Styling black and white print leggings

Photo by Jordan Abel

Ages ago—like four and a half years, to be precise—my mom bought me these leggings in a black and white print for Christmas and I have hardly worn them since.

It’s not even that I don’t like them—the leggings are both comfortable and opaque—but I am the sort of person who finds it difficult to think of leggings as actual pants. No shade on those who like wearing them that way, but I just personally don’t. So for the longest time, I was fixated on the idea that if I could just find the perfect sweater dress to go with them, all would be well. But there is no perfect sweater dress and these leggings aren’t getting any younger.

So I decided it was finally time to face this personal style challenge head on and raid my own closet to see what I could come up with. It took a couple of tries, but I think I finally found two—only two—possible outfits.

The first pairs the leggings with my favourite black tank top and my sheer silk blouse, left unbuttoned.

Photo by Jordan Abel

The second outfit pairs them with a shiny blue top I’ve had for a long time and my black velvet kimono.

For both outfits, I wore my black booties and a necklace I got from Warehouse One.

I like the first outfit the best but, honestly, have no idea where I’d wear either.

What do you think of the outfit combinations? Any ideas of where I’d wear this?

My six favourite new wardrobe essentials

Photo by Jordan Abel

I’ve been working on adding some essentials to my wardrobe lately and below are some of my favourite recent acquisitions—along with rambling little anecdotes, ’cause that’s how I roll.

If you’re so inclined, you can see me actually wearing them on my Instagram.

1. Black cardigan
Contemporaine, $39.95

I had a black cardigan that I loved very much, for many years, but I finally had to say goodbye. I’d successfully ignored the rattiness of the sleeve cuffs for a while, but once there was a hole in the front, I had to face facts.

I tried on a lot—and I mean A LOT—of cardigans before I found one that was the right length and fit for what I wanted. I’m also very happy I ended up with this one because it’s 100 percent linen.

2. White blouse

I actually recently bought two white blouses, but I want to feature the silk one because it’s my favourite. I wanted to add a white blouse to my wardrobe because it’s a pretty obvious essential, but I also had this other issue that came up after moving back to Edmonton: sometimes you need to dress up when it is -30°C outside (#yegproblems).

But then I was watching this video from Shea Whitney, where she suggests a silk blouse, and I decided to kill two birds with one stone: buy a white blouse that could act as an essential while also giving me something lux to wear out when it’s cold (underneath a thick coat, obviously).

I got super lucky and found one for under $80, but then realized even an inexpensive silk shirt is a precious one and decided I also needed something that could handle early morning rush and the very real possibility of coffee spills—so I also grabbed a cotton one for $19.99.

Sadly, neither shirt is still available on the Simons website, but you may still be able to find them in store.

(Note: I know silk isn’t vegan. While I prefer to follow a plant-based diet, I’ve tried to stop using the word vegan because I do occasionally eat omnivore food and I do buy silk, wool, leather, etc.)

3. Dark wash skinny jeans
Warehouse One, $49.99

These are the same jeans from my spring outfit post and, as I said, I was always afraid wearing skinny jeans would make me look like an ice cream cone, but I’ve found I really love them and I’m going to have to buy a second pair eventually—maybe in black.

4. Black skirt
Contemporaine, $59.95

I got to a point where none of my skirts fit me anymore except one of my costume pieces so I was on the hunt for something simple that could be styled a number of ways, and I found this great skirt at—where else?—Simons. (This is probably a good time to mention that this post is NOT sponsored.) It’s also super comfortable.

5. Trench coat
London Fog, $150.27 – 176.99

I’ve been wanting to add a trench coat to my wardrobe for a while now, and living back in Edmonton, with a chillier spring, it seemed like the perfect time to finally get one—and I was right.

While shopping for this coat I quickly discovered that the classic camel colour did nothing for me, but blues like this one are very popular this season. It took me a while to find this one though. The first few trench coats I tried on just weren’t right somehow (even though they technically fit) and I’m so glad I hung out for this one because I love it!

(Note: I got mine at Hudson’s Bay, but they seem to be sold out on their website, so I linked to Amazon instead. Might be worth checking in store though.)

