Do you Pineapple in Bed with your Sweetie?

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True confession:

I have difficult hair.

On a good day it falls into charming curls and waves, rippling over my shoulders like a lady pirate’s mane.

Okay–it never really looks like that. It’s actually an unruly mess of frizz that looks like it belongs in an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.

Since my hair is an ongoing concern, I was quite excited when I learned how to pineapple online. (Yes, you read that right–we’ve entered a brave new world where pineapple can be used a verb! How cool is that?)

Pineappling involves gathering one’s curly hair atop one’s head in order to wrap it securely in a silky scarf. This is done at bedtime to protect one’s delicate curls through the night.

If I pineappled regularly, the internet promised, I would awake each morning with bouncy, well-defined curls bursting with volume and loveliness.

What curly-haired woman in her right mind could resist claims like this?

Sadly, when combined with my plush onesie, the only pineappling effect I noticed was that any chance of romance with my sailor was no longer an option.

Pineappling: 0
Frizz: 1

The Purse Whisperer

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My friend D rarely buys purses. (She’s more a shoe and coat person.) So it was exciting when she emailed a picture of her new handbag.

I liked it…really liked it…so much that I went to visit it at Hudson’s Bay.

I examined it. Carried it around the purse department and even took out the paper stuffing to see how it would hang if it wasn’t stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.

But I didn’t buy it. Although I really liked the purse, I know that I can be influenced by peer pressure. (I’m lucky I hung with a nice group in high school or I might have gotten into some serious trouble.) Did I want the handbag just because D had it?

“I want your purse,” I said the next time I talked to D. (So much for introspection about my propensity to be guided by peer pressure!)

“Then buy it.”

“You won’t think I’m some creepy purse stalker?”

She sighed. “Just get the purse if you love it that much.”

I’m calling it my post-strike treat.

D called the next day.

“I bought our purse,” I said.

“I knew you would. It’s lovely.”

“Lovely and on sale! Mine was $65 less than yours.”

“No!!!”

“Yes,” I said. “Clearly the shopping gods like me more than they like you.”

She grumbled a bit.

“Have you bought anything else I might like?” I asked.

Fashion on the Line

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As we begin another week of the longest teachers’ strike in BC history, there is no news. Sadly this is not a case where no news is good news. There’s no end in sight.

After a summer travelling across the country, taking part in ice bucket challenges, sampling dill pickle vodka and posting inflammatory tweets about greedy teachers, our premier finally called a press conference to add her two cents.

Unfortunately she made several false claims.

I’m still trying to figure her out.

Either she deliberately lied to sway public opinion against teachers or she’s so uninformed that she genuinely believes teachers are asking for “unlimited massages and extra days off.”

Yikes! The premier’s either incompetent or dishonest. I can’t decide which quality’s more dangerous in a leader.

On a more personal note, I’m facing the dreaded picketing striker fashion dilemma.

My summer shoes of choice, a comfortable pair of soft suede ballet flats, while perfect for a day of shopping, are not up the rigours of walking a section of pavement for three hours straight. My other choice, running shoes, offer more support but…ugh!

Have you ever tried to co-ordinate runners with a summer dress? It’s not a good look!

$95

004I almost bought a pair of shoes last week: retro style Adidas runners in, wait for it, pink suede! Even my sailor liked them, pronouncing them a perfect match for skinny jeans.

What held me back? The price for one thing. At $95, I wanted to be sure I’d wear them–lots. The style was another stumbling block. Although they were adorable, I’m not a running shoe kind of girl. If they’d been ballet flats or riding boots, I’d have been all over them without a second thought, but runners…

I needed to sleep on this purchase.

At home that evening, I found a similar, though much less cute, pair of runners from when I sprained my foot and needed supportive shoes. Now I only wear them with yoga pants on the days when I really can’t be bothered.

For casual Friday, I wore them with a pair of skinny jeans to try out this look.

All was good until someone commented that I looked like I was heading off for a run. I was rushing out the door at the time and assumed the comment was directed at my fast pace and not my footwear.

Later, another coworker greeted me. “Hey, it’s Sporty Spice!”

This deserved a snappy comeback. The best I could do was, “Umm.”

As so often happens, hours later I came up with perfect response: “Thanks for saving me $95 plus tax!”

How to Accessorize a Sailor

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My sailor and I had another day out together.

This time my sailor decided to step things up a notch. He wore his bespoke top coat from Afghanistan. He styled it with a pair of dark Levi’s and a soft chambray shirt. This is a big step up from the Gortex jacket/rugby shirt combination he usually wears when he’s not in uniform.

He looked good…until he grabbed his ratty nylon backpack on the way out the door.

“You can’t bring that if you’re wearing your nice coat,” I said, wondering why it’s often necessary to state the obvious.

Since he likes to have something to carry his bits and pieces, we ended up looking for a stylish man bag for him.

It was mind-blowing to finally share one of my favourite activities–hand bag shopping–with one of my favourite people!

