Don’t know about trees falling in the woods, but a tree falling on a car? DEFINITELY makes a sound.

Last night, around 6:30pm, a thunderstorm rolled into Winnipeg. Aarron and I were playing some video games/being lazy on a Sunday night when the storm really started raging. We were on the porch marveling at the rain when a tree split in half and landed on Aarron’s car. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the cracking sound it made before it crashed to the ground.

There were downed trees all over the city – a tornado took out a house in St. Laurent, over 700 people without power across the city for over 12 hours… And now, Aarron’s car is a bit of an internet celebrity, lol.

My favorite part was how many neighbors came out of their houses, making sure no one was hurt (at first), and then taking picture after picture until the sun went down… At which point, people were still checking out the tree with flashlights.

The family in this van, with baby and little girl in the back, had just gotten back from a daytrip, had JUST parked their car. The dad was about to run into the house to get raincoats when he saw the tree falling, and slammed the door. Thankfully, their van was only hit by the tree’s uppermost branches, not the trunk, and aside from some frightened tears, everyone inside was OK.

As for Aarron’s car? It was just a flesh wound! Could have been so much worse.

It was a pretty epic way to end a weekend, really. Happy Monday, regular posting to resume tomorrow.

Photos taken by Aarron from FOATography!

Look good, feel better.

Have you ever noticed that looking good leads you to feeling better?

If I’m feeling shitty, sad, stressed or out of control, pulling together an outfit that I know looks physically amazing makes me feel emotionally better. I’ve always held to the “fake it ’til you make it” philosophy of life. By putting myself first, even if it is only through what I decide to wear, everything feels a bit brighter.

The night of my last post, I flew to Nova Scotia. My grandmother was dying, and we made her a promise years ago that we would never leave her alone. My mother, my aunt and I, we split the days into three shifts, and she had one of us with her for every second of every day. Witnessing the last days of someone’s life – someone you love – is both an amazing gift and a felling blow. Her passing was peaceful, and now she can finally rest.

As the inevitable neared, my outfits became more polished. My lack of control over the situation was reflected by the clothes and accessories I wore. The most important thing in my world was being there for my family, for my grandmother. Feeling good about myself allowed me to do that, have more energy, and focus all that energy on the people around me who needed it. I could take care of others because I’d already taken care of myself.

One day, mid-way through my time with my grandmother, a nurse looked at me, and then smiled. “You always look so pretty,” she said. “It always surprises me, that you make such an effort.”

I shrugged. “It makes me feel better. And when I feel better, everything is easier.”

My grandmother's wedding portrait. Wasn't she lovely?

Fashion Flirting with It’s Effing Freezing Outside. Now what?

The snow in Winnipeg has recently flown. We’re now enjoying weather hovering around and below -15oC (that’s 5oF for you Yanks).  Let me tell you, there is nothing better than being warm.  I’ll sacrifice style for warmth, but I don’t feel good about it when it happens.

In the last three years or so, I’ve started investing in winter coats that are both warm and stylin’.

The Funkified Shearling Winter Coat

This jacket is all about having fun.  This season, shearling jackets are 100% in style, and wether they are faux or real, shearling is hella-warm.  The best thing about shearling jackets is that they also come in oodles of styles.  A long Penny Lane inspired vintage cut not your style?  Check out a shorter bomber jacket.  Not into that?  There are tie-waisted cardigan-like shearling jackets.  Aviator style shearling jackets.  Hip, warm and they provide wicked soft fur right next to your face.

The Classic Jacket… With a Twist

Pea coats are stylin’, classic and flattering.  They are also kind of boring.  I like pea coats that have a bit of a twist.  The above jacket, from Melanie Lynn, has a classic cut, but the buttons are off center, making the jacket just a bit asymmetrical, keeping it interesting enough that I’ll never be bored.

Ways you can twist your classic pea coat?  Colour is huge – bright reds, yellows, greens.  Fun and funky patterns.  The bonus of a patterned pea coat is that it is often very slimming.  I used to wear a white pea coat, and would twist it up with amazing brooches, scarves, and accessories.

