Thursday, May 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

This is the last close up shot of me you'll see for some time, I promise...

This is what I wore to work today, and upon seeing me, one of my female colleagues said,
"You look so cute in that hair bow I just want to pinch both your cheeks, but you would probably punch me in the face if I did."

My co-workers know me so well.....

Monday, May 27, 2013

Song of the Wayfarer

Actually there is no song in this post, but there are Wayfarers...

Ray-Ban Wayfarers!   This is the first sponsored post I've ever had on my blog, and I'm kind of excited about it.  The folks at SmartBuyGlasses contacted me (or, more correctly, their ad agency did) to see if I would be interested in doing a review of the process of purchasing a pair of eyeglass frames on their site.  I was given a gift certificate for $150 to use towards a pair of glasses.

 A  closeup of the glasses, and my shiny, sun damaged face (I wear sunscreen, honest..)

 I have a pair of older prescription glasses that are not flattering, which I can't see out of very well, so the timing of this offer was perfect.  SmartBuyGlasses had lots of frames to choose from in every price range, and I spent at least an hour scrolling through page after page of frames trying to decide which ones to get.  I had my heart set on red ones - you can search for frames by brand, shape, colour, gender and price.  One of the difficulties of purchasing glasses online is that you can't try them on, so I decided to stick with a frame shape similar to the shape of my current prescription eyeglasses.

The site provides the measurements of each part of the eye glass frame, along with a chart so you can decipher which part of the frame the numbers refer to.  I compared the size of these frames to the size of my regular prescription glasses to get an idea of how they would fit.  I had originally planned to get prescription lenses put in the frames so I could review the accuracy of buying prescription lenses online,  but unfortunately the copy of my prescription I got from my optometrist was missing some necessary information that I couldn't get in time to be able use the gift certificate before it expired.

Staring at the Sun

After selecting the red Ray-Ban Original Wayfarers I immediately received an email confirming my puchase.  It had been suggested that I choose a pair of frames with a "fast shipping" logo next to them, as they would be received quickly.  The ones I chose didn't have that designation, but I ordered the glasses on the evening of May 22nd, and they were in my hand early in the day on May 24th!  The glasses were extremely well packed, and came in the official Ray-Ban case and box, product information, a branded lens cleaning cloth and a free $25 lens care kit with cleaner, cloth and a mini screwdriver.

1.  Lots of styles of sunglasses and prescription frames to choose from
2.  Competitive pricing - I looked at the same frames on two other online sites and SmartBuyGlasses price was lower than both of the other sites
3.  The ordering process was very easy, and communication regarding my order was fast and     professional
4.  Glasses come with free anti-reflective and scratch resistant coating, and a free $25 lens care kit
5.  Shipping is free, and my glasses were received ridiculously fast, and were exactly as shown on the website
6.  Returns within 7 days, and a 24 months warranty against all manufacturers defects 
7.  SmartBuyGlasses operates a charity program called Buy One, Give One

1.  If you don't have an idea of what you are looking for, you can easily spend hours on the site looking at frames, which can be rather overwhelming.
2.  The main disadvantage is that you can't try them on.  Some frames have a feature that allows you to virtually "try them on", but it's not the same as picking them up off a shelf and seeing what they look like from all angles, and also how they fit.  The Wayfarers are actually a bit heavier than I expected
3.  If you have a complicated prescription, buying glasses online may not be feasible, especially if you require a lot of adjustment with your glasses when you receive them (which I often do)

The Verdict?  

Smartbuyglasses has a great selection of designer sunglasses and prescription frames, at very competitive prices.  Their customer service is very helpful (based on the limited experience I had), shipping is very fast, and I would certainly recommend the site to anyone who is in the market for a new pair of glasses.  In my opinion, it works best if you have a good idea of the size and shape of frame that fits your face.

A big kiss to SmartBuyGlasses and Martin at Switcheroo for the glasses - I love them! (and not just because they match my sweater and my lipstick)

Ray-Ban Wayfarers - Courtesy of SmartBuyGlasses
Sweater - thrifted
patterned jeans - retail (Material Girl brand on sale at the Bay)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oh The Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
 any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

excerpt from "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss, which every adult should be required to read at the start of each new decade of their life

And with my feet in THESE shoes, I am thinking that anything is possible.  Shoes that are as awesome as these must have special powers.

They put a spring in my step

Adventure is calling, and the shoes say GO! Who am I to argue with shoes like these?

