Friday, 29 August 2014

Mitford Madness

As fall approaches and shopping for those perfect autumn sweaters heats up (pun intended) .... I'm not just perusing the pages of glossy fashion mags. 

I'm also deeply mired in the world of 1930's English aristocrats, balls and coming out parties, as I reread my favourite Nancy Mitford novels. 

Nancy Mitford.
National Portrait Gallery.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Waiting for Vogue

August is waning. The evenings have a slight chill in the air now.... I feel the urge to don tweed and cashmere... and wear boots. 

It's coming, people. Any day now. The September issue of Vogue.

But not soon enough for me. 

That's because I'm doing my fall shopping homework... right NOW. Surveying my wardrobe, checking what I own that I will wear again this year.  Making my list of what I need or want.

And I'm making do with my July and August issues of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. How can I be inspired without the September fashion "bible"?

Still...I did find a few images that I like. This sweater and fringed skirt combination by Michael Kors, for instance. I love the sweater, and I'd wear it with jeans and loafers or boots.

August issue of Vogue

Or this outfit in the July issue of Harper's Bazaar. I like the look of the ladylike coat with the loose full pants. Very Catherine Hepburn...maybe? 

And this look from July Vogue is lovely. The narrow trouser with that long white blazer from Dior is very me.... at least when I was still working. 

Or these two sweaters I found on The camel one from The Row is gorgeous isn't it? And the cable knit Michael Kors sweater looks wonderful with those cream pants. 


But.....meanwhile....while I'm waiting for Vogue.... I might be persuaded to try to autumn-ize some of my summer items. The better to transition into fall. 

Like finding a way to continue to wear my white jeans. I tried these Hudson boot cut white jeans with my Gap long sleeved black tee shirt and a grey/black summer scarf....and my flat boots. It looks... okay. I could throw on my Theory anorak if it rains. Looks... fine.


Or instead of the anorak. My black Elie Tahari coat with the snazzy zippers and leather trim. It looks....fine, too....I guess. But I much prefer it with jeans or black skinny pants and a colourful top. 

Maybe I should try to pair my summer pants with a fall top. Like my absolute fav fall sweater...this loose grey Vince turtleneck from last year... with my cropped white jeans? 

No... no, no, no, no, no. Now that just looks silly, to me. 

Sigh. I guess I'm just not a transition girl. What I really want to do is pack all my white pants and sandals away and haul out my boots and tweed jackets. 

And while I'm waiting for the Vogue September issue...

I'll work on my list...

1. Jeans (high waist, distressed, boyfriend?...we'll see)
2. Soft sweaters (light texture, fall colours....camel, burgundy ?) 
3. Loafers? (those fabulous pointy toe, two-tone ones from Row would be good....or something similar and a bit more reasonably priced.)

What's on your list for fall?

This week I'm linking up with Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Just Enough Wilderness... Adventures in La Belle Province

We love to travel in Quebec. Most years we spend a week in August at our time share condo in a village on the Saguenay Fjord called L'Anse-Saint-Jean. 

The 105 km long fjord is magnificent.

And the tiny village of L'Anse-Saint-Jean...well, it's really the perfect place for us.
 It's quiet, historic, beautiful, with a great cycling trail, a couple of good restaurants, one perfect little boutique (pour moi.) Oh...and it's French. So we can practice speaking French while we're here, albeit  with an execrable accent.

Most days we cycle. 

Sometimes we pedal up streets of tidy wooden houses... 

with well cared for gardens.

Sometimes we pedal on the dirt roads that run past farm fields...

Sometimes on the cycling trail...

that follows the river...

and then crosses the river through the old covered bridge.

I love covered bridges. I remember, when I was nine, my mother's younger brother told us kids that when you drive over a covered bridge you're supposed to yell...really loud...the whole time you are inside. I still want to do that. 

This year we saw this little guy, below, pointing to the exhibit of local painters set up inside the bridge. What a cool idea, eh? Or as we learned in grade six French..."C'est une bonne idée!" (I remember some kids in my class thought that phrase meant the weather was nice. Must have been of Scottish descent:)

L'Anse-Saint-Jean was settled in the 1830's and many of the buildings are very old. Each historic home has a little green plaque telling the story of the house.

And the village has the best barns. 

I'm fond of barns. And sheds. And this one is my favourite.

Many of the homes in L'Anse-Saint-Jean still have a traditional Quebec bread oven in their back yard. 

I'd love to taste the bread that was baked in these. 

One day each trip we set off on our bikes for Restaurant La Fringale for casse-croute. Every now and again I must feed my hot dog obsession. And these are the best hot dogs in the world. Grilled, on a toasted bun with fried onions, cabbage slaw, mayonnaise, and ketchup...and a side of some pretty terrific patate frites. 

Oh my.... so tasty. We're spoiled, now, so we only eat hot dogs when we're in L'Anse-Saint-Jean. 

Some days we hike. Or we might take a drive up the road to Chicoutimi or La Baie. They have good cycling trails there as well. 

This year we stopped in Rivière-Éternité, also called the Village de Crèches. In a wooded Parc Municipal right on the highway is a stunning display of Quebec (and international) craftsmanship. Under wooden roofs to keep out much of the weather, are numerous carved nativity scenes, most made from pine or bois de pin, some from other materials, all... well... surprising, to say the least. Not what one expects when one speeds round the turn in the highway and descends the big hill into the village. 