The Sausage Jacket

I affectionately refer to this jacket as my caterpillar coat.  It might not be the most figure-flattering jacket, but let me tell you what you should be looking for in a puffy jacket.

  1. Length: My tush and thighs HATE winter more than any other season.  I’ll take ass sweat over frostbitten butt ANY day.  Wearing a puffy jacket that covers your ass will make a huge difference in how warm you will be – especially if you know you’ll be sitting outside for any reason.
  2. Warmth: If you’re going to invest in a puffy jacket, make sure it has the right fill power.  The fill power is the loft, or fluffiness of the down in a jacket.  The higher the fill power, the better the quality of the loft, the warmer the jacket.  Go for the highest fill power you can afford.  And don’t be fooled, fill power isn’t specific for feather down, it also applies to synthetic down.
  3. In Da Hood: Faux or real, buy a puffy jacket a hood that is either lined with fur, or just has fur framing the face.  This actually has nothing to do with a fashion choice, and everything to do with warmth.  You want fur around your hood because it cuts the wind that hits your face, and goes down your neck.  In a city where sometimes the windchill drops to alarming lows, it is really important to think about wind as you put on your winter jacket.  A hood is going to be warmer than a toque because it encases more of your neck and head.
  4. The Neck: How high does it go?  You’ll obviously want to be wearing a scarf regardless, but the higher the neck, the warmer you will be!
  5. STORAGE! I loath carrying a purse in the winter months, especially with a parka or puffy jacket.  Why?  The straps cut me in half, and I look ridiculous.  I always choose a jacket with lots of pockets so I can store all my things in them.
  6. Belt it: Look for jackets that have belts on the outside or drawstrings on the inside.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is so that you aren’t doomed to a winter of shapelessness.  The second is that the closer the jacket fits to your body, the warmer you will be.  And, if wind goes up your jacket, if the jacket is belted, the cold air won’t hit you on your sensitive lower back.

Be My Vest, Be My Vest…

I’m not even going to bother explaining vests, because College Candy has an awesome post on how to wear a down vest without looking like a stuffed puff.  I will say, however, that my vest is my most versatile winter jacket.  I wear it from fall to spring, and just change what I layer underneath.  Your core is the most important thing to keep warm in the winter months, and sometimes I cannot abide being wrapped up in layers and layers of warmth.  Some days, my arms are warm, and my chest is cold.  It happens!

Other Stuff

Outer wear that you should probably invest in:

  • A wind and waterproof shell.  You can layer anything you want underneath, and it can keep you warmer than any of the above jackets.  They’re great for skiing, skating, urban hiking, you name it, it is good for it.  I have yet to find a stylish wind and waterproof shell, so if you know of any, please let me know.
  • Earmuffs!  Retro, hilarious and dead useful.  My ears are always the coldest part of my head, and I spend a lot of time trying to perfect my hair.  I have no interest in messing up the time I’ve spent creating the perfect coif with a warm, all encompassing toque.  Earmuffs get the job done, but aren’t always the best for the freezing cold or long periods of time outdoors.
  • Hats, scarves and mitts, OH MY!  Go to town.  Wool, acrylics, fleece, fur, all good.  So long as the knit is tight, and they are warm, buy and wear with pride.  Hats, scarves and mitts are the best way to jazz up a boring coat.
  • Sunglasses.  Snow reflects light.  Light hurts your eyes.  Eyes deserve sunglasses – even if you can only wear them for a few hours during the day.

And don’t forget…

Know what everyone seems to forget about during the winter months?  Moisturizer with sunscreen.  Oh my gosh.  The sun comes from the sky, the sun reflects off the snow, the sun winds up on the only part of your skin that is consistently exposed to the elements: your face.  And don’t forget about the freezing, moisture sucking wind that can chap the thin, sensitive skin of your face.

I always buy an industrial strength nighttime moisturizer for the winter months, and Vaseline the heck out of my lips and hands before I go to sleep.  And drink oodles of water.

