Daily Outfit: Job Interview Chic

11 09 2011

I promised a few posts ago that I would talk a bit more about what’s happening with me.  As I mentioned in other posts, I was working with a start-up charity but due to the recession, growing pains of a new company and new managers, I left my job.  The departure wasn’t exactly amicable, but I am much happier than I was working there.  I am currently unemployed, which means I am having to be a lot more careful with my spending and thrifty with my fashion.  Call me a recessionista, because I am still rocking the hell out of life on a budget.  It has been a roller coaster of emotions, and some days, having a life without structure really gets me down, but I am trying to spend lots of time working on creative projects and seeing friends and having fun.  Life really should not be about the job you do or don’t have, and I keep reminding myself that.

I am starting lots of new projects that I will be slowly posting about as they come up.  But for now, I am going to be a bit more dedicated about taking photos of what I wear.  I hope this serves as inspiration for me to mix up my looks and dress better daily, as I often get stuck in fashion ruts.  I don’t consider myself the most trendy person, but when I put my mind to it, I can look stylish.  More than that, I am interested in fashion- the photos, the styling, the clothes, the textiles, etc.

Last week, I went to the government employment agency to talk about job options.  Of course, it was a scorching hot afternoon and I jumped right out of my outfit when I got home before I could bully someone into taking photos of me.  So here are the elements of my outfit.  I know that’s cheating, but I am still working up the nerve to ask people to take my photograph and my self-timer skills are abysmal.  So this is what you get.  Next time will be better, I promise!

Thrifted H&M Dress, Marks & Spencer Heels, New Look Bracelet.

 

I loved this outfit because it was simple, classic and undistracting.  The worst thing in an interview is when your clothes are telling more of a story than your resume.  My interviewer noted that I looked professional, and we came up with a few options for me in search of employment.  The classic H&M shift dress, however, was way too hot for the scorching afternoon so I ditched it soon after I departed the air conditioned sanctuary of the office.  How do you keep cool while looking professional?

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Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

11 09 2011

I love a good side dish.  A few weeks ago, I went out to a  fancy local restaurant with a friend, Barracuda Grill.  The food was hit-and-miss, which was somewhat disappointing.  It is allegedly Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ favourite restaurant on-island- my guess is, they get to order off of a different menu.  I loved my meal (a slightly seared yellowfin tuna with gnocchi, hummus and a balsamic whip), but my friend’s food (some sort of lobster pasta dish) just wasn’t that good.  What I found was so delightful about my meal, however, was that although the fish was beautifully prepared and tasted great, the side dishes both complimented the fish and also provided a new palette, a different type of taste.  My friend’s dish was a lot of the same, so she was stuck with the mediocre lobster.  We ended up drinking lots of wine and having a gorgeous gingerbread dessert which saved our dining experience.  But the dinner got me thinking about side dishes.

This roasted cherry tomato is part of a recipe I made recently (and plan on posting here), but I would eat it a million times over- by itself, thrown into pasta, with goats cheese and pesto on foccacia, tossed with fresh mozzarella balls- I can’t wait to make it again in a bigger quantity to try it all out.  And I promise, I will be sure to talk about it.  Here they are below, all chopped and ready to be made sexy.

Roasted Cherry Tomato Recipe

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (next time, I plan on doubling this, so maybe you want to do the same!)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 dash of seasoning salt (You can use regular salt or sea salt, but I really like seasoning salt.)
  • Several dashes of coarse sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Arrange in a large oven-proof baking dish.
  3. Mix olive oil, brown sugar and seasoning salt in a bowl.
  4. Pour olive oil mixture over tomatoes, tossing to coat.
  5. Ensure all tomatoes are cut-side up.  Sprinkle with a few dashes of coarse sea-salt on top.
  6. Place in oven and bake 45 minutes, or until tomatoes are shrunken and sweet.

I will have dreams about these tomatoes.  I served them as a garnish to a quinoa dish and my dad wanted to know if he could have more.  I may have snuck a few out of the dish to eat them solo, but I’m not confessing to anything.





