June 25, 2010

2 thrift outfits under $10

So I did hit the thrifts over the last few weeks, but was only able to finagle Hus into taking pictures of my thrifted clothing last night.  

Outfit #1   $3.10 

I found the top on the 80% off rack at the consignment shop for $2.10 with tax, and the linen pants at a blue-tag sale at the Sally Ann for $1.  I just washed these pants, and they relax with a bit of wearing.
If you include the Keds shoes, which I bought at Value Village while visiting my sister sometime this winter this outfit is still under $10.
Outfit #2   $6.00

I also found this skirt at the Sally Ann for $5.  The fabric feels great, and the label is Coldwater Creek.  I've never been in one of these stores, so I have no idea if that is a good deal or not.  The shirt is linen, and I bought it in another thrift shop.
So in total these two outfits cost $9.10.  Since I am a teacher I hardly splurge for summer clothing, so at least I have a few new (to me) things to wear.

June 24, 2010

Old School Technology and Reminiscing

I found a rummaging opportunity today while I was returning books at the public library.  The multi-purpose room was full of discards for sale - particularly books-on-tape and VHS tapes.  There were boxes of each since no one borrows these anymore.  I no longer own a VCR, but our 2004 car came with both a cassette and CD player, which has been mighty handy on road-trips.  We have no trips planned for the immediate future, but we enjoy listening to audiobooks while driving to our hometown and back (6 hours one way).  And I actually prefer tapes for this; one thanksgiving we borrowed a CD of The Da Vinci Code which was scratched and kept skipping.  Very hard to keep track of the story that way.  At least you can use a piece of scotch tape on cassettes!  So I thought I'd better stock up on the books-on-tape.
 I got some "Can-Lit" with The Divine Ryans and Oryx and Crake, a short story collection by Jeffrey Archer (we've listened to other collections of his and have enjoyed them), and a novel I've never heard of before called Witch Child.
After purchasing them I started thinking about cassettes and wondered if young people would ever get back into tapes, like records have made a come-back (probably not).  But for myself, the switch from records to tapes seemed so cutting-edge back when I was a kid.  I remember when my older sister came home with her first Walkman (and cassette of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just want to have Fun), and how I thought it was so cool that it was PORTABLE and that you could listen to music anywhere with it.  Now compared to ipod nanos, they seem gigantic and cumbersome.  Check out this poster of Hus's that we have in our laundry room...
 Having grown up in the era of cassettes, dates me as well.  I often slip into the verb, "taped" instead of "recorded," i.e. "I taped a movie on the PVR."  And I've been known to (embarrassingly) call a personal sound system a "ghetto-blaster" which I suppose reflects something about the popular culture of the time in which it came out....check out this classic video clip...

I can't imagine how much that guy's arm hurts after hauling that thing all over New York!  Portable? Definitely not! 

June 21, 2010

World Cup and W(h)ining

I realize that I've been missing in action for the last two weeks.  This is partly because there has been nothing exceptional to post about, because I was gone for about four days in between, and because I've been caught up in all the footy action!
Last weekend, I was in Kelowna for a work retreat, where a bunch of my provincial colleagues are soccer-freaks.  One guy has been waking up at 4:00 am to watch the games live, and he has not missed a game yet.  During lunch, he always disappeared to watch the game in the lounge.  I have also been watching the odd game, but only got up at 4:00 am once, to see (what I thought would be) Germany trounce Serbia.  Well, Serbia did a good job making sure that didn't happen.  There has been a lot of upsets in the tournament and a lot of whining (particularly by England's side) and I find it all very exhilarating.  I can also justify watching it as prep work for my courses next semester!  When I teach politics, I always try to make it more relevant to student's lives, by underlining that politics takes place everywhere, not just in Parliament.  Since we live in a soccer-loving town (lots of Germans, Italians and Portuguese here) talking about the World Cup and what goes on on and off the pitch seems to work well.
Since we were in Kelowna a lot of our retreat also had to do with wine.  One evening we visited the Summerhill winery and had a tour and dinner.  They had just about the best Riesling I've ever tasted, but unfortunately, since I was flying I couldn't take any home with me.
Here is a picture of Okanagan Lake from our resort, and a few pictures of the winery.  

The next afternoon we had free time, and I was lured into the resort spa by the advertisements of the 'Vinotherapy massage', which I somehow imagined meant that I could drink wine at the same time!  That actually wasn't the case; the masseuse poured red wine in the shea butter.  But, if I hadn't been under that impression, I probably never would have gone in the first place.  At 37 years of age, this was the first massage I've ever had and it was lovely!  She worked all the kinks out of my back and I came out very relaxed and rejuvenated.  Its good to still have new things to try and experience.  I don't think I'll be waiting another 37 years for my second one!
And probably due to the wine I've been drinking, I don't have any weight loss to report even though it is 'reducing myself Monday.'  My eating still has been really good, but I'm up 2 pounds anyway. I think I jinxed it with my last post about expecting a plateau.
I have bought some new clothing at the thrift stores recently, and will post about those next, after I get Hus to take some pictures.

June 07, 2010

Reducing Myself Monday

139!  I am back in the 130s.  I remember the last time I weighed 139; I lost about 5 pounds due to stress in February 2009.  A bunch of my colleagues got lay off notices and it fell on my lap to organize a response to management (luckily no one actually ended up getting laid off).  

But this time, I did it by redirecting my eating to healthier foods and smaller portions.  I am expecting to have a plateau at some point, but as of now, I am reveling at my 1-lb-a-week progress.