Also, check out this awesome post on layering without bumps, from Already Pretty,

Mostly, enjoy winter.  We’re stuck with it, so find a way to celebrate it, even if that means curling up in front of a fireplace with a warm cup of cocoa and a good book!

Fashion Flirting with oh … I’m sorry. Do my thighs offend you?

How much power do we really have? A community of like-minded women, who blog about what we wear, our sartorial choices, the styles we love, the trends we don’t?

Yesterday, Maura Kelly (a writer and blogger for Marie Claire online) wrote one of the most insulting pieces of shit I have ever read. After reading the post (a blog seemingly about “Living Flirtatiously”), I was unsettled. I tried to figure out what I wanted to say about what Ms. Kelly had written, but couldn’t seem to put fingers to keyboard.

Today, the blogosphere is up in arms. Bloggers are writing vitriolic, intelligent, insulted and hurt responses to Ms. Kelly’s post, and rightly so.  The comments section of the post are entirely against what Ms. Kelly has written, and I couldn’t be more pleased to see the largely intelligent, well thought out responses. Marie Claire, and Ms. Kelly, are under a shit storm.  I have no idea how they are going to respond to it, and as both their (formerly active) online presences’s have disappeared I suspect they’re not entirely certain either.

Maura (can I call you Maura?) did write two half-hearted apologies (that I could find) buried deep within the hundreds of comments on her post. Unfortunately, those two apologies pale in comparison to such delightful phrases as:

“I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other.”

“I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.”

“I have a few friends who could be called plump. I’m not some size-ist jerk.”

I was inspired by the incredible response of the women whose blogs I regularly read, and realized I couldn’t just sit on my feelings about Maura’s post, and Marie Claire’s tolerance of her hatred and bigotry.  A disappointed tweet linking to the post wasn’t enough.  This is the letter I wrote to the editor of Marie Claire (Kate Schweitzer, kschweitzer@hearst.com).

Hi Kate,

I’m sure that you have been inundated with responses to Maura Kelly’s blog post “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?).”  After I read Ms. Kelly’s blog post, linked to me by a fellow outraged blogger, I had an indefinable sense of unease.  I wasn’t happy about what I’d read, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I felt so uneasy about what Ms. Kelly had written.
Finally it hit me.  I was reminded of the first time I heard someone use the term “nigger.”  The woman who said it to me threw it out into our conversation casually.  There was no hatred apparent in her voice, just a belief that she was better than someone else because she was born white and black people, well, black people were born black.  I held my tongue, as we were speaking in a professional capacity, and didn’t tell her that I had no interest in speaking with someone with so much ingrained hatred.  That Ms. Kelly so obviously believes that she is superior to fat people simply because she is not one of them gives me the same feeling I had while chatting with that racist woman.
This is the first time that I have ever written to an editor about my displeasure in an article or blog post associated with their publication.  Ms. Kelly’s blog post, despite her half-hearted apologies buried within the dozens of comments, is an affront to everything Marie Claire purports to stand for.  Your motto is supposed to be “more than just a pretty face.”  I challenge you, and everyone at Marie Claire, to live up to that.
I’ve been a faithful Marie Claire reader for 13 years, and am saddened to say that I will no longer be reading.  At least, not until you and your staff learn from this experience, and elevate your publication to be something I am inspired by.  While I never told the woman from my past what I was thinking in the moment, I no longer wish that I had berated her, and told her to get away from me.  I now look back and wish I had of found some way to be able to inspire or impress upon her that hatred is learned, and new beliefs can be learned in hatred’s place.  My hope is that my reaction, coupled with the reaction and responses of everyone who took offense to Ms. Kelly’s words, will be the turning point for Marie Claire.
Good luck in your journey,

Rebecca Horan

After writing my response, and hitting send, I entered a discourse with two of my tweoples.  One mentioned that she would write a letter if she had time, but that she really hopes someone would organize something more performative.  I am completely in agreement with her.  I’ve written my letter to the editor.  I’ve declared that I will not read Marie Claire again – at least not until there is a drastic change.  And I still don’t feel that it is enough.