DIY Inspiration: Shoes

9 09 2011

It is hardly a shock that a 23 year old woman loves shoes.  While I live in flip flops during the sweaty island summer days, I love a great blinged-out sandal, a flashy pump, a suede platform heel and even a sweet ballet flat.  I can’t get enough.  And while I do have quite a shoe collection (my dad often asks if I actually wear them all), I also find myself craving more!  Since I am trying to be recessionista-chic, my best option is DIY!  There are quite a few awesome thrift stores locally that I grab amazing shoes at, but I am trying to be a bit more open minded about the ones I see there that may have as-yet undiscovered potential.  Here is a roundup of a few awesome projects I’ve found across the web!Painted Soles
1.  Craftster Lace Patterned Wedges: These absolutely magical wedges are from Craftster user petite_patineuse and are hand-detailed with gold and silver markers.  I wish I had the skill or the patience, but the results are beautiful.  Check them out in full-detail with instructions.
2.  Dirty Hems Neon Sole Heels: This simple DIY elevates a simple black shoe into something fun, on-trend and a little bit daring.  She’s taken lots of great pictures to help show you how to take your black heels from “meh” to “meow!”

Glitter
1.  Craftster Red Dorothy Glitter Heels: Another pair that I spotted on Craftster, this time by user kellianneeee.  She takes a pair of classic peep-toes and updates them first with red glitter and then a cheeky yellow brick road painted on the bottom.  A riff on the classic red-soles of Christian Louboutin’s, but the end result is playful and fun.  She also has an etsy page, where you can custom-order glittered out shoes if you’re low on time and want her pristine results.
2.  Honestly WTF DIY Miu Miu Sneakers: I’m not normally a sneaker girl, but the original Miu Miu’s are to die for.  Style mavens from Honestly WTF must think the same thing, because they made their own awesome version.  I’m literally biding my time until I find a pair of appropriate shoes to bling out.

Make them your own
1.  A Matter of Style’s DIY Stella MCCartney and Zara asymmetric shoes: While painting, glittering and bedazzling shoes may seem like elementary DIY, A Matter of Style took it to a new level by cutting into her pumps to create a new sexy silhouette for her heel.  I have a shoe I could do this to, but I am terrified of ruining them completely.
2.  …love Maegan’s Christian Louboutin Petal Sandal DIY: A gorgeous, floaty and completely removable sandal adornment.  While this DIY came out in 2009, the style is still very fun and replicates styles still in stores today.  Me likey!

Sitting with a very random grouping of books, my Oasis tribute solo shoe.

I wish I could say I had a great history of shoe DIY’s, but actually it’s a bit embarrassingly abysmal.  Years ago, I bought cheapie white slip-on canvas shoes and tried to graffiti with Sharpies to create a punky, urban look but they ended up looking like… well…. I had tried writing on my sneaker with marker.  Those went into the trash.

Next up, I scored these awesome white pointy-toed pumps in a thrift store and covered a heel with Oasis lyrics.  It looked awesome, but I was terrified to wear them and had no way of sealing them.  I moved as I was in the middle of the project and managed to lose one of the shoes.  The other sits on my shelf as a bit of temporary art.

 

When I pulled them out to take a picture, the camera stopped working properly. The shoe mocks me, yet again.

The final shoe DIY I’ve done was more of a success.  I wanted to replicate the Jeffrey Campbell shoes that half of the blogosphere had taken on with thumbtacks.  I found the perfect shoes for the project, but ran out of the style of tacks I was using.  The shoes got finished with different tacks, but the finished product isn’t as clean as I’d have preferred.  I wore them once on Halloween as Lady Gaga and now they sit on my shoe shelf, mocking me.  I have been tempted to take the tacks out and re-do them with all the same type, but I haven’t found the time yet.

But I am feeling that creative itch and I know shoes are what I want to focus on so hopefully this inspiration kicks my butt into gear and gets me going on some DIY!





