spice of life…

Last week, I went to my favourite specialty bathing suit store, Brio Bodywear. With my proportions (not gonna disclose those here), I had a choice of maybe ten suits in the whole store. Five were immediately dismissed for plainness or ugliness. Two had bottoms that would be deemed obscene in many places, and then there were three.

And the winner was:

Yup - polka dots again.

I love this suit – it’s a halter that has a decent amount of fabric between the cups so nothing is flopping about from side to side. Yay! Not a whole lot of choice, but still came out of there with something great.

So now, I’ve got a great bathing suit but I have a problem; I love the sun but my skin doesn’t love it:

1) Sweat trapped beneath sports bra equals back blemishes. Current attempt to curb problem is Tea Tree Oil Body Wash from The Body Shop.

2) Daily sunscreen on face keeps me from getting too tanned, but the darker sun spots/patches are still showing up a bit – uugh. IPL? I’m told it makes the problem worse of the long fun. Creams? Not sure what works. I’m looking for advice here.

3) Shoulders and decoltee in the sun constantly – burn/tan/freckles. Need to re-apply sunscreen more often. I’m good at putting it on the boys, but I always forget about myself. Not good for my health. Bad Liisa.

4) Coloured hair in the sun equals brassiness. I could go get it toned more often, but really, who has time?

Do your kids wear sunshirts with their bathing suits at all times? I’m on the fence about this…

And now, as I sit here waiting for my sick-with-a-fever almost four-year-old to wake up, I give you this week’s workouts.

Running Rundown

Everything is posted in km. For those of you who only do miles, 1 km = .625 mile OR 1 mile = 1.6 km

Saturday – 14 km run

Tuesday – 11 km run with speed training class – 3 km warm-up; 4 x 600m,30 sec rest, 200 m @ between 4:20 and 4:45/km pace; 3 km cool-down

Thursday – 10 km tempo run – 3 km warm-up, 6 km tempo @ 5:04/km avg pace; 1 km cool-down

Cross Training (I’ve decided to change the title from the previous “Strength Training Stats”)

Monday: Greco Lean and Fit class with Derek

Wednesday: Hot yoga class at Moksha Yoga – not sure about this yet. It was hot and sweaty but maybe a little too gentle… went with my friend Stef; she felt the same way. Was perfect for a good stretch the day after speed class though.

So, back to those initial questions:

Do you wear your beach bikini (if you have one) to the public pool with your kids, or do you have a plain and simple tank style that is more conservative? At what age is a bikini no longer appropriate?

July 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm 5 comments

Style Tuesday: The Most Stylish Man in London

I spent a long weekend with my mom in London visiting my brother and sis-in-law. They’ve just bought their first home and are expecting a baby in a few weeks so there’s lots of exciting stuff going on their lives and we wanted to share a bit of this time with them.

I won’t bore you with a complete account of travels, but I will give you some bullety highlights.


This totally wowed me. Everything I ate was delicious and appeared fresh, even the fast food. I guess it has to do with quantities served, but I really wish we could have more appetizing “fresh food fast” options.

Some of the slow and fast eateries we enjoyed:

  • Thursday dinner at the Princess Victoria, a fantastic gastropub around the corner from the happy couple’s home in Sheperd’s Bush.
  • Lunch at Pret-a-Manger
  • Dinner at Spice of India (I think that was the name) on South Bank
  • Dinner made up of yummy odds and ends purchased at Marks and Spencer

  • The Balcony (one of the food courts) at Westfield… This is not your regular mall food  court. I chose Tossed, and enjoyed  salad of mixed greens, roasted tomatoes, sultanas and pumpkin seeds topped with grilled Halloumi (cheese) and dressed with a citrus vinaigrette.
  • Lunch at Heathrow- Chez Gerard, just one of many decent restaurants from which to choose.

Food Lowlight: This ridiculous breakfast served by Air Canada- what you see is all you get (doesn’t quite fit with any food guide or diet).

Mom and I were both starving but neither of us could fathom consuming this.


I really noticed the effect of globalization on shopping on this trip.  I remember thinking that London was so far ahead in terms of fashion, even 6 years ago. While there are definitely a whole lot more stylish people walking the streets of London than those of Ottawa, It seemed that the stores were offering many of the same items that are available to us now at home.

While we didn’t spend much dedicated time shopping we were able to make our small contribution to the UK economy.

Friday: Oxford Street and Covent Garden. We didn’t buy anything cause we were walking the whole day and didn’t want to carry parcels. This was hard.