What can we do?  What should we do?  We fashion bloggers, body image warriors, fatties, sticks, athletes and couch potatoes.  We have the power to make a statement, to make a difference.  Something that will really get attention.  Inspire Marie Claire, and their like-minded stakeholders to change.

The answer?  To fight the hate and bigotry with love.  I challenge all my blogging buddies to take pictures of themselves kissing.  Kiss your partner, kiss your pet, kiss your best friend.  Kiss because you love yourself, even if you struggle with how you look.  Who cares what size you are, what race you are, what gender you are.  Love is beautiful, and everything else is just packaging.

And Marie Claire?  YOU can kiss my dimpled ass.

EDITED to add: Maura has posted an updated apology on the blog post.  Personally, I think she’s close, but definitely not there yet.  I certainly don’t feel that her “apology” is coming from a place of authenticity, rather that she has been pressured to make it right.  I re-read her post, and she is more impassioned, more emotional and much more honest and authentic when she is writing about how watching fat people kiss on television or walking across a room disgusts her than she is in her apology.  An apology, by the way, in which she attempts to avoid blame about what she has written by blaming her fat-phobia on being formerly anorexic.  I’m not buying it.

Fashion Flirting with Gypsy

Headband: It’s a necklace!  (tutorial below)
Earrings: Out of the Blue (I think…  I’ve had them for 5 years)
Jeans Jacket: Thrifted from Ruby Slipper, Buffalo
OMG Orange Hoodie: lululemon athletica
Dress: Boutique in Ottawa
Socks: Hue
Shoes: Jump, from Town Shoes

So Halloween is JUST around the corner (group costume this year, I’m über pumped), and I kind of want to try and make Halloween day-wear outfits every day.  “Inspired by Halloween costumes” outfits, if you will.

Today’s outfit is inspired by gypsies.  Thick headband, big dangly earrings, flowy off-beat skirt?  I’m feeling a little gypsy, let me tell you.  Apparently, a little witchy, too, as I’m trying to take off in the first shot, then seemingly grabbing at my face all strange like as I twirl in the second picture.

Also, I turned my beaded necklace from a boutique in Montreal into a headband, inspired by the lovely Sally at Already Pretty, who has a wonderful tutorial on alternate uses for your jewelry. Didn’t really want to take pictures, so I decided to show and tell via tutorial video!

I’ve also been promising my Brazilian internet girlfriend (tee hee) Fernanda from Moda Fora de Moda a tutorial on french braiding your hair, so tomorrow I’ll dress inspired by a milkmaid and get right on that.

Fashion Flirting with an Itty Bitty Sneaker

Suede Hat: Danier Leather
Corduroy Blazer: H&M
Cashmere Sweater: Gap
Gress Patchwork Dress: Anthropology
Tights: Hue
Shooties: Arezzo
Sneaker Charm Necklace: Gift from a coworker
Ring: Gift from my mom

This necklace fills my heartspace with warm fuzzies.  A few years ago, I was training for the Manitoba Marathon.  Eight weeks prior to the marathon, while I was in Brazil,  I got sick.  Really sick, with mono.  I don’t think I’ve ever been quite that sick before.  Due to said illness, I wasn’t able to participate in the race.

Cue devastation.

One of my coworkers, another runner, was going to be running the Manitoba Half-Marathon.  At the Expo, she picked me up this charm, knowing I wasn’t going to be able to run the race, knowing I was a bit depressed about it. Every time I put this necklace on, it makes me smile.

I must take a moment to mention how much I love my current nail polish.  The love is partly rooted in the brand itself – Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure – and partly in the amazing colour – Café Au Lait.  The website claims that it is a manicure in a bottle, and let me tell you, it TOTALLY is.

The Complete Salon Manicure brand is particularly special as the brush isn’t the typical round nail polish brush, but flat, with a bit of a tapered point.  It is so EASY to apply, it almost looks like I have a professional manicure.  And I painted my nails yesterday afternoon between tweeting and working.  It took no time, and looks fantastic.  I generally prefer natural shades on my fingers, and CRAZY EXUBERANT OH EM GEE colours on my toes.  Café Au Lait is the perfect shade of neutral, with a touch of über trendy greige. I also have Guilty Pleasure, a gorgeous gold colour that I adore. I actually don’t think I’m going to need to worry about getting manicures anymore – I can do it myself.