 Doc Marten brogues from the Doc Marten store in Toronto
jeans - The Sentimentalist
silk t-shirt - gift from a friend
sweater - Joe Fresh
Rambunctious behaviour - I blame it on the shoes

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Good Day, Sunshine!

I had taken today and tomorrow off work in order to get some projects done at home that I had been procrastinating on.  Well, the weather was absolutely glorious today, so what did I do?  I went outside, of course.....

After selecting the appropriate outfit

I had thrifted this skirt a few weeks ago, and remembered having one similar to it back in the 80's, with the embroidery and bits of mirror.  This one is much nicer - I am in love with the colours!  A woman working in one of the shops in my neighbourhood complimented me on the skirt and then told me how much she enjoys seeing what I'm wearing whenever I come into the store, which I thought was so nice!

Plants and trees were blooming all over the place

There was a skunk in my backyard - I thought those little critters were nocturnal, but apparently even they like some sun now and then.

I took a walk around the neighbourhood, and found this - a "Little Free Library" on a post outside someone's house.  What a great idea!

A new vintage store is supposed to be opening soon in my neighbourhood, and the owner has been taunting me for weeks with the various window displays of cool stuff.  I like the orange-y dress with the collar and tie belt.   Too bad I don't know any men that would wear the matching shirt.

I poked around in a few of the other secondhand stores in my neighbourhood that are usually closed by the time I get off work and came home with a few treasures that I'll show you later.  I also picked up a few props to use in a photo shoot I'm doing tomorrow for a certain blogger's magazine project.

I took the opportunity to visit one of the newest additions to our downtown.   Phantastica, which features "Oddities and Curiousities" is a side project of the owner of Attic Books and is located on Dundas Street between Clarence and Wellington.  It's neatly organized and filled with items such as old cameras, kitchenware, sports pennants, medical paraphernalia, and other collectables.  There is an excellent section of books relating to pinups, tattoos, burlesque, and other erotica, and some vintage accessories such as ties, gloves, sunglasses and hats.

I was tempted by the Polaroid "Swinger" on the bottom shelf

The shop had a selection of vintage children's card games, old board games and some toys

You've got to love a store in which you can buy a striped hammock, a cheesy pulp paperback, or a roll-up anatomical chart.  I went home with some Betty Page comic books and cool postcards that feature covers of racy pulp novels.

 I look so happy and relaxed....funny what a day away from work and some nice weather will do for you!

Embroidered skirt - Thrifted
necklace - The Citizen Rosebud
head scarf - The Style Crone

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Beauty School Dropout

According to the fashion press, the big news this Spring/Summer is wearing black and white TOGETHER (imagine?!)  Of course, I, and all the other 40+ style bloggers, knew this already because the Vintage Vixen  spread the word back in March in this post, followed by Bella of Citizen Rosebud in April.  Of course, if you've been following my blog, you KNOW that I am ALL about the trend of the moment (and inserting CAPS wherever possible), so I had to jump on that monochrome bandwagon.  I added a bit of 50's flair with the addition of the colourful neck scarf and my Madge eyeglasses, because I am a such a REBEL!

black and white cardigan - Joe Fresh
Black t - retail
Black and white skirt - thrifted
black riker sandals - retail
scarf -  The Style Crone

Yep, even the undergarments are on trend, cuz that's how I roll....

Sunday, May 12, 2013

We Can Be Heroes, Just For One Day

Saturday, May 4th was Free Comic Book Day, a day anticipated by thousands of comic book and pop culture fans each year since its beginning in 2002.   On the first Saturday in May, thousands of participating comic book stores across North America give away free comic books.   Publishers print special edition comic books specifically for Free Comic Book Day, and interestingly enough, retailers do not receive the issues for free. 

Who doesn't like a free comic book?  Not these people, who were lined up outside Worlds Away on Dundas Street.  It was a nice change to see my neighbourhood full of people on a Saturday.

Or these people, who lined up for hours outside The Comic Book Collector and Neo Tokyo

Comic books have had an appreciative audience since their first appearance in 1934.  The first comic book contained reprints of comic strips from the newspapers, but after a few years, original content took over as it was cheaper to purchase work from independent artists.  The success of Superman prompted the creation of many other characters that came to be known as "Superheroes",  such as Captain America, The Flash, Batman and Wonder Woman.  After a decline in popularity of the superhero theme in the late 40's,  science fiction stories started to appear on the comic book shelves, followed by Westerns, Archie, talking animals such as those featured in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, and re-tellings of literary masterpieces in the Classics Illustrated Series.  My comic book tastes were fairly pedestrian when I was a kid, and I stuck mostly to tame stuff like the Walt Disney comics, Classics Illustrated, along with the occasional Wonder Woman thrown in for variety. When I discovered Millie the Model it soon became a favourite for the clothes.