This one was my favourite.

I love the gentle expressions on the faces of Mary and Joseph. The way you can see the grain of the wood. And the hands. The hands are amazing. 

Most of our week is pretty quiet. We barbeque something for supper. Maybe eat dinner out once, at the most. Sip a glass of wine on the deck of our condo. Read a good book... or three. Speak bad French to each other and laugh that we're probably making up our own dialect.

And just enjoy the view. 

I've had plenty of wild wilderness this summer...what with our camping trip to Bonnechere and our canoe trip to Algonquin Park

Our sojourn here is just enough wilderness for me at the moment. 

Besides after I finish my glass of wine I may take a stroll down to the bottom of the hill. Where there IS that one perfect boutique that I mentioned earlier. They carry a line of lovely, funky jewellery crafted in Quebec.  Hmmmmm. A new bracelet might be in order.

What adventures have you been having this summer? Wilderness or otherwise.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Start Doing Your Homework

The summer is more than half over, and while I'm still enjoying wearing my white jeans and favourite sandals...and packing for our summer holiday... I'm dreaming about fall. 

It happens every year at this time. The beginning of school is only a few weeks away and a switch goes off in my head. And I start thinking about crisp, sunny days, and tweed blazers or jeans with sweaters and boots. And I know it's time to start doing my homework for fall shopping. 

Yessss! I love homework. And now that I am no longer teaching, my homework is all about where we want to travel and what new books I want to read...and what I'll be wearing while I'm doing all these things. 

October 2012, near Wilno Ontario.
First....... research, research, research. I start my research with  my favourite "credible sources" (as we English teacher types say to our students.) 

This is the cover of the August issue of Vogue. The fall colours in the shot of Blake Lively are wonderful.  I love that red dress. 

Vogue August 2014
And this western inspired outfit of suede and leather and silk (I believe) in browns and luscious. Earthy and fresh at the same time.
Vogue August 2014
The shots below are from the June/July issue of Harper's Bazaar. Lots of grey this year. Hmmm I have lovely grey trousers and a couple of grey sweaters that I may dig out and try to freshen up for this season. I love the proportions of that Bottega Veneta grey pull-over and full skirt.

June/July Harper's Bazaar
Cosy sweaters are big, apparently. The Michael Kors  coat sweater on the right is lovely. And as much as I admire some of the ideas behind the designs of The Row... that charcoal grey sweater and knit skirt combo is well...overpowering? Downright weird? 

June/July Harper's Bazaar
I'll probably check out soon to see the fall ready-to-wear collections for some of the designers I love. Like Stella McCartney. Or Phoebe Philo at Celine. This is just for info, you have to understand. I mean I'd love to be able to wear their clothes... but, ha...chance would be a fine thing. Nice to look at, but too pricey for moi.

The two shots below are from Oooooh that camel jacket with the black is divine. I adore camel. And the shrunken jacket with the distressed jeans is really... so me. 

I love a dressy shoe and jacket with faded denim. It just goes to show you that you can take the girl out of the 1970's, but you can't take the 1970's out of the girl. See how we are all informed by the era when we went to high school? Me... I can't resist battered leather purses and suede jackets with faded jeans. That's what I coveted in high school and not much has changed. Except girth...but we won't go there.


I discovered Madewell denim when I was looking at pictures of jeans on the web yesterday. Why have I never heard of this company? I love their jeans. Especially since they have straight leg and high rise styles. Yah! I am so done with low rise pants! 

I might even be persuaded into a pair of boyfriend jeans if they were slim in the leg like these. Although I'm not sure about the rise here.
Yep. Love these. Love the oxford shoes too.
I just read that the head of design at Madewell , Somsack Sikhounmuong, is a Canadian. Well there IS quite a bit of plaid in his fall collection (ever heard of the Canadian tuxedo?) and he does love Neil Young. You can read an interview with Somsack Sikhounmuong here.

And he says that when young girls come into his stores with their moms he wants them both to be able to find something to wear. He might just be the one, girls. The designer for us over 50 but not over the hill...yet...types.

Anyhoo.... I'm still doing my research. I will be for a few weeks. And then I'll be compiling my LIST. So far there is one item on it. 
1. Jeans...faded, maybe a bit distressed...high rise.

And speaking of faded. These are the new khaki, cargo pants I bought at Gap this week. They will be great for our trip. I love the side zippers in the leg. And the pockets, of course. It seems I am somehow into pockets this year.


And you know...I will probably be wearing them in the fall. At least for a while. 

Now I have to go finish my packing. And you need to start your homework. Fall shopping will be upon us and you want to be ready.

Only 24 more sleeps until Labour Day. 


Linking up this week with Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy and Thursday Blog Hop at Over 50,Feeling 40

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Addicted To Murder

The sun is shining; it's a beautiful weekend, and I  am inside with my nose stuck in a book. I can't help it... I am addicted to reading. And if I don't get the required hours immersed in my book each day...I get the jitters. I feel deprived. Luckily I'm retired now and have the time to do all the things I should be doing, including getting outdoors for fresh air and exercise, and still have time for lots of reading.

And right now, I'm addicted to murder and mayhem, to mystery and detective fiction. I know of so many great mystery authors writing these days.... and there are so many more to discover.