Huzzah for budget friendly finger nail solutions!

(BTW: I’m just excited about the nail polish because it is awesome. This mini-review is coming from there, no one paid me or anything for writing it. It is just plain old awesome. That is all!)

Fashion Flirting with Polyvore

Sigh

 

This was what I’d planned on wearing today (sort of), if I hadn’t been up all night with tummy issues, and then woke to killer coughs, and gurgly belly.  So I am still in my PJs.  But the above (with the exception of the shoes…  shoes I fully intend upon purchasing, or something über similar, as soon as possible…  I really want animal print footwear).

I’ll likely wear it tomorrow, and we’ll see if it looks as good as I think the Polyvore outfit looks.  Only time will tell!

Cough, cough, cough, hack.

Fashion Flirting with Making Up (is hard to dooooo)

Following up on yesterday’s post about my skincare routine, I shall endeavor to list the products I use regularly to make myself look made-up.

Laying the Foundation:

MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15.

I don’t really need to wear foundation unless I have a really fancy event that I want to look airbrushed for.  This gives me just the right amount of coverage without making me look like I’ve painted on a layer of colour.

MAC Cosmetics Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer.

While I don’t often need to use concealer, this is the product I will use when I do. I also used this same concealer when I was heavily acne prone, and have found that of all the different kinds of concealer I have used over the years, this one is the best for covering blemishes.

Recently, I received a tip by a make-up artist on the best way to blend concealer. I apply using a concealer brush, and then blend it in using an eyeshadow brush. Whatever you do, don’t try and spread it around with your finger – if you must apply using your finger, however, pat the concealer with one finger to blend it. It will mimic the effect of using a rounded eyeshadow brush for blending.

MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish Natural.

Oh my, this powder makes my skin feel like silk. I’ll use this on its own, to set foundation/concealer. Alone it helps to give a tiny bit of coverage, but the feeling of this powder dusted on my skin really is indescribably smooth – incredibly luxurious.

Colour colour, gimme colour:

Maybelline Dream Mousse Bronzer.

I use this bronzer for EVERYTHING. I’ll use it as an eyeshadow, as a bronzer, as a contouring device… It is my go-to product. I love how it feels on my skin, and I love how easy it is to make the colour more or less intense.

Tarte Eyeshadow Palette for Smoky Eyes.

Seemingly, this palette is no longer available (the danger with all eyeshadow palettes), the one linked above is the closest to what I have. It has two different colour combinations within the palette, one for a green based smoky eye, the other a dark purple smoky eye. I don’t always go the smoky eye route, but I’ve used every single colour in the palette for one reason or another.

Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara.

I love this mascara. I don’t really have all that much to say about it other than I love it. Big, fanned out, blackest black eye lashes. Awesome.

Getting Lippy:

I don’t wear lipstick. Recently, I won a non-sticky Vapour Organics Lip Plumping Gloss in plum from Elizabeth at Beauty Bets that I can’t wait to try when it arrives (also, Beauty Bets is an awesome read on all things beauty related). However, there are a few things I use daily.

Smith’s Lip Balm Minted Rose.

This lip balm is delightful. The rose oil is silky smooth, and the mint makes my lips tingle. It leaves a lasting shine to my lips that somehow enhances the natural colour to my lips. It is my favorite balm.

Blistex Lip Medex.

For when I can’t afford to mess around (ei: when my lips are so dry they are cracked and bleeding, which happens to me about once every two weeks or so), I switch from the Minted Rose to Lip Medex. I try not to use it too often, because if you only use Lip Medex, you run the risk of not being able to use anything else to keep your lips soft and moisturized. This pot of delicious moisture also makes your lips tingle – and if you kiss someone right after you apply it, it makes their lips tingle, too!

Part three? Tomorrow. Content? Brushes.