Saturday: Chiswick area – Mom went to the many baby boutiques to window shop with sis-in-law while my bro and I were selfish shoppers. The prices after currency conversion were less expensive or at the very least equivalent. Got some good stuff at Sweaty Betty, the UK’s hipper version of Lululemon, and I enjoyed the prices at Benetton and another cute UK boutique, Oliver Bonas.

scarf from Oliver Bonas

Purple running shoes from Sweaty Betty

Sunday: Westfield, Europe’s largest shopping mall, is a 10 minute walk from Dan’s house. It is designed beautifully, in fact I found many public and private spaces I visited to be modern, functional and clean in comparison to our Canadian equivalents (not that our’s aren’t good; it just feels like design and beauty are given more weight in building and planning than in our nation’s capital.

Anyway, we walked through the high end section- yes, you can go the the mall and get your Chanel, Hermes, and Prada. And by the time we got through that, we needed a snack.

I loved the food court. It took me a very long time to choose my meal. There were so many great options. If you’re interested, here’s the description.

On our way to pick up England soccer kits for my boys, we ran into the UK London premiere of Kung Fu Panda 2.

We got a kick out of seeing the Panda and Jack Black. People were screaming for Jack Black. Would you scream for Jack Black?

Monday: Heathrow airport Terminal 3.

Paul Smith for Derek

Thomas Pink for my dad

Art/Architecture: Tate Modern. Nice building. Kid-friendly (for future visits). South Bank area of town v. cool.

Performing Arts: Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace theatre! I’m wondering if they do those northern English accents at the show on Broadway? Anyone know?

Last note on the style part of my trip. Friday mom and I did a London Walk of “The Old Palace Quarter“. My reading list is filled with historical novels set in London so this was so much fun for me.

Along the way we met this guy, Beau Brummel.

He was considered the most stylish man in London at the turn of the 19th century. The legend has Brummel influencing London fashion on a daily basis; men would wait to see what he was wearing that day when he arrived for lunch at his club, and if their own outfit was not in keeping with the style, they would go home and change before they went for their own lunches.

Times have changed. This is today’s UK men’s fashion icon:

And this guy appeared in every publication I picked up or noticed others reading on the tube:

I’m already thinking about when I can take my (3) boys to see their new little cousin. London has so much to offer for kids and I look forward to exploring through their eyes next time.

June 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm 3 comments

Style Tuesday: Montreal. The Highs and Lows.

On Friday, Derek and I spent the day in Montreal –  a whole day with a real change of scenery to get us out of our regular routine. The weather was great. We strolled through the Plateau area. We shopped, and ate, and snacked and shopped and ate.

I was so disappointed in my meals. Stop #1 was supposed to be Cafe Santropol. I have wanted to go there for twenty years. I never got there when I lived in Montreal and I had Friday’s route all planned starting there.

We arrived as planned, were handed menus and told to find a table in the lovely garden. We did. And we sat there for fifteen minutes. No one even acknowledged our presence (or the presence of the other table that arrived after us, even after they went up to request service). We were starving so after twenty minutes with no greeting, we just left. I told the waitress who was standing in the corner texting that we were leaving. She said “okay, sorry” and went back to her phone. Uuuggh! Twenty years and twenty minutes and now I will probably never taste one of their delicious-looking sandwiches. I am a woman of principle after all.

So, we headed back to St. Laurent and I could tell Derek wanted to go to Schwartz’s. There is nothing vegetarian on the menu except pickles, coleslaw and fries. I had a pickle and coleslaw (so yummy and sour).

After “lunch”, we went across the street and I enjoyed a blizzard-like ice cream as my main course.

Then, we began the serious part of our trip – shopping!

Derek did his fair share, but this blog is about me so I give you a few highlights (actually just items for which I could find images):

Simple - better price than in Ottawa

Zoa knit tunic; apparently I am the first one to purchase this in Canada... I bet he says that to all the girls

Best shopkeeper: the guy at Johnny Boy. He gave us a ton of discounts and gave us the low down on the sad looking empty stores up and down the street.

Second Clothing Red Jeans: Trendiest purchase - will have to style these classicly for conservative Ottawa

And then we saw this place – YEH Frozen Yogurt and Cafe. Being two sweet tooths, we had to try it out (yes, ice cream and frozen yogurt in the same afternoon).

You walk in and help yourself to one of eight fro yo flavours – all probriotic, 7 of 8 fat-free, one was dairy-free (I think).

You then help yourself to toppings.

For me: A little taste of lots.

For Derek - lots of yogurt with fresh fruit

And then dinner. We were not in the mood for a big meal so we opted to skip our reservation at Le Local and instead stop at Bamboo Bleu on Saint Denis for Vietnamese. The shrimp salad rolls were delicious. The veggies and vermicelli plate had a big chunk of pork in it. I lost my appetite very quickly. Another failed meal attempt.