Chai Tea Latte

6 09 2011

One of the great things about studying abroad is that you get the opportunity to experience the culture and food of different places.  Even when that culture is Starbucks coffee culture- it seems so exotic and special when you’ve seen it on television  but never tasted it yourself.  When I lived in Canada, I developed a small Starbucks addiction.  While my local indie coffee shop satiates my desire for lattes and iced coffee, their Chai Tea Latte left something to be desired.  So I decided to scour the internet for a recipe and make it myself.

I wanted to make it with skim milk that I bought specifically for cooking with, but as life goes, my family decided to drink my skim milk and leave the full-fat milk in the fridge.  The joys of moving back home with your family!  But this is still a relatively low-cal drink!

It should be a pretty quick recipe to make, but I was in the midst of a Jersey Shore marathon (I can’t believe I admitted that!) so I mixed it up in a few stages during commercial breaks.

Chai Tea Latte Recipe (roughly adapted from here)- Serves 1:

  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 black tea bags
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

Note: The original recipe asked for cardamom which I didn’t have, so I added a few things and rejigged the recipe to my tastes.  Feel free to do the same until you enjoy the taste.

Directions:

  1.  Boil water and tea bags.  While this is boiling, mix up your spices.
  2. Add spices and milk, stir well and let simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Remove teabags and strain through mesh strainer (at this point, I was surprised how many dregs I had.  Don’t decide to push them through like me and have somewhat gritty tea.  Just clear it out and keep pouring!).
  4. Wait a bit for it to cool (or be impatient like me, and add some cold milk on top so you can slurp it down).

Getting all my spices in order.  The spice mixture could probably be enough to make 2 potent cups (doubling the water, milk and adding an extra tea bag).

Keep stirring.  I got distracted by Jersey Shore and had to run back and stir like crazy to make it normal again.  Safety first!

This strainer was almost full of spices after I’d strained.  Next time, I will do it in batches and remove some of the dregs between pouring.

My finished mug.  YUM!  It tasted just like a slightly less sweet version of Starbucks’ version (although that’s a good thing, in my opinion).  I slurped it down in just a few gulps.  Now, I’m off to do the dishes.  I’ll be sharing more recipes as time goes on, and next time, I promise the photos won’t be crappy cell phone captures!





Metafictional Wishlist: Victoria’s Secret Fall 2011

5 09 2011

I have neglected the hell out of this blog.  Life has been a whirlwind and a blur and all sorts of crazy.  I hope to talk more about myself, my life and where I’m going from here.  But all in due time, don’t need to overwhelm the world with all of my details straight off the bat!  Lately, I have been obsessed with all the amazing fashion, design and decorating inspirations that I find on various blogs.  I am hoping to channel a bit of this into my blog and use it as a vehicle to write more regularly and hopefully add more structure into my life.

Confession time:I am a chronic online window shopper.  I don’t always buy what I love, but use the styling as inspiration for the things I try to pick up at vintage stores or put together from my ill-organised closet.  Lots of the fashion roundups I see on other blogs include a variety of shops, but I’m the type that will browse the hell out of one store and then move on after I’ve found everything I like.  Having said that, here is my roundup of things I am loving from Victoria’s Secret.

Victoria's Secret Fall 2011 WishlistTop Row:
Sequin Miniskirt– $98
Tulip Skirt– $29.50
Embellished Drape Sleeve Blouse-$79.50
Cross-Front Bra Top– $24.50

Bottom Row:
The Miraculous Push-Up Bra Dress– On Sale for $88
The Corset Dress– On Sale for $49.50
The Miraculous Push-Up Bra Top in red- $59.50
The Miraculous Push-Up Bra Top in black lace- $69.50

I am loving the sassy, cleavage exposing tops that will be great with a pair of shorts for the last days of summer and under a cardigan with a flirty pencil skirt all winter.  The drape-sleeve blouse is a beautiful, bohemian top that looks great as styled with shorts but will transition well into the cool 70’s vibe that is going to be big this summer.  I won’t lie, my favourite season to dress for is summer, and that’s why this retro corset dress appeals to me, but I also included the extremely sexy push-up bra dress for the inevitable Christmas parties that aren’t that far away.  Luxe lace appeals to me during the winter, as does a little glamorous sequin.  Something about layered textures and mixed-media sexy screams winter party season to me.