Fashion Flirting with Bandwagons

Sally at Already Pretty posted about her beauty products today, and Kendi at Kendi Everyday blogged about what is in her makeup bag a few days ago.  I enjoy finding out what people use to keep their skin cleansed and decorated and healthy, so I wanted to share my “I can’t live without” skin care and beauty products over the next few days. I currently have very dry, very sensitive, very delicate skin due to Accutane use, and have needed to change my skin-care routine dramatically as a result.

Cleansing:

I use one of two products for cleansing depending on whether I am washing my face in the shower or at the sink (just because I am lazy and don’t want to reach around the shower curtain to grab the product sitting at the sink or in the shower).

In the shower:
Lise Watier: Very Soothing Cleansing Creme.

This cream cleanser literally caresses my skin.  I massage the cleanser into my skin, and give myself a daily facial massage.  It also has a really delicate scent that I love.

At the sink:
The DivaWash.

This soap is designed specifically to wash the Diva Cup.  As the soap is developed to clean something that spends quite a lot of time in your va-jay-jay, it is gentle enough to use on sensitive skin.  The scent is delicious, and it is über concentrated, so you hardly have to use any at all to get a nice lather on your face.  It rinses cleanly, and never dries out my skin.

Toning:

I use two different toners depending upon which cleanser I use.

Lise Watier Very Soothing Milky Lotion.

Obviously, I use the Lise Watier toner after I use my Lise Watier cleanser.  The liquid is super milky, and as I apply it, I feel like the toner is not only toning, but also infusing my skin with moisture.  Also, it smells delicious.

Thayers Alcohol-free Unscented Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera.

Witch Hazel has fantastic natural properties.  It cleanses, moisturizes, soothes.  I’ll use this after using the DivaWash, and it leaves just the right amount of moisture on my skin that I don’t need to use a moisturizer afterwards.  This is the best for right before going to bed for me.

Moisturizing:

Lise Watier Hydra-City SPF 15.

My daily moisturizer.  It is lightweight enough that I never feel sticky or shiny, but just enough that my skin feels a little dewey and soft.

Scape SPF 50 Sunblock Cream and Scape SPF 50 Face Stick.

Victoria Potter, over at Demi Couture, wrote a review of the Scape sunblock it took me about ten seconds to decide that I had to try out this product. It is, hands down, the best sunscreen I have ever used.  I wore it every day in Vegas and despite sweating like a pig in the 40+ C weather, I didn’t suffer from a single burn, and only needed to apply once per day.  The sunblock is designed by athletes for athletes.  I have never worried about skin protection when I wear it.  Worry-free!

Part two of this bandwagon post will follow tomorrow. Cosmetics!

Fashion Flirting with Uggs

It is a generally accepted fact that Uggs are not known for being fashionable footwear. They aren’t especially flattering, they don’t do anything for any outfit, and after a short period of time start to look really icky.

I own a pair of grey knit Uggs, a pair of short red Emus and a pair of tan Emu slippers. Not a one of them are attractive or flattering. I bought my first pair after I’d been working for lululemon for a few months. I generally used them to wear to work, and once I would arrive at work I would put on a pair of flip flops. I didn’t have to wear socks, I could just shove my feet in my shoes and go to work.

Winnipeg is cold in the winter months. Really cold. December through February is particularly brutal, with temperatures rarely exceeding -20 degrees Celsius. I have mentioned my dislike of standard footwear on the blog before, regardless of the time of year, the moment I walk in my door, shoes and socks are removed. I live in a state of perpetually cold toes.

The red Emus, my very first pair of sheepskin shapeless boots, were worn until they smelled so badly I had to throw them away. I then purchased the grey knit Uggs as they were a step above your standard pair of Uggs, but still warm and comfortable. The slippers were purchased specifically for music festivals where I would be camping. I celebrate my festivals without footwear, would slip on the slippers when the sun would go down and the temperatures would drop, dirty feet notwithstanding.

However, I fully and completely recognise that they do nothing for me when I am wearing them. They do nothing to elevate my outfits. And for a long time, I strongly believed that no one looked good in them.

Until now.

Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

The behind the photo shoot video is an overwhelming cute-fest. Ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out. Baaaaaaaaah.