In the 60's, underground comix like those created by Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton became popular with adult readers.  In the 1970's Sci-fi and adventure comics appeared, like the Canadian-created Cerebus and Heavy Metal.  The 80's was the period where comics like Love and Rockets, created by the Hernandez brothers appeared, which combined a punk sensibility, magic realism and Latin American culture and a cast of strong and sassy female characters.  The 80's also saw the publication of Art Spiegelman's holocaust fable, Maus, which became an international best-seller.  British writers like Neil Gaiman injected new life into the American comic book culture with his series Sandman, and Superheroes have again become popular.   There is enough diversity to be found on the shelves at your local comic book retailer to appeal to readers of all ages and both sexes.

Many people take advantage of the day that celebrates comic book culture to dress in costumes of super heroes, villains, princesses, sci-fi characters, etc. For some, like the group above,  it was a family affair - Wonder Woman, The Mighty Thor, and Merida, the red-haired heroine of the Disney/Pixar film Brave

A Harley Quinn Amidala

Costumes ran the gamut from this couple's tribute to Tumblr.

I  assume that these young women are dressed to represent characters from Japanese Anime - I neglected to ask them for specifics.  Love the wig colours!

Thor hug

An incredibly adorable Hulk

Even though this young lady and her brother were not wearing costumes, I had to have a photo of her uber-cute bunny sweater!

As my knowledge of manga, superhero and comic book characters is limited, I will not pretend to know who these three women are dressed as, but they looked pretty cool.

I believe this guy is supposed to be Batman's sidekick, Robin (thanks Sheila, I should have known that), with an admirable six-pack, and the girl next to him is wearing an awesome kitty mask

Creepy-cool! Thanks to a fellow blogger, for identifying this guy's mask as that of the character Bane, from the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises

I've photographed the young woman on the right before, but not dressed as Hit-Girl from the film
You may recognize the lycra onesie she's wearing as the same one that Adam, from The Sentimentalist, is wearing in this post.

A big draw at The Comic Book Collector was the appearance of the Batmobile

 The car, modelled after the iconic 1966 version driven by Adam West as Batman in the TV series,  was a huge hit with kids and grown-ups.  Heck, I'm not a car afficionado, but I thought it was pretty awesome.

Below is the original Batmobile, driven by Adam West

No Batman, but Catwoman made an appearance

Andrew (on the right), the owner of the car, purchased a kit from the States and spent four years transforming a 1979 Lincoln car body into a credible version of The Batmobile.   The car is fully driveable, and they have had it out on the road for a year, taking it to various automobile shoes and Comic Conventions.

Hopefully Andrew doesn't make calls while driving as the Batphone does not appear to be "hands-free"!   He does have a fire extinguisher readily at hand, in case the car bursts into flames.

Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May - see you next year!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An Orange For All Seasons

Two weeks ago, it was around 5 degrees Celsius...

 We had a retirement reception for a colleague who is much admired and respected by students and   peers alike, and I wanted to wear something fun.

dress - Stella Luna Vintage
Belt - thrifted
Flower brooch - Sarah Misfit
striped tights - Winners
ankle boots - Talize
leopard headpiece - The Style Crone's Studio sale

 A photo from the reception, taken with my friend and colleague, Lili, who has a wardrobe of awesome dresses - the one she's wearing in this photo is one of my favourites.  Thanks to Ella for the photo.

I found these men's Florsheim ankle boots at Talize for $13.  I love the rich caramel colour, and the leather is buttery soft.  I often have better luck with men's shoes for comfort because of the size and shape of my feet, and these are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes in my closet.

Flash forward to last Friday -  it was 23 degrees

I had to dress for yet another event - orientation for our new group of students.  I'm the first person they meet, so I try to make a good impression...

I had purchased this dress at Jackpot Vintage when they opened their current downtown location, about three months ago, and the weather was finally warm enough for its first outing.  The fabric is some sort of man made stuff - I believe the label says "Tercel" - and I made it through the entire day with no wrinkles.  And I kind of felt like a lady......