6. Statement belt
Simons, $39

I’m not big on belts. As someone with wider hips, they just spark anxiety. For instance, the chain belt trend is one I would totally like to get in on, but after trying a bunch of them at three different stores and not finding one that fit, I gave up.
Still, there’s something to be said for having a statement belt in your wardrobe, and I’d been seeing this Gucchi one around that I thought was really cute. But then I found out it costs hundreds of dollars and I was like, “I don’t think so.” Luckily, Simons has this double ring belt that I think has a similar effect, with a much lower price tag.
(Note: The belt is real leather. See above.)

Bring on spring

Photo by Jordan Abel

What counts as spring in the north, really? I mean there’s no snow on the ground and it’s above zero, but if you’re looking for spring flowers Edmonton is going to disappoint.

Rather than wait on the weather for spring colours, I decided to be proactive and introduce some spring shades to my wardrobe. Here’s my outfit of the day:

Astoni earrings from Aldo Accessories
$18

I didn’t even make it out the door of my apartment building before getting complimented on these. They are pretty, feminine, and to be honest, a little heavy, but I was in the mood to try something big and colourful when I bought these.

twik mini embroidery blouse from Simons
$39

I love Simons so very much, which is why Hubby bought me a gift card for my birthday that I have been slowly using up. This shirt was actually something he picked out and I really love everything about it.

 

 

 

Olive military-style jacket

My actual jacket is one I bought on clearance at American Eagle years ago, but they’re still very much in style right now and easy to find. Check out this twill field jacket for women at Old Navy for $31.97 as a possible dupe.

Women’s ink wash skinny jeans from Warehouse One
$49.99

For a long time I was afraid that if I wore skinny jeans I would look like an ice cream cone, but wearing these pants people actually believed I had lost weight, so I’m kind of sad I let myself be held back. The crucial thing for me with these was the “subtle whiskers.” Ideally, I’d prefer no whiskering at all, but that seems almost impossible to find.

Abound’s Vivian block heel Chelsea boot from Nordstrom Rack
$37.48

This is actually my first pair of Chelsea boots—go figure. They are very comfortable and with the block heel, I’m able to walk around quite a bit in them. Sadly they seem to be sold out, but here‘s something similar in vegan leather.

The trouble with eating out

“Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between the two of them,
They licked the platter clean.”

Eating out together has been a trial every since Hubby decided to start a ketogenic diet.

I don’t eat meat and when we go out that’s usually about all Hubby can eat—though honestly eating out for him is pretty hard even when he’s not trying to find someplace I can eat too.

Most chicken comes breaded and he needs it to be grilled. He can’t have any bread, fries or any sauce that might have sugar in it. One of the things he’s found he can eat that a lot of restaurants have is Caesar salads with grilled chicken, but even then he has to ask them to hold the croutons.

We were both able to eat at Cafe Mosaics, where I had vegan perogies with the best cashew sour cream I’ve ever tasted (granted not a large sample) and Hubby had a zucchini noodle dish—but even then there was fruit on his plate that he couldn’t eat.

Later we headed over to The Almanac, where Hubby ordered a charcuterie plate with cheeses and in-house made meats. The plate also came with apple, nuts, jam, mustard and crostini, none of which Hubby could eat, so I did and between the two of use we (almost) cleaned the plate. (Confession: I have no idea if the crostini was vegan; I didn’t ask. #badvegan)

Brunch presented an even bigger challenge until we decided to check out Friends & Neighbours, where I used to work as a server back in the day.

I have to say, I like the changes they’ve made since we’ve been away.

They now have a full vegan/vegetarian menu, which includes a weekend-only vegan eggs benedict. I also finally tried the tofu scramble and soy bacon—a popular dish when I worked there that I didn’t consider trying when I wasn’t vegan. It was pretty great actually, I can see why so many used to (and presumably still do) order it.

Hubby was able to get an omelette with meat and cheese, and the second time we went the server offered to replace his toast with avocado. (The first time he was offered a fruit cup, which I ate.)

We even ran into the owner who remembered us and gave us both a hug.

Looks like Friends & Neighbours will be our go-to brunch spot from now on.

Anti-vegan recommend for the win

Non-vegans range from those adventurous enough to try weird meat substitutes with you even when they’re not drunk to those who are utterly repulsed by the life choice.

Rarely do I find myself being served delicious soy-battered dill pickles by the latter, but such was the case during Game 4 of the Vegas vs. Washington playoff final.