June 06, 2010

Quiet Sunday

I am spending a quiet Sunday today; I dropped Hus off at the airport this morning.  He is gone on a work trip for a week, so I will be doing all the household things by myself!  I started by mowing the rather-long grass, which was appreciated by somebody who does a lot of lounging around on the lawn....
Then I appreciated the flowers which had blossomed....
 And I made a happy discovery.  I decided to leave one of my raised beds fallow for this year (I'm not sure that this is the appropriate term, but it makes it sound like I'm some sort of professional agriculturalist, rather than a lazy gardener).  There was something growing in it, and just when I was about to weed it, I identified it as cilantro!
 Yay!  I love cilantro!  I've never grown it in that bed but have grown it in pots nearby.  Maybe a seed from those pots landed there at the end of the summer last year?  In any case, I'm thrilled at the randomness of it.

Another thing I'm doing this weekend is progressing with the decluttering.  If you recall, ever since the kitchen got (mostly) finished, we've been going through all of our junk in various corners etc.  I have yet to post the before-and-after pictures, but we still need to get the back-splash tiles installed.  Anyway, this weekend I'm tackling the last four years of my Vegetarian Times subscription.....
 This is about half of them; I was able to put the other half in the recycling bin.  But these ones had recipes I've either made or would like to.  I've marked the pages, but have yet to cut them out.  And once cut out, I'm going to have to find some sort of notebook to store them in.

My only other goal for today is to finish Stalin's Children which has been on my bedside pile (literally and also on the left-hand column of this blog) for a few weeks.  I feel so fortunate to have prioritized reading for this Sunday!

June 01, 2010

Girly Swirly Skirts and Dresses

It all started with my Betty Draper goes to Hawaii dress, and the swishy feeling of the dress on my calves, and the belted, cinched waist of the dress.  The next week I wore the dress (sans headscarf) to the banquet of a conference.  When I walked in I wondered if I should have worn something else, as almost everyone else - men and women alike - was wearing black.  My anxiety was soon allayed when other delegates (who were strangers to me) complemented me on the dress.  
 Why don't I own more dresses like this? I thought to myself.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I liked about the dress, and why it looked good on me, was the a-line shape to it.  I have a small waist, and large hips and legs and such a style in skirts and dresses plays up my best feature (waist) and plays down my worst (lower half).  
At the same time, I stumbled upon a whole host of bloggers that are devoted to recreating (and wearing!) classic mid-century style - of which a-line skirts and dresses were standards.  More than that, they celebrate the art of dressing up and being proud of looking polished and glamorous.  Hopefully this is the start of a new movement, or maybe it is already a movement and I'm behind the times!  My newest blog discovery, Bringing Back Pretty, which is about, well, bringing back her pretty, opens with a classic quote from Coco Chanel, "I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little. If only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe thats the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny."  My own sister at Carpe Diem Vintage wrote "I can just barely remember when I was a young girl that society was still polite and helpful. Men and women still dressed up to go shopping and had an air of style and class.....I really wanted to bring some glamour to my life. To do this I realized that we no longer have true glamour in the modern world - it has been lost to reality tv, rudeness, mega corporations, advertising and just plain stupidity. To recapture glamour, class and style I have to go back to another era."
Have a look at classy ladies and their wonderful vintage clothing and style at any of these blogs...Temperamental Broad,The Mysterious Life of the Metropolitan Housewife, Sassy Lassies Vintage Life, Yesterday Girl, Diary of a Vintage Girl, and Welcome to DeluxeVille.  So over the last week I have been taking a cue from these ladies by wearing my red lipstick, and dressing up in a-line and circle skirts while shopping, at work, and even walking the dog!  I am a bit of a clotheshorse and have some really nice clothes, but probably like a lot of people, I have this 'save' mentality, i.e. I have to save nice clothing for special occasions.  Well, I am going to try to break out of this mindset; I have the clothing so I might as well wear it.
 In my recent rummaging, I bought a vintage skirt at the Salvation Army.  It is probably from the 1980s, made in Canada, but it looks very much like it could have been from the 1950s/1960s....(apologies for the photo, I am alone and my only full-length mirror is in my closet)....
It is a shiny grey material and is very well-constructed, with pockets!  I love clothing with pockets as I have to carry around keys at work.  It is a size eight and fits like one - there was no vanity sizing in the 1980s!  I bought it in a bag sale for $6, and I paired it with a belt I purchased at my last bag sale there.  I think this skirt will be very versatile.  
Next to this skirt hung another one that I'm not so sure about, but I threw it into the bag anyway since I still had room.  
Please help me make a decision whether I should bother getting it drycleaned or not!  In some ways I love it, but it might be hideous!  I love it because of the polka dots and the cinched waist.  It also reminds me of all the European clothing (i.e. Steilmann) I was exposed to while working at a high-end boutique when I was in college in the early 90s -  and I'm sure it is from that time period...what do you think?
Is it too outdated?  Please be honest.

Reducing Myself Musings

Today the scale said 140 lbs!  So far I have been able to lose a pound a week, but more importantly, I am appreciating all the good, healthy food I have been eating and have not been craving anything bad at all.  Now I just have to keep up this habit.  Although the South Beach Diet doesn't work for everyone, and why it works is debated, I think it works for me because it is about resetting your eating, producing new habits, and by eliminating a whole food group for the first 2 weeks (bread!), you naturally consuming less calories in spreads, jams etc.  

I have been noticing a very subtle change in the way my clothes fit, most of all the roll that hangs over the waistband of my pants is gone!  I have a few more pounds to go, though, to be able to comfortably (and fashionably) wear the dress pants in the back of my closet.

Why and how am I doing this?  I blogged about it here last month.

And on a separate note, thanks to new followers Jill, Heidi and Bringing Back Pretty! I was ecstatic to open my account this morning and find double digits in followers!