......a lady with a much larger rack than usual.  Thumbs up for pleats!

my bracelets came from a clothing swap last summer

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hot Times in the Big Smoke Part 2 - Everything Old is New Again

So, about the Vintage Show.....

Gadsden's Toronto Vintage Clothing Show is held in the Spring and Fall at Artscape Wychwood Barns.  The Barns is a beautiful space that was once a streetcar repair facility and has now been turned into a complex that currently houses artists and their families, non-profit organizations, a community gallery, and a glass-roofed open space used for events like the Vintage show.

The show is run by Gadsden Promotions Ltd., and I had been in contact with Wendy Gadsden who had mentioned how much she enjoyed my review of last Spring's show, and hoped I was able to attend this year.   The show, held on April 14th, featured 29 exhibitors from Ontario and Quebec selling vintage clothing, textiles and accessories dating from the turn of the century to the 1980's.  There was enough variety in prices that there was something for every budget.  I had a great time chatting to, and photographing, vendors and other vintage lovers.  It's nice to spend time in the company of other people to whom you do not have to explain your wild enthusiasm for a bakelite bracelet, a gaudy 80's jacket, or a really beautiful vintage hat. 

 I had just got in the show when I spied this trio of women in their delightful hats. 

 Paige Burchell is a vintage seller and is also in charge of social media for the show.  She took a photo of Megan and I in our matching monocrome for the show's blog, which you can see here

This mother and daughter were enjoying the show, and had obviously dressed for the occasion.  Mom found her bird print skirt at Anthropologie.

If you were looking for a vintage quilt or bedspread, there were some very pretty ones for sale

Vintage sunglasses have become extremely popular, and there were all kinds of shapes and styles on display.  The red and white checked ones in the top right corner don't have arms - they are held on your face by the weight of the plastic rings on cords that hang behind your ears. The black and white checked ones were my favourite.

The sunglasses in the photo above are from Pulver Zajfman (left) and Yank Azman's booth. Yank and his wife, who are regular exhibitors at the show, sell antiques and also rent props for films, television and theatre.  I had met Yank at last year's show, where we had a very entertaining conversation and I was happy to see him again - wearing the same outfit as he did last year!  I purchased the silver straw circle hat you can see on display behind Zajfman's head.

This woman had a bit of a modern English dandy look about her, at least from the back

I'm not opposed to crouching on the floor to get a shot, especially when it includes leopard print booties and tights with a print of what appears to be peacocks perched on columns!  She gets the prize for the most interesting leg adornment of the day.

Another stylish lower half - Isn't the coat pattern amazing?

The rest of her was just as cool

There are men who come to the show looking for vintage tie clips, cuff links, neck ties, and these two dapper gents had the goods and the sartorial smarts to provide good style advice

If only my feet were small enough to fit into these beautiful gold flats....

This young woman drew quite an audience while she was trying on this brocade coat.  The combination of her fiery braids, red lipstick and pinup girl figure made her an irresistible subject for the camera, and conjured the image of a glamourous Anne of Green Gables.

....and here is what she wore to the show.   That coat is an absolute dream!

 The guy in this photo said his wife got him into wearing vintage - initially, when he got the coat he's wearing in the photo, he thought it was "an old man coat".  It certainly doesn't look like an old man coat when paired with cool shoes, a shirt patterned with pink and purple cars, and a snappy bowler!  Their young daughter was with them and was also wearing a fun outfit, but she wouldn't stay still long enough to get her in the photo.

Linens and lace

gorgeous hair, fun colours, and funky pattern mixing!

I thought this woman looked so elegant in her pink suit and matching hat

I saw this woman a few times during the afternoon, first when we were both trying on items at the  same booth.  I thought she looked adorable in this mongolian lamb vest (which she didn't buy).  I later found her trying on a black and red 80's peplum jacket and while we were talking, her friend came up and said, "I can't believe someone bought that bracelet!!  I even hid it under a couple of necklaces!"

It was a rather freaky coincidence that this was the bracelet she was referring to...

 In addition to the lion door-knocker bracelet, purchased from Reflections of Tyme, I also brought home two other items from the same vendor.  Unfortunately, they may not get worn until the fall, now that warm weather has actually arrived.  I might have to photograph them anyway just to show them off!

Thanks to Jeff and Wendy Gadsden for complimentary admission to the show, and their support of my blog.  I'll see you again next year!