And we went home.

Shopping good.

Montreal atmosphere and people-watching great.

Couple-time lovely.

Eating bad.

May 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm 3 comments

Style Tuesday (on Wed): Advice for Prince William

I have some advice for the Duke of Cambridge, but don’t worry, if you’re looking for my opinion on The Dress and more read on – you’ll find it below.

So, Prince William, here’s what I’m thinking for you:

This is my brother Dan.

He’s five years older than you, Your Royal Highness. He lives in London, not far from you. If you happen to run into him, give him a hug from his big sis.

Some say he resembles you.

Here he is having drinks with Lil C

See his hair? It’s shaved close to his head. He used to have hair like yours. And then it started to recede… and then to disappear from patches on the top.

I’m thinking that based on this photo, you might wanna go in this direction with your hair soon too.

A closely cropped hairstyle would look great on you!

Anyone think that a shorter haircut might work real soon for him? Or do you prefer the thinning longer look?

While you think about that, I’ll give you my quick opinion on the royal outfits.

The Wedding Dress: Beautiful, modern, classic, befitting of royalty.

The Reception Dress: Pretty, but I preferred the wedding dress.

The Maid of Honour’s Dress: Loved it. I thought the white was gorgeous on her and it showed the bride’s confidence since she didn’t feel threatened by another (gorgeous) woman wearing white.

Maid of Honour’s Reception Dress: Pretty but preferred her in the one above.

Other notables: Posh Spice looked great as did the Mother of the Bride. The Queen looked perky in her canary yellow suit too.

What was your fav looks? Anyone NOT like the dress? And what about the hats? I like feathers but the weird architectural structures are odd to me (see Princess Beatrice).

Footnote: Due to new (paid) work commitments, for the next while, posts are gonna be limited to Style Tuesday and Fitness Friday with the odd thought or recipe thrown in for good measure. Hopefully this will satisfy you, my loyal readers, who are so important to my blog and to me!

May 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm 3 comments

Style Tuesday (on Wednesday): Running Skirts – Do or Don’t

My friend and running buddy Jenn excitedly showed me her new running skirt at school pick-up one day recently. She had just picked it up. She pointed out all the features and then told me how flattering it was. This is the one she got (with a cute little black ruffle on the back):

Pace Setter Skirt in Black

Easily persuaded, I decided to try one out.

I bought this:

Lululemon Jog Skirt II

Usually I’m a size 4 but in this, I bought a size 6. The shorts underneath are snug. The waistband is loose. I am looking forward to trying it out on a run. I first need to do a couple of laps of our main floor with the tags on to see if it’s worth taking off the tags.

But I’m still not sure about the running skirt…

Is it a do or a don’t?

In my run on Sunday, there was a woman wearing a ridiculous running outfit with way too much going on. It included a running skirt, coordinating capris underneath, a patterned (matching) tank, armsleeves, and a hat. I thought to myself… oh, those are the people who wear running skirts. But really, maybe not. I could say the same thing about the sleeves, or the capris or the tank.

Anyway, I need opinions – let’s call it an informal poll of sorts (until I figure out how to embed a proper poll in my post) – are running skirts a do or a don’t? The cute group of fashionable women sitting beside me at Bridgehead say they are definitely a do (and they’re great for tennis too).

So, now I need to hear from you all… don’t be shy.

April 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm 11 comments

Style Tuesday: Party Chic

I was invited to a party which took place Saturday night. The invitation indicated the attire as “Party Chic”.

This called for something more fun than just a plain old party dress…  So what to wear?

I came up with this outfit.

Top: Silvery/pewter sequined tank with black sheer back by Black, purchased at Green Tree at 50% off

Pants: Black silk cigarette pants by Part Deux, purchased at Green Tree at 50% off

Shoes: Calvin Klein platform pumps purchased at Piperlime.Com for about 70% off if I recall correctly.

Accessories: Pewter beaded clutch (not pictured) from Club Monaco a few years ago, silver very delicate leaf(ish) shaped earrings from Bija Bijoux

Additional outfit notes: I removed the hair elastic from my wrist in the car on the way when I finally noticed it. I got a good two (or more) inches chopped off my hair (if you wondered what I decided after the last Style Tuesday post). In the pictures, I can see that it’s still long. It must have been really long…

Photos in two parts (it’s awkward asking the babysitter to take photos of you).


Top (looking down at Lil C making some sort of funny gesture)

So what do you think? Party Chic? Or, as Derek kept saying “Party Chick”?

April 5, 2011 at 7:40 am 2 comments

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