Victoria’s Secret has a pretty fair price point for the quality, and I find myself using the pieces I order for years.  I know that ultimate fashionista and blogger extraordinaire …Love Maegan is also a fan of their versatile layering pieces and on-trend, affordable separates.  I often spot her wearing cardigans and various other pieces in her outfit shots.

In the spirit of revamping this blog, I am going to start taking outfit shots and hopefully introduce the blog to my concept of style.





Spring Awakening

20 02 2011

Last week, I got a sneaky midday message from one of my friends who also recently started working.  She was hoping desperately that the winter weather eased up for the weekend so we could go outside, lounge in the sun and maybe plan an impromptu fishing trip.  Immediately, I was distracted from my work and was daydreaming of summers gone by with sun so blazing you couldn’t imagine it ever getting to be cold on the island.

This is a snap I took a few years ago while at lunch at Ariel Sands Hotel, which sadly no longer exists.  But ahhh, doesn’t it feel warm and relaxing and tropical?  Unfortunately, this weekend brought rain and wind and more rain.  So much so that the electricity in my house went out for a few hours, leaving me sitting on the floor in the middle of my mess grumbling and pretending to reorganise when all I really wanted to do was curl up and get back into bed.

So just a warning, folks.  I’m channelling my inner-mother nature to ensure that this Spring business starts happening soon.  And yes, that is Halloween rather than me being a lunatic on a regular day… although it’s been known to happen.  Apologies for the older photos but the camera is being wonky.  Working on fixing it up to ensure that you see the world I’m living in clearly.  Even when there’s torrential rain and clutter.  Back to the piles I go!





I’m a liar baby, but I’m back…

20 02 2011

Well, so much for my new years resolutions for 2010.  Somehow as it got a bit colder, my blog got a little lonelier and then summer gushed in and I had no time to do anything but dissertate and sunbathe.  I feel worlds away, and in many ways, I am.  I have finished  my masters degree, which means I have a whole pile of fancy letters behind my name and a shitty-paying job to show for it (MSc Media & Communications & BA Specialised Honours English, natch).  I have moved back in with my parents, which generally has been fine but it is odd readjusting to my old life at home that I haven’t lived since I was 16.  Some days, I feel just as young.

A lot of the working world are things I just wasn’t ready to face.  I’m used to being the best version of me, and there is no grading rubric to understand what went wrong when a boss tells you what you’re doing isn’t good enough.  I have weird dilemmas from what to wear to the office to how to date when being a 20-something living with my parents.

I am also finding new and interesting ways to entertain myself, since my life doesn’t revolve around school anymore.  First, I am trying to reorganise my life- mentally, physically, spiritually- the whole shebang.  I’m tackling this in a rather literal sense with a room revamp.  I’m not 16 anymore, but my decor has stayed the same for many years.  It’s time for my more mature sensibilities to be reflected in my design.  I will post some absolutely cringey before photos soon, and eventually… some zen-like, crisp after shots.  It’s hard living here because everything is much more expensive and there’s no Ikea or the likes to turn to.  Only designer or second-hand… but I have my eyes open and I am fixing my creative sights on a kind of vague vision.  I’ll be sharing that vision here.

Just a few of the dresses I need to sort through in this re-organisation of life

The second part of the life revamp is embracing my creativity.  From home DIY to sewing to interior design… I am becoming all sorts of handy.  I have this very stubborn demeanour where I am *convinced* that I will be AWESOME at dress reconstruction or painting furniture or baking a rhubarb white chocolate cake.  And while, thus far, these experiments have been more dreams and plans than actual execution… I am finally doing something about that and want to change the tenor of this blog as a documentation process of the different undertakings.  I want to tell the world about the books I’m reading, the shoes I think are drool-worthy and the changes I’m making to my life.  I know it’s pretty narcissistic to believe anyone out in the blogosphere actually would care about what I’m putting up here, but it’s theraputic and a great way to reflect back on my experiences.  With that said, I’m back, bitches!