He was initially reluctant, fearing he’d end up with something purse-y looking, but he eventually came around, trying on bags in different stores and discussing features like buckles, handles and cross body straps.

Finally, I took him into one of my special places–the Coach store. (More than he was prepared to spend, but I wanted to broaden his horizons and show him what a quality leather bag looked and felt like.)

I almost lost him when the sales associate suggested a huge striped man tote.

“Uh no. He’s not a tote kind of guy.”

I’m not judging those fine men who proudly carry their big striped totes, but I’m glad my sailor isn’t one of them.

He ended up with a rugged leather Kenneth Cole messenger bag from the Bay that no one will mistake for a purse.

I ended up with memories of a beautiful day with my sailor.

Maybe we can try shoe shopping next week!

Step One–Check!

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Step one in the “return of the sailor” preparations is complete.

My hair is healthy thanks to a skillfully executed trim. It’s soft and shiny thanks to the super duper conditioning treatment I splurged on. It’s resplendent with natural-looking highlights that tell the world I’ve been lounging on a Maltese beach rather than slaving in a British Columbia rain forest.

The stylist responsible for my new do is a genius, an artist, a miracle-worker!

In addition to being all of the above, she’s also nice. She brewed a pot of soothing herb tea specially for me, brought me a stack of magazines and didn’t seem offended when I flicked through them instead of making small talk.

She massaged my hands, my scalp and my ego when she mentioned how silky my hair felt.

In short, she’s the pinnacle of salon perfection, but I won’t be able to see her for much longer.

She’s not my real stylist. She’s just the one I switched to while mine is on maternity leave.

I have moments of bliss because I’ve finally found a stylist who “gets” my hair, but then I realize how awkward it will be if I don’t go back to my regular one when she returns and I remember how much I hate any kind of confrontation.

I better take a few more pictures of my hair because it’s never going to look this good again.

35 Shopping Days to Christmas!

003011I spent a relaxing afternoon at the mall this weekend. In the absence of hobbies, going to the mall is how I unwind. I love my time there and I’ve never had a bad experience while shopping (well, except for the time I caught my finger in a fitting room door–ouch!)

You’d think Christmas was next week with all the decorations and the crowds scurrying about. I like Christmas as much as the next person, but frankly I get a bit tired of the trees, lights and holly once it’s been up over a month. (Mistletoe is a different kettle of fish. If my sailor was home, I’d happily hang mistletoe over every doorway in the house and leave it there until it wilted.)

In keeping with my recent vow of austerity, I was very frugal. I got a couple of books at Chapters. (I haven’t visited a library since I read about a woman who found LIVE bedbugs in a library book.) I picked up a stylish fleece jacket for the dog at Winners. It’s soft and cozy and . . . blue. I could admit they were all out of anything pink in her size and her sweaters are getting a bit thread bare, but my story is that dressing my girl dog in blue fleece indicates I don’t support gender stereotypes.

I also stopped at Danier. I have handbag issues (I can’t resist buying them) and Danier has beautiful leather purses at reasonable prices. If that isn’t enough, they have amazing sales–all the time. With a closet full of black bags, I craved colour.

Danier also has exceedingly patient sales associates and a wonderful exchange policy.

I know this because I tested their tolerance over the past couple of weeks. First I bought a structured brown bag. Upon consideration, I realized I prefer something softer and squishier. Back it went–exchanged for a burnt orange pebbled leather bag. Although I wanted colour, the bright pumpkin was a little too much for me. Back it went–exchanged for a black satchel with snazzy gold chain handles. I took it home and realized how many black bags I already have. Back it went–exchanged for a plain camel handbag with a shoulder strap for when I need both hands free to scoop up a litter of fluffy puppies or to help someone frail cross the street.

I’m definitely going to keep this one . . . absolutely . . . I think.

Woo Hoo!–A J. Crew Review

011002I rarely order from J. Crew since they started gouging Canadians. (Insert sad face.) Before they opened their first stores in Canada, I could order off the American website. Now, I’m redirected to a special website with higher prices whenever I attempt to initiate an order.

Recently J. Crew offered an additional 40% off sale items. Wow! There were good deals to be had even for those of us paying inflated prices based on our nationality.

I got a pair of dark matchstick jeans. I have a few pairs of J. Crew jeans and their sizing is consistent enough that I can order online and be confident they’ll fit as well as my old favourites. I love skinny jeans like these. I wear them with ballet flats when the weather isn’t too bad and with boots for the rest of the long wet winter.

I also got a couple of long sleeve perfect fit T’s as well–navy and white. Long sleeve T’s aren’t too exciting, but they’re staples in my winter uniform of a cardigan with a top or T underneath. J. Crew’s are cosy and soft and I know from past experience they’ll wash beautifully and not become all shapeless and saggy after only a few launderings.