As I was explaining to my friend where I get my protein from (sigh), “beans, lentils, tofu,” the anti-vegan butted in, “don’t forget sadness and regret.”

He described himself as morally opposed to veganism, but then ended up giving me a great restaurant recommendation.

According to our server on Wednesday night, River City Revival House has only been open for about a week and a half. It’s the kind of place that smokes its meat in-house, but oddly, it also has a lot of vegan options—not to mention a separate vegan smoker.

Hubby and I went there with my cousin and we all managed to find something we liked/could eat. We even shared the Tofu Fighters Platter—a vegan antipasto platter!

The tofu had an intense smokey flavour and the cashew cheese was the perfect texture and had great flavour. Hubby was able to eat both, though he couldn’t have any of the crostini. He adapted by spreading the cashew cheese on the tofu.

For mains, Hubby ordered the Run D.M.Caesar without croutons and was able to add both bacon and smoked chicken, which he said was delicious

I had the Portis-Bello Burger with Daiya cheese subbed in. The portobello was also smoked and it was probably the most savoury and flavourful portobello I’ve ever had.

My cousin ordered the Piggy Sue 22 pizza and fair warning: these pizzas are not messing around. He managed to get through about three pieces and still had over half a pizza left when he requested a takeout box.

As for those vegan deep-fried pickles I mentioned, they are called Pickle Pucks and can be ordered at Tavern on Whyte. Hail Seitan—deep-fried seitan bites tossed in sweet chilli sauce—are also a great choice and I’ll probably have to order some for tonight’s game.

Go Caps!

It begins

There’s nothing worse than the smell of bacon filling your house — at least when you’re a vegan.

I decide to go vegan after watching What the Health on Netflix specifically because someone interviewed mentioned that dairy can cause eczema, which is why I refer to myself as a dietary vegan. It’s really more about the effect the food is having on my body than the ethical considerations and that makes it that much harder not to cheat now and then (which, spoiler alert, I totally do #badvegan).

But it’s going to be even harder now because Hubby has decided that he wants to do the keto diet — lots of protein, lots of fat, very little carbs.

According to a quick Google search I performed when he first decided to do this, there is such thing as a vegan keto diet, but he felt that if he was going to restrict carbs, he was at least going to eat meat, dairy and eggs.

So this morning Hubby began his keto diet with bacon, eggs and cheese — all the delicious stuff I’ve decided not to eat anymore.

And then at lunch, he had even more bacon! This time as part of a cobb salad at the Blue Plate Diner in Edmonton — where miraculously we could both fulfil our dietary restrictions.

But as he pointed out, the grass is always greener on the other side: he couldn’t keep his eyes off the sweet potatoes topping my veggie shepherd’s pie.

I also got to have a cupcake when we went for tea later in the day, but with keto vetoing sugar he can’t really have dessert anymore.

The smell of meat once again wafted through the house before dinner.

Hubby made himself a steak salad with mushrooms and avocado dressing while I had leftover alphabet soup (from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz) — but with tiny shell noodles instead of alphabet noodles — and a go-to chickpea salad sandwich (from Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull).

Fortunately, I’ve never been very tempted by steak, but tomorrow — The Return of the Bacon!

Q&A with Vancouver architect Michael Katz

L41Michael Katz has run his architectural firm, Katz Architecture Ltd., in Vancouver since 1971, when he collaborated with famed landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander (Library Square, Robson Square) on Marine Gardens. The family housing complex features 70 town houses on less than one hectare, connected by walkways and shared garden space. Marine Gardens is slated to be replaced by towers, but Katz has continued to design innovative new housing models. His latest project is the L41 house, which debuted at the winter Olympics in 2010, and has just recently moved to Science World. 

Continue reading “Q&A with Vancouver architect Michael Katz”

Living small: The prospects for tiny houses as a solution for affordable housing in Vancouver

featureimagethesis

On a clear January morning in Abbotsford, Kayla Feenstra nails shingles to her house. Thirty years old and self-employed, she has what so many living in Metro Vancouver at her age only dream of: her very own, mortgage-free home. It may only be 130 square feet and on wheels, but it’s hers. And while there’s still some work to be done on the house, so far it’s only cost her $15,000.

Continue reading “Living small: The prospects for tiny houses as a solution for affordable housing in Vancouver”