The highlight of my order (and evidence of my purse addiction): the beautiful Brompton Hobo in soft, smooshy pebbled leather. It has lots of pockets for organization and a cross body strap that’s a must for a busy day at museums and galleries or (who am I kidding) just grocery shopping and running errands. It’s a plain, classic bag with no logos or tags for those of us who prefer not to advertise for wealthy handbag companies. Its only embellishment is a darling little brass turn lock. It reminds me of the clasp on a diary I had as a child. (With a snoopy older brother on site, I needed a sturdy lock on my journal.)

I trolled blog reviews of the Brompton Hobo for over a week before finally ordering this bag. J. Crew stylists are usually spot on putting together stunning outfits, but they dropped the ball on the Brompton Hobo. It looks horrible in the style guide (catalogue). They’ve stuffed it so full it’s like a swollen leather animal with handles. In real life, it’s a big bag, but so soft and squishy it’s not nearly as cumbersome as in the catalogue.

Would I have paid full price for it? Probably not, but with the sale and the extra discount, I got a great deal on a tough leather bag that will look just as beautiful in five years as it does today.

Life in a Banana Republic

014020015010I’m an Anglophile, a monarchist and, although I like to look stylish, cannot put together a co-ordinated outfit to save my life. Because of this shortcoming I often look to well-dressed famous people for inspiration. One of my favourite fashion muses is Kate Middleton. She always looks amazing, probably because she has model good looks and a willowy athletic figure. She also has the money to wear beautiful clothes that are unfortunately unattainable to the likes of me. My budget is more J.Crew final sale rack and Banana Republic, both of whom offer teacher discounts (yay for supporting educators!) and military discounts.

It was with great anticipation I awaited the unveiling of Banana Republic’s limited Issa Collection. Issa designed the gorgeous royal blue dress Kate wore when her engagement was announced a couple of years ago. Although anything would look fabulous on the Duchess, the wrap style of the engagement dress flatters most women. Those wide ties cinch in the waist better than a Spanx power panty.

Banana Republic’s collection didn’t disappoint. The wrap dresses aren’t in the luxurious silk fabric of Kate’s, but they are way cheaper than hers. The faux-engagement dress is $160 in Canada, but yesterday special customers like me got 25% off. (Yes, Banana Republic knows just how to enable a borderline shopaholic like me!)

I tried on a number of pieces. In addition to being flattering and feminine, they are all amazingly comfortable. The soft jersey knits drape beautifully and they don’t constrict or bind. The wrap ties snug in the waist, giving a lovely girlish figure.

All in all, the Issa reveal turned into an all day event for me. First thing in the morning, I went to the mall for an initial look. Then after coffee and a texting session with D, who is away on holiday and couldn’t visit a Banana Republic herself, I went back and tried on a few more items before deciding on the ones I couldn’t live without. That evening, after a winey dinner with my friend B, I went back to Banana Republic to pick up a dress for D who had finally decided on one after spending hours online checking out the collection and reading reviews.

I had a hard time limiting myself to only two pieces (a dress and a wrap top), but my sailor thinks his deployment pay is going towards a boat. I didn’t want to tell him I blew it on a new Banana Republic Issa wardrobe instead!

Girl Most Likely to Marry a Sailor

015008022006With a high school reunion next month, it’s not too early to begin preparing. I’ve made a pre-reunion salon appointment to have my hair flat ironed so it’s smooth and silky for the big event. I’ve also booked a pre-pre-reunion session to get a few highlights so it looks like I’ve been lounging on the beach all summer instead of driving my boy to his various summer activities.

I’m wearing a Ralph Lauren wrap dress. I love this style so much that I’ve collected a few different colours. It’s flattering, machine washable (yes, really!) and (best of all) never needs to be ironed. Oh, and it’s so comfortable, it’s like wearing a nightgown. Clothing doesn’t get any better than this.

I recommend dresses to everyone who doesn’t wear a uniform to work and shares my inability to co-ordinate. Nothing is less demanding than throwing on a single garment and being ready to go. Until I’m nominated for What Not to Wear, I’ll be dress obsessed.

I’m carrying a faux ostrich-skin Kate Spade purse. (At least I hope it’s faux ostrich. Ostriches and emus are such remarkable birds. They look like they belong in a science fiction movie. I don’t like to think one made the ultimate sacrifice to become my handbag.)

I haven’t decided on shoes. I might wear red, pointy toe pumps. They’ll add a punch of colour to the outfit and channel my inner Joan Holloway.

Or I might wear black wedge sandals. They’re so comfy, I can stand in them all night if I have to.

The only thing missing will be my favourite accessory–my sailor. Although we didn’t graduate together, his reunion is planned for the same weekend at a different venue. It’s also (wait for it!) Blackberry Festival–the biggest weekend of the year back home. If that isn’t proof we’re from a small town, I don’t know what is.

Maybe it’s just as well he’s in Afghanistan. We’d have to arm wrestle to decide whose reunion to attend.